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Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Malay Ideals: Conflict Avoidance

Tolerance Bar None

The Malays by nature are very tolerant, humble and unassuming people. They are probably one of the most tolerant races on the face of this earth... The Malays are so tolerant and accommodative to the extent that when a Chinese or an Indian speaks in Malay to a Malay individual, the Malay person would spontaneously alter his manner of speech and talk to suit the Chinese or Indian speaker. The Malay would vocalise words to the extend that he would speak Bahasa Melayu the same way a Chinese or an Indian speak his broken Malay. This still widely occurs today...

Conflict avoidance will always come into play. The Malays will usually retreat away from facing the problem that confronts them and adopt a timid-like posture of reaction. Thus, they become less aggressive and seem unable to meet challenges thrown in their path. It is not that they cannot face challenges, it is just that to the Malays it is the most common mode of mechanism in dealing with stress, avoidance. Had they faced these challenges and stresses, without doubt they would be able to handle them, but they chose not to, therefore, stresses were avoided but they would not have better themselves in the process...

Conflict avoidance is also the reason why, the Malays try so hard to avoid confrontations as much as they can and have over centuries developed the kind of tolerance, courtesy and politeness not seen in any other nations on earth. This level of tolerance and the humble nature of the Malays were even acknowledged by Raffles when he first came into contact with the Malays. The Malays developed a penchant for compromise and appeasement not seen in other communities. That is why, grievances were kept hidden, and ultimately they could not remain inside much longer and an outburst occurs in the form of amok and directed at all including the innocent bystander. This tendency to avoid conflict much as possible has led the Malays to be rather sensitive individuals, they avoid “attacking” other Malays openly and expect others to behave in the same manner towards them. Not surprisingly, the unwillingness of the Malays to confront directly has led them to resort to an extensive use of the ”surat layang” (poison-pen letters)“ in order to express dissatisfaction, if they were no longer able to hold down their feelings. This unwillingness to confront, has also led Westerners to stigmatise the Malays as being docile without justification. Out of the nature of a hierarchical community structure of the Malays, came out other Malay values such as respect for the elders, loyalty, hospitality and generosity. All as a result of the way the community was generally made up. That is why the spirit of collectivism is highly overweighed against the spirit of individualism in the Malay world. And as such, there is little desire for personal wealth and acquisitiveness.

--- The Malay Ideals / Asrul Zamani

Links - 21st May 2016

Iranian Media Clash Over Ahmadinejad’s Embrace of Chavez’s Mother - "Islamic law forbids the touching of unrelated men and women. The reaction from religious circles was swift."

The Chinese Prostitutes of Belleville - "At first glance, you wouldn’t have made much of the women on the streets. For the most part, they are modestly covered and wear loose-fitting garments. But then you realise it is not about how much skin they show. The women prefer subtle signals such as black fishnet stockings, make-up and a small hint of personal glamour: a gaudy pendant glinting on an open neck in the dead of winter, leopard prints, a brightly coloured coat, heeled boots. Many have long, straightened hair dyed too long ago, with the roots showing halfway down the shoulders. They often stand in groups, hands in their pockets, laughing like they are high-school friends waiting to be picked up for a date... “Don’t live here,” she said, shaking her head. “It’s a filthy area. The people are no good.” The 42-year-old mother was referring not only to the shady reputation of the neighbourhood, but to the southern Chinese community that dominates it. Coming from Dongbei, which means northeast China, YuanYuan was a social outcast in Paris’s second largest Chinese community. And like herself, all the other women “standing the streets” along the boulevard were from Dongbei. Police estimate that in 2003 there could not have been more than a hundred prostitutes of Dongbei origin, but Lotus Bus – a Doctors Without Borders programme that specifically provides support to these Chinese prostitutes – says that today there are more than 750 of them. They are considered “cheap”, charging as little as five euros for sex...From the outside, the roughly 700,000-strong Chinese community in France appears monolithic and united. In truth, it is deeply fractured between southern and northern Chinese, a consequence of decades of socio-economic inequality in China. With wealth increasingly concentrated in the south, those from Dongbei are considered to be uncouth and backward by the southern Chinese, who hold a reputation for their entrepreneurial skills... In China, the further south you go, the more they despise you for being a northerner... It is difficult to imagine the point at which hundreds of women like YuanYuan decide to prostitute themselves rather than to work in Wenzhou households, but it is a clear preference for those who have gone through the experience... "These women had been here longer than us. They told us how to do it, and especially, that we could always rely on the Lotus Bus, which gives free condoms”... “I tell you: The French are kinder than the Chinese.”
If giving advice on preventing sexual assault is victim blaming, isn't giving sex workers free condoms encouraging them to stay in sex work?

/h/ makes a shocking discovery - Imgur

Apostrophe now: Bad grammar and the people who hate it - "Grammar is not just an educational issue. For some adults, it can sabotage friendships and even romantic relationships... Grammarians argue it ensures clarity and elegance. For others, it is a series of archaic rules beloved of pedants, bearing little relation to how people really communicate... Placing a comma before the "and" - known as the Oxford comma - would be marked wrong despite being an accepted form of English, he says. "If so, it means the whole output of Oxford University Press is wrong," Crystal says. Grammarians push Standard English at the expense of other forms, he asserts. It's an elitist view that ignores, for example, Americanisms and all the different ways of communicating online. Context and appropriateness are what really matter, Crystal believes... Moral panic over grammar has been around since at least AD63, according to Columbia University linguist John McWhorter. And yet, the opposite trend is at work, Kuper argues, with social media promoting more memorable, pithy writing. People have a tendency to believe that they're in the right on grammar; it is other people who let the side down."

The Tragic Truth About India's Caste System - "Maya herself clings to her caste because it offers her the best possible life, even in modern India... When Maya got married at the age of 16, her father-in-law paid another dalit $20 for her wedding gift: the “rights” to service 10 houses in our neighborhood, including ours. Maya has no formal deed to these “rights” and no court would ever enforce them. Yet they are more inviolable than holy writ. Maya’s fellow dalits, who own the “rights” to other houses, can’t work in hers, just as she can’t work in theirs. Doing so, Maya insists, would be tantamount to theft that would invite a well-deserved beating and ostracism by the dalit community. No one would lift a finger to help a “poacher” in distress or attend her family functions like births, weddings, or funerals. She would become a pariah among pariahs. This arrangement has given Maya a guaranteed monthly income of about $100 that, along with her husband’s job as a “gofer” at a government lab, has helped her raise three children and build a modest house with a private bathroom, a prized feature among India’s poor, in one of New Delhi’s slums. But Maya’s monopoly doesn’t give her just money. It also hands her— and her fellow jamadarnis or sweepers— clout to resist the upper caste power structure, not always for noble reasons. None of Maya’s 10 employers dare challenge her work. Maya takes more days off for funerals every year than there are members in her extended family. Complaining, however, is not only pointless but perilous. It would result in stinking piles of garbage outside the complainer’s home for days"

'Shy' star turns 'sexual deviant' - "To fight the signs of ageing because Bane can't die or look older - thus explaining why he's 300 - Gao took the initiative to apply mask on his face daily. The SK-II ambassador revealed that as a spokesman for the popular skincare brand, his face masks are sponsored... Gao said he is shy and reserved, and is looking for a girl who can bring him out of his shell. He said: "I like women with long hair and a big smile. "If she's sincere, down-to-earth and can joke with me on our first meeting, that would be great.""

Andrej Pejic models bra - "Australia's head-turning androgynous model Andrej Pejic is once again making waves, this time in a push-up bra ad. The gender-bending male model - a runway favourite of Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs - acknowledged he's the svelte blond "woman" featured in a Dutch advertising campaign for bras."

