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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Did SDN fail in this activity?

SDN banner:

"Sun and sea cement their friendship"

If it was only friendship, then they've failed in their mission!

NUS and April Fool's Day

"The public will believe anything, so long as it is not founded on truth." - Edith Sitwell


On 1st April, I got an email from the NUS Alumni Office, attaching a "Letter from the NUS President updating you on recent campus developments".

My reply:

Dear NUS Alumni Office,

Thank you for the letter.

Might I suggest that April Fool's Day is not the best time to send out a circular?

Unless, that is, the circular is about something like the following:

The Johns Hopkins University - We've changed our name to John Hopkins

"The Johns Hopkins University announced today that it is bowing to the inevitable and officially changing its name to "John Hopkins."

"We give up," university President Ronald J. Daniel said. "We're fighting a losing battle here. And we strongly suspect the extra 's' was a typo in the first place.""

Yours etc.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Linus Torvalds joins Microsoft next-gen OS team, quits Linux

"Hello seeker! Now don't feel alone here in the New Age, because there's a seeker born every minute." - Firesign Theatre



Linus Torvalds joins Microsoft next-gen OS team, quits Linux

"In a move certain to surprise, shock and even anger many, the creator of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds, today signed up as Chief Software Architect with Microsoft to work on the Redmond Giant's next-generation operating system with Dave Cutler...

For almost two decades Torvalds has maintained the Linux kernel, sponsored by the Linux Foundation, and managing contributions from companies and developers worldwide.

"It was time to grow up and get a real job," Torvalds said. "I'm excited about the chance to really innovate and make an operating system with Microsoft. I want to see my work in the hands of the majority this time around.""

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Where do you find all these people?!

"A husband is like a fire, he goes out when unattended." - Evan Esar


"SIR – ... I have lived for all but 12 of my 58 years in the United States and somehow have never encountered any of the startling characters you manage to turn up to put front and centre in your articles about life here. Where do you find these people? Do you advertise for them in local newspapers? “Wanted: Very irritated voter, preferably reactionary, uses colourful language.” As for the BBC’s coverage, you’d think the whole of America was populated with Elvis impersonators from Las Vegas.

Maggie McGirr
Greenwich, Connecticut"

Links - 31st March 2010

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others." - George Orwell


Foreign prostitutes rent Malaysian husbands for visas - "Foreign sex workers in Malaysia are paying local men up to $1,500 a month to become their husbands so that they can stay on in the country to ply their trade"
I wonder what they'd pay Singaporeans

Why Behavioral Economists Love Online Games - "Instead of dealing only with historical data, in virtual worlds "you have the power to experiment in real time," Segerstrale says. What happens to demand if you add a 5 percent tax to a product? What if you apply a 5 percent tax to one half of a group and a 7 percent tax to the other half? "You can conduct any experiment you want," he says. "You might discover that women over 35 have a higher tolerance to a tax than males aged 15 to 20—stuff that's just not possible to discover in the real world.""

Schumpeter: Skirting the issue | The Economist - "Numerous studies show that high proportions of women directors coincide with superior corporate performance. But there is little academically accepted evidence of a causal relationship. It may be that thriving firms allow themselves the luxury of attending to social issues such as board diversity, whereas poorly performing ones batten down the hatches... Firms perform worse as the proportion of women on the board increases. There is certainly no shortage of companies capable of producing stellar results with few or no women on the board. LVMH, a successful French luxury-goods group whose customers are mostly women, has had just one female director over the past ten years: Delphine Arnault, daughter of the firm’s chief executive and controlling shareholder... Too many women go into functional roles such as accounting, marketing or human resources early in their careers rather than staying in the mainstream, driving profits"

Saudi Women Have Message for U.S. Envoy - ""The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn't happy," one audience member said. "Well, we're all pretty happy." The room, full of students, faculty members and some professionals, resounded with applause... Many in this region say they resent the American assumption that, given the chance, everyone would live like Americans... "We're not in any way barred from talking to the other sex," said Dr. Nada Jambi, a public health professor. "It's not an absolute wall"... Several women said later that Americans failed to understand that their traditional society was embraced by men and women alike. "There is more male chauvinism in my profession in Europe and America than in my country," said Dr. Siddiqa Kamal, an obstetrician and gynecologist who runs her own hospital. "I don't want to drive a car," she said. "I worked hard for my medical degree. Why do I need a driver's license?" "Women have more than equal rights"... "I love my abaya," she explained. "It's convenient and it can be very fashionable""

