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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, November 05, 2005

My hair is supposed to be layered now. It feels a bit lighter when I jerk my head, but otherwise it doesn't look or feel different.

I'm a bit disappointed - I'd heard so much about layering.

According to the hairdresser it reduces the rate at which hair drops since each follicle is now supporting less weight. I'm not sure about the veracity of the explanation, but now perhaps my mother will burst into my room with the vacuum cleaner or broom 9 times a day instead of 10.




Professor Phenomenus: Perhaps to the untrained eye!
"Autobiography is an unrivaled vehicle for telling the truth about other people." - Philip Guedalla

***

Someone: hmmmm shld I feel insulted that *** seems to think I'm not even worth consideration for bedding (that's why he's so vulgar and irritating to me) or shld I feel relieved?

Me: you know women
can never please them

either they feel objectified yet secretly pleased
or relieved but secretly offended

***

I was at a career talk and there was a detachment of SMU students present. They asked a disproportionate number of questions, considering their numbers. However, the questions were all dumb questions, so.

It seems that, on weekdays at least, NUS students can also visit the Kingfisher cafe in the NUSS Guild House near Arts - they just need to pay by Cashcard of NETS. I don't think many people know this since the management don't make an attempt to advertise this fact.

The difference between the parts of the Central Library marked out as 'quiet area's and those which aren't is startling. Almost everyone respects the sanctity of the former regions, and talk either in hushed tones or exit the area to carry on extended conversations. The only thing is that the door is squeaky and makes a loud noise when opened. It needs to be oiled.

Due to a miscommunication, I thought that someone told me that "the shocker" meant "hey" in International Sign Language. Later it emerged that she'd seen a series of T-shirts with words in International Sign Language and their corresponding English meanings, and one of them had a hand where the third finger was extended, and the word "hey" below. I speculated that it was probably one of those deliberate mistranslations foisted off an unsuspecting tourists, like how some ang mohs buy T-shirts with Chinese curse words or insults on them (at least according to some photos you see floating around on the net). Either that or it's one of the gag T-shirts (like the one which says: F_CK Y__. Would you like to buy a vowel?)


More than one person has told me that all girls are bicurious (or at least open to the idea of dating other women). This is probably because they get their thrills from emotional intimacy (which, if sincerely given, is a proxy for likely commitment in long term mating), which is prioritised over the physical attributes of the opposite sex (something hardwired into everyone, but which takes primacy in males), which can be afforded by both genders. Perhaps intra-sexual competition in the form of checking out the appearance of their possible rivals can also spill over into intra-sexual attraction.

Meanwhile males get theirs from physical appearance since it indicates fertility (which is why gays dress better - even though they're not looking for fertile women the inclination to go for looks remains still); coupled with homosexuality threatening straight guys' sense of masculinity, this drives down their level of receptivity to non-heterosexual liaisons.

[NB: This is not about which gender is more inclined to homosexuality; it's about being bicurious]

Friday, November 04, 2005

Quotes:

[On Asian Prince] Are you going to do an ISM [Ed: Individual Study Module] on him?

Nice hair. You should... cut it. [Me: The 2 statements do not congeal.]

[Me on American Romantic Buddhism, the Yab-Yum and group sex in Jack Kerouac: Buddhism {is} so fun huh.] I wanna convert now.

[On soliciting responses from the audience] I realise this is a lecture and not a seminar, but life is one big seminar for me. When I go on the MRT: ask me questions! It's quite worrying. It might be a sign of psychosis.

If you look up 'taantra' on Google, what do you find?... You guys are so pure!... Try it some time, you'll be shocked.

[Me on sex in Tantric Buddhism and the Yab-Yum: Sex is sacred] Are you speaking for yourself?

[On the Yab-Yum] We're gonna come back to a later virgin... version.

Have you listened to Lori Anderson? [Other lecturer: Not recently] You're kids. You're all kids. I'm in my 40s.

I think I may have created the impression that American Buddhists are just into sex, drugs and rock and roll all the time.

I used to be invited to give Buddhist talks in Singapore and Malaysia. White guy, Buddhist - ooh, let's invite him... I invited a gay Buddhist group. They chickened out... 'Don't kill a fly because 500 times before in its previous life, it might have been your mother.' 'You might have been gay 500 times before in your previous life. Get over it.' I never got invited back.

[On a gay Yab-Yum and Eliade] Having sex is a sacred experience for them. They're experiencing nostalgia.

[On Harry Potter] I saw *** [Ed: The philosophy professor] rad this on the bus before. I was shocked. (reading)

[Girl:] I want your hair... Your hair is nicer than mine.

You should get a short-haired girlfriend. You'll be quite compatible. (You two)

[Fellow long-haired guy on people telling me to cut my hair] What's their problem? Everybody is telling me to cut my hair. It's fucking irritating.
"Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad." - Norm Papernick

***

felumpfus flirts with the dark side:

I think it's got something to do with my two X chromosomes, but my brain seems to be inexplicably drawn to the Macintosh ibooks. Very irrationally. The shiny white surface, keyboard, little cute Apple key... errrrrgh. It's almost necessary to stab my eyes out, handcuff myself to the bed conveniently located immovable piece of furniture, and change my bank PIN number to something that I would never remember, to prevent me from taking that leap of folly. Why?? WHy??? Why can't someone package a cute, compact PC that everyone wants to buy?

