When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Links - 4th September 2010

"We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it." - Roald Dahl


Apples and PCs: Who innovates more, Apple or HP? | The Economist - "Apple adopts a new CPU before anyone else seven times, Toshiba does so 12 times, and HP does so 14 times. And while HP and Toshiba rarely keep using a CPU that is more than three months old, Apple at times has one that's seven months old. Broadly speaking, therefore, the average Mac available to buy at a randomly selected point in time would embody significantly older hardware technology than a corresponding PC... PC prices fall rapidly as the model ages, but Apple does not follow this model, keeping prices roughly constant"

Pourquoi faut-il détester Apple ? - "L’outsider qui devient star peut-être corrompu par le succès, auquel cas une nouvelle génération d’outsiders viendra prendre sa place, et il deviendra le has been. Le has been peut cependant revenir en grâce auprès des rockistes s’il fait pénitence à travers un album modeste genre « retour à mes racines ». C’est pas dur, Johnny Halliday l’a fait à peu près 50 fois... Qu’est-ce qu’on fait des Rolling Stones quand ils ont 70 ans ? Qu’est-ce qu’on fait quand on est devenu soi même l’establishment ? On se laisse bouffer ou bien on abandonne ses principes ? Pour ne pas avoir à répondre à ces questions, beaucoup des groupies de Steve Jobs et des Stones parviennent à se persuader contre toute évidence que l’establishment, ce n’est pas eux"

Congenitally Blind Men Prefer the Female Hourglass Figure (Literally). - "I can already hear the social constructivists coming up with the next argument: "OK, but the blind men were socialized auditorily." I see. I suppose that we should next conduct a study on men who are both blind and deaf, in the never-ending attempt to convince some folks that it is a rather banal truth that humans do exhibit biological-based mating preferences!"

Chichi Wo Moge! Boing Boing!
Damn Japs. NSFW. The original context of the song: Folgore's Chi chi opai. Sadly in English it became "Hey hey, let's dance all day", but at least he has an Italian accent(

Heidi Montag is 'desperate' to have her breast implants removed and 'go back to normal' - "The 23-year-old is desperate to remove the outrageous G size breast implants that she had fitted late last year... Montag says she is unable to hug her four dogs and is only able to wear special custom made clothing: 'I'm obsessed with fitness but it’s impossible to work out with these boobs' she says. 'It’s heartbreaking. I can’t live an everyday life.'"

Japanese porn stars fight AIDS with 24-hour telethon - "Very few company presidents could sit in a conference room and casually explain why they’re about to allow the general public to enter their corporate headquarters and fondle the breasts of female staff for a modest donation to charity... "we wanted a more direct interaction with our viewers so that we can better distinguish ourselves"... This weekend, viewers are invited to the Shinjuku studio of Paradise TV to grasp the exposed chests of five female staffers who anchor the channel’s naked news programs (yes, the segments are exactly as revealing as that description implies). The suggested donation of 1,000 yen will be used to help prevent the spread of AIDS... the girls baring their bosoms are known as OKB24, a reference to mega-selling idol group AKB48. “OKB” is short for “oppai monde kansha kangeki bokin shite kurete arigato,” roughly “donate and take a satisfying breast squeeze"

Man unaware he had been shot in head five years ago

Woman who dumped cat in wheelie bin goes into hiding - "Britain’s most hated woman who was captured on CCTV dumping a cat into a wheelie bin went into hiding today – after she received hundreds of DEATH THREATS from around the WORLD... Police stepped in yesterday and informally offered the vilified woman protection... Adam ‘Riichie’ Richardson wrote: ‘’sum1 should fill the bin with petrol put the old fart init and light it. SHE SHOULD BE KILLED !!!” James Barratt wrote: ”Thinks we should spray her with BBQ sauce and throw her into a den of lions at a zoo and spend 15hours pointing and laughing as he sing soft kittie warm kittie tear her leg off.”... ”Coventry Police have not arrested the woman because she has not committed a criminal offence""
We used to lynch blacks. Today we lynch people who drop cats into bins (and then go back to eating ribs). This is called progress. Ironically the cat owners don't want her hurt

Minister told to save those in Malaysia death row | The Jakarta Post
Considering that Indonesia has the penalty too...

Gender Differences in Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Psychoticism in 37 Nations - "Mean gender differences on Eysenck's three personality traits of extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism were collated for 37 nations. Women obtained higher means than men on neuroticism in all countries, and men obtained higher means than women on psychoticism in 34 countries and on extraversion in 30 countries. The relation between the magnitude of the gender differences and per capita incomes was not significant for any of the three traits."
Long live socialisation

The Defense of Computers, the Internet and Our Brains - "The evidence critics use to attack the Web could be used to argue that we shouldn’t even walk down a city street as the cognitive load is far too great for our brains to handle... walking led the brain to see a “dramatic decreases in working memory, self-control, visual attention and positive affect”... our brains were never actually designed to read... It could be argued that the Web, which is the ultimate library of words, video, images, interactivity, sharing and conversation, is the quintessential place to learn"
More on the fashionable trope that the internet makes us stupid

Why Parents of Girls Divorce More - "A conclusion we might draw is that wives with daughters are less likely to stay with their husbands because they know that with a girl, they'll never be lonely or without help. Thus, they may be less willing to tolerate any bad behaviors from their husbands (and less willing to stay married) because they don't need their husbands as much. This idea could even explain why couples expecting a girl are less likely to marry: A woman carrying a girl anticipates that she won't need a husband"
The other theories: "Maybe boys grow up to be better economic providers for their parents' old age. (This would explain why the preference for boys is stronger in countries where men hold more economic power.) Maybe boys are just more fun to have around. Maybe parents want a child who can carry on the family name. Or maybe there's something deep in our psyches that tells us a family just isn't a family without a son"; interestingly, "in the US... 73% of divorces involve wives leaving their husbands". Most people would explain this as being the men's fault - just as the fact that more men than women cheat would be explained as being the men's fault

