Why would humans do this to other humans?

Terrorist activities based on an excuse of religion; ridiculous laws based on religion; Running and management of a territory based on a religion.

All these actions and judgements, based on a piece of story from a time where people justifies their account of extraordinary feats on things they do not understand. These accounts became an awe to many others who are curious to hear about it, eventually believed it because they do not understand it either, and by believing they can put their mind at ease at finally getting a closure.

Fast forward this accounts to the 21st century. How much evolved humans have become. Things that had no explanation then, are now proven existences. So why are humans still so blind to believe something that was psychology material then, that most probably now can be explained as part of natural geography subject? Is the philosophy then really worth its weight in gold now, if you just think what is being said in the text in a logical way? You most probably would agree, unless you still believe that “Do unto others as you have them do unto you” is something that only a religion can teach, then perhaps this author can start a new religion after this article, and to base this religion on logic and attaining pure logic (reference to “Star Trek”).

Back to the topic: Why would humans subject other humans to misery, hurt and unheard terror, based on outdated information that they take it as their religion? This author have a theory: What had been taken as valued information then due to that period’s lack of understanding, is now taken advantage with intended self-gain on the perpetrator. By using modern psychology to prey on weak-minded humans, these perpetrators are able to make use of others to do all their dirty work, while they gain the fortune they wanted and live as they dictates (which they use religion to mask their true intention).

With that being said, there is no end to the terror they can bring about to the lives of others, as long as there are weak-minded humans around, they are at risk of being manipulated. This author urged readers who understand and who may know somebody at risk, to guard those vulnerable and weak-minded individuals, so they may not end up being prey to these terrorist, and became scape-goats to these perpetrators.

As this author mentioned in a post long ago, there is no such thing as a religion that preaches on terror and killings of humans to attain enlightenment. No religion in their right mindset would encourage you to fire a gun or bomb (also because there isn’t such thing during those times unless they are aliens from other planets).

Be safe, humans.

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How Mother Nature defines summer this year

As Summer rages on with the grilling of Mother Earth, some of the inhabitants of this planet are left high and dry by the hot, dry weather, while others are drenched in everlasting rain and wind. One thing is obvious: Mother Earth is changing; whether for better or worse is yet to be seen. but while Nature take its anger out on us for whatever we had done to her, let us put into a short list of the hurt we have caused her, and try to reflect on what we can do to appease the Mother.

Groundwater

If the following Yahoo News article is exemplary of the dangerous repercussion on overusing a certain resource, then it would be better that we take heed of the early warning signs and do something to remedy the situation. For those who do not know what groundwater is, the simplest definition by Wikipedia states that:

Groundwater (or ground water) is the water located beneath Earth’s surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. – Wikipedia

While it gives you a general idea of what ground water can do, it does not provide detail information on the effects of depleting and polluting groundwater. While researching on the effects it have on the piece of land, the author came across an interesting Jstor article which details the effects of groundwater depletion on vegetation. For the masses who finds the information too much for digestion, the author here managed to digest it into simple anatomy explanation that hopefully readers can understand.

Imagine the earth as a joint in any part of your body. The surface represents the skin, underground water as the synovial fluid, tectonic crusts as your joint cartilage, and the bone, muscle and ligaments are your mantle where gravitational fluxes are generated, and most probably what causes Mother Earth to rotate as she has always been doing. As with what synovial fluid does for your joint to allow easy movement and reduces friction, the purpose of groundwater is to create this cushion to prevent overheating and preventing desertification on the surface. it also helps with plant nourishment from deep within, just as it helps with nourishment of your skin, preventing dryness from the inside of your body. what happens when you overuse groundwater? it’s like removing the synovial fluid from your joints, making your joint movements painful and wearing down the more brittle parts of your joints such as the bone and causing skin dryness on the surface, just the same with the depletion or pollution of groundwater. When groundwater is gone or poisoned, the surface which we walk on will slowly heat up, thereby drying up the remaining moisture left on the surface, killing essential nutrients and therefore other life forms, until all nourishment is completely gone, and only sand is left. The end product: Desert.

