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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Clues about MRT suicides in Singapore

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." - Peter Drucker

***

Clues about MRT suicides in Singapore:


Platform doors at stations - 3 MRT stations to get doors by year-end

"The doors, which open only when a train pulls into the station, will prevent commuters from falling onto the tracks - intentionally or otherwise.

Such incidents have gone up over the years, from an average of 16 cases a year in 2004 and 2005 to 31 in 2007.

Last year, there were 23 cases of commuters straying onto the tracks. Six of these were due to accidental loss of balance"


Half-height screen doors on elevated MRT stations to be installed by 2012

"Authorities said since 2006, 92 people have fallen onto the tracks, whether by accident or otherwise"


Screen doors go up at Pasir Ris MRT station

"So far this year, 18 people have strayed onto the tracks"


I doubt people have become that much more careless over the years.

That said, interestingly enough, at least until 2006, WHO statistics show that suicide rates recently were down from the 1990s (that was a tough decade...)

Also, on an international basis (albeit with outdated data) we actually fare pretty well: Lithuania men lead with 75.6 suicides per 100,000 (in 2000) and even Belgium saw a rate of 29.4 (in 1996), compared to our 12.5 (in 2000). It'd be interesting to see this list updated with new data.
Picture of the NUS Alumni float taken by Kean Bon:

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"I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way." - Mark Twain

***

An upcoming event:

Engaging the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AIGCHR) – The People’s Views
22nd August

"Aims of This Meeting:
1. To raise awareness on the functions and roles of the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights,
2. To reflect on the implications of rights-based perspectives on stakeholders
3. To make recommendations on the following:
a. Selection process on the government representatives to the AIGCHR,
b. The role of government representatives within the Commission, and
c. The process of stakeholders’ engagement with the Commission"

Registration form


I won't be there, but readers are invited to attend to give ideas about how to ensure that the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights will be a toothless body with a selective and political agenda (like the United Nations Human Rights Council and its predecessor, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights) significantly less than 100% of the time.


From the Terms of Reference of ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights:

"The purposes of the AICHR are:

1.2 To uphold the right of the peoples of ASEAN to live in peace, dignity and prosperity...

1.4 To promote human rights within the regional context, bearing in mind national and regional particularities and mutual respect for different historical, cultural and religious backgrounds, and taking into account the balance between rights and responsibilities...

The AICHR shall be guided by the following principles:

2.1 Respect for principles of ASEAN as embodied in Article 2 of the ASEAN Charter, in
particular:

a) respect for the independence, sovereignty, equality, territorial integrity and national identity of all ASEAN Member States;

b) non-interference in the internal affairs of ASEAN Member States;

c) respect for the right of every Member State to lead its national existence free from external interference, subversion and coercion...

g) respect for different cultures, languages and religions of the peoples of ASEAN, while emphasising their common values in the spirit of unity in diversity...

2.4 Pursuance of a constructive and non-confrontational approach and cooperation to enhance promotion and protection of human rights; and

2.5 Adoption of an evolutionary approach that would contribute to the development of human rights norms and standards in ASEAN."
"Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance." - William Shakespeare

***

I love how you can use literature to say (almost) anything:


Ideological Reading: Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

"Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

Aunt Jennifer's fingers fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid

One might say that this is a poem which takes a certain ideological position. It is clearly a 'feminist' poem which is critical of the male world for terrifying and oppressing 'Aunt Jennifer' -- causing her to create an alternate world of freedom, one which she could not inhabit other than imaginatively or aesthetically. The desolating effects of patriarchy are assumed and exposed, in three quatrains.

The poem has some ideological assumptions and implications of its own, however, which render it, potentially, something less than -- or at least other than -- a forceful expression of the evils of patriarchy. The struggles for existence of so many in a harsh world, and the deep conflicts of bondage and freedom humans wrestle with on so many planes, are reduced to gender conflict... Rich has herself created an ideological structure which silences or excludes much of human experience. Children, hunger, war, disease, the struggles of the spirit, racial and religious injustice and oppression, are dissolved into the tragedy -- which it is on one level -- of an apparently upper-middle-class woman who could express her desire for freedom only in her art...

The first stanza gives an idealized, romanticized picture which shows that the Aunt was trapped in something more than gender oppression: she was protected from almost everything we know of the real world. Her tragedy may seem of diminished proportions for those people lining up at the food bank... The poem in its opening statement locates us in Aunt Jennifer's bourgeois, privileged world, and as we assent to that line we assent to the assumptions which keep us from challenging it. "Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen." In how many households in the world can 'screens' with tigers prancing across them be asumed to be normal? What would the function of this screen be, how would it advance the survival of the family or the society? Presumably it is not for privacy. Drafts?...

