"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."- John Dewey.
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Yesterday, a gunman, in two separate incidents, open fired and killed at least 32 people and then took his own life on the campus of Virginia Tech, in the worst mass shooting tragedy in US history. Virginia Tech is located in Blacksburg, Virginia, about a 3 hour drive from where I am at Durham, North Carolina. Our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with the families, students and friends of Virgnia Tech. (Hokie is the name of their sports team / mascot) At Screenshots, we are told that all the Malaysians at Virginia Tech are safe.
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When the Americans kill innocent Iraqis and Afghans, it is just a statistic and the Americans dismiss it as 'collateral damage' and no one, including you will express any sympathy for the loss of innocent lives. Are these Iraqis and Afghans any less human than these Americans killed in this tragedy? Hundreds of thousands are bombed into oblivion by these heartless Americans and no one cares. Suddenly the whole world expresses condolences for the this tragedy brought about by their stupid policy of the freedom to own guns.
All loss of life, regardless of country of origin,race and religion should be treated the same and condolences offered; not only those for the loss of American lives.
I am sick when I see comment like the one above. There is no justification at all in taking any innocent lives. Period. Yet you blame all Americans instead of just the dumbass president.
I was really worried when they reported an Asian shooter because of possible racial repercussions. Already an American blog comment was cursing the Chinese. Turned out to be a Korean shooter. Just show how stereotypism can get out of hand in situations like this. Just really tragic when bad apples like this spoil the image of peace-loving foreigners.
Anon 4/17/2007 09:56:00 PM
I agree with you. Americans have to be responsible for their own deed: choosing Mr Bush as the president, who ended up warring other countries and killing thousands, if not millions of innocent human. While, i am deeply sad with the killings, i would think of it as a cause and effect scenario.
Anon 4/17/2007 10:41:00 PM
I was shocked too when i saw "Asian" in the news. I was hoping what happened will not be turned into a political issue as in a century ago, whereby the US government passed a bill in 1882 that prevent immigrants - lunatics, idiots and Chinese into the country. After all, US citizen are quite racist, especially towards Asians.
Let's pray for the victims and families, regardless of your faith and religion.
Malaysia has a pretty strict policy regarding gun control, but we still get pistol battles with the cops every now and then and even assault rifle episodes. The PRC and Russia have very strict gun controls in place. Their criminals take on the security forces with Kalashnikovs.
The Columbine Duo got their guns from a gun-runner. Sweden with no history of gun culture registered over 1,000 gun crimes in 2005, with an increasing number in assault weapons. Btw, you don't need guns to kill people. Knives do the job just as well. As we find out to our cost even in Malaysia.
In fact, 3 months in Africa with knives and machetes is enough to rack up more bodies than Iraq in 4 years with JDAMs and assault rifles. Just ask Romeo Dallaire.
4/17/2007 09:56:00 PM
4/17/2007 11:40:00 PM
Sounds like you guys have never stayed in the US and probably watches too much CNN/Fox News for your daily news intakes. If you have lived in the US, you probably won't say such insensitive stuffs and made such generalized statements. Or at least, have never got to known Americans (not the ones in TV) well enough. I am not pro-American, but I've been here and I can certainly tell what is right and what is wrong in an informed way.
Yes, gun laws are controversial to say the least, but it wasnt a product of the current Bush Administration alone. It has been there for many many years and has to do with America's own history of conquest and the settlement of its extensive geography, slavery, Indian revolts etc. Why don't you start blaming Lincoln, Roosevelt(s) and Washington, Wilson for not banning the guns?
If people were to apply your logic, you might as well call all Malaysians stupid since all the troubles are of their own undoing. Now, would you call yourself stupid for all the mess Malaysia is currently in? I won't say I'm stupid for all the fiascos going on in Malaysia, because I am not in total control of the whole bloody mess i'm in even though I've tried to make the best out of the situation. I might as well be too busy to know what's going on and what people think of me all the time.
