When I was sixteen: An open critical letter to Greta Thunberg

When I was sixteen: An open critical letter to Greta Thunberg

I will probably get lots of flak from Greta Thunberg supporters, friends and colleagues of mine. After all, a good number of you know I’ve a deep passion for international/global development, took a masters degree in the subject, wrote a doctoral thesis relating to the topic and have some practical experience on development. Ok, not exactly on environmental causes or climate change but close. And yet here I am, criticising a sixteen-year-old climate change activist.

When I was sixteen Greta, climate change/saving the earth/environmental protection wasn’t new to myself but quite far away from my priorities. Sixteen meant fretting over ‘O’ Level or in British terms, GCSEs, worrying which Junior College—in British terms, Year 12 and Year 13/Sixth Form—I would go to, how my educational future would look like and what sort of jobs I could acquire. Climate change was not just featured through my O Level Geography. It came about during my primary school years, where we children were taught to re-use paper, not throw away un-recyclable waste, and save water. The last item is still heavily featured in my country and my mind. The name ‘Jie Sheng’  has a meaning but is also known as 节省 or jié shěng, to save. We school children were thus taught to ‘jié sheng yòng shuǐ’ or ‘save up/use water wisely’. I was teased over it so much over it.

Anyway, what it showed was that environmental protection was a key issue for me, but not through campaigning or sailing with your father through the Atlantic from Sweden to New York. Such conservation was as Miss Thunberg demands, was already government-led  in my country. But to demand that all governments switch towards climate protection, whether be in in 2001—when I was sixteen—or now in 2019, is a very tall order. At sixteen, I had little idea about the effectiveness of government policies. Within the next year, in Junio College, I was taught about effective and inefficient governments in economics and this education on government actions continued throughout my academic studies and practical experience.

My message to Greta is simple: You can’t just fault or pressure governments to act on climate change. You come from Sweden, where the tax rates are extremely high and the government reciprocates my providing almost all social services to people right to the old ages. I’m from one of the successful Asian Tigers, where rational government policies along side the private sector worked to create a country which has grown rapidly and created sustainable development policies long before the formulation of the MDGs or the SDGs or any of your campaigning. There are also faulty government policies from industrialised and developing countries which at best, improve the environment for only elites in a country. On the other hand, private actions, not exactly sailing across oceans in a multi-million-dollar yacht or being vegan, have a role to play in saving the earth or as my namesake says, ‘jié shěng’.

My second message is about the style of campaigning or activism Greta uses. She convinces—present tense because it might still occur—teenagers or children to skip school and protest against their governments to focus on climate change. In simple terms, the message is:Listen governments, you better focus all your efforts on climate change, or we won’t go to school. Now, I’ve dabbled with campaigning in my undergraduate years, albeit not to Greta’s extent or success. But campaigning should not be, first, threatening, or second, detrimental to one self or third, shooting yourself in the foot. Greta and her fanatical followers commit all three acts: They threaten themselves more than the governments:1) By skipping school, they receive less education and 2) lower their skills set and thus reducing their chances of long-term employment. As a result, governments and future governments will have to tend to a group of low-skill, highly unemployed activists believing in doomday.

This brings me to my third criticism, that the focus should be on the climate/environment during global talks like the UNGA or G8 or G20 or regional talks. Greta says, ‘you destroy my childhood dreams.’ In a jovial argument, I say my childhood dream was to be a train engineer, which ironically, means I would be polluting the earth. But I never managed to enter that world. She also mentioned that governments focus on eternal growth and not climate change.

Seriously, is a discussion on economic growth really detrimental? Let’s walk back to East Asia’s development. If there wasn’t focus on economic growth, East Asian governments, as well as China who entered the development realm later, wouldn’t have the economies they have today and the capabilities to curtail—I do not really believe in the term combating—climate change. It is churlish to say there should be a focu onlys on the climate—nearly all UNGA, G8, G20, whatever multilateral or regional forum there is—includes environmental protection in their final communiques, alongside economic growth or sustainable growth. Furthermore, ask a government official in a least developed country: Would you focus on the climate or would you focus on ways to improve your economy so you can have sustainable progress and reduce foreign official development assistance?