The author brainstormed on some ways that people affected by the desertification of their land from groundwater lose, can do to remedy the problems they had created (directly or indirectly). One of the ways is to replenish the lost groundwater with replacement fluid. But the replacement fluid needs to adhere to the needs of environmental sustainability. Desalinated water is one possible move that authorities can use to replace the lost groundwater. It may lack in certain nutrients that is required for plant growth but at least it is not devoid of pesticides and other poisonous fluid. Another idea is using collected rainwater to be channeled back into the affected ground. Since this was the original cycle of water movement, and human intervention somehow broke this precious cycle, it is only right to mend the error. But all these are far-fetched ideas until the Authorities realize the importance of re-balancing the ecosystem to sustain their very own lives and their future.

Urban Heat Island

Before this term was finally found, the author had a general idea that the surrounding bricks and metal building that lines almost every inch of cities, big or small, have a part in the continued rising temperature as well as weather patterns of their surrounding environment. This coupled with the amount of vehicles that runs around the space, as well as the fumes that bellows from out of factory chimneys, all have an impact with the weather changes that everyone have been experiencing. After some researching, the term Urban Heat Island of UHI is found to define this phenomenon. But what exactly is UHI?

UHI is defined as:

“Changes occur in their landscape. Buildings, roads, and other infrastructure replace open land and vegetation. Surfaces that were once permeable and moist become impermeable and dry. These changes cause urban regions to become warmer than their rural surroundings, forming an “island” of higher temperatures in the landscape”

As the term suggests, heat that is absorbed by the metal and stone made parts, covered roads and pathways, increases surface temperature by a couple degrees of the surrounding area. As explained by this webpage.

This is possibly one of the main reasons why temperatures are increasing especially in urbanized areas.

As the city expands, so does the temperature across the mass of land. Taking that from a local perspective (in Singapore), the more buildings erected, the more roads paved, the hotter the surrounding temperature of the area. So how can we change to reduce this UHI?

Greenery on the Roof

When the author was travelling around the older estates in Singapore, a number of buildings have either a flat rooftop, or slanted metal roofing. Most of the time, water tanks, and some essential facility machinery can be found on the rooftop. But basically these materials that make up the roof area are usually good absorbers of heat, working much like an oven.

176463_heroa

Credit : http://static.goal.com/176400/176463_heroa.jpg

In fact, there has been a report just a year ago, about the government’s initiative to set a greener example, and the author agrees with this move. Because indeed, without these green roof, the city will continue to see a steady rise in ambient temperature as the years go by. But the question here lies: How long will it take for the city to complete converting a major percentage of metal and mortar roofs to a green roof? And are there more that can be done to further reduce heat retention within the city?

The author might suggest further extending the greenery to not just on the roof, but perhaps on the side walls of the buildings as well (without obstructing the windows). cascading plants like the Hedera species or the vines species can not only beautify the building, but it also helps reduce the heat absorbed by the building by providing shade to the building walls. Furthermore, it can also help reduce carbon footprint by natural photosynthesis.

In any case, the author hopes the idea gets better broadcast, and more can be done to help reduce emitted heat to cool Earth down. Any part played by the community affects the society and the country as a whole. All it takes is a little concern on every individual’s part.

Remembering a man of Iron: Mr.Lee Kuan Yew

lkyquotes

The author wrote on a tumblr page, paying respect and tribute to the one great man who ruled this tiny island that is big as a dot on the map. He passed on 23rd March, 2015 at the age of 91. This year 2015, also marks the Nation’s Golden Jubilee of 50 years of independence. His passing leaves a tremendous impact on many who had hoped he would be around to share this otherwise joyous occasion.

