Great interview the brilliant Lee Kuan Yew

[Note: Sorry about the crappy CNN video below. It seem to work only with Flash 8 and above and then, only sometimes]

The beautifully spoken Lee Kuan Yew expounds on statesmanship, the art (or futility) of nation building, Pakistan, China, Iraq, Georgia and other contemporary matters.

Video – Part 1

Video – Part 2

Here is a sample of from the transcript…

What is it I am trying to do? I am trying to create, in a Third World situation, a First World oasis.

I am not following any prescription given me by any theoretician on democracy, or whatever. I work from first principles, what will get me there — social peace and stability within the country, no fight between the races, between religions, whatever, fair shares for all, everybody is a homeowner.

I want investments. I’ve got nothing expect skilled manpower, infrastructure. I build up the infrastructure. I educate the people.

We have the best educated work force anywhere in Asia, and I would say, within another 10 years, anywhere in the world. They’re all educated in English, which is our working language, and they keep their mother tongue, whether it’s Chinese, Malay or Tamil, Urdu, or whatever.

Must I follow your prescription to succeed? Do I want to be like America? Yes, in its inventiveness and its creativeness.

But do I want to be with America, like America, with its inability to control the drug problem? No. Or the gun problem? No.

These are my choices. I go by what is good governance. What are the things I aim to do? A healthy society that gives everybody a chance to achieve his maximum.

Later, on China…

ZAKARIA: When the world saw the Beijing Olympics, and they saw the opening ceremonies, they saw a kind of birth of a new great power. How should we think about it? Should we be apprehensive?

LEE: What we saw — and I was there with a lot of other of the VIPs — was a reflection of their capabilities, their potential. It’s not what they have achieved industrially or technologically. This was a show that they had seven years to prepare for. And they were carefully thoughtful about what they wanted to present to the world. They wanted to remind the world that they are an old civilization, 5,000 years. They discovered gun powder, paper, movable type, printing. They built the Great Wall.

That’s the kind of capabilities for disciplined effort that built the Great Wall, the Grand Canal, and eventually will build them a technological society.

ZAKARIA: So you don’t worry about them.

LEE: What do they want? Every year they know they are closing the gap. That gap is a huge one.

ZAKARIA: Technologically between them and the West.

LEE: Technologically and industrially.

I mean, what you see along the coastal provinces is just about 20, 30 percent of the population, the advantaged part of China. If you go to the inland parts, you will see a very different China.

So they know that to catch up is 30, 40, 50 years. So, let’s not quarrel with anybody. That would abort the whole process.

Every year they grow stronger economically, industrially, catching up technologically. Any external problems will diminish their growth.

What do they have to worry about? Internal problems, social unrest, disparity in development, wages, farmers against the city dwellers, and so on.

The danger comes when you have, say, in 20 years a new generation that didn’t go through the Cultural Revolution, never went to the Long March, and who believe that China has arrived. So, this is a new phase they are moving into.

And worldwide problems — the biggest problem of all is climate change, energy.

[From: CNN Transcripts]

Via Fareed Zakaria and  CNN.com – Transcripts

For more in this brilliant statesman, see:

Official Site: http://www.lee-kuan-yew.com/

Wikipedia:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Kuan_Yew

Video Search: http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=lee+kuan+yew&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=video_result_group&resnum=4&ct=title#

An Overview: http://www.usp.nus.edu.sg/post/singapore/government/leekuanyew/leekuanyewov.html

Lee Watch (tracking him): http://leewatch.info/

This is where I saw him intereview: http://edition.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/fareed.zakaria.gps

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19940301faessay5100/fareed-zakaria/a-conversation-with-lee-kuan-yew.html

http://fareedzakaria.com/ARTICLES/other/culture.html

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1997/08/04/229722/index.htm


Balkan countries take on academic corruption and crime

Two heartening reports this week suggest that the authorities in the Balkans are taking on the endemic practice of academic production, the practice of students having having to pay professors – with sex or money – to pass exams.

In Croatia, SE Times reports “Police arrest 21 university professors in corruption probe”:

In their biggest anticorruption sting ever, Croatian police have detained and questioned more than 100 people connected to a bribery scandal at Zagreb University. Among those detained are 21 university professors from the economy, law and transportation departments. The raid reportedly followed more than a year of preparations, during which secret agents posed as students and authorities conducted surveillance of teachers suspected of corrupt activities.

Among them was Desa Mlikotin Tomic, an economics professor who also chairs parliament’s committee tasked with preventing and resolving conflicts of interest. She was sent home after her interrogation, but it is unclear if she will keep her post.

The police action strikes at the heart of what many say is a common practice of paying teachers in exchange for academic privileges. According to media reports, corrupt teachers charge as much as 9,000 euros to register unqualified students, then as much as 2,000 euros to give them passing marks on exams.

Academic bribery, the reports say, has become a well-developed business with its own rules and procedures. For example, students do not approach professors directly but have to work through an intermediary.

