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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dictatorship of virtue : how the battle over multiculturalism is reshaping our schools, our country, and our lives

"An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support." - John Buchan


One of the few failings of the book is that although a moral panic over a moral panic is raised, the fact that only some sectors of American society (some Universities, schools, newspapers and companies) were afflicted by the madness. Nonetheless, some of these anecdotes are horrifying:

"Slowly these discussions have become mandatory in the way that attending religious services was once mandatory at American universities. They became an official part of university life organized by a growing multiculturalist bureaucracy, a heavy rank of assistant deans and assistant provosts, of diversity programmers and social equity directors and affirmative action officers, of educational consultants who give full-day seminars on “understanding differences,” of people with master’s degrees in psychology and social work whose vocabulary is chock-full of expressions like “internalized oppression” and “psycho-logical captivity,” of specialists in multicultural education, people who use words like “problematize” and use “impact” as a verb (as in “white culture and white identity negatively impact the lives of people”). Not all institutions are the same. Brigham Young University, the Mormon institution in Utah, is unlike the University of California at Santa Cruz. But there is certainly plenty of evidence that at many places discussions about diversity are not frank exchanges about race, class, gender, discrimination, affirmative action, and other difficult questions, during which the component parts of the American mosaic can learn to understand one another. They have become the moments when the holders of the dominant view on campus minister to captive congregations made up of the entire student body, and they use that opportunity to instill in the young minds their vision of society as a nightmare of isms...

At Harvard a few years ago there as a weeklong program of panels and workshops seductively called AWARE (Actively Working Against Racism and Ethnocentrism), whose purposes, the program notes said, were to “address people’s denial about racism” and “to engage people in trying to understand racism.” Participants heard very precise statistics: that 85 percent of Americans harbor “subtle racism” while 15 percent are “overt racists.” One professor, Karel Liem, an ichthyologist, was quoted as saying: "The pain that racial insensitivity can create is more important than professor’s academic freedom." Another speaker said: “Overreacting and being paranoid is the only way we can deal with this system.” One Harvard professor offered the dissenting view that haranguing white people about their racism is not the way to improve race relations, but the tone of the meeting seemed better represented by the comment of another speaker; referring to racial insensitivity, he said: “Never think you imagined it, because chances are that you didn't.”...

Students are encouraged to believe that if they do not feel racism and oppression personally, it is because they have engaged in internalized repression. For those who ask how it could be that the institution that admitted them, gave them financial aid, and officially encourages diversity education could be racist, there is an answer. It is provided in many places, one of them a little booklet entitled Racism at Penn—Waddaya Mean? Racism, the booklet argues, involves who gets to see themselves reflected in the curriculum, in the fact that Afro-American studies is only a program and not a full department, in the low numbers of tenured minor professors, in the racial “homogeneity in the composition of Penn’s leadership,” in the “alienating general atmosphere” for “students of at our school.”...

"If you are perceived [emphasis added] to be racist, sexist, heterosexist, ethnocentric, biased against those with religions different from our own, or intolerant of disabilities, you must be willing to examine and change that behavior,” the administration’s notice says.

"The Daily Pennsylvanian itself provides a steady diet of stories that show the mood of antagonism and the paramountcy given to identity politics. One day, there will be a long list of faculty and students, representing black organizations, signing a letter protesting the newspaper’s “racism” and “insensitivity” in publishing a photgraph of a black homeless man hanging out and drinking from liquor bottle near the Penn campus. “Objectivity does not exist in journalism,” the letter will say, echoing common multiculturali themes, especially the notion, borrowed from poststructuralist literary criticism, that there is no reality, only representations, text signifiers. “The juxtaposition of images and words creates a particular and distinct system of meaning.”

"A recent graduate of Penn, Katie Brant, once told me that, in her opinion at least, the Penn Women’s Center was not about choice at all, and certainly not about a respect for diversity. “If you’re not pro-lesbian and pro-choice, resentful of men and career oriented, you’re not really a woman by their lights,” she said. A pro-choice advocate herself, Brant told me that she once went to the Women’s Center to get information about antiabortion groups on campus. She says that the receptionist curtly told her, “This office is pro-choice.” Elena DiLapi used exactly the same expression when I visited her, and I asked her why it was necessary—indeed, if it was appropriate-for a branch of the university administration that supposedly served all tuition-paying students to take an official position on one of the most vexing and divisive issues in American politics.

“My position is that the pro-choice position is the middle ground,” DiLapi said. “The middle ground allows for everybody to have their own personal opinion.”

What, I asked, is on the other side, then?

“If you have pro-life saying there should be no abortion,” she replied, “the opposite of that is that everybody should have an abortion. The middle ground is that everybody should decide for themselves. You cannot point to a program where I have said everybody should get an abortion. We don’t support that.”

This is like arguing that favoring the death penalty would put you in the middle position in the debate about capital punishment. If you are against the death penalty then you think that nobody should be executed. The opposite of that is that everybody should be executed."

"Penn is the kind of place where, in 1989, an undergraduate on the university’s planning committee for diversity education wrote a memo to her colleagues in which she mentioned “my deep regard for the individual and my desire to protect the freedom of all members of society.” An administrator underlined the word “individual” in the memo and wrote back: “This is a RED FLAG phrase today, which is considered by many to be RACIST. Arguments that champion the individual over the group ultimately privileges [sic] the 'individuals' belonging to the largest or dominant group.”"

... I was handed a flyer calling on the members of a [hall to wear jeans to show their support for gay civil rights].

Given that about 80 percent of college students these days wear every day of the year, I wasn’t sure how the supporters of gay civil rights would be distinguished from others who were simply wearing their usual jeans. Were those who did not wear jeans showing themselves to be the enemies of gay civil rights, or were their jeans simply at the laundry? Would they be excoriated? Would they feel pressured to wear jeans on that day so as to avoid embarrassment or conflict? Never mind...

It is worth pointing out that one year during Gay Jeans Day a few protesters stood near the gay and lesbian activists and held out a placard declaring HETEROSEXUAL FOOTWEAR DAY—WEAR SHOES IF YOU ARE A HETEROSEXUAL and DON’T BEND FOR A FRIEND. This was officially branded an “incident of harassment” by the Penn administration and was put on the list of such incidents to be read at freshman orientation. In short, it is fine to pressure students into showing their support for gay rights but it is harassment to parody the effort...

In 1992, several campus organizations, including the Student Health Office, sponsored something called "Eroticizing Safer Sex Worhshops" as part of HIV/AIDS Awareness Week at Penn (there are so many weeks devoted to awareness at Penn, it’s a wonder anybody has time to learn anything of an academic nature)."

"“Students today,” said Glenn Loury, an economist at Boston University, “can take over the university by much more subtle means than picking up weapons. Rather than controlling people’s bodies with guns, they control their minds with... politically correct epithets. It’s much more satisfying to be able to claim that anything your opponent is saying is racist and actually hound them off campus, than it is to take guns and threaten to kill people. It’s a much greater exercise of Power.”"

"Resident-life training at Cornell, like so much of multiculturalism in practice, proclaims the richness of difference when difference is a matter of race, sex, and sexual preference, but suppresses difference of opinion...

