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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Slice of Bolehland

Survey: M’sian women among most unfaithful

"MALAYSIAN women often cheat on their mates, according to a survey that listed them among the most unfaithful lovers in the world.

Some 39% of Malaysian women confessed that they cheated on their partners in the poll which covered 29,000 women in 36 countries, Kosmo! Ahad reported.

The Malaysian women came third behind Ghana (62%) and Thailand (59%) in the worldwide survey carried out by condom producer Durex.

In fourth and fifth place were Russia (33%) and Singapore (19%) respectively.

Among couples cheating on each other, Malaysia trailed behind South Korea and chart-topper Thailand.

The same survey placed men from Singapore and Hong Kong as being the most promiscuous in Asia, with an average of 16 bed partners in their lifetime.

Malaysian men, the survey revealed, have sexual relations with an average of three women on a casual basis.

> Returning to his home state to celebrate Hari Raya, Khairul Azhar Ismail was shocked when he was asked to pay RM1.80 for a plain piece of roti canai at a restaurant in Kuala Terengganu.

“This is unreasonable,” the dissatisfied customer, who works at the National Heart Institute in Kuala Lumpur, told Sinar Harian.

He added that he normally paid about RM1 for a piece of the snack.

Khairul Azhar said he initially thought that he had been wrongly billed but realised that it was not a mistake when he saw the price scribbled on the restaurant menu board.

However, he said, the place was crowded and he could not question the busy cashier at that time.

He intends to lodge a report with the Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Ministry."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Links - 27th January 2015

Pico Rivera, tattoo: Gang member's tattoo of a liquor store slaying leads to his conviction - "Inked on the pudgy chest of a young Pico Rivera gangster who had been picked up and released on a minor offense was the scene of a 2004 liquor store slaying that had stumped Lloyd for more than four years. Each key detail was right there: the Christmas lights that lined the roof of the liquor store where 23-year-old John Juarez was gunned down, the direction his body fell, the bowed street lamp across the way and the street sign — all under the chilling banner of RIVERA KILLS, a reference to the gang Rivera-13. As if to seal the deal, below the collarbone of the gang member known by the alias "Chopper" was a miniature helicopter raining down bullets on the scene... Investigators don't believe Garcia's elaborate tattoo was a rash decision. Photos from several bookings over the years show the mural on his chest evolving as he added details to the tattooed murder scene — until one day Lloyd saw them as a whole and something clicked."

True purpose of scholarships - Forum Letters Premium News - The Straits Times - "A scholarship programme is not about the recipients, their careers, their earnings or their ever-changing interests; it is about the maximisation of our national intellectual capital for the benefit of society."
Comment: "If this is true: it is puzzling that a system which treats 18-year-old students not as individuals but simply "intellectual capital" to be maximised can claim any sort of moral high ground.
Furthermore, individuals have morals; capital does not. If Dr. Lee Hock Seng wishes to deny that scholarship holders are individuals, he cannot also demand that they adhere to moral standards. Let me disabuse Dr. Lee of the notion that he can have his cake and eat it too"

Muhammad Depiction After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre: Draw or Not? - "When did 'Mass Murder is wrong, but, you know...' become an argument, and why is it not applied elsewhere?
'The school shooting was wrong, but he was bullied in gym class.'
'It was wrong, but he didn't have a prom date.'
'It was wrong, but his father was an alcoholic.'
'It was wrong, but his classmates provoked him.''"

Why would anyone want an eyeball tattoo? - "if our eyes really are the window to our soul what else might a tattooed eyeball say about its owner? The man who first experimented with injecting ink into an eyeball is a US tattoo artist who goes by the name of Luna Cobra. Far from wanting to look evil, the original goal was to look like the blue-eyed characters from the cult science fiction film, Dune."

Kenneth Carvalho's answer to What are some funny stories that are not evil or even unpleasant about the war criminals in WWII like Hitler and Hideki? - Quora - "The Battle of Castle Itter was a bizarre battle in which Austrian Wehrmacht troops along with US infantry attempted to protect high profile French prisoners of war from being extradited by a local fanatical SS squadron which probably would have murdered them. What made this so unique was that local Americans en route to the castle themselves were approached and recruited by the Wehrmacht officer and convinced to help hold the line alongside his handful of men. Both nations managed to holdout and repel the siege for over six hours scattering the 17th SS division right into the maw of the 103 Infantry. What makes this more amusing is this is the only time in history Americans can claim to have participated in the siege defense of a medieval castle."