Muslim Playing Card

Christian Right Bigots Are Hiding the Truth -- Early Christians Condoned Gay Marriage | Tea Party and the Right - "An icon from St. Catherine’s monastery on Mount Sinai illustrates this point. It shows two robed Christian saints getting married. Their pronubus (official witness, or “best man”) is none other than Jesus Christ. It is a standard Roman portrayal of a wedding. The difference: the two saints are both male, Fourth Century Christian martyrs, Saint Serge and Saint Bacchus"
A bigot is anybody who is winning an argument with a liberal; I love historical revisionism: "We can even get a “new” history like the recently released Constantine’s Sword, which maintains that Christianity’s primary aim since the death of Christ has been the oppression and persecution of Jews"

Multiculturalism and Its Discontents - "Professors of religious and multicultural studies... have even suggested that dissidents like Hirsi Ali and Salman Rushdie have exaggerated the threats against them in order to promote their books. Such slanderous statements are invariably followed by, “This is off the record, you understand”... Panderers to the multicultural gods, in foundations and academia, often assert that religiously sanctioned violence against women and other human rights violations are matters of “tribe and culture, not religion.” But what is more central than religion to most of the world's cultures?"

Cynthia Ann Parker - Wikipedia - "Kidnapped at the age of nine by a Native American raiding party... She was later re-kidnapped at age 34 by the Texas Rangers and subsequently spent the remaining ten years of her life trying to escape back to the Comanche people."
Why we must respect autonomy even in the face of false consciousness: "She was not only unrepentant. She was actively, and incessantly hostile to her captors. She
tried repeatedly to escape with her daughter, sometimes making it far into the woods
and requiring a search party to find her. She was so intent on leaving that [her relatives] had to lock her in the house when they were away... She refused to stop her pagan devotions... She often slashed her arms and breasts with a knife, drawing blood. This was probably an act of mourning for the death of her husband."

If You Were Gay Starring Bert And Ernie

Strangest Wiki category: Characters Who Have Had Body Parts Removed

Heavy Drinkers Outlive Nondrinkers, Study Finds - "Even after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on... mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers... One important reason is that alcohol lubricates so many social interactions, and social interactions are vital for maintaining mental and physical health. As I pointed out last year, nondrinkers show greater signs of depression than those who allow themselves to join the party"

£190k bill for bridges over road for DORMICE footed by taxpayer

Switzerland Confidential: Behold the Legal Sex Drive-Thru

The King Of The Ferret Leggers: The Classic Tale Of Sportsmen Who Put Carnivores Down Their Pants - "Another ferret legger told me that a ferret that had almost dislodged his left thumb let go only after the ferret and the man's thumb were held under scalding tap water — for ten minutes."
@acidflask: "That ferret legging is a sport lends credence to my theory of sport as the invention of bored pre-internet peoples"

Young, Single Women Earn More Than Male Peers - "The greatest disparity is in Atlanta, where young, childless women were paid 121% the level of their male counterparts"

YouTube - Glenn Beck puts a Frog into HOT Boiling Water

Mirrorcreator - Uploading files to multiple file sharing sites - "Mirrorcreator.com helps in uploading your files simultaneously to various free file hosting providers. All you have to do is to upload your file to our server once and then it gets automatically uploaded to file hosting sites like Rapidshare, Megaupload, Sendspace, Filefactory etc"


"A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works." - John Gaule


Z'ming Huang

Something is rotten in the state of you know where, and to the movie addressing the darker side of history here like never before, is given the beauteous title Sandcastle. It is an imagery that conjures the innocence of child's play and the delusion of a political myth all at once, rather fitting for a movie that seems halfway between a coming-of-age story and what almost threatens to develop into a political thriller. The heroic figure representing the idealistic era of 1950s Singapore is long dead and gone here, and the mystery of whatever transpired since – whether say the man was indeed 'brainwashed' in prison, is seen through the eyes of his young inquisitive son. And what we witness for the bulk of the movie are pretty much the daily challenges of an 18-year-old boy who is just growing enough facial hair to need shaving, barely legal for driving, and getting himself some action with a China girl. How exciting that can be probably depends on your personal definition of an eye candy, but the contrast between his quotidian lifestyle and what made student activists of his father's generation tick in the 50s or 60s is clearly the raison d'etre of the movie.

Whatever is lacking here in terms of reenactment of epic history or any high drama – don't expect a vivid depiction of White Terror like in Hou Hsiao-Hsien's A City of Sadness, or a scene of one storming through a kangaroo court like In the Name of the Father – is made up for by the poetic narration and the visual metaphors that make Sandcastle an appealing meditation on a seldom discussed chapter of Singapore's historical past, whereby many a young student were branded as communists and compelled to sign false confessions in exchange for release. Young director Boo Junfeng has cleverly crafted a movie that does not require one to reconstruct the past convincingly, that instead confronts the suppression of historical memories by way of a family drama about a missing father and a grandmother with dementia. The fear for loss of memories is a prevailing theme here, as hinted at by the childhood video that is converted from tape to computer, the hard disc that crashes and has to be salvaged at a shop, not to forget the jigsaw puzzle, which might admittedly have come into view one time too many as a metaphor.

