The ‘Tiger Woods’ act is not for Malaysia


 It’s a long road towards being a tiger economy again

A month before the one-year anniversary of Pakatan Harapan’s ruling the government, Malaysia has earned the accolades of being a “boring” and under-performing stock market. The ringgit, which is the thermometer to gauge the economy, has weakened after the initial euphoria of appreciating as high as RM4 against the US dollar.

An economist had said that Malaysia without the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is too dependent on oil revenue. Budget 2019 was based on crude oil at US$70 and considering that the year-to-date average is lower, the country would not be able to keep to spending limits.

Ironically, the story of Malaysia’s being a “boring and under-performing” stock came as golfer Tiger Woods made a remarkable comeback to win his first major tournament since 2008. That was the time when the golfer’s on-course performance started to go downhill due to injuries and “off-course” affairs that led to a broken-marriage.

Sponsors stayed away from Tiger Woods and he lived with a tag as a great golfing talent that never made it. Now he is seen as a role model in the story of triumph against adversity. Woods US Masters win is now repeated as a story of why one must never give up and the fruits of labour will finally pay off.

Sadly, it only applies in the world of sports. In the sporting world, there are clear rules and everybody play within the rules or they are disqualified. Sports world is based on meritocracy. If you good and talented, you would be found – some way or other – even if you live in Borneo.

Sarawak has produced amongst Malaysia’s best sprinter and diver in Watson Nyambek and Pandelela Rinong who proved their worth based on merit.

Running a government to please people with different demands is not so easy. Meritocracy is only a slogan. It reality, it is hard to implement.

For instance, the government’s bail-out of Felda and Tabung Haji are seen as further straining the country’s balance sheet.

The fear that the of Budget 2019 objective of keeping fiscal deficit at 3.4% cannot be achieved considering that the government has to fork out RM6bil to rescue Felda.

However, what investors fail to realise is that the government cannot afford not to bail out the likes of Felda and Tabung Haji. It cannot operate completely on meritocracy and go by the book strictly because there are political considerations to weigh on.

Felda needs to be rescued because of the massive mismanagement of funds. It involves the lives of 120,000 settlers and many more, if their families are taken into account. The Felda settlers are important voter bank and determine 52 parliament seats.

Most of them are Malays who form the bulk of the voting population of the country as a whole.

Whether we like or not, issues that Felda and Tabung Haji face has to be resolved if there is to be any political stability.

The only consolation is that those who are responsible for the mismanagement of Felda, Tabung Haji, 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) would eventually pay a price.

In communist China, these people would have faced the firing squad.

In Malaysia, it takes time to penalise those responsible under the law. Pakatan Harapan’s messaging to investors is that it provides accountability, transparency and discipline in running the government. It revealed the total debts and a bigger budget deficit for 2019 and left it to investors to decide if they are prepared to put money in the country.

That it does not tolerate corruption is a message that is being drummed countless times.

Is there is a premium in being transparent, accountable and standing firm against corruption? Yes there is. But as a fund manager says, it does not tell investors where to put their money.

It does not tell investors if there is going to be a continuity to the government’s policies and who the next Prime Minister is going to be after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The fund manager says that Malaysia needs to tell another story, apart from governance and transparency.

Towards this end, a good line of messaging would be on addressing the political transition after Dr Mahathir.

The fund manager is right in his argument because long term capital needs political stability and leadership certainty.

Dr Mahathir, who is named as among the most powerful persons by Time Magazine, probably knows best why he is delaying in setting a firm time table to hand over power to the only person who has been named so far, which is Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Probably because the minute Dr Mahathir announces the time-table to handover, he would be a lame duck Prime Minister, a role the 93-year veteran politician would not relish.

Apart from politics, the other matter bogging investors is the slowing Malaysian economy.

The concern is that the economic growth of 4.5% would not be met and that Bank Negara would be forced to bring down the interest rates.