How to Win Friends and Lovers (Mainly Lovers) With Your Online Profile - "I wear maternity clothes by choice and not out of pregnant necessity. Okay, full disclosure, sometimes I am pregnant and wearing the clothes but that's quickly taken care of with a visit to the nearest PP... I am pro-choice, and it's a big part of my life...
No racists, homophobes, furries, or Republicans."
It is clear that many pro-choice people are actually pro-abortion

The Comic Sans creator explains how he made the world's most-hated font - ""A typeface is an answer to a question," he tells me later. "Everything I've ever done is a solution to somebody's problem." The problem that Comic Sans solved concerned a short-lived Windows interface called Microsoft Bob... Ward learned that something called the Interesting Conference had been cancelled, and jokingly tweeted that he would put on a Boring Conference instead. "The moral of the story is never to joke on the internet," he said. "Someone will say: 'That sounds good', and then you'll have to do it." If the speakers at Boring IV have anything in common, it's that they are prepared to examine a potentially boring subject in such pitiless detail that it immediately becomes fascinating. Lecturer Martin White gave a talk on "Boring German Interpretations of English Language Humour", which he demonstrated using movie poster translations. For example: in Germany the title of the film Airplane! was translated as "The Unbelievable Journey in a Crazy Aeroplane"; Smoky and the Bandit 2 became "A Crafty Rascal Is on the Road Once More"."

10 Unbelievable Diet Rules Backed by Science - "We all know that dinner is the most popular meal to eat with friends and family, but most people think eating after dark is the cardinal sin of weight loss. Nothing could be more incorrect. Italian researchers compared eating earlier in the day (10 a.m.) to eating later in the day (6 p.m.) In that study, there was no difference in weight (pounds) lost, but the late eaters lost more fat. Several follow-up studies concluded the same thing—timing doesn’t matter. This statement from University of Oregon researchers sums it up well: “Eating too many calories causes weight gain regardless of when you eat them”... When Canadian researchers compared eating three meals per day to six meals per day, breaking the six into three main meals and three snacks, there was no significant difference in weight loss, but those who ate three meals were more satisfied and felt less hunger... there’s no research showing any relationship between eating a lot of protein and developing kidney problems. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research tested eating up to 400 grams of protein per day without any negative consequences."

Les régions françaises vues par les Parisiens, Bretons ou Marseillais…

What China Loses by Forgetting - "Modern China's forgetfulness did not start or end with Tiananmen. Even before the summer of 1989, dozens of darker, crueler incidents lay hidden in Chinese history. Today's leaders cannot acknowledge their stated ideology before 1949, the principles that helped the Communists gain power over the Nationalist government: establishing a democratic and law-abiding society, ending the one-party system and having an independent judiciary. In 1989, the students in Tiananmen Square asked for those same things. Since then, they've become unmentionable."

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently - "It transforms your opponent into a more receptive audience for your criticism or dissent, which in turn helps advance the discussion."

Susan Sontag on Censorship and the Three Steps to Refuting Any Argument - "Find the inconsistency
Find the counter-example
Find a wider context"
Finding the counter-example and wider context get me accused of changing the topic or trolling

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades - NYTimes.com - "psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep."

Is China's Duanwu Festival the world's first gay Valentine's Day? - "The poet's memory is honoured annually today on Duanwu Festival (端午节) by millions of ethnic Chinese around the world with the eating of rice dumplings, which according to legend, were thrown off dragon boats by locals to feed the fish so they would not feed on his corpse. Academics have proferred another reason for Qu Yuan's suicide than his supposed love for the nation. The poet, they say, was more of a romantic than a patriot, and it was his love for -- and subsequent abandonment -- by the King Huai of Chu (楚怀王) that led him to immerse himself into the river."

This study showed that high-skilled immigrants create jobs for Americans - "Every 1 percent of "shock" from H-1B rejections meant that the number of jobs in a city for US-born tech workers without degrees grew by 7 percent less than it would have. But US-born workers with college degrees didn't do nearly as badly: their job growth only fell 1.3 percent. Where US-born workers with degrees did suffer from the bad luck of their cities was in wages. Every 1 percent in "shock" hurt wages for tech workers with degrees by .26 to .79 percent. In practice, the average US-born, degree-holding tech worker would have made $861 to $2,672 in a world where high-skilled visas were available to everyone who applied."

How to Keep From Being So Easily Offended (with Pictures) - "If someone says something potentially offensive, question if you really do feel burned because their take is that important to you. You might just be martyring yourself to illuminate a faux pas or rude remark just for the hell of it--out of self-righteousness or a desire to control who says what... having a stronger sense of your own values will help you feel less threatened when they are challenged. Trusting your values makes others' opinions less important... Before you react to a slight, think about the consequences. Remember that one consequence of taking offense often is that people may begin to walk on eggshells around you or feel a little nervous discussing their thoughts or feelings. What's more, you are keeping yourself in a place of increased tension and anxiety--a harmful state for your body, even if you see other benefits to taking offense. You are also blocking yourself off from hearing potentially useful and exciting new ideas"
Unfortunately, offence culture militates against these sensible tips

Friday, May 20, 2016

Links - 20th May 2016

Don’t do this to our city, Internet users say of new KL tourism logo - "A new logo and tagline to promote tourism in Kuala Lumpur has drawn online criticism from Malaysians, who poked fun at the design and the words used to describe their beloved capital city."

A Point of View: Why people shouldn't feel the need to censor themselves - "We should remember, however, that offence can be taken even when it has not been given. There are radical feminists who search every innocent remark about women for the hidden sexist agenda. Even using the masculine pronoun in the grammatically sanctioned way, so as to refer indifferently to men and women, can cause offence and is now being banned on campuses all across America. It is not that you wish to give offence. But you are up against people who are expert in taking it, who have cultivated the art of taking offence over many years, and who are never more delighted than when some innocent man falls into the trap of speaking incorrectly. Typically a joke tries to cut things down to size, so that you can feel at ease with the thing you laugh at. Most ethnic jokes are like that - ways of dealing with ethnic diversity, by helping people to feel content with their own group, and not threatened by the others. Sometimes it is your own group that is cut down to size - as in the many Jewish jokes that show some Jewish foible to be an amusing eccentricity rather than a threat. Jokes become popular because they soften things, making reality, with all its divisions, less of a threat... Humour of that kind is pointing both to the absurdity of sectarian conflict, and also to the fact that it is a pretence, an excuse for hatred rather than a response to it. It is reminding us that the art of taking offence is used by small-minded people to gain an unwarranted advantage over the rest of us... You cannot legislate against offence. No legislation, no invention of new crimes and punishments, can possibly introduce irony, forgiveness and good will into minds schooled in the art of being offended. This is as true of radical feminists as of sectarians and radical Islamists. While we have a moral duty to laugh at them, they have also made it dangerous to do so. But we should never lose sight of the fact that it is they, not we, who are the transgressors.... Racist opinions won't go away just because we forbid their expression. Indeed, forbidding them may give them a special allure. What was most destructive about the Nazi propaganda against the Jews was not so much the expression of those nasty opinions, but the suppression of those who sought to refute them... black people in America earned their status as equal citizens partly because of free discussion, which persuaded ordinary Americans that racial stereotyping is both irrational and unjust. It is because they gave voice to their opinions that the racists were defeated... Self-censorship is even more harmful than censorship by the state. For it shuts down the conversation completely"

If Sweden and Germany Became US States, They Would be Among the Poorest States - "Since Sweden is held up as a sort of promised land by American socialists, let's compare it first. We find that, if it were to join the US as a state, Sweden would be poorer than all but 12 states, with a median income of $27,167... But, I'm really being too conservative with the US numbers here. I'm comparing OECD countries to US states based on a single nation-wide purchasing power number for the US. We've already accounted for cost of living at the national level (using PPP data), but the US is so much larger than all other countries compared here, we really need to consider the regional cost of living in the United States. Were we to calculate real incomes based on the cost of living in each state, we'd find that real purchasing power is even higher in many of the lower-income states than we see above... None of this analysis should really surprise us. According to the OECD's own numbers (which take into account taxes and social benefits, the US has higher median disposable income than all but three OECD countries. Sweden ranks below the US in this regard, as does Finland and Denmark"

