Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
kotmj

Philosophy

Recommended Posts

Reminds me of the Young and Dangerous movies. All that brawn.

 

whether or not he is hospitalised depends on the toughness of his skull, surely. and to be the world's best debater, i reckon you have to be somewhat hard-headed. but yes, bottles have been known to be broken in kopitiams.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

cantonese muscle.

 

Hi Joon, I would have thought the probability of getting bottled would be proportional to the level of common sense possessed. If you pick an argument with a cretin, i would say you asked for it.

 

Whaddya think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This sort of debating sport is ritualized and has no relevance in real arguments with invested parties. But don't forget he's only 24 and very bright! With more gravitas he might do ok.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very optimistic about the corruption situation here. Because every person on the street thinks it's the No. 1 problem facing the country. When everybody recognizes something as a major problem, that problem eventually gets solved.

 

When I was younger, the No. 1 environmental problem was not CO2. It was the thinning of the ozone layer. People were saying that the UV will kills forests etc. and cause skin cancer to go up 400% etc. and we will all be dead in a few decades. I was maybe 10 years old then, and even I understood the significance of the problem. Today, nobody talks about the ozone anymore because that's a solved problem.

 

I would rather champion problems which are not yet generally appreciated as such. For instance, everytime I'm on the Karak highway, I see all these lori balak loaded full. WTF do the trees come from? Farms? Really? Because some of the trunks are really thick. Hundreds of years old. Who allowed them to be cut?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am getting to know the political situation in Brunei, and my God is that a fucked up country. I am pessimistic about that country.

 

That country is run by people concerned with just one thing: preserving the power of the Sultan. The instrument they use is one which is time-tested: religion.

 

If you think Malaysian newspapers insufficiently critical of the major issues, wait till you read the Bruneian ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In a democracy, the wrath of the public has a relatively harmless outlet: they fire the incumbent government in the next election. The opposition takes over policy-making, and even if they are no better than the previous government, the wrath has been let out. The country truddles along with a new driver.

 

In an autocracy like Brunei, resentment builds up into wrath which has no easy outlet. It could only end in a revolution. Brunei has been in a state of emergency for 51 years.

 

Democracies are antifragile while autocracies are fragile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a timeline of events. I think this is way more fucked up than Malaysia.

 

 

1962 - Legislative Council election results annulled after leftist Brunei People's Party, which sought to remove the sultan from power, won all 10 elected seats in the 21-member council; sultan declares state of emergency and rules by decree.

1963 - Brunei decides to remain a British dependency rather than join the Federation of Malaysia.

1967 - Hassanal Bolkiah becomes sultan following the abdication of his father, Sultan Omar, who nonetheless remains chief adviser.

Independence

1984 - Brunei becomes independent.

1985 - Government legalises the Brunei National Democratic Party (BNDP).

1986 - Brunei National Solidarity Party (BNSP) becomes legal; former Sultan Omar dies.

1988 - BNDP and BNSP banned.

1990 - Sultan Bolkiah introduces ideology of Malay Muslim Monarchy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How can it be way more fucked up when we have no way of objectively and authoritatively quantifying corruption, as you pointed out before? Ha ha. Trolling aside, I take your point. The profligacy of Brunei's elite has been regularly and salaciously documented elsewhere. I have no doubt it suffers from deep corruption.

 

However, back to Malaysian case. The mere recognition of corruption means nothing without action. This is precisely what the various protests and rallies in Malaysia are about. 

 

I recently attended a talk by Ioan Grillo, a journalist who investigates Mexico's drug cartels. One of the anecdotes he told was this: He interviewed a former cartel assassin who is now in prison. The assassin started out as a policeman. After many years in the force, where he learned torture and assassination techniques, it was time for a payday. So he joined a cartel as a hitman. This is the typical career trajectory of cartel killers. 

 

Grillo says that the state and the syndicates are now almost totally enmeshed. In other words, a merger has occurred. In this scenario, the state has been almost totally criminalised. This is similar to the situation in Serbia and elsewhere. States become criminal entities all the time. If we don't do something about it, the Malaysian state will end up the same way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always been very impressed by Lee Kuan Yew. The guy is smarter than all the Malaysian politicians, past and present, combined.

 

He is, however, quite the showman.

 

I was reading up on Xi Jinping, and there popped up Lee's evaluation of Xi:

 

He felt he was "a thoughtful man who has gone through many trials and tribulations." Lee also commented: "I would put him in the Nelson Mandela class of persons. A person with enormous emotional stability who does not allow his personal misfortunes or sufferings affect his judgment. In other words, he is impressive".

