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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

"You must first have a lot of patience to learn to have patience." - Stanislaw J. Lec

***

Circumcision Benefit in AIDS Is Divided - "There is not enough evidence to show that circumcision reduces the risk of AIDS in sex between men, researchers are reporting, even though previous studies in Africa have shown its pronounced benefit in reducing AIDS from heterosexual sex."
So much for Male Genital Mutilation being good for health. Maybe people should cut off their earlobes, then they won't have to wash them.

Men prefer natural breasts to fake boobs - "The survey of over 2,000 men - including a number of celebs such as Russell Brand and T4 host Steve Jones - found 89 percent of men would rather women kept their natural breasts than invest in a larger, plastic pair... 29 percent said they thought padded bras were ‘false advertising’"
I hope they don't come to Singapore.

Hanzi Smatter 一知半解: Chinese - Language of God? - "According to its website, the Chinese believed in God and knew about all the stories in the bible. Matters of fact, many Chinese characters, if not all, were derived from actual events and stories in the Holy Bible... Clearly, the character 呆 represents the situation of a 人 (person) on a 十 (the cross) and 口 (praying). Who else would it be none other than Jesus Christ? If Chinese was truly “Language of God”, then why does 呆 mean “stupid” and “dull-minded”?... A former missionary had a problem with the Japanese language: 'Gulick said that Francis Xavier, the famous 16th-century Catholic missionary, "said that the Japanese language was a particular invention of the devil to prevent the understanding of the gospel, and that is true." In Japanese, "there is no definite future, so you say, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you might be saved (instead of shall be saved.) It's a problem."' ... But Japanese language was heavily influenced by Chinese, does that mean Satan wasn't so bad until God's influence?"

Camille Paglia on Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and more - One reader's letter: "All I see from fellow feminists is outrage when I express a view that is even remotely different from theirs... Instead of being the party of independent choice and thought, Dems are becoming as strident and intolerant as how I always saw the Republicans. Additionally, I really see feminists of the Gloria Steinem group (i.e., most of the ones I know) not wanting women to take responsibility for their own actions. It’s always a blame game. I am unsure as to how taking agency and responsibility away from women is advancing feminism... If Sarah Palin has done anything, it is to truly expose mainstream feminists (and Democrats for that matter) as hypocritical elitists who really aren’t as tolerant as people think they are and who only support women who agree with them on every single issue."

YouTube - Take On Me: Literal Video Version - "Ever wish songs just sang what was happening in the music video? Well now they do."

30 lesbians impregnated by the same man - "Unregulated sperm donation is leading to unusual situations in which the children of lesbians are mixing socially - creating a risk of incest. One of South Australia's foremost experts in reproductive technology - Andrew Dutney - said that in one reported case, about 30 lesbians were impregnated by sperm from one man"

Cambodian couple cut home in half - "An estranged couple in Cambodia have sawn their house in half to avoid the country's convoluted divorce process."

sg_ljers: a lady's wrath - "Any boys dissed you lately? Perhaps in the past? He dumped you for another girl for no reason? SHARE YOUR STORIES WITH US! We at lady's wrath, will do your dirty deed of flaming and slander. Support us. Don't let other girls be a victim because you never voiced out. We'd be more than happy to flame the little jerk for whatever it is he has done to you. Our solemn pledge and aim is to protect as many girls as possible from these dirty little pigs. Ah, yes, but not all guys are bad, right? Girls are little whores themselves. But think about it girls, if you let one guy use you, you'll probably lose your self worth and self respect. We urge you to keep your stories coming in! Include his name, picture, email, his hang outs, his address even! We'll provide other girls with every little information about these jerks, so they will stay away from them."
No wonder Singaporean guys prefer Malaysian girls
Someone's comment: "Where got guys will dump a girl "for no reason" one? There is ALWAYS a reason lah.
Don't find you pretty anymore.
You don't like giving blowjobs.
Another girl better/prettier than you.
Maybe you're just simply a bitch.
Maybe you and I were wrong to begin with.
The other girl's got a nicer rack than you.
You're immature.
You're too much of a psycho.
You don't listen to me.
You listen too much to me.
And oh, it's not you; it's me. My fault. That's the feason."


