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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Four Worms & A Lesson

A minister decided that a visual demonstration would add emphasis to his Sunday sermon.

Four worms were placed into four separate jars. The first worm was put into a container of alcohol. The second worm was put into a container of cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a container of chocolate syrup. The fourth worm was put into a container of good clean soil.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the Minister reported the following results:

The first worm in alcohol - Dead.

The second worm in cigarette smoke - Dead.

Third worm in chocolate syrup - Dead.

Fourth worm in good clean soil - Alive.

So the Minister asked the congregation "What did you learn from this demonstration?"

Maxine was sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand and said, "As long as you drink, smoke and eat chocolate, you won't have worms!"

That pretty much ended the service.
"A fine quotation is a diamond on the finger of a man of wit, and a pebble in the hand of a fool." - Joseph Roux


Secret of Semenya's sex stripped bare

"THE world champion 800m runner Caster Semenya has been revealed to have male and female sexual organs, posing an ethical and political quandary for the sport's ruling body, the International Association of Athletics Federations, and her home nation, South Africa."

I'm sure this won't stop the accusations of racism, sexism and jealousy.

The key problem here, of course, is that sports events are divided into two gender categories - male and female - in order to prevent the former having an "unfair" advantage over the latter.

Of course, this is "unfair" for eunuchs, transsexuals, hermaphrodites and other people with assorted intersex and endrocrinological conditions (generously estimated at 1% of the population), but the alternative is to be "unfair" to everyone else (or at least the women, at least 45% of the population).

Just alleging that sexism and racism are why people are kicking up such a fuss is quite beyond the point - especially since the very same people doing so would likely condemn collapsing the gender categories and having men and women compete on equal terms. And probably also cry foul if male-to-female transsexuals competed as women.

Another interesting article:

Caster Semenya: Boy, can she run

"IN a school photograph taken shortly before her 15th birthday, Semenya stands awkwardly under the blinding African sun. A full head and shoulders above her classmates, she is dressed in men’s pleated trousers and an unflattering shirt. Her friends wear knee socks and skirts...

“I was caught out, too. Caster was always rough and played with the boys. She liked soccer and she wore trousers to school. She never wore a dress. It was only in grade II that I realised she was a girl myself.

The way she looked, so masculine, did cause her some problems but few were brave enough to bully her.”...

Dorcus admits her daughter’s progress is far from ordinary. Unusually for a young woman perhaps, Semenya’s main interest has been WWF wrestling, a sport notable for competitors with extraordinary physiques...

The problem for athletics is that it has never quite worked out what to do about competitors who blur the line between the traditional image of men and women...

After the advent of the [gender] tests, a suspicious number of international women athletes suddenly retired."

Steven Pinker: "It is said that there is a technical term for people who believe that little boys and little girls are born indistinguishable and are molded into their natures by parental socialization. The term is "childless.""
"If a thing isn't worth saying, you sing it." - Pierre Beaumarchais


Vouchers for top NSmen

"FAMILIES of National Servicemen who do well during their in-camp training will get to share the reward under a slew of measures to recognise their contributions to total defence.

To recognise the importance of family support in ensuring that the NSmen remain committed to defence and NS training, these NSmen will be awarded with $100 worth of vouchers.

NSmen can spend these vouchers with their families at defence and national education related attractions, such as the Singapore Discovery Centre and Singapore Armed Forces and HomeTeamNS chalets.

'Through these attractions, the families can also understand and appreciate more about Total Defence and National Service,' said Mindef.

To be eligible for the vouchers, NSmen must be within the top 10 per cent of their ICT or courses, or be recipients of Awards and Letters of Commendation. All eligible NSmen can only receive the vouchers once within the same work year. These vouchers are valid for one year from the date of issue.

Mindef and the Home Team will release the list of participating attractions in March next year. This initiative will be launched next April."

I'm not sure what's more insulting: top performing slaves (NSmen) getting $100 of vouchers, or these vouchers being valid only for SAF-related merchants.

The voucher scheme is like raping a girl and then throwing her vouchers for your STD clinic.

The Harm of Reparative Therapy / Reasons to think Social Discrimination is not important in Homosexuals' Health Problems

"We're actors - we're the opposite of people." - Tom Stoppard


A: I'm interested in finding out whether there's any evidence for (or against) reparative therapy aimed at changing an individual's sexual orientation (besides studies from NARTH).

According to the APA (American Psychiatric Association): "the potential risks of reparative therapy are great (including depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior) since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient". Unfortunately I haven't been able to find convincing evidence against reparative therapy (e.g.: studies published in peer-reviewed journals).

