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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

"Faith is a cop-out. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits." - Dan Barker, "Losing Faith in Faith", 1992

***

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Google site search:
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I was asking where the moderate feminists were, and where they hung out, since the bulk of what I find comes from radical feminists. It is a fallacy to assume that those who speak loudest are most representative (a problem you find in religion as well), but then those who do not speak are presumably non-existent.

Someone suggested that they wouldn't label themselves that way. Maybe because they're moderate they don't see a point kicking up a fuss and screaming about "oppression", or see it as such an integral part of their identity. Thus, paradoxically, they might be those who think/behave in a feminist way but do not associate with the term.

I was also asked to define a moderate feminist. An easy definition would be that they aren't blinded by ideology and (disguised) misandry, but that's hard to operationalise.

I'm tempted to suggest that moderate feminists aren't so blinded by alleged victim blinding that they are willing to at least consider the role of victims in rape, but I've a feeling this is not the case.

So maybe we can look at other things, like their accepting that women can be paid less than men because they don't work as hard, or that men and women are fundamentally different and that this results in the statistical inequalities we see in the world, or aiming for equal opportunity rather than equal results.

Or perhaps even someone who doesn't consider advertising a form of "oppression", just as normal people do not consider the Laws of Gravity to be a form of "oppression".

Non-Sequitur strip:


"I find Geography to be VERY offensive... While learning the stupid State capitals, I noticed there's a BOISE, IDAHO, but there's not a GIRLSIE anywhere in the country!!"
Baltics trip
Day 7 - 22nd May - Riga, Latvia
(Part 6)


[Orthodox] Nativity Cathedral, Riga
It looks better from the front







We then went to the Skyline Bar, on Level 27 of Reval Hotel.



View (not from the bar, but maybe halfway up)







We were also there to sample Black Balzams, a traditional liqueur which had cured Catherine the Great of an illness.


It was the most potent thing I'd ever tasted. Worse than Ouzo, even. Made me coo for half a minute.

nw.t: It's not that bad... It's bad, but it's not the worst thng I've ever had... Even 74% Bacardi 151 doesn't taste as bad as this.

nw.t said there were 2 things worse than this: Vietnamese Starfruit Brandy, which tasted like alcoholic bonjela, and Sambuca.

It's probably good for health because it puts you off alcoholic drinks. And there's a good reason why it's remained a local drink.


The Mojito was much better, in comparison.


The second (red sun) best characterises the light, as this was at 9pm



We then took the tram back.


I don't know what this is


Street from tram



Latvia seemed to be in keeping with the venerable European tradition of fare avoidance, as we were accosted by a very cunningly disguised inspector. The inspector was totally incognito, and kept his photo ID hidden under his coat and buttoned away, displaying it only to the person whose ticket he was inspecting (i.e. if you boarded the tram you might not know the person talking to someone else in the corner was a tram inspector inspecting tickets, raising your chances of being caught if you were a fare cheat).


Speaking of fare avoidance, there was a sign on the tram warning against it. Notice how, apparently, the only person on the tram who is caught for fare avoidance is not only black in colour but has an afro. Hurr hurr.

The design of the tram windows was very smart: you could only open them on one side - the one where sticking your head out of the window would not get it chopped off bya tram traveling in the opposite direction.


Nelson Mandela and Me. He also bit my toes, confirming my hypothesis that pussies were evil, so I stopped playing with him. Once I donned house slippers, though, he lost interest. Moral of the story: it's very important to use protection when playing with pussies.


HWMNBN demonstrating the German Door


Quotes:

I have taken a vow of celibacy [for this trip] [Me: What's your definition of celibacy?] I want to preserve my 阳气 [Yang2 Qi4 - Male Energy]. [Me: So if we get someone to blow you until just before you come, it's okay] I shall have to consult with higher theological authorities on this one.

Heterophobia / Professing Feminism

"In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from." - Peter Ustinov

***

"Preface

Like many women in our society, I have experienced what is now labeled "sexual harassment"—on the street, in school, and at work. In Paris, a man once grabbed my breast as he walked by me... In a crowded subway in Rio de Janeiro, a man behind me masturbated while pressing up against me. In New York, a man whispered as he passed mc, "Boy, would I like to eat that!" Before graduate school, when I worked as a secretary, one of my bosses was constantly irritated with me because I refused to date him. I finally complained to his superior, who rebuked us both: my immediate boss for pestering me, and me for being flirtatious. In another job. a boss said to me, “You must be horrible in bed—you're so efficient!”...

These episodes were not pleasant, but neither were they devastating. Least of all were they typical of my interactions with other human beings. Unlike many present-day commentators on the subject, I would feel exceedingly foolish if I were to refer to myself as a "survivor," or even a “victim,” of sexual harassment. None of these experiences did me any real harm. But even if they had—and even if I grant that other women might react differently or have more disturbing experiences—I would have to weigh and measure the benefits of being spared this sort of behavior against the costs of preventing it. Certainly I cannot join forces with those activists who want to see all such events—even the pettiest street harassment that is not (yet) actionable in most places— become illegal.

