Thursday, October 26, 2017

Is Race Important to Your Success?

It’s often described as the worst of the “isms” and so, whenever someone prominent appears to practice it, we all get very upset. That “ism” is of course, racism – the concept where people either believe they are superior to others by mere fact that they were born into a particular ethnicity or the feeling that people are awful because of the colour of their skin.

I’m not going to try and discuss the ins and outs of racism but I will make the point that many of us get upset by racism because there’s a bit of a racist in all of us and its one of those things that we don’t realise we are until it actually happens. The little racist in us gets particularly ugly when it comes to explain socio-economics of various societies.

So, you can imagine the storm that took place when the famed investor, Dr. Marc Faber said words to the effect that “America prospered because it was colonized by White People instead of Black People.” At the time of writing Dr. Faber has been unceremoniously booted off various boards and been barred from being a speaker in several conferences. You can follow the story at 

While Dr. Faber’s comments may sound crass, I know off a few people who would agree with him. I know people who would argue that Dr. Faber is being a victim of political correctness. Ironically, many of them are people of colour.

I think of my young Muslim politician from Pasir Ris GRC who likes to drink during Ramadan (AKA Thambi Pundek), who proudly told me of his professor in Monash who told the Asian students (i.e. the ones who study and pay real fees) that the rest of the world should bow down to the White Man for giving prosperity, democracy and so on and so on. Thambi Pundek seems very proud of being told that by the learned professor (note that this is what I was told by Thambi – I didn’t actually hear those words spoken by the professor). Thambi isn’t the only one who thinks this is wisdom. I think of the Trump Campaign, where you had people of colour thanking Trump for shitting on them.
This brigade points out to several facts:

  1. 1.      America was a field of plants and animals until the White Man came along and built cities, factories etc etc and made America the superpower that it is today.

  2. 2.      The White Man has made the world prosperous, while the black man has screwed it up. Since colonialism, the Americans and Europeans have prospered and Africa has become a byword for corruption, war and all sorts of nasty things. They will further point out that the only country that has anything approaching a standard of living is South Africa and even then – the wealth is held by the White Minority. The examples go on – in Western cities, the White Neighborhoods are nice and the black ones are not.


I’m not going to try and argue these points for the simple fact that they are true. America really was a nature reserve until Europeans brought industrialization. I’m also going to stress that I always preferred the idea of living in South Kensington in London to Brixton. I hate to say it but in Soho, London the black community were predominantly pimps or drug dealers while the party goers were white. Now that I live in Singapore, the vagabonds are inevitably Tamil i.e. dark skinned.
So, if you look at everything I’ve just said, you might be forgiven for thinking that Dr. Faber is merely a victim of the dictatorship of political correctness. There are those who would argue that he’s correct – there’s a correlation between the colour of your skin and levels of prosperity and development.

While the argument has an appeal (especially if you’re not dark), its grossly oversimplified. Dr. Faber, for all his brilliance as a financial investor, has seriously failed to understand the secret of success. The key to prosperity is not so much skin colour but culture and our perceptions of what constitutes success and prosperity.

Let’s start with perceptions of success. Yes, it was the European settlers who brought the idea of industrialization to the New World, which became the bedrock of American wealth. However, one could argue that the European settlers probably screwed it up to. The “Red Indians” didn’t have industrialization and money but they had a system that was close to nature and other than the odd tribal skirmish, there were no real wars. European settlers brought wealth but they also brought gross income inequality. The Red Indians may not have had industrial wealth but there was a system where ordinary people had a means of survival (you can always hunt, fish and gather crops).

Then, there’s the fact that the Europeans who went to America were not ordinary people from Europe. They were the people who were driven out of their homelands a special set of circumstances, rather like the Mexicans and Latin Americans today. Life couldn’t work for them in their so-called home lands and so they left and had no choice but to make the new place work. They were people with a certain amount of hunger to achieve things. Just as it is today, Americans and Europeans back then were different.

