Tuesday, April 29, 2003


Yup...another literal title. Which leads in nicely with a point made by a friend whom I had dinner and engaging conversation with last night. He said that I wasn't quite arty or litty (sorry, literary would be more accurate but dang it! I deserve some cuteness in my live......don't ask...). More accurately, I don't sound like that sort. For a good example click on the link on the sidebar "Kissed by God" (HC humanz lit reference to those innate artistically gifted). Maybe I don't quote from classics or something...8>

Anyhow, can't really work myself up to another longish post... But anyway, any request for the next "Boogie on the head of a pin'?

Only worthwhile (recurrent) thought of the day involved human rights, liberty, civil rights and the safety of the public. Personally, I think too much has been made of the supposite conflict between them, when the real questions are, 1. Is there really a dichotamy? and 2. Even if there is, where should the balance lie?

On the first, here's a quote from Benjamin Franklin: "He who values security over liberty, deserves neither liberty nor security". On the second, here's one from Marshall (one of the great supreme court judges) who summed up the idea that rights are not absolute and can be breeched, "The right to free speech does not give the right to shout fire in a crowded theatre." There is the right to free speech, but there too are slander and libel laws. (Racism is another topic for another day)

And where does the media lie anymore anywhere? Has it become the fourth estate? One of the pillars (and feeders of the trough) of society? Has investigative journalism really become nothing more than the tabloit of the intellectuals? Has journalistic integrity been sacrificed on the alter of profit margins of 'the greater good'

And do I know where this post is going? =)

Friday, April 25, 2003

{{{Boogie on the head of a pin}}}

*Clears throat*... Warning, *prof mode* about to begin, *prof mode* about to begin...

*Prof mode*: This little capsule of information, one hopes, will eventually become but the first in a long running series. In language and prose that befits the Economist (Short, punchy and sharp according to one of their adverts), and belies his miserable GP score, this author hope to put forth various points the author hopes to put forth to his immediate audience (i.e. however happens to be reading behind his back at various moments in the 4th dimension), as well as (when this author gives in to his superego) the wider world. ~ *Prof mode ends*

And for those who are wondering, I still have no idea what the philosophical or theological debate over the number of Angels capable of dancing on the head of the pin is about. I realise that most of my 9 months reading and doing philosophy and comparative theology was spent floundering in the wilderness. Which is why I'm going to focus on P and E and leave out the other P.

Okay! Back to the original point (pun not intended)... Today's will be about the UN. And for those who paid no attention to the various exhortations above and below, NO! this is not some witty point on existentialism vs materialism, nor is it pondering on the mysteries of religion (particularly those monotheistic ones).

This is the successor to the League of Nations that failed miserably after failing to stop various despotic and imperialistic regimes from invading various countries and fighting over their various natural resources. Sounds familiar doesn't it? And yes I'm referring to the first (and not the second) Gulf War. In case that there's any doubt on Saddam's despotism or his imperialistic tendencies, read up on the Ba'ath party and their policy of secular (and not Islamic, which basically makes a mockery of all his claims to be the protector of Islam) nationalism.

In any case, consider the background in which the UN was set up. The year is 1945, the deliberations regarding the creation of such a body was basically discussed by three men (and the countries they represented: USA, Britain and the former USSR) in the waning months of the war. The spirit of the times, the raison d'etat of nation
states is best encapsulated by, "There are no permanent allies, only permanent interests." This was the period of the 'Modern' states, where balance of power and military might, determined the scales of international relations. This was the world expressed best by Bismarck and his political vision of Realpolitik. Not quite unlike the state of the European continent after the Treaty of Westphalia 1648 (and for those who appreciated irony, it looks like the world may be heading back towards those days of religion over nation. Despite my misgivings about Samuel Hutchingson's thesis in The Clash of Civilisations, there may be some truth in what he says).

As such the structure of the UN reflects the political realities of the world that greeted the end of World War 2. Might makes right and victory decides the minds of most men. The victors of WW2, in particular the Big 5, the permanent members of the Security Council, were in fact the oligarch (soon to develop into a bi-polar zone) of the world. They, the possessors of the most destructive (physical) weapon the world had ever known, could and did to a large degree, define and decide the course of the world since. Without even going into conspiracy theories, their prints can be seen in almost every single geopolitical issue of today.. Whether it is the rise of militant Islam (to
combat what the revolutionaries saw as Western control of their nation e.g. Iran 1967), the spread of democracy (or at the very least its importance in name), the fall of Communism as a political and economic structure (Marxist thought and dialectism will be with us till the end of time), various capitalist and pseudo-capitalist systems (Keynesian, Monetarist, Neo-Keynesian Synthesis, ISI etc.), much if not all can be traced to an action or a reaction to them.

