Season Finale 0f 2016

It’s safe to say that 2016 has been a year of transitions and change for many. Not only has the international arena taken a huge turn in development (as evidenced by Dahl, 1989-90), but immigration borders somehow started closing up the same time “wanderlust” hit social media. I could go on endlessly about social media being a physical representation of how our unconscious mind is capable of blowing perception entirely out of proportion, but I fear that digression would inadvertently lead to another novella.

Alas, a small pattern has seemingly formulated within my immediate arena of social life, and as it would stand, December seems to have picked up a tad in contrast with the rest of the year. Large players in the game have shifted strategies as we embrace the alleged “New Word Order” with new players re-entering the arena. We’ve had the whole of 2016 to adapt to an unstable and ever-changing world, and many seem to be awaiting 2017 with the same anticipation seen just before 2016, 2015, 2014……

Nonetheless, there are definitely exciting turns to look forward to in the next year: all things considered, for the first time ever, I feel like history books are coming alive. As a kid with a vivid imagination, I was always curious about what the world I read about in books would be like in real life. Everything our millennial generation was taught in school, the world we were braced for, the regimes we challenged as powerless students, are coming to life with the snap of a finger. I have not lived long, but just enough to know that no era has seen a global change at the rate 2016 shifted. While we attribute the “change” to technological advances, how many of us have actually considered that perhaps it is simply our attitudes to what we’ve been absorbing that changed…?

Does our generation now possess the necessary apathy that enables us to survive these constant fluxes and cycles? Is it the instability of the external world that has forced our generation to look internally and strive for stability within ourselves?

It is for these reasons that I say with mournful delight that the key events of our year, 2016, have encompassed a few “necessary evils” that shook the globe, awoke humans, and pushed us out of the caves where thought we were safe. Yes, our generation is adequately prepared for a conceptual “war” – one that takes place using words, using technology, using ideas…but in the grand scheme of things, how important is “our role” in “the world” if we are the world?

When I was young, I had to learn that time moves “forwards” and history will remain as such, which made me wonder, “why learn history when we are preparing for the future?”

Then I grew up, and realized that time is cyclical. The human condition was once called “human nature”, and nature has a cycle. Yes, “global warming” has shaken things up with the carbon and pollution, but human “nature” is, too, reaching a season of change. Have we truly become so complacent in our place in the world that we are genuinely and deeply angered by change?

Is it anger or is it fear?

Yes, many a concept has been challenged over the year, many a regime threatened. Many weak minds have been offended, and the strong-willed have somehow lost hope. But we enter 2017 with the experience of how extreme our species is capable of being, of realizing that we are not as evolved as media wanted us to believe.

If, even for a second, we could strip from ourselves any form of definition we adhered to by way of social-media pressure, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll find out who we are..

My Love, you are more prepared than you realize. Embrace the experiences you never thought could happen; without having to think, analyze, or over explain, we now have the opportunity to experience history in the present. It is a frighteningly beautiful thing, exhilarating and nerve-wrecking to say the least.

But it is as real as whatever fictional literature we’ve ever read.

With 2017 around the corner, I guarantee it is the year dreams become reality. Fantasy becomes actuality. Fictional characters become autobiographies.

Walk undefined.
I dare you.


Peace,
Mikavelli

Colonialism in The Mask of Globalisation

G

In this era, colonialism is understood as a historical paradigm, almost non-existent today. Or is it?

By definition, colonialism is the the increase, imposition and support of one country (predominantly Western – in history) that influences culture and language. Globalisation, however, is defined as having the spread and assimilation of combined cultures and languages. By these definitions, colonialism may not be seen in principle, but if one culture has leverage and advantage over another – measured by scales which are understood by the modern world, such as economic power, military strength and academic advancement – does this entail an underlying essence of colonialism?