Here is the actual write-up, after more soul-searching, on what the author wanted to convey in his memory:

He might have been a person no different from you and me. A man on the streets; A man of average stature, with slight receding hairline showing the high forehead that is probably his trademark look, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew would otherwise have been your average quick-witted, wise old man with a sharp tongue. Had it not been for that moment in time…

For that one event which propelled his decision and resolve to commit the rest of his life for the tiny island where his roots planted, and where it dug deeper, and spread throughout the whole island that is now Singapore. That one event, the epiphany of his life, and everything else as we see it, is history. He worked tirelessly for the rest of his life after completing his education, paving his route that leads Singapore from a phase of colonial rule, to an independent state, and finally a wholly independent nation-state. If Great Britain had an Iron Lady that is Margaret Thatcher, Singapore had a Man of Iron, as he famously proclaimed in one of his rally speech in 1980:

“Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him. Or give it up. This is not a game of cards. This is your life and mine. I’ve spent a whole lifetime building this and as long as I’m in charge, nobody is going to knock it down.” – Lee Kuan Yew (1980)

And nobody was ever able to knock him down.

Like any typical Asian Family, he does not spare the rod when it comes to discipline, be it his family or for the nation. His policies and regulations are pointed and harsh, and not everyone can agree with the way he governs. But if you were to stand from his point of view, at that moment in time, it made sense, impacting not only from a Singapore standpoint, but it also allows Singapore to be noticed and shine on a global scale. A firm grip on upholding law and order to all who stands on Singapore soil may not bode well with some other nations, but he persevered, and it made sense, and commands respect that a nation so small, seemingly insignificant, cannot be trifled with. For the tough and sometimes seemingly unreasonable decisions he made, would it have been different had he not made that decision? How would the world view Singapore then? Would Singapore have what the people now enjoy? Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t; but for all that Singapore has become, for the simple comforts that we the citizens enjoy, we must have it in our hearts to forgive him, as he too did admit that he had made bad decisions. No one man is ever perfect. But he stood by his decision, and I respect him for that.

In just 50 short years, his vision and his hard life work can be seen, heard, and felt in every corner of the nation. And it will continue to thrive, and blossom in his memory for future generations. As the nation progresses, the citizens will have to work closely with their government to not only maintain the reputation of this tiny but volatile city-state, but to constantly make changes to better the system, keep it up to date and relevant to time. He started the journey for Singapore; it mustn’t just end with him. For that, the people must never fear to open up, voice out, but also keep in mind that your opinion must be for the good of the whole nation regardless of ethnicity and gender, not just yourself.

A big Thank You to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew for sacrificing his life and for his dedication to better not just for Singapore, but for the world as well. His vision and sound advice made it possible for a world to be as small as it is well-connected today. A fond farewell for the founding father of this tiny red-dot, but it’s never really goodbye, until time comes where Singapore is no more. But that’s not going to happen as long as its people believe in it.

Poetry: The Victim’s Eye

The author has been an avid reader of the headlines in the recent months, and was a little quite unsettled to what the latest “Fad” has been centered on (author’s note: ‘a little’ was too underrated). The author dislikes the amount of attention that these reprobates received, and at one point the author feels the dislike borders on the edge of jealousy (Shocking!). Perhaps it is time the media shows lesser care on what these reprobates are doing, so that they may look upon themselves as a bunch of silly douche-bags, and reflect on what they had done (or shall be doing) with their lives.

Death is but an area that is either acceptable, or taboo, depending on how one views the topic. The author embraces the fact that Death will come for the author one fine day, when least expected. But so far, Death chose to distance itself away from the author (must be the unusually crazy amount of paperwork Death have to deal with when it finally comes to claim the author for all the deeds done: good or bad). But for now, the author just wants to talk about death, a term that seems hooked on to the current group of douche-bags and their penchant for doing things without a solid goal or reason; just talk; and talk big like an empty vessel they can. The author hopes to convey the feelings of the dead by this group, and with that, maybe from that perspective, a form of reflection to those who plan on joining this crazy group who have no goals, no future at all.

The author’s warning to these “thrill seekers”: Are you 101% certain HE would want any of these?

