What makes us Malaysian? Happy Mereka!


Malaysia Spirit 57

I always get excited when I meet fellow Malaysians, whether at work or during social functions. – Lee Yee Thian

Our sense of belonging is strong, despite living miles away from our homeland.

BACK home in Malaysia, “Chinese” is one of the options in the race column, while in China, it refers to a nationality.

It took me awhile to get used to not nodding when I was asked if I am a Chinese.

“I’m a Malaysian,” I would answer, and get a bewildered look from the inquirers.

“Oh, so you are a Malay? But you look exactly like us. And your command of Mandarin is so good,” was their usual reply.

I would then launch into a lengthy explanation of how I am ethnically Chinese but a Malaysian national, and “Malay” refers to the largest ethnic group in Malaysia and not the people of Malaysia.

I would add that I can read and write Mandarin because I attended Chinese vernacular school, but I could tell they were confused.

“Were you born in China? How old were you when you left for Malaysia?”

“No, I was born in Malaysia. I’m a third-generation Malaysian Chinese.”

And then came the inevitable question: “Where do you feel you belong?”

I grew up singing Negaraku every Monday during school assemblies.

I learned how to draw our national flag when I was in Year One. Next to the crescent, I traced the outline of a 50 sen coin and then carefully drew 14 spikes around the circle.

And until today, I can still hum the tune of Sejahtera Malaysia, a patriotic song that was aired years ago on RTM.

When we say we are Malaysians, we say it with a tinge of pride.

In addition to Malay, English and Mandarin, most Malaysian Chinese here can also understand one or more Chinese dialects.

It is a fact that draws the admiration of many locals.

I asked a few Malaysians in Beijing what makes them Malaysian.

Lee Yee Thian, who has been abroad in the United Kingdom and then China since 2000, said our multicultural background was instrumental in helping him to adapt to living in a foreign country.

The sense of belonging is strong, despite living miles away from our homeland.

“I always get excited when I meet fellow Malaysians, whether at work or during social functions,” the 37-year-old chartered surveyor said.

“We speak freely with our Malaysian accent and pepper our sentences with slang that only Malaysians understand.”

Wesley Tan of Wav Music Production said it was the vast opportunities in the entertainment industry in China that drew him to the Chinese capital 10 years ago.

“The market is huge with endless possibilities to grow and expand,” he said.

“We have to admit that we could not do as much in Malaysia, but it does not make me any less patriotic. I grew up in Malaysia and it will always be my home.”

The advantage of Malaysians, Tan said, is our ability to create products that appeal to an international target audience, with our tolerance and diverse background.

With Beijing being a fast-paced metropolis, the quality of life has plenty of room for improvement.

Air pollution and food safety aside, trust between people is thinning. Tan said he misses the courteous and caring ways of Malaysians.

“My parents-in-law, who are Chinese nationals, were so surprised that Malaysian drivers would actually pause to give way to opposite traffic during their visit to Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

The little gestures, such as placing one’s left hand on one’s right forearm when receiving or offering something, speak volumes about Malaysians’ pleasant disposition.

I couldn’t agree more.

Two weeks ago, I made a brief return to Malaysia. When waiting for my family to pick me up at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, a Malay girl next to me kindly shared a packet of buah jeruk (pickled fruits) with me. In return, I offered her my chocolates.

We did not exchange names during our brief encounter; only smiles and snacks, but in that moment, I knew I was home.

Happy Merdeka.

Source:

Check-in China by Tho Xin Yi The Star/Asia News Network

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New lawyer Darren Tan, once 10 years in jail; S’pore CJ: do criminal and family law


Darren Tan_parent

10 years in jail, now a lawyer

Darren Tan, 35, is finally a full-fledged lawyer.

He reached that milestone yesterday when he was called to the Bar during a mass ceremony at Nanyang Technological University.

It was a far cry from his shaky start in life when drugs and gang activities led to over 10 years behind bars and 19 strokes of the cane.