One example would be that of Hong Kong, a former British colony, handed over to China in 1997. Near the end of the twentieth century, many foreigners still remained in Hong Kong, which evidentially influenced the city’s international relations as well as English (language) education. In this globalised era and society, English is undoubtedly a vital language to learn, but the method of enforcing its education in Hong Kong can – and in many ways, has – lead to the following social and psychological dilemma.

The method of teaching often requires students to use only English during NET (Native English Teacher) lessons, and students (or even teachers) are penalized for speaking Chinese during these classes. Though immersion is necessary when learning a second language, this is only effective if the student is immersed for at least a few hours a day, every day of the week. However, granted that in local Chinese schools NETs are floaters with no fixed class, students don’t experience the immersion necessary to bring their English to a standard demanded by parents and required by companies.

The mentality and methodology provokes the following predicament: having no Chinese (or their mother tongue) in the classroom psychologically eradicates students’ sense of identity as their feel that during those lessons, their own native language is inferior.

This underlying psychological embellishment results in the following:

  1. Kids, especially young learners, form the impression that NETs feel their own language – English – is more important than the students’
  2.  This ideology is supported by the majority of Hong Kong parents  who push and drill their kids to learn English fluently, which gives children the impression that everyone believes the English language is more important
  3. This impression then carries into adulthood: the formation of society and continuation of “traditional values”
  4. As follows, parents of forthcoming generations will perpetuate this mentality
  5. The example is evidenced by learning centres and educational companies in Hong Kong that refuse to include or use Chinese in their notes as parents believe it looks “cheap” and “tarnishes the companies’ reputation.” Bilingual textbooks – which is more productive for young learners and those with a weaker English background – are sold at a much lower cost, sometimes up to ten times less than English-only textbooks

Thus, is it necessary for students under the age of ten – without immersion- to use ONLY English during lessons?

By definition and historical examples, this form of Western domination is still controlling former colonies, both First World and Third World. Though the sociological argument can be made that the spread of the English language is a stepping stone towards globalisation, the psychological impact slowly abolishing students’ perception of the West is essentially a form of cultural suppression through linguistics: is this not cultural colonialism wearing the mask of globalisation?

Teacher Me

Analysis on the Umbrella Revolution

CartoonWhat is the Umbrella Revolution?

The Umbrella Revolution is a revolutionary protest organized by students, educators and civilians around Hong Kong to fight for democracy. The name was coined during the final weekend of September in response to the publically deemed “excessive force” exercised by the police when they launched tear gas at unarmed civilians. The police justify their actions by claiming to have been outnumbered by a ratio of 7 angry protesters per 1 cop.

 Why is the Umbrella Revolution taking place?

As per an agreement made between Britain and China in 1984, Hong Kong is to exercise a One Country Two System policy until 2046. This agreement was made to ensure that Hong Kong is entitled to its capitalist free market and independent government. However, in the recent years, China has begun to appoint pro-Chinese government officials to the Hong Kong “Cabinet” so as to secure their hold on Hong Kong before the final handover thirty years from now.

 The People of Hong Kong are now standing up to this government and challenging the ideologies and expectations set out by the Chinese government. Two of the largest issues raised during the protests are universal suffrage and censorship. On Thursday night, 2nd October, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive CY Leung announced that he would grant Hong Kong five million votes for the 2017 election. Hong Kong is unsatisfied with this response, claiming that it is not the number of votes in concern, but rather who the candidates are. “Giving us the selection of A) Bread with ham and cheese, B) Cheese with bread and ham and C) Ham with cheese and bread is not a real election!” claimed one of the leaders at the Central protests. “We want a true election!” echoed the crowd.

Click here for the definition of True Democracy in Hong Kong.

