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Saturday, August 10, 2019

Links - 10th August 2019 (3)

Vito Gesualdi on Twitter - "Sorry what? EA is donating a million dollars to non profits working to end bullying & online harassment!?!?
Some facts:
- they didn't speak up during GamerGate at all
- @femfreq has been a non profit on the front lines of this issue for years constantly struggling with funding"
"Anita Sarkeesian is throwing a fit because EA donated a bunch of money to useful charities instead of giving it to her"
"Feminist Frequency actually abandoned their anti-bullying work in 2018. Anita is basically demanding Electronic Arts fund her terrible Star Trek podcast. "

Family horrified after porn played at father’s funeral instead of memorial video - "A British family mourning the loss of a young father and his infant son were horrified when graphic porn was accidentally played instead of a memorial video at his funeral.Hundreds of mourners had gathered Wednesday at Thornhill Crematorium in Cardiff, a port city in Wales, to say goodbye to 33-year-old Simon Lewis and his newborn boy, Simon Lewis Jr., after they were killed on New Year’s Eve in a head-on car crash.The priest hit play on what was supposed to be a tribute to Lewis’ life, but instead “very loud” sexual moans from a hard-core porn video filled the church... Church staff tried to shut off the sex tape, but had a lot of trouble.“It took them nearly four minutes to turn it off,” a grieving friend told the Telegraph. “People couldn’t believe what they were seeing.”"

Major Corporations Bravely Come Out In Support Of Incredibly Popular, Socially Acceptable Movement | The Babylon Bee - "For Pride Month, hundreds of corporations are being applauded for bravely coming out in support of an incredibly popular, socially acceptable, entirely mainstream movement: the LGBTQ+ community... "I am much more confident in my gayness when I see that these huge corporations are willing to exploit their support of gays for profit."Meanwhile, companies that openly support incredibly unpopular religious causes were booed for their cowardice."

Adults urged not to use kids' playground slides - "If you are an adult, you should not be on playground slides meant for children aged five to 12.This was the advice given by the National Parks Board (NParks) and playground contractor Semec Enterprise, after safety concerns were raised by parkgoers over a new pair of steep slides at Admiralty Park.On Tuesday, Shin Min Daily News reported that a 24-year-old woman suffered injuries to her head, shoulders and calf, after being thrown out of one of the 23m-long, 9m-tall slides. Her adult sister also suffered bruises on her feet. The twin slides are among the 26 slides at Admiralty Park, which re-opened two weeks ago after a two-year facelift.Ms Agnes Au, general manager of Semec, which supplied the playground equipment at the park, said: "The reasons why it isn't safe for adults to slide down are clear - a heavier weight will lead to a faster speed, and a bigger build is more likely to hit the sides of the slides.""

Why doesn't Gandalf use his magical powers more often in battle? - Quora - "magic in Tolkien’s world has little in common with the Force in Star Wars or magic in Harry Potter. To be precise, the name “wizards” is basically a mistake made by the ignorant Men and Hobbits of Middle-earth; since they didn’t know what Gandalf, Saruman, and Co. were actually doing, they used for them the name they gave to magicians and/or dark arts practitioners (Galadriel says she can’t really understand what they mean when they speak of “magic”, because of this confusion). In actual fact, they were angelic beings, created by the one true God, Eru, before the physical world, who had been clothed in flesh and sent to guide, counsel, and help the Free Peoples against Sauron. Consequently, their powers were basically spiritual and/or mental, not impressive shots of energy"
"It is simply not their job descriptio.The Istari were sent to council and lead the people of middleearth On their own way to greatness. Their job was to be there if needed and to keep them from doing really stupid things.So in order to do that, they started people on their quests and supervised their growth, like a shepherd. Only if the opponent (say Sauron for example) cheated by using supernatural powers in order to stop the heroes, they intervened or engaged overpowered Enemies directly."

