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Category: Opinion

China’s Internet Censorship and the South China Sea Dispute

Instant Messaging Crackdown and Censorship in China
And so the plot thickens. Hands down, China is flexing its muscles in the South China Sea. It is gobbling-up maritime features left and right. Littoral states, friendly or not to them, are no longer turning a blind eye. Things are getting out of hand. And with the (1) intentional ramming and sinking of boats; (2) water cannon forays; (3) burning and looting of Chinese factories in Vietnam; (4) killing of Chinese nationals also in Vietnam; (5) USA’s Asian Pivot; (6) incarceration of eleven Chinese poachers in Half Moon Bay by Philippine Maritime Forces; (7) brazen installation of an oil rig in the Paracels; (8) construction of an unsinkable aircraft carrier / airstrip in the Mabini reef; (9) continued air and sea stand-off in the Senkaku/Diayou island chain; (10) harassment of Philippine troops stationed at the Ayungin shoal; (11) abduction of two Chinese nationals in Sabah, Malaysia, allegedly by the Abu Sayaff; (12) and China’s bellicose statements in its state-run media, a global war is not far off.

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Modern day Makapilis, Traitors, and Chinese Collaborators

For quite some time now, I have kept my silence on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute. It’s not that I have lost interest or have have adopted a defeatist perspective but it’s just that I am too infoxiated by it. Apparently, any issue, no matter how relevant, loses its “bite” when one is inundated by it. At first, I thought I can train my mind and body to endure processing 200-300 news feeds for a few hours everyday. I did. However, after a couple of months, the topic lost its flavor and I sank into a writing stupor.

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The Great Dare: USA, Military Budget Cut, China, and the South China Sea Dispute

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The United States of America (USA) is cutting its military budget to pre-World War II levels. Due to the Afghanistan war, the United State’s longest ground war, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel proposes that it is necessary to refit the armed forces. He proposes to reduce the army to pre-World War II levels – about 450,000 strong, from post 9/11 570,000. He also proposes to decommission the nuclear super aircraft carrier USS George Washington. But the cut doesn’t stop there, the air-force’s entire A-10 “Warthog” attack aircraft fleet, that benefits ground forces in combat, is also scheduled for the chopping board.

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A Day in the Life: Stress, Brain Rewiring, Self Pleasure, King Leopold’s Ghost, the Philippines, Rubber, and the Congo

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If it’s any indication of stress, I am writing more frequently than ever. According to Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the psychology department at Randolph-Macon College, “[W]hen you do meaningful work with your hands, a kind of neurochemical feedback floods your brain with dopamine and serotonin.” These two chemicals induce the brain to feel pleasure and elation. They are aptly called, ‘the pleasure hormones.’ Probably this is why I am so ‘attached’ to hand intensive tasks such as aquaponics, electronics, mechatronics, photography, cooking, painting, and recently, decoupage. It is not a stretch to say that, I am literally pleasuring myself with my hands.

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A Day In the Life: PH Economy, Unemployment, and Samurai Haircuts.

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It is quite mind-boggling how the government can claim positive economic growth while there is a 12.1M employment deficit. According to Okun’s law, “a one point increase in the cyclical unemployment rate is associated with two percent age points of negative growth in real GDP.” Therefore, the relationship between GDP and employment is directly proportional: positive economic growth means more jobs, vice-versa. Thus the current domestic economy-to-employment ratio is anything but logical.

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Today in the West Philippine Sea: China, Lawfare, and Stick Diplomacy

sam-galope-philippines-china-big-stick-diplomacyChina is waging “Lawfare” – China’s implementation of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), that requires all aircraft passing over Japanese occupied Diaoyu islands and the seas surrounding it to register with Beijing or else face “defensive measures,” is a clear example of Lawfare or the “Act of Using International Laws as a Weapon of War.” The term was coined by Air Force General Charles Dunlap in 2001 at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy in Harvard.

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Of “Foods,” Condo Maulings, and Morbid Entertainments

I find it morbidly entertaining how people latch-on to issues that are insignificant, irrelevant and inconsequential – that in any way, neither improve nor degrade their lives. Rather than waste our time trying to get the latest buzz on a scandal that has neither substance nor importance, why don’t we focus on more useful and meaningful things?

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