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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Unpacking the Empty Knapsack: Daily effects of straight "privilege"

"The two biggest challenges business owners face are, making ends meet and making meetings end.” - Heidi Richards Mooney


Unpacking the Empty Knapsack: Daily effects of straight "privilege"

I was flabbergasted by many items on this list which allegedly constituted Straight so-called "Privilege". On closer examination, many either do not stand up or are dups:

"On a daily basis as a straight person…

* I can be pretty sure that my roomate, hallmates and classmates will be comfortable with my sexual orientation.
Depending on what being "uncomfortable" constitutes, this may not be a problem. If the discomfort manifested in malicious teasing or worse, this would indeed be a problem, but the fact is that people are not always used to difference.

A student from an elite school transferring into a neighborhood school would probably find that his new classmates and schoolmates would not be comfortable with him and his background, but it would seem trivial to claim that they benefited from School Privilege (or some such term). Ditto for a bald man in a world of individuals privileged by hair (I know at least one, but I doubt he's tearing his hair out over it).

The mere fact of difference does not imply discrimination. Call this Explanation A.

* If I pick up a magazine, watch TV, or play music, I can be certain my sexual orientation will be represented.
The desire for nominal representation puzzles me even more than that for statistical equality. In every magazine, TV show or music corpus, do we need at least one Black, one Hispanic, one Asian, one Indian, some women, one transvestite, one pre-op transsexual, one post-op transsexual, one gay or lesbian, one blue collar worker, one quadriplegic, a schizophrenic and one Liberal (obviously Whites, Men, straight people, white collar workers and Conservatives can be left out because they are "privileged")?

The obvious solution for this would be to write in a token character for your favourite interest group(s) of choice, which would be worse.

To lift a line from elsewhere, if it dont matter if you're Black or White, why this obsession about whether every interest group is represented? This constitutive paradox remains unresolved.

Call this Explanation B.

* When I talk about my heterosexuality (such as in a joke or talking about my relationships), I will not be accused of pushing my sexual orientation onto others.
I generally agree with this, but I didn't know such accusations were made.

Call this Agreement A

* I do not have to fear that if my family or friends find out about my sexual orientation there will be economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences.
Agreement A: I generally agree with this bit although this point is rather vague, so I might not agree with all examples of "economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences" cited.

* I did not grow up with games that attack my sexual orientation (IE fag tag or smear the queer).
Agreement A. But I didn't know such games existed.

* I am not accused of being abused, warped or psychologically confused because of my sexual orientation.
Agreement A. But for the last point, some people experiment with their sexuality before finding it so such an accusation may not be totally unwarranted.

* I can go home from most meetings, classes, and conversations without feeling excluded, fearful, attacked, isolated, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, stereotyped or feared because of my sexual orientation.
Agreement A. But note that the emphasis here is on feeling: "fearful, attacked, isolated, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance, stereotyped or feared". There might be nothing to fear in reality.

* I am never asked to speak for everyone who is heterosexual.
This bit is ridiculous. The reason gay people are asked to speak for other gay people is that they are seen (and activists portray them) as victimised and that if they are not given a voice, this would be seen as discrimination or "oppression".

So people trying to accommodate gay people is seen as an example of straight "privilege". Wth. This reminds me of how disparate sentencing for crack cocaine, even though supported by the Congressional Black Caucus, is now seen as "racism".

There's a simple way to describe this: Lum Pah Pah Lan. But of course that is phallocentric, just as the term *facepalm* discriminates against those without hands (or foreheads)...

* I can be sure that my classes will require curricular materials that testify to the existence of people with my sexual orientation.
Explanation B.

* People don't ask why I made my choice of sexual orientation.
I don't know why being asked a question is a such a bad thing. If I want to buy a Proton and people ask me why I don't get a Japanese car instead, does this mean owners of Japanese cars are "privileged"?!

Furthermore, there is evidence, most pertinently for women, that sexual orientation is not always immutable, so this question is not totally invalid.

Call this Explanation C.

* People don't ask why I made my choice to be public about my sexual orientation.
Explanation C.

* I do not have to fear revealing my sexual orientation to friends or family. It's assumed.
This is the same as the earlier point about "economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences".

* My sexual orientation was never associated with a closet.
I don't even know what this is doing here. Do the people who compiled this list have something against closets? Do they know what a metaphor is?! Harry Potter is associated with a closet, but you don't see him complaining.

* People of my gender do not try to convince me to change my sexual orientation.
Explanation C. Though admittedly it gets boring/tiresome after a while, like Christian evangelism or Malaysians trying to convince me that Singaporean Char Kway Teow isn't Char Kway Teow.