The reading of the father's writings as a voiceover is another excellent device, along with archival footages of national day parade and general shots of Singapore's urban growth inserted subtly during national songs sung by the boy En's school choir and his English tuition for the China girl. Some reviewer out there has to be having fun by now likening the movie to a Hamlet of sorts. While our young protagonist has the choice of enjoying his comfy protected life in Singapore and thinking no further, his father's voice like a ghost reminds him now and then of the injustic which has been done to him. Meantime his mother is apparently having a suitor in an army officer who tries to win favour by buying a new laptop for our boy. The man is not quite the embodiment of evil here, just a civil servant with a life that can only be described as regular, and the scariest thing he does is giving one an earful of national propaganda. On the part of En, the only vengeful act he commits is a harmless practical joke, swapping the officer's presentation disc on climactic national day celebrations with a video of pornographic climax instead. If the tragedy of Shakespeare's Hamlet lies in his indecision, the plain and boring story of our Singapore protagonist is quite simply one of inaction and powerlessness. The ending of the movie consists largely of him being enlisted, getting his recruit haircut and doing area cleaning, images that evoke the routine social engineering.

It is with a cold and distant eye that the movie camera captures the city. The HDB blocks look like a concrete jungle so deep nobody can hear you scream, while the MRT station with a monstrous oriental roof looks simply fake and forbidding. Even the nursing home for senior citizens with its activity room looks so mechanical that it gives this vision of Singaporeans being kept in air-conditioned incubators like robots from cradle to grave. The slow pace of the movie is often a virtue in its depiction of a mundane existence, reminding one of the typical Tsai Ming-liang movies with a pervading sense of urban alienation. But three-quarter down the length of the movie, one does find it unnecessarily voyeuristic to watch our baby boy En doing nothing but caressing a pussy cat. One may also complain of a lack of character development in him, unless you consider that he has gone from jerking off to porn in his room to jumping into the bed of a China girl who lives next door (unlike others, he has somehow no ill feeling towards Chinese immigrants, presumably a sympathy inherited from his father?). Yet the boy who comes across as a space cadet half the time does in fact go through a journey in the movie, and a physical one at that, a trip to Malaysia in a fleeting Wong Kar-wai style, in search of his father's past. There is notably a grand view of the Causeway, which in this context feels kind of like an umbilical cord linking one to a historic past that one has been cut off from.

The greatest thing about this Cannes-worthy debut is that it chooses to be understated and allows space for imagination whenever possible through subtle suggestions, and despite the loose and much uneventful narrative, the overall structure still holds well. The opening scene of the movie at the beach for instance proves a brilliant stroke; at first all that voiceover talk of an 'underwater world' and 'utopia' (or "Peach Blossom Land") that one has turned his back on sounds totally cryptic in Chinese and one is not sure what kind of a wet dream the screenwriter has in mind, but the recurring motif of quiet waters as a source of solace gains significance in the course of the movie and soon comes full circle, revealing our young director Boo as a true romantic.

Since there have been enough loving praises showered on the man, it probably does not hurt however to pick just a few bones with the movie. First of all, being one who has long found political satires by way of slapstick comedies rather tiresome, I was all psyched up to embrace the dawning of a new age, a new approach of say a serious family drama that is sensitive and rich in emotions which just happens not to be afraid of straight talk on political history. Then I see this young pair rushing through the door for some privacy, and the very next second you hear a school choir singing Stand Up for Singapore. That's a wee bit of a cheap shot that one could have abstained from. Secondly, I demand it to be shown and demonstrated as to where in Singapore it might be possible for one to look out of a HDB flat window and see the action of your neighbour in bed without the aid of binoculars; if that is the case there will be no need for one to have webcam fun any more. Thirdly, I am not entirely sure the age of En's father (a student activist back in the 50s and supposedly married only at 38) and mother (a teacher who must be in her 50s at least and yet has a colonel as her new beau?) compute so naturally with the 'current year' of the 18-year-old son (roughly placed based on the fact that he uses Windows 98), plausibility seems a little stretched. Of course, fudging some chronological details should not be such a big sin, considering that we live in a day and age where even historical pictures can be photoshopped. Lastly, in the dialogue of En's mother reprimanding him, the Chinese vocabulary could have been more refined, considering that she was educated in a good Chinese-ed school and her character deserves a moment to shine with a piquant line or two. (All right we know she has become a Christian convert, very common these days, but losing her old belief needs not mean her brains and tongue alike have to be zapped, isn't that too sad and cruel?)

Such minor irritations aside, the biggest question for Singapore's latest bright new hope in movie-making would be whether to follow up on this success with a movie that explores further on the inanity of the lifestyle we know today (drawing more inspiration from Edward Yang's brand of the comical perhaps?), or one that further romanticises on Singapore's forgotten history (less need for political allegories this time?). Boo Junfeng has incidentally said in interviews that getting sources and informants on student movements in the 50s and 60s was not easy, a hurdle that is interestingly paralleled by En's difficulty in getting his family to talk about the taboo past. (I can so identify with that personally, having experienced first-hand the reticence of Nantah graduates who either reject interviews outright when it concerns the left-wing stigma of the Chinese-ed, or stop at euphemisms like 'being invited for coffee' without elaborating on ISD investigations.) Perhaps there have to be more ground-up oral history initiatives to encourage people to share their stories. But as it is now, such content is not entirely absent in local Chinese literature. Turmoil (Sao Dong), a novel by Yeng Pway Ngon which was published in Taiwan and helped him clinch the Cultural Medallion, talks about door-knocking at midnight, and how the mother of a student studying in Singapore would donate to the Malayan Communists simply out of pity, not to mention graphic descriptions on how the communists were killed and their bodies defiled. One has to be forewarned however that the novel is also full of gratuitous sex and in a chapter on the October 1956 arrests of student and union leaders, one would even stumble upon an episode of homoeroticism. Apart from this, there is a novel by Feng Sha Yan entitled The Man In Pursuit Of Sunlight (Zhui Zhu Yang Guang De Ren), which is apparenly about the sense of inferiority felt by Nantah graduates. Anyway, now that Chung Cheng High School has been immortalised on film (Boo seemingly taking a cue from Invisible City by Tan Pin Pin), it is high time too for stories of the ill-fated Nanyang University to be exhumed? Even apart from the Chinese-ed angle, movie directors here can easily draw on existing literature for suspense stories on law and justice. If Once a Jolly Hangman, Singapore Justice in the Dock by Alan Shadrake this year does not inspire Singapore's own version of Dead Man Walking, one may also turn to a lesser known book for spinechilling courtroom drama - Lee’s Law: How Singapore crushes dissent, by Chris Lydgate, an account of how a Malay labourer was tortured into confessing a murder that took place in 1989.