Once during the “Issues of Oppression” workshop, a fellow trainee (she happened to be black) asserted, as Tim remembered it, that white men have life handed to them on a “silver platter.” They just "slide down the glistening sidewalk of life," she said. Tim responded to this. He did not mean to downplay the disadvantages of people of color, he said, but he came from a rural part of Pennsylviania where many white people lived lives of dire poverty, so it did not seem to him that all whites automatically have lives of great privilege and ease.

"I was screamed at so severely by the other RAs and RHDs [resident hall directors] for espousing such 'racist' views that I almost quit on the spot," Tim said. Later that same day, he attended a small-group session with other trainees where he was required to explain why he had made his offensive comment... [One trainee said of New York City's St. Patrick's Day Parade organisers], "They're just a bunch of drunken Irish anyway." Tim is of Irish descent. Another student said that white males had no culture.

"The double standard is so blatant," Tim said. "If an 'oppressed person' says something offensive to somebody in a privileged group it's just a reflection of his plight. But if I say something that is construed to be offensive, I have to explain myself. And naturally if I'd said something like 'Blacks are just a bunch of stupid watermelon eaters' (not that I would want to say anything like that), I would definitely have been fired." [An anecdote follows about how RA trainees were not allowed to go to religious service but were forced to watch XXX gay and lesbian porn and were monitored for facial expressions indicating 'homophobia']"

"And even if students find the world described to them strange and irrelevant, even if they repudiate the view of the world presented to them as the sole correct view from their very first day, the terms of the debate have been set, the language has been imposed, and, as the bearers of the new consciousness never tire of saying—and in this they are correct—to control the language is to hold power."

"The collective moral of the stories that follow [is] not to demonstrate that political correct is is a worse problem than discrimination or prejudice, but to show the movement of liberal minds that led the fight against those evils is in danger of being captured by the very forces of intolerance of difference and narrow-mindedness that were once the preserve of the racist and sexist right."

"[At] the universities, where the derogatory term “dead white European males” emerged as a way of denigrating the geniuses of Western literature and philosophy. The works of the DWEMs were going to be balanced by what Stanford University called “works by women, minorities, and people of color.”

The “dead white males” concept reached a conceptual apogee at Georgetown University, where the faculty decided to give a new literature course, English 112, the name White Male Writers. The justification, according to Valerie Babb, the assistant professor of English who originated the course, and providing a good illustration of wishful thinking that passes for scholarly analysis. these days, was: "This is just one small group within a large body of literature, so let’s title it that. Just as we say Native American writers, just as we say black women writers, these are white male writers.”

Certainly the “canon” of great works needed to be redefined, even if it is difficult to see the white-male contribution to literature as the products of “just one small group.” How many eighteen-year those days are really going to be turned on to the pleasures of thought by reading Saint Thomas Aquinas? Still, there were many things that were objectionable in the formulation “dead white European male,” not least of all the erroneous impression that the seminal figures of Western thought were, somehow, conservatives. In fact they were the very figures of courage and rebellion against the received ideas who laid the groundwork for the demand for the inclusion of the Other that is so central to multicultural thinking.

A second fault was that the DWEMs were pictured in the same way as those famous stone megaliths of Easter Island staring out to sea—as Jacob Bronowski pointed out, what is impressive about them is not that they are big or that they must have been very difficult transport to their particular positions, but that they are all the same. The third was the idea related to the attack on the DWEMs, which is that the curriculum needs an affirmative action component, too, with choices of “great” books made not regardless of the race or sex of the author but because of them.

These last two elements need each other. The idea that the creators of the canon were all pretty much the same, or that they shared the essential characteristic of their white maleness, was necessary for the idea that followed, namely that reading lists had to be ethnically, racially, and sexually representative, rather than based merely on pure brilliance. It’s a good thing that basketball teams are not governed by the same criteria.

The point is that “white male” becomes synonymous with the hunger for power, with imperialism, with ruthless capitalist exploitation, while all others belong to the camp of the meek and the beautiful. The white male is the symbol of inclusion, while all others are, by definition, seeking to be included against white-male resistance... Some white males have had it easy; they were practically born into their privileged positions. Others, many others, are just emerging from centuries of penury and discrimination themselves."

"At Columbia University in 1992, the comfortingly named Committee on Race, Religion, and Ethnicity, a group whose goal is to promote understanding and tolerance among the races, sponsored a workshop entitled “White Culture and White Identity.” The suggestion that there is some definable white culture and white identity is probably defensible, even if the separate identities of white are so diverse as to make very dubious any attempt to associate personal qualities with whiteness. That did not stop the group at Columbia from agreeing with Baker by attributing a number of ignoble habits of mind to white people, who are prone

• to have negative stereotypes about others
• to take a Paternalistic/patronizing attitude toward the targets of racism
• to secure what we can do for ourselves without concern for others who may have less than we do
• to blame the victims of racism/people of color for the realities of their lives

In other words, white people are selfish, uncaring, egotistical, paternalistic/patronizing, and inconsiderate. Well, no doubt some are."

"At the University of Wisconsin in 1992 a faculty investigation on salary discrepancies, commissioned by Donna Shalala, later to be secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton administration, found that men were paid roughly 1.6 percent more than women doing the same jobs and showing the same merit. An unintended consequence of the study, however, was to show salary differentials by race and by age as well. It turned out that the gap between whites and blacks was higher than that between men and women, with blacks earning 2.9 percent more than whites. And while men were ahead of women in absolute amounts, the amount of the merit increases going to women in recent years was 3 percent higher than the amount for men...

[Women are less represented in full professorships than men because in 1970 13% of PhDs went to women and it takes 20 years to become a full professor]... astonishingly rapid. Women faculty in the humanities went from a total of 10,800 in 1977 to 20,800 in 1989. While 10,000 more women joined the university teaching ranks in that twelve-year period, then umber of men went up by 7,800, suggesting that if there is discrimination at all, it is probably against males."

"What [PJ Corso] calls “one of the worst sexist violations in print” is "a Look photo essay explaining how the ocean liner Titanic was ‘steaming through the North Atlantic when an iceberg slashed a 300-foot gash in her starboard side.’" This is “one of the worst,” Corso explains, because by “assigning a gender” to the ship, “the journalist about the Titanic has recreated an act of violence against a female, not a luxury liner.”


Et Tu, Beethoven?
Beethoven’s symphonies add two other dimensions to the history of style: assaultive pelvic pounding... and sexual violence. The point of recapitulation in the first movement of the Ninth is one of the most horrifying moments in music, as the carefully prepared cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the throttling, murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.

— Susan McClary, Getting Down Off the Beanstalk: The Presence of a Woman’s Voice in Janika Vandervelde’s Genesis II"

--- Dictatorship of virtue : how the battle over multiculturalism is reshaping our schools, our country, and our lives / Richard Bernstein (1995)

Friday, November 09, 2007

"In some cases, consumption of fruits from plants damaged by radiation frost is said to cause the loss of sexual potential in both humans and herbivore species."

Uhh ok. So we shouldn't eat iScream Yoghurt.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dictatorship of virtue : how the battle over multiculturalism is reshaping our schools, our country, and our lives

"The petty economies of the rich are just as amazing as the silly extravagances of the poor." - William Feather


"The paradox is that the power of culture is utterly contrary to the most fervently held beliefs and values of the advocates of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is a movement of the left, emerging from the counterculture of the 1960s. But culture is powerfully conservative. Culture is what enforces obedience to authority, the authority of parents, of history, of custom, of superstition. Deep attachment to culture is one of the things that prevents different people from understanding one another. It is what pushes groups into compliance with practices that can be good or bad, depending on one’s point of view...