Finally, let’s look at the future which being campaigned. As mentioned, education and jobs were at the forefront of my mind at sixteen. Apparently, destroyed child dreams is one of Greta’s messages to governments. Deal with the climate because you are destroying my dreams. As I mentioned, I dreamt as a child to be train engineer and oh, my dreams are destroyed, albeit not by the climate. Yes, the future will be literally bleak if there aren’t policies to curtail climate change, but this doesn’t mean you should encourage children should skip school to protest. No, again, faulting governments or sailing yachts isn’t the way forward. To twist former US President Kennedy’s phrase, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your world. Activism is fine, but make it rational and strop thinking governments are to blame or the way forward.


Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

Star Wars Episode VII: The Last Jedi My Thoughts

Spoilers ahead, be warned. Thoughts about The Last Jedi:

Ok characters first:

Hux: Wannabe boy (like everyone around him except Kylo appear older) who calls himself General, not much of a leader or tactician (for example why the heck did he not use the rest of his Star Destroyers?)

Kylo: Young wannabe kid as well with too many little boy characteristics: cannot take insult from Master and smash his mask–not like he looks better without it. Go shirtless and talk to your enemy/friend/girlfriend/partner (can you make up your mind who Rey is?) Also lousy tactician–cannot plan the destruction on Mom’s small fighters and only tell kid companion Hux “I’m Supreme Leader!” (Doesn’t sound like Ozymandias mind you…)

Snoke: Failed Palpatine Wannabe. First, why did you pick such as weakling like Kylo/Ben who can’t even “caputure” a scavenger who rather talks to your apprentice in private? (Failed Jedi/Sith powers). Second, your throne room is nothing compare to Palpy’s friend, looks more like a red curtain and some red boys who can’t fight that well. Third, nice torturing of Rey, but hey man, you spent to much time throwing her around while your emo apprentice who you insulted earlier sliced through you with the Skywalker lightsaber. Maybe next time double check your apprentice and don’t insult him yeah?

Captain Phasma: Or is it Loser Phasma? Killed by your yee-hah ex-stormtrooper? Look ma’am next time, don’t form up the stormtrooper parade (err what are the drill commands in SW language?) and bring your executioners who can count to three themselves. Your predecessors can show you how to shoot and not kill…

(Can’t think much of the other FO (no not dirty word!) characters. Yeah most of them can’t command a battle anyway.)

Admiral Ackbar: Sadly, my friend it was a trap for you, or maybe not. Come one, you’re an Admiral (though Lando did more of the tactics in ROTJ), you had more than 30 years of fighting (maybe it was because you’re old), and you didn’t lead an evacuation well (ok boss Leia was i/c)

Amilyn Holdo: Average tactician, ok you probably deserve the rank on Captain, not Vice-Admiral (though SW loves rank inflation, look at kiddy Hux for example). I don’t care for your hair style or colour.

Poe Dameron: Definitely a not a Wedge Antilles. Lead a rebellion, not obeying orders, but somehow X-Wing fighter, ground fighter and everything combined into one. If you ever want to launch a coup, recruit Poe

BB-8: Droid that can fly or control an Imperial Walker. Way too unbelievable. Also, taking off its head is useless; it just can be reattached back on.

C-3P0: Useless comic relief. Been there done that.

R2-D2: You really lose out to the Beachball, oops BB-8. Amazingly, you still have the Leia video. Tells you how much storage space he has (Get a R2 unit, not a flashdrive/thumbdrive)

Chewie: Aw now your an advert for vegetarians. Never eat meat anymore once you meet a cute little ‘Pufffin”. Oh, instead of a smuggler, you have a cutie bird as your Falcon Captain.

Leia: You really need to retire or just drop the General rank. Princess was way better. And who taught you to travel through space after FO TIEs easily destroyed your cruiser’s bridge? Definitely not your “I failed” brother. No a much better tactician that the rest.

Luke: Best of all actually though takes a while to understand why this hero didn’t want to do much after nephew half-turned to the Dark Side. And next time. don’t throw away your green lightsaber. The girl could really have killed you.

Rey: If TFA didn’t project you as a know-it-all, do-it-all Mary Sue, then this movie did it. Next time, you want to get Luke’s attention, don’t just give him a lightsaber! (More of that below) Then dear, next time respect the Master and not worry so much about turning emo-kid back to the light side. And who taught you how to swim in water? There wasn’t any in Jakku. Nor did you appear to be affected by new environments.

Page: Cute girl and seems more like a Resistance fighter than the rest of them. Other wise, the “horse-like” racing didn’t match you. And your crying and protesting didn’t work for me.

Finn: Simply, can you please shut up.