B: *list of articles*

A: I actually did a PsychInfo search and read some of the articles. I'm a little surprised (and disappointed) at the dearth of evidence either way. The study by Spitzer (2003) has serious methodological flaws. Yet, most of the papers I found were commentaries/ editorial articles and not empirical studies. I wanted to find some evidence showing that reparative therapy is actually harmful and has negative consequences. Will continue looking.

I just attended a training session by a very well respected clinical psychologist (with a phd) who believes in reparative therapy (Ignorant? Maybe. Primitive? I don't really think so). I actually wanted to find evidence to challenge his beliefs, but sadly couldn't find anything really convincing. Ah well.

In the wake of that thread, here're some bits I dug up:

Same-Sex Sexual Behavior and Psychiatric Disorders: Findings From the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS)

"It has been suggested that homosexuality is associated with psychiatric morbidity. This study examined differences between heterosexually and homosexually active subjects in 12-month and lifetime prevalence of DSM-III-R mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders in a representative sample of the Dutch population (N = 7076; aged 18-64 years)... Psychiatric disorders were more prevalent among homosexually active people compared with heterosexually active people... The findings support the assumption that people with same-sex sexual behavior are at greater risk for psychiatric disorders"

[Addendum: Bear in mind that the Netherlands is possibly the most gay-friendly place in the world and yet even there homosexuals have more mental health problems.

Another extract from the paper: "Biological and genetic factors in the causes and development of homosexuality might also predispose homosexual people to developing psychiatric disorders. This is in line with the higher prevalence of bipolar disorder we found in homosexual men compared with heterosexual men, which is generally considered to be largely congenital... The fact that homosexual men showed higher prevalence rates of disorders that are characteristic for women in general, whereas homosexual women showed higher prevalence rates of disorders that are characteristic for men in general, is in line with the theory that sex-atypical levels of prenatal androgens play a major role in the causes and development of homosexuality"

In other words homosexuality could make one susceptible to mental disorders through biological and developmental channels, rather than purely through discrimination.

See also: On Bullying and Discrimination of Gay Kids and Gay Suicide / The Oppression Olympics]

More interesting, though, is this extract from "Homosexuality and family relations" (Frederick W. Bozett, Marvin B. Sussman / 1990):

"Weinberg and Williams (1974) found that, in general, their data were not as expected in terms of the societal reaction so much as to how the individual reacts to that societal reaction: in other words, the individual holds the clues to the situation.

Societal reaction theory holds that homosexuals in more anti-homosexual societies will have worse psychological adjustment, in particular be less self-accepting, have less self-esteem, and feel more badly about homosexuality, than those in more accepting societies. However, Weinberg and Williams (1974) found this was not the case in the three societies they looked at (the United States, Denmark and the Netherlands). Following this, Ross (1978) suggested that the critical variable was not the actual societal reaction, but the way the homosexuals perceived it. It subsequently turned out that perceived societal reaction did predict a significantly lowered state of psychological well-being, although actual societal reaction did not."

[Addendum: By analogy: if I postulate that cigarette smoking is bad for me, then I should see differences in my health if I smoke 1 cigarette a day versus 1 pack a week versus 1 pack a day versus 2 packs a day. If smoking more cigarettes does not worsen my health, then I would be very skeptical about the claim that cigarettes affect my health.

Also see Dutch study on younger and older homosexuals being at equal risk of suicide and perceived discrimination being the determining criterion]

In other words, what matters is not whether you are being discriminated against, but rather whether you *think* you are discriminated against.

There is an interesting parallel with self-fulfilling prophecies here.

Keywords: amsterdam, gays, discrimination

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"I have such poor vision I can date anybody." - Garry Shandling


China boycotts Deaflympics - "The Chinese team did not show up for the spectacular on Saturday night opening of the games, the first to be staged in Asia since 1924."
Eisen: "Last year tell everyone not to politicise the Olympic Games, this year boycott the Deaflympics? Beijing can go eat shit"

Mourners pack stadium in India - "The Times of India reported that the shock of his death had been too much for some, saying 10 people had died of cardiac arrest on hearing of his accident while another four had committed suicide."

A game of "dirty cowboy" turns deadly - "Deborah Yvette Parker, 38, told police her gun accidently discharged while her and her longtime companion, 58-year-old, Broderick Crachian, were playing a game of “dirty Cowboy.”... Prosecutor Marcy McCorvey said, Parker admitted to accidentally shooting Crachian during their sexual foreplay game, Parker also confessed to being in possession of the handgun and using it as a toy during their sexual tryst with the full consent and knowledge of the victim. Both McCorvey and Newman declined to give details on the type of foreplay the couple was engaged in, nor would they define the term “dirty cowboy.”"