There is, moreover, another side of the coin, which must also be acknowledged... when I was a student, I did indeed aggressively pursue professors who interested me. So did many of my female friends. I used to find excuses to go to their offices and lead the conversation to personal subjects. Sometimes my girlinends and I would follow a "favored" professor around in a car. Once I even trailed a man on foot for a block or two because his aftershave left an enticing fragrance in the air. (Was this “stalking”?)...

From these incidents I take a simple lesson: that the experience of sexual interest and sexual play (which can indeed be obnoxious at times) is an ordinary part of human life, manifest in different ways in different societies but predictably present in one way or another, as it must have been since the Garden of Eden. It seems to me that except for egregious offenses such as assault, bribery, or extortion (whether sexual or not)—for which legal remedies have existed for many years— the petty annoyance of occasional misplaced sexual attentions or sexist putdowns has to be tolerated. Why? Because the type of vigilance necessary to inhibit it would create a social climate so unpleasant, and ultimately so repressive, that the cure would be much worse than the disease.

Would we really want to live in a sanitized world in which each of us is fully protected from any offensive or otherwise unwanted word or gesture? In which every interaction must be scrutinized for possible sexual implications or slights based on gender? In which a kind of paranoia poisons the very idea of sexual expression between people in situations containing that supposedly fatal element, a "power imbalance"). I don’t think so... Yet from the very beginning, the subject of sexual harassment has been marked by definitions rooted in feminist assumptions about the relations between men and women, assumptions that are long overdue for questioning.

... Teachers who are most devoted to their classroom work, who are most ready to chat with students and to demystify the boundaries between teacher and student (as recommended by feminist pedagogy), are most often the ones who find themselves caught in the web of sexual harassment charges.

Consider the case of Michael Bullock, a popular forty-nine-year-old high school math instructor known for his devotion to teaching. A female student poked playfully at Bullock, in front of the class, commenting on his corpulence by saying that his chest was big. He replied that hers was small. This response led to his suspension from teaching. While waiting to hear whether he was to be reprimanded or transferred to an administrative job, Bullock killed himself. Now his students say, “He cared too much. That’s what got him.” In the emotional confusion that followed this event, a school spokeswoman defended the girl who had made the charge, expressing concern—and this is the most telling detail of the case—that the suicide would have the effect of discouraging other students from filing complaints...

In the supposedly more adult universe of higher education, rational people are devising their own measures for warding off trouble. I have spoken to many colleagues who now say that they will not close their doors after a student enters their office. They watch their words and wonder whether it is wise to discuss “sensitive” issues in class, however germane these may be to their subject. Up and down the academic ranks, people are acutely aware of the dangers of doing something, however innocuous, however inadvertent, that another person. espe. ciallv a subordinate, might possibly consider offensive or inappropriate. Lawsuis about matters that would have seemed ludicrous just a few years ago have now become commonplace. An offhand remark or misperceived gesture can threaten an entire career. A professor’s encouraging words or practical help can be retroactively interpreted as “grooming” for sexual demands at a later time. On the other hand, criticism of students’ classwork or disagreement with their ideas can be construed as contributing to an environment that impedes their full participation in academic life... These are not hypothetical situations. They are drawn from actual cases in recent years...

Introduction: Redefining the World

In late February 1998, I attended a conference on sexual harassment held at Yale University to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Catharine MacKinnon’s Sexual Harassment of Working Women. To me, what was most interesting about this event was what was not said at any of the sessions, by any of the participants...

At no time during those days did any of them acknowledge, much less address, a different prejudice that quite openly underlay the panel discussions of case after case of males harassing females. Not even a hint was given that the great success of sexual harassment law might be stimulating what I call “heterophobia,” meaning fear of, and antagonism toward, the Other—in the present context men in general—and toward heterosexuality in particular. Not a word was uttered about false, frivobus, or opportunistic accusations.

The MacKinnonite orthodoxy was in hill swing. Disagreements were minor and limited to opinions on what sort of approach would he most useflul in curtailing sexual harassment: Was prevention the key? Isn’t the conflict between equality and freedom overdrawn? What is “unwelcomeness”? Why not require men to prove that they knew their advances were welcome? Should personal liability be recognized, along with employer liability? Would this be a good way to address “street harassment”? Should sexual harassment liability be an insurable risk? Should certain words automatically be considered evidence of sexual harassment? Where do bisexuals fit in?...

At no time throughout these proceedings was any divergence of opinion expressed—much less discussed—about basic definitions and principles of the problem of harassment. The one notable exception was a paper by Professor Kingsley Browne, who argued that sexual harassment law restricts workplace speech and is a form of censorship aimed at reshaping conduct...

At the conference’s opening session, Andrea Dworkin, the radical feminist, her voice heavy with emotion, informed an audience of several hundred people that the “backlash” began when white middle-class men saw that sexual harassment law was going to affect them. This reaction, Dworkin thoughtfully suggested, showed us that “millions of men wanted to have a young woman at work to suck their cock.” Did anyone rise to contest such outrageous slander directed at all or most men? On the contrary...