Cops nab "Ninja" vigilantes - "Two “modern day Ninjas” calling themselves Shinobi Warriors on a quest to rid the area of drug users and drug dealers have been put out of business by police... The men were wearing tactical vests and armed with knives in sheaths at their waists along with Ninja throwing knives, Chinese throwing stars, four-pointed tacks, swords, bows and arrows and nunchucks... Jesse Trojaniak, 19, and Tadieusz Tertkiewicz, 20, told police they were “modern day Ninjas” also called Shinobi Warriors on their way to deliver warning letters to known drug dealers and drug users to stop their “impure” activities."

Time for Some Campaignin' - "In our first election satire since 2004's "This Land" and "Good to be in DC", we bid farewell to Bush and give Obama and McCain a proper JibJab hazing! And, of course, who could forget about Hillary and Bill? This rip-roaring musical romp gives the election process the proper spanking it deserves!"

Cooking with testicles - "It's hard to ignore the charm of a recipe that begins 'wash penis clean and pat dry'. Fraser Lewry whips up a few treats from the Testicle Cookbook"

Food Timeline: food history & historic recipes - "Ever wonder what foods the Vikings ate when they set off to explore the new world? How Thomas Jefferson made his ice cream? What the pioneers cooked along the Oregon Trail? Who invented the potato chip...and why? Welcome to the Food Timeline! Food history presents a fascinating buffet of popular lore and contradictory facts. Some people will tell you it's impossible to express this topic in exact timeline format. They are correct. Most foods we eat are not invented; they evolve."

Tearless Onion Created In Lab Using Gene Silencing

Newest Fair Food: Deep-Fried Coca-Cola - "Gonzales deep-fries Coca-Cola-flavored batter. He then drizzles Coke fountain syrup on it. The fried Coke is topped with whipped cream, cinnamon sugar and a cherry. Gonzales said the fried Coke came about just from thinking aloud."
And you thought Deep Fried Mars Bars were bad

Britain's oldest virgin is 105-years-old - "Britain's oldest virgin who celebrates her 105th birthday this weekend says no sex is the secret to her long life. Having known she would remain single from the age of twelve, Clara Meadmore abstained to concentrate on earning a living. She has never had sex because she was "too busy" for intimate relationships which seemed like "a lot of hassle". The retired secretary said sex equalled marriage in the 1920s and 1930s and she did not buy into the idea."
New blog picture:


Not until Singapore becomes a real democracy which respects human rights!

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Instead of getting married again, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and just give her a house." - Rod Stewart

***

An exchange on the comments box of the blog post, HUNGonline: The dangers of blind faith: Is City Harvest Church encouraging fraud?:


Roger: What is the point for you to post so much critism that benefit u nothing in the first place....you want to stir people up to hate CHC? or what I don't really understand why you want to criticize Benny Hinn or CHC so much like you are holding grudges against them for some reason....if you don't like CHC so much don't go la....not like someone pointing a gun on your head telling u to go attend CHC or Benny Hinn service....just live your own life and leave them alone la although I am not from CHC nor a christian all your comment and post are very obviously being bias to them. Even Police and Judges need evidence to convict or nail someone to their crime. The source the source that you provide can't be even used as hardcore evidence against them...so just stop your bullshit and just live your own life la.....

Me: I assume Roger and people like him would use the same attitude towards Katherine Kuhlman and other Faith Healers, Conspiracy Theorists, MLM-ers and more.

No wonder that "Mahjullah Singapura" is an oxymoron. Maybe we should change to "Bo chup lah Singapura"

Roger: Then you tell me why you want to interfere with things that doesn't concern you in the first place, just because your working a proper 9am-5pm doesn't mean that others have to be the same as you plus you also didn't donate any money to Benny Hinn why you're angry with him about? does everybody need to work a proper job to be so called a "good person" some people are just born rich or they just happen to be a millionaire. If you envy them then work hard for your 1st million dollars la...instead of staying at home criticizing christian millionaires....

Me: Why report magic stone salesmen to the police? Why interfere with things that don't concern you in the first place?

Just because you're working an honest job which doesn't con people of their money doesn't mean that others have to be the same as you. Plus you also didn't buy any magic stones, so why are you angry at magic stone salesmen?

Does everybody need to work an honest job to be called a "good person"? Some people are just good at cheating other people of their money.

If you envy them then go and sell your own magic stones... instead of trying to stop other people from being cheated

Roger: So what you trying to say....Benny Hinn is a magic stone salesman now? since u can say so much thing about him means your more capable then him la isit? if yes show me your private jet and your 12 bodyguards la....if no then shut up and mind your own business la....

