Can the west’s Democracy survive China’s rise in dominance

A very good read. In fact, as the West continues its decline, many people are starting to question whether democracy in the western forms is the best syste.

From the economist:

For long the West has thought that history is on its side, that the global future would and should be in its own image. With the end of the cold war and the implosion of the Soviet Union, this conviction became stronger than ever. The future was Western; nothing else was imaginable. Of course, already, well before the end of the cold war, in 1978 to be exact, China had started its epic modernisation such that, in the annals of history, 1978 will surely prove to be a far more significant year than 1989. During China’s rise, hubris continued to shape the West’s perception and understanding of China. As the latter modernised it would become increasingly Western, it was supposed: Deng’s reforms marked the beginning of the privatisation and marketisation of the Chinese economy—its political system would in time become Western, otherwise China would inevitably fail.

“We should not expect or require China to be Western.”

China’s political system did not turn Western. The state continues to be a very powerful force in the country’s economy. China remains very distinctive from the West—and has gone from strength to strength in the process. China never had the long-predicted economic crisis that so many Westerners forecast, nor the great political revolt that was destined to deliver Western-style democracy. Instead economic crisis and political crisis befell the West. The Western financial crisis in 2007-08 was the worst since the early 1930s. By 2015-16 its political consequences were upending Western politics, sounding the death-knell of neo-liberalism, undermining the governing elites and weakening governing institutions.

The West—both the United States and the European Union—is, in historical terms, in precipitous decline. The developing world, led by China and India, now accounts for just under 60% of global GDP, compared with around 33% in the mid-1970s. The great story of the post-war era has been the rise of the developing world, representing around 85% of humanity, and the decline of the old developed world, accounting for around 15% of humanity. The developing world has learnt much from the West but it is not, and will not be, Western. China is the classic case in point. It is not even mainly a nation-state. It is, first and foremost, a civilisation-state, a concept that the West has not begun to try and understand. The relationship between state and society is profoundly different from that in the West, and so is its tradition of governance. It was never expansionist in the manner of western Europe and America. China has a very different culture and history to that of the West. We should not expect it or require it to be Western.

“Do not expect the Chinese to behave in the same aggressive military fashion that Europe did in its days of imperial pomp, or as America still does.”

The rise of Europe transformed the world. The rise of America did the same, though enjoying strong lines of continuity with Europe. China will likewise transform the world, but probably on a much greater scale than either Europe or America, mainly because it is that much larger. To think otherwise is both unrealistic and ahistorical. Western hegemony has left a huge imprint on the world, but it was never destined to last for ever. Hegemons are never eternal. To expect China to become a Western-style country in an American-shaped world was always an illusion. But nor should we expect China to delete that world and replace it with something entirely different.

to read more, go to:

https://www.economist.com/open-future/2018/06/14/can-the-wests-democracy-survive-chinas-rise-to-dominance

 

Advertisements

Simply too expensive!

A lot of people, especially those associated with BN, are unhappy about scrapping of the HSR project.

Thank about this:

Even if we can afford the HSR, how about the maintenance n operating costs?how about the affordability of the tickets?

Not all China’s HSR routes are making money. My recent trip to China the airfare from Shanghai to tunxi ( huangshan) is cheaper than my HSR tickets from huangshan to Hangzhou ( first class tickets).

If the cost is 110 billions, and assuming 100% financing , interest alone will be 3 -4 billions a year. How pricey will be the tickets?
Let’s assume the interest to be 3.65 billions for ease of calculation. Interest alone will be 10 millions a day. Add the operating costs. The tickets will be quite pricey. If you want to factor in the principal amount of 110 billions, the tickets will be so pricey that people may not be able to afford.

Assuming each trip can take 500 people. And assuming that there will be 20 trips a day. There will be 10000 tickets for sale. Again for the ease of calculation ( all tickets same price), each ticket needs 1000 Ringgits to just cover the interest payment.

If you price the ticket price lower,then the country will hv to subsidize the tickets. When we already have so high debts, can we afford to subsidize?

The actual ticket cost will be much more complicated n I reiterate that this calculation is simplified to show how expensive it will be to operate. Even if we increase passenger load to 50000 a day, it will still be expensive.

Note that the above calculation does not factor in the principal payment of 110 billions.
If we want to recover this cost over 20 years, we have to add 5.5 billions to the 3.65 billions interest above. That will be 9.15 billions a year. Add onto that the operating and maintenance cost.

You all can continue the simplified calculation to show how much we need to price the tickets.

For the moment, the priority is to reduce the debt level to a lower level.

