公主病

公主病
(2012-12-19)
● 尤今
闲云舒卷

他和她,在念大学时邂逅于话剧团而共浴爱河,相恋四年,论及婚嫁时,情海生波,男的坚决不肯走回头路。两个月后,女的联系上《爱情保卫战》的节目导播,求助。

《爱情保卫战》是天津卫视推出的一个情感心理节目,凡是在爱情上走入死胡同的情侣,都可一起上节目,畅述内心的矛盾与痛苦,通过剖白与争辩,进行深入的沟通,再由特邀的心理专家与情感顾问帮助情侣揪出“爱情的病菌”,分析、指正、辅导。

节目播出以来,备受好评,它不但帮助了无数濒临决裂的情侣破镜重圆,也让许多社会病态浮出台面。

不久前播映的这期《爱情保卫战──奇葩女》,便让我感触良深。
女的在节目里梨花带雨地问:“我犯了什么错,你竟要狠心离开我?”男的一点也不含糊,滔滔不绝地说出了“情变”的始末。

初识时,他觉得她善良活泼,然而,短短一年后,他便堕入了不快乐的深渊里。他事事迁就她,约会迟到一两个小时,他都毫无怨言,但是,他只要迟到一分钟,便 有无数的惩罚等着他承受。最叫他吃不消的是,自从恋爱以后,她便定下了不计其数的纪念日,比如说,每个月的14日都是庆祝日,包括日记情人节、传统情人 节、白色情人节、黑色情人节、玫瑰情人节、亲亲情人节、踏青情人节、银色情人节、照片情人节、葡萄酒情人节、电影情人节、拥抱情人节;此外,每个月的27 日定为恋爱纪念日、每个月的15日定为接吻纪念日。每个情人节和纪念日都得以不同的方式庆祝、送礼。她还列了许多规矩,比方说,她发短信,他必须秒回,只 要耽搁一秒,她便大发雷霆。她睡不着,他必须彻夜与她互通短信……林林总总,说之不尽。

最初,他觉得浪漫好玩,时间一久,便转为疲劳厌烦,但是,他希望她会随时间而成熟而改变,因此一再忍让。

让人慨叹的是,在男的剖白了内心的沉重后,女的不但全无觉悟之意,还振振有词地反驳:“男的宠女的,是天经地义的啊,我妈认为我就应该这样享受我的青春!”

两个月前,发生了一件事,他终于决定分手。

那天,他送她到火车站出差,两人坐在计程车上时,他接到父亲十万火急拨来的电话,说他母亲摔断了腿,要他立刻回家;然而,她却死活不肯让他下车。三天后, 她出差回来,他要她去向母亲道歉,可她冲到医院,劈面便对他母亲说:“你又不是死了,为什么要硬叫你儿子回家!”那一刻,他觉得自己的心裂了。

分手后的感觉,竟是如释重负。

专家一针见血地指出,女的患上的是“公主病”:自私、自恋、自我中心。公主病,首先是由父母惯出来的;而男友不辨是非的迁就与依顺,却是使病况加深加剧的 原因。顾问语重心长地劝她:“不要把他爱你当成伤害他的理由,更不要把他对你的宠当成欺负人的借口。女人可以任性,但不能肆意妄为;女人可以撒娇,但不能 骄横跋扈。”

依我看,这其实并不是现实生活里单一的个案,在目前经济腾飞的中国,被溺爱的独生“公主”日益增多,这些“天之娇女”共同的病征是情商特低。在爱情上如此,在处理工作与亲属的人际关系也是如此。长此以往,必成社会隐忧。

铲除公主病,必须从家庭教育做起。

Video available here

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收藏:不好意思,你真的想当明星?

Excuse me, do u really wanna be a star?
(2012-07-31
● Xu Huanliang
Floating on water

21st century is the time of star-searching television.

In 2001, England started Pop Idol. The American Idol had a cool start in 2002.Hunan TV started the ball rolling in the Mandarin speaking world through its SUPER programme in 2004. The poisonous tongues of Taiwan in 2006, the alumnus of the Singapore Superstar programme started in 2005 had been building on their contest experience and participated in various competitions and further trainings in the Superstars school.

Star Search programmes had initiated a whole generation of youngsters with the “Sing if you want to” attitude. Youngsters chasing the stardom had been packaged into having the courage to realize their dreams. A decade of Star searching had produced a pack of newbies wanting to usurp the thrones of Heavenly Kings and Queens in the industry.