America has had the good fortune of being the place to go to for people who need to leave their homes and are forced to make it work in the place that they move to. These people were initially European but they’re no longer only ones. Today’s America is the place to go to for the hungry from Asia and Latin America, who are all doing their bit to drive America forward. Another investment guru, Jim Rodgers says that if given a chance, he’d hire the Cubans who risk life and limb to cross the Caribbean Sea just to get into America because these are the people with the drive to make things work.

The guys who wrote the Declaration of Independence were White and did do things like own slaves who happened to be black. However, their ideas, when put into practice helped people off all colours and creeds to prosper.

What were these ideas? The groundwork for American success has been the idea that everyone, if given the same chance, can succeed if they put in enough work. There’s also the concept that nobody is above the law. As much as my American friends might complain about there being too many lawyers, America prospered because it was founded on the idea of the “Rule of Law.” Circumstances more important than race.

I live in a part of the world where this could not be clearer. In Southeast Asia, the Chinese have shown a magical ability to build prosperous communities. By contrast, the Chinese in China have only started to enjoy prosperity in the last 40-years. The people in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan are the same skin tone as the people from the People’s Republic of China but how did the first lot prosper so much while the later didn’t. The answer was the system -there was rule of law in Singapore and Hong Kong but not in China.  

Then there’s a question of openness. China remained closed to the world for more than half a century. Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan were open for business. We dealt with the world and learnt from the world. We prospered as a result. By contrast, China built a Great Wall and refused to trade with the world until they were forced to. It was only in 1979, when Deng Xia Peng took over, did the PRC open up. It was only then, when the country started to prosper.

Closed societies inevitably screw themselves. Until recently, most African countries were hell for foreign investors and they traded with nobody. Hence, they rotted away. It wasn’t because they were filled with black people.  

Dr. Faber is free to speak his mind but in this instance, he’s shown that he doesn’t get it. America prospered because it had the right people and the right ideas – the fact that they happened to be White is beside the point. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan prospered because we had the right people and the right ideas. The People’s Republic and India only started to prosper when it got the ideas – this was never clearer when the two Asian Giants were stuffed with poor people going nowhere but the rest of the world had plenty of prosperous Indian and Chinese communities.


Don’t invest in black or white – invest in the rule of law, in open societies and people with hunger. The returns are better. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

How Much More Education Do We Need?

I couldn’t agree more with Chia Kee Seng’s letter “Singapore should aim to be smoke-free, not just smoke-lite,” (5 October 2017). Smoking is a vile habit that is not only socially unacceptable but has fatal consequences. Even the tobacco companies no longer deny the fact that their products kill. Governments around the world are right to make life exceedingly difficult for the tobacco companies.

Having said that, I believe the Dr. Chia’s approach may not necessarily work in the way that he hopes. The strict “parent-knows-best” approach has the potential to make an unpleasant habit “cool” or “edgy” with the youth. Bans, while popular with politicians needing to look tough, have a way of making things more encouraging for smugglers. As for the suggestion of increasing public awareness, the point remains – the danger caused by smoking is a well-known fact that has been drilled into the public throughout the years and the literature on the ill effects of smoking is more readily available than ever. The question is “what else can you tell people” remains a prominent one.

Just as it’s been popular to talk about being “tough on crime and the causes of crime,” perhaps the time is right to look at being the same on smoking. Governments around the world are tough on smoking but are they tough on the causes of smoking? Surely the answer to reduce rates of smoking is to look at why people smoke and offer them alternatives. In a modern economy, the most obvious answer to a social ill is to offer alternatives.

Dr. Chia has argued that alternative smoking products like e-cigarettes are just as bad as actual tobacco products and applauds banning them. I believe that the better approach is to challenge the tobacco industry to prove that the alternative products are better. Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco firm talks about a “Smoke-Free Future” and surely the best way to deal with the likes of Philip Morris is to challenge them to be as good as their word. They should be made to prove that the products are not dangerous. If the alternative tobacco products are as bad as the actual tobacco, challenge them to develop a product that isn’t so. This will encourage more R&D, which means high paying jobs. The idea is to get the tobacco companies to use their “ill-gotten gains” to do some good for the wider social scene.

