MANILA, Philippines — Urban and regional planning” and “peace and development” are phrases that rarely go hand-in-hand. Planner-architects and engineers dealing with the built environment rarely engage with those tagged as “peacebuilders,” that is, lawyer-negotiators, political scientists, and members of the security sector, let alone economists, development workers, or local civic organizations. However, this is a false divide, as many of the nation’s fundamental challenges are embedded in its streets and buildings, in the urban fabric of our communities. There are serious implications when legal and political agreements —ranging from parameters for internal revenue allotments to federal systems of government—are drafted and implemented without clarifying their implications in actual space and place. For the Philippines to reach its full potential, there is a need for area development that focuses not only on legalities, … [Read more...] about Urban reform in the Philippines: Bridging our many divides
Religion affects society
While doing his research as a professor of security studies, Professor Rohan Gunaratna met and interviewed Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, head of the Sri Lankan Buddhist nationalist group Bodu Bala Sena, in early 2014. Relating the encounter at a forum on religion, extremism and identity politics yesterday, Prof Gunaratna said that as a Buddhist, he paid his respects to the monk, although he was reluctant to do so due to the monk's anti-Muslim views. But the academic took the opportunity to make his position clear. "I told the monk - if you continue to call the Muslims pariah - there will be a riot like in July 1983. "And this monk told me, this is exactly what must happen," said Prof Gunaratna, who is from the Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. In July 1983, dubbed "Black July", anti-Tamil riots in Sri Lanka resulted in hundreds of people from the ethnic minority group being killed. When asked about his ideology, Mr Gnanasara told Prof … [Read more...] about Political movements misusing and abusing religion: Academic
Whether it’s people fleeing from Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Honduras or Yemen, their reasons for flight are universally the same: to seek safety and a better future for themselves and their children. Refugees need our protection, empathy and support. Sadly this is not the case. There is and has been a disturbing trend of anti-refugee public sentiment in countries around the world. From the EU’s migration deterrence policies and efforts to stop humanitarian search and rescue in the Mediterranean Sea to the forcible detention of asylum seekers and refugees from Australia to Nauru Island to migration crackdowns in the United States, these actions serve to keep refugees out and justify their containment, detention, inhumane treatment and deportation. Today, refugees are stigmatised and portrayed as criminals and undesirables – thus undeserving of basic human rights and dignity. The criminalisation makes refugees who have been already traumatised by violence in … [Read more...] about Politics and indifference condemn refugees to suffer and die
His books are on the recommended reading list of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and prominent opinion makers like Barack Obama and Bill Gates. This has made Yuval Noah Harari as one of the most influential intellectuals of this decade and probably this century. Harari’s books explore a wide diversity of questions and answers that are constantly being asked by most people. They range from the possibility that the biological and genetic revolutions in technology and income inequality will result in two classes of humans – the normal and the super mutants – to the questions why are people obsessed with eating sweets and desserts when it leads to obesity and diabetes? I read Harari’s book chronologically backwards. I first read his latest book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century published in 2018. It was a book about the present and how to make sense of today’s pressing issues. It tried to answer questions like: How do computers and … [Read more...] about Is humankind happier?
Y Now? Art & Healing Festival (The Philippine Star) - May 12, 2019 - 12:00am In one of the board meetings I just attended, the HR officer was reporting on the rising personnel issues of mental health, stress and burn-out. Especially for the young millennials. They love their jobs, but they are wired to work 24/7 for some accounts they are handling. This issue has been building up in the past decade with an intensity that has brought HR practitioners and corporate management to search for ways of handling employees. No surprise. It is actually the norm. What would surprise me would be to find companies that have good programs to help manage the work-life balance of their employees. In a study conducted to analyze 500 locations worldwide, Manila ranked more stressful than war-torn Damascus in Syria. The research was based on pollution, traffic levels, public transport, percentage of green spaces, financial status of citizens … [Read more...] about Y Now? Art & Healing Festival