The main concerns of the star search newbies are mainly how to activate enough votes, how to increase their popularity and achieve stardom overnight.

Once, during an overseas star search, a very good-looking female participant came.

“Why did you participate?”

“My friends said I sing very well and I can be a star.”

“How do you think you sing personally?”

“I think I do quite ok. I like to sing very well and hope that you will give me a chance to groom me. ”

“Have you go through any professional singing training?”

“No, I don’t have money.” She was dressed in high-end products, maybe she had a sponsor. Obviously, the sponsor doesn’t think it is necessary to lay a strong foundation.

“Taken any dancing lessons?”

“No, I don’t have the time. School work had been busy. ”

“Have you joined any singing or dancing competitions or performances in school?”

“No, I am an introvert. But if you give me a chance, I will work hard. ”

I do not understand such this logic.

Imagine how can someone who had never learnt to write, spelling, sentence structure and comprehension, have the abilities to author a touching piece of work that moved masses? Only because he has dreams, plans, drive and a willing boss who is willing to give chances.

If our values are twisted, we will always lose to others at the starting point, watching other Asians such as the Koreans moving forward in leaps and bounds, producing excellent results while we are running on the spot, complaining and reasoning that with the large Chinese population, we have a larger market than the Americans, who cares about the Koreans!

That day, I knew a Chinese artiste who grew up in the North America.

“Reminicising about my younger days, I fall in love with performing. That’s why I spent a lot of time learning singing, dancing and acting. Practicing and practicing before slowly realizing that I had the ability to influence audiences. That’s how I became an artiste.

“However, many Asian youths dreamt of becoming a star. Yet, when it comes to putting in the efforts, they do not seem to be as keen. What they are concerned with is: are there guarantees of signing on with a big company? How much money is the company willing to invest on them?

“If they become popular by chance, they will only put in some last minute efforts to learn something for presentation in variety shows.

Next time, any potential participants who do not want to “waste” their time, please ask themselves,

“Excuse me, do u really wanna be a star?”

Translated by passingsights.

Thoughts: Yes, I really wanna be a… scriptwriter, a Chinese Drama scriptwriter. I still persist in this. For this dream, I returned to school, read books on various topics, repeatedly watched shows of high ratings to analyze their productions methodologies and angles, thinking about incidents taking place daily to work them into scenes and episodes.

In a sunset industry, hiring opportunities are limited. But I won’t give up. I really do not want to give up. Therefore, my option is to persist on. I always visit websites for job opportunities, sometimes a few times each day. Very silly but up till now, I cannot leave it.

Some media people told me that he had spent his whole life trying to get out of the media industry. The reasons being media industry is not as glamorous. In the landscape of the rising new media, television is being seen as the inefficient sunset machinery in need of large investments in manpower, resources and finances but limited in investment returns.

I did not want to be a Chinese drama scriptwriter because I thought this industry seemed to be glamorous. I wanted to be a Chinese Drama scriptwriter because I missed the exciting feeling to being totally into the latest work that one is currently working on, the adrenaline of researching on a new idea that is deemed to be viable. This is very mesmerizing. For this, I am willing to work hard and persist on, finding chances. I believe that with hard work and determination, Iwill succeed one day.

不好意思,你真的想当明星?
(2012-07-31
许环良
水上飘

21世纪,是电视选秀节目的世纪。

英国的Pop Idol在2001年掀开序幕,美国的American Idol2002年首播很酷,湖南卫视2004年在华人世界“超级”胜出,台湾2006年毒舌够毒,新加坡经过了2005年“绝对superstar”洗 礼后的各种super秀,今年终于升级到“明星学院”,把选手关起来培训照顾。

选秀节目燃烧了一代“想唱就唱”的冲动,年轻人追逐明星之路被包装成“勇敢追求梦”,晃眼十年选秀风,一堆选秀新人起哄,貌似要挑战歌坛天王天后宫。

选手们最关心的是,如何发动投票,如何暴增人气,如何一夜成名。

有一次海选,来了一位长得很正的女生。

“你为什么来参赛?”

“我朋友都说我唱歌很好,可以当明星。”

“你自己觉得你唱得怎样?”

“还可以吧!我很喜欢唱歌,希望你可以给个机会,捧红我。”

“你受过正规的歌唱训练吗?”

“没有,我没有钱。”她一身名牌,可能是有金主。显然,金主并不主张要打好基础。

“学过舞蹈吗?”

