Thoughts : Politics
Politics (Social Justice)
Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty?: A letter published in The Straits Times on the 4th of March, 2007. While applauding Dove’s involvement in a good social cause, I criticize their parent company – Unilever – for promoting the racist idea that black is ugly and white is beautiful. (2007) [Blogged here]
Creating Social Change: an “Ends Justify the Means” vs. “Means Justify the Ends” approach: Differences in decision-making by politicans and people often stem from the kind of ethical model or approach we hold on to. In this long article, I contrast an “ends justify the mean” ethical approach against that of a “means justify the ends” approach. (2006)
Soccer and Social Conscience: Reflections on the world of soccer and how that relates to social justice. (2004)
“I’m a Simple Person but you call me Complex!”: The search for a better world is carried out by simple-minded people who in childlikeness cannot understand why injustice and poverty have to exist in this world. The complex are those who explain such evils away and accept them as part of life. I’m really a simple-minded person. (2002)
“Rather than Love, than Money, than Fame, give me Truth.”: Short reflection after watching the movie Death Benefit. The movie was about a true story of man who pursued truth and justice above all else. This is more about justice in the personal or individual realm. However, when projected to the social realm of life, it’s a good illustration of what social justice is about – that is, the passionate and unflinching pursuit of truth and justice in and for society. (2001)
Christians in Complicity with the Military: This is quite a bit of ranting done by me against the oppressiveness of working in a military. Of course, to be realistic, militaries are like that all around the world and the extremely important nature of their job (to provide security for the people of the country) causes them to impose a psychology of fear (of doing anything wrong) among its employees. So I guess I’ll have to accept that in this fallen world, we can’t expect perfection. But I still stand by the idea behind the article: that we ought not to tolerate injustice and oppression and that many of us who overlook such injustice – rather than come out against it – are to a certain extent in complicity – whether we think so or not – with those perpetuating the injustices. (2001)
Politics (War & Peace)
America’s Credibility Already Lost: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 16th of May, 2003 in which I argue that America’s credibility does not depend on Weapons of Mass Destruction being found in Iraq as she has already lost it when violating International Law by not giving peace the best possible chance.
War Not a Last Resort and Therefore Not Just: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 3rd of April, 2003, arguing that as America did not exhaust all possible non-violent means to disarming Saddam before declaring war on Iraq, this war can never be seen as just even if Weapons of Mass Destruction were to be found.
Reasons for Not Going to War: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 25th of February, 2003, listing out the reasons for not going to war.
From Deterrence to Pre-emption: America’s Arrogant Unilateralism: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 23rd of September, 2002 about the arrogant shift to political unilateralism revealed in America’s recent National Security Strategy paper.
America’s Thirst for War: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 18th of September, 2002 about America’s reluctance (or perhaps only that of Bush and his men) towards an outcome of peace with Iraq, preferring war instead.
Basketball, Terrorism and Retaliation: An article illustrating my perspective of the the events of September 11 using a real-life incident that occurred during an NBA a basketball game. (2002)
Differences, Truth and Terrorism: A letter published on the 4th of January, 2002 in the Today newspaper that speaks of the danger of treating important differences in opinions as mere diversity in life that ought to be tolerated. What is needed, rather, is to understand and resolve such differences as they could mean life or death to many.
Imperialism is Never Justifiable: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 29th of October agreeing with an article that much humanitarianism in this world is often imperialism in disguise. (2001)
To Explain is Not to Excuse: This is an unpublished letter sent to the now defunct Singapore newspaper - Streats - on the 6th of October. As the title says, it’s about how seeking to explain the reasons for terrorism is not the same as excusing such acts. (2001)
The Need to Ask “Why?”: This is an unpublished letter sent to the The Straits Times on the 4th of October. I write about how it is important to ask the question of why the terrorists committed their act. If we want to be more successful about eliminating terrorism, we need to understand the root cause of it. (2001)
When They Just Don’t Get It: I sent a longer version of the above email – America’s Pain and That of the Rest of the World – to some of my Church friends. At least three people complained about it! And one of the elders actually talked to me about what I wrote. Here are some reflections over the incident, written on the 14th of October. My church’s response to this whole incident was one confirmation to me that the majority of Christians have failed in speaking out against (or caring about or doing anything about) the oppression and suffering many people in the world face – whether due to political oppression or plain poverty – and this played an important part in my decision to eventually leave that church, as well as in making me question much of the the Evangelical and organizational Christianity I had embraced for previous 6 years or so. You can read more about it here. (2001)
America’s Pain and That of the Rest of the World: Another modified email sent out to my friends on the 29th of September about American injustice that has caused such widespread anti-Americanism. (2001)
Is America Totally Innocent?: This is a modified version of my first email response to 911 which I sent to the Reformed-Charismatic Email Discussion List on the 15th of September. Most of the list members were Americans and naturally did not take too nicely to what I said! September 11, 2001 was an event that accelerated my interest in international political affairs which made me realize how much injustice exist in the world, as well as how ignorant most people (including Americans) are to the atrocities carried out by the American Government in the past. (2001)
Protesting: Speaking Out for the Oppressed: This is a simple reflection of a Singaporean student in Australia. In Singapore, of course, one is not allowed to protest on the streets. That makes for a politically apathetic population, but that’s another story… This was written in 2002 for the newsletter (Temasek Times) of the Singapore Student’s Association (SSA) of my University in Australia.
The Culture of Dissent: Activism 101: This is a slightly similar – though mostly different – article from the one above. This was written first but because it was too long to fit the one page limit of the newsletter, I wrote the above one. (2002)
Labor Day Rally in Sydney: Description of a protest rally I attended in 2002 – and also short reflections on why we protest.
Uninspired by the IOC’s Bidding Process: An unpublished letter sent to The Straits Times on the 8th of July, 2005 in which I argue that the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) current bidding process, which is based a lot on personalities, celebrities and behind the scenes political maneuvers, ought to be revamped and instead shaped by the inspiring and visionary ideals of the Olympic Movement.