Aunt Jennifer is located as well as an oppressor. The tigers which symbolize the freedom of spirit which she dreams of but never achieved except in her dreams as rendered in her art, are themselves figures of her location as an oppressor, because they locate her in relation to India, and hence to imperialism and to cultural and economic exploitation, and they also locate her as a person who never actually had to live in the vicinity of a real tiger at all, whose very insulation from the terrors of the world of raw desire and need, of the violence of survival, is inscribed in her use of them as figures of elegant freedom and playful power...

The wonder of the art of Aunt Jennifer is that, working her dreams as an escape from the terrifying power of the husband, living locked in an isolated, bourgeios consciousness, she produces the very image of her oppression...

Our own reading is itself materially as well as ideologically located -- in this case we are reading it as members of a university, as people earning money for or paying money for a course leading to a university degree, as those who perpetuate the privileged place of literature as a discourse protected from social accountability by its 'quality'"


Pieces of literature are great Rorshach tests!

No wonder it leads to psychosis.
"No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous." - Henry Adams

***

On why technocrats make bad politicians:


"Apart from this massive simplicity of understanding, and this immense accumulation of exact knowledge, there was nothing very remarkable in Sir George Lewis...

There was a want of brisk enthusiasm about him, both in appearance and in reality. He looked like a scholar, a thinker, and a man of business; he did not look like—he was not—a buoyant ruler or a popular orator. He was quite conscious of this himself, and would sometimes allude to it. The late Mr. Wilson—a very vivacious and active man—who was secretary of the Treasury when Sir George Lewis was chancellor of the exchequer, used to relate that, when he once was urging something rather strongly, Sir George answered: “No; I can’t do it. The fact is, Wilson, you are an animal, and I am a vegetable.”... He had always, or nearly always, sufficient judgment for a great statesman, but he had not always sufficient impulse.

He was puzzled about the passions of mankind; he had so little passion himself that it seemed to him an unknown force which might take men to a distance which it was impossible to foresee, and in a direction that could not be calculated. “When,” we have heard him say, “you know a man will act for his own interest, you know how to deal with him; but if he is likely to be guided by feeling, it is impossible to predict his course.” Such extreme calmness of mind is not favourable to a statesman; it is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations. It would always have been a difficulty to Sir George Lewis, that he did not share the impetuous part of human nature, whether for good or evil. He was ever liable to impute to a settled design and intellectual self-interest what was in fact owing to an impulse of philanthropy or a gust of mere passion. He was apt to be thought cynical in opinion, though good-natured in manner and action—and in some sense he was so. He took too external a view of human nature, and ascribed to consistent selfishness what was really produced by mixed motives and a close combination of good and evil.

He was so defective in the more conspicuous sorts of imagination, that he was often thought to have no imagination. But this was an error. He could conceive well the working of a polity, the operation of a scheme, the details of a plan. His criticism on the working, say, of the American Constitution, would show great power of conceiving distant causes, and of predicting and analysing strange effects. He had the business imagination. But he had no other. He could not imagine great passions, or overwhelming desires, or involved character; he knew that there were such things, but he had no image of them in his mind and no picture. He was like a man on the edge of a volcano, who dreaded an eruption, but had no vision of the flames. He was thus apt to be out of sympathy with, and even to be impatient of, some elements in ordinary men’s judgment. He was a little too critical of public opinion, too critical, that is, for a parliamentary statesman, for one who should try to sympathise with the master whom he must obey. Sir George Lewis hated exaggeration as much as he could hate anything—and popular opinion is always ex aggerated. “There is,” said Sir Stafford Northcote, “no quality for which Sir George Lewis is more remarkable than for a quiet courage, which emboldens him to give utterance from time to time, and sometimes without any apparent necessity for his doing so, to propositions of the most alarmingly unpopular nature.” And such courage is ad mirable. In this day it is much to have a statesman who, on any occasion and for any object, will withstand public opinion. But such opposition should be reserved for great occasions, and too much must not be expected from the mass of men. A vague tendency and loose approximation to what is right is all we can hope for from miscellaneous popular opinion; and it is not wise in a statesman to criticise too nicely, or to attempt to give to the rough practical judgment of men a fine accuracy which it can never in fact possess. Sir George Lewis was the antithesis of a demagogue; he could not take a test without a qualification; he was sure to distrust, and apt to despise, a popular dogma...

He had not really a versatile mind, though his pursuits were varied."

--- Biographical Studies / Walter Bagehot
"I don't like composers who think. It gets in the way of their plagiarism." - Howard Dietz

***

I know I've posted this before, but I can't locate it, so:

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"Mental Attractiveness vs Physical Attractiveness

Zone of PAIN, Friend, F-Buddy, Awkwardness, Relationship Temptation, Dating Zone, Marriage Potential, Null Set"

Friday, August 14, 2009

CMI Spam:


From: *yahoo.com.hk email address*

Goodday,

I have a Business for you regarding a fund transfer, please contact me for details.
Yi Kwan


-- Mensaje enviado via cablecolor webmail -- http://www.cablecolor.hn

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Illusion is the first of all pleasures." - Oscar Wilde

***

Me and my atas friends:


What kind of a Singaporean are you?

