2012年9月25日 星期二

God Save Hong Kong

Disclaimer: unlike much of my post, this is merely opinion-based

I woke up this morning feeling miserable about Hong Kong's future.  Having spent a fair few years in the city, it is hard not to notice the decreasing quality of life of its people.  Hospitals are being overcrowded, housing prices are rising and increasing numbers of Hong Kong people cannot find suitable housing.  Having been shown a youtube video a few days about how Hong Kong meant very little to the British Empire in whole, I must remark that whether this is true or not, it is simply irrelevant.  In Chinese, there is a saying 生娘不及養娘大 shengniang buji yangniang dai - this proverb means that the adopted parent outweighs the birth parent.

The implication of this towards Hong Kong is that while China claims to be the 祖國 zuguo, or ancestral country, traditional Chinese filial piety actually values the adopted parent more.  This is because despite the action, and perhaps sacrifice, of birthing a child or in this case a city, the act of raising one is far greater.  When the United Kingdom seized Hong Kong after the First Opium War in 1842 (at least Hong Kong Island), it was the move that sparked the development of an advanced economy.

From fishing village to Asian economic powerhouse, from backwater to trend-setter, the Hong Kong that was taken from China is not the same Hong Kong that was returned.  In fact, the China that has taken Hong Kong in 1997 is not the same China that has given it.  The 1911 Xinhai Revolution that ended Imperial China also expelled the Manchu minority which had ruled over the Han majority.  If China can understand the importance of having another people rule over them, why do they seek to govern Hong Kong?  I can't that one may ask the same of the British government for the 150 years but the truth is, Hong Kong's citizens were generally either impartial or fond of the British rule.  Is this true in Hong Kong today for mainland Chinese rule?

If China is so sure that we, the Hong Kong people, support them, why not make their presence in Hong Kong known?  The Chinese Communist Party's influence is known, yet they stay hidden behind different guises.  Some Hong Kong people have joined the Chinese Communist Party, however, they keep their membership status private.  This only thing this veil of secrecy only accomplishes is to facilitate increasing distrust of the Chinese government.  More importantly, if China believes that the Handover of Hong Kong in 1997 is legitimate, they should give us a referendum.  After all, it is our destiny that rested in the hands of the Chinese government, should we not a choice?

What is the legitimacy behind the handover?  If Hong Kong should be returned to China, our zuguo, because of ethnic ties, then would China please release the people of Xinjiang, Tibet, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Guangxi from the the rule of a different ethnicity.  If Hong Kong's return was because colonialism is wrong, then would China please grant Tibet its independence since China (during the Qing rule) invaded and occupied Tibet.  If Hong Kong is given to China because it was spoil of war forcibly taken by the British, then would China please divide back up into the states during the Zhou dynasty.  If all of this is simply because of uniting the "Chinese" people, then would China please look at the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or perhaps the Ottoman Empire; more recent examples would be Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union.  Nations do not necessarily stay united; this is not the general trend amongst non-nation-states.

Supposedly, self-determination is a right granted to all peoples and safeguarded by the United Nations.  Where was the UN on July 1st, 1997?  If there is a sense of decency in anyone who may see this, please at least admit that Hong Kong people were fed to the wolves because of economic considerations, because China is too powerful to upset and this is the reason why we were never given a choice of administration.  During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Hong Kong people, or at least those who were able to, voted with their feet.  Many chose to leave Hong Kong and even those choose to return after the Handover retain their foreign citizenship in case of instability in Hong Kong caused by China.  

British Hong Kong's coat of arms means that the big lion (UK) took the pearl (Hong Kong) from the dragon and the pearl was kept safe and prosperous for years.  Yet, life has not been the same since the dragon ripped the pearl back from the lion.  Personally, if there was a referendum in Hong Kong today regarding our status, I would say: "God Save the Queen!"

2012年7月20日 星期五

Batman Mass Shooting in Denver & A Look Mass Murders since the Columbine Incident

On July 20th, 2012, James Holmes, a deranged graduate student who claimed he was the joker, fired merciless during the premiere of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, in Denver, Colorado.  Tragically, twelve people were taken from the world and almost sixty others were injured.  Unfortunately, this was not the first such incident to have taken place in the United States.  Here, I want to take a moment to remember the other such mass killing tragedies that resulted in fatalities that have occurred since the infamous Columbine incident.

