When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

"There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president." - Kurt Vonnegut


Someone: americans have a history of these racial epithets, so i guess it's their way of defending/recognizing people of color

Me: well martin luther
king jr's dream has become anightmare

Someone: what was his dream

Me: that people are not judged by the colour of your skin

now you are judged by the colour of your skin

if you are white you are automatically racist
if you are black you have automatically been discriminated against
if you are white and criticse blacks you are racist
if you are black and criticse whites it is justified

Someone: oh yeah
it's a bad situation in america

the color situation doesn't affect you so much if you're not white though

asian-americans are apparently the most racist americans but don't get much flak for it

Me: hahahahah
but they're model minorities
so they're deemed to be somewhat complicit in the racist structure

Someone: maybe. but it's nothing like what whites get or feel about their racial status
blacks are just shamelessly milking the guilt
now even hispanics too apparently
i think they're really the racist ones sometimes

in general whites are least racist i think
possibly because they're forced and conditioned to be so lest they be condemned and guilt tripped

Me: hahahaha. you could get lynched for saying that :)

Someone else: i dont give a shit if people stare at my boobs
if it makes them happy and they dont do anything to me haha

TMM on the above: that girl is logical

her boobs are awesome, even though I've never seen them

Me: you've seen them?!

TMM: nope

but they belong to an awesome person
so they're awesome too

Someone: sg girls are extremely frustrating
they drive men crazy
and not in a good way

part of the reason i'm getting out

the gay community is also really annoying

Me: oh what do they do

Someone: it's very inward looking

Me: yeah it's very incestuous

Someone: yes
and str8 sg men are just very boring in general
sg is a very uninspiring place to be in

Someone else on the meaning of "it was a vain hope.": i dont know either

Me: ...
all this faux emo

Someone else: hahahahas
i'm emo meh!

it was a quote from twilight
which i kinda liked!

Me: wah even better

twilight is so pre-teen sap

Someone else: butttttt i likeeee

Me: slap your butt lah

Someone else: you ass

MFTTW: your grooming makes women jealous

nice hair, nice nails
nice boobs

you're like 1/2way there liao

LDPVTP: *** makes me ridiculously happy even when i am moody and pms-ing

quite a peculiar thing

Me: it's called "love"


Someone: sum muslims wont even use perfume or alcohol-based deoderants or watever.

sum pple are a bit the extremist ah.
sum pple wont eat nething without a halal stamp.like bread or sumting.

[On being willing to eat at Fish and Co despite the lack of certification] does fish n co serve pork? but ure right..its like no consistent logic with these pple.

i noe sumone who eats at fish n co..but not at sum middle eastern cafes or restaurants dat have sheesha.cos smokin is haram.but like so is alcohol.aiyah these pple piss me off. n they start judging me cos oh im muslim n im not behavin according to their warped standard.

[On inconsistency] exactly.its lke when u point stuff like this out they get irritated.oh we cant? we cn eat kosher wat..

Me: at least they wont accuse you of inciting religious hatred

Someone else on Peking University: so we have this canteen in sch that sells jiaozi

then there was this afternoon i was there with some friends...
3pm, so not many other ppl..

there was this PRC couple in a corner of the canteeen eating dumplings...
seated very closely...

at first seems alright.. just the guy's arms over the girl's shoulder
then observe closely...
the guy waas squeezing her t*ts with every bite of jiaozi!

Someone: apparently it's like the hip new way to publicly declare your love in beijing

couples on the streets with dudes doing the overshoulder titgrab
and i've heard this like 7 times from ***, who heard it from someone else
"But what is the difference between literature and journalism?
...Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all." - Oscar Wilde


Apple loses students to netbooks and Windows - "When US students return to their classrooms this fall, few of them will be lugging along new Apple notebooks... "The majority of student laptop shoppers will not consider buying a Mac," says Renevo's press release... The low-price, good-enough laptop boat has sailed, and Apple's not on it. Apple spokesfolks have repeatedly dissed the netbook market. In October last year, Steve Jobs said: "There are some customers which we chose not to serve. We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk, and our DNA will not let us ship that.""
That's because netbooks have no space for the Apple Tax

The 5 Most Embarrassing Failures in the History of Terrorism - "If we can't laugh at terrorists, who can we laugh at?"

French women 'are the sexual predators now' - "French women are becoming increasingly assertive in their sexual habits, while one-in-five younger French men "has no interest in sex", according to one of the most comprehensive surveys of the nation's love lives... Despite the changes in female behaviour observed in the study, some things have not altered in 40 years. Men found it easier than women to disassociate sex from love... abstinence rates for men under 35 was twice as high as for women"
They cite socialisation for what hasn't changed in 40 years - but somehow it's also to blame for what has

The squirrel photo crasher: How cheeky rodent became star of couple's holiday snap

2nd most expensive city - "SINGAPORE is the No.2 most expensive Asian city to live in, with only famously pricey Tokyo ahead in the rankings, according to a study by Swiss bank UBS... The study also found that people worked an average of 1,902 hours a year in the cities surveyed. Workers in Asian and Middle Eastern cities slogged for the longest hours, averaging 2,119 and 2,063 hours each year respectively. The lucky people in the French cities of Lyon and Paris spend the least amount of time at work a year: just 1,582 and 1,594 hours respectively."
Le travail rend libre

A Conservative’s Road to Same-Sex Marriage Advocacy - "Mr. Olson is preparing for what he believes could be the most important case of his career, the binders stuffed with briefs, case law and notes offer a different take on a man many liberals love to hate... “For conservatives who don’t like what I’m doing, it’s, ‘If he just had someone in his family we’d forgive him,’ ” Mr. Olson said. “For liberals it’s such a freakish thing that it’s, ‘He must have someone in his family, otherwise a conservative couldn’t possibly have these views.’ It’s frustrating that people won’t take it on face value.”... The same antipathy toward government discrimination, he said, inspired him to take up another cause that many on the right applauded — a lengthy campaign to dismantle affirmative action programs."... In the gay community, though, conspiracy theories initially abounded that Mr. Olson had taken the case to sabotage it... Lady Booth Olson, a lawyer whom Mr. Olson married in 2006, said he still tears up when telling how a black teammate was turned away from a restaurant in Amarillo"
Somehow I don't see them doing "A Liberal's Road to Opposing Affirmative Action"