So here goes the author’s raw attempt at poetry:

The Victim’s eye

How it must have felt

To taste;

The cold steel of a barrel

Loaded and ready always.

At the slightest touch of a finger.

It moves.

Life changes; – both of us

“How dies it feel?” –

You’d ask yourself;

Won’t you take a good look

In all your glory;

The mirror at the back of your head.

– Is this Glory?

Or is this just your head…

The blood you dipped your hands in.

Let it stain your face. Lick it.

Do you like it?

Life changes; – Both of us.

Regrets be a thing of your past.

From the depths of the cold steel barrel;

Locked and loaded. Ready.

A Distorted View

Recent few months have seen social unrest such as extremist invasion, kidnaps, and fighting among various groups, all in the perceived name of religion. But is religion really the root cause for such social unrest/violence to happen? It seems to be obvious for now, but if one were to “unmask” the truth behind this claim, the actual truth could very well put human nature at tops for the Wall of Shame of all times. For this issue, the author has a distorted view on the perceived intent, and possibly unearth the dark intent of these claims. But before going further, the author would like to remind all readers that this article is solely based on the author’s own judgement, and therefore cannot be substantiated as reference to any academic journals.

Kidnappings/Forced will

As mentioned from the author’s older post (please refer to this link), it was mentioned that the author may not be a believer of any religion, but stands firm in the belief that all major religion in existence are about living a life without guilt, with a good conscience, and be compassionate unto others. The author also firmly believes that no major religion would allow human sacrifices, or acts of war/violence which can result in deaths or heavy casualties, or even doing deeds that go against basic humanity. But one report talks about an extremist group kidnapping young ladies from their school, reportedly forced them to convert to the extremist’s faith and marry them off to members of the group. It is also reported that the leader of that group apparently was boasting about his achievements on social media. If the reports are as accurate as it is printed, the author hardly thinks that this is an act according to the group’s proclaimed religion. From what has been researched about this religion, gender rights are practiced equally, and each gender have their own rights to accept or reject, and forcing an individual goes against its teachings. Therefore, the author feels that this particular group of people are simply acting on their own perverse will to attain their selfish goals of inciting fear to others so that they may rule their sector in their own perverse way. In order not lead outsiders to think negatively about their actual intent, they casually put their religion to act as a scapegoat for their otherwise pervasive ideology, so that they may do what they like, and let others perceive to generalize said religion in a negative way. In the author’s opinion, such group are actually opposing their religion, or was never faithful in their religion at all. Misinterpretation of their religion is just plain excuse, and thus this author sees no wrong in interpreting this group’s intention, as opposed to what has been reported and printed.

Violence

To the best of the author’s knowledge, no major religion has ever been supportive of violence, ever. But conveniently, it is the mind of people, clouded by their perceived love for their religion, unable to suppress their deepest passion to “share” their religion, that caused the passion to turn a darker shade, and it became a violent passion to preach or spread their religion, whichever way you see it. At one point, the author feels that this passion has been driven to become an obsession, with an iron-fist on their ideology that it becomes “my way or the highway”. Therefore, these disillusioned believers strongly feels that if you don’t yield to their faith, you are deemed as an anti-believer, or what the author sees it as “Satan’s followers” to them, and it will be honorable to resort to violence to so-called “cleanse” the place to “purify” it. But there are some who are confused between believing their preacher leader and basic humanity, and are conscious about leaking their identity out to the rest of society for fear they would not be accepted back to society, these are merely cowards in the author’s opinion. If you want to do a deed that you strongly (and blindly) believe is going to do justice to your faith, you do not need to cover your face because you should be feeling proud and honored to do your faith “justice”, right? Unless you are uncertain, unsure, or feeling a nagging sense of guilt. Do I hear your heart thump; a loud thud against your chest just now?