When interest rates are down because of a slowing economy, it dampens sentiments on the ringgit and puts yields of bonds under pressure.

The prospects of a lower yield and weakening currency are just the catalysts needed for bond investors to take some money off the table.

The unfavourable rating by little known Russel Fund Index earlier this week did not help matters. The end result is that the government bonds are under pressure and so is the ringgit.

The government should keep up with doing the things it can best do, which are enhancing transparency, governance and being more careful in handling public funds. Investors will view with scepticism until they see hard numbers on the economy and consistency in growth.

The Malaysian stock market was among the world’s best in 1993 on the back of a roaring economy that started its growth path some four years earlier.

The economy over-heated, the government got carried away with spending and we paid a heavy price by the ringgit and stock market crashing. It all came down with a thud in 1997.

The Pakatan Harapan government wants to see Malaysia be a “tiger economy” once again.

But it would not be easy. The road ahead is treacherous with lots of obstacles – balancing the demands of the political and social agenda.

We cannot do it the Tiger Woods way because there is no meritocracy when it comes to governing a country. But we will get there eventually as long as we stay the course.

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PyeongChang Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony 2018 displays unity of two Koreas


Delegations from the DPRK and the ROK march under the Korean unification
flag during the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony. /VCG Photo

The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang began with a rare display of unity from South Korea and North Korea. Olympic athletes from both nations marched together during the Opening Ceremony in South Korea.

“United in our diversity, we are stronger than all the forces that want to divide us,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said Friday during the ceremony.

The unified flag of Korea was jointly carried into Pyeongchang Stadium by South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong and North Korean ice hockey player Hwang Chung-gum. The united contingent of athletes was the last to walk in the parade of nations.

Top DPRK leader invites S.Korean president to visit Pyongyang

Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit the DPRK at Moon’s convenient time, the presidential Blue House said Saturday.

Kim Eui-kyeom, spokesman for President Moon, told a televised press briefing that Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of the DPRK leader, delivered a letter of Kim Jong Un to Moon showing Kim’s willingness to improve inter-Korean relations.

The younger Kim delivered the DPRK leader’s message, saying the DPRK leader is willing to meet President Moon at an earliest possible date.

The invitation was made during an informal meeting between Moon and the DPRK’s Olympic delegation, including the younger Kim who serves as the first vice director of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

In response, Moon said, “Let’s create conditions going forward and make it.”

The DPRK delegation was led by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly. Two other senior delegates attending the meeting were Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.

The meeting and luncheon, not disclosed to the media, lasted for about three hours at the presidential complex.

It marked the first time in eight and a half years that a ranking DPRK delegation visited South Korea’s presidential complex.

In August 2009, the DPRK sent a high-ranking condolence delegation to bid farewell to late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung who held the first inter-Korean summit with late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader.

The meeting between President Moon and the DPRK delegates was held informally, not made open to the media.

Attending the informal meeting from the South Korean side are the spy agency chief, the unification minister, the presidential chief of staff and the top presidential security advisor.

The DPRK delegates are scheduled to return back to their homeland on Sunday. – Global Times

Money, culture and the chase for Olympic gold


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Although some countries offer financial incentives to its athletes, a genuine sporting culture may be the best guarantee of success at the Games.

SHOCK and awe just about sums up the stunning achievement of young Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling at the Rio Olympics.

His victory is classic David beating Goliath; he was the underdog from a tiny country that had never won an Olympic gold.

What made it all the sweeter and remarkable is that Schooling beat the mightiest, most decorated Olympian in history – American Michael Phelps who has won 23 gold medals – and set an impressive new record of 50.39 secs for the 100m butterfly event.

When news of Singapore’s first gold medal broke, it quickly overtook other stories emanating from Rio and became the talk of the world.

