Friday, February 18, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Friday, January 28, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) caused an uproar of protests, support, and general debate among people when it moved to ban Muslims from working at outlets that sell liquor. The MPSJ introduced the new licensing guidelines last Wednesday that prohibits booze-serving outlets from hiring Muslims, in line with the Syariah Criminal Enactment of Selangor.
However, the State Government reversed the ban on Thursday, saying that MPSJ had not consulted the State before implementing the ban. Discussions are being carried out to reach an amicable solution, according to Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
The ruling, which bans Muslims from being employed in establishments that serves alcohol, is 20 years old but has never been implemented. Fears of widespread unemployment among Muslims, as well as the financial burden on establishments which have hired them, have caused a public outcry against this ruling.
One must wonder why the ruling has suddenly come into effect 20 years after it was established. The sudden implementation of it would be an irresponsible action, not properly taking into account the needs of the people.
The obvious major problem, to the unemployed as well as the employer, is the sudden massive loss of jobs. Why should taxpayers compensate out-of-job Muslims, when the Government could have avoided the problem altogether by enforcing the ruling 20 years ago, or even (I may go so far as to say) abolishing it altogether?
Faith in an individual is, after all, a by-product of one's own convictions, and cannot be achieved through the implementation of laws that only serve to burden society.
The floods, which began in December 2010, continue to plague Australia till today. The most serious damage occurs in Queensland, with about two thirds of the state devastated. From there the floods have spread to swamp more than 50 villages in the state of Victoria.
According to Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan, it is the "biggest natural disaster" in Australian history.
About 30 people are believed to have died in the floods that swept up homes, cars, and trees, forcing people onto roofs of houses and cars. Residents of affected areas and surrounding are on high alert, preparing for the impending danger by packing sandbags around their homes. In Queensland alone, about 30,000 homes have been damaged.
The greatest economic disaster lies in Queensland’s lucrative coal-mining industry. Coal exports are expected to be reduced by 16.5 million tons by March, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences.
Nevertheless, it is heartening to hear of the stories of aid washing into the country during this hour of great need. Complete strangers show up at devastated neighbourhoods to clean up. Businesses are pouring in donations to support flood victims. Even celebrities like Lance Armstrong and Kenny Rogers are helping out greatly with their fundraisers.
It truly goes to show that the worst of disasters can bring out the best in people.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
The first major aspect of my life as an information consumer stems from a habit I’ve developed since I was 3 years old: reading. I have always loved reading in all forms, be they books, newspapers, internet articles, or learning materials. I even enjoy reading the nutritional information on milk cartons if I don’t have anything better to do.
So you can imagine how much information I get from all that reading. My hobby has played a huge role in shaping my dreams, ideals, and political views. Besides, I believe it has made me fairly comfortable using the English language, and I’ve come to understand that your grasp on language does affect the way you view the world. Since I only speak English and Malay, I probably relate to Western culture and thinking more than to my own parents, who do speak our own language (Mandarin). Sad to say.
Secondly, the Internet plays a large role in my life. When I was a kid, I found things out by asking Mum, Dad, or Teacher, “Why? How?” or by watching TV programmes. After awhile it became quite a tiring process to constantly demand for answers, NOW, from older people. And of course, there’s only so many things Elmo can teach you before you get sick of creepy furry muppets.
Then the Internet came along. Suddenly everything I wanted to know could be found prettily packaged in a tiny search bar. Google has not failed me to this day. To be honest, a lot of things I know about this world comes from Wikipedia.
Apart from Google, social media shapes me as a consumer of information. The key word is “sharing” – sharing information with other users. In more ways than just exchanging opinions, too. Online discussion forums and blogs allow me to share my views on many issues with people from all over the world. Social networking sites let my friends and me share what’s going in our lives quickly and easily.
The way I see social media, it gives a voice to everyone, myself included. It’s one of the defining characteristics of modern man – everybody wants to speak out, everybody wants to be heard. While I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities this presents us, I do sometimes wonder if there are too many voices screaming for attention nowadays. Not many people seem to realize the power of listening. Seeing this has made me a bit more aware of it. So I strive to achieve a balance between speaking and listening, not just on the Internet, but in daily life.
Finally, religion is a major factor in my life. I am a Christian and in all things I do, I try to keep a Godly perspective of things. However, one of my major struggles as a Christian consumerist is reconciling what the world teaches me with what my faith tells me. There lies an internal struggle wherever I try to retain my values and beliefs while keeping an open mind.
Take for example, the LGBT lifestyle. While my religion tells me this is wrong, I have many friends who engage in this lifestyle and are very good people. Consequently I find it hard to believe that such amazing people are, well, wrong.
Another example would be the issue of abortion. Naturally and morally, I am reviled by the idea of murdering an unborn baby. However, according to Freakonomics authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, legalized abortion actually results in a significant drop in crime rate and better overall quality of life. So how does that add up?
These are just two of many issues I struggle with as I digest information that clashes with my beliefs. Among other are communism, capital punishment, recreational drugs, and feminism. Nevertheless, I am certain that a rational, Christian worldview is out there somewhere and I must search for it. Meanwhile I view information from a Christian perspective as best I can.
Obviously there’s a lot more to information consumerism than just those 3 major aspects, but a 500-word constraint doesn’t make many allowances. And so, that is my (general) story of life as an information consumer.