Today I learn: I am a Third Culture Kid


From WIkipedia:

“A third culture kid (TCK, 3CK) or trans-culture kid is “someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture.”[1] TCKs tend to have more in common with one another, regardless of nationality, than they do with non-TCKs from their passport country.[2][3] TCKs are often multilingual and highly accepting of other cultures. Although moving between countries may become an easy thing for some TCKs, after a childhood spent in other cultures, adjusting to their passport country often takes years.”

Apparently, according to a reader of The Dish, so is Obama: Continue reading

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Obama promise clean energy… like all 7 presidents before him


In his state of the union address tonight, Obama promise:

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035, 80 percent of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. (Applause.)

This goal is a not new but old, very old. Obama made effectively the same promise 6 months ago, just like all 7 presidents from Nixon in 1974 to Bush junior had pledged but never delivered.

As always Jon stewart says it best, 6 months ago, when Obama first made the promise.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Reblog: A New Beginning


Reblog from: Charles Mudede:

Now that the Arab world is officially in transition

Officials did not immediately confirm the report that Gamal Mubarak has fled to the British capital with his wife and daughter aboard a private jet.The jet with Mubarak, his family and 97 pieces of luggage on board left for London on Tuesday from an airport in western Cairo, according to the US-based Akhbar al-Arab.

Weeks of unrest in Tunisia eventually toppled president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali earlier this month. The anti-government protests in Egypt broke out after opposition groups waged an internet campaign inspired by the Tunisian uprising.

An anti-riot police officer was killed in clashes on Tuesday in central Cairo, Egyptian daily ‘al-Wafd’ reported. Egyptian security forces reported used tear gas, fire hoses, and clubs to disperse protesters in Tahrir Square, downtown Cairo.

… We can formulate a theory of the initiating point of this transition. I locate Obama’s speech in Cairo “A New Beginning”. From this point radiates these recent turbulence in the Arab world. Yes, Tunisia caught the State Department completely by surprise. But what Obama did was precisely lessen the tension between the Arab nations and the US, and this in turn meant, for the subjects of Arab nations and also Iran, more anger could be committed to local rather than international matters. None of this would be happening if George W. Bush were in power. All he could do was intensify Arab nationalism, and this nationalism benefited the rulers, kept them in power, kept attention away from their dark doings. This is only a rough theory. More information will, of course, change this theory. Egypt is a complicated country.

This is the perfect demonstration of statesmanship and soft power.

Progressive paradox and transparency


Progressives laudably seek to oppose injustice by deploying government power as a countervailing force against the imagined opressive and exploitative tendencies of market institutions. Yet it seems that time and again market institutions find ways to use the government’s regulatory and insurer-of-last-resort functions as countervailing forces against their competitors and, in the end, against the very public these functions were meant to protect.

Democracy in America, The Economist on the paradox of progressive ideology.
Well written, but the author seem to forget that progressives do have a solution to this paradox, namely transparency. This is precisely why it was so disgusting when progressives comes out against Wikileaks. Finger pointed at you and your crew, Obama.

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Blog retitled: I am a cosmopolite


Before i start on the new title, let me explain what i envision in the old title “neouto rewrites”
After several title changes i previously end up with “neouto rewrites” because it humbles the blog from the very outset.
Writing an opinion blog can a little pretentious, as if people should consider my opinions to be more than a grain of salt.
“neouto rewrites” announces to the readers that although i am presenting my thoughts to the world thought this blog, i cannot claim complete originality
It does not mean that i am plagiarizing, everything i wrote on the blog i wrote my self, unless otherwise noted.
What the title reflect is the view that now a days very extremely rarely does anyone have completely origin ideas.
Because it is likely that all knowledge that can completely infer from ones own observation alone has already been inferred and formed the bases of thousands of books. In our time, new idea are ideas that are basically remix, reinterpretation or revision of existing idea(s) with or without a dash of original observation.
Hence the title “neouto rewrites”

Now, since i have change the looks of the blog (using an existing theme) i though a new title is in order.
Perhaps the best way to the genesis of the title is to tell you a little about myself.

Having lived in Taiwan till the age of 12, and receive all education in Australia, except for primary school and a year of exchange in Japan, i like most kids with this kind of experience had a crisis of identity. “Crisis” may seen too dramatic, but most kid in their adolescence finds anything a little distressing a crisis.
I suspect other people with identity crisis resolve it in one of the following ways:
(A) pick one of the conflicting identity and sometime go extreme to overcompensate, (eg: western born muslim terrorist, anti-gay closet homosexual paster/republican or just become excessively nationalistic)
(B) compartmentalize, which is to say, act one way among one identity group and act another way among other groups. You will have to split your social networks into groups too. Theoretically possible, but i think its very difficult.
(C) demeaning all conflicting identities then associate your self with a new identity group that can encompass all your identities. This strategy was used brilliantly by Barack Obama when he said “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.” in his 2004 convention speech.