"Macs... for people too stupid to know better than click on Hot S*XXXX popups"


[Addendum: anyone who wants to buy that spanking new ibook had better be prepared that the "shiny white surface, keyboard, little cute Apple key" all will deteriorate with age and will look far worse than any traditional matt-black old-Volvo (functional and unfashionable) if scratched.

have you seen how gross white surfaces and keyboards turn black when touched by fingers through the passage of time?]

***

I've found a female PR fan my age. (Not the concrete girl) Wow!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Shianux comes up with the following gem, perhaps channeling Rockson:


"Ahh see, my problem with discussions here is that people like to use super cheem engrish, until people's who's engrand not so powderful like me cannot understand.

And then hor, when we cannot understand, what the fuck is the point of arguing? not lellevant to the lives of ordinary singaporeans lor!


But seriously, when I reading harfway hor, I was like, what the fuck! All that talk about morality and harm principle and all that shit, argue for fuck manzzzz..... like hor, people argue until donno why they argue for liao.

You see, me hor, what I think is, whether harm principle or conscience or what fuck hor, is only for 1 reason onie:

When is it justified to use the coercive powers of the state to control what people can or cannot do.


See hor, that Ah-gin, he say hor, this thing we got in our hart hor, tell us what we can or kenot do. Some other ppl hor, say we think what is right or wrong if we ji siao other ppl, or other ppl ji siao us.


But you see hor, I was thinking, what the fuck! I don't care what you think, and I think other people also don't care what other people think leh! If you want to do something or not want to do something because your hart tell you hor, then good for you lor.

The porblem hor, is what happen when other ppl want to do something, and theyiar hart tell them can do, but what they doing is murder lah, rape lah, molest lah, fuck kar-chng lah (oops, I talk about this later)

So why ask mata to jail ppl who murder, rape, or molest leh? I think hor, you should ask yourself: is it because your hart tell you its wrong, and kenot do? Or because you know that if someone want to do this kind of cheebye thing to you, you will be seebey toolan? (pai seh, if you murdered already hor, kenot toolan liao, cos you dieded already wahahhaa)

You see hor, I think that Ah-gin who say the con-science thing hor, is wrong leh. I mean, walao eh, con-science for fuck?!? You cannot con science man, science con you!

If the hart really tell you what can do or cannot do or, long time no more murderer or raper or molester liao loh! But how come still got leh? Must be this people siao lang right? But how come got siao lang leh? Must be this people con-science kena con right?!?

And some more hor, how we go every person and check their hart and con-science lah. This one seebey jialat, how to do lah, walao, like that machiam like Minolity Leeport (dat movie seebey ho kua, must go watch, special effec steady pom peet peet).

So how we know why we catch this murderer and raper and molester leh? Cos they ji siao other people lor. You think to yourself, if someone never ask your permission, and come and use parang and tong le eh body, or fuck your backside (both ta por or cha bor also hahaha), or touch your neh neh, how you feel? Seebey toolan right?

But what if you gay, you and another one of your ah-kua friends want to fuck each other kar-chng, then how? But law say cannot leh. But why?!? Mr Gay want to fuck another Mr Gay kar-chng, both want what. Both say ok what. They neber force each other what. That one not ji siao anymore right? Then for fuck Ah-gin want to tell them cannot fuck kar-chng? Not fucking your kar-chng you want to ji siao for fuck? (unless Ah-gin see already kar-chng secretly itchy leh... wahahaa then he want to force others not to fuck kar-ching so he won't see and feel
itchy... wahhaha)

So yah, just my two fucking cheebye cents worth lah. I know you all skolar one, all tak chek damn power one, but I think hor, ah beng off the street some times got thing to say hor, you also should at least tiah abit mah... cos after all hor, you all elite peepur in the end still only minolity lor (like minolity leeport hor... wahahhaa)

Remember leh, sewer serpent work for us, not the other way round. So dont try to think up reason to come fuck fuck with us lor... all this cheem engrish lah, theoletical nonsen lah, for fuck?!? Just don't ji siao me when I don't ji siao other peepur can already.


Peace out, cheebyebyes!!!"
"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." - H. L. Mencken

Random Playlist Song: Talisman A Cappella - Baba Yetu (Casey Stone Remix)

Baba Yetu Yetu uliye mbinguni Yetu Yetu, Amina.
Baba Yetu Yetu uliye jina lako litukuzwe;

(Okay, I give up. Swahili pronunciation is too much for me to take)

***

"All I took before econometrics was statistics for finance majors, where we learned nothing. Now most of the concepts are coming up in econometrics, the major difference being that we need to understand what all these statistical tests mean."

Heh.

***

Stretching 'fails to stop muscle injury' - "Data from two studies on army recruits in training, whose risk of injury is high, show that muscle stretching prevented on average one injury every 23 years."

