"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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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Links - 24th April 2018 (1)

Questioning gender fluidity is the new blasphemy - "From the stuffy Tories to the armed wing of the state to the actual Church of England, one by one the core institutions of the nation have accepted an idea that we really should have more debate about, no? Namely that gender is fluid. And that children should be allowed to decide if they’re male or female. And that men who transition into women are actual women — full-on, legally recognisable, going-into-women’s-changing-rooms women — rather than transwomen, as they were respectfully referred to for many years. Anyone who claims that trans politics is edgy is kidding themselves: it is one of the most established, protected ways of thinking of our time... The institutionalisation of trans thinking is making critical debate tantamount to heresy. An elite, eccentric idea that has its origins in the rarefied land of Gender Studies department, whose language — cis, ze, gender fluidity — is the language of academic cliques rather than of pubs or bus-stops or barbershops, is being foisted on the land by religious and political institutions now more keen to cosy up to tiny groups of influential campaigners than to connect with the concerns of ordinary people. And this is wrong. The unilateral reorganisation of the basic categories of social life by aloof institutions is undemocratic and worrying. And it is not transphobic to say so."
And they said gay marriage being on a slippery slope was a fallacy

Gender theory banned in NSW classrooms - "NSW public school teachers have been banned from teaching gender theory in the classroom after an independent review into the state’s sex and health education resources. Students will no longer be taught that gender is a “social construct”, or that sexuality is “non-binary”, occurring on a ­continuum and “constantly changing”. An edict encouraging teachers to “de-gender” their language will also likely be scrapped, along with sexually explicit case studies and teaching aids such as the “Genderbread Person”, which promotes the idea that there are “infinite possibilities” of gender identity... The concept of deconstructing gender derives from 1990s “queer” theory and is understood to be highly contested, even within the social sciences. According to the NSW Education Standards Authority’s statement of equity principles, curriculum and support materials should reflect evidence-based ­research."

“You have straight As? Too one-dimensional” – US university admission officers - ""‘We are very worried about straight A students. If someone comes in with straight As, especially from Asia, it’s a red flag for us. They are too one-dimensional and they spend all their time just getting their straight As and not doing anything else. We don’t think those type of applicants are positive to be in the university cohort"... “The admissions officers are seeing a bunch of people who all look alike: high test scores, high grades, many play musical instruments and tend not to engage in more physical sports like football”"

Panel suggests that dietary guidelines stop warning about cholesterol in food - "There’s a growing consensus among nutrition scientists that cholesterol in food has little effect on the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. And that’s the cholesterol that matters."

When family can impede culture of innovation - "When he spoke to a young adult from a local start-up recently, former civil service head Lim Siong Guan asked what was the biggest problem the person faced. The answer was unexpected: "My mother." The mother could not understand why her child, who had done well in school, did not opt for a stable, well-paying job and instead chose to join a start-up... Trying new things includes being willing to work abroad and in less familiar places, he said, speaking of a large company here where, if a new opportunity came up in a less well-trodden country, the expatriates would say: "When do you want me to go?" But the Singaporeans in the company say: "Let me consult my wife." The wife "is more than likely to say, 'Too dangerous, don't go' ", said Mr Lim, to laughter. "There is nothing wrong... but the Singaporean must then also be prepared to accept that his economic value to the firm is not as high as the expat's.""

One female genital mutilation case reported every hour in the UK - "It has been illegal to carry out FGM in the UK since 1985, but there has not been a single successful prosecution. This failure has been branded a "national scandal" by the Home Affairs Select Committee."

