When you can't live without bananas

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Thursday, September 06, 2012

Links - 7th September 2012

"He who lives without folly isn't so wise as he thinks." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld


We failed in Bosnia - "the case for interventionism does not rest on the ease with which constitutional democracy can be transplanted in emerging states. Because western-style democracies are rare, and some states (such as Afghanistan) have proved resistant to them, it is fashionable for critics of intervention to claim to be realists. In reality, they are more usually sophists. Liberal-democratic internationalism, for all its limitations, holds out some hope of avoiding a Hobbesian world in which aggression is rewarded... Western failure in Bosnia was almost total. The reputations of its authors have barely been scathed by it."

Biker fined for speed camera gestures - "A teenage motorcyclist who deliberately set off 26 different speed cameras giving German police the finger in each one has been fined £4,000. Dimitri Salovic, 17, covered up in biking leathers and a full-face helmet, hid his registration number before roaring around Munich at speeds of up to 70mph, a court heard. Police finally nabbed him when they worked out a pattern to his route and set up an undercover traffic team where they thought he'd strike next."

Till Death Do Us Part - "Garvey had a stroke in January of 1940, and he becomes incapacitated. George Padmore, who was a columnist for The Chicago Defender, had heard a rumor that Garvey had died and instead of confirming this, he published a premature obituary.
The obituary described Garvey as a man whose followers had deserted him; a man who died “broke, alone and unpopular.”
When Garvey reads it, he lets out a loud moan and he collapses. He suffers a second stroke and next morning he dies."

The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Genius - "Margie Profet was always a study in sharp contradictions... the most salient fact about Profet is her absence. Neither friends, former advisers, publishers, nor ex-lovers has any idea what happened to her or where she is today. Sometime between 2002 and 2005, Profet, who was then in her mid-40s, vanished without a trace. Best known for three landmark papers in the prestigious Quarterly Review of Biology (QRB) and Evolutionary Theory, Profet recast a trio of everyday curses into a trinity of evolutionary blessings. Allergies, menstruation, and morning sickness, she argued, eliminate germs, carcinogens, and mutation-causing toxins from the body"

I'm an Asian Woman and I Refuse to Ever Date an Asian Man - "I'm an Asian girl. I don't date Asian guys. Yep, I'm one of those that date lots and lots of (mostly, but not always) white guys. Why? It's simple: I'm a racist... Asians are marrying non-Asians at a rate much higher than any other racial group. This summer Pew reported that 37 percent of all recent Asian-American brides wedded a non-Asian groom. In an earlier study of the couples who married in 2008, 9 percent of whites, 16 percent of blacks and 26 percent of Hispanics did so with someone of a different race or ethnicity. Thirty-one percent of Asians did. This trend has nothing to do with skin color. It has everything to do with patriarchy and cultural sexism and a lifestyle I grew up with and want nothing to do with anymore... Dating white men means acceptance into American culture. White culture"

What’s So Bad About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress? - NYTimes.com - "2 percent to 7 percent of boys under age 12 regularly display “cross-gender” behaviors, though very few wish to actually be a girl... 60 to 80 percent of pink boys do eventually become gay men. The rest grow up to either become heterosexual men or become women by taking hormones and maybe having surgery. Gender-nonconforming behavior of girls, however, is rarely studied, in part because departures from traditional femininity are so pervasive and accepted. The studies that do exist indicate that tomboys are somewhat more likely than gender-typical girls to become bisexual, lesbian or male-identified, but most become heterosexual women... genes account for 70 percent of gender-atypical behavior in both sexes... A 1998 study in the academic journal Sex Roles suggests just how ordinary it has become for girls to exist in the middle space: it found that 46 percent of senior citizens, 69 percent of baby boomers and 77 percent of Gen-X women reported having been tomboys... “People rely on gender to help understand the world, to make order out of chaos”... When J. Crew ran an ad of its president painting her son’s toenails neon pink, with copy that read, “Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink,” one commentator said she was exploiting her son “behind the facade of liberal, transgendered identity politics... Boys and men do have more latitude these days to dress and act in less conventionally masculine ways. Among straight men, long hair and (certain) necklaces and (certain) pairs of earrings are almost normative, at least in some communities. Plenty of men wax their eyebrows, get manicures and wear pink”

