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Saturday, July 25, 2009

On the "Gay Agenda"

"There are two types of people--those who come into a room and say, 'Well, here I am!' and those who come in and say, 'Ah, there you are.'" - Frederick L Collins


On the "Gay Agenda":

CITIZENS WATCH - CULTURAL & MORAL AWARENESS: Is There A Gay Agenda That I Should Be Worried About?

"This Blog site is the place for concerned citizens and people of all races to voice their opinions and comments about our values as an Asian Society in Singapore which is being systematically undermined and molded to conform to extreme liberal values and activism.

When people use the term “gay agenda,” it can bring many different things to mind.

While it’s important to reach out to and love those people in your world who call themselves gay or lesbian, or who are struggling, you also need to be aware that there is a movement to reshape our culture–and it pays no small attention to the hearts and minds of young people.

Not every gay-identified person participates in these often militant efforts, but the efforts are very real and they have specific goals when it comes to youth. Those goals include:

• Promoting homosexual, bisexual and transgender lifestyles as healthy, positive and normal.
• Disintegrating all meaning of gender.
• Silencing and vilifying any different point of view.
• Undermining parental authority to indoctrinate kids.
• Rewriting Religious principles to suit their Agenda.
• Polarizing students, so that anyone who is not “gay-affirming” is labeled a bigot."

This list is actually a pretty accurate description of the "gay agenda", but it doesn't mean that all of the items on it are unworthy goals to pursue. After all, just because one has an "agenda" does not mean that one's aims are inevitably nefarious or sinister.

Two people asked me why the list was correct, so here is my explanation:

• Promoting homosexual, bisexual and transgender lifestyles as healthy, positive and normal.
-> For the homosexual and bisexual aspects this is definitely correct.

The transgendered one is more ambiguous, because there's a fundamental tension here: if there's nothing wrong with transgendered people, why do they need surgery?

• Disintegrating all meaning of gender.
-> Gay activists are indeed favour of blurring or demolishing the concept of gender. How far is another question, since there is certainly a lot of diversity within the movement.

• Silencing and vilifying any different point of view.
-> This point is a bit more complex and depends what you mean by "different".

A few gay activists are more conciliatory, but the bulk regard anti-gay people as homophobes.

Some go beyond this and move into the realm of heterophobia. This is like minority-group activists who claim that if you oppose affirmative action, you are racist. Just because you don't agree with everything gay activists say does not mean that you are evil.

It is hard to get statistics on how many gay activists try to silence their opponents, but overall one can say that this point is at least partly true.

• Undermining parental authority to indoctrinate kids.
-> Gay activists are against parents' rights to indoctrinate children and want to indoctrinate the children themselves.

[Addendum: Someone asked if it was indoctrination to oppose an initiatial indoctrination, but gay activists want to teach children that LGBTQ is okay, not just to prevent parents from teaching that LGBTQ is bad.]

• Rewriting Religious principles to suit their Agenda.
-> I am skeptical of some claims that religious doctrine can be compatible with a gay-friendly approach, because they are deeply dishonest and twist said doctrine.

Would a mainstream Muslim be upset if Islam was reinterpreted to proscribe polygyny? Or to allow polyandry?

• Polarizing students, so that anyone who is not “gay-affirming” is labeled a bigot.
-> "Homophobe", and especially "bigot" are very strong terms.

While they would apply to many who are opposed to gay rights (and can sometimes serve as terms of convenience, since they read more easily than "anti-gay people" or the like), one can believe that gays deserve rights while, for example, thinking marriage should remain off-limits (while reserving for them the right to civil unions). I don't think they would deserve the titles of "bigot" and "homophobe", though they certainly aren't in the forefront of the gay-cause.

One should also look at these things in historical and social context.

Labelling Abraham Lincoln and other abolitionists racists and bigots would seem shocking and deliberately provocative, but by today's standards they would certainly qualify as such, since while they were in favour of liberating Blacks from the shackles of Slavery, they certainly were not in favour of granting them equal rights.

So yes, there is a gay agenda. But it isn't necessarily, or always, something we should be worried about.

The blog's obsession with gay issues despite being a "Citizens' Watch" is curious though. I'd have thought "extreme liberal values" would extend to more things. Like frolicking gymnasts' bare antics.

[Addendum: More clear-cut example of the (or a) Gay Agenda seems to include:

- infusing geography, maths and science with homosexual references
- firing or demoting people for their views on homosexuality (even when it is not even relevant to the job)
- Collecting case notes for files for children as young as four for "homophobic" incidents such as using "gay" as an adjective in a non-homosexual way]
New blog pic:

Made From 100% Chicken (thanks to @b_catenin and @acidflask)
"SM/SJ So what about the position of women in your work. Are they experts in seduction?

