Sunday, June 30, 2013

Lee Kuan Yew: Grand master of the game

The founder of Singapore built “a first-world oasis in a third-world region”



If he played chess, you could call Lee Kuan Yew the grand master of the game. It was his vision, drive and single-mindedness that set the small island state on a course of stubborn independence, turning the trading post into an international powerhouse of shipping, trade, commerce, banking, tourism and industry while keeping its principles at the fore.
But chess is a Russian game. For Yew, a master of the traditional board game maejong would be a better analogy given his and his island’s Asian ties.
There is a Chinese proverb: Do not judge a man until his coffin is closed. Though he may be nearing the end of his long life, he’s unwilling to decide on his legacy.
“Close the coffin, then decide,” he said. “Then you assess him. I may still do something foolish before the lid is closed on me.”
A master communicator with a close connection to the pulse on his island state, he is aware that that clock is ticking down.
“So, when is the last leaf falling?” as the man who made Singapore in his own stern and unsentimental image, contemplating age, infirmity and loss.
Influential political figure
“I can feel the gradual decline of energy and vitality,” he said in a recent interview. His ‘Singapore model’ of economic growth and tight social control made him one of the most influential political figures of Asia. “And I mean generally, every year, when you know you are not on the same level as last year. But that’s life.”
No longer in day-to-day control but, for as long as he lives, the dominant figure of the nation he created.
But in these final years, he said, his life has been darkened by the illness and death of his wife and companion of 61 years, bedridden and mute after a series of strokes.
“I try to busy myself,” he said, “but from time to time in idle moments, my mind goes back to the happy days we were up and about together.”
Agnostic and pragmatic in his approach to life, he spoke with something like envy of people who find strength and solace in religion. “How do I comfort myself?” he asked. “Well, I say, ‘Life is just like that.’”
“What is next, I do not know,” he said. “Nobody has ever come back.”
Libel suits
The prime minister of Singapore from its founding in 1965 until he stepped aside in 1990, Lee built what he called “a first-world oasis in a third-world region” — praised for the efficiency and incorruptibility of his rule but accused by human rights groups of limiting political freedoms and intimidating opponents through libel suits.
His remains a powerful presence within the current government led by his son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. The question that hovers over Singapore today is how long and in what form his model may endure once he is gone.
Always physically vigorous, Lee combats the decline of age with a regimen of swimming, cycling and massage and, perhaps more important, an hour-by-hour daily schedule of meetings, speeches and conferences both in Singapore and overseas. “I know if I rest, I’ll slide downhill fast,” he said.
“I’m trying to keep fit, presenting a vigorous figure, and it’s an effort, and is it worth the effort?” he said. “I laugh at myself trying to keep a bold front. It’s become my habit. I just carry on.”
He brushed aside the words of a prominent Singaporean writer and social critic, Catherine Lim, who described him as having “an authoritarian, no-nonsense manner that has little use for sentiment.”
“She’s a novelist!” he cried. “Therefore, she simplifies a person’s character,” making what he called a “graphic caricature of me.” “But is anybody that simple or simplistic?”
Moment of anguish
But repeatedly, in looking back over his life, he returns to his moment of greatest anguish, the expulsion of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, when he wept in public.
That trauma presented him with the challenge that has defined his life, the creation and development of a stable and prosperous nation, always on guard against conflict within its mixed population of Chinese, Malays and Indians.
“We don’t have the ingredients of a nation, the elementary factors,” he said in an interview with the International Herald Tribune, “a homogeneous population, common language, common culture and common destiny.”
Younger people worry him, with their demands for more political openness and a free exchange of ideas, secure in their well-being in modern Singapore. “They have come to believe that this is a natural state of affairs, and they can take liberties with it,” he said. “They think you can put it on auto-pilot. I know that is never so.”
The kind of open political combat they demand would inevitably open the door to race-based politics, he said, and “our society will be ripped apart.”
A political street fighter, by his own account, he has often taken on his opponents through ruinous libel suits.
He defended the suits as necessary to protect his good name, and he dismissed criticism by Western reporters who “hop in and hop out” of Singapore as “absolute rubbish.”
In any case, it is not these reporters or the obituaries they may write that will offer the final verdict on his actions, he said, but future scholars who will study them in the context of their day.
“I’m not saying that everything I did was right,” he said, “but everything I did was for an honourable purpose. I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial.”
— With inputs from agencies

Friday, June 28, 2013

The World's Most Reputable Countries, 2013

Which countries have the best reputations? What does that even mean? The Reputation Institute, a global private consulting firm based in New York and Copenhagen, has just released its fourth annual list of 50 countries, ranked according to what it says is people’s trust, admiration, respect and affinity for those countries.

