The conception of VIEWPOINTS started as a project centred at unearthing the truth behind the politics in the South China Sea (SCS). Currently, six countries vie for hegemony over the lucrative trade that can be derived from the oil and fish rich waters, each spinning a more convincing tale about their inherited rights. China however, takes the limelight in the research. She had demarcated close to 90% of the South China Sea as its territory, and all the countries who staked a claim in the area were driven off using military force. The SCS was a boiling pot that was threatening to erupt into war with weaker countries retaliating occasionally. If we were to look at the news that was reported from the different news agencies however, the discrepancies were alarming. Every country were telling the same story differently, each staking claims while making accusations, sometimes, even when there are evidence against them. Who is telling the truth? Research then began into the philosophical subject of truth and the examination of all the sides of the stories given by the different countries, the result was inconclusive. That there was no absolute truth in the matter. In fact, the most accurate version of truth that I arrived at for the SCS would be an amalgamation of ALL the different stands of the stakeholders. However, due to propaganda and the lack of critical thinking, there is no space for an ambiguous truth such as this. Almost everyone believes a version that was spun by its local press because it is easier to. These include the people who drives the economy and pay for their country’s capabilities to engage in such warfare. This was when I realize we didn’t need ambiguous truths, we needed to take our stand because there is no one absolute truth to believe in. we need to be able to formulate our own point of views in matters such as these so that we don’t get played by the media and governments.
That was why the project became about Viewpoints. Who knows for certain that the ideas they have are their own? Sometimes, we can be so swayed by something that sounds so probable that we just blindly adopt as our own. Take the September 11 incident for instance. The press coverage was understandably about the victims of the incident, and there were too many unnecessary casualties, but there was no space for empathy for the enemy. Why did it happen in the first place? Why would such an elaborated plan be put into action to cause so much hurt and death for no reason? These questions were later on answered when research was initiated, but people’s perceptions are already set in stone. While the victims did not deserve it, the media had already demonised the enemy to the point it has become hard to even fathom empathy for the other side of the story. Ask a friend around you about a controversial incident and see the views they take. How many of us quote the news blindly without applying ourselves? This was the final push that led to the creation of VIEWPOINTS.