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Xavier Koh Yan Hui

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About Xavier Koh Yan Hui

  • Birthday 12/31/1991

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  1. Hello everyone, Some of you might remember me from last year, lamenting on my teen angst and on how I am unable to act, to decide on a course of action at a cross road in my life. Many thanks to the great advice given to me then, it helped me tremedously. Not to sound mushy, but the community here, and Objectivism in general, changed my life to no small degree(There are just about no Objectivists in Singapore) . Back then, I was so uncertain of the future, of what to do, of who I am. Though many of the questions have not been fully answered, I believe I am well on my way, and on the right track. And if I am not, I know for a fact that I will deal with it, and will do my best to emerge triumphant with whatever obstacles I might encounter. Now I am in junior college(which is the most prestigious educational institution for my age in Singapore). It is something I would not have expected last year. I will graduate next year, and then do my time in the Singapore Army, which is required for all males 18 of age in my country. That is, if I do not wish to go to jail (and I do not). Despite approaching a new cross road next year, in which I will need to choose once again, which course(s) to take in university, I go forth with a fire in my heart that is rather difficult to describe, but which I am sure you are all familiar with. Now, to the matter at hand. We have been given an assignment in my junior college. Here, we just refer to it as ''The Project'' or ''Project Work''. It is a very vital part of our curriculum. Simply put, this year's project involves us taking a famous person and trying to extract learning points from his/her journey and how it might be applied so people can learn from them. Quite immediately, I chose Ayn Rand. It was rather self evident to me, and I felt I would be in a way, paying tribute to a set of ideas that have so influenced me. The thing is, I require ideas. I would need to somehow propose ideas on how to promote Objectivism and Ayn Rand to the youth in my country (though it is not limited to just my countrymen). And they need to be unconventional for them to stand out. As it is, I told my teacher(who had no idea who Ayn Rand was) that I chose Ayn Rand, and presented to her a set of proposals, which include : A series of talks and discussion groups on Objectivism formed in junior colleges and secondary schools, a weeklong holiday camp touching in the history of philosophy to learn how objectivism relates to other philosophies, and a debating competition in collaboration with the Debate Association of Singapore in which an Objectivist debate team will defend rational stands against any opposition and win (hopefully). Much to my dismay, though I believe my ideas to have merit, my teacher wants me to be more ''unconventional'' in my ideas to promote Objectivism and the rational way of life. I have been mulling this over, and have not made much progress. Would any of you like to share your ideas with me? Perhaps if you offered a pointer or two, it might spark up some idea that I simply didn't ''get'' in my attempts to rake it up.
  2. I am a Singaporean, so I have lived with the knowledge of the drug laws my whole life, so I am not shocked by it. I do not see why the death penalty for drug possession is wrong. Drug use here is all but unheard of, and most, if not all use of it is kept underground, and if you believe the reports, are being slowly stamped out as we speak. I do not think drugs should be allowed on the basis that it is addictive in nature, a bad personal choice that can have dire consequences on more than the individual concerned. Furthermore, it is unnecessary, and one would have to go through quite a bit of trouble to acquire drugs in Singapore. So people are deterred from using drugs. To make it short, I think the harsh drug laws in Singapore have benefited Singapore as a whole. Everyone benefits, except the drug smugglers. So it might be said that it is in our selfish interest to ban drugs. It is hard to argue from an individualistic standpoint on this, but if allowing drugs, like allowing guns would result in long term negative effects, wouldn't it be better to ban them? I would have you know beforehand that I have read our first prime minister's memoir, and he clearly states that his methods are pragmatic in nature. This is irrelevant, but an interesting tidbit of knowledge: Singapore also bans gambling. Well, large scale organised gambling, anyway. We have, however, recently opened a casino. Bad news for gamblers is that it costs about an extra hundred dollars for Singaporeans to play in the casino. I look forward to your responses, please correct any errors I might have made.
  3. Thank you very much for your response. Do you take the objectivists' stand or Pirsigs', or some other stand entirely?
  4. I believe what he said of quality is that it's a pre-intellectual function. It is not intrinsic, because what has 'quality' is different for everyone. It's so hard to put my finger on it. Something feels wrong. Acknowledgment of his theory as truth would have implications I cannot imagine, both in my life and in my way of thinking.
  5. I did some thinking, and now I wonder if there is perhaps someway to reconcile the Quality of Metaphysics with Objectivism. Perhaps what the author of ''Zen and the art of Motorcycle'' intended was not to deny the essential objective identities of objects, but merely to raise the possibility of a different level of awareness in regards to them.
  6. I will admit it openly, so as to not give anyone false impressions. I do not fully understand the book. If you were to tell me to explain it right now, I could probably explain the ideas, using the words and concepts presented by the author, but true understanding, the innate and unquestioned belief that you understand, is beyond me presently. What do the people here think of this book? Do the book's ''Metaphysics of Quality'' clash or compliment the philosophy of Objectivism? I would love to hear your views on this matter, because I have not found the right information to clarify my thoughts on this. Thank you.
  7. Haha, thank you, Tenure. I must admit, I never saw it that way. Put into that perspective, it does seem rather ridiculous, and very mafia-ish.