By the way, don't think Asians are always less racist than a White male. That is the general misconception. Matter of fact, it is of human nature to gather among themselves for economic and political reasons, for reasons that a sentence or two would not suffice to explain. If you're a Chinese Malaysian who finds himself wondering in San Francisco Chinatown, don't expect an American Chinese to treat you any better than an Anglo-American who happens to walk pass you.
Most Americans are just like you and me, not the image generally painted by some disgruntled Arabs and those who watches too much Jerry Springers. Seriously, you should get to understand Americans and their history better before you make such statements.
Yet in Malaysia politicians point their keris at other races.
This is a horror incident caused by a deranged person. Everyone in the world should join hands and pray for those affected. It is also a reminder to us to appreciate our lives and our neighbours.
How right you are. All the senseless killings in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine is actually the work of a deranged lunatic sitting in Washington.
Its a pity that the Americans got no opportunity to blame the massacre on Al Qaeda or Bin Ladin...
It happened to fast and spontaneously. If the Americans have some prior knowledge about this event , it would have been made into 9/11
Read what the Australian PM said about gun restrictions....
' He who lives by the sword (guns) will die by the sword (guns)...
Jieng Sing is right. They have been struggling with the "gun control" for umpteenth donkey years with very powerful lobbyist opposing it. There are so many guns (various types privately owned) that I guess every single Malaysian (assuming population of 26 million) can get at least two types, if we were to distribute the total number of privately owned guns in US. Not forgetting, history. In the old days cowboys used to "draw guns" to end their differences in a matter of life and dead shooting. This made its way inside Congress probably during Lincoln days, drawing guns. In such a complex society when guns are easily accessible, even to "cuckoos", tragedy like this is bound to happen. Shooting amok just like our Malaysian case, running amok with a parang (which happened years ago).
The students or at least the teachers should've carried guns with them so that they can defend themselves.
It is easy to solve the solution of Americans insisting on their gun rights, just make sure every one wears bullet proof vests
Jien sing, maybe you should go out and see others' reaction or at least read some news or even some research before basing your own judgement and said that the readers don't understand US culture. Even Asian Americans are fearing the potential backlash. If you haven't encountered any bias from the Americans, then you are the lucky one. But keep in mind that US is not as free and open as we all think, not in the sense of gay rights.
One of the story here:
that jien sing....he think he is a smart aleck and knows too much....
Must be MUST graduate
Anon 4/18/2007 09:29:00 PM:
Let me first say that I appreciate your suggestions. But, I wish to clarify myself based on what you've written:
"...should go out and see others' reaction or at least read some news or even some research before basing your own judgement and said that the readers don't understand US culture"
1. Actually I am already here and I live with Americans (mostly whites, and we did raise this issue). They are disgusted and pretty angry with the Hokie shooting(s).
2. Research? Yeah sure, can't say I know everything but I've done more research that just reading:
- Living with African-Americans who grew up in ghettos and had a broken family (things that you never hear in the media, much less from the Star).
- Classes that taught racial discrimination (individual, institutional, and structural forms of discrimination).
- Well, you can learn a lot just by reading Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States", works by W.E.B. DuBois, Frederick Douglass and writings concerning about the USDA discrimination on African-American farmers. They are very elegant writers who nonetheless received little attention out of the US.
- So, I know "that US is not free and as open as we all think". Else, why did so many people got excited when Colin Powell became the Secretary of State? It's simply because African-Americans never had the chance to hold such a high office since the independence. He too was the first African-American Joint Chief of Staffs (possibly a first 4-star African-American army general as well).
"Even Asian Americans are fearing the potential backlash..":
- Frankly speaking, Asians and Arabs to the mind of a racist person are the same, 'they' are 'just orientals'. So, I've lived through potential backlashes due to 9/11 and another university shooting in 2002 (where the shooter was an Asian). This backlash thing is not surprising to me though.
- Seriously, during 9/11 the backlash is not just against the Arabs, itz against anyone who looks like an Arab (Hindustani, Northern Africans etc), but also lots of races that look foreign and clearly non-white.
