"I love your "Malaysian Accent", can you say it again?"

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Friday, May 11, 2018

Links - 11th May 2018 (3)

In Asia’s Fattest Country, Nutritionists Take Money From Food Giants - The New York Times - "Over the past three decades this increasingly prosperous nation has become the fattest country in Asia, with nearly half the adult population now overweight or obese... traditional Malaysian cuisine — curries and other sugar-laden street foods — are key contributors to obesity but said that working with street vendors and mom-and-pop companies to make their food healthier is difficult. Working with multinational companies is easier and more productive, he said. Dr. Tee said he has used his position in the government to push for important steps to regulate companies, including a 2003 rule that required food companies to put nutritional information — the levels of fat, sugars and protein — on their packaging... The shelves were packed with products now found across the globe: instant noodles, spaghetti sauce, soda and rows of sugary cereals, including Nestlé’s Stars, which is 28 percent sugar and has a bright red circle on the bottom right of the box that says “Selected Healthier Choice Malaysia Ministry of Health.”... some nutritionists say Malaysia’s dietary guidelines, which Dr. Tee helped craft, are not as tough on sugar as they might otherwise be. They tell people to load up on grains and cereals, and to limit fat to less than 20 to 30 percent of daily calories, a recommendation that was removed from dietary guidelines in the United States in 2015 after evidence emerged that low-fat diets don’t curb obesity and may contribute to it... she did not know that Milo, the Nestlé breakfast drink, contained so much sugar. “I had this idea of Milo as healthy and strong,” Ms. Elyza said, repeating an advertising slogan that has echoed in the ears of Malaysians for years... “There are some people who say that we should not accept money for projects, for research studies. I’m aware of that,” Dr. Tee said. “I have two choices: Either I don’t do anything or I work with companies.”"
Maybe people will slam Tee for racism for indicting curries

Today article on diabetes targets Malay & Indian eating habits, S’poreans call it out as racist - "Titled “War on diabetes: Changing eating habits of Malay, Indian communities an uphill task”, it ventured guesses as to why statistically, Singapore’s Malay and Indian communities have a higher incidence rate of diabetes... they interviewed an Indian restaurant owner, a nasi lemak stall owner and a diabetic who struggles to change his eating habits"
Maybe the reporter should have made stuff up that sounded good instead of interviewing Malays and Indians about Malay and Indian food
Addendum: On the Facebook preview the article was titled "Getting Malays, Indians to change eating habits may not be easy"

Indians, Malays most at risk of diabetes and obesity, says health minister - "Indians and Malays have been found to lack a sense of awareness on healthy diet and health care, as compared to the Chinese in the country, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam. He said these factors led both races to face health problems as the risk of obesity and diabetes continued to rise each year... According to Dr Subramaniam, the problems would continue to persist if Malaysians continued to over-eat and craved for sweet food, and did not exercise daily. “Awareness and practice of a healthy culture among the people is still lacking, especially in the Indian and Malay communities."
Singapore's racism is so strong, it spills over and infects Malaysia too

Norway’s Parliament Votes To Decriminalize All Drug Use - "Portugal decriminalized drugs in 2001 after years of harsh policy failed to have a significant effect on drug usage or deaths. Instead of fining or jailing drug users found with small quantities of drugs, the government started placing them in treatment and counseling programs. A 2014 report from Transform Drug Policy Foundation found the total number of people in Portugal who had used drugs at any point in their lives rose after decriminalization in 2001 through 2012, but the numbers of people who had used drugs at any point in the year or month before they were surveyed actually decreased, meaning fewer were using drugs on a regular basis."

