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More adventurous than the average bear

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Monday, August 08, 2016

Links - 8th August 2016

NUS suspends freshmen Orientation Week after reports of inappropriate activities
This is why we can't have nice things. I hope people are happy now
"Why they never suspend NS during the Purple Light saga."
"I quote a friend's foreign colleague's diagnosis re Singapore: be ignorant and complacent when no one says anything, and when something happens overreact like it's the end of the world"
[On itai itai yamete] "Many cheers have no meaning and it just rhymes and easy to catch up with. E.g. Arts faculty T-house 6-7 minute cheer. R-house haka cheer... we have the fight, kill, fight, kill, fight kill fight kill fight kill [cheer]" (killing culture!)

Left-Wing Supporters Boo as Bernie Sanders Says 'We Must Elect Hillary Clinton' - "
If Clinton is corrupt and Sanders endorses her, does that mean he is corrupt too?

'White People to the Back!': Black Lives Matter Segregates Media by Race - "Black Lives Matter activists took to the streets in Philadelphia to protest police-involved shootings of African-Americans. During the demonstrations, protesters attempted to segregate members of the media based on their race. "White media get to the back! Black media come to the front!" one activist shouted into a megaphone. When white journalists didn't immediately comply, she singled one of them out. "Excuse me, sir!" she yelled. "Somebody needs to tell this person to get to the back. Go! Somebody needs to tell these folks to get to the back!" "We are not afraid to put people out! White people to the back! Black people to the front!""

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, How does the media shape propaganda in Putin's Russia? - "'Although during Soviet times, Russians rejected the propaganda or recognised it as such. they don't recognise what's going on now as propaganda'
'Well, this is the subtlety of it. Is the saving grace of the Soviet propaganda was that very few people believed it, because your everyday experience went against it. You were told on the radio or the television that the country's economy is booming, it's producing, it's much more successful than any capitalist economy. And then you went to the shop and you saw empty shelves. And that was a very good reality check on what was happening. Now the propaganda of today which is very much focused on the outside, on the experiences which people cannot check with their own lives, with their own eyes, this is the propaganda which people choose to believe. It's not just imposed on them. It's a much more subtle relationship. It's the state realising what are the weak points in people minds. What do they want to hear. And people choose to believe it. And it's playing on all sorts of things: on the humiliation after the Soviet collapse. On the craving for Russian greatness and empire. The horrible thing about this propaganda is that people want to believe it... the very first thing that Vladimir Putin did when he became President. Way before he got control of the oil and the gas and all the commanding heights of the economy. He took control of a television. And since then, television became the primary tool of his rule, basically"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Richard Dawkins on 40th anniversary of The Selfish Gene - "'If you breed for being good at the high jump, you'll find that you've bred for bad things at the same time. I don't know what they would be but a champion, a super champion high champion who could jump many feet higher than anybody can today would almost certainly be defective in other respects'
'On a much more prosaic level, though, if one wanted to change the genes so that one had a baby with blue eyes instead of brown eyes'
'You could do that. And a lot of people are very uneasy about that. Also uneasy about, say, breeding a mathematical genius. Or a musical genius. And again I think it's partly because that's what Hitler wanted to do and so obviously anything Hitler wanted to do, automatically suspicious of. It's in a way a little bit curious that we're more suspicious of trying to breed a brilliant musician than we are of forcing a child to do 5 finger exercises for many hours per day - and there are parents ambitious for their children who will do that. And so the environmental pressure on a child is not regarded with the same suspicion as the genetic pressure to breed a perfect musician.'
'Why not, you think?'
'I think partly because of Hitler. And there's a sort of feeling that breeding or genetic manipulation, you're doing something for the distant future, which is contrary to the precautionary principle in a way that merely training, forcing a child to be a brilliant musician - even against its will, that only lasts for one generation'"

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Are 1 in 5 children reported to social services before the age of 5? - "We have this mantra which says it's everybody's job to safeguard children. Unfortunately, what we're doing doesn't safeguard children. Creating this huge number of referrals of concerns is like creating a huge extra big haystack in which we're trying to find the needle of the children who are really at risk

