#214 food scare

Milk, an essential for babies and now cup noodles, the popular fast food for adults especially the elderly who found this convenient to prepare.

All one needs is to pour hot water into the cup and wait for several minutes…voila, the food is ready for eating! Mind you, the price for a cup noodle is not that cheap…but for convenience, to fill the hungry stomach and saving time in this fast track life is an alternative choice!

Tainted milk in China stole the headlines at a time when the global financial crisis was looming large, now this cup noodle scare in Japan where insecticide is found! Is there something more sinister?!

About a million cups were recalled. This scare comes at a time when prices of some staple foods are on the rise!

The Nissin Foods product company was founded by Mr Momofuku Ando. Died at ripe age of 96, he was born in Taiwan in 1910 and returned to Japan in 1933. According to sources, he was inspired to provide cheap food for the masses after witnessing people queueing for hot ramen (noodle) at a black market stall during the time of food shortage in WWII.

Interestingly the first instant noodle came on the market in 1958 but the cup noodle in 1971.

#176 china gymnasts falsify age?

I heard on BBC that China’s gymnasts who won gold were under age. Was there deliberate oversight in submitting the age on their part?

There is always confusion for those outside of China to know the age of the China Chinese.

Even for one who is born in Singapore, growing up, I was always confused about my age until I applied for my national identity card when I was twelve.

If you asked me what year my parents were born or their birthday, I couldn’t tell you. You see the Chinese go by their Chinese calendar year.

I was befuddled with the age of some of my China-born friends living in China or those who never went abroad. Many of them don’t give you the actual date of their birthday…so when celebrating their birthdays, the day changes with our calendar year. This is NOT INCONSISTENT as the Chinese go by their Chinese calendar year. For unknown reason, the Chinese always add 2 years to the day they were born.

Is this being dishonest? A lie? A stripping of the medals?

Surely not…when this is cultural difference in interpreting age or the day they were born.

#162 religious freedom

In an earlier post I complimented President George Bush that he was smart in his decision to attend the Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing — smart does not equate wise though.

As usual the US and the West pride they know what freedom is…human rights, religious freedom, freedom of speech…

This religious freedom the West adopted has bankrupted many believers in Christianity…in fact money has become the God! During the Reformation and Enlightened Age, the West shone in every aspect of life — politically, economically and socially. Today, decadence seems to pervade the West, so much so many young are embracing the eastern religions.

When I was in Germany in the 1980s, I discovered the citizens had to pay church tax. I do not know if this tax law exists today. What was the church tax for? The state would deduct 1% (?) off a personal income. Many young resent this deduction as they do not believe in their parents’ belief and the church. In fact many claim atheism or believe in other religions.

I believe ALL churches ARE registered with the state around the world.

In China, I believe there is a measure of religious freedom today, unlike the Mao regime when all religions are forbiddened. There was crackdown on those religious leaders and active devout devotees…buddhism, muslim, christianity and confucianism and taoism.

Yet strangely my encounters with many Chinese who went overseas, the first place the young actually entered was the church. Many had the notion that the church is spiritual refuge from reading the Russian literatures. However many young are blindly following the trail of the MONEY God!

Religious institutions exist and it is actively operating…yet why the foul cries from the devotees?

When I first visited Beijing on my own (not with tour groups), I was pleasantly surprised at the openness. Yes, there were uniformed police patrolling around the Tiananman Square area and the shopping areas, but that did not give me the impression that I had to watch that I say any more than in my own land or when residing in the West. In fact I feel safe that these uniformed police were around for security reasons!? In fact these are signs of a developing nation on the road to prosperity! (I’m sure I’d be clobbered for this!)

One obvious sign to religious freedom was I saw many monks clad in their robes walking freely around. Or are these for show?

Are the locals not allowed to worship in the open 3-self churches? These might be opened for the expatriate community and I was told Christians are not allowed to openly evangelise or proselytise. I can talk and discuss Christianity within the church compound but not outside. I’ve yet to test the truth as I was not there long to see the truth. 

Many Christians in China feared that if they openly profess their faith in Jesus, they are liable for persecutions…is this true? Can a people light a lamp and put it under a bowl? Are Christians not the light of the world?

Jesus in sermon on the mount said:

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14)

Is this not true that the Chinese government is cracking down on the clandestine groups — those groups that function without registration or within the law?

I fancy there are two groups praying for the Olympic Games: one, this will be a success and the other, hoping this event will highlight some ugly aspects of the country and eventually to shame China!

Unfortunately, the Olympic Games has become a tool for politiking!!!

#161 has the olympics changed china?

China is a huge land mass divided by mountains and rivers. Can the Olympic Games change China?

Probably not the way many outside of China would like to see. It is true that the Olympics might be a national event but those who could really enjoy the occasion is far in between. This happens in all the cities that hosted the event.

Personally I know in homes whenever parents had visitors or play host, there would be massive clean up of the homes…in some ways, spring cleaning, some things had to go to create space and so forth.

The place where it is hosted like Beijing, the capital, will definitely receive accelerated transformation which is positive but certainly not for some dwellers.

