Ecology – The efforts of NGO

Greenpeace is an international non-government organization (NGO) with the goal of protecting and conserving the environment and also promoting peace. It has several offices worldwide and is one of the largest NGOs for the conserving of environment.

According to the official website: http://www.greenpeace.org

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace by:

Catalysing an energy revolution to address the number one threat facing our planet: climate change.
Defending our oceans by challenging wasteful and destructive fishing, and creating a global network of marine reserves.
Protecting the world’s ancient forests and the animals, plants and people that depend on them.
Working for disarmament and peace by tackling the causes of conflict and calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.
Creating a toxic free future with safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in today’s products and manufacturing.
Campaining for sustainable agriculture by rejecting genetically engineered organisms, protecting biodiversity and encouraging socially responsible farming.

It may seem good and useful to have a NGO like this to care for our earth. However, does this NGO really do contribute a lot in conserving our environment. It has the mission to raise public awareness, and we all know that the problems that we are facing in our world, but really do their efforts count?

There are several victories cases, which the Greenpeace deemed to have directly caused the environmental changes. For example please visit http://www.greenpeace.org/international/about/victories. However, the problems are still there. The three major issues that concerning the environment of the earth are global warming, the depletion of o-zone and acid rain (Mark Seis: Protection of the Atmospheric Commons). International agreements are signed but the results are not satisfying. NGOs are really helpless in dealing with these kinds of issues. Indeed they gave pressure to the government, but it is hardly that the government will sacrifice their own benefits for the sake of it.

Let me take another example, Greenpeace is famous for its efforts to prevent the excess captures of whales. It has boats to go on and prevent the killing of whales. I couldn’t say that it is of no use, but the capture of whales is too complex to prevent. Japan consumes large amount of whale for food and if they ever stop catching whales they are facing problems. Although much of the efforts are made, it is up to the consumers to the conscious of not eating whale. I believe that the theory of “Whenever there is demand there is supply” is true to some extent. The better solution is if we stop eating whales then the results will be much significant.

Sometimes, Greenpeace are criticized of being too over and extreme, According to the news, the environmentalists even go as far as climbing on a plane to protest of building a new airway. (http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/02/25/heathrow.protest/index.html) Their argument was “We’re reasonable people but we just felt we had to take this action today because there’s nothing else we can do within our power to stop climate change.” and yet again sometimes it proved that the NGOs are helpless in dealing with environment problems.

Patrick Moore, co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, left Greenpeace because “I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986.” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120882720657033391.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries

Patrick Moore is a Ph.D in Ecology and it left us questions whether the NGOs are all fully committed to the conserving of environment or are there anything else in behind.

November 4, 2008 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Technology and Energy – Misused of Technology Products

We are now living in a world of technology and information. Technology is in our daily lives. We find information over the internet; we take bus to school and so on. Technology does make our live better and better. However, there are some people who abuse the use of technology to commit crimes that leads us to misery. Let me list out a few examples.

Many years ago, cellular phone was just a tool for communication. From pagers to the “big bottle” phone, and then the now high technology camera phones, music phones and so on. We are all spoilt by choices today. Last time, having a cell phone equals to the status of rich, because the price is high and it is rare. On the other hand, most of the people now have a cell phone in hand. The industry of telecommunications became one of the hottest industries in the world. Because of the common of cell phones, cell phones have become the target for theft. I always was advised by my mother not to show up my cell phone whenever I am walking alone because I may possibly be a victim of robbery. Moreover, we are asked not to leave our cell phone on the tables while we are eating in a restaurant because someone may snatch our phones. Cell phones may bring us convenience and ‘style’ but too tempted criminals.

Camera, with the purpose of capturing images, is also one of the technologies that are advancing very fast. From the old camera obscura to the now smaller and smaller digital cameras, the development of camera is going rapidly fast. Some may argue that the development of digital camera made us easier to capture images and it is indeed very convenient as we can bring along everywhere we go. It is indeed very true but some who abuse the use of digital cameras to capture “unnecessary” things. We always heard news of sick fellas capturing the “exposed” of people and the existence of spy cameras in a toilet or fitting room do worry us. The most controversial use of camera is the recording or capture of “sex tapes”. Sex, always private and romantic is now being captured on film! The most recent case of Edison Chan scandal shows that the leakage of videos not only brings misery to the capturer but also the characters that are involved. In short, the misuse of technology product is problematic to some extent.

Another issue that arises together with the advancement of technology is identity theft. It is termed as to use a particular one’s identity for personal gain. The person whose identity is used may suffer serious consequences. Someone may use a device to capture the details on the ATM machine and withdraw every single cent in the stolen account. Or someone may use a person’s identity to cheat, or to pretend for personal benefits. Identity theft is undoubtedly more serious than psychical theft because the loss of identity theft is unpredicted.