Just like in a household. When your borrowings are so much that most of your pay go to pay for the interest of the borrowings, you should just try to pay as much as you can to reduce the principal borrowings.

So you have to cancel the luxury car your wife ordered , even if you have to let them forfeit the down payment.

That’s is called financial prudence.

educational reform

I was very vocal against DrM in my blog previously. This time however I thought he was sincere in wanting to bring reforms to the country.

I think as an outsider, he has seen how the whole country has degenerated and how the integrity of the various institutions have been compromised.

He has also seen how low our entire education system has gone down. In this context I think he and only he alone has the stature to confront the various napoleons in the ministry as well as those extreme right wing Malay nationalists to bring a total overhaul of the entire system. He probably was the only one who could bring back the English stream; at the very least he could have done something to improve the English standard as the minister of education

It’s a pity that now he has to appoint someone else to head the Education portfolio.

Hope that even with that appointment, DrM can ‘influence/persuade’ the new minister to bring real reform to education.

No more shadow

May 13 has come and gone. We have finally emerged from the dark shadow of May 13 1969.

We have witnessed a change of federal government peacefully, putting to rest the fear in many people that it would not be possible to vote out the entrenched government in our country.

This fear was used repeatedly by the likes of MCA to scare people to vote for BN.

Finally, we have reached a level of maturity comparable to the many democracies of the world.

If anything, this election has set a precedent for a peaceful transition of power. And that, in my humble opinion, is one of the most important things coming out from this election.

从“和“字说起

华文文字里,有一个“和“字,非常的好。就因这一个字,人与人之间,少了不必要的争执。比如两个人在走路时不小心撞在一起,不知谁对谁错,只要用一个“和”字,说声对不起,就和气收场了。这个“和”字,在人与人之间,减少了很多争执。

另一方面,一个有权有勢的人,在不能泊车的地方泊车,被执法员钳了车胎,高高在上的自尊心受到伤害,而用大铁剪来打执法员,使到执法员皮肉受伤。如果这位有权有勢的人,打了人后,搬出一个“和“字出来,不了了之,普遍大众,会服气吗?如不服,为什么呢? 因为“和”是一种思维,不能被利用成为一种霸权的工具。

我最近加入了一个电话聊天组,有117位组员。这是一个中学同届同学们所组成的,加入时有些同学告之,组中有少数同学贵人事重,不喜欢被打扰,最好只讨论重要问题。 可是什么是重要问题,见仁见智。就因如此,麻烦来了。

我等母校校名,从繁体转换成简体时,本来是没有什么事情的。可是在2012年时期,由于一个不久前出现的新字,校名变了有两个简体版本。校名本意,是取自一华文成语的前两个字,但校方却用了一个来自姓氏的版本。

同学们谈起了,觉得我们应该尊重先贤的意愿,用回那来自成语的版本。有些热心的同学,觉得这问题很重要,应该在那117人组讨论。117人中,当然有一些人会觉得校名不重要,但如更改了校名,会直接影响到这个组的组名,理应在组中讨论。

打一个比如,黄氏宗祠,如要改名成为黄氏公会,一定要给黄氏宗祠的每一会员知道原因和理由。不但如此,还要给每个会员有发表意见的权利。 基于这基础上,这些热心的同学们,就把这课题在这117同学组里,讨论起来。问题来了,那几位尊贵的组员,认为他们的清静,被打扰了,告到组执行员(下称组长吧)处。 我也不明白为什么他们不直接在组内发言,要告到组长那儿,大概也是华人喜欢背后做事的陋习吧,柏杨会把它称为缩头乌龟。我们就不要这样去称呼他们了。

组长基于这少数人的要求,两次发讯息,要这群热心同学,把课题搬到另一地方讨论。另一组长,搬出“和“的大道理来,也要大家服膺于这少数人底下。

这情况大家都很熟悉吧。某一鱼头政党,当小部分重要人物的权益,受到影响时,林姓鱼头和蔡姓鱼头,就会把“和“搬出来了。基于”和“的精神下,普遍大众,你们“委屈“一下吧。 马来西亚的华人权益,每况日下,就因“和“被用为一个工具,使那些能影响政策的人,不需在内阁或最高理事会里去为华人争取了。用一个“和“字,在内可安安稳稳的做鱼头,在外不需去争取族群的权益,换回了无尽的荣华富贵,不好吗?

其实,要用”和“的精神来处理事情,要有一个先决条件。那就是一定要有真理的情况下,才能有真正的“和“. 上面提到那两个例子,大家应明白了吧。

什么是最为重要的真理呢?