Will Apple Music complete iTunes’ destruction of my will to collect music? - "Pinkstone claimed that he had lost 20 years’ worth of music files as a result of signing up for Apple Music; as he explained it, the service had hoovered up the collection of MP3 and WAV files he had been keeping in his iTunes library and replaced them with streaming versions that lived in an Apple-owned cloud. The original files, as Pinkstone understood it, had been deleted off his computer in the process. To his surprise, when he called Apple Support to find out what happened and how to fix it, he was told that this was exactly how Apple Music—the company’s year-old streaming service—was supposed to work... a lot of the songs Apple Music had allegedly removed from Pinkstone’s hard drive weren’t properly replaced. For example, instead of a rare, early version of a Fountains of Wayne song that Pinkstone had at some point downloaded or ripped to his computer as an MP3, Apple had plugged in a less distinctive, more widely available version of the song... Here was yet another reason to hate Apple’s music software—something I’d been doing for years, with iTunes as the primary source of my discontent. To date, that discontent had been fueled by the utter disarray in which iTunes had left my digital music library... As Farhad Manjoo wrote in Slate in 2012, in a piece titled “Won’t Someone Take iTunes Out Back and Shoot It?” the software had become a bloated monster that wasn’t good at doing any of the things that Apple was forcing it to do... when I thought for too long about the impact iTunes was having on the texture and structure of my music consumption, I was overcome with a bitter sense of loss... Apple has repeatedly wiped my digital collection clean of all the songs I ever downloaded, except for the ones I had purchased directly from the iTunes store. That’s how I remember it, anyway. The truth is I am a helplessly unreliable narrator in this story, because whenever I use iTunes, I find that I have absolutely no idea what’s going on, or what the consequences of my actions will be... It doesn’t make sense that everyone I know who still uses iTunes despises it, and that many people, including me, have abandoned it in favor of streaming because managing their libraries became too much of a chore."

Of Course Facebook Is Biased. Its Real Problem Is That It Won’t Admit It. - "anonymous former Facebook “curators” described the subjective process by which they assembled the Trending section. Facebook had publicly portrayed the section—which you can find near the top right of Facebook.com or under the search tab on the Facebook app—as an algorithmically driven reflection of the most popular stories its users are reading at any given time. But the ex-curators said they often filtered out stories that were deemed questionable and added others they deemed worthy. One, a self-identified conservative, complained that this led to subtle yet pervasive liberal bias, since most of the curators were politically liberal themselves. Popular stories from conservative sites such as Breitbart, for instance, were allegedly omitted unless more mainstream publications such as the New York Times also picked them up... There are ways to grapple with this problem honestly—to attempt to identify and correct for one’s biases, to scrupulously disclose them, to employ an ideologically diverse staff, perhaps even to reject objectivity as an ideal and embrace subjectivity. But you can’t begin to address the subjective nature of news without first acknowledging it. And Facebook has gone out of its way to avoid doing that, for reasons that are central to its identity as a technology company... If the curators’ job was really just about cleaning up the data, Facebook seems to have forgotten to tell that to the curators themselves, who described their mandate very differently"
Addendum: Also reported as: "Facebook Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News"

Teaching kids philosophy makes them smarter in math and English - "Nine- and 10-year-old children in England who participated in a philosophy class once a week over the course of a year significantly boosted their math and literacy skills, with disadvantaged students showing the most significant gains, according to a large and well-designed study"

“Why do all old statues have such small penises?” - "Firstly, they’re flaccid. If you compare their size to most flaccid male penises, they are actually not significantly smaller than real-life penises tend to be. Secondly, cultural values about male beauty were completely different back then. Today, big penises are seen as valuable and manly, but back then, most evidence points to the fact that small penises were considered better than big ones... A famous example of a small penis is Michelangelo’s David (1501 – 04), a Renaissance sculpture from Florence, Italy. There’s an interesting theory for why David’s penis is so small, apart from the Greek influence. In 2005, two Florentine doctors published a paper arguing that David’s penis was shriveled by fear"

Why Switzerland Airlifts Its Cows - "The sight of a cow flying through the air isn't so rare in Switzerland: When a cow is injured—or dead—a helicopter may arrive to bring it to safety, or, if dead, to incineration. The practice, Aeon reports, isn't just about caring for our bovine friends, or keeping the landscape free of dead cows. Instead, it's tied to the maintenance of Switzerland—environmentally, economically, and even culturally"

Reading 'Fifty Shades' linked to unhealthy behaviors, researchers warn - - "Reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” is linked to unhealthy behaviors, according to a researcher at Michigan State University. In fact, readers of this book are more likely than nonreaders to display evidence of eating disorders and have a verbally abusive partner. Plus, women who read all three books in the series are at a heightened risk of binge drinking and having numerous sex partners"

This Is What Gentrification Really Is - "Gentrification is a form of immigration, though almost nobody calls it that. People who gentrify are usually new transplants to a city, changing it to suit their particular cultural needs and whims. That's why the criticism of gentrification often sounds like a distorted version of anti-immigrant sentiment... The difference is that the people we call immigrants are usually not rich. Gentrifiers are... It's easier to blame the aliens for what's happened to your city rather than face up to the complicated reality of urban life. City planner Spiro Kostof writes that cities are not static — they are "a process," always changing over time. Today's Mission district in San Francisco, for example, was once a working class Irish and German neighborhood. And some of those "alien" techies invading it now come from the same Central and South American countries that its current residents do... San Francisco's anti-development policies are actually harming the low-income communities they were originally designed to protect"

That Lying Beggar Auntie - "So there is finally a newspaper report about her scams. Wanbao followed up on a lead through STOMP and discovered that this auntie makes over a thousand dollars a night begging, lying and scamming. She has asked me for $500 before, but then I uncovered her scam over 45 minutes once I bought her tea."

In China, Myths of Social Cohesion - NYTimes.com - "“The story that most Chinese know is completely made up,” said the man, an ethnic Uighur, who asked that his name be withheld for fear of angering the authorities. “The truth is she isn’t even buried here.” In the six decades since coming to power, China’s Communist Party has devoted enormous resources to composing historical narratives that seek to legitimize its rule and obfuscate its failures. The disastrous famine that claimed millions of lives last century is said to have been caused by bad weather, not Mao’s misguided policies. Chinese history books often blame the United States for starting the Korean War, not the Communist troops from North Korea who, most historians agree, first invaded the South. When it comes to China’s ethnic minorities, the party-run history machine is especially single-minded in its effort to promote story lines that portray Uighurs, Mongolians, Tibetans and other groups as contented members of an extended family whose traditional homelands have long been part of the Chinese nation... James A. Millward, a professor at Georgetown University who studies China’s ethnically diverse borderlands, said the drive to shape history, while not unique to China, was zealously practiced by each succeeding dynasty in an effort to malign an emperor’s predecessors and glorify his own rule. But the Communists have also sought to use history as a tool against separatist aspirations and to legitimize their efforts to govern potentially restive populations."

5 Things the Star Wars Prequels Did Right - "1) Aesthetics
2) New Worlds (and Worldbuilding Generally)
Whether or not we like the story Lucas chose to tell in the prequels, it's pretty easy to reconcile with the original trilogy we all know and love, which may be one of the reasons fans rebel against the prequels so much - they blend too easily with what we originally loved, so that it's difficult to separate the two entirely.
3) Politics
The prequels were always going to be political, there's basically no two ways around it. They're movies about the fall of the Republic - a democratic if corrupt system - and its replacement by the Empire, a totalitarian regime based on a principle of might makes right. Unless Lucas was going to ignore what was happening in the Republic altogether, the prequels were going to have to deal with politics.
4) The Jedi and the Sith
5) The Chosen One
The Chosen One story of the prequels doesn't follow most of the usual rules... It's hard to think of another case where a messianic prophecy goes so wrong; other examples exist I'm sure, but it's a rare choice in storytelling"

The Myth of the Fag Hag and Dirty Secrets of the Gay Male Subculture - "In my mid-twenties, I learned that taking your female friends to a gay bar is like taking a vegetarian to a butcher shop. There is a lot of meat, a lot of prime cuts, and even a little tripe, but nothing they can eat... If there isn't any kind of transactional exchange happening, then women lose their value in gay male subcultures... "I'm gay" gets handed down as an acceptable excuse for gay men to probe and disrespect women's bodies... The crux of McIntosh's argument focuses on male and white privilege, but is very applicable to how gay privilege is fomenting and replicating... McIntosh's comments about white male privilege can be ported to gay male privilege. As gay men, we are being wholesale conditioned to believe that when we diminish women, it's okay, because we have been victims of oppression ourselves and we're gay and women "understand.""
If homosexuality is no longer seen as making you more of a "minority" than being a woman, maybe drag will soon no longer be acceptable

