When you can't live without bananas

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A hilarious letter from last week

"If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going." - Professor Irwin Corey


Why must women go through NS and pregnancy? - JUNE 20, 2010

"I AGREE with reader Victor Khoo that national service for girls is not the answer. It is an unrealistic suggestion.

When boys enter NS, they might not be very well-built. But after two years, they return home stronger. Their once-small shoulders broaden, and their muscles become firm and toned.

As a 16-year-old girl with a 21-year-old brother, I have seen how he was transformed from a not-very-healthy boy to a strong, muscular adult.

I ask myself what I, as a girl, can gain from NS, and the words that pop into my mind are 'overly muscular, broad shoulders'.

Can you imagine, if all females were made to go through NS, what we would look like afterwards?

If all women were to go for NS, I believe that the problem of the country's falling birth rate would only get worse. Also, the number of families migrating would sharply increase.

After all, which woman would want to put her body through both NS and pregnancy?


She did get one thing right, though, about Slavery inducing flight.

The Problem of Good

"Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is, they are not even shallow." - Friedrich Nietzsche


From the Philosophy Bites podcast, Stephen Law on a response to apologetic answers to the Problem of Evil which I haven't heard before:

"We could consider that as a hypothesis. There's an all-powerful, all-evil god.

I mean, the first thing you'll notice is that that hypothesis is just as well supported by some of the standard arguments for the existence of God as the Good god hypothesis.

You know if there's a designer, why not an evil designer rather than a good designer? If there's a first cause, why not an evil first cause rather than a good first cause? If I believe in an Evil god, I can help myself to those arguments just as quickly and effectively as a Christian can.

But of course, no one's gonna believe in an Evil God. Why not?

Well, you know, look right out of the window. Right now I can see happy, laughing children frolicking around in the sunshine. Why would an Evil God allow that kind of thing?

Surely a supremely malignant being would be interested in torturing us for all eternity with a red-hot poker, not producing rainbows and laughter and sunshine and ice cream. There's just too much good stuff in the world for this to be plausibly the creation of a supremely powerful, supremely evil being.

You can see that this problem - we might call it The Problem of Good - is just the reverse of the Problem of Evil. If you believe in a, an all-powerful, all-good god, you have to explain why there is so much bad stuff. If you believe in an all-powerful, all-bad god, you have to explain why there is so much good stuff. It seems to me you could probably develop some very ingenious answers.

Why does an Evil God give us a lovely sunset to enjoy? Well in order to make our appreciation of the ghastly dreariness and ugliness of daily life all the more acute.

Why does He give us fit, healthy young bodies? Well, yeah, for about 10 or 15 years, and then they slowly and inevitably they slide into decay, decrepitude until you end up dying hopelessly ugly, incontinent and smelling of wee, having lived out a short and ultimately meaningless existence.

I mean, what better way could there be maximising suffering than giving you something for a short period of time and then slowly and inexorably taking it away?

All of the standard theodicies - not all of them - most of them can be flipped round. And when you flip them round in that way, they're a joke. Well, the question is why do we take the other one so seriously then?

On the scale of reasonableness I place Evil God very low down. But that's exactly the reason why I place the Good god very low down on the scale of reasonableness.

To get back to the scale of reasonableness, it seems to me that the Evil god and the Good god hypotheses are both very low on the scale. A slightly less unreasonable belief would be belief that there is some sort of intelligence, only it is neither All-Good nor All-Evil.

Maybe there's a god and he has good days and bad days. Actually if you look at Old Testament, pretty obviously that being is not supremely benevolent. He's a rather irascible old sort, much of the time, but he has his good days, and if you look at the world that does seem to fit that hypothesis better than either the Evil God hypothesis or the Good God hypothesis."

On contrived plot premises

"It's a funny thing about these commando missions: from the premise that a large force would not make the long journey unnoticed or intact, which seems reasonable enough, it is invariably concluded that the only remaining option is to send a single hero. That hero usually ends up in a death paragraph dangling from a snare trap or something. If I were in charge of an operation like this, I'd send out several groups down separate routes, each comprising two or three people so that they could watch each other's back, bounce ideas off each other to cover more angles, command a greater range of skills, and cut each other down from snare traps. I'd expect them to have a much larger chance of success this way; but then my opinion is very seldom asked in these matters, and let's face it, they'd all die anyway."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Links - 23rd June 2010

"It's hard to take over the world when you sleep 20 hours a day." - Darby Conley (Get Fuzzy)


Handling of 'abduction' case involving teen has been absurd - "In this paranoid world, you never approach a small child who is by herself, take her by the hand and walk out of a store with her in search of mommy... He saw a 3-year-old girl without a parent. If he had it to do all over again, if he could see the cops, the handcuffs, the TV cameras and the jail cell all awaiting him, I imagine the last thing he would have done was try to help her... Interestingly enough, the girl's mother never did press charges. But the Sheriff's Office decided it would, ultimately settling on a charge of false imprisonment. "He was in custody of the child and had no authority to be so,'' said Capt. Angelo Nieves. "The thing is to make clear we have not charged him with an offense that did not occur.''"
No good deed goes unpunished

New study shows sperm-donor kids suffer. - "Regardless of socioeconomic status, donor offspring are twice as likely as those raised by biological parents to report problems with the law before age 25. They are more than twice as likely to report having struggled with substance abuse. And they are about 1.5 times as likely to report depression or other mental health problems. As a group, the donor offspring in our study are suffering more than those who were adopted... some donor offspring have [feelings] of being a "freak of nature" or a "lab experiment""