Coping with a sexual revolution - "Some 46% of Singaporean youths, for example, think it is okay to have sex before marriage. The biggest impact is felt among school and college students where 24% have admitted in a survey that they were sexually active. Some are as young as 13 or 14 years old, with a handful of pre-teens... [On being filmed naked] For others, it is considered an attractive pickup line to get a date. “I think this is very cool”, replied a 22 years old local student when interviewed. A new graduate from an Australian university explained to me why she loved to pose in G-strings: “What is the point of having a great body if you can’t flaunt it. When you grow old, no one would even want to look at you.”... It was found in a lifestyle survey that 60 out of 1,000 students aged between 13 and 15 years were having sex... A woman says she is hoping to breed “beautiful mixed blood children” with a Caucasian man, saying: “I can bring the child up by myself if necessary.”... A retired teacher in his 70s is optimism about the future generation: “... Every generation worries about its ‘misbehaving’ but they almost always grow into fine parents.” What are evolving are cultural values. What is bad today may well be tomorrow’s norm. “Look at casino gambling or compensating to organ donors, once punishable by law, are now perfectly acceptable,” he added."

pandagon.net: The Whole Foods Healthcare Plan: Now With 80% More Conspicuously Consuming White People - "That’s sweet, look at this guy. Wants to have a national health insurance system that can be used wherever he lives, and carry it with him at all times. Through the private market. Look at the balls on this guy, big as grapefruits. Gonna start calling him Ruby Red, this guy."
Besides the usual rudeness, name-calling, argument from emotion and dragging of race in for no apparent reason (other than to poison the well), some commenters are proclaiming that they're going to boycott Whole Foods. When someone has opinions you disagree with, you boycott them. Well done (unsurprisingly, it's from a feminist blog I've fisked before)

Greek Gods Family Tree

Taken for Granted: The Man Who Wasn't There - "The 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry honors Osamu Shimomura... Martin Chalfie... and Roger Tsien... The Nobel Committee never picks more than three winners for any discovery. Prasher, the biochemist who first cloned the GFP gene, published it in the journal Gene in 1992 and freely shared it with Tsien and Chalfie when they asked for it; however, he was not on the list when the laureates were announced. He also differs in another way from the winners, who occupy prestigious academic chairs. These days, Prasher spends his working hours in a different kind of seat, behind the wheel of courtesy shuttle, a minivan with "Bill Penney Toyota" written on the side in big letters. He took the $8.50-an-hour job with the Huntsville, Alabama, auto dealer after a year of unemployment following the loss of a research position"
If Prasher had been female, people would've been complaining about sexism

Friday, August 21, 2009

"How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin." - Ronald Reagan



"The ingenious La Motte says of Cato, in one of his philosophical rather than poetical odes—

Stern Cato, with more equal soul,
Had bowed to Caesar's wide control—
With Rome had to the conqueror bowed—
But that his spirit, rough and proud,
Had not the courage to await
A pardoned foe's too humbling fate.

It was, I believe, because Cato's soul was always equal, and retained to the last its love for his country and her laws, that he chose rather to perish with her than to crouch to the tyrant. He died as he had lived...

It seems rather absurd to say that Cato slew himself through weakness. None but a strong mind can thus surmount the most powerful instinct of nature. This strength is sometimes that of frenzy; but a frantic man is riot weak.

Suicide is forbidden amongst us by the canon law. But the decretals, which form the jurisprudence of a part of Europe, were unknown to Cato, to Brutus, to Cassius, to the sublime Arria, to the emperor Otho, to Mark Antony, and the rest of the heroes of true Rome, who preferred a voluntary death to a life which they believed to be ignominious.

We, too, kill ourselves; but it is when we have lost our money, or in the very rare excess of a foolish passion for an unworthy object. I have known women kill themselves for the most stupid men imaginable. And sometimes we kill ourselves when we are in bad health, which action is a real weakness.

Disgust with our own existence, weariness of ourselves, is a malady which is likewise a cause of suicide. The remedy is, a little exercise, music, hunting, the play, or an agreeable woman. The man who, in a fit of melancholy, kills himself to-day, would have wished to live, had he waited a week...

The Englishman quits this life proudly and disdainfully, when the whim takes him: but the Roman must have an indulgentia in articulo mortis; he can neither live nor die.

Sir William Temple says, that a man should depart when he has no longer any pleasure in remaining. So died Atticus.

Young women, who hang and drown themselves for love, should then listen to the voice of hope; for changes are as frequent in love as in other affairs.

An almost infallible means of saving yourself from the desire of self-destruction is, always to have something to do. Creech, the commentator on Lucretius, marked upon his manuscript —" N. B. Must hang myself when I have finished." He kept his word with himself, that he might have the pleasure of ending like his author. If he had undertaken a commentary upon Ovid, he would have lived longer.

Why have we fewer suicides in the country than in the towns? Because in the fields only the body suffers; in the town, it is the mind. The labourer has not time to be melancholy; none kill themselves but the idle—they who, in the eyes of the multitude, are so happy...

Philip Mordaunt was a young man of twenty-seven, handsome, well made, rich, of noble blood, with the highest pretensions, and, which was more than all, adored by his mistress : yet Mordaunt was seized with a disgust for life. He payed his debts, wrote to his friends, and even made some verses on the occasion. He dispatched himself with a pistol, without having given any other reason than that his soul was tired of his body, and that when we are dissatisfied with our abode, we ought to quit it. It seems that he wished to die, because he was disgusted with his good fortune.