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Thursday's business with Rob Young - [On Tata Steel pensions] "We are getting rather carried away with ourselves. I believe in the cockup theory of government, rather than conspiracy theory of government. I don't believe... that people in (?) have actually been working on this for a long time. They haven't. They're making up on the hoof in response to events, which is never a good outcome"

The war in Malaya, 1948-60 - "Between 1948 and 1960 the British military fought what is conventionally called the “emergency” or “counter-insurgency” campaign in Malaya, a British colony until independence in 1957. The declassified files reveal that Britain resorted to very brutal measures in the war, including widespread aerial bombing and the use of a forerunner to modern cluster bombs. Britain also set up a grotesque “resettlement” programme that provided a model for the US’s horrific “strategic hamlet” programmes in Vietnam. It also used chemical agents from which the US may again have drawn lessons in its use of agent orange... Britain used the emergency, declared in 1948, not just to defeat the armed insurgency, but also to crack down on workers’ rights... Templer famously said in Malaya that “the answer lies not in pouring more troops into the jungle, but in the hearts and minds of the people”. Despite this rhetoric, British policy succeeded because it was grossly repressive, and was really about establishing control over the Chinese population. The centrepiece of this was the “Briggs Plan”, begun in 1950 – a “resettlement” programme involving the removal of over half a million Chinese squatters into hundreds of “new villages”. The Colonial Office referred to the policy as “a great piece of social development”... Many complained both that the new villages lacked essential facilities and that they were no more than concentration camps... A government newsletter said that an essential aspect of “resettlement” was “to educate [the Chinese] into accepting the control of government” – control over them, that is, by the British and Malays. “We still have a long way to go in conditioning the [Chinese]”, the colonial government declared, “to accept policies which can easily be twisted by the opposition to appear as acts of colonial oppression”. But the task was made easier since “it must always be emphasised that the Chinese mind is schizophrenic and ever subject to the twin stimuli of racialism and self-interest”. A key British war measure was inflicting “collective punishments” on villages where people were deemed to be aiding the insurgents”"

Episode 26: The Lion of Singapore - "David also thought he’d bring in his friend S Rajaratnam and his friends, Goh Keng Swee, Kenny Byrne, Toh Chng Chye, and Lee Kuan Yew. All of them met in Lee’s home in Oxley Road in January 1954, but, as David wrote in his diary, the meeting left a “bitter taste”. Fundamentally, they were apart in matters of principle and attitude. Marshall focused on principles, what was right and wrong; Lee on power, what worked and didn’t work. Marshall saw Lee as disguistingly amoral; Lee saw Marshall as hopelessly idealistic. And most of all, Marshall and Thomas recalled, they could not stand how Lee looked down upon them. The elitist arrogance of the man. Years later, Lee confirmed this in his own autobiography, where he wrote very condescendingly about David Marshall and Francis Thomas"

One-armed athlete pleads guilty to child trafficking, recruiting women for prostitution - "National para-athlete Adam Kamis pleaded guilty on Monday (Jun 20) to 11 charges of recruiting women for prostitution and one count of child trafficking, for recruiting a 16-year-old girl with the intention of sexually exploiting her. Adam, also known as “Adam OneArmRunner”, lost his right arm in a motorcycle accident, which also left his left arm paralysed. The para-athlete, who represented Singapore at the Commonwealth Games and ASEAN Para Games, said he had started the social escort agency in early 2013 to get out of debt... Adam told the women to strip, so he could “inspect the condition of their bodies”. To prove that they were indeed willing to provide sexual services, Adam would “try out” the women by having sex with them... If the women did not perform satisfactorily, or were “awkward and lacking in skill and personality”, DPP Sripathy-Shanaz said, Adam would have sex with them again for “further verification”. Prosecutors said between early 2013 and October 2015, when he was arrested, Adam had recruited 15 women. His victims included several students, a dental assistant, childcare teacher and an accountant, and were aged between 16 and 38."
Why are 38 year old women also "victims"?