Notes From TED: Can Simplicity and Innovation Overcome Complexity and Cynicism? - "The one thing you're never going to hear here is: "I love your idea, but it will never fly... you'll never get it past middle America... you'll never get it past Olympia Snowe!"... When you hear David Cameron promise to deliver all those things if he's elected Prime Minister, as he did this morning, you find yourself believing him and forgetting for a moment that Barack Obama promised to deliver all those things if elected president"
What is perhaps more troubling is that "If you criticize his event you don’t get invited back"
Addendum: This is what I call TED Delusion - thinking that bright ideas, hope and enthusiasm are sufficient to change the world for the better. See also: The Vacuity of 'Hope'

Unique Scoop: Rare Star Wars Photos

Why lawsuits based on looks discrimination—even good ones—are a bad idea. - "Hundreds of American businesses have strict dress codes, especially for employees who interact with the public. For instance, according to the Los Angeles Times, the Ritz Carlton hotel chain forbids "beards and goatees, 'mutton chop' sideburns, dreadlocks, big hair … earrings larger than a quarter, more than two rings on each hand, skirt lengths higher than 2 inches above the top of the knee and long fingernails." Lots of people really like their goatees, dreads, and door-knocker earrings, but must every workplace permit them?... In the end, dress and grooming codes are just another job requirement—no different from rules about how employees should greet and interact with customers... A dress code or a boss who offers explicit wardrobe guidance can be an egalitarian counterweight to the subtle class biases that inappropriate clothing choices would otherwise trigger... There's a troubling immodesty about the perfectionist quest to blind us all to appearances—a quest that would dismiss as bias so much of what many people consider a sign of professionalism, respect, and good form"

Debrahlee Lorenzana: ‘I Want to Be Tits on a Stick’ - "If you've been following the tale of Debrahlee Lorenzana, who claims she was fired from Citigroup for being too distractingly good-looking, you''ll know that the burden of being beautiful is something she has struggled with her "whole life"... Some nights, it even keeps her awake — wondering what it might be like to just look like a normal person, with frizzy hair, a poochy stomach, and a less Jessica Rabbit–like chest... But in fact, Debrahlee already knows what that's like, because back in 2003, she got a tummy tuck, liposuction, and two boob jobs to bring her rack up to its current 32D size"
"Lorenzana seems to be craving male attention in the Discovery series"

LKY’s prejudice - "With no such friends among other Sri Lankan communities he is certainly ill-equipped to make a sweeping racist statement like the one he has made in his latest book that “Sinhalese who are less capable are putting down a minority of Jaffna Tamils who are more capable”... His repeated references to Tamils here as Jaffna Tamils indicate that the legendary nation builder is clueless about the basic demographic structure of Sri Lanka."

Short people 'more prone to heart disease'
It must be due to discrimination!

World Cup fever can work up sex appetite

I Hate Lotus Notes | The Global Lotus Notes Support Group - "This website is dedicated to my fellow sufferers who day in day out are forced to use Lotus Notes, causing them to struggle with email communications, squirm at the thought of planning another day and generally fighting for their will to live. Don't despair, don't be broken, don't hang yourself, stand up and be counted."

NY school crowns gay friends prom king and queen - "A pair of gay best friends were voted prom king and queen by such a wide margin at an upstate New York high school that the school didn't bother choosing runners-up."
Homophobic bigotry which confuses (delibertately?) sexual identity and sexual orientation!

Eye Bleach - "Need Some Eye Bleach? Gently rinse out your eyes with the refreshing images."

Sampson, Gil, and Trudgill: Language Complexity as an Evolving Variable - "For much of the twentieth century it was an axiom of linguistics that “all human languages are equally complex”. Early in the century this idea emerged as part of a reaction against the popular assumption that unwritten third-world languages were crude communication systems, not comparable in subtlety with the languages of high European cultures... About the turn of the millennium, linguists across the globe began to challenge and reject this axiom, from many points of view and using many different kinds of observational evidence... The new wave of linguists tend to see languages not as a function of human biology, but as institutions developed as part of a society’s cultural heritage – and hence as differing and evolving in their levels of complexity, just as other cultural institutions do."

Romantic Music Makes Young Women More Likely to Say Yes - "Researchers in France (where else?) investigated the effect of romantic music on a young woman’s receptiveness to a request for a date by having a young man rated as “average” in appearance ask women out. The women who were asked out after having heard a romantic song were far more likely to give out their phone numbers than the young women who had listened to a song that was not about love. The subjects in the study were 87 single women between 18 and 20... the influence of media is not limited to violence"

Stepping Outside Gender Roles Affects Men and Women Differently - "Men who are successful in traditionally female jobs are more likely to be perceived by co-workers as “wimpy” and less deserving of respect. But women who succeed in jobs traditionally held by men suffer not from lack of respect but instead from personal dislike. In both cases, workers find either men or women who pursue professions not considered traditional less preferable as supervisors."

Should You Play Hard to Get? - "For almost 40 years now, social scientists have tested whether women who play hard to get light men's fire. In 1973, Elaine Hatfield (formerly Walster) and her colleagues published six experiments designed to test the hypothesis that men desire hard-to-get women more than easy-to-get women... After these five experiments failed, Hatfield finally recognized that there are two distinct ways in which a man can think of a woman as hard to get: (1) how hard it is for me to get her and (2) how hard it is for other men to get her. In her sixth and final study, Hatfield discovered the truth: Men are most attracted to women who are hard for other men to get - but easy for themselves to get!"

