Tag Archives: politics

Tiny notes over a sense of belonging in Singapore

I am convinced that most Singaporeans are prouder to be in Singapore than I am. There’s this sense of belonging most Singaporeans have that didn’t seem come as natural to me as it did for others. It got me thinking about leaving Singapore experience what it is like working overseas because that’s what people tell me — you go overseas few years la then sure you miss Singapore one.

So someone from the US pointed this out to me yesterday that in his country, ignoring the party lines, there are people who would just bitch and bitch about America and then continue to be proud of USA. And how it works is that they have the sense of ownership over American and this gives them to right to critique about her.

And my mind’s just blown, although save yourself from imagining that, I know you love to see that. There are two separate things really:

1. A sense of belonging VS a sense of ownership

Ah, the word play. It seemed like, at least to me, that I belonged to Singapore and that would somewhat imply Singapore owns me. This is opposed to what the American dude thinks, he likes they it’s their America, they collectively owned America. I would previously never dare say sense of ownership to describe anything Singapore, it felt brazen.

All this while I am searching for things that make me feel I belong to the country and it takes a conversation to make me realize I don’t have to, I own the country. It is my country. So get off my lawn, will you? Okay, mow it before you leave, thanks.

2. The relationship between criticism and ownership

Supposed I am a fashion designer, I design and manufacture these shirts and blouses and pants and everything. I wear my own clothes and I let others wear the clothes I designed too. Once in a while I would sit and reflect, hey, the white buttons gotta go it’s really ugly. I feel I have the right to say that because I make the clothes. If others were to tell me the white buttons aren’t pretty enough, I will get offended. I think that really is what People’s Action Party (PAP) thinks for many years. (PS: I love the white outfit.) When people start complaining about Singapore being the way she is, her designers felt betrayed.

But, it’s a good thing to critique. And if you feel you own the country, it leaves little wrong to criticize. I would also go a step further to say that the more you critique the more you feel that this is your country due to the time invested on babbling away at common areas. People will have the perception that Singapore mattered to you a lot and you in return have to live up to the impression that you have created. Criticism ends up reinforcing your sense of ownership.

Side note: The Hong Lim Park Speakers’ Corner speech of February 16, 2013

I do not agree with the points discussed. I do however like that people are sharing their opinions and listening to each other. This is yet another critical milestone for my country. All I see is love, baby, all I see is love.

Julia Gillard Australia's Prime Minister

Julia Gillard changes meaning of “misogynists”

This is just hilarious to me. Previously Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard used the word “misogynists” in her speech, and this triggered a change in Australia’s leading dictionary. CNN reports:

Julia Gillard Australia's Prime Minister

Julia Gillard Australia’s Prime Minister

PM’s sexism rant prompts Australian dictionary rewrite

“The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation,” Gillard blared.

Abbott’s National-Liberal Coalition took deep offense. Had the prime minister conflated or confused “sexism” and “misogyny,” or worse, deliberately distorted the meaning of misogyny to score a resounding political point? Was Gillard seriously asserting that her opposite number held a pathological hatred of women, as most dictionaries define misogyny?

Into the fray weighed Australia’s leading dictionary.

Editor Sue Butler surprised the nation Wednesday by declaring Macquarie Dictionary would alter its definition of misogyny, closer to the conflated version used by the prime minister.

In its next published edition, the dictionary’s editors said the word would be defined as both the “hatred of women” and “entrenched prejudice against women.”

Butler said Macquarie Dictionary had decided that for the past 20 or 30 years, “misogyny” had taken on wider meaning, particularly in feminist discourse and that with changed usage should come a changed definition.

I totally agree with dictionaries taking this approach, evolving the word based on current usage. But this is just too reactive. I see this as the dictionary’s editor Sue Butler helping Julia Gillard get over a sticky situation.

A difficult handshake

Just not long ago, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II shook hands with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking an advance in the peace process around British rule of Northern Ireland.

CNN highlighted other moments:

  • In 1972, on his trip to China, U.S. President Richard Nixon shook hands withMao Zedong, in a first step toward better relations between the two countries.
  • Thirteen years later, in Geneva, Switzerland, U.S. President Ronald Reagan did the same with another Communist leader: Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. The two leaders were seeking common ground on arms reduction and other issues.
  • Then, there was a historic moment in 1990. South African President F. W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shook hands in an iconic moment on the path to end apartheid.
  • And finally: Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat famously shook hands at the White House in 1993. The two were later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts in Mideast peace negotiations.

These handshakes are highly symbolic. I wonder what went through their minds to decide for a nation whether a handshake is appropriate.

Rick Perry’s strength

I can only frown.

Strong by Rick Perry

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.

Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.

I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.

Wikileaks released secret US embassy cables

Wikileaks has struck again, this time releasing information of embassy cables. They include reports of some Arab leaders – including Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – urging the US to attack Iran and end its nuclear weapons programme. Other leaked information include:

Wikileaks release of embassy cables reveals US concerns

  • Iran attempting to adapt North Korean rockets for use as long-range missiles
  • Corruption within the Afghan government, with concerns heightened when a senior official was found to be carrying more than $50m in cash on a foreign trip
  • Bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison camp – including Slovenian diplomats being told to take in a freed prisoner if they wanted to secure a meeting with President Barack Obama
  • Germany being warned in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for US Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in an operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was abducted and held in Afghanistan
  • US officials being instructed to spy on the UN’s leadership by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • The very close relationship between Russian PM Vladimir Putin and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi
  • Alleged links between the Russian government and organised crime
  • Yemen’s president talking to then US Mid-East commander General David Petraeus about attacks on Yemeni al-Qaeda bases and saying: “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours”
  • Faltering US attempts to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon

[More in BBC]

I’m sure these are information are going to be quite controversial. Is this one of the cases where not knowing is better than knowing? Imagine the increased level of animosity towards Saudi Arabia in the coming days. Would this cause more conflict? Lives of diplomats might be threatened due to this to.

On other note, Australia has condemned Wikileaks and has blocked access and will fine people $11k/day linking to it.

South Korea possibly attacked again as islanders evacuate

Just a few hours ago, explosions were heard at Yeonpyeong Island, journalist were ordered away. Is this a second wave of artillery?

Meanwhile North Korea calls for state of ultra-emergency:

North says Korean Peninsula in state of ‘ultra-emergency’

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) — North Korea said Sunday that the Korean Peninsula is now in a state of “ultra-emergency,” as South Korea and the United States began massive naval drills south of the Yellow Sea border in a show of force against the North.

In a statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, the National Peace Committee of Korea, a propaganda organ of the North, denounced the joint exercise as an attempt to trigger a war against the communist nation. (Source: Yonhap)

It appears today South Korea might be under attack again:

(LEAD) S. Korea evacuates islanders on signs of N. Korean shelling

SEOUL, Nov. 28 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s military ordered civilians on Yeonpyeong Island to evacuate to shelters, military officials here said Sunday, as signs of North Korea’s artillery firing were spotted.

“The emergency evacuation order was issued as of 11:18 a.m.,” a military official at the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said. “The military was also put on high alert.”

Signs of North Korean provocations were spotted as sounds of artillery fire were heard, the official said.

The South Korean island was shelled by North Korea on Tuesday. Two marines and two civilians were killed in the North’s artillery attack. Most of some 1,700 civilian residents on the island have already left the island, but some 20 residents are still there.

The emergency evacuation order came as Seoul and Washington started large-scale naval drills in a show of force against North Korean aggression. (Source: Yonhap)

South Korea and USA recently began war exercises at the Yellow Sea border. It has been speculated that this may provoke further action from North Korea which China warned against.