“没有,没有时间,学校功课很忙。”

“学校里有参加过歌唱比赛或舞台表演吗?”

“没有,我比较内向。可是如果你给机会我,我会努力的。”

我搞不懂,搞不懂这样的逻辑。

想象一个从来没有认真学过认字、听写、造句、作文的人,究竟有无可能,突然一天变成大作家令人羡慕入神?只凭着他有理想、有想法、有热忱,只要老板肯给机会入门,一定会红得很。

如果价值观扭曲了视线,我们就永远输在起跑点,只能眼睁睁的看着同样是黄皮肤的韩国人的音乐,经过了十多年的飞跃,逼近了世界十大音乐市场的大门口对决,而我们竟还在意淫地抱怨,反正中国人最多,肯定比美国市场还大,韩国人算什么!

那天,认识了一位在北美养成的华裔艺人。

“回想自己小时候,是先喜欢表演艺术,所以花很多的时间去学唱歌、学跳舞、学戏剧,练习练习再练习,慢慢的长大以后,发觉自己有了感染观众的能力,才变成一个艺人。

“可是,好多亚洲的年轻人,成天发明星梦,对练习的付出却没热忱也不积极,他们在乎的是,有没有保证签约大公司?公司要投多少钱在他们身上?

“不小心红了,上综艺节目为了秀才艺,才来上课恶补应急。”

下次哪位不想“浪费”时间的人,最好问一下自己:

Excuse me, do u really wanna be a star?

收藏感言:Yes, I really wanna be a… scriptwriter, a Chinese Drama scriptwriter. 是的,我的梦想是要当编剧。我仍然坚持着。为了这梦想,我重返校园、读各式各样不同领域的书籍、重复看了不同地区高收视率的连续剧好研究它们的幕后工程、日常生活中也无时无刻想着如何把生活中的小趣事改编成为戏剧情节、如痴如醉。

夕阳工业,聘请新人的机会渺茫,但我不愿意放弃。我真的不愿意放弃,所以我只能坚持。总是到相关公司网页的聘请栏目找是否有聘请启示,一天可以上好几次。很傻,但是自目前为止,我放不下。

有圈内人对我说他花了毕生的精力就为了离开媒体业。不为什么,就因为媒体不是外界所见的那么风光,在新媒体的崛起,电视戏剧已是动用大量人力、物力与资金,但回报却不多的夕阳工业。

我想当编剧并不是因为这行业看起来风光。我想当编剧是因为我很想念那种创作时候的全心全意投入、想到可进一步探讨的新点子时的那种兴奋。这些,是会让人着迷的。为此,我愿意继续努力、加油,找机会。我深信,只要努力、坚持,总有一天会成功的。

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收藏:自作孽

自作孽

(2012-03-08)

爱尔兰在房地产泡沫化后自食恶果。

城中眼

张曦娜

这两个国家在不长的时间里上演的经济兴衰闹剧,被形容是“人类金融史上史无前例”的疯狂怪事,叫我读得目瞪舌结,疑幻疑真。

席卷全球的美国金融风暴之后,日子仿佛未曾真正风平浪静过,动不动以数千亿,甚至数兆美元为单位的欧债危机宛如幽灵一般,阴魂不散,一下子说已经纾困,一下子又说紧张危急,时不时在你我身边晃过来又晃过去。

对于大多数和我一样的财经外行人而言,什么是“欧债”都没能完全搞清楚,一知半解下,心情却不时受那天文数字般的“欧洲主权债务”影响。时不时被提醒着:明天不会更好,因为未来充满“不确定性”。活在当下,惶恐不安仿佛已成常态。

谁说不是呢?算一算,所谓的欧债危机已进入了第四个年头。究竟这来自欧洲的庞大债务是怎么一回事?那几个曾经风光过的欧洲国家为何突然都变成穷光蛋?这背后掺杂着的是什么?

