Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Open Reply to Than Tai Hing’s Letter in the Wall Street Journal

Reply to Than Tai Hing
Undersecretary of Information and Public Diplomacy,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia
RE: Your Letter in the Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2010


As an American ex-patriate living for several years as a guest in your country I have allowed myself the vanity of believing that perhaps I am in a position to understand Malaysia and Malaysian foreign policy better than the average world citizen. In the case of Malaysia’s condemnation of Israel’s heavy handed dealing of the flotilla, itself intent on breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza, I share some of the concerns of many Malaysians and many people around the world. However, I believe the consistent bias of Malaysia’s condemnation of Israel and criticism of the USA has been so clearly one-sided that it is obvious to any observer where the bias lies. If Malaysia’s government is truly peace loving and truly committed to human rights it must first adopt the language of that position consistently. For example, when the Taliban execute a seven year old boy, such as occurred recently, where is the outrage of your government and its citizens? You seem to have been too pre-occupied with condeming Israel to even take notice. It is also perplexing to me that when Malaysian citizens wish to demonstrate against U.S. policy at our emabassy, there are no police to secure the area, and the demonstration is allowed to continue. When Malaysian citizens wish to demonstrate against their own government’s policies there is no restraint on the part of the authorities in dispatching police and soldiers to quell the disturbance. As long as these contradictions are so apparent, Malaysia will be understood by Americans to have actually little to do with championing fair, just, and humane ideology, which embrace universal ideals, and more to do with the double standards reflecting its anti-western bias. You must bridge this gap if you are to succeed in addressing the American people who contend with multiple examples of double standards each and very day in a much more public forum than that exists in Malaysia.
Gary Davis

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Has it really been 7 months since I posted a blog?

I am surprised with myself that I have not posted a blog in 7 months. Can't hardly expect to attract readers that way, of course. So what happened during the interim? Well, quite a lot actually. The Christmas & New Year holidays came & went without very much noteworthy other than our usual family gathering. As we entered the new year I was beginning to get more optimistic about the economy and my business. Things were looking up as we approached the Chinese New Year, another big celebration in our family. This year it was to fall on Valentine's day so it seemed we would have another reason to celebrate love in our home. Then suddenly everything changed. Two or three days before Chinese New Year my lower right leg and foot began to swell and was painful. The day before the holiday arrived I was admitted to hospital with an unknown infection. I won't describe the gory detailed symptoms other then to mention that I had a fever and that the skin of my foot and lower leg was erupting with what looked like blisters & abrasions. I was given a phalynx of antibiotics. Still, after several days in which much of the problem seemed to be receding, a couple of spots on my foot troubled the doctors. Long story short; they did surgery to remove material from the swollen foot and after several days I was released. Then a week later, as the rest of the leg healed a new area on the foot became problematic and required another surgery. That and another two months on very strong antibiotics finally erased the malady except for the two scars on my foot.
Just as I was feeling 100% again, the troubles in Thailand boiled over and I was forced to rearrange travel schedules I had planned for business. There I was, all healed up and no place to go. Business is finally settling into a more routine schedule. During my hiatus I had spent an inordinate amount of time in my recliner, even sleeping in it at night, as it afforded the chance to keep my leg raised to minimise fluid retention around the surgery area. I got used to living life in a chair and when I re-animated it took a week before I didn't notice how weak I had become. Now, several weeks later I feel very thankful that is behind me.
We tend to take our health for granted and when it is interupted we are usually amazed that whatever it is can happen to us in the first place. But a disruption like this one has an impact on your thinking that won't go away. Little lessons that needed relearning included never take a small cut or skin break for granted. Clean it, saturate it with antispetic, cover it if neccessary. Keep tending it with with frqequent cleaning and new dressings (bandages). Failure to do so could lead to a serious infection, which you don't want to even think about. This is likely what happened to me (though I cannot recall a prior abrasion or cut.) I am certain that it won't happen again, at least insofar as an untended wound of any kind.