"Atas singaporeans are the bunch of people who are usually from english educated families or schools. They speak with an american/british accent most of the time. They ten...d to be very bad at their mother tongue too. Atas people are usually outgoing and extremely friendly. They tend to not hang out with people who are not so fluent at english. Atas people are extremely picky when it comes to relationships. Usually, social and financial status are the main criteria for their choice of partners."

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HURR HURR
"A bore is a man who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company." - Gian Vincenzo Gravina

***

Someone on a GEP event: the invite page asks 'what did gep mean to you;'

i recall alot of cocky yet socially awkward ppl


Someone else: i saw naked woman in gymtoday

god she had nice breasts
and she sure was flaunting it
didn't even bother to hide or turn away from other people

nice shape great size
yum yum

but she was like 35
so maybe not....
lol =p


Someone: the last reason why i'd leave sg

nearly all the interesting ppl i know have alr told me of their intent to get outta here

smart people dont stay here
sad huh?


Someone else: i'm in an msn conversation with someone who's getting married soon.
her piece of advice: "if you dont have 30K , dont propose"

Me: ah, SG women!

this is why you should go for a PRC
hurr hurr

Someone else: ergh - still have to depend on which PRC...
some PRCs also come here to fleece affluent SG men

Me: to quote ***

"the *** chick actually said, "well, if you guys just want gold digging sluts from the mainland"

and he replied: "as opposed to the local gold digging sluts?"
"at least they give you value for money"

we also talked about PRC chicks.. i said, "at least PRC women are generally poor, so you can't blame them for being scheming and calculative and doing anything to get out. whereas HK women tend to be more well off, but still want the guy to pay and pay." in cantonese: "what's yours is mine, what's mine is mine" kind of attitude"

Someone else: heh. well spoken


MFTTW: i guess saying "younger guys are immature" is as good an excuse as any for hiding the fact they just want a guy with career and more established to take care of them so they can stay home and be taitai
hurhur

i think sg girls still all have that kind of expectation
that the guy must earn more and be breadwinner

Me: haha convenient huh
yah sg girlks are materialistic

then **** will talk cock
but nvm

MFTTW: even my highly educated friends think like that lor... even though they should really know better.

Me: yeah
moral of the story: don't marry a SG girl

MFTTW: hurhur
that's why the vietnam bride industry is booming mah

Me: Tôi cần thực hành tiếng Việt.


Someone: it is very rare to obtain agreement from you

Me: hahahahahahahahaha
I'm tired :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"An intelligence test sometimes shows a man how smart he would have been not to have taken it." - Laurence J. Peter

***

Australian Sex Party gets all-clear - "Sex and politics have officially come together, with the Australian Sex Party obtaining approval from the Australian Electoral Commission for registration as a political party."

How Fail Went From Verb to Interjection - "I asked the C.E.O. of Pet Holdings, Ben Huh, when he knew that fail had broken through as a “meme,” to use the fashionable term for a cultural symbol or idea transmitted virally. “It really started to take off when the financial industry decided to — ahem — fail,” Huh said. “Talk about the perfect storm.” The fail meme met the financial crisis head on at a Senate hearing in September, when a demonstrator held up a sign reading “FAIL” behind Henry Paulson Jr., the former Treasury secretary, and Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve."

Unconventional Methods To Prevent Influenza - "Avoiding masturbation and homosexual activities are among preventive measures one could take against Influenza A (H1N1), according to an eminent practitioner of complimentary therapy... The former associate professor of ecology at Universiti Malaya has authored several books on complementary therapy called, 'Ecological Healing System'."
Malaysia Boleh!

How to Rid a Life of "Toxic" People - "The Internet is flooded with relationship advice, covering every conceivable topic from how to meet someone to how to break up. Not discussed nearly as often is how to rid your life of "toxic" friends and acquaintances--those relationships that seem to leave you feeling drained and/or frustrated, if not outright angry... The person you've rid yourself of will do one of two things:
1) He will cut himself off from you as well, and you will never hear from him again. This is the most likely outcome.
2) After a period of silence and absence... he will try to get in touch with you again. In this case, if the ex-companion bizarrely acts as though nothing ever happened, continue to cut off contact, as this is a refusal to acknowledge a reality that would force him to admit to lousy behavior and offer an apology he isn't mature enough to make."

A Healthy Dose of Optimism - ""The idea that optimists are healthier than pessimists is overly simplistic," says Dr. Howard Friedman, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside. "Many times, excessive optimism can be harmful to one's health. This is especially evident among teenagers, who take many risks." Friedman contends it can be damaging to think optimistically when it comes to difficult health choices like quitting cigarettes, using condoms, or wearing seatbelts."