Me: Unfortunately I do not profit from the misery/gullibility/stupidity of others, but I can point you towards someone who used to have gold taps in his office. I think you'd get along very well with him.
"The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us." - Paul Valery

***

Japan trip
Day 10 - 15th June - Koyasan, Kongobuji
(Part 1)

It seems more Japanese men than women cross their legs when seated.

If you don't know katakana, it's useful to learn it before going to Japan because they steal a lot of words from English (and then don't subtitle the signs in Romaji).

Hyperdia is especially useful for train travel in Japan because, unlike in Europe, they don't print out "How to get from X to Y" instruction sheets in Japan (or at least if you don't know any secret passwords in Japanese).

I don't know why you must turn off your mobile phone (as opposed to not making calls, or even just not using it) in and around priority seats in Jap trains. Maybe they think the radiation harms unborn children and exacerbates disabilities.


This day, I went to Koyasan to catch the Aoba Matsuri, celebrating the birthday of Kobodaishi/Kukai, the founder of Koyasan in the 9th century. I must thank spiderpig for pointing out that I should realign my itinerary to catch this Matsuri (which let me see the one in Osaka as well).


Breakfast

There was a memorial service at 9am at Koyasan, but I'd have to leave at 6:30 to catch it so I passed. The procession later would be more interesting anyway. Although I caught the 7:50 train from Osaka, I was still 40 mins too early for the first Koyasan Express. I thought this meant the train wouldn't bee too crowded, but lots of people were also going to see the festival; old Japanese folks are capable of amazing alacrity in running into connecting trains to get seats. To make things worse, my JR pass was not valid at all, so I had to shell out Y1230 (though my Amanohashidate supplement alone was Y1380).

At Gokurabushi, where we had to get off the train for a cablecar (the train doesn't go up the mountain, apparently), I saw more (mostly old) people running for the cablecar than in Tokyo and Kyoto at peak hour. It was quite an amusing sight (damn, should've video-ed it, but by the time I started recording they would've run off already - that's how fast they were!) In the end, I missed the cablecar since I went to the toilet (and it was full), but there were 3 a hour so it wasn't too bad. And I got a front seat too, since the rush was past.


"Welcome to KOYASAN, the World Heritage" - cablecar station


Funicular track


Train schedule. This was for my reference on the day but what the hell, I'll just post it (now you know why I post train/bus schedules here)

From the Koyasan cablecar station we had to take buses down to Koyasan (>1km away) because walking on the road was forbidden. Smells of rent-seeking behavior to me, pfft.

Although the population of Koyasan is 7000, there's a "高野山大学" (Koyasan University; I saw some students walking around in the coat). Wth.


Bus schedule and view on what probably counts as the main road of Koyasan (the picture was meant to help me locate the bus stop)


Another bus stop


Car playing the festival's theme song

Breakfast was woefully inadequate, so I had a morning snack.


Onigiri with weird, pink, spicy slime (probably roe) inside. This was a premium onigiri because the seaweed was separated from the rice (and despite having some practice I still couldn't open it properly). Hah.


Old people walking around


Stage, opposite Kongobuji Temple

My first stop was Kongobuji Temple, headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism; many of the places I'd visited previously were HQs of various sects, but I just didn't list them - it'd be too tiring. The number of Buddhist sects in Japan and their histories make the Reformation look like a playground dispute (though there seems to have been minimal violence accompanying religious competition, unlike in the Abrahamic religions).


Kongobuji Temple plaque. Entrance was free, since it was a festival day!


Entrance


Gate


Stickers


Main hall




Mud 'fence'




A peek at the treasures within


Belfry



Presumably because it was a festival day, there were a lot of monks running around.


Monks rushing into the temple


Monks falling in


Monks going in after removing their shoes


Roof carvings


Within the temple there was another of those cute anti-smoking posters. I can't decide whether my favourite in the 2008 Summer collection (yes, they rotate them - wth) is:
"As long as you don't look around your feet, the seas of Japan are beautiful" or
"I carry a 700°C fire in my hand with people walking all around me"


Huge tree trunk


Plant


Pilgrims

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." - Robert McCloskey, State Department spokesman (attributed)

***

Japan trip
Day 9 - 14th June - Osaka
(Part 5)

I saw a few girls in leggings and a few supermen; as we know, Japan leads Singapore in fashion. Yet, hypothesis testing through visual inspection confirmed my suspicion that Japanese women generally eschew bra padding (and more so, it seems, than Shanghai and Hong Kong). This is assuredly one trend that won't be flying over. The lack of bra padding is even more remarkable given how, from the AV selection, Japanese men seem to like well endowed women and how they're smaller than Singaporean women.