Going back to my crisis, which i eventually resolved with (C). I demeaning identities that are based on nation-state, I become neither Chinese, Taiwanese or Australian. A believe later reinforced by my studies in international relations where I learn how the nation-state is an identity artificially constructed and a system becoming obsolete. In its stead I chose the creed of cosmopolitanism. I have since met many cosmopolites even if we didn’t all here through the same path. We are a growing identity grouping, nourished by the reality of intensifying globalization. Eventually, we shall inherent earth. This blog is so titled, so readers will know where i the perspective/bias/agenda of my posts. I am a cosmopolite. Will you join me on this winning team?

Cosmopolite is also a butterfly found in many place in the world.

I underestimated 9/11


On the morning of september 11th 2001, being a student of international relations i naturally ask me self “what will be the implication of this event?”
i naively thought, the world is still dominate by handful of major states, their relative power will not be change by this, their interest wont shift dramatically, and the US will pump up their security to make sure this attack is an isolated instance, therefore the 9/11 attack will just be a footnote in history.

9 years have gone pass, i am sad to say 9/11 has been the catalyse that lead to many of the major movement and event of this decade, contrary to what i thought.
a brief look back at the movement and events that 9/11 have contributed

2008 financial crisis: 9/11 cause a recession that had to be quickly counter by dropping real interest rate to near 1% by the Federal Reserve of US. the low interest rate facilitated the housing bubble that went bust in 2007 which tigger the most severe recession since the great depression of the 30s.

New Atheist Movement: the religious extremist that perpetrated the 9/11 attack is what got the intellectuals to reconsider their accommodating attitude towards religion in public spaces. their conclusion was: atheist need to take their stand, and religion need to be intellectually crushed. This led to many intellectuals to write anti-religious books. After the attack of 9/11, people were ready for them. Many of the new atheist books become best sellers.

Two wars with no end in sight: Afganistan and Iraq

Growing state power and secrecy: Just in the US and just to name a few, wiretapping, strip-search and confiscation at airports, torture, extraordinary rendition, assassination program, all can be done to US citizens and without warrant.

Wikileaks: wikileaks and its supports are direct backlash of growing government power and ceding liberty.

Barack Obama: without the two wars, and an economy in ruin, Obama could not be elected president in 2008.

so yeah, i may have underestimated 9/11

Obama’s Ground Zero Mosque Comments was perfect


The video below show Obama’s “clarification” on his ground zero mosque statement made earlier. Although he is lamented for this “clarification” by the left, i think its perfect in the sense that its both juridically correct and it influenced the discourse positively.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Money quote:

My intention was to simply let people know what I thought. Which was that in this country, we treat everybody equally in accordance with the law. Regardless of race. Regardless of religion. I was not commenting on and will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country’s about and I think it’s very important that as difficult as some of these issues are, we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about. – Obama.

Left wing pundits are lamenting the lack of a clear (and positive) comment on the wisdom of building a mosque near ground zero of 9/11. Glen Greenwald wrote:

“But by insisting now that he was merely commenting on the technical “rights” of the project developers — as a way of responding to Republican criticism that he was advocating for the project itself — he has diminished his remarks from a courageous and inspiring act into a non sequitur, somewhat of an irrelevancy”

Greenwald is my favorite legal blogger, but his comment above is clearly an unfair criticizing that reflects the undue expectation of the so called “professional left“.

Juridically, Obama should never comment on the “wisdom” of building a religious building of any kind anywhere. That is the boundary set by the principle of the first amendment. He is in no position to comment whether building that mosque is wise decision or not in either religious, business or sociologically sense. Obama is the president of the United States, he is not a religious leader, business expert nor sociologist. His job is the protect the constitution, which he affirmed clearly in his statement.

By emphasizing on the “rights” to build the mosque, when the discourse is driven by opponent of mosque towards “wisdom” because they knows all too well their opposition has absolutely no legal or rational grounding at all, Obama’s interjection is very positive.

This is precisely why Sarah Palin is trying to bring the debate back onto the issue of “wisdom” by asking Obama:

“Mr. President, should they or should they not build a mosque steps away from where radical Islamists killed 3000 people? Please tell us your position. We all know that they have the right to do it, but should they?”

Obama is too smart to jump into that trap.

Lastly, I believe that Obama’s involvement is very characteristic of what he demonstrated throughout the 2008 election, idealistic yet politically pragmatic.
Idealistic, in the sense he voluntarily (there was under no political pressure so get involve) use his presidential platform to frame the discourse in favorite of the mosque, when nearly 70% of the all Americans oppose it. It is also politically pragmatic, because he did it without opening him self to retaliation (of any significance) from the right-wing.