As of this time, 30 people are still hospitalized and 11 in critical condition

Police: 12 dead in shooting at Batman movie
James Holmes (age 24)

Disclaimer: This list includes only mass murders and murder sprees; the difference between the two is that the following list murders have all occurred in one location like the Batman shooting.

Jan. 8, 2011: Tucson, Arizona

Gunman Jared Lee Lougher shot 18 people in a Safeway parking lot that killed six and wounded twelve others.  Among those murdered was Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll.  U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was also injured in the shooting.  Lougher had been indicted on 49 charges and his trial continues as the court debates Lougher's mental fitness to stand trial.

Jared Lougher

Feb. 12, 2010: Huntsville, Alabama

Gunwoman Dr. Amy Bishop Anderson shot 6 people during a Biology department meeting where she was refused tenure.  Three people were killed, all professors while three others (two professors & one staff assistant) was injured.  Bishop had been charged with counts of capital murder and attempted murder; her trial continues with her lawyer using the insanity plea.

Amy Bishop Anderson
Nov. 5, 2009: Fort Hood, Texas

Gunman Major Nidal Hasan, a radical Muslim, shot 42 individuals his workplace, the Soldier Readiness Processing Center.  In this most deadly shooting incident on a U.S. military base, 13 individuals were killed (14 if you count the unborn child of Private Francheska Velez, one of the victims) while 29 others were wounded.  Hasan was shot during his arrest and now paralyzed from the chest down.  Because it is believed that he acted alone, Hasan is being prosecuted in a military court and currently undergoing court martial.  83 claimants are also suing the U.S. government and Army for 750 million USD for willful negligence because they did not act against Hasan despite warning signs for political correctness.

Nidal Hasan

Apr. 3, 2009: Binghamton, New York

Gunman Jiverly Voong, a Vietnamese immigrant, shot 17 individuals, including himself, at the American Civic Association immigration center.  14 individuals were killed, including a visiting scholar at Binghamton University, while 4 were injured.  Voong's parents issued an apology for their son's actions.

Jiverly Voong

Mar. 30, 2009: Santa Clara, California 

7 individuals in total were shot in a home in Silicon Valley with the gunman being one of them in a familial  murder-suicide.  Six died, including 4 children, with a 7th critically injured.

Mar. 29, 2009: Carthage, North Carolina

Gunman Robert Stewart shot 10 individuals at Pinelake Health and Rehab center, a nursing home.  8 were killed in the massacre, including 7 patients and a nurse.   Stewart himself was wounded by the police during his arrest.  He was afterwards tried and convicted 8 counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to over 100 years in prison.

Robert Stewart

Dec. 24, 2008: Covina, California 

Gunman Bruce Pardo, dressed in a Santa suit, shot a number of individuals at a Christmas party in his former in-law's house and subsequently burnt down their house with a home-made flamethrower.  9 people were killed; 3 from gunshot alone, 4 from a combination of fire and gunshot and 2 from fire.  Pardo later committed suicide by gunshot at his brother's residence.

Bruce Pardo

Feb. 14, 2008: DeKalb, Illinois

Gunman Steven Kazmierczak shot 22 individuals (23 including the gunman) on the Northern Illinois University campus.  5 of victims died (6 if you include the perpetrator himself who committed suicide) while 17 of his gunshot victims were wounded.  4 others were injured escaping the scene.

Steven Kazmierczak

Feb 2, 2008: Chicago, Illonis

An unidentified and still at large African-American gunman shot 6 individuals at a Lane Bryant clothing outlet in a what the police believed to be a botched robbery attempt.  5 of the victims were killed and the 6th wounded.  An 100, 000 USD award remains in place for the arrest of the perpetrator.

Sketch of the Perpetrator 

Dec. 24, 2007: Carnation, Washington

Shooters Michele Anderson and boyfriend Joseph McEnroe shot 6 people at Anderson's mother's home.  All the victims died from gunshot wounds including two in children -  Anderson's niece and nephew.  Their trial still continues currently with the perpetrators; interestingly, Anderson, for a time, wanted the death penalty before changing her mind.

Joseph McEnroe
Michelle Anderson

Dec. 5, 2007: Omaha, Nebraska 

Gunman Robert Hawkins shot 12 individuals (13 if you include Hawkins) at the Von Maur department store at the Westroads Mall.  Of the victims, 8 were killed (9 including himself as he committed suicdie) while 4 were wounded, 2 critically.  The Hawkins family released a statement expressing condolences for the victims the day after the shooting and a formal apology a week afterwards.

