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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

"The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself." - James Thurber

***

From a Young Republic thread on gun control:


A: Your so-called "obvious" correlation is actually not so obvious. Where are these statistics, by the way? Here in the state of Maine, thousands of people - including children being taught by their parents - use firearms for hunting, practice and so forth daily, without any reports of casualties or school shootings. Seeing as prohibition creates a black market, with the result of state and criminals controlling all the firepower, I can see prohibitive regulation being responsible for a high crime rate. Would you consider pulling a robbery if you had the knowledge that many of the bystanders would be armed?

B: The NRA is fond of saying that only about 2% of fatal accidents are from firearms, and about 3% for children under 14. This sounds very low, but this translates into more than a thousand deaths across the US every year...

Anyway, to address your hypothetical: one might be deterred from breaking and entering a house if one thought the occupants were armed, but one would not be (additionally) deterred from robbery since bystanders are usually NOT armed (few sane people, even those who are in favour of gun ownership, carry guns with them everywhere they go). But even in the case of a break-in, the robbers might be counting on the fact that they are better armed and are more proficient in using their weapon. Also, most people have an instinctive aversion to killing/injuring other people (until the US military changed its firearm training to include psychological exercises to break down this instinctive inhibition, the shoot/kill ratio even in war -- cf. Vietnam -- was surprisingly low). Murderers and robbers are probably less inhibited in this respect than ordinary citizens.

Me: Or for example, take the case of a school or workplace shooting.

If one person brings guns to the school or workplace, no one else is
going to be armed (many [most?] workplaces have strict laws about
bringing in firearms).


Funny. Slaves in Singapore don't get these psychological exercises.

Friday, December 22, 2006

"I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation." - George Bernard Shaw

***

Someone said that if you think Singaporean girls are materialistic, overdress, bitchy, emotional and sexist, it's even worse in Hong Kong. Over there, there's no such thing as going Dutch - the guy always pays. You might as well pay upfront and get something, right? Hurr hurr.

Claiming that biology is simply chemistry, chemistry physics or physics maths is like claiming sociology or psychology are just biology or maths philosophy.

In a strip search you have to, if male, raise your scrotal sac and peel back your foreskin. If not, you have to lift your breasts to see what's underneath and spread your vaginal lips to see if there's a protruding object or string (what if it's a tampon?). Both genders must spread their buttock cheeks (see rationale for vagina check). Yeech. It turns out I know someone who's been strip searched in the past, and he said it wasn't a pleasant experience.

Since Halal beef is drained of its blood, it must be quite dry when cooked, especially in the form of prime rib and steak. This brainwave came to me in part because someone warned me not to try the beef steak at the pseudo-Western stall at work because it's very dry. Yet another point for the manifesto!

For some reason they sell condoms at the polyclinic.

What does it mean when you're detained at the President's Pleasure? It sounds quite scary.

Comment spam filters hate me. I suspect this is because they think my nick is garbage.

I saw a photo album of Law students called "SLUGS". Haha.

A story I was told: This woman had a baby and after taking a group photo, someone asked her how old the baby was. When she said it was 5 months old, she was told, "Oh you can start dieting now."

PR is full of girls. This is because men like women, women like women but nobody likes men.

Cognitive patterns perpetuating a criminal lifestyle: Blaming external sources, diverting attention by questioning motives of others, self centred, convincing people they're really a good person eg 'I'm loyal to friends', feeling lack of control over environment, lashing out to regain power, entitlement mentality and egocentricity, seeks short cuts to life's demands eg low tolerance for boredom, inconsistency in thought and behavior, easily distractable - This sounds like some people I know.

"I have now been a psychologist for 21 years, and one thing of which I am certain is that I have never - not even once - had to do in the profession what I needed to do to get an A in the introductory course, as well as some of the other courses" - Robert Sternberg, 1996
July Trip
27/7 - Vianden


The guidebook said the best bit of visiting Vianden was the view from the top of the hill, from which one could look down on the castle, but it was too hot, too long a walk and too steep, so I gave up.

There was going to be some medieval festival from 5-13 August. A pity I was going to miss it.


View of the Castle

Inside the castle, everything was in German, no surprise given the proximity to the border, and not everything was bilingual. Poor French. Poor me!


Side


Tower

There were information panels on Ringpanzerhemd, Schildpanzer, Schuppenpanzer, Begittertes oder Benageltes Hend and Kettenpanzerhemd. I have just ascertained that these are the names, in German, of various types of chainmail.


Portcullis


Armour display


15th century Gothic ceramic

The Vianden castle started as a Late Roman fort and it was expanded many times over the years. Unfortunately the current edifice was heavily reconstructed recently as the place was ruined. The inside was also very sparsely decorated.


Courtyard on first (second) storey


View of Vianden through dirty castle window

*Obere Kapelle*
This picture seems to have gotten lost somewhere.

A movie ‘George and the Dragon’ was filmed in Vianden. Hmm.


Salle des Banquests


Wohnraum des Romanischen Donjong

Tapestries in Salles des Comtes:


The sacrifice of Lystra. After Raphael


Ulysses drops anchor at the Isle of Circe, after Vouet.

The auto-ISO option on my camera seems to almost always default to ISO 50. Bah.