In 1726, Richard Smith exhibited a strange spectacle to the world, from a very different cause. Richard Smith was disgusted with real misfortune. He had been rich, and he was poor; he had been in health, and he was infirm; he had a wife, with whom he had nought but his misery to share; their only remaining property was a child in the cradle. Richard Smith and Bridget Smith, with common consent, having embraced each other tenderly, and given their infant the last kiss, began with killing the poor child, after which they hung themselves to the posts of their bed.

I do not know any other act of cold-blooded horror so striking as this. But the letter which these unfortunate persons wrote to their cousin, Mr. Brindley, before their death, is as singular as their death itself. " We believe," say they, " that God will forgive us.... We quit this life because we are miserable, without resource; and we have done our only son the service of killing him, lest he should become as unfortunate as ourselves..." It must be observed, that these people, after killing their son through parental tenderness, wrote to recommend their dog and cat to the care of a friend. It seems they thought it easier to make a cat and dog happy in this life than a child, and they would not be a burden to their friends.

Lord Scarborough quitted this life in 1727... He afterwards found himself in a perplexing dilemma between a mistress whom he loved, but to whom he had promised nothing, and a woman whom he esteemed, and to whom he had promised marriage. He killed himself, to escape from his embarrassment...

All I can venture to say with assurance is, that there is no reason to apprehend that this rage for self-murder will ever become an epidemical disorder. Against this nature has too well provided. Hope and fear are the powerful agents which she very often employs to stay the hand of the unhappy individual about to strike at his own breast.

Cardinal Dubois was once heard to say to himself— " Kill thyself! Coward, thou darest not!"...

Why were these men, whom christianity restrained when they would have put themselves to death, restrained by nothing when they chose to poison, assassinate, and bring their conquered enemies to the scaffold? Does not the Christian religion forbid these murders much more than self-murder, of which the New Testament makes no mention?...

The famous Duverger de Haurane, abbot of St. Cyran, regarded as the founder of Port Royal, wrote, about the year 1608, a treatise on suicide, which has become one of the scarcest books in Europe.

" The Decalogue," says he, " forbids us to kill. In this precept, self-murder seems no less to be comprised than murder of our neighbour. But if there are cases in which it is allowable to kill our neighbour, there likewise are cases in which it is allowable to kill ourselves."...

We even confiscate the property of the deceased; which is robbing the living of the patrimony which of right belongs to them. This custom is derived from our canon law, which deprives of Christian burial such as die a voluntary death. Hence it is concluded, that we cannot inherit from a man who is judged to have no inheritance in heaven. The canon law, under the head " De Pcenitentia," assures us, that Judas committed a greater crime in strangling himself than in selling our Lord Jesus Christ."

--- A philosophical dictionary (Volume 2) / Voltaire
Okay, so this was only in 2003, but still!

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language on sanction:

"Occasionally, a word can have contradictory meanings. Such a case is represented by sanction, which can mean both "to allow, encourage" and "to punish so as to deter." It is a borrowing from the Latin word sncti, meaning "a law or decree that is sacred or inviolable." In English, the word is first recorded in the mid-1500s in the meaning "law, decree," but not long after, in about 1635, it refers to "the penalty enacted to cause one to obey a law or decree." Thus from the beginning two fundamental notions of law were wrapped up in it: law as something that permits or approves and law that forbids by punishing. From the noun, a verb sanction was created in the 18th century meaning "to allow by law," but it wasn't until the second half of the 20th century that it began to mean "to punish (for breaking a law)." English has a few other words that can refer to opposites, such as the verbs dust (meaning both "to remove dust from" and "to put dust on") and trim (meaning both "to cut something away" and "to add something as an ornament")."
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles M. Schulz


25 Awesome Homeless Guy Signs

Are UFO sightings linked to sci-fi films? - "Newly released documents show that UFO sightings in the UK leapt five-fold in the same year that the alien invader blockbuster Independence Day was released."

Do sexy opera singers sound the swansong for the fat lady? - "We've learned to console ourselves with the thought that the world of the voice is a complete world, capable of representing the profoundest truths of life and love and passion in a purely auditory analogue... it's interesting to compare the cultural conventions that distinguish between what an opera audience is meant to notice and what an audience for, say, television drama is expected to see. No casting director for The Bill or EastEnders would ever ask you to believe that a white man and a black man are identical twins, or that some wobbly-waisted pensioner is actually a young, romantic new boy on the block"

'Burkini' Swimwear Dress Code Dropped - "For men only sessions, all swimmers regardless of religious background had to be covered from navel to knee. For women only sessions, all swimmers needed to be covered from neck to ankle. Challenges arose as soon as the dress code was announced: was it based on modesty in mixed company? If yes, these sessions are single sex so why is dress code necessary? Why must non-Muslims and Muslims who don’t observe religious dress code follow these rules?"

Heritage: from chocolate box to concrete box - "Heritage has democratised. These days, it can mean pretty much anything: a coalmine, the childhood homes of the Beatles (now owned by the National Trust), that little café down the road with an interior straight out of Expresso Bongo. It can even be a building which to many is pig-ugly. Take Robin Hood Gardens. For the past year a battle has been raging in East London over
plans by Tower Hamlets to demolish and redevelop this 1960s Brutalist housing estate. Passions run high. Architects and preservationists are pitted against council and developer. Yet if, 40 years ago, you’d have said that this slab of concrete was heritage you’d have been laughed out of the planning department."

The Exciting World of South Korean Protests : Who Sucks - "Here are a few particularly uniquely interesting/crazy South Korean protest photos we’ve stumbled upon... In May 2007, a group who opposed the a government decision to move a military office to Incheon held a protest in which they ripped apart a live two-month-old piglet. South Korean animal rights groups were understandably outraged by the protest"

The Chrissy Skin Rug at Street Anatomy - "To exorcise a part of my psyche that feels powerless and objectified, I laid fully shaven, covered with Vaseline, and immobilized for hours, in a spread eagle position, while being covered with bucketfuls of gelatinous mold-making material. With the impressions, I made a life-sized, flesh-colored silicone rubber cast of myself as a human skin rug"
Instead of paying for therapy, she gets paid for it. Great deal.