“Those who are rich do not have to worry; those who are poor, they have to study!” a professor was reportedly caught saying. Officials in the university departments involved in the scandal have promised that all bad diplomas will be annulled.

One of Croatia’s most controversial figures, retired General Vladimir Zagorec, may be affected. The former associate of Franjo Tudjman received a diploma in traffic engineering from Zagreb University’s Transport Department, successfully passing four exams and submitting his final thesis in a week’s time. Now his diploma will be investigated in detail along with thousands of others. [Source]

Meanwhile in Bosnia police have busted a prostitution ring involving female students, also linked to corruption, “Prostitution Claims Shake Bosnia University”:

Sarajevo: Two female students were arrested, questioned and then released as police probe an apparent sex and corruption ring at a Bosnian law faculty.

Police are probing the case at Sarajevo’s Law Faculty and its branch in the northern town of Tuzla.The two girls were questioned by Tuzla police under suspicion of enticing prostitution and giving false statements. Meanwhile the Tuzla special police team is continuing to investigate the key suspect, a driver for Tuzla canton’s government Jasmin Masic. He was arrested on September 11 and will remain in detention for a month, pending the start of criminal procedures against him, local media reported over the weekend.

Media also reported that three professors and the dean of the Sarajevo Law Faculty will also be questioned in relation to this case.

The scandal started when police arrested Masic under suspicion of enticing and organising a prostitution ring which included several women, citizens of Bosnia as well as other countries in the region. The investigation showed that Masic, who was driving Sarajevo law professors to lectures and exams they held in Tuzla and back, enticed girls, women – apparently both prostitutes and female students – to have sex with professors. He also arranged gifts and money transfers for the professors so the students would pass their exams. Media reported that an anonymous call to Tuzla Canton’s anti-corruption hotline tipped off the existence of the ring two weeks ago.

Back then the accused professors rebuffed any accusations and no investigation was launched. [Source]

In Serbia this disgusting practice is rife in some regional universities, but thankfully even there it is contained to only some departments. Reforms introduced under the Bologna Process should help fight the problem.

Electoral Geography 2.0

Whilst researching political trends in Serbia recently, I discovered a brilliant site called Electoral Geography 2.0 that contains election result maps of just about every major international political election, going back in some cases to 1867.

But that is not all. It introduces the field of Electoral Geography, something I had never heard of before. The website founder, Alexander Kireev, explains:

All socials processes develop non-uniformly in geographical space. There are no exceptions. Take any social phenomenon and you will see that it has some geography. Electoral geography, for example, studies regularities and patterns of election results.

Electoral geography is a constituent component of political geography, a science which studies development of all political processes inside geographical space. However, election results are only natural result of numerous social, economic and political processes. Studying the geography of elections is senseless without knowing what is behind these results and what political processes preceded them and what these results mean. It is also senseless to study electoral geography without thorough knowledge of the socio-economic characteristics of the territory where the election is taking place. That is why electoral geography is an exceptionally integrated science: it cannot exist without its constituting sciences, especially political science and geography. However, history, economics and sociology also play important roles.

If you are a map lover, this is a fascinating site. Please note the appeal from the founder:

I would be very grateful if you could send me any interesting electoral statistics or maps, especially if you speak a language that I don’t speak, which obviously makes it more difficult for me to find electoral statistics.

Electoral Geography 2.0

Whilst researching political trends in Serbia recently, I discovered a brilliant site called Electoral Geography 2.0 that contains election result maps of just about every major international political election, going back in some cases to 1867.

But that is not all. It introduces the field of Electoral Geography, something I had never heard of before. The website founder, Alexander Kireev, explains:

All socials processes develop non-uniformly in geographical space.
There are no exceptions. Take any social phenomenon and you will see
that it has some geography. Electoral geography, for example, studies regularities and patterns of election results.

Electoral geography is a constituent component of
political geography, a science which studies development of all
political processes inside geographical space. However, election
results are only natural result of numerous social, economic and
political processes. Studying the geography of elections is senseless
without knowing what is behind these results and what political
processes preceded them and what these results mean. It is also
senseless to study electoral geography without thorough knowledge of
the socio-economic characteristics of the territory where the election
is taking place. That is why electoral geography is
an exceptionally integrated science: it cannot exist without its
constituting sciences, especially political science and geography.
However, history, economics and sociology also play important roles.

Here is, for example, a map of the election results in the 2008 Serbian legislative elections:

 

If you are a map lover, this is a fascinating site. Please note the appeal from the founder:

I would be very grateful if you could send me any interesting electoral statistics or maps, especially if you speak a language that I don’t speak, which obviously makes it more difficult for me to find electoral statistics.

Chaos in Copenhagen as biker gangs take on immigrant gangs

From Politiken.dk (Daily Newspaper):

Recruits flooding to HA

Hell’s Angels applications increase tenfold in connection with immigrant showdown.