Firefighters defeat fire with remote control - "The TV was tuned into a German station that in the early morning hours aired the constant image of a fireplace"

The Earth Angel - "Introducing "THE EARTH ANGEL" the worlds first ever green technology sex toy. The technology which was developed and designed in Ireland is unique in that it never requires replacement batteries and houses its own patented power core... We want to show the world that we can all make little changes in our everyday habits that will have a positive effect on the problem of climate change and that there is always a green alternative to any product. We at Caden Enterprises have designed and developed "THE EARTH ANGEL" to be just that...........an angel to the earth... Turn this handle to power up THE EARTH ANGEL and toy is good to go giving instant, intense vibrations."

City digitally adds black guy to Fun Guide cover to make it more ‘inclusive’ - "The smiling, ethnically diverse family featured on the cover of Toronto's latest edition of its summer Fun Guide was digitally altered to make the photo more "inclusive," which city officials say is in keeping with a policy to reflect diversity... "You won't find a more inclusive organization than us," said Kevin Sack, Toronto's director of strategic communications"

COPS ARREST TWO MEN DRESSED AS BATMAN AND SUPERMAN IN TIMES SQUARE - " Stunned Times Square tourists and office workers watched agog as cops struggled to subdue Clark Kent's alter ego without kryptonite. "The Man of Steel didn't go down with just two officers, it took seven officers!" witness Ryan McCormick said. "He was putting up a good fight. Little kids were like, 'Mommy, it's Superman!'... Superman took off, screaming, "I'm not getting arrested." But a crowd of police took him down and brought him to a special Fortress of Solitude -- the Midtown South station house. Meanwhile, Batman left with another costumed character, said Melba Williams, a tourist from Tennessee. "He walked off with the Statue of Liberty.""

Honesty test 'should be reviewed' - "Just 47% thought that it was wrong for a carer to persuade a patient to change their will in their favour. The current test - the Ghosh test - assumes a universal view of honesty. The Brunel University study also found that women were more likely to find activities such as taking stationery home from work dishonest, but less willing to convict the wrongdoer than men... The researchers say the results raise serious questions about people's concepts of honesty and the reliability of the jury system... A higher proportion of women, 82.2%, thought it was dishonest to lie about age on an internet dating site than believed it was wrong to benefit from the will alteration. In a league table of dishonest acts, conning the elderly care home patient came 13th out of 16 - just one place above snapping off broccoli stalks in a supermarket and weighing the heads... "It seems to be based on whether or not the person speaking is likeable. When we like people or feel sorry for them, we are far less likely to condemn what they have done so this has a major effect on whether or not their conduct is rated as honest or dishonest.""

YouTube - Italian Clock

YouTube - ULTIMATE Lego Rubberband Gun - "Lego Chaingun - 11 rounds per second."

YouTube - Sexual Harassment - "'Word around the office is you've got a fat cock' 'Yes, I do' 'I've got a fat cock too. Maybe we should rub our fat cocks together sometime. Maybe a little oil. Two fat cocks. Together. Oil.'... 'Smells like vagina in here!' 'Excuse me?' 'Smells like fresh vagina in here!' 'Are you talking about - my vagina?' 'Maybe'"
The lines are so cheesy they're good. I love the lesbian harassment - so inclusive! Too bad there's no female-on-male harassment.

Gartner Says Organizations Should Leverage Social Sciences to Place Next-Generation Technology Jobs - “Many of the needed technical capabilities originate in the social sciences and are aimed at usability and adoption of technology-related business services”
Can study arts in uni liao
"Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends." - Woody Allen


A letter Paul wrote to complain about the "The Dead Sea Scrolls" exhibition at the Arts House:

To Ms. Amira Osman (Marketing and Communications Manager),

Colin Goh, General Manager,
Florence Lee, Depury General Manager

Dear Ms. Osman,

I visited the Dead Sea Scrolls “exhibition” today with my wife. Thinking that it was from a legitimate scholarly institute or (how naïve of me!) the Israel Antiquities Authority, I was looking forward to a day of education and entertainment.

Yet when I got it, much of the exhibition (and booklets) merely espouses an evangelical (fundamentalist) view of the Bible – there are booklets on the inerrancy of the Bible, on how archaeology has proven the Bible to be true etc.