Another alternative is to look at encouraging more physical/outdoor activities. There is enough science to show that exercise reduces the harmful effects of smoking. Earlier this year, the Independent Newspaper in the UK reported that Iceland had found a way to reduce teenage drinking, smoking and substance abuse by making physical activity more available – i.e getting kids to go for the “natural high” from physical activity. This is something worth doing and the government should look into increasing opportunities for the youth to do more exercise.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Drawing the Line Somewhere.

Life has been a little strange to be me because I usually have more sympathy for migrants than I do for the native-born. You could say that I was privileged to live the “expat” lifestyle in places like Spain, Germany and England, so I had a very coloured view of being a foreigner in someone else’s land.  Even when I started boarding at the age of 15, I was to all intents a “privileged” person.

Even when I lost the privileges of the “expat” background and Daddy’s backing (also known as growing up in the real world), I remained sympathetic to migrants, especially the Muslim variety. I grew up in England, where I ended up sympathizing with the South Asian chaps over the Anglo-Saxons. I grew up with jokes like “Why did the Romans build straight roads? – The stop the Paki’s from building corner shops.” Jokes like this came from a truism – Paki Muslim migrants built corner shops while the locals collected the dole.” When I returned to Singapore, it was the Indians and the Arab Muslims who gave me big breaks, while my own people wondered why I wasn’t good enough to become a servant of the government or a multinational run out of New York or London.

With all this being said of my background, you could say that it’s no surprise that my internal reactions towards the likes of Trump, Le Pen and the other right-wing populist popping up all over the world, are intrinsically violent. I look at someone like Donald Trump and his rhetoric against Mexicans and Muslims and his half-hearted condemnation of Neo-Nazi’s and I see the enemy of the people who cared for me. If Donald Trump were in Asia, he’d be the typical overbearing White Executive who can’t help beating the natives about how their livelihoods depend on his benevolence. For me, I’ve been fortunate to never run into that type because the alternative to dealing with such a person is to resign or get fired before you do violence to that thing.

I know a few people who’ve suggested that my intrinsic hatred for the “anti-immigrant” overwhelming white supremacist might have something to do with the fact that I’ve lived a “sheltered” life. For example, I’ve never had “cheaper” labour from elsewhere displace me. Just as I realise that it’s my good fortune to be born with the mentality not to go to government whenever I’m down, it also my good fortune to be born with the ability to imagine that whatever my misfortunes, it never occurred to me to think of it as the fault of someone else born elsewhere.

So, am I unusual and confined to an “ivory tower” when I am physically unable to sympathise with the call of far-right populist? I like to think not and I was recently relieved to find out that its actually natural to think of right-wing populist as disgusting, when I spoke to Thomas, my step-dad during the German elections.

Image result for ghetto
However bad this may look.......

Unlike me, Thomas has deals with the worst stereotype of the struggling Muslim migrant. For past two decades or more, he’s worked in a hospital that serves the lowest of the low. He once mentioned that the joy of delivering a baby is often ruined with the realization that the baby is bound to grow up with a shit life because the parents are often shit (drug using louts etc).

Amongst his worst clients are usually members of Germany’s Muslim migrants. These are the type that come to Germany and the only word of German they understand is the word for the “welfare office.” In short, his clients are living and breeding off the taxes that he pays. He also deals with incidents of women who are victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence (often but always at the hands of family members).

You would imagine that someone with his experiences might be more inclined to listen to the voice of the far-right xenophobes. Yet, when I spoke to him about the results of the German elections, his only comment on the rise of the far right “Alternative fur Deutschland” (“AfD) was “Simply Disgusting.”
For all that is wrong with the Muslim Migrant community in Germany, my stepfather, is like many good people in Germany – there’s worse – the philosophy of the far right extremist.