Great Kitchen


The conquest of the ‘Fort des Tourelles’, 2nd half of 17th century.
ambussun guess
in what I sull? Sable a manger


54m deep well


Taverna/keller


Details of 'Celtic' amulets for sale at gift shop


View of castle

There were lots of auberges in Vianden, but they were all pricey establishments. The real auberge (at least the one I was looking for) was at the top of the hill. I bet the others were conveniently located along the way to the youth hostel to distract weak-willed travellers, most of whom'd give up after a seemingly endless uphill climb. No wonder you can only backpack in your early 20s.


A mere fraction of the journey I had to undertake to reach the hostel

I’m quite sure that low rents aren’t the only reason why most Youth Hostels are in the middle of nowhere or otherwise inaccessible – they only want people who really can’t afford more sanely-located accommodations.


Cloister, Trinitarian Monastery. 1248



Unlabelled carving

Unfortunately, the Trinitarian church itself was closed.














My huge backpack and the chairlift did not go well together, or I’d have gone on it. Too bad there was no place to put it. I’d have left it at the hostel, but I didn’t want to risk the door being locked and more importantly, at that time the chairlift didn’t seem worth 4 more steep, lengthy treks (1 to place my backpack in the hostel, 1 to come down to the chairlift, 1 to retrieve my backpack from the hostel and a last to return to the Gare).

I had lunch in a restaurant beside the chairlift, and a French radio station was playing. Before playing the song ‘I feel it in my fingers’, they had someone recite each line in English, and someone else translating it into French. Uhh. Maybe this is how they learn English.

While waiting for the bus to Ettelbruck (Vianden had no train station) I noticed that the Gare had one of the only free toilets in the Benelux. Amazing.

nefl. lux = germ

Despite both Italy and France requiring reservations for trains, queues are much shorter in the latter. Not only do they have more staff and machines, they're less stingy with manpower.

In Liege I saw an East Asian guy and a girl who looked Walloonese (check adjective). Wah.

I saw an androgynous man (short spiky hair, androgynous features and a slim build) wearing a pink shirt. I first saw the words 'Fuck the', and thought the last was 'government'. In fact, it was 'babysitter'.

In a very screwed up incident, due to a miscommunication with a former housemate, she waited an hour for me at Eindhoven to pass me her room key so I could stay there while she was at her boyfriend's (I was coming on a later train, 3 hours later). Meanwhile my Dutch line had run out of credit so I'd switched to the Singapore one, so she couldn't contact me. Although very angry, when I called her from Maastricht she later agreed to meet me at Helmond. When I arrived there, I called her and it turned out she had prepared for bed (at 9:15pm!) since she thought I wasn't coming (she grossly underestimated the travel time from Maastricht to Helmond). Since she had work the next day she couldn't come out to meet me and said I wouldn't be able to find the place even if she gave me the address. So in the end I went back to Utrecht and lodged in the same hostel (Strowis) I'd spent my first night in Utrecht in (I wanted to try another - B&B - but it was full).
Bloody hell.

I upgrade to the newer version of Blogger and they welcome me by forcing this ugly navbar on me.

Guess the value-added US$15 I paid 4 years ago finally expired.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"i will slap you with my thick noodles for insinuating that i am ugly" - Noodles

***

Someone: haha i was on that stupid list for 2 sems already
and it wasnt exactly nice cuz ppl kept thinkin 'aiya u don need to study already lah' which i duno y

Me: see :P I told you it's the "make fun of me" list


Someone else: anyway, when my friends know that i know u, i usually declare, "he's nicer in person"


Someone on local TV: my IQ is dropping
i have to stop watching"

eh seriously
i hear all their bimbo accusations
it's like listening to ahlians quarrel at the age of 14 ALL OVER AGAIN
ARGH
it's so stupid


Frigid Girl: stop turning my frigidity into a campaign
*** won't like it =p


Someone: this pic damn gay rite

Me: you look like some guyis blowing you

Someone: why 'guy' blowing

Me: diff expression
hehe

Someone: HAHAHA
that's a first one. like different expressions for receiving blowjobs from different genders

Me: hehe
like gay lustful smile diff from hetero lustful smile

Someone: where did u get this observation from
porn analysis?

how come dey dont have 'ethnographic analysis of porno media'
i bet it'll take 3 LT11s slots per week

Me: wth
haha

Someone: maybe >2000 points to bid
A seditious article I saw in the Shitty Times as it lined my dinner table just now:

Japan, the jury

"Japan is about to embark on a democratic experiment with important consequences for the rest of Asia. After a lapse of 60 years, the country is planning to bring back a jury system...

Since [1943], verdicts have been decided by three-judge panels, leaving citizens with no voice in a system in which virtually all criminal trials end in a conviction.

The return to citizen participation represents a bold commitment to have ordinary Japanese take greater responsibility in running the country. If a jury is sufficiently unhappy with the government's case or the government's conduct, it can simply refuse to convict. This possibility puts powerful pressure on the state to behave properly and ultimately leads to better governance. For this reason, a jury is one of the most important protections of a democracy."


Whoever let it through should be fired!

