Sunday, 30 December 2007

2007, so what?

Every year, all publications jump on the bandwagon to recap the year's events. This year is not exception.

The recent Bhutto assasination will certainly bethe hottest news. A liberal Western-educated Muslim murdered a month away from democratic elections in a country plagued by militancy and dictatorship? How could anyone miss that for a Top Story?

Then there is the story of the Democrats' regaining control in the Senate which will surely be big in the USA, for it reflects Americans objection to the war in Iraq.

In Asean, it's probably the PPP's win at the Thai elections which grab headlines and likely to affect the region, economically, in 2008. Thaksin's purchase of Manchester City football club may even get slight mention. The suppression of Monks in Burma will definitely be a big story although economically, for Asean and the rest of the world, Burma is but a situation for scoring political points.

Most of the often authoritative and sometimes violent or brutal Asean states don't really care about what the Burmese military does to the monks. They condemn the military's acts just so they can be included in the world's list as being respectful of human rights and freedom of expression. Malaysia suppresses their Indians and others protesting for different causes, violently. Singapore will not even allow protests at a major world conference they hosted this year. Thailand's military muscled in on their own politicians and people during last year's coup. You name the countries in Asean, and perhaps Asia for that matter, they are all equally guilty of human rights abuse and suppression of freedom of expression in their history.

Indonesia's media will probably be filled with glossy stories about celebrities' divorces and scandals, including Roy Marten's drug case which will obviously not be left out. The recent world conference on climate change in Bali will be something the Indonesians are proud of as well. Then there's this verdict by the monopolies commission on Singapore's Temasek Holdings and its related companies. Major corruption cases won or prosecuted by the government (if there were any) or their fight against terrorism will probabl not be sensational enough to make top stories of 2007.

What has become of this world we live in? The Americans have their domestic problems. The Europeans are distracted by domestic pride and a fragile and young integrated European economy, the Middle East has problems dating back centuries ago, and Asia is coping with survival in the face of the rise of two economies like China and India whose populations can sink the world should they all jump at the same time.

Al Gore did a brillant job to win his Nobel prize in reminding the world about climate change and greenhouse gases. But by the time the people of this world react, it will probably be too late. What does carbon footprint mean to a poverty stricken family in Indonesia or Africa? Is America or Europe going to foot the bill for their alternative fuel needed for subsistence?

Our world is known to be quite resilient. Every time a problem is highlighted, there seems to be a group of people who will come up with a solution. A vaccine was found for the plague. Two world wars ended and countries rebuilt to become economic powerhouses. The cold war ended diplomatically. We seem to be going around in circles. Is this what God intended? Make Men, then let Men make mistakes and learn from those mistakes in order to continue living in a world He created?

Perhaps so... Unless you can come up with another explanation.

1 comment:

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