At some point toward the end of this month, the world population will chime in to the tune of seven billion. The numbers are skyrocketing; we’d only just brushed six billion in 1999, and a dozen years or so later, another billion or so have been shipped into this world. Aldous Huxley himself would be proud.

It’s great and all, but the planet is screaming for assistance in child support. Seven billion mouths to feed is no laughing matter, as you can imagine. An ongoing project by the United Nations, ‘7 Billion Actions’, is aimed at awakening the transformative power of such an immense population. But while Europe is currently mired in financial stasis and the States is similarly trapped in an endless loop of partisan leadership, it seems like the world leaders who wield the most power and influence aren’t able to use it to do any good.

Power is, as Napoleon himself, put it, a mistress. To wield it, you first need to pursue it endlessly, leeching every bit of charm in order to win it. Then, you have to guard it carefully in order to prevent someone else from stealing it away. Mistreat it, and it dissipates before your eyes. (It’s an interesting thought that most men in power end up losing their positions because of a mistress. The irony.)

Our cover for this issue is a man who has managed to assume the opportunities that power offers and do good with it. During the time of 9/11 a decade ago, De Niro co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival to rouse the nation’s greatest thespians into action in reviving the entertainment industry. Some may consider it a modest and irrelevant act considering the far more important social issues of housing, food and basic living that the third-world community will need in the years to come, but his efforts demonstrate the ability of a man to create during a time of national crisis when he sets his mind to it.

While the West is all too busy trying to resolve its fiscal issues, Asia has the opportunity to grasp the reins of international power and assuage the coming challenges the world will inevitably face in sustaining the needs of the many. It’s up to us to reshape the world as we see fit.

Till the next issue,

Darren Ho


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