The ball girl (and the bitching): Tennis's sexiest player reveals how the women of Wimbledon are not friends - "She has revealed the behind-the-scenes bitchiness that goes on between the women of Wimbledon. Although the male players seem to get along, she claims, the ladies on the court don’t. She said yesterday that the players compete over 'who's the prettiest, who's the most popular, the most fashionable, who's getting the most coverage. In the men's game, they're all friends. But we're not friends'... British number one Elena Baltacha, 2, also claimed yesterday that tennis rackets had been sabotaged, food was stolen and most of the women were incredibly unfriendly... British teen Laura Robson has been highly critical of her peers, describing some of them as 'sluts'"
Men are so honest, so thoroughly square;
Eternally noble, historic'ly fair;
Who, when you win, will always give your back a pat.
Well, why can't a woman be like that?

Why pregnant women can't get a seat on the bus - "Pregnant women are being left standing on public transport because commuters are too afraid to offer their seat in case they are simply overweight"

How condoms could save the world's forests - "Brazil has also developed a highly effective anti-HIV/AIDS campaign, which is widely credited with having prevented the type of epidemic that has devastated other developing countries. It's succeeded despite the wrath of the Catholic Church, of the previous US Administration... and of the big drug companies... The Brazilian Government is the largest single buyer of condoms in the world... These are promoted using high profile advertisements and a variety of outlets targeted to reach at-risk groups. Most recently, the Government has started to include condoms in the basic basket of goods that it distributes for free to low income families as part of its strategy to combat hunger. This serves a double purpose, since there is a clear link between family planning and poverty reduction"
I'm sure someone is claiming this is a form of eugenics

Neurotic women 'more fertile than laid-back peers', say scientists - "Women with higher levels of neuroticism and men who were rated as extrovert were likely to have a significantly higher number of children. Women with above average neuroticism are characterised as being prone to anxiety, depression and moodiness... Neurotic women were more likely to have malnourished children with decreased body mass index (BMI), suggesting their negative personality trait carries a cost for families... Previous work on personality traits and birth rates in modern Western countries revealed neurotic women typically had fewer children. The unexpected results from Senegal could explain why the genetically-inherited trait of neuroticism has not died out as a result of evolution... But researchers are still trying to figure out exactly why neuroticism bucks the trend and results in larger families in developing countries. Dr Lummaa, from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, said higher sex drive among neurotic women could be a possible cause... 'Women who are highly neurotic tend to have more short-term sexual partners, suggesting a link between their sex drive and personality trait. In the type of society where contraception is not common that could explain why these women have more children.'"
Maybe this explains why psychotic women are supposedly wilder in bed

What passes for 'filial piety' in Singapore

"I'm not sure I want popular opinion on my side -- I've noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts." - Bethania McKenstry


I don't watch TV (or read the Shitty Times's Forum) so I rely on Twitter to inform me about the latest Social Engineering campaigns:

Does ad convey right values?

THE new TV advertisement to promote filial piety - spearheaded by the National Family Council and supported by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports - has left me disturbed.

While some people may find it touching, the message of filial piety seems distorted to the point of emphasising the wrong values.

The ad begins with a grandmother moving in with her son's family after her husband's passing. As she may have been grieving the loss of her husband, she becomes intolerable and picks on her daughter-in-law. She shows no effort to be reasonable even when her son makes attempts to pacify her. She throws tantrums, is ungrateful and threatens to move out.

When she becomes ill and is hospitalised, her grandson asks his father why he is feeling sad despite his grandmother treating the family badly. It is not revealed whether the father gave his son a proper reply; instead, a flashback shows how his mother had taken care of him when he was ill as a child.

By his actions, the father seems to be teaching his son that it is perfectly fine to disregard his wife's feelings in favour of his mother. It also seems to suggest that it is acceptable for the elderly to create disharmony at home.

Then came the slogan, 'How one generation loves, the next generation learns'. In this instance, the boy seems to be learning a lot of wrong values.

Shouldn't the authorities have thought of a happier way to teach and instil filial piety - perhaps featuring a happy and well-adjusted family visiting the grandparents, and the parents explaining to their children why it is important to spend more time with the elderly to create precious memories for all?

Or, they could have altered the ad to show the father comforting his wife and acknowledging her feelings in a delicate situation - thereby setting a good example for his son.

Using an overly domineering grand- parent in an ad to promote filial piety does not send out the intended message. After all, is it not true that one has to show respect to earn respect?

Hannah Chee (Ms)

There is probably some implicit rhetoric here about how we must be grateful to parental entities (human or otherwise) for all they have done in the past, and that rising expectations and current performance do not warrant a call for accountability.

Except that here instead of sending in the Army you send in the courts to enforce the Maintenance of Parents Act.

Somehow Wong Hoong Hooi is flooding the comments section of this letter with a litany of how men are portrayed negatively in the media. This definitely exists, but what does it have to do with the original letter ("The issue is the influence of female chauvinism in the socialisation of women here and the sense of entitlement and double standards nurtured") ?!

老婆, 情人和红颜知己 (Wives, lovers and beautiful soulmates)

"Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us." - Henrik Tikkanen


From an article someone sent me (translation below):













What is a wife? One to whom you entrust the management of your savings and the upbringing of your children; what is a lover? One with whom you have secret rendezvous, terrified that your wife will bump into her; what is a beautiful soulmate? One with whom you will share secrets that are not for your wife or lover.

The wife is a form of bind on you, bounding you to not randomly ogle other women; the lover is a form of compensation, giving you what you want but cannot get from your wife; the beautiful soulmate is a form of instruction, rousing you from your stupor and plucking your heartstrings [Ed: There seems to be a form of wordplay here, as "点拨" means something different from "点" and "拨"].

The wife is the woman keeps you company in everyday life, the lover is the woman who eats, drinks and makes merry with you; the beautiful soulmate is the woman who chats with you and talks of matters close to your heart; very often the wife cannot replace the lover, because she doesn't have the lover's romance and soft warmth; at the same time, the lover cannot replace the wife, as she doesn't have the wife's affection and determination; neither the wife or the lover can replace the beautiful soulmate, because that is the most genuine desire of the soul.