I am not in agreement with hardline feminist ideology which says that woman as seducer is a degrading role. In my view the strategy of seduction is a happy, liberating power for women. It feeds into the simulation. Unfortunately, in feminism everything that happens to be female is defended - l'écriture féminine, poetry, any kind of artistic creation, and this makes it a kind of mirror of masculine simulation. This is a negative simulation, an unfortunate simulation. It seems to me that the feminine strategy of seduction is not an alienation of woman, as the feminists believe. One must rise above the battle of the sexes and get away from sexist alienation. Men and women shouldn’t oppose each other. I believe one can regain feminine seductiveness as a positive virtue and that this is one way to rise above it. But of course I risk being misunderstood.

SM/SJ Isn’t that just a romantic view of woman as transcendent? A lot of feminists have already criticized the essentialism that you criticize.

It’s important to make a critique of woman as woman. Seduction is not just a sexual strategy and it’s not one-sided. More a complicity. There are rules to the game. It’s a very physical game and one of equality. Both sides are deeply involved and the stakes are high. It’s almost an ideology played out to the detriment of democracy. Right now men are striving themselves to find an ideology which defines them and I think that femininity should go beyond its narrow confines, beyond the way that it sees itself at the moment."

--- The Politics of Seduction, Baudrillard's interview with Suzanne Moore and Stephen Johnstone
"People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like." - Abraham Lincoln, in a book review


Frolicking gymnasts bare antics a real eyesore - "The team frolicked and tumbled in the hall, oblivious to the parents and children around them. I grimaced as they swung vigorously on the pommel horse, and risked slipping out of their loose trunks. Even worse, as they gripped the rings and the parallel bars, it did not take much gravity to expose their pubic area to the children. It was an eyesore to onlookers as the young men trampled on their modesty in public."
Another amazing George Lim FAIL!

Allergic to "grilled cheese" - "Q: I am a 30 Year old male. I have been dating a wonderful woman for 2.5 years. I would describe everything about her as perfect except for one thing. She absolutely refuses to [make me a grilled cheese sandwich]. Now I want to ask her to marry me, but the thought of going the rest of my life without receiving [grilled cheese sandwiches] is definitely a worry. I fear I may resent her eventually, or possibly feel the need to seek [grilled cheese sandwiches] out somewhere else when enough time has passed. It has already been 2.5+ years since I last experienced a [grilled cheese sandwich]. It is starting to consume my thoughts. I don't know if this one thing is enough to be a deal-breaker. Everything else is perfect. I don't know what to do!
A: You’ve probably heard this before, but disagreements about sex and money are usually what end relationships. If you’re resenting her now, fast forward 10 years. It will get worse... If your girlfriend can’t come up with a grilled-cheese compromise, yes, to quote the wise Liz Lemon, this may be a deal breaker, ladies. Is the rest of her perfect enough to balance the sexual incompatibility?"

And the plural of MacBook Pro is ... - "I think insisting that it should be attorneys general rather than attorney generals (or mothers-in-law rather than mother-in-laws, and other such examples) is a little silly in the first place, and I wouldn't insist on MacBooks Pro over MacBook Pros... Think of the compound noun blackboard, meaning the thing that you write on with chalk. Many blackboards are indeed black in color, but not necessarily; many are green, for instance, but we still have no problem calling them blackboards... When confronted with the fact that Walkmen sounds odd to (most) English speakers, and that Walkmans fails on the supposed analogy with the irregular pair man ~ men, Sony apparently decreed that the plural of their insanely popular product should be Walkman® personal stereos"
I find the idea of an English Grammar Nazi charming, considering that iterate and reiterate mean the same thing.

On the Unwillingness of Economists to Recant, Even in the Face of Evidence - "The AER has a backlog of two to three years between when papers are submitted and when they appear in print. Some of the papers currently in the pipeline, submitted before the crisis broke, predicted that the U.S. or global economy would remain prosperous and stable for many years to come. The professor wrote to all of these authors, asking them if they would like to withdraw their articles or at least modify them. All refused."

Decoding God's Changing Moods - "The Bible isn't the only Scripture with such vacillations between belligerence and tolerance. Muslims... are counseled in one part of the Koran to "kill the polytheists wherever you find them."... A zero-sum, isolationist worldview had moved Israel from polytheism to belligerent monotheism, but now, as Israel's environment grew less threatening, belligerence was turning out not to be an intrinsic part of monotheism... Muhammad's ecumenical mission seems to have failed... Once you're convinced that non-zero-sum collaboration isn't in the cards, the bonhomie dries up. In his new, zero-sum mode, Muhammad changed the direction of prayer from Jerusalem to Mecca. According to Islamic tradition, he expelled three tribes of Jews from Medina — and killed the adult males in the third tribe... once the conquering was done, Muslim leaders found that trying to compel uniform belief in a multinational empire was a lose-lose game. Doctrines granting freedom of worship to Christians and Jews emerged promptly. And later, such freedom would also be granted to Buddhists and polytheists."