It eclipsed its Asean neighbours’ own Olympic gold successes: Vietnam’s shooter Hoang Xuan Vinh in the 10m air pistol competition and Thailand’s weightlifters Sopita Tanasan and Sukanya Srisurat in their individual weight classes and certainly overshadowed Malaysian diving duo Pandelela Rinong and Cheong Jun Hoong’s silver in the women’s synchronised 10m platform diving.

All are no small feats but there is a total of 28 sports in the Games, not counting those with multiple disciplines, and the most popular ones for a global audience are gymnastics, track and field and swimming, according to topendsports.com.

Among Asian nations competing in the Games, China and Japan are traditionally strong contenders in gymnastics and swimming although the Chinese gymnasts seem to be doing poorly this time around.

For most other Asian competitors, the sports they excel in tend to be the ones with less mass appeal like archery, shooting, judo, badminton and for some strange reason, women’s weightlifting.

Apart from the Thais, Taiwanese, Filipina and Indonesian female weightlifters have also won medals for their countries.

China remains the sporting powerhouse of Asia, sending its largest delegation of 416 athletes to Rio this year, but they have failed to defend their gold medals in sports they used to dominate like badminton and diving.

As for the glamorous track and field events, there doesn’t seem to be any Asian athlete who can challenge the likes of Usain Bolt.

Meanwhile, the other Asian powerhouse, India, with the second largest population in the world, has never done well at the Olympics, which has been the subject of intense debate among Indian and foreign sports pundits.

India also sent its biggest ever contingent of 118 sportsmen and women, and has so far won only a bronze medal in wrestling.

Winning an Olympic gold medal is the Holy Grail of sports.

The pomp that surrounds the Games gives the gold medallists unparalleled honour and prestige. And the nations they represent go into collective convulsions of ecstasy and nationalistic joy, which make their governments equally happy.

That’s why many nations pour millions into sports programmes to nurture and train promising talents and offer great financial rewards to successful Olympians.

Schooling will get S$1mil (RM3mil) from the Singapore government for his gold medal. Vietnam’s Hoang reportedly will receive US$100,000 (RM400,000), a figure, according to AFP, that is nearly 50 times greater than the country’s average national income, of around US$2,100 (RM8,400).

Malaysia, which is seeing its best ever performance in Rio, thanks to its badminton players and divers, rewards its successful athletes handsomely under its National Sports Council incentive scheme.

An Olympic gold medal winner will receive RM1mil and a monthly pension of RM5,000; a silver medallist, RM600,000 and a RM3,000 pension while a bronze winner gets RM100,000 and a RM2,000 pension.

Taiwan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand have similar monetary reward schemes. North Korea uses a carrot and stick scheme: huge rewards for medal winners and hard labour for the failed ones.

Several western countries have the same financial bait, including the United States, France, Russia and Germany, but at a lower rate.

Does it work?

The Technology Policy Institute looked for a correlation and was mindful of variables like country size and income, “since those are surely the biggest predictor of how many medals a country will win: more populous countries are more likely to have that rare human who is physically built and mentally able to become an Olympic athlete, while richer countries are more likely to be able to invest in training those people.”

The researchers found no correlation between monetary payments and medals and said it was not surprising in some countries. In the United States, for example, a US$25,000 (RM100,000) cash award would be dwarfed by million-dollar endorsements the athlete could get.

The researchers also set out to see if the results were different for countries with lower opportunities for endorsements. Their conclusion: “overall the evidence suggests that these payments don’t increase the medal count” either.

Rather, countries that do well are those with a longstanding sporting culture that values and nurtures their athletes long before they qualify for the Olympics.

That is evident in Western societies where sportsmen, even at the college level, are feted and idolised. In Asia, however, the emphasis is more on book-learning and earning prestigious degrees.

The BBC quotes Indian Olympic Association head Narayana Ramachandran as saying India’s sorry performance is more than just a shortage of cash or organisation.

“Sport has always taken a back seat vis-á-vis education. Most Indian families would prefer their children became dentists or accountants than Olympians,” he says.