Apart from these there are many blatant misrepresentations of the state of archaeology and mainstream biblical scholarship:

a) There was initial screening upon entry of a 5-10 minute pseudo-documentary on the Dead Sea Scrolls. A presenter (can’t remember the name) was described as a “biblical archaeologist” – a term that no serious archaeologist working in the Levant would apply to him or herself. (Some prefer the term “Syro-Palestinian archaeologist” but almost all reject the term “biblical archaeologist”). See the book by Thomas W. Davis, “Shifting Sands: The Rise and Fall of Biblical Archaeology”, Oxford, New York 2004. Davis is an actual archaeologist working in the field and the book tells why the term “Biblical archaeologist” is not considered a legitimate term by serious archaeologist.

b) In the same presentation, the presenter made the erroneous statement that the entire old testament was translated into Greek in the third century BCE. This is a mistake – only the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) was translated during that time. Note that this ‘error’ is not inadvertent but is a familiar claim by evangelical apologists who try to argue for an early date of all the books of the Old testament - if all the books have been translated by the third century BCE obviously these books must all have been written before then! This flies against modern scholarship which show that some books in the Old Testament such as the Book of Daniel was written only in the second century BCE]The actual state of scholarship on the Septuagint [The Greek translation of the Bible] is accurately given in the book by Ernst Würthwein, “The Text of the Old Testament” – Eerdmans 1988 pp.52-54

c) Perhaps the most blatant error was one which claimed that the “Magdalene fragments” – which contains the 26th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew is dated to 50 AD!!! Scholars are unanimous in dating these fragments to 200 AD. The only ‘scholar’ cited that dated these fragments to 50 AD was the German papyrologist Carsten Thiede – a well know fundamentalist. This is what Burton Mack (a critical – legitimate – NT scholar) has to say about Thiede’s eccentric dating “From a critical scholar's point of view, Thiede's proposal is an example of just how desperate the Christian imagination can become in the quest to argue for the literal facticity of the Christian gospels” [Mack, Burton L., “Who Wrote the New Testament?:The Making of the Christian Myth” HarperCollins, San Francisco 1995] Yet the dating of 50 AD is presented as though it is a scholarly consensus position!

In fact the last point was so blatant that I confronted the exhibitors. (Tak Boleh Tahan!!) One American exhibitor told me that “Yes, it could have been worded differently, but then we would have to change the whole display” (!!). When I told him that this was not a typo but a blatant attempt to deceive, he mentioned that Theide’s views are supported by “The Dallas Theological Seminary” – another well know evangelical institute!

I have no issue with the religious strengthening their faith by having their own internal exhibitions on historical artifacts etc. But when it is presented to the public as a scholarly exhibition – this is quite close to being dishonest.

I felt cheated of the $36 dollars I paid for the tickets and of the hour that I spent there before realizing what type of exhibition it was.

I am disappointed with The Art House for show casing this without warning potential visitors of its clear religious bias.

Yours sincerely,
Paul Tobin

To their credit, the Arts House speedily replied.
"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it." - Thomas Jefferson (attr)


Someone: he said in KL nobodydoes theatre full tiem

Me: maybe KL no. cos malaysians are even less civilised than singaporeans =D

Someone else: this spec kinda turns me on a bit

Amazon.com: ASUS G51Vx-A1 15.6-Inch Gaming Laptop: Computer & Accessories

("* Intel Quad Core Q9000 Processor 2.0GHz; 4GB of DDR2 800 RAM, 2 Slots, 4GB Max
* NVidia GTX 260M Dedicated Graphics with 1GB DDR3 VRAM; Gaming Backpack and Gaming Mouse Included
* 640GB SATA Hard Drive (7200RPM); DVD SuperMulti Drive
* Windows Vista Home Premium (64 Bit) Operating System
* 15.6-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 LCD Display; Free Eee Stick and 9 Games Included")

Me: more than your wife?

Someone else: ....
dun be an ass

Me: =D

Someone on heat and sexual response: try in a sauna

Me: hurr hrr

Someone: too bad got no on to try with

Me: aww
jump your crush lor

Someone: I know you said many times liao

Me on relationship advice: it's like aids prevention - you can never tell people enough times (and people will always not listen)

Someone: ahahaha compare seduction with aids prevention!