 

A giant evaluating another giant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh boy, Lee Kuan Yew. 

 

Here's my favourite quote from him:

“Repression, Sir is a habit that grows. I am told it is like making love-it is always easier the second time! The first time there may be pangs of conscience, a sense of guilt. But once embarked on this course with constant repetition you get more and more brazen in the attack. All you have to do is to dissolve organizations and societies and banish and detain the key political workers in these societies. Then miraculously everything is tranquil on the surface. Then an intimidated press and the government-controlled radio together can regularly sing your praises, and slowly and steadily the people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done, or if these things are referred to again they’re conveniently distorted and distorted with impunity, because there will be no opposition to contradict.”
-Lee Kuan Yew as an opposition PAP member speaking to David Marshall, Singapore Legislative Assembly, Debates, 4 October, 1956

 

And this is Singapore's present position on the press freedom index (hint: if you're having difficulty finding it, scroll all the way down to the bottom). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By his own admission, he wasn't the smartest. Goh Keng Swee was way smarter than him. As was Albert Winsemius. Anyway, if he was indeed so smart, how did he end up with an independent Singapore when his entire political career up to that point had been to see Singapore remain unified to Malaysia? The answer: The Brits and Tunku outsmarted him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been strangely taken up by the Bo Xilai case. He and his wife will probably spend the rest of their days in prison; he for corruption and misuse of office and his wife for murder.

 

The case really makes visible what party officials actually do in China.

 

From what I can see, Bo as governor of Chongqing (population 29 million), is something of a mafia. Bo has an official salary of USD20K per year, yet his son Bo Guagua went to boarding school in the UK from 15, then studied at Oxford, then went on to Harvard and is now at Columbia for post grad. Bo Guagua drives a Porsche. Bo's wife Gu is supposed to be a housewife (formerly a prominent lawyer and author), but she formed shell companies in the UK. (Shell companies and money laundering go hand in hand.)

 

People who know Bo Guagua described him as "terminally spending".

 

Anyway, a certain Neil Heywood, a British national and long-time friend of the Bo family died of poisoning in a hotel room. Nobody really knows what Heywood does for a living. The police chief of Chongqing, Wang Lijun investigated. In China, the police chief is part of the party and Wang would be reporting to Bo. Then, Wang was demoted. Later, he vanished. The US consulate later confirmed that Wang Lijun is in the consulate. He was later delivered to Peking officials. Wang said he has incriminating evidence that Gu murdered Heywood.

 

What sort of police chief would run to the US consulate to seek protection from his own boss? He would if his boss employs mafia-style ways to bring people in line. It really is telling how Bo does things when his police chief runs to the Americans for protection.

 

After a while in Peking, Wang was stripped of his office and tried for all kinds of crimes. His boss Bo had the same fate.

 

People like Bo and his wife would have opponents killed. It's really mafias at the top.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then when you realise it's pretty much the same thing in the US...or really, anywhere else in the world.

 

Probably why the best thing to do is live a simple, sedentary and peaceful life in a small village without getting wound up in the realities of the world. No point, since we're all powerless to change anything.

 

Yeah, I want to move to your town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's a logical leap Zarium. We are not powerless to change anything. And moving to kotmj's town will only delay the inevitable. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, perhaps in the most absolute sense of things we aren't.

 

But for all ideal intents and purposes, we are. All our actions can and will do -- if even at all -- is serve as precursors to actual change, change you and I won't be alive to witness.

 

The general public is too stupid to comprehend the severity of their helplessness. What we have is not freedom. What we have is the semblance of freedom. We look at Malaysia as having an entire panel of corrupt morons governing the country, determined only to advance their own interests and hoard as much cash as possible. You get into the echelons by also having such tendencies, making it an inexorable cycle.

 

So, the two choices are to either migrate and leave behind this entire mess or try to bring about a change. I'm not patriotic and I definitely don't really give a shit about my "people and country," so I'll choose to get the hell out. Assume that I do.

 

Then we realise that the US is no better. In fact, it's worse. Comprised of megalomaniacs that are once again interested and vested only in keeping their interests afloat, what you have is the appearance of more freedom. Actually, you have even lesser (hint: NSA).

 

So what, China? China's a fucking joke. But at least they fuck you right, they're upfront about taking away your freedom and rights and have you know it.

 

Our nice neighbour down south? Nothing but a police state where they'll throw you in prison for anything. But at least they're not as backward as the DPRK. And don't require you to hang the portraits of the founding fathers everywhere...hm.