A remote control that controls humans - "Headset sends electricity through head, forcing wearer to move"

Cops say hard drives justify 90 day jail without trial - "We have a senior cop, Andy Hayman from the Metropolitan Police, telling us on the same radio programme that the 90 days detention without trial it wants is because the amount of information on a hard drive is more than huge piles of paper... If people have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear."
Yes, let's plant mind control monitoring chips into people's brains. If people have nothing to hide, they have nothing to fear.


***

Someone on my MSN avatar: is that some experiment with...pads?

Me: hehe
so smart
there're videos also

Someone: what is that? part time job?

***

It's damn annoying whenever people I don't recognise say hello to me. Sometimes you you know where these people who accost you are from but you can't remember the name, but more often I don't even know where they're from. Argh.

Someone was bemoaning that NUS students lack intellectual curiosity, and don't seek knowledge for its own sake. Another commented that Singaporeans in general lack intellectual curiosity. As is evident from the focus on "practicality" in education, most do not seek knowledge for its own sake, but as a means to an end (and probably a practical/materialistic one). This probably explains the popularity of management bullshit and self-help books here, vis a vis the rest of the developed world.


Nowadays, many people turn to forms of information consumption and knowledge absorption other than books, the traditional preferred medium. In the TV and Internet age, many people suffer from lowered attention spans, and look for shorter and/or more easily digestible sources of information. Furthermore, for most people, once you know a certain quantum of information, diminishing marginal returns set in quickly - it is possible to be reasonably well-informed and erudite even without being a bookworm.

Of course, the bar is set differently for different people - most get by with a very low base of information, some are content with a moderate level and a few set the bar very high. However, the domain of human knowledge expands daily, making it harder and harder to keep up.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Me to someone reading Singapore FHM: Why do women read men's magazines?

Someone else: To look at what they don't have

Someone: Because I'm bored

Me: To check out the competition

An Ad someone wrote for Me

[Ed: This post has been dated a week in the future so I can make a better fool of myself people can laugh at me for another week people will leave more comments people will offer to write me a more edifying one I can get (m)any responses whatever.]

In response to an unnamed sociologist's musing that he'd like to see what happened if I posted an ad, some law student actually wrote one for me. Unfortunately, unlike the folks at Creative Juices Consulting, she doesn't seem to have mastered the art of advertising. And I'm still not being paid to be a lab rat. Damn.


You want him but you just don’t know it yet.

You might not have met him YET, but you know he is a nice guy.
After all, we are talking about the famous Gabriel Seah aka Agooga (sic) of http://gssq.blogspot.com.

You know that he is knowledgeable and well-informed, dishing out information and juicy news. What will you do without him in this era of frivolous blogs? And it’s not just the fluff; this guy is seriously smart being a scholar (sic - unless you count being a USP "scholar").

In addition, he’s funny, entertaining and makes you laugh. Definitely fun-loving, open to ideas, you can talk to him about anything and everything. You will never be bored with him!

Where can you find the guy who will never complain that you are fat?
He will never complain about how long and how much you spend on your hair and will even go to the salon and rebond his hair with you!

Did we mention before that he is a scholar?
Scholar = smart = recognised talent = hot stuff = good job prospects = good job = good money = stable life

Gabriel’s good for cuddling and ok-looking now and has great potential later when he decides to shape up. He has long flowing hair and a nice smile. You have to see him in person to be charmed.

You might not know him well enough now, but we assure you, you will like him.
Drop him a note here and prepare to have an interesting time.


A: Drop him a note here and prepare to have an interesting time.
sounds like you’re going to do something nasty

B: He has long flowing hair and a nice smile
haha.. reminds me of you-know-who


Addendum:

Keywords: you're fat, date, do your hair together, never say you're fat, never say you are fat



I swear I didn't tamper with this. And I've tried it on at least 5 different days. The result is always the same.

[Addendum: I've tried variations of the URL and claimed my blog on Technorati already.]

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"If you live long enough, the venerability factor creeps in; first, you get accused of things you never did, and later, credited for virtues you never had." - I. F. Stone

***

Quotes:

The difference between Keynesians and New Keynesians is that New Keynesians are newer than Keynesians.

There're only so many things you can put on top of a variable. So I used Y1 hat hat.

You always hear in the news: Japan is suffering from a liquidity trap... That's a question for you [to solve using the model]. It should be quite fun to solve.

Theoretically, we've come to the end of the course. No one's clapping. *audience claps* I was joking.

[On stealing her sister's body lotion] I'm very happy today. [Me: Why?] Because I smell nice... I think I should give you more of such comments. So you can give me the roll-eyes look. (roll your eyes at me)

Then you learn about ideologies or schools of thought. 'Ideology' sounds harsh. Schools of thought.

[On popular economics books] These books are easy to read. They don't have the math which drives you crazy.

I am not going to be sadistic for the final exam.

Don't go out of point. If the question asks you to write down the consumer's maximisation problem, write it down. Don't solve it. Do you understand? *laughs from audience*

[On consultation] Please feel free to drop by and see me. You can exploit me.

