"My family moved here from China when I was 7. I don’t tell many people that. I’ve lived here for 20 years and am a citizen. I’ve been through the school system, I work in the government, my accent and mannerisms are local… and I’ve never considered myself anything but Singaporean.

But I’m always afraid that someone will say I’m not Singaporean enough. I wonder: ‘What is enough?’ Is it enough to go to school here? Do you have to be born here? Do your parents have to be born here? It has made me afraid to embrace my Chinese heritage. But as I get older, I’m starting to feel I need to explore that aspect of my identity and learn to accept it as part of myself.”

"The Aid/Trade Debate: Africa and globalisation"

Public Debate at LSE (London School of Economics) on the 31st of October.

The aid versus trade debate has formed a key part of the academic discussion around African development and economic growth. Professor Devarajan will give his perspective on Africa and globalisation.

Shanta Devarajan is the chief economist of the World Bank’s Africa Region.

Eric-Vincent Guichard is the chairman and chief executive officer of GRAVITAS Capital Advisors, Inc.

If anyone in London wants to go, let me know because I’d much rather go with someone than alone.

Hype and the birth of the monster that is modern football

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By Darshan Joshi

Hype is like a phoenix. It is afforded life, it blossoms, it blooms. It peaks. It dies down; it turns to dust; yet it remains deathless. It is as immortal as it is intangible. Its hyperphysical presence experiences a ceaseless resurrection; it evades an escape from memory. Hype is a monster we create. Hype is the reality that Frankenstein’s creation wasn’t. Hype is the be all and end all of all things. Hype is the aggrandisation of the history of football, and it is thus the Brahma of modern football.

Hype, though, is not a spontaneously combusting element. It is we let it be. We impregnate hype. Money is a culprit. Technology, media, culture, history, globalisation; these are all culprits. They are what we let it be, what it is, and what we will cultivate it to be. It is infinite in size, and in potential. We have made football what it is today. Every cent, television image, chant, experience, story, every word – it is an amplification of this hype, an amplification of what we let happen. We are at fault.

The progression of hype is like an anti-Matryoshka doll. Each wave consumes the last, doubles, triples in size; its limitless capacity draws everything in. Football is a man-made hurricane. It is now inseminated with everything we associate with power. It is now a by-product, and only a by-product, of money and thus of entertainment, of politics, of globalisation, of greed.

The hype at the foundations of football is amaranthine. This is clear. It is unstoppable because it is only a side effect of hype. Hype instigates the perennial regeneration of our global game. It will never cease to be because it is always fed. Football is, in essence, a religion, driven by financial investment. Television revenue, the printed press, injections of wealth from distant lands are all brought to existence by hype. We milk, and will continue to milk, every last breath out of hype, but it is a phoenix. It returns, and football grows.

That it doesn’t grow in the direction of goodness is moot. As Gandalf said: things are now in motion that cannot be undone. We have subconsciously accepted football as a colossus. We let it happen. We let this motion take life.

It had led us to a split-end. One day, there was a divorce between football and reality. They have come so far apart, as we see today – financial turmoil on Wall Street, financial eudaimonia on FIFA Street.

It is unfair to single out Carlos Tévez as an epitomisation of football’s social “insanctity”, because he is simply a by-product of the by-product that is modern football. He is, though, an example that will be crucified for recalcitrant behaviour that has somehow transcended our preconceptions of the (modern) footballer. If the forces of supply and demand have determined his monetary worth, it is his internal axis of right and wrong that have determined his decisions, his transgressions. It is a shameful reality that in time, this appalling misdemeanour will go materially unpunished. It is proof of the disunion of football and reality.

FIFA will go a long way in redeeming the disappeared verisimilitude of football if it makes an example of Tévez, but this situation is one of melancholia because it won’t make a difference. History will repeat itself, but the moral is this: the chain of events is of our making. Not of one generation, but of all since the birth of football. Through hype, we let this happen. We let this happen. We’ve created a monster. And that monster, well, is a creator.

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Yinka Shonibare, MBE was born in London and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to London to study Fine Art first at Byam Shaw College of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design) and then at Goldsmiths College, where he received his MFA, graduating as part of the ‘Young British Artists’ generation. He currently lives and works in the East End of London.

Over the past decade, Shonibare has become well known for his exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. Shonibare’s work explores these issues, alongside those of race and class, through the media of painting, sculpture, photography and, more recently, film and performance. Using this wide range of media, Shonibare examines in particular the construction of identity and tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories.  Mixing Western art history and literature, he asks what constitutes our collective contemporary identity today. Having described himself as a ‘post-colonial’ hybrid, Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions.

GLOBALISATION [aka GLOBALIZATION]

[noun]

also mundialisation or mundialization – a common term for processes of international integration arising from increasing human activity and interchange of worldviews, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture. In particular, advances in transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, including the rise of the Internet, represent major driving factors in globalisation and precipitate further interdependence of economic and cultural activities. See also industrialisation.

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“In almost everything we now hear about economic disadvantage, there is the same belief, embodied in such government schemes as the Work Programme, that 40-plus years of deindustrialisation matters not, and to be one of the economy’s losers isn’t about being a victim of forces beyond your control, but character failings.”

John Harris, The Guardian, 7th January 2013

Photographs from Blisner, Ill © Daniel Shea.

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