A New Brand of Religious Affliation

ISIS claims blood 18-1-16

Ok, so again.. the choice of articles on page A4 of The Straits Times made me think about the desperate emphasis of (positive – much needed.. if you saw the TIME magazine cover:see below…) propaganda again…

On top, the biggest article headlines: “DNA test shows ‘fifth militant’ a bystander in Jakarta attack”, below this article the latest Terror news is juxataposed by: “Man killed in gunfight may be Indonesia’s most wanted terrorist” – so maybe there is hope after all. Finally the last article at the bottom of the page emphasises how more than 400 Sunni Muslims, quote“most of them women, children and elderly people..unquote had been killed in the assault on Deir Ezzor(described as a Massacre)…”.

Is my perspective is certainly warped to think that reporting more than 400 unnecessary deaths is just to make the readers less likely to believe that Islam is the root of all terror and all evil, might as well have a scapegoat right? But then again, 7 dead in JKT including the 4 or 5 attackers should be slightly less painful right(?), since both assaults were carried out in with equally malevolent motivations??

Regarding ‘ISIS claiming credit for blood spilled in its name: Analysts’, which outlines its argument that disillusioned and alienated militants around the world have carried out attacks and claimed affiliation with ISIS due to what the author calls “brand recognition”. The unnamed author (writing from Paris, I see..) claims that although ISIS had vowed to ‘take its fight globally’ it had been too preoccupied with maintaining its caliphate in Syria and Iraq, “apparently”, until the recent spate of global attacks, including JKT, occurred. In the author’s and several analysts’ opinions, it is not really ISIS militants managed by ISIS who have carried out these attacks, but  disillusioned militant who have been fighting with different organisations that have not borne fruit that have only INSPIRED these militants.

If this is to in any way reduce our fear of ISIS building its influence globally, I think the argument is fundamentally flawed. ISIS is, as the Analyst from Woodrow Wilson Centre says, ‘a very dynamic cause’. The very fact that there is brand recognition of the ISIS name, its cause and its distinctive black flag shows how strong ISIS is across the world, even across physical boundaries.. And all this Despite whatever the state of its military affairs in its defence of its caliphate might be. (Got a bit tired of keeping up.. yes it’s that same syndrome I explained a few paragraphs up there.. too far away to think about 400 lives, but 7 killed will wreck u..)

In fact, I would compare the symbolic level that ISIS has reached to that of a cause or religion. If it were Taoism (just e.g.), I may be so fired up about the beliefs that I follow all the actions and instructions that the other Taoist followers that I know also follow. These followers, they have tie ups of course, with their leader – who has tie ups with the main leader in my country – and that guy knows the big boss.

If someone were to question me about my Taoist beliefs, I would get really passionate, for I have essentially indoctrinated myself through the Taoist literature, media, and social or  other types of exposure to immerse myself into. This symbolism is what I feel is a great ‘dynamic cause’ for belief, for faith and for what I must dedicate the energy in my life to.

SO what is the difference even if ISIS didn’t manage or have the means to manage those global attacks? The fact that more and more claims of ISIS attacks are occurring shows that its cause and its symbolism is growing, its power to inspire is growing more and more.

The ISIS Brand of Religious Affiliation has flourished along with some free advertising assistance from the media, social media, internet, hate of Islam, retaliation, etc… oh what horrible things the media can do..

[save the good ole’ Straits Times :D]

Anyway, as promised, here’s a man I really ____ … :p

This cover makes me feel the same Utter, Stupid, Shock I felt when I was in hospital for a month after finally emerging from severe psychosis that I had had for a year (I did not know what was going on in the world); and I saw that American troops had withdrawn from Afghanistan.