In any case, what the author is trying to get across is that no faith, no religion is to be blamed for any of these acts done in the first place. Religion is something that is created by humans, for humans, to supposedly open up a window in every individual, to give humans something to believe in, to hope. These acts of violence and insubordination are born from anger, possibly from one individual, who may be exceptionally vocal about their thoughts; and coupled with that individual’s ability to influence, created the destabilizing agent which result in a catastrophic present as everyone else feels now. To end, the author would like to quote some very meaningful quotes that can be applied to this article’s topic:

on Religion:

“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” – Yoda (The Empire Strikes Back)

on violence:

“Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda (The Phantom Menace)

also on violence:

“Wars not make one great.” – Yoda (The Empire Strikes Back)

And just when you think sci-fi movies such as Star Wars is nothing more than good-looking actors and actress with loads of CG, think again. The subtle messages that some movies echoes might one day save the world.

Are School Teachers your childrens’ parents?

Singapore is a booming meritocratic city with more than half the population once decedents of migrants from different parts of the world.
Education then was not compulsory, limited in material, and very dedicated to specific racial and religious groups. With majority being originators of the Asian or the “Eastern” side of the globe, naturally thought of the greener pastures, the West, for better education. So there we were then, becoming “westernized” and saw the benefits of unifying the residents of the island colony as one independent state, after we taste the defeat and the witness the helplessness of the protectors of the colony to the Japanese.
So 48 years has past, and we are deemed one of

The richest country in the world – The Straits Times, Singapore. 2012

We have indeed achieved a lot, and in a short amount of time. Rather, this is the achievement of our forefathers, who came without fear of the unknown, and built what we can call our home now.
Now all this does sound a little like what you would study in history and social studies from the time of independence to now. Education soon after became compulsory, and since has always been a core of every citizen born and bred here in Singapore. From this core, lies the educators, who forms the pillar which the foundation of education is laid out for the future of Singapore’s well being and prosperity. We are who we are today; where we are today, if not for these educators, or teachers as we call them. They are well respected, and shaped the otherwise lazy, cheeky, rebellious us into respectable citizens today. And where they are unable to reach us, we have our ever stringent parents who will with a rattan, shape us up further into individuals who are independent, reliable and responsible for the society.
But as the society prosper, material wants kicks in, and every Singaporean starts to work the extra mile to gain better social status, better quality of life. We thought that by doing this is for the sake of our children, that they can live a better life. But are we forgetting the values our parents taught us?
Children are born innocent; an empty vassal, waiting to be filled with whatever he/she is being taught. As the saying goes: Rubbish in; rubbish out. Children are good emulators of their parents, and if the parent sets a bad example such as being ungracious when shopping in a mall (cut queues), or filling up more than one can consume at a buffet (kiasuism), that is how his/her child will be when he/she grows up, unless he/she relearns new values from other influences. So when a child misbehaves in school, not knowing what he/she has done wrong, the teacher may first reprimand the child, but ultimately the real discipline should come from the parent, and such teachings should be done privately at home. But of late, this doesn’t seem to be the case. These days, the parents expect the teachers to take on the role of the parents, to discipline their children at school, a public sphere. I guess some of the reason being: No time at home; paid higher school fees, therefore expected more out of the teachers.
For the first reason: Having no time to discipline a child at home is a poor excuse to skive off the duty that is expected for the parent. You have a child, you are responsible for them, and therefore responsible for their actions until they reach adulthood. You, the parent, therefore should be the primary discipline master in both the public sphere, as well as private sphere. You don’t push your responsibilities to some strangers (in general), and then blame them for not doing a good job, because they definitely can’t mold your child to look like themselves. My opinion: Teachers/Educators primarily can only instill societal norms and conformity to your child. Cultures and behaviors are learnt at home.  So if you, the parent expects the teacher/educator to teach your child not to poke his/her chopsticks in the middle of the rice bowl, or not to squat on the toilet seat, the teacher/educator won’t be able to do that, but they may very well teach your child to be less respectful to their parents, because that really shows your failure at parenting. There is no formula to discipline your child, and I don’t think I am qualified to give any suggestions, but just firmly inform your child, be serious about their actions and correct them, and your child will understand you. That would not take you too much your time, right? Check out this page in Parent-Child Social Development.