In conclusion, what I am tried to bring out here is that the technology may bring misery as well if it is misused. It lies in the moral and decision of the user to either use the technology to help oneself or to commit crimes. Not only should the technology advances, the mindset of the individual and society advance altogether as well.

November 4, 2008 at 1:56 pm Leave a comment

Population and Health – One-child Policy

The population is growing. How to prevent or limit the growth? It is necessary or desirable to control the population? In developing world, the problem is poverty and economic injustice, rather than population (Scott Sernau: Global Problems). However, some oppose the contraception, because of religion and cultural reasons. For example, the Chinese society as more children brings prosperity to their families. Due to large population, the government of China came out with the much controversial one-child policy? Does it really work?

“China’s family planning policy has prevented 400 million births, officials say.” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7000931.stm). This policy was first introduced in 1979. The one child policy received many criticisms during this period but the government insisted that the policy is a success, because there are less 400 million people in China. Besides objection, there are also voices of agree. Recently, China has become one of the economic super powers in the world therefore, middle-class and double-working family increased by any means. The rise of education and economic power lower the fertility rate. I quote this: “It wouldn’t matter what my financial situation was or what the government regulations were, I’d still only want one child” from a mother in China. She probably doesn’t have any free time to raise a kid. One-child is still preferred in many of the families in the urban area.

The decrease of fertility rate poses a big problem for the country in the long run. According to the site, the fertility rate is unable to keep the population stable at the moment. If the policy still continues, that means there will be more old people in the country, the workforce will have insufficient labors etc. This is the same problem faces by some of the countries in the world. It is also a problem in Singapore, where the fertility rate is low. It is a sign of rapid development, where the education level increased and the needs to maintain a living have been the biggest part in live for the people. Time to take care of children and raising children are sacrificed for the better of economic status.

Another problem in China is the problem of son preference. Boys are preferred because of their ability to help the family. In rural areas, the sons can help them in the field work. On the other hand, in urban area the sons are able to support them economically, when they’re old. Girls are seen as a “water spread out” after the marriage because they will follow the husband. A lot of female infants are killed for this reason. Consequences of this problem are well-seen in Shanghai, where many bachelors are advertising in the TV for wives. (Scott Sernau: Global Problems) I believe that this problem is unable to eliminate easily because it is deep rooted in the traditional Chinese mind. Boys are preferred in the ancient China of the well-spread of Confucianism, and so it is the new China.

I am again to bring out the question “is it necessary to control the population?” I argue that little interventions are needed by the government to maintain the population but the natural flow of the social world are not to be ignored. As the one-child policy goes, it must be varied to deal with the population problem for example more children in the rich families etc.

October 20, 2008 at 12:03 pm Leave a comment

Urbanization – Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the legislative capital of Malaysia and is the largest city in Malaysia. During the colonial era, Kuala Lumpur is served as a trading post for tin mines. After the Malaya Independence, Kuala Lumpur started to grow into a city.

As many other developing cities, Kuala Lumpur undergo a massive urbanization. Thus, many urban problems arise. Immigrant workers are to be brought in from Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam to mention a few to fulfill the labor needs of Kuala Lumpur. These immigrants are mostly working in construction sites and female immigrants are helpful hands in residences as maids. Large portion of immigrants are being promised ‘a good job’ into Malaysia and eventually ended in low-paid jobs or worst, unemployed.

Unemployment is one of the main concerns in many developing countries. There are several causes of unemployment. We look into urban problems as a cause of unemployment. Many people rushed into the city for opportunities, few had succeeded. Therefore, the supply of labors highly overcomes the demand of labors in the city.

Unemployment leads to the increase of crime rates. As I discussed earlier in few of my blogs, street crimes is a big problem in Kuala Lumpur. Mainly the street crimes in Kuala Lumpur are snatch theft and robbery. Why do street crimes happen? They are not able to obtain funds through jobs because of unemployment. Under such circumstances, the only way they could get money is through committing crimes.

Besides that, while urbanization is in progress, there is a high density of population in Kuala Lumpur. Traffic congestion is so common that it is a daily routine for any drivers in Kuala Lumpur. Pollution occurs as a consequence of urbanization. Vehicles emit greenhouse gas, and contribute to noise pollution and air pollution. Looking at the social perspective, less of space means less of freedom, and conflicts tend to break out naturally.