B wah'ng (one)

If you use the bad word (go backwards)

Why we need second strand (a second strategy)

This pass and this pass (part)

SPNE is combine'nation of strategies (combination)

you will damage (deviate)

jeweler (jewelry)

law risk individuals (low)

prat improvement (pareto)

There are uh'n burgers (n)

All used cars are salt (sold)

used cars honours (owners)

[On the final] If you have extra time, you can do anything you want. You can even draw pictures.

[During a talk on careers for Economics graduates] Can I see how many people are intending on a career in financial serices? Maybe 50%. And the rest are - sleeping.

Flexible prizes (prices)

Today I am very privileged because, number 1, I'm the only one here [on the panel] not wearing a tie, and two, I'm the one with the shortest work experience. My Ministry wanted to send someone young.

A public sector economics will always be in fashion. For the ladies, imagine that you will always be in fashion.

If you talk about, if you ask me about work - it's confidential. *flashes 'Confidential' on Powerpoint*

If I ask you to summarise the work of a government economist, I hope you won't say 'Lies, lies and more lies'. I was actually asked this... We're honest. We don't fudge statistics.

[Me on job requirements: Is there any job in which you don't have to work well with others?] Academia. Teachers - your students have to work well with you.

I'm going to do the non-civil service thing. This is the new civil service thing. I put my email there.

Ukrainia (Ukraine?)

The corpse of being the last speaker is that the other speakers have exhausted your patience. (cost)

My children asked me: What do you want me to do when I grow up? I told them: Do something you are interested in, do something you are good at and get a job with a decent salary. If you work at the IMF you will get a decent salary... If you want to become very rich, go to DBS.

You are asked to update the macroeconomic spreadsheet for Turkey. You say: Wow, this is easy. No indefinite integrals and calculus... The kind of thing I had to do at University.

[On being a small fry as a fresh junior officer despite having a PhD and being a specialist] In the IMF there are hundreds of people with PhDs, so you need to get used to that. *audience laughs*

You have just finished your mission for the IMF... You are very happy. You got to fly in Business Class. It's very different from what you are used to... You spend 2 weeks in a 5 star hotel... You work very very hard, there is no room for mistakes.

[On getting into the IMF] 'I really want the job'. Some people say 'I need the job'. Some people are more persistent. 'I deserve the job'.
Welcome to Hell - A Christian group in Texas has devised a unique method of redirecting wayward teens off the highway to hell and on to a more righteous path.

"Things started getting particularly gruesome, in a Hammer horror sort of way, in the abortion scene, when cold, heartless doctor characters used an outsize pair of tweezers to pull unidentified bloody animal parts out from between a teenage girl's legs. (This trick, incidentally, is straight out of Keenan Roberts' outreach kit.) Having extracted the foetus - "America's version of the Holocaust," the devil narrators tell us - the doctors then manage to let the girl die too, through inattention. They act like it's just another day at the office.

In the show's most overwrought scene, an alcoholic, adulterous, porn-addicted litigation lawyer who has just secured freedom for a known paedophile stabs his wife rather than have her discover he has been molesting their daughter. The daughter then shoots her father, retreats to her room and slits her wrists, spilling fake blood over the floor, next to her bible."

***

There is a "Centre for Increasing Returns and Economic Organisation" at Monash University. Uhh.

Just for the heck of it, I should try using a Mac for a week and note down what I dislike (or even - gasp - like) about it. Of course, this won't faze the Mac whores (for the benefit of My Little Bird, I will note that there is a distinction between a Mac user and a Mac whore), who will claim that I haven't been using a Mac for "long enough", since their definition of "long enough" is until the person in question grows to prefer the Mac to Windows.

I was expounding my theory of why Malaysian prata is nicer than even the one at Phoenix Hotel (the Malaysian smell, and the fact that some people like unsanitary eating conditions). 'I was just thinking: What have the Malaysians done to you?... You're obviously very affected.'

We have 'chat points' in the library. We should have 'sleep points' as well so people can sleep without disturbing or displacing others. But then those would quickly be filled, so.

I should set up a squatting agency matching people who want to squat in school with those who are willing to rent out their rooms.


Every semester, you'll see people dressing freakily to promote their bashes. I saw some on Monday and Ban Xiong suggested it was for Halloween - a brilliant suggestion, so I asked the guy if that was the case. Unfortunately, it was for some bash in December. Later someone suggested that he'd go for bashes like this - if they were held in graveyards.

Usually, the promoters' hair (the girls at least) will make it look like they've been zapped by Doktor Frankenstein's machine, and their faces like they've smashed them into bowls of multi-coloured chalk dust (ie Like the Rafflesian Spirit, but in more than one colour). I'm not normal, but even normal people are put off by such grotesque images - no one wants to see Goths Gone Wrong at a bash; there is something called Negative Publicity.
The fun continues on Young Republic (following on from this previous post):


Me:

>Your proposition is that laws should be enacted based on the "harm
>principle". Conservatives generally reject this proposition because it
>draws too small a circle and fails to outlaw many acts that are obviously
>immoral to the majority of human beings, Christian or non-Christian,
>religious or secular.

I don't know what world you live in, but it definitely isn't ours.