Para-athlete 'Adam Onearmrunner' convicted of vice charges - "Although Adam successfully recruited 15 women, he only managed to secure five customers as several women declined assignments for various reasons, the court was told. He has not received any commission to date."

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, Thursday's business with Rob Young - "When Estonia was part of the Soviet Union, it was actually prohibited to have a private business. Yet I think the people during the Soviet times were very entrepreneurial because the only way you could get something is essentially if you built it yourself"

What’s the difference between dolls and action figures? - "The word “doll” is weirdly fraught for a very straightforward concept: defines a doll as “a small figure representing a baby or other human being, especially for use as a child’s toy.” Which is to say that while not every doll is an action figure, every action figure is, by definition, a doll... Hasbro coined the phrase to market the earliest G.I. Joe figures to boys who considered dolls to be a “girl’s toy.” Today, an “action figure” is considered to be any poseable doll marketed to boys... Play patterns with dolls versus action figures also overlap considerably"

Loretta Lynch: 'Islam,' 'ISIS' to be Censored on Orlando 911 Tape - "She told Chuck Todd on NBC News’ Meet the Press that the “FBI is releasing a partial [printed] transcript of the killer’s calls with law enforcement, from inside the club,” but added: “What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda.” Todd responded, incredulously: “We’re not going to hear him talk about those things?” Lynch added: “We will hear him talk about some of those things, but we are not going to hear him make his assertions of allegiance and that.”"

Episode 27: “The Living Buddha” - "If you read only English language sources, like the official documents, the Straits Times, and Lee Kuan Yew’s autobiography, then you get an image of the David Marshall period as being really turbulent and unstable. Marshall’s government is called ‘weak’ and ‘soft’, capitulating to subversive elements, and allowing communists free rein. LKY, of course, takes this a step further. He linked Marshall’s principles of justice and democracy with chaos and instability. Look, Lee appears to say, if you want democracy, you also get instability. He uses the Marshall government as an instructive contrast to the relative peace and stability created by the repression and detentions of Lee’s own government. Lee accepts that Marshall established abstract principles, and demonstrated ideals and values, but argues he had little practical impact. Lee writes rather condescendingly of Marshall and describes him as, among other things, ‘naïve’. But of course, the English-language perspective is just one set of perspectives, and a minority one. If you look at the Chinese-language sources – and remember, those who spoke Chinese as a first language comprised over 70% of the island back then – if you look at the Chinese language sources, we see a very different Marshall. That’s the Marshall we will be talking about today... Nicoll refused to allocate a separate Chief Minister’s office, until Marshall threatened to set up his desk under a tree in front the secretariat. Then, miraculously, they managed to find a tiny office for Marshall. Like Harry Potter, they gave Marshall the office under the staircase. It was a tiny cubicle, 12 by 14 feet, but Marshall gave it dignity... During the riot, several students were arrested and three Chinese schools closed. The outraged students barricaded themselves in Chung Cheng High School. Nicoll warned that another climb-down could weaken the administration and offered to take full responsibility for the use of reserve powers to evict the students, but Marshall refused this deception, saying it would be dishonest on his part. This principle is, of course, in stark contrast to Lee Kuan Yew, who would later repeatedly use the British as cover, by publicly blaming them while privately ordering the detention without trial of his own comrades. But for Marshall, the issue was not just honesty but responsibility. If you make a decision, if you take up a policy, you take responsibility for it."

Ramsay Bolton actor Iwan Rheon: 'Game of Thrones writers joked that I would end up on the Iron Throne' - "Earlier this year, Rheon spoke to the Telegraph about the controversy the rape scene caused when it aired in 2015. “I was surprised by the outcry because I thought that they had handled it, creatively, very well,” he said. “They hadn’t oversexualised it or made it too gratuitous. They hadn’t trivialised it. I thought it moved the characters forward.” “I think maybe if people put more effort into the charities that help women in the world today deal with the horror of rape, and put less effort into social media about a fantasy show, then maybe things could change."
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