As a Muslim, I’m fed up with the hypocrisy of the free speech fundamentalists
Comment: "mehdi discussing how non muslims live their lives like animals, please enjoy the double standards"

Professional Cuddlers Embrace More Clients - WSJ - "“I am a convert,” says Melissa Duclos-Yourdon, 35, a freelance writer and editor in Vancouver, Wash. She originally hired a cuddler after hearing about it from members of her book club, thinking it could provide fodder for an essay. Once cuddled, “I felt transformed,” she says. While snuggling businesses have existed for years, interest is accelerating with newer online apps and meet-up services. Plans are under way for a cuddling convention... Employees wear “professional cuddling outfits” of velour leisure suits. Women have sent husbands and boyfriends to teach them how to cuddle properly. One of Ms. Peterson’s professional cuddlers got so comfortable that the client and the snuggler fell asleep past the alarm notifying them the session had ended"

Islam’s Problem With Blasphemy - NYTimes.com - "Before all that politically motivated expansion and toughening of Shariah, though, the Quran told early Muslims, who routinely faced the mockery of their faith by pagans: “God has told you in the Book that when you hear God’s revelations disbelieved in and mocked at, do not sit with them until they enter into some other discourse; surely then you would be like them.” Just “do not sit with them” — that is the response the Quran suggests for mockery. Not violence. Not even censorship."

Damon Gameau ate a 'healthy' diet for 60 days proving sugar is hidden in many foods - "Gameau said 'all the sugars that I was eating were found in perceived healthy foods.' 'Low fat yoghurts and muesli bars, cereals and fruit juices, sports drinks - these kind of things parents will often give their kids thinking they're doing the right thing,' Gameau told the program. The actor added that aside from the fact that hidden sugars were having an impact on physical health - as he put on 10 centimetres of visceral fat around his waist - there was also a potentially detrimental mental consequence too."

Can Corruption Be Eradicated? - "A certain reliance on foreign largesse was not exactly new to the country. In “Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History” (2010), Thomas Barfield observes that payment to leaders by wealthy outside powers has been a regular feature of Afghanistan’s history since the nineteenth century, and, indeed, that the distribution of these spoils has often constituted “the main glue that held the Afghan state in one piece.” Any highly corrupt society is bound together by a series of interlocking reciprocities: the local policeman who shakes down a passing civilian must in turn pay tribute to his police supervisor, who must pay his supervisor, and so forth; favors or spoils may be distributed in the other direction. The durability of these relationships makes corruption difficult to eradicate, but it may also have the paradoxical virtue of drawing together an otherwise fractious society... Some observers contend that China’s economic boom would not have been possible if the leadership hadn’t tolerated a symbiotic and often corrupt relationship between government and business interests. Beijing has now instituted an anti-corruption campaign that some worry may slow productivity. “In the past, with corruption, you could pay an official and get something done,” a Chinese economist, Mao Yushi, recently said to the Times. “Now the officials won’t accept money, but don’t approve things, either”... Noonan likens corrupt behavior to another human practice that is no less widespread for all the moral and religious opprobrium—sex... captured Taliban prisoners were asked why they joined the insurgency. The leading reason, according to Chayes, “was not ethnic bias, or disrespect of Islam, or concern that U.S. forces might stay in their country.” It was “the perception that the Afghan government was irrevocably corrupt”... Even a hard-nosed realist should regard corruption as a dire concern, she maintains, because it is not merely a matter of the rule of law and democratic principles—it is “a matter of national security.""

Causal Effects of Single-Sex Schools on College Entrance Exams and College Attendance: Random Assignment in Seoul High Schools - "Despite the voluminous literature on the potentials of single-sex schools, there is no consensus on the effects of single-sex schools because of student selection of school types. We exploit a unique feature of schooling in Seoul, the random assignment of students into single-sex versus coeducational high schools, to assess causal effects of single-sex schools on college entrance exam scores and college attendance. Our validation of the random assignment shows comparable socioeconomic backgrounds and prior academic achievement of students attending single-sex schools and coeducational schools, which increases the credibility of our causal estimates of single-sex school effects. Attending all-boys schools or all-girls schools rather than attending coeducational schools is significantly associated with higher average scores on Korean and English test scores. Single-sex schools have a higher percentage of graduates who attended four-year colleges and a lower percentage of graduates who attended two-year junior colleges than coeducational schools. The positive effects of single-sex schools remain substantial, even after taking into account various school-level variables such as teacher quality, the student-teacher ratio, the proportion of students receiving lunch support, and whether the schools are public or private.

Bill Maher: those who protest me “don’t get to wear je suis Charlie buttons.” - "“It reminds me of one of the protest signs I saw in Berkeley last month,” Maher said. “It said, ‘Islamophobia kills.’ Does it? Islamophobia kills? Maybe it’s more the AK-47s and the beheadings and the planes into buildings”...
'Liberals hate bullying, alright—but they’re not opposed to using it. When they casually throw out words like ‘bigot’ and ‘racist’ it does cow people into avoiding this debate. And if you’re doing that, you don’t get to wear the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ button. The button you should wear is "Je suis part of the problem"'...
Maher went on to say that even though he’s not a fan of Rush Limbaugh, “... if you’re one of the people with a website devoted to making him go away you are part of the problem.” Furthermore, if you push for a boycott of Limbaugh, you’re “not even a proper liberal because you don’t get free speech, you’re just a baby who can’t stand to live in a world where you hear things that upset you.”

