The Dark Shadow Shrine

Monday, October 16, 2017

500 firms hit by cheating scandal: Kobe Steel CEO

Click HERE

This is reminiscent of the Volkswagon 'diesel-gate' scandal where a firm lies about the nature/quality of its products.....
Some countries may want to hush it up for fear of tarnishing the reputation of the country...but as mentioned, there is safety issues involved here as the steel is used for planes, bullet trains, buildings and even nuclear reactors.

Qn: To what extent should news media present views which are considered offensive? (MI Prelim 2017)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Kobe Steel scandal hurts Japan's reputation

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The Gist:
The industrial scandal engulfing Kobe Steel began to reverberate overseas as Japan's third-biggest steelmaker said its staff falsified data about the strength and durability of some aluminium and copper products used in planes, trains and potentially a space rocket.
For Qn below, think 'offensive' to WHO? MNC? Govt? public? consumers?
This incident is similar to corporate lying scandals like the Volkswagon 'diesel-gate' where they lied about their car's emission engine being environmentally-friendly to dupe consumers into buying their products...This is where the media has an important role to play as the 'watchdog' by exposing such clandestine workings to safeguard consumers' interest. So yes, even while it may be 'offensive' to MNCs (and hence affect their profit margins) and 'offensive' to country by tarnishing the brand/image of the country (for MNCs whose image is closely associated with the image of the country), there is still the case for the media to report such views in the interest of the public/consumers.
Qn: To what extent should news media present views which are considered offensive?
(MI Prelim 2017)

Singapore should now aim to be First World society: Lim Siong Guan

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I like the distinction made here about how Singapore may be a first world economy, but not yet a first world society; i.e. attained remarkable economic progress, but in some ways, still very much backward when it comes to social progress (think lack of graciousness, the way we treat LGBT, women, minority races, etc)

Note the idea that graciousness (like all relationships) is usually hard to legislate. You cannot use the law to make one love another, but you cannot create the environment to encourage this to happen:
-- In forging graciousness, the Government can merely facilitate, he said, by building more common spaces in housing estates, for instance. Responsibility lies with each person taking the initiative to befriend his neighbours in those spaces.

--the Chinese saying, san sui ding zhong shen, which means: "At age three, you know what a person will be like for life."

--Values like graciousness are more often "caught by example" than "taught by instruction"

Muslim preacher held for sedition after criticising sultan

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Biased views, or valid observations?:
- "Chinese usually don't wash after they urinate or defecate. What about menstrual blood on their underwear? Or if they had hugged a dog, or spilled alcohol or food containing pork? If they want to enter a laundry, then just go to a normal one."

'offensive' (in the Qn below) should be regarded in a wider context, not just to government, but also groups like race, religion, LGBT, disabled, the low income, women, etc....
- Malaysia's sedition law prohibits discourse that sparks hostility towards other races, the rulers or the government.

Pertaining to Qn below:

- open the misguided and prejudicial view up to be challenged and debunked by the  public and have it exposed for the lie and bias that is its true face...the open debate about the biased view provides an opportunity for the truth to surface and this may actually end up with the public correcting their inital misconceptions

-the public (esp uneducated ones) might be swayed, resulting in a divided society, preventing social cohesion
-gives country a bad reputation internationally (think Saudi Arabia ban on female drivers) and might potentially deter tourists [note: ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia has very recently been revoked]

For an equivalent example in Singapore, think Amy Cheong, Amos Yee, etc.

Qn: To what extent should news media present views which are considered offensive?
(MI Prelim 2017)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dove gets flak for racist ad

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This ad kinda remind me of the other one selling detergent where a blacks guy emerges from the washing machine as a white guy....(see HERE)

Note also this one by Nivea mentioned in the article:
Earlier this year, German skincare company Nivea was slammed for a deodorant advertisement that said "White Is Purity".

For qns on humour, and advertising, how media perpetuates prejudice and stereotypes, the need for media regulation, etc....

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Consensus works best for Asean, say diplomats at conference

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Asean is often criticised as a toothless tiger due to its policy of non-interference and seeking consensus from all members

Qn: To what extent should foreign countries interfere in the domestic affairs of another country?

Free can be fatal, especially when it comes to news

Click HERE

Interesting read, especially how we are actually paying with our privacy when we access free stuff online....our browsing habits are actually monetised by the search engine companies as they sell our contacts to companies whose products match our surfing habits.....  Now you know where those spam ads come from....and why the same kind of ads keeps popping up when u log on into ur gmail....

Friday, October 06, 2017

'Oi what's going on. I'm alive', tweets Stefanie Sun

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Latest local example on fake news....

Link also to downsides of being  a celebrity...

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Climate change stumps Hollywood

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Note celebrity influence in films:
He used the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio for his latest environmental film, Before The Flood, which examines global warming in a way he hopes would inspire viewers to change their habits.

Note impact of the media in generating awareness and galvanizing pple to action:
hopes to see discussions generated via "more movies, more television, more music

Note futility of films in rousing people to actions on climate issues:
"It's not a very sexy subject and people just don't want to deal with it and think about it."
"As opposed to terrorism or drugs, there is no clear enemy with climate change," he noted. "We're all participating in the climate crisis - if there is an enemy, it's us. And it's hard to go to war against ourselves."
And when climate change is depicted on screen, it is often an apocalyptic vision that hardly leaves room for a hopeful human response.
"Typically, if you really want to mobilise people to act, you don't scare the hell out of them and convince them that the situation is hopeless,"
Copious research shows that this kind of dystopian framing backfires, driving people further into denial and helplessness.