Man whose punch killed American stuntman during Boat Quay rampage jailed 10 years - "Although Mr Nelson was not involved in any of the brawls, he saw two of Khalis' friends hassling a woman along Circular Road at 3am and decided to intervene. When Mr Nelson tried to mediate, Khalis lunged at him from behind."
So much for "Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them"

STDs are on the rise among gay and bi men. - "among a cohort consisting mostly of same-sex–attracted men on the HIV-prevention regimen PrEP, “quarterly rates of rectal gonorrhea and urethral chlamydia increased steadily and about doubled after one year.” In other words, guys on the fantastically effective pill-a-day Truvada program were avoiding HIV infection—there were no new transmissions for regimen-adherent patients over the study period, in fact—but they seemed to be getting other sexually transmitted diseases relatively often... the total combined cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis reported in the U.S. in 2015 reached record highs. Those most at risk were gay and bisexual men (regardless of their PrEP status), as well as the youth of America... strains of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea were recently discovered to be on the rise among MSM. As a journalist who covers sexual health and as a gay man who has sex, it seems to me that our community is on the cusp of a major STD epidemic. And although gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis are certainly not the scourge HIV once was, I can’t help but feel a kind of old-fashioned, Larry Kramer–tinged guilt, like my community is to blame because of our more open relationship to sex... Within the gay and bi male community, I’ve recently noticed a lax attitude about contracting STDs on the part of some guys. The logic is something like: They’re treatable (for now), they’re not HIV, and they’re just kind of part of the sexual territory, so no biggie. Many gay men I know live in big cities that, for the moment, offer access to cheap or free testing and treatment—an unfortunately uncommon situation, as the CDC points out. To be honest, I personally don’t worry too much about STDs when I’m having sex. So perhaps we really are to blame for our own predicament?"
So much for the theory that increased gay rights and prophylactics are *the* way to improve health outcomes among MSM

The Newly Appointed Editor Of Gay Times Has Been Fired For Posting Dozens Of Offensive Tweets - "The newly-appointed editor of Britain's oldest gay title, Gay Times, has been fired after dozens of offensive tweets he had previously written were uncovered. In an interview with BuzzFeed News published on 15 November, Josh Rivers apologised for a series of racist, misogynistic, and ableist tweets... Decades of white-run, white-owned, monocultural LGBT magazines had come to an end in October when Gay Times announced its new editor would be Rivers, who, as a mixed-race British-American, was the UK’s first BAME editor of a gay men’s magazine... “I think those tweets show that I was a really unhappy person who lashed out at the world around him.” He stops momentarily. “I didn’t think this conversation was going to be so personal, but I have since been in therapy and spoken to people about the things I need to speak about. That has been part of my personal journey and it’s unfortunate that I’ve said things that are so horrible about people in the past.”"
This suggests that the theory that anti-racists, trans activists and the like have personal issues is not unwarranted

'Justice League' Is a Beautiful Mess of a Franken-Movie - "If the internet made a movie, it might look like Justice League. That shouldn’t be read as a compliment or an insult. It’s both. The internet is a fantastic place full of smart people; anything it produced would have moments of brilliance and humor. It's also a cesspool of tribalism and in-fighting, and anything it produced would feel and look like it was made by a bunch of wildly different-minded people who all thought they were right."

The Young: No Longer Phantoms of the Opera - "The most recent opera study by the National Endowment for the Arts determined that the number of 18-to-24-year-olds attending performances increased by 18 percent between 1982 and 1992. This represents a greater increase than musical theater, classical music, jazz, plays, or ballet."

Jeju Island Tour - 1 Day from Seoul - Trazy, Korea's #1 Travel Guide - "5:20am - Pick up at your accommodation in Seoul
8:30pm - Fly back to Gimpo Airport"

My Malaysian community believes in Arab superiority so much, they're trying to be Arab themselves

Taxi drivers refuse to pick up passengers, leaving hotel porter in tears from guests' scoldings - "Sylvia later approached another taxi and the taxi driver rolled down his window to ask her where she was going. According to the Stomper, the taxi driver declined as he said he was there to fetch some staff home. When he was questioned about the taxi sign which was lit up, he replied, "I turn it off now" and drove away. She eventually used Grab to book a ride to Ang Mo Kio. "I am very pissed off about the situation. One then wonder, why people are taking Grab and Uber more often than normal taxis.""
Blaming only taxi companies is fashionable