I Wasn't Treating My Husband Fairly, And It Wasn't Fair - "How does it benefit me to constantly belittle my husband? The man that I've taken as my partner in life. The father of my children. The guy I want to have by my side as I grow old. Why do I do what women are so often accused of, and try to change the way he does every little thing? Do I feel like I'm accomplishing something? Clearly not if I feel I have to keep doing it. Why do I think it's reasonable to expect him to remember everything I want and do it just that way? The instances in which he does something differently, does it mean he's wrong? When did "my way" become "the only way?" When did it become okay to constantly correct him and lecture him and point out every little thing I didn't like as if he were making some kind of mistake?"

British schools drop Holocaust from history lessons so as not to offend Muslims - "A report by Britain’s Department for Education and Skills notes that an increasing number of schools are dropping the teaching of the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim students. The report, titled Teaching Emotive and Controversial History, also observes that many teachers are reluctant to discuss the Crusades because the lessons frequently contradict what is taught in local mosques"

Frightening people into silence

"If one had to sum up Tribune's apparent policy in a single word, the name one would have to coin for it would be anti-Bevinism. The first rule of this "ism" is that when Bevin says or does something, a way must be found of showing that it is wrong, even if it happens to be what Tribune was advocating in the previous week. The second rule is that though Russian policy may be criticised, extenuating circumstances must always be found. The third rule is that when the United States can be insulted, it must be insulted. The effect of framing a policy on these principles is that one cannot even find out what solution Tribune offers'for the specific problems it most discusses...

And what, I wonder, is behind Tribune's persistent anti-Americanism ?... Tribune's anti-Americanism is not sincere but is an attempt to keep in with fashionable opinion. To be anti-American nowadays is to shout with the mob... politico-literary intellectuals are not usually frightened of mass opinion. What they are frightened of is the prevailing opinion within their own group. At any given moment there is always an orthodoxy, a parrot-cry which must be repeated, and in the more active section of the Left the orthodoxy of the moment is anti-Americanism... To speak favourably of America, to recall that the Americans helped us in 1940 when the Russians were supplying the Germans with oil and setting on their Communist Parties to sabotage the war effort, is to be branded as a "reactionary". And I suspect that when Tribune joins in the chorus it is more from fear of this label than from genuine conviction.

Surely, if one is going to write about foreign policy at all, there is one question that should be answered plainly. It is: "If you had to choose between Russia and America, which would you choose?" It will not do to give the usual quibbling answer, "I refuse to choose." In the end the choice may be forced upon us...

[There is a] fashionable minority who can make things unpleasant for a political journalist. These people have a regular technique of smears and ridicule—a whole specialised vocabulary designed to show that anyone who will not repeat the accepted catchwords is a rather laughable kind of lunatic. Mr Zilliacus, for instance, accuses Tribune of being "rabidly anti-Russian" (or "rabidly anti- Communist"—it was one or the other). The key-word here is rabid. Other words used in this context are insensate, demented, "sick with hatred" (the New Republic's phrase) and maniacal. The upshot is that if from time to time you express a mild distaste for slave-labour camps or one-candidate elections, you are either insane or actuated by the worst motives. In the same way, when Henry Wallace is asked by a newspaper interviewer why he issues falsified versions of his speeches to the press, he replies: "So you are one of these people who are clamouring for war with Russia?" It doesn't answer the question, but it would frighten most people into silence. Or there is the milder kind of ridicule that consists in pretending that a reasoned opinion is indistinguishable from an absurd out-of-date prejudice. If you do not like Communism you are a Red-baiter, a believer in Bolshevik atrocities, the nationalisation of women, Moscow Gold, and sp on. Similarly, when Catholicism was almost as fashionable among the English intelligentsia as Communism is now, anyone who said that the Catholic Church was a sinister organisation and no friend to democracy was promptly accused of swallowing the worst follies of the No-Popery organisations, of looking under his bed lest Jesuits should be concealed there, of believing stories about babies' skeletons dug up from the floors of nunneries, and all the rest of it. But a few people stuck to their opinion, and I think it is safe to say that the Catholic Church is less fashionable now than it was then."

--- In Defence of Comrade Zilliacus (Written [October 1947-January? 1948]) / The collected essays, journalism, and letters of George Orwell

Monday, January 26, 2015

A puzzling image


1 photo for River City Inn, uploaded by Raymond Chong C. (whose profile picture is that of Subhas Anandan)

Links - 26th January 2015

Palestinians Celebrate Terror Attack With #IAmAKnife Hashtag - "Today in Tel Aviv, a young, knife-wielding Palestinian stabbed 13 Israelis on a bus, seriously injuring four. In response, some Palestinian social media users are celebrating this attack with the hashtag #JeSuisCouteau—”I am a knife.” Clearly, this is a reference to the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag that became popular following the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris two weeks ago. Along with the hashtag, users are publishing images of bloody knives and calling for more attacks. Another associated hashtag, #ثورة_السكاكين (#TheKnivesRevolution), is quickly growing even more popular than #JeSuisCouteau."