‘Missing’ woman unknowingly joins search for herself

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

Who's Hungry? - "Before I knew it, tall, healthy-looking Western women became the trigger for my cannibalistic fantasies. I guess my infatuation with such women stemmed from the fact that I was short, ugly, and had an inferiority complex and therefore sought people who were the exact opposite of myself. Eventually, I began feeling a strong desire to bite into them—not to kill them or eat them per se, but merely to gnaw on their flesh. It was purely a form of sexual desire. It wasn’t like I felt like eating someone every time I was hungry. But you know how you tend to feel a stronger sexual desire when you’ve eaten a full meal? That’s when I would start feeling the urge to eat a girl. It’s absurd, right? In essence, it’s different from the type of hunger that people experience for food. This cannibalistic urge, where I’m going, “I want to eat human meat,” is a sort of sexual appetite, so if I don’t make sure that I ejaculate frequently enough, the desire only gets stronger and stronger"

Why Most Singaporeans Are in Debt - "Most Singaporeans will be in debt if they do the following:
1) Earn less than what they spend
2) Have no savings
3) Lose their jobs
4) Stay in a company for too long without promotion and their company pay them pathetic bonuses
5) Spend on liabilities
6) Do not delay gratification
7) Marries somebody that likes Cartier or Larry’s
8 ) Do not invest"

Visualising UI, UX etc

TOC News » Are Singaporeans too easily offended? - "Singaporeans have begun a crusade. Not against tyranny, or oppression, or privilege. In fact, this crusade, as far as anyone can tell, is against ever having to feel offended. And this crusade is leading more and more Singaporeans to seek out offensive content, so that they may destroy it... Offense is a self-inflicted injury. It makes no sense to hold other people accountable for your own self-inflicted injury... if I see a fat man in a dark alleyway and his obese frame offends me, who is responsible for my feelings of offense? Is it the fat man's fault that I find him offensive?... Worst of all, now, it seems, many Singaporeans are chomping at the bit, searching for more and more foreigners to hold responsible for their own hurt feelings. They are seeking out the alleyways where they know that fat people will congregate, and then launching an attack. News sites have been scraping the very bottom of the barrel to supply similar stories (one recent Temasek Review article alleged that a foreigner had called Singaporeans "low quality"). The appetite for these stories has become insatiable."

This Is Not a Joke: Government Issues Study of a Study About Studies

Population clock shows Japanese face extinction in 1000 years

Stand Up, Walk Around, Even Just For '20 Minutes' - "Use chocolate milk to replenish sugars after an intense workout. Reynolds calls it an "ideal recovery beverage" because it has the right ratio of carbs and proteins to aid your body's recovery process."

Low fertility increases descendant socioeconomic position but reduces long-term fitness in a modern post-industrial society - "modern fertility limitation represents a strategic response to the local costs of rearing socioeconomically competitive offspring, but contradict adaptive models suggesting that it maximizes long-term fitness. This indicates a conflict in modern societies between behaviours promoting socioeconomic versus biological success"

Robin Amos Kahn: A Husband, A House, A Mortgage, A Baby, A Light Bulb Moment - "I acted like I really enjoyed cooking though I hated cooking. And he acted like he really enjoyed spending weekends with me, when he really wanted to work seven days a week. But we made a commitment and we worked at it and we became a family... Here is my suggestion: Be you. Don't try to be anyone else. Also, live your life with pleasure and do what you love and what is important to you. Work hard, play hard, don't be waiting for someone to complete you. Complete yourself. A great marriage is really a dream for most. It takes honesty -- knowing and presenting who you really are. It isn't for everyone; it takes effort and a great deal of compromise and patience. It is not the Nobel Prize of life"

YouTube Flags Democrats' Convention Video on Copyright Grounds - "The most likely culprit is YouTube’s pre-emptive content filters, which allow large media companies to upload content they claim to own and automatically block videos that an algorithm decides matches their own. That would make the glitch the second livestream copyright-policing snafu in the span of a few days: On Sunday, a similar algorithm at uStream interrupted the livestream of the Hugo science fiction awards. The award show included clips of copyrighted videos, though the algorithm didn’t know that the clips had been authorized. In early August, an official NASA recording of the Mars landing was blocked hours after the successful landing, due to a rogue DMCA complaint by a news network."