Topping the list for the third year in a row: Canada. Sweden comes in second, one place up from last year and Switzerland is third, up from fourth last year. (Australia slipped from second to fourth place.)
What’s most notable is how far down the U.S. ranks: 22rd place, behind Brazil and just above Peru. Several European countries that continue to battle severe economic turmoil ranked above the U.S. again this year including Italy in 16th place, France in 17th, Spain in 18th and Portugal in 19th place.
The top 10 list
1. Canada
2, Sweden
3. Swirzerland
4. Australia
5. Norway
6. Denmark
7. New Zealand
8. Finland
9. The Netherlands
10. Asutria

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

256 Year Old Chinese Herbalist Li Ching-Yuen

256 Year Old Chinese Herbalist Li Ching-Yuen, Holistic Medicine, and 15 Character Traits That Cause Diseases





The herbalist had 23 wives and raised more than 200 children

According to the official records, herbalist Li Ching-Yuen was born in China in 1677  (although he himself claimed that he was born in 1736).  Throughout his long life, he constantly practiced herbal-ism and martial arts.. In 1930, the New York Times newspaper printed an article in which they published official Chinese government documents that were uncovered. These documents, dating back to 1827, contained official congratulations on Li Ching-Yuen's 150th birthday. Later documents, dating back to 1877, contained official congratulations on his 200th birthday.
How did he do that?

Li Ching-Yuen expressed his longevity formula in one sentence: "Retain a calm heart, sit like a turtle, walk swiftly like a pigeon, and sleep like a dog".

Let's add a few more interesting historical facts to this story. Chinese army general Yang Sen invited Li to visit him, and offered him an opportunity to teach Chinese soldiers martial arts. The general could not believe how youthful his guest was, even though he had reached an age of 250 years old.
Li Ching-Yuen died on the 6th of May in 1933. He told his students that he had completed all his tasks in this lifetime, and he was now ready to come home.
It is possible to find other interesting stories about Western health prodigies and Eastern Yogis who lived for over 100 years. Not only did they survive for this long, they also thrived—youthful, active, and full of enthusiasm. What could we learn from them?

Holistic medicine is all that we need

These days, even modern medicine agrees: 70% of all illnesses materialize because of negative thoughts or emotional stress. Illnesses attributed to this cause are called “psychosomatic,” and they are the biggest headache of the whole mainstream health-care system.


Sometimes several days of elevated stress is all that is needed to open up a gastric ulcer. Sometimes several years of it is all it takes to develop diabetes or heart disease, not to mention poor general health, lowered productivity, and lack of happiness. Doctors and scientists unanimously agree that our thoughts directly affect the activity of our organs and the state of our bodies in general. Ancient medicine is classified as holistic, because it takes care not only of the physical body, but also of the psyche, as well as one's personal lifestyle. This method allows one to remove the cause of the illness, rather than merely treating the symptoms, therefore stopping it from reappearing. Modern medicine, on the other hand, deals with the consequences of the illness—bodily ailments. This is why the illness often comes back, since the cause of the illness is not actually being treated.

This is where one of the biggest secrets to health reveals itself—our thoughts can heal us. There are multiple recorded stories that discuss people who were severely ill and healed themselves with the power of thought, despite doctors losing all hope. One of such impressive story tells us about Morris Goodman, who, in 1981, was involved in a plane crash and was supposed to die due to irreversible spine damage and a punctured diaphragm. The man's life was supported by a breathing ventilator, and the only movement he could do was blinking. However, this man was aware of the power of thought, and in just a few days successfully regenerated his own diaphragm and could breathe independently. He also consciously regenerated his damaged spinal cord and started to move all of his limbs. Doctors could not understand the situation at all because this just “could not be happening.” After a few months, however, Morris Goodman began to walk again, and eventually fully recovered. This is only one of many cases that are happening all around us. Thoughts cannot only make the body ill, but can also help it recover from incurable diseases.