But that attitude is surely changing as more Asian sportsmen and women go professional and are able to make a good living.

In Malaysia, its most popular sportsman, badminton star Datuk Lee Chong Wei, is highly successful with a number of endorsements under his belt.

For now, it is still the Western countries that dominate the Olympic medal tally table. But it’s only a matter of time before more Asian nations, once no-hopers at the Games, rise up the charts.

It’s already started. The Rio Games will go down in history as a watershed for Asean, with two member states – Singapore and Vietnam – winning their first gold medals. May it be so for Malaysia, too.

By June H.L Wong Chief Operating Officer (Content Development) The Star, Malaysia.

The writer was the former group chief editor of The Star Media Group Malaysia. This is the eighth article in a series of columns on global affairs written by top editors from members of the Asia News Network and published in newspapers across the region.

Heartbreak again for Chong Wei, Chen Long takes gold

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/63BmkZeq2mo

RIO DE JANEIRO: Lee Chong Wei, the king of Malaysian badminton, will leave the Rio de Janeiro Olympics without the crown – and so will Malaysia without the coveted gold.

The 33-year-old lost his third Olympic final after going down 18-21, 18-21 to Chen Long at the Riocentro Pavilion 4 on Saturday.

It was indeed a painful end for Malaysia as it was the third false dawn. Earlier, Malaysia had also lost in the men’s doubles and mixed doubles finals.

Malaysia thus will return home with a total of four silvers and one bronze.

The other three silvers came from Chan Peng Soon-Goh Liu Ying (mixed doubles), Goh V Shem-Tan Wee Kiong (men’s doubles) and divers Pandelela Rinong-Cheong Jun Hoong (women’s 10m platform synchro). Cyclist Azizulhasni Awang contributed the sole bronze through the men’s keirin.

Both Chong Wei, playing in probably his last Olympics, and Chen Long went onto the court to loud cheers from their countries’ supporters.

Chong Wei, who lost to Lin Dan at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London finals, looked tentative in the beginning to allow Chen Long to open up a 4-0 lead. But he recovered his composure to lead 5-4.

After that, they traded point until it was 7-7 before Chong Wei pulled away for an 11-7 and then 14-10 lead.

But Chen Long refused to go away and managed to level at 14-14.

Twice Chong Wei surged in front but Chen Long capitalised on the Malaysian’s mistakes at the net to lead 20-17. Although world No. 1 Chong Wei managed to save one match point, his failure to return a smash gave Chen Long a 21-18 win in 35 minutes.

Oozing confidence, Chen Long was always in front in the second game – leading 4-1 and 5-2.

But Chong Wei fought back to go 8-5 up. Chen Long then went on a smashing spree, winning six points for an 11-8 advantage.

The 27-year-old world No. 2 never looked back after that as he always had at least a three-point lead.

Everything looked lost for Chong Wei as Chen Long reached 20-16. The Malaysian saved two match points but then sent the shuttle out to lose 18-21 in 38 minutes.

For Chen Long, it was his first Olympic gold to add to his two All-England and World Championships crowns.

Chong Wei can only look in envy as he’s still without a world or Olympic crown. He also lost in three World Championships finals.

Chen Long’s gold was only China’s second at these Games after Fu Haifeng-Zhang Nan triumphed in the men’s doubles.

Earlier, two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan fell from grace in probably his last Olympic outing after losing 21-15, 10-21, 17-21 to Dane Viktor Axelson in the 70-minute bronze medal playoff.

Medals By Countries – Rio 2016

London 2012 Olympics – Medal Table

Rio 2016 Asia Regional Aug 21 Medal by Countries

 

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Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal, dreams do come true !

Joseph Schooling celebrates his gold win next to Michael Phelps on Aug 12. PHOTO: REUTERS https://youtu.be/-JTwPEutLdY RIO DE JANEIRO…

The Olympic flame burns in Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremony at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 5, 20…

Malaysia must develop new sport talents after Chong Wei

Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal, dreams do come true !


