Saturday, September 8, 2007

national day rally

prime minister lee hsien loong first mentioned that singapore aims to equip each child with a top-rate education. on the surface, this is possible as singapore is known for her high standard of education in the world. furthermore, in newsweek's finding, national university of singapore is ranked sixteenth in the world as being a global institution, both academically and in terms of diversity.

singapore does have the infrastructure and ability to give such a top rate education. we have good institutions and such. hence, it is a feasible suggestion. furthermore, with the creation of a forth university in the future, that doesnt seem so hard to achieve. however, the only concern is that, will the citizens be positive about such a target?

of course, we all understand the value of a top education. however, the very quality of such a nature of education demands that we fork out a lot of cash. well, for the higher-end families with BM 7 series might not find this much of a concern. but we do have families struggling to make ends meet, though they have bright and outstanding children. also, we have the average families who might face further financial burden when their children get into top end institutions.

perhaps the government should look into this concern, and see whether financial burden will be a big barrier to achieving and realising those dreams. as far as i'm concerned, i feel that singapore should perhaps emulate something similar to what malaysia has recently implemented, that is, free education for everyone. though singapore might not want to go full-force on such an approach that might cause a backlash on other developments, they could perhaps create more opportunities for bond-free loans and scholarships. a good and top quality education will help individuals propel the economy and provide more to society.

he also mentioned in the later part of his speech that singapore is a city of possibilities. this is perhaps meant in the sense that we can undertake what we want to and it will be a fruitful venture, provided effort and determination are exercised all the time. however, looking deeper, is singapore really a city of possibilities? or only certain possibilities are being given a chance to develop and realise its true potential?

i'd say the latter. only some possibilities are being looked at and tapped on. the government is forever placing an emphasis on science and technology and this means that everyone goes into this sector. simply because it's a venture that is supported by the authorities, hence possibilities here are limitless. i've heard of endless tales of new discoveries and explorations in the science sector.

what about the arts? what about the social sector? those minor breakthroughs that have been bluntly ignored simply because they aren't congruent to what the government deems fit. we have to change this mindset. it's not fair and neither is it feasible for our future. if we're to concentrate on science alone, that doesnt make singapore vibrant as a whole collective.

possibilities in every sector is important if we want to achieve more and develop singapore to reach new dimensions once unattainable. hence, there are certain limitations and considerations to what the prime minister mentioned in the national day rally.

political and socio-economic impacts of current demographic changes

the current demographic changes of low birthrates and high life expectancy are one of the many changes that lead to certain socio-economic and political impacts. they may be positive and negative in nature.

positively, a socio-economic impact is that, with higher life expectancies denotes a higher standard of living. this is probably due to the fact that the pharmaceutical industry has improved and this has enabled diseases to be combated better so as to ensure that people live longer.

however, consequently, with the higher life expectancies and a low birthrate, there might not be enough productive individuals to propel the economy. this might inadvertently lead to a downfall of some major economies in the future, like japan. japan doesnt have enough immigrants settling in to keep it's population at a healthy growth rate. neither does it have a high rate of births.

furthermore, the older populace that will become dominant in the future society might lack the traits needed to ensure that the economy is forever diversified. the older generation might not have the traits of being creative and setting forth new products to develop their economy. also, they, generally being individuals who lack the desire of taking possible risks, would not travel on unchartered boundaries to bring in more wealth to the economic sector.

politically, there might not be stability. with the life expectancy growing, there will be more older people in the governing sector. the old, as far as anyone's concern, are not willing to take risks, and neither are they creative nor innovative. this might lead to a dysfunctional country that is not as efficient as it is now.

hence, we see that there are quite a lot at stake if the demographic changes are not changed to ourfavour. though there might be certain positive impacts, the negative ones far outweigh that of the positive. we must put effort so as to ensure that the future is not heavily affected.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

jeremy su's article - live earth's success

i refer to jeremy su's article.

live earth, the 24 hour series of live concerts across the seven continents held on 7th of july 2007, organised to raise awareness of global warming and climate change.Is the live earth really successful?

