Categories
Society

[34] Of I love and hate America

Almost all of the whole wide world hate the Americans right now. In Iran, the anti-American sentiment is going excessively high. Iraq, as always is disgusted by how the word United States of America sounds. I myself have a reservation toward the Americans.

Hmm…

Let me rephrase that. I don’t like the American’s ways of running the government but that does not mean I hate the Americans.

After being more than half a year here, I found myself quite pleased with the Americans’ attitude. They are friendly, helpful, cheerful and full of “what’s up?” I like them a lot.
The Malaysians are proud of their friendliness but I feel that the Americans are friendlier. They opened the door for you, they greet you ‘morning’, they say hi, they say what’s up.

Unlike us, they do not laugh at mistake committed by somebody openly. Unlike us, they are very sincere and won’t be mad when you just criticize them sincerely. I like them a lot.
I found myself right now making a lot of American friends.

First there’s Matt, my Calculus II mate. I thought once the class is over, he’ll just forget me. I’ll be nothing more than another stranger who walks randomly in the street of Ann Arbor. However, I found out that whenever he meets me, the word “what’s up” is audible. Delighted, I usually spend a few minutes talking to him, catching up things. Right now, I found out that he is in my Physics class. We usually sit together for the past days and discuss about physics. I had also visited his room which is just across the beautiful West Quad’s courtyard. That’s Rumsey House for those of you who live in Ann Arbor.

Another one of my friends that I’m close with is Jacob. Well, I can’t really say that we are close but frequently, we talk a few things that aren’t related to academic stuffs. I guess Americans are not that stuck up after all, in contrast with the current view in Malaysia. To add thing further, they aren’t stupid either. Of course some of the Malaysians say that the Americans are ignorant of the world. Unfortunately, all of us are ignorant. The Americans are ignorant in certain things, I agree but everybody is an ignorant in their on way.

I like the Americans but still, when I’m playing Civilization 3, I’ll whack the American.

Here is a letter I sent to the GreenPlanet’s discussion group. In it, is one of the reasons that make me love The States. It’s an edited version:

By the way, do you know what I like about The States?

Well, they are not as clean as Singapore but at least the term recycle does exist here, unlike Malaysia. In our country, when it’s time to dump something, they just dump but here, they say, “don’t worry about the excess papers. We’ll recycle it”.

When I first arrived, I was a little bit disoriented with their usage of the term “recycle”. They don’t “dump”. They recycle and they really do what they say.
Back home, there a lot of differentiated bins for people to recycle but in the US, there are almost none. Here, they recycle even without those red-green-blue-yellow colored bins. I guess what makes these two countries different is the awareness towards the dying environment. Most Malaysians are unenlightened about recycling and they need to be educated.

By this, I am not admiring the US culture but their public practice on recycling is real, again, unlike Malaysia. They are so aware of the dying environment; they don’t use the word “dump”, “throw away” etc. They use the word recycle. (Of course, the term is usually limited to recycling papers.)

If we can somehow educate our fellow Malaysians to this level where the public use the word “kitar semula” instead of “buang sahaja”, then we’ll have something to be proud of.

Are you seeing what I am trying to say?

Recycling is already becoming parts of the American’s culture. We Malaysians must achieve the same level too. Of course, Malaysia Boleh, right?

Everything starts with recycling. It’s useless to fight the on major problem like some of us had said. It’s useless to take action on the fumbling Kyoto Pact or the depleting ozone layer or anything else that is big when you are nothing but a normal citizen (unless you a manager of a factory, maybe you can fight these biggie problems on a small scale). But recycling is something that everybody can do.

If it is hard to educate the public, at least educate the children. Scold them when they waste needlessly, warn them when they are not recycling, do anything to encourage them to recycle because only through these children can we engrave recycling into our culture. Our nation achieves nothing until this is done. We can boast of having the best environmental-friendly incinerator in the region but that is nothing until the recycling culture is ours.

To find out more about GreenPlanet, click here.

Here is a newsflash, one of the reasons that make me hate the US’ administration.

