He thought that it was loneliness which he was trying to escape and not himself. But the street ran on: catlike, one place was the same as another to him. But in none of them could he be quiet. But the street ran on in its moods and phases, always empty: he might have seen himself as in numberless avatars, in silence, doomed with motion, driven by the courage of flagged and spurred despair; by the despair of courage whose opportunities had to be flagged and spurred.
Have we become a cupcake league? We already have better helmets and gear. Wonder how the old school players feel about this. Not in the back of minds when talking about 18 game season so let's play football please... Even guys using shoulders to hit are getting flagged for helmet-to-helmet. Defense is getting sloppy because guys are avoiding fines and will get worse if suspending comes into play.
This, I realized now watching Dienekes rally and tend to his men, was the role of the officer: to prevent those under this command, at all stages of battle-before, during and after-from becoming "possessed." To fire their valor when it flagged and rein in their fury when it threatened to take them out of hand. That was Dienekes' job. That was why he wore the transverse-crested helmet of an officer. His was not, I could see now, the heroism of an Achilles. He was not a superman who waded invulnerably into the slaughter, single-handedly slaying the foe by myriads. He was just a man doing a job. A job whose primary attribute was self-restraint and self-composure, not for his own sake, but for those whom he led by his example.
Next, Please Always too eager for the future, we Pick up bad habits of expectancy. Something is always approaching; every day Till then we say, Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear, Sparkling armada of promises draw near. How slow they are! And how much time they waste, Refusing to make haste! Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked, Each rope distinct, Flagged, and the figurehead with golden tits Arching our way, it never anchors; it's No sooner present than it turns to past. Right to the last We think each one will heave to and unload All good into our lives, all we are owed For waiting so devoutly and so long. But we are wrong: Only one ship is seeking us, a black- Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back A huge and birdless silence. In her wake No waters breed or break.
When I left high school with my diploma, it felt like I was holding a key that would unlock the door to a better world. Every teacher I passed on my way down to the parking lot-the ones who suspended me for questioning them both earnestly and in jest, suspended me for using a contumacious hip-shake as my hallway gait, suspended me for me being me-the ones who would roll their eyes if my behavior was, on the whole, unpatriotic, unjustified, and immature-well, on the way down that long black declivity, their faces seemed so contorted as if lurking shadows had vice grips locked on their kidneys, wrenching it every time a teacher didn't want to remain upright and respectful. Yes, they didn't want to me to succeed either! I pledge allegiance to the flag that united every authority in that indefensible school looked at me, even treated me, as if I was a terrorist, or at the very least, unpatriotic. But God-didn't the red blood, white skin, and blue balls that flagged my physical existence suffice for me to have a little liberty and justice?
Financial Times commentator Martin Wolf concluded in 2010: "We already know that the earthquake of the past few years has damaged Western economies, while leaving those of emerging countries, particularly Asia, standing. It has also destroyed Western prestige. The West has dominated the world economically and intellectually for at least two centuries. That epoch is now over. Hitherto, the rulers of emerging countries disliked the West's pretensions, but respected its competence. This is true no longer. Never again will the West have the sole word." I was reminded of the Asian financial crisis in 1997. When Asian economies were devastated by similarly foolish borrowing the West - including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank - prescribed bitter medicine. They extolled traditional free market principles: Asia should raise interest rates to support sagging currencies, while state spending, debt, subsidies should be cut drastically. Banks and companies in trouble should be left to fail, there should be no bail-outs. South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia were pressured into swallowing the bitter medicine. President Suharto paid the ultimate price: he was forced to resign. Anger against the IMF was widespread. I was in Los Angeles for a seminar organised by the Claremont McKenna College to discuss, among other things, the Asian crisis. The Thai speaker resorted to profanity: F- the IMF, he screamed. The Asian press was blamed by some Western academics. If we had the kind of press freedoms the West enjoyed, we could have flagged the danger before the crisis hit. Western credibility was torn to shreds when the financial tsunami struck Wall Street. Shamelessly abandoning the policy prescriptions they imposed on Asia, they decided their banks and companies like General Motors were too big to fail. How many Asian countries could have been spared severe pain if they had ignored the IMF? How vain was their criticism of the Asian press, for the almost unfettered press freedoms the West enjoyed had failed to prevent catastrophe.
Cheong Yip Seng