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Saturday, November 02, 2013

Stoning adulterers = Moderate Islam?

Description: "When Muslim organizations invite Shaykhs who speak openly about the values of Islam, the Islamophobic western media starts murdering the character of that organization and the invited speaker. The question these Islamophobic journalists need to reflect upon is; are these so called ''radical'' views that they criticize endorsed only by these few individuals being invited around the globe, or does the common Muslims believe in them. If the common Muslims believe in these values that means that more or less all Muslims are radical and that Islam is a radical religion. Since this is not the case, as Islam is a peaceful religion and so are the masses of common Muslims, these Shaykhs cannot be radical. Rather it is Islamophobia from the ignorant western media who is more concerned about making money by alienating Islam by presenting Muslims in this way. Islam Net, an organization in Norway, invited 9 speakers to Peace Conference Scandinavia 2013. These speakers would most likely be labelled as ''extremists'' if the media were to write about the conference. But how come this conference was the largest Islamic Scandinavian International event that has taken place in Norway with about 4000 people attending? Were the majority of those who attended in opposition to what the speakers were preaching? If so, how come they paid to enter? Let's forget about that for a moment, let's imagine that we don't really knew what all these people thought about for example segregation of men and women, or stoning to death of those who commit adultery. The Chairman of Islam Net, Fahad Ullah Qureshi asked the audience, and the answer was clear. The attendees were common Sunni Muslims. They did not consider themselves as radicals or extremists. They believed that segregation was the right thing to do, both men and women agreed upon this. They even supported stoning or whatever punishment Islam or prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) commanded for adultery or any other crime. They even believed that these practises should be implemented around the world. Now what does that tell us? Either all Muslims and Islam is radical, or the media is Islamophobic and racist in their presentation of Islam. Islam is not radical, nor is Muslims in general radical. That means that the media is the reason for the hatred against Muslims, which is spreading among the non-Muslims in western countries."

So it seems Moderate Muslims believe in sex segregation, stoning for adultery and the death penalty for homosexuals (and other aspects of Shariah law, including the parts with the death penalty), and calling such Muslims extremist is Islamophobic. Apparently Islam Net flies in imams to talk about why men should be able to beat their wives.

Does this mean that MUIS is crypto-islamophobic?

Also this might be a Norwegian event (held by Islam Net, allegedly the largest Muslim organisation in Norway), but the panel is in English.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Officer: Soldier, do you have change for a dollar?
Soldier: Sure, buddy.
Officer: That's no way to address an officer!
Now let's try it again!
Officer: Soldier. Do you have change for a dollar?
Soldier: No, SIR!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No Boy Left Behind?

No Boy Left Behind?
Source: TopMastersInEducation.com
(Click on image for infographic)

"More boys are enrolled in kindergarten than girls, but fewer boys will graduate from high school. What happens in the years between to keep boys from being successful in school? Are our boys failing -- or are we failing our boys?

Picturing the Problem

In the beginning of life, boys and girls start out on mostly even footing. But not long after that, things begin to change.

For every 100 females ...

... 105 males are born

who are enrolled in kindergarten
... 107 males are enrolled

who repeat kindergarten
... 194 males repeat

who are suspended from public schools
... 215 males are suspended

who are diagnosed with a learning disability
... 276 males are diagnosed

who graduate from high school
... 96 males graduate

who are enrolled in college
... 78 males are enrolled

who have a master's degree
... 66 males have the same degree

* The picture is even worse when looking at only low-income and minority boys and men.

Why Is This Happening?

While the causes of boys' perceived underachievement in schools are no doubt myriad and complex, researchers and educators have pointed to a few key factors that are likely playing a role.

Zero-tolerance policies

Any violence or threats of violence or in many schools, simply talking about violence, earns most students a suspension. Boys are far more likely to be the perpetrators and victims of violence.

Of high school-age boys ...

40.7% engage in fighting

25.9% regularly carry weapons (whether to school or not)

Dearth of male teachers

Boys regularly encounter only female educators, meaning they spend the bulk of their days with people they may find it difficult to relate to.