Perhaps nostalgia above all is the order of the day for now. This year in Singapore which seems more troubled by the problem of censorship than ever, is also a year which has seen expressions like Royston Tan's Old Places documentary and the hype of a movie exploiting Singapore's heritage of haunted places, and it is great to see it capped by the release of Sandcastle, even if screening is limited to one cinema. This is a movie which has wonderfully encapsulated a deep suspicion in us, that the true Singapore spirit has long been crushed during our fathers' generation in what feels like a murder most foul, and the least we can do, is write an eulogy for it.

My own thoughts:

I'm surprised Sandcastle got so much gahmen support given its anti-gahmen themes.

The pacing was too slow and there were too many shots of cats. No wonder it's in Cinema Europa (for art films at Vivocity).

The film is cursed - it's In Loving Memory of 6 people. Usually films are In Loving Memory of 2 people at most.

In 1998 PRC immigrants did not feature in the National Consciousness, so the brief theme of PRC moral panic is anachronistic.

The film has the most depressing and disturbing version of "Home" I've ever heard (incidentally, "Home" is the only propaganda song that is actually nice).

They subtitled the Singlish as proper English

Is Teo Ah Kim (1927-2008) the director's grandparent?

'Filial Piety' can lead to worse outcomes for everyone involved.

Friday, September 03, 2010


"Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out." - Samuel Johnson


チッチッチッチ おっぱい ぼいんぼい~ん
チッチッチッチ おっぱい ぼいんぼい~ん

もげ もげもげ チチをもげ!
もーげプリリン ポヨンもげー
もーげポロロン プヨンもげー
まんまるチッチッチ さんかくおぱーい

やさしく(もげ!) いきなり(もげ!)
微妙に(もげ!) 連続(もげ!)

★チッチッチッチ おっぱい ぼいんぼい~ん
 チッチッチッチ おっぱい ぼいんぼい~ん
 もげもげもげもげ チチをもげ!

もげ もげもげ チチをもげ!
もーげポヨヨン パインもげー
もーげパイイン ポインもげー
しましまチッチッチ おさるのおぱーい

今日も(もげ!) 明日も(もげ!)
とにかく(もげ!) 毎日(もげ!)




Thursday, September 02, 2010

Words of a Bigot

"If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane." - Jimmy Buffett


"If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.

A. Lincoln."

(Abraham Lincoln's Letter to Horace Greeley)

Classic rant from genius

"A man can sleep around, no questions asked, but if a woman makes nineteen or twenty mistakes she's a tramp." - Joan Rivers


As featured elsewhere:

Friend's husband seduced by china girl

"When young, SG girls are slim, pretty, sophisticated and intelligent so kena tempted to marry. Then find out after unwrapping that got no neh neh, low sex drive and dead fish in bed. Somemore don't know how to cook and do housework.

Five years into the marriage, not so slim and pretty anymore, sophisticated and intelligent become nagging and grouchy. This is when the men are about
32-38, and realise tio pian, BIG TIME.

China, Pinoy, Thai, Taiwan and nowadays increasingly more Jap and Korean women find SG men best. Compared to the men in their own country, SG men are less chavinistic, ham sup, educated and wah lau eh, can speak the English somemore. Hong Kong don't want cause like SGD girl think angmo is high class and don't appreciate SG men.

These women from Chian or whatever come with hot bod, got neh neh, know hot to cook and clean and very importantly, think SG men are a catch. Compared to SG women who just 'settle' for SG men.

So at the end of the day, why stick with the SG girl who don't even appreciate SG men?

There are two ways to a man's heart - his kukubird and stomach. Ie. great in bed and know how to cook. These are skills SG girl don't have.

They only have one skill - like to communicate and share feelings (Zzzzz). But only the gay boy like to do this leh.

So all you straight men, nothing wrong with you going for foreign talent. The marriage was a mistake, how you know your SG wife is a dud and there is a big better world out there?The SG girl blame the foreign talent for taking their men but who ask them don't treasure the SG men and learn some skills in bed? haha.

When I go to China and speakie the English at the club - all the girls come. I see in their eyes they want to take me home and rape me and have my babies - it's love - I so clever, can speak English and Chinese, dress so nice.

In Singapore, the SG girl scream and shout for Jay Chou and whatever HK star who cannot speak English. Otherwise, they like the Euro type, speak English got accent, my English no accent CMI.

Only the foreign talent can appreciate I am very smart - two languages I can speak.

SG men don't like their wife after a while is because they are like American type - like to demand and fight for their rights very sian. But at least American women more open-minded in bed, SG women is dead fish.