The realities behind the protests:

All throughout history, Hong Kong has always been a popular hub for international traders. The Imperial Era recognized Hong Kong’s tea, pearl and salt resources, and thus began trade. The Colonial Era then acknowledged Hong Kong’s geographical location, and used Hong Kong as a port between traders. Over the years, Hong Kong has always caught the eye of many stronger civilizations. The 1800s marked the beginning of Hong Kong’s existence under colonial Britain, but by the mid-1900s, Hong Kong’s paradigm was challenged by Japan. The Japanese managed to occupy Hong Kong for just under a decade before Britain took full control in the 1950s.

 1984 was when the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed, permitting Hong Kong to function with two policies until 2046. 1997 marked the “Handover,” which was when Britain “returned” Hong Kong to China under the terms and conditions listed out in 1984. In 1996, Prime Minister John Major promised Hong Kong that “If in the future there were any suggestion of a breach in the Joint Declaration, we would mobilize the international community and pursue every legal and other avenue open to us. Hong Kong will never have to work alone.” This promise was evidently disregarded in Hong Kong’s fight for True Democracy, but the reason being that the timing within the international arena is not ample.

How timing is severely affecting the outcome of this revolution:

Many sources have made various claims that this plan was set in motion within the last decade, albeit these claims are heavy, but not necessarily inaccurate, conjectures. Democracy has always been a threat to the Chinese government, but Hong Kong has always been open to democracy. Therefore, superpowers who are engaged in spreading democracy can easily use Hong Kong as a hub or pathway into China. However, the timing of this revolution is the greatest weakness of the revolution itself: considering that most of the international focus is on defeating Isis, most superpowers feel that their resources are better spent ridding the world of a concentrated religious paradigm rather than supporting a small city that is one of the top ten contributors to the global economy.

 Further analysis and outcome of responses indicate that Western Superpowers would put more effort into supporting the ideological paradigm had the emphasis not been so heavily concentrated on Isis, but also that the involvement of Western Superpowers would be from a diplomatic standpoint, and not military warfare. China is currently one of the strongest economic powers in the world, and considering that those whose armies are reliant on Chinese money, it is unlikely that their armies would take on the Chinese government in the first place. Conversely, the Chinese government is a threat to Hong Kong’s democracy, which essentially threatens the independent free market on many levels. This threat is partially what is attracting attention in the global arena, and this is the reason why Western Superpowers are even marginally involved.

What will happen?

What the media has failed to accurately portray is that this revolution is not a fight that began just ten days ago. This is not just a “protest by bored people who want to change something.” And the fact that protesters are leaving the scene is not a sign of boredom or defeat, it is a sign that Hong Kong will continue to maintain its solidarity and together, we will come up with a new, more feasible and more realistic method to achieve an outcome. The protest was needed in order to arouse international and national attention, and now that we understand which Superpowers are in unison and for what reasons, perhaps all we need is the correct timing. Whatever happens to this protest, this Revolution, it is evident that these ten days are just the tip of the iceberg, a taste of greater things yet to come. Greater, regardless of the ideological or paradigmatic shifts, but greater in the sense that very soon, big changes will take place in Hong Kong, and these changes are all dependent on how strongly China values their reputation in the International Arena.

This volatility of China is the greatest threat to Hong Kong.
And Hong Kong’s independence and social progression is the greatest threat to the Chinese government.

So, what now?
Click here to read “The next 36 hours could determine the future of Hong Kong.”

McGordan

United We Raise Our Umbrellas

Translation of the popular song going around Hong Kong about the Umbrella Revolution. Please watch the video, even if you don’t understand the lyrics. This accurately depicts what we are going through here. It gives a real feel for the unity and solidarity that Hong Kong is using to shield themselves.

I translated the contextual meaning, not the literal meaning because it’s quite heavy on the metaphor and wouldn’t make sense to be translated literally.

Sitting in this sea of people
I will not be afraid
But with fear instill in us like this
What are we to do?
This is life, and we get to this night
Are we even more afraid to express our cries from the heart?

