Amid the pandemic that has been ravaging the globe, the year 2020 has come to an end. Young comic artist Bai Yi looks at the world with all its scars battling a virus, the deteriorating environment, the faulty human systems, and the seemingly incomprehensible foolishness displayed by the adults.
Chinese academic Qiao Xinsheng notes that despite its image of being democratic, the US is driven by capitalism and an individualism enjoyed only by a small number of elites. Such pre-existing conditions lead to a fragmented society made worse by the actions of President Donald Trump.
Nothing is black and white when it comes to race debates, says Yu Shiyu. What if you’re not black but ‘brown’ as some term it, that is, a minority nonetheless. Some Asian Americans of Chinese and Indian descent have been labelled model minorities for largely rising through the ranks though they face some forms of discrimination. Question is, if they don't see the current protests as their fight and stay out of the fray, are they equally culpable?
There is little doubt that the US is in disarray at the moment. Hong Kong political commentator Chip Tsao does not hold back in giving his views on the current situation in the US, claiming that America’s move to the left after eight years under the Democratic Party have worsened the culture of political correctness and left little room for policies that motivate disadvantaged groups to keep their feet on the ground and contribute to society. The middle class is also made to shoulder growing societal and financial burdens. In that light, would the prospect of a change in the US government in five months time be a boon or bane?
Lang Youxing observes that while the pandemic brought the Chinese people together to overcome an unprecedented crisis, it has also unearthed a serious state of polarisation within Chinese society. Conflicting views rule, and netizens in WeChat chat groups mourn the loss of friends with the phrase “Goodbye, my classmates!” after vociferous arguments about Covid-19 and China's position. Bidding farewell to classmates is one thing, but can one say goodbye to society?
From a look at the recent street protests and happenings in Hong Kong, Singapore's former Foreign Minister George Yeo explores issues of social media, societal fragmentation, wealth inequality, and big data that have implications for the wider world. Will big data and AI lead to an ever-growing concentration of power? Is the future destined for the dystopia envisioned in George Orwell’s 1984? Or will clever computer minds succeed in creating decentralised internet webs and decentralised AI? While human relationships and institutions adapt to the revolution in technology, we can expect a long transition marked by disruption and confusion. What is needed to overcome the present phase? This is George Yeo's speech at the Induction Comitia 2020 of the Academy of Medicine Singapore on 17 January 2020.