The recent years have seen renewed prospects of regional violence. Just in Africa, internal repression of Eritrea, disorder in Burundi, and tense standoff between Muslim and Christians in Central African Republic, to name a few, continue to disrupt the normal livelihoods of millions. One point of commonality among these conflicts has been an acute lack of international intervention to prevent escalation. The lack of international interest has been most visible in these conflicts’ lack of appearance in global headlines, where international conflicts of choice have largely been those in the Middle East.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Thursday, June 15, 2017
at 1:15 PM
Some months ago, this blog argued that a distinct lack of optimism among Africans is a root cause for governments not putting in the effort to develop their respective countries. However, in the process, that post never clearly defined exactly what is the root cause of that lack of optimism, aside from making vague statements about historical circumstances that both the African peoples and leaders not emotionally tied to their particular countries, thereby precluding any conscious efforts for development in the long-term. This post seeks to make clear what that "historical circumstance" really is.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
at 2:03 PM
For first time in perhaps months, I sat down to read a newspaper. For all its conservative leanings, the local paper in San Diego tries its best to look well-balanced, providing views from across the political spectrum on its op-ed pages. Big bold titles with completely diverging opinions line side by side on the same page, giving the audience scanning through the content an ability to look at every view possible at one-go. Even if a certain reader does not have any particular affinity toward a particular piece, s/he is bound to look at it somewhat simply because it sits next to another piece that s/he would agree with.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
at 7:17 AM
In one day, there was two polar opposite news coming out of Asia on the issue of gay marriage. One is the de facto legalization of same-sex marriages in Taiwan's highest court, making the island the first place in Asia to expliciting state that homosexual marriages are as legal as the heterosexual kind. The other is the public caning of a man caught for gay sex in conservative Aceh province in Indonesia. The young man is humiliated in front of thousands of spectators, and Western media outlets and general public wasted no time criticizing the act as immoral and barbaric, much to the chagrin of the Islamic local population.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
at 5:15 AM
Turn to any non-entertainment TV programs in China these days, and most inevitably touch on a common theme: that of the “One Belt One Road” initiative. Endless interviews with experts and common people across countries that will benefit from the initiative, coupled with news stories and detailed analyses of the latest projects coming online, give a strong indication that the government, and the government-owned media sources, wants the initiative to be the defining economic and political movement of the country and the wider region in the next decades.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
at 9:30 AM
A hundred days into Donald Trump's presidency, it is almost comical to see how his foreign policy has deviated from what people thought it would be when he was first elected. People thought was going to make amends with Putin, only to see him profess that Russo-American relations has "reached an all-time low." They thought he would pressure hard on China for unfair trade practices, only to see him profess his "good friendship" with Xi while refusing to label the country a currency manipulator. They thought he would take America out of foreign entanglements, only to see military presence increased in Syria and Korea.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
at 5:13 AM
To anyone outside the highest echelons of North Korean political hierarchy, the Hermit Kingdom's state-directed intentions remain completely opaque. Any provocative moves emerging from the country almost often come as unpredicted and surprising, giving major media outlets all that much more to work with when they think about breaking news headlines. In the past years, that usually meant the next missile or nuke testing that raise the blood pressures of the Japanese and South Koreans. But apparently the North Koreans have other initiatives up the sleeve that change up the pattern a bit.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
at 4:11 AM
It is rather perplexing that so many countries around the world is mourning the death of Fidel Castro. Yes, it is indeed true that he looms large as a political personality, with an oversized role on the frontline of Cold War-era, pan-Latin American, and even global anti-Americanism disproportionate to the small size of the island country he governed. But that oversized role cannot compensate for the dismal conditions of modern-day Cuba, a country mired in economic crises despite strong performance on the social welfare, healthcare, and educational fronts.
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
at 8:24 AM
People surround themselves with other people who have similar views and opinions. And people of certain views and opinions tend to refer to similar sources for information. So when one looks for certain information, and go to their regular sources (whether it be friends' posts on SNS or news outlets), they see only one side of the story that they agree with. Given the universally unanimous opinion expressed in their social cycles, they falsely believe that the views they agree with are shared by intelligent people and are definitely in the majority, while the radical fringe has some extremist perspectives.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
at 1:17 AM
It is no understatement to say that the Philippines is going through some interesting times with the inauguration of a new president. Sticking to his words on the campaign trial, President Duterte immediately set out to wage a low-intensity war against distributors and users of illegal drugs. While the exact casualty figures from the campaign is up for debate, there is definitive evidence that police forces tasked with the "cleanup" have indeed shot and killed quite a few people in the process. The president, in rather dubious legal grounds, have promised protection for officers who have resorted to "shoot first, ask later" methodologies.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
at 5:50 AM
Popular backlash in Europe against Islam is nothing new. Since anti-Muslim satire led to vengeful violence at the Charlie Hebdo office in France a year and a half ago, confrontation between Muslim minorities and non-Muslim majority populations in Europe have only seen continued upward trajectory. Cultural difference, manifested in apparent ways and interpreted in rather exaggerated and threatening fashion, trigger new rounds of popular discontent with increased Muslim presence, just as civil war in Syria continue to push more Muslims into the continent.