近日常和朋友分享的是一本看似游记,却是讲述欧债风暴的专著《自食恶果》。此书是我看过的较有趣好看的财经书,即便财经门外汉如我也可以读得津津有味。

不同于一般财经书,作者麦克·路易士 (Michael Lewis)的叙述手法虽纪实却诙谐,书中没有数据、图表,轻松的文字,幽默的行文,牵引着读者一边看一边发出微笑、苦笑。

路易士曾担任所罗门兄弟债券交易员,写过多本畅销书。他在书中扮演旅人的角色,游走于五个欧债关键国之间,说的却是读来荒诞不经的金融故事。路易士在旅 程中采访当地官员、金融界人士、小市民等各路人马,从中采集资料,再以其金融专业的视角看个别国家的债务危机。深入浅出说了这一轮债务大风暴的来龙去脉。

路易士笔下的希腊人靠着借贷来的钱财过着轻松懒散的日子。为了加入欧元区,以便取得低息贷款,希腊政府甚至在账目上大做手脚,以达到加入欧元区的标准。过去偶尔听说企业公司做假账,读了此书真是大开眼界,原来连政府也会做假账。

我对冰岛与爱尔兰楼起楼塌的故事特别感兴趣,而这两个国家在不长的时间里上演的经济兴衰闹剧,被形容是“人类金融史上史无前例”的疯狂怪事,叫我读得目瞪舌结,疑幻疑真。

以渔业起家的冰岛,近年来却视出海打鱼为苦差,由于看到华尔街生财有道,也对金融业充满憧憬。于是冰岛人纷纷弃“渔”就“金”,并认为自己有“天生优 势”,以“纵横全球的金融野心”向全球金融业界横冲直撞。有好几年,冰岛人“都在从事后来造成大祸的投机活动”。金融业给冰岛带来短暂的财富后,那些被形 容为“银行体系在人类史上最快速的扩张”的冰岛银行,终究将冰岛推向破产。当冰岛三大银行轰然倒闭时,冰岛老老少少每人身上背负了33万美元的亏损。

路易士告诉我们,冰岛的银行也借钱给冰岛人炒股和炒房地产。走一趟冰岛之后,他发现冰岛人的账户上有“奇奇怪怪的外汇投机”,这些投机让他们蒙受数百亿美元的损失。

爱尔兰从发迹到破落的过程也真够传奇。这个曾经被称为“欧洲最穷国家”的地方,自90年代起经济发展突飞猛进。有人形容,在“不足一代人”的十几年间,爱尔兰就风光无比的走向“欧洲最成功的国家”。

可爱尔兰的“经济奇迹”并非来自脚踏实地,而是来自不断膨胀的房地产泡沫。当爱尔兰房地产泡沫化,房价从高点暴跌后,那些放贷的银行都遭受惨不忍睹的亏损。爱尔兰政府为了拯救银行,接受了欧盟等组织的庞大欧元纾困,这意味着银行业债务已悄悄转移到爱尔兰人肩上。

我一边读,一边思索着书中某些段落:“爱尔兰的房地产热潮像是一个恶性循环的谎言,因为它已经涨了很久,所以大家都不怀疑。也因为大家都不怀疑,所以会 继续涨上去。爱尔兰房价一旦摆脱租金行情的节制之后,可就海阔天空任翱翔。”“爱尔兰的暴发户可能真的创造了一个庞氏骗局,但却是个让自己也受骗的老鼠 会……”

读着《自食恶果》,读出的是个畸形的时代,尤其畸形的是,我们大多数人都不甚了了的金融体系。我为爱尔兰人感到悲哀,“爱尔兰 人答应承担这些债务,把这当做爱尔兰人的义务。两年来,他们都在这个难以承受的重担之下努力劳动……”我还感到悲哀的是,原来一旦出现发财的机会,哪怕是 假象,人们还是绝不反顾,一头就栽了进去。这不就是老祖宗所说:人为财死……

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收藏:无稽之谈

无稽之谈

(2012-03-09)

成龙(左)身边常有美女,很多故事由此而起。

● 韩山元

大凡传言的原始版本都是平淡无味,传话的人就加盐加酱,传到最后,苍蝇就变成了大象。

开门见山

大家都知道“无稽之谈”的意思,但与“无稽之谈”意思相近的“耳食之谈”就很少人讲。耳食之谈的意思是用耳朵当嘴巴吃东西,比喻没有经过思考轻信传闻的话。

最多耳食之谈的领域毫无疑问是娱乐圈,耳食之谈在娱乐圈有另一个名词叫“八卦新闻”,之所以有那么多“八卦新闻”,首先是人类普遍有一种偷窥心理,尤其 爱偷看名人(特别是娱乐圈的明星)私底下在干什么。其次是跟这个圈子特殊的生态有很大关系,大大小小的影视明星歌星,谁不希望自己名声远播?名字不亮的希 望快快亮起来,已经很亮的希望更亮,像十五的月亮还不够,最好是比太阳更光。