The most tangible form of political power that they wielded (and still do) was (and is) the Veto. Whether or not one accepts the current conventions of International Law that inteprets the absence of any of these member's consent as equating to that of a veto, capable of overriding the express wishes of the majority of the Security Council (and by extension the majority of the world's sovereign nation since Resolution 241 is so rarely used) merely ignores the realities of the situation today. The fact is, veto power was granted in order to avoid infringing/intruding (accidentally or otherwise) the interest of these nations. This cannot and should not be simply viewed as the evil conspiracy of a few power hungry nation to lord over the rest of the 'minnow' nations. The fact is, stability and order in the balance of a higher world on the edge of a
nuclear sword of Damascus was preferable to the chaos of war.

And the world has not done badly since.

But the world has since changed. Thus can we still accept this system of inequity? And if we do, how should we best go about preserving the status quo?

In a world that professes a belief in the individual, in his inequality in relation to his fellow person, in the idea of democracy, of Vox Populi Vox Dei (The Voice of the People is the Voice of God), can we with good conscience accept such blatant inequalities?

But yet not to do so would be to simplistically disregarding the realities of power equations and plays of the various poles (centres of powers) in the world today.

Observe the US led invasion of Iraq. Could a united world (a laughable concept even in the best of times) have stopped it? Well, the score reads one to political division and nil to diplomacy. Militarily, would anyone really like to find out? And in truth, did anyone want to? Most nations that opposed the war had pretty selfish (political and populist) reasons to do so. Others, particularly those that sought to uphold certain aspects of international law (What about resolution 1441 or the preceeding 12 years' worth?) or the sanctity of international organisations (to claim that they speak for the common people would be hubris in the least) or even the fear that the USA was going down a slippery slope to the destruction of the sanctity of national sovereignty (it is not a shield, it is not an absolute right. Another essay for another day unless I get requests => ) and world arrmageddon (stopping Saddam would be a great step in keep WMD from unsavoury hands) all had merit in themselves, but ignored reality. See above =>

Regimes like Saddam's and Kim Jong Il's thrive in a post-modern world or at least in a post-modern atmosphere that has seem at times to have lacked the will power and ability to do nothing more than to smack them on their hands and send them to bed without their suppers (and deprive their people of breakfast, lunch, dinner and possibly hope) for their various misdeeds and transgressions. Saddam got away for 12 years by playing the UN against itself. Kim Jong Il basically blackmailed the Western world into giving him more toys to stay in power and blackmail them.

Keep this point in mind as we explore the possibility of reforming the Big 5 to reflect power plays more in tune with today's world.

One way would be to introduce more members into the Big 5. Obvious candidates can be divided into two sorts. Those with nuclear weapons and economic powerhouses.

The first would involve inviting nations like Pakistan and Indian and perhaps even nuclear hopefuls like North Korea and Iran. On first sight, it looks more than simply ridiculous, whatever tensions that currently exist within the council would be aggravated. The gaps that exist between these members and would-be members are vast. Nations with different ideologies and differing attitudes to foreign affairs need a bridge. The failure of diplomacy in the face of national interest and moral certainty is hardly going to give one a good night's sleep. Considering the fact that it's veto powers that one is talking about here, and all talk about playing geopolitical games would come to
fruition. On the other hand, it's possible that nations like North Korea are merely playing an attention seeking game in building weapons of mass destruction. Engaging them would prove beneficial in aligning them with the interest of the wider world. Like far right parties becoming mainstream, there may be hope for such nations yet. Which is more likely? One hopes for the second, but it's hard to keep a straight face.