The wife has no blood relationship with you, but will worry for your safety and health; the lover has no blood or family relationship with you, but will allow you to get the respect of being a man as well as letting you embody the charm of being a man; the beautiful soulmate has no other relationship with you yet, yet you will show her your most honest aspect and let her share both your joy and sorrow.

The wife is a cozy castle; the lover is a fruit of happiness [Ed: Alternatively, "pistachio"], who very often is cumbersome, but whom you will not jettison unless in extremis; the beautiful soulmate is the foundation of your vigour - losing her, you will not have the passion that you had in the past, you will feel lonely and lose your joie de vivre.

Some wives' care is like a glass of tap water, bland and tasteless; the lover's care is like strong liquor, easy to get drunk on; the beautiful soulmate's care is like coffee - both bitter and sweet, and invigorating.

When the wife leaves on a work trip for a week, you won't think of her; if you do not see your lover for 3 days you will be flustered. Your utmost desire will be to find your beautiful soulmate and pour out your feelings to her, telling her of your dismay with your wife, and your lover's shamelessness.

What enervates men most of all is their wife's nagging, their lover's tears, and their beautiful soulmate's misunderstanding. The wife's nagging makes the frustrated man even more frustrated; the lover's tears make a man's heart surge, rendering him incapable of making a decision. The beautiful soumate's misunderstanding sends a man's heart off the cliff, plummeting into the abyss.

The best wife is one in whom you find the lover and the beautiful soulmate, but this sort of woman is very hard to find. The best lover is the one who disappears with no other requests when your wife discovers your affair, but most lovers cannot do this. The best beautiful soulmate is one who can become a lover, or even a wife, one day, but this mindset rarely manifests.

If it's possible, everyone thinks of turning the beautiful soulmate into the lover; if even more is possible, turning her into the wife. Only - the beautiful soulmate who has turned into a wife will no longer be a soulmate, because very few men treat wives as soulmates.

One marries a wife because one is afraid of others' idle gossip; one finds a lover to spice up the blandness of everday life; one consorts with a beautiful soulmate to find some comfort for the emptiness of one's soul. What men are looking for all their lives is not a wife, nor even a lover, but a beautiful soulmate who is even more.

Ed: Some of the translation has been improved, and the final 2 paragraphs that were missing from the version that the person sent me have been added back.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some things don't change

"Around the year 400 [AD,] the Emperor Xiaowudi observed to his favourite consort, "Now that you are 30 years old, it's time I exchanged you for somebody younger". He meant it as a joke, but she didn't take it well, and she murdered him that evening"

Dogs and Chinese Propagandists Not Admitted

"Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business." - Tom Robbins


"[This article] examines the potent symbol of the sign placed in Shanghai's Huangpu Park that allegedly read: "Chinese and Dogs Not Admitted." This symbol has secured a totemic position in the historiography of the Western presence in China before 1949 and is deeply embedded in contemporary Chinese and Western perceptions and representations of that era, and of the whole question of Western imperialism in China. It is the subject both of popular discourse and official fiat in China today... the true facts of the case are both beyond dispute and irrelevant, but that the legend survives undiminished.

For over 60 years before June 1928 most Chinese certainly were barred from the parks administered by the foreign-controlled Shanghai Municipal Council (SMC) of the International Settlement in Shanghai... Han Chinese had for centuries used the "dog" radical in characters referring to members of ethnic minorities living in China's frontier regions, and "running dog" (zougou) has been a potent political epithet since the 1920s...

The park at the centre of the dispute is now known as Huangpu Park, and lies at the northern tip of Shanghai's Bund. Initially known as the Public Garden, or Recreation Ground, it was also later known (in English and Chinese) as the Bund Garden (Waitan gongyuan)... Complaints from foreigners about Chinese use of the park can be found during the very first months of its existence. From its early days until 1881 the park was barred to Chinese except, at the discretion of the police, to those who were "respectable and well-dressed" (servants of Westerners, particularly amahs, as long as they were accompanied by foreigners, and city employees, such as the Chinese police constables, were also admitted). Complaints from Europeans about the numbers admitted led to the Council changing this policy in 1881, an action which angered of some of the Settlement's leading Chinese residents...

The 1903 regulations of the Public Garden included the following items:

1. No dogs or bicycles are admitted.
5. No Chinese are admitted, except servants in attendance upon foreigners.

The 1913 "Revised Regulations," however, began:

1. These Gardens are reserved exclusively for the foreign community.
2. No dogs or bicycles are admitted

... the phrase "Chinese and Dogs Not Admitted" did not appear on any officially-sanctioned sign...

This statement of the facts concerning the regulations itself follows in a long tradition, perhaps best exemplified by a 1927 pamphlet issued by the Tianjin British Committee of Information, which attempted to counter "once and for all" what it called a "mischievous slander" by printing the 1917 rules, offering a suggestion as to the origin of the legend, and also providing some of the widely circulated excuses for exclusion offered by foreigners in Shanghai. As Pu Yi's tutor Reginald Johnston perceptively wrote in the same pamphlet, however, "... it is the kind of slander which takes a lot of killing, and survives even the most authoritative denials"...

The story received its biggest single burst of publicity in recent years with the simultaneous publication of an article, " 'Huaren yu gou bu de runei' wenti de lailong qumai" ("The entire story of the 'Chinese and Dogs Not Admitted' question") on 7 June 1994 in Shanghai's mass circulation evening paper Xinmin wanbao [and a few others]...