The point is that while multiculturalism is in some instances what it sounds like it should be, a fuller realization of American pluralism, it is for the most part a code word for something that, again, is not multi, or cultural, or even an ism. It Is a code word for a political ambition, a yearning for more power, combined with a genuine, earnest, zealous, self-righteous craving for social improvement that is characteristic of the mentality of the post-1960s era in American life. The 1960s were the rebellion years. A new consciousness emerged, involving irreverence for standard beliefs and a sudden illumination of how our traditions were not the results of some irrefutable logic but rather servants of the holders of power, how our unexamined habits of mind perpetuated an unjust status quo. Out of the burning wish for betterment grew what has now become a kind of bureaucracy of the good, fighting battles that have already been won, demanding ever greater commitments of virtue from a recalcitrant population. This bureaucracy, made up of people who, like Rohespierre, are convinced that they are waging the good fight on behalf of virtue, is the instrument of ideological multiculturalism whose effectiveness lies precisely in its ability to appear to be the opposite of what it actually is. It is an ardently advocated, veritably messianic political program, and, like most political programs that have succumbed to the utopian temptation, it does not take kindly to true difference.

Multiculturalism, in short, cannot be taken at face value, and that is what makes it so tricky. Nobody wants to appear to be against multiculturalism. Hence, the irresistible temptation of the post 1960s, radical-left inhabitants of a political dreamland to use the term "multiculturalism" as a defense against exposure or criticism and to bring into service a vocabulary to which multiculturalism has an almost salacious attraction, words like “racist,” “sexist,” “homophobic.” To put matters bluntly: the multiculturalist rhetoric has the rest of us on the run, unable to respond for fear of being branded unicultural, or racist, or (to get into the trendy academic lingo) complicit in the structures of hegemony imposed by the Eurocentric patriarchy and its strategies of domination.

In such a way does multiculturalism limit discussion; it makes people afraid to say what they think and feel; it presents dubious and cranky interpretations and analyses as self-evident, indisputable truths. It often operates, not through the usual means of civil discourse and persuasion, but via intimidation and intellectual decree. It rewrites history. It sanctions a cultivation of aggrievement, a constant claim of victimization, an excessive, fussy, self-pitying sort of wariness that induces others to spout pieties. And that, in turn, covers the public discussion of crucial issues with a layer of fear, so that we can no longer speak forthrightly and honestly about such matters as crime, race, poverty, AIDS, the failure of schools, single-parenthood, affirmative action, racial preferences, welfare, college admissions, merit, the breakup of the family, and the disintegration of urban life.

Multiculturalism, in short, has reached the point of dérapage. It is a universe of ambitious good intentions that has veered off the high road of respect for difference and plunged into a foggy chasm of dogmatic assertions, wishful thinking, and pseudoscientific pro nouncements about race and sex, At its worst, it is what my title suggests. It draws on the old Puritan notion of America as the city on the hill, a new moral universe, to impose a certain vision of rectitude. And, in this, the idealistic and good-hearted movement of inclusion and greater justice veers toward a dictatorship of virtue...

My own belief is that the multiculturalist rhetoric has the effect of defining down many other forms of bad behavior. Teenage pregnancy is transformed from a cause of shame into one of many “diverse forms of the family.” Violence in schools is not an offense but the teachers’ ignorance of the “cultures” of a “diverse student population.” Their pupils fail to learn, not because they do not study hard enough but because they have “different ways of knowing” or because they do not see themselves “reflected” in the curriculum. Anti-male, anti-white, and anti-Semitic bigotry at institutions of higher learning is coddled in the belief that it is the natural expression of the rage of the culturally dispossessed...

The plain and inescapable fact is that the derived Western European culture of American life produced the highest degree of prosperity in the conditions of the greatest freedom ever known on planet Earth. The rich and the advantaged of our society will survive even are taught to believe something different. But to teach the poor and the the disadvantaged that they can ignore the standards and modes behavior that have always made for success in American life is more than mere silliness. It is a lie."

[On the Philadelphia Inquirer pointing out that was a lot of black children, mostly born to single mothers] "“No one should be compelled to use Norplant,” the editorial said, also pointing out that the device can be taken out at any time if a woman who uses it decides she wants to have a baby. Meanwhile, the paper asked, addressing here one of the pressing social problems of our time, “What if welfare mothers were offered an increased benefit for agreeing to use this new, safe, long-term contraception?”

“All right, the subject makes us uncomfortable, too,” the editorial concluded. “But we’re made even more uncomfortable by the impoverishment of black America and its effect on the nation’s future. Think about it.”

The editorial caused an eruption of anger, not especially among readers of the Inquirer, who did not seem to take umbrage in significant numbers, but among the staff. Black reporters circulated a petition calling for the dismissal of David Boldt, the editor of the editorial page. The newspaper published a letter by one of its own reporters, Vanessa Williams, president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, assailing the editorial’s suggestion as a “tacit endorsement of slow genocide.”...

King, who presided at the meetings, told me that something bothered him about the confrontations, unprecedented at the Inquirer. It was not so much the charges of racism and white-male bias directed against Kimelman and Boldt, which, while certainly untrue, needed to be answered, King said. What disturbed him was something else.

"There were times when the tone and texture of the meetings became so combative that it felt to me that there was something potentially destructive there,” he said. Specifically, there were the calls for the resignations of Boldt and Kimelman. “What was in the air that somehow the answer would be to silence these people,” King said. “That bothered me.” The healthy aspect of the incident, he said, which was the candid exchange of views and the resulting greater awareness of differing racial perspectives, mingled “with some unhealthy aspects to it,” namely what King called “intellectual intimidation”... An important discussion of inner-city poverty had, in effect, been deformed into a separate and in this case largely irrelevant argument about racial sensitivity, an examination of the thought of those who were making the arguments. The need to be sensitive had, it seemed, taken priority over the need to discuss our social problems freely and openly."

"In one case Sulton handled a lawsuit on behalf of Cheryl Robinson, a black woman who lost her five children in a fire at home. “The police chief made statements to the press saying that they thought she wasn't home at the time of the fire, the implication being that she therefore responsible for the death of her children,” Sulton said. The policeman's claim prompted demonstrations led by local black clergymen against what was called “gross insensitivity.” In addition, said Sulton, “We filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that they had defamed her and caused injury. The case was settled about three or weeks before trial, and the police agreed to pay six thousand dollars in costs, to change the training procedures for police and fire officers, to redouble affirmative action efforts, to hire more people of color, to change the citizen complaint process, and to issue a public apology to my client.” All this was done because of one allegedly insensitive remark by a police officer...

In what way was the police chief's statement discriminatory? “We alleged that if Cheryl Robinson had been a rich white woman he would never have made those statements to the press,” Sulton said.

She did not refer to numerous newspaper reports appearing at the time in which Robinson’s whereabouts in the period before the fire were hotly contested. There were some who said she was at home when the fire broke out and left to seek help. But the local Capital Times newspaper reported on police-radio recordings that indicated Robinson could not be found until an hour or so after the alarm on the early morning fire was sounded and that a witness told police he saw her at a local cafe at midnight, two hours before the fire...