Heterophobia

Something very strange happened toward the end of the twentieth century. Heterosexuality went from being the norm to being on the defensive. By calling this phenomenon “hecerophobia” I am not speaking abstractly. Rather, I am referring to a distinct current within feminism over the past thirty years, a current that has been “theorized” explicitly by feminist scholars and agitators alike as they attack men and heterosexuality. Such writings, as we shall see later in this chapter, bear all the hallmarks of what has been called a “manic” theory—that is, one that does not know its own limitations.’ Not wishing to be guilty of precisely the same offense, I readily affirm that the attitudes I criticize are not held by all women, not even, perhaps, by many women, though certainly they are found among many feminist women. In their everyday form, they occur as “male bashing.” As Karen DeCrow, former president of the National Organization for Women, has stated, “God knows, in the last twenty-five years, man as ‘the enemy’ has certainly emerged” within feminism...

[Sally Miller] Gearhart’s confident vision of the feminist future is pointedly countered by another contribution to the volume in which her essay appears. This is Rachel Bedard’s account of her experiences in all-female groups. Following a failed marriage and a feminist awakening, Bedard moved into a lesbian separatist house “with tremendous expectations of feminist support and nurturance. But within weeks [the women] were divided over everything from dinner hour to cats to who owned which soap in the bathroom.” When the household broke up before long, Bedard accompanied a woman friend to New Zealand. There she met a peaceful, caring, vegetarian man who grew his own food and tried to live in harmony with the planet. His example made her wonder whether such a way of life might not be more useful than lesbians marching and screaming obscenities. She became involved with him, all the while tormented by the thought that she was “betraying all women” by being “in complicity.”” Still, knowing now that women too have what she calls “human” problems, she “could begin to move back to the personal from the political,” which for her included marriage to a man. Predictably, she was ostracized for this by former friends. Tolerance has never been a notable characteristic of feminism—the “nurturing” quality of women notwithstanding. Bedard’s account of these experiences is entitled, appropriately, “Re-entering Complexity.”...

Ordinary men these days fear to challenge feminist perspectives. As psychotherapist Laurie Ingraham comments, “The ‘in thing’ is to totally support women no matter what.”’ Many men do this only passively, through failure to challenge feminist assertions and aspersions, like the men Ingraham describes at a professional meeting of therapists: They sat quietly while demeaning comments about men, made by the women running the event, were greeted with much laughter by the predominantly female audience, the kind of reaction I, too, observed at the Yale conference described in the introduction, above...

One might retort that there really is little cause for alarm. Heterophobes today are not generally in positions of authority. They do not occupy posts that let them enforce their ideas. In one sense, this is obviously true. No leading politicians have run on a platform of heterophobia. But consider the kinds of prominence actually achieved by feminist ideas. These ideas are now repeated and assented to by people who certainly do not regard themselves as feminist extremists, and who perhaps do not even realize where their rhetoric originates, so successful has it been in mainstreaming itself as reasonable and warranted protection of women.

Sexual harassment legislation and regulations, in school and in the workplace, are clear demonstrations of the real power feminist theorizing has acquired in daily life. The relations between men and women have indeed become “problematized,” so much so that any word, any gesture, may these days give offense to women. If in the old days women’s complaints against men’s abusive behavior were seldom taken seriously, today things have moved 180 degrees. Nor is this just a matter of a turnabout in social norms, or a change in office etiquette. As we have seen in part II, people have lost their jobs because of flimsy or entirely false allegations of sexual harassment. In many instances, men (and some women) are being deprived of due process. And there are feminists who quite explicitly and seriously consider that this is a justified course. In their view, due process is one of the patriarchy’s power tools, like freedom of speech.

Feminism has in fact been remarkably successful in creating a climate in which men’s words and gestures are suspect, and in which it is now women’s charges that are given prompt credibility, or at least the benefit of the doubt. Tell a man such as Leroy Young, who lost his university position because of a barely investigated charge of sexual harassment, that feminists do not possess power.

Heterophobia (despite its apparent relationship to the long tradition of sexual repression in America) should not be mistaken for a nostalgic return to Victorianism. On the contrary, its best fit is with the dismaying history of twentieth-century totalitarianisms. A tendency toward totalizing pronouncements and an absence of respect for the political process—the heart of which, after all, is compromise—are blatant among feminist extremists.

But at the moment, the dominant trend within feminism seems still remarkably resilient to any self-criticism. When in May 1996, I sent the Women’s Studies E-Mail List a message relating to my heterophobia project, inviting reactions, scores of hostile replies poured in. Women told me that my project was dangerous, ill conceived, and methodologically flawed; they seemed about evenly split between those who denied there was any heterophobia within feminism and those who said men deserved it. Quite a few objected to the term “heterophobia” itself (evidently unaware that the “radical feminist” Robin Morgan herself used the term, and at times deplored the tendency, in a 1982 book).’...