  8. Yes, it is explained in the link in my previous post better than I can possibly explain it myself. Substitute ''government'' for ''agency'' each with their own variations for justice. Every individual should belong under the jurisdiction of one agency or another, something like different governments in different countries, except more than one agency can coexist within a certain geographical location. An example of a variation in the law would be, lets say, the death penalty. I believe it is explained in the link how if two individuals belong to different agencies, they will require their respective agencies to reach an agreement which will benefit both sides. I would like to stress that this is not my argument, I am merely trying to find out if theirs have merits.
  9. If someone is born with a lifelong illness, that would ensure their death at a young age, to what extent do Objectivist ethics possibly apply to her? How can someone who knows he/she is going to die, take any comfort in Objectivism?
  10. Suppose a group of people get together and say ''Hey, I want to start a company which handles matters of the law, dealing with the dispensing of justice. It seems to have good potential.'' In order words, these people wish to start a competing system of law. To maintain a monopoly, the government would need to initiate force to maintain it's monopoly, which is why he claims it is a contradiction, since force would be initiated on part of the government. Check this out : http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Libertarian/...Chapter_29.html
  11. Thank you for responding. He has some links on his description section. I have not read them comprehensively yet, but one of the links state that instead of a government, which in order to assert it's monopoly on the use of force, would be using force to prevent other agencies from performing the same function. This is what, he argues, the government must do to maintain a monopoly on the use of force, which he claims, would be contradicting the Objectivist principle of not initiating force. Instead, he advocates a certain political groundwork which allows for different agencies to function the way a government would. I am not too versed in the specifics, but he managed to make it sound plausible, so I wanted more perspectives on this. Thank you.
  12. This video claims there is a contradiction in Objectivist politics. Is there any merit to its argument? I can find no flaw with what he is basically stating.
  13. I am sorry, I fail to see the difference between whims and interests/passions. Please give me a clearer definition of it. My definition of whim is an urge or desire which has no logical basis. I would consider my urge to produce music a whim as well, though one could call it the urge for self expression. I suppose I call it a whim because it, like I said, has no basis in reality. As in, there is no reason why I SHOULD feel that way, yet I do. Take your daughter for instance, do you choose to maintain her as a value because she is beneficial to your life? By your life, I mean your happiness. Of course you do. But by what standard of evaluation do you decide what contributes to your happiness? Why does it contribute to your happiness? Is it irrational? Those are the questions I am asking. Finally, is the difference between personal expression and whim is the fact that in personal expression you take the time to examine your impulses before acting on them? But then again, I could take all form of self directed action as a form of personal expression. Thank you for your response.
  14. One should strive for ideals. Ideals are abstractions, that with productive effort directed by reason, can be realised as concretes. The question here is one of application, not of theory. Take a starving artist for example. Take Howard Roark, from the Fountainhead. We know that morality is guided by that which is pro-life, that is, that which benefits one's life. (As a rational being) Beyond basic needs, what can be objectively viewed to benefit life? More money? Should an artist with vision, such as Howard Roark, take the risk of starving for the sake of achieving his ideals? How does one justify one's ideals as rational? Is this self evident? By what objective standards do you judge : 1) Having a secure life, and, 2)Throwing yourself out in the line for the sake of your ideals (which are abstractions yet to be realised), as more rational than the other? Or does the issue of personal vision come into play as well. Yet that would negate objectivity, because there HAS to be one option that is better than the other, is there? Does ''that which benefits my life as a rational being'' include taking the risk of starving for the sake of something not yet realised? (An abstraction) For what, for the sake of fulfillment, and happiness? That, itself, is an abstraction, is it not? Fulfillment can never be realised as a concrete.Does that not lead us down the path of hedonism? Happiness is the achievement of one's rational values, rationally. And what sets the standards for our values is what is good for our life. My life, in this case. What is rational about wanting to paint, or design buildings like Howard Roark did, in his own personal vision, as compared to any other option, all which would ensure one's survival as a rational being? Is the pursuit of values in the name of one's life, merely a pursuit of whims using rational means and applying rational methods? Wouldn't that make us advocates of reason only in the sphere of pursuing our goals (Which might not be rational, but conform to Objectivist morality i.e. ''Don't infringe on other people's rights etc) Surely there must be some sort of objective standard of evaluation one can apply to one's own life. If money is to be obtained with pride, as a sign of value obtained via productive effort by a free mind, then does that not mean more money = good? And that being poor means that somehow, in some fundamental respect, you have failed as a rational being? I know this to be untrue, because there are irrational rich people, yet it is hard to reconcile both facts. And what if the pursuit of your ideals beggars you? What then? Values are concretes, are they not? Yet if you have no concretes to show for your work, will you have failed as a human being? ( I am using a lot of ''yets'' I noticed) I am confused in this respect, please enlighten me. A detailed response would be appreciated. Sorry if it is very disorganised, I sort of allowed my rather confused thoughts to be made tangible by typing whatever came to mind, since it was so hard to pinpoint the exact dilemma directly. I am not sure if all these questions stem from a single source or contradiction, or they are the result of many. So if it has been a difficult read, so sorry. I would still appreciate a response though, it really IS bothering me quite a bit.
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