Video: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/-JTwPEutLdY

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Joseph Schooling won the men’s 100 metres butterfly final on Friday to secure Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal and deny Michael Phelps a 23rd in the last individual race of the American’s extraordinary career.

Phelps, the defending champion and world record holder who is heading into retirement — again — after Rio, finished second in a three-way dead heat with two of his greatest rivals — South Africa’s Chad Le Clos and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh.

Astonishingly, all three touched out in 51.14 seconds, behind Schooling’s Olympic record 50.39 in the second dead-heat in a final in two days.

“I’m just ecstatic. I don’t think it has set in yet. It’s just crazy,” said Schooling.

Straight after his historic golden feat, Schooling told Singapore media: “This swim wasn’t for me. It’s for my country.

“Some people believe that Singapore has a lot of talent. I believe that. It doesn’t matter where you’re from really. I hope this opens new doors for sports in our country and I hope I’ve set a precedent for the young in our country.

“It’s been a hard road, I’ve done something that no one in our country has done before. I’ve received a lot of support and that’s phenomenal, that’s great. I can’t really describe what that means.

“But it’s been a tough road, I’m not going to lie, the first guy through the wall is always bloody. I had to take that blow.

“I’m thankful and I’m blessed that I have the ability to accomplish this. This moment is not about me, it’s really for my country, it’s all about my coaches, my family, my friends who believed from when I was a six-year-old kid, that I could do it.”

In Singapore, cheers broke out across housing estates and social media erupted in celebration as Schooling won in Brazil.”

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Tony Tan, who was in Rio to cheer Team Singapore, led an outpouring of congratulations for Schooling.”

“It is an incredible feat, to compete among the world’s best, stay focused, and emerge victorious,” Mr Lee said in a Facebook post.”

Schooling will receive S$1 million for his gold medal as part of a programme aimed at encouraging studious Singaporeans to excel in sport.”

“Schooling winning shows that even homegrown athletes can win an Olympic medal and I think it’s a good example for our youth that sporting greatness is possible,” said real estate agent Michael Tan, 35, who cheered on Schooling at a coffee shop in a residential estate.

“It’s amazing that Singapore finally has a gold medal at the Olympics, I don’t think anyone thought this was possible,” Madeleine Lim, 62, told AFP.”

Video: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/0C6XrjKPvCE

Dreams Do Come True

 

It was back in 2008, a 13-year-old teenager Joseph Schooling got to meet his hero, one of the all-time greatest Olympians, Michael Phelps, who had visited Singapore before the start of the Beijing Olympics. Eight years later, Schooling, now 21, creates history by beating Phelps to bag the gold in the 100m Butterfly finals. The specialty of the occasion is double great as this is for the first time a Singaporean wins an Olympic gold.

It was a dream come true for Schooling when he got an opportunity to swim in the same race with Phelps at London Olympics 2012. That was the year Joseph first qualified for the Olympics in London, but then disaster struck when he was told his goggles weren’t Olympics standard just before the race. He rushed to get replacements, but ended up getting a poor time in his heats and didn’t get through to the semi-finals.

He pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Rio, interrupting the 31-year-old Phelps’ quest for what would have been his fifth gold in Brazil and 23rd Olympic gold of his career.

Schooling’s father Colin, who hosted a viewing party at his home in Singapore, wept when his son won.

“If I cry in front of all of you all, it’s because I have nothing to be ashamed of,” he told reporters.

“My love for my son is nothing I can describe to you all.”