Man nearly dies shipping himself to girlfriend

S'pore women attribute infertility to non-physiological reasons - "Majority of women in Singapore attribute their infertility to non-physiological reasons and say their condition is "god's will" or "bad luck"... Called "Starting Families Asia", the study also found two in five women here are unaware that a man can be infertile even if he does not have any problems having sex. Two in five Singaporean women also do not realise that a man may be infertile even if he produces sperm"

Jia Jia, the Chinese panda coming to Singapore receives its S Pass!

GooPhone I5 manufacturers want to sue Apple when iPhone launch - "According to reports, the Chinese manufacturers have filed for a patent on the design and are ready to take Apple to court when the next iPhone debuts"

Naomi Wolf's "Vagina" is full of bad science about the brain - ""dopamine is the ultimate feminist chemical in the female brain"... If that were true, women with Parkinson’s could never be feminists, because that disease is caused by degeneration of the dopamine neurons. If that were true, feminists would be campaigning for the legalization of cocaine and crystal meth – at least for women – because those drugs boost dopamine levels. In fact, if that were true, it would mean that the most complimentary thing you could say to a woman would be “You sound like you’re on crack!” Naomi Wolf, you sound like you’re on crack."

Chocolate giants disown deep-fried Mars bar

What happens when you risk going too far

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot

National Geographic Adventure Magazine: Story--Lost at Sea

"In 1982, at 24 and with a Whitbread Round the World regatta under her belt, sailor Debbie Kiley boarded a 58-foot (18-meter) sailing yacht in Maine for a routine delivery to Florida.

After a stopover in Annapolis, Maryland, the weather quickly worsened—60-knot winds whipping up 40-foot (12-meter) waves. In the course of the next three days the crew lost their boat, survived 18 hours of treading water, lost two crew members to sharks and another to injuries sustained in the sinking, and suffered hallucinations from severe dehydration and hypothermia"

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Conversations About Singaporeans' Career Aspirations

"School is learning things you don't want to know, surrounded by people you wish you didn't know, while working toward a future you don't know will ever come." - Dave Kellett



Hi! We're a multi-disciplinary research unit within the Public Service Division <www.psd.gov.sg>. We're embarking on a project to learn more about Singaporeans' career aspirations, and we would love to hear your stories and experiences behind your career journey and life aspirations. Hence we are inviting you for participation and input to our learning journey.

We typically like to spend around 1.5 hours to chat with individuals or couples who fit the profiles listed below. These sessions are face-to-face, there will be about 3-4 people from our team, and preferably at the comfort of your home or office (or anywhere that you prefer and is conducive). Based on past experience, we found that the session would be more comfortable and enjoyable for participants when done in a manner more like casual friendly chat, hence no worries about having to go through a stiff/boring survey interview! Participants will also be compensated with shopping vouchers worth S$80 in appreciation of their time.

Rest assured that all your personal information will guarded with the utmost confidentiality. We will also be recording our conversation and taking a few pictures only for the purposes of note-taking and internal reference, if you're okay with it and with your permission of course. And if you prefer to remain anonymous for the project, we will respect your wishes too. All information will be kept confidential for the purpose of this research, and there will be a confidential agreement to be signed by both you and us before we start the session.

Please take a moment to have a look at the profiles below, and fill the form further below if you fit the bill and would like to participate. Alternatively, pass this on to your friends/family who you think might be interested (and you can badger him/her for 'commission' after that!). CONTACT Upon completion of this short questionaire, we will contact you via phone or email for a quick chat and to coordinate an interview venue and timing. We aim to hold these sessions over the period between 10 to 22 Sept (Mon-Fri). If you have any questions, please contact Jason Leow at or 9229 4308, or Leon Voon at or 9229 4105.