“This is the culmination of what I’ve been working towards for the last 10 years,” he told The Sunday Times. “It’s like waking up from a dream and finding out your dream has become reality.”

His life of crime began at the age of 14, and he was in and out of prison for offences that included robbery and drug trafficking.

It was only when he was 25 and behind bars for the third time that his transformation took place. He found God, and decided to make something of himself.

He resumed his studies with help from the prisons programme, re-learnt English, a language he had forgotten, and aced his A levels, scoring four As and a B, including an A1 for General Paper. He was still in prison when he applied for law school, and became the first student with a criminal past to be admitted to the National University of Singapore law school.

Now, he has a job waiting for him. He did so well during his six-month practice training at TSMP Law Corporation that the firm has given him a permanent position as a commercial litigation and dispute resolution lawyer.

The firm’s joint managing director, Mr Thio Shen Yi, said that while he had initially decided to take a chance on Mr Tan, it had only been a six-month risk.

“He still had to earn his job. And he has,” said Mr Thio. “He is sincere; he has street smarts, maturity and EQ. You can see his transformation through his actions, and this resonated with us because we’re very much a firm that believes in giving back to the community.

“If I had ever thought there was any risk of the firm’s reputation being besmirched, I would not have taken him on.”

Said Mr Tan: “This is my first real job. I enjoy what I’m doing and the bonus is I get paid for it. I’m learning new things every day.”

He spends long hours at work, but tries to leave early every Monday. He and former inmate Kim Whye Kee, an artist, have set up an outreach initiative, Beacon of Life, based in Taman Jurong, to help at-risk boys and youths. On Monday and Saturday nights, they play football.

Mr Tan dined with Britain’s Prince Edward in a 16th-century castle earlier this year, when he was invited there to speak about the National Youth Achievement Award which he has received, and how its programmes could benefit others.

Mr Thio is hoping to rope in Mr Tan to work on the Yellow Ribbon Project to help former prisoners, a scheme which his firm supports.

“He will be able to give us direct insight into where the need is greatest,” he said.

The Singapore Academy of Law, which has supported the Yellow Ribbon Fund since 2011, is in talks with Mr Tan to be part of its upcoming corporate social responsibility programme, which aims to get more in the legal fraternity to join forces to help former offenders.

An only child, Mr Tan has a girlfriend and lives with his parents in a four-room flat in Jurong West.

With a steady pay cheque, he can finally help with family expenses and has promised to take his parents and godfather on a cruise.

His father, Mr Tan Chon Kiat, 67, who does not work, and mother, Madam Ong Ai Hock, 62, a production operator, could not be prouder.

Said Madam Ong: “I didn’t think he would have these opportunities but he has changed his own future. I used to be very worried for him, but now I’m very happy.

“It goes to show that if you work hard, the past is the past.”

Looking forward, her son said: “I have a mantra of sorts – ‘Be good in what I do and do good with what I do’. I used to take drugs because there was a void in my heart and my life. Now, I have something to get hooked on apart from drugs. My life is a good enough substitute.”

By Chang Ai-lien Straits Times/Asia News Network Sun Aug 24 2014

Once in jail, but he’s now a law grad

Darren Tan
For the first three years in law school, Mr Darren Tan kept to himself.

Now he wishes he hadn’t.

The 35-year-old, one of over 10,000 to graduate from the National University of Singapore this year, was afraid that he would not be accepted because of the more than 10 years he spent in jail for drug and gang-related offences.

But last July, he told his story to the media. “After I went public, I received messages of support from my classmates,” said Mr Tan, who will receive his law degree on Thursday.

He has secured a practice training contract with TSMP Law Corporation, but hopes to continue helping lawyers with pro bono work.

Fellow graduand Chua Koon Ting, the first polytechnic student to enter the Faculty of Dentistry, also said that he was not treated differently by fellow students.

“What I learnt is that in university, no one cares where you came from, it’s in the past,” said the former Singapore Polytechnic student, 27, who is now practising at the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics.