Love in 2-D: Men Who Love Body Pillows - "Nisan is part of a thriving subculture of men and women in Japan who indulge in real relationships with imaginary characters. These 2-D lovers, as they are called, are a subset of otaku culture... The less extreme might have a hidden collection of figurines based on anime characters that they go on "dates" with during off hours. A more serious 2-D lover, like Nisan, actually believes that a lumpy pillow with a drawing of a prepubescent anime character on it is his girlfriend... the rise of 2-D love can be attributed in part to the difficulty many young Japanese have in navigating modern romantic life. According to a government survey, more than a quarter of men and women between the ages of 30 and 34 are virgins; 50 percent of men and women in Japan do not have friends of the opposite sex... In an ideal moe relationship, a man frees himself from the expectations of an ordinary human relationship and expresses his passion for a chosen character, without fear of being judged or rejected"

Why I ditched Buddhism. - "Buddhism is not much more rational than the Catholicism I lapsed from in my youth; Buddhism's moral and metaphysical worldview cannot easily be reconciled with science—or, more generally, with modern humanistic values... To someone who sees himself and others as unreal, human suffering and death may appear laughably trivial. This may explain why some Buddhist masters have behaved more like nihilists than saints... What's worse, Buddhism holds that enlightenment makes you morally infallible—like the pope, but more so... But what troubles me most about Buddhism is its implication that detachment from ordinary life is the surest route to salvation. Buddha's first step toward enlightenment was his abandonment of his wife and child... All religions, including Buddhism, stem from our narcissistic wish to believe that the universe was created for our benefit, as a stage for our spiritual quests. In contrast, science tells us that we are incidental, accidental... science, unlike religion, seeks truth regardless of how it makes us feel. Buddhism raises radical questions about our inner and outer reality, but it is finally not radical enough to accommodate science's disturbing perspective. The remaining question is whether any form of spirituality can"
Note that religion does not have to make us feel good - guilt is one example.

Man paid for sex with teen - "AN ACCOUNTANT who twice paid to have sex with an underage prostitute from China was jailed for two weeks and fined $16,000... District Judge Jeffrey Sim ruled that Sim, an elder at the Lighthouse Evangelism church, did not deliberately exploit a minor. 'He was misled by both the pimp and the minor into believing that the minor was 18 or above 18 years old,'... Sim, he said, also tried to help the prostitute after she told him that she was being forced to work as a commercial sex worker against her will. In fact, his attempts to help her landed him in hot water. He took her to the Chinese Embassy and then to a police post to lodge a report, and this led to charges against him."
Morals of the story: don't bother helping other people, always check ID
Next to this, following someone into a hotel room voluntarily and freaking out when he makes a move on you (David Chee Dah Wei) is nothing

More women-only gyms - "Dr Ng Koon Hock, 48, a psychiatrist at Thomson Medical Centre, said: 'Most women don't like the staring eyes of men so, in these women-only gyms, they can exercise in comfort and accomplish their goals faster.'... 'The main advantage of women- only gyms is that there are no distractions,' she said. 'You can concentrate on working out without worrying about how your hair looks or if you have a visible panty line.'"
This is funny, considering that the main critics of women are other women.
"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness." - Joseph Conrad


Someone on web filtering at the office: well there is hope yet
the green dam fell

china's filtering software
public opinion pushed the govt to reverse its decision
so now it's not compulsory for all computers to have it

that's a good start ainnit?
the chinese aren't sitting down and kissing their little red books anymore

Me: hurr hurr
cos they wanted their porn lah

Someone: the power of porn
never underestimate the will of a man separated from his porn. he can move mountains and empty oceans

PPBI: you know why women spend so much on their dresses

because most of them lead boring humdrum lives
and \they want to be princesses

so their wedding day is the only day they can indulge

so i told myself in future i shall live like a princess
so i will not want to get married so i can indulge

Me: why not a queen

PPBI: but well i want to be an empress

empress sounds cooler
and more exotic

Someone: disgusting chris asked [UD #6] if she wanted to go


Someone: hahah!

stop being a baby. as my friend likes to say: 你胸前有没有两粒奶?
hrm maybe not so appropriate for you. cause you do actually

Someone else on something mean some boys called a well-endowed girl: ahahhhaa
omg so bad!!!


aiyoh poor girl

she's probably a sweet girl

horrible boys.
only boys will notice such things
and SAY such things

Me: eh. what men say
about women is nothing compared to what women say about each other

Someone else: true
innocent but crude jokes. versus malicious insecurity
only insecure women will say things about each other

Me: most women are insecure (:

Someone else: that's why you sympathize with women :)

Me: I am insecure meh

Someone else: no
you don't have to be insecure to sympathize with an insecure person!