By contrast, most of the handful of supportive responses were sent to me privately, not to the entire list. These led to some fruitful exchanges. Some women observed that their heterosexual women’s studies professors seemed to be the most heterophobic of all. This is the phenomenon of “male bashing” familiar to many who have taken women’s studies courses but ardently denied by defenders of the faith, who insist it is merely an invention of those promoting the “backlash” against feminism."

--- Heterophobia: Sexual Harassment and the Future of Feminism / Daphne Patai


Another interesting read:

Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women's Studies by Daphne Patai and Noretta Koertge

Table of Contents:

Part One: Cautionary Tales From The Strange World Of Women's Studies

1. Introduction to the World of Women’s Studies

2. Cautionary Tales from Women Who Walked Away
Students Who Stomp in Seminars. Political Purity and Hostile Colleagues ♥ "Women’s Studies Can Be Harmful" ♥ "The Chickens Come Home to Roost" ♥ "Who Owns Women’s Studies?" ♥ Scholarship in a Sea of Propaganda

3. Ideology and Identity: Playing the Oppression Sweepstakes
Unraveling the Web of Feminist Discontents ♥ IDPOL: Identity Politics and Ideological Policing ♥ The Amazon Laughed: "Tell Your Brothers" ♥ Sleeping with the Enemy ♥ Dismantling White Women's Studies ♥ Patriarchy and Pigs at the Trough ♥ The Price of Oppressive Privilege

4. Proselytizing and Policing in the Feminist Classroom
Surviving Women’s Studies: Students’ Perspectives ♥ Training the Cadres ♥ Fulmination and Ferment ♥ Propaganda and Resistance ♥ Confusion and Condemnation ♥ Feeling Good versus Becoming Competent ♥ Feminist Pedagogy: A Midterm Report

5. Semantic Sorcery: Rhetoric Overtakes Reality
Throwing Away the Master’s Tools: Playing TOTAL REJ ♥ WORDMAGIC and Other Language Games ♥ Phony Philology ♥ Metaphor Madness ♥ Linguistic Litmus Tests ♥ Accordion Concepts ♥ The Power of Naming

6. Biodenial and Other Subversive Stratagems
Socially Constructing the Birds and the Bees ♥ Is the Mind the Only Sex Organ? ♥ GENDERAGENDA: Cleansing the Curriculum of Phallic Phantasms ♥ How "Feminine" Tunes are "Brutally Quahsed" ♥ "Logic... Is Insane" ♥ Opposition to Exact Science

7. "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall": Feminist Self-Scrutiny
Assessing Women’s Studies ♥ "Women’s Ways of Knowing" ♥ The Mission of Women’s Studies ♥ Connected Knowing and the "Believing Game" ♥ Critical Thinking, Feminist Style ♥ "Quality Control": Big Sister Is Watching You

8. Cults, Communes, and Clicks
True Believers All ♥ Problems in the Promised Land ♥ Arrested Development ♥ "For Fear of Finding Something Worse"

9. From Dogma to Dialogue: The Importance of Liberal Values

Part Two: Women’s Studies In The New Millennium

10. Rhetoric and Reality in Women's Studies
Unmentionables ♥ Hierarchy is a "Guy" Thing ♥ Where's the Patriarchy? ♥ Dissenting Voices ♥ Recruiting Adherents

11. Policing the Academy
Feminist Pedagogy Redux ♥ "Antifeminist Intellectual Harassment" ♥ Why Not a Feminist Overhaul of Higher Education? ♥ Protecting Some Speech ♥ Going "Bolivarian" with a Feminist Twist ♥ New Sexual Orthodoxies

12. Feminists Take on Science: Tilting at the Evil Empire
Feminist Incursions into Science Pedagogy ♥ The Empire Fights Back: Gross, Levitt, and Sokal ♥ Three Exemplars of Post-Science Wars Writings: Schiebinger, Potter, and Fausto-Sterling ♥ The Chilly Climate within Women's Studies for Science Students ♥ Women's Studies vis-a-vis Science Studies?
Comments on Sikhism on Ridzwan.Com: Halal Food: Unites or Divides? (yes, people are still commenting regularly after 6 months):

silau: the argument that other religions do not forbid consumption of Halal food is a fallacy. Sikhism forbids consumption of halal or kosher foods. The implementation of any halal-only policy nationwide will discriminate against the Sikhs.

Jai: To the anonymous who posted all the links with regards to the langgar.

Just googling about Sikhism suddenly makes you an expert at Sikhism? I suggest you read the things you have posted very carefully. The prohibitions on where and when we can eat meat in right there in your posts.

It's a good thing you chose to remain anonymous. You would have humiliated yourself greatly.
But thanks, I really had a good laugh looking at you trying to advice me on my religion. I have forwarded this post to my friends to spread the humour.

Why don't you come down this Sunday to Branksome Road and "enlighten" the rest of us about our religion? If you are serious in getting to know the religions better, you would take up my offer instead of making up excuses. Don't worry, we accept everyone on Sundays and there is free vegetarian food also.

Sikh: Hi,

Just happened to chance on this blog and noticed Jai's comment about halal meat being ok for Sikhs and the rebuttals thereafter.