This year, 10,282 will be graduating from NUS. They will include the first graduates from five programmes, including the master of Social Work and Public Health doctorate.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam presided over the main commencement ceremony yesterday, in which 160 students from the University Scholars Programme received their scrolls.

One of them was valedictorian Ow Yeong Wai Kit, 25, who received first class honours in English literature.

He will be heading to University College London to do a masters in literature on a Ministry of Education scholarship.

“It’s not so much about whether one has a degree. What’s more important is that we have certain intangible skills that can be used regardless of one’s vocation, such as a sense of curiosity,” he told reporters.

The ceremony was also attended by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat. During his address yesterday, NUS President Tan Chorh Chuan spoke about former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who last month received an honorary Doctor of Laws from NUS.

Said Prof Tan: “The qualities and values he exemplifies, and in particular, his deep sense of purpose, these serve as a powerful beacon not just for all of us in NUS, but for the broader community in Singapore and beyond.”

By Stacey Chia, Debbie Lee The Straits Times/Asia News Network, Friday, Jul 12, 2013

CJ advises new lawyers to do criminal, family law

Lawyers-S'pore

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s newest lawyers have been urged to begin their careers in family and criminal law to hone their skills, instead of heading straight for corporate law, which is getting more competitive than ever.

The legal community yesterday welcomed 430 newly appointed advocates and solicitors at this year’s mass call to the Bar, up from 411 last year and 363 the year before.

The expansion in the number of lawyers means the newcomers will enter a market where the generous salary packages and multiple job offers their predecessors enjoyed will be harder to come by, said Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon.

This is also because other major legal centres around the world, such as New York and London, are cutting back in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, he added.

A week ago, Law Minister K. Shanmugam highlighted how Singapore could face a glut in supply of lawyers in the next three years as more aspiring lawyers pursue a law degree here and overseas.

During yesterday’s ceremony at Nanyang Technological University, the Chief Justice said the legal industry is adjusting from one of “undersupply” – when there were more jobs than law graduates – to one where supply and demand are more balanced now, especially in commercial law.

“This means that you will not be running with the wind to your back,” he told the new lawyers hoping to enter corporate and commercial practice. Instead, they can expect “more competition, fewer guarantees and less room for negotiation”. This is a trend that is happening not only in Singapore.

After a period of sustained growth in New York and London “in the later decades of the 20th century”, the pace of recruitment there has slowed down.

Singapore, which benchmarks lawyers’ salaries with those paid by New York and London firms, is no exception to these market forces, especially given how “we also compete in a South-east Asian market where starting salaries are generally lower”. Instead the Chief Justice challenged the new lawyers to take the plunge into family and criminal law – where there is a shortage – and cut their teeth there.

While he admitted that there may be a “good deal less glamour” in these areas of the law, there is no better place than community law for young lawyers to get into the thick of the action, said the Chief Justice.

New lawyers The Sunday Times spoke to said while the market may be getting tighter now, it is their juniors who will feel the pinch. Mr Asik Ali Sadayan, 26, a Singapore Management University graduate, said: “My juniors have told me that it has become a lot harder to get training contracts.

It was easier for my batch and we did not feel the competition as much.” Every year, about 400 local law graduates, along with a growing number of foreign-educated ones, apply for about 500 training contracts offered by law firms.

The six-month contract gives would-be lawyers the real world training they are required to complete before they are called to the Bar. In his speech yesterday, Law Society of Singapore president Lok Vi Ming said his organisation is considering various initiatives to ensure that every graduate eligible for a training contract will get it.

Other new lawyers told The Sunday Times that they had their hearts set on corporate law, and would prefer to give back to society through pro-bono work – something the Chief Justice said was important for lawyers to be involved in.

Not only does such work keep lawyers connected to the community, it also helps them to avoid thinking that their worth is reflected by how much they bill and little else.

Sources: The Straits Times/Asia News Network Sun Aug 24 2014

Burglar-proof your home


House_Burglar-proof
Fending off thieves need not be expensive

PROTECTING a home from break-ins is high up on everyone’s priority list.