Image result for Concentration Camps
This is inevitably worse

You could say that in many ways, we are shaped by the experiences of our parents before us as much as we are shaped by our own. In my stepdad’s case, it was growing up with a father who fought of the Russian front and got scared fighting for a regime that the likes of the AfD seem to romanticize.
As bad as the migrants may be, as bad as a backward version of Islam may be, it should be clear to any level-headed person that the solutions preached by the extreme right are not solutions that any decent people should stand for.

Germany was ruled by the Nazi’s who blamed everything on the Jews. The killed lots of Jews, Gypsies and so on.  Instead of a stronger Germany, there was a weakened Germany that needed the rest of the Western World, particularly the USA, to bail her out with Marshal Aid. The economic dynamo in the centre of Europe that is modern Germany, is because modern Germany became a society that allowed different people to flourish and it was a society that took responsibility for its mistakes. Germany continues to pay for the Holocaust and it will continue to do so. No right-minded person in Germany would be caught dead chanting “Jews will not replace us.”

Migrants bring problems as well as benefits and policy makers need to figure out how to minimize the problems while maximizing the benefits. The answer, as history and the state of the current US administration, has shown, is not in being singling out and pinning life’s woes on any particular group of people.  


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Oh No – Not Again.

I somehow managed to avoid posting anything about Exercise Swift Lion despite the fact that it was the 20th anniversary of that very dark period my life and the life of everyone I served together with. It was a moment in our youth when we had the horrible, heart-break experience of having to watch our friends come home in a body bag. It’s been 20-years since but I still remember what Ronnie’s face looked like in casket – it didn’t look anything like him. He was a good guy who had his whole life ahead of him and he didn’t deserve to have it cut down because some bureaucrat in defense procurement couldn’t be bothered to their checks properly. For me, it was a moment of being sad, scared and pissed off.

I spend 19-years making sure I had something to say about that incident because I felt and I still feel that if Ronnie and Yin Tit had to die, they shouldn’t have died in vain. It’s the feeling of knowing that you’re not much of the scale of things but you try your best to make sure that no other kids have to go through the same thing that you went through.

Well, I somehow let my usual piece lapse. I paid my respects on the online Facebook forum that was set up for our batch but that was all that I did. In one way, it’s probably a good sign that we’ve finally reached the stage where you’re able to let the dead lie where they are and you think that the sadness, pain and fear that you felt on that day has finally subsided.
Then, the news tells you otherwise – I’m now reading about a boy, who was pretty much like Ronnie (last to book out, first to book in, always helpful to colleagues and his men and never having a bad word to say about anyone) being crushed to death when his armoured vehicle turned sideways and ended up crushing him. The story can be read at - http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/parents-nsf-killed-during-exercise-wallaby-son-was-responsible-good-boy

Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle
The Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle 

When I read about such incidents, my heart sinks a little bit more. You get a little pissed off with whatever divine powers are out there for thinking it’s very funny to knock of the good ones.
Then, there’s a feeling of sadness that someone out there is feeling the same sadness that you once had to experience. In a way, I’m blessed with the fact that the immediate child in my life is a girl, so she won’t have the same army type experience I had (not that girls are easy to deal with) but then again, that’s not true. There was Yooga, son of my ex-girlfriend. I’d be crushed if the little bugger was crushed by an armoured vehicle or blown up in a live firing accident. While I’ve not had these major accidents happen to me directly, having seen it once and having had to live through the aftermath and the grief, I ask myself – why should anyone be forced to live through the grief?