The 24 Most Embarrassing Dungeons & Dragons Character Classes - "21) Pacifist
Well, you can't say this Druid class is a Fighter. In fact, they refuse to fight. This isn't actually a bad character concept… for other role-playing games. But again, 2nd Edition AD&D is a game focused almost entirely about murdering things, so you get more experience points to get more powers to be able to murder more things, and taking their gold so you can get better equipment in order to be more efficient at murdering things. How a Pacifist Druid ever advances past first level is beyond me."

What Muslims Really Believe About Cartoons Of Muhammad - "many historical Muslim rulers in India, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Central Asia actually commissioned artists topaint the story of Muhammad’s life — complete with pictures of Muhammad himself — in centuries past... Shia Muslims, however, are far less troubled by religious images, if at all. Depictions of Muhammad can be found throughout the marketplaces of Iran, for instance, which is a majority-Shia country. In 2010, Omid Safi, the Iranian-American Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at Duke University, penned an op-ed entitled “Why Islam does (not) ban images of the Prophet” in which he described his personal attachment to a picture of Muhammad, which he describes as a kind of family heirloom"

NUS student makes $500 an hour from her $5,000 tail - "Mermaids epitomise grace, beauty, elegance and power. I find that combination inspiring."

Dr Marc's Blog: A Pleasing Music - "in many cultures music is functional rather than enriching. Music intended to ward off spirits, to scare birds at sewing time, to mourn the dead or to accompany a sacred rite was never intended to please the ear, and in many cultures that is the only music which has been created. Audience reactions at “world music” festivals when the functional music of differing cultures is performed, rarely touch on how the sound pleases the ear; “fascinating”, “exciting” and (I regret to say as often as not in my case) “troubling” and “incomprehensible” are the usual responses, and on those occasions where words like “beautiful” and “enchanting” crop up, it is tinged with surprise; as if nobody actually expects world music is to be immediately pleasing to the ears. I know of many cultures in which the struggle for daily existence leaves no room for the idle and time-consuming search for something which merely pleases the ears... I am certain that much of Bach’s music was specifically designed not to please the ear, but to satisfy the intellect and, to a certain extent, confuse the ear into feeling that the music was beyond the full appreciation of ordinary mortal man; appreciated and understood only by God, for whom it was written as an act of homage. Hence the emphasis on complex textures – polyphony and counterpoint – which cannot be properly grasped by any human ear in one sitting. Mozart is frequently proclaimed as the penner of beautiful tunes, audiences sit attentive in concert halls lapping up the gorgeous tunes of Johann Strauss, Berlioz is cited as a composer whose music is lovely to hear and people lap up the soothing tones of John Tavener and Arvo Pärt. But not one of them wrote music simply to please the ears of passive listeners. Mozart was writing for performers, aware that as often as not few people were actually listening to his music. Berlioz had profound and burning ideas to express, and stretched the bounds of what was acceptable in order to express them; more than any other composer before the 20thcentury he deliberately set out not to please the ear but to shock it. Strauss wrote his music to accompany dancing, while the music of both Tavener and Pärt is a manifestation of their deep religious convictions – music intended to express the inconceivable rather than titillate the conceived"

Toddler Fatally Shoots His Mother At Idaho Wal-Mart - "the 2-year-old boy, who was seated in a shopping cart, reached into his mother's handbag, found the loaded gun and shot her"

China: Beijing store 'bans Chinese customers' - "The store is embroiled in a racism row after posting a sign which reads: "Chinese not admitted, except for staff", the official Beijing Youth Daily reports. By way of explanation, one of the shop's employees tells the paper some Chinese customers are "too annoying" and that "Chinese women often try lots of clothes but end up buying nothing." The shop was also forced to pay a foreign customer $5,000 (£3,170) after his wallet was stolen, and surveillance camera footage showed a Chinese customer was responsible, the employee says. But another member of staff suggests the ban is actually to prevent rivals from copying the shop's clothing designs... a legal expert tells the Beijing Youth Daily that while the sign is discriminatory, the shop's owner hasn't broken the law because China doesn't have a legal ban on racial discrimination"

FactCheck: do black Americans commit more crime? - "Over the last three years of data – 2011 to 2013 – 38.5 per cent of people arrested for murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault were black. Clearly, these figures are problematic. We’re talking about arrests not convictions, and high black arrest rates could be taken as evidence that the police are racist. But academics have noted that the proportion of black suspects arrested by the police tends to match closely the proportion of offenders identified as black by victims in the National Crime Victimization Survey. This doesn’t support the idea that the police are unfairly discriminating against the black population when they make arrests."

