Archive for January 25, 2011

GRANDEUR AND MAGNIFICENCE IN ASIA’S CITIES

January 25, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to my fellow global citizens!

The year had just kicked off, and we’re already witnessing the contrast in images projected in the mass media between East and West. Just notice the projections regarding urban life in each hemisphere, and you can see the differences in the images.

Asian cities have been projecting themes of cooperation, growth, exquisite city plans, 21st century architectural wonders, and these themes were projected well despite the typical urban problems of decay (congestion, pollution, traffic jams). In contrast, those of Western cities’ projected crimes, street protests, snow storms, floods (e.g. Australia’s), and related pessimistic images.

Coming from the East makes me feel with awe and pride about the transfigurations that our own emerging markets and big cities are going through. Our economies are clearly the drivers of the world economy, our investments and treasuries in the West largely keep their economies alive, and our growth and rising middle class make for our urban accomplishments as well.

Whereas before our cities were citadels of flies, malaria, squalor, and crimes, today our big cities have mutated to model skyscrapers, exquisite urban plans with many mixed land use commercial centers, architectural wonders & cultural innovations, and multi-cultural cooperation. Peoples of the West who are truly appreciative of our feats would normally experience their jaws drop in awe over the marvels that our big cities can show to them.

Among recent depictions, I recall vividly the images of Christmas trees in malls all over Asia even in countries that are Buddhist, Hindu, and Moslem. Asian urbanites are showing the way to how a former sectarian event—the Christmas holidays—can be globalized and celebrated by every nation, race, and culture. Buddhist children in Thailand for instance showed deep fondness for Santa Claus and Christmas, so their respective schools respected their fondness and celebrated Christmas as well.

In Indonesia, Moslem workers were shown preparing the finishing touches for Christmas decors, Christmas trees, food & delicacies for the Christmas event, and related paraphernalia. Many of the exported decors from Indonesia’s Muslims reached the Philippines, with some of the Christmas lights reaching our home in suburban highlands east of Manila. China’s toys, Christmas lights, delicatessen, wines, and holiday paraphernalias made us equally happy as did the Indonesians.

Scenes of Asian cities celebrating the New Year—largely the Western New Year based on the Gregorian calendar—were well projected on television, internet, and print media. Taipei 101, the 2nd highest building worldwide, had its equivalent scenes of pyrotechnic fireworks and revelry of people in its surrounds. Such an event happened in all the big cities of Asia, rest assured.

Beijing with its trade exposition buildings, wondrous streets, magnificent palaces, and other marvels, were among those projected in the media. The world’s largest mall is in this city, and is owned and built by the SM Group of companies of the Philippines (owned by the Sy family).

The cities of Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, Calcutta, Shanghai, Shenzen, Mumbai, Manila, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Singapore, Osaka, Dubai, Abu Dhabi among others, were also projected with each one having their contributions to the grandeur of 21st century life and the bright beginnings of 2011. Till now the very positive projections of lustrous performance and compass of the future in such cities are still being churned out in the mass media.

Contrast those images to the still prolonged floods in Australia (cities affected too), another round of snow storms in the USA, massacre in Arizona by a sociopathic young man, hundreds of deaths in Mexico (how many dead in Acapulco? Mexico city?…), continuing protests in Europe over austerity measures and rising poverty,…well, negative images dominate those reportorials about Western cities, with some images shocking and unnerving.

Before the year 2010 ended, an American lady (professional) whom I met in a social network, shared to me a videofilm of hers about “3rd World America.” Depicting huge poverty incidence in the USA coupled with urban decay, huge income disparities between rich & poor, and deterioration of the once mighty physical economy there, the short feature film struck a cord. It amplified scenes of 3rd world deteriorations in America at this time, degenerations that we analysts thought would take place in the next decade yet.

The film was hair raising and admittedly effective in portraying its intentions. Knowing the rapid ‘decline of the West’ (ala Spengler) that is going on in the industrialized world, I could only but hope for a reversal of degenerative trends there, trends that are likewise manifested in the negative images about the Western cities.

Maybe it’s time that Western peoples should look up to the themes and images projected by Eastern cities, watch and learn from our nascent innovations and urban marvels, and hope that the experience could help to reverse the deepening pessimism and nihilism going on in Western cities and nations.