Related stories: 

Left: A young Schooling posing with Phelps, whom he idolised, during a training camp in Singapore in 2008. Below left: Phelps congratulating Schooling as they leave the podium after the 100m butterfly victory ceremony. Gold medallist Joseph SchoolingOlympics: Joseph Schooling’s win is shaking up everyone’s world 

 

 Mr Poon, 70, remembers Schooling's insatiable quest to win even while attending his swimming classes as a child.Schooling learnt to be fearless from first coach Vincent Poon

 Medals By Countries – Rio 2016

 Rank by: Gold TOTAL

TOTAL

 Related post:

Rio 2016 Olympics sets good example; Smug Aussie swimmer won’t cloud Rio

The Olympic flame burns in Maracana Stadium during the opening ceremony at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 5,
201…

Rio 2016 Olympics sets good example; Smug Aussie swimmer won’t cloud Rio


 

Congratulations, and many thanks to Rio de Janeiro, for the innovatively choreographed and beautifully executed opening ceremony for the Olympic Games, which was mesmerizing, inspiring, and thoroughly entertaining.

From supermodel Gisele Bundchen’s elegant walk across the stadium floor and the first-ever refugee team to the all-green Olympic rings and the Samba, there was indeed plenty to enjoy and remember.

What amazed us even more is the way Rio has achieved it, and in such a graceful manner, when so many thought it was impossible.

The Rio Games could not have come at a worse time for Brazil, under the triple pressures of an economic recession, the like of which the country has not seen in decades, a domestic political crisis and the Zika threat.

The prospect of Rio hosting a decent Olympics once seemed so bleak that some even suspected the International Olympic Committee had made a bad choice awarding the city the 2016 Summer Games.

With Beijing and London setting a high bar for opening ceremony theatricality, few had anticipated anything this impressive from Rio. After all, opening ceremonies are increasingly costly these days with host countries competing to invest in effects they deem commensurate with the self-image they intend to project.

Rio, on the other hand, had a budget that was reportedly 12 times less than London’s and 20 times less than Beijing’s. It was operating on a comparative shoestring.

But the show they presented was nothing short of spectacular. Which prompted one Chinese commentator to gasp in admiration, “Who needs money when you have a conscience?”

Money does matter when it comes to hosting an international sporting event like the Olympic Games. But Rio offered a loud reminder that money is not everything, and conscience and creativity can go a long way.

Besides visuals that were hardly less fabulous than what we saw in Beijing and London, and the strong message about climate change, this aspect of the opening ceremony challenges future hosts and the Olympic community to rethink the way the world’s largest sporting gala is handled.

We particularly admire the organizers’ idea that it was unnecessary to spend large sums of money on the opening ceremony, when such undertakings as education and public health in Brazil are crying out for funds.

Like the “Avatar-like allegiance” to the environment demonstrated in the opening ceremony, this is a poignant Brazilian statement on conscience and social responsibility we sincerely wish will reach the hearts of all future Olympic hosts. Including those in Beijing, who are preparing for the upcoming 2022 Winter Olympics. – (China Daily)

Rio 2016 medals tally


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OVERVIEWSportsON TVSCHEDULEAthletesMEDALSCountries
Medal standings
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1

United States
5 7 7 19
2

China
5 3 5 13
3

Australia
4 0 3 7
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Italy
3 4 2 9
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Japan
3 0 7 10

Smug Aussie swimmer won’t cloud Rio

 

The Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) has called its Australian counterpart, to demand Australian swimmer Mack Horton apologize to Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, against whom Horton initiated a personal attack. To no one’s surprise, the Australian side declined, saying Horton “is entitled to express a point of view.”

The CSA’s protest is a consolation for Sun, and the one voice from the Chinese media and public backing Sun shows the unity of Chinese society and the people’s human touch.

Horton won the first gold medal for Australia at the Rio Olympics, and has become a hero for the country. It is understandable if Swimming Australia finds it difficult to teach him a lesson right now for his rude and irresponsible words.

The problem is that it seems the entire sports circle and media in Australia do not have a problem with Horton’s ill-mannered and provocative remarks. In a response to the CSA, Swimming Australia didn’t forget to flaunt the “freedom of speech” cliché with a swaggering ego. According to their logic, it seems that no matter how derisive and slanderous the remarks could be, it is all free speech, which should be praised.