- FYI, the backlash problem is not the same across the United States. Generally, the West coast of the US is more liberal and open, relative to the East coast. Nonetheless, if a group of hooded white men come running at me and my African-American friend (for example), I don' think I'll hold up my hand and yell "I'm Asian!", I would actually prefer to run away and argue for my innocence later.
- Also, gays don't have rights all across the US, for example, most Deep South States still vehemently deny the right of same-sex marriages (50 states in the US, I am not sure how many states legalized it though). I would actually say gay rights in Thailand are much better than in the US (in general).
"...If you haven't encountered any bias from the Americans, then you are the lucky one.":
- I have nearly been beaten up by white people and yelled upon. And, can't say that I wasnt fearful when it occured.
- Actually, you'll be more 'sensitive' towards subtler means of biases if you have been there (overseas) long enough.
"...The Star link..."
- Actually the Star is slow in updating its World news section. I would prefer Yahoo! News or Google News.
- And yes, I read the thing more or less before you wrote this comment.
Anon 4/18/2007 10:38:00 PM:
Oh yeah, I don't think I am "a smart aleck and knows too much". Matter of fact, I am wrong at times and it's up to you to decide and sorry to make you upset with my comments. But, I do wish to defend myself from being misunderstood (again).
1. "that jien sing....he think he is a smart aleck and knows too much...."
- actually I am dumb and you are free to call me dumb (it's a free world for a name-caller like you).
- also I am a 'he' and therefore a third person singular, so it should be "he thinks" not "think"... (how dare I take such a CHEAP potshot?! how ironic...).
2. "Must be a MUST graduate"
- Very catchy, sounds good actually. Maybe you can try to copyright it (if it havent been done so yet). Who knows MUST would someday pay you to use that catchy phrase? Worth a think.
- Also, I am not an elitist and a Chauvinist. I respect MUST graduates as much as any other graduates (or maybe I misunderstood your statements?). I am not naive enough to imply that graduates from prestigious schools are necessarily the most 'prestigious' in terms of intellect. In fact, people should be judged in terms of their heart, not just their grey matter.
- I definitely do not have a condoscending view against MUST graduates (I am not sure you are not one, judging from your 'catchy' phrase).
In all, you don't have to know a lot about US. I was just directing my previous comment against those who lack empathy towards the American public. It's my bad in making it unclear. But that doesnt make me the Little Red Riding Hood who is clueless between the safety of the village and the dark forest.
Lastly, may the unfortunate rest in the shootings rest in peace. There are rumors of Cho's parents committing suicide, but the last I heard was that they are treated with shock, not for suicide. God Bless and may his parents be treated fairly by all.
jien sing said:
"I have nearly been beaten up by white people and yelled upon. And, can't say that I wasnt fearful when it occured."..
How in the world did you get treated so badly?
Is that a common experience among malaysian students?
No, it happens to some, but not common, mine was kind of an anomaly. I was nearly beaten up in Europe for once (for some reason that guy thought I was stealing). Nearly knocked down by a car in Australia (intimidated, on purpose by rednecks). Got yelled "You Asian F***", and other statements many many times (i would say at least 8-10times). Some girl even danced in front of me, in Portugal (i am not sure that was a macarena).
Haha, but at least I had not been physically attacked, or had a gun pointed a me. Bear in mind, it all happened when I was just walking down the streets or taking the subways.