After all, as Papa pronounced: "I had no faith in a system that allowed the supersitition, ignorance, biases, and prejudics of seven jurymen to determine guilt or innocence"

(I'm too tired to comment more)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Misheard line of the night: "I like your nipples" (dimples)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

From The Complete Feedback skills training book, Sue Bishop:


"Does anyone read Introductions, or do busy managers plough straight into the main body of the text to search for something that is going to be of immediate and practical use to them? Working on the assumption that putting this question to you will engage your interest for a few seconds, I will continue with a brief introduction to let you know why this book was written in the way it was. I will be brief...

Although it would be flattering to think that this could be your bedtime reading for the next couple of days, and that you will study the book from cover to cover, I am realistic enough to know that this is unlikely to be the case."

"If the other person is suggesting change that cannot possibly happen - for example, 'You should be taller'" (wth)

"'[Give feedback] As little as possible; if someone wants help or another's opinion, they will ask for it.' This type of response stems from one of two sources. Either you really don't care about the other person - how they are progressing, how they are feeling... If the first option is your opinion, then your future in management today is decidedly shaky."

"The larger the room and the higher the ceiling, the more quietly we speak"

"The manager and the telephone: This chapter will not insultyour intelligence by looking at basic telephone skills"

Monday, December 18, 2006

Why Won't God Heal Amputees?

"No matter how many people pray. No matter how sincere those people are. No matter how much they believe. No matter how devout and deserving the recipient. Nothing will happen. The legs will not regenerate. Prayer does not restore the severed limbs of amputees. You can electronically search through all the medical journals ever written -- there is no documented case of an amputated leg being restored spontaneously. And we know that God ignores the prayers of amputees through our own observations of the world around us. If God were answering the prayers of amputees to regenerate their lost limbs, we would be seeing amputated legs growing back every day...

What are we seeing here? It is not that God sometimes answers the prayers of amputees, and sometimes does not. Instead, in this situation there is a very clear line. God never answers the prayers of amputees. It would appear, to an unbiased observer, that God is singling out amputees and purposefully ignoring them...

By looking at amputees, we can see that something is wrong. Jesus is not telling the truth. God never answers prayers to spontaneously restore lost limbs, despite Jesus' statements in the Bible. Accepting this piece of factual information, rather than denying it, is the first step in understanding something extremely important about how prayer really works...

Here is another explanation that you might have heard: "God needs to remain hidden -- restoring an amputated limb would be too obvious." We will discuss this idea in more detail in later chapters, but let's touch on it here. Does God need to remain hidden?

That does not seem to be the case. In general, God seems to have no problem doing things that are obvious. Think about the Bible. Writing the Bible and having billions of copies published all over the world is obvious. So is parting the Red Sea. So is carving the Ten Commandments on stone tables. So is sending your son to earth and having him perform dozens of recorded miracles. And so on. It makes no sense for a God in hiding to incarnate himself, or to do these other obvious things. Why send your son to earth, and then write a book that talks all about his exploits, if you are trying to hide?

In the same way, any medical miracle that God performs today is obvious. The removal of a cancerous tumor is obvious because it is measurable. One month the tumor is visible to everyone on the X-ray, and the next month it is not. If God eliminated the tumor, then it is openly obvious to everyone who sees the X-ray. There is nothing "hidden" about removing a tumor. So, why not regenerate a leg in an equally open way? If God intervenes with cancer patients to remove cancerous tumors in response to prayers, then why wouldn't God also intervene with amputees to regenerate lost limbs?...

Finally, there is this oft-used chestnut: "There is no way to understand the mysteries of our Lord. People have believed in Jesus for 2,000 years, and there must be a very good reason for it." This feels like a sad point in the conversation. On one side of the conversation is a person who is defending the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving creator of the universe. This person's position should be unassailable. Yet, if God exists, and answers prayers as described in the Bible, there is no explanation for what we see in the world around us. The Bible is silent in this case. God is silent. There is not a good, comfortable explanation for the situation faced by amputees except to say, "We cannot understand the mysteries of the Lord. We have no explanation for why God refuses to answer prayers to regenerate lost limbs."...

Amputees are not the only ones either. For example:

* If someone severs their spinal cord in an accident, that person is paralyzed for life. No amount of prayer is going to help.

* If someone is born with a congenital defect like a cleft palate, God will not repair it through prayer. Surgery is the only option.

* A genetic disease like Down Syndrome is the same way -- no amount of prayer is going to fix the problem."
"If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner." - Tallulah Bankhead

***

Bergen, Doris L. "The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945 (review) - "As Richard Steigmann-Gall points out, "the insistence that Nazism was an anti-Christian movement has been one of the most enduring truisms of the past fifty years" (p. 266). In The Holy Reich, Steigmann-Gall seeks to correct that view. National Socialism had many connections to Christianity, as Steigmann-Gall demonstrates. There were personal ties—Nazi leaders who considered themselves good Christians and were active in their churches, including some, like Wilhelm Kube and Erich Koch, who held high offices in the Protestant Church. There were institutional links too, from Hitler's early attempts to unify German Protestants into a national, Nazified church, to women's organizations that used the rhetoric, methods, and even personnel of church groups to serve the Nazi state and its goals. Most important in Steigmann-Gall's analysis, there was ideological common ground. Members of the Nazi elite—even "paganists" like Alfred Rosenberg and Heinrich Himmler—used biblical allusions in their private and public pronouncements; retained an affection for Jesus and found a place for him in their world views; and supported a Christian..."
Damn, NUS has no access.

