Questions & Answers

  • asked in Environment 10th Feb '15:

    Hasn't nuclear energy proved its value / purpose / efficiency ?. Or these factors are not the point when it comes to Nuclear energy?.

    Angeline Loh replied 5th Mar '15:

    Nuclear energy is one of the world's greatest discoveries. It did prove its use as a deterrent during the Cold War and before that the discovery and use of the atomic bomb that ended the Second World War. Since then, the research and development of nuclear science has moved beyond military defense purposes, to serve more constructive purposes in the civilian arena e.g. production of electricity and nuclear medicine among others. For a time, until the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, nuclear energy was perceived as one of the most efficient, clean and environmentally friendly power sources. This was a widespread belief which governments adopted and supporters of nuclear energy touted unreservedly. However, even in its glory days, critics of nuclear power, cautioned the global community, especially residents of countries which had set up nuclear installations for energy production, to consider the downsides of nuclear energy. Documented cases of the effects of the presence of high levels of radiation around nuclear plants on local residents living close to and in the area around were publicized. Similarly, cases of people and wild life affected by the fallout from nuclear tests carried out in desserts or apparently remote locations appeared from time to time in the local and international media. News of radioactive leakages from nuclear plants, also emerged. Nonetheless, these were generally quickly dismissed, possibly due to the preponderance of vested interests and enormous financial input sunk into such large technological projects. However, research and development in nuclear science continues even after the tragedies of Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi (2011).
    Despite these advances, fears of the downsides of nuclear energy still out-weigh its utility for civilian or military purpose. The root of this continued suspicion and wariness of nuclear energy lies mainly in the distrust of human judgment and integrity which have been proven in recent history.
    See this 2013 report from the Guardian -

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  • asked in Media 20th Jan '14:

    "victims of their slogans", can you share an examples of being a victim of one's slogan?

    Angeline Loh replied 16th Feb '14:

    Reality's Contradictions

    A slogan is an attention catcher, often used by politicians, but implementation is the test. When reality kicks in, rhetoric is kicked out. Proof of the pudding is in the tasting.

    Politicians frequently ride on the waves of the most pressing current issues, or what they perceive as popular public concerns. A typical example is corruption, which is a major concern in many countries globally. The ordinary citizen is well aware that when corruption sets in at the top, it inevitably infects the lower echelons of government and society. Any public figure with the guts to make a stance against this public evil will inevitably attract popular interest and votes.

    However, impementing anti-corruption measures and policies in reality is far more difficult than touting a slogan, especially in an established system where corrupt practices have become the norm rather than the exception. How can right sounding laws be juxtaposed on an establishment that chooses to ignore them or selectively implement them, besides imputing interpretations that result in the justification of such malpractices; and this is only referring to the possible malfunction of the justice system.

    Corrupt practice always gives way to higher profile underground activity and mob reign over the ordinary, powerless person, rendered voiceless, and silenced into submission and conformity to the prevailing moral decay. Might becomes right, and money says more than honest fair play.

    Thus, the power of persuasion lies, not in mere accumulation of wealth, but is driven by the hunger for power. A potentially incurable addiction. As was expressed by the 19th century historian and moralist, Lord Acton in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

    Who then are the victims of their own slogans? Isn't it those who often take the high ground of self-righteousness, promising the ideals that many hope for? The much sought after deliverance from 'slavery' to an imagined freedom and justice. It is easy to sow hope, but not as simple to make it a reality.

    When deliverance doesn't materialise, the proposer is discredited and the slogan remains a mere slogan. 

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  • asked in Humanities 4th Feb '13:

    The literary world has so many great authors as it does great characters. Whose legacy, author or character, inspired you to take up writing?

    Angeline Loh replied 18th Mar '13:

    An Introduction to Wordcraft

    My reply is from a personal perspective, my own personal experience of becoming a writer, as I have no formal training in journalism or writing, as such. It was something that grew out of necessity and the impulse to share my thoughts.