Drugs, Vietnam, and the Vietnam veteran: an overview. - "Highlights are presented on the issue of drug use among servicemen in Vietnam and its aftereffects. Two stages of Vietnam drug use are identified-a period of increasing marijuana use followed by the 1970 influx of highly potent heroin to which 1/5 of the enlisted troops were addicted at some time during their tour. The major contributing factors appear to be: (1) the need of troops in stressful combat situations for self-medication, escape, and hedonistic indulgence; (2) the relaxation of taboos against drug use in the United States; and (3) the availability of illicit drugs at low cost, which was apparently the result of profiteering by a number of South Vietnamese officials. Related to the above was the growing disenchantment with the war and the progressive deterioration in unit morale. These drugs are seen as serving many of the functions performed by alcohol in earlier millitary conflicts. There is no hard evidence that duty performance in Vietnam was seriously affected by drug use. Since 95% of those who were addicted to narcotics in Vietnam have not become readdicted, the situation does not appear to be as severe as originally supposed. Myths as to the persistence and intractibility of physiological narcotic addiction were dispelled. A major negative effect has been the difficulty that soldiers with less-than-honorable discharges due to drug abuse have had in obtaining jobs. Other long-term effects from drug use are less clear and are difficult to separate from the overall effects of the war."
This shows that the claim that drugs are inherently addictive and unhealthy is wrong
Keywords: Vietnam War, Vietnam Veterans

FEATURE-Party drugs a hit with wealthy in Singapore - "Singapore’s party drug scene used to be the domain of high-flying foreign bankers and other expatriates who would take ecstasy and snort cocaine in defiance of the city state’s drug laws which, with a mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking, are among the toughest in the world. But these days, the drug scene for foreigners is not as pronounced as among well-to-do locals in a country which has the world’s fastest-growing number of high net worth individuals, totalling some 67,000 in 2006... Singaporean authorities say drug use is low, but anecdotal evidence tells of the emergence of an underground party drug scene mostly at night clubs frequented by the wealthy... In 2004, the CNB carried out a raid which exposed a glitzy underground drug scene. The cocaine drug bust saw 23 people arrested, including the former editor of high-society magazine Singapore Tatler, an award-winning French chef and an oil broker... "Every couple of years, they (the police) go out and get people so everyone is way too scared to do drugs," said a British lawyer, who declined to be named. "The drugs of choice here (for foreigners) really are women and alcohol.""
Previously shared in 2007, but a propos
Strange how drugs didn't ruin their lives and make them lose their inherited fortunes, and how they all still have fast paced jobs and are not in jail (at least for non-drug related offences)

Why is the EU afraid to allow Turkey in? - Quora - "there is evidence that Moslem immigrants do not always make good citizens. We can see this in the votes cast by the Turkish diaspora in Europe in the 2017 Referendum on making Erdogan into an untrammelled Dictator-President – a concept, be it noted, that is completely unacceptable to Europeans... In general, the pattern is that those countries with large Turkish immigrant populations, forming a significant percentage of the population, voted: ‘Yes’; those with small ones: ‘No’. Overall, much more heavily ‘Yes’ than in Turkey itself... we come to very high percentages of Turkish Turks favouring a system that would be illegal in their country of adoption. So much, then, for the ‘softening’ effects over generations of living in a liberal, democratic society.So the conclusion is inevitable: large-scale Turkish immigration into Christian-based countries is inadvisable. And that would be the inevitable consequence of Turkish EU membership."
"The EU just does not want a Turkish membership currently, simply because they cannot / do not want to pay for it !!!"