Public school teachers

76% female

24% male

Natural differences in male and female development

Girls develop faster.

6 months earlier

The average girl is potty trained

2 years earlier

The average girl reaches puberty

Teaching to the test

With school certifications and teacher salaries tied to student achievement, the focus for many public schools isn't necessarily a broad, well-rounded education -- it's making sure their students can past a battery of standardized tests. This means there's little room for error.

Why There's Hope

Once boys reach a certain age, the natural differences between boys and girls begin to evaporate, as males catch up to females developmentally, and in some cases, surpass them.

Boys regularly outperform girls in science, technology and math.

These two students probably have the same ability to understand math and geometry:

12-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy

Mean IQ levels

Age 7

Girls: 100.6

Boys: 99.4

Age 11

Girls: 100.4

Boys: 99.6

Age 16

Girls: 99.2

Boys: 100.8

What Schools Can Do to Engage Boys

Keeping boys engaged in school and learning is vital to keeping them from dropping out -- or simply tuning out. Here are ways to hold boys' attention in the classroom:

  • Provide lessons that result in an end product (a booklet, comic strip or a model)
  • Structure lessons as competitive games
  • Require motor activity
  • Allow boys to address open questions or unsolved problems
  • Encourage a combination of competition and teamwork
  • Craft lessons that focus on independent discovery and realization"

Sex, Money, Lies and Punishment

Sex, Money, Lies and Punishment

"The timeline of the sexual milestones in a law-abiding young person’s life in Singapore could, therefore, be conceivably presented as follows:


Permissible Activity


Engage in consensual sex without remuneration


Engage and pay for the services of a sex worker


Become a sex worker and engage in consensual sex for remuneration


Watch a film containing explicit depictions of sexual intercourse

As shown in the timeline above, a person may lawfully work as a prostitute for three years before being legally permitted to watch a film containing explicit depictions of sexual intercourse. This exposes a major paradox in public policy. This article is primarily concerned (as are the over 50 men referred to above) with the differing ages at which commercial sex and non-commercial sex become legally permissible, in the context of a legal regime where prostitution is legal...

It appears that the maturity of an 18-year-old is required to conduct a holistic assessment of the benefits and disbenefits of engaging in sex for money. At the same time, this policy recognises the autonomy of adults to make the decision to enter the world’s oldest profession and of persons over 16 years of age to buy sexual services from strangers. Without making any value judgement on this policy, this reasoning can certainly be said to be entirely plausible.

This reasoning starts to break down when the full force of the law is applied to those whose sex workers lie to them about their age by holding themselves out to be 18 years or older when in fact they are under the age of 18...

Almost all the men who have been prosecuted to date in the ongoing series of prosecutions referred to previously claimed that they had no idea that the sex worker they engaged was under 18. Many of them asked the sex worker for her age and she assured them that she was 18-years-old. Some apparently even asked for ID but were refused. All of these men were convicted and given a custodial sentence despite never having intended to have commercial sex with a person under 18 years of age. Herein lies the great paradox of public policy. Here we have a legal regime that allows people to pay others for sexual services on the one hand but punishes them for doing so if, in doing so, through no fault of their own and despite their best efforts, they inadvertently engage the sexual services of a person under 18 years of age. The message this sends to the general public is that there is no safe way to engage the services of a sex worker without exposing oneself to criminal liability. This is a most unsatisfactory conclusion with regard to an activity which, strictly speaking, in the eyes of the law, is as innocuous as flying a kite or walking a dog.

The Courts’ response to this legislative dichotomy has been to issue judgements that betray an implicit disapproval of the buying of sexual services generally, without regard for its legality, and to suggest that each of the men convicted of inadvertently engaging an underage sex worker was the author of his own misfortune for having the audacity to seek out legitimate commercial sex in the first place.

He chose to use the services of a commercial sex worker. He chose to take the risk that she may well be below 18 years of age. He chose to be reckless and therefore must bear the consequences.