Reporting the gender pay gap | The Economist - "Why compare female part time wages to male full time? Why not to male part time? It's difficult to shake off the feeling that it is deliberate... If we take the first argument seriously, that the existence of a pay gap is proof of discrimination, then we must ask why almost everyone is so viciously bigoted against workers in the private sector? Of course, the more parsimonious explanation seems to be that there are alternative explanations of the gap... if we’re willing to accept such arguments to explain the public/private gap, we should be at least as prepared to entertain them in the case of women"
One comment: Like it or not, women cost companies more money than men do. In order for the companies to make up for the additional cost, they have to offer a lower salary to a female job candidate. It makes perfect sense from a business standpoint. If women got paid the same money salary that men got paid, they would be earning more than men if you measure in terms of full wages, which includes money and non-money wages.

2010 Quality of Life Index - "Every January, we rank and rate 194 countries to come up with our list of the places that offer you the best quality of life. This isn't about best value, necessarily. It's about the places in the world where the living is, simply put, great... To produce this annual Index we consider nine categories: Cost of Living, Culture and Leisure, Economy, Environment, Freedom, Health, Infrastructure, Safety and Risk, and Climate...
1. France
2. Australia
3. Switzerland
4. Germany
5. New Zealand
6. Luxembourg
7. United States
8. Belgium
9. Canada
10. Italy"
Full ranking - Singapore has a score of 61 (3 points above Malaysia at 58!)
Interesting comment: "Convenience (and the frenetic pace that comes with it) is often overrated". In other words, there is a high human cost to efficiency.

Nym Words > Autoantonyms - "Auto-antonym has Greek roots meaning a word that is the opposite of itself. They have variously been called contranyms, contronyms, antilogies, Janus words (after the two-faced Greek mythical figure, from which "January" also derives), and enantiodromes. Below is a list af many such words"

Hot springs that inspired Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away"

Facebook's privacy changes: When will it go too far (and will you even notice)? - "Much of what you need to know about Facebook’s proposed privacy changes boils down to timing: Friday, 3:04 p.m. PDT. Why is the timing important? That’s when you typically roll out news you don’t want folks to pay a lot of attention to... So what’s Facebook trying to downplay? Try a proposed privacy setting change where Facebook will share user data with external sites automatically"

An Unruly Comment Thread? It's Probably The Trolls - "Trolls, however, are community members without convictions, arguing a point just to see the other person go red. They turn perfectly interesting threads into festering cesspools of resentment... the only thing that will move this conversation forward is to ask the community to ignore them... If we see you feeding a troll, we will remove both the troll's comments and your responses... "I think of [a troll] as someone who doesn't engage others in a discussion, who posts irrelevant comments, or who goes off on the same rant no matter the topic." In some ways, a troll is like the person at the party who's a little too drunk and picks a fight with everyone. He (or she) is the one who makes things so hostile that everyone avoids a gathering as soon as they see him on the guest list"

Do female suicide bombers get 72 virgins too? - "Respected commentator Al-Tirmidhi said in a hadith that every man will have six dozen huris in heaven, but very few commentators enumerated the rewards for women. Ninth-century scholar Al-Tabarani did argue that women will be reunited with their husbands in the next world, and those who had multiple husbands can pick the best one to be their eternal spouse. (Other commentators added that a woman who never married can marry any man she wants in paradise.) From the 9th through the 12th centuries, Muslim scholars described paradise as a place of sensual delights—for men... Women may not get these particular perks, but religious commentaries argue that paradise will make them beautiful, happy, and without jealousy. The fact that they fasted and worshipped Allah during their earthly lives will also make them superior to the virgins, who only exist in heaven. Some modern clerics argue that in heaven, husbands never grow bored of their wives, even with so many huris around"

Conversations - 31st March 2010 (mostly on why you should date White Girls, not Asian Girls)

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." - George Bernard Shaw


Someone: gabriel, having started dating a caucasian girl, i now realise how ridiculously unfair, unreasonable, and unrealistic asian girls are..

well, it's just everything

i've started dating this English girl
and everything is just easier and more fun

so much less expectation, so much more reasonable

yeah, asian girls definitely have it way too good
no idea why the market and expectations are tilted this way.

Me: they have it good cos everyone panders to them?

