Aug 10, 2011

We Won't Get Fooled Again

"We'll be fighting in the streets with our children at our feet, And the morals that they worship will be gone. And the men who spurred us on sit in judgment of all wrong. They decide and then the shotgun sings the song. I'll tip my hat to the new constitution."   

'Won't Get Fooled Again' by The Who

The prescience in Pete Townshend's words ring true across Britain tonight as  violence rages in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and other cities throughout England.  Impotent to stop the spread of violence the authorities have threatened to use rubber bullets in a sophomoric attempt to establish law and order.  Someone might wish to inform Messiers David Cameron and crew that lead bullets are much more effective.

Ask anyone the reason for the devastating riots and you will get a plethora of reasons ranging from economic uncertainty to racial strife. In a supposed rare glimpse of sobriety a couple of inebriated ladettes share their learned thoughts with the BBC and mumble that they are just showing the rich that "we can do what we want".

Well, score one for the ladettes.  You see this is not about economics or race, but rather relativism.  Reaping what it has sown, England is now discovering  that simple aphorism that cultural relativism inevitably drags moral relativism in it's wake.

Growing up in an environment that eschews moral absolutism and embraces cultural relativism and the "diversity of opinions", these drunken ladettes find themselves cursed now with the inability to distinguish right from wrong, where the truth now becomes subjective depending merely on one's point of view.  This isn't the first time we have seen this, we saw it in the aftermath of Katrina when countless celebrities and liberal politicians defended the actions of the looters and we see it today with a growing tide of politicians such as David Cameron and Barack Obama who believe that a nation's fiscal ineptitude can be rectified simply by fleecing the rich.

It was another politician, John Adams who in 1787 said  - "The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shalt not covet" and "Thou shalt not steal" were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free."

In the name of tolerance, diversity and political correctness we have drifted away from God and embraced moral relativism. In our arrogance, we as a society have by "secular edict" decreed that sin no longer exists and moral precepts are unfounded. In complete defiance of the laws of nature and of God we have chosen to live our lives as we see fit and by "choice" - not by what is right and what is wrong.

"I'll tip my hat to the new constitution. Take a bow for the new revolution. Smile and grin at the change all around. Pick up my guitar and play, just like yesterday. Then I'll get on my knees and pray We don't get fooled again. Don't get fooled again, no no."


Aug 8, 2011

It's Not The Hat It's The Woman Wearing The Hat

If you ever visit Vietnam you will see many beautiful and charming Vietnamese ladies wearing the Áo Dài (Vietnamese traditional long dress) and Non La (conical leaf hat, Vietnamese: Nón Lá) walking gracefully along the streets.  While the hats are worn by both sexes, it is the Vietnamese woman who epitomizes it.

Vietnam's conical straw hat or the nón lá has its origin, coming from a legend related to the history of rice growing in Vietnam. The story is about a giant woman from the sky who has protected mankind from a deluge of rain. She wore a hat made of four round shaped leaves to guard against all the rain. After the Goddess was gone,  the Vietnamese built a temple to commemorate her as the Rain-shielding Goddess.

The conical straw hats are used elsewhere throughout Southeast Asia, but they are not as common as they are in Vietnam.  The hats are mostly worn in other countries by farmers and those working in the rice paddies.  Since I've been living in Southeast Asia I have heard the hat refered to in many different ways, a straw hat, an Asian hat, a palm frond hat, a coolie hat but I never heard the hat referred to in any offensive way until today.

In a post entitled Does American Apparel's Ching Chong Hat Offend You?  the website Racialicious asks readers if they find the wearing of the hat by Americans as offensive.  The irony of which apparently eludes Latoya Peterson the editor and owner of the site.  With a website though entitled Racialicious one might think that both the author and Ms. Peterson would be a bit more sensitive considering. 

Remember, it is not the hat, its the woman wearing the hat, and come to think of it, yes Ms. Peterson you would look offensive wearing it.


Monday Bloody Monday

In a few hours from now, the Asian Markets will open, all weekend the concerns have been growing as to how badly Standard and Poor's downgrade of the U.S.'s credit rating from AAA to AA+  will  affect the Asian financial markets.

In the city state of Singapore a few money changers over the weekend were either were refusing to accept the US dollar or grudgingly accepting it on parity with the US dollar.