Can I Tap That » Where getting f***** is a good thing - "Inspired by this massive forum thread CanITapThat.com is a site based around the concept of randomly texting someone, and asking them if "you can tap that." Our posts are short, hilarious and true user-submitted stories of fortunate and unfortunate serial tap'in requests. The conversations are conducted via text messaging, or instant messaging and last on average for just about 8 responses back and forth at which time the user finds out if they are getting some or not."

Virus writers obsessed, lacking girlfriends: Expert - "Male. Obsessed with computers. Lacking a girlfriend. Aged 14 to 34. Capable of sowing chaos worldwide. That’s the profile of the average computer-virus writer"
What do women without boyfriends do?

Indian subscriber automatically assigned Tamil song ringtone - "Since we were Indian, the Tamil song was automatically assigned to us. My wife and I are both citizens of India, but we are not from the state of Tamil Nadu, nor do we speak the Tamil language. Therefore, the approach of assigning a Tamil song ringtone because we were Indian was shocking, and it demonstrated the ignorance of the SingTel management team that put this promotion together."
"Racial harmony" in Singapore

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"An opinion should be the result of thought, not a substitute for it." - Jef Mallett


Humanism Meetup mailing list fun:

A: Well the reason I don't believe in EP [Ed: Evolutionary Psychology] is not because I don't believe in macro evolution(I do believe in intra species variation aka micro evolution.) When I believe in micro evolution , what's the conflict with pyschology or characteristics to evolve?No conflict but I find EP just so stories.Can't be falsified,hence can't be considered as a science.

Me: Do you think the Social Sciences can be considered Sciences?

Here are some falsifiable EP theories:

- Kin selection (us doing favours for relatives)
- Reciprocal altruism (us doing favours for people unrelated to us, but who do us favours in turn)
- Men going for physically attractive women
- Babies are born fearing snakes and spiders, but not electrical sockets or cars
- We like alcohol because it is present in ripe fruit
- Women preferring men with sharper features when they're ovulating
- Female mate choice (men propose, women dispose)
- Incest avoidance mechanisms (we don't fall in love with people we grew up with)
- High rates of obesity among former hunter-gatherers in developed societies (e.g. Hispanics in the American South)
- Men's desire for sexual novelty
- The avoidance of green/blue meat
- A universal grammar
- Women going for rich men
- Task-specific mental modules (e.g. depending on how you frame them, we perform certain tasks better than other otherwise identical ones)
- Religious predisposition
- Men ejaculating more sperm when they've been away from their partner - even if they've masturbated

Note that even if some of them can be falsified, it doesn't mean all of EP is useless - just like String Theory being false does not mean all of Physics is useless.

A: looks like you're falling in love with EP pal! =)

B: A,

You said EP is not falsifiable, and when Gabriel gives you the list of falsifiable hypothesis all you can say is:

“looks like you're falling in love with EP pal!”??????

What kind of an answer is that???

A: that reply its a tongue in cheek comment.No offense B.(and Gabriel if you're offended)

Me: I am not offended by tongue in cheek replies

I AM offended by rampant and wilful stupidity

C: emails from the mailing list are starting to trigger my spam filter LOL

It's all rather entertaining to watch intellects spar (although sparring is pushing the definition) but after a few rounds of this i'm starting to sense a pattern:
1. Scientific claim
2. Non-scientific counter claim
3. Witty observation and further support for 1
4. Illogical response
5. Non-sequiter (optional)
6. Exhaustive logical counter argument
7. Exhaustive fallcious counter counter argument defeating the purpose of 6
8. Snide remark/ witty obervation, followed by appeasing laughter
9. Repeat from 1

I dunno about the rest of the mailing list, but watching people commit intellectual suicide whenever they reply is getting old.

Can someone start a topic that doesn't require too much logical discipline so the not so intellectually inclined can participate?

How about 'the tyranny of intellectualism' or 'Why can't smart people think like the rest of us?':P

A: Sorry, to border on absurdity.

I can give you different psychological explanations on kin selection.

Buddhist psychology : We're all relatives now because we went throught thin and thick in our last lives.

Christian psychology : God creates us with a purpose,and we're relatives for a purpse, so we need to take care of each other.

Needless to say,you can think of many more.

How do you falsify the above?

C: I think you just crossed the border. Run forrest, run.
"I was walking down the street wearing glasses when the prescription ran out." - Steven Wright


From MDA's Free-to-Air Television Programme Code (which is surprisingly comprehensive, touching on Reality TV and gender-based [as admirably distinguished from sexist] jokes as well):

Programmes should not undermine public security interest or public confidence in the law and its enforcement in Singapore.
I'm guessing this is why Crimewatch doesn't tell you when the police cocked up, and why we'll never see Mas Selamat's escape and subsequent capture by the Malaysians on TV

Programmes on crime and violence should not be treated in a cynical, frivolous or
callous manner.
Presumably this rules out sociological studies investigations of crime which question the police and legal system

Television programmes should not:
(a) promote values and attitudes which are contrary to national interest
(c) contain propagandist and ideological messages on behalf of any foreign country, group or organisation
By implication, containing propagandist and ideological messages on behalf of any local country is alright. And local groups and organisations can be censured under whatever is "contrary to national interest".

Television programmes should not:
(e) sensationalise the treatment of any issue whether local, nationalistic or foreign in nature.
I'm not sure what a non-local and non-foreign "nationalistic" issue might be

Broadcasters must ensure that due impartiality is observed in programmes dealing with matters of public policy or controversial issues of public importance in Singapore. Due impartiality requires programme producers to deal even-handedly when opposing points of view are presented in a programme. On matters of public importance, balance should be sought through the presentation, as far as possible, of principal relevant viewpoints.
Strangely, whenever the News announces some new public policy from the government, they don't get opposing points of view. Perhaps because that would be "contrary to national interest".