Prolific lingerie thief uncovered when ceiling gave way under strain of hoard

OECD figures show public benefits more than individuals from tertiary education - "Australia bucks the international trend as one of only five OECD countries where the public profits at a higher rate than the individual. It ranks second out of 29 countries – behind only Britain – for the biggest benefit to the public, while in 24 countries the private rate of return outweighs or equals the public rate. Economist David Richardson from The Australia Institute says the OECD study "demolishes the claim" that higher education benefits individuals more than the public. "The rest of society does get a hell of a lot of benefit out of educated people," Richardson said. He said the OECD's analysis "only includes what governments can tax, which is a fairly narrow definition." For example, the report doesn't quantify the economic benefits of critical thinking skills, deeper civic engagement and better health. He cited a 2001 OECD study that found an additional year of education raised output per capita by an average of 4 to 7 per cent across OECD countries... For every public dollar put towards the cost of higher education, a man repays $6 through higher taxes and reduced unemployment benefits. By contrast, the man himself – who benefits personally from higher earnings and higher chances of employment – gets back only $3.20 for every dollar he pays for the cost of his education."

Psychologists Have Uncovered a Troubling Feature of People Who Seem Nice All the Time - "Those who are described as "agreeable, conscientious personalities" are more likely to follow orders and deliver electric shocks that they believe can harm innocent people, while "more contrarian, less agreeable personalities" are more likely to refuse to hurt others... People who were normally friendly followed orders because they didn't want to upset others, while those who were described as unfriendly stuck up for themselves."

Confucius institute: The hard side of China's soft power - "Last December the Canadian Association of University Teachers called on all universities currently hosting Confucius Institutes to cease doing so. And in June this year the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) made the same call to US universities. Confucius Institutes, the AAUP statement said, "function as an arm of the Chinese state" and "advance a state agenda in the recruitment and control of academic staff, the choice of curriculum, and in the restriction of debate".

Archie D'Cruz's answer to How does Emirates manage to rake in profits from their A380 flights operating to so many destinations? - Quora - "It is cost-efficient. All of the above ties in finally to a critical metric used in the airline industry, Cost per Available Seat Kilometre (CASK)... Emirates has a low CASK compared to major world airlines. Why?
Newer, fuel-efficient aircraft means less is spent on this critical component. (Fuel is 39% of Emirates' cost base).
Lower maintenance costs since the fleet is relatively young.
Lower labour costs than in North America and Europe because Dubai has no income taxes and attracts workers from the Indian subcontinent, the Philippines and other countries where wages are generally low.
Wide-bodied aircraft means more seats available to generate income.
Long-range aircraft means more kilometres flown per passenger. The cost of producing a seat-kilometre falls as average sector length increases since the fixed costs are amortised over more seat-kms and variable costs such as fuel are more efficiently consumed in longer flights.
Lower taxes than what North American/European airlines must pay."

Ayn Rand Reviews Children’s Movies - "“Mary Poppins”
A woman takes a job with a wealthy family without asking for money in exchange for her services. An absurd premise. Later, her employer leaves a lucrative career in banking in order to play a children’s game. —No stars."

Of $5.4 billion pledged for Gaza, only a fraction delivered - ""The Arab countries haven't paid anything until now," Mufeed al-Hasayna, the Palestinian housing minister, said this month. "The Europeans just a few millions, maybe something from the Swedes." It was not clear what happened to promises of $200 million from each of Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. In part, officials said, the problem is that it always takes time for donors to follow through on their commitments."
Muslim solidarity!

False Dichotomies in Singaporean Politics

莫丽蜜 - Age-old PAP logic: If the people complain about X being...

"Age-old PAP logic: If the people complain about X being excessive/done excessively, they want none of X at all.

If the people complain about immigration policies, they want absolutely no immigration.

If the people complain about free speech being curtailed, they want absolutely no limits to free speech.

If the people complain about things being too expensive, they want everything to be free.

If the people complain about fare hikes, they want absolutely no hikes ever.

Based on such a stupid assumption, of course the people are being insensible and unreasonable while the PAP is always fair and moderate."

A: In economics, we will say this logic does not understand what is "thinking at the margin".

One more thing, "If people complain about conscription, they want no army at all".

B: PAP always complains about Singaporeans. They want absolutely no Singaporeans

Sunday, January 25, 2015

If I were An Artist


The sexual act, successfully performed, was rebellion. Desire was thoughtcrime. - 1984, George Orwell

If I were an artist my politics would be desire, because intimacy and interiority are the last frontiers of the impossible romance with revolution in our here and now.

I’d run a live webcam feed wanking off to the archival video of L.K.Y's separation speech. When he cries on cam, aggrieved by Tungku Abdul Rahman's eviction of Singapore, I'll come.

I’d sculpt Raffles naked, smooth and pristine like Michelangelo's David, but give him a bigger penis, decolonial aesthetics.

I’d do anthropological fieldwork to confirm that Sang Nila Utama was circumcised, if he had multiple wives as befits a king, and did they lie around naked in a harem in tiger skins. Then I'll make a Haram Harem diorama based on my findings.

I’d play Sun Ho's gospel pop album backwards, record it, press it on limited edition vinyl and market it as death metal. I'll donate all the proceeds to the National Kidney Foundation after I personally check and audit that there are no more gold taps in there.

