Saturday, November 26, 2005

Former Canadian Minister Of Defence Asks Canadian Parliament Asked To Hold Hearings On Relations With Alien "Et" Civilizations

OTTAWA, CANADA (PRWEB) November 24, 2005 -- A former Canadian Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister under Pierre Trudeau has joined forces with three Non-governmental organizations to ask the Parliament of Canada to hold public hearings on Exopolitics -- relations with “ETs.”
By “ETs,” Mr. Hellyer and these organizations mean ethical, advanced extraterrestrial civilizations that may now be visiting Earth.

On September 25, 2005, in a startling speech at the University of Toronto that caught the attention of mainstream newspapers and magazines, Paul Hellyer, Canada’s Defence Minister from 1963-67 under Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Prime Minister Lester Pearson, publicly stated: "UFOs, are as real as the airplanes that fly over your head."

Yes, finally someone is beginning to discuss the truth. I wonder why it has taken so long to come out into the open. I have been aware of these aliens for quite a long time now and hopefully something will come out of this. I, however, do not so much fear the aliens. I would just like all my socks back. I have a hell of a lot of odd ones laying about.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Old words, eternal truth

I open books on law and ethics, and listen to the scholars and legal experts. Permeated with their persuasive talk, I lament the miseries of nature, admire the peace and justice established by the civil order, bless the wisdom of public institutions, and console myself for being a man by looking upon myself as a citizen. Well versed in my duties and happiness, I shut my book, leave the classroom and look around me. I see unfortunate nations groaning under yokes of iron, the human race crushed by a handful of oppressors, a starving crowd overwhelmed with pain and hunger, whose blood and tears the rich drink in peace, and everywhere the strong armed against the weak with the formidable power of the law.---Jean Jaques Rousseau 'The State of War'

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Migrant Labour in Asia ... the story continues...

The Malaysian government announced that it would ammend the current laws governing monitoring of migrant labour.

" The Government will carry out stricter monitoring to ensure that foreign workers in the country are treated in accordance with the provisions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said an amendment would be made to the Employment Act 1955 to make it mandatory for employers to submit regular reports on the condition of their foreign workers."
--the star Malaysia

Employers of migrant workers quickly responded to the announced actions and surely to no one's surprise were not in favour of the proposed changes.

"The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has opposed a proposal to make it mandatory for employers to submit regular reports on the condition of their foreign workers to the Government.

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said employers were already subjected to “all sorts of requirements” and the proposed move would result in additional administrative costs and inconvenience."
--the Star Malaysia

At first view it seems that maybe something is being done. It is great to see further monitoring of conditions for migrant labourers. It's wonderful that Malaysia is finally going to follow International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards even though it has not ratified the ILO convention on foreign labour.
HOWEVER the government is only requiring Businesses to submit reports on their workers. Is this not the fox guarding the hen house? I am amazed that employers are in fact conplaining. This means more administrative costs if you have foreign workers but come on BIZ still gets to do the monitoring.

"Dr Fong said the ILO Convention required all workers to be treated equally regardless of nationality.
He said employers were also required to disclose to the Labour Department the number of workers, their salaries and benefits, including insurance coverage.
He said inspectors from the department would conduct checks from time to time to verify the information."

Government will only check to verify conditions from "time to time." One would think checks at the very least from time to time should already be the case. Sadly this is not the case, and now nearly non-existent regulations regarding migrant labour are to be brought up to the level of completely lax. What an improvement!! I am sure the migrant labourers are very thankful for the new concern government is showing!!

The situation of migrant labour is disturbing in Asia. Malaysia and Taiwan are greatly indebted to countries like the Phillipines and Indonesia for helping them achieve their economic miracles of rapid and continuous development(also Thailand and Vietnam to some extent but mainly it has been the aforementioned two). Without the aid of migrant labour their economic development could never have been achieved. Migrants have helped keep labour costs low, allowed production to stay in-country longer than it perhaps otherwise would have, and taken jobs local labour refuses to fill. Workers have received little in the form of a thank you other than, low-wage jobs, often under horrible conditions, where they are treated as second class citizens and subject to physical, sexual, emotional abuse and threat of deportation.
The economic and democratic development of Asia's "tigers" are trumpeted the world over as fine examples of success under modern global capitalism however it is largely forgotten that much of their success has come while chewing on the rights of their neighbours.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

What the Gods giveth so shall they taketh away

Again another long hiatus has come to an end.