Oddly enough, anthropologists have found that morality varies greatly among different cultures. In fact, the only universal taboo is incest.

But I guess all of the other cultures we don't like are decadent, corrupt and immoral so we can ignore them.


>A better proposition is that laws should be enacted based on humanity's
>conscience.

200 years ago, humanity's conscience told it that slavery was acceptable. 500 years ago, humanity's conscience told it that it was acceptable to sequester women. 1000 years ago, humanity's conscience told it that witches were evil and had to be hunted down and persecuted.

Even today, many (most, at some subconscious level) people's conscience tells them that people of other religions/races are inferior.

Funny how our unchanging conscience varies so much with time.


B:

If you want to argue that it's all about the conscience, then I would hope you can substantiate some form of universal conscience, something everyone would agree on i.e. that incest is universally reviled and a stain on our conscience (and if we don't know about it?). If not, it just sounds like another rendation of Universal Absolute Morality and we know how that
one turns. Alternatively, if we accept that what we term 'conscience' is very much framed and nurtured by our own particular social and cultural norms i.e. positive morality, then we have the same original issue that the post-modernist brings up. Since they each have their own subjective value. And given that, how do we best accomodate all the prevailing viewpoints
without infringing on the capabilities of the minority to live as they will? That's where Liberalism comes in, building a workable system of tolerance. All the rest is fluff and strawman argumentation about Liberals and Liberalism.


A:

I do not believe that laws should be based primarily on the harm principle. So pointing out the harm in incest is irrelevant. Incest should be outlawed because it goes against society's conscience. And, in a way, going against conscience is harmful because it destroys one's very soul.

If you and your liberal friends really believed in the harm principle, you would be trying to enact laws preventing women over 40 from having children. But you are not. Because your beliefs are inconsistent. Which is really typical of liberals - always trying to point out inconsistencies in the Bible and in Christian beliefs (there are none, of course, except when one insists on superficial interpretations) while ignoring their own inconsistencies.


A:

If incest is outlawed (according to liberals) based on the harm principle, it is because babies born of an incestuous relationship tend to be physically or mentally handicapped in some way. Hence, the harm. I am arguing that the harm principle doesn't make sense all the time because if you banned incest on those grounds, you would have to ban other actions that resulted in the same harm (or had the same risk of resulting in those harm), ie. women above 40 giving birth. I am absolutely not, as D seems to have misunderstood, advocating us banning women over 40 from having children. I am saying that the harm principle would require us to do that in order to be consistent, and that is precisely why the harm principle makes no sense whatsoever.

Incidentally, you never see any liberals arguing that incest with contraceptives should be made legal. Probably because their deepest conscience forbids it. Nothing could justify one sleeping with his mother. Not even contraceptives. (Ask, for example, a liberal to announce to a public gathering of 100 people that he thinks it is okay for one to sleep with his mother. He wouldn't dare.)


You misunderstand and misrepresent me, Gabriel. At no point did I assert that humanity's conscience was unchanging. It is changing. That is the natural result of man's fallen nature.

However, my point is that the prevailing conscience should nevertheless be the basis for the law simply because it is the safest and the most democratic course for society. A Christian bases his conscience on the Bible and makes his case for it. A Muslim on the Koran and makes his case for it. And the liberal on the harm principle and makes his case for it. And the resulting outcome from democratic processes is the law.

My point is that just as you think the Bible is not the basis for universal truth, I also think the harm principle is not the basis for universal truth (I have illustrated why I think so in another email, where I pointed out the inconsistencies of the harm principle). And since we are neither of us convinced by the other party, the safest option for us as a society to take is to make the prevailing conscience the law. The prevailing conscience, of course, during the puritan revival in England was very different from that during the hippy age in the states. But it is, nevertheless, the most sensible route for society. Now that doesn't stop me from advocating Biblical values because I genuinely think they are right. You have the right to oppose me of course, since we are a free society. But so have I the right to oppose your harm principle even if you think you are genuinely right. This is all part and parcel of natural debate in society. And the person who ultimately convinces society that his standard of morals is more, well, moral will win the day. And I think that is a sensible route for us to take.


C:

A [on incest]:

Would you care to read what has just transpired on this list on this topic? I have changed my mind and now think that, subject to provision for undue influence (caveat how that would be enforceable), the genetic consequences of incest are not a reason for criminalisation. Apparently, though, I do not exist, nor does Gabriel who in front of your very eyes persuaded me to this point of view, because "you never see any liberals arguing that incest with contraceptives should be made legal."


Me:

>If you and your liberal friends really believed in the harm principle, you
>would be trying to enact laws preventing women over 40 from having
>children. But you are not. Because your beliefs are inconsistent.

???

A slightly increased likelihood of birth defects does not equate to definite harm. Going by your logic, abortion should be banned as well. As would driving cars (pedestrians being knocked down - ooh, harm!!!)


>Which is really typical of liberals - always trying to point out
>inconsistencies in the Bible and in Christian beliefs (there are none, of
>course, except when one insists on superficial interpretations)

Unfortunately, due to man's fallen nature, it is impossible to interpret the bible non-superficially. Pity, that.