Why has drag escaped critique from feminists and the LGBTQ community? - "a drag queen named Daytona Bitch was fired from a Toronto Pride event for a blackface performance in which, as Laura Kane reports, “she dressed up as Miss Cleo, a kitschy telephone psychic from the late ‘90s, complete with black face paint”... it feels as though drag queens are given free reign to insult women and adopt over-the-top sexist language (bitch, ho, etc.) and objectified depictions of women in ways that women don’t even get away with, within a feminist context."
Not all "minorities" are equal

The Malay Ideals: Simple Nature of the Malays

Simple Nature of the Malays

Traditional Malays usually worked in the paddy fields or were forest product gatherers, boatmen and fishermen. The Malays were used to a relaxed atmosphere as a way of life. The environment and the easy life of the equatorial nations over thousands of years may have produced this mentality and contributed to the ”malaise” of the Malays. This problem does not only beset the Malays but almost all Polynesians. Possibly this is a genetic trait of the Malays that has been imparted from times gone by. It could also be due to the inclination of the Malays to make marriage ties with close relatives that amplifies recessive genes...

When the emigrant community arrived in Tanah Melayu in the 19th and 20th centuries, this value and nature of the Malays have made them less prepared to meet the highly competitive spirit and industriousness of the emigrant communities, who had come from far away places and had faced extreme vicissitudes in their lives and had escaped the dire situations and conditions in their homeland. More importantly, those who ventured out were also highly entrepreneurial who bore extreme will power and had been educated under extreme adversity. Those who were less ready and less able to make great sacrifices were left behind. The former became known as the overseas Chinese and the overseas Indians...

Most of the indentured labourers who had made their way way to this "newfound land" were coaxed and lured into believing that the trail of riches lied in their path. They came to Malaya and were found instead to be abused and treated as forced labourers... all of these experiences hardened the Chinese and Indians and better prepared them for their eventual success. They had to do their best in the new country because because their bridge had been burnt behind them and had to struggle with all their might to survive.

The Malays conversely had not faced such hardships, as had the immigrant communities. Life had been fair and comfortable because they had decided, paraphrased, "not to participate in the capitalistic schemes of the Westerners”, and spurned participation on being mere labourers, and stuck to doing what previous generations had been good at; that being occupied with traditional occupations. Thus life was tolerable to most until however, the emigrant community arrived and especially after the surrender of the British. At this juncture, they were ill prepared in the face of serious competition; the competition for commerce and in other economic activities. Most Malays were unable to cope and they retreated further into the remotest part to escape the natural consequences that would have been unavoidable had they remained where they were.

Inability to Meet Challenges

This phenomenon is still occurring within the Malay community, the lack of inability or unwillingness to meet daily challenges that are thrown in their path. Those who stand firm in facing uncertainties or challenges that come their way, have been successful, but a great deal of the Malays prefer to veer away from the conflict altogether and scorn at making changes. They would rather remain the way they have been for generations. If a small town for example, underwent development and consequently had grown big with increasing population and with that crept increasing competition for survival, some Malays would then pack up and move to a more remote area that resembled their previous existence... some Malays would still cling on to the old fashioned way of living handed down from one generation to another i.e. the art of living with little effort and work.

--- The Malay Ideals / Asrul Zamani

Publisher's Note:

In line with the aspirations of our beloved Prime Minister Y.A.B. Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, this book THE MALAY IDEALS appears to be a 'wake-up call' to all the Malays who are still not completely independent, even after 45 years of gaining independence (Malaysia's Merdeka). The author, who is a medical practitioner by profession, reveals in his book the actual and current situation of the Malays, the 'new Malay Dilemma' as expressed with concern by our Prime Minister..

The author has conducted a detailed research on all the matters discussed in this book and substantiated the sources with facts and figures. Definitely this book will be an 'eye opener’ for all concerned Malaysians.

Hj. Dr. Syed Ibrahim.

First they came for the Shark's Fin

First they came for the Shark's Fin, and I did not speak out—
Because I did not eat Shark's Fin.

Then they came for the Foie Gras, and I did not speak out—
Because I did not eat Foie Gras.

Then they came for the Halal meat, and I did not speak out—
Because I did not eat Halal meat.

Then they came for the meat—and there was no one left to speak for meat eaters.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Links - 19th May 2016

How my company is lowering the bar to increase diversity - "1. Give people of a certain race a numerical boost on their interview feedback scores.
2. Stop preferring to hire people with a college degree in CS (or related fields) over people without a college degree because that’s sexist
3. Stop considering some colleges as better than other colleges because that’s racist
4. Start recruiting at certain schools with worse computer science programs explicitly because of race
5. Stop looking for people with relevant industry experience because it is sexist
6. Stop considering some companies such as Google better than other companies since it is racist/sexist
7. Stop looking for highly experienced people with 15 years of experience since it is sexist because women tend to leave the industry before 10 years of experience.
8. Stop asking for a link to a portfolio of work on on the job application because it is sexist
9. Stop having employees refer good people they have worked with since it is sexist/racist"

How a Small Town Became the Capital of HIV in America - "Austin went from having no more than three cases per year to 180 in 2015, a prevalence rate close to that seen in sub-Saharan Africa... Singer quickly realized that syndemics was not just about the clustering of physical illnesses; it also encompassed nonbiological conditions like poverty, drug abuse, and other social, economic, and political factors known to accompany poor health. “Syndemics is embedded in a larger understanding about what’s going on in societies”... All of what has happened since the late 1980s is potentially part of Austin’s syndemic: the sudden unemployment, the desertion of the young, the fall in rent prices, the rise of the itinerant population, the decline of infrastructure, the overprescription of pain pills, the lack of assistance. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, it seems, the town itself had become sick, the result of various forms of ‘structural violence’—a term introduced by Harvard physician and anthropologist Paul Farmer to describe harmful social frameworks—along with historical, behavioral and political risk factors."

Youths robbed cabby of $5 but left iPhone in victim's vehicle; two sentenced to probation - "the three had boarded Mr Abdul Latiff's vehicle having planned to rob a the taxi driver. When the vehicle reached its destination, Fauzi, who was seated directly behind the driver, grabbed his neck. Aizan punched his face four times, while Istiqlal grabbed the coin pouch from their victim. While fleeing the scene, Fauzi realised he had left his iPhone in the taxi. Agreeing to Istiqlal's suggestion that he report his phone had been lost, Fauzi went to the police station to say he had been assaulted and had lost his phone, wallet and watch. The three were arrested later the same day"

Man buys penis enlarger, gets magnifying glass instead - "A man who purchased a penis enlargement device online had a rude shock when he received a magnifying glass instead of the device he thought he had purchased. MCA Public Service and Complaint Bureau chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong said Tuesday that the disgruntled customer, known only as Ong from Seri Kembangan, had paid RM450 for the penis enlarger"

'Penis enlarger' story was a joke, Michael Chong clarifies - "The story of a man from Seri Kembangan who bought a “penis enlarger” online but got a magnifying glass instead turned out to be a hoax"
Malaysia Boleh

German Village Takes Digital Fate into Own Hands - "Too isolated and with few inhabitants, the tiny village of Loewenstedt in northern Germany is simply too small to show up on the radars of national Internet operators. So the villagers took their digital fate into their own hands and built a broadband Internet network of their own."

The New Playlist For More Productive Work: Video Game Soundtracks - "Because the music is designed to foster achievement and help players get to the next level, it activates a similar "in it to win it" mentality while working, argues Karltorp. At the same time, it's not too disruptive to your concentration. "It's there in the background," said Karltorp. "It doesn't get too intrusive, it keeps you going, and usually stays on a positive tone, too, which I found is important.""

