The Evil Chinese Professor

“Why do great nations fail?” asked the sinister Chinese professor.

The year is 2030AD and in this ‘futuristic’ lecture theatre, the professor explained the downfall of the U.S. due to overspending and increasing foreign debt.

Of course, let’s not forget to end the lecture with a smirk and cheesy evil laughter that screams ‘BAD ACTING’!

The commercial was produced by the Citizens Against Government Waste and Americans for Prosperity Foundation (what a mouthful!) and aired in 2010 but is making another comeback since the 2012 U.S. presidential election is coming close.

This political ad, as blogger from angryasianman wrote :

“…is running on some serious Red Menace juice, and has to be one of the most racist and xenophobic pieces of fear-mongering propaganda I’ve ever seen.”

It is very disturbing that xenophobic ads like this still exists but it is not surprising. It serves its purpose in swaying the uninformed and ignorant to support a particular cause or view.

Larry McCarthy who produced this ad defended the commercial, saying that people were misguided and it is not about China but rather a warning about what would happen to the U.S. due to the nation’s increasing debt.

The blogger who wrote McCarthy’s statement also said that  (the commercial) ‘it is a scenario where a dominating superpower will reflect on their world history as much as we reflect and muse upon fallen empires that have come to pass.’

Personally, I think his statement is not relevant since there are different theories why the Roman Empire  or any other empires in the past failed. In the ad, the professor assumed that every empire falls because they made the ‘same mistake’ like the U.S.

The blogger also adds the ad creates unease for the average American viewers because the viewers are ‘using your (their) knowledge of mainstream media news reports and how problematic the Chinese government is when it comes to human rights, freedom of press and religion (or lack thereof), and so on.’

Again, this is not a relevant statement since when did human rights and freedom of press in China have anything to do with the increasing debt?

Besides, if you want to make an ad to address certain issues to your own people, why not be straightforward and address the issue directly? Why include another nation addressing and mocking the issue?

And if you’re curious about how the producer got extras of Asian descent to appear in this commercial, here’s a link:

http://blog.angryasianman.com/2010/10/extra-in-chinese-professor-ad-speaks.html

Apparently, these people signed up to appear as extras in Transformers 3 but only to appear in this ad with a very vague idea of what the commercial is about. They were told that the professor is actually saying something ‘funny’ so were told to laugh in some of the shots.

I find this ad amusing, ignorant and outright offensive. But hey, it’s all about politics and getting the uninformed to support your cause anyway, so who cares about facts these days?

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Amy Cheong Saga, Blown out of Proportion?

I am sure many of you have read the news of the sacking of NTUC (National Trade Union Congress) assistant director of membership, Amy Cheong for posting racist comments regarding Malay weddings on her Facebook wall. The news was featured on the third page of The West.

A Malaysian-born Australian citizen, who worked in Singapore, has fled to Perth after the immediate backlash over her comments.

According to The Australianthe assistant director was finding it hard to stay asleep because of a wedding taking place at a ‘void deck’-an empty space for common use on the ground floor for residents living in apartment blocks. Annoyed, Amy posted on her Facebook wall:

“How many f…ing (sic) days do Malay weddings at void decks go for? Pay for a real wedding you a……, maybe then the divorce rate won’t be so high. How can society allow people to get married for 50 bucks?”

Following her comments, netizens were swift and unforgiving in voicing out their outrage and verbal abuse.

I agree that Amy’s comment is insensitive and offensive but having read the ‘opinions’ posted by fellow netizens and the sacking of her job, I find the whole situation is blown out of proportion.

Firstly, there are not only comments but also Facebook pages and groups from other social media outlets that support racism, xenophobia, sexism, rape, and other offensive materials. It is rather disturbing how these sort of pages exist but do not generate enough attention to make authorities take any legal actions.

For Amy, just one spur of the moment offensive comment has changed her life overnight.

Personally, what annoys me the most is to read self-righteous comments from netizens who condemn Amy’s remark by posting opinions, (which resemble more like verbal abuse) that are equally as ignorant and insensitive.

Not naming names here, one of the netizens posted saying that Amy has ‘betrayed’ Malaysia by working in Singapore. Another one posted in Malay, commenting that she eats too much pork, hence her mouth is full of feces. Since Malays are mainly of Muslim faith, the consumption of pork is not allowed.

It is rather amusing and frustrating at the same time to read comments from netizens who assume they have the moral high ground to judge a person’s mistake.

Amy’s remark might be sparked off by a sense of resentment that I believed has been subconsciously ingrained into many Malaysians who have experienced the consequences of racial-based politics and corruption. Therefore, I find it insulting when someone who has no idea how Malaysian politics is run is quick to judge.