>You misunderstand and misrepresent me, Gabriel. At no point did I assert
>that humanity's conscience was unchanging. It is changing. That is the
>natural result of man's fallen nature.

Right. So although humanity's conscience keeps changing and we have no idea, due to man's fallen nature, what an appropriate conscience would be (indeed, dare I say, one corresponding to divine sanction and morality), it is still "a better proposition [enacting] laws... based on humanity's conscience" than based on the harm principle, which would provide a more invariant base
of law from which to work.

In fact, if man possesses a fallen nature, since "In [creating] their own ideas about what laws and morals should be, liberals have a tendency of going against the very nature of humankind", we can conclude that the liberals you so despise are in fact coming up with laws you would approve of (vis a vis any current/hypothetical ones derived from humanity's conscience). Bravo!


>my point is that the prevailing conscience should nevertheless be the basis
>for the law simply because it is the safest and the most democratic course
>for society.

Democracy and majoritarianism aren't the same. In the former, the rights of minorities and individuals are safeguarded. As for safe, how something that will likely lead to different sections of society fighting to marginalise and annihilate each other, and which is subject to great variance across space and time can be called safe is totally beyond me.


>My point is that just as you think the Bible is not the basis for universal
>truth, I also think the harm principle is not the basis for universal truth

Good for you. The thing is that most people, regardless of religion, accept at least some form of the harm principle in determining laws (note the distinction between "laws" and "universal truth" - your "universal truth" can have been that the world was spawned on the back of a Giant Turtle, but this doesn't mean that the law should forbid us from drinking turtle soup [yum...]).


>And since we are neither of us convinced by the other party, the safest
>option for us as a society to take is to make the prevailing conscience the
>law.

I'm sure you will agree that if the prevailing conscience dictates that fundamentalist christians should be burnt at the stake, you will agree that this is very "safe", even if it will lead to religious riots, international condemnation and general mayhem as our society is riven by internecine conflict.


A:

When I said no liberals argue that incest with contraceptives should be made legal, I meant no liberal in a significant political position argues it as a genuine policy option. A lot of incest has been reported in the United States, and some of it goes on with the use of condoms. But nobody is championing their "rights" for some strange reason.


>Democracy and majoritarianism aren't the same. In the former, the rights of
>minorities and individuals are safeguarded. As for safe, how something that
>will likely lead to different sections of society fighting to marginalise
>and annihilate each other, and which is subject to great variance across
>space and time can be called safe is totally beyond me.

The reason we protect minority rights is because the conscience of the majority thinks it immoral to not protect minority rights. So that still fits perfectly well into the proposed framework.

Also, I do not consider the "right" of an incestuous couple to have protected sex a "minority right" worthy of protection. And neither do most people. I would like to see a liberal put his money where his mouth is by making a genuine attempt to convince the electorate that incest with contraceptives should be protected. It is easy to rant and rave with beautiful theories on an email group. But that's generally where it ends. The liberals will not make any attempt to try to translate their theories into legislation.

I propose two reasons for that: 1) the liberals don't genuinely believe in what they rant and rave on email groups about, their deepest conscience tells them that incest is still inherently wrong no matter the circumstances; 2) they know they don't even have a minute chance of convincing the electorate because their theory is at odds with the conscience of the electorate (which still vincidates my original proposition that conscience should be the basis for the law, not the harm principle).

If the first reason is right, then the liberals are hypocrites. If the second is right then the liberals are living in their own world and their views are alienated from the public's views.


It is not quite accurate to say that I don't believe in the harm principle in any form. I believe that the harm principle is a poor principle upon which to solely base morals and, in turn, a poor principle upon which to solely base laws.

The harm principle can play a role, but only inasmuch as it is part of the conscience to begin with. The harm principle is only a subset of the conscience, meaning, there are acts that the conscience dictates against but the harm principle does not, but all acts that the harm principle dictates against, the conscience also does.

So my point is, as pointed out before, the harm principle draws too small a circle. It ignores the conscience on many matters (such as incest) and hence, is not the best concept to use when we think about the law. Instead, if we use the conscience as the basis for the law, the harm principle would be included but so would acts that society's conscience obviously prohibit (such as incest with or without contraception).


B:

The real problem I have with your laws and morality based on conscience bit is that it's hollow, like Intelligent Design. What is it principles, how is it formulate, who formulates it, how does it translate into law, why should it be given such a primacy etc. It doesn't say anything. Change it to any word and it might still fit.


C:

A,

It's possible to think that incest should be legal without thinking the issue particularly significant or deserving of the resources that would be required to campaign for its legalisation. Ultimately, the number of people involved in incest is so small and often so unascertainable and so controversial, it's not surprising it doesn't garner a whole lot of support. Whether or not those who support the cause are sincere.

People have opinions without being willing to expend effort on political action all the time - or is everyone actually really insincere about the convictions (which often reflect how they make decisions in other spheres of life, or treat their friends and acquaintances)? We don't meet incestuous people very often, but I'm willing to bet the people who think incest is okay would treat any incestuous people they meet better than would people who think incest isn't okay. Or does that count for nothing?