Related image
The Happy Part that the Minister gets to See 


I don’t know why young boys get killed through accidents like these. Only sign of progress since that day 20-years ago is that there’s greater public participation in reporting these incidents. At least we got to know that the late 3SG Gavin Chan was one of the good guys and knowing that should inspire someone out there to try and do something to ensure such incidents don’t happen. I only wish we could have made it known that Ronnie and Yin Tit were part of the good guys and didn’t deserve to get cut down when they were cut down. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Meet Singapore’s First Short, Fat and Bald President

Singapore has a new President and that lady is Madam Halimah Yacob, our former Speaker of Parliament. Madam Halimah’s rise to the Presidency was never in doubt but it was controversial. It all started with the fact that this was an election reserved for “ethnic Malays.” It turned out that the definition of a Malay became controversial because every candidate wasn’t quite “ethnic Malay.” All of them had a dose of “Indian-Muslim” blood (made sense in as much as the other criteria of being a President in Singapore means you’d have to have ran a company with $500 million in turnover and generally speaking Singapore’s Indian Muslims are business people while our Malay community generally isn’t). The controversy got even worse when one of our Ministers tried to define what it meant to be a Malay and generally ended up sticking his foot in his mouth.

Personally, I don’t have an issue with reserving the highest office in the land for someone from the Malay community. I actually think its high time someone from the Malay community got a shot at the top job. Singapore may claim to be international and our population may be 70 percent Chinese but the truth of the matter is that, we are part of the “Malay” world and in a way, if you take out the list of idiots in UMNO across the border, the Malay world has been exceedingly hospitable. The national language of Singapore is “Malay” and Malay culture is an important part of Singapore. Let’s put it this way – military commands in my mind are always given in Malay and as one of my friends said, “I will NEVER accept my national anthem being in anything other than Malay.”

Having said that, reserving a job for a race opens up a few issues. Why do we necessarily have to restrict things to race or religion? One might argue that certain groups are disadvantaged because they happen to be in the demographic minority and giving them the top job (the word top is used selectively. – top in this case is a matter of protocol rather than anything significant. Like the Queen of England, our President does what he is told to do by the Prime Minister.) to an ethnic minority does keep tensions at bay. Lee Kuan Yew mentions specifically that he needed Yousuf Ishak to be our first President because he needed to show the Malaysians that a Malay in Singapore could be our Head of State (or Yang Di Pertuan, though he was not Yang Di Pertuan Agong.) But that was then and this is now. Are race and religion the only things that separate people?

I’d argue that while race and religion still remain powerful dividers, there are other factors that divide people. If you look at it this way, the one group that suffers in society is known as the short, fat and the bald. Regardless of race, language or religion, it seems quite acceptable to make the short, fat and bald feel miserable for the mere sin of being short, fat and bald.

Looking good but still under appreciated - the price of being short, fat and bald

It’s not just acceptable to make the short, fat and bald feel miserable – it’s actually desired to mock the short, fat and bald. A good portion of Singapore’s economy would collapse if people didn’t give a hoot about being short, fat or bald? The slimming centres and hair restoring shops would shut down and people would be thrown out of work.

As someone how started losing his hair in his late teens and gained wait in his early thirties, I think its time that the short, the fat and bald took a stand and damn the fate of slimming centres and hair restoring shops. A bit of pride in being who you are would do much more for everyone that keeping shops open that stay open merely because there are lots of miserable people around.

So, why can’t we reserve the next election for someone who is short, fat or bald or a combination of the lot? I propose myself to be Singapore’s first-ever fat and bald president and one of my acts would be to import lots of Massai tribesmen to make myself look shorter to the rest of the population so that I become Singapore’s first ever short, fat and bald President. 

I think I’d make a good President. I enjoy walking with the troops (even if I was a substandard 155mm gunner), which is an essential skill for being President. I also have a good wave – another essential skill in being President.

In terms of dealing with foreign dignitaries, I believe I would be a hit. I speak decent enough English to keep the British and the Americans onside. One of the best things about an English education is that you know about sports like rugby and cricket. I’d make great palls with the lot Down Under over a pint and a discussion on rugby.
While my spoken Chinese is crap, I’ve been out with enough girls from the PRC to appreciate the beauty that China has to offer. I can see myself getting on with Xi-Jin Peng.

