Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: "Orderly transition" in #Egypt

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  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Modernised

    That carries all sorts of uneasy implications that are less than acceptable too, including some that point to the moral justifications used by colonial powers.

    I've used the phrase "west-facing" before, which I think is more accurate than "westernised"

    There are problems with any term that includes the word 'west' simply because of the historic baggage. Young, educated, worldwise Islamic or Hindu folk have a particular reaction to the word.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    There are problems with any term that includes the word ‘west’ simply because of the historic baggage.

    They've got economic influence coming from growing China, cultural headings from Bollywood and a Japanese tech base of the pervasive mobile phone.

    Are they looking West?

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Are they looking West?

    They're looking everywhere including inwards. West, in cultural terms, is almost a redundant word now.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    They're looking everywhere including inwards. West, in cultural terms, is almost a redundant word now.

    I happen to be using the following quote by Malaysian lawyer Shad Faruki for something I'm writing right now - goes some way towards debunking the idea that the West is not a meaningful category or is no longer an influence:

    I am wearing your clothes, I speak your language, I watch your films and today is whatever date it is because you say so.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    If anyone is West facing, it's us; we're studiously avoiding seeing anything in our geographic neighbourhood.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Was it Mahathir who quipped that Paul Keating shouldn't be looking at a map to work out where his nation fitted into the world, but rather a mirror? Western might be a an overused, overloaded term, but I don't think it's without meaning. I remember a Japanese history professor who was always saying everything everyone thought here in NZ was "a western perspective". Considering that the views were often contradictory of each other, it seemed rather like an obsession of his, a way of emphasizing his difference by generalizing about NZers. The same guy told me I was "very religious" after discussing Japanese religion with him, which he insisted was not religion, which was a western term. It didn't matter at all to him that I was a professed atheist at that time. He lumped all western thought together, and anyone who studied western philosophy was simply a religious person. It was a very strange insight, I thought, and said more about him than it said about me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    I am wearing your clothes, I speak your language, I watch your films and today is whatever date it is because you say so

    The clothes I see here are made in this part of the world, designed by local designers mashing together influences from all over the region - and the planet. The music that the kids listen to is predominately K-pop, or J-pop or T-Pop with the likes of Justin Beiber taking a distant place (there was an interview on a podcast I listen to where the guy being interviewed explained that he turned down an offered JB interview simply because nobody cared - the US label was aghast).

    They local indie acts pull hip-hop and rap into the mix but what comes out sounds nothing like the stuff you'd hear on US radio. I can say with some confidence that you've not heard of any of the acts in the Top 20 - Japan is the same.

    The cinemas down the road play a mix of the western blockbusters, but only the blockbusters, and mix it with Bollywood, and the hundreds of movies made in this part of the world which tend to run forever if they are popular.

    The TV comes from just about every nation you can think of but those silly South American supernatural soap operas and their local offspring are huge all over Asia. I don't think they show in NZ.

    Where I am right now the year is 2554 (about to slip over to 2555) and when I was in Indonesia it was 1427/28/29/31 - the same as much of the middle east. We have three New Years - the one last week and the one coming up take precedence.

    That said, the record store in Lat Prao has the best collection of James Brown albums I've ever seen. I just don't know who buys it.

    An influence - hugely of course, but dominant?

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Charles Mabbett from The Asia New Zealand Foundation just reminded me of this by tweet:

    TED / Martin Jacques on China and the West.

    The angry comments under it are sadly predictable.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    That said, the record store in Lat Prao has the best collection of James Brown albums I’ve ever seen. I just don’t know who buys it.

    Can't wait for the Thai-Funk mixes

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2933 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to nzlemming,

    Thai-Funk

    This was my Saturday night.

    Still bubbling.....

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I am wearing your clothes, I speak your language, I watch your films and today is whatever date it is because you say so

    Out of its context that quote may be missing a few subtleties, but that Malaysian lawyer sounds very much like a certain Singaporean adman of 20 years ago.