Even the United States Navy has adopted the sensitivity-training route. In 1992, five career officers were demoted after a party at which Congresswoman Pat Schroeder was cruelly parodied, even though then President Bush and Vice-president Quayle were also the objects of satire at the same party. The lesson here was that a sensitivity seen as obligatory for women like Schroeder is not so obligatory when it comes to a man, even if the man is the commander in chief."

"Diversity training is the corporatist counterpart to that obsession in university education summed up by the boilerplate phrase “race, class, and gender,” whereby, for example, the study of literature is deprived of such considerations as the struggle for meaning, or character as tragedy, or mystery and ambiguity, and instead is cogitated over endlessly by literary 'theorists' demonstrating through 'texts' how attitudes toward race and sex are 'socially constructed'.

To be sure, no reeducation-camp atmosphere reigns in the mild diversity-training program of a David Tulin, who, as I have said, is an entirely reasonable man. Still, the underlying ideology that emerges, oh so gently, from a Tulin workshop incriminates whites, portraying them as the bearers of the chief defects of thought, while exculpating others from corresponding defects. It reifies (to use a popular New Age academic term) victim status. It erodes individualism, in that it presents people primarily as products of their racial and sexual identity, rather than as free, self-fashioning members of a democratic society who assume responsibility for themselves."

"In fact, for me at any rate, the biggest objection to diversity training is not even its content, but the fact that it exists at all, adding yet another coating of mandatory sanctimony to a society that alread has trouble talking about things frankly and honestly. It is, quite simply, an attack on freedom and autonomy for people to be pressured, or required, to attend chapel and told what it is proper think, to feel, and to believe. The whole point of the liberal revolutiut that gave rise to the 1960s was to free us from somebody else’s dogmas but now the very same people who fought for personal liberation a generation ago are striving to impose on others a secularized religion involving a set of values and codes that they believe in, disguising behind innocuous labels like “diversity training” and “respect for difference.”"

[On the American Historical Association] "When I studied China in graduate school, I had before me a subject far removed from me personally. At the AHA now everybody seemed to be studying what was closest to themselves, a fact that provided an early clue to the true nature of multiculturalism - it is not an interest in the other so much as an insistence that the other be interested in me. The organization was subdivided into a host of special interests. There was the women’s interest section, the African-American section, the gay and lesbian section, the Marxist history section, and various others. Gone were what I thought of as the Grand Themes, the declines and falls of empires, the waxing and waning of civilizations, the struggles of competing armies, the achievements of Great Men and Women. The panels had titles like "Women’s Definitions of Love Throughout Western History,", "Sex, Gender and the Constitution,” “Black Women in the Work Force,” “Sodomy and Pederasty Among 19th-Century Seafarers.”

Again, there was much in this that enlarged the mind, and much that seemed a cloying, guilt-ridden effort to make group affiliation the ultimate principle, race and sex the prisms through which the data from the past would be filtered. There should be no nostalgia for the good old days of the AHA, which, up to the mid-1960s or so, truly was a male and WASP club. But what the 1987 AHA meeting showed was that each group now had created its own closed club in which the advancement of its political program replaced even the ideal of disinterestedness.

The panels took place in an atmosphere of in-group complicity rather than scholarly debate. The unvarying underlying themes were the repressiveness inherent in American life and the sufferings of the groups claiming to be victims of that repressiveness. We lived in a vale of tears. The history of the United States was the history of suffering for all but the white establishment. For many historians, history had become advocacy, and this was justified because, they said, it had always been that way. The only difference was that in the past, white males, the patriarchy, the “heterosexy,” had used their control of history to ensure their domination, espousing the ideal disinterestedness to make their power seem to derive from a human universal. My own feeling was that the old white-male club, whid was, after all, dominated by a group known as the progressive historians, who furthered the liberal ideal, was more open to challenge and to dissent than the various splinter groups that seen to dominate the proceedings today."

"The New York Times in June 1991 carried an op-ed piece by a high school junior named David Reich who had just taken the Scholastic Aptitude Test. His article, checked by the Times with the Educational Testing Service, which produces the SAT, noted the disproportionate number of questions that referred to blacks, other minority group members, and women, as though the ETS, guilty of having “silenced” these voices for so long, was now silencing others, giving the previously excluded so much of a compensatory presence that a new imbalance had been created. Albert Einstein and Saul Bellow were absent from the test, but Richard Wright, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, Jackie Robinson, Maya Angelou, August Wilson, Ralph Ellison, and Zora Neale Hurston were present.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, helped by the film by Spike Lee, Malcolm X came to compete with Martin Luther King Jr., as the most important iconographic black figure, the chief African-American place of memory. Malcolm, who spent his life in a group very marginal to black American life, the Nation of Islam of Elijah Muhammed, and who for years contended that the solution to the race problem was for the American government to pay for the transportation of blacks back to Africa, emerged as a transcendent figure whose “X” suddenly became the most fashionable image on the streets of black neighborhoods, in schools and on university campuses. The contrast between King and Malcom is striking. For most of their lives (indeed, until just shortly before Malcolm was assassinated by members of the Nation, with which he had broken), Malcolm and King represented the two poles of black political opinion. King, who refused to appear on the same platform as Malcolm X, stood for interracial brotherhood, integration, and pacifism. Malcolm X represented racial separation, antagonism toward whites, and the threat of violence as the means to obtain racial justice.

Columbus and Malcolm X are telling images of the move from pluralism to multiculturalism. The spirit of the age has made one the personification of the White Oppressor and the other the Oppressed Person of Color; one has become discredited, Eurocentric uniculturalism, the other a validation of the rebellion against prevailing norms. In both instances, historical truth has given way to political and cultural need, involving an antimyth about one and a myth about the other. One is the occasion for the jettisoning of a place of memory; the other the occasion for the creation of one.

In the case of Malcolm X, the iniquities of white society are exaggerated, and so are Malcolm’s virtues. Lee’s movie, for example, shows Malcom's father’s house being burned down by the Ku Klux Klan. The historical evidence is that Malcolm’s father burned the house down himself in order to collect the insurance.

In the case of Columbus, the motives of the new iconography are reversed: Columbus's iniquity is exaggerated; his virtues disappear. In the case of Malcolm X there was almost no journalistic zeal to the truth about the man; there was an unspoken agreement in the press to allow the new myth to go unchallenged. In the case of Columbus, there was a similar acquiesence as the antimyth took hold and became the new historical truth...

Genocide and slavery was the real legacy of Columbus,” wrote Manning Marble, a professor of political science and history at the University of Colorado. It is certainly true that the decimation of the Indian population and slavery were part of the Columbian legacy. That fact has not been disputed, even by Columbus’s admirers, like Morison. My argument is not that there were no evil consequences to the Columbian arrival, but that between 1892 and 1992 the country swung from a mood that was not critical enough to one that was so critical that another part of the Columbian legacy seems to have been almost forgotten: the eventual building of the biggest and most propserous democracy in world history...

These elements in the picture are and should be invoked by historians and in school curricula. History is often a tragic process. It has countless times involved cruel fates for some, corresponding to the triumphs of others. What was unacknowledged during the collective breast-beating of the quincentennial was that Indian history, too, before the arrival of the white man, was replete with warfare and slaughter, scalp taking and torture. The Taino, who occupied the Caribbean islands that Columbus landed on in 1492, were at the time already under attack from the Carib peoples, who were cannibalistic. The Aztecs had just completed the consolidation of their empire via conquest, plunder tribute and large human sacrifice.

