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


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".

Sunday, March 29, 2015


Rest quiet, sir, ‘tis well deserved
We’ll carry on, don’t fret
Rest quiet, sir, ‘tis well deserved
We’ll carry on, and not  forget

Rest quiet, sir, you’ve earned it well
From deep within we thank you
Rest quiet, sir, you’ve earned it well
The Lion City bids you a sad “adieu”

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Final Farewell

The mood was subdued as the crowd waited outside the Istana.  Mr Lee Kuan Yew would be leaving the Istana for the very last time, making his final journey to the Parliament House.  It was mostly silent with the occasional murmurings amongst those who came with companions.

As the cortege exited the gates of the Istana, the crowd broke into applause & shouts of "Lee Kuan Yew!", "Grandfather of Singapore!", "Thank you Mr Lee!"

I couldn't help but cry a silent tear & wished this great statesman a final farewell.

Rest well, dear've earned it.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rest In Peace Lee Kuan Yew

A great man passed on today.  Many Singaporeans consider him the reason for Singapore's success.  There are some who may call him a dictator.

But for me, he will always remain an icon of Singapore, a respected statesman, a beloved family man.  I am watching now, as his son, the current Prime Minister of Singapore makes the announcement on national television.  He is visibly sorrowful, his voice occasionally breaking.

To his family, my deepest condolences.

Rest In Peace, Lee Kuan Yew.

"I have no regrets.  I have spent my life, so much of it, building up this country.  There's nothing more that I need to do.  At the end of the day, what have I got?  A successful Singapore.  What have I give up?  My life."   ~Lee Kuan Yew~

Monday, March 09, 2015


So, we've moved yet again, this time "back" to Singapore.  We get asked "for how long?" or "for good?" all the time, and my answer is "for now".

It's a full circle moment except that Singapore doesn't seem like home in the true sense of the word.  It's familiar yet not, it's home yet not.

Tremendous changes have transformed the Singapore that I grew up with into a modern, sanitized, crowded city.  Old landmarks are gone, many of the old buildings have been demolished to give way to new ones, new facades have given old buildings face lifts that have rendered them unrecognizable from what I had known.

Previously familiar roadways have now been diverted by construction, with new MRT lines being built left, right and center.

Even the old house where I spent most of my formative years has been "renovated" into an unrecognizable modern looking building.

I long for the day when I can put down roots again, in a place that I can call my forever home.