i agree with his stand that the concert was not successful to a large extent. jeremy mentioned about how the global population needed to have a willingness to change their lifestyles and not an awaresness towards global warming. i can safely vouch that the world's educated and literate populace are clearly aware of global warming and it's threats. yet, none are being proactive about taking the neccesary steps in preventing it from getting worse.

individuals are comfortable with their lives. increased affluence has led them to believe that it's fine to travel and indulge in life's pleasures without care and concern for the environment and the earth. they are innately aware of the implications of ignoring such factors, yet they do so. simply because they lack the initiative and willingness to change, thinking that they're not the stewards responsible for the earth.

furthermore, the concert was about jetting stars all around the globe to mandate that something had to be done about global warming. however, the very action of jetting stars around, leading to thousands of fans following suit has certainly led to an increased in greenhouse gases' emissions. travel is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gases, and the very fact that live earth indirectly or directly promoted this travel, shows the event's failure.

i think another approach has to be taken. perhaps live earth has it's intended meaning, but they overlooked the underlying matters that might have contradicted their aims. hence, we must look back and perhaps modify the approach of live earth to help generate willingness among people to improve their level of willingness to make a change in their lives so as to better address the issue of global warming.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

can poverty ever be eradicated?

poverty is the boon to every nation. it's widespread and permeates every corner of the globe, be it in a small degree, or whether it's become a epidemic in a particular nation. we may pump in efforts to eradicate it, but that cannot be achieved. it can only be mitigated.

kamala sarup stated that although leaders can drive their drive their people to work more and be more productive. this is perhaps by exploiting natural resources to propel the economy. we're assuming that initially, there are resources to exploit. the influx of money generated can thus help aid poverty. however, he also mentions the feasibility of such an approach. he states that the nation's leaders can only push the people by only so much.

in light of the issue of poverty, it seems that kamala sarup has painted a very grim picture of the situation in poverty-stricken countries. i agree that there can only be so much individuals can do, and slightly more when pushed. however, this cannot be viewed in such an inferior tone as workers can slowly better themselves and contributing more to their nations. it is a time consuming task, and it might not be fruitful in it's immediate stages, but it can definitely help in the long run if efforts are in place.

however, is there enough manpower to spearhead these efforts? especially in poverty stricken areas where manpower alone is crippled due to lack of financial reserves to sustain it. it is where, i feel and believe, the point where richer and more able nations provide their aid and support in hopes of creating a more stable and economically blossoming world. if the better nations are not in favour of providing aid, then this world bears the saying, 'as the rich grows richer, the poor grows poorer.'.

this is where sachs claims come into context. his claims of having the richer nations giving 0.7 percent of their national income to the poorer countries is somewhat congruent to what i feel should be done. that is, richer countries can provide help to aid the poorer nations. this money can be used to better the infrastructure in the countries so that they can begin realising their potential in the primary and secondary industries.

the help provided can also be through expertise. other countries that are better off can send professionals to educate the workforce so that they can contribute to the country and help to lessen poverty in their country.

only when all this is given, can the poor be given a new lease of life to ensure that they are capable, relevant and able to contribute to their society. this, though it can certainly aid the lessening of poverty, still has a big question mark over the issue as to whether poverty can really be eradicated, as how sachs claims.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

embracing otherhood - challenges posed to singapore by a more diverse society

singapore has certainly grown in terms of her diversity. we have many foreign migrants who are either coming to singapore to settle in and attain a citizenship, or to contribute further to singapore's rapidly growing economy. having said that, the singapore has yet to overcome the challenges that is posed to singapore by a more diverse society.

it's true that while statistics prove that we are becoming more rich in society; that is, a society that has grown more complex, with the influx of many other nationalities from all across the globe, the general mindset of a singaporean towards such complexities is not positive. even if a migrant becomes a singaporean citizen, that doesnt mean that he or she is accepted as one on the social level.