Standing on the frontlines
Our courage is relentless
What we fear more is the bleak fate
But who wants this?
We must see past the absurdity
For at that moment, you will shed a tear

Together with our umbrellas
Together holding hands
Together, we are not alone
United we raise our umbrellas
United we raise our hands
United we keep our courage
So I ask you, “Are you afraid?”
Even when there is a storm
When we’re at the end of our tethers
Umbrellas are a blossoming flower
Never goes dry and never withers

So for every tomorrow
Please remember tonight
That you and I have faced a miserable reality
But this is life
And if you miss the opportunity tonight
This may be our last chance for
Freedom of Speech.

The Umbrella Revolution

The Umbrella Revolution: How Hong Kong defends itself against itself against its own government. No looting, no burglaries, no fires, no stepping on grass, and no unfinished homework. And how do we plan to win? With love, peace and good morals.

Vision HK
The Umbrella Revolution of Hong Kong, 2014.

Hong Kong’s passionate and unrelenting fight for democracy has begun to set an example for the world in regards to how protests can be fought. If the police force are able to exercise their rationale and let the conscience be their guide, rather than blindly follow inflexible orders, then Hong Kong stands a chance at winning with a ribbon.

And an umbrella.

This all started as a peaceful protest, where students, leaders and activists have gotten together to fight for democracy by way of Scholarism. This is the new-wave education which Hong Kong has been undergoing for the last few years, and in terms of social sciences, one could almost call this Hong Kong’s Enlightenment Period. After years of social suppression, Hong Kong education has finally liberated the minds of its People, and in turn, the People are merely asking for a shot at keeping this newly adopted and evidently welcomed mentality. The fact that the greatest percentage of supporters are university students, it stands to reason that Hong Kong’s education is, actually showing progress intellectually, socially and philosophically. All of these are key fundamentals to Humanism, and although Hong Kong may be decades late in adopting this mindset, this Revolution is an event that HAS to take place.

The French had theirs, as did the Russians. The Civil Rights movement was no different, and this is one of the fastest (not the fastest) spreading revolutions in the last century. Thanks to technology and a set of demographics that work to our advantage, we’ve managed to start a revolution that has been featured as international headlines for three consecutive days and counting. This has aroused global awareness and highly appreciated support from 40 cities and 15 countries. We thank Britain for voicing their concern and extend our gratitude to Chemring for looking into the matter. However, we fear that if Britain no longer distributes the gas to Hong Kong, the city will resort to using gas manufactured in China, which could be lethal.

Alas, we sincerely hope that people are clear on the fact that we are fighting for democracy and protesting police brutality. Contrary to what Ishaan Tharoor states in his report, Hong Kong is not focused on protesting the arrest of student activist Joshua Wong, who was released the next day.

Proud HK

Citizen's concern and understanding towards the cops despite their brutality over the past few days.
Citizen’s concern and understanding towards the cops despite their brutality over the past few days.
The Environmental Protection Department stacks up bottles for recycling.
The Environmental Protection Department stacks up bottles for recycling.

The fact that recycling can still be a concern for the city shows how smoothly and successfully this protest is going. Well done, Hong Kong.

Translation: A Cop with a Conscience
Translation: A Cop with a Conscience

In attempt to regain the city’s trust, cops whose vision is aligned with ours are openly showing their support.

Benny Tai from Occupy Central breaks down for the city.
Benny Tai from Occupy Central breaks down for the city.
We are crying to be heard.
We are crying to be heard.

Hong Kong adopts the tune from Les Misérables “Do You Hear The People Sing?” as the anthem for democracy by changing the lyrics into Cantonese so as to complement the situation.

In the mean time, the streets remain quiet at 11 AM on China’s National Day, October 1st. Many are hoping for the radical irony of Hong Kong Independence Day landing National Day, but until I can physically be present, I will continue to contribute to the protest by translating posts from the Chinese news and posting it onto the unfiltered English live feed here. For the live feed of official (with sources) unfiltered news, please follow this one.

Stay strong Hong Kong.
McGordan

Everybody Lies – But Why?