* I don't have to defend my heterosexuality.
A combination of Agreement A and Explanation C.

* I can easily find a religious community that will not exclude me for being heterosexual.
The fact is that it is against some religions to be homosexual. All religions have things that are not in their creeds; it is unreasonable to claim discrimination when you are excluded for not abiding by certain strictures.

Freedom of religion means nothing if people from religions are forced into accepting and believing things they do not believe in.

This point is especially ironic given the earlier point about being "accused of pushing my sexual orientation onto others".

* I can count on finding a therapist or doctor willing and able to talk about my sexuality.
Agreement A. But one wonders if it would be unreasonable if someone into golden showers could not count on this either.

* I am guaranteed to find sex education literature for couples with my sexual orientation.
Explanation B.

* Because of my sexual orientation, I do not need to worry that people will harass me.
Agreement A.

* I have no need to qualify my straight identity.
I'm not sure what qualifying one's gay identity means.

* My masculinity/femininity is not challenged because of my sexual orientation.
Presumably the complaint here is that typical masculine or feminine identity depends on sexual orientation as well as sexual identity.

Yet, how then should masculinity or femininity be defined or benchmarked?

Does the fact that humans are partially defined by having two eyes, a nose, two ears and a mouth challenge the humanity of Tan Chor Jin (when he was alive, at any rate), someone whose nose has been broken, Evander Hollyfield, those who've had their mouths sewn shut (like Weapon XI) or Jaws (James Bond, not Peter Benchley)?

To dilute benchmarks in order to be more inclusive not only makes steadily less sense as the benchmarks become looser and looser, it also discriminates against the majority who do conform to those benchmarks, who will then suffer from anomie.

* I am not identified by my sexual orientation.
Being identified by a unique feature is not a bad thing unless there is something inherently derogatory about that unique feature. I doubt Al Capone was upset at being called "Scarface", Edward Teach at being known as "Blackbeard" or Ali Hassan al-Majid for being called "Chemical Ali". Furthermore, it doesn't seem to be a problem when people identify Jews with Wall Street or Think Tanks or Sikhs with Turbans.

Also, this is not helped by those who are flamboyantly homosexual, which further reinforces the link.

* I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help my sexual orientation will not work against me.
Agreement A.

* If my day, week, or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it has sexual orientation overtones.
I have no idea what this means. Presumably my car breaking down or my cellular phone dropping into an unflushed toilet bowl cannot have "sexual orientation overtones". Otherwise, this is a repeat of "economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences."

* Whether I rent or I go to a theater, Blockbuster, an EFS or TOFS movie, I can be sure I will not have trouble finding my sexual orientation represented.
Explanation B.

* I am guaranteed to find people of my sexual orientation represented in the Earlham curriculum, faculty, and administration.
Explanation B.

* I can walk in public with my significant other and not have people double-take or stare.
Explanation A. And it's not like straight couples don't get double-take-d or stared at.

* I can choose to not think politically about my sexual orientation.
If you choose to think politically about your sexual orientation, that is your choice and you shouldn't blame other people for it.

* I do not have to worry about telling my roommate about my sexuality. It is assumed I am a heterosexual.
This is a repeat of "economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences."

* I can remain oblivious of the language and culture of LGBTQ folk without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
Agreement A, but this seems very trivial. It's like saying people who like to eat rice are "privileged" in most of Asia, or that people who wear jeans are "privileged" in university campuses.

* I can go for months without being called straight.
Explanation C. Is there something wrong with being called gay?

* I'm not grouped because of my sexual orientation.
Explanation C. Is there something wrong with being groped grouped?

* My individual behavior does not reflect on people who identity as heterosexual.
Au contraire. It is used to justify the idea of straight "privilege". What's sauce for the goose...

In any case, if we wanted a reflection of a particular group, it would only be logical to look at the behavior or characteristics of members of that group. The (apparently laudable) alternative would presumably be relying on preconceived notions - believing what we want to believe, rather than what really is.

* In everyday conversation, the language my friends and I use generally assumes my sexual orientation. For example, sex inappropriately referring to only heterosexual sex or family meaning heterosexual relationships with kids.
Explanation C. Default assumptions in language are not a bad thing, and indeed can make it more precise.

* People do not assume I am experienced in sex (or that I even have it!) merely because of my sexual orientation.
Given that gays at least have more sex than the general population, this is a reasonable assumption. It would even be reasonable (if wrong) to assume that my moobs are smaller than the breasts of virtually all Singaporean Chinese females.