Cultural influences on Facebook photographs - "East Asian Facebook users are more likely to deemphasize their faces compared to Americans. Specifically, East Asians living in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan exhibited a predilection for context inclusiveness in their profile photographs, whereas Americans tended to prioritize their focal face at the expense of the background. Moreover, East Asian Facebook users had lower intensity of facial expression than Americans on their photographs. These results demonstrate marked cultural differences in context-inclusive styles versus object-focused styles between East Asian and American Facebook users"

Why do we hate modern classical music? - "For decades, critics, historians and even neuroscientists have been pondering the question of why so-called modern music seems to perplex the average listener. After all, adventurous artists in other fields have met with a very different reception. The highest-priced painting in history is Jackson Pollock's swirlingly abstract No 5, 1948, which sold in 2006 for $140m. Tycoons and emirs covet avant garde architects. James Joyce's Ulysses inspires worldwide drinking parties every 16 June."

The effects of carbohydrate, unsaturated fat, and protein intake on measures of insulin sensitivity: results from the OmniHeart trial. - "A diet that partially replaces carbohydrate with unsaturated fat may improve insulin sensitivity in a population at risk for cardiovascular disease. Given the well-recognized challenges of sustaining weight loss, our results suggest an alternative approach for improving insulin sensitivity."
Keywords: Carbohydrates, carbs

Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base - "Dietary carbohydrate restriction reliably reduces high blood glucose, does not require weight loss (although is still best for weight loss), and leads to the reduction or elimination of medication. It has never shown side effects comparable with those seen in many drugs"
Keywords: Carbohydrates, carbs, insulin resistance

Opposing Gay Marriage Doesn’t Make You a Crypto-Racist - "1. Marriage has always been gendered.
2. Religion, unlike racism, is constitutionally protected, and opposition to gay marriage has deep religious roots.
3. There is no political emergency...
It was painfully clear that ordinary politics was blocked by a regime of systematic violence, intimidation, and corruption. The racists who loosed dogs and fire hoses on children were capable of anything; nothing short of a full-scale national assault on racism could work. We would put troops on the streets if we had to.Today gay Americans’ situation could not be more different... I recently talked to a gay-rights organizer whose job includes building support for marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws in conservative states, where gay people (especially kids) are most in need of such protections. She is not some internet activist posting comments; she deals with the daily realities of bringing about social change on the ground. When I asked if the analogy to racism was helpful, she groaned. No analogies are helpful, she replied, but this one is especially counterproductive. People snap into a defensive crouch and shut down. No one will trust or talk to someone who calls them, in effect, a racist, the worst thing you can be in America. Winning converts, finishing the fight, she said, requires taking people on a journey toward seeing marriage and homosexuality in a new light. It’s a process, and an accusatory approach aborts it."

Homosexuality may be caused by chemical modifications to DNA - " Twin studies suggested, moreover, that gene sequences can't be the full explanation. For example, the identical twin of a gay man, despite having the same genome, only has a 20% to 50% chance of being gay himself. That's why some have suggested that epigenetics—instead of or in addition to traditional genetics—might be involved"

Feminist trouble (an interview with Camille Paglia) - "After the ferocious Culture Wars of the 1980s to mid-1990s, feminism sank into a long period of relative obscurity. It was kept tangentially alive through scattered websites and blogs until it finally regained media visibility over the past five years, partly through splashy endorsements by pop figures like Beyoncé. The history of feminism has always been cyclic... The problem with too much current feminism, in my opinion, is that even when it strikes progressive poses, it emanates from an entitled, upper-middle-class point of view. It demands the intrusion and protection of paternalistic authority figures to project a hypothetical utopia that will be magically free from offence and hurt. Its rampant policing of thought and speech is completely reactionary, a gross betrayal of the radical principles of 1960s counterculture, which was inaugurated in the US by the incendiary Free Speech Movement at the University of California at Berkeley. I am continually shocked and dismayed by the nearly Victorian notions promulgated by today’s feminists about the fragility of women and their naïve helplessness in asserting control over their own dating lives. Female undergraduates incapable of negotiating the oafish pleasures and perils of campus fraternity parties are hardly prepared to win leadership positions in business or government in the future... The anti-porn crusader Andrea Dworkin (who died a decade ago) was a rabid fanatic, a self-destructive woman so consumed by her hatred of men that she tottered on the edge of psychosis... We wanted the same freedoms as men, and we took charge of our own destinies. We viewed life as a continual experiment, an urgent pressing into the unknown. If we got knocked down, we got up again, nursed our bruises and learned from our mistakes. Today, in contrast, too many young feminists want their safety, security and happiness guaranteed in advance by all-seeing, all-enveloping bureaucracies. It’s a sad, limited and childish view of life that I find as claustrophobic as a hospital ward... Each generation must create its own reality and find its own identity. If today’s young women want to be passive wards of the state, then that is their self-stultifying choice... The childless Gloria Steinem, who was unmarried until she was 66, has never been sympathetic to the problems faced by women who want both children and a job. Stay-at-home moms have been arrogantly disdained by orthodox feminism. This is a primary reason for the lack of respect that a majority of mainstream citizens has for feminism, which is addicted to juvenile male-bashing and has elevated abortion to sacramental status. While I firmly support unrestricted reproductive rights (on the grounds that nature gives every individual total control over his or her body), I think that the near-hysterical obsession with abortion has damaged feminism by making it seem morally obtuse."

Chrissie Hynde criticised over rape remarks - "She told the Sunday Times magazine that when she was 21 an Ohio motorcycle gang member promised to take her to a party but instead took her to an empty house, yet she claimed to take “full responsibility” for what happened. She said: “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. You can’t f*** about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges ... those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do. “You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility. I mean, I was naive.” When asked whether the gang took advantage of her vulnerability, she replied: “If you play with fire you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?” Hynde went on to say that women who dress provocatively while walking down the street drunk were also to blame if they were attacked. “If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?” she said... "if I’m being very lairy and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who’s already unhinged – don’t do that. Come on! That’s just common sense. You know, if you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him. “If you’re wearing something that says ‘Come and f*** me’, you’d better be good on your feet ... I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial am I?”"

Julia Hartley-Brewer: Chrissie Hynde was right about rape - Telegraph - "Miss Hynde, once seen as a strong feminist role model, had unwittingly breached the first rule of the Sisterhood club: if you want to belong, then you have to conform. There is no room for debate, nuanced argument or even personal opinion in the Sisterhood orthodoxy. You’re either a Sister and agree that women take no responsibility for anything that happens to them or their bodies whatever the circumstances, or you are a “rape apologist”. It’s one or the other. Miss Hynde is not alone in being purged from the Sisterhood for her apparently unsisterly views. She joins Judy Finnegan, Mary Jane Mowat and many other women who have foolishly spoken their own minds without first checking the rule book. Mrs Finnegan was forced to apologise for making entirely accurate remarks on the ITV show Loose Women about the rape case involving footballer Ched Evans, pointing out that the victim had been very drunk and that no physical violence was involved. The fact that she was quoting the judge in the case was completely ignored in the tsunami of feminist hate that followed. Mrs Mowat, a former judge, was castigated last year for saying that rape convictions will not go up “until women stop getting drunk”, because juries face an impossible task to decide whose version of events is the truth when the woman was too drunk to know what actually happened. It was a statement of fact. The Sisterhood, however, has no time for irritating little details like facts"

Zombie apocalypse from now on - "as the zombie trope develops during the late 19th century, it fuses with that other index of black savagery – cannibalism. The zombie becomes an all-purpose symbol of blacks’ backwardness. Indeed, although the zombie has long since shed its vodou references, the flesh-eating aspect survives, as a de-racialised sign of subhumanity in general, rather than racial atavism in particular... powerless and besieged, too many Westerners started to see the concentration camp as an appropriate metaphor for late-20th-century society, a society composed of victims straining to survive the everyday punishments of societal life. The end of civilisation is assumed, and the future hopeless – it’s now just a case of getting through it."

Changi Village Nasi Lemaks Compared


I first heard of (and ate) the famous Changi Village Nasi Lemak when I was a Slave on the Island of Doom (Pulau Tekong).