With respect, the legislative dichotomy referred to above seems to have, quite understandably, created confusion in the Courts on the legal legitimacy of commercial sex in Singapore generally. In various other jurisdictions, debate has raged on whether prostitution should be legal. In jurisdictions where prostitution is illegal, the main argument for decriminalisation is removing the socially damaging impact of criminal gangs and human traffickers from the sector and the benefits that regulation can bring to public health, public safety and the protection of vulnerable minors. The debate on whether to criminalise prostitution has been conspicuously absent in Singapore, from which one would have to presume that there is no public support for the idea. However, also absent is the most significant justification for decriminalising commercial sex: full regulation.

Although there is some regulation of the sex industry in Singapore, this has yet to result in the benefits one would expect. Singapore has, for the last few years, been ranked by the US State Department as a Tier 2 trafficking destination... some minors continue to be exploited in the sex industry despite the inclusion of ss.376B and 377D to the Penal Code. The latter is due to a combination of factors, but one of those factors is the Government’s “farming out” of its regulatory responsibilities to the general public.

If a person wishes to purchase cigarettes or see an R21 movie, he is required to produce on demand an identification card proving that he is old enough. If he produces a forged identification card which claims that he is old enough, the merchant selling the cigarettes or screening the movie is absolved from all liability. There is no equivalent of s 377D for these industries that would deny these merchants recourse to the defence of mistake. In fact, in the case of the sale of tobacco, the defence of reasonable mistake as to age is explicitly provided for in legislation. Persons selling these goods and services have to be licenced by the Health Sciences Authority and Media Development Authority respectively. The Government sees potential risks to the health and welfare of minors in these sectors and, therefore, regulates their access to them but ultimately does not penalise merchants who are duped by unscrupulous minors.

Sex workers are not licenced per se. They are not legally required to produce identification to their customers on demand. Although sex workers are issued permits to ply their trade by the police, there is no legal requirement for them to produce these permits to customers on demand and no legal consequences for them if they refuse to do so. Nor are there any consequences for them should they provide paid sexual services after lying and explicitly claiming to be over 18 years of age when they are not. This is in stark contrast to the law relating to minors’ purchase of cigarettes. Any person under 18 years of age who purchases, uses or has in his possession a tobacco product is guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine of up to $300. Only in the sex industry is the party who is deceived, after making reasonable enquiries as to age, guilty of an offence, with the deceiving party remaining innocent.

The untenable position that the law has created is that all of the responsibility for ensuring that a sex worker is old enough to be a legal sex worker lies with the customer who, unlike a statutory licencing authority, has no statutory powers to demand proof of age in order to allow the sex worker to engage in her occupation. To say that a customer has the power to simply refuse to engage a sex worker who cannot produce ID fails to acknowledge that: (i) for obvious reasons, it is common practice for all sex workers to refuse to provide ID; and (ii) that refusal to engage a sex worker who cannot produce ID does nothing to protect underage sex workers from being exploited by actual paedophiles, which is the purported parliamentary intent behind ss 376B and 377D.

The existence of absolute liability in these circumstances muddies the already murky waters of public policy on commercial sex and creates an inherent paradox in the law that can only be resolved by changing the law in one of two ways:

1. Criminalise prostitution: If the public policy on this issue is that prostitution is just bad and not in the public interest, then the only way to express this through legislation is to ban it outright on pain of criminal conviction, whether of the sex worker, customer, brothel owner or some combination of these; or

2. Fully regulate prostitution: If the public policy on prostitution is that it is acceptable because its potential adverse effects on public health, the safety of children and law and order can be properly managed, then the only sensible way to express this through legislation is to create a comprehensive and transparent regulatory regime that clearly defines and enforces what is acceptable and what is not. To do this properly, a statutory board should be established to regulate and licence the sex industry, as has been done in other jurisdictions. All sex workers should be licenced by this statutory board, who would have the responsibility of ensuring that every licensee was over 18, free of venereal disease and entering the sex industry of her own free will. This board would issue a permit which would include a passport photograph and date of birth to each sex worker who would then be required to carry it and produce it upon demand to customers. Customers should be required to demand its production before engaging a sex worker. Having sight of a plausibly forged permit would be a complete defence to any charge of engaging an underage sex worker. Implementing such a regime would not place a financial burden on the state that would be significantly more onerous than the regulation of taxi drivers and doing so could lead to the creation of an environment where the exploitation of child sex workers becomes highly impracticable. In formulating such a regulatory regime, we should draw upon the experience of other developed countries where prostitution is licenced...