They realise the truth: SG women are also slut but know how to package better. They don't say they want money, they say they want a man with future - same thing lah.

In my office, my women colleague is like me, go to uni. All gian to sit BMW and mercs but bopian 'sacrifice' and go out with honda civic for love. But no degree, u no need to try. Like that not call slut meh?

SG women think it is a 'sacrifice' to marry someone with no qualification.

The truth is the SG women are more slut. At least the China and Thai women know how to wild in bed and cook."

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On reflexive (Western) self-blame and judging the past by the standards of the present

"Life is an unbroken succession of false situations." - Thornton Wilder


Dan Carlin's Hardcore History: Show 24 - Classical Hanson

"Victor Davis Hanson: The whole idea of globalisation, which is really a euphemism for Westernisation. The application all over the world of Western ideas of business, government, communications and science. And that, because it's the most powerful and it's the most self-critical, it also puts the greatest burdens upon itself to be perfect.

A lot of people who haven't studied the system that they participate in, but they do know it is self-critical, think that because it's not always perfect, then they don't think it's any good, they put impossible demands on it because they think that somehow we in the West must be Gods, rather than just mere human.

I think that's a fair rendering of what we mean in the historical sense of the word, and why it is that Westerners are so upset about our misdemeanors and they tend to think that the felonies that they see elsewhere - today, even - are either a result of some type of colonization, or imperialism, to see the others as victims rather than perpetrators of evil.

This Western idea of self-reflective criticism that puts such an inordinate burden upon us to be perfect. Unless we have leaders and scholars and moral, philosophical people of influence that remind us that this is a positive trait - within limits - then we become almost skeptic, cynic nihilists, and that's the danger that the West, whether it's 4th century Athens, or 17th century France, or 5th century Rome that lead to tear everything apart and examine it. Almost self-destructive

Dan Carlin: I think that there's a chauvinism that modern people have about our ancestors in the past, and I think that probably our ancestors (sic) 2,000 years from now will have about us. Where we just assume that people in the past were a bunch of superstitious folks, probably racist, usually sexist, not very knowledgeable about things like the Sciences. But you do a lot of reading of the popular material from the past. Tell me, are there any ways that the ancients who were our ancestors were our equals, or maybe in some respects, our betters?

Victor Davis Hanson: I'm not a, what the Romans call laudatore symphorevat (sp?), just a cheap praiser of the past. But by any fair token, what our great-grandparents had to do was so far, far more demanding than what we do. I mean, most of the people I know would be dead if they were alive in 1850.

I would have been dead at 23 with a major kidney operation. I would have been dead again at 51 with a ruptured appendix. I wouldn't have been able to live a very fruitful life. So the physical burdens that were put upon people up until just 50 years ago were incredible.

If we go back and we say that a family with 10, coming across the plains in a covered wagon and trying to homestead land and finding water that wouldn't make them sick, the food that they depend each day, and then we don't, we just ignore the physical demands and drudgery that they had to put up with, and then we say: you know what, they were not sensitive. They were not sensitive to people of colour. They were not sensitive to Native Americans. They were not sensitive to the environment. They threw bottles out the window.

Yes. May be true, but any of us who would go back into that physical environment would probably fail, because we've created, almost a very pampered populace who uses the standards of the present to condemn those of the past without giving them credit for undergoing great misery and sacrifice to create the foundations, the physical infrastructure that we of course enjoy. So we can talk all about this lake we didn't need, or this dam we didn't need, or this highway, but we we use it today. And we don't blow them up. So we use all of the contributions and the achievements and the investments of the past. We take it for granted and our daily life is so pleasurable. But then we also, sort of ingrate, say, well, they shouldn't have done that. But we don't just say: we shouldn't have done this, therefore we won't use it.

People in San Francisco are always talking about Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. National tragedy that they flooded this beautiful valley. But they don't say, it's a national tragedy, let's tear down the dam and let's not have any fresh water in San Francisco.

And that's the problem with modern man. Rather, modern post-Western man. That he has this strange attitude that he's trying to - we saw this with Senator Obama saying the other day that he might like to bankrupt the coal industry and make it so expensive to build a coal plant, which we have the world's largest reserves. We have to go solar and wind, but that would - at least for the temporary period - would say to Americans: okay, let's just use electricity 5 hours a day.

If I'm living in Chicago, I'm the Obama family, I'm going to tell the children: do not turn on television because it's not windy today, or we don't have enough sunlight today, and we want to be good citizens and not burn coal. But nobody does that. They want it both ways, or three ways, or four ways, and that's my greatest sense of disappointment in the present generation"

"Picnic Supplies" / The supermarket in the eyes of children / The MAD Guide to Moobs / Symptoms of Sexual Abuse in Children

"Picnic Supplies"

The supermarket in the eyes of children

The MAD Guide to Man Boobs (moobs)

Symptoms of Sexual Abuse in Children:

"Displays advanced, unusual or bizarre sexual knowledge

Ex. A child sees a couple kissing - Says, 'the man is going to put his finger in her wee wee.

Ex. A child comments, 'You know snot comes out of Uncle Joe's ding dong.'"

I am also amused that "Unusual fear of males" and "Sexual promiscuity among girls" are other indicators of sexual abuse. This was not written by a feminist (not a reflexive one, anyway).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Soldiers' needs during World War I

"Time sneaks up on you like a windshield on a bug." - John Lithgow


delanceyplace.com 8/11/10 - war, loneliness, and sex

"Loneliness was constant. Men missed women...