Or the second option. Invite nations like Japan and Germany who have surely earned their places here. If not for the fact that they were on the wrong side, who might know? But when confronting 'modern' and 'pre-modern' nations in the arena of international affairs, Diplomacy without arms is simple, lame. Might can make black into white and seem right. To prevent that, look to economics (and common sense) for an answer. The theory of the second best states that one must introduce imperfections into an imperfect world to create the desired result. One does not maintain world peace by remaining pacifist in the face of an aggressive nation in an arms race. Disarmament and appeasement can work but sometimes there simply isn't much choice. So Japan and Germany, one of who's constitution makes it impossible for them to wage war except in self defence (which has severely limited their military capabilities), appears ludicrous as one cannot assume a base level of order and civility in a world that is in places untamed jungle.

So what's left? And is that necessarily the right thing? How does one go about engaging America? Does one go the way of France and oppose the hyperpower that
America seems to be on principle, 'Jacque(y)' for position and power? Or does one go the British way, 'Blair' with America and guide it as a force of good and
being it and the power into a true 'post-modern' era? Or is there a third way, some compromise that takes the best of two to create a panacea? Or is that simply a false conclusion?

Thursday, April 24, 2003

{{{Comments are up}}}

Self explanatory I should think. =)

Thursday, April 17, 2003

{{{Dances with Hamsters}}}

All together now!

It's Hamtaro time!

Whee! Yippie! Yeah!
Kushi-Kushi Ticky-Ticky

When we work together it's much better!
My best friend!

We like sunflower seeds. . .khrrmp khrrmp khrrmp.
My Ham-Hams!

If she heads for trouble, we won't let her!

Little Hamsters, Big Adventures!

*Clears throat*... Don't ask.... Okay, back to our regular schedule of happy pills and reality...

{{{A Tribute to Paul the Great}}}

Paul, here's your tribute... Ahem....=>

Ladies, if you want a guy who happens to be brilliant and articulate,a snazy dresser, with a deverstating wit to boot and the ability to boogie the night away.... Well step right up for we've a great deal for you!

Want something different from your usual studdish toy boys, well here's a budding top lawyer who happens to be a debater of some world reknown.

For someone special, take a chance on Mr. Paul "Yes prime minister" um....what was your surname again *Big Grin*

*Blinks innocently*...was that what you had in mind, oh great senior of mine? =)

Tuesday, April 15, 2003


Done and Done! Eureka!!!!! With help from a fellow collegue (regarding closing open divisions) I have managed to make some headway in the Maginot Line that is HTML and computer languages in general.

{{{A Reflection on the War thus Far}}}

Brilliant and original title ain't it? =)

Anyway for those who found my previous post a little too dry and sober and boring (hmmm....sounds like my drinking patterns) here's something with a little more humour.....

I call it....{{{War and Economics}}}

Aggressive acquisition: Um...need I really need to go into this?

Allocative Effeciency: Handing over part of the job to the UN

Appreciate: 1. Iraqi real estate prices
2. Not the US in many parts of the world
3. Not the French in the other parts
4. Not Saddam.

Bush Fire: What Bagdad would look like if Saddam had his way

Collectables: Saddam memorabia selling on e-bay

Colleteral: Bush Jr. collecting on the debts Saddam owes his daddy

Colleteral Damage: Blowing up all those lovely palaces with all those lovely and valuable collectables

Entrepreneur: Pigeon/Canary sellers in Iraq

Imperfect competition: US v Iraq

Inflation: Iraqi military ability

Interest: What anti-war countries are showing in the reconstruction of iraq now that the war's suppositely in its end stages

Interest Rate: Going up day by day!

Liquidity: 1. See oil
2. Anti-war stands

Oil: Makes the world go round...smoother

Pioneer advantage: What the US had, Bagdad didn't and in the end it told

Returns: Bush in Iraq...part 2

Real-politic(k): US waging war and there's not much that we can do about it... (And admit it...did we really want to?)

Scarsity: Diplomatic goodwill in trans-atlantic relations

Shut down point (of the firm): Tikrit

U.S. bonds: Iraq-US, US-Britian....you get the idea =)

Withdrawal: What Saddam has appear to have done

{{{The War Thus Far}}}

For those who expect something witty from the above title, one piece of advice, read the disclaimer (second blog). It is in actuality about the war in Iraq.

For the record, I'm utterly and totally pro-war....on balance.I wish that there it had not come to this stage of being. I wish that there had not been any casualties, civilian or otherwise. I wish that there were world peace and harmony. Unfortunately, that's like wishing that there's a santa clause. Which is good in some ways actually. The Similar Principle is as thus: If there ain't one, be one!

