Saturday, December 31, 2011

Deeper & wider perspectives on MENA unrest

The still on-going upheavals in the Middle East as well as North Africa was certainly sparked off by domestic incidents. However, it has also set in motion regional or global competitions to attempt to direct the process and to shape outcome. It happened before during the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions and the dynamic is not really new for observers who follow the unfolding of events, with all the dramatic or breathtaking twists and turns, from historical depth and global width. However, unlike the French, Russian as well as Chinese revolutions in the past, the MENA upheavals happen in an epoch of 24/7 satellite TV news programmes, Internet as well as all its derivatives and easy'-'to-use handphones with in'-built 'high'-tech cameras and voice recorders.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Upheaval in Middle East to go on for decades

According to Shashank Joshi, 'an Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute in Britain, the revolutionary upheaval in the Middle East has only just begun and it is fairly likely to continue for decades. How regional powers, 'such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey attempt to shape the outcome of the world-historic process is worth watching. Also, the role played or to be played by tiny Qatar is not unimportant.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Enhancing understanding of India's conditions

Certainly, there is no instant and simple answer to the highly complex question of whether India ought to have 'more' or 'less' democracy 'for the really gigantic country is also simply too pluralistic 'or' diversified. There are books that can help us to better understand - 'over a longer period of time - the entity. Such books include India: Emerging Power ( Washington D.C., Brookings, 2001 ), 'India Condensed : '5000 Years Of History & Culture '( Singapore, Marshall Cavendish, 2007 ) 'as well as India Since Independence ( London, Penguin, 2008 ). 'A trip or two to the South Asian country would further give us a deeper sense of it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Discourse on democracy in India multifaceted

According to a school of opinion, democracy as practised now in India gives hope to build a better society for all. There is, 'meanwhile, also an observation that the system 'could derail India's economic reforms in 'an 'increasingly competitive global environment now and in future.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mahathir sets off debate on India's democracy

Earlier this month, 'Dr. Mahathir Mohamad delivered a lecture in New Delhi, which has sparked off a still on-going debate. That India is full of social contradictions as well as political complexities is well-known and there are several gray areas where sloganeering isn''t that useful.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

PM David Cameron : UK is a Christian country

Britain's PM David Cameron has reportedly said his country should not be apologetic in defining itself as a "'Christian country'". As expected, there are many openly dissenting views among his fellow countrymen. English historian Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire has many abridged editions, including the most conscise one published by Penguin in the five-part Great Ideas Series. Whether Jesus' messages and teachings are in sync with the dynamic of the capitalist modes of production and circulation is also a subject worth deeper thinking from all schools, including Liberation Theology. To be fair, PM Cameron''s consistent concern over moral collapse and social decay is genuine, and the issues he has raised merit attention.

Obama bans daughters from joining facebook

President Barack Obama reportedly admitted that he does not permit his daughters to join facebook before reaching 18. In the UK and also US, 'there is now a serious concern among leading scientists over the negative psychological impacts of social media on children and teens. Influential segments of the state and civil society in Britain have also identified the abuse of social media among some antisocial adults as a factor that facilitated the shocking riots in England in August 2011. Certainly, 'social media such as facebook can play a pretty important and progressive role in, 'for example, 'the emancipation of women in socially as well as politically conservative societies, like Saudi Arabia.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Great book from S' pore on Sikh communities

Nowadays, institutions of tertiary learning in Singapore publish many quality books based on scholarly research. One latest one is certainly Sikhs in South East Asia: Negotiating An Identity '(''Singapore, 'ISEAS, 2011 ). It is edited by UKM's Shamsul A.B. and ISEAS' Arunajeet Kaur. It is best read in the larger context provided by 'The Encyclopedia of The Indian Diaspora, 'edited by B. V. 'Lal, 'P. Reeves and Rajesh 'Raj, as Sikhism has its 'root' in a region once reigned as British India and now divided into two sovereign countries, namely India and Pakistan. These books contribute to inter-cultural understanding in our society and the history of the modern world shaped by many forces on earth, particularly the global expansion of the capitalist mode of production as a result of the Industrial Revolution in England in the 18th century.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

