30 April 1975

On that day, Vietnam was united; the “Vietnam War”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War finally ended with over 1.4 million military personnel were killed in the war (only 6 percent were members of the United States armed forces), while estimates of civilian fatalities range up to 2 million.

Political rights

bq. Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are rather forced upon them from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. They do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become a ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace. Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution. One compels respect from others when one knows how to defend one’s dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life; it has always been the same in political life as well.

“Rudolf Rocker”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Rocker

However, it takes a long time for a populace to embraces an idea and internalize it. The establishment is not interested in educating its people about their rights; especially when these rights are against the establishment’s interests. In history, changes only came after some catastrophes happened, partly because the populace did not realized their rights. For example, the Vietnamese during French colonization had to fight with both feudalism and colonialism; yet many Vietnamese at the time still believed that feudalism is a legitimate form of government. As in our modern ages, Internet offers a better way to spread ideas and educate people of their rights. Internet is also a best way to mobilize grass roots movements as seen in Ron Paul presidential campaign.

Wealth Creates Poverty?

Globalization is an attempt to extend corporate monopoly control over the whole globe. Over every national economy. Over every local economy Over every life.

“Link”:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article11635.htm

Hùng Vương

“Hùng Vương”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B9ng_V%C6%B0%C6%A1ng (Hán tự: 雄王) was the first emperor of Văn Lang or Lạc Việt (as Vietnam was known at the time). Legend tells of the dragon lord, Lạc Long Quân and the mountain fairy, (sometimes a Chinese immortal) Âu Cơ who had 100 children. As the parents belonged to different realms, they parted ways, each taking 50 of the 100 sons to their respective homes. Hùng Vương the eldest went to live by the coast, the domain of dragons.

Reading List: Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

“Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies”:http://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393317552 by Jared M. Diamond.

For me, the book provides the basic to refute racism. It explains why certain societies became more advanced than others. The author did not stop at proximity causes but went further to examine what necessary conditions for advanced societies emerge are. One of the conclusions is that a civilization was achieved not because of the intrinsic superiority of the race. It was shown in the history that people in different parts of the world in similar environments came up with equally advanced societies. Note that the book discussed the human development in a macro level.

Cultures, religions, and politics are important human aspects which are not discussed in the book. I hope someone can write a similar book on those subjects.

The latest theory says that around 7 millions BC _homo sapiens_ started spreading to the rest of the world from Africa. If we subscribe to this theory, people around the world were equally smart, as in they had the same DNAs hence have similar “thinking capability”. In some parts of the world, due to the environments, the people there had a much earlier head start to build civilizations. Since evolution is a continuing progress, people in different places have been continuing evolved to adapt to the environments. Therefore, those live in a civilized society will evolve to have better skills in mathematics, abstract thinking, philosophy, literatures, etc. Through the natural selection, those capacity will become innate, built into genes, DNAs. As the consequence, one can draw a conclusion that Europeans are innately better than Native Americans, for instance, in the skills required by modern societies. I just wonder what might be the flaw of this argument.

Socialism for the Rich

bq. Listen, investment banks have been going bankrupt since the beginning of time. If people make mistakes — if you bail out every investment bank that gets in trouble, that’s not capitalism, that’s socialism for the rich.

“Link”:http://www.cnbc.com/id/23588079/site/14081545 via reddit.

Most sensible career advice

bq. Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things.

from “Scott Adams”:http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/07/career-advice.html

A common pitfall to be avoid is getting worse in one skill when one spending time developing the other skills.

Reading List: Totochan

“Totto-Chan Little Girl at Window”:http://www.amazon.com/Totto-Chan-Little-Girl-at-Window/dp/4770020678

Everyone has some good moments in the past, and reading this book will likely bring you a moment of nostalgia. It tells a story of a little girl went to a _perfect_ primary school, that to say it does not suck. The little girl is weird in a cute way, and the head of school has a very modern and liberal method of teaching. It sounds like a dream for most of readers. Yet this story was based on the childhood of the author just before WWII happened. This book, like The Little Prince, is for everyone, children and adults. I just wish every educators in the world has a copy, and reads it once a year.

The limitation of this book, IMHO, is that it does not have a strong story line. The story was based on real life events of the author, but it reads like a non-fiction. Regardless of which genre the book is, the story does not “flow”. The second half is more like a collection of very short stories than a book. The author, in fact, wrote a series of stories for a magazine; the series are so well received which led the author edit them into book. I noticed this kind of snags in other books done that way too.

Vietnamese around the world

bq. Tôi yêu tiếng nước tôi từ khi mới ra đời

bq. Tôi yêu quê hương tôi từ khi mới thành người

bq. Mẹ ơi con là người VIệt Nam,
Con da vàng với dòng máu hiên ngang

bq. Mong con ra tăng đức độ
Muốn con gái Việt không hổ

“Lê Duy Loan”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duy-Loan_Le

Philosophy for kids

bq. Teaching children the art of collaborative philosophical inquiry brings them persistent, long-term cognitive benefits, according to psychologists in Scotland.

“Link”:http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2007/11/philosophy-for-kids.html via “TED”:http://blog.ted.com/2007/12/why_we_should_t.php.