另一方面,音像公司、电影机构都希望自己旗下的明星大红特红,所制作发行的音像产品能大卖特卖,所以就要千方百计,搞各种促销花招来吸引公众的眼球。

正常的事情吸引力不够大,不正常的事情最好,因为有轰动效应,如果没有这种事情,那就动脑筋编造。

好多年前,中国电影明星艺术团来新加坡访问,演技优异的潘虹也来了,在记者会上,有记者问她:“潘小姐,听说你跟丈夫离婚了,有没有这回事?”潘虹当时冷冷地说:“这个问题跟我演戏没什么关系。”后来我们知道那是传言。

另一回,有记者问一名台湾歌星:“××小姐,你结婚了吗?”她嗲声嗲气地回答:“哎哟,这个问题怪难为情的,当然还没有啦,你要不要介绍一个?”一名记 者马上说:“你的丈夫不是×××吗?”这位娇滴滴的小姐马上说:“我是说今年还没有结婚耶。”引爆现场一片笑声。其实,对那名台湾明星的话不可认真,关于 她还有很多传言绯闻,有些只能当耳食之谈。但是,不可否认的,正是由于很多这种耳食之谈,这些明星才不会从人们的视线中消失。

中国是个 “盛产”传言的大国,有些传言并非空穴来风,有些则完全是耳食之谈。由于社会各个领域,尤其是政治领域的透明度不足,小道消息就大行其道。我们不时听到 “盛传”某某党政领导人的儿子利用老子的权势地位经商谋取暴利,某某官二代的子女大做无本生意赚大钱。前些时候还盛传某某高官的亲属与走私大王赖昌星有说 不清的关系。最近则有关于重庆市委书记薄熙来的种种传言,说他受王立军事件的牵连,已经辞职下台。不久前还有盛传江泽民逝世。很多传言是“事出有因,查无 实据”。

这种编造故事的风气也曾在写作圈子出现,曾经有个小有名气的中国作家写《李光耀传》,这名作家也真的是个“坐家”,他坐在家里写《李光耀传》之前没来过新 加坡,更没见过李光耀,然而他的胆子很大,想象力更是超凡,居然写李光耀小时候,母亲教他唱客家山歌。很多上了年纪的新加坡人都知道,李光耀生长在一个讲 英语和马来语的家庭,父母都不跟他讲客家话,更别说教他唱客家山歌了。这只是其中一个故事,还有好多由这名“坐家”编造的故事,让人读来笑掉牙。

大凡传言的原始版本都是平淡无味,传话的人就加盐加酱,传到最后,苍蝇就变成了大象。有些传言是有点根据的,问题在于传言者夸大其词,与事实距离越来越远。传言的传播者有一种心理:我知道的事情你不知道,你看我的消息多么灵通,这就有一种优越感和满足感。

有些传言被查明是无稽之谈,当然不可信,然而,这在一定程度上反映了民间的一种情绪,以及对某某明星的看法,这种情绪的存在却是真实的。

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Exchanges with Papa ~ 爸爸交流

The Uncle had just returned.
Me: Papa, what do you want for dinner tonight?
Papa: Anything.
Me: I cook some mee sua with fish slices, ok?
Papa: Ok.Me: Then after you finish eating, you pretend that it is very nice, ok?
Papa: Ok!

Hehehehe…
大叔刚回来。
我:爸,你晚餐想吃什么?
大叔:随便啦。
我:那我随便煮鱼片面线,你随便吃面线,然后你就随便说“很好吃”噢?!
大叔:好!

嘻嘻嘻嘻。。。

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“High wishes, low will” ~ 愿望很大意愿很小

愿望很大意愿很小

(2012-02-05)

● 吴淡如

痛快人生

这种人很难成功:愿望很大,意愿很小。不肯费力证明自己的能力,他们的梦想,一辈子只能在梦中想一想了。

餐厅应征厨房好手,来了一名女士。她拿出厨师执照,说自己很有热忱,小时候的愿望是成为名厨。说自己孩子大了,想来一展所长。她大约40岁了,这种年纪的女人,稳定度应该很高,应该很珍惜就业机会吧。第一天她在厨房工作还蛮卖力的。但厨房的内部主管说,她的动作有点慢,切红萝卜的速度像刻花一样。

