About Me and My Stories

About Me

Hi there, I’m Wei Xiang — yes, that’s my first name. I’m ethically Chinese, so there’re two ‘words’ in my first name. But I wasn’t born in China. I’m Malaysian. My friends have called me Philokid. That’s because philosophy students are very (very) rare in Asia.

If it helps, I’m an INTJ. In short, I offend people quite a lot, both with my eccentric ideas and behavior. It’s never my intention to offend, but I’ll find some way to do so — something I’m not proud of, of course.

I’m currently studying philosophy at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. I’ve been…

Why are most Asian societies having a hard time justifying liberalism?

In the past few decades, many Asian societies are fighting their own government against allegedly tyranny and suppression against individual liberty. Most involve the fight for a version of the First Amendment. Most demanded some form of freedom of speech and expression.

Hong Kong made headlines in 2019 in its protest against the tyranny of mainland China. Myanmar is now making headlines for its fight against a military dictatorship.

You’d think the biggest failure that happened in 1989 Tiananmen would deter any forms of future public protests, but it didn’t.

Social reforms don't happen overnight. One of the biggest problems…

A critique of truth and reality by Asian philosophies

Have you ever experienced something that you just couldn’t describe?

I’m pretty sure most of us have. It could be the “goosebumpy” moment when you reach the climactic crescendo of a piece of music. It could also be the moment when a film reaches its climax that you just can’t hold back your tears anymore. It may also be the moment when you have an epiphany of some sort.

Sure, retrospectively, we may find words to describe that experience. But when we really think about it, there seems to be something missing when it comes to words. …

Being tacit is nice, even if a plane is about to crash.

Last month, I ended my internship with a not-for-profit school providing education for the “less-advantaged.” It was a school largely for immigrants, refugees, and the poor. I ended my last day with a talk with human resources. The manager asked me about several challenges I’ve faced during my internship.

I brought up the day I sent a crude message to my boss for giving me last-minute assignments. We were told the night before to check our latest timetable changes at 10 pm, as they will be finalized then. I checked mine at 10:30 and went to sleep.

I woke up…

The ethics of belief: Can we really choose what we want to believe?

If you were offered $1 billion to sincerely believe you’re made of glass, would you? Or rather, could you?

I believe our answers would be, “Of course not!” We could pretend we sincerely believe that we’re made of glass. But we cannot really sincerely believe this, no matter how much of a reason we were given to do so.

Whether we can indeed choose to believe in certain facts is an interest to moral philosophy, particularly the ethics of belief. It’s also of interest to the philosophy of religion. …

An ineffable philosophy expressed through the works of art.

If I were asked which works of art have significantly impacted my life, I would definitely cite Dan Brown’s books, JJ Lin’s music, and Japanese animation (or anime). While Brown’s works and many philosophical books I’ve read have shifted my intellectual life, Japanese animation has made me explore human emotions that I’d never experience someplace else.

Though I enjoy many works of art from the Japanese culture, two have greatly affected me. The first was Final Fantasy X, the very first final fantasy instalment I played on PS2. The second was the anime film Kimi No Nawa. …

Students hate the humanities, and it isn’t their fault.

One of the greatest ironies of my life is that I’ve grown to dislike the humanities since I was 11. I carried that attitude with me till I was 18. I was a hard-on STEM student. I studied Chemistry, Maths, Physics, and Geography for my A-Levels. Singapore students need to choose a “contrasting” subject. So, really, Geography was forced upon me.

Then, just over the span of a few months, I abandoned my STEM path and chose to major in Philosophy. I’m also pursuing a minor in History. I’m properly and ironically enrolled in the school of humanities.

The decision…

And why they don’t matter to so many of us.

I’ve been reading a lot about pronouns lately. My social media feed has recently been flooded with messages of activism advocating for the proper use of pronouns. As someone who really doesn’t give two cents about people mispronouncing my name, I really have a hard time understanding the whole gender pronouns thing.

People tend to mispronounce my name or they tend to get it wrong. I’m Chinese, which means I have a Chinese name. And I completely understand how difficult it is to get the tone and pitch accent right. …

The simulation hypothesis says it’s one-third, but does it matter?

Any sci-fi fan would’ve heard that we might be living in a simulation many times. Indeed, it’s been a rave since the start of the 21st century. And with The Matrix pioneering the paradigm of “we’re living in a simulation,” it feels as though films attempting to replicate the massive success of The Matrix borders on artistic cliche.

Furthermore, many public intellectuals today claim that there are good reasons to believe we’re living in a simulation. Public figures like Elon Musk and Neil deGrasse Tyson have famously said that our world might be one of many simulated possibilities.

The current…

A contemporary human right born from the popular revolt of morality

I’ve been studying the philosophy of freedom for some time. I’m particularly interested in analyzing the idea of “freedom” across cultures. What strikes me as interesting and perplexing is that while “freedom of speech” is taken to be a rudimentary virtue and right for most Western liberalist societies, it has been relatively elusive to many Asian societies.

While many of us are quick to condemn conservative, authoritarian, and paternalistic states, very few of us pause to ponder why these states find “freedom” difficult to assimilate into their political environment.

I’ve suggested one plausible explanation for this: many non-Western societies lack…

Wei Xiang

I was once asked about the origins of the universe. So, here I am doing philosophy. Ethics | Intellectual History | Chinese Comparative Philosophy

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