But fending off burglars and thieves doesn’t always require one to buy expensive security systems, or plonking down cash to turn houses into impenetrable forts.

The following are some simple, inexpensive ways to burglar or theft-proof your house against unwanted intruders.

Reinforce the doors and locks

According to the The Telegraph’s “How to burglar-proof your home – tips from an ex-thief,” a shabby-looking door is an open invitation for thieves.

“If your front door looks tatty, or if it only has one cylinder lock instead of a cylinder lock plus deadlock, it will catch a thief’s eye.

Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate points out that thieves generally prefer to use the front door.

“Creeping out a window is hard, and it’s far more difficult when carting out a load of loot. Thieves typically test a house by first ringing the bell to ensure no one’s home, then trying the door handle and perhaps putting a shoulder to the door to see how solid and how firmly attached it is.

“To enter, the usual tool is a pry bar or a strong kick of the boot. Sadly, many doors fly open easily.”

Reinforcing your front entrance with a steel gate is a popular and common option to protect your front door.

Secure the perimeter

According to the Malaysian Department of Statistics, the bulk of burglaries tend to take place in the night rather than in the day. According to its Crime Index for the year 2009, a total of 27,060 burglaries took place in the night compared with 11,396 burglaries in the day.

This clearly justifies the need to reinforce the security around your home.

“Replacing porch lights and other outdoor lights with motion-sensor lights is cheap and easy,” writes Lewis.

With the bulk of burglaries taking place in the night, it makes sense to “light up the house,” says ABCNews.

“Scare off those burglars with motion-sensor lights. Look for ones with adjustable sensitivity to avoid getting a false alarm from things like tree branches rustling. And keep the outside of your home illuminated an all sides using energy-efficient compact fluorescent,” it says.

Buying a good alarm system is also a viable option – provided it doesn’t cost you a bomb. Lewis says many people spend thousands of dollars buying, leasing and installing electronic alarms, and then sign contracts requiring them to shell out thousands more to a company that monitors the alarm.

“A 30-second alarm blast should scare away intruders. Also, newer alarms can be programmed to do what monitoring companies do first anyway: phone you (or text you) when the alarm has been tripped.”

Make the house seem “lived in

Even if you’re not home (be it out at work or away on vacation), don’t give the impression that there’s no one at home.

“Make sure you don’t give obvious clues that you’re not home. Turn down the telephone ringer, so burglars won’t hear you aren’t there. Make the house seem like someone is home with lamps or a radio on a timer,” says ABCNews. “(Also) don’t leave mail piled up in the mailbox if you’re away. Again, you’re telling the thieves what’s going on, that you’re not home,” it says, adding that if you do go away on vacation, “don’t blab on Facebook when you’re leaving town.”

If you have newspapers delivered to your home, inform the vendor that you’ll be away, or get your neighbour to remove them from your doorstep.

Says Lewis: “When you’re gone, don’t let stuff like newspapers, real-estate cards and pizza fliers accumulate in front of your door.

“Leave a vehicle in your carport or in front of the house if possible. Ask a neighbour or friend to help you out by parking there. Get friends to pick up newspapers, cut the grass, water plants, feed pets and open and close curtains, varying their routine to add a note of unpredictability if possible.”

 Get a dog

Owning a dog is an inexpensive and effective way to keep robbers at bay.

House_Burglar-proof_dog

ABCNews, in its article “5 Ways to Avoid a Break-In: Confessions of an Ex-Burglar,” speaks to a former convict that actually confirms this fact: “No burglar wants to deal with a dog and so won’t take the chance and probably will avoid the neighbors’ houses, too.”

Lewis, meanwhile, notes that while owning a dog may not make your property impregnable, it can, however, make the home less approachable.

“You don’t want a pooch? That’s okay. Post a “beware of dog” sign anyway.”Lewis cites Chris McGoey, a security expert and consultant who doesn’t have a dog, but owns a sign and makes a point of asking service people to wait before entering his property, so that he can “put the dog in the house.”