有另一位住在佛国的同学,发出一信息,是一关于佛理的短片。我敬佩这位同学对佛学的认识。他的目的也不外要大家“和“好。我也感谢他的出发点和好意。佛的教导,不是四大皆空吗?

佛理来说,一切都是空的,只有因果不空。因果是佛教的真理。在因果不空的大前题下,又有一个小真理,就是“众生平等”.在众生平等下,不但人人平等,是所有生物都是平等的。人人平等,要尊重别人呀。不可因自以为高人一等,就可以杀人放火,乱乱泊车被人指出就老羞成怒打人。就以为高人一等,坏事才会发生。

所以,样样皆空,因果不空。因果不空,就善恶不空。所以 佛教也有戒条。

有人不是佛教徒,以上的不管用。 好,我们再看美国的独立宣言。这是人权组织的圣经。第二句:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Creator 就是上帝。原来上帝也是要人人平等的。 没有高人一等的。教皇每年都要替人洗脚,原意是要给大家知道,没有高人一等的东西。

所以,只有在人人平等的真理和大前提下,才可以有”和“呀。不然,“和“就变了被人利用的工具。人人平等下,每当有不同意见时,少数就要跟着多数呀. 只有在这大前提下,才能有“和“呀。

再回到我们组的事情来说。举一个例,你去参加一个都是朋友的圣诞派对。明知道这派对会有吵杂声音,去到了,给吵了,就和主办人说,我不喜欢吵杂,大家不要出声,过一个没有声音的派对。对吗?明知会有吵杂的,却要出席。被吵了,又要大家“委屈“一下,不要出声,对吗?这就是高人一等的自私心态,华人的欺善怕恶的陋习呀!不要被吵,其实很简单,不要参加就是吗!我的简单头脑,不明白那些要加入聊天组的同学,加入了,又不要收到信息。想来想去,原来这就是自私呀。

被我提到的同学们,看到这篇文章,心理会不高兴。也当然不会接受我的论点。我写以上的,是希望年轻一辈的读者,看了以上的真实事件,能反省一下,对和错的地方。在一个组织里,要接受少数服从多数的原理。

曾子曰:吾日三省吾身。我们人是看不到自己背后的,所以我们应该每天,照照镜子,看看背后。看到自己的背后,才会明白人人平等,才能去尊敬其他的人。

 

 

 

 

I weep for Humanity

I weep for the people of Nice. I weep for the people of France

I weep for the people of the world.

From now on, there will be a totally different scenario.l

This will be a totally different world.

No celebration or gatherings will now be safe. Mankind has lost the freedom and peace to celebrate.

Not everyone knows how to build a device. But almost anyone can drive a truck.

There is no need for gun permits. There is no need for technical expertise.

A truck can be hired anywhere. A mass killing machine can be hired anywhere.

From now on, massive police presence will be in place for any celebrations. Freedom to move or bring in merchandise will be restricted.

From now on, everyone attending a celebration will have certain wariness deep in their minds.

This is not just an attack to France or the West. This is an attack on humanity.

My sympathies are with the families of the victims. My sympathies are with all the people of the World.

What a world this peaceful place has turned into.

I weep for the World!

I weep for humanity.

image

Stagnation, Brexit and The EU

When people perceive that their living standard is not improving, their earning is not rising, their careers are stagnating, that their children’s lives would be worse than theirs, that a decent roof over their heads is beyond reach, they will start to harbour resentment.

These resentments will be directed against governments, against immigrants ( some, instead of trying to adapt to the new country they settle in, try to impose their cultures and beliefs over the existing one in the new land), against establishments.  Thus you have Brexit in the UK and voices in othe EU nations asking for similar referendum.

In the case of European Union, the fact that there are 28 decision makers each trying to fight for their own interests and agenda, it is difficult to form any real initiatives or consensus for economic advancement. As a result,  the whole EU has stagnated for many years.

The EU has simply grown too big to be effective. On top of that, failures of countries like Greece and to a lesser extent Spain require channeling resources and wealth to support them from failing.

The original EEC 6 was much smaller and much more effective. Even after Britain and a few others had joined in the early 70s, it was still feasible. But when it grows to a membership of 28, it becomes too big and cumbersome and stagnation is inevitable.  Imagine a company with 28 equal share holders each trying to have his/her say, this company is not going to go anywhere.

I think the UK may face some problems in the short terms, but once the pain is over, it will be much better for it to grow again.

It is not unlike that a patient who requires radical surgery and who may suffer in the short term, but will become healthier once the short term effect of radical surgery is over!

Previous Older Entries