Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My second time on the television morning show "早安你好" (Good Morning Singapore) 
(MediaCorp - Channel 8) 
25 June 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

2011 Singapore Presidential Elections - Part 1

a very short 'part one' video of my personal opinions on the 2011 Singapore Presidential Elections.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Has the PAP succeeded? or over-succeeded? - part 2

It has taken the People's Action Party (PAP) over five decades to build up Singapore to where it is today...
Mistakes were made along the way, but like all humans who make them, they have ensured that every last drop of energy is directed towards learning from past mistakes to prevent repeats, to rectify them...
Do remember that under their guidance (and with the support of the non-aligned civil services, and more importantly the citizens who had the faith and belief), the nation has progressed further than all others in the region. Furthermore, in a short span of a few decades, we have achieved a lot of positive international recognition...

video: [part TWO]

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Has the PAP succeeded? or over-succeeded? - part 1

It has taken the People's Action Party (PAP) over five decades to build up Singapore to where it is today...
Mistakes were made along the way, but like all humans who make them, they have ensured that every last drop of energy is directed towards learning from past mistakes to prevent repeats, to rectify them...
Do remember that under their guidance (and with the support of the non-aligned civil services, and more importantly the citizens who had the faith and belief), the nation has progressed further than all others in the region. Furthermore, in a short span of a few decades, we have achieved a lot of positive international recognition...

video: [part ONE]

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sino-US ties - 'warmed up' due to Bush?

Best-ever China-US ties, a legacy of Bush administration, says envoy.

BEIJING: Relations between the United States and China were at their warmest ever, a senior US diplomat said on Thursday as he hailed the improved ties as one of President George W. Bush's important legacies.

"The United States-China relationship has never been better," Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said on the second and final day of a visit to celebrate the establishment of formal bilateral ties on January 1, 1979.

The claim was echoed by the Chinese side, with foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang acknowledging the progress in relations in the past 30 years.

"In reviewing the past three decades' achievements, you would naturally draw that conclusion," Qin said in response to Negroponte's statement.

Bush entered office eight years ago calling China a "strategic competitor" but analysts said he soon changed his approach, forced by the need to accommodate the emerging Asian giant in the post-September 11 turmoil.

Negroponte, the last member of the Bush administration to pay a scheduled visit here before president-elect Barack Obama takes over on January 20, said improved relations were an achievement of the past eight years.

"I would venture to predict that when historians look at the record of the Bush administration, surely one of the highlights will be the progress that has been achieved in the United States-China bilateral relationship," he said.

The United States switched diplomatic recognition to communist-ruled China 30 years ago, ending decades of support for the Nationalist government of Taiwan.

Since then, political and particularly trade ties have grown closer, especially since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, although many tensions remain.

Continued US military sales to Taiwan, which China firmly opposes, have been the biggest cause of strain.

Taiwan and China have been estranged since the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island in 1949 after losing a civil war to the communists.

Trade also remains a source of tension, with the United States accusing China of unfairly keeping its currency's value low for the benefit of its exporters.

Differences over human rights - a sticking point between the two countries during the administration of US president Bill Clinton - also continue to cause problems.

And the United States has often voiced concern over China's military build-up.

Qin said Negroponte had discussed a wide range of issues with his Chinese counterparts, including anti-terrorism, the development of Africa, and the denuclearisation of North Korea.

Negroponte urged the incoming Obama administration to retain collaboration mechanisms set up by Bush, singling out the Strategic Economic Dialogue - twice-yearly high-level economic talks between the two countries.

He said his Chinese counterparts had expressed eagerness to deal with Obama and his team.

"The government of the People's Republic of China certainly looks forward to working with the next administration and it is eager to undertake dialogue with our new government as soon as possible."

Posted: 08 January 2009 1606 hrs
Ripped: Channel News Asia

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Think family

For those of you in Singapore, and watch TV, i am sure you have watched this video. It comes in four languages, but i'm just going to post the english version here. Not a long commercial, watch it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

charity thru vending machines

Vending Machines Enable Users to Donate to Charity

Appearing across Japan recently is something called the “charity vending machine,” which allows users to donate their change to such good causes as environmental conservation and child welfare at the push of a button. These machines have been well received by consumers, who enjoy being able to contribute to a cause that interests them when they buy a canned or bottled drink.
Drinks maker Ito En has linked up with the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP) and last year began setting up vending machines that dispense drinks with White Ribbon stickers attached. The machines are presently in use in eight locations, including in front of the building in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district that houses JOICFP.
(Quoted from: 18 May 2008)

social problems, social issues. (Japan)

On the ground observations.

As most of you know, I am currently taking a Japanese language course here in Japan, and have decided to share some things I have seen while here. (This is not my first trip to Japan, for those of you who don’t know, I come as often as once every two months.)While walking to the train station after dinner a few nights back, I saw a little scene that made me think about some fundamental social issues in Japan (I believe in Korea too, thou I have only been to Korea once, and would not attempt to comment on Korea). A girl (probably in her mid-twenties) was walking by a road-barricade with one of those pull-me-luggage (the kind that could be stowed in the overhead compartment on a plane), when a much older man (probably in his late-fifties or sixties), – who seemed drunk from the way he talked and redness of his face –, leaned over to grope/touch the girl’s butt. This is not entirely uncommon here in Japan. So the girl, in an extremely unorthodox-Japanese manner, turned around and swung the little suitcase at him and demanded an apology. Of course by then, a little group of onlookers began to crowd, and the elder man was forced, probably in drunk reluctance, to apologise. I say unorthodox-Japanese manner because in many similar situations, the girl(s) would either turn, give a little stare, then walk on off, or continue walking away with her head down, without so much as a head-turn, so please do not ‘bite’ me on the usage of unorthodox-Japanese manner. We all know that Japanese mannerism and culture is among the few that has retained its historical origins very well.

