Saturday, June 14, 2008

God damn Malaria and Lariam.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's 6 am and I haven't slept. Damned coffee.

I also had a lot of *insightful* things to say. These pearls of wisdom hang above my head on uncomfortable restless nights as I contort my body into desperate shapes in an attempt to seduce sleep. But at dawn, they shatter and evaporate like mist. The day muddies my mind and my midnight thoughts evade me.

Oh well. I am wise when I am sleepy? Or maybe, when my guard is let down in the tender hours of the morning, I see right through myself.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

From Shushu's blog:

maintain balan!

there is wisdom in the (not-so) age-old singlish saying

i attended a talk yesterday about institutions and development. and while the talk got a little messy towards the end because the speaker had to rush through 19 slides in the last 15 minutes, i appreciated the little reminders and insights he eloquently gave.

the so-called east asian tigers or east asian miracle isn't really a miracle. rather, we've been caught up with identifying good institutions as being those that promote negative liberty, that secure property rights and have constrained governments so that self-interest via the invisible hand can do its work. yet singapore & south korea certainly did not begin with very democratic institutions and its governments were, in essence, dictatorial. they've defied the ideal of constrained governments and yet secured economic success. so hallellujah, it must be a miracle.

well, i guess if you want, you can really call it that. but maybe the truth is we've just identified good institutions wrongly. as much as negative liberty is hailed and demanded for by many human rights groups, we should also look at positive liberty which requires governments to facilitate and enable its people to participate.

ok, so as far as political participation and speaking out against the lee family, that's not available in singapore. but in terms of security in contracting, in being able to make your own living and not having to worry that the government is going to expropriate your assets, i think i can safely say that singapore has that. and this little facet of positive liberty: to be secure in your investments, to be able to trust your trading partner and have confidence in contracting with others, its tremendous to social capital. you'll able to participate in your society without distrust of the other.

so it's not perfect. i don't think its a miracle and there's a long way to go really. and maybe i'm not really saying anything new.
but because economists in trying to make things testable, have to make alot of assumptions; these assumptions lead to narrowly defined concepts and variables. and it is almost necessary sometimes that some things are narrow in thoughts as the simple things often lead us to understand greater mechanics. nonetheless, there must always be the presence of mind that we've started out with but a narrow view.

in short, seriously, maintain balan.

My Reponse:

Amen Amen!!

Can i Copy and paste this on my blog? Anyway, I was at Zouk last night, and I think it can only be me: I go for a free night of clubbing, and end up at 2 am, outside the club at the winebar, without having stepped inside Zouk, Phuture or Velvet. I had spent the last 4 hours sitting outside at a table with a few Law-enforcers (from like, high up on the law-enforcing echelons) jabbing about societal differences between the east and the west. Long story, how I ended up at that table watching the shiny leggy people drift in and out. And being kept up to date on the fight that broke out, and the molest case that just occurred.

And at 3 am, the 7th day adventist taxi uncle drives me home telling me about how he went bankrupt a year ago, from the height of 20 million. "But everything that I do, I do it for God. So it's ok." And just before that, the conversation was (naturally) about, the societal differences between the east and the west.

"You know ahhh... I actually don't really like ang mohs."A hint of caution, since he knows that I've studied *there*. "They all think that they know it all and are the best. But they are quite stupid for thinking this way."

"yah, I've seen a lot of that."

"And then hor, they all talk 'Free Speech! Free Speech!' But wah lau eh, free speech must also got some substance right?! Anyhow whack want to say this say that, also for what! just makes things messy only." The climax of passion. He goes on, i forget what he talks about exactly, but it ranges from health care to government concern for the people. And from a taxi diver lor!!

"Oh absolutely uncle!! I agree!" Obviously, the last 4 hours was just the beginning; where The guy from the MHA laughed at me, my political baggage and called me LKY's cultural ambassador. "Be careful!" He tells the other guy at the table, who trains law enforcers, "don't taint her image on how the administration works!". Heh, "aiyah", i semi-say to him, but more to myself, "I've been tossed around by them already, I know the administration is not all that rosy.... but it's ok".

Back in the cab, a pregnant pause. I felt seized up. "You sure anot Miss, you sure you agree with me? With what I say" Sigh, demonized in and out, I think my anger does me no good. My unfortunate perfect english and the hint of angmoh slang sets me apart, EH?

"Aiyah I tell you ahh.. the west hor, should stop being so kaypoh!! If people want to live in kumpungs.. and I don't want to say... but be backward hor, then let them lah! Wah lau everything also want to do. See ah, 18th century was ruled by europe, 19th century by the Americans. Now the 21st already? Shouldn't we have a chance??".

Oh democratic world, this is what your citizen wants. If you're not going to care for his heart's desire, then don't pretend that you do.

"Miss, you sound like you're a christian. Are you one?" He says in response to my passionate stand on indigenous rights in the west, and my comparison on the first nations and tibet and the olympics.


Sorry, I got carried away there. But yeah balls. I totally agree. There are other ways! But I can understand lah, I mean the west grew up in a difficult era: the cold war. And as much as they think that they have the capacity to form independent thoughts as free-thinking individuals, that's just a myth too. We're all brain washed by our political discourses. So all that the west can see are 2 systems: The Liberal democratic way with all the fancy schmancy charters of rights and freedoms, and The commie way of red evil. No third. So when Singapore and Korea humbly do their thing, struggling, unnoticed, with the difficult choices they are left with, and being neither Liberal nor Communist, our success can only be comprehended as a miracle.

So yeah! We're a miracle as much as Hitler was an abominable freak of nature. Neither. We're all part of the same humanity and most of us just need to get our heads out of our asses. Maybe then we can understand each other more and work together toward love and peace.

Like in Micah 6:8, that is ALL that the lord requires of us: Justice, Mercy and Humility.

I HAVE SO MUCH BAGGAGE!!!! (And I think I only read what I want to see.)