Men, Women Attracted to Sense of Humor in Different Ways - "Of course men enjoy funny women, she said, but they don't see them as sexy, in the same way women see funny men as sexy... "In our research, women said they wanted ‘someone who makes me laugh,' and men said they wanted ‘someone who laughs at my jokes'"... 'Why does the giggling bimbo get more attention than me?' she asked. 'I can talk to a man with intelligence and wit. What does she do? She gives a coy look, flips her hair and with a jovial ha-ha-ha, stares into his eyes and says, ‘You're so funny.'' This approach, Bennett observes, is almost always more popular with men... George Miller, professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico, argues that for men, the interest from a reproductive standpoint is to seduce a woman. So abundant signals that say 'I like you' can be far more important to a man than the enjoyment he may get from a woman cracking her own jokes... Funny men are attractive because humor is considered an indicator of both intelligence and creativity... Humor and laughter often communicate something much deeper than the appreciation of a joke. Robert Provine, author of 'Laughter: A Scientific Investigation,' said that 90 percent of the things we laugh at aren't even remotely funny. 'Most laughter is not about jokes,' he explained. 'It's about relationships between people.'"

Ten things we don't understand about humans - "Both general intelligence and the personality trait of being open to new experiences correlate with artistic creativity. He has also found that when women are at their monthly peak in fertility, they prefer creative over wealthy men... Our brains are designed to detect structure and order in our environment... We are also causal determinists - we assume that outcomes are caused by preceding events. This combination of sensing patterns and inferring causes leaves us wide open to superstitious beliefs... Ingesting nasal detritus might help build a healthy immune response... [Girls] look sexually mature several years before they reach full reproductive maturity. "They get into the networks of adult women," says Bogin, which allows girls not only to practise skills they will require later but also, crucially, to build coalitions... Boys, by contrast, are sexually mature long before they develop their manly physique. This, argues Bogin, allows teenage boys to acquire sexually selected attributes that appeal to potential mates, such as linguistic creativity, humour and artistic talent, in a relatively safe environment because their boyish stature means that fully grown men do not consider them a threat... On average, men are funnier than women, and his analysis of personal ads indicates that women generally request humour, while men offer it"... Women blush more than men... blushing might have evolved as a way for women to demonstrate their honesty to men and so enlist their help in rearing offspring. "Blushing is telling you that I can't cuckold you. If you ask me about infidelity I can't lie - my blush gives me away," he says."
"Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps." - Emo Phillips

***

On marital rape (because I was asked about it, and this was easier than writing yet another essay); people fight harder for their interests than for others' rights:


Me: in short, I don't think it's a big problem,

it may result in men being screwed

and it may also result in women being screwed (because formerly women ignorant of the law might report rape and then the man would be nailed for something else like sexual assault, but now knowing the law they might not bother)

LDPVTP: oh. hmm
not keen on the principle that rape = violence = bad?

Me: rape = violence = bad
but marital rape is not unpunished

it's like how it's bad to cane your children
but smacking should be allowed

so laws to end 'child abuse' may be too broad and parents who smack
their kids may go to jail for child abuse

LDPVTP: mmm
the NUS law lecturer who was one of the panelists at the seminar said that punishments for sexual assault and other marital rape-related offences are not commensurate with the punishment for rape

Me: okay. well, again,
the question is how much of a problem this is?
hearing the activists you'd think it was huge

it's a cost benefit analysis
who will benefit?
who will be hurt directly?
who will be hurt indirectly?

the last may be the biggest category

but the purpose of activism is not always to make the world a better place
but to make you feel better about yourself by protesting

LDPVTP: sure
i'm sure you also know that doing things out of self-interest is not intrinsically evil

Me: no it's not. but the road to hell is paved with good intentions

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

LDPVTP: i think, where the benefits and costs are not yet measurable, i would go for something that would bring obvious benefits, and then get whacked by the costs that come with it. rather than dither. but this is a personality trait and not any principle in particular.

Me: but are the benefits measurable?

how many wives get raped?
1?

LDPVTP: oh dear. numbers.

Me: you need numbers to calibrate these things
unless your intent is purely symbolic
in which case - for the sake of symbolism you screw people

bastiat wrote on the visible vs the invisible

you see the victim of corporate malfesance and you award him insane damages
however the costs are passed on to other consumers, who are unseen
so in the end you're screwing more people

anyway I don't feel very strongly about this
just have slight misgivings

and am bemused that it's another storm in a teacup
but that's how activism works: by making everything look like the end of the world

the question is the lack of hard data
but bear in mind that 20-40% of rape accusations are false
and that unlike other crimes, sexual crimes and especially rape are not trialed fairly
the man is screwed

despite feminist nonsense that is how the world works
because we live in a sexist society

anyway it's telling that you don't see the no to rape activists kicking up a fuss about an even more egregious shortfall in our law

men cannot be raped in singapore
wives can nominally not be raped
but in practice what happens is similar to cases of normal rape

why don't you see the notorape people going on about how men are poor victims?
you can see the ideological agenda here

LDPVTP: there are men who are victims also lah

Me: yes but notorape doesn't focus on that
"notorape" should be renamed "notofemalerape"

