Anger and conflict

It suddenly dawned on me some weeks ago that I did some research on conflict resolution. Back then, it was done to help resolve a continuously tense condition at work.

One way in which people get angry is when we feel that the other party is deliberately annoying or challenging us. Yet, could it be possible that this was not the case? Could it have been that the other person was only acting for himself or herself (Scott, p.247); behaving based on their longstanding worldview instead attacking you?

By implication, you are not the enemy…


This is probably in tandem with a technique raised by Ronald Potter-Efron. It is called ‘Disputation’. (Potter-Efron, p.140-142) We therefore redirect our train of thought elsewhere. Another example raised by the author is where we can remind ourselves that since we are not in a hurry, it is not a critical problem when another car cuts into your lane.  Hence, there is no need to become angry.

These techniques or mental models help to keep things in perspective. In the least, it delays the onset of anger. (Bearing in mind that anger does kill. The toxins generated have killed guinea pigs or rats – as my mother reminded me.) This opens up the way to greater empathy and eventually, forgiveness.

The practice of forgiveness — yes, you have read correctly, it is a practice. It may well be a reluctant last resort but it is a daily medication that one should and must take.

Do consider RT Kendall’s Total Forgiveness and another book entitled Amish Grace.


Vivian Scott. (2007). Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies.  Wiley Publishing. (The latest version is the one in 2009 by the same author).

Ronald Potter-Efron. (2012) Healing the Angry Brain : How Understanding the Way Your Brain Works Can Help You Control Anger and Aggression. Oakland: New Harbinger Publications. 

See also

(Revised 8 Feb 2015)


Security Council (SC) politics: 联合国春秋 edited by 王杏芳, (1999) – [Annals: United Nations – Volume 1]

On pages 59-61, one would find an interesting tidbit: US President Roosevelt advised that when countries involved in a conflict should not vote in related resolutions. To explain, if the Brazil was in the SC and found itself in a quarrel with the United Kingdom, then both parties could not vote in resolutions that attempted to end the problem.

And more daringly, the veto power to stop the resolution could not be used!

Perhaps unfortunately, the veto right restriction was not exercised. That more than most other reasons crippled the United Nations (UN).

Another tidbit was that the Soviet Union actually proposed a UN led international airforce that would respond to global incidents! Great to explore further : )

Arab-Israeli conflict or Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Admittedly this was not an area that I focused on when I used to teach. Hence, I am building my expertise here.

In the preceding post, we touched on some aspects on the Chinese angle on the issue. Below is another perspective with the use of maps. (Note that it does not discuss the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Al Jazeera is a news broadcaster.)

Al Jazeera (US) view of the Middle East issue

The above title uses different words to pose the issue. Consider the implication of using one or the other…

10 year Report Card: 联合国春秋 edited by 王杏芳, (1999) – [Annals: United Nations – Volume 1]

It is pity I did not see more of such sections (p.255-258) in this volume.

The United Nations (UN) went through the following (not necessarily in chronological order):

1. wrangling elections for the first Secretary General (a Norwegian candidate favoured by the then Soviet Union)

2. Iran crisis

3. Berlin Blockade

4. Korean War

For 2-3, the UN could do nothing since those involved were the superpowers themselves. (This was to be repeated in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.) The reason why the US could get the UN nod to enter the Korean peninsula was because the USSR was absent from the Security Council at that pivotal period. (Nevertheless, the book still paints the conflict as a US failure.) The Cold War had paralysed the UN.

5. Kashmir

6. Arab-Israeli war (first)

The UN stepped in after the conflict began to help soothe and cease the hostilities. Note that this is a distinct, and very much poorer than preventing the onset of any war. In the other parts of the book, the UN was described as a tool for the US in creating contemporary Israel. The Jewish lobby was singled out for influencing President Truman’s efforts. (The role of the Jewish lobby can be further explored. This is in part because of the American lobbying culture. On another note, it potentially answers an earlier question on how much political opinion/pressure was on Truman in effecting efforts leading to the Cold War in Europe.)

Reading: A Primer

Reading has turned out to be a deceptively difficult skill. Of course, this realisation came upon several years of experience. Students simply not reading assigned articles for example.

I was intellectually knocked off my chair when I read the words of Thomas S. C. Farrell (2009. Teaching Reading to English Language Learners: A Reflective Guide. Corwin Press.) He stated that asking students to

1. prepare summaries

2. define specific words (probably new to the learners) and make sentences using the words

3. answer comprehension questions

are actually tests of reading and not teaching or educating students on how to read!

In some senses, a revised approach to reading would help it become more useful to the learner. Eventually, I hope reading can become an absolute joy; there have been (and still are) so many beautiful, artistic, poetic, wise sentences waiting to be explored and discussed!

Review: 联合国春秋 edited by 王杏芳, (1999) – [Annals: United Nations – Volume 1]

Recently, a colleague asked me why I was reading so many Chinese books. My reply – to see things from a different angle. She concurred.

The above was published through 当代世界出版社, Beijing (北京), China. It had various writers with Wang (王) as editor. Back in university, we were taught to do textual analysis. So here goes.

The mood of the book is markedly different. Of course this stems from China forming the focal point of the material. The country is highlighted as aggrieved. One reason is that the People’s Republic of China was only admitted into the United Nations Security Council in 1971. (It was formed in 1949.)

There are some interesting points such as how the Guomindang (Kuomintang or KMT) fought the Japanese passively in the Sino-Japanese War which began in 1937. Consequently, it was in a weaker position to protect its interests and have a say in the workings of the United Nations. (As I write, I am reminded of Chiang Kai-shek’s strategy – allow the Japanese to push while retreating to Chongqing in the west.)

Another segment analysed Greece’s internal conflict after World War II in the context of the Cold War. The heading with regards to US involvement can be translated as ‘Truman Terror’ (p.117). The first paragraph described how the US sought to maintain hegemony over the Mediterranean with several naval visits to Greece. Eventually, the US proceeded with the Truman Doctrine. Arguably, this can be used to paint the US as the aggressor in sparking the Cold War. (A Revisionist view towards the origins of the Cold War) Yet, if one looks further, it can otherwise be argued that the US did so in response to Soviet advances. The latter failed to pull out from Iran and even threatened Turkey as early as 1945.

Going back even further though may change one’s mind once more. The West supported anti-communists in the Russian Civil War. The USSR only entered the League of Nation in the 1930s. It also bore the brunt of the German invasion during World War II while waiting for unbearably (more than plausible) for a western front to be opened up against Nazi Germany. Justifiably, it had various demands it felt entitled to? Justifiably, the USSR felt the need to secure her borders against future attacks?

Again more questions than answers.