I'm a practicing Sikh and would like to add that there are today two factions of Sikhs; one forbids the eating of halal/kosher meat (i.e. the relatively new "pro-Jhatka" group), and the other (traditional) forbids meat, fish, eggs. I'm a vegetarian btw, and would like Jai and anyone else who's interested to read why Sikhs are instructed to be vegetarians: http://sikhiwiki.com/index.php/SGGS_on_meat (the verses further down that page).

As for Sikhs who do not observe dietary restrictions...well, I know scores of Muslims who drink liquor or consume non-halal food, and Catholics who do not observe the 10 commandments, and Hindus who take beef, etc etc. Doesn't make it ok, but that's the way people are.

Anonymous: Hi,

I'm a Sikh. My parents have brought me up only teaching me that I cant eat beef. But that has nothing to do with my religion. I have decided to understand my religion myself. And its two things:
1) you are either a pure vegan.
2)or you eat meat but not the halal meat.

Sikhs, like the Jews are a minority. I know MANY Sikhs who dont eat Halal food. Before the Halal Sign was imposed almost everywhere, I could eat chicken from Old Changkee. (just an example). But now, I have almost become a vegetarian. I love my seafood and occassionaly i do miss eating chicken. But I dont kick a fuss. I have dinner once or twice at my good friends place. She's muslim and if she has cooked chicken, she simply doesnt offer me to eat. If there is fish, she gets really excited, and we eat together.

From what ive read so far....we singaporeans are "multi-racial", but we havent got a clue about other religions. And Im not just talking about Islam. There are other religions in this world, besides Islam. Like Sikhism. Its really upsetting though that we haven't gone around plastering non-halal signs, but instead we just sit here and slowly watch all the food outlets and restaurants get labelled "halal".

As for why Sikhs can't eat halal, its got nothing to do with Pork. Google it.

Reet: Jai,
Its sad that you call yourself a Sikh, for you don't even know that the gurdwara(sikh temple) is on Wilkinson Road and Not Branksome Road. Instead of being girlish and gossiping abt the 'anonymous' who had to teach you about our religion... Please, for Waheguru's sake, stop embarrassing us(Sikhs) and attend some Sikh classes at Silat Road Temple. It will do you good.

I seriously have no idea, where you are getting your information from, but you seem rather lost.

Sikh: Anonymous mentioned after my earlier post that:
"1) you are either a pure vegan."

Vegans forsake even dairy products and the use of leather, etc. Remember that the ingredients for the "prasad" (sacremantal food given in the Sikh temple / Gurdwara after a service) was formulated by the Guru (prophet) and includes ghee (from milk). So vegetarian Sikhs are actually not usually vegans. I'm near vegan as I'm lactose intolerant - and so only take a little more than a pinch of prasad for this reason.

Religion came about for the betterment of mankind if one takes the spiritual path. But little minds take it to a neurotic degree, miss the essence of the underlying teachings, and become intolerant of others.


There're also tons of nonsense comments which are good for a laugh (and many sighs about the future of Singapore).

Friday, September 05, 2008

When a rape case should not go to court, by Helen Mirren - "Dame Helen Mirren was engulfed in controversy over the prosecution of date-rapists last night. In an interview, the actress said women who are raped after willingly going to bed with a man cannot expect their attackers to be charged... She said that if a woman voluntarily ended up in a man's bedroom, took her clothes off and engaged in sexual activity, she still had the right to say 'no' at the last second. If the man ignored her, Dame Helen said, that was rape. But she continued: 'I don't think she can have that man into court under those circumstances. I guess it is one of the many subtle parts of the men-women relationship that has to be negotiated and worked out between them.'... She recalled: 'I was [date-raped], yes. A couple of times. Not with excessive violence, but rather being locked in a room and made to have sex against my will. It's such a tricky area, isn't it? Especially if there is no violence. 'I mean, look at Mike Tyson [the boxer jailed for raping beauty pageant contestant Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room]. I don't think he was a rapist.'"
Luckily she isn't a man, or she'd be lynched.

Roman Empire 'raised HIV threat' - "The spread of the Roman Empire through Europe could help explain why those living in its former colonies are more vulnerable to HIV."

Rich Man’s Burden - "Perhaps for the first time since we’ve kept track of such things, higher-income folks work more hours than lower-wage earners do... At one time we worked hard so that someday we (or our children) wouldn’t have to. Today, the more we earn, the more we work, since the opportunity cost of not working is all the greater (and since the higher we go, the more relatively deprived we feel)... even with the same work hours and household duties, women with higher incomes report feeling more stressed than women with lower incomes... not only does more money not solve our problems at home, it may even make things worse... the better off you are in absolute terms, the more relatively deprived you may feel. In fact, a poll of New Yorkers found that those who earned more than $200,000 a year were the most likely of any income group to agree that “seeing other people with money” makes them feel poor... Rising inequality causes us to work more to keep up in an economy increasingly dominated by status goods. That further widens income differences."