Someone: i'm truly amazed by the difference in expectations

as i was saying
i'm so much happier!

well, as i said, there's much more equality
like on dates, it's more likely to receive an offer to go dutch
no petty tantrums over little things

Me: haha

less drama
less nonsense

Someone: precisely!
less worrying, more optimism

how do you think expectations in singapore came to favour girls?

Me: incomplete female liberation?

but not responsibilities

Someone (2): i can help in the spread of the gospel of white girls ;P

just a lot of fun to be with, i guess. ironically asian guys have one advantage here in that many white college guys are generally slobs, so i guess the higher standards we have to stick to appeal in that sense.

they're used to not wincing when they're in a room with a white guy, we're rehearsing for a play, and the white guy scratches his crotch, i guess.

and they like it when you use good english, which is how i talked up that girl on the train from Montreal to NYC over a seven hour long delay.

Someone (3): dating an ang mo girl quite liberating i think
almost given up on sg gals

Someone else on the above: i think yah, incomplete feminism

but not just that. most of the time i think it's a total lack of understanding what feminism is probably haha

sometimes it sounds more like 'this is the excuse to get what i want everytime'

i think it's silly
i think it's the clash of "i want a prince charming (to rescue me)" vs "i am woman hear me roar"
and asian society hasn't figured out the dichotomy yet

cos i've got friends like that. they always say they want to be an independent woman, but their actions are all "where's my prince charming"
i am full of scorn for such people haha

for the record, i HATE men who carry their gf/wive's handbags. for extended periods of time, for no reason at all, other than the fact that he has to walk with her

when i'm feeling nasty, i will walk past such couples, and make some nasty comment about the guy holding his woman's handbag

as in
i will in the future

Me: so mean
what if he's being nice :P

maybe he holds her handbag because she peels his prawns

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"

Someone else: my point just is, it looks dumb

and i dont understand why it happens in singapore, but apparently not anywhere else in the world
it's the most warped action of 'gentlemanliness' i've ever seen

i deduced in japan that it is very easy to identify a korean girl anywhere in the world
there is a standard scowl they have

and if you see a man holding a dainty woman's handbag overseas, it is most likely a singaporean man

i love the korean girl scowl though

it comes very naturally
i suspect from k-drama

they will think or look around

and then i presume they say something condescending in korean

especially the pretty ones! it's a sulky girl thing hahaha

Me: What's the best way of dealing with jokers?
Engaging them? Ignoring them? Mocking them?

*example of one*

Frigid Girl: that's not a joker lah!
that's a moron

Someone: hmmm
i m wondernig
is it possible for fb frds to not see status updates but only like...who add me as friends or sth like dat?

cos right now, if i restrict settings, it seems that htey can't even see my wall

Me: *instructions*

why do most women need help in tech

Someone: well...i ve learnt that gals need to appear helpless occasionally :P

Me: ...

Someone: i think it's because we look at different things
just like why gals are more observant than guys

Me: like whether the mp3 player is pink?

Someone: yesh

Me: hurr hurr

Someone else: sth i learn..gals should never do the chasing
otherwise, no way can earn back the rights

Me: pfft this is why you should date white girls
they aren't as screwed up as asians

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Have Buckareff and Plug solved the Euthyphro dilemma?

Something from Buckareff and Plug (2005) I just dug up (a possible solution to the Euthyphro dilemma):

"In the etiology of action, some kind of belief–desire complex typically constitutes the reason for acting as one does. Given that God’s character is such that He is just and loving, and given that God’s actions are motivated by His desires and other pro-attitudes that follow from His character, then we can conclude the following about the pro-attitudes of God in acting"

The Vagina as an Engine

"Seek simplicity, and distrust it." - Alfred North Whitehead


Seen around:

"The best engine in the world is the vagina. It takes any size piston, is self lubricating, starts with one finger and every four weeks does it's own oil change.

It's just a pity the management system is so damn temperamental!"

This is variously attributed to (unattributed), "a notable gynecologist" and "the world famous Austrian gynecologist, Dr. Hermann Otto Kloepneckler, M.D. Ph.D."

Naturally the last doesn't exist.

Some responses:

"BALONEY!!! The best engine in the world is the penis. Mine is a fantastic example of this but let's not get too personal. I don't know you yet. The reason I say the penis is the best engine in the world is because it can work in any vagina, needs practically zero warm up time (unlike vaginae which so very often need "time" to "get in the mood," is flexible in its application (unlike vaginae which are in a "fixed" location), doesn't need any lubrication (although some is nice), starts with one breeze or vague thought (unlike vaginae which can start with "one finger" as you stated, and it needs no oil change.

