Friday, June 13, 2008

The Power of Context and the Courage to Create, Revisited

We’re defining context here to mean “a fundamental set of assumptions”—assumptions that are not recognized as assumptions, and that go unquestioned—in which the world happens. When people thought the earth was flat (an analogy that grows old but never dies), that was a context or worldview that limited perception and behavior—how those folks saw the horizon, how far toward the edge they sailed, and so on. Similarly, our way of being a man or a woman, and the possibilities available to us, are given by the assumptions embedded in our culture, our language, and times in which we live. A girl born in the U.S. today would likely inherit a very different possibility for being a woman than a girl born in the 1930s or ’40s—would she be a dot-com mogul or running for president?

So if you consider the premise that the whole world happens inside of the assumptions we hold true (and if you do the math), what becomes apparent is that contexts are a mighty and decisive force. Contexts come to us by default, and we live our lives essentially unaware of their existence and of their far-reaching influence. It’s like wearing blinders—we don’t see the contexts themselves, we see only what they allow. These default contexts determine our worldview: what’s possible and not, what’s true and false, what’s right and wrong, what we think we can and can’t do. They travel with us—wherever we are, they are—shaping our behavior, our choices, our lives.

The Context Is Decisive

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

A dead body found under Jojo's jetty at the end of Broadway!

Source: The West Australians

Restaurant staff find body in Swan River
12th June 2008, 7:00 WST

Staff at a swanky Nedlands restaurant found a body floating in the river last night.

Police were called to JoJo’s Café after a man's body was seen floating under the restaurant’s jetty.

A police spokeswoman said the gruesome discovery off Broadway, Nedlands, was made about 9.30pm and water police were called to retrieve him.

Major Crime officers attended the scene and police investigations are continuing.

The man, aged between 55-70, had no identification on him and police are not treating it as a suspicious death.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A More Perfect Union

I didn't really follow much of American presidential campaign and didn't know much of Barack Obama. Today I took a 2 seconds interests in him and looked up Barack Obama in wikipedia and came across his famous speech of A More Perfect Union.

Obama was responding to a spike in the attention paid to controversial remarks made by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and, until shortly before the speech, a participant in his campaign. Obama situated his response in terms of the broader issue of race in the United States. The speech's title was taken from the Preamble to the United States Constitution.

Obama addressed the subjects of racial tensions, white privilege, and race and inequality in the United States, discussing black "anger," white "resentment," and other issues as he sought to explain and contextualize Wright's controversial comments. His speech closed with a plea to move beyond America's "racial stalemate" and address shared social problems.

The address was given on March 18, ten days after Malaysians non-racial coalition gained a great leap in political support against the racial coalition in the general election. The whole Malaysia, including myself in Perth, was in surprise, shock and excitement about a new dawn in the political landscape.

I find the speech a great lecture on racial relation in the Malaysian context also. Although the situation between the white and the black in US is different from the Malays and non-Malays in Malaysia, there are much similarity that Malaysians can learn from the speech to forge a better union too.

Read the transcript here.