Thank you so much in advance for your interest in participating in this project! We're really looking forward to hearing your stories. :)

Please select which profile fits you best. If you feel none of the profiles fit, please fill in the text box under "Other". The examples stated are meant for illustration purposes only, so variations in degree can be accepted. :)

1. Someone who dropped out of university to pursue their own alternative career path
2. Success story of someone who only went through primary / secondary school.
3. Career hopper (e.g. changed jobs every year for past 10 years)
4. Global careerist (who held jobs in different companies in different continents)
5. Self-employed entrepreneur with successful business
6. Career part-timers / career free-lancers
7. Radical mid-career switcher (e.g. corporate bank CEO to non-profit NGO director)
8. Highly educated but chose not to have no career (e.g. long-term volunteer doctor)
9. Radically alternative career (e.g. professional psychic)
10. PhD holder
11. Stayed in 1 job for almost whole lifetime
12. Singaporean now working in Singapore but was schooled overseas all of his/her childhood
13. Someone who can go university but stop at polytechnic
14. JC student who went to polytechnic instead of university
15. People who pursued careers outside of what they were trained in while in university (e.g. engineers who became teacher)
16. Scholarship holder
17. Working adult who was home-schooled all his childhood
18. Current polytechnic student who owns a business
19. Low-income university student
20. Mid-/Retiring adult who is life-long learner, e.g. had 2 bachelor degrees, a MA and PhD, and still going for certifiable courses
21. Someone who intentionally denied promotion for personal / life / aspirational reasons
22. Someone who is happily (or unhappily) settled for second-best career option (e.g. couldn't to be doctor so went on to be nurse)
23. Career Counsellors / Life coach
24. Recruitment Firm / Head-hunter

(I don't actually know - or know that I know, at any rate - anyone involved in this)

On China's Dysfunction

"Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in." - Leonardo da Vinci


You’ll never be Chinese

"I wanted to be Chinese, once... I wanted China to be the place where I made a career and lived my life. For the past 16 years it has been precisely that. But now I will be leaving...

If I had to choose one word to describe China in the mid-1980s it would be optimistic. A free market of sorts was in its early stages. With it came the first inflation China had experienced in 35 years. People were actually excited by that. It was a sign of progress, and a promise of more to come...

Deng had promised the Chinese people material wealth they hadn’t known for centuries on the condition that they never again asked for political change. The Party said: “Trust us and everything will be all right.”

Twenty years later, everything is not all right...

Modern day mainland Chinese society is focused on one object: money and the acquisition thereof...

To rise to the top you must be grey, with no strong views or ideas. Leadership contenders might think, and here I hypothesise, that once they are in position they can show their “true colours.” Too late they realise that will never be possible...

Leadership requires empathy, an ability to put yourself in your subordinate’s shoes. It also requires decisiveness and a willingness to accept responsibility. Believing themselves to be unique, the Chinese find it almost impossible to empathise... the system is designed to make avoidance of responsibility a prerequisite before any major decision is taken...

A leader must also offer something more than supremacy. The current “world leader” offers the world the chance to be American and democratic, usually if they want to be, sometimes by force. The British empire offered freedom from slavery and a legal system, amongst other things. The Romans took grain from Egypt and redistributed it across Europe...

The Party wouldn’t know a legal system if you swung the scales of justice under its metaphorical nose. (I was once a plaintiff in the Beijing High Court. I was told, off the record, that I had won my case. While my lawyer was on his way to collect the decision the judge received a telephone call. The decision was reversed)...

There is one final reason why the world does not want to be led by China in the 21st century. The Communist Party of China has, from its very inception, encouraged strong anti-foreign sentiment... To speak ill of China in public, to award a Nobel prize to a Chinese intellectual, or for a public figure to have tea with the Dalai Lama, is to “interfere in China’s internal affairs” and “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.” The Chinese are told on a regular basis to feel aggrieved at what foreigners have done to them, and the Party vows to exact vengeance on their behalf...

Everything the Party does to fix things in the short term only makes matters worse in the long term by setting off property prices again... I hope the upheaval, when it comes, is peaceful, that the Party does not try to distract people by launching an attack on Taiwan or the Philippines...

China does not nurture and educate its youth in a way that will allow them to become the leaders, inventors and innovators of tomorrow, but that is the intention. The Party does not want free thinkers who can solve its problems. It still believes it can solve them itself, if it ever admits it has a problem in the first place. The only one it openly acknowledges, ironically, is its corruption. To deny that would be impossible"


China: at war with its history

"The party archives still hold many documents that remain “sensitive,” in the official euphemism. The extent of cannibalism in the Cultural Revolution is something he had discovered during his research...

Most striking this year, perhaps, is that the centenary of 1911, which marked the end of over 2,000 years of China’s imperial system, has gone largely uncelebrated. The party preferred to remember its own 90th birthday in July, perhaps unwilling to remind people that what the 1911 revolutionaries embraced were not the ideas of Karl Marx but democracy...