The article was concerned with rebutting a recently published note which had challenged one aspect of the myth; more generally, it was targeted at the growing tendency among Shanghai's leading historians, both older and younger, to ignore or openly rebut the accepted story of the sign, and related items such as the "park sign" (worded as in the legend) that was displayed in the Shanghai History Museum at its old site." This debate was also replayed in Guangming ribao and in Chinese newspapers overseas. For all its scholarly apparatus, the "entire story" neglects to prove that a sign ever existed with the alleged wording, relying on the cumulative effect of unsubstantiated claims that it did. It is hardly surprising that the story has its critics, if little proof can be found by even its most ardent defenders. The article also neglects to mention that after 1928 the parks were opened to all who could afford tickets.

The extraordinary publicity accorded this issue in June 1994 must be understood with reference to its contemporary uses, not just its historicity. Shanghai's economic development in the years 1993-94 reached breakneck speed, and was accompanied by a rapid acceleration in its opening up to the outside world...

Commenting on the sign issue in Guangming ribao, Ye Qing reminded his readers that "Western colonialists in China committed monstrous crimes, too many to mention in fact; the sign placed at the entrance to the parks reading "Chinese and Dogs Not Admitted" is prime evidence of their guilt." He went on to caution historians explicitly: "Some people do not understand the humiliations of old China's history, or else they harbour sceptical attitudes (huaiyi taidu) and even go so far as to write off a serious historical humiliation lightly; this is very dangerous." The sign is as much a symbol, then, of a new-found relativism expressed towards official discourse by historians in China as it is an icon of the country's "historical humiliation." It is a contested symbol...

When Westerners hear or read about "Old Shanghai," one of the first images that is likely to spring to mind is the alleged sign that read "Chinese and Dogs Not Admitted." This is because for decades, novelists, journalists, popular historians, academics and travel writers based in the West have been assuring their readers that a notice existed with these precise words or some very close approximation (such as "No Dogs or Chinese Allowed" or "Dogs and Chinese Not Allowed"). References to this icon first began appearing in English language texts in the first decades of this century, and within a relatively short time had become a commonplace feature of Western works on China. The earliest reference can be found in a novel by treaty port journalist Putnam Weale (B. L. Simpson) that appeared in 1914...

One reason the notice is especially well known [in Hong Kong] is that it plays a prominent role in a pivotal scene in Jing wu men (The Chinese Connection), an enormously popular kung fu film starring Bruce Lee (Li Xiaolong), made in 1973 but set in turn-of-the-century Shanghai. The scene in question begins with Lee's character becoming angry when a Sikh policeman attached to the SMC-run Shanghai Municipal Police draws attention to the infamous sign. The policeman tells Lee that he cannot enter the Public Garden, even though it is made clear to the audience that kimono-clad Japanese and even Westerners with dogs are allowed to pass the gate freely. Lee's character is taunted with the suggestion that if he pretends to be a dog the policeman might let him pass. The highlight of the scene, and perhaps the film as a whole, takes the form of a slow motion sequence that shows Lee destroying the hated sign with a powerful kick. It is said that when the film was first shown in Hong Kong, this scene was greeted with enthusiastic shouts of approval from the audience.

Ed: The hilarious scene from Fist of Fury:

... the place it is best known is Shanghai itself. This is in part because the CCP throughout its first decades in power made concerted efforts to keep the standard story of the notice alive, and made extensive use of it as a symbol of imperialist exploitation. On an international level it has also used the issue to counter Western criticisms of human rights in China. Virtually every textbook, popular history, academic work and guidebook dealing with Shanghai published in the PRC between the early 1950s and the early 1980s contained at least a few lines about the sign and the history of Public Garden, which is often described as having been "reborn" in 1949 when the CCP took control of and renamed the grounds. In the 1950s, the local representatives of the Party took an extra step to ensure that everyone who visited Shanghai would be reminded of the city's most infamous artifact, erecting a commemorative plaque in Huangpu Park that read in part as follows:

Before liberation the park bore silent witness to the imperialists' aggression against China and their wanton trampling on her sovereignty. The gate of the park was guarded by police of the "International Settlement" and Chinese were refused admittance. To add insult to injury, the imperialists in 1885 put up at the gate a board with the words "No Admittance to Dogs and Chinese" written on it. This aroused among the Chinese people popular indignation and disgust, which finally compelled the imperialists to remove the board

It is further indicative of the recent importance attached to the issue that it has been suggested that the city government intends to replace the sign, or put a similar one, in the renovated Huangpu Park...

Guo Morou [in 1923 wrote that] Chinese could enter if they donned Western clothing. He states that when his wife suggested he do this he refused, arguing that to have worn Western clothes for this purpose would have been to become a "pretend-Oriental-Westerner," which would in a sense have been to accept the status of being a dog. Throughout the essay he continues to play upon the imagery of dogs and clothing choices, and insults to the humanity of Chinese. Noting that since, even though officially banned from entering the park, dogs were in fact often allowed in, Guo points out that if a Chinese wanted to enter all he would need to do would be to "change himself into a dog." He complains that it was perfectly acceptable for those wearing Indian clothes to enter the park, and also comments on his dislike of Western clothes, which make people look like dogs. In fact the first time he saw someone wearing such apparel he thought that he had seen a strange dog...

[Many] memoir writers point to coming across the sign as a radicalizing experience... The sign has also formed a prominent part of the vocabulary of PRC critics of Western concerns with "human rights"...

Japanese and Koreans were able to use this "Western" park... Early Shanghai guidebooks simply describe the topography of the Public Garden, and then state that Chinese were not ordinarily permitted to enter, or Chinese were not allowed to enter unless accompanied by Westerners, or that Chinese could not enter unless they wore Western or Japanese clothes. The frequency with which the latter point occurs does seem to suggest that Chinese did indeed often enter the park in the guise of Japanese. Indeed, the SMC's Parks Committee minutes record the exasperation of the Municipal Engineer in 1911 at the "difficulty of differentiating between Chinese and others dressed in the European manner." This may also account for the fact that Chinese guidebooks, even in the era of exclusion, still tended to include sections on the foreign parks.