Taiwan is consistently held up by laissez-faire promoters of globalisation as a fine example of a country which has benefited from global capitalism. Through the 80's and then into the 90's as an "Asian Tiger" Taiwan flourished. Taiwan's economy grew and as the country developed economically the government reformed from a one party state into a democratic society. As a model of export-based growth (remarkable for a country with few, if practically no natural resources) and a country that made a smooth transition to democratic rule Taiwan was the envy of many countries of the world. Taiwan had distinguished itself on the world stage.

It must be pointed out however that Taiwan flourished under a global capitalist system which for the most part had yet to fully integrate the huge market that China offers as well as having developed under a regime that received preferential treatment from its former main export market, the US, and strong protectionist measures and subsidies for key industries.

What the cutthroat God of global capitalism giveth so can he taketh away.

Today, Taiwan is not as well off as it once was. Taiwan's economy is being hollowed out as manufacturing moves to China to take advantage of cheaper labour and gain a foothold in the future huge Chinese market to better compete with western and other regional companies.

While Taiwan still maintains economic growth that is higher than most of the developed countries Taiwan's economic development will likely slow. Taiwanese companies and capital have flooded into China over the past decade despite President Chen Shui Bian's "Go South" policy of encouraging Taiwanese companies to invest in SouthEast asian countries.

Is this wave of capital/production shift to China surprising? Certainly not. Pan-Blue businessmen see moving to China as a way of getting power back in a country which was once theirs. With the huge wave of investment that has swept into China other companies simply see it as necessary in order to maintain competitiveness in a global environment. Is it likely that Taiwanese businesses would want to ignore the ease of communication that comes with setting down in China vs. Vietnam or Thailand, not to mention the disciplined workforce and access to a large pool of highly educated workers? I don't think so.

This wave of investment in China, has been accompanied by a new managerial class of Taiwanese workers that oversee Chinese operations by either basing themselves in China or making regular lengthy business trips, weeks or months at a time. In a weird resurrection of the Chinese practice of taking concubines some of these commuting managers even have second wives/families in China.

Taiwan is creating ever stronger connections with China. Global capital moves easily in today's world and the security of capital may be at odds with the security of a nation. Taiwan knows this well but does it know what to do?

It is Taiwanese capital which first fuelled the Chinese economy and provided the seeds of investment/economic growth to help generate the funds needed to fuel the equally rapid expansion of the Chinese military. The rapid growth of Taiwanese investment in China and the rapid Chinese military build up are putting the pinch on Taiwan's options. Under a weakened China and a strong place in the international economic system Taiwan stood strong and developed its democracy. Under the current conditions Taiwan is weakening and the island's democracy is showing early cracks.

Taiwan is now stuck in the unenviable position of having a dysfunctional government that is crippled due to an inept constitution. The Pan-Blue, pro-unificationist power maintains legislative control while the executive is controlled by the DPP-independence minded party. The Pan-Blue see the writing on the wall for Taiwanese economic power and the need for unification with China to truly help Taiwanese businesses take advantage of their early positions within China. If this doesn't happen there is the likelihood that in the long run Taiwanese businesses will lose a competitive edge. Through recent legislative proposals the Blues seem increasingly willing to sign Taiwan on to the idea of unity with China without any appeal to the voting masses. On the other hand the DPP maintains a more nationalistic stance that places the idea of Taiwanese nationhood/independence and the newly developed democratic rights above its economic power and maintains that Taiwan can remain strong economically and be more independent.

Time will tell who will win. In the meantime I think everyone must recognise the paramount importance that the all mighty dollar(yuan?) has in the global world and the difficulty of balancing national and economic security.

In the years to come we will find out if Taiwan is a country that worships many Gods including the relatively new Taiwanese God of 'democracy' or whether Taiwan is simply a "moneytheistic' society.