It's way more flexible than a vagina. For example, I have used mine as a door stop once."

"I'm thinking of calling my husband's piston "Optimus Prime" because it always transforms into something big. :D"

"It's a shame that the most useless thing in the world is a penis. It hangs out all day with two nuts. Gets excited for no reason and spits all over itself."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Links - 29th March 2010

"The word 'politics' is derived from the word 'poly', meaning 'many', and the word 'ticks', meaning 'blood sucking parasites'." - Larry Hardiman


Alexia Sinclair - The Regal Twelve - "Alexia Sinclair’s The Regal Twelve is a series that combines hundreds of photographic elements and illustrations to form complex digitally montaged artworks. The series portrays twelve European monarchs who have ruled supreme and whose lives span over two millennia. Through the study of history and portraiture, a series of contrasting regals formed, whose stories are revealed within each artwork"

InsideCatholic.com - I Am Woman - "Most people respect... that I'm... a stay-at-home mom, I have the feminists -- the people who are supposed to be on my side -- to thank for my occasional stabs of insecurity. Like many of my female peers, college classes in women's studies and multiculturalism indoctrinated me with "culturally correct" beliefs, where the big picture seemed to be lost in a quibble over who suffered more prejudice and who the real victims were... It was the feminists who made me feel like less instead of more. The same women who warned us about never allowing a man to turn us into Barbie were furtively turning us into Ken... Modern feminists... aren't really about being female or male, or even human. They're really about being superhuman... instead of concentrating their time and efforts on something that would really help the plight of women -- say, spreading awareness about injustices such as sexual slavery, bride burning in South Asia, abortion, and female infanticide -- tirelessly defend a view of the perfectible woman. In doing so, feminists don't liberate women; they disappoint them. In its wake, feminism has left a sobering parade of women who are realizing that it's a big, fat lie: You can't have it all"

Iceberg Radio homepage
Very impressive online 'radio' station, which plays CD tracks and has many channels (28 classical alone)

Why Would Anyone Protest Against the Women's Studies Program at Columbia? - "The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was passed to eliminate the purported gender pay gap, whereas the most recent study by the Department of Labor indicated there was not such a gender pay gap. He stated that in the Obama's Health Care Plan there will be ten Major Offices of Women's Health and zero Offices of Men's Health. He goes on to note that epidemiological health data shows that boys and men are far more in need of special attention as there are higher death rates in men in nine out of the ten of the leading causes of death. There is a greater suicide rate in men and men have a lower longevity... the President had proposed a 22% increase in funding for female victims of domestic violence on top of the large amount already spent in this area. He refers to research that shows that men and women initiate domestic violence at approximately equal rates and men represent at least 40% of the physically harmed victims. In addition, the federal government declines to fund equal protection and support for battered husbands and battered men"

Can you appeal a YouTube ban? | CNET to the Rescue - "Google employees, burdened under what sounds like far too much community input, make quick and seemingly opaque judgments that can't be easily appealed. But all is not lost. It does look like this situation will change"

Firefighters left woman in mine shaft for six hours due to 'health and safety concerns' - "Safety rules banned firefighters from rescuing her... As Alison Hume was brought to the surface by mountain rescuers she died of a heart attack. A senior fire officer at the scene admitted that crews could only listen to her cries for help, after she fell down the 60ft shaft, because regulations said their lifting equipment could not be used on the public. A memo had been circulated in Strathclyde Fire and Rescue stations months previously stating that it was for use by firefighters only"
This reminds me of how, when a National Slave (Full-time), I was told that we couldn't use SAF ambulances to help civilians.
One comment: Unfortunately this will be more common in the future thanks to No Win, No Fee compensation companies.
If the woman had been lifted out on anything other than a purpose made stretcher and hoist the ambulance chasers would have been knocking on her door the next day.
It's very sad that it is better to watch someone die than to help them and then be taken to court.
Another: It has become more important to comply with the rules than to actually attend to health and safety... The individuals here cannot be blamed - their hands were tied by strict instructions, their jobs could have been at risk and their insurance could have been invalidated if they had been injured while trying to help

