23 Sep 2008

趕走了壞總統,卻來了個笨總統!

說馬英九是笨總統,實是一種恨鐵不成鋼的心態反應,然而馬英九最近的作為真的是笨總統的最佳代表。

曾幾何時,他的溫文儒雅、風度翩翩是如此吸引著台灣的選民,也造就出七百多萬選票的記錄。七百多萬選民賦予他艱鉅的重責大任,希望藉由他的清廉、穩重與睿智,將台灣的政壇與經濟帶出陳水扁時代的貪瀆、胡鬧與悲情。然而,誰也沒料想到溫文儒雅竟是懦弱的假象,而風度翩翩竟是徬徨無知的偽裝。因為他的懦弱,使得弊案無法以迅雷不及掩耳的速度偵查完畢,更無法對貪贓枉法之輩做出最嚴厲的處分;也因為他的徬徨無知,導致他成為總統府裡那不食人間煙火的理想主義者,好像只要有理想一切都會成功,而一切問題都是可以用理想來解決的。

治國不是在寫博士論文,不是用想的就可以做好,也不是待在辦公室建構理想就叫做治國。總統的任務不是每天去參加一些莫名其妙的餐會,也不是每天跟高層閣員關在辦公室討論與實際民生實無絕對關係的理想。當然的,理想是不可或缺的,有了理想國家未來發展才有目標與希望,但這不能夠脫離掉現實的社會狀態與人民迫切的需要。雖然當前政府推出的政策對台灣發展實有益處,但實際運作上卻是漏洞百出、脫離現實。試問,如果執行上出現誤差與不適,那以建構出的理想化政策是否需要適度修正,或是需要重新檢討?如果當總統真的是在寫論文,如果當前政府執意繼續這似乎完美,但卻無法實際解決問題的理想化政策,那我可以確定馬英九這篇如何當總統的論文是必要被退件重寫。

最近的毒奶粉、毒奶精事件再次顯露出當前政府對民生事件的無知與無能。怎麼一件單純的民生事件會讓政府如此的慌張失措?為什麼?是否就像俗語說的:「什麼人玩什麼鳥」,因為在上位者的個性、想法使然,因此他找來辦事的人也都是像他一樣的個性與想法。這樣一種懦弱、無能的政府,我要它幹嘛?可否請馬英九快一點振作起來,可不可以果斷一點、勇敢一點,可不可以有魄力,可不可以拿出當總統的樣子?不要在當躲在城堡裡的公主了,「be a man and show your guts」!

9 Sep 2008

I want a beach holiday now!

Beautiful Koh Chang!





It is such a beautiful island. Though it takes forever to travel down there from Bangkok (9 hours, including the time when the bus broke down and then caught fire. How lucky we were!), I would love to go back once I have the time and money. Nice beach, warm water, excellent seafood and Thai curry (more like Cambodian style, a bit sweet and more creamy), and wonderful (cheap as well) massage! Such a great place to relax our totally exhausted body!

2 Sep 2008

Poverty vs. High Fashion: how naive fashion can be

Vogue India editor Priya Tanna's message to critics of the August shoot: "Lighten up," she said in a telephone interview. Vogue is about realizing the "power of fashion" she said, and the shoot was saying that "fashion is no longer a rich man's privilege. Anyone can carry it off and make it look beautiful," she said.

"You have to remember with fashion, you can't take it that seriously," Tanna said. "We weren't trying to make a political statement or save the world," she said. International Herald Tribune 2008/09/01


Of course, the chief editor, the fashion editor, the photographer, the models and even the costumers and make-up artists don't have the intention to make any "political" statement in those pictures. What they think and want is only to give an image that can highlight the beauty of those fashion products, especially when they are all made in the style of so-called "ethnic". However, what is very wrong in these pictures is their very bizarre and even sick sense of beauty. Do they really think the contrast between poverty and high fashion in those pictures could help gain more potential costumers? In fact, instead of promoting fashion products, the contrast in these pictures seems ironically to mock the fashion industry. The laughter the woman made in the picture seems to laugh at those who purchase these somehow useless luxurious products.

It is extremely naive to say that high fashion can be enjoyed by anyone when "the power of fashion" is clearly pointed out. It is just illogical. If I had the money and were the person who has the privilege for such life-style, I wouldn't want other people to copy my life-style and dress as I do. Such distinction must be retained, and it has always been retained in the society since our society, whether highly developed or not, can never escape the condition of being classified. In this classified society, those who obtain the power and are thus the privileged class always try their best to make themselves different, and in order to do so, they must create something that can only be owned by themselves. This ownership, due to the scarcity of products being owned, defines the value and the status of the owner in the hierarchy. In fashion, a special industry that serves this specific class, we always see big brand names producing products highly "valuable" in quality but very "few" in quantity. Only by doing so could these brands, involving in this competition for being recognized as high fashion, survive and carry on their service. Therefore, we see the power of fashion is manipulated by those who want it and those who can have it. It is not available for every agent in the society. When the middle class only have limited access to high fashion, let alone the others. So, it is just naive to say that "fashion is no longer a rich man's privilege".

The second problem with these pictures are on the use of poverty. The editors in Vogue India must be very insensitive towards the food shortage and poverty problem happening in the world now. How could the editor tell the public to "lighten up" when the issue of poverty is manipulated in this way? Indeed, those models must have got paid by posing for the picture, but what concerns us is being a published media their use of poverty to highlight the wealthy life-style is irresponsible and leads the public to ignore the real problem. Moreover, this use of poverty also causes a highly sensitive issue, that is, treating the poor as a tool just to satisfy the weird and distasteful taste of the rich. We need people to care about the global problem, but the message in these pictures only say "we are rich because we are and therefore we can exploit whoever and whatever we can". As the editor said, no "political statement" is intended in these pictures, but she should know that messages are naturally transmitted and reinterpreted when pictures are made public. Even though you don't intend to give any ideas in the picture, since it is a public one, it is open to all who wish and have reinterpreted the message in it. Of course, we don't need to "take it seriously" because it is just a fashion magazine. We are not asking these fashion magazines to be educational, since it will be hard for them, but at least they can be more sensitive towards different real-life problems.

"You have to remember with fashion, you can't take it that seriously", this statement seems very wrong. Does it mean that fashion is not important and should be treated as something stupid and useless? Does it mean that those who love fashion and are involved in fashion are not serious people? Does this mean that this business is "not serious" at all? Does it mean that Vogue, being the most influential fashion magazine in the world, should be looked at in that sense? It is just amazing to hear such words form the editor of that publishing house. Instead of giving excuses and defending their obviously wrong approach, Vogue India, and even Vogue headquarters, should just simply apologize for their wrong approach. The statement just makes the whole incident ugly and may hurt to a certain extent the image of Vogue.