The result is an ostensibly modern nation in which historians can still be fired or worse for deviating from the party line and in which, in the name of social stability and national security, a fifth of humanity must pretend to believe a national story invented to keep the Communist party in perpetual control...

The mission of public history became to demonstrate that foreigners had been behind the country’s major setbacks since the early 19th century...

5,000 years ago, China did not exist in a shape recognisable today. The true political father of the Chinese state is Qin Shihuangdi, the brutal first emperor of the Qin dynasty, who, some 2,000 years ago, conquered neighbouring princely states... But the territory ruled by Qin Shihuangdi was still only a fraction of the size of today’s People’s Republic. The political entity that he created was to fragment and change repeatedly in the following centuries. China’s current borders date only to the 17th century...

[They claim] that the term Chinese applies equally to the majority Han and to the ethnic minorities now within its borders. The Qing emperors knew different: they spent much of the 19th century suppressing rebellions both by disaffected Muslims and those native Chinese who saw them as foreign oppressors...

In 1974, war crimes committed by the Japanese invading Manchuria in 1931, then China proper in 1937, had been so forgotten that when a Japanese delegation visited Fudan University in Shanghai where I was studying at the time, the campus was festooned with banners that proclaimed “Friendship between the Japanese and the Chinese People, from Generation to Generation.” The 1937-38 Nanjing massacre which left 150,000-300,000 Chinese civilians dead, and the Japanese occupation of China (1937-45), might never have happened. Nor were the mid-19th century Opium Wars with Britain prominent in the public memory...

The National Museum of China, one of the cornerstones of Beijng’s monumental centre, has spent almost as much time closed as open since it was inaugurated in 1959"

GK Chesterton on False Demons (and Smoking)

"He who lives without folly isn't so wise as he thinks." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld


"A fairly large majority consume it so that one may roughly form the opinion that they would be better in health if they smoked less, just as one forms the opinion that they would be better if they took a shade more exercise or ate a shade less meat. A mere dot on the map of this minority is a very small minority of people who are so constituted that they should not smoke at all; and a smaller dot marking a yet tinier minority who actually induce illness by smoking. Those are about the proportions of peril in the thing. It is about as dangerous as sitting in a draught. It is about as questionable as eating pork. If a policeman can take away my cigarette, there cannot be the slightest rational objection, on a warm day, to his taking away my overcoat. In wet weather he might change my boots for me violently in the street, or suddenly garrott me with a muffler. The thing is a typical mild human indulgence, enjoyed by most people and over-enjoyed by a few people, a thing like scent or sweetmeats. Realize that the reality which we all know it to be, and then measure that mad abyss of disproportion, on the other side of which are the eight States holding up their streets with policemen and treating every man who is carrying a cigarette as if he were carrying a bomb. Thus all our cranks of culture are leading us back (or onward) into barbarism. For the essence of barbarism is idolatry; that is the worship of something other than the best reason and justice of the Universe. Idolatry is committed, not merely by setting up false gods, but also by setting up false devils; by making men afraid of war or alcohol, or economic law, when they should be afraid of spiritual corruption and cowardice. The Moslems say, 'There is no God but God.' The English Moslems, the abstainers, have to learn to remember also that there is no Satan but Satan"

--- GK Chesterton

Links - 5th September 2012

"Honesty is a good thing, but it is not profitable to its possessor unless it is kept under control." - Don Marquis


Heteronormative Biases And Hermeneutic Phenomenology In Mass Effect 3 - "Basically I want to address the video game Mass Effect 3 and its scripting of heteronormativity, including heteronormative biases and hermeneutic phenomenology and I will use Butler's performativity and Foucault's concept of power/discourse to show how hegemonically masculine stereotypes could be creating a generation of 'virtual skinheads' and the critical role pedagogy can play. Okay, this isn't about that at all. I mean, it could be, someone in the humanities somewhere followed along with those opening paragraphs and felt like something real was in there, but mostly this article got written because I was bored and wanted to play a video game, so I started one over and decided this time I would play a girl"

Write Your Own Academic Sentence - "The emergence of praxis clarifies the position of the invention of print culture."
Humanities and social sciences != academic

