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Joined 1/7/2010 Views 48658 Blog Entries: 5 Last Blog Entry: 5/12/2011

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Killing Osama Bin Laden Online – Back to the debate about violent video game effects 12-05-2011 03:24

The world rejoiced after hearing President Barack Obama announced the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. The streets of America, especially in New York paraded and chanted patriotic slogans ‘USA! USA’! Governments from most parts of the world commended the US for their efforts in eliminating Al-Qaeda leader but people’s hatred and anger towards Bin Laden is not enough even after his end.
After the death of Osama Bin Laden, many video games relating to Bin Laden spawned, such as the downloadable video game Counter Strike by a developer who goes by the name of Fletch and it features the compound in which Bin Laden lived. KumaGames, renowned for making online games regarding to counter-terrorism and searching for weapons of mass destruction, also made their own game to let players hunt down and assassinate Osama Bin Laden. Although most of the world celebrated with unison about his death, but not everyone is ready to agree about the release of this game.
The CEO of KumaGames Keith Halper defends his decision in creating the game, saying that this would bring closure for Americans but not everyone agrees with this. Religious leaders believe it is not right to celebrate over someone’s death, and they believe this game promotes violence.
We are heading back to the debate about whether violent video games can influence people. Creating video games that celebrate the death and demise of someone, I believe, promotes and fuels people to continue to hate on someone who has already died. I believe that when a person’s life has terminated, s/he ceased existing and when s/he has ceased living, there is no more harm s/he can do anymore.
It may bring emotional satisfaction for some, and some believe that Osama Bin Laden’s death symbolises a triumph and the world is one step closer to winning in the war against terror. However, I do not believe we should endorse any sort of games that promotes violence and killing, because this can potentially influence and encourage, especially children, that behaving violently is acceptable. It could also bring de-sensitising effects, making us aloof and callous about life and death.
Most parts of the world celebrated over the death of Osama Bin Laden and then video games were created to let players assassinate Osama Bin Laden. This has taken us back to square one over the debate about is it right to make violent video games and encourage players to ‘kill’ the opponent and other people?
Furthermore, I do not believe it is right and acceptable for anyone to exploit any historical events in entertainment form. If any of our world’s history is made in a form of entertainment, I do not think some of us or subsequent generations would take our world’s history seriously.

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Do You Know Your Mother Tongue? 06-05-2011 02:05

Parents have often expressed their woes about the fate of their children’s ability to maintain their mother tongue. From personal experience, I have witnessed and know some people are unable to speak or understand their mother language. I think there are several reasons that lead to such occurrences, for example parents decide to speak English to their children at home because they fear their children cannot adapt to Australian culture. Moreover, the limited opportunities children get to use their mother tongue and finally, the lack of interest or initiative to improve their language skills.
Aside from English, I can also speak Mandarin-Chinese and Cantonese-Chinese. Maintaining a language is not at all difficult because I strongly believe it is up to the individual to have the will and initiative to do it. How do I keep my language skills proficient? It is actually very easy! I speak Cantonese at home, I listen to Chinese music, watch Chinese and Cantonese movies and series and I even read the Chinese newspapers. These are very simple ways to maintain your mother tongue, even doing one of the above activities for one hour a day brings you one step closer to perfection.  
I honestly think language maintenance is important in all aspects. Your mother tongue identifies your culture, the history of your origins and family and basically, who you are. Understanding your mother tongue can also bring you closer to your traditional heritage and country of origin, some things are better expressed and conveyed in your mother language other than English or other languages. Furthermore, it brings you closer to your family, especially those who may not have strong English skills.
Having bilingual or multilingual skills can also increase employment opportunities and makes traveling overseas easier. So I do not think there should be any inhibitions for anyone to learn and maintain their mother tongue. This is an extremely vibrant and colourful world, with many types of language and accent that are unique in their own ways so I think everyone has a role to play in keeping them alive. It may be tempting to think that there are plenty of others who speak the same mother tongue as yourself can fulfill these roles. However, I think if there is one less person who can speak that language, the language loses a member and thus puts it in danger of extinction.
And remember, it’s better to start learning or practicing as early as you can because you know the rule about languages – the older you get it is harder to learn.

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Ms Hanson Strikes Back 26-04-2011 11:18

Ms Pauline Hanson was the former leader of the One Nation Party, she was then charged with election fraud, lived in England and now she is back to gain a position in the Upper House. But Hanson’s political goals are still the same – she is aiming to reduce immigration and wants all people from CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) backgrounds to assimilate into Australian culture. So she tries to her hand at politics again – recently she aimed to run for elections in NSW but did not succeed. How many times do we need to remind her that Australia is not White Australia anymore?
The face of Australia has changed; in 1901 Australia established the 1901 Immigration Act, also known as White Australia Policy because the government had hoped Australia will maintain its Anglo/Celtic image. However, as decades rolled by our country has been receiving more and more migrants from a great range of backgrounds. Slowly, the White Australia Policy slipped away and now we are a very reputable multicultural society.
It appears that Ms Hanson is not aware of the strong contributions that migrants have brought to this country. Australia has a great diversity of people, with many people from different cultural and linguistic groups and they have made this country a very vibrant and unique place to live. We often see different cultural celebrations and festivals such as Chinese New Year and Harmony Day to celebrate Australia’s diversity and to remind people about the significance of it.
Migrants who come to Australia have worked hard to abide by Australian laws, culture and to participate in any social events. Furthermore, if one were to be an Australian citizen, it is vital they abide by Australian laws. However, if Ms Hanson stipulates for total assimilation, then I can only respond by saying that not only it is unfair but disrespectful. All cultures have undergone different historical, cultural, social and political experiences, and from these experiences come different ideologies and upbringing. Henceforth we cannot expect them to quickly abandon their upbringing because it plays an immense role in their lives and thoughts. I do not think we hold any rights to judge others because I strongly believe that culture is not something we can distinguish with right or wrong.
I do not see any negativities or burdens of cultural diversity, but I only see the good it has brought for Australia. Thus I strongly urge that we all acknowledge those who are from different cultural backgrounds and to learn to respect one another. If we fail to value others, I strongly believe this will cause rifts and mutual suspicions and hence, rather than having a solid and united society, we will live in a segregated one.