“The sign is cheap. It makes people think twice,” says McGoey.

By Eugene Mahalingam The Star/Asia News Network

HSBC Bank officer charged for stealing money from victims of missing flight MH370


KUALA LUMPUR: A couple pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to multiple charges involving theft from the bank accounts of four passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Bank officer Nur Shila Kanan and her mechanic husband Ba­­sheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed, both 33, were accused of making illegal transfers and withdrawals, amounting to RM85,180 in total, from the accounts.

Nur Shila faces 12 principal charges in relation to transferring money from the HSBC Bank accounts to other bank accounts, theft, getting approval for a debit card and making a new Internet banking application with intent to cheat, and using forged documents at the HSBC branch in Lebuh Ampang from May 14 to July 14.

Basheer faces four main char­ges, including one for allegedly using a debit card and an ATM card to withdraw cash from the bank accounts.

He allegedly committed the offences at the bank’s ATM centre at Ampang Point here between May 15 and June 29.

Each of them also face four alternative charges of stealing from the HSBC Bank accounts.

The money was reported missing from the accounts of two Chinese nationals, Ju Kun and Tian Jun Wei, and Malaysians Hue Pui Peng and flight steward Tan Size Hiang.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Fadhli Mahmud applied to the court to set bail for each at RM20,000 in one surety and asked that the couple be made to surrender their passports to the court.

Lawyer Abdul Hakeem Aiman Mohd Affandi, who appeared for the couple, asked that bail be set at RM10,000 in one surety for each and said that they were willing to surrender their passports.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah set bail at RM12,000 in one surety for each and impounded their passports.

He fixed Aug 25 for the case to be brought before him again.

The Star/Asia News Network

MH370: Couple claim trial to illegal withdrawals

KUALA LUMPUR: A bank officer and her husband pleaded not guilty in the sessions court today to multiple charges involving illegal transfer and withdrawal of money, amounting to RM110,643, from the accounts of four passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Nur Shila Kanan and her husband, Basheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed, both 33, face multiple charges under the Computer Crimes Act, 1997, and Sections 379, 465 and 471 of the Penal Code.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah allowed them to be tried jointly. He set bail at RM12,000 each in one surety and ordered that their international passports be surrendered to the court.

Nur Shila faces 12 principal charges of illegal transfer of money from HSBC Bank, thefts, cheating and forging documents.

She also faces three alternative charges for theft, all of which she allegedly committed at HSBC Lebuh Ampang branch between May 14 and July 8.

Basheer faces four principal charges of using an ATM card and debit card to make illegal withdrawals and four alternative charges for theft, all of which had been allegedly committed at the HSBC ATM at Ampang Point between May 15 and June 29.

DPP Ahmad Fadli Mahmud asked the court to set bail at RM20,000 each in one surety.

Defence counsel Abdul Hakeem Aiman Mohd Affandi, however, requested for the bail to be reduced to RM10,000 on grounds that Nur Shila is a staff in HSBC earning RM3,000 a month, while Basheer, a mechanic, earns RM2,000 a month and have five people under their care, including three children aged between five years and six months old.

Mat Ghani fixed Aug 25 for mention before Judge Norsharidah Awang.

It was earlier reported that money had been missing from the bank accounts of four passengers of MH370 – Chinese nationals Ju Kun and Tian Jun Wei, and Malaysians Hue Pui Heng and flight steward Tan Size Hian.

Initial investigations reportedly revealed that the suspect had transferred funds from three passengers’ bank accounts into the account of a fourth passenger through Internet banking, and together with the fourth passenger’s account, the amount totalled RM110,643.

It was also reported that the missing money came to light on July 18 when a bank officer from a foreign bank detected a series of suspicious transactions and transfers from the four accounts.

Flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens on March 8 as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board. The plane has yet to be found, even after an exhaustive search in the southern Indian Ocean where it is believed to have gone down.

By Karen Arukesamy newsdesk@thesundaily.my

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Let us talk money, honey!