Race-based politics is prevalent in Malaysia. After the racial clash between the Chinese and Malays in May 13 1969, the New Economic Policy (NEP) was formulated in 1971 with two objectives- to eradicate poverty irrespective to race and to eliminate association of race with job function. Although the policy ended officially in 1990, Malaysians often refer to the NEP in the present because many of the tangible economic benefits it offered the Malay and Indigenous communities, referred to as Bumiputra are ongoing.

Director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, Tricia Yeoh wrote a very good article, analysing the consequences of racial-based politics in Malaysia. Not only race-based politics has created resentment and tensions among races but it has also created ongoing corruption among governments and policy makers and ruin the economic potential of the country.

In the article Yeoh wrote:

Effects on Economy

“This situation was rare vis-a-vis other countries in that race-based affirmative action was in favour of the majority ethnic group (as opposed to aiding the minority groups). This has been made worse by the fact that majority of the policymakers within public service comes from the same ethnic group as the policy’s beneficiaries themselves. Malays would then increasingly depend on the patronage of top-level political individuals able to influence decisions to award contracts and tenders and appoint top positions within Government-Linked Companies (GLCs), eventually creating distributional cartels amongst friends and loyal supporters of the system. Whilst there were definite non-Malays who benefited from economic policies, they have been only the select few and far between. Also, although indigenous people technically fit into the Bumiputera category, in reality they have received little in comparison – another example of system abuse.

Yeoh went on to argue that race-based policies have affected ‘the erosion of quality’ where government appoints vice-chancellors and promote lecturers according to their race rather than their merits.

According to Philip Schellekens, a senior economist at the World Bank, Malaysia’s racial policies spurred a brain drain of largely Chinese and Indian minorities, and limited foreign investment.

In terms of education, Yeoh wrote:

‘Further, Bumiputera students sign up for pre-university matriculation courses (easier to pass) whereas non-Bumiputera students are obliged to take the STPM (Sijil Tinggi Penilaian Malaysia) at Form 6 (more difficult); entrance to universities is hence dual-tracked. Students unable to enter university based not on their inability but on their ethnicity would have harboured feelings of resentment towards those who did.’

This statement holds true because as I have heard stories from friends or my brother’s friends who scored very well for their entrance exams but failed to get into courses of their choices due to their ethnicities. It is even more heartbreaking for these students as some of them come from families that are not as well of so they could not afford to go study overseas.

In conclusion, yes, I agreed Amy’s comment is insensitive and distasteful and she should not have posted those words that have the potential to create more tensions among different races. And for the netizens who were quick to call a certain race for being prejudice or to condemn her by giving equally racial or bias opinions, do not assume yourselves to have the moral high ground. In terms of the tensions and resentment that still linger in Malaysia, it is the government and those who selfishly benefit from the system are to blame. Race should be left alone when it comes to politics.

Racial-based politics is self-destructive. Period.

Libya Attacks: Anti-American Sentiments still lingers

The attack of the U.S. embassy in Benghazi due to an anti-Islam movie has sparked off more anti-American protests in Yemen, Egypt and most recently Sydney.

The mob attack in Libya resulted in the death of an American ambassador and three consulate officials.

The violent attack was suspected to be pre-planned. According to CNN NewsU.S. sourced believed the attackers used the protest “as a diversion though the sources could not say whether the attackers instigated the protest or merely took advantage of it.”

The anti-Islam film, “Innocence of Muslims” depicted prophet Mohammed as a “womanizer, child molester, and ruthless killer.”

Segments of the film was shown online by anti-Islamist activists, that included Egyptian-born Coptic Christian Morris Sadek.

However, it is not clear whether or not this film is the sole reason that started the conflict. Protesters did demonstrate against the insulting film right before the attack.

The violent protests that have spread from Libya to Sydney have shown that anti-Americanism is still prevalent in the Muslim world.

From CrikeyBeirut-based Australian journalist, Antoun Issan wrote:

“The abhorrent attacks on the US consulate in Libya can indeed be attributed to extremist elements in the region. The flurry of condemnation by Libyans and Muslims on Twitter and social networks is testimony to that. But it is only an extremist manipulation of a widely felt sentiment that continues to perceive the US in particular and the West in general as enemies of the Arab and Islamic world.”

In short, Inssan believes anti-Americanism, which still remains “constant” in the Arab and Muslim world has been used as a manipulative and exploitative tool to spark more conflicts by extremist groups.