Frigid Girl: what the hell.

i ask you hot or not
you give me cupsizes

Someone: alpha male what
guys must be better than girl

Me: yes
that's why female emancipation has led to some undesirable consequences

Someone: i find this lack of ambition disturbing lor

what's it with you women and wanting men with ambition

Someone: sense of security
it all boils down to that
cos we would want to depend on our man

thats it really
which xplains why there are so little househusbands

Me: well women want to ride on coattails

Behind every great man there's a woman
Behind a nobody there's no woman

Someone: hahaa

Me: I think the chain of causation is reversed

it's not that the woman helps the man become great
it's that a man who becomes great gets a woman

Someone: yes
that is very true

lets face it
what is love lor.

chemical reactions? haha
don't kid me

its us
ticking a mental checklist in our heads
and if our potential partner fulfills it
well like them

PPBI: before my period comes i always wish i have someone to protect me

Me: ><

that makes no sense
do other girls feel that way

PPBI: ie looking for a 'dad'
the dad/cad dichotomy

one girlfriend says she has similar feelings

i didn't really ask other girls
why don't you

but you can only ask single girls

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities." - Aldous Huxley


On the resource curse and what happens when a government governs less:

"[After the discovery of oil in Venezuela in 1921], nobody paid taxes. If you're an oil state, it's far more efficient to ask oil buyers for more money than to collect taxes from your population, which requires a vast network of tax collectors, a bureaucracy, laws that are fair, and a justice system to administer them. Collecting oil money, by contrast, requires a small cadre of intellectuals to set policy and diplomats to make it happen... The political, economic, and psychological ramifications of this... are profound.

'Systematically the government went after oil money rather than raising taxes,' says economist Francisco Monaldi. 'There is no taxation and therefore no representation here. The state here is extremely autonomous.' Whether it's a dictatorship, a democracy, or something in between, the state's only patron is the oil industry, and all of its attention is focused outward. What's more, the state owes nothing more than promises to the people of Venezuela, because they have so little leverage on the state's income.

When a state develops the ability to collect taxes, the bureaucracy and mechanisms it creates are expensive. They perpetuate their existence by diligently collecting as much money as possible and encouraging the growth of a private economy to collect taxes from. A strong private economy, so the thinking goes, creates a strong civil society, fostering other centers of power that keep the state in check. Like other intellectuals I talk with in other oil states, Monaldi finds taxes more interesting and more useful than abstract ideas about democracy and ballot boxes. Taxes aren't democracy, but they seem to connect taxpayers and government in a way that has democratizing effects. Studies by Michael L. Ross at UCLA found that taxes alone don't foster accountability, but the relationship of taxes to government services creates a struggle for value between the state and citizens, which is some kind of accountability...

Abdoulaye Djonouma, president of Chad's Chamber of Commerce, says oil brought about economic and agricultural collapse in Nigeria and Gabon. For Chad, which has fewer resources, he fears worse: militarization. He ticks off all the former French colonies that have become militarized. Virtually all. (One study found that oil-exporting countries spend between two and ten times more on their militaries than other developing countries.)...

At Stanford, Terry Lynn Karl's analysis of Venezuela's economy during the 1970s and '80s shows that countries whose economy is dominated by oil exports tend to experience shrinking standards of living - something that Chad can hardly afford. Oil has opportunity costs: A study by Jeffrey Sachs and Andres Warner showed that of ninety-seven developing countries, those without oil grew four times as much as those with oil. At UCLA, Michael L. Ross did regression studies showing that governments that export oil tend to become less democratic over time. At Oxford, Paul Collier's regression studies show that oil, and mineral-exporting countries have a 23 percent likelihood of civil war within five years, compared to less than 1 percent for nondependent countries."

--- Oil on the Brain / Lisa Margonelli
"Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice." - George Jackson


Police close down Facebook barbecue for 15 people - "When Andrew Poole organised his 30th birthday party and posted invitations on the social networking site Facebook, he was expecting only 17 guests including family members. He was therefore a little surprised when eight police officers, some dressed in body armour, arrived with a riot van and helicopter support. Mr Poole, a coach driver, claimed he was doing little more than lighting a barbecue for a few of his friends to celebrate, however, police feared it was to turn into a large-scale rave prompted by the internet invitations."

Why We Must Ration Health Care - "Ten million? Is there any limit to how much you would want your insurer to pay for a drug that adds six months to someone’s life? If there is any point at which you say, “No, an extra six months isn’t worth that much,” then you think that health care should be rationed... the British media leapt on the theme of penny-pinching bureaucrats sentencing sick people to death... This “identifiable victim” effect, well documented by psychologists, creates a dangerous bias in our thinking... If the U.S. system spent less on expensive treatments for those who, with or without the drugs, have at most a few months to live, it would be better able to save the lives of more people who, if they get the treatment they need, might live for several decades... Disability advocates might argue that such judgments, made by people without disabilities, merely reflect the ignorance and prejudice of people without disabilities when they think about people with disabilities... preserving our belief that everyone has an equal right to life is, however, a double-edged sword. If life with quadriplegia is as good as life without it, there is no health benefit to be gained by curing it"

Electromagnetic Leak - "If extraterrestrial civilizations are monitoring our TV broadcasts, then this is what they are currently watching."