Broadcasters must bear in mind the main religious faiths practised in Singapore whenever they carry programmes which make reference to or touch upon religious views or beliefs.
Apparently the minor religious faiths can be ignored.

Information, themes or subplots on lifestyles such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, paedophilia and incest should be treated with utmost caution. Their treatment should not in any way promote, justify or glamorise such lifestyles. Explicit depictions of the above should not be broadcast...
Programmes should not make careless references to any class or group of persons as being inherently inferior.

Kissing in Malay programmes should be avoided.

Bare buttocks can be shown in a non-sexual context, but should not be sexually suggestive or exploitative.
Hurr hurr

Broadcasters must take into account the potential cumulative effect of programme content containing violence and crime, as regular and recurrent portrayals of such content may lead viewers to... overestimate the level of violence and crime in the real world.
I thought Low Crime doesn't mean No Crime?

Broadcasters must take into account the potential cumulative effect of programme content normalising anti-social behaviour or gambling, as regular and recurrent portrayals of such content may lead viewers to become more callous about anti-social behaviour or the ills of gambling.
Evidently they haven't updated this since the Casinos were okay-ed.

Belief in superstition should not be promoted.

All Chinese programmes, except operas or other programmes specifically approved by the Authority, must be in Mandarin... Some dialect terms such as those used for food (e.g. bak kut teh, char kway teow and ang gu kuey) may also be used in local dramas.

Broadcasters should not employ the process known as "subliminal perception" or any other techniques or devices (e.g. by using images of very brief duration) which attempts to convey information to the viewer by transmitting messages
beyond the normal threshold of awareness.

For any broadcast on demonstration of hypnotism for entertainment, care must be taken to minimise the risk of hypnosis being induced in susceptible viewers. In particular, the hypnotist must not be shown performing straight into the camera.

The part on Singlish deserves a section by itself:

Programmes should maintain high standards of language and speech in the four official languages of Singapore.

Standard English, which is grammatically correct, should be used for programmes such as news, current affairs and info-educational programmes. Local English, which is also grammatically correct but pronounced with a Singaporean accent and which may include local terms and expressions, could be used for programmes like dramas, comedies and variety shows.

Apparently "Standard English" prescribes a non-Singaporean accent. This explains the odd accents of all our newscasters.

Singlish, which is ungrammatical local English, and includes dialect terms and sentence structures based on dialect, should not be encouraged and can only be permitted in interviews, where the interviewee speaks only Singlish. The interviewer himself, however, should not use Singlish.

Presumably including Mandarin and Malay terms in your speech does not make it Singlish.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"If one sticks too rigidly to one's principles, one would hardly see anybody." - Agatha Christie


Bollywood star held in U.S. airport, fans outraged - "Indian Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan said he felt angry and humiliated after he was detained and questioned at a U.S. airport, sparking an uproar in India among his fans... "I was really hassled perhaps because of my name being Khan. These guys just wouldn't let me through," he said in a text message to reporters in India... [Khan] had just finished a month-long shoot in the United States for his upcoming film "My Name is Khan," which is about a Muslim man's experience with racial profiling."
I'm not the only one who finds this a suspicious coincidence; He's lucky he's Indian. If he was white and got held he wouldn't be able to blame racism.

Bob Dylan Detained By Cops Week After Gates, Story Buried Until Now - "Exactly one week after the highly-publicized arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates stirred a national discussion on race relations, legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was detained by police officers in a "low-income, predominantly minority neighborhood" in Long Branch, New Jersey...
The police officer drove up to Dylan, who was wearing a blue jacket, and asked him his name. According to Woolley, the following exchange ensued:
"What is your name, sir?" the officer asked.
"Bob Dylan," Dylan said.
"OK, what are you doing here?" the officer asked.
"I'm on tour," the singer replied...
The officers thanked him for his cooperation."
The cop didn't know who Bob Dylan was, and who he was messing with!

Cabinet drops ‘race’ from official forms - "Despite the sharpening racial debate in the country, the Najib Administration’s move to push 1 Malaysia to unify its 27 million citizens of various ethnicity has received a boost with the Cabinet’s agreement to drop “race” from most official forms and documents."
Malaysia Boleh!

Eternal Earth-Bound Pets, USA - "You've committed your life to Jesus. You know you're saved. But when the Rapture comes what's to become of your loving pets who are left behind? Eternal Earth-Bound Pets takes that burden off your mind. We are a group of dedicated animal lovers, and atheists. Each Eternal Earth-Bound Pet representative is a confirmed atheist, and as such will still be here on Earth after you've received your reward. Our network of animal activists are committed to step in when you step up to Jesus."

Woman to woman: Protests of anti-gay lecturer say much about political correctness - "On-campus political correctness has gotten so bad that unpopular speech is suppressed, and students no longer learn how to navigate a world in which others disagree. This dynamic has only gotten worse since my Harvard policy classes 15 years ago, when the few conservative students frequently shut up in the face of withering derision during class "debates." The liberal majority was left believing that they knew how to think through issues, never realizing they had simply learned how to silence dissent. But that approach doesn't fly in the real world -outside academic and media enclaves, that is - and students suffer if they don't learn that reasonable people truly can disagree without being "bigoted.""

The 5 Creepiest Sex Scenes in Comics - "Who wouldn't want to have genitals the size of a fire truck? Let us tell you who wouldn't: women. Comic book artists have been smuggling giant vaginas into comics for quite a long time. Usually by drawing things that are not vaginas but have the shape of vaginas. For instance the interdimensional gate from the pages of Hawkgirl you can see above. To open it you have to buy her dinner first and from some place fancy."