“How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? ” asked Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

It is rather naive to think that by assisting Libya to liberate will result in the country becoming one of America’s allies. Tensions between Libya, including other Muslim countries and America have existed for many years and America’s intervention will not immediately bring peace.

As Issan wrote:

“The Arab street has seen through superficial, opportunistic and selective US support for local revolts that it handpicks based on its own interests. The Libya incident should serve as a wake-up call to US policymakers, Democrat and Republican-alike, that their strategy in the vital Middle East needs a major overhaul.Arab grassroots political culture is emerging, albeit in its infancy and, as it continues to grow, Arab interests will naturally become more independent of US interests in the region. This is a reality the US must acknowledge. US policy in the Middle East is caught between historic approaches of blindly supporting Arab autocrats and Israel, and a new dawn where it is no longer the primary actor.”

Continual military presence and other shaky pasts such as America as an unfair “mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian” conflict have contributed more tensions and conflict among the Muslim nations.

The political situation in the Middle East is evolving and America’s intervention is going to make matters worse as the people of these Muslim nations are becoming more vocal on how their nations should be run.

The U.S. should start reassessing its foreign policy if the nation wants to create a friendly relationship with the Middle East. America should start listening to the masses instead of directly intervening with politics in the Middle East.

As for the protests, it is extremism that should be blamed, not Libya or any other nations. Like the quote shown in the picture, “Thugs and Killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.”

Malaysian Education Minister Says: GAAAAY!!!

Image

The Deputy Education Minister, Mohd Puad Zarkashi has endorsed guidelines to help parents identify gay and lesbian symptoms in their children. The result? Insulting, homophobic and ignorant to a point it is laughable. 

There are four symptoms listed for both gays and lesbians in the guidelines. 

The Education Ministry believes that the guidelines will help parents to spot the symptoms at an early stage so they could take “corrective measures”.

Gay symptoms:

1. Have a muscular body and like to show their body by wearing V-neck and sleeveless clothes. (We are talking about children here. How many children out there are muscular? Parents, stop sending your kids to sports events! Every muscle gained is a sin!)

2. Prefer tight and light coloured clothes. (No words can describe my thoughts, so here’s an emoticon: 0.o)

3. Attracted to men. (Wow! How blatantly obvious!)

4. Like to bring big handbags, similar to those used by women, when hanging out. (I believe the ‘handbags’ are called ‘man bags’? And what if they are carrying handbags? Who cares! Men need to put their belongings somewhere when going out.)

Lesbians:

1. Attracted to women (Duh!)

2. Besides their female companions, they will distance themselves from other women. (So whoever wrote this guideline thought that homosexuals have this whole ‘tribalism’ concept going on and only befriend other homosexuals.)

3. Like to hang out, have meals and sleep in the company of women. (Mum and Dad, cancel that sleepover!)

4. Have no affection for men. (You don’t say?)

The Education Ministry endorsed guidelines were published by Yayasan Guru Malaysia Bhd and Putrajaya Consultative Council of Parents and Teachers Association and distributed during a seminar in Penang. 

Puad says: ““Youths are easily influenced by websites and blogs relating to LGBT groups. This can also spread among their friends. We are worried that this happens during schooling time.” 

Homophobia in Malaysia is nothing new. A high school teacher of mine once told my classmates and I that it is a sin for a person to be attracted to someone of the same sex. As usual, she used the same argument that God made male and female for the sake of procreation, to justify her statement. 

I am sure what the Education Minister did has angered many Malaysians. To whoever wrote that guideline and to the Education Ministry: Grow up! And focus more on important issues regarding Malaysian education like rural schools and fundings. 

The Many Categories of Rape

Republican nominee for Missouri, Todd Akin’s statement went viral after claiming that ‘legitimate rape’ rarely leads to pregnancy. My reaction to his ridiculous statement was a raise of the eyebrow as it is no surprise to me since we live in a society where women are told not to get raped rather than educating people that rape is a horrible crime.

It comes as no surprise that Akin decided to be a bit more ‘scientific’ to back up his claim, stating, ‘if it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut the whole thing down.’ Right… I think he either needs to reread his biology textbook or someone has to tell him about the birds and the bees.

According to medical studies in the U.S., more than 5% of rape victims ended up pregnant. From the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes.

Despite the staggering numbers of victims, there are still conservatives out there who have made similar claims like Akin’s. An article from Jezebel.com quoted a National Right to Life Committee physician, John C. Willke who stated that pregnancy due to rape seldom occurs because the female brain and body are emotionally traumatised. He even went on about how the female body produces ‘a sophisticated mix of hormones’. In short, he is pretty much stating that the female body can differentiate rape and consensus sex and the ‘sophisticated hormones’ can send signals to the ovaries not to get pregnant.