* I can kiss a person of the opposite gender on the heart or in the cafeteria without being watched and stared at.
People get kissed on the heart?! Damn, I'm missing out.

Explanation A. And it's not like straight couples don't get double-take-d or stared at.

* Nobody calls me straight with maliciousness.
Explanation A. Though the way some people rant about so-called "heteronormativity"...

* People can use terms that describe my sexual orientation and mean positive things (IE "straight as an arrow", "standing up straight" or "straightened out") instead of demeaning terms (IE "ewww, that's gay" or being "queer").
This totally misunderstands the nature of language and is like claiming that those who describe Turkish politics as "byzantine", PAS as an "underdog" or who accuse Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of practising "pork barrel politics" are being offensive.

Furthermore, the last ignores that before LGBTs "reclaimed" it, "queer" was a perfectly good English word describing something "Deviating from the expected or normal; strange"

* I am not asked to think about why I am straight.
A combination of Agreement A and Explanation C.

* I can be open about my sexual orientation without worrying about my job.
This is the same as the earlier point about "economic, emotional, physical or psychological consequences"."

I could do another post on White "Privilege": Unpacking the Empty Knapsack II (which, incidentally, is even more ridiculous), but the idea is the same.
"There used to be a real me, but I had it surgically removed." - Peter Sellers


Goodness. Seems there's a "privilege" list for almost everything.

(everything traditionally privileged, at any rate)

I already knew about the empty knapsacks of Straight "Privilege" and White "Privilege", but this takes things to a whole new level:

A List Of Privilege Lists

"White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack
Able-Bodied Privilege
Average Sized Person Privilege
Being Poor Is…
The Black Male Privileges Checklist
Christian Privilege
The Costs of American Privilege
Daily Effects of Straight Priviliege
Heterosexual Privilege
The Invisibility of Class Privilege
The Male Privilege Checklist
Non-Poor Privilege Checklist
Non-Trans Privilege Checklist
Privilege to Game
Social Class Privilege – Beyond Ethnicity, Gender, and Religion
We Can’t Be Equal While…"

"Privilege to Game" sounded the most bizarre of the lot.

Apparently computer gamers are also "privileged". Among the most novel of these "privileges" is the ability to "have an ad-free blog". But then, as the last bit of the post hints, this so-called "privilege" to game would better be called the "privilege" of being "an American, white, from a Christian family, middle-class, young, able-bodied, average-sized, and non-transexual".

Maybe someone should compile a "Privilege to not be a Paraplegic" list, and then one about the "Privilege to be Alive", so we can all continue being wracked with guilt.
"There is no such thing as "fun for the whole family."" - Jerry Seinfeld


Fined for molest, loansharking - "The court heard on Monday that Heng Swee Weng picked up a 15-year-old Australian student, who had flagged his cab down at Bedok Road on the evening of Nov 1 last year. He offered her a free ride after she told him she was lost and had no money for the fare. But instead of sending her home, he drove to Harvey Avenue, off Upper Changi Road, where he hugged her after she got out of the cab. He left after she struggled free."
Hugging someone can be considered outrage of modesty in Singapore?! Wth. Women's bodies must be sacred.

Nearly half of those polled say they've been sexually harassed - "'If you dress in a provocative manner, it is expected that people will stare or make some remarks. But if someone touches you or makes vulgar gestures, you should definitely report it to the police.'"
She must not be a feminist!

COED NATALIE DYLAN AUCTIONING OFF HER VIRGINITY FOR OVER $3.7 MILLION DOLLARS - Natalie Dylan Virginity for Sale - "She told the paper she hopes to pay for an advanced degree in family and marriage therapy with the proceeds from the auction... The student who has a degree in Women's Studies insisted she was not demeaning herself."
"I feel empowered because I am being pro-choice with my body... Deflowering is historically oppressive... When I learned this, it became apparent to me that idealized virginity is just a tool to keep women in their place. But then I realized something else: if virginity is considered that valuable, what’s to stop me from benefiting from that? It is mine, after all. And the value of my chastity is one level on which men cannot compete with me. I decided to flip the equation, and turn my virginity into something that allows me to gain power and opportunity from men."

