Prof Sen balances East and West
On Nov 4, I was fortunate to watch an interview on CCTV 9 of Nobel Laureate Prof Amartya Sen.
First of all, I would like to congratulate the interviewer Tian Wei for posing some very interesting questions and Prof Sen for the apt answers. Prof Sen identified the cause of the economic recession as the lack of financial discipline in the US and the scaling back of regulations. He is of the view that there must be a balance between the market economy and regulatory controls.
He said that although there are signs of economic recovery in the US, the unemployment rate is still high, which is not the case in India and China. He also touched upon the progress on climate change and the expectations for the Copenhagen meeting, the steps China took in 1979 to open up the economy and the lessons India has learnt from that.
He also emphasized that other developing countries, particularly in Africa, must be given due importance in the G20 so that their voices are heard. When asked about a Chinese or Indian model, he was very clear that there is no one model that could be adopted by others.
It was one of the best interviews conducted in the recent past but unfortunately the time was short.
Army recruitment a springboard?
China's armed forces started their annual nationwide recruitment exercise on Nov 1, more and more university students want to join the army. It is good news that more well-educated candidates want to joint the PLA.
However, a report on CCTV News Channel on the recruitment rush has me a little worried. It says in Chengdu, when college students who flocked to the military recruitment post on campus were asked why they wanted to join the army, one of the students said that joining the army could get him bonus points in the post-graduate examinations when he finishes military services in two years.
Of course, the bonus points are incentives introduced to encourage military services, but if the candidates only eye the preferential policies, they will not bring total commitment to their two-year tenure in the army, as their motive is not sincere from the very beginning.
Undoubtedly, we should not over-criticize college students' way of thinking, but should introduce regulations and measures to fix their short-sighted ideas.
Joining the army is for a higher calling, not a temporary escape from social pressure. Joining the army is a springboard for a stronger army and a stronger individual.
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(China Daily 11/16/2009 page4)