"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

Links - 5th February 2011

"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened." - Douglas Adams


Monkeys, watermelons and black people
A comment from a Canadian: the people least aware of racial stereotypes are the people who *aren't racist*. I'd never heard of the watermelon stereotype, nor any correlation between African Americans and monkeys in slurs. Granted I'm from Canada and most Americans consider that a small town anyway, but really... people are just looking to be offended these days. Actually realizing that not everyone is trying to insult them will be a big step for people to move towards a prejudiceless society. Yes, there are still racists and bigots, but the fact a mayor has to resign when he may well have been oblivious to it (really, would you send something that's an obvious racial slur to a professional colleague of that descent if you actually knew what it meant?) is a bit ridiculous"

Woman claims yogurt sample tasted of semen

“Making Men Happy” - "Perhaps alluding to their status as members of the oldest profession, some prostitutes in his time called themselves professionals. When academy was a euphemism for ‘brothel,’ those who worked there were called academicians... During the American Civil War, camp followers, whose ranks included ‘canteen girls,’ and ‘drink sellers,’ offered soldiers their wares (themselves, mostly)... One of the most forlorn euphemisms for compensated sex that I’ve ever seen was in a news article about South Asian women who’d been laid off from factory jobs. Asked what she and her colleagues were doing now, one said that a young coworker was engaged in ‘making men happy’"

Skepticblog » The Tao of Chinese Medicine – I - "Between Taoism and Confucianism, all the necessary ingredients to incubate and foster critical thinking was “taught” out of the Chinese society."
From part II: "When the ginseng root and the quintessential female herb dong-quai were studied scientifically for their alleged cancer-curing power, they were found not only to be ineffective but in fact encouraged the growth of some cancer cells"

The Effect Of House Price On Fertility: Evidence From Hong Kong - "A 1% increase in [house prices] is significantly related to a 0.45% decrease in total fertility rates... high HP inflation can account for about 65% of the fertility decrease in Hong Kong in the past four decades"
Sounds like this can describe another city-state

What makes you Singaporean? | Discussion Forum | Your Say | REACH - "A Singaporean. I'm sorry I rather ask myself what makes myself a person. It is to be able to think and choose freely without fear and with a clear conscience.
To me being a Singaporean means to fearfully resign himself or herself to any indignities or inequities given out by those in power in the name of progress. No. I will not let that description define myself."

Eligible, actually - "She was once so lonely about a year after she divorced her husband of 13 years, that she text messaged him asking if he would like them to get back together. His reply was honest, if blunt. “Get a life. Move on”... One man who has seen the plight of the single Older Singaporean Woman at first hand is Martin Wong, 38, who runs a marriage agency [which] specialises in Vietnamese brides. But even so, he says that about 40 Singapore women have approached him for help during the five years he has been in the business. All of them are above 30, and 75% of them are over 35. Most of them hold administrative jobs. “Most of them are plain-looking, ordinary Singapore women who just want a chance at destiny,” he says. “They don’t have very high expectations. All they are looking for is a man with higher earning power than them.” But none has been successfully matched so far. “Frankly, men who have made up their minds to go for a young foreign bride will not be interested in older Singapore women,” he says"
It's a toss-up as to which quote I prefer: “Get a life. Move on” or “They don’t have very high expectations. All they are looking for is a man with higher earning power than them”

Extraordinary [religious] claims require extraordinary evidence - "'George Bush says he speaks to god every day, and Christians love him for it. If George Bush said he spoke to god through his hair dryer, they would think he was mad. I fail to see how the addition of a hair dryer makes it any more absurd'... when self-proclaimed “psychics” say that their powers fail when in the presence of a skeptic, I know of no skeptics who view this as a valid excuse that demands skeptics keep their psychic criticisms to themselves... if you’re the kind of person who views fair, objective criticisms of your beliefs as unwelcome personal attacks, then this may simply not be the right group for you"

YouTube - I am a Hong Kong Girl with 公主病 (Gung Jyuh Behng) - Cantonese Word of the Week!
Sounds familiar

Real men must eat meat say women as they turn their noses up at vegetarians - "Vegetarian men are seen as wimps and less macho than those who like tucking into a steak – even by women who do not eat meat themselves, research shows"

Ridicule: An instrument in the war on terrorism - "Demonization... can inadvertently aid the enemy’s own war aims... Directed properly at an enemy, ridicule can be a fate worse than death... Muhammad, the founder of Islam, personally used ridicule as a weapon of war early after he announced his prophethood... * To the enemy, ridicule can be worse than death. At least many enemies find death to be a supernatural martyrdom. Ridicule is much worse: destruction without martyrdom: A fate worse than death. And they have to live with it"

How to destroy the Earth @ Things Of Interest - "Semantics. A few people suggested exploiting a loophole in my mission statement and moving the Earth into orbit around a gas giant, making it a moon rather than a planet, or hurling it into interstellar space where it would become a wandering interstellar object. Yeah, yeah, very clever. Get back to work."