South Africa: Going wrong | The Economist - "Mr Johnson hurls particular vitriol at the policy of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE). As he describes it, this has merely enabled an ANC-connected elite to enrich itself fabulously in the name of affirmative action officially meant to tip more of the economy into black hands. He lists in remorseless detail a web of ties between ANC leaders and their families and the new rich and powerful. In Mr Johnson’s eyes, the ANC’s crude efforts to replace whites with its black supporters across the board has harmed the health service, served to “debase the entire educational system” and generally helped the black masses not a whit."
Sounds like affirmative action elsewhere in the world

SGFAIL - "For all things FAIL in Singapore."

Jon Henley on the fate of the semicolon - "It is a debate you could only really have in a country... where structuralists and relativists and postmodernists, rather than skulk shamefacedly in the shadows, get invited on to primetime TV... In the red corner, desiring nothing less than the consignment of the semicolon to the dustbin of grammatical history, are a pair of treacherous French writers and (of course) those perfidious Anglo-Saxons, for whose short, punchy, uncomplicated sentences, it is widely rumoured, the rare subtlety and infinite elegance of a good semicolon are surplus to requirements. The point-virgule, says legendary writer, cartoonist and satirist François Cavanna, is merely "a parasite, a timid, fainthearted, insipid thing, denoting merely uncertainty, a lack of audacity, a fuzziness of thought"."

Did the Religious Right Fuel the Growth of the 'Non-Religious Left'? - "One way to interpret these results: The less affiliated with organized religion that people are, the more likely they are to view religion (and science) as rigid and exclusionary. Whereas people who are more conventionally religious, at least as measured by attending services, are more likely understand their own faith to be broad enough to accommodate scientific theories."

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Friends are like potatoes. If you eat them, they die."


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dans l'église...

"Il prit ensuite une coupe; et, après avoir rendu grâces, il la leur donna, en disant:

Buvez-en tous; car ceci est mon sang, le sang de l`alliance, qui est répandu pour plusieurs, pour la rémission des péchés."

"Non, merci, je ne peux pas boire de vin"
"It is only an auctioneer who can equally and impartially admire all schools of art." - Oscar Wilde


Walter Cronkite on the War on Drugs, for the Drug Policy Alliance:

Dear Keith,

As anchorman of the CBS Evening News, I signed off my nightly broadcasts for nearly two decades with a simple statement: "And that’s the way it is." To me, that encapsulates the newsman’s highest ideal: to report the facts as he sees them, without regard for the consequences or controversy that may ensue. Sadly, that is not an ethic to which all politicians aspire - least of all in a time of war. I remember. I covered the Vietnam War. I remember the lies that were told, the lives that were lost - and the shock when, twenty years after the war ended, former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara admitted he knew it was a mistake all along. Today, our nation is fighting two wars: one abroad and one at home. While the war in Iraq is in the headlines, the other war is still being fought on our own streets. Its casualties are the wasted lives of our own citizens.

I am speaking of the war on drugs. And I cannot help but wonder how many more lives, and how much more money, will be wasted before another Robert McNamara admits what is plain for all to see: the war on drugs is a failure.

While the politicians stutter and stall - while they chase their losses by claiming we could win this war if only we committed more resources, jailed more people and knocked down more doors - the Drug Policy Alliance continues to tell the American people the truth - "the way it is."

I'm sure that's why you support DPA's mission to end the drug war. And why I strongly urge you to support their work by giving a generous donation today. Make a Donation

You see, I’ve learned first hand that the stakes just couldn’t be higher. When I wanted to understand the truth about the war on drugs, I took the same approach I did to the war in Vietnam: I hit the streets and reported the story myself. I sought out the people whose lives this war has affected.

Allow me to introduce you to some of them. Nicole Richardson was 18-years-old when her boyfriend, Jeff, sold nine grams of LSD to undercover federal agents. She had nothing to do with the sale. There was no reason to believe she was involved in drug dealing in any way.

But then an agent posing as another dealer called and asked to speak with Jeff. Nicole replied that he wasn’t home, but gave the man a number where she thought Jeff could be reached.

An innocent gesture? It sounds that way to me. But to federal prosecutors, simply giving out a phone number made Nicole Richardson part of a drug dealing conspiracy. Under draconian mandatory minimum sentences, she was sent to federal prison for ten years without possibility of parole.

To pile irony on top of injustice, her boyfriend - who actually knew something about dealing drugs - was able to trade information for a reduced sentence of five years. Precisely because she knew nothing, Nicole had nothing with which to barter.

Then there was Jan Warren, a single mother who lived in New Jersey with her teenage daughter. Pregnant, poor and desperate, Jan agreed to transport eight ounces of cocaine to a cousin in upstate New York. Police officers were waiting at the drop-off point, and Jan - five months pregnant and feeling ill - was cuffed and taken in.

Did she commit a crime? Sure. But what awaited Jan Warren defies common sense and compassion alike. Under New York’s infamous Rockefeller Drug Laws, Jan - who miscarried soon after the arrest - was sentenced to 15 years to life. Her teenage daughter was sent away, and Jan was sent to an eight-by-eight cell.

In Tulia, Texas, an investigator fabricated evidence that sent more than one out of every ten of the town’s African American residents to jail on trumped-up drug charges in one of the most despicable travesties of justice this reporter has ever seen.