Free speech fears after book critical of China is pulled from publication - "Australian publisher Allen & Unwin has ditched a book on Chinese Communist Party influence in Australian politics and academia, citing fear of legal action from the Chinese government or its proxies. The publisher's chief executive, Robert Gorman, said last week that it would abandon publication of a completed manuscript by Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University, called Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State... Cambridge University Press was subject to intense criticism after it decided to censor the website of its China Quarterly journal to comply with Chinese demands"
I guess that proves the point

Pakistani Minister requests non-Muslim Police escort after threat from Islamists - "A Pakistani Minister has been forced to conduct a shake-up of his security detail after threats by Islamists. Pakistan’s provincial law Minister, Rana Sanaullah has ordered that only non-Muslim officers be deployed for his security.... The Minister has also requested the Police chief to get him a list of all Christian, Hindu and Ahmadi officers in the province of Punjab. Reportedly his present Police escort will be replaced by non-Muslim officers who will be selected from the compiled list. Till then the Minister will use the private security firm which employees Christian security guards... In 2011, Punjab’s Governor Salman Taseer was killed by his own police guard over his opposition to blasphemy laws."

Imam Tawhidi - Posts - "I thought I was the only one who signed a contract with a security agency and conditioned that they don’t send me any Muslim security guards. I don’t know them or their ideology and I don’t want to be shot from behind like the Russian Ambassador to Turkey. These days even terrorists purchase guns legally because of their positive background checks. I wasn’t going to risk being set up by my own security."
Maybe Imam Tawhidi can be sued for employment discrimination since he's in Australia

Muslim students protest Newcastle University's plans to turn prayer room into multi-faith space - "Students told the Newcastle Chronicle that they have heard their prayer room could be turned into a multi-faith space soon. The Islamic Society is calling on the university to overturn this decision, arguing that the room is already at full capacity and does not have the space "to house other faiths' societies on the same premises"."
Diversity is bad

Muslim art student 'forced to drop out of college after refusing to draw naked models' - ""I was in the waiting room being told that there was no way I could continue the course without taking part in the nude life drawing class... I told the course director how uncomfortable I was with taking part and that it was against my religion but their school policy on 'Equality and Diversity' didn't mean anything on that day," she claims... "Working directly from the unclothed figure is an age-old practice that allows students to see the structure and anatomy of the body with the intention of developing other areas of investigation such as drawing clothed figures or imagined ones."

'The penis represents the masculine world I hate': Meet the artist who poses naked in front of art - "I make a statement more important than laws: human body and human feelings have to be dignified. In order to achieve this, we need a matriarchal society."
And this is from a man

Malala Yousafzai targeted by trolls for wearing jeans and heels at Oxford University - "One man wrote: "Look at hypocrite Malala wearing pants! Is she even a Muslim?" Another troll wrote the abusive message: "That was the reason the bullet directly targeted her head long time ago.""

The New School Invites Linda Sarsour and Jewish Voice for Peace to Panel on Anti-Semitism - "Founded in 1919 by progressive New York intellectuals, The New School rose to prominence two decades later, when it took in a small band of Jewish intellectuals fleeing the Nazis... Later this month, the university will co-sponsor a panel on anti-Semitism that will feature, among others, Linda Sarsour, who opined that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and believes one cannot support the right of Jews to a homeland of their own and still be a feminist. Alongside Sarsour will be Rebecca Vilkomerson, who heads the odious Jewish Voice for Peace. The group, as an ADL report aptly put it, “uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and to provide the movement with a veneer of legitimacy.” Among JVP’s recent achievements are the enthusiastic support of Rasmea Odeh, a Palestinian terrorist convicted of a bombing attack on a Jerusalem supermarket that left two young students dead and who was recently deported from the United States after lying about the incident on her immigration forms. The group is also a frequent supporter, despite its allegations to the contrary, of Alison Weir, an activist robustly promoting modern-day blood libels against Jews."