Trapped as we were on that Accursed Isle, it tasted heavenly to us, fame aside.

Now, more than a decade later, there're multiple Nasi Lemak stalls (in 2002 I think there were at most 2), which can confuse the hapless visitor.

One does not trek all the way down to Changi Village only to be unsure of which Nasi Lemak to eat. And even if one knows that International Nasi Lemak is the original (and famous) stall, there might be a nagging suspicion that it might not (still) be the best.

As a public service, I mobilised a panel of 3 others to sample as many Changi Village Nasi Lemaks as we could. Because I knew that alone, or even with an assistant, by the end I would have Nasi Lemak coming out of my ears and I would no longer be able to appreciate the subtleties of each stall's product.

So did International Nasi Lemak come out tops? The answer might surprise you.

The Contenders

I did a sweep of Changi Village Hawker Centre, and found that there were 5 Nasi Lemak stalls (a couple were closed, but from the stall names and signboards they didn't seem to sell the dish):

1) International Nasi Lemak, #01-03
2) Mizzy's Corner, #01-26
3) Sri Sujana Nasi Lemak, #01-30
4) Changi Famous Nasi Lemak, #01-28
5) Traditional Nasi Lemak, #01-12

Unfortunately, Traditional Nasi Lemak had sold out by the time we arrived at about 7:20pm, so they were immediately out of the running. I do note, though, that name notwithstanding, it looked like most of their food was not actually nasi lemak. Readers can draw their own conclusions.

When we arrived, International Nasi Lemak had the longest queue, followed by Mizzy's Corner, and the last 2 had no queues.

All nasi lemaks were standardised as chicken wing sets with egg for a fair comparison, and evaluated on 5 criteria: Egg, Rice, Ikan Bilis, Chili and Chicken. Ratings were purely qualitative - no numerical scores were given. However many comparisons were made between each.

As an aside, all 4 stalls didn't mix their ikan bilis with peanuts, which a friend who was briefly in the industry told me was the traditional practice - most stalls nowadays cut the fish with peanuts to reduce costs.

1) International Nasi Lemak

This was the only stall we ordered two plates from (partly due to its fame, and partly due to its long queue - we were anticipating feasting on the other plate after we'd discharged our duty).

Oddly enough, despite it being the most famous stall it only had one award - the Green Book award.

Egg: The egg here is pan fried. One plate's egg was overcooked but another plate's was okay, and the yolk was even slightly runny.
Rice: This was particularly disappointing as it was remarkably flavourless. It was dry, hard and not very coconut-ish.
Ikan Bilis: This was not bad and was crispy enough. One person thought it was the worst of the lot, though.
Chili: This was more sour than the usual nasi lemak chili and not very nice. One panelist thought it too sweet. It was also inconsistent (on each plate it tasted different).
Chicken: This was fresh and crispy (because they fry it in small batches - it was the only stall whose chicken was warm) and had a very simple taste. The batter was on the thick side.

2) Mizzy's Corner

Egg: The egg was oil poached and over-cooked.
Rice: It wasn't bad, though it was not super. It tasted like chicken rice rice - not just coconut rice.
Ikan Bilis: This was robust.
Chili: The chili was sweeter and thicker than that of International. I personally found it had a vague fruity edge.
Chicken: The batter was even thicker than that of International's but the chicken was more flavourful than it. The meatwas a little rubbery/dry though.

3) Sri Sujana Nasi Lemak

Strangely enough this stall had quite a few awards - even more than International.

Egg: Pan fried, this was not just overcooked but rubbery.
Rice: While very coconuty (most of us felt that the other stalls' rice was not quite there, in comparison), this was a bit mushy.
Ikan Bilis: This had less body than that of the first 2 stalls. The fishes also seemed smaller than those at the first 2 stalls, but it was still crispy.
Chili: This was quite spicy. It had more character than that of other Nasi Lemak places. But then, that was to be expected as this was not Nasi Lemak chili, but rather some other concoction.
Chicken: The meat was a bit flavourless, though the batter was more spiced than that of the other 3 stalls. It was rather old though, and the crispiness of the batter didn't stand the test of time (from whenever it had been fried) well.

4) Changi Famous Nasi Lemak

Despite its name, I'd never heard of this stall before this day.

Egg: This was the best of all 4 stalls where the egg was concerned. The doneness was about right (though perhaps a little on the long side, especially if you like em runny) and the egg had the best flavour of the 4. It was like what one might imagine free range eggs would taste like compared to factory farmed ones.
Rice: I thought this was the most coconuty of the 4 stalls but 2 others disagreed. It wasn't mushy.
Ikan Bilis: It tasted like it'd been sun dried for so long, all the flavour had been bleached out of it. The crisp was good though. I thought this had the worst ikan bilis of the 4.
Chili: This had the sweetest nasi lemak chili of them all, and it was also the most typically nasi lemak-ish of the 4. Nothing particularly stood out in this paste but it was well-rounded: not too sweet, nor too spicy.
Chicken: This was soggy and quite flavourless, tasting like generic chicken would if you deep fried it without seasoning.

Overall, Changi Famous Nasi Lemak was the most like generic nasi lemak, but rather well done (certainly, better than International Nasi Lemak, which everyone thought was the worst). Though one of us found an egg shell fragment while eating.

There Can Be Only One

Each panelist was asked which of the 4 they would choose, if they could only haveo ne.

Panelist 1 declined to choose any of them and plumped for Adam Road Selera Rasa Nasi Lemak.

Panelist 2 opted for Changi Village Famous Nasi Lemak.

Panelist 3 opted for Sri Sujana Nasi Lemak.

And I chose Changi Village Famous Nasi Lemak.

So if you go down to Changi Village, it's clear that you should steer clear of International Nasi Lemak (unless they were having a bad day when we were there), and you could do worse than queue up for Changi Village Famous Nasi Lemak.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Links - 18th May 2016

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Convenience Food / Front of House

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Is Convenience Killing Us?

"We often talk about how wonderful our indigenous cuisines are but those have also changed, because not only are we adding flavour to processed food, but we're losing flavour from whole food and this is something we tend not to talk about.

Things like chicken, tomatoes, strawberries: they don't taste as delicious today as they did 50, 80 years ago. You can find very good ones at farmers' markets and so forth but generally speaking it's a small slice of the population that has access to that.

On a very simple level, whole foods are getting blander and processed foods keep on getting engineered to be more and more delicious. We are increasingly being led to a very bad place in terms of our diet...

I always think there's a sort of hierarchy of bad eating with probably the USA at the top, the UK pretty close after it. Then you look in Europe, people are not by and large eating those hyper processed foods. There's still a feeling of 'we want real food...

Because of recent scares in food safety here in China: lack of regulation, lack of transparency in the food supply chain, unfortunately very processed and fatty food like McDonald's and KFC are perceived to be safer and thus they allow kids to eat it even more so. They now worried about food safety as opposed to the nutritional effect of food...

That food should be fresh and natural has become an article of faith. But for our ancestors, natural was usually nasty. Fresh meat was rank and tough. Fresh fruits inedibly sour and fresh vegetables bitter.

So our ancestors bred, ground, soaked, leached, curdled, fermented and cooked raw materials to turn them into safe, tasty, digestible and healthy food. They delighted in raised white bread, thick, nutritious heady beer, unctuous olive oil and tasty soy sauce.

For them, happiness was not a verdant Garden of Eden. It was a storehouse jammed with processed and preserved foods...

[On saving time] in short, modern processed foods offer formerly unimaginable choices. Not just of diet but what we can do with our lives. Were we able to turn back the clock, most of us would be toiling all day, most of us would be toiling all day in the fields or the kitchen. Many of us would be starving.

It's high time to move beyond nostalgia for a past that never existed"


BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Front of House

"A waiter or waitress works all week. And they get their tips. So long as their tips plus that $2.13/hour base pay adds up to the equivalent of at least the regular federal minimum wage, so $7.25/hour, then their pay cheque at the end of the week is probably void. It's probably just gone to taxes and the only income they receive is whatever they've collected over the week. If you tips for the week don't add up to the equivalent of the full minimum wage then the employer is supposed to give you more in base pay in order to make sure that you get up to that full minimum wager.