Categories
Personal Society

[30] Of I fear death; I cherish life

Nothing in this world lives for eternity. No matter how long life is, when the end comes, the cold darkness will shroud yet another tiny world. For the living, death brings sadness.
History has shown human that death cannot be cheated upon. Yet, human tries from time to time. First, it was the legendary Fountain of Youth. Now, it’s cloning and cryogenic cell’s turn.

Death is painful to the sufferers and to the one that stays close to them. That’s why human sometimes try to cheat death. It’s eminent but they still try without complaining. Human is a stubborn species but yet one must agree that trait is what made human so successful as an intelligent being. Without stubbornness, Newton would have never found Calculus. Without stubbornness, Rome would have never been built because stubbornness is synonym to the word perseverance. That fact makes human afraid of death for death means the end of everything including perseverance. Stubbornness makes human a human.

Human’s fear of death is also the reason why religion exists. Religion acts as a guarantee to human’s continuous existence. The body shall rot but the soul will be preserved to perfection. God promises reincarnation. This one paragraph could well be blasphemy but it’s an argument. Whether it is fragile or not, I shall not answer. It’s for you to sit and think properly for I am writing at 0443 hrs. Strange thoughts come frequently during the cold silence night.

“If you do not fear death, then you love your God.”

That one sentence, written by somebody in Malay, a minor language, catalyst my mind to assault the idea of religion. How can one fear not of death? Death is something terrible one can bear alone. Even in a brave soldier, standing at the frontline, waiting to be charged to, feels a trace of fear. He fears death but his love for his causes makes him to be brave. He shoves aside that fear, forgetting it for the passing moment but his heart will always be at unease at the sight of a coming arrow.

One could argue fear can be confronted with courage. Yes, that’s true. Courage will brings bravery but bravery is born by fear. Courage comes to life because of fear. Fear is what human is. The fear of a spreading war forced the Americans to enter the Second World War. The fear of a “higher being” makes human to embrace Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Fear introduced the notion of poly- and monotheism to human.

The way I see it, we should not be embarrassed to feel fear because fear is one of the elements of life. I shall fear death for that fear will help me to live a colorful life before it is too late. The fear of irreversible dimension will help me to live life to the fullest.

To those whom do not feel fear, you live in a false utopia. It’s neither hell nor heavan. Your life has only two color; black and white. Perhaps, only white because you do not suffer fear. How dull is your monochromic life. I pity you.

These are sincere words.

Categories
Society

[20] Of war against spammers

Check this out…Bernard Shifman

The war against spammers has begun (at least on my part, again)…Hail the anti-spammer!!!

p/s – For those of you who are interested in joining the crusade against spammers, visit SpamCom Foundation.

Categories
Politics & government Society

[18] Of I am a Malaysian

This shall be my last babble in Minneapolis.

Being too bored staring at the monitor, I’d decided to visit some stuff about Malaysia. My first stop was catcha.com.my. Nothing much to be mentioned there. Second stop, thestar.com.my. I browsed through the news and read some of it. The same stuff over and over again. Politics, car accidents, some events, racial segregation…

Wait! Racial segregation? What in the whole wide universe is this? Racial segregation in Malaysia? I thought this thing has become the thing of the past. Of course, the issue the Chinese conquering the upper level of education level and the meritocracy has become the hot talk when I was in Malaysia but racial segregation in the system?

I say, people will surely blame the British for their divide and conquer method of ruling. Well, the British was surely the one to be blamed but that is the past and nothing can be changed about it, unless of course, if the physicists found the secret of time travel (spelling it out, back through time), that will be another matter. I shout, there’s been a mistake in the Malaysian education architecture and design. I hail, the vernacular system should be stop one and for all, by phrase, slowly and be ended sometimes in the future. No All-Chinese, All-Indian, All-Malay higher education. The Chinese minority should not be allowed to establish a university of their own. Nor the Indian, nor the Malay themselves. The University in Shah Alam should be opened to all. Every University should be made for all. If the Malays argue that it is their right, then, let the quota for the Malay stand tall but not too big to degrade the quality.