Moreover, I continue to have reservations about the efficacy of restrictions on incest in preventing abusive sex from taking place, a form of doubt which has nothing to do with the immorality of incest per se. You might of course choose to regard this as merely my 'disguise' for my 'innate conscience' telling me that incest is simply wrong, and everything else I claim to say and think and feel is merely an escape from some ineffable inner guidance which you can understand and interpret far better than I can. I might then be tempted to tell you to fuck off, you patronising dick.


The full extent of the interlocution can be viewed on Young Republic.

Monday, October 31, 2005

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

"I do not have a psychiatrist and I do not want one, for the simple reason that if he listened to me long enough, he might become disturbed." - James Thurber

***

Quotes:

[On a letter on pricing at King's Cross Station] I was reading the newspaper... I'm sorry, I'm digressing. But it's still early in the morning... A bottle of water cost more than a bottle of milk... I'm drinking lime juice.

[On vehement objections to Evolutionary Psychology] I feel the need to make the case, because people will knock it down anyway.

[On faux perxeptions of a lack of hierarchies in meerkats] There was a 'Meerkats United' program, dubbed over with David Attenborough's voice.

[On status and sexual access in men] You're not going to tell me that Pop Stars and Footballers... are less advantaged in this respect than people like you and me.

[On going through the midterm] Some of you have done very well. If you want to leave earlier, it's ok.

These arts girls, they ask stupid questions [in class]. Just google it! 'It helps me to think]. [Me: You know women. Or some women. Or most women.] Arts students. [Me: NUS students. What's it like in Science?] In science they don't ask questions. They just sit there. [Me: Which is worse?] Arts. If you don't ask questions you don't disrupt the lesson.

[On bad experiences at his alma mater] RI sucks... I'm sending my kids to Ahmad Ibrahim. They're also 100.

ECA points are useless... My friend has 100 ECA points... [Me: You know Dean's Listers get 8 ECA points?] President of Econs Soc only gets 10 ECA points. I switch with you lah. [Me: It's easier to become Preisent of the Econs Society than to be a Dean's lister.]

Business students are so fucking, fucking lazy... It's their core module, they don't give a damn. I think you can put any econs student there, they will get first class honours... Even ***.

I read your blog so often, my girlfriend said if she doesn't know me, she'll think I have a crush on you. I said: Are you kidding? You haven't seen Gabriel.

[On 'The Graduate'] 'Hard times'. Sounds like a porn movie. [Girl: I was thinking of Charles Dickens, the novel.] I skipped it.

You meet people and you tell them you're a psychologist. 'Can you read my mind?' To which the proper answer is 'yes'. I used to go into long explanations. Now I just say 'yes'.

Mind-body dualism. It's bedevilled psychology ever since... Descartes is really a bad guy in my book because he made this mind-body duality... [Student: It's not his fault. It was his student who made the distinction, not him]

I'll have to read Descartes again. [Student: I'll show you my honours thesis] Nono. Life is short.

The supplementary material here is not data. It's a piece of Alexander the Great.

[On r = -0.88, p < 0.0001, for a relationship between lower male life expectancy and higher homicide rates in 77 Chicago neighbourhoods] If you had data like this in a correlational study, you'd be cheering all the way to the publisher's.

[On shortening snout lengths and rising forehead sizes] Lastly, something I like very much. The evolution of the teddy bear. This research is made possible because in Cambridge there is a teddy bear museum. Teddy bears seem to have undergone evolution, presumably as a result of customer pressure.

If I'm not mistaken, Brahma does not have an anthropromorphic form... Unlike the Christian god. He looks like Santa Claus. With less fat.

[Hindu student:] We have Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The Creator, the Destroyer and the... [Non-hindu student: Protector] There're too many. Sometimes I forget too.

[On the cult of the Virgin Mary] But then it became an iconoclastic itself. (icon)

[On oppression of females in religion and feminist theory] You guys feel oppressed in any way, in your religion?... Getting the shorter end of the stick. Not really? That's the point right.

[On quoting from Milton's Paradise Lost] You guys like to know how angels make love?

This is NUS. The best university in the region. That's why filipino boys have to come here.

[On term papers] Generally good. Why do you guys look so sad?

[Me on an essay:] A+ slash perfect (quoted on my No 1 fan's insistence)

[On the exam] It's a really really surreal 2 hours. Anything can happen in the 2 hours.

If you see me around, you can say hi. You know how graduate students are. We're very lonely creatures.

Much Donald's (McDonald's)

[On security guards in the Philippines and Santo Nino dressed as one] The interesting thing is they'd be armed with shotguns, and M16s, and grenades. And toothpicks. No, not grenades.

[Me on Santo Nino dressed as a police officer:] So much for 'The Prince Of Peace'

The semester is coming to an end. [The] class size is becoming smaller.

I think I lost the hair pin you gave me... [Me: I've only lost 1 so far] Because you're not a girl.

[On a model] We need to torture the software a bit more. We need to squeeze. Squeeze the computer.

[On variables in a regression] It's like giving a child so many candies and cookies. Too many things involved.

[On a time fixed effect model] In 78, you're female. In 85, you're still female. Most likely.