Sally Challen is no hero - "There is something sinister in the Sally Challen story. The way in which this woman who battered her husband to death with a hammer has been turned into an iconic figure, virtually into a heroine of justice, leaves a sour taste. Her photograph has been sympathetically emblazoned on the front page of the Guardian. Labour MP Jess Phillips said she cried with joy when she heard the news a few months ago that Challen’s murder conviction had been quashed. Many feminists are cheering yesterday’s news that Challen won’t face a retrial after the court accepted her manslaughter plea.To reiterate: this woman smashed a man’s skull in with a hammer. She’s no hero... There are many concerning things here. The first is the way in which the opinion of an expert, in this case a forensic psychiatrist, effectively overrode the verdict of a jury. This strikes me as an implicit attack on the wisdom of the jury system. Does one expert’s view carry more weight than the deliberations of 12 ordinary men and women? Secondly there is the suggestion, in the broader public discussion around the case, that killing is an understandable response to being insulted or demeaned by one’s partner. This is what campaigners are actually saying. That the courts should be more lenient with women who have killed partners who exercised ‘coercive control’ over them. Bear in mind that coercive control can include such behaviour as ‘repeatedly putting you down’ and ‘monitoring you via online communication tools’. Only nasty blokes do things like this, but that is no justification for killing them... What are we saying here: that women are sometimes incapable of controlling their emotions and their behaviour? Some men are treated abominably by their wives. They are put down, mocked, told they are pathetic, prevented from going to the pub, and so on. If one of these men smashed his wife’s head in with a hammer, would we say that wasn’t true murder?... For feminists to turn a killer into a hero suggests they have become seriously and perhaps irreversibly unanchored from moral reason."
So much for feminism not being about hating men

16 things that are more expensive in Singapore than other first world countries - "Pizza, Bacon, Wedding, Consumer Tech, Gym Membership, Musicals, Ramen, Bubble Tea, Cheese, FIFA World Cup, Health supplements, Clothes, Infant formula, Ice cream, Petrol, Alcohol"

Female teacher jailed 33 months for sex acts with 15-year-old student - "A female secondary school teacher who entered into a nine-month relationship with a 15-year-old student and engaged in sexual acts with him in a Geylang hotel was sentenced to 33 months’ jail... She was handed two years’ jail for two counts of sexual penetration acts of a minor, and an added nine months for two charges of procuring and committing obscene acts with a juvenile... They were discovered after the boy's mother found love letters, her car keys and other belongings in his room and alerted the school... she arranged for a five-day long staycation with the victim at Super 8 hotel in Geylang, where they performed sexual acts on each other at her direction. To avoid suspicion, the victim told his parents that he was at a camp with the uniformed group... In 2013, a 32-year-old primary school teacher was jailed for a year for having sex with her 13-year-old student. Another female 32-year-old teacher who had sex with a 15-year-old student was jailed for a year in 2012."
A female sexually penetrating a male - kinky

Female teacher jailed over sexual relations with her secondary school student - "In late 2016, the teacher wanted to make up for being away from the victim as she was going overseas with her friends for an extended period, the court heard.They decided to have a staycation or “honeymoon” and checked into a hotel in Geylang over five days from 28 November 2016 to 2 December 2016.The victim told his mother that he was going for a school camp.During their stay at the hotel, the teacher and student engaged in physical intimacy.On one occasion, they watched a movie on her laptop in bed before she told him that she “wanted to try something new” and re-enact a scene from the movie. She told him to kiss her from the neck down to her private parts. Around December 2016 to early 2017, the victim’s mother stumbled upon a series of letters folded into heart shapes while she was cleaning the house.“Unknown to her at that time, these were letters that the accused had written to the victim - one for each day that she would be away on holiday”... the victim asked his mother if she would consider marrying someone 11 years older than her... Sexually explicit text messages and photos of the teacher and student kissing were found on their phones. There was also a two-minute video of the duo French-kissing on a bed in the hotel room... the teacher “knew the wrongfulness of the relationship (with the victim), but was not able to shake it off due to her weakness in being decisive and assertive”. “She has a weak nature”"
Yahoo has the juicy details other outlets leave out

'Communism' and History in Singapore

Episode 25: Questions and Answers II

"‘How real or exaggerated was the communist threat in Singapore in its early years?’

I presume he means in the 50s and 60s.

‘Recent contrary accounts say that the threat has been grossly exaggerated. But I heard recently at the funeral of the ex-Principal of Zhong Zheng High in the 1950s, many old boys turned up and admitted that they were influenced by the communists to cause unrest, although they themselves were never card carrying members’...