Where the accused asked for the sex worker’s age, he was given some credit, particularly if he asked for identification. However, where the accused relied on written representations of the sex worker’s age in advertising material, he was chastised for not making further enquiries, regardless of their futility. For the reasons outlined earlier in this article, an accused person’s lack of knowledge of a sex worker’s underage status should be a complete defence but as this is not the case, it makes sense for it to be a mitigating factor. However, the Courts have insisted on delving into this lack of knowledge to a level of granularity that attaches importance to the number and nature of inquiries made by the accused as to the sex worker’s age. This unfortunately ignores the fact that a sex worker will never produce identification with her name on it as well as the fact that if sex workers and pimps are untruthful in advertising material, they are unlikely to develop a conscience and become truthful when questioned in person. Accordingly, this factor has little bearing on the likelihood that children will be protected from a life of prostitution.

Although not mentioned in the leading High Court authority of Tan Chye Hin v Public Prosecutor, an aggravating factor that the District Court has applied in sentencing is the existence of a wide age gap between the accused and the sex worker. The rationale for this is not immediately obvious. Perhaps it represents a misapplication of the approach taken in non-commercial underage sex cases where both consenting parties are relatively young and about the same age and the assumption is that the sex took place in the context of a juvenile relationship. Under these circumstances, both parties are regarded, to some extent as victims of their own immaturity, and sentences are usually minimal if there is any prosecution at all. However, this cannot be said to be the case in the context of prostitution where there is no suggestion of the existence of a relationship. Surely in the context of a commercial transaction of money for sex, the age of the client cannot be a relevant factor in whether or to what extent the transaction itself is wrongful. Nevertheless, this seems to be the approach taken by the legislature by making ignorance of the sex worker’s age a complete defence for accused persons under 21. The Courts seem to have extended this approach by allowing an accused person’s relative youth to operate as a mitigating factor in itself and accused persons in their mid-twenties have received slightly lower sentences as a result...

The State has taken an unusually hostile stance towards customers of sex workers by stripping them of all defences notwithstanding that they have been victims of deceit. Ultimately, only the state possesses the coercive power and the moral authority to regulate prostitution. Instead, it has chosen to push this obligation onto unsuspecting individual consumers. The current law as outlined above, reflects an inert political compromise between pragmatic considerations regarding the inevitability of prostitution in one form or another, and the preservation of conservative values in society. This has been achieved by enshrining in law a tacit disapproval of commercial sex generally without an accompanying strong public effort to properly gate-keep entry to the sex industry by children. This mere disapproval is as cold a comfort to underage sex workers as it is to members of the public who have served prison sentences for having been deceived by them. They are both victims of a legal framework that, in trying to achieve the important objective of protecting children, has instead focused on deterring legitimate consumers from participating in the sex industry at all in order to avoid the hard work and responsibility inherent in properly regulating it."

Addendum: I would add that for cases where there is no payment, a reasonable mistake is still not a defence if she is under 16.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Me destroying a Sandcastle at East Coast

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Links - 27th October 2013

Caring About Connections: Gender and Computing - "While most of the male students describe an early and persistent magnetic attraction between themselves and computers, women much more frequently link their computer science interest to a larger societal framework. Nearly half of the women we’ve interviewed attach their interest in computer science to other arenas, such as medicine, education, space exploration and the arts. For many of these women, while interest in computing is strong, they are concerned that their study of computer science not require a myopic focus on the machine, or detach them from people and other concerns"
A more important reason than discrimination why there're fewer women in computing

Man Shot in Quarrel Over Kant's Philosophy - "Many Russians like to discuss philosophy and history, often over a drink, but such discussions rarely end in shootings."
By Singaporeans logic, we should criminalise philosophical discussions