LDPVTP: hmmmm
i will think on it

Me: meanwhile the feminists can call me a misogynist. I don't care

LDPVTP: actually
for your point on driving more women to underreport,
that would only be if they went from not knowing the existence of the marital rape law to partially comprehending it
in the sense of not knowing that there are certain exemptions to it

Me: how many of the wives do you think will read the FAQ thoroughly? it's only in one question which is easily missed. and it seems to be missed elsewhere in the publicity material

most people don't get in-depth understandings of issues. they just get a surface understanding

it's like this muslim girl who told me there were 7 pillars of Islam
and didn't believe me at first when I told her there were 5

just think about the anti-377A-repeal movement
how many of them are truly versed in all the arguments and justifications?
I tell you 90% are just "eee, gays are scary" or "we must protect the children!"

LDPVTP: damn sad.

Me: life is a vale of tears

I'm also cautious about saying how many husbands might be wrongly accused, because I
simply don't have proper figures
even my hypothetical RA would not be able to dig them up

false rape accusations are a very neglected area of scholarship
for ideological reasons

but if you hold to the principle that:
"better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer"
then you should have cause for pause
especially given the bias in this area of sex crimes

in prison sex criminals are at the bottom of the hierarchy
(and child sex criminals at the bottom of THAT hierarchy)


Addendum:

I was pointed to one video from the Q&A of the seminar, in which the law of "Sexual assault by penetration" (Section 376 of the Penal Code) was discussed.

Although it seems a woman can theoretically be convicted of sexual penetration if she forces a man to sexually penetrate her vagina or anus with a part of his body other than his penis, the issue of a woman forcing a man to sexually penetrate her vagina or anus with his penis is STILL not considered rape (or sexual penetration, as the case might be).

In other words, a woman raping a man in the "traditional" way will still not be guilty of rape or sexual penetration, and my suggestion that the movement be renamed NoToFemaleRape still stands (there're other sexual permutations but I won't bother considering them as my main objection still stands).

(Some might pick on the terminological niceties, but I don't think NoToSexualPenetration rolls off the tongue well)


I also note that the question about whether a female raping her husband should be criminalised was answered with an answer of "in principle, yes, of course". In principle, I support criminalising marital rape too, but procedural complications give me cause for doubt.


Terence Goh:

Mr Wang,

"After we take away the rape immunity, the husband would just be the same position as the boyfriend.

No one is complaining that boyfriends face a terrible risk of girlfriends framing them for rape. "

There is nothing important enough at stake in a casual relationship for the girlfriend to use rape as a tool.

For wives who want a divorce, it is different. Threatening to report the husband for rape can be used as a bargaining chip for custody of the kids, alimony, split of assets, etc. Even if the husband is not guilty, the thought of being involved in a police case, potential lawsuit, legal fees, possibility of being found guilty, social stigma, maybe losing his job is enough to make him agree to demands. I am not talking about clear cut cases like the one you were involved in but about those that are hard to disprove. The wife could tell the police that her husband raped her as punishment after telling him of her extramarital affair. Any way to disprove this? The police can't say the wife is lying either.

The malicious wife can also use entrapment - bluff her husband she wants to play rough.

I agree that the law needs to be changed to protect the innocent but this should include the husbands too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Google Search Suggestions for ""lee kuan yew" co":

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"lee kuan yew corruption
lee kuan yew contributions
lee kuan yew contact
lee kuan yew corrupt"

Time to send a lawyer's letter to Mountain View...
2 Girls 1 Cup The Movie:



Also good: 2 Girls 1 Cup 1 Dog

Monday, August 10, 2009

"My mother loved children -- she would have given anything if I had been one." - Groucho Marx

***

Japan man discovers woman living in his closet

Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion by Izabella St James - "Being a Hefner Girlfriend was a specialised job, not to be confused with being a Playboy Playmate. In fact, Girlfriends were not allowed to become Playmates because Hef had found that they tended to flee the Mansion as soon as they collected their $25,000 Playmate cheque... She reckons she had “less than 15 intimate minutes” with Hef in her two-and-a-half years at the Mansion – “I may as well have lived in a convent.”"

Worldwide Slump Makes Nigeria's Online Scammers Work That Much Harder - "U.S. authorities say Americans -- the easiest prey, according to Nigerian scammers -- lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to cybercrimes... Nigerian scammers are mostly young men who learn from one another, often as apprentices of cartel-like schemes... Chidi Nnamdi Igwe, a professor at the University of Regina in Canada, said jobless young Nigerians got the idea in the 1970s from news reports about corrupt politicians funneling oil proceeds to foreign bank accounts... But in these tough times, the scammers said, they are relying more on a crucial tool: voodoo. At times, Banjo said, he has traveled six hours to the forest, where a magician sells scam-boosters. A $300 powder supposedly helps scammers "speak with authority" when demanding payment. A powder, rubbed on the face, reportedly makes victims viewing the scammer through webcams powerless to say no... Sometimes, Banjo said, he has so pitied victims that he returned their money"

