Singapore bids farewell to Lee Kuan Yew in elaborate funeral


TIME:

Tens of thousands of Singaporeans undeterred by heavy rains lined a 15 kilometer (9 mile) route through the Southeast Asian city-state to witness an elaborate funeral procession Sunday for longtime leader Lee Kuan Yew.

Lee’s coffin, protected from the downpour by a glass casing, lay atop a ceremonial gun carriage that was being led solemnly past city landmarks from parliament to a cultural center where the state funeral will be held. Walking slowly in the coffin’s wake as it exited parliament were Lee’s son, the current prime minister Lee Hsien Loong, other family members and government officials.

Crowds of people that began forming not long after dawn for the early afternoon funeral cortege chanted “Lee Kuan Yew” and waved Singapore’s national flag. Four howitzers fired a 21-gun salute, air force fighter jets streaked over the island and navy patrol ships blasted horns.

During a week of national mourning that began Monday after Lee’s death at age 91, some 450,000 people queued for hours for a glimpse of the statesman’s coffin at Parliament House. A million people visited tribute sites at community centers around the city.

The expansive show of emotion is a rare event for Singapore. The island nation about four times the size of Washington D.C. is known around the world as a wealthy trade and finance center with a strict social order including a ban on chewing gum and caning for some crimes.

Lee was Singapore’s prime minister for more than three decades, ruling with an iron grip until 1990, and is regarded by Singaporeans as the architect of their nation’s prosperity and harmonious race relations. But his authoritarian rule has also left a legacy of restrictions on free speech, a tame media and a stunted democracy.

He did everything for us Singaporeans regardless of race, language or religion,” said Jennie Yeo, a 58-year-old teacher, who arrived at 7 a.m. to stake out front row positions with two friends. “Education, housing, everything you can think of, he’s taken care of for us,” she said.

Leaders and dignitaries from more than two dozen countries are attending the state funeral. The U.S. delegation is led by former President Bill Clinton. Abroad, India has declared a national day of mourning and in New Zealand, the government is flying flags at half-staff.

During the funeral service, civil defense sirens will blare across the island to begin a minute’s silence.

Japan whaling ships return home from Antarctic with no catch

The Japan Coast Guard patrols Ayukawa port as a whaling fleet departs from Ishinomaki City on April 26, 2014

France 24:

Japanese whaling ships returned home from the Antarctic on Saturday for the first time in nearly 30 years with no catch onboard, after a UN court ordered an end to their annual hunt, local media reported.

The two ships — the 724-ton Yushinmaru and the 747-ton Daini (No 2) Yushinmaru — arrived at a port in western Shimonoseki city, a major whaling base.

It was the first return by Japanese whalers without catching any whales since 1987 when the country began the annual “research” hunt in the Antarctic, the Asahi Shimbun said.

The two ships did not face any attacks by anti-whaling activists during their three-months voyage, the daily added.

Tokyo had said this season’s excursion would not involve any lethal hunting. Harpoons normally used in the capture of the giant mammals were removed from the vessels. Crew members on the two boats carried out “sighting surveys” and took skin samples from the huge marine mammals, news reports said.

The non-lethal research came after the International Court of Justice — the highest court of the United Nations — ruled in March last year that Tokyo was abusing a scientific exemption set out in the 1986 moratorium on whaling.

The UN court concluded Tokyo was carrying out a commercial hunt under a veneer of science.

After the ruling, Japan said it would not hunt during this winter’s Antarctic mission, but has since expressed its intention to resume “research whaling” in 2015-16.

In a new plan submitted to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and its Scientific Committee, Tokyo set an annual target of 333 minke whales for future hunts, down from some 900 under the previous programme. It also defined the research period as 12 years from fiscal 2015 in response to the court’s criticism of the programme’s open-ended nature.

By collecting scientific data, we aim to resume commercial whaling,” agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters in the city as he attended a ceremony for their return.

Japan killed 251 minke whales in the Antarctic in the 2013-14 season and 103 the previous year, far below its target because of direct action by conservationist group Sea Shepherd.

Despite widespread international opprobrium, Japan has continued to hunt whales using the scientific exemption, although it makes no secret of the fact that the meat from the creatures caught by taxpayer-funded ships ends up on dinner tables.

How Asian Americans should deal with racist “microaggressions”

Dr. Richard Lee, Professor of Psychology- University of Minnesota

The Mac Weekly (by Minju Kim):

Microaggressions is a form of racism, often subtle, many Asian Americans deal with in their daily lives. Dr. Richard Lee, a psychology professor at University of Minnesota, is an expert on microaggression towards Asian Americans. He does extensive research on Asian Americans, including diverse issues ranging from international or interracial adoption and immigration to media portrayal of Asians.

On February 26th, he visited Macalester and gave a lecture titled “What does FOB mean? Fresh Off the Boat or Foreigner Objectification?

He explained that microaggression, which is a subtle but still concrete form of racism, occurs because many people regard Asian Americans as “forever foreigners,” rather than a part of “American identity.” They objectify Asian Americans in categories and exoticized as to serve their curiosity. The question that they frequently ask, “Where are you REALLY from?” manifests their perception of Asians as foreigners. Thus, the term FOB, which originally means Fresh-Off-the-Boat, can be interpreted as Foreign Objectification.

While the lecture marked a great success with high turnout, some questions remained among the participants. With regards to the questions, the follow-up interview was conducted through email in order to help the readers to better understand the argument that he makes.

TMW: At the lecture, you mentioned that it is important for adoptees to be connected to their original ethnic cultures. At the same time, their identity as American is essential to their self-esteem and life satisfaction. Then, what is the best and most stable identity for them to have? The American identity? The Asian identity? The Asian-American identity?