You seem to be attracting a lot of hostility. Is it the way you dressed? Or you must have gone to some rough neighborhoods. That is why I recommend small college towns rather than cities. But then, you still have rednecks everywhere. Other people have also told me they got yelled at on the streets to "go home" by passengers in passing cars. I have not experienced that yet.
i'm with jien sing on this. why does everyone crib about people not being sensitive to the thousands of people dying in iraq everyday? the majority of the american public wants OUT of the war. isn't that enough indication that they ARE sensitive to the loss of life in iraq? if they were to mourn the loss of deaths in iraq everyday like they did with the virginia tech massacre, then the flag would always hang at half-mast in the us of a no? then everyday would be a sad day no? then everyday they would have virgils and 'healing sessions' no?
think logically people. i hate it when the world portrays the american people as blood-thirsty, just because of the actions of their idiot leader. they're a good people. just ignorant - but they're willing to learn.
ps. this link => http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/4/18/worldupdates/2007-04-18T020902Z_01_NOOTR_RTRJONC_0_-294581-3&sec=worldupdates is a star link. all my asian-american friends here aren't too concern with the 'backlash' that is supposedly making people worried. even i'm not scared. pfft. though i'll admit to virginian asian americans to being a little more cautious.
Anon 4/20/2007 12:56:00 PM
Well, I am pretty lowkey/casual [3/4 pants, a jacket and a cap, selipar if possible]. I think I got it rough because I used to live near a motel (you know lah, orang bukan-bukan go there) and also above a pub (so I hear pecah-ing bottles almost everyday, 'cock' fights then and now). I also usually walk alone as I got a lot of work to do and I live away from campus, so, shit happens. And, it happened to me both in towns and big cities. But what I had was nothing: I heard of a m'sian student getting stabbed in Ukraine, my friend in Moscow being beaten up by neo-nazis, and some guy who got slapped by a drunkard in McD's. In Russia, Hitler's birthday is a stay home day for my friend in Moscow coz it is the period when things get pretty 'hot'. I wouldn't want to overplay these extreme cases, coz I think it might happen too in Malaysia, God knows.
Yeah, I think this whole Americans being immoral and bloodthirsty thingy is over-rated. Americans (the educated, urbanites) are pretty clear about what is going on. For example: lots of people sneer at Fox News (sad cases: Bill O'Reilly, Chris Wallace getting owned by Bill Clinton, Obama shouldnt be president becoz he went to a madrasah and a smoker ... which is all bull).
But, America is HUGE, both geographically and in terms of population. A Comcast cable network has 100 or so channels, so you can imagine people drowning with information even though they have good intentions and in forming their opinions.
In anyways, lets do the math. US has many many good schools and hundreds of thousands (up to the order of few millions) of pretty socially aware and extremely smart university students (not to mention non-students). So, we just can't stereotype Americans to be as ignorant as one that are painted by some very biased anti-american media.
Cho Seung-Hui was picked on during high school. Various reader comments (apparently americans)reveal that the gunman was teased for being Asian.
I am just thinking if American's education system has flaw, much as we have in Malaysia. From what i understand, their education emphasize too much on "Whites" contribution to nation building and ignore "Blacks," "Hispanics" and "Asian." Wouldn't that make them, the "Whites" too proud of themselves and belittle the rest?
Well, of course things change as they grow up. The society is two way after all - you affect the society and the society affects you. When you grow up, you start to see things differently and start to think out of the social box, maybe this is what Jien Sing is trying to say about urbanites. However, we can't deny the sense of hating that exist in the mind of adolescences - although mostly are mental abuse against non-Whites. Even Jien Sing experienced them himself. But i guess he is strong enough not to let the pressure to be built up on him and go crazy like Cho.
Nobody here gives a Damn about the Americans killing hundreds of innocent Iraqis, or the torture by Americans illegaly at Gitmo, no the killing of innocent Palestinians by Israelis.
Yet so much fuss about Virginia Tech! Where is the sense of proportions?
Anon 4/20/2007 08:43:00 PM:
Actually many education systems has the flaw be being "culturally" biased. In US, some argued that the SAT tests are not sufficiently 'cognitive-based' and it too 'knowledge-based', in which different cultures (say, African-Americans vs. Anglo-Americans) may play a role.
It is very complicated. It can be hard to know what is going on because one "does not know what he does not know". I admit, I still have this problem with regards to racial issues, both in Malaysia and overseas.
Cho is mentally ill they say, and I am extremely disturbed when i saw parts of his 'manifesto' in CNN.
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