Runner Up for Worst Country in the World

November 16, 2009

While I was wandering around, I found these blog posts (from An American Perspective of China) of an American visiting North Korea, one of the handfuls who ever did, mind you. Anyways, I am a South Korean (well, genetically, although culturally, I am more of a Venezuelan/American), so the North Korea situation is especially interesting to me. His accounts and insight from the country is certainly interesting. It is pretty much what you would expect if you have read 1984. Even foreigners aren’t allowed for much freedom to look around. It is Orwellian incarnate, hell on Earth, a truly dystopian society. How something like this could actually exist is beyond me. For me, this is so unbelievable that even though I know it is true, my mind keep telling me that it is way too farfetched, over the top. Indeed, this paragraph reflects my feelings very well:

When you arrive in North Korea, there’s a sense of unreality about it.  I suspect even Bill Clinton, when he climbed out his private jet onto the tarmac at Pyongyang, must have wondered to himself, “Is this really happening?  Am I actually here?”  For most of us, North Korea seems to occupy the same imaginary plane of existence as Mordor.  I live in Beijing, and the concrete realization that the DPRK is a real place just a short hour and a half flight away — even though I’d known it all along in theory — came as quite a shock.  Showing up at the Beijing airport and checking into my flight felt like that scene in Harry Potter where the plain brick walls of King’s Cross station give way to reveal a hidden platform with a magic train to whisk him off to Hogwarts.  

But there is one thing that I think is really impressive, but at the same time, sickening of North Korea, which is the mass games. It is basically a ceremony of some sort where there are a whole bunch of people performing in exact precision celebrating the leader… How do I explain this… Showing is better than telling:

This is, by the way, another one of those brain washing devices, keeping the youth’s mind busy all year long to prevent dissent, to praise the North Korean leader, who has a god like status, and to promote basically the collectivistic mindset of the nation. Truly incredible, truly sick. It is a shame really. All of those talents wasted praising just one guy.

You know, I am thinking, this whole thing is unfair. What did those people do to deserve eternal slavery of the mind? Why do these group have to suffer? Now, I know that there is no particular reason except for the current of history, and these people had the misfortune of being North Koreans, but still… So much of our lives, like where we are born and the situation that comes along with it is so outside of our control. That sense of no control is truly a horrible feeling.  Whether I am me or another person is so much like the rolls of a die. I feel truly fortunate that I live in a good country with a good family, and even though we might not be rich and hardships have arisen, I have a decent opportunity to do what I want to do. I don’t have to think what someone else tells me to think. This is all cliche and all, but I think we shouldn’t take our liberties for granted, that is all.

So yeah, you get the point. If there ever was a contest of worst or most FAIL nation state in the world, North Korea would be a runner up. Although there are so many horrible places in this world that it is hard to make my mind up on what  is the worst country in the world. But truly, North Korea is almost, if not, is unmatched in its Orwellian way of doing things.

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The Ownage of the Catholic Church

November 9, 2009

There is a video that has been released on an intelligence squared debate on whether “The Catholic Church is a force for good in the world“. Of course, I call BS on that. I believe that this position is indefensible. But what do people think, and do they support my conclusions? Well, just see the shift of opinions after the debate:

Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens owned them, both awesomelly in their own way. Look at their faces, so happy… From what I heard, it is one of the largest intelligence squared margins ever, in not, the largest. Not that popularity is evidence for a position, so why not watch the debate via the link above and convince yourself?

Here is the first part of the debate:


For The Love of Water

October 25, 2009

GrrlScientist recently posted a series of videos from the movie Flow: For The Love of Water. It is about how human activity is affecting the water supply available to us humans, and looking at this, things don’t look good. The first step towards solving any problem, of course, is being aware of the problem, so I suggest you see this excellent documentary. Here is part one:

Considering how large these problems seem, I wonder whether humanity has the will and tools to solve them. Frankly, I am slightly pessimistic, but we will see… We will see…


My Frustation with US Politics

August 22, 2009

I want to rip my hair off whenever I think of this. So, when a bunch of lunatics talk about how the health care reform will kill the their grannys, and make US into a Soviet socialist country, and believe that the president was born in Kenya, things have gone way out of line. Especially that people espouses the line that health care is not a fundamental right? Are you kidding me? You might as well say that having a shelter is not a fundamental right because back in the old days, we used to wander around in savannas hunting with spears. C’mon, people, without an affordable health care, how will one have the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness which you guys (and I) believe in?

Oh, and another thing, Obama doesn’t have spine or guts. He is just an empty slob of skin and meat. When the going got tough, he just gave up on the public option. Look, I am not extremely informed about health care, all right? But there is an appreciable differences in the amount other industrial countries spend, and the fact that everyone in those countries are covered, while at the same time maintaining quality. So, more saving, same quality, everyone wins. And while there probably are legitimate problems with the health care bill, the looneys out there are distracting people away from the real problem, and replacing it with grossly misinformed facts like “death Panels”, the government will kill grannys,  that there will be rationing (don’t they know basic economics? limited resources=rationing, all system therefore must ration). I have even heard of pathetic reasoning that suggests medicare is not a government program, which it is. But no, Obama caves in to those lunatics, and drops the  option, even if the criticism they had were utter falsehoods. Obama is a coward.

Here is an example of how one deals with looney tunes like Bugs Bunny (Fox News, both equally silly), Daffy Duck (some Republican congress members, both equallly incompetent), and Elmer Fudds (public who are always trying to blow themselves up with the rest of society):

(hat tip Greg Laden for the video)

Ownage. Barney Frank is my temporary hero. You should see Daily Show’s comment on Barney Frank’s takedown. Funny.

That’s okay, though. Politics from my ethnicity, Korea, involved actual fistfights.

Update:

Lol, it is funny when O’Reilley tries to play the political accusation game. His defense is so lame.:


Financial Meltdown: the Movie

March 2, 2009

…or at least that is what I call the Frontline PBS documentary on the financial meltdown of 2008. Seriously, this documentary makes economic sound exciting and thrilling. Almost as if I was watching 24 economics edition. Ok, it is not 24 thrilling, but still… It is kind of like an economics thriller. ^_^ Unfortunately, I can’t embed stuff with script tags, so you will have to go there and watch it.

Hat tip: Freakonomics (He has various articles on the meltdown too, if you wish to inform yourself.


Oh Crap, Venezuela is Doomed

February 16, 2009

Something terrible happened in Venezuela right now, and I care because I lived there a few years ago. In a referendum for people to vote whether Chavez could amend the constitution whatever he wanted to, the result was yes. Also, he plans to run, as any dictator in history shows, indefinitely. If you understand spanish, then here you go, El Universal, a Venezuelan newspaper.


Deviance and Amusing Reactions

January 8, 2009

Human behavior is an awesome class I have, and there was one particular assignment that was awkward or somewhat crazy. Basically, it was about breaking rules, which is called deviance. The experiments included sitting besides someone when the chairs in a public place were mostly empty, males shopping with a purse or females with their prom dress, calling a teacher by his/her first name (with permission) to describe the students’ reaction, asking for more homework, and finally, standing up every time the teacher calls during class.

I chose the first name thingy. When I said the teacher’s first name, the results were extremely amusing. People had that priceless shocked looked on their faces, with giggles of nervousness, and “oohhs.” One student was coming back from the bathroom, and she just entered as I said it. She cursed, and immediately went outside, expecting the teacher to snap. The teacher and I just laughed our butt off. What a priceless day. ^_^