Interest for membership of the Hell’s Angels suppoort group AK81 has exploded. – Foto: BORBERG THOMAS

The Hell’s Angels biker group is experiencing a flood of new applications for membership, in particular for its support group AK81. The group normally receives only few enquiries in its web-based guest book, but the past week alone has seen 250 queries.

Seventy-five of those enquiring have asked to become members of the AK81 group, or to be invited to Hell’s Angels parties in order to gain affiliation.

AK81 is a support group for the Hell’s Angels. The acronym stands for the Danish words Altid Klar (Always Ready), while 81 are the alphabet numbers for H and A.

The increase in membership enquiries comes in connection with a showdown in recent weeks between immigrant groups and the Hell’s Angels as well as shows of strength by Hell’s Angels members who have walked the streets of Copenhagen and Århus en masse.

The Hell’s Angels home page has introduced a special AK81 page providing direct mail to the group, thus preventing police from being able to track approaches.

[From: Politiken.dk]

The Balder Blog takes a slightly more right-wing view:

The biker group Hells Angels seem to be coming back at the at the moment still dominating immigrant gangs, with their new support group AK81, which is increasingly gaining support from Danes who are not first and foremost interested in bikes or crime, but who have grown increasingly hostile to especially muslim immigrants, after ever increasing street violence, knife attacks, robberies and rape from the side of muslim immigrants.

The rates for violent crime and especially rape related cases have gone up dramatically with the increasing number of muslim immigrants. Large numbers of Danes, not otherwise interested in motorcycles or gang related criminal activity, are reported to sign up under the new banner of the HA support group AK81 ‘81′ being synonymous with the letters HA), and AK probably referring to the famous AK 47 ‘Kalashnikov’ submachine gun, as well as meaning Always Ready [Altid Klar] in Danish.

[From: Balder Blog]

One has to worry when Denmark, one of the most advanced and enlightened countries on earth, seems completely unable to handle its immigrant problems. Decades of extremely generous welfare and multiculturalism has led not to a happy and well integrated muslim minority, but a hostile and increasingly extremist one.

This business with the Hells Angels is interesting. Some Far Right blogs are touting this as signs that desperate whites are so fed up with immigration that they are rallying behind the Hells Angels, who are being portrayed as heros fighting for white rights. I have heard from Danish contacts that this fighting between the Hells Angles and certain immigrant gangs has nothing to do with racial tension and everything to do with crime. The Hells Angles, Banditos and other bike gangs have been in league with the immigrant drug gangs for years, but recently some deals have gone wrong and warfare has erupted.

On Stupidity – a two part examination of the dumbing down of the West

Thomas H Benton examines the claims that “Americans, particularly those now entering college, have been rendered “stupid” by a convergence of factors including traditional anti-intellectualism, consumer culture, the entertainment industry, political correctness, religious fundamentalism, and postmodern relativism, just to name some of the usual suspects.” he is convinced that “over the past several decades, we have become less knowledgeable, more apathetic, more reliant on others to think for us, more susceptible to simple answers, and more easily exploited” and that this “stupidity crisis” could lead to “the end of democracy, the economic decline of the United States, the extinction of humanity as we know it”.

On Stupidity Part 1

On Stupidity Part 2

Heart disease, number one killer in Serbia

This comes as no surprise when one sees Serbia’s national cuisine and the smoking rates here.

60 percent of all deaths in Serbia are caused by cardiovascular diseases, records show.

This puts Serbia at Europe’s second and the global third place on the list of deaths caused by heart-related illnesses.

President of the Serbia Fund for Your Heart organization Miodrag Ostojić says that the death rate caused by heart diseases is two to three times higher than in developed countries.

“Certain factors such as age, sex or hereditary disease cannot be treated, but we can influence those that we cause ourselves, such as smoking, physical inactivity, bad diet, obesity and high blood pressure, and the percentage of fat in the blood,” Ostojić said.

He added that any disease related to heart and blood vessel before the age of 80 is the patients’ “own fault”.

From B92 – News – Society – Heart disease, number one killer

Twitter Epigrams and Repartee

Some great Twitter epigrams and witticisms:

@sacca: You can’t really appreciate the vapidity of most people’s taste in music until you live directly above a traffic signal.

@tempo: Evolution is a sorting process that is the very antithesis of random. (in response to http://is.gd/1Do1 )

@davorg: Conference Driven Development – submitting talks to conferences so that it will galvanise you into doing the work you’re talking about.

@sourcegirl: procrastination is our brain’s way of saying that something is not as important as we may think it is…

@gstein: OH: isn’t a smoking area in a restaurant like a peeing area in a pool?

@amandachapel:@lisahoffmann “I’ve had conversations with people I never would have met otherwise.” Like hanging out at the bus terminal.

[From Twitter Epigrams and Repartee – O’Reilly Radar]