Lee's Betrayal of PAP and Singapore : Devan Nair - "Alas, we failed to forsee that human ends would come to be subverted for the greater glory of the material means, and our new Jerusalem would come to harbour a metallic soul with clanking heartbeats, behind a glittering technological facade. History bears abundant witness that idealists generally come to grief. They awaken high human aspirations and hopes and ignite the liberating fires of revolution. The pains and humiliations of foreign subjection and exploitation are scorched, and, for a brief, blazing period, men transcend themselves in the inspiring vision of a great common future. The revolution triumphs - but idealists become expendable thereafter. One by one, sooner or later, they are eased out. And the revolution is inherited by cold, calculating power brokers at the head of a phalanx of philistines... Economic growth and social progress did not serve human beings. On the contrary, the primary function of citizens was to fuel economic growth - a weird reversal of values. The reign of Moloch had begun... I have come to fear that the point of no return has already reached and passed... The colonial Special Branch were saints compared to Lee Kuan Yew's Internal Security outfit"

YouTube - Massage Therapist for Models - "worst job ever"

It's official: You're allowed to mock men in adverts. Just don't try doing it to women - "A television advert that lampoons men as incapable of performing simple domestic tasks has been cleared by advertising watchdogs. The commercial, for an oven cleaning product, drew 673 complaints from viewers who felt it was sexist for portraying men as stupid and lazy. But the Advertising Standards Authority rejected the complaints, saying the ad was 'unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence'... Industry observers said the prevailing view now appeared to be that it is fine to treat men as sex objects or fools, as this represents turning a stereotype on its head and is therefore ironic and funny... A study from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in 2001 found two thirds of people believe women are now portrayed in adverts as intelligent, assertive and caring, while men are shown as pathetic and silly."
Feminists can just cite "power relations"; it's amusing that there's an option to view the worst-rated comments.

Edmonton cabbie sues passengers over false assault allegations - "A veteran Edmonton taxi driver is speaking publicly about a civil lawsuit he filed last year against four young women who falsely accused him of sexual assault after travelling in his car three years ago... Yasa told her to put out the cigarette or risk a $500 fine. Just then, the girls demanded Yasa stop the cab, and they got out, refusing to pay the $13 fare. Then they accused Yasa of sexually molesting them, Yasa said. They called their friends, and Yasa soon was surrounded by what he calls a "mob."... However, what happened in the taxi was caught on a video camera Yasa had installed inside his car after a passenger tried to assault him a couple of years before. Based on the video evidence of what happened in his cab, Yasa was not charged. But he worries about what might have happened to his job and his marriage without that evidence."
I wonder what happened to the "power relations". Maybe all men should walk around with a video camera. But then they might be accused of filming upskirt videos.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite." - John Kenneth Galbraith


Comments on PRC netizens kicking up a big uproar about Singapore's treatment of Liu Guodong (the ex-table tennis coach):

A: The mainland Chinese thrives on such dramas. Every tiny frivolous thing gets blown out of proportion to satisfy their urges to see themselves uniting against a "foreign power".

Remember the Olympic torch fiasco last year? Nobody really gives a shit about the torch -- it has all along been a non-event at every Olympics -- a little PR gimmick to give the media something to report before the opening of the games.

Then come last year, when the mainland Chinese dramatized the whole thing, translating "torch" to "divine fire" in Chinese, getting Kung Fu masters to "protect the path" of the "divine fire", and deliberately provoking human rights groups, environmentalists, Tibetans, Fa Lun Gong practitioners, Taiwan independence supporters, etc, into playing the role of their enemies -- just so that they can kow peh kow bu to show their undying love and allegiance to China.

B: There is nothing more tragic than the history of China over the last 200 years. The way they fuck themselves over time and again. What we are seeing are the sons and daughters of the Ah Q.

C: The Han Chinese are surprisingly forgiving when it comes to tyrants of their own race (Han, that is). No matter how brutal and inhuman the tyrants are, they accept it matter-of-factly, some even embrace these tyrants.

But it's a different story when it comes to foreigners (Manchurians, Japanese, Russians, Americans, etc). When a stray missile hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three, the Chinese reacted much more strongly than when Mao caused thirty million of his own countrymen to perish in the worst famine in human history.

This is the PRC brand of nationalism. To them, having one of their Ping Pong coaches snubbed by Singaporeans is far worse than having thousands of their fellow countrymen slaughtered by one of their own.

D: personally, i don't really care about what the ah tiongs are saying. what i found really laughable, however, was lucretious' wonderful use of english.