One is art, one is vandalism - but which is which? - "WHEN Rindy Sam left a lipstick "kiss" across a piece of pristine white canvas it was, she claims, an act of love. But to the art collector whose painting she modified, Sam's act was nothing more than vandalism. Yesterday the argument came to court, where Sam is being sued for more than 2 million by the owner of the painting - part of a tryptich entitled Phaedrus by the contemporary American artist Cy Twombly... "I take responsibility for my act. This white canvas inspired me. I am told it is forbidden to do such things, but it was totally spontaneous," it continued. "I just gave a kiss. It was a gesture of love; when I kissed it, I did not think it out carefully, I just thought the artist would understand.""

Woman fined for kissing painting - "A woman who kissed a £1.37m painting, leaving a lipstick stain, has been ordered to pay 1,500 euros (£1,074) in damages to its owner by a French judge... She must also pay a symbolic one euro (71p) to the US artist. The gallery owner will also receive 500 euros (£357). Restorers have been unable to remove the lipstick and have unsuccessfully used 30 products to get rid of the stain."

5 Fascinating Facts About the Japanese Yakuza That May Surprise You - "the Super Famicom was released in Japan on Wednesday, November 21, 1990 for Y25,000 (US$210). It was an instant success; Nintendo's initial shipment of 300,000 units sold out within hours, and the resulting social disturbance led the Japanese government to ask video game manufacturers to schedule future console releases on weekends. The system's release also gained the attention of the Yakuza, leading to a decision to ship the devices at night to avoid robbery... Japanese police investigating the Yamaguchi-gumi found a 12-question exam paper that members are expected to take. The test outlines the responsibilities of members and details "activities" that are permitted or banned. The test checks knowledge of Japan's revised Anti-Organized Crime Law holds high ranking gangsters financially responsible for the actions of subordinates. By ensuring a sound knowledge of the law, the leadership is likely hoping that they will be able to discourage junior members from being involved in activities that could lead to high-ranking members being sued."

Israel arrests Palestinian teen after soldier-slapping video - "The video shot on Friday, apparently with a mobile telephone, showed two Palestinian teenage girls approaching two Israeli soldiers, before shoving, kicking and slapping them while filming on mobile phones. The heavily armed soldiers do not respond in the face of what appears to be an attempt to provoke rather than seriously harm them. They then move backwards... The video of Ahed and the soldiers was widely used by Israeli media, which often accuses Palestinian protesters of seeking to provoke the army into responses which are then filmed. Israeli politicians hailed the restraint of the soldiers as evidence of the military's values"''

Hundreds of Muslim demonstrators storm Egyptian church - "Hundreds of Muslim demonstrators have stormed a Coptic church in Egypt calling for it to be demolished. A hostile mob wreaked havoc in the building by wrecking sacred objects and attacking worshippers after gathering outside during Friday prayers. During the brief siege the demonstrators chanted offensive slogans and called for the church's demolition... Local authorities often refuse to give building permits for new churches, fearing protests by Muslim conservatives. That has prompted Christians to illegally build churches or set up churches in other buildings. In contrast, b

Religious Diversity Around The World - "12 countries have a very high degree of religious diversity. Six of the 12 are in the Asia-Pacific region (Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Hong Kong); five are in sub-Saharan Africa (Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Ivory Coast, Benin and Mozambique); and one is in Latin America and the Caribbean (Suriname). No countries in Europe, North America or the Middle East-North Africa region have a very high degree of religious diversity as measured in this study. Of the 232 countries in the study, Singapore – an island nation of more than 5 million people situated at the southern tip of Malaysia – has the highest score on the Religious Diversity Indexuilding a mosque results in few restrictions. Christians constitute 10 percent of Egypt's mostly Muslim population. Sectarian violence occasionally erupts, mainly in rural communities in the south. Egypt's Christian minority has often been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded.""