Other points:

TLJ teaches you how not to greet people: 1) Handing a (dejected) Jedi Master his old lightsaber instead of saying “hello”. Shooting your uncle/failed teacher/enemy with canons from six different walkers.

First it is Poe-likes/loves-Finn, Finn-likes/love Rey. Now Finn-likes/loves Paige. Didn’t they teach them “two’s a company, three’s a crowd, four’s a…”

I thought Poe and Rey met in TFA? Why did they introduce themselves in the last scene?

As mentioned, where the hell did the FO get all those Star Destroyers/Mega-sized Star Destroyers? They didn’t do much damage any how thanks to the boy generals…

Up to now, the Resistance,, formerly Rebellion, don’t know how to take down Imperial Walkers. And conveniently, there are trenches for them again. Didn’t they learn anything from Hoth?

The Resistance Bombers are practically useless war machines, inasmuch as they are copies of WWII bombers. I mean, do you expect to easily sail above the enemy ship and deploy your bomblets or whatever they are called?

Kylo/Ben, as people previously pointed out, look nothing like Leia and Han or even a nephew of Luke. Yeah, he couldn’t have dyed his hair but come on….

May I add what the heck was that scene Luke milking that creature? Looked damn gross.

That said, Miss can-do-it all Rey may look like a Skywalker, but doesn’t fit (at the moment)

Ok enough said. Have to stop eating Porgs and be like Chewie…haha

Posted in Posts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Questions, comments (and plot holes) after watching Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

1) Big question: Why on earth did Disney (JJA et al) remake A New Hope? Many fans are not dumb.

2) It seems odd that Luke Skywalker, the great Jedi hero, would run away just because some rebellious school drop out, his nephew, turned to the Dark Side (and still isn’t a great Dark Side Warrior). Rather, the Luke we know would have faced this new threat, not runaway and abandon his twin sister and good friend Han. Going into exile reeks of a copycapy of the EU/Legend books (which I’ve not read) where Luke there did the same thing.

3) BB-8. Cute and R2 replacement. But one, how can he/it roll on any surface so well? Frictionless? And not get dirty–moving on sand, spaceship, forest and grass (Resistance base) and other surfaces? And move down and up stairs with ease.

4) Why the cocky remark from Poe? Usually that means a Force choke. Vader would have done that. I guess Kylo, the Vader wannabe, didn’t know how to?

5) (Move back a bit)–How come suddenly Stormtroopers or people bleed. Let me remind you of the OT: Lots of Stormtroopers died but none of them bled or wiped blood on others nearby. Leia was shot in ROTJ and not much blood on her or Han’s arm. Suddenly in TFA, a stormtrooper can slowly die and wipe blood on his comrade?

6) Relating to 5, how does “Finn” know his friend is the one shot? There’s no clear ID tag on any Stormtrooper’s back or front.

7) Kylo can stop a laser bolt in mid-air. Cool. Apparently only once. Later, Chewie can shoot and he can’t stop the bolt.

9) That instantly bread was cool but a bit unhygienic–stirring with your finger which just collected dirty scrap.

10) Playing with a helmet which you can’t see throught?

11) Guarding one suspect with one guard? In ANH, ESB and ROTJ, many stormtroopers guarded prisoner(s). And since when can just one other stormtrooper ask another to say “hey, Ren wants him?” No authorisation double check? And one stormtrooper escorting one prisoner? Han and Luke as stormtroopes escorted one “prisoner” aka Chewie.

12) Escape via two seater TIE. Great coincidence there’s such a fighter–in the OT people had to use the Falcon or a shuttle. Then wow, the TIE fighter doesn’t get damaged by heavy laser blasts. Then the Star Destroyer doesn’t have many guns–just one tractor beam that can be shot at (in the OT, OBWK had to disable it internally) and one turbolaser. No TIE fighters lauched to shoot it down. Got special missiles that the real world would love.

13) Poe crashes but goes missing. Nearly an hour later, he returns in a X-Wing over a lake and somehow later, talks to be person who helped him escape. But how did he escape from the crashed TIE and head back to the Resistance? His aim was to find BB-8. He clearly didn’t do that. Not punished? Just allowed back in a X-Wing without a BB unit?

14) Poe has a Stormtrooper armour and belt on. No water canteen? I believe books and cartoons etc show Stormtroopers are hydrated somehow. Why so sweaty?