但很快的,主管就发现她说的话比做的事多,妨碍别人的速度,有点伤脑筋。第二天,她就喊累,说回家累得睡不着,因为站太久了。

“我能不能不要周六周日上班?我们家周六日是家庭日。还有,我不想太晚回家。”她说。可是,餐饮业的周六和周日是战国时代,其他日子并不需要人手。厨房 主管答应了她。“那你周一到周五来好了。”第三天她就没来了。她留话:如果只是周一到周五中午,午餐时间每天只做三四个小时,工钱不多,还要搭车来,太辛 苦了。

还有个年轻人,在履历表上,填写着希望能够成为年薪百万的店长。“吃苦耐劳是我们农村子弟的特性,我很耐操。”他并不曾当过店长,很难马上用他当店长。结果他来了3天,第4天人间蒸发,店长打电话去问他理由,他说:“客人太多,太累了。”真是让人绝倒。如果客人不多,如何塑造百万年薪的店长。

这是某餐厅老板告诉我的啼笑皆非的故事。“现在有好多人相当懂得自我推销,赢得第一眼的好印象。但是说的是一回事,做的是另一回事,非常不耐用。”

这种人很难成功:愿望很大,意愿很小。不肯费力证明自己的能力,他们的梦想,一辈子只能在梦中想一想了。

(传自台北)

收藏感言:这篇文章说到我内心深处的心思。我正在努力地追求作自己很想做的事业。我愿望很大,所以拼命检讨自己的意愿。我的意愿,是大还是小呢?回到读书,在经济上本来算计是勉强足够,只要自己懂得在理财上懂得自律。

可天总是爱考一考人的耐力。入学后不久,金融风暴,我收入锐减,至今未恢复,却仍然任性地不愿意放弃学业,放弃自己的梦想。这些日子,发出去的履历表如沉大海。

我清楚地知道自己的愿望很大,可我的意愿,够吗?该如何帮助自己实现愿望呢?

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Politicians take a pay cut—poor things

Singapore politics

Falling on their wallets

Politicians take a pay cut—poor things

Jan 7th 2012 | SINGAPORE |

Clean hand

IT IS a proud boast of Singapore that this very small but immensely wealthy city-state is the least corrupt and best place to do business in the world. And a chief reason for that, at least according to the politicians, is that they themselves are by some way the highest-paid elected officials in the world. Why would a minister bother with corruption, so the argument goes, when he can take home S$1.6m ($1.3m) a year for just keeping on the straight and narrow?

Maybe. But most Singaporeans feel that their representatives have stretched that argument too far. Anger boiled over during last year’s general election, with many opposition candidates questioning whether it was really necessary for Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister, to trouser up to S$3.4m a year (compared with Barack Obama’s $400,000), especially at a time when many Singaporeans were struggling with rising prices. Surely Mr Lee did not need that much to keep him honest? The salary issue helped to push the ruling party’s share of the vote down to its lowest-ever level.

After this unprecedented public reversal, bordering on humiliation, the government vowed to respond. Now it has. Mr Lee has promised to accept in full the recommendations of an independent review committee on salaries that he himself set up. The committee, which reported on January 4th, recommends that the prime minister take a pay cut of 36%, bringing his salary down to a paltry S$2.2m, and that ministers take slightly bigger cuts. The salary for the largely honorific president is to be more than halved. And from now on all ministers will lose their special pension schemes.

It is a victory for democracy, Singapore-style. The knack of responding to voters’ complaints while sticking to its basic operating principles is what has kept the People’s Action Party in power ever since independence in 1962. After all, despite appeasing the voters, Singapore’s politicians remain the best-paid in the world: a minister will still get S$1.1m a year. No one feels too sorry for these sea-green incorruptibles—just as no one suggests that they will be any less virtuous for their pay cuts.

http://www.economist.com/node/21542479

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Season of goodwill

e-Central
Sunday January 9, 2011
Season of goodwill
MIND MATTER
By RAJA ZARITH IDRIS

If Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Isa (Jesus), a prophet respected and revered in Islam, is it so wrong to wish a blessed day for those who celebrate it?

DURING the days before Christmas last year, I wished my friends who were celebrating it “Merry Christmas” in much the same way they would wish me “Selamat Hari Raya” or “Happy Eid”.

I find it rather sad that such a simple greeting – one which I grew up with and which I have never regarded as something that would compromise or de-value my own faith – is now regarded as something so religiously incorrect for us Malaysian Muslims.