Saturday, August 20, 2016
at 8:30 AM
The author's friend sent him a package across the world that happened to arrive at the Iringa post office today. The post office staff was kind enough to send the author a text message to notify him of the arrival. But when the author showed up to the post office this morning to pick up the parcel, he was shown the box (which appears to have arrived in one piece and without much external visual damage) but was told that he cannot take the box home just yet. "Please come back maybe sometime between next Monday and Friday. We need to send the package over to the Revenue Authority for examination first," the postal staff said.
Friday, June 24, 2016
at 9:01 AM
For the non-European student in a UK school, visa has always been somewhat of a bureaucratic hurdle. Getting the student visa to start is already an issue, but what is worse is that by the time the student is ready to graduate with a prestigious degree from a elite British school, getting a work visa to stay and work is next to impossible. By the time the author finished his Master's degree at the LSE in 2012, foreign students are no longer even entitled to the one-year post-graduate visa, instead facing the prospect of getting kicked out of the country immediately after getting the diploma.
Saturday, January 16, 2016
at 1:07 AM
It is interesting to see that a day before Taiwanese head to ballot boxes to participate in what many calls the "most pivotal" presidential election in its still-short democratic history, a 16-year-old Kpop band member has taken over the headlines across all local media outlets. Chou Tzu-yu, a Taiwanese member of Kpop band TWICE, posted a video apologizing for waving the Taiwanese flag in the band's recent publicity video that quickly draw fire from politicized netizens on the Chines mainland. In the apology video, the girl showed feigned sorrow as she read mechanically from written script.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
at 8:02 AM
Many countries have one of these. Promising, self-confident young men and women are thrown into almost endless lectures of political orthodoxy, of the need to serve their country, and of uploading its law, without questioning its underlying morality and validity. Years later, the indoctrinated youth become government officials, dictating the policies that affect the very future and fortune of the country. Unfortunately, being isolated in an entirely different academic and living environment makes youth educated under "bureaucrat schools" lose connection with society at large. As such, government bureaucrats should not be trained in special schools.
Saturday, November 21, 2015
at 12:05 PM
Another week, another news of terrorism wrecking havoc. This time the setting is a high-end hotel frequented by high-flying foreigners in Bamako, the capital of recently politically unstable Mali. The gunmen shot past the armed guards and front barricades of the building, taking over the building and picking off more than a dozen of foreign guests before being killed in a counter-assault by Malian and French commandos. With the world still so focused on the aftermath of the Paris attacks, comparatively less attention has been given to Bamako, but for this attack can be more significant.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
at 7:28 AM
There is no doubt that the terrorist attacks in Paris is unfortunate, and it is perfectly justified that traditional media are filled with news of latest developments and social networks are filled with messages of condolences. Killing of innocents are morally and legally wrong and deserve to be condemned. But the label "terrorism," after years of its continued threat to the Western world, should be more or less learned by now. The very purpose is to generate attention through fear, with collateral damage to innocents as a tool.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
at 11:26 AM
Over the past few years, some international media outlets are starting to label Rwanda as "the Singapore of Africa." On the surface, the idea is ridiculous. The international commercial and financial depot that is Singapore is at least 60 times as wealthy as Rwanda in terms of per capita income, and the two economies share little in terms of economic structure and development history. Rwanda's landlocked nature, and the fact that it is surrounded by neighbors with dismal infrastructure, means that strictly following the Singapore model will get Rwanda nowhere.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
at 3:17 AM
For people interested in ancient Chinese history, the Three Kingdoms era (roughly the second to three century AD) is one of the most familiar portion. The titular novel on the subject, romanticizing the heroes of the era, along with numerous movies, books, and video games based off their stories, have become hits across much of East Asia in the past decades. However, most of the interest in the era focus on the earlier half of the era, when various warlords and generals make their historical debut from humble origins in their respective lofty goal in uniting China in an era of internal divisions.