perhaps this is due to the stigma that most singaporeans have about foreigners, be they be citizens or not. singaporean individuals are afraid of being replaced by such foreigners. singaporean students are wary of foreign students, such as scholars and those on an education visa. singaporean workers are resentful of foreign immigrants who are working in singapore, feeling that they're up to nothing but to remove job opportunities for singaporean equals or even a better educated worker. this is to due the fact that, singaporeans need to be paid with higher wages.

the abovementioned factor really questions the ability of our society to be accepting and to embrace the complex and secular nature of our state. we cannot be stuck in the past, thinking that foreigners are a boon to society, especially since their expertise and help has drove our industries. singapore collaborates with other nations for projects and such, and it's unfair if we reap benefits from those nations, while disrespecting their very citizens who happen to be in our midst.

another factor that is important to be discussed in this issue, asides from mindset (earlier mentioned), is the importance that singaporeans learn the importance of integration and unity. as seen in paris and sydney, the lack of the two elements of integration and unity can lead to spats between the different groups of people. this will not only create social tension and unease, but will affect the country collectively. productivity and efficiency will also be affected.

in ages past, when everyone in a society was simply homogenous, human nature mandates that people will bond together by virtue of race or background. however, in today's age, or more accurately placed, in singapore's society, it's not about virtue of race or background. it goes much more deeper than just that.

singaporeans need to understand, recognise and assimilate differences in our society. we have to understand that diversity doesnt' merely include chinese, malays, indians and europeans, but, everyone else. there's no longer an accurate classification of people as there're so many in singapore's societies, all contributing actively to the nation.

hence, these are the two most crucial challenges posed by an increased in diversity in singapore's society.

gay marriage flap

with the world being more affluent and literate, individuals can choose their own path in life. it was not like in previous, somewhat medieval times, where people chose what was normal, what was right. now it's about personal choice, choices that ensure one's personal sense of fulfilment.

now, it'a about not straight relationships, but those of a different kind.

gay relationships.

this article states that in france, the very first gay marriage was witnessed between two men.

pardon me if my blog entry layout has led you to believe that i'm discussing gay rights and such. no, i'm discussing something sensitive that the article touched on, though it was somewhat little.

it's the fact that, although we now live in a more diversified and free world, where others respect our personal choices and opinions, where we no longer are crucified for not obeying the norm, there is still a great risk that religious and social issues can flare up. this marriage occurred in france, a country which is believed to be home to one of the world's well-known secular state.

that being said, are we really in a world that emphasises on personal rights and choice? or are we just dellusioned to believe so?

clearly more has to be done to change this mindset. it's not about merely better economic and social status. it's about worldwide awareness and acceptance of a particular issue.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

killing of animals - right or wrong?

there has been a lot of debate as to whether there should be culling to animals to maintain the ecosystem.

my view is, it should be left to mother nature. mother nature has always exercised extreme balance on its ecosystem and hence, we should not interfere.

however, in light of the recent situation, we see poachers killing animals for sport and pleasure, that animals become extinct. it is pretty clear, that the scales of nature has tipped. and this change is not in our favour, and neither is it in the favour of the animals of the wild.

human interference is now needed to maintain the very delicate balance that has been established by mother nature.much has to be done and the matter has to be looked into. if not, it may result in our very own undoing.

though last time we existed in harmony with the creatures of the planet, with globalization and many other factors, we demand additional land. land required to propel our industries, our food resources, our housing needs, education infrastructure and so on. it is this desire that led us to believe that it's right to poach creatures, to attain our goals, no matter how we attain them.

we kill animals, be it for sport, or for land. we destroy their homes and habitats. we pollute the waters that they depend on. we wipe out an animal species which was once their source of food. in this view, we see that killing of animals is not right, and hence, not justified.

however, one could argue that the killing of animals is important to the nation's well-being. respecting animals and the ecosystem is good, however, we do have our livelihoods. with modern technology and a growing world population, it's just merely a lack of luck that we humans and the creatures of the planet cannot fully live in co-existence.

we simply have to kill animals and remove their habitats. only then can the world's demands be addressed.

however, the big question is, how viable is this approach?