Internet Explorer - "Internet Explorer does not support MathML (used here for equations) and has severely broken support for other Web Standards like CSS2 and XHTML. Most Web designers have bent over backwards to shelter you from the failings of this wretched browser. I have not. Aside from the equations, many things on these pages will render poorly or not at all in IE. If they do, I'm sorry, but I ain't gonna “fix it.” MathML support can be obtained with the aid of a new plugin. For the rest, you need to get yourself a Standards-Compliant browser, like Mozilla."

Thinking People Eat Too Much: Intellectual Work Found To Induce Excessive Calorie Intake - "Despite the low energy cost of mental work, the students spontaneously consumed 203 more calories after summarizing a text and 253 more calories after the computer tests. This represents a 23.6% and 29.4 % increase, respectively, compared with the rest period. Blood samples taken before, during, and after each session revealed that intellectual work causes much bigger fluctuations in glucose and insulin levels than rest periods."

Ravi Zacharias on the Reason Driven Podcast, and an analysis of all his nonsense. Among them: Dishonestly misrepresenting Peter Singer as claiming a child with Down's Syndrome is worse than a pig, claiming that if Sartre is right we should kill ourselves, making theism the default position to fall back to, bait and switching (changing the problem of Hell to that of Evil), the Euthyphro problem, "God is Holy" being unintelligible due to the lack of a falsifier; anyhow even if we accepted his fallacies, it'd commit us to deism at the most (such is the weakness of defending Christianity purely on philosophical grounds).

Where Everybody Knows Your Name - "If you don’t read Korean you’ll be surprised that the above photo is advertising a bar called “Hitler,” or “Hitler House,” as in the photo below. Hitler bars are growing rare in Korea, but they still exist... 'The owner of the just-opened Hitler’s Cross restaurant in Mumbai claims he’s not “trying to promote Hitler here.” Instead, Punit Sabhlok tells the Mumbai Mirror, the Nazi dictator “wanted to conquor the world by using force and I would like to do that by the food and service I provide.”'... I’m sure the person who owns this bar would say something similar. And, likewise I’m sure they’d be rightly pissed if someone opened a bar called Hirohito House."
My comment: Some would consider Che Guevara T-shirts to be offensive too.

Civilization IV: Colonization... Wow that looks offensive - "Goddamit, am I the only one who think it's morally disturbing to make a game that celebrates COLONIZATION?... It's entirely possible, even likely, that you can finish the game without killing any Native Americans. And I'm sure there are no options to give the Native Americans smallpox or send them on a death march. But that's irrelevant. A game about colonization that's entirely about controlling the settlers can either force the player to do horrific things or let him avoid doing it and whitewash some of the worst events of human history. Either option is offensive... Even more disturbing, though, is that colonization was and is a racist process. The colonizing people ALWAYS thought they were superior by dint of their ethnicity or nationality"
*FACEPALM*
Someone: "In Civilization I can take control of a european civilization and crush a non-european civilization. This must mean Civilization is a racist game, right? Of course, I could also crush the europeans as the noble but tough leader of a non-european civilization, which for some reason wouldn't be racist.
In Europa Universalis, I can trade in: *pause* SLAVES! Racist beyond belief!
In Heroes of Might and Magic I can use gather an army and kill countless numbers of creatures of other races. That would also be a racist game...
In Championship Manager I can choose to buy a player who in the real world is caucasian and leave a less pale player unemployed. I wouldn't know their colour unless they were very famous, and I don't think there's much chance of it influencing my decision, but in theory I could act in a racist way. This makes this game racist as well.
In Arcade Pool I can use a white ball to hit a black one and force it into a hole. Another racist game...
In summary every game I've ever played could be considered racist, with a bit of imagination... Making a game that deals with history without using a narrow-minded anti-european approach isn't racist. In my opinion, thoughtlessly crying racism at every opportunity *is*"
Someone else: "a game reporter/reviewer who's never heard of Colonization?"


Floridians like it raw - "The other day it was a maid cafe in Culver City, now we get word that naked sushi has made its way to Clearwater, Florida... 'Officials with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which licenses restaurants, say Keir hasn’t violated health requirements. Even Mayor Frank Hibbard, who convinced Hooters’ owners in 2006 to reword a sexually suggestive billboard, says he’s letting this one go. He says little about the event other than, “I wouldn’t eat sushi off anyone’s body.”... “Every time Picasso had a girl pose nude in one of his paintings, was that demeaning? No, I don’t think it was,” he says. Inside the Dirty Martini, the patrons, half of them women, agree.'"