Money Talk_honey

IN the old days of match-making, parents ask their prospective son-in-law about his income so that they can assess if he was able to support their daughter comfortably or at least to the level of what she’s been used to.

I suppose this was to ensure a longer lasting marriage.

While having a lot of money is not the cure-all to marital ills, financial issues are apparently a predictor of marriage breakdowns, according to a study done by Dew, Britt and Huston titled Examining the Relationship Between Financial Issues and Divorce.

In modern times, talking about money is a bit insensitive – rendering the person asking like a gold digger.

But perhaps it is actually something practical that we should be talking about to ensure the relationship has another one-up chance of survival.

After all, we are so hung up on making sure our partner has similar interests, complementary goals, good emotional intelligence, and some intelligence quotient. Surely the financial alignment is important,too.

While I do agree that it is quite hard to ask bluntly how much a person is earning on the first or second date,it maybe all right to ask:

1)What is your money management style? Do you pay your self first or last?

2)What percentage of your income do you save?

3)How are you planning for retirement?

4)Which do you think is more important – earning more money or saving more money?

5)How do you feel about sharing financial information with your partner?

6)On a scale of1to 10, how do you think you fare in the money manager role?

7)How do you feel if you have less than three months’ emergency money?

These questions may get you a lot of different responses, and from these responses you get a better gauge about your prospective partner’s view on personal finance.

After all, it’s not about how much money is made but rather how well that money is managed that is the most important.And also, this may help avert a marital disaster.



By AMELIA HONG AND
SENIOR VICE-PRESIDENT OF
SUCCESS CONCEPTS LIFE PLANNERS
The writer can be contacted info@successconcepts.biz
 

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Let the sunshine & natural light in for better health, quality life, more sleep at night


Sunshine_windowsA study has concluded that windows in the workplace could mean up to 173% more white light exposure during the day and an average of 46 minutes more sleep at night. – AFP

A STUDY from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign indicates that all-day exposure to natural light, even by means of a window, leads to longer sleep duration at night, as well as increased physical activity and quality of life.

“There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day, particularly in the morning, is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness and metabolism,” says senior study author Dr Phyllis Zee, a Northwestern Medicine neurologist and sleep specialist.

The study was conducted on office workers, and windows in the workplace could mean up to 173% more white light exposure during the day and an average of 46 minutes more sleep at night, researchers concluded.

They also noted a trend of workers with more light exposure being more physically active than their counterparts.

In the study, researchers surveyed 49 day-shift office workers, of which 27 worked in windowless offices and 22 had windows in their offices.

Quality of life and everything health-related was self-reported, whereas sleep was assessed by means of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).

A subset of 21 participants was surveyed for light exposure, activity and sleep by means of actigraphy. Ten of these participants worked in windowless environments and 11 hailed from workplaces with windows.

Actigraphy logs ambulatory physiological data, in this case motion and light illuminance, by means of a scientific wearable device.

“Light is the most important synchronizing agent for the brain and body,” says Ivy Cheung, co-lead author and Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience in Zee’s lab at Northwestern. “Proper synchronization of your internal biological rhythms with the earth’s daily rotation has been shown to be essential for health.”

Sunlight is an important source of vitamin D and a CDC report indicates sun exposure is important even for breast-fed babies, despite the high quantities of vitamin D in breast milk.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. – AFP Relaxnews

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Japanese surrendered on Aug 15: It’s dangerous for Japan to sow seed of war; hard to warm up frozen ties with Tokyo


Video: 8.15, remembrance of the Chinese suffering and victory over Japanese invasion

It is dangerous for Japan to sow seed of war

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — To mark the 69th anniversary of its defeat in the World War II, the Japanese government has, as usual, duly advised its citizens to observe one minute of silence in honor of the deceased.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, has a separate agenda. Despite the cancellation of a planned visit, he sent an offering Friday to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, which honors top war criminals, through his aide Kouichi Hagiuda.

Such a show of “compromise and sincerity,” as some put it, is hardly acceptable, particularly given the recent barrage of remarks and moves by Japan’s rightist politicians which lay bare their unrepentant attitude toward the WWII.

