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Looking to A Saner and More Serene World in 2009


At Yokohama Port
December 2008

In his inaugural address, John F. Kennedy eloquently said, "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." In 1961, I was too young to be moved by JFK's flowery language. Now that I've turned 73, I know I am too old to be impressed on this January 20 by the silver-tongued Obama any more than I was by Kennedy 48 years ago. Obama will be a president far less demanding, than Kennedy, of his people at home and allies and foes abroad. But that makes no difference to my apathy.

Like most of you, I have been living my life primarily for myself and my loved ones - not for my country, or any other country for that matter. Equally important, the less I have to count on my country for our well-being, the more I feel comfortable. And as you would agree, in our everyday life, words do not matter as much as deeds do. Democracy as against autocracy, civil liberty as against slavery and human rights as against indignity are all words.

As the economic, political and cultural crisis deepens, words that keep coming from professional Monday morning quarterbacks, and prophets alike, increasingly ring hollow. But my sympathy always goes to these pundits because it cannot really be helped for them to keep churning out supposedly impressive, actually empty words. They have to make their living as wordsmiths.


But it's a different story when it comes to people of other professions. Now they have become more and more talkative since this past fall. Yet the last thing they would talk about is their own lives - how specifically their lives have been affected by the ongoing crisis and how exactly they are responding to it. Instead they keep chirping about imaginary difficulties facing someone else. Busybodies constantly "displace" (in the Freudian sense of the word) their own problems to others while crybabies keep complaining about their difficulty as if it were someone else's headache or heartache.

As a matter of fact it's unimaginable that someone who is on the verge of going homeless and jobless at the same time posts a decent piece on an Internet bulletin board. The same is true of the Israelis and Palestinians who are suffering from the never-ending exchange of violence between the Hamas fanatics and the Jerusalem government.

My response to these self-styled pundits is always like this: "Oh, is that so? And exactly what do you want your country, or a foreign country, to do for you? Or precisely what do you think you can do for your country, or a foreign country?" No answer because they are just up to word games all the time. Nothing but words is at stake here. Because of this unrestrained indulgence, words are quickly losing their values these days, just like the green back is losing its value because the FRB has been printing too much money. These boys who keep crying wolf deserve this consequence. But they should feel sorry for people who are in real trouble because their groans and gasps are not taken very seriously anymore.

I think they might as well shut their mouths.

For my part, I will also keep dancing to this trend on the blogosphere. The only difference between this blogger and these professional and nonprofessional flapjaws is that I don't flap my jaws until I can internalize the issue I'm talking about.

To conclude this piece, I wish all of you a relatively Happy New Year. If it has to be another annus horribilis, still I hope you accept it with serenity. In the meantime, I would appreciate it if you keep coming to this website. The GeekLog's traffic analysis shows the number of hits to this site is going to reach the one million mark by the end of January.
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