There's a lot of problems associated with that. It's very difficult to enforce and... there's a lot of abuse of that system. And I should specify that there are 8 states where tipped workers are given the full regular minimum wage before tips so in those cases the customer is just rewarding good service... with that inability to project your income, it's impossible to budget. As a consequence of that we know that tipped workers have much higher poverty rates than non-tipped workers.

The number one thing that correlates with tipping amounts is just the size of the cheque. We have to think about the worker in the lower-end restaurant or the middle-end restaurant. They're probably not making that much money...

There is a small but growing movement to eliminate tipping. It's interesting because I think the motivation for that has come out of a lot of high end restaurants. There's such a disparity between what waiters and waitresses are making in the front of the house where they're getting tipped on these very expensive cheques, versus what the restaurant is able to pay their back of the house workers that they're eliminating tipping to try and reduce those disparities. Among more middle cost restaurants and lower cost restaurants, there hasn't been that movement because chances are the people at the front of the house aren't making that much either... in a lot of countries, working in a restaurant is a middle class job and in some cases this is because the fact that they're unionised allows them to bargain for much higher wages than those folks are getting in the United States...

In the late 1890s in the US there were those who argued that [tipping] went against the country's ideals, creating a servile class financially dependent on a higher class...

At my original restaurant, I had one server and she was walking home with somewhere between $500 and $600 a night. My line cook were making maybe $120 a night...

You do have one side that's probably working 2-3 days a week - that would be the front of house and they're leaving with $300, $400 a night, and then you have the back of house. That's probably working 40-60 hours a week and their take home is probably a $100 a day... Even in my tiny restaurant I've seen fights before, between the front of house and back of house...

For everybody who says, oh why don't you just decide to pay your back of house more, there is no extra money in restaurants. Margins are really really slim... [mine are] 2%, 3%. I'm not a bad restaurant. I actually have a very well-known niche restaurant and usually vegetarian chefs want to come work for me.

And what happened was there were no vegetarian chefs left in the city, there were no cooks left in the city. Everybody's moved out because its so expensive and we're losing them because we can't pay them enough...

[Tipping] is an awful, awful system. It is sexist, it is racist. Pretty girls that are a little chesty tend to make more tips. I'm not quite sure why we think it's okay that my customers are basically my human resources department for my front of house labour. Why do they get to decide how much my front of house takes home on any given night?...

The servers who I hired were actually really excited because for them it meant they were guaranteed their salary. If I have a bad night they're not going to be punished for it...

I had a server say to me: you know, it's really nice when a table thinks that they've gotten really good service from me and I know and they know it's not because I'm trying to push them to buy something else. If I was gracious, it's because I'm actually gracious... we decided that our servers would make about $25 an hour, $200 a night... it's probably slightly less tips than they would make, but it is guaranteed"

Male vs Female Rites of Passage

"According to van Gennep, all rites of passage, wherever they are celebrated and whatever transition they mark, contain the same basic structure. Each entails a three-stage process of separation, transition, and incorporation (or, in van Gennep's terminology, preliminal, liminal, and postliminal phases). In each case, the individual is separated from the known status; undergoes a ritual transition, passing through the unknown dangers of the "threshold": and is then incorporated back into society with a new status. For example, in male initiatory rites among the various peoples of Australia. initiands are taken from their homes into the bush (separation), where they undergo a series of ordeals as well as religious instruction (transition), before being returned home to be acknowledged by the community as adults or, in some instances. as “those risen from the dead" (incorporation)...

Have women's rites of passage historically followed the same structure as men's? In his landmark book, Emerging from the Chrysalis (1981), a cross-cultural study of women's initiation rituals, Bruce Lincoln took up this question and concluded that wornen’s rituals have been marked by the stages of enclosure, metamorphosis (or magnification}, and emergence.

What accounted for this difference? According to Lincoln, it was due largely to the fact that in many cultures a woman's status cannot outwardly change, so the rite was focused on her "symbolic" elevation rather than on any real-world advancement. In the initiation rites that Lincoln studied, women did not spatially separate as men do in the classic “territorial passage"; they stayed close to home and in some cultures were even secluded. Magnification, or metamorphosis. described the expansion of a woman's experiences and capabilities, but only in the realm of women's biology; she moved from daughter to wife and mother. Unlike men, the threshold phase was never really open to women. Emergence described the process of coming out of seclusion. For example, Tukuna (Northwest Amazon) initiands in the Moca Nova festival are literally described using the metaphor of insect metamorphosis - the caterpillar, the cocoon, and finally the butterfly.

Women did not ritually die to be born anew in traditional rites of passage; rather, they became, through their passages, more developed forms of their original selves."

--- Women's Rites of Passage: How to Embrace Change and Celebrate Life / Abigail Brenner

Related: Precarious Manhood

Links - 17th May 2016

Jeremy Corbyn refuses to denounce terrorist 'friends' Hamas and Hezbollah - "Ambassador Mark Regev said on Sunday: "You’ve had too many people on the progressive side of politics who have embraced Hamas and Hezbollah... if you’re progressive, you’re embracing an organisation which is homophobic, which is misogynistic, which is openly anti-Semitic, what’s progressive about that?" Ambassador Regev added that the left is "in denial" about the scale of the problem"

Today: When should a flag be flown at half-mast? | Best of Today | Podcast Chart - "'You don't necessarily have to like your allies. There have been plenty of times we had allies we didn't like but the point is they are allies for particular reasons and the Prime Minister has to look at this not as: do I like King Abdullah, do I like what he's done but how important is our relationship with Saudi Arabia to this country? How many jobs does it support?'
'Because not flying the flag would what? Would it send a message?'
'Well, funnily enough, Saudi Arabia is about the only country in the world where we could get away with not flying it at half mast, because Saudi Arabia doesn't fly its flag at half mast... because it contains the Shahada... that would be an insult to God... the death of your Head of State is not the appropriate time to make a comment on your human - I mean, remember the people who made this decision actually know this person. They've sat down and had meals with them. It's not an appropriate time. If you don't get on with you brother-in-law, you don't choose the moment of your sister's death to tell him why you don't get on with him. It's the wrong time'"

Black in Algeria? Then You’d Better Be Muslim - The New York Times - "in Algeria there often is no empathy between human beings, only empathy between people of the same religion... [in] Arab countries, discourse in the media and among intellectuals is compartmentalized. On the one hand, there are virulent articles about racism in Europe describing the “Jungle,” a migrant detention center in Calais, France, as something of a concentration camp, or presenting fallacious analyses: “No Work in France if You’re Arab or African,” said one headline in an Islamist newspaper in February. On the other hand, there is no shortage of Ku Klux Klan-worthy arguments about the threat posed by blacks, their perceived lack of civic-mindedness and the crimes and diseases they purportedly bring with them... Denunciations of racism are reserved for the crimes of the West. What counts as abuse there seems like a necessity here... for blacks, embracing Islam is no guarantee of safety"

Only successful people can afford a CV of failure - "Professor Haushofer explains at the top of his CV that most of what he tries fails, but people only see the success, which “sometimes gives others the impression that most things work out for me”. The failures he lists include not getting into postgraduate programmes at Cambridge or Stanford, not getting a Harvard professorship and failing to secure a Fulbright scholarship... Those who are most successful have an understandable interest in emphasising that they got there through old-fashioned grit, persevering in the face of failure, never letting setbacks beat them down. Quite frankly, it’s a far more attractive way to package success than sharing a story of how it just happened to fall in your lap or how your innate abilities are so brilliant that they effortlessly propelled you to the top. Our favourite success story goes: sure, I may have some natural advantages, but I’m essentially like you, I just worked really hard to get where I am... there are lots of times when failure doesn’t end in success, and those stories contain as many important truths about how the world works. Those stories are much harder to share: like most people, I’d find it much more painful and difficult to be open about failures in those areas of my life that I don’t consider a triumph than those that I do. Taken to the extreme, the risk is that telling ourselves these nice stories of success in terms of trying, failing, learning and trying again makes us too complacent that that’s the way the world really works"
Survivorship bias