M' sian writer defends right to read LKY book

Well-known Malaysian writer Dina Zaman shares in The Star today her view on the reported proposal to ban MM Lee Kuan''s new book. 'Many books on Liberation Theology 'are now publicly available in Singapore. Tom Paine's Common Sense is also available at Malaysian bookstores. There is absolutely no pornographic or ghostly fantasy in these books.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NYT report: Christians in M' sia still "anxious"

According to a New York Times report, Christians in Malaysia are still feeling "anxious" about the state of inter-religious relations. Malaysia and the Holy See established diplomatic ties in July (in 2011 CE) when PM Najib Razak paid an official visit to Rome and met Pope Benedict. The frequency and intensity of Jew-bashing has decreased noticeably, although some Malaysians and non-Malaysian residents in the country who embrace the Shi''ite tradition of Islamic theology have spoken up against being officially stereotyped, discriminated and also harassed. Shi''ite could also be spelt in English language as Shia, Shiah or Shi''ah.

Christmas trees already everywhere in M' sia

Christmas, 'the day to remember the birth of Jesus, 'is coming pretty soon. Christmas trees are everywhere in Malaysia. Let all Malaysians, whether Christians or non-Christians, express our heartfelt gratitude to our school teachers, 'whether they are still serving or have retired, who are Christians. 'The joy of Christmas is best 'experienced 'or felt with condition of family harmony, social peace and also street safety.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Liberation Theology books available in S'pore

A search on Kinokuniya's website in Singapore shows very clearly that books on Liberation Theology are available to the public, but whether the school of Christian thought can be discussed and debated publicly in that island from non'-official viewpoints is not immediately known. Liberation Theology and liberal theology'(ies)' are two different ideas.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Better way to respond to Lee Kuan Yew book

A better or more acceptable way to respond to Lee Kuan Yew' s latest book is to write and contribute reviews or letters to newspapers, like Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider. No all readers of Lee Kuan Yew' s books or other forms of writing concur with what he thinks or opines. In this manner, critics of Lee Kuan Yew's book can gain popular fame and book stores as well as 'poorer media' can also make more money. Meanwhile, it is also important for debaters to understand that there are many schools of philosophical thoughts in the West and Mr. Lee's represents only one school, namely Utilitarianism ('not Unitarianism').

Unlikely for M' sia to ban Lee Kuan Yew book

It is very unlikely that the Hard Truths That Keep Singapore Going will be banned in Malaysia although, according to a media report, there is an loud call for such an action to be taken. 'Encyclopedia Britannica is still available in Malaysia, 'although not many people are keen to read or buy it anymore in this era of of 'talk-first-think ( or quarrel )-later'. By the way, the autobiographies of George W.Bush and Tony Blair are now available in more affordable paperbacks in major book outlets in Malaysia, which also sell the memoirs of Chin Peng and Abdullah 'C.'D.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Pearl Harbor attack remembered 70 years on

Yesterday, America commemorated the 70'th year of Japan''s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Imperial Japan was finally defeated in August 1945 'after 2 atomic bombs were dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

World on earth highly unlikely to end in 2012

Next year, 'both the United States of America and Russian Federation will hold their presidential elections. There is also the Olympic Games in London for mankind to watch. The end of the world is not nigh yet.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Not-so-optimistic views on West's debt crisis

German Chancellor Angela Merkel 'has said that the financial crisis in the Eurozone "will take years" to solve. 'Earlier, BBC's HARDtalk aired an interview with Mohamed El'-'Erian who shared his insightful views. The financial crisis seems to be structural and not cyclical or random. Meanwhile, the upheaval in the Middle East (or West Asia) and North Africa ('as well as parts of South Asia') persists with twists and turns.