Saturday, July 28, 2012

Majority’s Sacrifice for “Collective” Pride?

And with the flames shooting out of the stadium, songs, and mass choreographed dances a little bit too reminiscent of what occurred in Beijing 2008 (albeit with a Western, kitschy rural British twist), that once-in-four-years spectacle begins once again in a city that some London residents (including many of previous year’s LSE students) have already left behind, while others painfully adjust to the suddenly inflated costs dished out by opportunistic shop and real estate owners.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Daily Grind of Logistics: the Operations behind "Getting Business Done"

The warehouse at the quiet, industrial part of the town started as, literally, an empty concrete shell, with no furniture, no goods, no ventilation, and no sign of life.  Truckloads of item and upholstery shipments later, combined with more than 12 hours of continuous work by more than a dozen cheaply hired foreign moving men, the new warehouse is finally looking like a warehouse, with the shelving racks, desks, and chairs arranged in their proper positions, and shifted items ready for unpacking.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Dark, Exploitative, and Unsustainable Global Expansion of K-pop

The prominent-looking bar/club on a busy side-street of Bukit Bintang, the premier inner-city shopping district in Kuala Lumpur, has a colorful sign perched on top of it, looming large over the skyline of the narrow street crammed with hawker stands and attracting attention from all passersby.  The sign prominently features young East Asian songstresses clad in miniskirt, skimpy tank-top uniforms, making the usual suggestive poses, in a way largely (or perhaps not at all) inappropriate for the conservative culture of this Muslim country.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Curious Existence of Singapore: Insecurity amid Prosperity

A quick 30-minute stroll through any residential neighborhood in Singapore can make one understand why so many foreigners love the tiny island city-state. Food is everywhere and cheap (just like here in Malaysia), the public transit system modern and all-around impeccable, the streets well-manicured and completely free of litter, and there is just no sign of poverty whatsoever (no beggars, no run-down shantytowns, not even a single truly dilapidated building). As modern as Malaysia sometimes seems to be, the level of physical modernity is absolutely shocking in comparison.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Malaysia’s Not-so-Hidden Illegal Sex Industry: an Immoral “Crack” in the Islamic State?

Living in Malaysia, a purported Islamic state where Islam is clearly defined as the state religion within its constitution, one is often left to wonder just what really an “Islamic state” really means in the Malaysian context.  From the alcohol sold everywhere to the ever-so-subliminally sexual K-pop being blasted everywhere, to the clear Westernization in all aspects of life from fashion to food, the country simply has very little in common with the imagination of non-Muslims when it comes to the words “Islamic society.”