I’d kit myself out in full dominatrix gear-black leather corset, garters, wristlets, choker, whip-and saunter into Lawrence Khong‘s church singing off-key into a wireless mic GOOD GIRLS GO TO HEAVEN BUT BAD GIRLS GO EVERYWHERE. My armpits will exhibit luxuriant dark hair, which I’d have grown out for three months especially for the pastor with the shaved pits.

I’d pull an Annabel Chong: not with 251 men, but 252 women.

Fiction Writer, Author of "Ministry of Moral Panic"

(From: Singapore Art Week Supplement)

Links - 25th January 2015

We must stop blaming ourselves for Islamist terror - "Jihadists kill because that is what they do. It does not matter if you are a French cartoonist or a Yezidi child, or an aid worker or journalist: if you are not one of the chosen few, you are fair game. Provocation is merely an excuse used by bullies to justify their actions, while ensuring the world bows to their will. In October last year, imprisoned Syrian journalist Mazen Darwish managed to smuggle a note from his Damascus cell to the free speech charity English PEN. Darwish had been singled out for an award by PEN and Salman Rushdie, and he took the opportunity to address Rushdie directly, writing: “[W]e committed an unforgivable sin in the Arab world when we responded with indifference to the fatwas and calls for your death. So indifferent were we that we colluded – even if just by our silent complicity – in excluding and eliminating difference, while acting as if the whole thing had nothing to do with us. And so here we are today, paying the high, bloodsoaked price of that collusion, and finding ourselves the main victims of the obscurantist ideology now infiltrating our homes and our cities. What a great shame that it has taken us all of this bloodshed to arrive at the belief that we are the ones who will pay the price for preventing those with whom we disagree from expressing their views – and that we will pay with our lives and our futures. What a shame this much blood has had to be spilled for us to realise, finally, that we are digging our own graves when we allow thought to be crushed by accusations of unbelief, calling people infidels, and when we allow opinion to be countered with violence.”"

No, I will NOT wrap all the presents. Why are women still responsible for the holiday joy? | Jessica Valenti | Comment is free | theguardian.com
Jessica Valenti's amazing achievement: getting the vast majority of Guardian commenters to bash her

About Swee Heng - "Our Mission Statement: To be the Leading Halal Bakery in Singapore"
Presumably non-Halal cakes are superior to Halal ones

Actual female zombie attacks McDonald's drive-thru window, unleashes living dead rampage for Chicken McNuggets

Yes, you can pay someone to ship glitter to your enemies

Charlie Hebdo's most famous cover shows what makes the magazine so important - "it would do a profound disservice to Charlie Hebdo and its leading cartoonists, many of whom were murdered in the attack, to describe it as an anti-Islam or anti-religion magazine, or to portray it as having provoked just for the sake of provocation. The cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were making a substantial point with their cartoons. That point is perfectly summed up, albeit in ways more subtle than first meet the eye, in one of its most famous covers, from November 2011. The title reads "Love is stronger than hate""

Mortality and Treatment Patterns Among Patients Hospitalized With Acute Cardiovascular Conditions During Dates of National Cardiology Meetings - "High-risk patients with heart failure and cardiac arrest hospitalized in teaching hospitals had lower 30-day mortality when admitted during dates of national cardiology meetings. High-risk patients with AMI admitted to teaching hospitals during meetings were less likely to receive PCI, without any mortality effect."

BDSM Versus the DSM - "Asking your partner to tie you to the bedpost, telling them to slap you hard in the throes of lovemaking, dressing like a woman if you are a man, admitting a fetish for feet: Just a few years ago, any of these acts could be used against you in family court. This was the case until 2010, when the American Psychiatric Association announced that it would be changing the diagnostic codes for BDSM, fetishism, and transvestic fetishism (a variant of cross-dressing) in the next edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published in 2013. The new definitions marked a distinction between behavior—for example, playing rough—and actual pathology. Consenting adults were no longer deemed mentally ill for choosing sexual behavior outside the mainstream... In family court, an interest in BDSM was used as justification to remove people’s children from their custody."

#FullMcIntosh - Social Justice Warriors - "Jonathan McIntosh: #JeNeSuisPasCharlie because I don't use my free speech to mock and deride the most marginalized and vulnerable in society like Charlie Hebdo"
Comment: "Same guy who celebrated christopher hitchens death, and lamented Osama bin Laden death."

Sunny Hundal on Twitter: ""Dear white liberal apologists" http://t.co/Yyh8Opczjj" - "I understand your need to want to come to the rescue of the 'poor brown Muslim' because they are the 'marginalized minorities in the bad evil West', but you are not helping anyone by saying that freedom of speech should stop where the hurt feelings of Muslims start.
You had your Christian enlightenment, with the help of the minorities within your religion...
It is now our time to do this with our (ex)religion -Islam... It is our time to bring about enlightenment. It is our time to progress. Please don't get in our way
Kindest regards,
A minority person in Islam"