15) Amazing that hey! I crash-land and hey! There’s a settlement nearby. R2 and Threepio had to walk for long before being captured. (Uh, BB-8 rolled as well before being captured)

16) Backtrack–Teedo the captor of BB-8, easily gives the beach ball droid away. But hey, Rey was armed only with a staff. Who gives a captive away so easily?

17) Water, I need water. Yes, you drink unhygienic water. Why no diarrhoea later?

18) You are a stormtrooper you fool. And you are beaten in combat by some girl who lived alone for years. Oh wait, later we learn you are a sanitation boy. No wonder.

19) Boy grabs girl hand. So ungentlemanly unlike Han and Leia’s first meet. Girl grabs boy hand. Feminist superiority.

20) Lazy writing: The Millennium Falcon suddenly appears!!! Han and Chewie (and Lando) lost it after 30 years. So out of Star Wars universe.

21) Scavenger girl can fly the plane better than Han Solo or even Lando. Oh this point is picked up later. (Starting to be worse than young boy “Annie” flying a pod.)

22) Only 2 TIE fighters chasing after two people and a beach ball droid. Great work FO! Oh wait, no, General Hux.

23) Backtrack–Hux is a young general. Either the Empire lost all Admiral Piett style officers or this is so out of place. As is Captain Phasma. Not Captain or military material at all.

24) Ball droids have hooks. R2 in the OT rolled backwards when the Falcon dived or jumped into lightspeed. But no, beach balls don’t.

25) Lazy writing: Apparently, it’s ok once you are in space. A girl who has never been to knows a “junk” ship better than a Stormtrooper traitor. A junk ship that has not flown in years can be repaired. A junk ship that is junk has working oxygen masks and still clean and spacious cargo holds.

26) Lazy writing: Han and Chewie can enter the Falcon so easily. No lock?

27) Han and Chewie make the silliest mistake than no real human would–check your vehicle. If you have a stolen car than you find, checking it is the first thing you do. No, immediately you find the traitor and the girl and the beach ball droid.

28) No interrogation. Chewie doesnt snarl at the trio. Instead Han asks simple questions. He accepts their story. Especially liar Finn.

29) Instead of staying the Falcon, Han tries to talk down two criminal gangs. We learn he can’t talk down people–Greedo and Jabba in the OT. So 30 years later, he thinks he can?

30) Backtrack. Han and Chewie, OT characters are portrayed as losers. From Rebel heroes they are not Octopussy (sorry I couldn’t resist) haulers. Ie, selling animals to people. WTH is this?

31) Expected plot: Of course those Octopussies would be released by magical girl. Wait, the Force has been strong with Rey. Why let it release animals that nearly kill a traitor boy?

32) Role reversal: Girl rescues boy.

33) Bit of lazy writing: You can head into hyperspace from a cargo hold? Did you even set coordinates?

34) Why not ask BB-8 or force it to set coordinates? Why the big detour to Maz?

35) Rey is shown to be arrogant, refusing a blaster. Actually, since when do blasters have safeties?

36) Finn lies, suddenly there’s this magical shorty ass who knows the Force and reads eyes. Really so out of place.

37) You can walk around an unknown castle with escort.

38) No explanation why Maz would have Luke’s lightsaber. Why is it in an unsecured location. Why, in both OT and PT, no one had super Force visions?

39) It appears than Obi-Wan and Yoda can speak to Rey. But hey, they should have done so to Luke post ROTJ and stopped the Ben Solo/Kylo mess. Apparently, I guess, the Force wants destruction before balance. As the story goes…

40) You can live alone well on a desert planet. But suddenly you run to a forest and later get captured. Oh yeah, no parental guidance.

41) Finn with a lightsaber. So out of place. (Not racist)

42) Show off Stormtrooper. Just shoot the traitor. Or throw thermal detonators.

43) The Force wasn’t strong with Rey caused she’s captured. She can fly, fix craft but run way from a lightsaber, and you lose. Moral of the story. Don’t run away from lightsabers and let traitors use it.

44) Poe suddenly reappears, see point 13. Then how does Finn know it it him? Also, who is helping Poe in the droid socket? BB-9?

45) Why would Leia, as a General, want to appear on this planet? You hate Han, you are a General, but you got the time to fly to see him?

46) No explanation over C-3PO’s red arm. Or less annoying voice.

47) Finn lying again, to Leia.