Complaints Choirs of the World - "This is the Complaints Choir sharing web-site. Here you can find information about all complaints choirs that have been initiated around the world. You can also submit information about an upcoming choir, find fellow complainers or discuss in the complaints choir forum. This project was initiated by Tellervo Kalleinen und Oliver Kochta-Kallleinen in 2005. The First Complaints Choir was organized in Birmingham."

Do Economists Recognize an Opportunity Cost When They See One? A Dismal Performance from the Dismal Science - "One expects people with graduate training in economics to have a deeper understanding of economic processes and reasoning than people without such training. However, as others have noted over the past 25 years, modern graduate education may emphasize mathematics and technique to the detriment of economic reasoning. One of the most important contributions economics has to offer as a discipline is the understanding of opportunity cost and how to apply this concept to all forms of decision making. We examine how PhD economists answer an introductory economics textbook question that requires identifying the relevant opportunity cost of an action. The results are not consistent with our expectation that graduate training leads to a deeper understanding of the concept. We explore the implications of our results for the relevance of economists in policy, research, and teaching."

"Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut - "George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains."
Instructor's note: "I'd like you to read this famous story and think about whether Nietzsche wasn't on to something when he criticized the naive idea of human equality."

YouTube - the_parlor_dsl - "Just imagine....what if a chatroom was a real thing?"
This is actually on IMDB: The Parlor (2001)

How Not To Get A Job - "Yale senior Aleksey Vayner went far beyond the usual misaddressed e-mail or keyboard-in-mouth embarrassment. Vayner, an aspiring investment banker, sent a video titled "Impossible is Nothing" along with an 11-page résumé and glamour shot to financial services powerhouse UBS. Within hours, scores of investment banks noticed his application, as bankers e-mailed the seven-minute video and turned Vayner into the biggest joke on Wall Street... In his video, Vayner shows off his varied skills: lifting a 495-pound weight, ballroom dancing to Latin Musak, serving a tennis ball at 140 miles an hour and, as a dramatic conclusion, breaking seven bricks with a karate chop... Younger employees, often devotees on MySpace and reality TV, are predisposed to online missteps in the workplace, says Castellini. "Voyeurism is an aspect of their lives," he says, "and they don't understand the ramifications of it.""
Die liao.

YouTube - mac - "One of the coolest features of the macintosh is it's really easy to shut down. All you have to do is use a piece of software and poof! It goes away. Gone. Shut down. You didn't push any buttons. You didn't close it. You didn't even save... You push the power button and it won't turn off! You go around and unplug it, and you better hope it's not a laptop... It's the only operating system I know where click and drag doesn't mean you move or copy anything, you're just making shortcuts on your desktop!... I like the handle here. That's where you can attach a chain and use it as a BOAT ANCHOR!. The Mac is practising some kind of bizarre psychological warfare on me because I'm working late at night and the corner of my eye keeps seeing this thing jumping up and down. The Update Manager is bouncing at the bottom of the screen like like a Jack Russel fucking terrier!"

UCLA Police Tasering Video of Student in Powell Library - "On Tuesday night around 11pm, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, was stunned several times with a Taser after he wasn't able to produce his anti-Taser device (his Bruin card) and did not leave the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in a timely manner"
This is why cameras are banned in the SAF.

'uniquely Singapore', by PeasantMoNkEy - "What type of singaporean are u? So, you criticise the judiciary, you are SCANDALISING it. You criticise PAP leaders, you are DEFAMING them. You criticise the govt, you are DISLOYAL. You migrate, you are a QUITTER. You ask about the govt reserves & investment, you can not know cos it's NATIONAL SECURITY."

Contrasts and Comparisons from Baroque to Modern: Tartini's Devil's Trill Sonata - "The violin of the baroque era was very different from the modern violin. Bridges on the violins were thicker and less curved in comparison with their modern counterparts, the angle of the neck and fingerboard in relationship to the instrument was in line with the instrument instead of sloping at an angle of twenty to thirty degrees away from the instrument, a graduated bass bar and belly, and a thinner sound post when compared with the modern violin. Of course, there are other more obvious differences between the baroque and modern violin, such as the absence of a chin rest, the gut strings in use, and the significant differences between the pitch of A=415 MHz and around A=440 MHz. With all of these differences in mind, it can be hard to imagine that the modern violin even resembles its early counterpart!"
God. Not only is there an anti-right click script on the page, the source is hideously messed up.