Study Shows Alarming Number of Teens Cyberbully Themselves | http://www.fau.edu/newsdesk/articles/self-bullying-study.php - "“The idea that someone would cyberbully themselves first gained public attention with the tragic suicide of 14-year-old Hannah Smith in 2013 after she anonymously sent herself hurtful messages on a social media platform just weeks before she took her own life,” said Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D., study author, a professor in FAU’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the College for Design and Social Inquiry, and co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center. “We knew we had to study this empirically, and I was stunned to discover that about 1 in 20 middle- and high-school-age students have bullied themselves online. This finding was totally unexpected, even though I’ve been studying cyberbullying for almost 15 years”... Teens who identified as non-heterosexual were three times more likely to bully themselves online. In addition, victims of cyberbullying were nearly 12 times as likely to have cyberbullied themselves compared to those who were not victims"
There're probably similar motivations to fake hate crimes
This provides context to interpret the statistic that LGBT youth face more bullying than normal youth

Laurier apologizes to TA Lindsay Shepherd after she aired debate clip on gender-neutral pronouns - "Wilfrid Laurier University has apologized to a teaching assistant who was reprimanded for playing a video debating gender pronouns after the school was questioned about its commitment to academic freedom. Lindsay Shepherd, a graduate student at the university, was told by faculty that her lesson material was transphobic after she played a video of a debate between two University of Toronto professors over the use of gender-neutral pronouns. The video featured Jordan Peterson, who has received wide media coverage for his refusal to use pronouns other than "he" or "she" when referring to transgender and gender-fluid people. The university apologized to Ms. Shepherd on Tuesday, after a recording of a meeting with Ms. Shepherd and her superiors was released. Ms. Shepherd says one faculty member told her that a neutral approach to the debate clip was similar to having a neutral opinion of Adolf Hitler... "Moral of the story: A university must be repeatedly publicly shamed, internationally, in order to apologize," Ms. Shepherd said in a tweet. "Also, make sure to secretly record all meetings or they won't take you seriously." Ms. Shepherd has said she originally played the clip in a communications class to highlight the complexities of grammar. She said university staff told her that it was a form of gendered violence to show the video without prefacing that the content was offensive and said that she should have first condemned Mr. Peterson's refusal to use gender-neutral pronouns."
And meanwhile, we are told Bill C-16 won't lead to thoughtcrime being sanctioned

Here’s the full recording of Wilfrid Laurier reprimanding Lindsay Shepherd for showing a Jordan Peterson video - "after an anonymous student complained, Shepherd found herself reprimanded for violating the school’s Gendered and Sexual Violence policy. In a subsequent meeting with university officials, she was accused of creating a “toxic” and “problematic” environment that constituted violence against transgendered students. She was also falsely told that she had broken the law...
Arguing against gender-neutral pronouns was compared to banning women’s suffrage or claiming that cigarettes are harmless. Using a rhetorical tactic typically more at home on Reddit forums, Rambukkana and Pimlott would also thrice use the example of Nazi Germany. “This is like neutrally playing a speech by Hitler,” Rambukkana said at one point... Wilfrid Laurier University is bringing in young naïfs from a prejudice-filled society who aren’t yet ready to handle complex ideas without proper training. He said it takes a while to properly challenge “the faith-based, family and other types of structures in society that they’ve been inculcated with for years.” The meeting concludes, by the way, with a note that Shepherd must now run her seminar notes past Rambukkana and obtain specific approval for any future media she intends to show"

Beware the modern-day heretic hunters - "Like all great Stasi institutions, the university will not explain the exact crime. Nor reveal exactly what the accused is accused of. Nor reveal who the complainant is. Shepherd is not allowed to be told whether one student has complained. Or many. Or all. But she is informed that showing a viewpoint that is contrary to the currently prevailing dogma is akin to an act of violence. This, in turn, is against the Ontario Human Rights Code. All the current torture-terms are there. Things are ‘problematic’. Shepherd is guilty of ‘targeting’. Her actions are ‘discriminatory’ and make people feel ‘unsafe’. One of the apparatchiks even uses the term ‘positionality’ where the word ‘position’ would be perfectly adequate. Presumably because in his particular bubble there is no point in using the correct word when an elongated (and incorrect) one could give off an air of greater authority, the better to intimidate underlings with. As I say, it really is worth hearing the above in full because it includes several classic examples of modern heresy-hunting. Such as the response to Shepherd’s insistence that ‘In a university all perspectives are valid’. After a brief pause her inquisitor replies, ‘That’s not necessarily true.’ Having tried to tar her as a ‘Transphobe’ there is an inevitable effort also to portray Shepherd as a ‘white supremacist’. This is done by the insistence that there is an effort currently underway to ethnically cleanse the north American states of everybody who is not white. Would she agree with that? The hope is clearly that Shepherd will walk into the laid trap and expose herself as a white supremacist. This she does not do."