Brainwashed by a parasite - "When the fungus is ready to sporulate, the mycelia grow into the ant’s brain. The fungus then produces chemicals which act on the host’s brain and alter its perception of pheromones. This causes the ant to climb a plant and, upon reaching the top, to clamp its mandibles around a leaf or leaf stem, thus securing it firmly to what will be its final resting place. The fungus then devours the ant’s brain, killing the host. The fruiting bodies of the fungus sprout from the ant’s head, through gaps in the joints of the exoskeleton. Once mature, the fruiting bodies burst, releasing clusters of capsules into the air. These in turn explode on their descent, spreading airborne spores over the surrounding area. These spores then infect other ants, completing the life cycle of the fungus"

Last Suppers : James Reynolds - "A series of photographs documenting former Death Row prisoners' requests for their last meal before execution"

the cost of civilization - "Sedentism meant poorer diets, more illness, lots of toothache and gum disease, and earlier deaths. What is truly extraordinary is that these are all still factors in our lives today. Out of the thirty thousand types of edible plants thought to exist on Earth, just eleven - corn, rice, wheat, potatoes, cassava, sorghum, millet, beans, barley, rye, and oats - account for 93 percent of all that humans eat, and every one of them was first cultivated by our Neolithic ancestors. Exactly the same is true of husbandry. The animals we raise for food today are eaten not because they are notably delectable or nutritious or a pleasure to be around, but because they were the ones first domesticated in the Stone Age"

0907948 [2011] RRTA 54 (17 January 2011) - "He held the view that bearing arms is not a solution even when he undertook compulsory military service in Singapore. He did so out of fear of being detained and because his parents told him not to do anything stupid... When asked why he did not complete his degree, the applicant said because he spent a lot of time on student representation work... [his supervisor] was constantly on his case; perhaps because the applicant was not a ‘tough guy’. The applicant became stressed and as a result on one occasion he ordered the wrong amount of oranges. In his supervisor’s mind this was a bad thing and he was taken to trial and sentenced to 40 days military detention... During his time in Australia the applicant said he has built up the confidence to speak out against policies that are not in the public interest. This has become part of his character and he feels that if he returns to Singapore he will have to get rid of that characteristic or face problems from the authorities... the Tribunal is of the view that the harm the applicant would face as a national service defaulter would impact on him greatly"
Among other things, this is yet more proof of the oppressiveness of Slavery - 40 days for a mistake with oranges?!

Ayn Rand, Welfare Queen - "(Can you imagine getting any of her arguments in a student paper?) It's really doubtful there has ever been a more simple-minded "philosopher" with a public following than Rand, though the fact that she is so simple-minded obviously has much to do with her popularity in the United States (that, and of course the fact that she is an apologist for all the interests of the ruling class)... '"Ayn took the bail out even though Ayn "despised government interference and felt that people should and could live independently"... [Rand] didn't think people who disagreed with her should take help. Those who agreed with her were entitled to all they could get'"

Toilet paper orientation - Wikipedia - "Sociology professor Edgar Alan Burns describes some reasons why toilet paper politics is worthy of examination... They make connections to larger themes of sociology, including gender roles, the public and private spheres, race and ethnicity, social class, and age"

Man jailed three years for incest - "A MAN who had consensual sex with his 20-year-old daughter was jailed for three years... The daughter, now 23, was initially charged in March last year but was later given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal... they had a heated argument over the issue of her furthering her studies. She then texted a friend to call the police, who arrested him"
This fits the pattern of sex crime accusations in Singapore. Though CNA adds that "the charge against her will be revived" - her sentence (if any) will almost certainly be lower. Among other silly aspects (which still fit the pattern of sex crime accusations in Singapore), though, "He cannot be named to protect the woman's identity", they had sex again AFTER she claimed she didn't like it, she only complained after being worried about being impregnated and he was immediately arrested upon her lie that he had molested her

Pomelo sales hit a high as CNY nears - "Asked about the talk that stalls here tend to employ pretty and young women to lure customers, Lee acknowledged that some stall owners would adopt such a practice. ”But business is almost the same for everyone here,” she said. However, she cautioned that not all customers would go to stalls that were manned by young females. ”This is because some buyers would think that they would have to pay more if they buy from a pretty woman, which is not true,” she added... Lee said that some male customers did try to date her. “They would ask for my contact number. But I don’t go out with them,” she said"
For some reason half the article is about girls selling their pamelos
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