[Philippines, 19 January 2011]

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INDIA JETISSONS 2011, ALL SET FOR BIG GROWTH

January 25, 2011

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Gracious day to you fellow global citizens! Special goodwill greetings to the people of India!

The year 2011 just kicked off with a good start for Asia, today’s indubitable growth driver of the global economy. From macro-economic fundamentals to micro-innovations, things are heading for another great year of bountiful growth and future prosperity for Asians.

India, known in ancient times as Bharat, is no exception to the Asian trends. Its income grew by double digit the past year, its macro-economic fundamentals are reclining on the positive side, and so external observers like me have reason to infer a very optimistic year of performance for modern Bharat.

Not only is India growing with sufficient prudence domestically, but even on the international terrain the Bharat ‘emerging market’ has done well. India’s enterprise moguls have sustained the patterns of expansion in overseas investments, which is laudable.

Just recently, the news bannered the gladdening reportorial about investments moving to Africa. As this is happening, the tie up between Tata Group and Siemens for producing the Nano car (priced at $2,000) and a diversity of machines and tools is now in the pipeline, with joint ventures expected to permeate Brazil, China, and other ‘emerging markets’.

So far so good! Well, the social sectors of Bharat may have a different opinion, such as the rural food producers who still number the greatest in the population, so they are entitled to their perceptions. And, the women who for millennia have been subjugated in yokes of patriarchalism, they too must feedback their advocacies about greater economic and social freedoms for women.

As to the market players, they have already advanced their reservations about the move to tap through their private communications networks (e.g. bug them, in search for possible money salting overseas or racketeering, and so on…). They have aired their concern about possible abuse of their privacy, a move that is short of installing a fascist tyranny in India.

India has been an exemplary democracy in Asia and the world, so there really should be no apprehension about the moves there to monitor money laundering and related criminal activities via covert tapping of communications lines and channels. However, there are fundamentalist groups in the power structure there, so there is some reason to be bothered about possible abuse of such intelligence discretions by right-wing Establishment groups.

One wish I’d like to share for Bharat’s people is that they should avoid advancing materially at the expense of their spiritual growth. India’s greatest wealth, as I observe it, is its spiritual wealth. It would prove very tragic if not catastrophic if Indians will eventually drop off their spiritual practices, such as going the Yogic Path, in order to metamorphose completely into a materially prosperous federation.

I remember that couples of years back I said the same thing about Nepal. I just couldn’t believe that Nepalese regard themselves as a poor nation, when in fact their spiritual wealth remains intact. Such a perception could lead to a win/lose situation, whereby Nepalese would prosper materially by throwing away eventually their spiritual wealth, and that for me will prove catastrophic as it bodes a Dark Age for the future materially wealthy nation.

It would be best for India and south Asian nations to prosper in an integrative way, by synthesizing material progress and spiritual wellbeing. That compass would lead to a new experience of win/win situation, where both techno-economic progress and spiritual growth would go hand-in-hand.

That represents a daunting challenge for India and its people. For those persons and groups in India who resonate with my thesis, they are already assured of my moral and spiritual support—me being a spiritual guru here in Manila/Philippines. Should they invite me to their cyberspace forums, sure I will join them and be a process observer of these tech-savvy scions of Rama.

For the Indians of today, cheers! Namaste!

[Philippines, 17 January 2011]

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Come Visit E. Argonza’s blogs anytime!

Social Blogs:

IKONOKLAST: http://erleargonza.blogspot.com

UNLADTAU: https://unladtau.wordpress.com

Wisdom/Spiritual Blogs:

COSMICBUHAY: http://cosmicbuhay.blogspot.com

BRIGHTWORLD: http://erlefraynebrightworld.wordpress.com

Poetry & Art Blogs:

ARTBLOG: http://erleargonza.wordpress.com

ARGONZAPOEM: http://argonzapoem.blogspot.com

Mixed Blends Blogs:

@FRIENDSTER: http://erleargonza.blog.friendster.com

@SOULCAST: http://www.soulcast.com/efdargon

Website & Mixed Blogs:

MULTIPLY: http://efdargon.multiply.com