Just behind the battle lines only a mile or two from the front, girls waited to 'comfort' men, irrespective of whether they were German, British or French... One innocent young officer, hearing his turn called, made his way to room number six where in the bitter-sweet, dirt-smelling near darkness he could see the outline of a female figure who, turning towards him, hiked up her black nightdress to her waist and fell backwards on the edge of the bed. He realised that the highly anticipated delights of seduction were already over. She was ready.

These women estimated that operating a strict schedule of ten minutes per man, they could service an entire battalion every seven days, a production rate that most were usually able to sustain for only three weeks before retiring exhausted, and invariably unwell, but proud of their staying power. This experience had been, for many of the prospectively syphilitic young men, their introduction to the 'joy' of physical love...

The threat of venereal disease sometimes led soldiers to seek sexual relief with each other. The Field Almanac issued to Lieutenant Skelton cautioned men not to 'ease themselves promiscuously', although the detailed instructions on the necessity for cleanliness of the body at all times were impossible to implement in the filthy conditions of the camps. George V, hearing of the extent of homosexual activity in the army some two decades after the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde, had been heard to mutter: 'I thought men like that shot themselves.' There was also a belief that homosexuality might be infectious and Scotland Yard kept a register of known homosexuals. Recovery from prosecution was at best rare and in reality unknown. Two hundred and seventy soldiers and twenty officers were court-martialled for 'acts of gross indecency with another male person according to the Guidance notes in the Manual of Military Law'"

--- The Great Silence / Juliet Nicolson

Conversations - 31st August 2010

"If it weren't for my lawyer, I'd still be in prison. It went a lot faster with two people digging." - Joe Martin


Someone: u notice most women in their late 30s-40s in managerial positions are really hard to work with.

those are the really societal rejects

most women who are better have already removed
themselves from the workforce.

Me: gah

Someone: which lady of leisure do u find unbearable?

Me: I dont know ladies of leisure
do you

Someone: i do.
they are a lot nicer than the female DXO officers i know.

Me: DXO is a special sample
it's not like regulars are very nice

Someone else: Sometimes, being passive-aggressive is just the most satisfying way of dealing with thick-skinned people

Me: Isn't being outright aggressive better? Hurr hurr

Someone else: Not when dealing with the fairer sex sadly

MFTTW: maybe you won't like biking
maybe the posture is not good for you
maybe yotu have tender ass

Me: har
I ride you lah
oops yours

MFTTW: i can tell a deliberate faux pas when i see one

Me: hurr hurr

Female friend on everyone else's opinions: i utterly hate female bosses too

although, in *** my female direct bosses weren't too bad
but that was bcos they were still quite low-ranking

maybe promotion turns them all into idiots

Someone: aiyah
the only misery of man is man himself
vanity, ego, and whatever the other sins are

but tell me, why are you sad?

... why would silly men make you said
and i like to tell people

Me: silliness in general makes me sad

Someone: one could be 80 years old and not be wise.
such is the true condition of men lar.
and sadness is extraneous in this case cos it's not like you could do
something abt human stupidity.

Me: I bleed for humanity
even if it doesn't help it

Someone: bleeding for humanity is like white guilt
and unproductive

a bleeding heart does't cure stupidity

Me: no, but I believe there is some value to it still
this is the reason why people having you in their hopes, wishes and
prayers helps
even discounting the presumed efficacy of prayers

Me: am I right in detecting wordplay between the words for "friend" and "enemy" in:

"Der Mensch der Erkenntniss muss nicht nur seine Feinde lieben, er muss auch seine Freunde hassen können"

MFTTW: errrrrrr
am i the right person to be consulting

Me: the word for enemy is easy right

MFTTW: ....

Me: yeah it seems so
I am meditating on how the only folly of man is women

MFTTW: ......
you seem to spend a lot of time meditating on that
have you reached enlightenment yet

Me: hahahahahahahahahahaha
freud didn't manage to solve the mystery in 20 years
I doubt i can in a few

Me: shall we go to the cinema together
a mandate

Someone on the former Shaw Beach Road: i bring all my dates there ;)
wish i could bring you

Me: je voudrais mouiller

Tim The Great: then !

sing in the rain

@hellovirnnnn: boys think with their penises

Me: What do girls think with?

@hellovirnnnn: They don't. HAHAHAHA.

Someone: if any girl sees this conversation, we would hung, strung and quartered.
if i end up sexless, i'm emasculating you, gabriel.

Me: it's ok, I'm already sexless

Someone else: well, i'm free this weekend
we can do a mandate this weekend

Me: hmm
someone asked me for a womandate

Someone else: we can make it a three-way

Me: I thought you're not into girls

Someone else: you assume that she's into boys.
maybe it'll be a weird three-way where no one is into anyone

Someone: [anorexia]'s nothing to do with genes

Me: it's a genes-environment mix

Someone: what does genes have to do with it at all?
it's a conscious choice to starve yourself

i don't feel compelled to starve
i choose to starve

Me: free will is an illusion

Someone: hurhur
that's rich comingfrom you

Me: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1575523.stm

Someone: relying on something as structured as academic writing to comprehend sometihng as chaotic as women's psychology is fail
all academics cando is to explore an extremely small portion of women

Me: that's like saying god is a mystery
so the human mind can never understand him

Someone: if god exists

if you can't even prove that then i don't even know what's there to explore
whereas female psychology is pretty real

Me: and general explanations of female psychology are pretty accurate too
for example women are more neurotic than men

Someone: well
to say that anorexia is mainly based on genes

how can they really prove it? scientists don't even know how genes really work up tothis point

they can only draw trends

and their sample size probably missed about 70% of girls who have anorexia
at leaxst 70%

they only got the medically critical ones
the ones who're dying from anoreixa
or malnutritioned