So I come to my point. Is this a socially accepted norm? Is this a social education issue?

For some of us, especially those living in the extremely well protected (by governmental laws and the police organization) nation of Singapore, such acts of molestation would result in a hefty wrist slap (monetary fines and even a police case). Furthermore, the reaction from a girl in an above-similar situation would probably have resulted in the taking out of cell-phone, and the punching of three digits.

So argue with me here. “YES! It is a social education issue, and should not be socially accepted. Punishments should be imposed on offenders, police officers should be more vigilant, and more stringent laws have to be in place.” Easier said than done.

On to my next topic, partially related to the one above. Train carriages. For many of you who have been to Japan, you would know that Japan is covered in thousands of miles of tracks. From the Shinkansen (bullet train) to the daily commuter types (some are much like our subways, while others are inter-state types). I commute daily on the JR (acronym for Japan Rail), a vast inter-Japan rail network, from my uchi to my school. On the renowned JR system, train lengths range from 6 to 10 carriages, and of these 6 – 10 carriages, there is always at least one carriage that is meant solely for elders, the handicap, and the pregnant. Very commendable. And of these 6 – 10 carriages, there is also at least one carriage that is meant for ladies.

“Huh?” you may ask.
“Exactly!” is my reply.

This ‘female only’ carriage has a time-period, mainly peak hours. For those of you who indulge in vices such as pornography and adult videos (AV as it is known in Japan), the train carriage should be a sick but familiar scene; a place where molestation occurs, especially during peak hours. So the government decides to do something for the ladies of Japan, and thus, the introduction of ‘female only’ carriages.
Now ask yourself this basic yet simple question: “is that how you solve a problem?” While I am not able to fully provide examples of how such crimes could be curbed, I am sure governmental think-tanks could. But from my personal understanding and rationalizing, ‘female only’ carriages would only further worsen this social issue. The solution has to be dealt with from the root, and not form some feeble attempt at solving a much deeper issue. I have also read that women are not the only ones who suffer from groping problems, men too, are sometimes victimized by scheming girls who target a victim, and create a scene of false-accusation. This embarrassing scene could then be dealt with by the man, with a private settlement fee. In this case, exploitation is the key word, and I shall not dwell too much into it, as it is a separate issue altogether. While laws are indeed in place against such crimes, the enforcement is lacking.

On to my third issue. Catch Sales. I believe many of you may not be familiar with this term. From a logical perspective, this term seemed to be coined for people who run after you around malls and try to push the sales of various products. Make sense? You couldn’t be more wrong. Catch Sales is a term used to label people (I believe 99% of them are men) who wait at busy pedestrian junctions or the entrances to malls, and target lone girls (usually better looking ones) to join their various ‘phoney’ companies or modelling agencies. While it is a common tactic employed by many head-hunting firms, the objective of these Catch Sales are drastically different. They aim at targeting girls for various jobs, ranging narrowly between pornographic magazines to pornographic AV. They used to be dressed seemingly decently in suits, and I believe recent laws have banned such attire. So now, the Catch Sales are dressed in less conspicuous clothing (I am being sarcastic, when you have the opportunity to see one, you would be able to tell them from the other normal people, relatively clearly.)
These people usually target lone girls, and would follow them for a distance, consistently pestering them with questions and compliments alike. Sometimes, they might even daringly walk up to couples holding hands, thou seldom the case. Another annoyingly amusing fact is that these Catch Sales sometimes operate when there are police officers nearby. Furthermore, shopping centres and areas that are mainly populated by the young would have PA loudspeaker systems blasting both the latest chart-topping music hits, and warning messages for girls of such Catch Sales activities nearby.

On now, to my forth and final point; once again partially related to the abovementioned issues. While walking around downtown Sannomiya, Kobe earlier today, I saw a few young girls from a distance, all dressed in trendy clothing and smoking. Then as I got closer to them, two police officers seemingly materialized from out of nowhere, approached them, and demanded an ID check. It seemed obvious that the girls were underage, as I saw one still wearing a uniform-skirt hiked up, despite of the funky top she adorned. While it is both right and dutiful for the police officers to perform such routine checks, why is it that the same officers are not trying to reduce the three above mentioned issues?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Myanmar relief!

this short post has actually been in my draft for sometime, and i only recently realized that it was actually not posted.. apologies..

Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar on 2 May 2008, leaving at least 31,938 dead and 29,770 people missing.
Dozens of the 63 villages surrounding the town of Labutta have been wiped out and US estimates the death toll could hit 100,000.
Many countries have pledged emergency aid so far totalling some 19 million euros (US$29 million). (quoted: Channel News Asia, 17th May 2008)

Play your part in charity:

language, accent, and all things said

This video is in response to some who comment on my choice of accents used in videos of my blog. This short clip argues that "while accents shape the facade and image we portray, nothing is more important than one's ability to communicate". And because certain accents are restricted to a small group of people or region, my choice of accent in the videos is aimed at broadening the view-ability and understand-ability.