When I was at boarding school in England, I had to go to church every Sunday because it was part of the rules. My father advised me to consider it as part of my “education” and he had no doubt that the experience would strengthen rather than weaken my own faith.

I was able to see the similarities and differences between Christianity and Islam. I learned more than the average Malaysian Muslim would about Christianity. I learnt that just as we Muslims categorise ourselves according to the four different schools of thoughts of the four Imams (Imam Malik, Imam Al Shafi, Imam Abu Hanifa and Imam Ahmad Abn Hambal) and are either Sunnis or Shias, so Christians too are divided into different sects or churches.

Going to church did not make me less of a Muslim when I was a young girl, and neither does saying “Merry Christmas” make me less of a Muslim now. My faith has not been shaken just because I wished some friends a time of joy with their families. Neither will I suddenly suffer from amnesia and forget what my religion is.

What I do not wish to forget, however, is that there are good, kind people who are not of the same faith as me.

As Harun Yahya, the Turkish writer (he was selected last year as one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan) noted: “Islam is a religion of peace, love and tolerance.

Today, however, some circles have been presenting a false image of Islam, as if there were conflict between Islam and the adherents of the two other monotheistic religions. Yet Islam’s view of Jews and Christians, who are named ‘the People of the Book’ in the Quran, is very friendly and tolerant.

“This attitude towards the People of the Book developed during the years of the birth of Islam. At that time, Muslims were a minority, struggling to protect their faith and suffering oppression and torture from the pagans of the city of Mecca. Due to this persecution, some Muslims decided to flee Mecca and shelter in a safe country with a just ruler. The Prophet Muhammad told them to take refuge with King Negus, the Christian king of Ethiopia. The Muslims who followed this advice found a very fair administration that embraced them with love and respect when they went to Ethiopia. King Negus refused the demands of the pagan messengers who asked him to surrender the Muslims to them, and announced that Muslims could live freely in his country.

“Such attitudes of Christian people that are based on the concepts of compassion, mercy, modesty and justice, constitute a fact that God has pointed out in the Quran.”

I do not wish to be a self-centred Muslim who expects friends of other faiths to wish me Selamat Hari Raya or, for those who are not Malaysians and therefore do not know about Hari Raya, a Happy Eid and yet do not return their goodwill when it is Christmas, Chinese New Year, Deepavali or Vesak Day.

Every year, friends who are Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs or those without any faith come to our home to celebrate Hari Raya with us. They do so with sincerity and as a mark of respect for one of the most important days in the Muslim calendar. Why should we not reciprocate their kindness, show them the same mark of respect for their religion and wish them the same joy on their holy days of celebration?

An Islamic scholar and lecturer also reminded me that as Muslims we must remember the importance of both the five Pillars of Islam and in the six Pillars of Iman (Faith), which are:

> Belief in Allah;

> Belief in the angels;

> Belief in the revealed Books (which include the Bible, the Torah and the Holy Quran);

> Belief in the Prophets (May Peace be Upon Them);

> Belief in the Resurrection and the events of Kiamah, the Day of Judgement; and

> Belief in the predestination (Qada’ and Qadar) by Allah in all things.

The prophets include not just Muhammad (May Peace Be Upon Him) as the last prophet and as the Messenger of Islam, but also in the 24 earlier ones who are mentioned in both the Bible and the Quran. Four of them are Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Daud (David), and Isa (Jesus).

So, if Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Isa (Jesus), a prophet respected and revered in Islam, is it so wrong to wish a blessed day for those who celebrate it?

We are now in the second decade of the 21st century. Surely, we should, now more than ever, be far more enlightened at a time when information of any sort and of all kinds are so readily available to us.

What is most important is that we regard one another as fellow citizens and treat each other with respect, regardless of our race or religion.

> The writer is Royal Fellow, School of Language Studies and Linguistics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), and holds a BA (Honours) degree in Chinese Studies, University of Oxford.

