KD-ADS: Expanding Horizons

Cos thinking should never be stagnant...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

An Unlikely Speaker of Ethics

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

Albert Einstein
New York Times Magazine, 09/11/1930


Recently, in my home country, the one I dub "Police State", a tragic event has shattered the public consciousness. A little girl was kidnapped and soon found to be dead. What sensationalised the case was that the little girl was the child of a foreign resident, and that the case was shrouded in mystery and anxiety. The emotional significance of the tragedy eventually prompted the collective efforts of a voluntary search team made up by local citizens. The media (which plays a major role in developing a pro-government/pro-state mentality) was quick to praise the "charitable" nature of the country's citizens, especially against the modern barrage of individualism and self-centreness.

However, when it came to the time of the funeral, a different phenomena occured, one that is in direct contrast to the "altruistic" nature proported by the media. A larger turnout was witnessed at the funeral, where "concerned" citizens joted down numbers from any object at the funeral deemed to have superstitutious luck (e.g. the car number of the funeral van). In defense (however remote it can be defended), this is a cultural norm regularly practiced here that has yet to be scrutinized. Optimists may also try to allude to the charitable donations made to the family of the victim during the wake. Sadly, this is where the heart of the matter is. The donations, supposedly thought to be given out of a sympathetic nature, became the new focus of the public consciousness and now were investigated in terms of its use. Apparently, now it is a "grave" issue to the public to be informed of how the family intended to spent the donations and how much they received. Further, if the "good luck" endowed by the donations were not reciprocated, then the donations were considered a poor investment.

In other words, donations, according to its definition in the Oxford dictionary: "a gift bestowed especially to a cause", and perhaps we should add, out of selfless motivation, has become something totally different in the "Police State". It must be deemed to be a worthy social investment that must deliver returns, especially of the monetary kind. For every merit the media was willingly to portray, a deeper analysis shows otherwise. And perhaps unfortunately, it is regarded as an unworthy and valueless discussion.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

In the midst of studying for an exam....

I figure that I wouldn't update my blog till the 24th, which will be the day of my final exam. So I will just add quotes as regularly as I can.

Everyone has observed how much more dogs are animated when they hunt in a pack, than when they pursue their game apart. We might, perhaps, be at a loss to explain this phenomenon, if we had not experience of a similar in ourselves.

- David Hume
A Treatise of Human Nature

Thursday, November 04, 2004

One small consolation

You get 4 more years of funny stuff.

Bush is the Anti-Christ


You know, the startling revelation about the US elections is not that Bush wasn't expected to win. Or that there would still be large electorial votes (states) for him. It's not about the capture of fear or wide spread dose of ignorance among the population. It's that despite being in a free democratic society, one with open free media channels and voices, one that allows dissent and alternative voices, people still don't listen.

No doubt, the thinking process an individual goes through in decising his country's President is complex, and I do not take priviledge in endorsing generalizations about social groups (including a candidates' support group). What I am surprised is that mass groups of people are not sufficiently educated about global world events and simply reduce influential decisions into notions of "good" and "evil". What I am surprised is how much a strong grip religion plays in our culture and surpassing all rational decisions in favour of an irrational belief in saviourship and freedom. And because USA is not a society that clamps down on open ideas, it is fascinating to notice the ideological rigidity maintained by informal (and also formal) social mechanisms.

If what has been criticised about democracy stands true, is that the tyranity of the masses will conquer to their own demise.