All comments are greatly appreciated!
(Thanks Mr.Pang, for your insightful comment!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

China earthquake relief and warming of East Asian ties

(updated 20th May 12noon)

Below are two news-video articles from both Chinese and American news agencies (CCTV and ABC news).

A short Chinese news agency (CCTV) interviewing a Japanese analyst on the warming of ties.

I have provided several links below to charitable organizations that may assist those who are interested in providing aid and help.

Please spare a thought for all; in fact, spare change is a surprisingly helpful form of aid. For more information on the current situation in China, feel free to load the links provided below.
If you are religious, pray. If you are non religious, pray.

what do you want from us?

Here is the original-text to the "What do you want from us" video clip poem...

By a Silent, Silent Chinese.

When We were called the Sick man of Asia, We were in Peril.
When We were going to be the next Superpower, We were called The threat.
When We closed our doors, You smuggled Drugs to our Open Markets.
When We Embraced Free Trade, You blamed us for Taking away your jobs.

When We were falling apart, You marched in your troops and wanted your fair share.
When We were putting our broken pieces together again,
“Free Tibet” you screamed, “it was an invasion!”

(Without giving back to the Birth Place of Confucius, Woodrow Wilson handed us a ticket for the Famine Relief Ball)

So, We Tried Communism, You hated us for being Communists.
So, We embraced Capitalism, You hated us for being Capitalists.
When We had a Billion People, you said we were destroying the planet.
When We were trying to limited our population, you said It was a human rights abuse.

When We were Poor, You called us dogs.
When We Loaned you cash, You blamed us for your debts.
When We were building our industries, You called us Polluters.
When we were selling you goods, You blamed us for global warming.

When We bought oil, You called that exploitation and Genocide.
When You were fighting for oil, You called that Liberation.
When We were lost in Chaos and rampage, You wanted to Rule us with Laws.
When We established laws and orders against Violence, You called us Violating the Human Rights.

When We were in silent, You said you wanted us to have the right to Free Speech.
When We were silent no more, You said we were Brainwashed Xenophobias.
When you invaded Iraq and caused millions of deaths, It was an Operation of Freedom.
When we called "One China", You said we have no Rights.

Today, you are calling us Hans, Tibetans, Mongolians...­
(there are 56 ethnic groups in China!)
100 years ago, you said “oh you poor CHINESE people”

Why do you hate us so much? We asked.
“No,” You Answered, “We don’t hate You.”
“We don’t Hate You either, But Do you understand us?”
“Of course We do,” You said, “We have AFP, CNN and BBC”

What do you really want from us?
Think Hard first, Think History, not Media.

Friday, April 25, 2008

the disease...

The current anti-China movement needs serious evaluation...

Visit China, live in China, interact in China, learn the culture of China, before commenting..

Internal problems require internal rectification, foreign internvention and fuel to flames would only further aggrevate matters... When no help is asked for, when no extreme violations are inflicted, moderation is required pertaining to sensitive issues. Furthermore, this is a sovereign situation. Media framing constitutes and contributes in the spread of news, facts, lies, misconceptions, and assumptions. What you see may not necessarily be reality.

Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and may parts of Asia suffered imperialistic colonization. Where do these regions currently stand? Democracies talk about equality and rights, where were these regions' rights then, where are these regions' rights now?

In retrospect, when the Industrial Revolution was in full steam, technology, science and knowledge was limited, this understanding was limited. Now that these fields have been advanced, developing nations are not given the full opportunities to excel. Equality? Europe and North America has much responsibility to shoulder. Understanding history would clearly help. The past two centuries have been more or less, Eurocentric, with power and gains, comes responsibility.

The Olympics, consistently used as a platform for anit-this and anti-that for decades, the exploitation of this window should not be profiteered.

The world we know today suffers from various diseases, the disease of greed, the disease of selfishness, the disease of religion differences, the disease of wared-hope, the disease of environental destruction, and the disease of history... When would we start curing ourselves?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gambling... ... an issue?

While it has been empirically proven that gambling activities create social problems, personal issues and increased crime rates, it has been also been proven to have a positive effect on its locality. While the ‘battle’ between ‘good’ and ‘evil’ shall exist for all humanity, the arguments justifying the legalization of gambling shall similarly never cease. Thus during the process of deciding, governmental leaders and representatives from all reaches of society need to sit down together for a rational, pragmatic and open discussion. The search for a balance would be hard, but maintaining that crucial and delicate balance would be harder. From a personal perspective, I see gambling activities as an acceptable source of revenue and entertainment, but consistent governmental efforts must be present for the maintaining of social and civic order.

The gambling industry is known to be a labour-intensive business, this not only creates jobs for the populace, but helps improve opportunities and benefits as well. Furthermore, in light of inflation and tax increases, further provoked with lowered corporate taxes, gaming licences and taxation could offer a cushion for both the people and the national economy. Casinos further strengthen a nation’s tourism industry, from food and beverages outlets to international appeal. This second perspective offered represents a ‘larger picture’, where social issues are viewed from a ‘national collective angle’, and not from a ‘macro perspective’. In general, governmental bodies could use revenue collected from casinos to further improve national investments and wealth, infrastructure, and also social and civic responsibilities. Gambling per say, could not be blamed for any ‘harm’ nor ‘costs’ to individuals, families and society because it is a personal decision. In addition, with a proper educating systems and warnings in place, gambling as a vice becomes similar to cigarette smoking and alcohol drinking. Thus from a long term perspective, gambling incurred revenue not only offers the nation and her population with the opportunities to see an increase to infrastructure, that could ‘trickle down’ to benefit them, it also helps increase awareness of possible threats and harm to excessive gambling.

