Words are also things. They have weight and substance. They are real and tangible. But that doesn't mean we understand them. And so the conversation becomes harder, because it hardly seems we're part of the same conversation. Here, then, is my list, a glossary of words of my choosing, with definitions and annotations I've devised.
The problem with the United Nations is that it's a unity of entities defined by their hatred of one another and committed to the perpetuation of "the scourge of war." We won't begin creating global peace until we learn how to bypass nationalism and the single, unacknowledged agreement binding nation-states to each other: the inevitability of war.
Pelaud had always been an outsider. Born in 1965 to a French father and a Vietnamese mother who didn't speak much French, she grew up in rural France feeling isolated, both geographically and culturally. She had trouble making friends and didn't do well in school. No one believed that she would amount to much.
Even now, at the height of its success, Singapore doesn't get much love (as opposed to grudging respect) from the legions of foreigners who avail themselves of its First World amenities. It's almost obligatory for Westerners visiting or residing in Singapore to complain about the "sterility" of the place, and joke about the carefully manicured boulevards and the pristine shopping malls, contrasting Singapore unflatteringly to the grittier authenticity and "character" of nearby Cambodia and Vietnam. It's indeed easy to mock Singapore if you haven't lived in a poor country, and it's a form of colonial prejudice to begrudge Singaporeans their lack of Third World "charm." We prefer our tropics to be exotically chaotic, thank you -- not tidier and more efficient than the Swiss. And Singapore's system is highly responsive to its citizenry's needs and desires, without being terribly democratic.