One who forgets and denies history does not deserve a future. It has become a matter of urgency for the current Japanese leaders to truly reflect upon the lessons of history so as to avert a risky future.

During the WWII, a militaristic Japan ruthlessly trampled over its Asian neighbors and slaughtered tens of millions of people there. Yet, Japan was also considered a victim of the war as countless innocent civilians in the country were killed by U.S. nuclear retaliation.

The unconditional surrender of Japan in 1945 put an end to the bloody war in the Asia-Pacific and ushered in a new era of peace and development for the whole region, including Japan, which has since kept its extreme right-wing forces in check and tugged itself out of the quagmire of war.

Remarkably, Japan has created an enduring economic miracle which saw it once grow into the world’s second largest economy.

It is reasonable to say that Japan’s post-war success has testified the fact that peace, not war, is the cornerstone for development.

Sadly, a new generation of rightists in the country have chosen to ignore that. With Prime Minister Abe at the helm, Japan, bent on shaking off its war-renouncing pacifist reins, has once again embarked on a precarious path and blatantly challenged the post-war international order of peace.

By doing this, Japan is sowing the seed of another war.

Notably, the Abe administration has sugarcoated its military ambitions with rhetoric touting “peace” and “security,” while former Japanese militaristic rulers had used similar tactic to disguise their unquenchable thirst for aggression.

What has also sounded the alarm is that Japan has been deliberately flexing its muscles against China. From the purchase and naming farce of China’s islands, to the constant hyping up of China’s “military buildup,” Japan’s increasingly provocative actions are not only tearing the two nations further apart, but also putting the hard-won peace and security in the whole region at stake.

Some might say history always repeats itself, yet it is unwise for Japan to reckon that China, along with other WWII victims as well as those peace-loving people on its own land, would stand idle in face of the brewing threats of war.

It is highly advisable for those who did wrong in the past to stop playing with fire and avoid leading their country further down the dangerous road.

By Lili Xinhua

Hard to warm up frozen ties with Tokyo

As the 69th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in WWII, August 15 has become the perfect time for Japanese nationalists to put on a farce to draw world attention. Will Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visit the notorious Yasukuni Shrine? This has become the most disconcerting mystery in the geopolitics of Northeast Asia.

Abe released some messages, saying he wouldn’t visit the Shrine. But media outlets guessed he might offer tribute instead. This could be called a positive signal sent to China from a Japanese perspective. It was also reported that he is looking forward to having a bilateral meeting with Chinese leaders at the forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Beijing in November.

Bitter confrontations over historical issues have dragged both China and Japan into a tug-of-war. With years of friendliness buried, China and Japan seem to be locked into a blood feud.

The conflicts over historical issues are no longer limited to different understandings of history. They have become a major manifestation of the geopolitical rivalry between both sides. A sober mind can tell that such a conflict can only result in a lose-lose situation: Japan is losing its upper hand in the international community due to its irresponsible attitude toward history, and China has spent too many unnecessary resources and attention on it.

But now, it could be anticipated that warming Sino-Japanese ties are still impossible, even though Abe acted mildly on the Yasukuni Shrine issue this year and Chinese leaders might meet him at the APEC forum.

On historical issues, both sides are just speaking to themselves. These issues have become a battle of public opinion in the international community. In this case, only national strength matters.

Japan was the side which took the initiative in the historical issues, as it was in full authority of whether to visit the Shrine and revise history books. But China has established a system to penalize provocative Japanese government officials. China has got back part of the initiative. The fact that China is getting used to the political deadlock and carries forward economic cooperation also requires full attention. The unfolding tensions between both nations have not inflicted many losses on China, which is able to sustain a long-term standoff with Japan.

China’s rise has changed many foundations of the former Sino-Japanese ties, and we must accept and get adapted to the fundamental changes.

The biggest force that can transform Sino-Japanese relations is the rise of China. It probably won’t make Japan and China regain rapport, but it will drive Japan to assess the outcome of a full confrontation with China.