However, I believe that my talents would be best utilized with the Middle East and India. I know that Dubai is not the entire sum of the Arab world and I happened to make a group of Iranian tourists feel very happy when I said “Salaam” and acknowledged that there’s a difference between Iran and the Arab world.

 I may be fat and bald but in a world of increasing diversity and in a situation where Singapore needs to look to new markets, what couldn’t be better than a President who has actually looked at map?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Let’s Get Our Priorities Right

I was relived to read the commentary “Time to hold last rites for marital-rape immunity” (14 April 2017). Professor. Eugene Tan has rightfully pointed out that the concept of “Marital-rape immunity” is anachronistic. More worryingly, the debate on Marital-rape immunity reveals something very disturbing about our legal and social approach to sex.

I support the government’s tough stand on crime. What I disagree with and find disturbing is the fact that when it comes to sexual behavior, there are laws which seem designed to encourage the wrong type of behavior like marital-rape immunity.

The lack of debate both in parliament and in the public sphere becomes even more disturbing when you compare it to the debates on the repeal of 377A, where you have the “LGBT” community and the “Religious” community going through great lengths and with great passion to get their point of view across. Whenever the topic of 377A comes into the public sphere, you will inevitably get letters for and against the law being published in the press.

By contrast, nobody talks about marital-rape immunity. Women do not talk about a woman’s right to say no. The religious community remains silent about social norms or moral standards. You might get the odd letter in the press by an academic now and then and nobody has challenged the constitutional validity of marital-rape immunity in the courts nor does anybody hold a march at Hong Lim Park.

Surely, something is wrong here. How is it possible for a society to turn the right of consenting adults to act in a certain way in the privacy of the bedroom into a national debate on social morality while we remain silent on the concept of allowing someone to force himself on another person without the other person’s consent?

I am the father of a teenage girl and I hope that she will one day find a good man to settle down with. As a father, I want my daughter to have the choice of when and whom she offers her body to. How can I accept that she needs to surrender her body whenever her future husband feels like it?

We have achieved so much in the last 50-years in terms of our economic development. I am proud of how our society is a mixture of cultures and religions. A good deal of this has been achieved by the hard work of strong women like the late Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew.

So, how is it that we’ve taken this long to lift legalized rape? Are we really a society that is happy to take from our women when they feel like it? Do we find it acceptable to be ambivalent about rape in any shape or form?

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Best and the Worst in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

One of the things that you have to give the Trump Administration credit for is finding new lows. Just when you thought the administration could not get any more immoral and incompetent, they find a way to prove you spectacularly wrong.

During the weekend, far right protesters descended onto the town of Charlottesville in Virginia to protest the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee, the Confederate General who lead the Southern States to battle during the American Civil War. The protesters were met with counter protesters and violence erupted. People were killed and America finds itself at a bitterly divided point.

This event has been something of an eye opener and for me, it was an incident that brought out the worst and the best of what I’ve called “White America.” I stress the point about “White America” because the largest ethnic groups in the USA are of European ancestry and we have to acknowledge that this remains the ethnic group that holds the largest influence in what goes on in the USA and by extension the rest of the world. America remains the country that sets the tone for the rest of the world.

Let’s remember that we had hope when America elected Barak Obama to the Presidency back in 2008. I know lifelong Republicans who actually said, “I am proud of the fact that his name is Barak Husain Obama.” The message was simple – after 200-years, America had lived up to its promise of being a beacon of hope for the rest of us – a place where the son of a Kenyan immigrant could rise to the highest office of the land. While President Obama didn’t fulfil every hope and dream, he did turn around an economy that was in its worst state in several decades and he did bring healthcare to millions who couldn’t afford it. He wasn’t liked by everyone else around the world but he did make an effort to bring peace to places like the Middle East by being “fair” – so fair that Binyamin Nethanyahu, Israel’s Prime Minister was quite open about his dislike for Obama and here in Singapore, the powers that be decided to remind the public on several occasions that “change” was a foreign concept.