48) Leia makes a big mistake–you trust Finn so easily? Defectors can be double agents or liars–which Finn was. No background check? Oh, he worked on base. He knows the layout. Clearly later, he doesn’t. Sanitation boy!!!

49) R2-D2 has been sleeping/low power mode? Cannot charge him back up? No technician can rip away his memory? Only will wake up later?

50) OT: Death Star One plans had to be analysed carefully. But no, all you need is a liar’s account, plus a miraculous reconnaissance (pilot didn’t get noticed by the FO?) and you see the weak point and have a battle plan?

51) ROTJ and Endor–Rebels send a strike team plus Han et al. Against a super duper Death Star, the Resistance send a defector (later sanitation boy), Han and Chewie. Great General leadership Leia!!!

51) Rey’s resistance of Kylo. Not as cool as Leia’s resistance of an interrogation droid–who tortured her.

52) Greg Grunberg as a bearded X-Wing pilot just looks like Porkins 2.0.

53) Sanitation. Traitor/Defector, liar, useless bum, now defector. Compare that to savior of a Princess/droid, freelance fighter for the rebels and finally Rebel hero and general. *facepalm*

54) The Jedi Mind Trick. Super girl/Mary Sue. Luke took three movies to perform only one successful mind trick on Jabba’s assistant. Failed on Jabba. In PT, only once QGJ and he failed. This Mary Sue could suceeded after the second time in minutes?!

55) Tactical error again: You leave ONE! Stormtrooper guarding a girl who you just found to be Force-sensitive? You are a loser, school drop out Kylo/Ben/whatever cock name you are.

56) Supreme Leader cannot sense girl is Force Sensitive. Palpatine could in ESB. Some supreme leader.

57) Stormtrooper dropped weapon. But his comrades never see or alert others? Takes a half-trained Jedi/school drop out to find out? Then the base reaction–slower than those on Death Star 1?

58) Captain Phasma is practically useless. No struggle to surrender. No tricking captors–yessir, I’ll disable the shields. So willing. If she survived, she ought be Private Phasma or booted out.

59) One great super duper weapon, defended by only TIE fighters and some turbolasers. One great superweapon, attacked only by some X-Wings? A, B and Y? No other Resistance ships? All blown away or in repair?

60) Of course when you send only a pitiful number of X-Wings, you can’t destroy a base. Yet, only a few explosives can blow a hole?

61) How ridiculous is it that Kylo can sense Daddy but can”t detect him when he’s really nearby? How much of a Jedi are you?

62) How ridiculous is it that Han thought he could suceeded in talking down his Jedi son? Leia should have been the one to do it–she risked her life on Endor.

63) As said in point 7), Kylo failed to stop Chewie’s laer bolts. People say he was disturbed after killing Daddy. So? The Force stopped at that moment?

64) Apparently, the Force also prevented Rey from running fast enough. Or, the Force made injured Kylo spring out of the base into the woods.

65) Backtrack: Sanitation boy! It is a insulted to a coloured actor/character.

66) The Kylo vs Rey & Sanitation boy fight: Mary Sue wins. The Force can truly screw you and help you, despite never holding a lightsaber before initially complaining you don’t want it.

67) Terrible forced loved scene crying over unconscious boy. Compare to Han and Leia in ANH.

68) Wookie not loved–Leia hugs Mary Sue, not Chewie, who lost his best friend. Demote and punish the General!

69) R2 is out of his coma!! Or the Force Awakens.

70) All it is was a missing map. Hello, you electronic people in the Resistance–you couldn’t solve the puzzle? Only R2 can? Or are there dummies in the Resistance?

71) Backtrack: What the Hell was Admiral Ackbar doing there? It wasn’t a trap at all. No leadership again.

72) You found where you brother is. All you send is a dejected Wookie, a woken droid, and some Mary Sue you hardly know? Isn’t that an insult? If I were Luke I would tell them Leia is so thankless, FO. (No not the First Order).

73) Pretty beautiful place for the “First Jedi Temple”. So Obi-Wan lied again–never told Luke in the OT? Or PT? Maz, the Fore know-it-all, doesn’t know?

74) No “hello, who the hell are you?” by Luke?

Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

My guest article on Europe Asia Security Forum

Take a look, read and comment please

My Guest Article .

Posted in Posts | Leave a comment

Written Evidence to the UK HoC Defence Committee

Read and review.

Thanks to the UK House of Commons Defence Select Committee for publishing it.

Posted in Posts | Leave a comment