What Arranged Marriages Taught Me About Love - "I remember the first time I found out that one of my friends had an arranged marriage... I was stunned. I had spoken to them many times before, and always noticed how much they seemed to enjoy one another's company. In fact, if someone had asked me to name the married couples I knew who seemed most in love, they would have been near the top of the list... they saw a marriage as being about so much more than the bride and groom alone... They hoped for the same exciting feelings that American culture calls "love," but they didn't see those emotions as definitive of the concept. They saw love as an action, one that's rooted in mutual self-giving and self-sacrifice"

rediff.com :'Arranged marriages can teach us a great deal' - "Secret # 1, she notes, is that your husband doesn't have to be your best friend. "That is why you've had a best girl friend, all along," she says. Another secret for a successful relationship: It doesn't matter if he doesn't dance. "Common interests are less important than shared values,' she asserts. And remember, she says, sexual chemistry is not always organic. "Attraction can be created," she adds, "if you know how to unlock your passion"... as a society when it comes to love, we rarely think ahead. As a general rule, we are not trained to think about how feelings will change or evolve three or 30 years into the future. We are not taught to consider what we might expect and want from our partners and relationships, after the initial flush of infatuation wears away or as we age or have children. This is one of the reasons that arranged marriages are such a valuable model: they have evolved specifically with these questions and concerns in mind... Women in arranged marriages have a real understanding of the idea that husbands are life partners and not lifesavers... if we're in a relationship, we become resentful when our real life partners can't live up to the fantasy man in our head!"

Are Pickup Artists Contributing to Rape Culture? - "Much of the language around surrounds the idea that women put up “token resistance,” encouraging PUAs to not take resistance and requests to stop seriously"
Here's a better headline: "Are women contributing to rape culture?"

Why Some Women Consent to Unwanted Sex With a Dating Partner: Insights from Attachment Theory - "anxiously attached women were the most willing to consent to unwanted sex, and they often cited fears that their partner would lose interest in them as reasons for their compliance. Contrary to hypotheses, avoidantly attached women were not the least willing to consent to unwanted sex. They often reported passively complying with a partner's sexual request in order to fulfill relationship obligations"

Roman gladiators were fat vegetarians - 05/04/2004 - ""Tests performed on bits of bone taken from the skeletons of some 70 gladiators buried at Ephesus seem to prove that they ate mainly barley, beans and dried fruit," said Dr Karl Grossschmidt, who took part in the study by the Austrian Archaeological Institute. "This diet, which has been mentioned in the oral history, is rather sad but it gave the gladiators a lot of strength even if it made them fat," said Grossschmidt who is a member of the University of Vienna's Institute of Histology and Embryology... A balanced diet of meat and vegetables leaves equal amounts of zinc and strontium in the cells, while a mainly vegetarian diet would leave high levels of strontium and little zinc, Grossschmidt said... "The bone density is particularly high in samples taken from the feet, which would suggest that the gladiators fought with their bare feet in sand," Kanz said. He believed that because some gladiators fought with little more than their bare hands, they could have "cultivated layers of fat to protect their vital organs from the cutting blows of their opponents""

Mixed marriages in China a labour of love - ""From the first time I started to love a Chinese man, hiding became part of my life," says American Jocelyn Eickenburg. She had moved to Shanghai in 2003 to be with her now-husband Jun Yu. "In the past, students had been expelled for dating or marrying foreigners. We didn't know what would happen if the university administration found out, so we told no-one he was living off-campus with me," she says. A foreign woman with a Chinese man is a rare pairing. Within her small expat community the social isolation was almost immediate. She felt alienated by her girlfriends, who would openly express their distaste for Chinese men... Jun's parents married in 1971 during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution (1966-76), when China was closed to the world. It was a time when public displays of affection were punished and any discussion of sex was considered Western spiritual pollution... "For me to date and marry a Western woman was rebellious in a sense," says Jun, recalling that his father had cautioned him that foreigners could be friends but never lovers or wives... Jun is known as "the legend" amongst his peers as they generally regard having a Western wife as a "status symbol", he says. But when it comes to cross-cultural marriage, far more Chinese women date or marry Western men than the other way around. One of China's most famous scholars of sex, Li Yinhe, says one possibility is that Chinese men lack confidence. Mr Burger agrees saying: "Men are engrained with a cultural imprint and are brought up to believe that they are the head of the household, they have the power. "It is very intimidating approaching a Western woman, who has a perceived higher level of education, more money or earning power, and greater sexual experience"... "In the West, Asian women are portrayed as exotic beauties; a librarian in public but kinky in the bedroom. In China, the Western fantasy meets reality"... in general Chinese women have become far more aggressive when it comes to dating, something she attributes to social pressure and the fear of being labelled a "left-over woman" at 27... The West captured the imagination of Yong Zhi as a young girl growing up in Beijing. She "dreamed of travelling abroad". An "addiction" to Western novels inspired her to study English Literature at the prestigious Jilin University in north-east China... Yong met her husband David within two months of arriving in the UK to study at the University of Liverpool. She is celebrating 16 years of marriage. She says she knows of educated, good-looking women who go to certain bars in the hope of meeting a Western man to marry. "They have an image in their head and want to live 'the dream'.""

