I like the title.

State Legitimacy

A draft declaration from talks in Marrakech on the situation in Syria from the Friends of Syria has recognisedthe opposition as ‘the legitimate representative of the Syrian people’.  Which is nice for them, I guess.  Not so nice, one would presume, for the president of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad and his friends.  Syria has generally been on the wrong side of US foreign policy, and even when the US has needed its support, for example in the lead up to the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, the extent to which it was willing to court Syrian support was arms length and defensive.  President Obama’s declaration of support for the opposition coalition yesterday was not unexpected, and is likely to hasten the demise of the ruling family in Syria, which has been in place for over forty years.

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Paul Barnwell

“I suppose it’s possible I’ll lie on my deathbed regretting that I didn’t work harder and say everything I had to say, but I think what I’ll really wish is that I could have one more beer with Chris, another long talk with Megan, one last good hard laugh with Boyd. Life is too short to be busy,” concludes Tim Krieder in a New York Times opinion piece from last summer.

Krieder laments that everyone seems busy–too busy to call or text back, too busy to go watch the football game and eat wings on a Sunday afternoon, too busy to exercise, date, and too busy to carve out unstructured time in any form.  I agree with his assertion, but I also recognize that he writes from a position of privilege–after all, he’s managed to make a living as a writer working 4-5 hour days.  Unemployment is an issue for…

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Please see the follow-up to this letter at

Dear America,

It feels strange to hear your voice praising teachers for their selflessness, dedication, and love for their students. We’re listening to what you’re saying, but we must admit that we are listening with tilted head and quizzical eye. Why? Because we’ve become accustomed to hearing a very different voice from you.

For the past few years, you’ve been certain that most of society’s problems stem from our schools, more specifically the teachers in those schools. We are lazy and useless, we are only in it for the money, we only teach for the vacation time, we don’t possess the intelligence to teach anyone much of anything, our demands for a respectable wage are selfish, we don’t teach students respect, we are leeches sucking the blood from State coffers, we don’t even work a full day like everyone else, and…

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Rewind: When autumn falls in NYC


Sunset, skyline, sports cars surging in the Empire State of Mind. This is fall in New York.

Busy schedule and lack of motivation prevented me from even considering blogging. Yet the memory of this stunning city of America is no less fresh now than almost two months ago.

Exciting, vibrant and beautiful, New York embodies the best of big city life. From the energetic Time Square that never sleeps, to the seaside park under the famous Brooklyn Bridge, not to forget the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, still standing tall in the fall of our era. New York is a city of history, a fountain of wealth, a hub for new ideas and the classic site of capitalism.

Ironically, the dazzling site of New York is perhaps best viewed from the outside. When entering New York, while we were still in New Jersey, the skyline of New York was perfectly displayed in front of the setting sun, leading a bunch of fools (me and my friends) to believe that we have arrived already, and played Empire State of Mind out loud on the highway. Only when we ran out of gas and were forced to stop by a gas station did we find out our actual location – an hour away, in Jersey.

After a freezing night in the car, we headed towards central NYC. There, the feeling of getting a cup of coffee, joining the crowd of students and workers among other New Yorkers on the Metro was just wonderful beyond description. It resembles London, it reminds me of Hong Kong. But it is not the same. Small communities with buildings of red bricks, corner shops everywhere, with the metro station just above or beneath you… I would have believed it had anyone told me I was in a movie.

Brooklyn is a place of mixed reputations (from what I heard beforehand). Good because of the famous Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges, and its identity as a hub for artists from around the world. Bad because of its long standing problem of security and poverty. From what I saw, Brooklyn is the backyard of New York, consisting of both the best and worst of New York. Brooklyn suffers from what a big city does, messy streets filled with idled youngsters. But Brooklyn has what Manhattan lacks – a space for anything other than finance, big businesses among other money making mechanism – art is absent.  That is why Brooklyn is special, and will always be so.

All in all, visiting New York was an incredible experience. New York, the jewel of the East Coast, shines and reflects the sunlight to the Atlantic stripe of the USA. It shows the best, and the worst of our postmodern capitalist world. From the Fifth Avenue to downtown Brooklyn, I see marks of history everywhere, everywhere. And I see the people who are making history and cultural in this city, people who are proud, and will remain proud, of what they have.

In Washington State right now. More to come.

*Note: this is only what I got from my first visit, a simple impression of the city, so some of the things I said might seem a little shallow to New Yorkers. Hopefully I’ll get to know the city better = visit again. And again. And again. 😀


Let’s begin with the Star-spangled Banner

At the gas station near LaGuardia Airport, New York, NY.

At a gas station near LaGuardia Airport, New York, NY. (Fall Break, 2012)

One thing that caught my eye was the ‘flag culture’. Flags are everywhere in America. It’s not just the star-spangled either, in local neighbourhoods, all sorts of flags are raised, most of them would not be recognised by most Americans, let alone foreigners. But Americans do seem much more patriotic than the Brits are.

Before the start of a basketball game hosted by the college, a little girl sang the national anthem. It was beautifully sung. Her voice was bright and beautiful, projected in and around the stadium. The audience applauded. Yes, Americans love to sing their national anthems, at every available opportunity; especially before a sports game. Yet the game often does not involve their national team. Moreover, were we clapping because we were touched by the girl’s singing? Or were we really clapping for America?

That’s it for now. More to follow.

Goodnight, America.


Hi, my name is Noah.

Born in HK, live in the UK, studying abroad in the US… I don’t know where I call home. I am abroad, I am always abroad.

This blog is about my time ‘abroad’, in HK, the UK, US (and wherever I’ll be, really.) This blog is about how I see the world through my lenses of simplicity and stupidity.

Leave a comment if you will. Thanks.

*All the pictures on the blog are taken by me.