RL: There is no one best or most stable identity for any group of people, adopted or not. Research suggests that what is most important is that individuals develop an overall healthy, positive identity. If identifying with a particular social group (e.g., Asian American, Vietnamese, African-American) contributes to this overall identity, then all the better. Other research also suggests that feeling like you belong in this country (and hence identify as American) is important to well-being.

You said “Microaggression towards Asians is more cognitive rather than emotional.” Could you elaborate that point?

Our view is that microaggressions toward Asian Americans often are based on stereotypes that are not necessarily laden with negative emotions (e.g., angry black man). Instead, they are based on stereotypes such as nerdy, weak and foreign.

What do you think is the cause of microaggression? Would it be strictly because of the media portrayal of Asian Americans?

Media plays a big role but it’s also historical, dating back to the first Chinese immigrants to come to America.

You mentioned that you are interested in researching the ways in which Asians Americans cope with microaggression. However, as of now, how do you recommend Asian Americans to react when they encounter such racism?

It is important for Asian Americans to develop a repertoire of interpersonal and emotional coping skills to manage racism and discrimination. These skills should help people immediately after a discriminatory event occurs and afterward too. For example, if someone keeps asking questions and making comments that make you feel like they are treating you as a foreigner, it is helpful to know how to address this treatment rather than just accept it and thereby reinforce this person’s stereotype, but if there is a potential threat in the environment and its not safe, then it is important to know how to defuse the situation and step away. It also is important to know when to seek support from friends and family.

For those students who are not Asian Americans, what is the proper way for them to interact with Asian American students? Should they just not ask questions even when they have questions?

I think it’s important for people to just take a minute to examine their assumptions before making a comment such as “Where are you really from?” Is it the same kind of question you would ask a white person? If not, then why are you asking it now? If you are curious about someone’s ethnic background, ask yourself why. Is it to satisfy your curiosity? But then ask if you would ask another white person this question. Why are you only curious about the background of someone who is Asian? Is it the novelty or because you perceive Asians as an Other that is exotic and foreign?

To conclude, foreign objectification all comes down to hasty assumptions and inappropriate questions. Don’t get me wrong, I do not intend to say that microaggression always stems from ill intention. However, to borrow W. Kamau Bell’s words, “ending racism is not about ending your curiosity.” It takes a long time to change the society. However, it takes only few seconds to think before asking an inappropriate question and to avoid partaking in microaggression.

23-year-old chef Julian Fukue hits it big with “PokiNometry”, his create-your-own-poke bowl restaurant

 

JulianFukue

Food Beast (by Peter Pham):

Julian Fukue introduced the concept of poke to a completely new audience this past year. The 23-year-old chef hails from Orange County, CA, where his famous PokiNometry restaurant is based from. Fukue brought the Hawaiian dish of ahi tuna into the mainstream with his innovative Poke Bowls. The tuna and rice bowls are what made Fukue arguably one of the youngest entrepernuers in the OC poke industry.

When the humble poke-themed restaurant opened, Fukue set a goal for himself of 100 bowls sold each day.  In the weeks to come, however, the bowls began selling like mad. Thanks to word-of-mouth, PokiNometry became instantaneously famous and began selling around 800-1,000 bowls a day.

PokiNometry-Menu

Fukue came from a restaurant background. When he was a kid, his mother purchased Tustin-based Tommy’s Sushi. There, Fukue learned the ins and outs of the restaurant game starting from the bottom as a dishwasher and working his way up to sushi chef. One dish, in particular, stood out for him: the Poke Bowls.

The concept of the PokiNometry is similar to Chipotle, where customers would line up and assemble their bowls in a customizable fashion. The quick-service restaurant eventually became so busy that Fukue had to close the restaurant down in order to restock and train more employees. He reopened weeks later.

Fukue is set to open a second location of PokiNometry in Hollywood.

 

93-year-old Japanese woman gifts ambulance worth 2.7 million yen to local fire station

kyukyu

RocketNews 24:

When you’re ill or your life is in danger, it’s natural to feel gratitude towards those who aided your recovery or saved your life. But what do you do to show your gratitude?

One elderly woman from Nara Prefecture, Japan, felt so grateful to the ambulances who often help her, that she decided to donate a brand new ambulance to her local fire station. And it wasn’t just any ambulance – this was a top-of-the-line model worth 2.7 million yen (over US$22,000)!

93-year-old Fukuko Kitamuro donated the state-of-the-art ambulance to the Yoshino Town fire department as a way of saying thanks for helping her in times she was sick or injured.

What makes this ambulance special is that it has a 2,600cc engine, four-wheel-drive capabilities, a larger interior than normal ambulances, and is equipped with ventilators and other devices which would allow paramedics to perform life-saving procedures while en route to the hospital.

The local fire department already had four ambulances, but was able to replace one of its older models with the new one Ms. Kitamuro donated. The vice superintendent of the prefectural fire fighting association and the Yoshino Town mayor expressed their gratitude for the generous gift, and Japanese net users had lots of good things to say about her as well:

“Such a cool old woman!”

“I want to be like her.”

“That’s such a great way to put her assets to use.”

“What a nice old woman. I hope she lives a long life.”

You can now play ‘Super Mario 64’ in your browser

Levels of procrasination will reach an all time high courtesy of Unity developer Roystan Ross having created a browser version of Nintendo‘s classic Super Mario 64. Gamers will not have to pay a cent in order to either download, or play Super Mario 64 straight from its dedicated webpage.

Feel free to wait out the last few cold fronts, by staying in and heading over to Ross’ project site to restart Mario’s first adventure from the comfort of your computer.