Robert Hawkins

Sep. 21, 2007: Dover, Delaware

Gunman Loyer Braden shot 2 individuals on the Delaware State University campus.  One of the victims died a month later from injuries sustained during the attack.  The murder case collapsed because of a technicality and Braden was freed.

Loyer Braden

April 16, 2007: Blacksburg, Virginia

Gunman Seung-Hui Cho shot 49 individuals one the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  32 people were killed while 17 others were injured by the shooting; 6 others were wounded while escaping from the massacre.  Cho himself committed suicide after the massacre.  There were two incidents in total separated by two hours - the West Ambler Johnston shootings and the Norris Hall shootings.  A lawsuit was settled for 11,000,000 USD by 24 or 32 of the victims or their families against the state of Virginia.  Virginia Tech, on the other hand, was fined for 55,000 USD (the maximum amount) by the Department of Education for violations for failing to inform students of the West Ambler Johnston shooting.  Virginia Tech was also found guilty of negligence by a jury.  The death toll of this massacre was the greatest in all school shootings since 1927.

Seung-Hui Cho

Oct. 2, 2006: Bart Township, Pennsylvania 

Gunman Charles Roberts IV shot 10 school girls at the Amish West Nickel Mines School.  Of the 10 victims, 5 were killed and 5 wounded while Roberts committed suicide after the incident.  The school was demolished one week afterwards and rebuilt six months later near the original site.

Charles Carl Roberts IV UNDATED:  This photo provided by the Pennsylvania State Police shows Charles Carl Roberts IV. According to reports, Roberts entered a one room Amish schoolhouse October 2, 2006, let the boys go free, tied up the girls and shot them execution style before committing suicide. At least three girls are dead and seven are injured.
Charles Robert IV

Mar 12, 2005: Brookfield, Wisconsin

Gunman Terry Ratzmann shot 11 people at the Living Church of God.  7 of the 11 shot were killed including the minister and the minister's son.  Ratzmann then committed suicide at a Sheraton Hotel in the city.

Terry Ratzmann

Nov. 21, 2004: Meteor, Wisconsin 

Gunman Chai Vang shot 8 individuals in northern Wisconsin during a dispute over hunting on private land.  Of the 8 shot, 6 were killed and 2 were wounded.  Vang was convicted on 6 counts of 1st degree murder and 2 counts of attempted murder; for his crime, Vang was later sentenced to 6 consecutive life terms (plus seventy years) because Wisconsin did not have the life penalty.

Chai Vang

August 27, 2003: Chicago, Illinois

Gunman Salvador Tapia shot 6 of his former co-workers at the Windy City Core Supply where he was laid of 6 months prior to the incident.  All of his gunshot victims were killed and another was tied up by managed to escape and notify the police.  Tapia himself was killed by the Chicago police department's Hostage Barricade and Terrorist (HBT) team.

Irene Taylor, left, wife of Robert Taylor, one of the people shot
and killed at an auto parts warehouse in Chicago, leaves the Cook
County Medical Examiner's Office with an unidentified family member
after identifying her husband's body. Five other employees were
also gunned down by a man identified by police as former employee
Salvador Tapia. Tapia was shot to death by police.

Salvador Tapia

Sep. 15, 1999: Fort Worth, Texas

Gunman Larry Ashbrook shot 14 individuals during a Forty Days (Christian rock group) concert at Wedgwood Baptist Church.  7 individuals were killed while 7 were injured, 3 critically.  He committed suicide after killing the church-goers.

Larry Ashbrook

Apr. 20, 1999: Columbine, Colorado

Gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shot 34 individuals at Columbine High School.  13 of his victims were killed; 12 of these were students while the other was a student.  21 of his victims were wounded by gunshot and another 3 were injured trying to escape.  After an hour of shooting students and teachers, the duo killed themselves via gunshot.  Numerous legacies resulted from the shooting including new tactics for counteracting perpetuators who are interested in killing rather than taking hostages; new anti-bullying policies, increased school security and increased gun control measures.

Dylan Klebold (left) & Eric Harris (right)
Overall, these incidents combined to kill and maim hundreds of victims.  However, these incidents continue to repeat themselves.  We must remember to notice the potential warning signs of these incidents.  In the light of the recent tragedy in Denver, let us all pray (or for those without religious convictions, to support in whatever way) for the souls affected by the morbid acts of a madman.