The earliest Chinese reference that resonates with later accounts is the 1907 Shanghai xiangtu zhi (Gazeteer of the Shanghai Region) which states that "Orientals and Occidentals from all countries, even ... Indians, who are the chattels and slaves of the Westerners, are able to enter the gates, only Chinese are barred from entering," only they are thus treated "like slaves, like dogs, like horses." In Lao Shanghai (Old Shanghai) (1919) the park regulations are discussed in a passage worth quoting at length:

The Public Garden regulations are very strictly enforced on Chinese by the police. At the Huangpu Public Garden, Chinese and dogs are not allowed to enter for recreation (bu zhun huaren ji gou runei youwan). They put the Chinese and dogs together. It is a great insult. But some of our country fellows do not know self-respect, they spit all over the place and also break twigs off trees and pick flowers, all forbidden by the park keepers

... If Ye Xiaoqing's thesis that the myth of the sign was "spread by educated people in order to spread nationalist ideology" is to be accepted, then this is only in the knowledge that while it was undoubtedly true for the period after the rumour had gained currency, say from 1923 on, in fact the most likely people to have played a role in spreading the story prior to this point were those Chinese who were allowed partial access to the parks. The urban legend may have taken hold as amahs and other servants, who could not read English but "knew" what the signs said point by point, told other Chinese about the notice: point one, no Chinese; point two, no dogs. The strength of dog as an epithet in China deepened the insult. The story of the "Dogs and Chinese" sign might, in short, lie in the "scandalous tales" recounted by amahs which, it was feared by one correspondent in 1911, "are disseminated, and of course, grow in the telling." Such fears were normally related to gossip about the behaviour of foreign masters and mistresses, but stories about park rules could easily have spread in the same fashion...

The conventional treatment of the notice does distort some aspects of Chinese and treaty port history, largely because it fits in a bit too nicely with the caricature of Western inhabitants of the Settlement as a group united by a common outlook (the 'Shanghai mind") that was narrow-minded, provincial and racist in the extreme...

The first is that it presents the attitudes of the International Settlement's foreign community as much more homogenous than they actually were. There were some Western residents of the International Settlement who were openly critical of policies that excluded the Chinese from using local parks. Some criticisms came from predictable sources, such as J. B. Powell, who often satirized the policies of the SMC and mocked positions taken by the publishers of the British-owned NCH. Occasionally, however, even ardent defenders of the status quo expressed displeasure with this particular feature of local policy. For example, Major General J. Duncan, the commander of the British Shanghai Defence Force in 1927-28, could not stomach the exclusionary policies.

Secondly, businessmen were certainly too pragmatic to "spend our time deliberately insulting our Chinese friends," as one put it in 1927. Old Shanghai's cosmopolitan egalitarianism has certainly been much exaggerated by propagandists of the foreign regime; however, trade was not likely to function to anybody's advantage in an atmosphere of conflict. In fact, without the establishment of a pragmatically equal relationship with the local Chinese elites, foreign Shanghai would have been ungovernable... after 1881 the SMC knew full well that admission to the parks was a very sensitive issue. The Parks Committee itself described exclusion in 1909 as "undoubtedly a source of friction."

The third problem with the caricature Ransome created lies in its implication that Western residents of the International Settlement were somehow unique, a breed apart even from their counterparts in other treaty ports and Shanghai's own French Concession. Foreign administered concessions in Hankou and Tianjin, for example, had regulations relating to native use that were much like those found in Shanghai... One Briton objected in 1927 to opening the parks to all as inviting in "the scum of this City." "Scum" was deliberately vague. Restriction on entry to the parks was never merely a question of race, and focusing on the sign may lead one to forget how far class and/or cultural prejudices were as much an element as racial or ethnic ones. Europeans in Shanghai themselves were far from homogeneous: there were strictly observed class divisions even within British society in the city. The White Russian and, later in the 1930s, the Jewish refugees were low down the social scale. The Chinese elite too, hardly wanted to share its quiet moments with labourers or rickshaw coolies.

--- Shanghai's "Dogs and Chinese Not Admitted" Sign: Legend, History and Contemporary Symbol / Robert A. Bickers and Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom

Another train wreck (on Chinese history)

"I was gratified to be able to answer promptly. I said I don't know." - Mark Twain


: The gender bias in my opinion is probably the worst part of a lot of Asian cultures. Hopefully things take a turn for the better in the future.

A: Until about 2 centuries ago, we were better then the west.
Asian cultures is good to woman compare to all the monotheistic rubbish.

C: Better in what sense? Women in bound feet? Widows who were forced to burn along with their husbands' funeral pyres?

But in this globalised age when it is evident that talent for good or evil is not limited to race or culture, perhaps it is better not to think in a dichotomous framework such as East vs West.

A: Ok, outside of China and india, most of Asia was better.
And before 1649, China was one of the best.

Me: What happened in 1649?

A: China falls into the hands of savage barbarians.

Me: I thought the Ming ended in 1644

And under the Ming the Chinese got very prudish

A: Sorry, my bad, wrong time.
Yeah, 1944.
As for Chinese getting prudish under Ming, that's rubbish.

Me: What does 1944 have to do with gender equality?!