Man could face prison over six second 'extreme porn' clip - "According to Holland, this was sent to him as a joke - he viewed it just once, but made the mistake of not getting round to deleting it... For Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN), National Convenor Clair Lewis said: "Assuming this involves an image of consenting adults – which we believe it to do – we find the idea of sending someone to prison at all for the mere act of possessing an image to be disgraceful and most likely a breach of Human Rights""

Going down in the downturn - Pinched: Tales from an Economic Downturn - "After innumerable unanswered cover letters, overdue bills and a delay in her unemployment checks, she entered a world of code words and cash wads. It was baptism by -- bodily fluids: She peed on a guy in her own bed for $100... Strip clubs, X-rated Web cam companies and escort managers across the country have reported an increase in job applications in the last several months... slinging burgers at a fast food joint means you've really hit bottom, while sex work at least allows for the illusion of being in charge."

Terrorists 'could use exploding breast implants to blow up jet' - "Plastic surgeons may also have inserted the chemical into the buttocks of would-be suicide bombers."

Have you got erotic capital? - "Erotic capital goes beyond beauty to include sex appeal, charm and social skills, physical fitness and liveliness, sexual competence and skills in self-presentation, such as face-painting, hairstyles, clothing and all the other arts of self-adornment. Most studies capture only one facet of it: photographs measure beauty or sex appeal, psychologists measure confidence and social skills, sex researchers ask about seduction skills and numbers of partners. Yet women have long excelled at such arts: that’s why they tend to be more dressed up than men at parties. They make more effort to develop the “soft skills” of charm, empathy, persuasion, deploying emotional intelligence and “emotional labour.” Indeed, the final element of erotic capital is unique to women: bearing children. In some cultures, fertility is an essential element of women’s erotic power. And even though female fertility is less important in northern Europe (where families are smaller) women’s dominant position in this market has been reinforced in recent decades by a much-lamented phenomenon: the sexualisation of culture."

How do I perform the opposite of Concatenate in Excel? - Yahoo! Answers - "What formula do I use to cut off the last three characters? I cannot use Concatenate because my cells do not contain the same amount of characters...
A1 is the original that you are removing the last 3 characters from."

Fake boobs: They're banned by Disney. Posh has ditched hers. And today's young women think they're naff - "The sad irony, of course, is that the vast majority of men don't even like fake breasts or care whether breasts are large, medium or small, as long as they are soft and real. A study published some years ago in Playboy magazine (where else?) revealed that while men might like to ogle or fantasise about women with large breasts, in reality they like women to have a pleasant, well-rounded and manageable C cup. In many surveys, research has shown that the larger the breasts, the more stupid a woman is considered to be, no matter what she has to say for herself. Other women, meanwhile, consider women with large breasts as a threat - so having a surgical enhancement is a lose-lose situation."

High-fructose corn syrup’s big fat secret - "Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same, new research shows... "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they’re becoming obese—every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don’t see this; they don’t all gain extra weight.""

How 'snack-size' makes you bigger - "People who opened smaller bags may have felt they did not need to exercise as much self control, because the portion size was fixed... "You are just more conscious of what you are eating if you have a proper-sized snack. Having a smaller size is a comforting delusion really"

Men 'live longer' if they marry a younger woman - "The study at Germany's Max Planck Institute also found that men marrying older women are more likely to die early. The results suggest that women do not experience the same benefits of marrying a toy boy or a sugar daddy... the figures for men may be the result of natural selection – that only the healthiest, most successful older men are able to attract younger mates. "Another theory is that a younger woman will care for a man better and therefore he will live longer""

Polygamy is the key to a long life - "After accounting for socioeconomic differences, men aged over 60 from 140 countries that practice polygamy to varying degrees lived on average 12% longer than men from 49 mostly monogamous nations"

When Gossip Does You Good - "Feeling emotionally close to a friend increases levels of the hormone progesterone, helping to boost well-being and reduce anxiety and stress"

The Case For An Older Woman « OkTrends - "Attitudes become more sex-positive as the population gets older. This older-women-are-more-sexual pattern repeats across almost every proposition... Younger men want to be dominated. Older women are generally interested in doing just that... women in their thirties are 4.0% more likely to be happy than their younger counterparts... If you separate out the absolute best-looking women, almost all of whom are very young, and also remove the people you won't realistically want to date (the worst-looking women), you find that everyone else's attractiveness doesn't change much with age... thirtysomethings are much more likely to be married and therefore much more likely to have stopped optimizing their attractiveness. So the typical 35 year-old woman you see out in the world isn't representative of the single 35 year-olds who are still dating and looking good"

Man inserts zucchini into anus in suicide attempt - "When asked by the medical assistants, the man said he wished to die and that it was an ancient way to take one's own life."