"one body behaviour," anyone? LOL! ROAR!!

he might want to think about blogging in a language he feels more comfortable in.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Un dauphin français

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Un Dauphin français (Le Dauphin de France)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not." - Henry Fielding


BREAKING: Group claiming to represent “Singaporean citizens and permanent residents concerned with the continuing existence of a secular civil society in Singapore” launched a petition to remove the new Aware exco (or: Why Wayang Party is a Piece of Shit)

From The Informant Network Team

The Aware AGM which saw a new guards gaining control of the organization did not end, precipitating an aggressive counter-strike by the self-proclaimed “concerned with the continuing existence of a secular civil society in Singapore” group to exert pressure on the exco to accede to their demands.

An online petition started by Singaporeans overseas garnered 2,700 signatures in less than two weeks, forcing Aware to stop all activities and hold an EGM.

A smear campaign was launched against the new exco in retaliation for their successful and democratic bid for power to derail their plans for Aware.

The rampant character assassination reached a boiling point when netizens wrote in to DBS to put pressure on Ms Josie Lau's job and made death threats against the new exco, culminating in their filing a police report (read article here)

Undaunted, the group has started a petition - to exert pressure on the new Aware exco quit Aware as soon as possible:

The identity of the petition starter is unknown. However, he/she claims that they are “Singaporeans overseas and at home [who] are very concerned about the take-over of the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) on 28 March 2009 by a group of people, whose values are opposed to what AWARE stands for.”

This is the usual astroturfing at play again to create a “fake grassroot” support under the cloak of “progressive contingent” to impose their own liberal values onto mainstream society.

In spite of earlier warnings given by the Government to keep religion and politics separate, and that our laws do not derive from religious authority, but reflect the judgments and decisions of the secular government, these groups continue to sow discord and promote division within our society by pressing on with their agenda.

In spite, too, of earlier warnings given by the Government that we are a Conservative Society which Frowns Upon Homosexuality, these groups are trying to push their Gay and Liberal Agenda on society, and impose their Western Values upon us, which will ultimately lead to the Legalization of Gay Marriage.

Aware should simply ignore the petitions started by anonymous individuals. They are probably circulated amongst the same group of people who are responsible for the earlier petition to repeal 377A.

As we have observed previously, these zealots are extremely tenacious, unreasonable and aggressive. Once a precedent is set, they will take it as a sign of weakness to push the boundaries further.

What next after they are done with Aware? Will they seek to impose their views on other policies such as gay marriage, euthanasia, drugs and men with long hair?

Never before had our peaceful, harmonious and stable society been wrecked by so much tension and discord within a short span of time.

The authorities should nip the problem quickly in the bud before it festers like an ugly sore in our fragile social fabric. These people are not amenable to reasoning and they will not stop until they achieve their aims.

The astroturfing is probably masterminded by a few people in positions of authority. Identify them and their links with one another and the truth will be out.

What are their intentions? Why are they bent to create havoc and unrest in the midst of an economic turmoil? Don’t they have other things to worry about other than homosexual and anal sex?

Aware’s reputation has suffered irreparable damage with the malicious, vile and baseless accusations that it will now pursue an anti-feminist, anti-gay agenda through promoting homosexuality to our school children through its CSE and other activities. It is unbelievable that a NGO which traces its roots to the PAP and has no real power anyway can do much to hurt women or gays.

The new guards should seriously consider suing certain people for criminal defamation to salvage Aware’s battered reputation. It is pointless to reason with people who is only interested in imposing their world views on those who disagree with them.

The government cannot sit idly by allowing these groups to run amok in our country. They are highly motivated, organized and efficient which make them a powerful lobby group in future elections. Will the PAP allow its policies to be held ransom constantly by these liberal zealots?

It is time to break them up before they become uncontrollable. A line has clearly been crossed. Procrastination will only embolden them to go further. A strong message need to be send across that liberalism should be kept solely within the confines of their own respective institutions and our social arena must always be a conservative one.

Original piece of shit:

BREAKING: Group claiming to represent “conservative majority” of Singaporeans launched another petition to MOE to remove Aware as sex education provider : The Wayang Party (大戏党)


I may not agree with practically everything the "conservatives" are for, but even a serial killer deserves a fair trial.