The federal government has fought terminally ill patients whose doctors say medical marijuana could provide a modicum of relief from their suffering - as though a cancer patient who uses marijuana to relieve the wrenching nausea caused by chemotherapy is somehow a criminal who threatens the public.

People who do genuinely have a problem with drugs, meanwhile, are being imprisoned when what they really need is treatment. And what is the impact of this policy?

It surely hasn’t made our streets safer. Instead, we have locked up literally millions of people...disproportionately people of color...who have caused little or no harm to others - wasting resources that could be used for counter-terrorism, reducing violent crime, or catching white-collar criminals.

With police wielding unprecedented powers to invade privacy, tap phones and conduct searches seemingly at random, our civil liberties are in a very precarious condition. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on this effort - with no one held accountable for its failure.

Amid the clichés of the drug war, our country has lost sight of the scientific facts. Amid the frantic rhetoric of our leaders, we’ve become blind to reality: The war on drugs, as it is currently fought, is too expensive, and too inhumane.

But nothing will change until someone has the courage to stand up and say what so many politicians privately know: The war on drugs has failed. That’s where the Drug Policy Alliance comes in.

From Capitol Hill to statehouses to the media, DPA counters the hysteria of the drug war with thoughtful, accurate analysis about the true dangers of drugs, and by fighting for desperately needed on-the-ground reforms.

They are the ones who’ve played the lead role in making marijuana legally available for medical purposes in states across the country.

California’s Proposition 36, the single biggest piece of sentencing reform in the United States since the repeal of Prohibition, is the result of their good work. The initiative is now in its fifth year, having diverted more than 125,000 people from prison and into treatment since its inception.

They oppose mandatory-minimum laws that force judges to send people like Nicole Richardson and Jan Warren to prison for years, with no regard for their character or the circumstances of their lives. And their work gets results: thanks in large part to DPA, New York has taken the first steps towards reforming the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws under which Jan was sentenced.

In these and so many other ways, DPA is working to end the war on drugs and replace it with a new drug policy based on science, compassion, health and human rights. DPA is a leading, mainstream, respected and effective organization that gets real results. But they can’t do it alone.

That’s why I urge you to send as generous a contribution as you possibly can to the Drug Policy Alliance. Make a Donation

Americans are paying too high a price in lives and liberty for a failing war on drugs about which our leaders have lost all sense of proportion. The Drug Policy Alliance is the one organization telling the truth. They need you with them every step of the way. And that’s the way it is.

Sincerely, Walter Cronkite

P.S. Why does this reporter support the Drug Policy Alliance? Because they perform a service I value highly: When no one else will, they tell it the way it is, and they do so on one of the most important but least discussed issues in America today. Just as they did in Vietnam three decades ago, politicians know the War on Drugs is a failure that is ruining lives. Please help the Drug Policy Alliance tell the truth about the war on drugs - and get our nation on the path toward a sensible drug policy.
Henry Louis Gates Jr. Arrested

"Colleagues of Henry Louis Gates Jr., Harvard's most prominent scholar of African-American history, are accusing the police here of racism after he was arrested at his home last week by an officer investigating a report of a robbery in progress...

"My colleagues and I have asked the question of whether this kind of egregious act would have happened had Professor Gates been a white professor," said Dr. Counter, who said he had talked to Professor Gates since the arrest. "We think that it has to be investigated, and we are deeply saddened by what happened.""

I hope some people are asking the question of whether there would be complaints had Professor Gates been a white professor.

From the police report, the [white] officer involved:

"I asked if he would step out onto the porch and speak with me. He replied "no I will not"...

While yelling, he told me that it was none of my business and accused me of being a racist police officer...

I radioed on channel 1 that I was off in the residence with someone who appeared to be a resident but very uncooperative...

Gates then turned to me and told me that I had no idea who I was "messing" with and that I had not heard the last of it...

Gates began to yell over my spoken words by accusing me of being a racist police officer and leveling threats that he wasn't someone to mess with... Gates continued to yell at me...

I again told Gates that I would speak with him outside... His reply was "ya, I'll speak with your mama outside"...

As I descended the stairs to the sidewalk, Gates continued to yell at me, accusing me of racial bias and continued to tell me that I had not heard the last of him...

I warned Gates that he was becoming disorderly... Gates ignored my warning and continued to yell at me"

Meanwhile, corroborating testimony from a Hispanic officer (from the same report):

"As I stepped in, I heard Sgt. Crowley ask for the gentleman's information which he stated "NO I WILL NOT!". The gentleman was shouting out to the Sgt. that the Sgt.. was a racist and yelled that "THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO BLACK MEN IN AMERICA!" As the Sgt. was trying to calm the gentleman, the gentleman shouted " You don't know who your messing with!""

This is why police patrols in Singapore always have members of more than one race.

Addendum: Pretty much the same happened to Bob Dylan, who co-operated and did not threaten the police officer.
Another wonderful George Lim forum letter!