Lie to me and tell me that it’s gonna be alright.
~David Cook~

The inability to communicate candidly simply in fear of the other person’s reaction is merely a reflection of our own insecurities manifesting. We fear the other’s reaction because we don’t want a living reminder of how we would react – thus we create a scenario where we simply hope that our own reactions will be, later on, reflected in their own behaviour.

As I’ve said many a time, everybody lies. It’s merely the reasons behind the indiscretion that lead oneself to wonder, “What did I do to cause this lie?”

Everyone lies for a reason – most, to avoid responsibility or repercussions of a delayed, ambiguous reaction. Some lie to cover up a story they know should be falsified; others lie because admitting their true feelings out loud “makes it real.”

Everybody lies, but why?

The reality of truth, when analysed by philosophers or political scientists, is often a reference to macro-scale deceit where the government, or its representatives hold a position of responsibility and “trust.” Those in power are the so-called roll models of trust. Paradoxically, those are the ones in which society deems “the Best Liars.”

Politically speaking, “untruths” are mere ways of phrasing certain words to skirt around the law – to justify a questionable cause by masking the true motive.

Socially speaking, “lies” exist for the sole purpose of ego. I coin the term “ego” casually because it refers, not simply to the arrogance of the fickle human mind, but to the perpetual strive for self-recognition (Fukuyama, 1992). Lies exists because we, as humans, have an undying instinct for survival, and perhaps the world is not as barbaric or anarchic as Hobbes described in Leviathan, but ultimately the human sub-subconscious does not (and will not) eradicate the strive for survival. That said, social survival is the new mask of “being alive.” Ergo, lies exists for the sake of social survival, because it is in our instinctive nature to avoid social conflict.

Religiously speaking (and I draw the following from one of the most Ancient – and well known – religions in the world): Christianity. Religiously speaking, lies exist because Satan was known as the “Prince of Darkness.” What this entails is one of the largest “sins” : dishonesty. However, the Daoist philosophy is that there can be no light without the balance of darkness, and vice versa. In other words, there can be no absolute truth without the presence of a lie. The world, our humanity, is imperfect (Christians will argue that it was not meant to be as such), but alas, humans as they are are imperfect and flawed. Perfection cannot exist without the existence of imperfection. This, is true perfection – to incorporate all aspects of human nature: The good, the bad, the ugly truth.

Thus, will that’s said and done, how this relates to the simplicity of a single human lie. Why do we lie?

Even the simplest of ideas can have the deepest and mind-blowing theories. And the beauty of theory, is that it is mere conjecture, speculation, calculation, rationalisation. It is not necessarily a fact, rather a string of facts concocted to explain an experience that is meant to be experienced.

And therefore, by simply adding fanciful academic words, using obsolete yet decorative diction, man has, over the years, learned to evolve language and shape it in such a way that humans can be lead to believe almost any lie. Even Foucault, over the last century, devised a political and social theory of its own simply based on the Linguistic aspect of “Post-Structualism” : simply put, how language has shaped the actual structure of modern society.

Again, to adopt another religious philosophy, if us as humans were to speak only the truth, as suggested in the Hindu “Naraka,” a realm where lies do not exist and there is absolutely no method of creating falsified statements, would we as humans simply lose our essence of creativity? Are lies not simply a darker route straying from “creativity,” from “fiction” ? To those who feel the need to justify and rationalise each and every lie, those who think like lawyers and find a way to skirt around “the rules”; those who think like politicians and know how to touch up their phrasing in hopes of persuading the slightly less educated; those who think like academics who string ideas and thoughts together – create hypothesis; those who create art out of nothingness; those who are capable of writing the next best seller.

Are we not all creators of our own world? If so, are we not all liars, fundamentally?

Can we go too far to find what is waiting here?
A little fall from grace on the longest night
Did we go too far to find what is waiting here?
We’ll take a little time to open up again.
~Howie Day~