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犬子的微笑

犬子的微笑
(2011-02-07)

● 六六(作者为作家、《蜗居》编剧,来自中国安徽,1999年来新)

四合院

以蔡美儿家世的荣耀(她父亲毕业于麻省理工,她毕业 于哈佛法学院)和她的骄傲,她一定不能容忍女儿进入除茱莉亚音乐学院以外的学校。但我不晓得蔡美儿是否知道,茱莉亚音乐学院的练琴房,窗户是封闭的,原因 是尽量减低该校学生高自杀率……

最近有位华裔母亲热门登上华尔街日报,她的“中国式妈妈”教育法引起世界范围内对教育的探讨,她还出了 一本书,名字叫做《虎妈的战歌》。我在网络上搜索了一下,主旨是说:严格到几近苛刻的教育,是保证孩子成功的一半。孩子在小时候是不懂得选择的,一切行为 应由家长为其负责。

蔡美儿有十大家规,包括:1、不准夜不归宿;2、不准参加学校的小组娱乐活动;3、不准参加校园演出;4、不准抱怨 没有参加校园演出;5、不准看电视或玩电子游戏;6、不准擅自选择课外活动;7、不准有科目低于A;8、除了体育与戏剧外,其他科目不准拿不到第一;9、 不准练习钢琴及小提琴以外的乐器;10、不准不练习钢琴及小提琴。

蔡美儿的大女儿是学钢琴的,今年18岁,到了进大学的年纪。以蔡美儿 家世的荣耀(她父亲毕业于麻省理工,她毕业于哈佛法学院)和她的骄傲,她一定不能容忍女儿进入除茱莉亚音乐学院(The Juilliard School)以外的学校。但我不晓得蔡美儿是否知道,茱莉亚音乐学院的练琴房,窗户是封闭的,原因是尽量减低该校学生高自杀率。

我的 这个信息来源于我的一个韩国学生家长。她当年以韩国小提琴大赛第一名的卓越成绩,被国家奖学金送到茱莉亚音乐学院深造。在此之前,她前景一片美好,每个人 都恭贺她是“未来的柏林爱乐乐团或维也纳爱乐乐团的首席小提琴师”。

等她进了茱莉亚音乐学院以后,才发现自己什么都不是。因为能够进入 这所学校的学生,不仅仅是优秀,简直是疯狂。当她以每天15小时练琴的残酷折磨自己的时候,发现还有人每天练18小时;更悲伤的是,她还发现有人不需要练 琴,就能在看一眼琴谱以后,默诵着拉出来。

她本科毕业以后,都拿不到一个面试机会,接着上硕士,再接着上博士。在博士毕业后,她结婚生 子了,从此再未拿过小提琴。她作为音乐教育博士,甚至不愿意教自己的孩子拉琴,原因是忍受不了音乐的噪音。

什么叫成功?什么叫卓越?郎 朗、李云迪这样的,算优秀的音乐家吗?我敢打赌在未来的音乐史上,他们的名字永远不会超过莫扎特、贝多芬或者李斯特。

这位母亲,你对功成名就的定义是什么?要怎样苛刻地训练孩子,才能让她们为了不辱家门而活着?

家长和老师的责任是什么?这是我一直在思考的 问题。我们是教给孩子们现有知识,还是教他们探求知识的方法,保持他们学习的热情,让他们自己去探索未知世界?我相信,牛顿、达尔文、莎士比亚、达芬奇能 有如此的成就,肯定不是为了满足母亲的虚荣心而获得的。而我更相信,这个世界上,能够成为领袖并篆刻进历史簿的人,占不到人类总数的百分之零点一。绝大多 数人,不过是平凡人。

做一个平凡人,是一件很丢脸的事吗?

如果他身心健康,性格开朗,禀性善良,有健康的爱好,有妻 儿老小,我觉得,这就是成功的人生了。

最近李资政的一句话,深得我心。他说,孙子若非从政料子,徒丢李家脸。这句话是典型的华族家长表 达爱意的方法,言下之意是:孩子,你喜欢什么,你就去做吧,不必背负家族的厚望。你的人生,你做主。

我大大方方承认:我对孩子的要求很 低。我从不要求他背负我的期望,完成我未尽的事业。因为我的理想,我自己已经实现了。我的人生,每一天都是我选择的。在不经意间,因为喜欢,我坚持着,坚 持得够久,我也优秀了。我给孩子的人生经验,就只有这个了。

我肯定不是虎妈,与她一路的凯歌相比,我更愿意看见犬子的微笑。

人生而有追求快乐的权利。我作为母亲,把上天给我的权利,转交给我的小孩。

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Auntie’s style ~ 安娣风格

When factory produced cakes are going at two for the price of one, the Auntie would buy two and pass one to the neighbour.

This is the beauty of staying at the same place for decades and forming relationships with neighbours.

当蛋糕搞买一送一的促销时,大婶就会买两个,然后把其中一个拿给邻居。

这就是不搬家,几十年来住在同一个地方的好处。

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