Let's reinforce unity of purpose in fighting terrorism

WE CAN never overemphasise the need to remain vigilant against the threat of terrorism, as warned by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in last Sunday's report, 'PM Lee warns of evolving terror threat'.

He warned that the recent bomb explosions at the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels in Jakarta showed that terrorists continue to have 'new ways of doing evil, bad deeds'. Schools, religious organisations and the business community need to make a concerted effort to not only condemn the murderous acts of terrorism, but also set the boundaries that define good and evil in society.

Often, the human spirit needs to be rekindled to distinguish between right and wrong behaviour. Religions with good society and family values must take proactive steps to engage the public and schools by upholding godly values and renouncing the evil that destroys the fabric of society. Our children need to learn from religious leaders who demonstrate how their faith can build strong family bonds and create social stability, harmony and security. Where the fault lines of society are shaken, religious leaders are to super-glue the gaps.

Religious leaders in collaboration with the Government should openly reject socially irresponsible behaviour such as racism, religious intolerance, adultery as well as perverse sexual behaviour in society. Moral relativism has no place in a society that treasures and thrives on good, absolute values.

As part of civil defence, schools must be vigilant to teach children strong traditional family values through the covenant of marriage and fidelity to one's spouse.

Insidious and egregious practices such as abuse of human rights and extreme liberalism must be exposed and rejected for what they are. Drug trafficking, use of abortion as a form of contraceptive, polygamy and serial divorce will remain as wrongdoings. Our police force should be held in high regard as they enforce the rules against criminal behaviour.

Children must be encouraged to speak up against evil and not fear being rebuked for doing the right thing. The heathen attack religious people with the phrase: 'Get down from your high horse for we reject your holier-than-thou attitude.'

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew recently remarked that for 44 years, Singapore still has not yet achieved the ideals of nationhood. Perhaps the next step requires the conviction and partnership of religious and government leaders to take a firm stand against wicked deeds and support those who stand for the truth in nation building. It is time we took serious heed of the axiom: 'Righteousness exalts a nation.'

George Lim


Indu had a published, albeit heavily edited, response in the ST forum to this letter.

The really scary bit is, if they edited her letter so much, what was George Lim's original letter like?!]

Monday, July 20, 2009

"People who say you're just as old as you feel are all wrong, fortunately." - Russell Baker


Own Time Own Target


Baldie was nice enough to give me a pair of tickets to the re-staging of Own Time Own Target, so I could see what had changed (besides Radio Silence being axed).

SingaporeSights.com 2.0 claims that there are "new songs, new jokes, new cast members and a new set design", but comparing this with what I remmeber form last year, the changes made have been more evolutionary than revolutionary (read the review I wrote last year if you haven't already, as that mostly still holds and this one builds on it).

On the up side, most of the actors seemed more natural this time and the comedy dynamics had been tightened, likely due to experience on both their and the hidden personnel's part (though I think LeRoy in Full Tank was a tad better last year, bringing out more of the pathos). The sets also look less cheap, and in Botak Boys a rotating stage now means some interesting things can be done with perspective. A few lines were also updated due to H1N1 and the re-capture of Mas Selamat, making it seem less a product of its time than 12 Stories does today.

On the other hand, the crossdressing seems worse than last year (notably by the Mamasan). Also, the great song 302 in Botak Boys has lost one of its highlights - pink feather boas!!! And there's still the very problematic Malay in a tank.

Despite that ridiculous ST Forum letter, the laughs I heard were assuredly not because people "felt uncomfortable with the profanities", and the theatre was 80-85% full. So unless you're in National Slavery Fulltime (NSF), in which case I think your bookout time would be better spent doing something else, or you watched it last year (there hasn't been enough changed to justify paying more to watch pretty much the same production), it's a good way to spend 2 hours.

Own Time Own Target is on at the Drama Centre Theatre until the 25th of July. Tickets start from $34 (they only cost $30 last year!)

OTOT menu at Drama Centre cafe. Where's "Chestnut Rice with Chicken"?! Or Pulut Hitam, for that matter.

Another play I watched yesterday was the excellent Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (by Tom Stoppard, whose name was oddly nowhere to be seen on the programme), which I was Tempted into watching, but about which I have no regrets.

It was put up by the generically-named "project yum!", a group of RJC and HCJC alumni (which explained why they spoke so well). The interpretation veered more towards the comedic side of tragicomedy, and the performances (of the major roles, anyway - i.e. the minor roles in Hamlet) were great.

The play itself was also a good example of The Theatre of the Absurd without being The Theatre of the Incomprehensible (I'm looking at you, Samuel Beckett).

Unfortunately yesterday was its last performance.
"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance." - Sam Brown


Ad on StraitsTimes.com:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

"Looking For A Ladyboy?
1000's Of Thai Singles Seek Foreign Men. Browse Pics & Profiles Now!

I checked out the site but didn't find any option to look for a Ladyboy.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"I am... Seeking: a man or woman; a man; a woman"
False advertising: there's no 'kathooey' option!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
It doesn't seem to be in the Advanced Search either (but I'm not going to pay to find out!)