Decision to have Ghomeshi lawyer Marie Henein speak at universities perpetuates rape culture, critics say - "The choice of Jian Ghomeshi’s lawyer as a speaker at four Canadian universities is sparking debate on one Nova Scotia campus... Jasmine Cormier, a student at St. F.X. in Antigonish, has written an article in that university’s weekly newspaper, saying Henein’s selection serves to silence victims and perpetuate rape culture... “The outrage, the mudslinging, the name calling, and the general focus on Henein is a sign of the times, and not a good sign, in my humble opinion. Almost all of it shows an incredible lack of understanding by the public of the justice system, what a defence counsel’s role is in the system, and what the rights of the accused are”"
Looks like Singaporeans are not the only people to demonise defence lawyers. But given that Ghomeshi was acquitted this insight into feminist thinking is even more revealing

How Many Genders Are There, Again? - "'Newsflash: You are not transgender just because you cut your hair short and prefer they/them pronouns. You people simply want to call yourselves “transgender” to earn oppression points. You want to be part of a group that is “marginalized and oppressed” because you realize it’s not all that interesting in this current culture just being a run-of-the-mill person.'...
That’s the whole thing with special snowflakes “identifying” as transgender (and I would argue that’s why people are so quick to identify as any type of LGBT). It’s different. It’s cool. You get all kinds of attention for it. You can cry about it on Tumblr and some internet celebrity can talk about how “stunning and brave” you are, when all you’re really doing to looking for attention. And people like Blaire White – for whom transgenderism is a Real Life Thing – have to sit back and watch their biological reality become a beating-point for the Cult of Social Justice to bully and silence society into submission."

From fourth-century soup to 21st-century procedure, fecal transplantation proves its worth against stubborn bacteria - "the fourth-century Chinese medical doctor Ge Hong. More than 1,700 years ago, Hong put ink to paper to document a rather unique recipe for treating diarrhea— yellow soup. It was, as one might expect, not a pleasant dish but rather a broth involving dried or fermented stool from a healthy person. Taken by mouth, the bacteria in the stool would then inhabit the gut of the sick person, and bring about a cure. Medical scholars can debate whether Ge Hong's yellow soup was the first effort at what is now called fecal microbiota transplantation. In any case, history is replete with documented examples of the practice, from Renaissance-era veterinarians to a 1958 Colorado case involving four critically ill patients. Now an increase in a hard-to-beat intestinal bacterium has prompted VA researchers to revisit the effectiveness of FMT—a modern version of Hong's yellow soup"

Ta-Nehisi Coates quits Twitter after public row with Cornel West - "Award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates has deleted his widely followed Twitter account after a public row with fellow intellectual Cornel West. Coates tweeted: “peace y’all. i’m out. I didn’t get in it for this,” to his 1.25 million followers before quitting the social media site. The Harvard scholar, author and activist West described Coates as “the neoliberal face of the black freedom struggle” in a Guardian column on Sunday, launching a furious debate about the two men in black, activist and liberal circles. West – a leading and outspoken American philosopher, activist and social critic – argued that Coates, who has arguably become the most popular and widely read black intellectual on race in a generation, writes from a worldview that “fetishizes” white supremacy. According to West, that preoccupation clouds Coates’ perception of other factors that shape modern society. “Any analysis or vision of our world that omits the centrality of Wall Street power, US military policies, and the complex dynamics of class, gender, and sexuality in black America is too narrow and dangerously misleading,” West wrote. “So it is with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ worldview.”"
What sort of public intellectual throws a hissyfit and rage quits?

Ku Klux Klan media star admits lying being an Iraqi war veteran: "I am a media whore" - "Steven Shane Howard, the Imperial Wizard of the North Mississippi White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and a member of the National Socialist Movement, the largest neo-Nazi organization in America, didn’t act alone. Howard detailed payments by national media fabricating racist events... Howard detailed manufacturing cross burnings and other Ku Klux Klan public confrontations in exchange for cash payments from multiple national media groups... Howard had dissolved the North Mississippi White knights of the KKK when he was approached to be a TV star by the A&E network in 2016. In a series of 2017 interviews with Howard, he detailed being paid by the A&E television network, ABC News, VICE, and others to stage events for cameras and portray an extremist white racist leader."
If Nazis did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them

Outrageous UN Vote on Jerusalem an Opportunity to Stop Paying for the "Privilege" of Being "Disrespected" - - "Thursday’s meeting was the seventeenth time the UN General Assembly has convened the so-called “tenth” emergency special session on Israel since 1997. That’s because the “tenth” session is effectively permanent. At the end of the meeting, the President of the General Assembly stressed that the session was merely “adjourned.” What such UN-eze means for real people is this: There has never been an emergency special session of the General Assembly on anything but Israel-bashing in twenty years. 500,000-plus dead and seven million displaced in Syria over seven years – and not one emergency special session. Neither a million dead in Rwanda, nor two million dead over two decades in Sudan, ever prompted a single emergency special session."

‘NO VIOLATION’: After Rosie Tells Shapiro ‘Suck My D***’ And 'Lick Me,' Twitter Rules No Abuse - "Despite the fact that O’Donnell used crude language including ‘Suck My D***’ And “Lick Me Too Ben,” the Masters of Media ruled that despite Shapiro’s query as to whether O’Donnell’s actions constituted targeted harassment, O’Donnell’s behavior fell within the province of permitted dialogue on Twitter... Twitter’s seemingly arbitrary decisions when it comes to silencing its users have elicited scrutiny for some time"

1-year jail for bondage sex with underage girl - "Former advertising director Kwek Chuan Shan, 35, who had explicitly stated on his profile that he was into "bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism" - or BDSM for short - was on Tuesday jailed for a year for having consensual sex with the underage girl. He is the third of five men to be dealt with in court for offences involving the same girl. Two others, Malaysian Jared Chan Yee Mun, 32 and Alan Lobaton Ramos, 26, a Mexican, were sent to jail earlier this month... The incident came to light when a church friend informed the girl's father that sexually explicit photographs of her were circulating on the Internet. Despite the kinky acts that Kwek had performed on the girl, District Judge Low Wee Ping said on Tuesday that there is no evidence that the convict had corrupted her."

Customer service officer admits to sexually abusing girl, 15 - "As they were walking to the MRT station later, the minor told him that she wanted him to wear a condom when they engaged in sex in future. "He refused and bragged that he had slept with over 30 women and had not, to date, impregnated any of them""

Court troubled by victim's conduct - "In sentencing Ramos, District Judge Low Wee Ping also had some harsh words for the victim. He said the court was "troubled by the conduct of this minor who seems to be very misguided" and had contributed to men having to face the law. Five men have been charged with having underage sex with the girl."

In Sickness and in Wealth - "Using wage and prescription medication data from Denmark, we implement a regression discontinuity design to show that men outearned by their wives are more likely to use erectile dysfunction medication than their male breadwinner counterparts, even when this inequality is small. Breadwinner wives suffer increased insomnia/anxiety medication usage, with similar effects for men"
Even in gender egalitarian Denmark, reversing gender stereotypes has negative consequences - harm, if you like

A Genetically Informed Study of the Association Between Harsh Punishment and Offspring Behavioral Problems - "Conclusions about the effects of harsh parenting on children have been limited by research designs that cannot control for genetic or shared environmental confounds. The present study used a sample of children of twins and a hierarchical linear modeling statistical approach to analyze the consequences of varying levels of punishment while controlling for many confounding influences. The sample of 887 twin pairs and 2,554 children came from the Australian Twin Registry. Although corporal punishment per se did not have significant associations with negative childhood outcomes, harsher forms of physical punishment did appear to have specific and significant effects. The observed association between harsh physical punishment and negative outcomes in children survived a relatively rigorous test of its causal status, thereby increasing the authors’ conviction that harsh physical punishment is a serious risk factor for children."

Physical punishment and childhood aggression: the role of gender and gene-environment interplay. - "genetic risk factors condition the effects of spanking on antisocial behavior. Moreover, our results provide evidence that the interaction between genetic risk factors and corporal punishment may be particularly salient for males."
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