Mute Moderates Caught In a Polar, Global Storm

First off, I just want to give a disclaimer, that my views are just my personal opinion, and I do not represent Christians or Singaporeans, or Asians, or Singaporean-Chinese for that matter. I do not intend to offend anyone in this post but just to express my interest and in some way, my anxiety toward what I see as the polarisation and increasing extremism from many parts of society today. I know it’s really lame, when Christians who meet a homosexual tell them, “It’s OK, I have gay friends”…. But, seriously, a friend who changed my life at a time when I really needed it, and who I loved very much – so much that that I chased the person away, unfortunately, was my first Muslim friend, and I do have quite a few close Muslim friends. I mean, there is no difference with having any other non-Christian friend, agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, even with different denominations one experiences differences in belief that should be carried with grace and mutual understanding, if need be, just agree to disagree?

Have you noticed that the Singapore media has been trying somewhat desperately to maintain a balanced viewpoint about the streak of terrorist attacks and regarding Islam? I do not think this is a bad thing, given that the Singaporean Chinese are a double minority. Despite being the majority race of the nation, due to the regional ethnic composition, the Chinese in Singapore are part of a double minority. Also, since it has been highlighted that in recent years Christianity has been getting more and more of a hold in Singapore, there are greater implications to what could happen if the Christian sector were to push their weight and move to the extent of wanting to Trump out what they consider as a threat. Imagine if they were to activate themselves just like how they protested with the “white shirts” vs. the “pink shirts”.

Of course, I don’t think Chinese Singaporeans or Christian Singaporeans have such a strong animosity toward Malay or Indian Muslims here. But I racism is inherent in the way humans have evolved. For an interesting opinion about the inevitability of racism this is really interesting: Racism?

By default, any person identifies with what is familiar and is separates from, even fearing “The Other”. Without that we wouldn’t have Distinct Identities.

It is so disturbing, to read the newspapers and see how the once highly controversial hypotheses of the Clash of Civilisations has seemingly been vindicated. At least in the newspapers I read here, there is a lot of reporting on China’s disputes over Island territories in Asia.. there was also a big report last year about how the US and Britain went to get trade goodies from China. Is the the Sinic civilisation “Remaking [the] World Order” as Huntington’s 1996 book suggested?

More than a year ago I remember how I was extremely dismissive when my mother, TYPICAL bible study “Auntie” (She has finished Bible Study Fellowship – 7 Years and has been doing Precept Upon Precept since the 2004 or so) told me this: “You just see, Muslims are going to overpopulate the whole world soon. See here, they have 4 or 5 kids but we all only have one, maximum two.” She was just being was being anti-Islam and racist. But suddenly there’s the migrant crisis in Europe. One in every two of those crossing the Mediterranean this year — half a million people — were Syrians, Afghans accounted for 20% of the migrant flow, and Iraqis 7%.

The increasing discontent following the Cologne attacks allegedly by migrants is troubling to me. (see picture of migrants apologising outside Cologne Train Station)

refugees apologise

But the at the core of the entire issue, the fear and hatred of “The Other”, that is so natural, yet, so unjustified, I just don’t understand. My parents have always been racist. But I never really picked it up. I even remember having the motto that “everyone is worth getting to know, if you get to get to know them” when I was a teenager. I never grew up, as a child or teenager with other races though, as the schools I went to were all majority Chinese as the were SAP schools offering Higher Chinese. So I grew up feeling that Chinese was the only race. I think in Singapore that is very easy to do. Despite the bombardment of national propaganda about multiculturalism, the nature of things is all about segregation. The ironic thing about the Chinese in Singapore is that so many of us lost our language. And we blame it on the education and nation’s policies, but have the minority groups lost their “mother tongue”? I think elitism is also an important factor that drove the rapid Westernisation and adoption of English as a first language, rather than the government policies.

I digress…  I’m sure most of you know about Trump “looking into ways” to fix the “Muslim problem” (he was asked how he would do this at one of his rallies). Just as the saying “one thing leads to another” goes. I believe that the polarisation and the extremism of the West is a step by step thing. I used to think that moderates were also those who were liberal. But those who are liberal allow for freedom, and a variety of opinions. Sounds similar to moderation right? But if you don’t take a specific moderate viewpoint, and you are too liberal, you will lose your vision altogether. Worse still, like Angela Merkel’s Germany, when you bite off more than you can chew, you will want to banish all the good that you once believed in.

merkel stressed