Keynesian Theory and the AD-AS Framework: A Reconsideration - "Aggregation represents another problem for the optimizing approach. To obtain definite results, any theory of the economy as a whole has to engage in aggregation. Thus, there can be no attempt at full disaggregation in the agent space, as in Arrow-Debreu models of general equilibrium, and it is well-known that even if all individual agents were fully rational and maximized well-behaved utility functions subject to standard constraints, the aggregate variables do not behave as if determined by an optimizing representative agent (see, for instance, Kirman, 1992). Aggregation problems therefore imply that the use of an optimizing representative agent in NK models has little to recommend itself... A more subtle danger of the optimization approach is that it may predispose the analysis to slide from individual ‘rationality’ to systemic ‘rationality’. Some economists may view optimization is simply an organizing principle (see note 16), but countless examples suggest that an optimization approach may generate (sometimes unconsciously) a slippery slope in which individual optimization eventually leads to social optimality. Sargent (1993), for instance, is able to assume bounded rationality and yet produce, eventually, his unique, new classical equilibrium. As a second example, many of the problems caused by efficiency wage considerations can be ‘solved’ when credit markets function efficiently (again, with clever institutions). A history of how a focus on individual optimization in neoclassical economics inexorably, albeit tortuously, has led to presumptions of social optimality awaits an author, if one does not exist already."

Human Mating Strategies - "Cultures varied tremendously in the value placed on some characteristics. The desire for chastity or virginity (lack of prior sexual intercourse) proved to be the most cross-culturally variable, as shown in Figure 1. Mainland Chinese placed tremendous value on virginity; Scandinavians typically placed little importance on chastity... Studies of the response rates to personals ads also confirm the results found with expressed preferences. Women mentioning physical attractiveness and young age as part of their self-description in their ads receive significantly higher response rates than women who are older or who fail to mention anything about their physical attractiveness. Conversely, men who mention excellent financial resources in their self-descriptions in their ads received a higher response rate from women than men who fail to mention this attribute (Baize & Schroeder, 1995)."
He plagiarised himself. Bloody hell; "You might as well show up with your salary printed boldly on your T-shirt. Save the women at SDU the trouble of asking"

Free speech and opposition parties in Singapore - "The defence of qualified privilege is precluded in Section 14 of the Defamation Act, which is designed to severely restrict the freedom to discuss “questions in issue”. Conversely, this section of the Act focuses on protecting a plaintiff’s reputation more than that of protecting fair comments by politicians in any political discussions or debate (upon which an election usually depends). In this area, the defamation law in Singapore sets itself against the laws in other Commonwealth countries (Davidson and Rubin 2001) and is a “radical departure from its common law roots” (Bryan and Rubin 2004)... Singapore is unique in the sense that its Constitution’s Article 14 on rights begins by focusing on restrictions of freedom of expression, and the right itself is relegated to a secondary role... It does not acknowledge that free speech and freedom of expression is a basic human right, but promotes them as a privilege allowed to only themselves, the ruling party. Hence it is no wonder that one option considered by opposition politicians like Chee Soon Juan of the SDP is the use of non-violent civil disobedience acts. Chee has said that he “sees non-violent civil disobedience and protest as a viable long-term strategy to change the present system in Singapore” (Low, 2005)."
"I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good." - Seneca

***

An interesting angle on marital rape:

C.H.Pig: "I am saddened by how this issue has become another excuse for male-bashing and dick-vilification in modern society. Of course you forget to mention that the wife(previously and still) enjoys complete 100% rape immunity as well: the crafty bitch, having ensnared the trusting victim into a life of servitude and obedience (i.e. marriage), is entitled to use and do as she pleases with his penis, his testicles, his anus, and his dignity anytime she likes. Yes, the law protects a wife from ever being charged for raping her husband. And while the Singapore government tries to break down the husband’s marital rape immunity, the wife’s remains entirely intact...

What you are advocating, if you were honest about it, is really that a married woman of fully sound mind and capacity should be able go back on a solemnly made promise, go back on a part of her vow, and refuse to keep her end of the bargain in marriage as she pleases for no reason other than that she feels like it, while still insisting that her husband still keeps his.

Note that the MAN cannot go back on many of the implied promises he is deemed make in marriage, for example (and there are many other examples) he cannot “withdraw consent” to go to work everyday to support the wife financially. He is bound to do so by having chosen to get married."


I hadn't actually considered this angle before, but the solution to men having to support their wives financially (one might extend this to other aspects of marital support as well) while women don't have to support their husbands sexually is to emancipate men, not to chain women.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Homosexuality: How the economics and politics of Singapore have shaped the Anglican Diocese and its role in the Province of South East Asia by The Reverend You-Leng L. Lim

"The government is not only concerned with the left, but also with right wing activism of the church. Take abortion for example. The Singapore government in the 1970's embarked on a comprehensive family program (whose success also contributed to higher economic growth), of which cheap and accessible abortions (costing about US$3) was a main stay. Eventually, abortion became the prefered form of contraception among women, because it was cheaper than the pill, and it did not require the negotiation with the male partner that a condom would otherwise have necessitate. Nevertheless, rampant abortions provoked no public commentary from Protestant (including Anglican) or Roman Catholic church leaders, thus indicating their quiescence.