Paris Charlie Hebdo massacre: We moderate Muslims must act - "Shaaz Mahboob, Trustee of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, is calling for reform within Islam. He told me: "Muslims must start actually thinking about their religion in order to counter the narrative of extremist ideology. As things stand, Muslims are not supposed to even consider the morality of Islamic scripture - it just isn't questioned. How can you begin to change things when you're not even allowed to question them?... without the same level of effort from the religious communities directly affected by extremism, we are treating the symptoms and not the cause of an ideology that is permeating our society. Unless meaningful, practical action is taken to wrest control of their faith from murderers, people will likely continue to die"

Why it's wrong to blame western policies for the Paris attacks - "It is quite appalling to see how some western media figures have responded to the Paris attacks... others like Robert Fisk have blamed historic western policies for the murders... This is the kind of apologism that facilitates radical Islam. This strategy only results in appeasement of puritanical radical Islamic ideology and only offers one solution: ‘the West is evil’. If past grievances and atrocities are considered to be the reasons behind these attacks then by this logic... Bangladeshis would carry out attacks against Pakistan since they once ruthlessly persecuted Bengalis, killing more than a million of them and raping 200,000 of their women. If Fisk were right, Vietnam and Japan would not be some of the most pro-American countries in the world today. However the most pathetic and dismal response that came from the western press was from those who castigated Charlie Hebdo and blamed the cartoonists for provoking Muslims. If one follows this flawed narrative then all liberal Muslims struggling against radical Islam on a daily basis in their own Muslim majority countries should only have themselves to blame whenever they are brutally attacked by extremist clerics and their zealot followers... Even a cursory examination of blasphemy killings in Pakistan can tell us that the real reasons why the cartoonists were attacked were not because of Western foreign policy, the Iraq War, or colonialism, but because of an ideology that has always been fanatical and dogmatic in nature and that is responsible for the misery of thousands of people, particularly in Pakistan... It’s the same ideology which sent Salman Rushdie into hiding for a decade, and that burnt 37 people to death after a mob set fire to a hotel building in Turkey. It’s the same ideology that killed prominent Pakistani politician Salman Taseer after he questioned the concept of the country’s brutal blasphemy laws... many sects of Islam also consider even questioning or doubting the origins of Mohammed as blasphemous. British Historian Tom Holland had his academic documentary on the origins of Islam cancelled by Channel 4 after he and his family received death threats and over 1200 complaints were received by Ofcom and Channel 4. To blame this ideology on recent western policies is nothing short of the murder of history. Blasphemy and critical evaluation of Mohammed’s character has always been forbidden and a highly sensitive issue among Muslims in the history of Islam. It is not a new issue. In 1929, Ilm-ud-din, a Muslim living in British India, took offence at a book published about Prophet Mohammed. He killed the publisher and was sentenced to death by the Indian Penal Code. Consequently he was considered a martyr; 200,000 people attended his funeral and he was praised by the ideological founder of Pakistan Allama Iqbal. Even today in Pakistan, Ilm-ud-din is used as an inspiration for those who would kill in the name of Islam."

On not understanding "Charlie:" Why many smart people are getting it wrong - "I think many, though perhaps not all, of Charlie Hebdo's biggest controversies are cases of what I call Onion Fail. You know, like that one time when Iranian state media quoted an article from The Onion that said Rural Whites Prefer Ahmadinejad To Obama, or that other time when North Korean media quoted a story that said Kim Jong-Un Named the Onion's Sexiest Man Alive for 2012. Quoting a satirical magazine is risky business, especially if the magazine is in another language or requires some understanding or the politics or culture of another country. Satire is about mockery. So, clearly, instead of actually praising Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong-Un, they are actually ridiculing them. Simply reporting a word-for-word translation of these farcical articles is going to get the intended message exactly backwards. You'd think the part about Kim Jong-Un having abs to rival Matthew McConaughey’s would have been a tip off, but alas, one of the truly boundless qualities of the universe is the ability to kiss ass and the willingness to receive it. Some people counter that even in a satirical magazine, they still know racism when they see it. But, not if the authors are actually saying the opposite of what you think they are saying... 'I don't think Americans in particular appreciate how intellectually free French culture is. Their thought is an open space populated by fewer sacred cows. One of the levels of freedom they have that we Americans often don't is a strong respect for others' privacy and a tolerance of intellectual independence. They seem to lack the overwhelmingly moralizing, missionary tone that suffocates American political debate just when it starts to get interesting. Also, you are allowed to defend your opinions without placating others. I feel they do a better job with respectful disagreement. As US culture polarizes and inequality increases here, Americans risk becoming a people ever less capable of this'"

“Microaggressions”, “Trigger Warnings”, and the New Meaning of “Trauma”

“Microaggressions”, “Trigger Warnings”, and the New Meaning of “Trauma”

"I’ve experienced trauma myself. I don’t know how many murder scenes I’ve worked as a police officer. I remember the shock I felt when I walked up to a car after a seemingly minor accident and saw a two year old’s head lying on the floorboard. I stood helplessly outside a burning house as a ninety-two year old woman died inside, while her son screamed hysterically beside me. For years after my time as a soldier in Iraq I’d have a startle response if I unexpectedly saw a flash, like from a camera, in my peripheral vision (it reminded me of flashes from roadside bombs). Soldiers near me were shot, burned or killed by weather in Afghanistan...