YouTube - Lady Gaga - Telephone (CHATROULETTE VERSION)

Child vampire hunters sparked comic crackdown - "Hundreds of children aged... were, they told the bemused constable, hunting a 7ft tall vampire with iron teeth who had already kidnapped and eaten two local boys... The blame was quickly laid at the door of American comic books... These comics, so the theory went, were corrupting the imaginations of children and inflaming them with fear of the unknown. A few dissenting academics pointed out there was no mention of a creature matching the description of the Gorbals Vampire in any of these comics. There was, however, a monster with iron teeth in the Bible (Daniel 7.7) and in a poem taught in local schools. But their voices were drowned out in the media and political frenzy that was by now demanding action to be taken to prevent even more young minds from being "polluted" by the "terrifying and corrupt" comic books. The government responded to the clamour by introducing the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955... The story of the Gorbals Vampire had been a gift to the unlikely alliance of teachers, communists and Christians who had their own individual reasons for crusading against the corrupting influence of American comics"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Macau - Day 1, Part 2

"Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones." - Bertrand Russell


Day 1 - 26th February - Macau by Night (Part 2)

I then visited that iconic sight of Macau - the 17th century ruins of St Paul's.

In the square below the ruins: Monument to the Original SPG

Statue of upskirted girl and her dog (?!)

Ruins of St Paul's from below

Note the Chinese New Year decorations blighting this historic landmark

Calçada de S. Paulo (Road for cars parallel to staircase up to the Ruins); cobblestoned roads make me nostalgic. They are possibly also safer for pedestrians since the cobbles slow cars down.

One of the joys of life - getting cold water from the tap. Though in this case the condensation is due more to the humidity of the air than the coldness of the water.

Rua de S. Paulo: "Medicine No Fakes". This does not inspire confidence. Notice also that in both pictures the girls at the centre are looking at something on the right (their left). Evidently it was very interesting - and I missed it (I'm guessing it's not the half-visible poster on the right about medicine).

Hybrid Chinese-Western mural and fountain below Largo da Sé. Nice.

Mural in closer detail

One of the murals at the side

2 more: Street Restaurant ? at S. Domingos (1849), Praia Grande with Fishermen and S. Francisco Church (1837)

Another nice fountain

Largo da Sé

McDonald's value menu. I love how the Mandarin emphasises the Sausage McMuffin with Egg uses Pork. Strangely, the Double Pork Burger has the characters for Ham in it.

Now it was time for dinner. I went to a street the hostel people had recommended for local non-Cantonese food, and I had a choice of 3 options:

Option 1: Portuguese restaurant Boa Mesa

Option 2: Cafe serving, among other things, Portuguese and Macanese food

Option 3: Small shop advertising economical food and "家乡小炒" (Hometown-style Simple Stirfries), i.e. Cantonese food

There was another cafe down the alley, but it was closed that night for a party.

Now, while Cantonese (i.e. Hong Kong-style) food was the big thing here, I wanted to try stuff I couldn't get elsewhere. Besides which, the man in Option 3 had gestured at me, and from the looks of it it wasn't a gesture of benediction.

While both Options 1 and 2 offered Portuguese food, Option 2 was substantially cheaper. However, it also had the glossy look typical of generic cafes opened by yuppies, so I opted for Option 1 (it also had a Portuguese flag inside, for what that was worth).

Menu at Boa Mesa

I opted for Codfish in Cream (Bacalhau something); Nando's was returning to Singapore in May (and anyway there was Barcelo's), so Peri-Peri was out, and some of the other items had overlaps with Macanese cuisine (e.g. Chicken Curry). It was Bagus, though it got a bit boring near the end and so would've been better served in a smaller portion (at least for one) or as part of a dégustation.
I would've ordered more (e.g. dessert), but this was during the 2 weeks after visiting Chomp Chomp where my appetite wasn't very good for some unknown reason.

They didn't want to serve me tap water so I got this Passionfruit Drink - which naturally was from Portugal.

Portuguese TV. Even if they wanted to sing English songs (previously it was "I will always ♥ you"), the first ("Help!") was an unfortunate selection in more than one way.