Don't wish for world peace, play an active part in its promotion and propergation. As Michael Jackson may say: "It don't ain't matter if you're black or white". Preach mode ~ Let there be a glowing light and may it be the light of truth and awareness. Yea, John Maynard Keynes may say 'In the long run we are all dead' but let there be a world of peace for our children. As such let there be War! It can lead to peace....in the long run ~ Preach mode ends. For those who believe in peace, peace I say, there's nothing quite wrong with peace or the status quo or tradition or society.... But sometimes, 'to go two step forward, one must take one step back'. Tradition sometimes is nothing more than an innovation that work rather too well. Or another commy quote by a famous Great Chariman, black cat white cat, who cares as long as it catches the rats.

Monday, April 14, 2003

*Growl* This is disturbing. This is the final nail in my coffin declaring that I'm an absolute wreck when it comes to software.... Dang HTML....it's a computer code! I'm suppose to be able to discover it's *beeping* *beep* inherent logic and create those *beeping* hyperlinks in the *beeping* column....

*Sigh*...guess that's why I'm an arts student....

Um....a plea to the Spaces Between the Web... Help?! Please?!

Okay... A brief guide to the all important people in my life at the moment.

Me mom. Without whom I would not be here today. In all sense of the word.

Me brother. Psychoanalysing him would be a hell lot cool if he were my twin coz of our remarkable similarities and disparateness.

Her. Until I get permission from Her, I won't be using her name here anytime soon =) Needless to say she's very special in my life and it's disturbing to imagine life before and without her.

The debaters of Hwa Chong. This goes out to all past, present and future members of the debate wing of the ELDDFS.

The debaters of Hwa Chong, 2001. You guys (and gals) have a special place in my heart. Admit it, we were a pretty dysfunctional bunch/team but it was fun while it lasted...not to mention all the waves we created.

The classes of Humanz 00A14 and 00A15. *Stratches head*, what can I really say about them really. Well, the reason I had a blast in JC was because of you guys and the gals (the fact that the ratio was three gals to one guy or conversely that we were seriously outnumbered by a group of really independent and brilliant ladies had nothing to do with it of course....or the ahem...'gender disputes' we had)

I promise I'll gve you guys a proper tribute....once I find the time of course...=>

As the title says. It's an alpha, a beginning. And may there never be an omega.

To those who have stumbled onto this blog accidentally, have fun. To those who came with a purpose, hope ya find it. To those who wandered aimlessly to find me, well you've found me. To those who were hoping to avoid me but found yourself here anyway, um....well stay or go it's up to you. Irregardless of your route of progress, this merely begs the next question, What Next?

All stories (or blogs) must have a beginning and (to borrow the phrase) In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was etc. etc. SO.... First, to satisfy my narssictic tendancies, a introduction to this author is in hand to lead you through the "wonderful wonderful" world that is his mind...=) (And if you believe that, you're a better person than most can claim. Including in my weaker more human moments, ME!!!!)

But first! Uno, a disclaimer: No blog posted here shall be read with or without intension as representing views of organisations that the author may or may not be affiliated with. Further more, reading any of his blogs may be detrimental to your mental and physical state of health, or at least your viewpoints anyway. Thirdly, reading INTO any of his blogs of some form of existantial meaning is definately an exercise in futility as this author is an avowed materialist. Fourthly, this author is tempted to place some form of plea to the almighty three letter acronyms that control his future via possible scholarships, but he realises that with hindsight that they're not likely to read them and may be detrimental to his chances if they do at any rate.

Anyway back to the original point. My name is Lee Wei Han Shaun. Currently 19. Currently serving his nation through compulsory military service (and that's the last you'll ever read about NS). Currently attached to a wonderful wonderful lady. Currently munching on some popcorn as he composes this blog. At any rate, he has been described by his friends, superiors, juniors, seniors and subordinates variously as 'an amoral bastard', 'debater', 'the guy with the funny hair', 'a well groomed mushroom', 'shine' (give it a go I'm sure you can figure it out', 'a nice guy', 'a horrible guy', 'guy with no life', 'paradox'...well you get the idea.

I should come round to posting about the people around me who have variously made a impact on me, my life, and my rpgs. Once I thaw my fingers out anyway.