I feel cheated!!!

MFM: Whatever happened to promoting Family Values?
"As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life - so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls." - M. Cartmill


From a Facebook thread on the campaign against marital rape (about which, perhaps, more in the future):

A: my friend brought up the horrors of the forum discussion as well, and kindly summed it up for me:

1. If you don't want to fulfill your marital right, u better not marry.

Me: Actually non-consummation of marriage is valid grounds for annulment, so sex *is* an obligatory part of marriage.

[Addendum: What are the grounds for annulling a marriage?

"Non-consummation owing to wilful refusal"

Note also that there is no time limit for the inability or refusal to have sex, so sexual relations are truly a necessary criterion for marriage under Singapore law]

A: Gabriel - doesn't mean it should be non-consensual.

Me: No it doesn't, but it means the first point "If you don't want to fulfill your marital right, u better not marry" is valid

B: What does not wanting to have sex have to do with marital rape? Are you saying that if this law is abolished then no wives would have to put out and the men will have no recourse (being that currently they can just rape to fufil their needs)?

What a dismal view of female sexuality and heterosexual relations.

Me: No, I'm saying that it's unjustified to laugh at people who say that marriage is supposed to involve sex, and also that you're supposed to have sex with your spouse.

B: Don't think anyone's laughing at anyone who is making that point.

Certainly sex is something that happens between two consenting adults in a marriage. I think the rest of us take umbrage when that autonomy is either threatened or used as a weapon.

Me: Laughing, tut-tut-ing - either way it's disapproval.

And if only more people took umbrage when the weapon was used in the opposite direction.

B: Right, why don't anyone ever think of the men who are suffering at the hands of these vindictive and sex-witholding bitches.

Life's hard for you, isn't it?

Me: Actually I was thinking of false sex crime accusations, but if you want to pursue that we should take it off this thread.

B: All I will say to that is that it's one of the biggest strawmen arguments ever constructed and has been used most consistently to undermine rape victims and is one of the main reasons rape is an underreported crime.

You're welcome to take off this thread anytime.

Off the thread,

Me: *something, including evidence for 20-40% of rape accusations being false*

B: the points you made on the thread [are not] valid in any way (i.e. that sex in marriage is an obligation and the implication that rape is a recourse for not getting any).

And what does any of this have to do with abolishing the protections for perpertrators of marital rape?

Me: I did not say that rape is a recourse for not getting any - if your spouse does not want to have sex with you you can always divorce him/her.

I was pointing out that under the law, non-consummation of a marriage is grounds for annulment. It is obvious that sex is considered part of marriage.

If you think this sounds preposterous, consider that if I take some money from the wallet of a stranger on the street, this is considered theft.
On the other hand, if a spouse takes money from the other party's wallet, this is part of marriage.

It is hardly controversial to say that marriage involves financial, material, temporal and emotional support, and a consistent unwillingness to provide any would be grounds for divorce - why the double standard?

Finally, I did not say that this had anything to do with abolishing the protections for perpertrators of marital rape (though I have my own unorthodox views on that).

I was just pointing out that describing as a "horror" the view that "If you don't want to fulfill your marital right, u better not marry" was silly.

B: Wow. So you introduced a completely tangential point so you can talk about false rape accusations.

You are a troll.

Me: I made a minor point which had nothing to do with false rape accusations, which eventually provoked a response from you claiming that [I] viewed [wo]men as "vindictive and sex-withholding bitches".

Thank you for showing once again that the bulk of self-identified feminists are crazy.

I was musing about how many sane feminists there really are out there, and someone said that she "was wondering that too... But not recently. Gave up." (maybe she'll be called a gender traitor, or more likely someone who has internalised patriarchy).

Someone pointed out that the parallels I pointed out between feminism (and progressives in general) and religious fundamentalists potentially applied to ANY activist, whatever the gender or cause, though admitting that environmentalists are particularly susceptible.

I didn't find this to be a contradiction, not least because most activism is progressive in spirit; in activism you are passionate about something. and when your emotions overwhelm you you go cuckoo.

Yet, without emotion you will not be motivated to fight for social change and improvement in the first place.

Thus, the pertinent question is: how do you fuel your activism with passion and emotion without letting these same drivers cloud your mind and potentially cause more harm than good?

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something." - Thomas H. Huxley


u r wt u wr Foreign Edition (Joga):

- 'Sweet heart. Honey bear. Love'
- 'I know... what boys like'
- '*Picture of pig dressed as gangster* Oink. Love pig or die' (worn by tudung girl)
- 'Warning. Private property. Please keep out unless you have big boobs' (This was worn by a vendor at Prambanan. She was about B+/C- so I guess that qualifies)
- 'Come to ME. I need you please'
- 'Make me smile :)' (The smiley was the right side up)
- [In KL LCCT] 'I love Jeans... She will give birth to a son, and you... Jesus loves you'
- 'Beauty's choice'
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