From an opposing viewpoint, statistics have shown that an introduction of casino gambling in an environment where it was previously unavailable would result in an increase in both crime and corruption. This heavily researched fact has been brought to the attention of policy makers, non-profit organizations, and agencies designed for society’s betterment, resulting in a stronger voice in casino condemnation. No parent would feel safe if his child had to grow up in an environment where thefts lingered in back alleys, nor would any decent police officer join ranks with corrupt officials. Furthermore, vices such as prostitution and illegal money lending might increase in numbers, further creating opportunities for crime and corruption. While these facts are undeniable, they are not entirely unpreventable. Like the mosquito, crime and corruption requires a proper breeding environment before it could occur. A strong and rigid infrastructure in place prior to the introduction of casinos would significantly help reduce the effects of crime and corruption. Proper social education could also help alleviate the probability of criminals creating instability. Most importantly, it must be emphasized that gambling as a vice or addiction results from an individual’s inability to withstand temptation, personal responsibility takes precedence in decision making.

While gambling offers recreational excitement, many other activities offer similar heart pulsing and sweaty palmed thrills. Sports of almost any calibre usually stand as the greatest example of such activities. In conclusion, while ethical and social issues have a tendency to increase along with the introduction of casinos and gambling activities, there are various factors propelling an opposing viewpoint. Firstly, the individual’s decision to indulge in vices such as gambling. Secondly, a social ‘safety net’ created to educate, guide and help gamblers; this is usually a governmental initiative. Thirdly, the economic-stimulation offered by casinos in job-creation opportunities, as well as revenue and charity. The government’s ability to work openly and consistently with casino corporations and social communities also serve as a crucial factor in the maintaining and balancing of gambling activities. Personal decisions and personal choices are each and everyone’s individual responsibility.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Beauty of religion (SENSITIVE POST)

The Greatest Weakness stems from the Weakest Greatness humans have indoctrinated themselves to believe. From issues ranging from political ideology, to zealous religious faiths, and from inter-human relationships to the paranoia of possessive ownership, the human mind offers both the cause and effect explanation for justification.

The creation of things on earth draws both religious belief and empirical scientific proof into a never ending debate, a feud that could never end, notwithstanding the extinction of this self-annihilating species, commonly known to us ‘homo sapiens’.

Religion and beliefs offer many similar traits, the preaching of positive and good deeds versus those with evil intent. However, over the centuries, various cultures, traditions and practices (in certain areas, malpractices) develop their individually localized strands of these beliefs, thus creating a consistently polarizing world. These differences offer the greatest rift between men.
While this may seem controversial, it is in my opinion that human weakness accounts for the imagination of religions. This imagination and recreation of what was reality turned into myth and legend is more than purely a way of human control, but also the excuse needed for human survival. Human survival does not purely stem from the necessity of procreation, but also from the simple basic desire for knowledge. When that knowledge could not be satisfied with naturally accepted reality, then the power of imagination comes into play. Great Moses parted a sea, enlightenment occurred under a Bodi tree, and while some gods chose jackals for heads, others preferred elephants. I love religion, because all religions preach good things, and while there are those that choose to denounce others and maintain a staunch belief in their own, I offer my humble three words: “frogs in wells”.

I am not lost, at least I do not deem myself lost. I deem myself rational and pragmatic, while some may argue, I beg to differ. Firstly, religion is a faith and belief a person chooses, preferably based upon personal preferences. These preferences differ between individuals, and should be respected, however, a parent’s belief in his or her child, and the faith they put into their child(ren) shares many similar traits. Secondly, religion preaches the positive, be that of good deeds or charity. The fundamentals of Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism etc all share those qualities; these religions condemn looting and theft, adultery and innocent killings. Are nations’ judiciary laws not based upon similar grounds?

I am mere mortal. By saying that, I am acknowledging my personal belief in higher beings. I am not contradicting myself, because hope, faith and belief permits continuity, and without continuity, humans as a race would have ceased to exist eons ago. But then again, do we not kill ourselves with vices, wars over territory, ideology and religion?

Regardless of our skin colour, language and location, we all look different. Regardless of religion, beliefs and traditions, we are all different. Our differences make us individually special, accept it, adapt to it and embrace it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

finding the beginning, the priority...

We have all heard that saying referring to some pot of gold at the end of some rainbow. Stop searching, it is non-existent. What we all need to focus on, is reaching deep into our souls in search of that tiny nano spot where it all began.

I was recently reading my past blog-entires, and realized a peculiar trend; I tend to get from concrete to vague and from substantial to abstract. Bear with me, try to look in-between those lines of abstract and seemingly nonsensical words, and interpret for yourself what you deem I mean, and what you decipher from it. I offer no solutions, as I am still learning, I offer no right nor wrong because that line is thin and grey, and finally, I offer no substance, because like all things in life, tangibility is time-defined.

