Thursday, August 23, 2007 . 8:17 PMShrinks and Torture
Prisons like Guantanamo have long come under scrutiny for their brutal techniques in interrogation, from beatings to forced nakedness. We would be looking at areport on the transperency and integrity of psychologists involved in the interrogation, with reference to the following article.
Psychologists are an integral part of any prison. They serve both as a counselor to the inmates and interrogators. Their other duty would also be to watch out the emotional control and sector of these 2 factions. The interrogators, are well, to extract information from these criminals, most notably, that of captured terrorists, as highlighted in the news repeatedly.
Hence, what is worrisome is that shrinks are not doing their jobs well enough to control the emotions of interrogrators as well as to care for the mental aspect of the inmates. Especially the interrogators of hardcore terrorists that refuse to part with information, leading to almost inhuman and unethical treatment of these inmates. Thus, the scrutiny of shrinks on doing their part to do their job. What's more worrisome is the rife stories of these psychologists having a hand in the torture process, employing their knowledge on human mentality and puting these inmates into mental and physical torture.
In my opinion, while the shrinks might possibly be less efficient in their jobbs, they should be given more authority to decide the mental fitness of the interrogators before doing their jobs. The four walls of isolated camps like that of Guantanamo are enough to stress even the guards up, let alone the interrogators who are supposed to break into the minds of hardcore prisoners (Taliban and Al Qaeda). So these shrinks definitely have to be qualified and mentally stale enough to work in such stressful environments.
Thus, a healthy and active envrionment is needed, coupled together with a group of psychologists with proven track records in their ability and capability to handle these fragile cases, for another spate of violence by interrogators would be most undesirable
Sunday, August 19, 2007 . 11:32 PMCity of Possibilities- What to Look Foward to?
This year's ND Rally speech is focused on 2 basic needs and problems of our country- that is, an ageing population and redeveloping the living standards of Singaporeans in general. Basically, it strives towards an aim of City of Possibilities.
City of Possibilities aims to push Singapore towards a vibrant and thriving city-state that is recognized on the world stage- Possibicity. In education, in the workforce and most importantly, a home where everyone can look forward to. And this is done through the 2 highlighted policies of the night- readjusting the CPF to suit the aged needs and a overall revamp and upgrading of Singapore's living areas.
Catering to an aging population. Many of the old depend on their CPF to see them through their golden ages. The CPF was started in the 1970s to help Singaporeans save and secure their future by saving a part of their monthly income. However, we have come a long way, lifespan in 1970 was only 61 years, but now, we average at about 81 years. That is a additional 20 years which most CPF savings are unable to cope with. As a result, the policy targets at 2 main changes to solve this problem. Firstly, to raise a person's CPF interest by 1 percentage point, anyone earning 1700 a month, by the time he reaches 55years, would have another 20,000 due to this additional compounded interest, which would expend the government about 700million per year. Another target would be to raise the drawback of CPF to 65years and making all local companies offer the aged jobs and remployment till the age of 65. This would then allow the old to spread up their CPF over a longer time period, as well as allow our population to work longer.
Next, we hope to raise the country's living standard and lifestyle up a notch- comparable to that of Manhattan and Los Angeles. This would not cover just the citycenter, but in the heartlands as well. Thus this has come in the form of 2 new policies. Unveiling the HIP programme, to upgrade flats built in the early 1980s to 1989, this would bring a additional 100 000 flats under upgrading. Secondly, there would also be a new generation of flats being built, bringing Manhattan style living into the heartlands- pilot project Punggol 21 which merges eco-friendliness with a Hip style of living. This, we hope, can create a new style of living in Singaporeans- but more importantly, still retain our brand name as a clean, green city powered by highly efficient and self-motivated individuals. That is- Singapore 21.
Saturday, August 11, 2007 . 11:58 AMBlack and White- A Colourblind American Justice System?
This is a little commentary on the justice system in America, based on a case study as follows
It was reported that in America, blacks that kill whites are twice as likely to be execueted by than the opposite, raising concerns over racial discimination in the Land of the Free. Now, such a phenomenon has been attributed to 2 main factors- racial discrimination and political influences. It has been discovered that as the black population grows in a given state, then executions become more likely, probably because whites fear blacks. But after a point—when the black population reaches about 16 percent—executions start to diminish probably because blacks become politically strong enough to reduce executions when their proportions reach that level.
Furthermore, such a finding has been alarming- as follows
" At the state level we found that … the greater the strength of the Republican Party in the state, the more likely you'll have executions, death sentences or that capital punishment will be legal in the state "
This suggests that a harsher law enforcement is imposed where the situation is politically more stable- does this mean it is safer to discriminate? Safer to supress them?
Generally, minorities have always been seen as intruders, "aliens" to the majority's way of life. Not just in America, but everywhere. It is not what permits us to discriminate, but the values and beliefs that we violate in the discrimination process. There is no need to elaborate on what needs to be done, but more of what we think about it and whether we take action on it, not for them, but for ourselves.
Thursday, August 2, 2007 . 9:52 PMReligious Discrimination- the Bane of Society?
Religion plays a very big part in our lives. Christians dress in their Sunday best weekly, the Buddhists and Hindus pray fervently at their temples while the Muslims aim to visit the holy place of Mecca at least once in their lives. As a result, while it is sort of a spiritual fufilment to our mind and body, it has also become one of the greatest weapons being utilized in sowing discord amongst people.
Time and time again, history has repeaated and shown that religious discrmination is one of our greatest problems. From N.Ireland to Singapore and Switzerland. While being secular, or even cordial in our relationships. There is always an unspoken gap that seperates us from one another, so one questions- Wouldn't it be better if we were to say eliminate it from society?
In my opinion, religious discrimination is indeed our bane. Tearing apart people. Thus, what we really need would be to be able to tolerate. In a sense, while religion is a sensitive issue- humans have indeed shown very little tolerance for any form of discrimination. Just a snide remark could actually offset riots. So, I do feel that while the pinnacle of tolerance would be able to openly crack jokes(religious) at one another. We do need to be able to tolerate
Just something for Interest's sake