 

There's no perfect country. I'd be stupid to think otherwise. So, if not cowardly running away and forsaking our great nation and fulfilling our duties and obligations as countrymen...change?

 

Anyone who believed that the opposition would win the last GE was seriously delusional. Did you really think the people who have held power for over fifty years and who have reaped so much from the people would really just concede that easily? All the "god is watching over our nation" arguments aside, how can ANYONE with sound logic and rational capabilities really believe the ruling coalition to lose and give up their power?

 

There's the law, then there's enforcement of the law.

 

Realise that they can do as they wish, and that we are powerless. How? Because if these people in power transgress, there are no repercussions or consequences. Nobody is going to do anything. So we have Minister A's son murdering a random nondescript citizen -- and since he's a fucking idiot as is typical of such people, the public finds out. They make plenty of noise, blah blah.

 

Then what? Daddy ships him off to a nice idyllic country in western Europe where he continues partying every night (as if he wasn't already), and that's the end. Lots of outrage, lots of people clamouring about on social media sites, lots of noise. So what? What can anyone do about it?

 

You see, governance only works if there's an "or else" clause. With these people, there isn't one. Ergo, they can do whatever the fuck they like.

 

So now, you realise that you are indeed powerless. Because you are intelligent, you also realise that humankind is nothing but a coincidental occurrence. As much as we'd like to believe and our holy books would like to make it out to seem, we're not a serendipitous phenomenon. So unfathomable and so infinite is the entire universe that somewhere, there is this odd mass of carbon and water crawling about, trying to make sense of its existence. It tries to establish order. For what reason, exactly?

 

For we are nothing but a phenomenon so infinitesimal, so unimportant and so redundant in the grand scheme of things. There's zero reason for our existence. We just happen to be.

 

Then you realise that all that garbage about freedom, justice, peace...really don't matter.

 

Then you decide that trying to understand the universe is much better than bothering yourself with the frivolities of humankind. Ultimately, you will understand that the universe cannot be comprehended. But there's plenty of time in between, where you look out of the balcony where kotmj lives, taking in the fresh air, to at least make some sense of the chaos.

 

Disassociated from it all, because it really doesn't matter, life is good. You spend time thinking, because thinking is more rewarding than anything else. You disturb no one, and no one disturbs you.

 

One day, you saunter to the nearby sundry for some common groceries. Someone stabs you. No reason why exactly.

 

You die. But before you do, you try to make sense of it. Then you realise that there's no sense to be made. That your nonexistence is just as your existence -- insignificant. Time goes on. The universe unfolds as it will.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the problem with you guys who follow politics. You think good politics is necessary for your happiness.

 

I wake up to the sound of birds and sunlight, have a nice breakfast and good coffee, go on a forum I like, do work I like, eat outrageously well by the historical standards of the Chinese race, and sleep with the cool mountain air moving into the apartment. I catch a movie, I read a book. Sometimes i have to deal with chronically stupid people (but nothing is perfect).

 

Then I wake up and do it all over again.

 

Politics does not impinge much on my life. Life is great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have, you know, incredibly good politics by historical standards. We once were ruled by emperors/warlords who were constantly warring with other emperors. Because they have the army on their side, they remained in power until they mismanage the country so badly (and by badly, I do not mean the country slides down the competitiveness index or its universities slide down in ranking or its currency gets devalued; I mean there is repeated widespread famines) and create so much wrath that the public, despite vigorous measures to suppress it from organizing itself, organizes itself and overthrows the emperor.

 

Once upon a time, you cannot criticize the emperor or your head is off. In those days, lots of people must die before the emperor can be changed.

 

In your daily life, what exactly do politicians do to make you deeply unhappy?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think when you realise that we do indeed perhaps have good politics by historical standards, we're really only unhappy because reality doesn't coincide with our expectations.

 

We expect our politicians to be these upright, stalwart individuals who we all take as role models and should strive to be (a bit of a hyperbole), who we believe to be able to govern our country and further and champion our interests and rights, but then it really isn't so. Maybe we expect them to be like that because they try to come across as such, playing into our desires and thus garnering our support.

 

I think that's why we're unhappy.

 

If your question isn't rhetorical, not much. I'm learning to not give a fuck anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A bit of deep end Friday night reading!

 

Over in Oz land, we have an upcoming election between Dumb and Dumber.

 

And then after the hooha, life goes on, and as Buffett puts it, we still wake up each morning and put on pants one leg at a time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×