Interior of Boa Mesa

Menu at Option 2. The Portuguese section is vaguely legible.

Gelato shop with Tofu gelato. I had some Yuzu gelato, which was quite lousy. The only reason I got it was to clear my palette.

How can you not love the "Koson White Ant Destroying Co."? We have a "Atom White Ant Destroying Co" in Singapore.

Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro

"Strong Seal Pills"

Shady advertising I found in one corner. I will have more to say on this subject in a future post.

I then went to the Grand Lisboa to check out the casino and related attractions - someone had recommended I compare the Chinese and Western casinos. He also recommended that I check out the Shark Pit in the basement of one hotel, about which more later.

"The Bronze Head of the Summer Palace donated by Dr. Stanley Ho to China. Purchased for HK$69.1 Million. A World Record for any Chinese Qing Dynasty Sculpture"
Stanley Ho is very proud of his ringfencing of Chinese culture so it stays within China.

As you can see, this is very tasteless ostentation meant to show off all the gold and jade. Most of the items didn't have any information panels - there was no pretext at education, and it was obviously just meant to impress you of the owner's wealth. Furthermore, almost all of the art was Chinese and thus very parochial (and serving a political agenda).

Aesthetic appeal is not the primary consideration here (like the large Jade boat in Sim Lim Square)

Outside the entrance to Stanley Ho's Casinos, there were metal detectors but they seemed to be cosmetic since people walked through (and they sounded) but no one did anything. Maybe this was another thing that had changed since the Americans had shaken up Macau. Or maybe they were only necessary when gang violence was sweeping Macau.

Inside the Casino of the Grand Lisboa itself, photography was not permitted.

There was a stage with performers - 3 caucasian girls clad in outfits varying from skimpy sequined bikinis to barely-there and prancing around, sometimes with poles, and lip-syncing to bad music (I would performers not lip sync and just dance). Since it was quite smokey I didn't bother to stay to see if they would strip (since they were there to distract the punters, this would not have been too surprising).

The ubiquity of CCTVs was very irritating. I'm sure there had been a lot in Vegas, but at least there attempts had been made to disguise them. In the Grand Lisboa they hung over tables very prominently.

At one part of the casino relatively far from the gambling areas, I saw something worth getting chased out for trying to take a photo of:

"February Photo Event. Nada Jun. Senba. Rei. Rico. Meet AV Stars in person! Rockza Theater. U1/F, Grand Lisboa, Macau. [Maximum 30 people, First Come First Serve]"

Here is what the website says:

"Performance produced by Asakusa Rockza
TOKYO NIGHTS - Kyo’s Dancers

Notes: Rockza Tokyo Nights is a strip show held at Grand Lisbore Macau's

Rockza theater, located on the casino floor, everyday since April 2007.
- The performers are 10 Japanese ladies, 6 nude dancers and 4 backup dancers.
All 6 nude dancers are popular Rock-za top adult video stars.
- Show contents are review style dancing shows which consist of six different scenes including Japanese style, jazz style, ballet style, Hiphop , poll dance and more.

All shows start from a dance scene and concludes in a nude show and is smoothly directed in typical Rockza's style.
Largely scaled stage that uses Japanese drums that symbolized Japanese culture, a huge LED screen projecting beautiful scenes are in full view of our customers."

The show cost 380 patacas (~S$76), which seemed somewhat expensive - but then I'm not familiar with stripshow pricing.

Painted on the Theatre Doors

The casino gift shop had see-through mahjong tiles. Which meant that they were useless in actual play.

Shell Painting by Johan Matthias Janson. At least this was non-Chinese, but it was still quite vulgar (naturally, it was Rococo)

Failing to find a basement in the Grand Lisboa, I then went through a tunnel to the Hotel Lisboa to see what else there was to see in Stanley Ho's Empire.

When I first saw this I thought it was commemorating Japanese atrocities during the Second World War. Then I noticed what I thought was blood was actually coverlets. And the soldier's headgear didn't have flaps, so he was a soldier of the ROC, not Japan.

More soldiers

Homages to Western Women

When I emerged from the tunnel in the Hotel Lisboa and entered the East Wing Shopping Arcade in the basement, I saw a lot of tarty-looking PRCs walking to-and-fro, seemingly aimlessly. At first I thought that they were taking a break from the Shark Pit - then I was disappointed as I realised that this was the Shark Pit.