Since many of my points will admittedly be hard to grasp, here're most of them:

- Wayang Party has bad grammar
- Wayang Party promiscuously demonises those with opposing views
- Wayang Party flippantly dismisses those with “pro-family” views (yes, these people do exist, and they are non-negligible), raising a cry of astro-turfing which could justifiably be applied to stands they themselves are sympathetic to
- When people accuse and condemn PAP MPs, this is transparency and democracy in action and they shouldn't complain. When people accuse and condemn non-PAP MPs, it's character assassination (I can't point to specific instances, but this is my overall assessment)
- They condemn the government repeatedly, unreservedly and sometimes contradictorily and incoherently. See, for example: Amazing speed at which Rojak seller is charged diverts attention away from role of authorities vs More serious questions to be asked about Mas Selamat’s stunning escape from Singapore; as with Creationism, all is made clear when you understand that they are working backwards from a conclusion (the government sucks/is evil) to come up with a semblance of an argument. This is one reason why I eschew identifying either as "pro-government/PAP" or "anti-government/PAP", since the former are mindlessly pro-government and the latter mindlessly anti-. (See also: the time I got called a "smart ass NUS rubbish pro-PAP scholar")
- The above notwithstanding, they call on it to take action when it suits them to have other people hit with a big stick; "sow discord and promote division within our society by pressing on with their agenda" - that's a great excuse to shut Wayang Party itself down. What's sauce for the Goose is sauce for the Gander (see also: advocating the use of defamation suits)
- They feverishly fling nonsensical accusations in the hope that at least some of them will stick. For example, what does saying we're a Conservative Society have to do with mixing religion and politics?! See also: the other hysterical hyperbole.
- They condemn people for being anonymous while being anonymous themselves]

So, in conclusion, Wayang Party is even more shitty than The Online Citizen and you should read it for the same reason you slow down to look at a car crash.
"We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us." - Samuel Johnson



I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

--- William Wordsworth

Advertisement to Lyrical Ballads:

"The majority of the following poems are to be considered as experiments. They were written chiefly with a view to ascertain how far the language of conversation in the middle and lower classes of society is adapted to the purposes of poetic pleasure. Readers accustomed to the gaudiness and inane phraseology of many modern writers, if they persist in reading this book to its conclusion, will perhaps frequently have to struggle with feelings of strangeness and aukwardness: they will look round for poetry, and will be induced to enquire by what species of courtesy these attempts can be permitted to assume that title. It is desirable that such readers, for their own sakes, should not suffer the solitary word Poetry, a word of very disputed meaning, to stand in the way of their gratification; but that, while they are perusing this book, they should ask themselves if it contains a natural delineation of human passions, human characters, and human incidents; and if the answer be favorable to the author's wishes, that they should consent to be pleased in spite of that most dreadful enemy to our pleasures, our own pre-established codes of decision."

Looks like not much has changed since 1798...
"A man thinks that by mouthing hard words he understands hard things." - Herman Melville


Born-again virgins claim to rewrite the past - "The idea of a recreated virginity is actually much older. During the early Middle Ages, Christians were taught that while sex in marriage was not a sin, it was not as holy a state as complete abstinence from sex. (This is still the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II declared that believing parents should “devote special attention and care to education in virginity or celibacy as the supreme form of that self-giving that constitutes the very meaning of human sexuality.”)... If the idea of virginity as a state of mind sounds like the language of actors coming out rehab, it’s no coincidence, says Carpenter... “To some people, remakability is precisely what cheapens the thing in first place," Carpenter says. "Virginity is not special if you can be a virgin again.”"

Vilnius, a city that outlives its names | Contested city | The Economist - "It tried and failed to persuade Lithuania’s great pagan ruler, Gediminas, to adopt Christianity. He showed no desire to forsake Perkunas the thunder god, berating his visitors for their intolerance. “Why do you always talk about Christian love?” he asked the pope’s men. “Where do you find so much misery, injustice, violence, sin and greed, if not among the Christians?”"

Are humans cruel to be kind? - "Simply, it seems that niceness needs nastiness. Our sense of fairness and our willingness to inflict damage on one another combine to encourage contributions to the common good and deter people from cheating. Researchers call this altruistic punishment. "But at the end of the day, it's still spite,"... Accusations of witchcraft, which are often levelled against the successful, are a classic case in point, he says. If we can't raise ourselves up, we might find dragging someone else down just as good."

Last Day Dream on Vimeo

Pigs Are Gone…And Garbage And The Unemployment... - "At the time the Council of Ministers decided on the continued process to get rid of all the pigs in Egypt the garbage pickers' crisis grew, as most of them stopped working, pending the satisfactory solution to the swine flu. Isaac Mikhail head of the garbage pickers said the number of workers in garbage is up to 400,000 in Greater Cairo - as he put it - working in 7 areas."