In China, DNA tests on kids ID genetic gifts, careers - "There has been speculation China's basketball hero, Yao Ming, was born of an arranged marriage between two well-known basketball players, in hopes of bearing an athletic superstar. Yao and his family have denied these reports. In an autobiography, Yao wrote that his parents actually discouraged him from playing the sport... "I want to be the president of China," said three-year-old girl, Liu Xiao Liao. "Then people will be scared of me.""

Telephone Terrorist - "At 4:15 AM on a recent Tuesday, on a quiet, darkened street in Windsor, Ontario, a man was wrapping up another long day tormenting and terrorizing strangers on the telephone. Working from a sparsely furnished two-bedroom apartment in a ramshackle building a block from the Detroit River, the man, nicknamed "Dex", heads a network of so-called pranksters who have spent more than a year engaged in an orgy of criminal activity--vandalism, threats, harassment, impersonation, hacking, and other assorted felonies and misdemeanors--targeting U.S. businesses and residents."

How not to write a sex scene - "He broke free with muscular ease, unhooked my bra with composed expertise, found my nipple and flicked his tongue back and forth until it went hard. His towel fell away. Sebastian's erect member was so big I mistook it for some sort of monument in the centre of a town. I almost started directing traffic around it. He rolled me sideways on to my back and, in one flowing motion, my tracksuit and panties were down, lassoing one ankle. His fingers edged up my thigh and then plunged inside me. My legs yielded to the weight of his body and I wrapped them around his hips, tugging him against me with a pang of hunger I hadn't felt for so long"
Addendum: Bad sex writing!
"The smaller the mind the greater the conceit." - Aesop


Post hoc, ergo propter hoc:

Vanilla ice cream == car problems??

A complaint was received by the Pontiac Division of General Motors:

"This is the second time I have written you, and I don't blame you for not answering me, because I kind of sounded crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of ice cream for dessert after dinner each night. But the kind of ice cream varies so, every night, after we've eaten, the whole family votes on which kind of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the store to get it. It's also a fact that I recently purchased a new Pontiac and since then my trips to the store have created a problem. You see, every time I buy vanilla ice cream, when I start back from the store my car won't start. If I get any other kind of ice cream, the car starts just fine. I want you to know I'm serious about this question, no matter how silly it sounds: 'What is there about a Pontiac that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice cream, and easy to start whenever I get any other kind?'"

The Pontiac President was understandably skeptical about the letter, but sent an engineer to check it out anyway. The latter was surprised to be greeted by a successful, obviously well educated man in a fine neighborhood. He had arranged to meet the man just after dinner time, so the two hopped into the car and drove to the ice cream store. It was vanilla ice cream that night and, sure enough, after they came back to the car, it wouldn't start.

The engineer returned for three more nights. The first night, the man got chocolate. The car started. The second night, he got strawberry. The car started. The third night he ordered vanilla. The car failed to start.

Now the engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man's car was allergic to vanilla ice cream. He arranged, therefore, to continue his visits for as long as it took to solve the problem. And toward this end he began to take notes: he jotted down all sorts of data, time of day, type of gas used, time to drive back and forth, etc.

In a short time, he had a clue: the man took less time to buy vanilla than any other flavor. Why? The answer was in the layout of the store.

Vanilla, being the most popular flavor, was in a separate case at the front of the store for quick pickup. All the other flavors were kept in the back of the store at a different counter where it took considerably longer to find the flavor and get checked out.

Now the question for the engineer was why the car wouldn't start when it took less time. Once time became the problem -- not the vanilla ice cream -- the engineer quickly came up with the answer: vapor lock. It was happening every night, but the extra time taken to get the other flavors allowed the engine to cool down sufficiently to start. When the man got vanilla, the engine was still too hot for the vapor lock to dissipate.

Moral of the story: even insane looking problems are sometimes real.

Monday, August 17, 2009

"His deliberate deeds passed through three successive phases, which natures of a certain stamp can alone traverse,--reasoning, will, perseverance.

He had for moving causes his habitual wrath, bitterness of soul, a profound sense of indignities suffered, the reaction even against the good, the innocent, and the just, if there are any such. The point of departure, like the point of arrival, for all his thoughts, was hatred of human law; that hatred which, if it be not arrested in its development by some providential incident, becomes, within a given time, the hatred of society, then the hatred of the human race, then the hatred of creation, and which manifests itself by a vague, incessant, and brutal desire to do harm to some living being, no matter whom."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On "Pah Chiu Cheng" (PCC), and its feminine equivalent

"I hate women because they always know where things are." - James Thurber


On "Pah Chiu Cheng" (PCC), and its feminine equivalent

For some reason, I was wondering the other day what the female equivalent of "pah chiu cheng" (male masturbation aka "pak ciu ceng" aka "pak chew cheng" aka PCC) was.

From Slavery, I knew that it literally meant shooting one's gun, so in keeping with the theme of firearms, I decided to propose "cleaning the gun barrel" as an appropriate euphemism for the fairer sex. On someone's advice, I decided to switch in "qit3" instead of "suay4" (洗) (using a Hanyu Pinyin-inspired romanization), since the former had the notion of scrubbing whereas the latter was a generalised word for cleaning.

At this point, I decided that I should look for the Chinese characters in question - an especially important task, given that although the bulk of the words in the Chinese languages (or "dialects", in Singapore) are the same as in Mandarin, some characters might take on different nuances in each language.

This is not to mention that each Chinese language has some characters that Mandarin does not have. For example, one character only found in Cantonese is Image Hosted by ImageShack.us (nak1/lak1 - meaning "decayed teeth; tongue-tied"; Blogger doesn't understand it). A more common one is "冇" (mou5, meaning "do not have"), which incidentally is quite clever considering that the character "有" (jau5, familiar to Mandarin speakers as you3, means "have").

Unfortunately, whereas Cantonese resources in English are quite common online, due to it being the mother tongue of the Chinese diaspora and Hong Kong's unique position, I could not find any Hokkien resources in English.