The point is that the eradication of the Columbian place of memory seems to have been motivated by a moralistic need to portray the Europeans, not as one cruel, blood-lusting people among others, but as the embodiment of a special iniquity, that iniquity continuing to stain the American identity. It is in this sense typical that the historian and environmentalist Kirkpatrick Sale entitled his influential and critically acclaimed biography of Columbus, which appeared in 1990, Conquest of Paradise. Pre-Columbian America, he said in an interview with the Washington Post, was a place where “singing, dancing, laughing and sex” were the “regular components.” Europe, he said in a television interview, was “a miserable, unhappy, unsettled place.” The Indians he continued, were “people who lived in as happy a state as we can imagine with as much abundance and fertility as we can imagine,” while we ourselves descend from a “desperately sick and inwardly miserable society” that was then and is still today “founded on a set of ideas that are fundamentally pernicious, and they have to do with rationalism and humanism and materialism and science and progress.”

There seems to be a good deal of guilt, something akin to self-flagellation in statements like these and many others made around the same time, such as that of Yale professor emeritus Benjamin Keen. He said that the Columbian era “brought about the greatest genocide in the history of the world.” history of the world.” The Amsterdam News, a black newspaper in New York, published a kind of FBI poster for “Columbus the Thug.” “Wanted,” it said, “Christopher Columbus for Genocide, Exploitation, Theft and Slavery.” It was as though the country, rather than celebrate a foundational myth in 1992, decided instead to seek absolution, the yearning for absolution, ironically, being part of the very Western heritage held responsible for the sinful acts for which absolution was being sought. It is as if the questioning and self-doubt, the belief in an inherent moral flaw in ourselves that emerged in the 1960s in America, particularly during the Vietnam War, were being led backward in time, and the causes of that moral flaw were found in the very first minutes of European-American history. The Taino, the Aztecs, the Incas, are analogous in this respect to the Vietnamese, the Laotians, the Cambodians. In our current retrospective look, Columbus becomes the combined Lyndon Johnson and William Westmoreland of the fifteenth century."

"This obsession with the themes of cultural domination and oppression justifies one of the most important departures from the principal and essential goal of the civil rights movement, equality of opportunity. Multiculturalism insists on equality of results. “I dream of a day when my four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., crystallizing in one sentence the essential ideal of liberalism. The multiculturalist phrase, by contrast, is: “Judge me by the color of my skin for therein lies my identity and my place in the world.”"

--- Dictatorship of virtue : how the battle over multiculturalism is reshaping our schools, our country, and our lives / Richard Bernstein (1995)

This book is a little dated (luckily because a lot of the madness described has ebbed), but many parts of it are still good, and some bits can apply to other PC agendas and/or other types of identity politics.

At first I was worried this was going to be a right-wing rant, but his documentation is meticulous, he is very balanced and doesn't start bashing phantoms shrilly (though he doesn't make explicit the fact that PC madness [luckily] overtook only some parts of the country, and luckily not all).

"Opportunities and Risks: South Africa's Electricity Industry 2007- 2009
Country Risk South Africa - 3/30/2007

$2,1500.00 (Online Download)"


I bet this is on P2P networks already. Hah.

Jeffrey: Danae... Jenny says I'm her boyfriend now.
Danae: No you're not, Jeffrey.
Jeffrey: Oh... So I'm still your boyfriend.
Danae: You were never my boyfriend.
Jeffrey: So then why can't Jenny be my girlfriend?
Danae: 'Cuz I don't want her to get her way.
Jeffrey: Oh... So you do want me to be your boyfriend!
Danae: In your dreams.
Jeffrey: *boggle* I think my brain just pulled a hamstring.
Danae: That's called the feminine mystique.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you've lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn't belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don't care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve." Tom Morello (Rage against the machine) Guitar Magazine (interview) (1997)

You also have the freedom to ignore the Law of Gravity, but then you'll have the freedom to plummet to your doom.
"The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it." - Bill Nye


Frigid Girl: hurhur i had a proj member who used menstrual cramps as an excuse on fri
come on this isnt JC PE anymore
and it baffles me how she can tell this to a proj work grp full of guys

[Ed: Someone added on that in HCJC they keep track of the times you use that excuse to skip swimming lessons, so you can use it at most twice a month.]

Me: hahahahahahaahha

precisely what
they don't know

guys always give girls more slack
and if they argue you can call them sexist

Frigid Girl: there're more bimbos in NM than any other major
maybe soci has, but i haven't seen many
media = they think it's something they wing with if they look pretty enough?

Someone: gabriel
i still thnk u are the shen in econometrics

no matter what ur grades are
or how long ur hair is
or whether u are a virgin or not

u are still my idol in econometrics

Someone else: really distracted the past week
chatterbox doesn't help

no, i'm lying
i chiong home everyday to play WoW -

Me: not that game with the dark elves with big breasts ah

Someone else: oh no
they made me giddy, so i switched games

i'm looking at human breasts now

Me: oh what made you giddy
the breasts?


Someone else: oh yes
the swells made me seasick when they moved

Someone: fyp thesis, i realise its not the quality
its e quantity of bullshit (for engin side)

Frigid Girl: to be capable of reading women, you have to be really sensitive ie paranoid

prepare for everything
at least read wrongly in the right direction
when you haven't offended her, assume you hvae

*** does this
and that's why he had 5 girls after him in 3 months

Me: why is the ID post called "she's pretty"

Johnny Malkavian: not very smart lor

Me: women tend not to be very smart

Johnny Malkavian: actually,
i think women tend to be smarter

it's just we're smarter than most men, which is why women seem relatively stupider

Me: haha

but [I] find men relatively smarter than women

Johnny Malkavian: if that's true, we won't find that most women have their men wrapped around their little finger

Me: hahahahahahahahaahahah
true, there is that

I shall requote nietzsche

"Two different things wanteth the true man: danger and diversion. Therefore wanteth he woman, as the most dangerous plaything."

Someone: well the key to a relationship is emotional manipulation
u have got to work within dominant paradigm

Monday, November 05, 2007

"Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind." - Marston Bates


IVLE Announcement:


1. A reminder that the exciting grp project presentions begin tomorrow (Tuesday). Your presence is required on all *** day slots in these last two weeks for peer review and your education.

2. optional suggested video fo the week : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjnvSQuv-H4 [Ed: Bobby Mcferrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy]

3. optional suggested readings:
a) http://www.wikihow.com/Be-Happy [Ed: How to Be Happy - wikiHow]

b) http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Top-10-Steps-to-DeStress&id=6506 [Ed: The Top 10 Steps to DeStress]

have fun,


"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it." - Abbie Hoffman



Quote me! Quote me! I want to be quoted on your blog.

I think the standard of living here is higher than in the UK.

[On answering questions] You cracked your hands. You go.

[Me: I think what she's trying to say is: were you brought in because you were white or were you brought in because you were good?] [Other student:] That is what I was trying to say, except that I didn't put it in such black and white terms.

[On post-colonialism] There's a special deference... How do you guys relate to the British in India? [Student: Bad.]