The crux of your anecdote is that you assume that these are mutually opposing positions, right? That students could be influenced by the communists, and that the threat could be grossly exaggerated. But these are not mutually opposed positions. You see, the fundamental problem is that we today tend to project backwards what we know today on to the people of the past. We forget that the past is actually in many ways, a very alien place. It had different values, different beliefs. Most of all, we have the benefit of hindsight, and they don't. We have the benefits of, well, historical researchers like myself, who go into the archives, and are able to point out what was going on at the time from all these different angles…

We need to understand this idea of communism, right? In order to understand this anecdote. So really, I think there are three important points I want to make. First of all, when we talk about being influenced by the communists. Well, the thing is, everyone was influenced by the communists back then, right? Socialism was the future of humanity, the future of mankind. See, following the excesses of the 1920s, and particularly the failures of unrestrained capitalism. And then the rise of fascism in the 1930s, leading to war in the 1940s, right? Humanity was absolutely sick and tired of these. And of course, a lot of these forces were caused by colonialism and imperialism.

So after World War Two, a lot of people said, we need to find a new way of living. We need to reshape the way we live our lives. Because the the powers that we possess, have grown so large, that we threaten the entire world, if we go too far. And the most optimistic said, we need to reshape human society, we need to arrange our lives to be better people to take care of each other. And this whole spectrum, this whole idea that we can change our society was basically what we think of the left, right? We need to change our society to be better to avoid all these problems that the right wing, right, the conservative capitalist forces caused. So opposed to that is the left wing. And this was a huge spectrum, ranging from the people who felt that, you know, it was inevitable that we would rearrange, but you need to slowly, cautiously move forward. You know, people like the Fabian socialists, who sought to encourage the reshaping of society through gradual processes, all the way to the extreme left, who sought to use all sorts of extreme methods to reshape society, including violence and terror, right.

So the 1950s then were shaped by two forces, okay. The first, of course, was what I talked about. Socialism, all the way stretching to what you might call violent communism, and it took on all these forms later that we think of Maoism, Stalinism. Okay.

And in its milder forms, we see its impact on Europe. The UK, for example, after the war tries to… create a new state. It tries to create the NHS for example, the welfare state saying that if during the war, we can have full unemployment, you know, why can we do it after the war? Why can't we take care of all of our people and all these are manifestations of socialism. In the US, you know, we have FDR and his new deal followed by Truman, and so on and so forth.

So socialism was on the rise throughout the world, people saw it as inevitable that we had to change the way we lead our lives. And so this was the rise, also, this led to the rise of communism in the USSR, in China, right, in these new ideologies, which, you know, sought to end exploitation.

Now, alongside this was nationalism and self determination, anti colonialism because these go hand in hand, right? Colonialism was fundamentally in many places as much about capitalist exploitation, as it was about territorial occupation, especially for Singapore, for the British Empire. Singapore was fundamentally about exploitation, economic capitalist exploitation. That was what the Empire was, was trying to achieve via Singapore, via Malaya. So these two forces, anti colonialism and socialism go hand in hand. They are in some ways, almost the same thing, they are closely allied with each other.

And so it is because of these that, we see that anti colonial movements were also fundamentally about reshaping society to end capitalist colonialist exploitation. So my point is that, as in the, what I have been discussing throughout this podcast, right, when people have debates about what is the future of Singapore? What is the future of Malaya after independence? A lot of times the answer is, well, it cannot be the same society we've had before. It cannot be this colonial capitalist exploitative system, it's got to be something that's fair, it's got to be something that takes care of people, that recognizes that people are human beings, not capitalist digits to be exploited. And it has to recognize the fundamental rights of people.

So very often this new idea, socialism was something that was put forward to be taken, to be part of our new identity. And, of course, this was very much of the appeal of the People's Action Party. And later, you know, the PAP and the Barisan, both of whom were staunchly socialist parties, right.

And, of course, Singapore itself has certain circumstances. Remember, after World War Two, the big heroes that came out of world war two were the Malayan Communist Party. The Malayan communist party were, they may have called themselves communists. But if you look at the kind of things they proposed, right, they were nowhere as radical as communists elsewhere. Fundamentally, they were a nationalist party which sought to end colonialism. And sought so to bring about the independence of Malaya. And they were the big heroes of World War Two and the Japanese occupation, because they were the only real effective resistance against the Japanese. So to many people in Singapore, communism slash socialism, right, you fell somewhere on this spectrum. It was the way of the future. It was inevitable. It was what was necessary. But it also was a product of world war two, it was patriotic, it was anti colonial.