We have our dark secrets, we have our shameful lies, and no one is spared. Religion offers little relief for non-believers, while believers tend to be shrouded with zealous half-truths, at the end of the day, yet another man-controlling scheme. Recently, I’ve been trying to further grasp a better understanding for religion, and found myself increasingly appreciating the religions of Islam and Buddhism, and to some extent, Taoism. Rationality among the major reasons to why I perceive them as humanely feasible, however, much more in-depth study is required before I could elaborate my studies and understanding on one of the most volatile issue that has shaped our histories, our present, and also our futures.

On a different note, the increase in Sino-Japanese relations has given me great hope for a stronger pan-Asian unity. In light of the 70th anniversary to the Nanjing massacre incident, a Memorial Hall was reopened in Nanjing, and I quote Xu Zhonglin, a provincial Communist Party chief, who commented on the re-opening of the Memorial Hall by saying: Its purpose is "to better preserve history... to never forget the past... to treasure peace and open the way to the future". Europe has entered an era of plausible co-prosperity among each other, so why hasn’t East Asian nations been able to do so? Some question American involvement, but hasn’t American involvement in Europe aid in their present state? Others question ideological difference between Democracy and Communism, but is China not achieving a greater balance in relation to controlled growth and development? Thousands died and sacrificed their lives at the Tiananmen Incident of 1984, are they not martyrs of China? The rise of Asia is inevitable, unless stupidity, ignorance and negative interference occurs. One must always remember that the pendulum swings two ways.

To better understand the root to causes could result in better policy formulation, ideas, adaptability and evolution. To have finally understood the reasons to a rainbow’s causation is to be able to dissolve the myth of gold, to be able to comprehend and appreciate the history of things could nonetheless permit greater positive growth.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

in response

If you look under my "who and what are you" post, you would see a comment left by an anonymous. Firstly, thank you for you time and commet, it is greatly appreciated, let me now offer my humble response (it may be short and alittle inadequate, i am supposed to be working on a Cold War paper right now, and my apologies for not replying earlier).

I must first say that much of what you wrote in your comment is easily agreeable on my part, infact, i have heard it all before, as many of my closer friends in this island-state Singapore would agree with you, especially a Mr. Pang. However, i would have to disagree with your 5th paragraph. No, i do not know deep within myself that things are wrong, but i do agree that things could be better. The key word here would probably be be better in which area. Because we are all living human beings with wants, needs and desire, it is inevitable that some of us would want certain things, while others share different views all together. Democratically, it makes perfect sense for there to be either mutual compromise or choice by majority (ie: voting), however, mutual compromise may not be effective in dealing with certain issues because differences might be too great, at the same time, the choice by majority option may alienate minorities. Let me further elaborate on the latter point: By majorities and minorities, i do not mean race/language/religion issues, but the majorities and minorities of the people's choice. Minorities have to live with the decision of the majorities, and in a simplified and clear-cut scenerio, this may mean a reduction of certain norms they may be accustomed to, or a deprivation of certain rights and/or practices. In every family, there are rules that the seniors may impose upon the rest of the household, these rules may not necessarily be always pleasing to all under that roof, however, it is usually in the best interest of the household from the perspective of the ones who make those rules. When applied to national-governance, the same issues arises. Governmental policies and legislated laws may or may not be in the best interest for all the citizens, but under the right supervision and with the properly conducted research, might be in the best interest for the nation as a whole.

I also disagree with your point that true democracy could be a reality. For example, utopian views on communism failed in the Soviet Union, and even in modern day communist/socialist states such as Vietnam or China, capitalistic elements are injected for reasons of the economy and growth. True democracy could not exist, in my perspective, simply because of human nature. Freedom is something we all enjoy, however, we also know that when given full freedom with little laws and rules to regulate, there tend to be cases of abuse.

There is nothing wrong with being anti-something, we all are anti-something in someway or another, the crucial key is for us to have a better understanding, and to be willing to listen, because while we all believe in ourselves and our perspectives, we may be incorrect or misled.

Once again, thanks for the comment!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Luscious Lips........

We have them, coming in different shapes, sizes, angles and colours. We use them for kissing, for speech, and for the ‘natural completion’ of our facial features. Like skin colour, the variety of visual differences, and also the sounds coming out from them, proves to be a criteria for our first-impression judging.

In this corner of the world, where millions of lives survive upon the shared air, water and land, English could be said to be widely spoken. And when English is spoken in any of the eleven nations in this region, it carries its own unique localized flavour with it. Welcome to South East Asia, a combination of colours, smells, flavours and sounds, ranging from jungles and plains to archipelagos and volcanoes. With each locality, comes the differences that could be heard a few kilometers away, sometimes beyond a fenced-border, other times beyond a bridge or two.

This difference requires embracing and understanding, nurturing and commitment, yet many of us chose to ignore the wider picture, by living in our self absorbing and ignorant little circle. In all eleven nations of South East Asia, English could be heard, and in all eleven nations, the accent differs between borders. This difference serves within the framework for our first-impression judging of the other person, and usually serves as one’s best way to determine if the other person would be one that could fit snuggly and comfortably within one’s little circle, or not. Appreciate each other’s accents, and one may have the chance to slowly but eventually better understand the reasons and unchangeable realities that mold each and everyone of us into who and what we are. We are not merely born guilty, we are also born innocent, while there is no balance of the two at birth, there is the choice for better balancing ourselves with age and maturity.