Faith in the greenback and faith in America's financial strength, stability and leadership are now gone.  The hardest thing to accept I suppose as an American here is the realization that this dethroning or change as Barack Obama likes to call it is irreversible.   The debt crisis was but one of  many factors contributing to our fall from grace.  It didn't help having a president who did not believe in the greatness of our nation.  Needless to say, when our president believes that American Exceptionalism is nothing more than a myth, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  

Our role as the sole remaining superpower in the world is now over.  Our role in Southeast Asia as a partner and defender of peace and freedom has now come to an end.  This isn't pessimism my friends this is the reality, a reality that many Americans will ultimately need to come to terms with.  You see, at the end of the day, it is all about confidence, and once the confidence is gone then there is not much left.  Confidence in our currency and our nation would require a president and government that is attuned to brand-building not to self-deprecation.  The world wants to see America as that bright city on the hill, a leader and not simply a nation who sees themselves as one of the guys.

If you are wondering if the confidence can ever be restored - sure it can.  Pay back the 14.7 trillion and then the confidence might slowly return.  Other than that, no amount of half-measures or talk is ever going to undo the damage done.  Paying back the trillions in debt would require cuts in spending that would be too painful for Americans to accept and as such Americans will need to get used to their new role in the world, a role that Obama envisioned for us.

The problems America has are not just financial though, American themselves are to blame.  You see it is not Obama that ails us,  but a citizenry capable of entrusting a man like him with the Presidency.  It will be far easier to limit and undo the follies of an Obama presidency than to restore the necessary common sense and good judgment to a depraved electorate willing to have such a man for their president.

The problem is much deeper and far more serious than Mr. Obama, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of the fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools that made him their prince.

The Republic can survive a Barack Obama, who is, after all, merely a fool. It is less likely to survive a multitude of fools such as those who made him their president.


Aug 3, 2011

Remember to Behave During Ramadan

Now that the month of Ramadan has begun, Malaysia's channel 8TV thought this would be an opportune time to remind all the non-muslims in Malaysia how to behave by urging them to "please understand and respect the significance of Ramadan".

Released as a public service announcement on 8TV, the three commercials  targeting non-muslims depict a socially-inept “Chinese” girl eating in public, wearing revealing clothing and being loud and obnoxious during the Muslim fasting month.

Needless to say a fury of outrage over the condescending tone and racism depicted in the ads on Twitter ensued after which 8TV's chief operating officer Ahmad Izham Omar grudgingly had them taken down.

Oh and to answer your questions, no there are never any public service announcements urging Malaysians to "please understand and respect the significance of Christmas".


Washington's Dog and Pony Show

Across Southeast Asia there is an ubiquitous feeling of repugnance that has replaced the overall malaise here as millions watched America's politicians in Washington sip champagne and celebrate the "victory" of adding another 2.4 trillion to the nation's debt.  Many here are perplexed to say the least, asking the simple question - "What is there to celebrate?"

America's talking heads in the media have all spoke about how the markets will rebound throughout the world on the good news, but that has not been the case nor the reality here on the ground.  Reflecting not only the mood here but the reality, the markets are down and so is the dollar with the bottom sadly no where in sight.  Expect the decline to continue.

Despite what some of our politicians might think, the debt crisis is not rocket science and Americans understand it clearly and so do our creditors overseas. It would be nice if Americans could just dictate to the bank what their credit limit would be but we can't.  Sure you might be able to run up a million dollar tab on a black American Express Centurion card, but you can be well rest assured that the good folks at American Express are going to be asking how you intend to pay your bill at the end of the month.

So how does one ever dig themselves out of a US14.29 trillion dollar hole?  That is the most pertinent question today that is on everyone's mind, the one that no one seems to be answering is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why the gloom in the markets and the dollar will remain until real change comes to America and to Washington. 

The mindless hope and change mantra that has been droning on from Washington for the last few years has become about as welcome here in Southeast Asia as a dengue mosquito.  Look around and you see millions here clamoring for Iphones and Ipads not for the right to  eat the rich or bugger each other with a government imprimatur.  Where are the priorities?

Faith in our nation and our economy will return when meritocracy rules rather than militant egalitarianism and when our nation's president is seen as a true leader and not the ringmaster of some macabre dog and pony show as we saw with the  handling of the nation's debt crisis.

Common sense dictates that when you are in a hole you stop digging and it is America's ingenuity unmolested by bureaucracy that will lift us from the abyss and not the government.   


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