And because of the big success of communism, of the Malayan Communist Party, initially during the Emergency, and also before that in organizing labor, right. And then when they were driven underground, nobody actually knew who was and wasn't communist.

So this is my second point, right, that a lot of people will say, oh, yes, I was influenced by the communists but they don't actually know for sure that they were interested influenced by the Malayan Communist Party or simply other people who were claiming to be communist. And this is again, something you see a lot in Special Branch files. That they admit that there is no direct link to the Malayan Communist Party which for all intents and purposes after 1950 was irrelevant in Singapore because the leadership had been totally arrested. They were smashed, their lines of communication, their networks. They were, they existed, but they were irrelevant. The only person really still active in Singapore after 1950 was Eu Chooi Yip, their propaganda Chief, who was later withdrawn in the mid 50s, right. And then the plan was inserted…
But you see, it wasn't just the MCP, anyone who wanted to claim the mantle of the MCP could simply say, I am part of the Malayan Communist Party. And I actually have this whole underground behind me and so you should work with me. And so there were a lot of groups which tried to set up these cells and claim that they were part of the Malayan Communist Party who had absolutely no link to the Malayan Communist Party. But were just trying to tap into the reputation of the Malayan Communist Party. And so Special Branch investigates all these people and finds you know, that there's all these anti colonials who simply want to resist, resist the British, get rid of the British, push forward independence, you know, they wanted freedom.

And the quick and easy way of rallying people to their cause in the 50s was to say, oh, we are linked with the Malayan Communist Party. Because that not only tapped into the great reputation, remember the MCP are still heroes at this point, right. But also that would then imply oh, we have all sorts of resources that you don't know about, that no one knows about. So there were plenty of all these random people who were anti colonials who just claimed they were MCP and there's no way no one you and I meeting them and they say, oh, I'm MCP or whatever. How would you verify right? And this is one scenario probably that happens to these old boys. You know they receive documents for example or they might meet people who go oh I’m Communist Party and you should do this and you should, let's fight the British you know and these are young impressionable kids right and these are people trying to impress young impressionable kids. You know people in their, who are in school, school children and so they say oh we’re Communist Party...

So you can see here how these kids could have been influenced by the communists, by the idea of the Communist Party without actually having been influenced by the Malayan communist party itself which was basically irrelevant at this point in time.

But the third point I want to make is what is a communist? And I've said this before and it's very important but any definition of say the Barisan Socialists or Lim Chin Siong right. Any definition of a communist that says the Barisan Socialists or Lim Chin Siong is a communist would also then define Lee Kuan Yew as a communist… because the two of them were so similar, right. Their main difference was not about communism, it was about things like the use of the Internal Security Act. It was about internal party democracy in the PAP. It wasn't about their fundamental economic beliefs, you know, it wasn't about socialism. Both were socialists right? So for example, if you say oh, a communist is someone who colludes with the Malayan Communist Party underground right. Well, Lee Kuan Yew did that and he openly admits it in his autobiography. He admitted it at his radio talks in 1962. He collaborated with the MCP underground to win elections, he openly admits it and in fact, he's the only person, the only one of the major leaders of Singapore's political parties at that time whom we have definitive evidence that he collaborated with the communists.

So why was he not detained? Because this was a political situation, not a security one. If it was a security situation where the communists were a threat to Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew would have been detained straight away. But it wasn't, it was a political situation in which the British were trying to figure out which of these Singapore politicians would be the most trustworthy that they could hand power over to which would provide a stable Singapore and reliably pro British Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew was that man.

So on the other hand if we say oh communists has to be a card carrying member of the Communist Party and therefore Lee Kuan Yew is not a communist. Well we know for sure Lim Chin Siong was not a communist. Fong Swee Suan was not a communist. Devan Nair was not a communist...