[Illustrating reflexive unreflexivity] We have a guest lecturer... She's always arguing with the British. 'I'm a developing world academic. I don't need you.' It's incredibly empowering.

[On white bashing in India] The government, when they feel like their policies are not succeeding - they use colonialism to gain support. I don't think they use it for anything else.

[On revolutionaries' education] One of the ironies of the post-colonial discussions is that in many ways the people leading the charge are very deeply implicated in these colonial institutions.

When I visit my friend in a condo, I do my white man gait and I go in. None of you guys can do that... I never get stopped. Do you guys get stopped? [Student: I get stopped in my own condo.] That's very tragic. I've never been stopped anywhere in Singapore.

[On 'neo-colonialism'] The SIA A380... They feature 2 elderly Caucasians. [Me: That's because only they have the money.] [Student 2: They don't want to promote promiscuous activities] So you're saying older people cannot-

I talk to my African friends... They get very different sorts of pressure. Not many Africans like it here... He's driving... The officers stop him... 'Officer, what's the problem?' 'Nothing. We just don't see a lot of black guys here.'... This was in Singapore.

[On worshipping whites by association] American cultural products are all over the world... Channel 8 is not much to worship. [Student 2: You'll be surprised.]

'Speak Good English'. Grammatically it's correct but stylistically it's a horrible sentence.

[On giving out surveys] I don't have enough. [Student 2: It's alright.]

[On white-bashing in India] There's this Prince of Wales Museum. They changed it to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was this guy who killed a lot of British.

[On exchange students not mixing with Singaporeans] They say that we are in our bubble... They were surprised when I went up to them to talk to get karma for my exchange later.

[On the Bubble in Singapore] I don't know where the American School is. Where do you hide it? How do you hide 10,000 Americans in Singapore?

[Student: He didn't say much about being American, except about Baseball.] Did he ask you to call him 'coach'? [Student: Yeah.] That's really weird... He talks about himself in [The] 3rd Person. 'Coach has a ball game, he's gotta go.'

China has lots of chip labour (cheap)

[On the US-China dispute] Everybody: taxi drivers, even my mother, was trying to be an expert in economics

economics issue (economic)

The presentation is going to be so good, we're not even going to ask you not to sleep.

Technical errors is bound to happen, otherwise it's not IT (are)

teet for tat (tit)

offshore tax heavens (havens)

[On double counting of value added and trade figures] Is China benefiting as much as it is? (seems to be)

China has a try'ving counterfit industry (thriving counterfeit)

[On the free will defence and murderers] Why don't the police do that, or why don't you do that? If you see the guy stalking the victim, would you say 'I wanna respect his freedom'?

[On the free will defence and miracles] Suppose this guy is dying of lung cancer because of a history of smoking. The guy and all his friends gather round to pray. And lets say God heals the person. This limits the impact of free choices.

[On apologetic disingenuousness] It just strikes me that Boyd is trying to fit his data to the curve he wants.

Unless you point to his troubled childhood, to look at what made him want to be an assassin.

[On my slapping someone's butt with my file:] Sue him. [Slapped student: He's so asexual it hardly matters.] Money's matters. (money)

What are some of the dangers of using a cheap pair of sunglasses? People will know. [Student: What the fuck.]

It's a miracle. So quiet. [Student 2: Yah, Friday afternoon.] [Me: So why did you spoil the silence?]

***? [Student: I did next week's one {exercise}] Okay. So I'll remember to call you next week.
"Everybody hates me because I'm so universally liked." - Peter de Vries


American lawbreaking: How laws die - "The importance of understanding why and when we will tolerate lawbreaking cannot be overstated. Lawyers and journalists spend most of their time watching the president, Congress, and the courts as they make law. But tolerance of lawbreaking constitutes one of the nation's other major—yet most poorly understood—ways of creating social and legal policy. Almost as much as the laws that we enact, the lawbreaking to which we shut our eyes reflects how tolerant U.S. society really is to individual or group difference. It forms a major part of our understanding of how the nation deals with what was once called "vice." While messy, strange, hypocritical, and in a sense dishonest, widespread tolerance of lawbreaking forms a critical part of the U.S. legal system as it functions."

Museum drops race row scientist - "The Science Museum has cancelled a talk by American DNA pioneer Dr James Watson after he claimed black people were less intelligent than white people"
200 years ago they'd have dropped you if you claimed black people were as intelligent as white people.

2 Scholarly Articles Diverge On Role of Race in Medicine - "A view widespread among many social scientists, endorsed in official statements by the American Sociological Association and the American Anthropological Association, is that race is not a valid biological concept. But biologists, particularly the population geneticists who study genetic variation, have found that there is a structure in the human population. The structure is a family tree showing separate branches for Africans, Caucasians (Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent), East Asians, Pacific Islanders and American Indians... Dr. Risch and nine co-authors say that ignoring race will "retard progress in biomedical research.""

Fearing Crime, Japanese Wear the Hiding Place - "Deftly, Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large sheet of cloth printed in bright red with a soft drink logo partly visible. By holding the sheet open and stepping to the side of the road, she showed how a woman walking alone could elude pursuers — by disguising herself as a vending machine."
Damn Japs.

Optimism 'no bearing on cancer' - "The power of the mind has been overestimated when it comes to fighting cancer, US scientists say. They said they found that a patient's positive or negative emotional state had no direct bearing on cancer survival or disease progression."

Naked sleepwalking? - "In June 2005, a London 15-year-old left her home near a building site, climbed an overhead crane and walked across a narrow beam while remaining fast asleep. In 2004, a woman in Australia was found to be having sex while sleepwalking. At night while asleep, the middle-aged sleepwalker left her house and had sexual intercourse with strangers. The behaviour continued for several months and the woman had no memory of her nocturnal activities. In 1987, a Canadian man was acquitted of murder because he was sleepwalking at the time. He drove 23 kilometres from his home in Pickering, Ontario, to his in-laws house, where he strangled his father-in-law unconscious, and stabbed his mother-in-law to death."

Speedy Gonzales Caged by Cartoon Network - "The rapid rodent has been deemed an offensive ethnic stereotype of Mexicans, and has been off the air since the cable network became the sole U.S. broadcaster of old Warner Brothers cartoons in late 1999. But that has animated fans of the spunky character who want Speedy cartoon shorts — and the famous "Arriba! Arriba! Arriba!" cry — back on the airwaves... And where do you draw the line with a medium that, by its nature, relies on caricature for humor, Mukhtar asked. "What about Pepe LePew? His chasing of unwilling females surely sends the message to children that's it's OK to stalk and attack them if they resist," he wrote in an e-mail. "Plus, because he's French, does this mean that all Frenchmen are sexual predators?"... there is a place where Speedy can still be found zipping across TV screens — and, presumably, where the crude stereotypes he embodies don't touch a cultural nerve. That place: The Cartoon Network Latin America, where, ironically enough, Speedy Gonzales is "hugely popular," Goldberg said."
Seems he's back now, yay; I'm sure there's a PC theory about false consciousness to explain why Latin Americans love him.
"Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you're a consultant." - Scott Adams


Someone asked me where all the Muslims ate on Hari Raya if all the Muslim food stalls were closed.

Singaporean identity is defined regardless of race, language or religion. Thai identity is based on precisely these 3 things. Maybe this is why we've been pissing them off lately.

For some reason, poor people's doorbells mostly don't work. Maybe they don't install new batteries.