Can A Man Really Get Pregnant? Sure, But It Might Kill Him

Want To Get Pregnant? Eat Ice Cream - "Researchers in the United States have found a link between a low-fat dairy diet and increased risk of infertility due to lack of ovulation (anovulatory infertility)"

Different HIV Rates Among Homosexuals And Heterosexuals Ignores Risky Behavior Data - "to end the HIV epidemic, gay men would need to have rates of unprotected sex several times lower than those currently evident among the straight population. This is because transmission rates are higher for anal sex than they are for vaginal sex, say the authors. But "role versatility," whereby people adopt both “insertive” and “receptive roles,” also plays a part, they add. A gay man can be easily infected through unprotected receptive sex, and then infect someone else through insertive sex. Gay men are therefore far more susceptible to the spread of the virus through the population, even with the same numbers of unprotected sexual partners"

Video Games And Violence: Are Studies Biased? - "Writing today in the International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry, Patrick Kierkegaard of the University of Essex, England, suggests that there is scant scientific evidence that video games are anything but harmless and do not lead to real world aggression. Moreover, his research shows that previous work is biased towards the opposite conclusion... "With millions of sales of violent games, the world should be seeing an epidemic of violence," he says, "Instead, violence has declined." Research is inconclusive, emphasises Kierkegaard. It is possible that certain types of video game could affect emotions, views, behaviour, and attitudes, however, so can books, which can lead to violent behaviour on those already predisposed to violence"

Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes? - "the average client of a $300/hour hooker (which was exactly what I charged) wants a good, quality "girlfriend experience" (GFE), which will be much more likely if he treats his "date" like a lady.  Most escorts who are treated as though they're "bought and paid for" will try to complete the act as quickly as possible and get such a client out the door.  Furthermore, in my experience, the typical client enjoys the illusion that a beautiful woman wants to spend time with him, even if he intellectually knows she is there for the money.  I guarantee you that the majority of my clients tried their utmost to impress me, even to the point of bringing me gifts, flowers, and the like... Intelligent men are less likely to believe in silly propaganda against us, and less likely to have the kind of fragile masculine ego which would be wounded by "having to pay for it." The intelligent man knows that "free tail is the most expensive kind," and can make the reasonable and pragmatic decision to spend his money on a "sure thing" rather than chasing women whose price and quality are uncertain"

Female mate choice is influenced by male sport participation - "We predicted that females would favor males that participated in team sports over individual sports and non-athletes because team sport athletes may be more likely to display qualities such as the ability to work well with others and role acceptance. We used a questionnaire, a photograph, and manipulated descriptions to gauge the effects of sport involvement, attractiveness, and status on 282 females’ willingness to participate in various types of relationships. Team sport athletes were perceived as being more desirable as potential mates than individual sport athletes and non-athletes. It is suggested that team sport athletes may have traits associated with good parenting such as cooperation, likeability, and role acceptance, and/or these athletes may be better able to assert dominance in a team setting"

DesignPorn | Toast messenger by Sasha Tseng - "Eat your words! This toaster by Sasha Tseng incorporates a little message board where one can write quick notes. The message also gets “toasted” into the toast itself."

Nightclubs' foreign entertainer quota cut - "The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a circular sent to nightclub operators a week ago that the new limit is in line with the Government's efforts "to regulate the increasing dependency on foreign manpower""
Comment: "If this is MOM trying to show us that they are doing something about FT and FW in Singapore, then I think our MOM is hitting the wrong tree.
Foreign Entertainers do add real variety and value to this industry and do not compete with locals. Each entertainment gig has their own appeal and value and do not compete on cheap pay, unlike in the other industries.
And Singaporean entertainers in general are really quite BORING!"

Bizarre HR: Candidates without Facebook “suspicious” - "Human resources professionals are becoming increasingly wary of candidates who aren’t on Facebook, because it makes them look 'abnormal'... The biggest concern from employers is that a lack of a Facebook page – or other social networking sites – could mean the applicant’s online account contains so much inappropriate content that it had to be deleted. While there could be many reasons a person does not have or want a Facebook page – whether it’s too addictive or they crave privacy – owning one is a sign of having a healthy social network

True & Co: This Startup Has The Secret To Finding The Perfect Bra - "When you sign up, you take a quiz to answer questions like what shape your breast is"

Why Narcissists Ace Job Interviews - "Employers should keep this study in mind: although narcissists dazzled in the interviews, there is no evidence they were more or less effective workers."