I hate it when Malaysians are asked, “Which race are you belong to?” and the question is answered by “I’m a Malay”, or “I’m a Chinese” or “Indian”. Why can’t the answer be just “I’m a Malaysian”? Is it so hard so for us to claim ourselves as a Malaysian?

Categories
Society

[17] Of knowledge

It’s so frustrating to write up a source code and see the result is nothing but in a mumbo-jumbo disorder. Now I can remember how the way I felt back when I was taking C++ 2. Doing all the programming from dusk to dawn back to dusk again and seeing only the error messages; it’s great to know that that’s a thing of the past and I probably don’t have to worry about it for another 3 to 5 months. Ahh, I feel so lucky to be freed from programming (namely, the C language) but ironically, I’m teaching myself another computer language. And right now, instead trying to find the creator of C++ and cut his throat off, I’m trying to commit suicide for failing to comprehend a certain section of html. I guess a human mind is always as curious as a cat. Purrrrrrrrrrr…

It’s so cold today. I dare not go outside even with full winter clothing. I just hate the cold. While I was in Bloomington Indiana, I went to a souvenir shop and bought a few memoirs. Waiting for my credit card to be approved by the online system, I had a little chat with the man behind the counter. I told him that it was snowing pretty heavily. He looked outside and saw snow coming down. Then, he turned to me and said it shouldn’t be snowing heavily right now. Since the time taken for my credit card to be approved had been extended overtime, I continued babbling and said that I hate the cold. He said he understands and again, the same phrase I’ve heard, “…you shouldn’t be attending Michigan, Indiana or any of the Midwest schools if you hate the cold. You should be in Florida or somewhere hot…” I said, “That’s my mistake”.

And it’s all about he said she said… And I can’t believe that I celebrated New Year’s Eve in Chicago, at the Navy Pier for hours, under the zero range.

Don’t you like free-writing or free-thinking?

I just love it. By practicing it, my mind is not being contained inside a small box. My mind just flies freely like a bird that soars mightily up into the clouds. It feels like I’m flying. But unfortunately, both ways sometimes make me unable to focus deep into a subject. My e-journal has been full with entries that concern my personal life to the marcoworld that lives outside of my physique. It is outside of my physique but never out of my consciousness. That’s what makes me feel ever-powerful.

Come to think of it, the Great Library of Alexandria is comparable to the net. The Great Library held almost all of the ancient world knowledge. It would be exciting to rediscover this one particular member of the great wonders. The knowledge that it held could probably answer almost all of human ancient mysteries in the Old World. That knowledge will be so precious that I believe a Renaissance in arts and sciences will be reinitiated. Another Renaissance will prove to be human’s greatest feat of all times.

Perhaps, we are already deep into the second renaissance. The key to the First Renaissance was the transfer of knowledge from the Arab’s world to the European’s. I believe the key to the Second Renaissance will be the knowledge again. Right now, if you are reading this, it means that the cumulative knowledge that mankind had ever collected is at your fingertip. It’s just a click away. The word click that is used to describe the situation sounds absurd but it’s true. It’s just a click away. All the knowledge, although not in full details, is in the web. With it, comes power.

Nevertheless, with all the knowledge left unused, the power is wasted. Of course, the net changed the way we shop, communicate and live our life but it’s just that. I can barely see people use the net for academic purposes. I do have the audacity to say that almost 99% of my fellow friends know nothing of the Guttenberg Project that’s currently on the web. Be upset if you felt insulted but I am being as sincere as anybody could. I offer no apology. Face the facts and smell the flowers. If you still think I am wrong, then read the statistic for a Malaysian reading a book other than the thick textbooks per year. You’ll find that stats pathetic. I found it truly humorous.

I definitely found it disturbing when people learned about the works of Tolkien through a movie. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has already been named the Book of the 20th Century but yet, the common people start to admire Legolas when they don’t even know the difference between elfs and elves.

My friends, go and read the books. They are precious for one day, there will be no books to be read and all you’ll be reading tomorrow is the writing on a monitor that’s constantly releasing harmful rays into your eyes.