Heng Kim Song has been the freelance editorial cartoonist
We lost many people in 2023. Missing Ryuichi Sakamoto, I dug out the movie Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. History often repeats itself. Is there an intersection between Eastern and Western cultural conflicts? And is there a standard for measuring humanity and faith in the face of war? Can love that transcends race and gender bring people closer? All we can do is continue to explore the right and wrong in these questions. The tragedy of war never fails to make one realise that accepting the enemy does not mean sparing oneself. Celliers’ death planted a seed in Yonoi’s heart, and so we all shared the growth of the seed. May Christmas in wartime still be beautiful.
I recently watched Oppenheimer and it reminded me of a quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “The state was made for man, not man for the state.” This was possibly the difference between Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer. The meaning of “state” is abstract, fluid and changing, and the idea that “I will always love my country” has long been shaken. Just as Einstein must have loved Germany but had to leave, there was a lot of helplessness and conflict — between people and government, politics and science, domination and egalitarianism. While the scientific spirit of “facts over authorities and books; always exchanging, comparing and reassessing opinions” is somewhat idealistic, like the law, it is worth holding on to. If academics do not stand with the people, who then will fight “evil”? Between scholars and the wise ones, there is just a little more justice, conscience and sense of humanity. — Bai Yi