Words are not powerful enough to move a person, it is the person’s own inner-personality and desire that could usefully change his or her decisions in regard to the choice of paths, and how to travel these self-selected paths.

Ambiguity allows imagination, these words of mine are not dictated in a manner for my personal views to be understood, they are for the reader to assume and imagine what my words could mean to them.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

who and what are you?

I am born British, Hong Kongese, and Singaporean (by passport at birth, by paternal blood, and by locality of birth, respectively). I am educated by the British style both in Singapore and Canada. I speak Cantonese with family, Mandarin and English with friends. My skin is yellow, my eyes are brown, and my hair is black. I am who I am, you are who you are, but we are who we choose to be.

You would never be able to persuade everyone to believe who you are, nor would you be able to change everyone to follow your preferred ways. What you could do, would be to make the difference within the permitted framework, and if that fails, no one would restrict you from leaving where you ‘used’ to call home, for that new faraway ‘freer’ place you may eventually call home, simply because we know that you would never be able to change your original home to suit yourself, and you choose to leave because you are not able to ‘live with it’, then it only becomes obvious that your ability to adapt is nonexistent, and if it IS indeed nonexistent, then how the hell would you expect yourself to adapt in your ‘future chosen home’?

Ten years on, the two wars that helped create the world’s greatest colonial empire lost her second last colony back to one of our contemporary world’s fastest growing nation, only to lose her last colony to the same nation two years later.

We love freedom, many of us fight for freedom, when it is taken from us, we request for it back, when we feel like we lack it, we demand it. Heroin’s banned, but yet the colonial rule was justified upon that, freedom striped from ancestors based upon the fact that they were weaker, and once the ‘ink dried’, indoctrination of democracy based upon an unjust war was instilled. Over a hundred years has passed, the belief in democracy reeking like any other medium created by man for the sole purpose of power and control over others, while some die for it, others die against it, which ever side it be, the difference is this: nothing.

Don’t fight for what you believe to be right, nor fight those who you believe to be wrong, don’t be “anti-something”, because someone else would be “anti-you”, you look very different from me, but I am very much the same person as you.

The oblivious breeds naivety, for if we reject what and who we are, then our beliefs would be worth ash, but if we could learn to embrace and be proud, then our short mortal life would be worth more than any after-death-promises.

Stand tall, be proud, breath my air while I drink your water, we aren’t many, we are one.

Taiwan, Taiwan, where are you?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Our Perfect Imperfect-able Society

In our everyday lives, we continue in attempting to master our routines, breathing and living a life we never chose to begin. My friends would know my often used line that we live to die. The eventuality of death offers no comfort, less the religious beliefs. However, we strive on, living out the seconds and years of our lives with goals, objectives and aspirations set solely by our own choice. What affects our choices would be the everything-ness of everything around us, things that tangibly affect us, and also things that don’t.

Someone once said that greed is the root to all evil, personally, I find that quote insufficient, in my perspective, emotions are the root to EVERYTHING. We pride ourselves as the most superior living entity on this planet, our opposing thumbs, analytical brain and tail-less body evolved in such a way that since four decades ago, we were already capable of nuking and destroying everything on the face of this planet. There are those of us who deem ourselves rational and pragmatic, while others are labeled by these rational people as irrational and erratic, and then the cycle goes full circle again. We all have set objectives, goals and desires, and as previously mentioned, these factors are molded out of both personal and extra-personal historical experiences, we then constitute as an individual in a collective society that created, maintains and develop this world we all share.

If acknowledging the fact that we are mere mortals, and not perfect, it is only common sense to further assume that our society could never be perfected. In such an anarchic environment, we must then strive to achieve a balance to satisfy as many as possible. Does religion hold the key? While some would argue that “it is without a doubt that religion is the eventual salvation after our mortal body expires”, others may see it in more scientific light, arguing that religions (of all sorts) are man-made, man-created and man-imagined. I personally offer no views in regard to this argument, because of its contention-able nature, religion should not be argued, but should be embraced. My personal perspective would be to “believe in what you want to believe in, the same way we decide our living mortal fates”. There is no right or wrong, there is only manipulation and exploitation of human emotions to create a façade and ‘belief’ of differing variants.

We live in an imperfect world, and we must accept the fact that nothing could be done about it. What we could do, would be to attempt a better environment around us. To merely look superficially at someone, and judge that person, exemplifies the simplicity of the person himself/herself. Racial and ethnic assumptions are detrimental, not only to society, but also towards the people around those who assume. While ‘person A’ judges another person based upon ethnic or religious appearances and choices, then those who befriend ‘person A’ would either fall into the same category, or would slowly deviate away from ‘person A’ simply because the mental capacity and understanding of ‘person A’ is deemed low.

We shouldn’t be ‘person A’ in this life we live, because we do not want to lose the people around us, nor in a vice-versa situation, be assumed by another ‘person A’.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Abu Ghraib - educational failure

I have thought extensively about providing all of you with a simple write-up to issues pertaining to the provided links below. However, all comments that rush to my mind may seem unfair, racial, detrimental and biased. Thus i've decided to let you guys "see and decide" for yourself. While some have argued this to be an 'isolated incident', i personally beg to differ. Please leave your comments, and maybe a fairer and better discussed perspective could be found.

pictures are 'graphic' in un-edited nature.