Religion, agnostics, and the cure for baldness - "If you ever want to give yourself a really good, throbbing headache, go online and check out Eagleton’s lectures at Yale... Like almost all great defenders of religion, Eagleton specializes in putting bunches of words together in ways that sound like linear arguments, but actually make no sense whatsoever... I listened to this argument at least five times and at the end still had absolutely no idea what the hell Eagleton was talking about. I thought at first he might be saying that faith does not require certainty, but then again nobody who wanted to say that would bother with all that extra verbiage. Anyway this is the kind of stuff that permeates Eagleton’s work: a lot of masturbatory semantics and naked goalpost-moving buried in great gnarled masses of old-world sneering and unnecessary syllables... The whole premise recalls Woody Allen’s famous syllogism: “Socrates is a man. All men are mortal. Therefore, all men are Socrates.”"

Office workers out in front in demand for men's bras - "The few male customers who had called his Tokyo-based company, WishRoom, inquiring about bras did not seem interested in making their pectoral muscles look bigger, or improving their posture. "They said wearing a bra just made them feel more calm, relaxed and revived," Tsuchiya said. From a man's perspective, it turned out, the sole and sufficient purpose of a bra was psychological... "One customer said when he wears a bra he feels he can 'reset' his feelings. If something bad happens he puts on a bra and feels he can come back and fight another day," he continued."
Evidently he didn't know they do the same for women too

Man Fired, Returns Home To Find House Burning - "Gonzalez said he worked as an emergency department social worker, helping people deal with traumatic situations like fires. His past work with emergency situations is helping him to deal with the situation."

YouTube - Whack-A-Kitty - "It's time to play Whack-A-Kitty! We had a lot of fun making this video and so did the kittens."

Monday, May 18, 2009

"What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to." - Hansell B. Duckett


From January:

"20c chargeable for every take-away box. The above picture is for illustration purposes only"
People are too used to putting that disclaimer.

"Being Kiasu and Kiasi makes us Safe & Tasty" - ???

California Girl as you'll never see her again

California Girl's (literal) Trojan Horse (it's a tissue-paper container)

"Chiropractic (sic) offers a natural philosophy & holistic lifestyle in the sanity (sic) of an overdrugged world. A whole new world of healthcare choice"
Chiropracty: an alternative to what works.

"Close Encounters of the Sexy Kind" - the blurb is hilarious

Everybody loves an Asian Girl

"Fa Cai Doll. Brings you luck!!"

"If these don't get your blood rushing/ ANDRO cream for men" - Yes, we all love oysters.

Good English means... being able to communicate with your partner?! (a friend told me for emotional matters she and her ex used Mandarin)

"Gyu Hormone Yaki" - Well, sounds better than saying Internal Organs.

"Have a rewarding career... become a hypnotherapist... Be a Professional Certified by NGH (National Guild of Hypnotist, USA... This is a hard to come by Career Opportunity & Personal Advancement"
Maybe the message is that if you become one you can charm yourself a hot partner. Though I don't know how hard it can be to come by if you can call them after reading the banner

"Come join us! If you have a nice smile..... ?"

I can't remember why I took this picture at NYDC Holland Village. Must've had something to do with the waste of air-conditioning.

They've given up on measuring Fatal Accidents (like on other/older construction sites), and now just track accidents leading to lost time. How heartless.

Get a tattoo and bag an Asian chick

I was surprised to find this Foundation Stone laid for the Coleman Bridge by the disgraced Teh Cheang Wan in 1986. Notice that the Singapore crest has been excised to purge the dishonour of having the disgraced Honourable Oriental Gentleman dedicating this bridge.

Topless mannikin

"Spagetti Too"

This is a joint in IMM - and maybe elsewhere too which sucks:

1) It's misspelled
2) It's obviously passing off as Spageddies
3) The food sucks
4) Their 'lasagne', translated into Chinese as '1000 layer noodles' turned out to be baked rice
"I don't have a photograph, but you can have my footprints. They're upstairs in my socks." - Groucho Marx


Can I save money on electricity by unplugging appliances and using capacitors? - "Some claim these energy vampires account for 4 percent of your home electricity usage, with total waste as high as 5 to 10 percent. However, here at the Straight Dope we don’t put much stock in mere claims. We want the facts... over a year that idling VCR projects to use more than 52 kilowatt-hours, costing about $5.17 at her electric rate. We’ll guess Una wastes maybe $10 annually for the whole house... Unplugging wall warts and turning off computers and such doesn’t cost anything. (Whether it increases wear and tear on the computer is a separate issue.)"