I’m no stranger to trauma, and I’ve dealt with it by writing and talking about it. I suppose I’ve always defined “trauma” the traditional way: a terrible experience, usually involving significant loss or mortal danger, which left a lasting scar. However, I’ve recently discovered my definition of trauma is wrong. Trauma now seems to be pretty much anything that bothers anyone, in any way, ever. And the worst “trauma” seems to come not from horrible brushes with death like I described above; instead, they’re the result of racism and discrimination...

Here are two examples of “trauma” from the “Microaggression Project” (http://www.microaggressions.com/):

My dad jokes with my younger sister that he remembers selling Girl Scout Cookies when he was a Girl Scout. She laughs, understanding the fact that since he’s a boy means that he could not have been a Girl Scout. Thanks, Dad. I’m a boy and a formal Girl Scout.

The assumption that Girl Scouts will be girls. That causes trauma.

24, female-bodied, in a relationship – so Facebook shows me ads with babies, wedding dresses, and engagement rings. Change gender on Facebook to male – suddenly I get ads pertaining to things I actually care about.

Facebook thinking a woman might be interested in marriage and children. That causes trauma.

A horrible example of microaggression: asking someone if they’ve been to Europe. Photo credit http://purpmagazine.com/lets-discuss-nu-microaggressions/swag

As one might expect, “Microaggressions” and “Trigger Warnings” are most popular in our universities. In late 2013 A group of UCLA students staged a “sit-in” protest against a professor for – no joke – correcting their papers. These “Graduate Students of Color” began an online petition stating “Students consistently report hostile classroom environments in which the effects of white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and other forms of institutionalized oppression have manifested within the department and deride our intellectual capacity, methodological rigor, and ideological legitimacy. Empirical evidence indicates that these structural and interpersonal microaggressions wreak havoc on the psychophysiological health and retention rates of People of Color. The traumatic experiences of GSE&IS students and alumni confirm this reality” (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/931/772/264/ucla-call2action/).

A college professor expecting graduate students to write grammatically correct papers. That causes trauma.

In addition to correcting grammar, the professor insulted the “Graduate Students of Color” by changing “Indigenous” to the proper “indigenous” in their papers, thus reinforcing white colonial oppression of indigenous people. Oh, and he shook a black student’s arm during a discussion. “Making physical contact with a student is inappropriate, [the aggrieved Graduate Student of Color] added, and there are additional implications when an older white man does so with a younger black man” (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/25/ucla-grad-students-stage-sit-during-class-protest-what-they-see-racially-hostile).

A white professor gently touching a black student’s arm. That causes trauma...

Fuck your trauma.

Yes, fuck your trauma. My sympathy for your suffering, whether that suffering was real or imaginary, ended when you demanded I change my life to avoid bringing up your bad memories. You don’t seem to have figured this out, but there is no “I must never be reminded of a negative experience” expectation in any culture anywhere on earth.

If your psyche is so fragile you fall apart when someone inadvertently reminds you of “trauma”, especially if that trauma consisted of you overreacting to a self-interpreted racial slur, you need therapy. You belong on a psychiatrist’s couch, not in college dictating what the rest of society can’t do, say or think. Get your own head right before you try to run other people’s lives. If you expect everyone around you to cater to your neurosis, forever, you’re what I’d call a “failure at life”, doomed to perpetual disappointment.

Oh, I should add: fuck my trauma too. I must be old-fashioned, but I always thought coming to terms with pain was part of growing up. I’ve never expected anyone to not knock on my door because it reminds me of that terrifying morning decades ago. I’ve never blown up at anyone for startling me with a camera flash (I’ve never even mentioned it to anyone who did). I’ve never expected anyone to not talk about Iraq or Afghanistan around me, even though some memories still hurt. I don’t need trigger warnings because a book might remind me of a murder victim I’ve seen.

And before anyone says it; being Hispanic doesn’t make me any more sympathetic to people who experience nonexistent, discriminatory “trauma”. Discrimination didn’t break me (or my parents, or grandparents). I’ve been discriminated against by whites for being Hispanic. I’ve been threatened by blacks for being white. I’ve been insulted by Hispanics for not being Hispanic enough. Big deal. None of that stopped me from doing anything I wanted to do. It wasn’t “trauma”. It was life.

Generations of Americans experienced actual trauma. Our greatest generation survived the Depression, then fought the worst war in humanity’s history, then built the United States into the most successful nation that has ever existed. They didn’t accomplish any of that by being crystal eggshells that would shatter at the slightest provocation, they didn’t demand society change to protect their tender feelings. They simply dealt with the hardships of their past and moved on...

If your past bothers you that much, get help. I honestly hope you come to terms with it. I hope you manage to move forward. I won’t say anything meant to dredge up bad memories, and don’t think anyone should intentionally try to harm your feelings.

But nobody, nobody, should censor themselves to protect you from your pathological, and pathologically stupid, sensitivities."
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