Monday, April 9, 2007

Ministerial Pay Increment. Yes/No/Maybe.

Start with this short article.

Before the verdicts are 'cast in stone' later today (Monday 9th April 2007), I think it would be important for many of us to firstly understand the various implications that such a pay increment may or may not prove to be a positive decision. Are repercussions among the populace going to affect their once-upon-a-time awed perspective towards the government? If such a tarnishing-result was to occur, would the next election show a more “pro-opposition” stance? Is the current government attempting to ‘push the limits and thresholds’ a little too much, too fast? Shortly after the announcement of the 2007 budget, the government plans to ‘shock the populace and the world’.

While I must firstly justify my position, perspectives and opinions as entirely personal, in the attempt to be ‘fair’, the result may be much the opposite in the eyes of many.

To draw top talents into the echelons of the Singapore government thru fiscal imperatives and ‘carrots’ have been a hotly debated area, seeing how the civil service is a pool of peoples providing a service for the nation’s populace. However, without being over pragmatic in making my point, I would like to stress that societies are differentiated in the way they function and respond, and in a meritocratic and capitalistic society in Singapore, the rational behind working has far deviated from historical reasons of spiritual and personal-satisfaction. The objective of “putting bread on the table” has stretched to the ‘Living the Singapore Dream’, a new book compiled by Tan Yong Soon, the permanent secretary of the Minister of the Environment and Water Resources. When a nation sets the trajectory of economic success as the imperative and impetus for national development, the society within this nation follows the government-led policies into success or failure. In the short forty-two years of modern Singapore’s history, the success thus far has led many of Singaporeans to be entrenched with a monetary-lens in regard to how we view success. A clear key example one could ask would be the devotion of the male population in Singapore when it comes to serving the nation thru National Service. Given a choice, how many would serve? This point goes deeper into those who DO sign-on as a regular with the Armed Forces, how many are in it for experience, 'iron-rice-bowl' safety, or pure patriotism? Such state policies are implemented and aimed at a greater long term strategic good, and would not have been possible without a strong and determined government. Ignoring the minor digress in the previous sentences, it is of vital importance that the civil-service are also mere human mortals like you and I, money is no longer purely a greedy desire, but also a necessacity of life, especially when espoused by national trajectory(s).

One must understand that in a resource-scarce nation such as Singapore, and as elaborated on many occasions by government officials, human resources serves as the only ‘safety net’ we have between the continuation of a first world nation, and whatever it is we ‘sky rocketed’ from since the 1960s and 1970s. While not attempting to justify a pay increment within the civil service and ministers, one must remember that the 2006 elections in Singapore was riddled with ‘bullet holes’ of upgrading packages to lure constituents not within the direct control of the ruling party. Have we developed a style of governance that depends upon monetary gains for ensuring certain improvements and continuations? What is the clear definition of corruption in our specific national context?

While some argue that agencies such as Transparency International, thru their inquest into corruption standards thru the CPI, an important point to take note would be the affluence and influence other nations have when compared to Singapore. Others may argue that ‘power corrupts’, thus maintaining a government that “seems” to increase their ‘power’ thru legal means could be erroneous and ultimately detrimental, one must take into consideration the argument between a benign government that seeks to improve the general public as a whole, versus a government that seeks to improve purely their own ‘bank accounts’. When magnified into a larger perspective, the issue of American superpower dominating certain areas of the globe benignly, while “wholesale” ignorance of others.

While it remains to be seen (later today, and in the following months in regard to implementation) how the government would decide and how the people would react, it could be said with certainty that the legitimacy of a government is not gained thru a short-term imperative, but thru a long-term collectivized build up. Thus, while a single turning point would not be anticipated any time soon, is gradual discontent building up that may result in a "shake a can of soda" ending?

End with this short article.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

China & Japan - Joint Study of History

posted on: 19 March 2007 by Channel News Asia

Scholars from Japan and China on Monday opened new talks to draft a joint study of their history, a frequent source of friction between the Asian powers, officials said. The talks come amid a regional uproar after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this month denied that Japan coerced thousands of Asian women into brothels during World War II.

The joint study group, gathering 10 historians from each country, will meet behind closed doors for two days and pay a courtesy call on Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, a foreign ministry statement said. The meeting follows the first talks held in December in Beijing. The latest meeting aims to set up the modalities for the study, the statement said. The joint history review was agreed to by Abe when he paid a fence-mending visit to China in September. The two countries have set a target date of publication of their joint study in 2008.

The review covers thousands of years of history, including periods of goodwill between the two civilisations. But the most bitterly disputed points involve Japan's 1931-1945 occupation of China, which remains a major cause of anger six decades afterwards. Beijing maintains 35 million Chinese were either killed or injured, most of them civilians, due to Japan's aggression, but the number is disputed by many Japanese historians. China has long charged that Japan has failed to atone for its wartime conduct, while Japan accuses China of ignoring the post-war period including Tokyo's economic support to Beijing in its history textbooks. Relations were badly strained under Abe's predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi, due to his annual visits to a shrine venerating Japanese war dead and war criminals alike.