I did, however, come across a recommendation on the China History Forum ("Premier Portal for Learning and Discussing Chinese History") for the official Hokkien Dictionary created by the Department of Education of that other developed Chinese state - Taiwan. Although this was only in Chinese (and in Traditional Characters, to boot) it was better than nothing.

Some fumbling about in my true Mother Tongue then resulted in which I discovered, thanks to the Classical Chinese Wikipedia, that in Hokkien the word for gun is not "枪" ("槍", "qiang1" in Mandarin) - which refers to a long spear used in ancient times - but "銃" ("铳", "chong4" in Mandarin), which is another Chinese word for a gun or pistol. After more fumbling and a moment, I settled on the word "摖" (which, if I understand the romanization used in the Hokkien Diciontary correctly, is the qit3 I was originally thinking of, instead of "擦".

So my proposed Hokkien euphemism for female masturbation, in the vein of PCC, is "摖銃管" (tshè tshìng kóng according to the Taiwanese government, qit3 cheng4 kong3 in my bastardised romanization [the lack of audio files makes it hard for me to understand the intended pronunciation] and qi4 chong4 guan3 in Mandarin).

On reflection, though, a gun barrel might not be the best metaphor for the female bits.

In the process of all this research, it occured to me that I didn't know the characters for Pah Chiu Cheng in the first place.

Online, many sources talk about "pah chiu cheng", but none gave Chinese characters for it. The closest I could find was "打手枪" (da2 shou3 qiang1 - shooting the handgun), but then this was a Mandarin translation of the Hokkien phrase.

According to the Classical Chinese Wikipedia, the phrase was "放手銃". Yet, the Taiwanese romanisation of "放" as pàng did not sound correct.

More digging uncovered this entry in Taiwan's Hokkien Dictionary:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

"詞目: 拍手銃
音讀: phah-tshiú-tshìng
釋義: 男性手淫、自慰。
異用字: 打手銃、扑手銃"


"Phrase: 拍手銃
Pronunciation: phah-tshiú-tshìng (pah chiu cheng)
Meaning: Male masturbation, self-reassurance (i.e. masturbation)
Synonyms: 打手銃 (pàng-tshiú-tshìng, firing the hand gun)、扑手銃 (phok-tshiú-tshìng)"

So there you have it. The official characters for PCC (Pah Chiu Cheng) are "拍手銃", according to none other than the Taiwanese Ministry of Education.

Incidentally, I tried to find entries on female masturbation, but no such euphemism seems to exist. At least in that dictionary. So we can make do with mine for now.

As an aside, here is a letter I wrote to the Taiwanese Ministry of Education giving a suggestion about a pronunciation guide. A translation is available upon request:




创造这个闽南语(新加坡,我们称为“福建话”)字典是个好概念;虽然我是福建人,但是说不出多过几十字的闽南话。但是,关于发音,我看了你们的英文字母后,还不知道怎么说出那些字 (你们是不是在用白话字?)。我虽然搜寻了你们的网点,但是却找不到一个发音指导。如果你们可以创造一个发音指导,或放一些MP3录音档在网点,我相信很多人会很感激你们。



Addendum :

Here is their reply (although I wrote to them in both English and Mandarin, they responded in Mandarin only. Hurr hurr):





教育部國語推行委員會 敬復

Addendum 2:

This Malaysian forum thread tries to find the characters for some Hokkien Singlish terms.

Keywords: pak qiu, pah qiu
"A life of pleasure makes even the strongest mind frivolous at last." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton


Why AWARE cannot “be Nice” - "Those who label us ‘hooligans’ have very little understanding of feminism nor of the history and culture of civil society nor indeed of how democratic institutions work. They have (which is a lot of women) grown up with the social mandate that says “be nice”. History has taught us that being nice got us nowhere."

I Don’t Care For National Day. - "Honestly I see no reason to celebrate. Celebrate what? Celebrate that one political party has hijacked my country, its institutions and everything it stands for?... Its very telling that among that challenges spelled out by Goh Chok Tong, narrowing the worst income gap among all developed nations is not one of them. Count on me Singapore? If Singapore counts on me than can I count of Singapore in return?... Can I count on Singapore to provide me with a social safety net? Can I count on Singapore when I am old and alone? Can I count on Singapore if I suffer permanent injury in the course of NS? It used to be said at least you can count of your CPF when you’ve reach retirement. Now who the fuck knows. They went ahead and changed the law so that if the CPF fund becomes insolvent, they can actually not pay you your money which they took away without asking for your permission. So as a Singaporean, who can I really count on except myself."

Freaky Sleep Paralysis: Being Awake in Your Nightmares - "People who experience it find themselves awake in the dream world for anywhere from a few seconds to 10 minutes, often experiencing hallucinations with dark undertones. Cultures from everywhere from Newfoundland to the Caribbean to Japan have come up with spiritual explanations for the phenomenon. Now, a new article in The Psychologist suggests sleep researchers are finally figuring out the neurological basis of the condition."

5 Things You Don’t Know About IKEA (But Should!) - "4. The IKEA Catalogue Is Bigger Than the Bible The IKEA catalogue was and is the company’s greatest weapon in its arsenal. A 300-page missionary text, it goes out to over 180 million people in 27 different languages. Each year, there are more copies of the IKEA catalogue printed than the Bible. A bit of a cult following has also developed around the catalogues, with earnest readers on the lookout for hidden messages in the pictures, such as running references to Mickey Mouse and weird, obscure books on the bookshelves."

A Singapore Taxi Driver's Diary - "Probably the only taxi driver in this world with a PhD from Stanford and a proven track record of scientific accomplishments, I have been forced out of my research job at the height of my scientific career, and unable to find another one, for reasons I can only describe as something "uniquely Singapore". As a result, I am driving taxi to make a living and writing these real life stories just to make the dull job a little more interesting. I hope that these stories are interesting to you too."