Lexington: The scarcer sex | The Economist - " Even now, fewer than two out of ten members of Congress are female. For this, women have only themselves to blame. Plenty of research shows that women who stand for election do just as well as their male counterparts: they raise as much money, scoop up as many votes and are no less likely to win. The problem, according to a recent study and survey by Jennifer Lawless of American University and Richard Fox of Loyola Marymount University, is that so few choose to run. Even though a record number are running for the Senate, women are competing in fewer than a third of congressional races this year. In short, what women mainly lack is political ambition. Perversely, a decade of high-profile role models has done nothing to make a political career more alluring. If anything, the experiences of the likes of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and the former House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, appear to have produced the opposite effect"

Consensual sex can lead injuries, rape: study - "The study, in which the researchers compared rape victims with nursing students to come to their conclusion, casts doubt on commonly held view that vaginal injuries are evidence that intercourse has been forced. "The findings are extremely interesting. The nursing students experience just as frequent vaginal injuries as rape victims, and so these injuries cannot be used for much more than to establish that intercourse has taken place"... n cases of convictions based on evidence of vaginal injuries, there could now be discussions as to whether there have been miscarriages of justice... The nursing students' results were not affected by whether they had engaged in rough or gentle sex, or whether they had used condoms or sex toys"

‘Theft’ Law in the 21st Century - NYTimes.com - "From its earliest days, the crime of theft has been understood to involve the misappropriation of things real and tangible... The problem is that most people simply don’t buy the claim that illegally downloading a song or video from the Internet really is like stealing a car. According to a range of empirical studies, including one conducted by me and my social psychologist collaborator, Matthew Kugler, lay observers draw a sharp moral distinction between file sharing and genuine theft, even when the value of the property is the same... criminal law is least effective — and least legitimate — when it is at odds with widely held moral intuitions... We would do better to consider a range of legal concepts that fit the problem more appropriately: concepts like unauthorized use, trespass, conversion and misappropriation"

Indonesian Syariah stronghold 'rehabilitates' punks - ""Why did they arrest us? They haven't given us any reason," said Fauzal, 20. "We didn't steal anything, we weren't bothering anyone. It's our right to go to a concert." A 22-year-old man from Medan city, who did not want to be named, said he feared he would lose his job for staying at the camp for 10 days. "I've just started with a bank in Medan. I don't even know what to tell them because I don't know why I've been arrested." Police said the objective was to deter the youths from "deviant" behaviour. " "They never showered, they lived on the street, never performed religious prayers," Aceh police chief Iskandar Hasan told AFP. "We need to fix them so that they will behave properly and morally. They need harsh treatment to change their mental behaviour"... Aceh, on the northernmost tip of Sumatra island, adopted partial syariah law in 2001 as part of a special autonomy package aimed at quelling separatist sentiment. Only Muslims can be charged under Syariah law, although the non-Muslim community is expected to follow some laws out of respect."

U.S. scholar inspires president to end conscription - "Zue told him that Taiwan's compulsory military service makes college graduates forget what they learned in school and keeps them out of touch with the latest technological advances in their disciplines"

Teachers Don’t Like Creative Students - "'creative people tend to have traits that some have referred to as obnoxious (Torrance, 1963). Torrance (1963) described creative people as not having the time to be courteous, as refusing to take no for an answer, and as being negativistic and critical of others'... although teachers say that they like creative students, teachers also say creative students are “sincere, responsible, good-natured and reliable.” In other words, the teachers don’t know what creative students are actually like"

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

One reason gay guys are bitchy

"School is learning things you don't want to know, surrounded by people you wish you didn't know, while working toward a future you don't know will ever come." - Dave Kellett


"Many gay men rejected manly activities for such womanly pursuits as fashion, gossip, and culture, especially opera and theater (Karlen 1971; Hooker 1956; Altman 1982, 154). Other feminine practices entailed bitchy humor (Read 1980, 105—8), “drag” balls and shows (Newton 1972; Cory 1951: 129—34), old movies (Dyer 1977), and celebrity worship (Tipmore 1975)...