Me: did you even read the whole article

Someone: no i didn't read it

can you at least read before making comments

Me: ...
this is like when research finds that short people are less healthy and poorer
and indignant short people write in saying that they're doing very well
people are statistically illiterate

Someone: i trust BBC health asmuch as i trust dailymail
unless you can give me a academic study of this

Me: the article DOES mention academic studies
but you already mentioned that you don't trust academics
so why waste (y)our time

Someone: it mentions academic studies from where?

what's the sample size

you know the british press are great at taking things out of context
or creatiing news out of nothing

Me: that's why I read details

and what's wrong with BBC health
you are just dismissing things without even looking at them
likem ost people

Someone: most health articles on websites are sensational
or written to be sensational

Me: you didn't even read the article
and BBC health does not report breathlessly like most newspapers

popular science reporting is largely shit
but BBC health has a good record

Someone: right
you should give me more sources than BBC health then

Me: hello
most of them will report on the same study

and you can go and look yourself
I'm not your miner

Monday, August 30, 2010

Links - 30th August 2010

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gang rape, aggravated outrage of modesty or more than meets the eye?

"For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news." - Gloria Borger


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(all pictures from Sexually Oblivious Rhino, HT @GenkiGenki)

A post by Robin Rheaume on the AWARE blog decried a recent case where 5 boys sexually assaulted a girl ("factually rape"), and instead of being convicted of rape the boys were slapped with the lesser conviction of "aggravated outrage of modesty".

Muhammad Shafie Ahmad Abdullah, Mohd Sadruddin Azman, Lim Boon Tai, Rishi Mohan and Mohamed Firdaus Roslan will now get 3.5-5 years and 5-8 strokes of the cane each (rape gets you up to 20 years).

The parents being out, they had gotten the girl's number from a friend and called her over. She had come, even though she had not known any of them. They drank lots of alcohol (she had 5 cups) and she then had consensual sex with one of the 5. Later, all 5 decided to have sex with her.

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The speculated reason (according to The New Paper) was that the victim was partly to blame for what happened to her - what is commonly called "victim-blaming".

Now, what is commonly labelled "victim-blaming" (where rape is concerned) is really a conflation of several issues, mainly:

i) if the victim should (or could) have done something to avoid being raped
ii) if the victim incited the rape (i.e. whose fault it was)
iii) how to prevent future rapes
iv) what causes rape (e.g. if it is about sex or power)

Strictly speaking, only ii) [and i), depending on how you frame it] should be treated as "victim-blaming", but too often i), iii) and iv) are dragged in (which is bad if you want to protect other women from rape). For example, it is incontrovertible to say that you should watch your alcohol intake if you don't want funny things to happen to you, but overzealous feminists sometimes pounce on that as victim-blaming.

In this case, happily, there was no conflation by the AWARE writer, though [s]he was responsible for the infelicity of expression that is: "It seems the victim was guilty of drunk driving a vulva".

The example of drunk driving Rheaume refers to was brought up by a lawyer The New Paper spoke to: drunk drivers are deemed responsible for their actions. I do agree that this is not an entirely relevant analogy; drunk drivers are responsible for what they do not just for the sake of deterrence (i.e. so people won't get drunk and drive and then knock people down) but because they are hurting other people. Whereas in this case, if you get drunk and then get raped, you are the one getting hurt. So it doesn't seem quite true that drunk drivers are held responsible for their actions (despite alcohol making them effectively a person with diminished volition and thus responsibility) because they knew what might happen when they started drinking.

I do disagree with Rheaume's analogy that we do not hold the victim responsible when a man gets drunk, wanders into a blind ally and then gets beaten up and robbed. This is because people do not typically consent to getting beaten up and robbed, but people do typically consent to having sex every day. Not always in a straightforward manner and yes, lubricated by alcohol too, no less.

Intrigued by this case, I read up more about it (or at least what was reported in the popular press), and the more I read the more suspicious it became.

1) Consent

For one, take the issue of consent. Consent is an extremely fuzzy variable to evaluate (and kept deliberately so). If nothing else, many women still subscribe to the view that "If she says yes, then she's no lady", so men can't entirely be blamed for not taking "no" to mean "no"; when the lines between "yes", "maybe" and "no" is so fine, it is no surprise that there will always be confusion about which side of the lines one is on.

Indeed, this case itself illustrates the nebulous and shifting nature of consent:

In the room, Lim asked the victim to kiss him, and pushed her onto a mattress on the floor.

Lim lay on top of her and persisted in his sexual advances despite the victim's attempts to push him away.

"The victim was feeling tired and her head was very heavy whilst resisting him," said DPPOh.

In the end, she gave in and allowed Lim to have sex with her.

So we can see that "no" became "yes" (probably stopping in the "maybe" stage in-between). If you have sex with a boy you have just met the same night (after some de rigueur protest), while his 4 friends are outside, it is not unreasonable for the 4 friends to think that you will not be averse to consenting to having sex with them as well (even if you might similarly [pretend to] protest at the start). Especially if you know that she had voluntarily come over, drunk alcohol and had sex with one of you despite having a boyfriend (this case gets more and more interesting, doesn't it?)

Someone: she probably has a history lor
thats why her number is passed ard like tht.

Furthermore, when she was being assaulted later, she:

"lay still" throughout... the girl never resisted, but only lay down "with her eyes closed and never said anything""

While absence of objection does not necessarily indicate consent (Human Organ Transplant Act, Medishield and CDAC/Mendaki/SINDA contributions aside), if I wanted someone to stop doing something terrible to me, I would surely voice out my objections at at least one point.