Things are different now. The son of an African Immigrant has now been replaced by the scion of a wealthy family that made its money on government projects. He inherited office by playing up to the worst in people, stroking their fears and attacking anyone who wasn’t part his version of the main stream. Somehow, he made the obvious character flaws (inability to be pleasant, competent, brave, truthful) into things that the ordinary people could relate to (it still astounds me whenever people tell me that Trump tells it like it is when he’s openly collecting money for charity and then using the money to enrich himself.)

You could say that the events that took place in Charlottesville was the chance for Mr. Trump to prove to the world that he was more than the narcistic clown who had conned the American people. Instead, of choosing leadership and being as tough as he had sounded on North Korean missile threats, he decided to take the easy way out by condemning the hatred on “so many sides,” and then said somethings about how “ideally, we should love each other.”

It didn’t help that David Duke, the leader of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization that was founded on the premise of destroying black people, happily got plenty of air-time telling the world that he and his ilk got Donald Trump elected. More on Mr. Duke’s positions can be found at -  https://www.vox.com/2017/8/12/16138358/charlottesville-protests-david-duke-kkk
And

To put it crudely, Mr. Duke had chosen to commit an act of domestic terrorism and he had gotten away with it and even got the type of air time that the likes of Osama Bin Ladin could only have hoped for. The clan members, Nazis and other pleasant people at the protest took their chances to attack anyone who was of a different skin colour, Jews and even members of the clergy (which is ironic considering many of these groups consider themselves Christian. An example of the violence can be found at:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/video/2017/aug/13/fatality-car-attack-anti-fascist-white-supremacist-rally-charlottesville-video-report

And


This was perhaps the worst in “White America.” The question of how this group of people who once claimed to have “saved the world from Nazis” be the actual Nazis themselves.

Having said that, there were great moments that were inspiring and saw the best of humanity come out. Let’s start with the most obvious – political leadership. If Trump didn’t have the courage to call out the worst in humanity, Governor Terry McAuliffe showed plenty of it when he told the “alt-right “ that their racism had no place and they were neither patriotic or American. This is what Donald Trump in a higher office should have said. The Governor did what a President should have done – told the world that there was no place for bigotry in a nation founded on the premise of giving everyone opportunity.

More of Governor McAuliffe’s speech can be found at:  http://time.com/4898560/virginia-governor-terry-mcauliffe-church-speech-transcript/

What was especially encouraging was to hear a lifelong Republican, who served under George W Bush (a President I loathed for his policies in the Middle East) denouncing the “alt-right” supporters and advisors of Mr. Trump for being unAmerican -you can hear his disgust at sight of the KKK and its ilk at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rO029In3oiI&feature=share

While White America was on the side of the devils, it was also on the side of the angels. The woman who gave her life was called Heather Heyer, a White American who chose to stand up to bullies and to fight for the victims. More on Ms. Heyer can be found at http://buzz.blog.ajc.com/2017/08/13/fundraiser-for-family-of-charlottesville-victim-heather-heyer-nets-42k/

I am emotionally involved in this. While I haven’t been to America in nearly half a decade and I don’t really do much with America in my daily life, America is the nation that gave me two great blessings – my stepdad Lee and his family and my step mum, Nora and her family. These are the families from “White America” that accepted me and took me for who I am. They helped to nurture me into the person that I am today. I like to believe that America, for all its faults, is a land of decent people who accepted people from around the world as one of their own (I do make the point that it’s the part of America that accepted people from around the world as their own that prospered).

The families from “White America” that touched me are the ones that remind me that Americans are intrinsically a decent people and it’s hard to look the KKK ilk and think of them as being “Americans.” I don’t recognize them as American and yet I have to acknowledge that they are sitting in America.


I can only pray that this Nation of Decent people triumphs over the likes of David Duke and condemns them to the dustbins of history quickly.