Prime Minister Abe's visit to China during the last quarter of 2006, and Prime Minister Wen's visit to Japan during the 2nd quarter of 2007, labelled the "ice breaking visit" and "ice thawing visit" respectively by Prime Minister Wen are also note-worthy events that could help improve the ties between the two nations.

The closer the relationship between East Asian nations, - namely China, Japan, and Korea [there is ONE Korea, not two. Just as there is only ONE China, not two] - the greater the prospects for development and growth in Asia-Pacific (A-P). An A-P bloc would lower American influence in this region, along with improvements and cohesion with ASEAN, a real-working "Co-Prosperity-Region" in Asia with global economic giants could be materialized.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Guantanamo Bay: America's Contradiction

The American foreign policy in our post Cold War contemporary era has emphasized and stressed Human Rights as an important critera for all nation-states and governments.
- To violate Human Rights issues would be result in global condemnation. So when would this global condemnation be turned against the sole hegemon of our modern day era? [wait long long... (a Singaporean slang)]
- Are the Americans "declaring through their actions" that there is a limit to how much Human Rights could and should be given? [u tell me]
- Is the international arena so dependent upon American Benjamins (green bills), New York Stock Exchange, and American Idol that 'stepping up to the plate' would result in your national sovereignty being infringed with a massive military strike? [if u've got oil under ur lawn, watch out]

Singapore & Regional Animosity: media fiction or breathing fact?

In the recent months, and dating back as far as recent years, Singapore has both enjoyed and endured events after events of publicity, ranging from positive and progressive, to derogative and detrimental. From our “lack of neighborliness” as accused by some regional nations during the fiscal crisis of 1997/1998, to the purchasing of a telecommunications company, Singapore has been branded as a little red dot and nose-wax (for a lack of better translation). This does not undermine Singapore’s efforts in proving that we ARE capable of reaching out with a helping hand, from billion dollars loan during the same fiscal crisis mentioned above, to humanitarian aid during the 2005 Tsunami crisis. How do we distinguish ourselves as a regional economic leader without the baggage of being selfish and purely materialistic without morals? How do we change and rid the mentality of our regional neighbours of their negative sentiments they have in relation to our bilateral relationship?

As mentioned above, it is without doubt, that Singapore has enjoyed substantial economic and materialist gains in the past four decades, whether or not it should be credited to the ruling party, the Peoples Action Party (PAP), is a different issue altogether, despite my personal belief that their track-record has proven their claim for mandate, and has also serve as their foundational support from earlier generations. How they would evolve for our generation remains to be seen. However, our gain, gain, gain and profit, profit, profit trajectory has caused a slow but eventual build up of envy, jealousy and animosity in the region. Despite our upward growth, our neighbours enjoyed a less dramatic rise, something that is constantly viewed as wrong, because of geopolitical issues, historical issues, and most importantly, racial roots issues. Branded as “Jews of the East”, the large majority of Chinese in Singapore has placed herself in a region where this fact is constantly used as an anti-Singaporean slogan. How could we correlate and coexist better with our neighbours without stirring up too much domestic disapproval in their nations? While constant diplomatic initiatives has helped in tremendous ways, and geopolitical constraints a sore thorn in the majority of nations in our contemporary world, the lack of ability to unite like Europe has in recent years hindered both Singapore and her neighbours growth and development. While Europe has gone through centuries of warfare and diplomacy to attain their current non-perfected system of the European Union (EU), South East Asia has yet to reach that level, primarily due to the fact that our region experienced a colonial era (except Thailand), and that our independence were all gained thru various contrasting stages. With this issue considered, one of Singapore’s avenues for regional harmony lies in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). While the recent summit in Cebu, Philippines, has proved to be successful, there are still issues pertaining to security, equality in growth, and nations’ behaviour and unilateral decisions that would hinder cohesion.

There would never be a concrete one-off solution that could help regional harmony, and because of this undeniable and empirical fact, Singapore would basically have to maintain a high level of interaction and communication with her neighbours. Through diplomatic exchanges, military exercises, educational exchanges, and also trade agreements, Singapore could tap into transparent-communications as a form of anti-suspicion and cohesion building factor. While this may not be the most viable of ideas, (had it been, it would already have been thoroughly thought-out and implemented, without the need for a university student like me to talk about it,) it could serve as a stepping stone for future positive development.

Singaporeans must also remember one thing, that all of us who travel abroad, either on vacation purposes, work purposes or diplomatic purposes are ambassadors for the nation in every single way. While the media may not necessarily follow us around like high-ranking-officials, the grassroots offer the base and foundation. To further elaborate on this, Singaporeans must remember that in most neighbouring nations, regardless of governmental systems and institutions, the domestic people have a say and influence in their political arena, either thru People’s Power (like in the Philippines), or slightly more democratic styles like in Malaysia and Indonesia. Thus if we portray ourselves, from a grassroots perspective, as a certain type of people, the grassroots in our neighbouring nations would vote/choose a political party or personal(s) that would react in either a positive or negative way toward their dealings with Singapore.
Historically, we suffer less animosity compared to colonial powers that have ruled our neighbours (ie: the Dutch, the British, the Japanese, the Americans, the French), however, recent developments in the past few decades has given rise to another form of animosity, one possibly filled with envy and jealousy.

In high spirits and optimism, we must remember that each and every one of us, represents Singapore in some way or another, and because of our resource-scarce fact, the human being serving as the national fuel is vitally crucial for success, peace and growth.