Consider another right wing or evangelical issue: converting people of other faiths to Christianity. In Singapore, though one is free to practice any religion, one may not always be at liberty to convert someone else. The proselytization of the indigenous Malay minority (16% of the population), who are almost entirely Muslim, is prohibited. [Ed: I didn't know this]... Several studies done by the National University of Singapore in the 1980's showed that younger Chinese people had converted from the traditional and syncretized Taoism-Buddhism (which is the majority religion) to Christianity... magic and evil spirits are major elements in the Buddhism-Taoism of Chinese Singaporeans. As such, when the Chinese person converts to Christianity, this basic orientation of a cosmic battleground where hierarchies of spirits do battle continues... This henotheistic, rather than monotheistic orientation explains why a few years ago an antique table with Chinese dragons—symbols of benevolence in Chinese culture, but confused with the dragon of Revelations—at the Anglican Cathedral was hacked to pieces [Ed: So we have Taliban in Singapore too]. By taping into a culturally real vocabulary of evil spirits, Charismatic Christianity has thrived.

One consequence of seeing the working of spirits is that genuine psychological dysfunctions are given a demonic interpretation. Homosexuality, infertility, behavioral and medical problems are often interpreted as oppression by evil spirits...

Prior to colonialism, sexuality and gender varied greatly among Asians. Among the Bugis people, now part of the Indonesian nation, a third gender consisting of men dressed in women’s clothes-- akin to the Native-American Berdache--was accepted. The Minangkabao people, also now part of Indonesia, were a matrilineal society. Among the Chinese, polygamy was practiced. Everyone lived in families that were multi-generational. I do not mean to suggest that these arrangements are better, but the situation was more diverse and complex. Homogeneity came with the advent of colonialism and industrial capitalism—and abetted by Protestantism, Max Weber would say—so that today sexuality, and family and gender roles have become monogamous, patriarchal, single-generational, and exclusively heterosexual...

The larger question in Singapore is whether there is anything that is not foreign? The laws that provide for private property, detention without trial and caning are British inheritances. MNCs and free-trade are American influences. All religions and all races, apart from the indigenous Malays are imports. It follows that a nation of immigrants whose success comes from the utilization of imported ideas and imported capital must necessarily go through bouts of anxiety about its own identity. In this process of self-definition, it must define itself against the "Other," and the foreign becomes either something to emulate or to castigate.

(All emphases original)


A good article, but it has little to do with homosexuality at all.
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo Galilei

***

masak-masak - "masak-masak is a cottage game played by young girls whereby they pretend to cook delicious dishes from imaginary ingredients and plastic utensils. This blog covers my culinary adventures and everything else."
She reviewed a CPK at KLCC. I have a bad feeling. Shit.

Wife sentence - "There’s a Chinese saying that works anywhere: men only go bad once they’re rich; women have to go bad to get rich... A 29-year-old American woman who dated a married Chinese man while living in Shanghai explained to me the logic of the ernai lifestyle: “If he buys you one Louis Vuitton bag, that’s worth more money than you can make in a month. If you’re young and pretty and you can go out with an older guy, he can help with your business ideas, even fund them. There’s no economic reason to be moral.”... One of the most famous ernai stories in Shanghai suggests a cheerful synthesis of the two themes: a Chinese woman in her early twenties was the mistress of a married French diplomat. She remained his ernai for the duration of his three-year stint in Shanghai, and then he “passed” her to his replacement. When that replacement left, he too afforded a new agent the same courtesy, and so the woman became Shanghai’s “French embassy ernai”, a personal position turned institutional... As far back as the Qing dynasty, scholars worked to justify why Chinese men were allowed to have multiple wives but Chinese women were not permitted to have more than one husband. One popular explanation went: “One teapot is always set with four cups. But have you ever seen a cup with four teapots?”"

Bridal boot camp - "They're blushing brides for one very good reason: the workout they've just completed would exhaust the fittest army trainee. But then some women will do anything to get into that dress."

Toys for Tots Rejects Jesus Doll - "A talking Jesus doll has been turned down by the Marine Reserves' Toys for Tots program. A suburban Los Angeles company offered to donate 4,000 of the foot- tall dolls, which quote Bible verses, for distribution to needy children this holiday season. The battery-powered Jesus is one of several dolls manufactured by one2believe, a division of the Valencia- based Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co., based on Biblical figures."

Singapore Economics: Let's Talk Tax - "Income tax revenue has always been a puzzle as the government does not give a breakdown of income tax receipts by corporate or personal source. We suspect that this is because a breakdown would show that MNCs in Singapore have a perpetual tax holiday or at least quasi-holiday."

PhotoMann Travel Photgraphy - Images of Japanese Vending Machines - "PhotoMann recently decided to 'collect' images of unique vending machines found in Japan. They are everywhere. Estimates suggest there are 5.6 million vending machines which works out to be one for every 20 people in Japan. Sales from vending machines in 2000 totaled $56 billion! The most common are drink and cigarette machines followed by machines with pornography. Below is a sampling of the machines to be found."
Wow, there's a picture of the panties dispenser too.

Soros warns of "market fundamentalism" - "According to Soros, the chief danger to stability is the emergence of what he calls "market fundamentalism"-- the belief that the common interest is best served by individual decision-making and that attempts to maintain the common interest by collective action distort the market mechanism. "It is market fundamentalism," he insists, "that has rendered the global capitalist system unsound and unsustainable.""

Swingers swap sex partners in prudish Singapore - "Every two months, dozens of couples meet in a pub in Singapore, have drinks, mingle, and then decide whether they want to sleep with one another. In Sydney or Seattle nobody would bat an eyelid, but the couples are part of a thriving underground swinging scene that is an anomaly for a country where oral sex is illegal and Playboy magazine is banned."

