Monday, July 18, 2016

Guns

It has been a heartbreaking week for the USA, my second home.  Shootings in Orlando, Dallas, Baton Rouge, just to name a few.  Police officers, African-Americans, Caucasian, homosexuals, heterosexuals, an up & coming pop star were amongst the victims.

This spate of incidents seems to be coming too close together.  In the last few years, we hear about mass shootings in various parts of the US.  And each time it happens, the same rhetoric arises about lack of gun control, mental illness, terrorism.  The same old same old words written about the violence that is becoming more pervasive in America, the land of the free, where the right to bear arms seems to override everything else that makes sense to me.

I will never understand the mentality of those who think that the lawmakers who are trying to introduce common sense gun laws are trying to take away all their guns.

So we will see what happens in the coming weeks, months, years; will vigianteism become more rampant there?  I feel sorry for the law enforcers in those states which allow open carry weapons.  What a nightmare it is, not just for them, but also for regular citizens, who see people walking around with weapons on show, not knowing who has a mental illness or just had a bad day and wants to take it out on somebody with his/her gun.

Perhaps it will take a massive horrific event to take place before eyes are opened and mindsets are changed.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Fragile

Life is fragile.

The past week has been a sorrowful one for a dear friend.  Her daughter's ex-boyfriend took his own life.  He was 25 years old.  They had just broken up.  He was stressed by work.  What was the trigger?  Who knows?  I can't imagine how his parents are feeling.

Last year, the daughter of another dear friend also took her own life.  16 years old.  What drives these young people to such drastic extremes?  Are the stressors so insurmountable that they felt that suicide was the only way out?  I hear that suicide amongst the young has been on the rise in Singapore.  If true, why?

So so sad.

Transitioning. Again.

W leaves Boston tomorrow for a new life in California.  He graduated last year and now begins a new phase of life where he will (hopefully) find a job at least temporarily, while deciding whether he wants to go on to law school or not.  I am optimistic that he will do well.

For us, this year is a year of moves.  Moving/selling our Boston condo, moving out of our rental in Singapore, moving into a larger place in Macau....and hopefully finding a permanent home somewhere in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.  I have been longing for permanence for a while now.  At the ripe old age of 52, I long to finally put down some roots.  My tired soul has had enough of uprooting over the last 2 decades or so.




Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Sins of the Parents

I think of our retirement years with a heavy heart.  The country I've always considered as home does not seem so friendly after all.  If retiring here means not being able to see our oldest son, then I choose not to stay.

The illogicality of it tears at my heart and soul.  It may seem melodramatic but this has dragged on for so long and has worn me down.  I don't know if I want to keep on fighting them, it seems so futile.  What makes it worse is none of it is of his doing.  It is Us.  We were the ones who made the wrong decisions.

I feel sad that it has come to this.  A heart-wrenching decision.  A grandson unable to see his grandparents in their twilight years.  But it is what it is and we'll just have to live with it.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Gun Violence in America

I have discussed/argued/talked about, hashed & rehashed this issue of gun violence in the USA with friends both American & non-American.   Gun violence IS a problem there.   No one can argue over this.  But when I listen to comments & views coming from gun rights supporters, I can’t help but feel astounded by how narrow-minded & skewed their viewpoints are.  I find lists easier to absorb than pure prose so here goes…,

1) “Guns do not kill people; people kill people”.  Somehow, the fact that it’s so much easier for people WITH GUNS to kill people than for people WITHOUT guns seems to have flown over their heads.  Terrorist attack in London by a guy with a knife – ZERO persons killed; 3 persons injured.  Terrorist attack in San Bernadino by two people with rifles & guns – 14 persons killed; 20 persons injured.  Do the Math.

2) “The government just wants to take guns away from us”.  Usually, “the government” here refers to the Democrats.  This is reflective of how divisive it has become in the USA: liberals vs conservatives.  It is hard for me to fathom the paranoia amongst the conservatives that the government wants to take away guns from everyone.    It is sad for me to see all the “shouting” that takes place on the internet between these two groups, instead of coming together to try to find answers. 