Causes of hard to cure diseases from a different angle

The ancient ayurvedic health sciences not only prove the existence of psychosomatic illnesses, but also present a list of specific illnesses caused by specific character traits. What else could the thoughts be dependent on if not on the character?
Here are a few examples that could explain the causes of disease you or your loved ones may be suffering from:
  1. Jealousy - causes oncological diseases, weakens the immune system.
  2. Vengefulness - causes insomnia and throat diseases.
  3. Inability to find a solution to a situation - causes lung diseases.
  4. Lacking moral principals - causes chronic diseases, infections, and skin diseases.
  5. Being too categorical or unwavering in beliefs - causes diabetes, migraines, and inflammations.
  6. Lying - causes alcoholism, fungal infections, and weakens the immune system.
  7. Aggressiveness - causes gastric ulcers, acid reflux, and warts.
  8. Reticence - causes schizophrenia and kidney diseases.
  9. Cruelty - causes epilepsy, asthma, and anemia.
  10. Seeking conflicts - causes thyroid enlargement.
  11. Apathy - causes diabetes.
  12. Inconsistency or being fickle - causes infertility.
  13. Being rude or insulting - causes diabetes and heart diseases.
  14. Anxiety - causes digestive system disorders, heart, and skin diseases.
  15. Greed - causes oncological diseases, obesity, and heart diseases.
An interesting fact is that it is enough to cure your character, and the relevant diseases go away permanently. This is especially important to know for those who suffer from diseases such as diabetes and cancer, for which modern medicine does not have a cure.

Three ways to live healthfully and truly feel good

It will involve working on yourself—however, this investment will pay off greatly in the long run. Here are three methods, tested throughout three millenniums:
  1. Start monitoring your thoughts. Spend five minutes every evening writing down how you felt that day. Remember the situations you encountered and emotions you felt. What negative character traits does that uncover? What do you plan to do tomorrow to start improving yourself and to change those particular character traits? It is very important to write everything down.
  2. Try to think more about things that make you happy. This is the miracle of positive thinking. When you concentrate on the things that you like, it's as if you move to a different frequency of vibrations, and the body starts to heal itself. Even better, there will be a greater number of good things in your life, because everything you think about becomes reality, including the problems that bother you. Concentrate on things you enjoy and watch how everything begins to change.
  3. Try out meditation. During meditation, the body and mind rest and heal themselves. You can read more about meditation in the article “How To Own A New Ferrari And Be As Smart As Einstein, Just By Calmly Sitting On Your Couch”.
Illness is simply our body's signal about an incorrect (or, rather, non-beneficial) lifestyle. Firstly it manifests as anxiety, fear, and negative thoughts. Only then, if no effort is made to work on oneself, the body sends a more powerful signal to get your attention and make you think about what you are doing wrong, in the form of physical symptoms.
Leave only the useful and meaningful things in your life. Because everything that is useful to you is always useful to others.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