    Perhaps, it all began with my 'O' Level study of English Literature. The exposure to many kinds of writers in the English language, from Shakespeare to Alechi Amadi, Leon Uris, Anita Desai, Agatha Christie, Dostoyesky, Harold Robbins, and many other best sellers, less known and translated authors. The middle-class, English educated family I come from, saw reading as the key to knowledge and language. Even so, the written word is a large part of daily life, now in this cyber literary age. 

    I didn't aspire to be a writer, at first, it just happened. From reading the classics on my school literature syllabus, and gradually learning to appreciate and enjoy the wit of words used by those master word smiths of classic novels, plays and poetry, I ventured into other worlds. When reality was getting me down, Dad's library of books became a world of adventure to escape to. I love history, and books were the threshold to the past in different lands, cultures, religions, so many varied and completely diverse environments. The world of words became a means of mental escapism. Then, the wandering and looking, progressed to dabbling in words, imitating and experimenting – writing short imaginative, descriptive pieces, just to try it out. At that early stage, writing served as a valve to “let off steam” for daily frustrations I faced in trying to realize my childhood dream of becoming an artist. One day, I sent a couple of poems to a newly advertized monthly tabloid, and earned 10 Malaysian Ringgit (about USD 3) for their publication. For the first time in my life, I'd earned a little money from writing. It seemed a flash in the pan as later attempts to get published got nowhere. That door seemed to have shut. But, the reading never lost its appeal as I went on to further my studies and after six years of academia, and nearly ten years living in a foreign country, returned to Malaysia. I was a happily married, very busy housewife, whose husband worked for a multinational company. My husband was seconded to Hong Kong for three months and I went with him. During those long days in Hong Kong, when he was at work and I had nothing better to do than wander downtown into the Kowloon department stores, parks and seafront, have the cheapest snacks I could find, and take photos, I decided to keep a journal. I can't speak Cantonese or very much of any Chinese dialect, so writing was another way of speaking to myself, since holding a conversation with anyone local would be difficult and stilted. Being quiet and passive by nature, doesn't exactly advertize my approachability, either. Apart from reading, hours were also whiled away watching satellite television in the hotel room, since we didn't have it at home. For some reason, I decided to write a letter to the Editor commenting on a TV news article, and sent it to a Hong Kong English language daily, without expectation of its publication. It was a hand-written letter to the Editor. To my surprise, the letter appeared in the next day's Letters column. But, I was still writing for my peace of mind and made no effort after that, to get published. It just seemed to be another lucky strike.It was only about five years later, when I wrote another comment on a piece of Malaysian news and sent it to a local NGO magazine, that my writing 'career' actually took off. Since then, I have been writing articles on people and their problems for this same media NGO. Yet, amongst the various authors I've read, the most inspiring ones are Leon Uris, T.S. Elliot, and my earliest inspiration – The Bard - William Shakespeare! I used to 'savor' his words and admire the complexity and witticism of puns, analogy, sarcasm or inuendo used. How clever, the usage of words. Other author's like Christie or Desai would paint pictures in my mind. Amadi and Dostoyevsky exuded the flavours of their cultures. Uris or Robbins could convey the cut and thrust of politically charged, hectic or dangerous lifestyles and circumstances. I wished I could draw my reader into my world, as they did. Every novel I pick up is not only an adventure but a learning experience to taste, the life of a protagonist/s in the time they live in. Even fiction speaks and influences the senses, at least for the duration of uninterrupted reading. So, writing is like painting but with words to create a different universe. With this inspiration, one can touch another through the mind, almost like holding a conversation between telepaths, in a highly sensuous and sensitive way. Like painting, I can present anything, it may appeal to some but not others, it may even anger and outrage, it may sadden or elicit compassion. Words can do many things. I am still learning to be a master word smith in the tradition of those who inspire me. The journey continues, when or if it will end, I do not know.

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