Conrad Black: Our campuses show we’re practicing cultural genocide on ourselves - "The last time Wilfrid Laurier University was tested publicly on a controversy anything like this was when a project to commission and unveil statues of all of Canada’s 23 prime ministers was cancelled and the initial statue, of the country’s principal founder, John A. Macdonald, was removed because of complaints and threats from aboriginal groups. This disgraceful episode, in February 2015, elevated the false claims of a few native activists that Macdonald was anti-aboriginal and tried to eradicate their culture above the facts that Macdonald was friendly with a number of native leaders, gave the natives the right to vote, and did his best, by the lights of the time (which were not entirely illuminating) to assist the native people to participate fully in Canadian life. (Of course, that he was the chief architect of the only trans-continental, bicultural, parliamentary confederation in history, now the oldest functioning political institutions of any important country in the world except Great Britain and the United States, and a great statesman even in the time of Lincoln, Palmerston, Disraeli, Gladstone and Bismarck, was irrelevant.) Macdonald (inevitably) was portrayed by the complaining native militants as a Hitler also... (Surely, if he had had a chance to reflect upon it, the last thing Adolf Hitler would have expected, just before he discharged a bullet into his head as his wife of one day took poison, in their bunker with the Red Army only a few hundred yards away, was that his name would be invoked to discredit liberal-minded democrats and believers in free elections and academic exchange in ostensibly free countries 70 years later. The Fuehrer thought the democracies degenerate then; he would likely find nonsense like this a flattering vindication of that judgment.) Fiascoes like this raise the question of how this society allowed its education system to become steadily poorer the more money it stuffed into it. And how did we allow our centres of higher learning to degenerate into these theatres of the absurd where stupefying sums are squandered to enable questionably qualified people to teach largely irrelevant material in life-assured sinecures of six-hour work weeks with three months annual holidays, while thoughtful discussion is suppressed, all to produce masses of under-educated people largely unqualified to get or hold a serious job? Obviously, the answer is complicated, and some of it was touched upon a few weeks ago when I excerpted from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation publication that the solution to deteriorating school testing results was to eliminate the tests."

The Case of Lindsay Shepherd and What It Teaches Us about How Learning Occurs - "At college, we read Das Kapital, Three Essays on Sexuality and Mein Kampf alongside The Gulag Archipelago, The Well of Loneliness and The Diary of Anne Frank. And no one felt threatened in their personhood because we were confronting people who literally dehumanized Jews, women and gays and lesbians in their work. We simply thought they were wrong and talked about why... My own favorite class at university was Practical Criticism, in which we were given prose passages and poems to analyze and discuss, without knowing who the authors were, when they had been written or what works they had been drawn from: much less whether our teachers admired or despised their writers. The course taught me how to pay close attention to what was actually said and heightened my reading comprehension skills like no other. Finally, there is a pattern here that we also saw in the somewhat similar cases involving Bret Weinstein, the Christakis couple, Rebecca Tuval, Alice Dreger, Laura Kipnis, Patti Adler, Michael Bonesteel, Kimberly Pierce, Maryam Namazie and more. People with real power over someone else — whether because the person is a lone individual and they are a menacing mob or because, as here, they are the employers of the accused — often use the excuse that they are defending “victims” to engage in the most shameless bullying... People who whine about victimizing others even while abusing their own power are the most hypocritical of bullies. It’s our moral duty to fight back against them. Even when they come from our own side of the political fence. Perhaps especially then."
Practical Criticism contrasts nicely with the school of thought that to understand a text you need to know about its author and social context
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