Despite this futility, one could perhaps argue also that unlike issues on terrorism and drugs, precisely because we are the 'enemy' when it comes to climates issues, it makes it easier for us to effect the change. After all, it's easier to convert and start with ourselves than with other people....We may not be able to control and stop others, but we are perhaps more likely to be able to do so with ourselves.... no?

Qn: Do films offer anything more than an escape from reality? (Cam. 2014)

Smash stereotypes to close the gender gap

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According to ADB, a woman in Asia on average is paid 23 per cent less than her male counterpart. An Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) report in 2015 found the situation was even worse in regional economic powerhouses South Korea and Japan - the two countries with the worst-paid female employees among 35 OECD countries, with the difference being 36.6 per cent and 26.6 per cent respectively.

In Vietnam, we have a saying that is in complete harmony with the Confucian principle of women being completely subjugated to men in the family: "As a woman, what makes you stand higher than other women is your husband."

Chinese business tycoon Jack Ma once said women were the "secret sauce" behind his firm's success.

Qn: In your society, how far is equality for all a reality? (Cam. 2012)

Mainstream media a 'serious-minded, responsible player', says DPM Tharman

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"The mainstream media in Singapore is not a free-for-all. Neither is it the heavily controlled media that some critics caricature it to be...."That is not how things are in Singapore - the media doesn't wait around for instructions and it doesn't excuse everything Government does,"
In some mature Western democracies, people have segregated themselves into media bubbles, both in the mainstream media and online, and public trust in the media is "at an all-time low".

Qn: Can the media ever be relied upon to convey the truth? (Cam. 2003)

Inclusive art sessions draw kids together

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Everyone can access art. It's not like reading and writing, where you leave out those who are minimally verbal.
"It's a blank canvas. Art shows that every child has a point of view... There's no right or wrong.

1. Can prejudice ever be eliminated? (Cam. 2011)
2. ‘For the majority of people, the Arts are irrelevant to their daily lives.’ How true is this of your society? (Cam. 2014)

Asean risks credibility over its 'silence' on Rohingya issue

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Note that the bedrock of ASEAN's founding principle is that of non-interference in the domestic affairs of another member country. Decisions by ASEAN must be based on consensus, i.e. collective agreement of all member countries. This is to ensure respect of sovereignty of member countries. Also, we may not be privy to the way things work in another country, esp one with a different cultural setting.
However, the recent Rohingya crisis has called into question whether this policy of non-interference among ASEAN countries is still justified. Malaysia, for one, has spoken out forcefully against Aung San Su Chyi's administration.

Qn: Does the presence of a foreign power ever help a country with problems? (Cam. 2008)

Catch iconic Singapore films, Asian spy flicks at film festival

Click HERE
Two good local examples:
 "I Not Stupid" ("the film was produced to reflect the reality of our education system and how it affects communication between parent and child")  and "TalkingCock The Movie" ("poked fun at current affairs and local politics, with segments such as eAhLong. com, about loan sharks")

1. Do films offer anything more than an escape from reality? (Cam. 2014)
2. Can humour ever be serious? (Cam. 2012)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Playing the role of me is not easy: Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West

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We discussed her recently in the AQ for freedom, privacy and security, where I mentioned that no privacy can compromise security (contrary to govt's position that we need to sacrifice our privacy to the govt to ensure our security). In Kim Kardashian's case, she was infamously robbed at gunpoint in Paris last year of $10m worth of jewellery, including her $4m engagement ring from Kayne West -- all this because she flaunted her engagement ring on her social media for the whole world to see, including the thieves.....

She is a good example of how in our social media age now, privacy is a goner as we are constantly exposing our privacy online -- voluntarily! The public and the private self are hence blurred, as everything previously private is not made public, as people realise that our private lives contain salacious details that can be used to whet the appetitie of online viewers and attract their eyeballs....Kim Kardashian brings it one-notch higher in this game as her family actually has a reality TV show ("Keeping Up with the Kardashians"  Lit and IB Students pls note the alliteration here!)watched by millions around the world, and it's now into its 10th year and 13th season!

But note that reality show, as well as what we show online on social media, can be said to be not totally real, but scripted, curated and selective bites of the real picture...hence, some amount of privacy can still be retained. We only showcase those versions of our private life that fits our agenda, in most cases, those that portray us in a positive light, but in some cases, those that are very 'drama' and gossipy so that viewers will tune in for more....which menas that some could be totally fabricated (think fake news) cos c'mon, REAL LIFE CAN BE BORING, so we gotta spice it up for the viewers to create entertainment value....

Qn: To what extent has technology had an impact on both privacy and security in your country? (Cam. 2009)

Many hail Saudi Arabia's move to let women drive

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Conservative clerics in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy ruled according to Islamic syariah law, have long opposed lifting the ban, arguing that it would lead to promiscuity. One of them even claimed that driving harmed women's ovaries.

For those who just did the humour compre and we discussed the effect of the word 'even'...can u see it in operation here in the quote above?