When a member of a subaltern (oppressed) group says he's discriminated against, he's right. When a member of a subaltern group blames himself, he's internalised the dominant paradigm.

Khad's Kebab, Pizza and Spaghetti was at a school bazaar. It was recommended by Makansutra (03/04), Selamat Pagi Singapura and Gila Makan. I had my doubts but tried it. Sure enough, it was worse than any Kebab I'd tasted outside of Singapore (which probably explains why the Makansutra endorsement is 3 years old). We need to bring in some Turks to make proper kebabs (though actually, Germans would be better).

They used to kill and stuff cats (with the fur still on them) in Bugis to eat.

"We all approve of what the government does." - Some Bugis residents on redevelopment

There's an underground mosque at Boat Quay.

Some foreigners, mostly here for conferences, walking about in Boat Quay were asked what they enjoyed the most about the place and the overwhelming response was "the people". I thought that they were thinking of the SPGs but sadly (for my hypothesis) most of them were there with female companions from their homelands.

If you want to interview people you should be a girl, since that makes the potential interviewees more likely to talk to you - everyone likes women.

An exchange student when he'd been in Singapore for about 2 months:

"This is me with my FIRST broken phone. And... it happened again. I've never broken a phone in my life... until Singapore, where it's happened twice."

I was wondering why my friends' phones kept being lost or broken. So it's not them - it's Singapore!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original and the part that is original is not good." - Samuel Johnson, (attributed)


Bloomberg: Sexual Frustration Will Hurt Asia's Economies: William Pesek

''The Geopolitics of Sexual Frustration.'' That's how Martin Walker, a senior fellow at the New School University of New York, refers to an underappreciated risk to Asia's economic outlook.

French demographer Christophe Guilmoto calls it ''masculinization.'' Others put it more bluntly: ''The Penis Preference.''

No matter what one calls it, the desire for sons in China, India and other Asian economies is causing a dangerous gender gap. In China, for example, 120 boys were born for every 100 girls in 2005, according to a new United Nations report. This growing testosterone glut is something investors making long-term bets on Asia should be monitoring, and closely.

''Sex ratio imbalances only lead to far-reaching imbalances in society,'' Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, head of the UN Population Fund, said in Hyderabad, India, on Oct. 29. ''We must carry forward the message that every human being is born equal in dignity, worth and human rights.''

Tell that to the ever-growing numbers of families from Beijing to New Delhi and from Hanoi to Kathmandu actively avoiding the birth of daughters. It's a cultural phenomenon governments have yet to address sufficiently and one that could have unexpected economic side effects.

The preference for boys often boils down to economics. Sons tend to support parents in their old age, while daughters are often seen as a liability. Families sometimes need to pay a dowry when daughters marry. In some cultures, sons perform last rites when parents die and continue the family name.

Reverse Darwinism

It's a bit of Darwinism in reverse. Families are conducting a kind of unnatural selection process to get ahead economically. Yet hundreds of millions of households engaging in such an experiment may backfire on entire economies. Guilmoto, who wrote the UN report, says men will outnumber women by 23 million in India and by 26 million in China by 2030. Some estimates are even higher.

In the 1990s, economist Amartya Sen drew attention to the phenomenon of ''missing women.'' Improved census data now allow us to see how much the trend is growing and could undermine Asian growth, productivity and lead to bigger budget deficits. It might even lead to an increase in violence.

This latter risk was detailed in the 2004 book ''Bare Branches: Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population.'' In it, Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer warned that Asia's shortage of women is giving rise to an entire generation of young men with no prospects of finding a mate. They argue that biology, sociology and history suggest the imbalance will lead to crime and social disorder.

Gender Gap

Farfetched, perhaps, yet the UN warns that the focus on sons in countries such as China, India, Nepal and Vietnam may fuel sexual violence and trafficking in women. The UN notes that if Asia's overall sex ratio were the same as the rest of the globe, in 2005 the region would have had 163 million more females.

Here, China and India should be the largest concern for investors. Multinational companies are relying on increased consumer demand in the two most-populous nations. So are investors, who are betting on strong economic growth, rising productivity and an ample supply of increasingly skilled labor.

''To address the socio-economic basis for the preference for boys, both societies need to reduce the dependence of parents on their male children, while improving the economic standing of daughters,'' says Jing Ulrich, chairman of China equities at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Hong Kong. ''This will require improvements in social security and policies to improve education and female participation in the workforce.''


One consequence of Chinese becoming richer may be more sex selection, not less. Improving ultrasound and amniocentesis technology is making it easier for parents to abort girls, and reports of female infanticide are becoming routine. The same is true of India; the wealthier the region, the wider the gender divide is likely to be.

What also concerns the UN is what all those single men will do with their desire for female companionship. Sadly, the real winner could be the human-trafficking business amid increased demand for prostitution and the outright purchase of mates.

China's government is beginning to address the issue. Earlier this year, the Communist Party vowed to take ''tough measures'' to control the imbalance. Yet China needs to become more aggressive in tackling a problem that's partly at the root of President Hu Jintao's push for a ''scientific outlook on development.''

Sexual Frustration

Hu wants to spread the benefits of China's 11.5 percent growth. At the moment, the lack of safety nets -- public help with education, health care and pensions -- means that sons are the safety net. Having a boy is your retirement plan and until that changes, Chinese may welcome fewer and fewer daughters.

Among the biggest obstacles is the not-in-my-backyard dynamic that demographers confront in Asia. It's recognition by parents that it's important to have more girls -- just as long as someone else has them. Breaking this NIMBY mindset will require tremendous political will and spending in the years ahead.

In Asia's case, worsening sexual frustration may frustrate economic growth.

To contact the writer of this column: William Pesek in Tokyo at wpesek@bloomberg.net"
"Why is it good to drink soup before a meal?

It lubricates the throat and oesophagus, allowing the food to pass through and preventing dry and hard food from irritating the membrane of the digestive tract. Pretty serious eh?"

--- TCC menu

More FUD! Evidently they haven't heard of saliva.
"It is the final proof of God's omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us." - Peter De Vries



If you look at the SAF advertisements, the narrative is: 'If you're a woman, feel safe and be glad that your men are willing to die for you'

I think if you took away the narrative you're giving the museum visitors too much credit, that they'll go home and Wikipedia it. [Instructor: You're always great for a soundbite.]

[On the National Museum] Japanese prostitutes. Then there was a washbasin. There was nothing to connect [them]... They summed up the Japanese invasion with a bunch of bicycles... The Japanese Occupation was a bunch of bicycles. And a washbasin there.

I wanted say that Kobe Bryant was better [than Yao Ming] because black guys steal, run and shoot.

A lot of people ask me if you're bi. [Me: People used to think I was gay or asexual, so I guess that's an improvement.]

[On killing groups during presentations] I've to sacrifice at least one group. Otherwise I've to put up with 2 weeks of nonsense... [Student: I've already dug my grave] Deeply? For the whole group?

LDC country (LDC)

low-cost label (labour)

There will be a reduce foreign investment (reduction in)

create complementaries (complementarities)

importing finnish goods (finished)

an airpline in India polis (Indianapolis)

What do you want to be when you grow up?... [Student 2: I can grow? Sideways.]

[Me on NUS Tangs sale: The bras are all so padded.] I need the padding. Sorry.