I hadn't had a proper lunch, so I was looking for a good dinner. I went to a Edo-era themed food alley next to the aquarium ("Naiwa Kuishinko Yokochi" [misspelt somehow], described by Lonely Planet as a "faux Edo period food court" with Osaka specialities).


Food alley


Dinner. I now see that it was an aquarium special. I chose chicken (though it says pork here, for some reason).


Rice with fried chicken on top, mayo, egg strips, and gyoza in the shape of pork ribs (with chives and meat inside). The last were probably "hitokuchi gyoza", translated as "Steam baked meat pie".


Gyoza

2 of the rules of food are that mayo is good and deep fried is good. So this was quite nice.

Other shops had things like sauceless takoyaki you could eat with your hands, but it was getting late so everything was closing.


"Ziddy brand has a cool and grown-up atmosphere. Our smart items are suitable for fashionable kids."
This sign was amazing for using English (almost) correctly.

I then went to check out a busier (probably the busiest) part of Osaka, and headed to Namba JR station.

When I emerged I thought I was in the Esplanade:


Osaka's equivalent of the Esplanade ("Shingapōrumura")


Shingapōrumura 2


With my reckless Kanji-guessing this seems to be an ad for a Narita-san traffic safety prayer service. On top of a building.

There was this place called Amerikamura (America Village) which Japanese kids go to to live the American Dream.


See the silly Statue of Liberty in the distance.

After wandering around, I concluded that besides the dumb statue, the only thing American about it was some clothing stores (but then due to globalisation you can get such clothes anywhere in Japan) and a "Manhattan Records West", which has as much relation to Manhattan as Manhattan Fish Market. I didn't see any Starbucks (I saw one in Dotonbori), McDonalds or fast food.

I actually had a message for all the kids: "If you want to go America, you better start speaking English. Or Spanish. Mucho Gracias", but in the end I didn't confront anyone with the cold, brutal truth, in case they'd picked up another aspect of American culture: street violence.


More of Amerikamura


"Loose House". I'm guessing it doesn't have the same connotation(s) in Engrish that it has in English.

Moving out of that area I also saw Apple and Nike stores - and a Bridgestone store (well, it has an American-sounding name).


More streets of Osaka

I then moved towards Dotonbori, a shopping area.


Square


Soemon cho


Dōtonbori river area. Unfortunately I didn't notice the picture was blur.


Blade Runner-esque neon lights

I then saw a very familiar sight:


"無料案内所" (Information centre)


"GAL STOP"

Yes. I had landed up in the red light district. Again. Fortunately (or otherwise), here I got solicited a grand total of 0 times. Actually out of all the red light districts I visited on field research (or inadvertently stumbled into), the only one where I got solicited was Kabuki-cho in Tokyo.


"Free Feel Cafe". Gah. Given that it was near the red light district: gah gah gah.


Wth Ferris Wheel

Since I had already glimpsed (even if not tasted of) one of Osaka's twin attractions, I diverted my attention to the other:


Food


More food, including grilled pork


Even more food


Are you sick of food yet?


Food street

Unfortunately, I was quite full from my filling and late dinner (I don't know how Jap women finish their food)


Building facade: Dotonbori Gokuraku Shoten-gai, a theme park dedicated to - you guessed it, food.

I then walked back to the train station.


Popular ramen place. Unfortunately I was still too full to eat more.


Ramen ticket vending machine. This is a gem to illustrate gains from specialisation, as the store only has 2 items on its menu, and both are essentially the same.

At this shop I knowingly encountered a group of Taiwanese women for the 2nd time (the first time was at Fushimi), and offered to help them take a picture (Taiwanese get visa-free travel to Japan. No wonder it's a popular destination for them. Don't forget the resemblance Kanji has to 繁体字 [Traditional Chinese characters]). Oddly enough, neither group had any guys - probably the girls come for the shopping and the guys have their betel nut girls to occupy them already.

Strangely enough, given my abominable Mandarin, the Taiwanese girls asked if I was from Taiwan. Wth. Maybe they thought I was an aboriginal Taiwanese.


Man KOed by the roadside. Either he drank too much or (more likely, this being Osaka) ate too much.


Disturbing magazine I had come across this day:


"I bring up a girl till the day when a girl grows up"
Unfortunately, due to logistical issues I couldn't capture the whole page, but there is a picture of a schoolgirl above this text.
GAH GAH GAH
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