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Tag Archives: East

I picked up an intriguing book while browsing Barnes & Nobles entitled Confucius Lives Next Door: What Living in the East Tells us About Living in the West. Recently I have found myself addicted to Chinese philosophy and so the name of Confucius drew my attention. Then I read the back. It is a book about living in East Asia mostly from the perspective of living in Japan. Yes, Japan is in East Asia, but Confucius was not Japanese so the title was misleading. Okay, that’s fine, the book the still seems like it might be a good read. However, using Japan to generalize the lifestyle of East Asia is like using Germany to generalize the lifestyle of Western Europe. There are many similiarities to the way they think and conduct everyday life amongst the different countries, but also many, many differences. Perhaps the book should be entitled A Samurai Lives Next Door because Japanese thought is far more influenced by Samurai customs than by Confucius (or Kongzi). A most important difference between the most identifiable nations in East Asia, Japan and China, is that Japan has been much more influenced by western customs than has China. This is very significant when an author tries to write about a region. Perhaps the book is good, and perhaps the author does take these ideas into account – I have yet to read the book and may soon do so.

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In reflection of my accusation of the immorality of taking sides without understanding the situation (See Free Tibet?!), I must also review the Palestine-Israel commotion of late 2008/early 2009. When studying the situation, it may seem that taking a side, even if one understands the situation, is not always the best choice.

There is a growing sympathy, and rightfully so, for the Gaza-Palestinians. As of now, over 1,000 people have been killed, including numerous children. Far Fewer on the side of Israel haven been killed by Hamas rockets. The battle is lopsided in terms of power and morality, or so it seems. Hamas troops do use civilian holds as hiding places and safe keeps, but this is not the only issue at hand. Due to the ill-sentiment of the state and existence of Israel by a large portion of the Muslim Middle East, Israel apparently believes that whenever they are attacked they must show massive force to keep other possible enemies at bay. But even this is not the main issue.

How can someone pick sides when each side is in the wrong. As the saying goes — two wrongs don’t make a right. The quote may be overused, but it is a good virtue to live by.

Israel should take shame in its mutilation of Gaza. But the Palestinians should also take shame, in hte failure to call out the wrong from within. Hamas may not be a direct threat to the Palestinian people, and has even been known to be helpful to the people, but the existence of this entity creates threats for others and by doing so brings malice to Palestine. They seem to think it is okay for Hamas to exist as long as Hamas is no threat to them, and that Hamas helps them have a “better standard of living.” However, is it really okay to rely on such an entity? Is it really okay to¬† even simply be fine that such an entity exists? I can understand how the people of the region can pick their side in this issue, especially when their families, homes, and livlihood are threatned. However, for someone without a stake in the region, taking sides should nto be so simple as who killed more. How is it we can find support for the mass murder? How is it that we can find support for people who accept the support of an entity and the cost of others? When both sides are blatantly wrong, choosing a side is ignorant. Palestine and Israel need to just put away their weapons. For the people of this region the issue does dwelve deeper, but this particular conflict is foolish.