Journalist hunts for acid-spitting Mongolian death worm - "The worm has never been documented but some Mongolians are convinced it exists. They call it Allghoi Khorkhoi, or "intestine worm" because it resembles a cow's intestine and is about 1.5m long. The worm apparently jumps out of the sand and kills people by spitting concentrated acid or shooting lightning from its rectum over long distances... Rumours could inflate the reputation of things such as the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot, but sparsely populated Mongolia was not a place where rumours were going to propagate, Farrier said. "If a Mongolian says they have seen a big worm-like creature out in the desert they haven't really got any reason to lie," he said... the New Zealand team planned to bring the worm to the surface with explosives, as it is said to be attracted to tremors"

Why Exercise Won't Make You Thin - "The basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger... In 2000 the journal Psychological Bulletin published a paper by psychologists Mark Muraven and Roy Baumeister in which they observed that self-control is like a muscle: it weakens each day after you use it. If you force yourself to jog for an hour, your self-regulatory capacity is proportionately enfeebled. Rather than lunching on a salad, you'll be more likely to opt for pizza... The problem ultimately is about not exercise itself but the way we've come to define it. Many obesity researchers now believe that very frequent, low-level physical activity — the kind humans did for tens of thousands of years before the leaf blower was invented — may actually work better for us than the occasional bouts of exercise you get as a gym rat... You regularly hear about the benefits of exercise in news stories, but if you read the academic papers on which these stories are based, you frequently see that the research subjects who were studied didn't clobber themselves on the elliptical machine... Some research has found that the obese already "exercise" more than most of the rest of us"
Addendum: Bloggasm » Diet and fitness bloggers lash out against Time Magazine piece on exercise

Where are the Singaporeans Left? - "The government talks about squeezing 7.8 million people on this island. How are they going to do this? [Hint: I doubt it is going to be Singapore’s low birth rate doing the job.] The foreign population has become truly obvious since I left. I spent a Friday night at Clark Quay and as I made my way back to the MRT station, I realized that everyone around me appears to be Caucasian. On some buses, I suddenly realized that the mainland Chinese accent was all around me. And that’s not to forget the Thais, Filipinos and Vietnamese... I now suspect that the income inequality and rising costs might have roots in our foreign resident policy"

Proud to be Singaporean? - "Shouldn’t you just be proud of actual accomplishments? Is being Singaporean a skill? I can never understand it when people say “I’m proud to be Singaporean.” What did you do to be Singaporean? More likely than not, the only reason why you are Singaporean is because your parents corpulated right here and you are the result of that act. And you are proud of that? What have you done to make you so proud of being Singaporean?"

Berlusconi in Tehran - "It is democracy’s authentic potential that is losing ground with the rise of authoritarian capitalism, whose tentacles are coming closer and closer to the West. The change always takes place in accordance with a country’s values: Putin’s capitalism with ‘Russian values’ (the brutal display of power), Berlusconi’s capitalism with ‘Italian values’ (comical posturing). Both Putin and Berlusconi rule in democracies which are gradually being reduced to an empty shell, and, in spite of the rapidly worsening economic situation, they both enjoy popular support (more than two-thirds of the electorate). No wonder they are personal friends... The wager behind Berlusconi’s vulgarities is that the people will identify with him as embodying the mythic image of the average Italian: I am one of you, a little bit corrupt, in trouble with the law, in trouble with my wife because I’m attracted to other women"
A Physics exam question:


"Ah beng was illegally racing on lim chu kang road last night, and his souped-up GTI can reach a speed of 100 km/h in 3 secs. Calculate the acceleration of the car

His car has a mass of 1.5 tonnes, and his boot contains weapons weighing 100 kg. Ah Beng and his lian gf weighs 160 kg (unborn child included). Calculate the average force developed by the car engine.

In an attempt to escape from the TP, he makes a sharp turn into the cemetery, following a circular path of radius 4 m and at a speed of 15 m/s. Calculate the centripetal force required to keep the car from skidding.

However he fails to complete the turn and slides out, and the car collided with a tombstone, causing the air bag to be deployed. Ah Beng and lian girlfriend walked out alive.

Discuss how the use of airbags in his GTI saved 2 (3) lives.

There u have it, a 10mark structured qn"
A nice commentary on feminism overthrowing patriarchy:



[Addendum:

psychoanalytic freudian reading: usp reclaimed the phallic shield through the act of procreation(birth of spider thing in giant vagina. The reading is particularly apt because much as the mother only has momentary and fleeting possession of the phallus, we will only have athe shield for a year.

postcolonial singapore reading: a discourse on racial harmony showing how three distinct races (elements) should band together to weather the storms and with unity defeat an unnamed dark enemy

marxist reading: abolishing class (elemental) differences and working together in an egalitaria fasion towards a shared goal brings eternal joy and happiness. can't remember how the evil bad guys fit in

feminist reading: the dance plays into gendered stereotypes, exoticising the women as graceful, colourful and desirable, while the (evil) men are associated with strength and stones and etc. Complication when the strandbeest comes in, because usually women are associated with the baser and more animalistic side of human nature]

Sunday, August 09, 2009

By drinking this Orangina made in Bosnia-Herzegovina (the last bottle on the shelves of Tiong Bahru Plaza's NTUC), I'm supporting victims of ethnic cleansing.