YouTube - Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene

Yale Press Bans Images of Muhammad in New Book by Jytte Klausen - "They suggested that the Yale press also refrain from publishing any other illustrations of the prophet that were to be included, specifically, a drawing for a children’s book; an Ottoman print; and a sketch by the 19th-century artist Gustave Doré of Muhammad being tormented in Hell... “It’s not just academic cowardice, it is just silly and unnecessary.”... He quoted one of the experts consulted by Yale — Ibrahim Gambari, special adviser to the secretary general of the United Nations and the former foreign minister of Nigeria — as concluding: “You can count on violence if any illustration of the prophet is published. It will cause riots, I predict, from Indonesia to Nigeria.”... Ms. Klausen, who is also the author of “The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe,” argued that the cartoon protests were not spontaneous but rather orchestrated demonstrations by extremists... a pretext, a way to mobilize dissent in the Muslim world."

When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling Of An Outbreak Of Zombie Infection - "Zombies are a popular figure in pop culture/entertainment and they are usually portrayed as being brought about through an outbreak or epidemic. Consequently, we model a zombie attack, using biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies. We introduce a basic model for zombie infection, determine equilibria and their stability, and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions. We then refine the model to introduce a latent period of zombification, whereby humans are infected, but not infectious, before becoming undead. We then modify the model to include the effects of possible quarantine or a cure. Finally, we examine the impact of regular, impulsive reductions in the number of zombies and derive conditions under which eradication can occur. We show that only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as zombies overtake us all."

EDGE: Closing the book on a bad read - ""First, there's all those canonical works that you're supposed to have read to be suitably well-rounded. Then there's all the contemporary books you're supposed to have under your belt if you want to be on top of the modern literary scene... In all honesty, it felt great to release myself from the hundreds of promises I'd made myself to be the sort of person who read such-and-such or so-and-so"... A no less august reader than Samuel Johnson declared, as Mr. Cowen quotes in his book, "A man ought to read just as inclination leads him; for what he reads as a task will do him little good.""

Fashion, Qaddafi-Style - "Since completing his transition from international pariah to statesman, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi—the longest-serving leader in both Africa and the Arab world—has brought color and his own eccentric panache to the drab circuit of international summits and conferences. Drawing upon the influences of Lacroix, Liberace, Phil Spector (for hair), Snoopy, and Idi Amin, Libya’s leader—now in his 60s—is simply the most unabashed dresser on the world stage. We pay homage to a sartorial genius of our time... "Where does this extraordinary individual get the ideas for his wardrobe? Does he have a team of designers back in Tripoli, working up the hundreds of bizarre looks required of a world leader on official business?""

Royal tradition takes a backward step as the Queen bows to 'health and safety' concerns - "The protocol was observed as a sign of respect but royal aides feared it could lead to someone getting hurt – and potentially suing Buckingham Palace for damages... Only two visitors are now expected routinely to walk backwards as they exit the Queen's presence: Charles Gray, the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, and Wing Commander Andy Calame, the Queen's equerry... "Allowing only two people in royal service to walk backwards was seen as a pragmatic solution to the health and safety issue," one royal source said."

Economics focus: Waist banned | The Economist - "The distance between junk food and the medical costs of obesity means that a calorie tax could have unintended consequences. A new theoretical paper in the Journal of Public Economics even suggests that a tax on junk food could increase obesity, especially among physically active people. If junk food, which is quick and easy to obtain, becomes relatively dearer, people will spend more time shopping for fresh ingredients and preparing food at home. That could leave less time for exercise."
"A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin." - H. L. Mencken


Aren't you happy your university education wasn't like this?

"When I was leaving Poland at the end of 1968 (I had not been in any Western country for at least six previous years), I had a somewhat vague idea of what the radical student movement and different leftist groups or parties might be. What I saw and read I found pathetic and disgusting in nearly all (still: not all) cases. I do not shed tears for a few windows smashed in demonstrations, that old bitch, consumer capitalism, will survive it. Neither do I find scandalous the rather natural ignorance of young people. What impressed me was mental degradation of a kind I had never seen before in any leftist movement. I saw young people trying to "reconstitute" universities and to liberate them from horrifying, savage, monstrous, fascist oppression. The list of demands, with variations, was very similar all over the world of campuses. These fascist pigs of the Establishment want us to pass examinations while we are making the revolution; let them give all of us A grades without examinations; curiously enough, the anti-fascist warriors wanted to get their degrees and diplomas in such fields as mathematics, sociology or law, and not in such as carrying posters, distributing leaflets or destroying offices. And sometimes they got what they wanted, the fascist pigs of the establishment gave them grades without examinations. Very often there were demands for abolishing altogether some subjects of teaching as irrelevant, e.g. foreign languages (these fascists want us, internationalist revolutionaries, to waste time in learning languages, why? To prevent us from making world revolution!) In one place revolutionary philosophers went on strike because they got a reading list including Plato, Descartes and other bourgeois idiots, instead of relevant great philosophers like Che Guevara and Mao. In another, revolutionary mathematicians pass a motion that the department should organize courses on the social tasks of mathematics and (this is the point) each student should be able to attend this course as many times as he wanted and each time get credit for it, which meant that he could get the diploma in mathematics exactly for nothing. In still another place, the noble martyrs of the world revolution demanded to be examined only by other students they would choose themselves, and not by these old reactionary pseudo-scholars. Professors should be appointed (by students, of course) according to their political views, students admitted on the same grounds. In several cases in the US, the vanguard of the oppressed toiling masses set fire to University libraries (irrelevant pseudo-knowledge of the Establishment). Needless to say, you could hear that there is no difference, no difference at all, between the life in a California campus and a Nazi concentration camp. And all were Marxists, of course, which meant they knew three or four sentences written by Marx or Lenin, in particular the sentence "the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it" (what Marx wanted to say in this sentence, it is obvious to them, was that it made no sense to learn)."

--- MY CORRECT VIEWS ON EVERYTHING. A Rejoinder to Edward Thompson's "Open Letter to Leszek Kolakowski" / Leszek Kolakowski
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