Even if the dwellers are well compensated, I believe there will be some discontents on sentimental reasons and unwillingness to change or psychologically for families or elderly to start again in an unfamiliar surrounding where possibly having new faces around. 

Undoubtedly some sights or living quarters had to make way for facilities to host the event…as a form of respect to visitors or good hospitality?

The same could be said for those cities or venues that hosted the event in the past. I recall in Sydney there were some unhappy voices on this; and I sincerely believe virtually all the venues that hosted the Olympics gave the same woes and cries.

This will definitely happen in the next host country when the event will be held unless the organisers or governing leaders have a way of getting around the problem. 

What fascinates me was this event in China had called for massive and extensive media coverage. Perhaps to generate news and to arouse interests?!

The heightened situation was China wanting to share the event with the populace only to see this backfired in the protests in some parts of the world.

No matter, the Olympics is always and will be an event NOT for the nationals or ordinary people BUT for athletes from different nations to meet in one location in celebration of their sportsmanship and…the national leaders. Like football or tennis or golf tournaments, it is always for those interested…never, never, never for all.

#157 can man control weather?

There is constant vigilance and scrutiny these days about pollution and the weather on the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing…will the pollution hinder or bring some side-effects on the health of the athletes?

What is the media doing by constantly harping upon whether China is able to clean up the air for the Games?

Is China not doing her level-best to take control of the weather and her environment?

Is the media and those in the West asking China to become like a god or deity?

It has been clearly stated: man cannot and not able to take control of the weather. If man can take control of the weather, then…man is almighty!

A decision had been made for China to host this Games. Why are the media and human rights groups and some leaders in the world bringing longstanding issues like human rights or pollution to task? President George Bush was smart in defending his decision to attend the Opening Ceremony…

Pardon me, what have the human rights organisations contributed to the affairs of the people in that nation? What concrete realities or help have they offered except come up some statements? Why are some Chinese so foolish to echo those human rights organisations and go to jail? Surely there must be some creative and think-out-of-the-box to beat some unjust social issues.

Are the Chinese NOT able to learn from past history — the sages, heroes and writers to consider and beat the system. Historically, the people in China had suffered injustices and corrupt officials, will this be abolished within this decade…or even during this Olympic Games?

Previously, there was little publicity or hype on global warming or greening the earth –venues in the past were not under close scrutiny on such.

Unfortunately or fortunately for China today, she comes under tremendous pressure to make a success of the Games. Will the West make China stronger and almighty when she is able to control or lessen the smog?

Positively, this has brought much awareness and accelerated research on how to curb air pollution in China.

In Singapore, there was increased level of smog when there was huge forest fires in our neighboring countries.

#139 release of political prisoners

According to some news sources, Congressmen Frank R Wolf and Chris Smith went to Beijing to lobby release of 734 (?) political prisoners under the human rights banner.  

Are these congressmen willing to absorb these political prisoners to America — that is, to offer these political asylum to their country?

What are some implications in releasing these political prisoners? Will China see greater unrests if they remain? Is this what these American congressmen wished for in China?

Once a dissident, always one. The person will not be subdued until he lives in another society to know the difference. If the political prisoners remained in prison, perhaps one of them might become ‘Mandela of Africa’!?

Building a nation is one of the most challenging tasks but destroying a nation is so very easy!

What is democracy offering to the world? Where is democracy? It appears more countries are entering this arena but…is the world a safer or less fightings or licensed killing in the name of wars and dissensions and protests (accidental deaths?

Today this word ‘democracy’ has many shades and interpretations…some according to the whims and fancies of naivettes or unthinking people! Is democracy not freedom to respect one another’s rights to live peacefully? Is democracy not giving one the opportunity to deal national issues through consensus?

The congressmen must be bitterly disappointed that President George Bush will be attending the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games. Will they stir more resentments on President George Bush and his administration before he relinquishes the presidency? Will there be more resignations among Bush’s men?

#138

Mongolia is in a confused state — some Mongolians took to protest allegating that votes were rigged. Does freedom means protest and destruction of premises and getting one another arrested — in the name of human rights which the world is hawking on China’s human rights issue?

If Mongolians do not appreciate freedom, will there be elections in future? Will the world point a finger saying I told you so…that China is an authoritarian rule? Is this what the world wants to see in order to put that nation down?

I sincerely hope China will rise above criticisms and allegations…

I hope the world will give the present leaders in China a chance to run their nation which has long history of dissensions and strifes — certainly not easy to rule a country when it’s so huge in land area.

I wonder — is this a ploy of the human rights organisations especially by the exiled leader who claims himself a spiritual leader. If this exiled leader is truly a spiritual leader, he would not be involved in politics of this nature.

I note whenever reconciliation talk was taking place between the envoys of exiled leader and China, there would inevitably be some form of protests in parts of China. Is their holding talks a signal for more protests — so as to put China down as the Olympic Games is due in a couple of weeks’ time!

If this is so, this is a most devious ploy.

I certainly hope the world will focus on the Olympic Games as an event in celebration of athletic prowess and glory — not on politics or finger-pointing on human rights issue!