LEEKSPIN DOT COM - Damn, this beats Meatspin.com by leagues. SFW.

Angry German kid...now with subtitles! - "Come the fuck on! I want to play Unreal Tournament. Go!! Start that god-damned game. START! THE! GAME!"

What's the international language of business, French or English? - "The French have been desperately attempting to reverse this trend. In addition to hosting international conferences of "Francophone" (French-speaking) nations, France as of 1986 was spending $750 million per year to support 20,000 French teachers in 155 countries. It also employs language police to guard against un-Gallic intrusions such as le compact-disc. But all in vain."

Deadly 'iku iku byo' reaches a climax - "Growing numbers of Japanese women are afflicted with an illness that gives them orgasms virtually 24 hours a day. And with suggestions that it could be deadly, the women hardly know whether they're coming or going, according to Shukan Post (11/24)."

Facebook | Abstinence is Murder - "Personally, I am sick of the argument that fetuses are the "potential of human life." So are eggs and sperm. Therefore, not allowing them every opportunity to meet is just as bad as having an abortion every single month!"

First vegetarian black pudding has Lancashire meat lovers spluttering - "The Real Lancashire company's owner, Andrew Holt, explains how he substituted the meaty elements - blood, fat and ox intestines - of the pudding. "We tried to make a liquid which would simulate the properties of blood and get the right colour as well. We used beetroot and caramel for the colouring, with GM-free whey and soya powders for the protein."

So You Want to Write a Fugue - "Gould recorded the first nine of fifteen fugues from Bach's great treatise on fugue composition, The Art of the Fugue in 1962 on the organ of All Saints's Church at Kingsway, Toronto which established him as somewhat of an expert in this area. So You Want To Write a Fugue was conceived as the finale to a 1963 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation televison show entitled "The Anatomy of Fugue."... The song is in the form of a fugue and uses fugue devices in its composition. The theme on which the fugue is constructed, in this case "So you want to write a fugue" is the subject. The fugal answer, where the subject is repeated with different emphasis, is the imperative "So write a fugue that we can sing." The counter-answer, the continuation of the original subject are heard in new stanza's sung behind the answer."

Mozart MP3s - Wah. There's lots of stuff here. It's not sorted by KV number or it'd have been easier to check, but most things seem to be there.

Requiemsurvey.org - "This alphabetical survey contains classical, vocal requiems (and their composers) including fragments and unfinished ones in the original Latin text as well as in other languages (e.g. German requiems), requiem-songs, motets and profane requiems. Instrumental ones are not included."

America's worst presidents - "The Republican performance in this week's midterm elections has led many commentators to describe Bush as the most disastrous leader in US history. But what about the competition? We asked the experts to cast their votes"

YouTube - Robot Chicken - Calvin and Hobbes - A comment someone left: "I think the point is more that we encouraged children to be more imaginative in previous eras, but since the early 1990's ritalin explosion we've just been doping kids up and killing their childhood spirits... causing seas of side effects in the process..."
"A kleptomaniac is a person who helps himself because he can't help himself." - Henry Morgan

***

Dress right for your body type - "If you have an…Inverted Triangle Body:
Characteristics: You are generally top-heavy (generous bust; full back and wide middle) Wear: Tops with narrow collars to avoid drawing too much attention to your full bust."
This is stupid. I thought they WANT to draw attention to a full bust.

PRISONS ACT - Corporal punishment - "No sentence of corporal punishment shall be passed upon — (b) a man sentenced by a court to death"
Ah, the small mercies in life. Someone: we can be the world's cruelest nation by having the death penalty as being rattaned to death

Singapore to buy 66 tanks from German army - "Singapore said Monday it will buy 66 refurbished Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German military to replace some of the city-state's AMX-13 SM1 tanks."
Yay, we're upgrading from 50 year old technology to 30 year old technology. But at least we won't only have toy tanks now.

The Straight Dope: Deck the halls with balls of fire: Why is it dangerous to burn wrapping paper? - "The fire is the wrong place for other holiday detritus as well — der Tannenbaum, for example. My assistant Una had an Uncle Bob, a manly man who felt throwing the Christmas tree away was a waste of good firewood. So he tossed it in the fireplace — gave him a nice warm glow. Unfortunately what was glowing was the roof, presumably ignited by embers. Fortunately the fire was small and anybody with a hose could have put it out. Unfortunately the hose was frozen solid and the fire department had trouble getting the nearest hydrant to work. Fortunately the firefighters were able to throw a ladder up against the house and put out the fire with a chemical extinguisher. They then hacked off a small hunk of charred roof with axes, peered into the crawl space, and declared the fire out. Unfortunately, having by now found an operational hydrant, the firemen declared they needed to hose down the roof "as policy," sending a torrent of water through the hole and collapsing the living room ceiling. Really unfortunately, the house that all this happened in belonged not to Uncle Bob but his in-laws. Bob bought them an RV and matters were pronounced square, but it was a lesson he won't soon forget, and neither should you."