2) Misleading behavior

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Yet, this is not the only relevant or suspicious aspect of this case. Consider:

The victim drank alcohol voluntarily, gave a massage to one of the boys who attacked her and entered the bedroom voluntarily... "she had gone to the flat even though it was close to midnight and she had no idea who she was meeting"...

"The behaviour of the victim was also unusual. She acted in certain ways. It is not fair to ignore what she has done.

Her conduct, her actions did create a certain impression on the minds of the accused persons. We cannot ignore this"

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If you act as if you have Weapons of Mass Destruction, you cannot blame others for thinking that you have them.
If you act as if you're trying to make a nuclear bomb, you likewise cannot blame others for thinking that you have them (especially if you have abundant oil reserves).
And if someone asks you if you have a gun in your pocket or are just happy to see her, you cannot blame her for executing a swift jujitsu chop if you make a sudden movement with your 'gun'.

Similarly, plausible deniability aside, a reasonable person would have to admit that she gave the impression of being, at the very least, not closed to the idea of hanky-panky that night.

3) Lack of injury

Other suspicious bits include the testimony of a gynaecologist:

When asked by lawyer Mr Adrian Wee if her medical observations were consistent with a victim of sexual assault, [Gynaecologist Nurhidayati Mohamed Suphan] replied: “There were no obvious clinical signs”.

She also said that it was possible that therewas no bleeding at all...

Furthermore, the convicteds' testimony was that they stopped "after they realised that the girl was bleeding", which is something that you would not typically expect of rapists - if they know that they're raping someone, why would the sight of blood stop them? Also, according to the prevalent feminarchal theory of rape, since rape is about power and not sex, the sight of blood would presumably egg the guys on rather than stop them. Also, contrary to Rheaume's assertions, the girl was "not physically restrained".

4) Reduction of charges

One might ask why the prosecutor reduced the charges from rape to aggravated outrage of modesty. Again here, there is much to question:

It is unclear what emerged during her testimony behind closed doors, but the charges were reduced after defence representations to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

It was mentioned in open court on Thursday that the defence produced the girl's blog during the trial. It also emerged that the prosecution had no plans to tender a 'victim impact' statement, typically submitted to show the effects of the crime on the victim.

The blog extracts and her testimony would be very interesting, and perhaps the lack of a victim impact statement means there wasn't much impact (add to this the fact that the one who called the police was her boyfriend, which makes us suspect that he was upset that his girlfriend cheated on him).

A Twitter contact's altogether harsher take:

"Though I think the 5 bastards did not deserve to have their charges reduced, the girl IS TO be blamed as well.

Most likely she KNEW what MAY happen, but went ahead with it anyway, for the thrill of it. And then, she can't accept what she did.

"cheebye itchy" is a very apt description. She subjected herself to be caught in that situation in the first place..

I've always supported Aware and their takes in many instances. But Aware's take on this gang rape issue is beyond my comprehension.

As a person who was once caught in a similar situation, I do not think I am being unsympathetic towards the girl.

She could have LEFT/RAN/TURNED BACK at the doorstep. But she went in! No one forced her at that point of time!

Then lagi best, SHE DRANK. Shots after shots. She CONSENTED to having sex with the 1st guy. Eh WTF is wrong with her?!

Then after that, go back, call boyfriend, cry father cry mother. Unless she has an IQ of <40, she should have saw it coming. Retard. If someone comes to me & goes "you've never been raped, you don't know how it feels! you unsympathetic bitch!" I'm gonna break his/her face. What makes you think I don't know? I know it better than you do! It takes time to get over for sure, but CONSENTING to having sex with the 1st guy = leading the rest on! They are all MEN for God's sake! What did she expect? Play masak masak? She wanted it lah pls! Then after that act ke lian. Must be scared kena ditch by the boyfriend or kicked out of the house by her parents. Sorry excuse of a woman. I think the girl wanted to try out being part of an orgy, but regretted it & then screamed murder, said she was gang raped." Postscript: Another strike against the "power not sex" theory of rape:

The rest of the guys just wanted to "enjoy" themselves.

They had earlier made plans to sleep with any girl who turned up at their friend's flat...

He said he thought the girl was enjoying herself at some points...

Lim later told his friends what had happened [that he had had sex with her].

"We were all jealous and also wanted to (have sex with) her," Shafie added.

"We asked (Lim) to plan so that we could all (have sex with her) and he agreed."

The Evolution of Soul Calibur

Ivy's Boob Evolution: "For some reason, her clothes keep getting smaller. Let me try to describe how her puppies have evolved:

Soul Calibur: Oranges
Soul Calibur II: Melons
Soul Calibur III: Torpedos
Soul Calibur IV: Small moons

For Soul Calibur V she should just show up naked with a utility wheel cart under each tit."

Le marché est toujours calme

- Monsieur Ibrahim, est-ce que vous trouvez que je suis beau ?
- Tu es très beau, Momo.
- Non, c'est pas ce qe je veux dire. Est-ce que vous croyez que je serai assez beau pour plaire aux filles... sans payer ?
- Dans quelques années, ce seront elles qui paieront pour toi !
- Pourtant... pour le moment... le marché est calme...
- Évidemment, Momo, tu as vu comme tu t'y prends ? Tu les fixes en ayant l'air de dire : << Vous avez vu comme je suis beau. >> Alors, forcément, elles rigolent. Il faut que tu les regardes en ayant l'air de dire : << Je n'ai jamais vu plus belle que vous. >> Pour un homme normal, je veux dire un homme comme toi et moi - pas Alain Delon ou Marlon Brando, non -, ta beauté, c'est celle que tu trouves à la femme.

--- Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran / Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt
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