2 in 5 S'pore workers asked to do things unrelated to job scope - "21 per cent of respondents said the requests were downright absurd... Men are more likely than women to report taking on tasks outside their job description. Workers from SME companies indicted the highest incidences of non-work-related requests. Bosses in the construction industry are more likely to ask their subordinates to run personal errands. This is followed by manufacturing and services industries...
'Worker was asked to dress up as batman for a meeting with a client'
'Worker was asked to find a girlfriend for his boss's son'
'Worker was asked by her boss to find a dog that does not bark'
'Female worker was asked to go on a date with the boss's son'
'Worker was asked to book a hotel room using his own name and credit card then lie to the boss's wife when she called the office'"yo

Darius Cheung's answer to Singapore: Why is Ayer Rajah Expressway abbreviated to AYE (instead of ARE)? - Quora - "So I actually asked Land Transport Authority, not expecting them to entertain such a Bo Liao (frivolous) question. It's good to know someone in the government actually has a sense of humour too."

Speed cameras blamed for rise in number of women fined - "The number of women drivers convicted of speeding has risen steeply, possibly because speed cameras are not as lenient as some male police officers. Convictions of women are up by almost a quarter over the past five years, while successful prosecutions against men have dropped by 14%"
This is called "male privilege"

New Black Panthers Move Next to Whites-Only Town - The Daily Currant

Financial Pundit Explains How the Bible Helps Him Invest - "Sean uses the teachings of King Solomon, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostle Paul to show how anyone can get out of debt . . . make sound investments . . . and morally build substantial wealth."

Obama Unveils New American Flag - The Daily Currant - "The brand new American flag features a green and red color scheme, meant to symbolize Islam and Socialism, respectively. The red portion sports a Soviet hammer and sickle and six French fleur-de-lys, representing the six "important states" of California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Hawaii. The green section features the phrase "People's Republic of America'" written in Arabic. Just above the script is a marijuana leaf celebrating America's drug culture."

Police: Pa. woman cited nonexistent twin in theft

Vivienne Chen: So, He Likes You Because You're Asian - "Long before the White Man set foot in China, having light skin was a sign of wealth and status, as it meant you didn't spend long hours toiling in the sun. Remember, Asian cultures are the ones that mass market skin-lightening creams, where people often geteyelid surgery to make their eyes bigger, i.e. less Asian. Ever noticed how anime characters are googly-eyed, outrageously buxom/muscular, with wild colored hair -- as in, everything Asian people are normally not? The messy body-image politics of our native cultures, combined with the even messier sexual politics of interracial dating, are constantly conspiring against us Asian American females. The sooner we admit this and treat it with some good humor, the sooner we can stop flipping tables every time our new date has a few too many Asian girls on his Facebook friends list... "To be desired is to be fetishized... this idea that I want someone to desire me but not objectify me with their desires is absurd. It's like saying I only want to date someone who is not attracted to people that look like me.Here's the thing, you already are a fetish. You are your lover's kink, exist within their circle of desire, starting with gender, and getting more specific from there.""
The quote is a good argument against the 'evil' of objectification and objectifying
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