In the past 20 or 30 years, China has not been engaged in such tense relationship with a major power as it does with Japan. There are so many uncertainties ahead, and Japan is destined to offer unavoidable and significant challenges to China’s confidence and patience when the latter is rising.

Source: Global Times Published: 2014-8-15 0:23:01

69 years later, Japan still unrepentant after nuclear attacks from US

Sixty-nine years ago, mushroom clouds rose over major population centers for the first (and fortunately, only) time in the history of warfare. At approximately 8:16 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, the Army Air Force dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki.

Nagasaki mayor questions policy on A-bomb day

TOKYO – The mayor of Nagasaki criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push toward Japan’s more assertive defense policy, as the city marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

Nagasaki mayor questions policy on A-bomb day
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue reads out the Peace Declaration at the Peace Park in the city on Aug. 9, 2014, during a ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city. [Photo/IC]

In his “peace declaration” speech at the ceremony in Nagasaki’s Peace Park, Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Abe’s government to listen to growing public concerns over Japan’s commitment to its pacifist pledge.

Thousands of attendants, including US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and a record number of representatives from 51 countries, offered a minute of silence and prayed for the victims at 11:02 a.m., the moment the bomb was dropped over Nagasaki on Aug 9, 1945, as bells rang. They also laid wreaths of white and yellow chrysanthemums at the Statue of Peace.

The US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, prompting Tokyo’s World War II surrender. The first on Hiroshima killed 140,000 people and the Nagasaki bomb killed another 70,000.

The anniversary comes as Japan is divided over the government’s decision to allow its military to defend foreign countries and play greater roles overseas by exercising what is referred to as collective self-defense. To achieve that goal, Abe’s Cabinet revised its interpretation of Japan’s war-renouncing constitution.

Pacifism, enshrined in the constitution, is the “founding principle” of postwar Japan and Nagasaki, Taue said.

“However, the rushed debate over collective self-defense has prompted concern that this principle is shaking,” he said. “I strongly request that the Japanese government take note of the situation and carefully listen to the voices of distress and concerns.”

Polls show more than half of respondents are opposed to the decision, mainly because of sensitivity over Japan’s wartime past and devastation at home.

Representing the Nagasaki survivors, Miyako Jodai, 75, said that Abe’s government was not living up to expectations.

Jodai, a retired teacher who was exposed to radiation just 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) from ground zero, said that the defense policy that puts more weight on military power was “outrageous” and a shift away from pacifism.

“Please stand by our commitment to peace. Please do not forget the sufferings of the atomic bombing survivors,” Jodai said at the ceremony.

The number of surviving victims, known as “hibakusha,” was just more than 190,000 this year across Japan. Their average age is 79. In Nagasaki, 3,355 survivors died over the past year, while 5,507 passed away in Hiroshima.

Abe kept his eyes closed and sat motionless as he listened to the outright criticism, rare at a solemn ceremony.

In his speech, he did not mention his defense policy or the pacifist constitution. He repeated his sympathy to the victims and said Japan as the sole victim of nuclear attacks has the duty to take leadership in achieving a nuclear-free society, while telling the world of the inhumane side of nuclear weapons.

The speech had minor tweaks from last year’s, after Abe faced criticism that the speech he delivered in Hiroshima was almost identical to the one from the previous year, Kyodo News reported.

Nagasaki mayor questions policy on A-bomb day
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd from L) offers a moment of silent prayer at 11:02 am on Aug 9, 2014, the exact time the US atomic bomb was dropped 69 years ago, during the ceremony at the Peace Park in Japan’s southwestern city of Nagasaki.[Photo/IC]
Nagasaki mayor questions policy on A-bomb day
Nagasaki residents pray and place lanterns on Motoyasu river to commemorate the victims of the bombing 69 years ago.[Photo/IC]
- China Daily/Asia News Network

Hiroshima nuclear bombing, 69th anniversary: 8:15am, the moment Japan will never forget, until ..

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