Now, for those who have not realised what the Shark Pit is yet, here is an educational video for edification and enlightenment:

(not taken by me - I was too busy scribbling notes)

(Incidentally the comments on the YouTube video are hilarious:

A: So we need to differentiate between girls that want to show off their figure and prostitutes, just because they're wearing short minis doesn't mean they're Call girls. And the uploader of the Video who thinks this has a pretty distorted view on women, thinking all woman are pieces of cattle meat.
B: obviously you haven't been to casino lisbao in macau. these chicks can be bought for $800. assuming you are asian of course. then again since you posted such an obsurd message you can't possibly be asian.

C: Having been to Macau several times for work and in Casino Lisbao, absolutely no doubt exists that 99% of the attractive young women in mini-skirts are not out for a Sunday stroll. Whether the girls are viewed as pieces of cattle meat (more likely pork) is a different issue, but all or the vast majority are marketing more than their pleasant figures. Beyond being rocket scientists, perhaps they make good jiao zi and xiao long bao and sing and dance really well. Or, not!

D: what kind of normal girl wears mini skirts and 4 inch fuck-me-pumps while wandering aimlessly in macau casinos? of course they are hookers!

E: Go to La Avenida in El Salvador and you can get one for $3.50.)

For those who still have not cottoned on, the Shark Pit is a part of the Hotel Lisboa where prostitutes make their rounds, and I parked myself there for some non-participant observation.

As you may be able to tell from the video, the market was swamped by foreign talent. I was told that the quality was excellent, but it wasn't that different from what you would see in Geylang.

Looking around, I saw a lot of guys standing around, but none paired off with the whores (it was mostly the girls propositioning the guys rather than the reverse, from what I saw), so perhaps they were spectators like me. There was even a brunette couple - perhaps they were looking for a threesome with an exotic Asian.

After a while, my non-participant observation segued into participant observation when one of the ladies sidled up to me and asked me, "你要去吗?" (or words to that effect; translation: "Do you want to go [off]?"). Now, while there're several possible ways to respond to that (one I read online was, "去哪里?" ["Go where?"] but the guy who uttered that in genuine befuddlement reported that the hooker got upset), I decided to find out about the market structure.

Basically, I was quoted an all-inclusive price of 800 patacas (~S$160) for a frolic in a very new sauna. It would be a private room, and how long it would last would depend on me. She also said that she liked my type, at which I tried to restrain myself from laughing in her face.

Seeing that I was resisting her blandishments, she kept on going "去吧" ("Come on, let's go") in a doubtless perfected syrupy sweet voice deep with longing. She also claimed that tomorrow she would be gone (yeah, like I'm falling for that one), and that she would make me feel "舒服" ("Comfortable").

After I finally shook her off, I had a few moments of peace before another came up and asked me what I was writing. She even asked if I was a journalist. Hurr hurr.

Two others came up to me and one quoted me 800 patacas. I was not surprised that it was almost certainly a cartel, but I was still annoyed. I was tempted to ask how much it'd cost to get both of them at the same time, and if there was a bulk discount.

There were various things I could've said to the prostitutes. For example:

- "It's cheaper in Singapore"
- "Can we have sex without a seatbelt?"
- "Do you do [insert kinky act here]?"
- "可以往后门进?" ("Is entry permitted via the back door?" - I don't think I could've said that with a straight face)
- "I'm gay"
- "I'm asexual"
- "I already have a girlfriend"
- "It will be my first time"
- "I suffer from delayed ejaculation"

However, I didn't know the terminology for all of these in Mandarin, nor did I think I could say most of them convincingly.

The tourists in Macau (at least those who visit the Shark Pit) must be very loaded, since 800 patacas is very expensive - a similar service in Geylang would cost about S$100.

In all, my evaluation of the Shark Pit was this: Who is the shark, and who is the prey?

Leaflet I got. At first I thought that this just might be a legitimate massage centre, given the presence of what I am told are the keywords: "推拿" ("Tuina"), but given that they emphasise that their masseurs are 18-35 years old and that they are standing by on a 24 hour basis to service you, maybe not.

The only people I saw who looked even vaguely half Portuguese (apart from in the restaurant) were around the Portuguese school.

I might be getting too old to clamber around bunk beds. Sad. But maybe that's because it was such a cramped hostel - one of my roommates told me that it was worse than all the hostels in China that he'd stayed in.
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