I know this won't convince you, but for the benefit of others:

"For much of China's history, the government was generally lax in enforcing laws pertaining to sexual behavior. Not until the 12th century, in the Sung dynasty, did the government begin to develop a consistent policy of exercising control over the sexual life of the people, and official constraints on sexual expression developed into a pervasive cultural conservatism. By the beginning of the Ming dynasty, repressive institutions and policies were firmly in place, and continued to be in force throughout the Ming and Ching dynasties. Thus, for example, writing about and publicly discussing sex were forbidden. Strict censorship and other controls persisted after the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912."

--- Human sexuality: an encyclopedia / Vern L Bullough. Bonnie Bullough

A: China's gender equality was rather good before 1944.

Of course it won't convince me, this Vern L Bullough and Bonnie Bullough fellows are plain talking rubbish.
There was no consistent policy of exercising control over the sexual life of the people during Song, and neither does Ming repressive institutions and policies, only people who don't know Chinese History will buy such nonsense.

D: Traditonal Chinese Gender Equality?

A: Yes, while not as good as today's society, it's better then the rest of the world at that time.

Me: Well, you also think that Western Medicine is rubbish, so I don't think scholarship is sufficient to convince you.

A: Naturally, only reason, research and reality are sufficient to convince me.
Which these two Bullouugh gentleman have none.

Me: Here're their sources:

Chan, W., trans. and comp. A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Univ. Press, 1963.

Chou, E. The Dragon and the Phoenix. New York: Arbor House, 1971.

Humana, C., and W. Wu. The Chinese Way of Love. Hong Kong: CFW Publications, 1982.

Levy, H.S., and A. Ishihara, trans. The Tao of Sex: The Essence of Medical Prescriptions (Ishimpo). Third Rev. Ed. Lower Lake, Calif.: Integral Publishing, 1989.

Needham, J. Science and Civilisation in China. Vol. 2, Sect. 8-18. Cambridge, U.K.: At the University Press, 1956. Vol. 5, Part V: Sexuality and the Role of Theories of Generation, Cambridge, U.K.: At the University Press, 1983.

Ruan, F.F. Sex in China: Studies in Sexology in Chinese Culture. New York: Plenum Press, 1991.

van Gulik, R.H. Sexual Life in Ancient China: A Preliminary Survey of Chinese Sex and Society From ca. 1500 B.C. till 1644 A.D. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1961.

Your definition of "reason, research and reality" seem to be "what I think"

A: All these book are just rubbish of what their individual author thinks, and not reason, research and reality.
If you really want to know about ancient China, come speak to me, I am better then all the authors of these books added together.

Me: You must be very learned indeed.

E: What makes you such an expert A?

Me: I will also note that some of the sources include:

- Ruan Fangfu ("a Chinese physician and medical historian. He is editor and author of A Chinese manual of Sex Knowledge (性知识手册, Xingzhishi Shouce, 1985)")
- Wang Wu (who has authored many books on Chinese sexuality)
- Eric Chou (who has also written some books on Chinese sexuality)
- Wing-Tsit Chan (who "was one of the world's leading scholars of Chinese philosophy and religion")

And this is just the Chinese ones (or those of Chinese descent, at any rate)

Since he knows more than all of them combined, A should go into the field of Chinese sexology. He will certainly revolutionise it.

A: These people's views on ancient China have been influenced by Qing and the 1954 movement's idiotic viewpoints, mine hasn't.

Me: Yes, we've all been taken in by the Illuminati

D: If I may--Traditional Chinese Illuminati. (It's Western counterpart is rubbish rubbish.)

A: The west was good until Roma falls to Christinity.

Conversations - 21st June 2010

"Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it." - W. Somerset Maugham


Someone on A nation of spoilt princesses: i dont think a lot of singaporeans realise
the world is overpopulated

i'm not being spoilt. i'd think i'm actually being practical
why bring another human being into this harsh society, with bad weather, overcrowding, and all kinds of problems

Me: the burdens of overpopulation fall mainly on developing countries
so the solution is to open up migration

Someone and God knows what kind of environmental disasters he/she has to face

Me: developing countries have too many people
developed countries too few

Someone nope. i dont think we'd be happy to open up migration

Me: of course we woiudln't

Someone already we have too many tiongs flooding our land

Me: well that's because we have a targeted migration policy
most people would be alright if our migration policy was less targetted

Someone hm.. fail to see the logic

Me: ok. why're people upset with our migration policy
there're 2 main reasons

one is quantity - too many
one is breakdown - all prcs

Someone yes
but the thing is, by opening our migration policy up
wouldnt it bring like, africans, er... idk

Me: what's wrong with africans ahhahaa

Someone haha idk
i have nothing against blacks
i was thinking more of the social problems that some grps of ppl might
have. not necessarily africans
but like in germany
the woman i met complained abt the social problem the turks posed to the society
so certain groups of people are like cockroaches and rats, they bring with them problems like the latter brings germs and plagues and whateve
not a very good analogy but you get what i mean

Me: basically you get a problem when there's so many of one group that they form enclaves and don't assimilate
so the number of immigrants isn't as big of an issue as the variety of immigrants

Someone ok that makes sense

Someone else: i always thought my powers of interpretation and intuition were pretty good
like i can generally fathom moods and layered meanings and so on

but i just realised it doesn't work sometimes
when interacting with GIRLS
cos they fucking give you conflicting info
confuses the brain center


at least literary texts are CONSISTENT
so you can work things out with a high degree of accuracy so long as
you are skilfull enough

Me: =D

welcome to the world of cloak and dagger
mist and shadow
intrigue and suspense

Someone else: where danger lurks at every corner
and where a single misstep can cost you dearly..

Someone on DP: she seemed like someone who had issues.
i think most girls who cant be satisfied by one cock has some major issues.

MFM: *** is just employing the most common false dilemma in sgean discourse: "eitehr do something about it, or stop complaining"

thinking of compiling a list of singaporean argument tactics. that's one. I also have 'be pragmatic' and 'If we don't withhold civil liberty X, there will be chaos.'