Me: and if you don't follow the advice, you can seriously screw yourself up

TMM: my senior said I was seriously like you
and its becoming even clearer
I was like... ok

Me: is that good or bad
and for me or you

TMM: I hope its good
since you're like the most brilliant person I know in Singapore

today at the pageant I was in
they asked what was the most beautiful place in Singapore

I said Changi Airport

Me: I was about to say that

TMM: because that's where you fly out
and leave this god forsaken piece of shit

Me: what was the response

TMM: some people booed

OSU [Ed: Overseas Singaporeans Unit] would be proud

OSU said its purpose was to reach out to the Singaporean dispora

doesn't diaspora have connotations of people being driven out
by circumstances
or by dislike of the place


TMM: so technically
Gopalan Nair is a member of the Singaporean diaspora

and OSU should try to reach out to him

TMM: when applying for Exit permit
they ask why you want to go overseas and study

I want to tell them to fuck off and die

Me: "so I'll be free from you"

TMM: heh
here's to my REAL red passport in 5 years

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Someone on striving for organisational improvement: why argue

i realise i lost all ability to comment on anything now

all i want is..."what the bosses want"
so i can quickly get my stuff approve

Me: this is why big companies are not as dynamic

moral of the story: it's best to coast along in mediocrity

Someone: yah..just like i always wonder...maybe being naive and simple is always more fun than being complex

ok..maybe not fun
but as in life is better and easier..than someone who is complex

Me: "safer"

Monday, September 07, 2009

This guy had better get hazard pay:

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Then again, the PLA has so many applicants they need to turn some away anyway.

We need to import some of these patriots!
"History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives." - Abba Eban


A Story of the Image - "The Plantin – Moretus House - Workshops Museum Complex... [is] so highly significant that it is now one of the very few sites in Western Europe to have qualified for inclusion of the World Heritage List."
Copywriter FAIL

Lizards Rapidly Evolve After Introduction to Island - "In just a few decades the 5-inch-long (13-centimeter-long) lizards have developed a completely new gut structure, larger heads, and a harder bite... the lizards developed cecal valves—muscles between the large and small intestine—that slowed down food digestion in fermenting chambers, which allowed their bodies to process the vegetation's cellulose into volatile fatty acids... Such physical transformation in just 30 lizard generations takes evolution to a whole new level, Irschick said. It would be akin to humans evolving and growing a new appendix in several hundred years, he said. "That's unparalleled. What's most important is how fast this is," he said."

Cashiers Allegedly Forced to Wear Diapers - "Supermarket cashiers in Argentina are being forced to wear diapers to keep them from taking toilet breaks at work, a union says... "The truth is, it's difficult to imagine a line of 20 adult cashiers wearing diapers for eight hours," said Varela, who is investigating the matter. "In 17 years as a labor lawyer, I've never heard anything like this before," she added."

Emails aid sub-prime detective - "At the credit-rating agencies that did so much to prop up the sub-prime industry, someone seemed to have a clear sense of what was coming. 'Let’s hope we’re all wealthy and retired by the time this house of cards falters,' an analyst wrote in a candid e-mail to a colleague."

Unusual new enclosure revealed at Bristol Zoo - "Zoo visitors and staff have been surprised by the addition of a new and unexpected enclosure at Bristol Zoo Gardens. A mysterious sign has appeared on the side of the Zoo’s popular Coral Café, designating the area as a place to spot one of the world’s most widespread species - Homo sapiens. The notice, which appeared without warning this week, shows humans ‘on display’ inside the café and includes tongue-in-cheek description of the species and its characteristics... Dr Jo Gipps, Director of Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “This is definitely not one of the Zoo’s own signs, it is clearly a prank and a very good one too. It looks completely genuine. We think it’s great sign and we have absolutely no intention of removing it, however I think one of them is probably enough""
Of course, it would be removed in less civilised countries.

YouTube - "Does God exist?" -- Social campaign on education (TV commerc - "New Moment New Ideas Company TV commercial for the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, Ministry of Education and Science... Headline of commercial: Religion is knowledge, too. Bringing religion back to school. Headline of campaign: Knowledge is power."
This is the latest incarnation of some old Christian nonsense. The multiple philosophical problems are one thing, but the thing that really pisses me off is that they are painting Einstein as a defender of religion by putting words into his mouth.

Schoolgirl 'wanted to lose virginity before Large Hadron Collider caused end of world'

Biliteracy in Singapore: A Survey of the Written Proficiency in English and Chinese of Secondary School Pupils - "The aim of this study is to explore the extent to which the SAP school pupils learning two first languages are symmetrically bilingual in writing... Chinese played an important role in daily communication. Those who conversed in Chinese with their friends comprised 72.9%, and those who used English constituted a smaller number (25.4%)... the majority (47.5%) of the pupils preferred to watch television in Chinese... While 69.2% of the pupils read in English, only 6.7% read in Chinese... the subjects had displayed significantly higher written proficiency in English than in Chinese... As expected, our subjects had great difficulty in writing the Chinese script... A main feature of the writing system in Chinese is that it is a script which, unlike an alphabet, does not register sounds but in one way or another indicates some elements of meanings... With such a characteristic of the writing system, it is only natural that when a character is lost in memory, another one which represents the same syllable (and usually the same tone) will be substituted by the language learner. Moreover, he/she is inevitably prone to make mistakes when a syllable associates with two or more characters which share the same tone and at the same time resemble each other in script"

The war on drugs is immoral idiocy. We need the courage of Argentina - "Last week the Argentine supreme court declared in a landmark ruling that it was "unconstitutional" to prosecute citizens for having drugs for their personal use. It asserted in ringing terms that "adults should be free to make lifestyle decisions without the intervention of the state"... The doctrine is adumbrated by a regime only 25 years from dictatorship... Three years ago, Mexico concluded that prison for drug possession merely criminalised a large slice of its population. Drug users should be regarded as "patients, not criminals"... America spends a reported $70bn a year on suppressing drug imports, and untold billions on prosecuting its own citizens for drugs offences... this week's "good news" [was] that the 2009 Afghan poppy harvest had fallen back to its 2005 level... depriving Afghan peasants of their most lucrative cash crop somehow wins their hearts and minds and impoverishes the Taliban. The Afghan poppy crop is largely a function of the price of poppies compared with that of wheat... the war on drugs can be seen only as a total failure, a vast self-imposed cost on western society. It is the greatest sweeping-under-the-carpet of our age"
Surprisingly, a watered-down version of this was in Today

Time to silence phones, game consoles and headsets on trains - "The bigger audio headsets often give off loud noises and these should be banned... This problem is getting worse because the culprits have been getting away with it. It is time the SMRT takes strong action to stop this nuisance. The culprits should be fined because, as in case of eating and drinking, warning them is not good enough."
Doesn't this belong in the Straits Times Forum?

Confucians say, women now welcome - "For the first time in more than 2,500 years the family tree of the ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius, is to include women descendants."
"Truth is more of a stranger than fiction." - Mark Twain


Quangos ban traditional phrases like 'whiter than white' and 'gentlemen's agreement'

"Documents released under freedom of information rules show that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission advised staff to replace the phrase “black day” with “miserable day”.

Its explanation was that the term carries a “hierarchical valuation of skin colour”.

The commission also urges employees to be careful of the term “ethnic minority” because it can imply “something smaller and less important”.

The National Gallery is concerned some terms its staff use could discriminate against women.

It suggests they should replace the term "gentlemen's agreement" with "unwritten agreement" or "agreement based on trust" while "right-hand man" should become "second in command".

The Learning Skills Council is also mindful of "gender bias" in some language used by its workers and has asked them to "perfect" their brief, rather than "master" it.

Advice issued by the South West Regional Development Agency states: “Terms such as ‘black sheep of the family’, ‘black looks’ and ‘black mark’ have no direct link to skin colour but potentially serve to reinforce a negative view of all things black. Equally, certain terms imply a negative image of ‘black’ by reinforcing the positive aspects of white.

“For example, in the context of being above suspicion, the phrase ‘whiter than white’ is often used. Purer than pure or cleaner than clean are alternatives which do not infer that anything other than white should be regarded with suspicion.”

Marie Clair, spokeswoman for the Plain English Campaign, believes the quangos should take a more "common sense" approach rather than issuing a blanket ban on traditional phrases.

“Political correctness has good intentions but things can be taken to an extreme," she told the Sunday Times."
The Girl Paradox (from GraphJam):

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"Hot Girl
Smart Girl
Nice Girl"

Eric's answer to it:

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

"It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating." - Oscar Wilde


From May:

"ASEAN-Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit. Partnership for Real, Friendship for Good"
What is probably a translation issue makes it sound like they're really on very bad terms.

"T[ender] r[aw] a[musing] n[aughty] n[ostalgic] y[es, ah kua show!]... Ah Kua Show... 10% discount for transgender audience"
Maybe I should've tried my luck. Presumably this would be called bigotry if it wasn't by a real Ah Kua (and thus qualify as "reclamation")

Cat in drain

Chinese wine in faux gourd

"If your dog poops please scoop. Action will be taken if caught (sic)"
I love how they have to mention "if caught"

"Happy [Dead] Crab. Freshness Guaranteed"

"Look, Ma. No pants!"

"Mahjulah Singapura" crest. I can't remember where this was.

"Hokkaido milk is... almost organic"
Almost don't cut it, kids!

Apparently you can exchange cooked food bought at the food court in Liang Court's basement... within 7 days.

NYDC: "Our meatballs now contain pork for extra flavour!"

This cartoon depiction of upskirting was in my French textbook. I assume this was illustrating: "Je fais des photos pour un journal". Le journal sexe?

National Museum signage FAIL

Pigeon drinking from a container

"Positive Result? Keep the Test!
Result remains positive over time.
One click and handle comes off for compact storage.
Conveniently keep it in your baby's album or show it to your doctor or loved ones at a later time."
This is quite screwed up.

This was sold in the shop which sells notebooks in Citylink. You can get the same for free from any office shredder.

"Bad News: Our lease has ended
Good News: We are still in the neighbourhood"

A rare sight: a woman in office attire sitting on the MRT floor (previously I'd only seen schoolgirls doing this)

"Increases calmth (sic), stamina, flexibility, balance & poise. Helps manage PMS, menstrual cramps, backache, water retention, stress.
Beauty blossoms from within. I am calm and filled with peace. I nurture me (sic) and my family. I look & feel beautful & I AM empowered and peaceful"
Yoga mumbo-jumbo to con women. I'll take my chances with Acai Berries, thanks.

"Japanese Daily. Air Flown Weekly Fresh from Japan"

And on the shelves:

"Back Bacon. Product of Denmark; Smoked Spicy Pork Sausage... Manufactured by Pan Pacific Singapore"

Alleged health benefits of Karaoke:

- 消除疲劳,增强脑力记忆,增加喉咙声亮。
- 唱前别紧张,唱时放松,并暂时忘掉工作的压力"


"Singing Karaoke keeps you healthy. It strengthens the function of your chest, lungs and stomach, and prevents your vocal chords from atrophying.

It dissipates stress, boosts brain power and memory and makes your voice sound brighter.

Before you sing, don't be nervous. When you sing, relax and temporarily forget your work stress"

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents." - H. P. Lovecraft


YouTube - Solid Potato Salad - The Ross Sisters (1944) - "Never underestimate a woman who can get both legs behind her head and wrap her feet around her face. (HINT: Watch past the first 45 seconds or so. Whoah!)... In this classic footage from the movie "Broadway Rhythm" (1944), the Ross sisters, Aggie, Maggie and Elmira, sing and move in ways that don't look humanly possible. Yoga anyone?"

Row as Canada gives asylum to white South African - "Asylum seeker Brandon Huntley claimed he had been persecuted, abused and repeatedly stabbed. But it was the reason he gave for his ordeal that caused a diplomatic rift today. Huntley is South African – and white. Canada's decision to grant him refugee status because of his colour prompted accusations of racism from the South African government... Some South African whites say they have become a persecuted minority... He said he had been attacked seven times by black South Africans, including four stabbings, and was called a "white dog" and "settler"... the irrigation sprinkler salesman's evidence showed "a picture of indifference and inability or unwillingness" from the South African government to protect white citizens. He added: "Persecution of white South Africans by African South Africans [is] a common event today in South Africa."... "The truth is that black South Africans are far and away more likely to be victims of violent crime. There are problems with the criminal justice system but again blacks are most likely to suffer.""
Apparently alleging racism against traditionally powerful races is racist?! And somehow suffering from crime means you are being racially discriminated against and can't be racist towards others?!

Vows - Jessica Rosen and Ron Laegner - "WHEN Jessica Rosen was 12 years old, a boyishly handsome fellow, sharply dressed in a maroon suit, arrived in the lobby of her apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. That fellow, Ron Laegner, had just been hired as the doorman... In her diary that night, she stated her intentions. “I met the man I’m going to marry,” she wrote. Few people marry their first crush. Fewer still marry their doorman... “It was almost like a nuisance,” he said, referring to Ms. Rosen’s visits. She kept asking about his girlfriend and tried to lure him out to bars. Still, he couldn’t help but notice that the girl had matured into an attractive woman: “It was like a whole new Jessica.”... When her family found out, it didn’t go over so well — but Ms. Rosen said it was the 12-year age difference, not his line of work, that was a concern... “Everyone looked at me like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ” said Ms. Rosen, now 30. “Life is short. I waited, and I got cancer.”"
This is pretty creepy on some level - just imagine the genders and ages reversed (i.e. an older man going after a younger girl - although waiting until she's legal).

How the Buddha became a Catholic Saint - "The Sakyamuni Buddha is in fact an official Catholic saint. The story of how the Buddha became a Catholic saint is a story about an ancient Indian diaspora. Not the diaspora of a group of people but that of a collection of south-east Asian stories: the Jataka tales... The story of Barlaam and Joasaph is that of a young Indian prince, Josaphat (or Joasaph), being converted to Christianity by the arguments of Barlaam. Josaphat's story (before his conversion) is almost exactly the story of the Sakyamuni Buddha. Indeed, “Josaphat” is nothing but a Greek-formulation of “Bodhisat.”... The Catholic Encyclopedia is resolutely unembarrassed about the whole incident. As I understand it, sainthood is a human assignation, based on our understanding of what constitutes a miracle. The Vatican claims authority, not infallibility."
Ooh, seditious!