2012年7月18日 星期三

the original Bloody Mary

459 years ago today, the reign of Lady Jane Grey ended after only 9 days.  Taking her place was the only surviving child of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon, Mary I of England.  This marked the beginning of the 5 year reign of England's most hated queen as Mary attempted to revive Catholicism in England.  Her religious fervor resulted in the death of many - political dissidents were beheaded, pregnant women burnt at the stake - the horror at her crimes reaches us today.

Her path to becoming the monster she later became can be traced to her father, Henry VIII.  Henry desperately wanted a male successor and Catherine failed to give him a male heir, he renounced his faith to the Roman Catholic Church and begun the Protestant Church with himself as the leader.  When Mary was 17,  Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, nullified the marriage between Catherine of Aragon and Henry VIII reducing Mary to bastard status.  In the same move, he proclaimed the marriage between Henry & this made Elizabeth, a daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boelyn, legitimate.  Enraged by this decision by a protestant, Mary and Catherine dove headlong into traditional Catholicism setting the stage for the later religious persecution.

Henry VIII
Catherine of Aragon
Anne Boleyn

Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury

At the age of 34, Henry VIII died and his only son (with his 4th wife) Edward, was crowned king Edward VI of England and Ireland at the age of 9.  (the line of succession at this time was: 1st Edward, 2nd Mary, 3rd Elizabeth) Being raised in the faith, Edward was far more Protestant than his father was.  This led to begin whitewashing all Catholic vestiges left in England further angering Mary, a devout Catholic.  Despite numerous efforts from Edward, Mary simply would not convert as she saw Edward and his government as heretics.  This established her later extreme hatred towards heretics.

Edward VI

When Edward VI became sick, he became distraught that a Catholic would take the throne and erase all his work promoting the English Protestant Church.  To counteract this, he appointed Lady Jane Grey, his Protestant cousin, as his successor.  However, the popularity of King Henry VIII had not diminished in the five years after his death.  Using this popularity, Mary intentionally ignored religion and instead, propagandized her status as Henry's daughter and garnered great support from Protestants and Catholics alike.  Nine days later, Mary had captured London and was crowned Queen Mary I of England.

Lady Jean Grey

This set the stage for the revival of Catholicism and to strengthen her ties with the Catholic Church, she wedded Philip of of Spain (King of Naples, King of Spain and Sicily, King of Portugal and the Algraves) in the same year.  The thought of a foreign Catholic king (served as king jure uxoris) forced the Protestant aristocracy into rebellion in the months following her wedding and was brutally suppressed.  All of the rebels were executed including Lady Jane Grey and her father Henry Grey, the Duke of Suffolk.  After the executions, Mary began her campaign to purge all Protestant elements from England.  To better punish these 'heretics', Mary re-introduced the archaic punishment of burning at the stake for heresy.  The cruelty of this punishment was to deter all Protestants and coerce conversion back to Catholicism.

Philip of Spain

Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk, 3rd Marquess of Dorset

Hundreds of people were burnt at the stake.  The clergy were the first victims and then their families were all burnt in public squares witnessed by thousands.  One of the most infamous cases was in the Channel Islands, where a pregnant woman gave birth while being burnt at the stake and the baby was thrown back into the flames.  This atrocity, amongst many others done in the name of Catholicism, sparked unpopularity throughout England regardless of religious affiliation.

Her own failed marriage in inability to conceive a child had further angered her and her methods became even more sadistic than before.  The most infamous of the examples was the burning of the stake of archbishop Thomas Cranmer.  Using physical and psychological torture, Cranmer was compelled to recant his faith in Protestantism 6 separate times.  This allowed Mary to publicly humiliate the man she blamed for her mother's failed message and the downfall of Catholicism in England.  The 7th time was scheduled to done on a public forum prior to his execution with a pre-scripted speech.  However, Cranmer deviated from the speech and condemned Catholicism and proclaimed that the pope was the antichrist and as a result, died as a hero.

Overall, over 300 people were burnt at the stake during the 3.5 years when Mary dedicated to purging Protestantism, killing more people than the more famous Spanish Inquisition in the same period of time.  Ironically, the Protestant martyrs strengthened the revolve of the Protestant population.  When Mary died in 5 years after becoming Queen, Protestantism immediately became the dominant religion in England.  Elizabeth I of England, upon succeeding the English throne, ushered in a new golden age for England as the English Protestantism became the second largest Christian institution in the world only to Roman Catholicism.  Yet, despite all the success of Elizabeth and English Protestantism, the reign Mary I of England remains inbedded into history as a reign of religious persecution that will forever live in history.