Me: how about "if you can't do it better, shut up and don't complain"

MFM: ah. yes.

Someone: GABRIEL


Me: what

Someone: why why whyyyyyy

Me: what's wrong

Someone: damn bored is it

Me: a bit

Someone: hahahahha

ok la not bad
quite entertaining for you i reckon

i applaud your need to self entertain
some people dont get that
they just wait for entertainment to be served to them
but you! you go out of the way to entertain yourself. that is respectful

Me: I'm sure you amuse yourself also

hey this makes life interesting

Someone: yeah of cos i do that why do you think i say it's applaudable

Me: thanks
so when can I terrorise you again

Someone: you're resourceful im sure you can find a good time to do so

Me: err thanks

MFTTW: my friend was telling her husband about you

she said
"he's a blogger and kind of annoying"

and he goes
"oh that Agagooga ah"

you're infamous.

Someone on the 2nd Twitpocalypse: DON'T click again
you have to rmb, unlike common folk, your twitter account is linked to thousands and your facebook account
the shockwave will be immeasureable.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Poor font choice of the week

(via under the moon)

Cooking - some dishes from 2009

"Underneath this flabby exterior is an enormous lack of character." - Oscar Levant


Cajun Chicken

Jambalaya. I didn't really scrape out the graton. I should've.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Miso Chicken. Except that Miso paste comes in such large tubs that if you don't drink miso soup regularly, there's no point buying them - so I used instant miso soup packets

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Yakisoba. Using soba sauce, not yakisoba sauce (it didn't really work)


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
For the duck fat, we used Chinese Roast Duck

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Rendering the duck fat

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The Secret Ingredient: Tiger Gold

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
With the herbs

Southern Fried Chicken:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The secret ingredient - MSG. The 11 herbs and spices are nothing next to (or without) this

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Spice" mix (more like MSG mix with some spices)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Biscuit making

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Biscuits ready to bake and chicken (after parboiling in milk - buttermilk is too expensive)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Baked Biscuits

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Coating chicken

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Coated chicken

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Initial pieces

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
The whole plate

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pictures - July 2009

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." - Sir Richard Steele


Resuming my incredibly tardy picture series (before July rolls around and laps this series):

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Back off. I'm a taxpayer"

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Beat the ang mohs with Curtin

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Bugis Junction's sad idea of retail therapy

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Crystal Jade's job ad starts out bilingual, but the job listing is only in Mandarin

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
How bad the economy was last year: Israelis had to come here to sell Dead Sea Shit

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Every Sunday at 11am, K88 Coffee House will be giving away FREE Economy Rice, Chicken Rice or BBQ Fish Slice /Chicken to old folks aged 60 years old and above."
I don't know if this offer is still on

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
SMU Graduands and Cosplay at City Hall. The cosplayers shouted "sumimasen" at the people taking pictures of them, until they realised they were still in Singapore and changed to "excuse me".

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Maths failure on Supreme Court Heritage sign

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Japanese buffet in Great World City - with no Japanese desserts

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
H-Two-O ad. I don't know what the ang moh is doing in the background. Maybe it's a symbol of submission.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Hashima from Ah Chew Desserts. It comes in balls instead of a contiguous whole, but hey it's $8

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Flyer for Harvard College in Asia Program (HCAP) - you have to be really brave to lie on the grass in the tropics

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Jamon Iberico Hum Sup guy gave me

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Gender discrimination in job ad. I don't recall seeing ads which only ask for males.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"This lift is CCTV-ready".
Presumably it means it hasn't been installed yet.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Mamee - containing sustainable palm oil, and traces of crustacea and fish

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Mamee - with optional flavour sachets looking like condoms

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Singapore's premiere (sic) pageant [for] married women... [who] work with their husband... in becoming positive role models"
Presumably the ideal for women is to get married and stay pretty

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
NDP - celebrating mixed marriages

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Displaying a NTU certificate in NUS is not the wisest of moves

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Paws ''N'' Furs" - pet shop urging you to skin your pets

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Politicised carpets sign at Holland Village; notice the flag of Kashmir

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Quizno's Bagus. Except for the third (Classic Italian), which wasn't as nice. But maybe that's because we were full already.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Salt Cookie".
Damn Japs (it wasn't salty).

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
A dying tradition - Chinatown ritual (see, that's why someone else is also snapping it)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Migrate to Australia ad in Today

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
VCH: "Music should strike fire from the heart of a man, and bring tears from the eyes of a woman" - Beethoven

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Visit Remarkable Adelaide"
Well, I guess it's slightly more entertaining than Perth

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Well known food... CHEF is mad but the food is not bad" - Buona Vista market
The auntie came to hunt me down later, and I told her that with such a sign, she was asking for attention, so I gave what was desired to her (this is the u r wt u wr principle, but if I apply it to u r wt u wr I will end up in jail because Singapore is a sexist society which treats women as sacred temples)

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Presumably this teaches kids to be Zorro

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Intrepid fencers

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Waffletown - the best fried chicken in Singapore. Though with a very kiam loyalty card scheme; if I can redeem something from it, I know I've been eating too much fried chicken.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Their wonderfully tender and non-greasy meat

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"A fuller bust makes you feel complete as a woman"

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Bust Stations... is able to stir up sympathetic nerves, strengthen effective pressure of all capillaries in breast tssue and promote the breast fats to absorb full female hormone and fatty acid to improve the whole breast."

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Now I feel like a REAL woman"
If you're not a REAL woman if you're less well-endowed than her, this may explain why trannies are so popular in Singapore

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
"Breast cancer myth busted!"
They forgot the one about men getting it too
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes