When you can't live without bananas

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Links - 20th October 2016

Donald and Hillary - I've Had The Time of My Life - YouTube

Gary Johnson: My ignorance on foreign policy could be an asset as president - "For Gary Johnson, ignorance is not only bliss — it might also be a strength of his as commander in chief, the Libertarian presidential nominee said Tuesday. “The fact that somebody can dot the i’s and cross the t’s on a foreign leader or a geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm’s way,” Johnson said in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. The former New Mexico governor’s comments were in response to a question about his inability to name a single foreign leader he admires during a recent MSNBC town hall — a gaffe Johnson himself described as “another Aleppo moment.” That was a reference to yet another MSNBC gaffe: his unfamiliarity with the war-torn Syrian city in a “Morning Joe” interview in early September."

What one of the greatest civilizations in history tells us about Donald Trump - "Plato was a genius political philosopher but a shoddy political scientist, as it turns out. “Plato was a theorist — but he wasn’t much for testing his theories,” says Andrew Hanssen, a political economist at Clemson University in South Carolina, who studies Ancient Greece. “If Plato had been interested in collecting data, he would have found his view to be incorrect.” Were democratic societies in Ancient Greece doomed to degenerate into tyrannies? The evidence, actually, points to the contrary... The most prosperous democracies of the 4th century B.C. tended to have gone through a period of tyranny in the previous century. Moreover, city-states with a history of tyranny were much more likely to later end up as democracies. Fleck and Hanssen believe that tyranny may have been a “bridge to democracy” in Ancient Greece because early tyrants created economic opportunity and strengthened the middle class... There are lessons to be learned from the politics of Plato's time — just not from Plato himself. As Fleck and Hanssen have shown though their study of Ancient Greece, economic forces motivates politics in powerful ways. Societies fall under the sway of demagogues not because they suffer from an excess of democracy but because they suffer from an excess of suffering. In contrast, a healthy middle class was one reason that democratic regimes began to flourish during the 4th century B.C."

Volkswagen’s other speciality: Curry sausage - "He cannot imagine Volkswagen without the sausage, which is even listed as an official VW component with the product code 199 398 500 A... VW also launched a vegetarian version in 2010 and a vegan Currywurst in 2015."

Tricked into porn: Japanese actresses step out of the shadows - "Accusations that women were made to perform in sometimes brutal sex scenes, on film against their will, prompted the industry to issue an unprecedented apology and promise change. The surprise mea culpa followed the June arrest of three Tokyo talent agents accused of forcing a woman to appear in more than 100 pornographic videos... One woman cited in the report had repeated plastic surgeries to escape her past, while another decided told an NGO she planned to hire a lawyer to stop the distribution of movies she appeared in. But she hung herself before pushing on with the case"

This heatmap shows you where all of Singapore's taxis are

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. These are ethical issues, and they are unsettling. But only that which unsettles us helps us to grow. Our ethics must be based on a generosity towards others. 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."

Judge says man must pay $30K in child support for kid who is not his - "He’d been made dad by default after an ex listed him as father when applying for welfare benefits. According to documents filed with the court, a process server claimed to have given Carnell Alexander, in person, a notice of hearing at a house he once lived at. It is something that wasn’t possible. Carnell wasn’t at that house on the date he was allegedly served. He was incarcerated for a crime he committed as a young man."

A Lunar New Year With a Name That’s a Matter of Opinion - The New York Times - " China said goodbye to the Year of the Horse on Wednesday, and on the first day of the new lunar year revelers welcomed the Year of the Sheep. Or maybe the goat. Or perhaps the ram. For English speakers, it is a can of worms... “In Western culture, things are subdivided into more and more detailed categories, and that’s why Europe has still not been unified after so many years,” he continued. “If you want to say whether it’s goat or sheep, then why not also ask whether it’s a ewe or a ram? But Chinese culture has an inclusive spirit and stresses harmony.”"

Two Kids Have Sex, The Boy Goes to Jail and Becomes a Sex Offender While the Girl Goes Free

'What is he doing here Mommy? Doesn't he know he will be killed?' Shocking hidden camera footage shows Jew being spat at, called a 'dog' and threatened as he walks the streets of Paris - "Posting the video on YouTube, he wrote: 'Welcome to Paris 2015, where soldiers are walking every street that houses a Jewish institution, and where keffiyeh-wearing men and veiled women speak Arabic on every street corner.'.. tourist attractions were 'relatively calm' - 'but the further from them we walked, the more anxious I became over the hateful stares, the belligerent remarks, and the hostile body language,' he wrote. Boys shouted 'Viva Palestine' and as he passes a group of youths, one remarks: 'I'm joking, the dog will not eat you'... in Paris, Jews 'are barred from entering certain areas'. 'Is this what life is like for Paris' Jews?' he reports. 'Is this what a Jew goes through, day in and day out, while walking to work or using public transportation?'"

It’s not a sheep or a ram - it's the year of the goat, says leading Chinese linguist | South China Morning Post - "Ho said that while sheep had a long history in Chinese society, the country's culinary past suggested the goat as the most likely animal to have been included in the zodiac. "In ancient China, people ate six types of animals - horse, cow, goat, pig, dog and chicken. Goat is therefore included in the zodiac, too," Ho said. Goats also had a higher status among the six animals in Chinese society, as in the past, only rich people and the aristocracy could afford to eat them."

Feminist Mother Publicly Shames Her Teenage Boys—With The Help Of The Media - "That Allard’s boys won’t take up their mother’s fight makes them “part of the problem,” writes Allard. They’ve “dipped their toes into toxic masculinity,” she adds. Toxic masculinity is a favorite feminist term. It means the more masculine a man is, the more vile he is. Nice, huh? Fortunately for Allard’s sons, their mother’s efforts to indoctrinate them has failed. Unfortunately, her response was to publically shame them... One of Allard’s sons, the 16-year-old, is a known suicide risk—known to Allard and known to The Washington Post editors. And still they publically shamed him... She has been married and divorced three times—her exes, of course, were the problem; her biological father abandoned her; she has “divorced” her mother, who she says is “incapable of mothering anyone”; and she’s a victim of sexual abuse. Oh, and she was born with one hand, not two; and her adopted sister, who liked to kill animals, tried to kill her. The list goes on. How many of Allard’s stories are true (save for the physical impairment) as opposed to ploys for attention is anyone’s guess. What is clear is that Jody Allard is unwell. What is also clear is that somewhere along the line, feminism became her lifeline. That’s typically how happens: a childhood goes terribly wrong. As adults, these folks find solace in an ideology rooted in victimhood, one that promises to heal the wounds of the past. Rather than deal with problems on their own, they ban together with others who’ve been hurt and blame men and marriage for all things evil."

Disney Apologises For Inappropriate Moana Costume - "Disney has pulled its Polynesian demigod Maui costume from physical and online stores in the wake of a PR kerfuffle over the outfit a little over a month before Halloween and two months before the film’s release. The costume is a likeness of Dwayne Johnson’s character in the upcoming Disney animated feature “Moana” and consists of a dark skinned, long-sleeved bodysuit of tattoos with a leaf skirt... Disney has reportedly tried hard to ensure the film is diversity-appropriate with almost all of the voice actors playing Polynesians are actually actors of Polynesian descent"
Comments: "I live in Hawaii. Trust me, there's nobody here who gives a crap about this. Some of my native Hawaiian friends think it's pretty funny. This whole thing stems from nothing more than a bunch off PC police cry babies."
"One day I'd like to see a company simply say "we won't be apologising, nothing wrong was said or done." People aren't entitled to always get their way, entitlement is nothing but a delusion built on self centredness and laziness."
If they hadn't produced a Moana costume they'd have been accused of ignoring minorities and only representing white people
You can't win

Ban the Box? An Effort to Stop Discrimination May Actually Increase It - NYTimes.com - "When we try to end discrimination without addressing the underlying causes of discriminatory behavior, our efforts may accomplish little — and may even backfire... Lacking the ability to discern criminal history, employers became much less likely to call back any apparently black applicant. They seemed to treat all black applicants now as if they might have a criminal past. These were big and disheartening effects: Banning the box extended discrimination to virtually all black applicants."

Three women accused of having sex with married men then blackmailing them in South Korea as part of 'honeypot' operation - "In each case, the women are said to have enticed the men to have sex, then threatened to report the encounter to police as rape if they failed to pay substantial sums."

Contributory negligence - "where a person suffers damage as a result partly of his own fault and partly the fault of another(s), a claim shall not be defeated by reason of the fault of the person suffering damage. Thus contributory negligence operates as a partial defence...
The burden of proof is on the defendant to demonstrate:
1. The claimant failed to take proper care in the circumstances for their own safety
2. The failure to take care was a contributory cause of the damage suffered...
the failure to take care must be a contributory cause to the damage suffered as oppose to the causing the incident that resulted in damage...
Common examples of what constitutes failing to take care for own safety include:
Failure to wear a seat belt
Failure to wear or fasten a crash helmet on a motorcycle
Exposing oneself to danger
Victim blaming!

80 per cent Singaporeans in Reach survey say the death penalty should be retained - "According to the survey, there is widespread general support for the death penalty system, with 57 per cent outrightly supporting death penalty and 80 per cent of residents generally supporting the notion. In addition, 23 per cent said "it depends" and 13 per cent opposed it. Those with higher education qualifications were more in support for the death penalty."
At this point, the liberals who usually champion education and democracy start making excuses

Blaming the victim again: Toronto once again tells pedestrians to not dress in black, but it's a lost cause
"Don't tell me to look before crossing the road. Tell drivers not to run me down." was meant to be satire. But Poe's Law.

Saudi Arabia's top cleric says Iranians are 'not Muslims' - "Saudi Arabia's top cleric has said Iranians are "not Muslims", a day after Iran's supreme leader denounced its management of the Hajj pilgrimage. Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh, the grand mufti, said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's accusations were "not surprising". "They are the sons of the Magi," he said, referring to Zoroastrianism, a religion that once dominated Iran... Ayatollah Khamenei accused Saudis of "murdering" pilgrims caught up in a stampede at last year's Hajj. "The heartless and murderous Saudis locked up the injured with the dead in containers - instead of providing medical treatment and helping them or at least quenching their thirst," he said, without providing evidence. "They murdered them." "The world of Islam, including Muslim governments and peoples, must familiarize themselves with the Saudi rulers and correctly understand their blasphemous, faithless, dependent and materialistic nature. They must not let those rulers escape responsibility for the crimes they have caused throughout the world of Islam," he added."
Saudis aren't Muslims, Iranians aren't Muslims, terrorists aren't Muslims. Who is a Muslim?

Hindi in Independent Singapore

"When Singapore gained independence in 1965, the constitution recognised four official languages — English and three languages representing each of the main 'races' in Singapore (i.e. Mandarin for the Chinese, Malay for the Malays and Tamil for Indians). The inclusion of Tamil and the exclusion of Hindi as the official language representing Indians was the outcome of specific demographic and political factors. Tamil speakers constituted the overwhelming majority of the Indian population in Singapore at the time of independence. Moreover, the politicisation of labour preceding Singapore's independence had also seen stewardship of the Indian community pass into the hands of those associated with Tamil labour and who were exposed to Tamil vernacular education. This "effectively placed community education in the hands of Tamil school masters [who were] fascinated by the Dravidian movement in India."' The popularity of that movement amongst Tamils, with its pro-Tamil and anti-Hindi agenda, also influenced the decision to reject Hindi as the representative language for Indians in Singapore.

The exclusion of Hindi as an official language had repercussions in language education. The bilingual policy, which was adopted in the national curriculum in 1966, required the study of two languages. English was advocated for due to economic reasons, along with one other official language to provide a 'cultural ballast‘ for the different races. However, the notion that the language representing the racial group necessarily provided a ‘cultural ballast‘ was questionable. Most Hindi speakers could not understand, speak or write Tamil. Worse still, the bilingual policy imposed a strain on children from these Hindi-speaking homes, who were now required to learn two Foreign languages. This in turn affected interest in learning their ‘mother tongue’. Glenda Michelle Singh informs us that:

... right up to 1965, Indian students were permitted to offer Hindi at ‘O’ arid ‘A’ level... After Independence in 1965 Hindi could not be offered as a subject in schools. Consequently, interest in studying it declined.”

To reduce their distress, the state permitted Indian students whose ‘mother tongue’ was not Tamil to study any of the three second languages on offer. Although students from Hindi-speaking homes could take up Malay — considered to be “easier to pick up than Tamil or Mandarin" and useful for inter-ethnic communication — or Mandarin — considered economically more useful than either Tamil or Malay — the policy did not address concerns that the national curriculum did not provide an avenue for these children to learn their own ‘mother tongue‘. Consequently, from the 1960s to the 1980s, children from Hindi-speaking homes could only learn their ‘mother tongue‘ through community-run schools. But there was little motivation to study Hindi given the negligible value of learning their ‘mother tongue‘ For educational and career advancement and the limited communicative domains for the language in Singapore. The only reason for youngsters to learn Hindi was emotional, to converse with monolingual elders in the Hindi-speaking community or for entertainment (i.e. to understand Hindi movies). Most youngsters could sustain such a level of understanding in the ‘mother tongue’ without attending formal classes. Consequently, community-based language institutions saw declining numbers. As early as the 1970s, the Netaji Hindi High School closed due to a lack of interest and support. While the DAV Hindi School persevered, students attending its Hindi class in the 1970s usually numbered less than 40, and attrition rates were high. Classes were run only once a week with a mix of children and adults from the Hindi—speaking community and adults from the Malay community (who had an interest in the language because of the popularity of Hindi cinema}. By the 1980s, Hindi language proficiency in the Hindi-speaking community had depreciated considerably. While statistics specific to Hindi are not available, Gopinathan posits that the percentage of Indians literate in ‘other’ (non-Tamil) Indian languages declined from 5.2% in 1970 to 1.7% in 1980.“ The Hindi language effectively stood at the brink of 'death’ in Singapore by the mid—1980s. Indeed, besides Hindi-speaking homes, the only domains where Hindi was spoken were the few institutions run by northern Indians, such as the Arya Samaj and the DAV School, the North Indian Hindu Association and the Shri Lakshrninarayan Temple.

The 1990s saw a remarkable turnaround in the position of the Hindi language in Singapore. The relaxation of migration controls for educated personnel provided a lifeline. Seen as necessary to maintain and renew Singapore‘s competitive edge following growing out-migration of talented Singaporeans and as an antidote to concerns of an ageing population, the migration of ‘foreign talent‘ was encouraged from the late 1980s. Chinese and Indian professionals were preferred due to the perception that they could easily assimilate with co-ethnic counterparts in Singapore. Consequently, a new group of first-generation Indian migrant professionals emerged. These migrants were, ethno—linguistically, more heterogeneous than the erstwhile Indian diaspora in Singapore, and many were literate in Hindi.

Even more than the migration of professionals, the position of Hindi strengthened because sustained lobbying by the non-Tamil-speaking Indian communities for the inclusion of their ‘mother tongue’ in the educational curriculum succeeded. Their arguments were twofold: a) that studying their ‘mother tongue‘ would enable children from these communities to understand their culture better; and b) that non-Tamil ‘Indian’ students were having difficulty in coping with Tamil, Chinese or Malay as a second language.” It was the latter argument that proved decisive. A high-level task force investigating Indian underachievement in education confirmed the following:

The second language grades obtained by non-Tamil Indian students, who are unable to take their mother tongue for the purpose, have weakened their overall performance in primary school examinations. The Indian pass rate in second language at ‘O’ levels, at 85% in 1990, also falls short of the Chinese pass rate of 94%. This is despite the Indian pass rate in Tamil [TL2] being on par with Chinese students‘ performance, and reflects the special weakness of non-Tamil Indian students in the second language.

In 1990, the Ministry of Education, as part of wider reforms in second language study, recognised five non-Tamil Indian languages (i.e. Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu and Gujarati) at 'O' level, and extended recognition for these subjects in 1991, at 'AO' levels in ‘1992 and at ‘N’ level and at PSLE level in 1994. However, unlike Singapore's official languages, the government provided limited support for education in these languages (i.e. school premises could be used for lessons, but provision for education in these languages would be dependent on financial support and the initiative of the respective communities). Moreover, unlike the four official languages, government campaigns and official media would neither use nor promote these languages.

Since this momentous decision, the number of students learning Hindi in Singapore has risen dramatically. Prior to recognition in the curriculum, less than 50 students were studying the language. By 2000, the number crossed to over 3000 students, and in 2015, the number taking Hindi as part of the national curriculum exceeded 6500 (from K1 to ‘A’ levels). This figure does not include students learning Hindi at International Schools. Indeed, the number of students taking Hindi is now more than double the combined total of all the other non-Tamil Indian language (i.e. Punjabi, Bengali, Urdu and Gujarati) students in Singapore schools. Hindi language is also offered at the tertiary level, and since its introduction, it has drawn more students than any other Indian language offered by the Centre of Language Studies at the National University of Singapore.

Several factors account for the sharp increase in the number of students learning Hindi. This is not just because of migrant professionals from the ‘Hindi heartland’, who comprise a minority of those emigrating from India, but rather due to the dominant position of Hindi in India. This has resulted in a diverse group — not constrained to those who originate from Hindi-speaking regions in India — encouraging their children to learn the language. While it may be that their children have taken up Hindi because their 'mother tongue’ is not available in the curriculum (e.g. Marathi, Sindhi, Kannada, Malayalee, Telugu, etc), the turn to Hindi is also reflective of their incipient position in Singapore. Since many new migrants view Singapore as a temporary stop, and may consider returning to India, their choice of language is influenced by the position of Hindi in India, where as the federal union official language, it is compulsory to learn Hindi in primary school. Consequently, even when the option of learning their ‘mother tongue’ is available (i.e. Tamil, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali and Urdu), many have chosen to learn Hindi as a second language.

Beyond changes in the curriculum, the position of Hindi in Singapore has been buttressed by the popularity of transnational Hindi media. The number of cinemas screening Hindi films has increased, a return to strength after the decline in the 1980s when the advent of video cassette recorders led to the closure of several halls. Their success is intrinsically connected to the tremendous growth of the Indian immigrant population, for whom watching a Hindi movie at the cinema remains a cherished social activity. A Hindi-speaking informant captures the current popularity of Hindi cinema-going in Singapore through a personal anecdote:

ln September 2009, my wife and l decided to watch a Hindi movie at Jade Cineplex. As we nuzzled through the crowd of Indian migrant professionals to buy our tickets, we found that not only was the screening at 8pm fully booked, so was the next show at 11.45. Desperately we tried to locate another cinema hall that was screening that movie and discovered that many others cinema that traditionally never showed [sic.] Hindi movies were screening [the movie]. We managed to get tickets for the midnight show at another Cineplex, but even that show was packed so that by that time of our arrival, we were let! only with front row seats. After another such incident, we have reconciled to paying extra for advance tickets.

The advent of cable TV in Singapore has added another layer of Hindi entertainment available in Singapore. Whereas Hindi-speakers from the 1960s to the 1980s could only watch the once-weekly Hindi movie on the national channel dedicated to Indians, viewers can now subscribe to more than 10 Hindi channels via cable TV. A Hindi radio station, Masti 96.3 FM, has, since 2007, been airing at a 3-hour primetime slot on Singapore's dedicated international language radio channel. In the popular culture scene, Singapore has, since the 2000s, been a choice location for Hindi cinema award ceremonies and other Hindi cultural productions, including dramatic performances and musicals, which nearly always draw packed audiences. Hindi songs are now common fayre (sic) in top discotheques. Several estates on the eastern coastline of Singapore now have large Hindi-speaking populations, and these have become domains where the language is heavily utilised. A similar scenario is evident in certain knowledge-based industries, such as the information technology sector. Possibly the most telling reflection of the position of Hindi in contemporary Singapore is the fact that even in shared public spaces — be it at hawker centres, shopping malls, playgrounds or schools — finding Indians conversing in Hindi is no longer cause for surprise."

--- 'Rising from the Ashes': The Development of Hindi in Independent Singapore in 50 Years of Indian Community in Singapore / Rajesh Rai
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