[On the problem of omniscience, free will and God's not having definite foreknowledge of a free choice, open theism] Judas has a moment of conscience and goes: 'I can't betray Jesus'. We imagine God in Heaven going: 'Oh no. What do I do now?... Now Judas has screwed it all up. What do I do?... Judas needs to betray him.' He could, directly, override Judas's will. Make him betray Jesus to fulfil his plan... He couldn't hold Judas responsible anymore, for making that choice. He might even have to apologise to Judas... He only knew this as a probability... 'Whadday know, it's Murphy's Law'. God's saying to himself... He can't do that without overriding Judas's libertarian freedom.

Any questions? 10 more minutes [till we end]. [Me: Have you finished {marking} our midterms?] That was not the sort of question I had in mind... [Student: How are we looking?] I knew this was coming... Any relevant questions? [Student 2: I was going to ask if we could get it on Monday] Any relevant questions?

GE Moore famously had an argument for the existence of an external world. Premise 1: Here's a hand. Premise 2: Here's another hand. Therefore there is an external world. *student claps* *laughs from audience*

[On 'Shakespeare hates your emo shirts' being too popular] I have that one... I don't know where to wear it. [Student 2: You wear it to lit.] That's when everybody wears it.

What did you say? [Female student: I'm ponning {Translation: skipping class}] I heard 'I'm horny'.

I'm very disappointed. In dance, most male dancers are straight. [Me: Maybe it's because they screw the female dancers.] Yeah, maybe. [Me: Maybe you can convert a straight guy.]... That's every gay guy's dream.

He asks bullshit questions. [Me: They're not bullshit. Just because you don't understand them doesn't mean they're bullshit.]

[On a class's composition] It's IIs, CCs and baffled Singaporeans.

[Me to someone bemoaning the lack of ability: Your comparative advantage lies elsewhere.] So politically correct put. [Me: I said 'Your comparative advantage lies elsewhere', not 'Your absolute advantage lies elsewhere'] (How politically correct)

You look a bit sicky today (shakey)

[On an EZ-link card] How do they store the information inside? [Student 2: ... use the scissors to cut it up and look inside.]

[Written] Today is Ladies Day. Ladies will answer all the questions. Guys will only speak when invited [to]. (Gentlemen)

[On why we may be able to use our handphones on planes soon] If that was true, most planes would've crashed by now because there are all the electromagnetic waves in the air... It turns out they just figured out how to make money out of you... A lot of lies told by companies.

eye rern (iron)

[On microwaving water in a new mug] You put something in the water. [Student: Boiling chip] ... You don't put boiling chips when you boil your tea (chips)

[On microwave oven leakage] Otherwise you will be cooked. Humans - you're made of meat.

All the food that we like to eat has lost its vitamins. Or has the tasty brown stuff outside that gives us cancer. Maybe the best thing to do is to eat salad. [Student: Eee.] E? Yeah, Vitamin E. [Me: *sotto voce* Pesticides.]

different shells (cells)

[Student on avoiding handphone radiation: Bluetooth Headset.] I think people who have that in their ear already have something wrong with them.

[On cellphone tracing In the early days a lot of criminals got caught because they didn't take [module name]

[On catching a pedophile with cellphone tracing] He was in a cell in a remote part of Thailand. Very easy... 'Have you seen a foreigner here?' 'Yeah, he's there'.

Can you be assassinated while talking on your handphone? [Student: Yeah. You're talking and somebody shoots you] I didn't mean it that way... The Israelis... They waited until the guy was talking on his handphone... They sent a missile. It locked in on his signal, went through the window and assassinated him.

[On the principle of cellphone detonators] Now I [have] taught you how to make a simple bomb. [Student: How do you know that? [Student 2: {He's} Done it before... Afghanistan]... In Singapore if you go on the Internet and search how to make bombs, you'll be tracked. In Singapore everything is tracked... You will get caught. There're so many ways to track you... It's not easy [to make bombs]... If you use your handphone [as a detonator] when you are making it and your friend calls you, you are gone.

[On 'Havard'] I was wondering why, then he said 'Malay spelling' and it made sense.

[To me] I can't get over his hair. I got over your hair pretty quickly. [On his hair] It's very ugly. [Me: My hair is very ugly meh.] It's a different aspect of getting over. (type)

Colonial superiority over the indie'genius population (indigenous)

[On his presentation partner] Basically if you didn't get what she was saying - the 3 main points...

readaption (readaptation)

In Singapore it's unicameral. Which means there's only 1 House. House of Parliament? Sorry sorry. My PS [specialisation] is International Relations.

I realise that the presentation has been quite heavy so far, so just bear with me for a few slides more then we can look at pretty pictures.

This is very amusing. The massive use of glass in the new Supreme Court building signifies transparency in the justice system... The UFO thing represents the dome.

The Singapore Arts Museum (Art)

CHIJMES. I'm very indignant because I'm an IJ girl. So much for being Simple in Virtue and Steadfast in Duty... People used to drop off babies because they couldn't take care of them. Now it's where babies are made... They totally pervert the CHIJ name. Like CHIJAZZ. What is that.

I interviewed a professor in NUS who's been here for 18 years, but who wants to go home.

[On Americans in Singapore] No contact with Singapore or Singaporeans... I asked him if he goes to the Borders bookstore. He said he can't go there. 'Orchard is outside the bubble'.

The students at the Singapore American School are very isolated. They don't have a Singapore accent. They have a SAS accent, which is described as a Texas-Valley girl accent.

[On SAS descriptions of Singapore] One of the students said 'gay'. Gay means stupid, I understand... He can't spell 'humide' very well.

I was asked to be a coach for the baseball team... I asked what was so good about it. He got very excited. 'It's like coming home to Kansas'. I'm from New York. I can't think of a worse place to go to.

[On expats in HCJC humanz] They're just permanent install'lations there

How do you normally get your papers back? [Me and other student: Throw them in the air.]

[On procrastination] Finally getting down to work. After I check Facebook.

[On disposing of fluorescent tubes] They go and bury them somewhere where they only kill some fish or something.

The word 'laser' is actually an acro'nyear'm (acronym)

They heat the less'tiss (lattice)

[On semi-conductors] This area where the electrons cannot move is called the Forbidden Zone... That's not the Forbidden Zone. That's the Depletion Zone... I don't know why I chose that name. I've seen too many movies, I think.

He wants to play testes. He said it again. (tetris)

[On the Asian Dog] Who's this sad person who's your bitch?

[On assignment guidelines] He's like a woman. What he says and what he wants are completely opposite.

[On assignment guidelines] He keeps on changing his mind. You should follow the last thing he said.

I don't know if it's true, but one of my professors said, 'If on the day of the exam, the class is silent, then they're gonna do well.'

The rest of this is just a verbal discussion, so if I talk fast you can read slow at home. (quickly, slowly)

[On returning term papers] I hate this but I'm so rubbish with Chinese names. I know that people will be upset. They may not even know that I'm calling them... I'm going to tell myself that it's not my pronunciation, but your terrible attendance that is responsible [for your not coming to collect your papers].

[On Chinese names] These are the ones I don't like. The ones with the Qs and Xs... Tell me the rule about the Qs with no Us... [After calling a name] Ah. She's not even here to appreciate [my effort].

I don't think the principle of moral responsiblity is appropriate for what I had for lunch.
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