[On brevity] Don't write the null wrong. This is not sociology. Don't write too many things. This is statistics.

If you just write 'We should include state effects [in the regression to avoid omitted variable bias]' You get zero marks, 99% significance. [Student: What about the 1%?]
"Save lives. Kill all the stray cats currently on the streets so you won't have to kill their descendents in 2 generations' time"

***

Someone: you are the only joker who starts msn conversations with a deluge of philosophical thought, moral and social analysis and commentary as well as advanced musings on the gender equalities and the state of our society politically, economically and spiritually

Someone else: There's a new bash called sashay. Looks like posting in your blog stops pple from giving odd names

***

[Buss on the base-rate and conjunction fallacies] The extensive literature showing how foolish people are is, of course, great fun.

Birth order differences show up strongly among scientists: Later borns tend to be strong advocates of scientific revolutions; first borns tend to strenuously resist such revolutions (Sulloway, 1996)


Maybe I'll put up more choice quotes and snide remarks by him after the quiz. Or the exam.


"According to Feuerbach, religion is harmful because it divests humanity of the full knowledge of its moral power and ethical qualities by locating them in God alone. Love, for example, is for Feuerbach divine in itself, not because it is a "predicate" of God. Ethical relations for Feuerbach are as well religious per se, and life "in its essential, substantive relations" is "of a divine nature". However, by allocating human possibility and achievement in God, humanity deprives itself of a "genuine sense of truth and virtue", and remains in an immature, humanly incomplete state."

"Students of religion sometimes expect or ven hope that academic neutrality means that what they learn about the variety of religious phenomena will not affect their beliefs in any way. But simply because the academic study of religion is neutral vis-a-vis competing religions' claims does not mean that it is value-free. The study of religion can never be value-free because the very existence of the discipline depends on this value: the development of a worldview that cherishes a neutral position vis-a-vis the various religions as well as an ability to see the internal coherence and logic that empowers each of them. This value is emphatically rejected by at least some segments of all major religions."
"Your proposition is that laws should be enacted based on the "harm principle". Conservatives generally reject this proposition because it draws too small a circle and fails to outlaw many acts that are obviously immoral to the majority of human beings, Christian or non-Christian, religious or secular.

A better proposition is that laws should be enacted based on humanity's conscience. The idea that something is wrong because the conscience tells us so is sometimes rejected by liberals. Some liberals even reject the existence of a conscience. But that simply goes to show how disconnected most liberals are from the general human being.

My grandfather was not a Christian. In fact, he'd probably never heard of Jesus or the Bible throughout his life. And he could hardly be described as a religious man in any sense of the word or in association with any religious tradition. However, my grandfather's conscience told him that incest was wrong. And people inside his society as well as outside his society in other parts of the world throughout history also had their consciences tell them that incest was wrong. This has very little to do with the "harm principle" because the advent contraceptives did not change the voice of the conscience (ie. the harm was done away with but not the immorality).

In create their own ideas about what laws and morals should be, liberals have a tendency of going against the very nature of humankind."


I am rendered almost speechless.

I don't know what world he lives in, but it definitely isn't ours.
Civilization Anonymous

Rob T.: By the time I got to the industrial age, I was a full-blown junkie. There were times when I'd play the game 2, 3 days straight. Wouldn't get up to eat, wouldn't get up to go to the bathroom.

Off-camera: You didn't go to the bathroom for 3 days?

Rob T.: I said I didn't get up. *starts crying*

...

*Guy in chair rocks back and forth muttering "One more turn"*

Edna N. (old woman): I thought I was able to handle the power. I've always been a kind and gentle person. But when I was finally able to split the atom, I built me a bomb and I dropped it on every mo-*beep* who got [in] my way!

Voiceover: They come from all walks of life. Doctors, lawyers, politicians - all with one thing in common.

...

George W. (face pixellated): I was a big fan of the, the religious aspect of Civ IV. A big fan. Dating back to the Church in Rome. Uh, did you know that they spoke Latin back then?... Latin. I love the sound. I love all the Xs. I love that J. Lo! She's got, she's Latin.

...

Sid M.: Hi. My name is Sid.

Everyone: Hi Sid.

***

I still prefer Alpha Centauri, though. It had more character.

Distinct factions with personalities, better quotes (narrated better too, despite Leonard Nimoy), fungus, mindworms, sea cities, customizable units, espionage, technologies like Monopole Magnets, REAL terraforming (who needs windmills and cottages when you can construct thermal boreholes and drill aquifers?), nerve stapling, a Planetary Council which could do a few funky things, and societal decisions like adopting Eudaimonia. Oh, and it didn't have 7 religions which are essentially all the same (it'd have been nice to rule as a Confucian Despot, oppressing my people under the guise of 'Confucian Values'), which might be why there's no concept of religious conflict (damn, I want to start a Holy War!).

But at least there's a 200 page manual.


If our society seems more nihilistic than that of previous eras, perhaps this is simply a sign of our maturity as a sentient species. As our collective consciousness expands beyond a crucial point, we are at last ready to accept life's fundamental truth: that life's only purpose is life itself.

-- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Looking God in the Eye"
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