The second reason: You think you pay a high price for your child’s education, you should be expecting more out of your investments, right? You think that when your child complete s his education years a well-polished, well-chiseled individual. That is not going to happen, and raising a child is not like making a business work! (if it does, well you just created a new crop!) Cost of living goes up, and everyone drives to attain a better standard of living. No less when it comes to paying for an education. You work and got a pay rise, so does the teacher/educator. They work; they get a pay rise, and how to justify for a pay-rise? By increasing education fees. But there are things that just cannot be learned in school. As mentioned in the first reasoning, education institutions can only impart social values and social norms (Pretty much in line with the societal needs). Other forms of social skills such as social interactions on a personal level and communications are basically learnt at home.  That is where parents play a part in ensuring their child is well prepared to face their peers and to network. Such skills are priceless and will shape the unique character of the child, and no better institutions than at home, with their parents. Therefore, if there isn’t enough interaction and communication, or whatever that is played out at home is negative, you will have a child that is so full of negativity; he/she will become imbalanced, and may not be able to reach their fullest potential. So it boils back to the first reasoning.  Wait, Do you even think that money can get you everything? Check out Daniel Wong’s page and you might find some pretty good tips to turn your life (as well as your child and anyone else affected) around.

I’ve said so much.  It is pointless to rant on more when the trend has been present from 2012 (I actually started this post from 2012, and it took me 2 years to come up with appropriate words to sum up my observations and reactions). If you are a parent and finds some of what is written here similar to your current situation, there is still hope! The help links that goes into this post is very useful.

<Ranting ends.>

The Singapore Proposal

The past few years have seen numerous weddings taking place among my friends and family. This is a joyous occasion to learn of their happiness, to share in their joy and be a part of their new life. No doubt about that, at least, until the process that climbs up to their eventual nuptials.

Typically a boy meets girl, they date, they feel very good with each other, and finally a proposal, usually on the guy side, and eventually planning their new life with a house and some celebratory events, provided she said ‘yes’. Well, this is somewhat different in a country where your finances shift faster out of your hands than you see actual results, and that is putting things mildly in perspective.

The process of a happy marriage takes on a slightly different process in Singapore: Boy meets girl; they date, they feel very good with each other. Up to this point, all is well, but when it comes to taking the next step forward, is when things start to become complicated, or rather in my opinion, redundant. Instead of a pure surprise of a proposal with the lady either screaming with joy at the top of her lungs, or simply crying tears of joy when her significant other half pops the questions out of nowhere. The Singapore way will see the couple take a queue number to get an apartment, settle all necessary formalities, perhaps getting their keys to their apartment, and one fine day, he just pops the question to ask for her hand in marriage. Of course, she will also be showing the same kind of expressions as what I have mentioned previously, but at the back of the mind: it has become a sure ‘yes’ thing, or she would not be in the queue line with him in the first place, queuing to get a house, right? One of the clauses of securing a public apartment in Singapore is to have the couple’s eventual marriage in a stipulated time. Then would it not be obvious that by applying for the flat together, eventually will be the path that the couple will be taking? If that being so, shouldn’t the proposal be done years earlier before the couple get a queue number?

Let’s face it: since the wait for a home is going to take 5 years (on average), and the couple is sure (or the feeling of it) that they want to be together for all their lives, the guy should be popping the question and asking her to marry him 5 years ago, before they go to the HDB office for a queue, get keys, and maybe in these 5 years, strengthen their relationship as well as plan their celebration. 5 years will pass in a blink of an eye. And the surprise when he pops the question: really priceless; not when everything is already a done deal, and then pops the question where you already know what the answer would be. If you really want to surprise her at this point of time, maybe a surprise party with a tagline “We are getting married!” that would be more logical, and just as surprising.

In any case, this is just my opinion, and each couple has their special way of informing the masses of their intention for celebration. Good luck, guys!