THE 2012 LEGATUM PROSPERITY INDEX TABLE RANKINGS


Click here to change the weightings of any sub-index
1
Norway241364261
2
Denmark19131616872
3
Sweden5241214659
4
Australia10882171933
5
New Zealand271321201324
6
Canada8166315918
7
Finland16358123195
8
Netherlands1410111171896
9
Switzerland171323102211
10
Ireland2514141411447
11
Luxembourg4594817816
12
United States20121052271410
13
United Kingdom26673018201112
14
Germany61816155211215
15
Iceland61920131311013
16
Austria1317122410152114
17
Belgium212217178222018
18
Hong Kong91523393052325
19
Singapore311154122125439
20
Taiwan72431429112724
21
France222118199311640
22
Japan122322236164220
23
Spain4026261021291834
24
Slovenia412529925142836
25
Malta3220194627302421
26
Portugal5128363428171367
27
South Korea231930724405651
28
Czech Republic3029332226244545
29
United Arab Emirates1730413732236642
30
Cyprus3727212533493456
31
Uruguay4956274544261555
32
Poland5238383834253746
33
Italy3637393619425738
34
Chile2840246047362969
35
Estonia6032253139397430
36
Slovakia5635422631334047
37
Costa Rica4543346743451766
38
Kuwait2433406236327357
39
Hungary6845372038286879
40
Israel293128333511511822
41
Argentina4852754241462670
42
Panama4239625854483561
43
Lithuania8242431846349349
44
Brazil3347567957872564
45
Malaysia154435404562111100
46
Kazakhstan5459954360534337
47
Latvia80364428505011286
48
Bulgaria9341725149415985
49
Greece85514835233812197
50
Croatia594852563735100110
51
Trinidad and Tobago7854578259583676
52
Saudi Arabia31465064428213043
53
Vietnam3973618080559935
54
Belarus906312321405210226
55
China116665506710112829
56
Thailand18616470719912919
57
Montenegro105586655533775102
58
Sri Lanka71865147741225831
59
Mongolia9862845296439233
60
Romania94497149644781113
61
Mexico34696978521167863
62
Jamaica11657688665706448
63
Indonesia4385808495688027
64
Uzbekistan67981166572667017
65
Belize6472749663726550
66
Russia625011827489711971
67
Philippines47756372931125572
68
Paraguay53911039773783853
69
Colombia46605881791366162
70
Botswana107683290102633090
71
Ukraine1106412129695610858
72
Peru38718385889162101
73
Morocco357878110768410323
74
South Africa873445891141004880
75
Macedonia109707771516990106
76
Ecuador558310969789451114
77
Jordan100655953627513392
78
Tunisia695367756873123122
79
Serbia120798261616087115
80
Venezuela668813154701068875
81
Dominican Rep102808793921035274
82
Laos589681106105578241
83
Namibia86924799101814199
84
Moldova1247710159847911581
85
Lebanon6374107638685114120
86
Tajikistan1131071126894549865
87
Ghana1111015410499673994
88
Kyrgyzstan12387122738110710132
89
Turkey745546915893127133
90
El Salvador75907098829083119
91
Nicaragua831059988907650108
92
Albania998993835644126128
93
Georgia132765366835979140
94
Azerbaijan896711387898011788
95
Bolivia441021047610310271103
96
Honduras911001059585868696
97
Guatemala658490102911109793
98
Armenia1298197449861122124
99
Bosnia11494108745571131117
100
Algeria50931067775104137109
101
India57994910010411467138
102
Iran70951265766125125121
103
Bangladesh731049810110011832130
104
Mali8812686137126513354
105
Malawi10612960115110927260
106
Egypt10482859477108140104
107
Cambodia841097910511183116107
108
Nepal971151101079796104111
109
Tanzania81118891201221099659
110
Zambia1171111021091301199128
111
Rwanda118110551081157795135
112
Burkina Faso10113488138108745389
113
Syria77113919287120136131
114
Niger7213876141117884698
115
Cameroon7611912411312711360112
116
Kenya122971111141191307777
117
Uganda96112941161291338952
118
Senegal1081171001191248947129
119
Benin119128731221186431141
120
Democratic Republic of the Congo7912213411111310576134
121
Djibouti131130961361216510684
122
Mauritania1271161331281209510978
123
Nigeria1211061251231161318491
124
Mozambique1261089212913711169116
125
Sudan10311413612410613813444
126
Cote d'Ivoire9512713813512312749136
127
Guinea13513513213213311744125
128
Sierra Leone1391331141311401286382
129
Angola125120117127134129113118
130
Liberia1411321281171351269468
131
Iraq92125137112107135141105
132
Pakistan115103115121112139132137
133
Ethiopia12813111913412513413895
134
Yemen134124127130109124142123
135
Zimbabwe14212314210312813710773
136
Togo1381361301251329885142
137
Burundi137140120126136123120139
138
Haiti140137135118138121139126
139
Chad11213913914014114212483
140
Afghanistan130121141139131140135127
141
Republic of Congo13614214013314214111087
142
Central African Republic133141129142139132105132