    While his Chinese ancestors had arrived in the Straits area in the 15th century, he prided himself on his "cosmopolitan" Western outlook, and treated the overseas trips that his work afforded as prized opportunities to enhance his skills in the grand task of raising the backward East Asian masses to a state of international sophistication.

    While post-producing a TV spot for a Singaporean bank at a Sydney video facility he managed to place the end title for the Mandarin-language version upside-down, causing an expensive re-edit when the problem was discovered back in Singapore. Not long afterwards he was eased out of his position in favour of a sharp-suited Mandarin speaker.

    TED / Martin Jacques on China and the West.

    That was certainly worth downloading. Thirty years ago the average Indonesian schoolchild seemed better informed about our part of the world than we were about them. Even if we accept that, we tend to assign a kind of cargo cult mentality to the developing world, where they equate our culture with our relative material prosperity. In reality they're perfectly aware that these are very separate things.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They can't negotiate with an empty space, Christiaan.

    True, but those on the street weren't proposing to. They were proposing to negotiate with the military. The reason negotiations with Suleiman are taking place is because opposition groups have leapt in and because the U.S. has backed him, both largely against the wishes of those on the street risking their lives.

    Backing negotiations with the ones who have committed the crimes is a farce.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Interesting;

    Twenty reasons why it's kicking off everywhere
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2011/02/twenty_reasons_why_its_kicking.html

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    This was my Saturday night.

    Still bubbling….

    They have a venue called "WTF"? That, in itself, is made of win.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2933 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Christiaan,

    Interesting;

    Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere

    Yep, we've been discussing that for a page or two ;-)

    But it's so good it's worth linking to again. Matter o' fact, I might tweet it again now ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Hehe, we have? Where?

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to BenWilson,

    Interesting perspective.

    Which makes me ask: What does "westernised" actually mean? Do people in "the West" have a reasonably consistent interpretation of the term? What about people from outside "the West"?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Duh, ok, found it.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    TED / Martin Jacques on China and the West.

    Great link. Thanks.

    Almost entirely unrelated, this is also on TED.

    "What the world needs now is ... ukelele."

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Translation of Wael Ghonim (this guy is good) on Dream TV now, starting with this tweet :
    https://twitter.com/sultanalqassemi/status/34709013018968064

    And live stream here in Arabic:
    http://internetlivestream.blogspot.com/2010/11/dream-tv-egypt.html

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Holy cow, that was amazing.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    This is his first interview when he was initially released:
    http://egypt.alive.in/2011/02/07/exclusive-wael-ghonims-first-interview-with-english-subtitles/

    You need to watch the Flash version to see the subtitles.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    @monaeltahawy:

    Wael @Ghonim snatched back #Egypt revolution to youth who launched it and away from the old negotiating w #Suleiman #Jan25

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Christiaan,

    Full interview and transcript here.
    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2011/02/07/live-blog-feb-8-egypt-protests

    His FB page currently getting about 50 likes a second:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/afwd-wayl-ghnym-llthdth-basm-thwar-msr/199691716707528

    sorry, will stop spamming now.

    London, UK • Since Dec 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to nzlemming,

    They have a venue called "WTF"?

    Which gives out Do Not Disturb door tags which substitute the words "Fuck Off"

    What about people from outside "the West"?

    Which may or may not bring us back to that person from Malaysia and then, by a stretch, down to Singapore (KL feeling more and more like a wannabe Sg) where Old Man Lee has spent decades trying subsume the East in favour of aping the west. He has done so, however, in a particularly Asian way - he's closer to a Chinese patriarch than any Western styled leader could ever be. In 2011, technically retired, he's urging Singapore's Muslim community to be 'less strict' and fit in - words which carry some weight.

    Singapore does see itself as 'west' though and the desire of a smallish sector in Malaysia to do likewise is a reason amongst many that festering hodge podge of discontent could explode at any time.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

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