Urbanization is a normal process that many countries undergo in order to develop and to gather and centralize the resources. Government plays a big role in ensuring that urbanization is growing in a harmony process. If one government is either corrupted or incapable, it will only make the matter worst. If implications of urbanization are ignored, it leads to economic and socially downpour. Eventually, it will destabilize the country.

There are a lot of high rise buildings in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia being an Islamic country, the construction of buildings favor a more local and “Islamic” architecture. For examples, Menara Maybank, Dayabumi Complex and Petronas Twin Towers, all portrait an “Islamic” architecture. One of the reasons these buildings were built is to establish a symbol of Malaysia.

So, what is this symbol of Malaysia, is it just merely buildings like Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower? Is it wise to ignore the poor and urban problems in Kuala Lumpur? Construction of these expensive buildings brings opportunities to the rich and displacement to the poor. The rich are able to enjoy the great effects of a high-rise building. They could go shopping in Petronas Twin Towers, they can purchase a office unit in one of these buildings. While the poor didn’t have the chance to enjoy what the rich is enjoying. These high-rise buildings are out of their concern, as they are unable to concern. Jealousy, envious occurs as a product of displacement.

These high rise buildings such as KL Tower and Petronas Twin Towers do make us proud and they attracts tourists too which contributes to country revenue. While these symbolic buildings are being constructed, basic infrastructure is still underdeveloped. The public transport in Kuala Lumpur has a utilization rate of only 16%. Besides that, many questioned that is it necessary to construct these buildings while the poor are being marginalized. Slums and irregular housings still exist in Kuala Lumpur although the authorities had tried to wipe them out.

Basically, my argument is that besides establishing a national icon, consequences of urbanization are to be taken care of. Urban problems for example unemployment, rise of crime rates and environmental pollutions should be taken place before building a national symbol. It is not a good thing that a great building is standing in front of you and you are not able to reach it.

National icon is built. Next step would be the elimination of urban problems, I hope so.

October 19, 2008 at 12:55 pm 1 comment

Racism – A Normal Phenomenon

Everyone is racist to some extent. It is of human nature. Laws are set to stop racial discrimination. Moreover we have “Kick Racism out of Football” campaign in the football world. After all the efforts, racism is not eliminated. It’s undeniable that racism still exists in you or me.

One could argue that, “Hey I am not a racist what are you trying to say here? I don’t look down on them, I make friend with them. I am not a racist! Definitely not! ” Honestly speaking, I have the same feeling when someone called me a racist, but I really do ask myself, am I really not a racist by any means?

Generalization or “stereotypes” is what we mostly done without the knowledge of our own. When I see a gang of Africans hanging together, my mind flashes with words like “gangsters, crimes”, and I tend to avoid them as much as possible. In fact, they do nothing or maybe they are just having a little chat. Just to mention a personal experience, I was once robbed by a gang of young Malays 2 years ago. So after all this time when I spotted a gang of Malay teens gathering around, the fear pops out and I will eventually run away. Moreover, Chinese has a bad image of being rude, uneducated and impolite in the many eyes. Is it a stereotype? Is all Chinese really rude and do they ever shout at you? It is very hard to prevent ‘stereotypes’ because this is what we are been taught into.

Racial issues have always been the sensitive issues in Malaysia. And yet, it is often been played by government of Malaysia. In the most recently Ahmad Ismail case, he called Chinese in Malaysia as ‘penumpang’ and had evoked the anger of Malaysia’s Chinese. Malaysia’s Chinese demanded an apology but he was arrogantly stated that he would never apologize because what he said is true. He even made an excuse that the media had twisted his words. Ridiculously, the journalist who reported the matter had been incarcerated under the ISA. In the other hand, Ahmad Ismail was given only merely 3 years of suspension in the party.

What I like to say about the racism in Malaysia is, legal. Yes, Malays are given discounts for purchasing their home. There is ‘quota’ or priority for Malays to enter local universities. There must be a 30% of Malay directors in a listed company. Chinese schools are being closed down without any reason; more and more Malay schools are being built. These are the few policies by the government to protect their own race.

These biased policies caused many non-Malays to work and study overseas. Few chose to return. Malaysia is losing many talents because of this issue. One of my friend said, “Why bother going back? I am not going to work for the Malays, my efforts for their fame is absolutely unfair.” Yes, it is what many of us have in mind. Unfairness and unsatisfactory that made us furious, and disappointed.

Racism? Its existence is permanent.

October 9, 2008 at 1:29 pm 1 comment

Democracy and Human Rights – Democracy in Malaysia and Freedom

Democracy once again is the hottest topic in today’s world. Who doesn’t like democracy? It’s our freedom! It’s our world. We have the rights to speak, the rights to act! That is our point of view. Do you still think the same when you are the one holding the power?