Unless it's made in the Republika Srpska.
My NDP speech:


9th August, 2009
Parliament House


[Addendum!

My NDP speech, narrated by an undisclosed actor at an undisclosed facility at an undisclosed time


]

"Two score and four years ago our fathers brought forth on this island, a new nation, conceived for Money, and dedicated to the proposition that some men are peasants and lesser mortals and others are elites.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war with the Quitters, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a memorial for those who here gave their private sector salaries that that nation might enjoy better governance. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The selfless men, all underpaid, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the peasants, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced - to accelerate GDP growth regardless of the Gini coefficient. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored Ministers we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these Ministers shall not have suffered salary cuts in vain -- that this nation, under ***, shall have a new era of economic growth -- and that government of the party, by the party, for the party, shall not perish from this island."
NDP:

They start with the pledge. Maybe they're afraid no one will remember it.

All the ads around the NDP broadcast are for local companies. Hurr hurr.

Perhaps I shall go for NDP one year dressed in black.

I hope no one wished the paratroopers "Break a leg".

The band people's costumes look very cheap - like they'll fall apart when you poke them.

Why is Chiam See Tong in white? Tsk.

LKY's shirt is totally transparent. Maybe he wears the same one every year.


I wonder how many of the people giving greetings from overseas are scholars.

The woman from London had a silent Ang Moh man standing next to her, hurr hurr.

They only had one greeting from Perth. Considering how many Singaporeans are there, the absolutely pathetic turnout is telling.


They're going to show us their "version of the Singapore Story, in 10 chapters". Why do I have the feeling someone will be crying.

The kids must be very sad this year. They have to do even more nonsense than in other years.

Sang Nila Utama has a very strange accent.

I'm glad they don't have the mutant multiracial lion anymore. The one-person lions are damn sad.

Why're they jumping the gun to the terrorist attack? Sang Nila Utama is still on stage!

Some of the kids died in the terrorist attack. At least their CPF is freed up now. Oh wait, kids don't have CPF...

Oh god, they mixed in Night on the Bare Mountain.

"Certainly, the audience are on the edge of their seats" - they looked very bored to me.

The flares the coast guard shoot at the "terrorists" keep missing. This shows you how incompetent they are.

The Chinook flies in to a bad Band rendition of Ride of the Valkyries. Ugh.

Since mines are activated by magnetic proximity, shouldn't the Chinook hovering so near one activate it?

The skit showing Part-Time Slaves being activated (the woman passing the wrong helmet to her man twice in a row) just shows you the high level of support our Singaporean Women have for Slavery.

The bagpipers look like they're all girls. Probably Singaporean sensibilities will be offended by seeing a guy in a kilt (skirt). The Scots are probably very pissed off at seeing girls in kilts.

The NDP video screen looks like Sauron's Eye.

"Very well-loved by the people" - description of S.R. Nathan. Luckily they didn't mention his second "election", only the first in 1999.

I wonder what will happen if some terrorist from a skyscraper shoots a bazooka missile through the flag born aloft by the Chinook.

The flag that flies during the inspection of the Guard of Honour looks torn and tattered, like some beach rag.

I'm amused that "NDP" is trending on Twitter. I wonder if it is more popular than #awaresg was.

#awaresg trended on Twitter! Is "trended" even a word?
#awaresg on Twitter - #1 spot!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
NDP on Twitter - #5 spot (7:20pm)

No one shouted "IA! IA!" during the salute.

The marching contingent must be damn pissed off at whoever made them march 3.2 km. Especially the poor guys with the colours.

The kids' marching is pathetic compared to the full-timers. Hell, even NTUC, PAP, Capitaland etc march better than them.

The leader of the Red Cross contingent was wearing heels. Wth.

I wonder if they sell DVDs of past NDPs.

The trishaw riders must be damn sad. They can't rip tourists off while participating in NDP.

Peranakans are participating in NDP for the first time. How appropriate - if they'd delayed much longer, they might not be able to anymore, having disappeared due to governmental policies trying to drive them extinct.

"Over here in the West, we have not one but two universities. All the best brains in Singapore are in the West"
Me: All the best brains in Singapore are overseas
TMM: Maybe it's a metaphor

Black and white videos. Oh god. Next someone is going to shout "Merdeka!" and then cry.

Interestingly, the 60s rock and roll segment would've been illegal in the 60s in the Real Singapore, as rock and roll was considered an import from the decadent West - the same reason jukeboxes were shut down all across the island.