Straight Dope Staff Report: Who has the power to arrest the President? - There is no ambiguity in the Constitution. If the Founding Fathers had intended to make it possible to arrest the President, they could have easily provided for it. They did not. The mischief that Impeachment is intended to address is found in the Constitution. It reads: "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and misdemeanors." The Founding Fathers were addressing the possibility of the President being impeached. There is therefore no doubt whatever that this provision was never intended to cover the President being arrested.

Colorado Homeowner To Be Fined For Peace-Sign Wreath - "According to Bob Kearns, the association's president, three or four residents have complained and at least one believes Jensen's decoration is a symbol of Satan. "The peace sign has a lot of negativity associated with it. It's also an anti-Christ sign. That's how it started," said Kearns."

Facebook | Burning of books and the burial of scholars (Just kidding) - "This Saturday, we will revive a tradition made popular by two of the greatest leaders of the past -- Qin Shi Huang and Hitler, by burning books and hunting down and torturing scholars (by today's relaxed definitions, professors and students with a GPA of 4.0 and above). Feeding the fire with cheap vodka, bullshit class notes and books that the store refuses to take back, we will create the greatest bonfire of the century and through that, make a statement that will forever change the way education is conducted in this modern world."

Soy is making kids 'gay' - "Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess estrogen wasn't influencing them."
Wth is this guy on? Maybe he had too much soy. Oh wait. He's "chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries". That explains it.

Top Ten Viral Videos - Free Viral Videos - View a Viral Video - "Here are some of the top viral videos around the Web today. A viral video is a video that has been passed around many times and has gained popularity largely by word of mouth, email, instant messaging, or online bulletin boards, rather than a publicity campaign. I've received all of these videos at least once by email."

DYSKE - ALLLOOKSAME?/TUTTTUGUALE?—Art from Japan, China and Korea - "I once wrote to a professor of philosophy, asking him why he never mentioned the similarities between the philosophies of certain Western philosophers and Eastern philosophies. In his response, although he agreed about the similarities, he said he could not write about them because he respected Eastern philosophies too much to speak of them “ignorantly.” He further explained that, to do an “authoritative” job, he must have much “deeper” knowledge of the entire system of thought, as well as the ability to read the original texts in the original language. This little vignette captures a uniquely Western tendency of thought; the attempt to dig “deeper” into the essence of an object, as opposed to extending one’s knowledge wider to see the relationship of the object to the whole. To the scholar above, “ignorance” consisted of not knowing deeply enough, but to an Eastern philosopher, “ignorance” would be not knowing widely enough."

Women talk thrice more - "It is something one half of the population has long suspected - and the other half always vocally denied. Women really do talk more than men. In fact, women talk almost three times as much as men, with the average woman chalking up 20,000 words in a day - 13,000 more than the average man... the simple act of talking triggers a flood of brain chemicals which give women a rush similar to that felt by heroin addicts when they get a high... Dr Brizendine says the brain's "sex processor" - the areas responsible for sexual thoughts - is twice as big as in men than in women, perhaps explaining why men are stereotyped as having sex on the mind."

Fiji cabinet jobs in classifieds - "Cabinet posts are being advertised in Fiji's newspapers as the military regime attempts to give credibility to its interim government."

World War One Color Photos - Color Photos from World War I - "Although color photography was around prior to 1903, the Lumière brothers, Auguste and Louis, patented the process in 1903 and developed the first color film in 1907. The French army was the primary source of color photos during the course of World War One."

Chinese Public Health Posters: Public Health Movement

Career Intensity Blog - David V. Lorenzo - "This week’s Business and the Bible Passage is from The Gospel of St. Mark, Chapter 10 verses 42–45."
Someone needs to cleanse the Temple again.
"Typos are very important to all written form. It gives the reader something to look for so they aren't distracted by the total lack of content in your writing." - Randy K. Milholland

***

Me: bloody hell
*** called me the archangel
I am almost tempted to curse

Someone: XD
why? i call u taht sometimes too
*hide


Someone else on food in Beijing compared to Singapore: and the food is fucking good.

compared to peking too
sure, the sechwan and north chinese food is good here
but they can't do cantonese to save their lives

it's like oil and salt are free here


Brother-in-law to someone: can i ask you why you bought a CD of Pachelbel's orgelmusik that does not have canon in D?

oh wait, canon in D does not have organs


Someone: (: I'm watching poto next year
can't believe my parents were willing to get the exest seats

Me: rich mah

can drink ice wine
gold or platinum

Someone: gold I think

my parents try to save
habits from when we were poor I guess

Me: !@#$%^&*()


Someone else: it [entropy] started out as an excursion from robust estimation to information theory. later i found entropy is related to physics

bose-einstein, maxwell boltzmann

i didn't know the information theoretic formulation is related to that of thermodynamics

btw, the connection was only found later
claude shannon came up with this information theoretic formulation

he asked von neumann what to call it (von neumann is a famous mathematician with contributions to game theory but is most famous for his mathematical achievements)

von neumann say call it entropy because it's the same formula
And also, since nobody understand what is entropy (the physics sense) , he can win any argument


Someone: college has been... interesting

Asian guys are truly at the rock bottom of the social hierarchy
cannot make it lah asian guys

too many
and it seems to be a tragedy if you're not a doctor or a lawyer
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