Malaysia, as Singapore, regards as a multi-racial country. In Malaysia, there are three main races, which are Malays (the majority), the Chinese and Indians. Actually, there are similarities between Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore has a dominating party, as in PAP while Malaysia has a dominating party as well, and that is Barisan Nasional. Things changed in the last election which the opposition party denied BN (Barisan Nasional) 2/3 seats in the parliament. It’s a great achievement for a lot of Malaysians none the less. It is one of the examples of democracy, people are demanding a change.

Frankly speaking, unsatisfactory arises. The takeover case recently by Anwar shows that the citizens really are looking forward for a change. But, it is not happening, for the moment. To go in depth, 3 Malaysians are detained under ISA (Internal Security Act) because of trying to bring up sensitive racial issues (newspaper). The most ridiculous part is that one of them is a journalist and she is detained because of reporting the true news. Freedom of speech doesn’t even exist, don’t ya think so?

You want a freedom of speech, yet you cannot criticize the government in the newspaper. Moreover, you will get arrested although you just posted it on your blog. The media are pressed by the government. Anti-government comments, discussions are removed. Pro-government ideas are published as daily news.

Actually, democracy is still not common in Southeast Asia. Ideologically yes, but in reality it is not. Please name the ASEAN countries that you think really is a democratic country. Yes? No? As the famous quote “the rich is getting richer while the poor is getting poorer”. The rules are set by the elites to maintain their power in the society. This is what I learnt. For example in Malaysia, rules are set. One cannot challenge the special rights of Malay race (what they called bumiputras), one cannot openly criticize the government are those rules that are common in Malaysia.

Is it really election equals to democracy? If the people don’t like the government, what can they do in fact? Human rights been discussed. Everyone has the freedom to speak, then why am I not allowed to voice out my opinions in public? Freedom from discrimination, then why am I looked down in the society? Why am I getting unequal treatment? Freedom from want, then why I am asked to do this, to do that?

Everyone demand freedom. Then what is freedom? It is different from each of our perspective. For example, in some societies, girls are given freedom to find their real love. On the other hand, some societies, the marriage of their children are decided by the parents. The definition of freedom is yet unclear and same goes to the definition of human rights. We all agree on freedom. We all agree on human rights. But how many truly do demonstrate it in our real life?

October 3, 2008 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

War – Effects

War. One of the most hated act in the world. Many have opposed war as the last solution of problems. World peace, often heard and initiate, and is our aim to achieve it, yet the war is still going on. For instance, war in Iraq and civil wars in few countries of Africa to mention a few.

What is a war? War is a conflict. Bad things follow a war. This is like a butterfly effect. War has a great impact on everything that is in the war-zone.

When war happens, there is inflation. For example, when United States invaded Iraq, the oil price increases tremendously, even reaching its peak and thus causing a global price hike in oil. War destroys infrastructure and slows the development of the war-zone. Sometimes you wonder why some of the countries in Africa are so poor because they have been suffered from civil wars for a long period. All the money has been used in war and no room for development. The country is getting poorer and poorer. The casualties also meant a lost to the country.

On the other hand, war brings social problems. Innocent lives in the war-zone will suffer from numerous gun-shooting and bombardment. Every day of their life could be considered as misery and they have to live in afraid and some suffer mental problems and recrimination. When war happens, crimes are present. Robbery and rape cases are common in a war-zone. For instance, many German women had been raped by the Red Army when they marched into Germany. (http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/6-23-2002-20908.asp) Dissatisfies arise and they feel that insecure among themselves which lead to bigger social problem, child soldiers.

According to this source (http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/crp/facts.htm), there are as many as 300,000 children under the age of 18 serve in government forces or armed rebel groups. Child soldiers are vulnerable to military because of their physical and mental immaturity. They are easily drawn into war and have nothing to resist. Some children joined the forces because of social and economy factors as they thought the forces would offer them food or security. Moreover, they are poor and separated from their families, making them an easy target for the armies.

War has made the formation of several international alliances such as United Nations and League of Nations. United Nations was formed after World War II as to replace League of Nations which is formed after World War I. According to United Nations, their aim is to facilitate cooperation in international law and security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achieving world peace. Sarcastically, UN is unable to prevent wars from happening. Information can be found at http://www.un.org

Besides that, some war has lead to the development of new technology. For example, chemical gas, nanotechnologies are products of wars. War also leads to a rise in calculation such as code-breaking technology.

In conclusion, war is fearful and destructive. Will wars be totally extinct as dinosaurs? We may see.

October 3, 2008 at 3:41 pm Leave a comment

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