Japan's new professional seducers - "She is one of Japan’s new breed of professional seducers, hired by embittered spouses to entrap their straying partners. And she’ll stop at nothing to get the desired results... Kyoko finished school three years ago. She had seen TV programmes about girls who worked as temptresses and thought that might be a job for her... “It’s fun. I like seeing the underside of life,” she says, “and the money’s very good. I meet different targets every day. I’m not so keen on the old ones and I sometimes get to like the young ones. I sleep with all of them.” As for Mr A, “He’s not so bad. He’s bald, that’s all.”... “It’s much easier to seduce a man than a woman,”... Men are not suspicious when a lovely young girl starts chatting to them. Even a bald 40-year-old salesman in a crumpled suit with a cheap briefcase assumes he’s irresistible to women... “Around 27 women start to enjoy sex. I specialise in women in their late twenties who enjoy sex.”"
This is not so different from what you might read in WaiWai. No surprise. Damn Japs.
"No one gossips about other people's secret virtues." - Bertrand Russell

***

Me: interesting how your logic is:

"when a singaporean bashes malaysia/malaysians, he is showing that singaporeans are rude, ungrateful, nasty scum of the earth
when a malaysian bashes singapore/singaporeans, he is right"

HWMNBN: i have no issue with you bashing malaysia and malaysians for the right reasons
just that you don't *simply*

Me: "singaporeans are degenerate, illiterate fucks" - you

HWMNBN: *smiles* there is no defense against truth.

Me: QED.


Someone: i met the ceo of airasia too. that guys is GOOD stuff.

Me: yah
one of the few good things to come out of malaysia

Someone: haha
i tell you... the way the govt is killing the people there is actually good for them.

the bumiputra policy.

no social welfare, crappy govt/mnc pay -> forces people to take ownership of their life -> forces people to start business -> high control over property/money -> high initiative/sharing/community-social-support-networks -> active civil society

Me: so bad government is good for the people
so why do we need good government

Someone: we need a small govt.

Me: malaysia government very small meh

well, ethiopia's government is quite small

Someone: big + bad = small

Me: errrr

Someone: ok... close.

Me: in that case africa should be utopia

Someone: haha. i'm pushing it.
but... you know, that's really what's happening there.

the govt shit their people. the people take charge of their own lives.
that's it. that's the magic.

Me: so if that's the case why are malaysians rushing down to singapore
but not vice versa

Someone: well, those are the people that would not have started a biz with/without a shit govt.

i'm talking about the co-opting of bright people into the govt/mnc.
a shit govt liberates them from the co-opt

Me: but overall which country would you say is better off

Someone: singapore for a clueless person, malaysia for a clueful one.

Me: singapore has more millionaires per capita than malaysia

Someone: those are imports lah dude.
and i bet half of them are govt officials.

Me: even if they're government officials
still better off right

our standard of living is also higher

Someone: ehhh... i think it's far better to be poor in MY than poor in SG.

Me: what social welfare is there for the poor in MY

Someone: things are cheaper. you can "run away" from more "cost of living" items.
and it's infinitely easier to start a biz there.

Me: what, grow rice from the soil?

err
I think it's easy to start a biz here
unless you mean there you just bribe someone

Someone: haha. you can start a char kway teow stall in Malaysia with just RM200. try that in SG.

Me: it's not hard to set up a roadside stall there

if that's starting a biz... well technically it's true
but how well off are all these smalltime hawkers

Someone: at least... you earn a living. and there's a chance of making it big.

you know what? it's about POSSIBILITIES. there are more of them for the poor there.
and, for the capable, a repressive govt forces you to startup on your own.
for those in the middle, it won't matter anyway.

Me: then you might as well buy lottery tickets
even though the expected return is negative, there's the possibility of making it big

Someone: *damn* you don't get it - do you?

my fault.

do make a trip up north when you've the time.

talk to people there. visit students. visit businesses.
talk to biz people.

you will know.

Me: right.
I don't think I'll get to do that anytime soon though

Someone: ok.
but, i guesss, it's the same in most fucked-but-not-that-fucked places,

Me: where else would fall into that category

Someone: vietnam, indon, china

Me: I don't think the clueless/clued dichotomy is helpful

it's like saying if you support the PAP you must be a sheep

anyway some people prefer the Wild West odds
but though you may strike it rich, you are more likely to get shot

you see a lot of successful people
and people think there's a chance of success
but the failures are not seen. so it's selection bias

it's the same in the world of entertainment and the world of sport
for every michelle pfeiffer or serena williams there's 1,000 girls doing part-time waitressing
and 1,000 girls without college degrees who spent their time on the varsity team

Someone: you're right.

sure sure. i think we're approaching from different angles.

Me: well in theory you could construct a risk function where someone would prefer malaysia than singapore
but a person with it would probably have to be extremely and implausibly risk loving

Someone: hmph...
you can't explain it that way.

you left out a var called "time".
at some pt in time, a person would prefer MY.

Me: I'm looking at instantaneous preferences
even when you're young you probably have to be implausibly risk loving to prefer malaysia

at least in the monetary/career angle

Someone: hmph...
what if you were born poor?

Me: then you're screwed in either country

20-30 years it was possible for poor, smart people to make it big without education
but that type of social mobility is past us

Someone: even in MY?

Me: yeah
HWMNBN who is more informed about malaysia and prefers it to spore thinks so
Another mystery of the Universe: Why do girls have cold hands? (Girls aren't sushi chefs in Japan because their hot hands heat up the rice, so maybe it's just Singapore)

Someone: bec they are actually reptiles taking the form of humans...
hence as reptiles are cold blooded
so are girls

Frigid Girl: like real [my hands are warm]

haha shakespeare said in othello
warm hands are a sign of horniness

well, he said it more nicely

OTHELLO. Give me your hand: this hand is moist, my lady.