A Perfect Fake: Marc de Guerre - "Myths and stories abound that speak to man's desire to bring life to inanimate matter. A PERFECT FAKE looks at the persistence of these myths in modern times and takes us into the world of men who have chosen to reject the reality of human sexual companionship in order to pursue emotional and physical bonds with a variety of erotic surrogates.This film examines the emerging market for hyper-realisitic simulations of real women through computer-generated virtual pornography and erotica. A PERFECT FAKE also delves into the disturbing world of men who share their lives with life-size female love dolls.A PERFECT FAKE is a compelling study of how new technologies extend age-old human desires for gratification and control."

The Straight Dope: Does the Vatican have the world's largest pornography collection? - "The Vatican had arranged to have its holdings microfilmed during World War II, when it was feared Rome would be bombed. The film is now stored at St. Louis University in Missouri. The Kinsey folks looked through all the material and found a few mildly erotic art items, but virtually nothing since the Renaissance. From this they concluded that stories about the Vatican's 100,000 books of porn are naught but a myth."

Alcoholic hand gels removed from hospitals after patients use them to get drunk - "Last year reports suggested patients were stealing the £10-a-litre gel and mixing it with orange juice or cola to create powerful cocktails."

The Straight Dope: Do women have an extra rib because Eve got one of Adam's? - "The Sumerians had a myth about a consortium of gods who were busily turning the land of Dilmun into a paradise when one of their number, Enki the water-god, committed a breach of etiquette by nibbling on a newly-created plant. Ninhursag, the earth-goddess, put a curse on Enki, and he fell ill as eight of his vital organs failed. Ninhursag was eventually persuaded to relent, but to cure Enki she had to create eight different new deities to cure each of Enki's ailing organs. The story bears some resemblance to, and in fact may have been the inspiration for, the Hebrew story of Genesis: the creation, the eating of the forbidden fruit, etc. But here's where it gets really interesting: the Hebrew name "Eve" means, approximately, "she who makes live." In Sumerian, the word for "make live" is ti, which is also the Sumerian word for "rib." Thus, the name of the goddess created to cure Enki's aching rib, "Nin-Ti," may have been a Sumerian pun, meaning both "The Lady of the Rib" and "The Lady Who Makes Live." The joke was lost when the story--itself much altered--entered the Hebrew tradition, leaving only the enigmatic association of Eve and Adam's rib."
Of course, it was the Sumerians who copied it from the Hebrews.

Man Gets Stuck In Rest Area Toilet Trying To Retrieve Car Keys - "He must really have needed those keys to go after them in the waste tank of a highway rest area. Luckily for him after the rescue team pulled him out they discovered the keys were in his back pocket the whole time. What. A. Dipshit."

Drunk woman falls through apartment floor: police

Woman divorces husband for cleaning too much - "German media reported the wife got through 15 years of marriage putting up with the man's penchant for doing household chores, tidying up and rearranging the furniture. But she ran out of patience when he knocked down and rebuilt a wall at their home when it got dirty"

YouTube - Extreme Sheep LED Art - "We took to the hills of Wales armed to the teeth with sheep, LEDs and a camera, to create a huge amazing LED display. Of sorts."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pictures from 2008:

China... Always Ang Mohs' choice

"If you steal me you'll be disappointed, I am just a dummy!"

'Certificate of award for the fine concoction skill' - from the people who brought us 'Certificate of award for the fine culinary skill'. I'm not sure that a drinks stall deserves such acclaim.

Impressive vegetarian selection at Mad Jack, but unfortunate naming of their Beef Burger

Cystral Pineapples from Malaysia

NUSS: symbolised by a manticore

"No Illegal Workers" at Kallang Pudding. Duh.

There's no translation for this meat at Botan. Guess what it is?

(Blue) Pikachu ripoff

"Jaesson ♥ Gabriel"

"Joy to the world. I found a white boy!"

"Singapore's Largest Brain Development Programme for children aged 3 months to 5 years old" sounds freaky.

Oxygenated water - more snake oil

Proace. You know they're a bad idea because they only sponsor Malaysian badminton organisations.

Raffles Hall: "No Bathing for Outsider. Fine: S$50" (maybe they had to specify the currency or people would think it was in Yuan or Rupees.

"Steamed Soups" - the idea of steaming soups is quite bizarre.

Travel safely by distracting thieves!

"Trendy Astrology & Geomancy Consultant"

Presumably Polar fruit juice drink gives you a bad fashion sense, with this ladybird skirt

"Am a vegan and green. Save the world"

The deaf and mute guy who was travelling the world on a motorcycle. His English site hasn't been updated since 2005, so...

Racist (hurr hurr) QuickBites ad

This change of menu prices at the same place puzzled me - apparently some prices *do* go down.

Mass Osim Symbian iGallop session - one of the more disturbing sights I saw in 2008
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