If so, the focus of the squabble will go beyond Horton’s ill manners and silliness. The whole level of Australia’s awareness of sports ethics and glory is as low as that of a young and brash kid.

Australia’s aberrant response is confusing not only to the Chinese, but also to many other Westerners. How come the Australians are not ashamed of Horton’s personal attacks, but are shamelessly climbing to the moral high ground in this case?

From China’s perspective, Australia, an English-speaking and developed country, is a typical part of the Western world. But actually, Australia has always been a “second-class citizen” in the West, and many people from Western Europe, especially the UK, feel condescension toward Australians.

Australia used to be a land populated by the UK’s unwanted criminals, and this remains a stigma attached to Australian culture.

Eager to be completely accepted by the Western world and afraid of being overlooked, Australia has grown docile and obedient in face of the US and the UK.

However, in front of Asian countries, it cannot help but effuse its white supremacy. The tangle of inferiority and superiority has numerous reflections in Australia’s foreign exchanges.

We don’t have to take seriously the tinge of barbarism that comes out of some Australians, nor should we pay keen attention to some vindictive provocations. China cannot be distracted from its own path of development, so it should turn a blind eye to what should be despised.

Horton and his backers represent the dark side of Australian society, and it is time for us to look at the bright side of the Olympic Games. This trifling botheration won’t ruin our beautiful memories of this grand event. – Global Times

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There is a line between free speech and “trash talk” : IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) supports freedom of speech but there should be a line drawn between freedom to speak and “trash talk”.

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Healing through hiking mountains


The arduous Pacific Crest Trails offered the author of The Girl In The Woods the chance to take back control of her life after being raped.

The first time I heard of the Pacific Crest Trail was at the recent George Town Literary Festival, when a friend expressed interest in hiking it. Stretching across mountains running along the western coast of the United States, it is a challenging trail that should be attempted by only the hardiest of hikers.

My own experience with hiking is limited to beginner trails in national parks and forest reserves. Hiking is fun, but I know well enough of its dangers – years ago, another friend of mine had gone hiking and disappeared. The friend at the festival who wanted to hike the Pacific Crest is a man in his 30s. In Girl In The Woods, the hiker, who goes by the name “Wild Child”, is a young woman of 19 and a survivor of rape.

Wild Child grew up as Deborah “Debby” Parker, a sheltered child who lived under the wing of her protective mother and influential, high-achieving brother. On the second night of her stay at college, she was raped.

The emotional and psychological effects of the rape, compounded with the lack of empathy from her college and her family, became the catalyst for her decision to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail.

For Wild Child, the hike was both a method of escaping a society that made her feel vulnerable and of confronting danger and, through that, regaining her sense of control and trust.

Author: Aspen Matis
Publisher :
 William Morrow/HarperCollins, non-fictionNature and the wilderness is often portrayed as a place of peace and isolation, but any illusion that the wilderness of the Pacific Crest Trail is isolated and peaceful is proven false in Wild Child’s experiences along the trail. The Pacific Crest Trail hiking line is a male-dominated environment, peopled with strange men and women, and offers very little protection from physical or verbal violence stemming from racism, misogyny, or sheer sadism.

Following Wild Child’s journey along the trail brings us to very close intimacy with her personality, her decisions, and her pain. Although survivor accounts and articles on the way rape affects psychology exist in abundance, Girl In The Woods vividly shows how rape shatters one’s sense of safety, trust, and control over one’s body and environment; more importantly, the book allows readers to witness the challenges of regaining that lost sense of security and control.

As we follow her journey, we are also made to confront rape culture – both when it is perpetrated by the people around Wild Child and when we are tempted to criticise her lack of self-preservation. Wild Child exposes herself (at times literally) to strangers and dangers, and readers may find themselves finding fault and blaming her for “tempting rape”. We are made to confront and encouraged to unshackle from our own preconceived, perhaps subconscious, perpetuation of victim blaming and rape culture.