DESDEMONA. It yet hath felt no age nor known no sorrow.

OTHELLO. This argues fruitfulness and liberal heart:-- Hot, hot, and moist: this hand of yours requires A sequester from liberty, fasting, and prayer, Much castigation, exercise devout; For here's a young and sweating devil here That commonly rebels. 'Tis a good hand, A frank one.

Me: explains a lot ah

and singaporean girls aren't horny
HOHO
makes sense
From: Helen Fisher: The brain in love

Quanto minus spei est tanto magis amo ("The less my hope, the hotter my love") - Terence (Roman Poet), Eunuchus, I. 160 B.C.

"[Love] has all of the characteristics of an addiction. You focus on the addiction, obsessively think about them, you crave them, and it's got the three main characteristics of addiction. Tolerance: you need to see them more and more and more. Withdrawals, and last, Relapse: I'm just getting over a terrible love affair. It's been about 8 months, she's beginning to feel better, and she was driving along in her car the other day and suddenly she heard a song on the car radio, that reminded her of this man, and she, not only did the instant craving come back, but she had to pull over the road, to the side of the road and cry... Romantic love is one of the most addictive substances on earth [Ed: And it's responsible for many crimes and much suffering (much more than pot), so we should ban it!]...

People have often asked me whether what I know about love has spoiled it for me. I just simply say, "Hardly". Err, you can know every single ingredient in a piece of chocolate cake, and when you sit down and eat that cake, you can still feel that joy. And certainly I make all the same mistakes."
Japan trip
Day 7 - 12th June - Amanohashidate
(Part 4)

From the lookout point there was a bus up towards, naturally enough, a temple, Nariai-ji.


Bus schedule


Description of temple bell, from English pamphlet the bus driver gave me: "The temple bell which has never been or will be struck
Kenchyo, priest collected votive offerings of money, so that he could raise funds for the project to replace the old bell with the new one... a housewife in a house, which was fine and looked wealthy, 'said, "Since we have many children to bring up, we cannot aford to make a donation to the temple," and refused flatly.
On the day when the metal was casted into the bell, (blank) watch how the bell was made. Among them was the said housewife looking at it, holding her baby in her arms. By mistake itself, she dropped her baby into the fiery melted copper like boiling water. When the finished bell, involbing such a sad and misery accident in the course of completion, was truck... they seemed to hear the baby crying sadly to call for its mother. People felt such pity... that they decided never to strike this bell since then"
This story was very screwy. But they had struck it once, so it has been struck.


Tower housing the bell


Steps up


Plaques


Building with Buddhas


Up one flight




Jizo


Peacock deity (probably Saraswati)


More gods


Shrine


Main building, and a peek in




Washup point




Side of temple main building. Notice the wheelchair lift. How thoughtful (IIRC there was a road behind, so the flights of steps would've been moot)


Inside temple


Lanterns




Prayer wheel. I turned it a bit to upgrade my reincarnation form from pond algae to a cockroach.


Me at the washup point, which this Jap girl offered to me take. Her male companion was quite nasty - I asked if he spoke English (I forgot what I wanted to ask) and he said no quite curtly, even though I was quite sure he did.


More idols


"Nihon Ichi Tembodai" ("Great view ahead. ~1,000m (5 minutes by car)")
Notice they had no estimate of how long it took to walk

I was wondering whether to go ahead, so I consulted the Rough Guide:

"If you have time, it really is worth making the effort to continue on to the Nihon Ichi Tembodai, a panoramic lookout spot around 1km further up the mountain from Nariai-ji. The sublime view across Amanohashidate and Wakasa Bay, as far away as the Noto-hano and the sacred mountain Hakusan on the Hokuriku coast, is straight out of a woodblock print."

From previous experience, I knew that travel guides oversold attractions, and the Rough Guide was particularly culpable (IIRC, the guidebook which waxed lyrical about the village Ethia in Crete, which was a rundown dump in the middle of nowhere, was "The Rough Guide to Crete"). Yet, I had time to spare. I decided not to take the next bit of advice, though:

"Back down in Fuchu you can catch a bus 16km up the coast to the charming fishing hamlet of INE"

Translation: it was a run-down dump. (Since coming back, cursory research suggests it's like a more prosperous version of Tai-o in Hong Kong)





An uphill climb lay ahead of me


Sea view


Another 600m left


Holy Forest (?) and sign


More idols along the road

After a while, I seemed to have reached my destination:


Vantage point



View


Very helpful guide to the scenery in Kanji. While writing this I found out that Hakusan, which the Rough Guide didn't bother giving Kanji for, was "白山", but you can't see it in the pictures above anyway.


View

Yet, I noticed that the road still led up:


And there was a sign about "展望所", so I hoisted by backpack and continued up, and arrived at the vantage point to find:


Vending machines *facepalm*. Then again, even the top of Mount Fuji has vending machines, so.


No vending machine surcharge!


Real vantage point


Guide to the view



View
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