The pole dancers are actually not bad. They must've improved after being slammed.

They brought in people from Kampung Buangkok. Just like the Peranakans. How appropriate. Maybe they lured them out so they could demolish the kampung while they weren't around. And they're gushing about how clean Singapore is - not like they've never ventured out of their kampung.

They didn't subtitle the Malay woman's Malay speech. So much for racial harmony. Then again, Malay *is* our National Language.

[Gap because I was frying prawn toast]

There was a little boy who said he wanted to be a pianist. FAIL!

One of them said he wanted to be a soldier when he grew up. News for you kid, all of you HAVE to be soldiers.

One of them should've said "When I grow up I want to migrate".

LKY's eyes were closed during the part about inclusiveness. Hah.

They released balloons into the sky. Now the environmental activists will complain.

The women from Soka have hideous balloons on their heads. They make them look like Medusa, or women with head cancer. And they're shaking their butts coyly - I thought being sexy was not a Buddhist virtue.

The boat with the globe zooming in looks like a garbage barge.

Hah, they showed Li Jiawei. She probably isn't een Singaporean anymore.

Our sports people are all female. Hah.

[Gap because I was taking out the ice wine]

People jumping for joy in front of an ERP gantry? Siao.

"Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!" - Sounds like a song about erectile dysfunction.

The one heading the creative team is a Colonel. Yeah right, I bet Ivan Heng did all the work.
NDP message by Prime Minister:

When you don't know what to do with your hands, don't do anything with them (maybe that's why the camera is slowly zooming in on him).

I see the haze in the background, hoho.


Our nation has faced many challenges, like "major recession in the 80s" - Yes, and whose fault was that?

"Taiwan and Singapore chose a different adjustment path, aimed at export-led growth with standardized product cycle goods (e.g., radios, color televisions) and selected heavy engineering goods... The Singapore government chose to intervene in the labor market. Legal wages were raised in several successive increments by a total of about 80 percent in 197941. At the same time, measures were taken to upgrade the skills of the labor force. The wage increases were meant to induce a shift from unskilled to skilled labor-intensive activities, in which higher labor productivity would permit higher wages without conferring any advantage to capital-intensive industries. Many workers have little education; therefore, making such a transition is very difficult in a short period of time.

The government of Singapore continued to pursue a high-wages policy into the mid-1980s. Between 1981 and 1984, hourly wages of production workers were raised by 61 percent. This increase made wages in Singapore in 1984 almost 70 percent higher than those in Hong Kong and Korea and 25 percent higher than those in Taiwan. In 1981, Singapore wage rates were about the same as those in Hong Kong, and a third higher than those in Korea. The higher wages led to the contraction of traditional labor-intensive export manufacturing in Singapore, a change causing resources to shift to capital-intensive industries—shipbuilding, machinery, petroleum refining, chemicals, and the like. Singapore’s industrial export base narrowed; its share of traditional manufactured exports in total manufactured exports fell below the shares of the other NICs. The mistaken wage policies contributed to the drop in economic growth rates in the mid-1980s. Negative growth occurred for the first time in over two decades. Singapore’s mid-1980s economic crisis forced the government to revise its strategy. New policies aimed at reducing labor costs and other costs of production were quickly adopted."

--- Asian development: economic success and policy lessons / William E. James, Seiji Naya, Gerald M. Meier

His speechwriter's head will roll! As well as the head of the one who approved the speech!

[Addendum: "downturning the upturn"]


I love the mention of H1N1 as a crisis for this country. This is why Singaporeans are still so hysterical.

Respecting each other's religious beliefs - what would Colonel Darius Lim say about that?!
NDP video
(broadcast at 5:55pm)

They have inserted a lot of foreign talent into the video, including the Turkish Anatolia Ice Cream Guy. Too bad a lot of them are white men (I only saw one white woman). This can only stoke resentment.
Deadly combinations « Mazohyst of Decadence

"After taking some pills from a bottle, Eve gently turn the bottle over to read the label, which stated: ‘Do not consume this under the influence of alcohol.’

“Oh dear! I’d pour added some brandy to the meal I’d had just now. What am I going to do now?”

Seeking for a speedy solution, Eve browsed the net with suggestions of drinking bitter gourd juice, celery juice, eating apples, grapes, dates and taking Vitamin B1, to get rid of alcohol (addiction). Desperate for a remedy, she blended in all the suggesed stuff into a drink to combat the effect of alcohol and drank the horrible mixture in one gulp.

An hour later, she was admitted to the local hospital for food poisoning from consuming an unknown mixture."
Given that the Pledge is and always has been a farce, I shall spend 8:22pm today commemorating National Day in a way not very different from how I spent National Day in 2008, 2007 and 2006 - sniping at the parade.

Except that this year, there will be a toast.
"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky
Gives us free scope; only, doth backward pull
Our slow designs, when we ourselves are dull."
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