The topic of rape may frighten some readers away from the book, but the harsh desert beauty of the Pacific Crest Trail and Wild Child’s own personal resilience tames its violence, so the experience of reading the book is not unpleasant.

Girl In The Woods is a powerful testament of nature’s healing qualities and an intimate examination of surviving rape.

It is an elegant narrative of loss of innocence, regaining of strength, and finding love and self-acceptance.

It is not merely an account of a survivor but an adventure book, a record of a coming-of-age, and a story of personal growth as the protagonist transforms from the insecure Debby Parker to Wild Child the hiker, before finally emerging as Aspen Matis (the name that she answers to now, and the pseudonym used to pen the book), a fully fledged survivor.

The only arguable weakness of Girl In The Woods is that the description of the landscape along the Pacific Crest Trail is rather sparse.

Perhaps this was omitted because it was unnecessary to the narrative, but I would have appreciated more details on the desert, mountains and forests that were traversed.

I tend to notice the beauty of natural landscapes when I travel, and keenly felt the omission of detailed descriptions on the beautiful American rural landscape.

But this is a minor complaint in an otherwise outstanding memoir.

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Beijing wins to host Winter Olympics 2022


Beijing Winter Olympics 2022

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf

http://english.cntv.cn/2015/08/01/VIDE1438381810003714.shtml

Chinese captital celebrates victory

The National Stadium, or Bird Nest, is seen with giant illumination showing a message celebrating Beijing and Zhangjiakou’s winning of the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

http://player.cntv.cn/standard/cntvOutSidePlayer.swf

http://english.cntv.cn/2015/08/01/VIDE1438395244275676.shtml

Beijingers celebrate Olympic victory

Beijing last night was the scene of jubilation and cheering. People celebrated the news from Kuala Lumpur.

Games offers new drive to opening-up

Beijing and Zhangjiakou have won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. It’s great.

Seven years after Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games, Chinese people get to embrace the Olympics again. Many still remember the passion and joy after winning the 2008 Games. Our optimism and happiness has come alive again. Chinese society is still actively seeking to host major international sports events. Such sentiment fits the country’s rising momentum.

Countries in the developed world are no longer enthusiastic about holding the Olympics like they once were. They have their own calculations. But over 90 percent of people in Beijing and Zhangjiakou support their cities’ hosting of the Winter Games. Such high rates of support is generally true in other parts of the country in hosting major international sports events.

Chinese people long for progress and more contact with the outside world. Many people consider the hosting of major sports events an opportunity to enhance a city’s development level and help it become more international.

But there are also many who oppose hosting the Winter Games. Some of them are just following the voices of popular Western-style opponents. Others have their marginal reasons. But these opinions are not mainstream in China.

It is great that many stadiums and other pieces of infrastructure built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics can still be of use for the 2022 Games.

The 2008 Summer Games can be seen as a coming-out party for China. China has made significant progress in the seven years since it hosted the event. China’s GDP leapt from the third place globally to second. Chinese people have seen more of the world.

To be frank, when Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Games, many Chinese people were nervous that they might mess up the event. That is why the 2008 Games emphasized pomp and ceremony in order to demonstrate China’s capabilities.

This time when we host the Winter Games, we may be able to be more relaxed, focusing on the beauty of the sports instead of laboring ourselves in ensuring a perfect event. We can try to make the 2022 Games a big party.

The 2022 Winter Games is also likely to bring concrete benefits in the coming seven years. “Olympic blue” may become a new target in dealing with air pollution. A high-speed railway between Beijing and Zhangjiakou is likely. Winter sports may become more popular.

The Winter Games will become a lasting drive for China’s further opening-up. Chinese society will seek greater balance between outside criticism and China’s own principles and traditions. This project will help China further integrate with the world. – Global Times

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