After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight - The New York Times - "most of that season’s 16 contestants have regained much if not all the weight they lost so arduously. Some are even heavier now... The results, the researchers said, were stunning. They showed just how hard the body fights back against weight loss... anyone who deliberately loses weight — even if they start at a normal weight or even underweight — will have a slower metabolism when the diet ends. So they were not surprised to see that “The Biggest Loser” contestants had slow metabolisms when the show ended. What shocked the researchers was what happened next: As the years went by and the numbers on the scale climbed, the contestants’ metabolisms did not recover. They became even slower, and the pounds kept piling on. It was as if their bodies were intensifying their effort to pull the contestants back to their original weight... Despite spending billions of dollars on weight-loss drugs and dieting programs, even the most motivated are working against their own biology... “This is a subset of the most successful” dieters, he said. “If they don’t show a return to normal in metabolism, what hope is there for the rest of us?” Still, he added, “that shouldn’t be interpreted to mean we are doomed to battle our biology or remain fat. It means we need to explore other approaches”... Slower metabolisms were not the only reason the contestants regained weight, though. They constantly battled hunger, cravings and binges. The investigators found at least one reason: plummeting levels of leptin... “The body puts multiple mechanisms in place to get you back to your weight. The only way to maintain weight loss is to be hungry all the time. We desperately need agents that will suppress hunger and that are safe with long-term use”... people took a diabetes drug, canagliflozin, that makes them spill 360 calories a day into their urine, or took a placebo. The drug has no known effect on the brain, and the person does not realize those calories are being spilled. Those taking the drug gradually lost weight. But for every five pounds they lost, they were, without realizing it, eating an additional 200 calories a day... “The difficulty in keeping weight off reflects biology, not a pathological lack of willpower affecting two-thirds of the U.S.A.”"

I'm an obesity doctor. I've seen long-term weight loss work. Here's how. - "The key to your success is actually liking the life and diet you're living with while you're losing weight"

Sikh U.S. Army captain allowed to wear beard, turban in uniform - "Even as his court case was pending, Singh passed a routine gas mask test with his unit. In barring the extensive testing, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said it made little sense since 100,000 soldiers had been allowed beards for medical reasons."

Club refuses woman free entry on ladies’ night because of “unfeminine” dressing - "– Four girls, including her, went to f.Club on ladies’ night, and one was told to pay the $30 cover charge.
– The reason given by multiple bouncers: she was “inappropriately dressed” — she was in a long-sleeved sweater and jeans.
– She points out that their dress code is no singlets, no shorts and no slippers, and while she and her friend both complied with that, her friend still wasn’t allowed in for free.
– Her complaint was that the club is corrupt for accepting a $30 “bribe” (because her friend was deemed to be inappropriately dressed), propagates gender stereotyping and objectification, and is breeding a culture where women are expected to put their bodies on show."
You try to get free entry on Ladies' Night, and then complain about sexism? SPOING!
Comment: "I don't know what is her problem. If she's been to Europe or Australia, she would know that you can't get into premium clubs unless you are well dressed, well behaved and are the kind of customers that they are looking for. It is not a coffeeshop where anybody can go to... She should take some effort to dress well. It not called FASHION TV Club for nothing."

Dead Obese Woman Carried So Much Fat She Set Crematorium on Fire - "The fat caused the fire inside the crematorium to reach 300C, resulting in clouds of smoke billowing out of the building when the filter mechanisms failed to stand up to the job. Firemen had to rush to the scence in Graz, Austria, where they were confronted by thick black smoke smoke... The woman in question weighed 440 pounds"

Using Generic Antidepressants vs. Brand Name - "a group of Canadian psychiatrists described seven cases in which patients with depression were taking Paxil or Celexa. When their medication was switched to the generics -- paroxetine and citalopram – they experienced a relapse of their depression. Other people with depression have reported a recurrence of side effects when they switched to generics, and one report showed that switching from one generic to another can also result in a relapse... With somewhat older antidepressants, such as fluoxetine (Prozac), several different manufacturers make the generic antidepressants, each using different non-active ingredients. Thus, each generic brand may have slightly different effects. “In general, generics have been as effective as brand-name antidepressants. And they’re less expensive, so it makes sense to use them,” says Alpert “But,” he adds, “the differences for a given individual might be enough to throw off that individual’s response or to cause additional side effects.”"

Pharmaceutical quality of generic isotretinoin products, compared with Roaccutane. - "Thirteen generic products failed to match Roaccutane in one or more tests and 11 failed in three or more tests. It cannot be assumed that all generic isotretinoin products are as therapeutically effective or safe as Roaccutane."

The 10,000 Hour Rule Is Not Real - "A new meta-analysis, however, indicates that the 10,000 hour rule simply does not exist. As Brain's Idea reports, authors of the new study undertook the largest literature survey on this subject to date, compiling the results of 88 scientific articles representing data from some 11,000 research participants. Practice, they found, on average explains just 12 percent of skill mastery and subsequent success. "In other words the 10,000-Hour rule is nonsense," Brain's Idea writes. "Stop believing in it. Sure, practice is important. But other factors (age? intelligence? talent?) appear to play a bigger role"... despite the new evidence that the 10,000 rule is bull, like the studies and articles that came before it, that message will likely fall on many deaf ears. The 10,000 hour rule seems to have entered into the common lore about success: it's a nice idea, that hard work will actually pay off"

I Don't Care About The ‘Hate’ Crime At Harvard Law School, And Neither Should You - "As a society, at some point we are going to have accept that there are racists and there are trolls. At some point we’re going to have to figure out how to object to the former without feeding the latter. And I know there’s a Venn here. Most trolls are racists and some racists are trolls. But when a motherf**ker is just so CLEARLY trolling you... you have to exhibit some restraint and not give him battle."

Could the Hunger Games turn your teen into a revolutionary? - "Young adult dystopian fiction tends to include at least one key learning point or moral. When teens absorb the moral, it can change their attitudes and durably weave the story into teens' life choices. Narratologists call this the cultivation effect."
If you believe in the monkey see monkey do theory of human behavior, why wouldn't the Hunger Games incite violence?

'Run, don't play dead': UK counter-terrorism office issues advice after Paris attacks - "Victims of a Paris-style gun and bomb attack should run or hide behind “substantial brickwork” or “reinforced walls” rather than lie down, according to new official guidance."

The real reason Japan's economy keeps stumbling into recession - "Can we be sure that Abenomics is responsible for the recovery in the Japanese labor force? It's hard to prove anything conclusively in macroeconomics. But we can see that the Japanese price level has stopped falling ever since Abe came to office determined to make it stop falling" The French Way of War - "For American military observers, the one word that sums up their assessment is respect. What makes the French way of war distinct from, say, the U.S. way of war has to do with scarcity. The French military is highly conscious of its small size and lack of resources. This translates into several distinctive features of French military operations"

Row after University of York cancels International Men’s Day event - "The dispute began after a statement appeared in connection with International Men’s Day in which Adrian Lee, of the university’s equality and diversity committee, said men were under-represented in some areas of the university and that women had a higher chance of being appointed to academic staff posts than men... “A day that celebrates men’s issues – especially those outlined in the university’s statement – does not combat inequality, but merely amplifies existing, structurally imposed, inequalities”... “International Men’s Day is about raising issues like the high male suicide rate, male rape and male domestic abuse; it’s about issues in education, and child-father relationships. These do not necessarily conflict with women’s rights."
Equality means not caring about men

We Muslims can’t wait for the next bomb before we speak out - Telegraph - "Many Muslims remain reluctant to think seriously about the vision they have for their lives in Europe. They react to Western foreign policies, geopolitics, sectarian violence, disenfranchisement with corrupt Muslim governments, but they still remain unwilling to accept that nurturing an ethical framework for one’s life requires reflection and a very real commitment to social and intellectual pluralism... There is no point in talking of human rights when it’s just your own human rights which concern you; there is no depth in talking of piety when your only concern is wearing the hijab; there is no traction in saying Islam is a religion of peace when the evidence for it is shrinking daily"
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