Credibility aside, I just hate how politicians or people in general, use ‘scientific claims’ and labels to justify whether rape should be considered a crime or the rapist should be punished. These ‘claims’ and ‘labels’ will only make the victims feel guilty about themselves and send the wrong signals that certain rape cases are less serious than others.

I remember back in high school, a teacher of mine openly stated women should be blamed for some rape cases because of the way they dress. She advised us girls to wear baggy t shirts and pants and avoid skirts at all costs. In a room full of students, she has degraded her own gender and gave the male students the impression that girls can be blamed for rape.

Rape is rape. There is no label or any scientific claim to it. It is a crime, pure and simple.

Extra article: A Texan political candidate compared rape to bad weather. 

America: Echoes of Fear, Ignorance and Anti-Muslim Sentiments

Earlier this month, a vicious assault was carried out by a white supremacist on Sikh worshippers in Wisconsin, leaving six dead and three wounded. An attack like this is not new as Sikhs are sometimes misidentified as Muslims by the misinformed popularition due to their traditional turbans and beards.

Racism and religious intolerance are blatantly obvious here but what is more disturbing is how the media chooses to cover the news. The media seems to emphasise that ‘Sikhs are not Muslims’, giving an impression that if the attack was carried out against a group of Muslims, it somehow becomes slightly more understandable and tolerable. I agree that the media is just informing people the reason behind the killings but the emphasis seems to approve that some religious groups are more deserving of hate than others.

As an article from  Deseret News puts it, the killing was ‘an attack on believers everywhere.’ It went on about how the killing was an ‘assault’ to the Constitution’s First Amendment that guaranteed the freedom of religious exercise. The First Amendment has become one of the core values of American society but sadly does not seem to be applied to the religious minorities.

Anti-Muslim sentiments have become ‘mainstream’ in America but who is to blame? The politicians? The media?

Muhammad Babur from PostBulletin.com argued that ‘recent political campaigns not only have revealed a heightened level of polarization but also have given one party a new tool to attract votes and massive load of cash.’ According to the article, during a 2010 congressional campaign, 85 Republican members used the pet line, ‘sharia law’ to disparage Islam and gain financial support for their campaign.

The attack on Sikh worshippers is a tragedy and it reminds us the sad reality that ignorance and fear-mongering only generate more hate and results in violence.

The Olympics: An Excuse to Breed Hatred Towards Other Nations?

Regarding the suspicions on the doping of Chinese swimmer Ye ShiWen, a reader commented that ‘the Olympics gives people an excuse to hate other nations.’ Perhaps ‘hate’ would be too strong of a word. The concept of bringing athletes from across the globe to compete on fair grounds is a noble cause but there is no denying that cultural and racial tensions and misunderstandings have spawned many negative media coverages and comments.

To be honest, I have never been very interested in the Olympics besides watching the opening and closing ceremonies. But I do read the news enough to get the gist of what is going on. I understand it is rather late since the Olympics has ended few days ago but I am going to offer some of my perspectives.

Despite the triumphs of the athletes, the Olympics is overshadowed by insensitive tweets from fans, other athletes, and negative media coverage.

I was rather taken aback at how quick the media’s response on the possibility of doping when Ye broke the 400 meter individual medley world record. Instead of getting her achievement celebrated, she immediately became the subject of doubt and speculation. The reasons to cause such doubts were her physique and her ability to break U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte’s record while ignoring the fact that Lochte actually swam slower than Italian swimmer Alessia Fillipi in the 2008 Olympics. Not to mention the argument was based on China’s past when Chinese swimmers were tested positive during drug tests in the 90s.

The reasons given to support Ye’s doping were both racist and sexist. An article from the MailOnline was quick to use China and East Germany interchangeably as nations that still train their young athletes with inhumane tactics and militaristic precisions. It is rather sad that whenever people of colour achieved something extraordinary in the Olympics, people are quick to judge, cast doubts and open debates on the political systems or human rights violations of wherever the achiever comes from. But no one ever questions U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps’ success when he won 22 Olympic medals.

The media should not be bias and narrow minded. Criticising a person’s success based on race, nationality and sex is irrational. Fortunately, there are other articles from online media such as BBC, Crikey, to name a few that defended Ye’s achievement by providing rational arguments.

Let’s not forget that Olympics is about bringing great athletes from around the world together, not encouraging people to point fingers and made accusations based on the fact that the athletes are of different race or nation.