3) “We need to arm more people”.  I have come to realize that basically, the NRA & many of the gun rights supporters would prefer everyone to go into a gun battle in the name of self-defense than to avoid the gun battle in the first place by preventing guns from getting into the wrong hands.  I shudder to think of the scenario in which armed innocents go against armed perpetrators – imagine the carnage.  Even experienced law enforcement officers have said that even with training, when you are plunged into a life and death situation, much of what was learnt before doesn’t really work as expected.  Check out this video  

4) “Mental Health is what we should focus on instead”.  Of course we have to address this big problem.  But the fact is that mental health problems are not unique to the USA.  It is a problem worldwide.  And yet, only in the US do you see how mentally ill persons are able to get hold of guns and cause carnage in schools, movie theaters, churches, medical centers…. 

5) “There are already laws in place that require background checks when buying guns”   My response to this is: obviously, they aren’t working. Isn’t it time to sit down & relook at WHY people who should not have guns are STILL able to get guns?  Even as I write this, a bill which would make background checks on gun sales at gun shows & online a requirement has been overturned. 

6) ”We have the constitutional right to bear arms”  This view is probably the one which I find the most difficult to come to terms with.  The constitution was written over 200 years ago, in circumstances entirely & vastly different from current times.  I cannot understand the reluctance of many to accept that change may be necessary for the good of society.  The right to bear arms should not be all-encompassing.  There are some in society who do not/should not have the right to bear arms: the mentally incapacitated, the suicidal, the potential terrorist, the under aged, the intoxicated, the criminals, period. 


I know that this short essay will not make a difference to die-hard gun advocates.  I DO NOT consider myself anti-gun.  I consider myself pro-gun control.  Much like how pro-choice does not equate to anti-life, I believe that there are alternatives out there.  But it WILL involve compromise, as in most things in life.  As it stands, when I see what is being said and discussed on social media & on the internet,  I am not confident at all that the gun rights supporters will be willing to compromise.  It would be wonderful if I am proven wrong.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

World War

This past week has been rough, to say the least.  I have felt sadness, anger, horror, disgust, disillusionment, indignation, disappointment.  It almost seems like the world is slowly heading a war.  A World War 3 perhaps, that is different from the first two which were fought mostly within geographical boundaries.  This new war we are seeing is reflective of the world of today, where globalization has meant greater connectivity via telecommunications, the internet & airplane travel;  the advantages of this connectivity has also meant that the evil-doers can also use it for their purposes of terrorizing the innocent under the guise of religious teachings.

It looks like Europe is bracing itself for an onslaught, currently with France, Belgium & Germany being affected.  But I am pretty sure that other countries will need to be prepared as well.  We have already seen terror strike Mali, the Phillipines & of course the Middle East.


I hope I am wrong, but I am not optimistic.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Relativity

Haze!
PSI 314!
Wear your N95 masks!

This has been the repeated, resounding points of discussion this past week, as our friendly neighbor embarks on their yearly bonfire event, blowing their smoke in Singapore's direction.

Granted it's not pleasant to go outside into the smoky smelling hazy air.

But having lived in Beijing for over 5 years, where air quality of 200 was considered a "good" day, I am not complaining.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another Milestone

So, W graduated last weekend.  Maybe that's one reason for my melancholy...  Another milestone, this one marking our baby's step towards independence.  

So much of my life has been focused on being a mother to our two boys.   And now, it seems like that part of my identify has taken a sudden turn.  That big part of me, has now diminished, so that I have to look inside myself to find myself again, re-discover who I am, what I am, what I should do in this next phase of my life.

A & I would like to finally find a permanent home for our retiring years, even if we don't spend all our time there.   I, for one, am tired of being a nomad.  The experiences have been wonderful, these last 25 years (that's half my life!).  But I want to finally put some roots down somewhere, a place where we can gather for family reunions, and where I can hang up pictures without worrying about having to patch up hanger holes when we leave, and where I can say,  "I live in xxx" without suffixing it with "for now".