The myth of a moderate Malaysia - "Amidst the usual cries of “Allahu Akbar” and “takbeer,” the protesters deposited the freshly severed head of a cow — an animal sacred to Hindus — before the building’s gate. The group’s leaders made threatening speeches and, perhaps caught up in the spirit of the moment, hammed it up for the cameras, stepping and spitting on the cow’s head. The police — who have been known to arrest people for such crimes as attending a candle light vigil or wearing black in support of the opposition — stood by and watched... The conversion laws, based on sharia, bring to mind the Eagles’ classic “Hotel California”: You can check in (to Islam) any time you like, but you can never leave. Over the past 30 years, encouraged by the government and influenced by the Middle East, Malaysia’s growing prosperity has gone hand-in-hand with a heightened piety. But instead of making the country more humane, this has had the opposite effect... only in Muslim-majority lands are religious bigots given such broad leeway by their secular co-religionists"

YouTube - [Trailer] Robogeisha

Eating dirt can be good for you - just ask babies - "Since all instinctive behaviors have an evolutionary advantage or they would not have been retained for millions of years, chances are that this one too has helped us survive as a species. And, indeed, accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you. In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with "dirt" spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma."
"There is no such thing as an underestimate of average intelligence." - Henry Adams


My favourite variant of a popular joke:

The Geography of a Woman:

Between the ages of 18 - 21 a woman is like Africa or Australia. She is half discovered, half wild and naturally beautiful with bushland around the fertile deltas.

Between the ages of 21 - 30 a woman is like America or Japan. Completely discovered, very well developed and open to trade especially with countries with cash or cars.

Between the ages of 30 - 35, she is like India or Spain. Very hot, relaxed and convinced of its own beauty.

Between the ages of 35 - 40 a woman is like France or Argentina. She may have been half destroyed during the war but can still be a warm and desirable place to visit.

Between the ages of 40 - 50 she is like Yugoslavia or Afghanistan. She lost the war and is haunted by past mistakes. Massive reconstruction is now necessary.

Between the ages of 50 - 60 she is like Russia or Canada. Very wide, quiet and the borders are practically un-patrolled but the frigid climate keeps people away.

Between the ages of 60 - 70 a woman is like England or Mongolia. With a glorious and all conquering past but alas no future.

After 70, they become Albania . Everyone knows where it is, but no one wants to go there.

The Geography of a Man:

Between the ages of 15 - 70 a man is like Iraq......ruled by a dick.
"Think twice before you speak, and then you may be able to say something more insulting than if you spoke right out at once." - Evan Esar


From April, Botan (Japanese food) in Far East Square. Which besides having lots of dishes I haven't seen elsewhere on this island (selected ones are typed out), also has whale!


Relatively common dinner sets

"Chinmi: Japanese Local Delicacies... Ishikari Zuke: Marinated salmon with rice wine & onions"

"Karaka Iwashi: Sardine preserved in soy sauce and spice"

13 types of Home made tofu: "Yamaimo Kake Tofu: Fresh beancurd topped with grated yam"

5 more types of home made tofu and Ippinryori (a la carte):
"Anko Kimo. Angler liver."

"Konnyaku Steak: Yam strips with sauce on hot plate"


"Takiawase: Pot cooked dish... Tai Aradaki. Red snapper head cooked with special sauce"

"Yakimono. Grilled dish... Fugumirin Boshi. Grilled marinated dry puffer fish."

"Agemono. Deep-fried dish... Nasu hasamiage. Deep fried eggplant sandwiches"

"Sunomono. Vinegar flavoured dish... Shime Saba. Mackerel with vinegar"

"Nabemono. Hot pot dish... Chazuke. Japanese porridges... Sake Chazuke. Salmon flake with rice & tea served in a bowl"

"Noodles... Inani wa udon. Akita City noodles"

I know why the whale is only in Japanese, but I don't know why they do the same for dessert.

"Yakitori... A la carte."


Maki Sushi

Temaki. Hand roll.

Botan Bento

Nagasaki Sara Udon. Basically this was Japanese shen mian, and very good.

Whale Bacon. It was quite tasteless so I won't repeat it (I still haven't tried the sashimi and skin yet, though). Only near the end did I realise what the white stuff was!
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