In our culture, the conversational style known as "dishing" was regarded as appropriate for women (Richardson 1981). This style included bitchy retorts, vicious putdowns, and malicious gossip. Far earlier in the century, closet homosexuals adopted this style as a means of articulating their feminine identification; it was especially characteristic of homosexuals in the theatre of entertainment industry... They dubbed it "fag talk" or "chit chat"... Again, clones transformed and modified dish, just as they embraced and appropriated it"

--- Gay Macho: The Life and Death of the Homosexual Clone / Martin Levine, Michael Kimmel

Book description: "Before gay liberation, gay men were usually perceived as failed men--"inverts," men trapped in women's bodies. The 1970s saw a radical shift in gay male culture, as a male homosexuality emerged that embraced a more traditional masculine ethos. The gay clone, a muscle-bound, sexually free, hard-living Marlboro man, appeared in the gay enclaves of major cities, changing forever the face of gay male culture.

Gay Macho presents the ethnography of this homosexual clone. Martin P. Levine, a pioneer of the sociological study of homosexuality, was among the first social scientists to map the emergence of a gay community and this new style of gay masculinity. Levine was a participant in as well as an observer of gay culture in the 1970s, and this perspective allowed him to capture the true flavor of what it was like to be a gay man before AIDS. Levine's clone was a gender conformist, whose masculinity was demonstrated in patterns of social interaction and especially in his sexuality. According to Levine, his life centered around the "four D's: disco, drugs, dish, and dick.""

Related link:

Sexual Orientation and Personality

"Self-ascribed masculinity-femininity (Self-M-F) and gender-related interests showed the largest heterosexual-homosexual differences (respective ds = .60 and 1.28 for men, and -1.28 and -1.46 for women) and the largest sex differences (respective ds = 2.83 and 2.65). Instrumentality and expressiveness showed much smaller heterosexual-homosexual and sex differences. Big Five traits showed a number of small-to-moderate heterosexual- homosexual and sex differences. Bisexual men were much more like gay men than like heterosexual men in their Self-M-F and gender-related interests, whereas bisexual women were intermediate between lesbian and heterosexual women. Homosexual participants were more variable on some gender-related traits than same-sex heterosexuals were. The gender inversion hypothesis--that gay men's traits tend to be somewhat feminized and that lesbians' traits tend to be somewhat masculinized--received considerable support"

Sunday, September 02, 2012

National Education lesson: Fifth Columns

"A lie told often enough becomes the truth." - Lenin


According to the COMBINED HUMANITIES O LEVEL SOCIAL STUDIES SYLLABUS (2012) (Paper 2192), we must "learn from the experiences of other countries to build and sustain a politically viable, socially cohesive and economically vibrant Singapore".

We learn this as we "study the past through varied socio-cultural perspectives over time and space, and understand its relevance to the present through lessons learnt"

Unfortunately, I (and others of my generation) were unable to benefit from Social Studies in our time in school. To remedy this, I have been studying National Education on my own and have shared the lessons I have learnt on my blog for the edification of all.

Previously, we have learnt many National Education lessons:

- One always has to be critical about what one learns in school, as it might be designed to impart political ideologies
- Venice declined because it abused its position
- Singapore should ban football
- Ultra-nationalism and indoctrination in school leads to an aggressive foreign policy and ruinous wars

We also learnt many other lessons from the NKF scandal.

Recently I came across another historical tidbit, dating back to 1211 and the Mongol Invasion of China:

"While the main force of the Chin army was concentrated around the capital facing north, 120 miles further west Genghis and the main body of the Mongol army had crossed the Great Wall without firing a shot. This section of the wall was guarded not by Chinese troops, but by Onguts, ethnic relatives to the Mongols whom the Mongol intelligence service had cultivated for years as possible allies. Faced with the choice of remaining loyal to the Chin and having to do battle with a huge Mongol army or going over to the Mongols, the Onguts changed sides and allowed the Mongols to pass through the western battlements unhindered. Farther to the east, Subotai broke contact, pull back from the wall, and disappeared.

The Chinese generals had been caught badly out of position... Attacked from four directions, the huge Chin army was annihilated at the battle of Shansi. The entire province lay open before the Mongols"

--- Genghis Khan's Greatest General: Subotai the Valiant / Richard A. Gabriel

So the lesson we learn from this historical episode is to be careful who we trust: ethnic minorities could betray us at a critical moment.

(If you don't get that, read the first National Education lesson in the list above again)
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