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Are Kids Getting More and More Vulgar? 19-04-2011 07:34

Recently a group of 6 teenagers attacked and stoned a swan to death and this assault had left Victorians stupefied because of the disbelief that people this young could do such a thing.
A swan or any other animal are generally harmless, but will only act aggressively and defensively only when it senses danger for itself or for its young. I still find it unbelievable and always speechless whenever I think about this incident. Stoning is an extremely cruel and vulgar way to torture someone or even an animal and if people this young can harbour such thoughts it is extremely mindboggling. There are just no words to describe this. As a young person, I am ashamed to know that these things are happening in our reputable society.
It is difficult to be certain about the motivation behind this attack – but only those 6 teenagers know. I do not now what triggers such action; but there are numerous possibilities we could explore and discuss. Sometimes a person’s behaviour can be influenced by their domestic environment, peer pressure or drug/alcohol influence. For those who are influenced by peer pressure to do things that betray their conscience, they fear their ‘friends’ will look down on them. Peer pressure is not something that is unavoidable, or something young people should be terrified about. Sometimes people who fall under peer pressure because they are unable to say no or to stand up for themselves. The logic is simple, the more you submit to peer pressure, the harder it is to say no. If people laugh at you for being yourself and expressing individuality – then here is the answer; they are not your friends and secondly, they are unable to appreciate real character.
Unfortunately not the first time something like this has happened – and we are hearing more news about youth-related crimes. Some have motivation while some do it because they are bored and want emotional satisfaction. I regret to say that some young people are going out of control and we really need to scrutinise about dealing with such cases. I really stress that family teaching and upbringing is extremely important and parents should not, even for one moment, let this responsibility slip away.
I remember teenage years are often described and thought to be the age of innocence. A child is in the process of learning where the mind is always probing with inquisitive thoughts and the desire to explore something. Yes some teenagers can be led astray by negative influences and thus it is very essential we teach and explain to them what is right and what is wrong. Furthermore, in our teenage years these are the years we have to distinguish and draw a line between doing what is right and not to do anything sinful and wrong.
Even at a young age, if you commit a crime it can affect the outcome of your life and how people will view you. Some people are unable to see this but when you are charged with a criminal offence or feel remorseful after your action, it is too late to turn back to change everything no matter how hard you wish.  
I strongly believe that one’s life is to do something meaningful. If you want to be a high achiever and accomplish something fulfilling, you will need to stay focused and have a strong mind. A person who accomplishes and succeeds is because s/he has an aim and from a young age, they begin to plan and act according to their plan. Mostly importantly, s/he is not afraid of what other people will say or think.
Success does not appear magically and most certainly does not happen in an instant. Being a teenager is no excuse for you to do something wrong; because teenagers are also members of this society and as a member, it is your responsibility to fulfil your role and to contribute something positive and beneficial rather than causing distress. 

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The Burqa - do we really understand it? 19-01-2010 09:07

Recently, the French government has issued another proclamation in stating that women are 'repressed' simply because of wearing a burqa - which is a religious garment representing their faith. Regrettably, this is not a new issue, and I believe this is not simply dwelling on the fact that the garment is denying these women of their individual freedom but I believe it is another case of cultural misunderstanding.

We know that the burqa covers most of the women's face and we develop a connotation that this garment oppresses their freedom. But more pressingly, we seem to believe that Islam represses women and their teachings are 'backward'. It surprises me that in a world that is more globalized with cultural exchange being more frequent, we are still unable to demonstrate any understanding or acceptance of diversity.

The burqa is a garment that symbolizes a woman's faith to her religion. Islam is extremely vital to its believers' life and society. Islam teaches them the way of life, culture and Muslims hold Islam as their symbol for their culture. To question the burqa simply displays our intentions of refusing to embrace Islam as another religion. Why can we not simply view it as an alternative teaching?

Needless to say, we are living in a more globalized world where we have more opportunities to see and visit different cultures and learn about them. Furthermore, I believe this is a chance for everyone to learn and respect each other and to accept them as another facet of ideology and beliefs. Islam is a teaching and ideology to which Muslims hold strongly as Islam teaches them the way of living.

I believe that should we continue to hold such subjective views, our chances of understanding others will be extremely limited. It may be emotionally satisfying to judge others but I believe it is unfair to opinionate others before empathizing with them.

We often try to promote world peace and harmony; some of the existing barriers to this are cultural misunderstandings. Some of us often utlize our cultural, social and historical views to judge others. However, it is important to keep in mind that each country has undergone dissimilar historical, social, cultural, political and geographic experiences. Following this reason, do we have the right to doubt someone's beliefs?

While it may be easy to label and criticise someone else's beliefs, it is more difficult to regain their trust. If we were to successfully achieve our vision of international harmony, I believe we should be more tolerant, open-minded and accepting hence we can reduce unnecessary tensions. Lastly, I do not believe we should have such onstinate views to cloud our judgments of others because I believe we will lose the opportunity to observe and benefit from different visions of life and culture.


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