This is way before the excesses of China were well known, before the Soviet Union, the excesses of Soviet Union were well known. Communism was a very different thing in the 50s. And it was a very wide spectrum of beliefs, you know, peaceful action, violent action, constitutional action, non-constitutional action, you know. Nationalization… retention of a capitalist system. It's important to remember, as I keep saying that the Barisan Socialists were economically, socially to the right of the British Labour Party at that time, and you never call the British Labour Party a Communist Party...

Why is history so important to Singapore?... The Singapore government tells a very specific narrative of history that has the purpose of trying to legitimize first the idea of Singapore, the state of Singapore, which we have to remember, is a very unnatural thing, Singapore has always been part of Johor, it was never meant to be split off from the Malayan mainland, but because of politics was split off in 65. And so you need to construct narrative of history to justify this split, right, the existence of Singapore is to try and make it seem inevitable in the minds of its inhabitants.
And also you need a narrative of history that justifies your policies, the PAP’s monopoly of power, the authoritarian policies, there, the fact that they suspend the normal rules of democracy, that we don't have free and fair elections, and so on and so forth. Right. So our history is designed to do to do all these things. And so when a historian comes along, who disagrees, then obviously, you know, that historian is a threat…

First of all, you have to understand the history of how history has been taught in Singapore. And right after separation, the PAP faced a quandary, right? They couldn't teach Malayan history anymore, because Malayan history emphasized Singapore as part of Malaya but now we were split off from Malaya. And you couldn't teach Chinese history because that was not only just politically inconvenient, but the the main opposition to the PAP was from the Chinese schools, you know, the Chinese University Nantah and the PAP didn't want to emphasize that so instead they took a different tack. They said, oh, we have no history. Rajaratnam said something like history starts now. Ong Pang Boon said history has no practical use, and the government didn't encourage any new research. Any new studies of history. Textbooks from the 1960s which still, which gave Singapore as part of Malaya continued to be used in Singapore's official curriculum well into the 1980's.

Lee Kuan Yew said, you know, it's more important to know where you're going then where we've been, right and he wanted to de-emphasize the Malaysian period… the Malayan aspects of our history.

So also, this enabled him to say a lot of things and do a lot of things, to make assertions without being checked. So in the 80s, he would say things like, oh, Singapore was a swarm and PAP built it up. And there were no historians who could then point out, wait a moment in 1961 or so, you gave a speech where you said Singapore today is the richest country in Asia, it has the highest per capita income in Asia, you know, and this is all due to the PAP. Well, it can't be a rich country in 1961. And then now you say it's a you know, in the 20 years later, you say, Oh, it was a swamp in 1960, and the PhD built it up today in 1980 to a rich country. These are mutually opposing facts.

So when the government has a monopoly over history, then people who don't produce inconvenient facts that contradict its reading of history. And then from this government's reading of history, it can then justify its policies.

Now, in the 1980s and into the 90s things changed in Singapore and. Ane of the major things was that Singapore went to a change of leadership, it went into a change of the electoral system. It went through a period where people started demanding more accountability and democracy and the PAP turned, sort of its focus turned backwards rather than forwards, right. So no more do you have this forget about the past, we need to look to the future.

Because once the PAP’s vote began declining, once opposition politicians began to be elected into parliament, the PP increasingly became a party that looked back on its glory, on its former glory rather than towards the future. And especially of course, the retirement of Lee Kuan as Prime Minister meant that its glory days were now in the past.
So from the mid 90s, you see this new National Education, the Singapore story which sought to entrench in people's minds this idea that the PAP has done great things for Singapore and that you need to understand where we've come from, right, the PAP wanted to create this idea of gratitude to the party in order to then promote their continuation in power and continue to justify their hold on power. So we have seen a lot of this in the past 20 years…

SG50 and the 2015 elections for example, the election’s focus is very much on the past right. The manifesto of the PAP quite amazingly had no promises for the future. It was all about the past. SG50, Lee Kuan Yew, SG50, Lee Kuan Yew over and over again. And so they need to control the history in order to be able to continue to campaign on it in order to continue to justify their policies based on it."

Links - 10th August 2019 (2)

David Marshall and the Dawn of Meet-the-People Sessions in Singapore – The Workers' Party - "So what did citizens enquire about back then in the 1950s? As Comber recalled, the top issue that MPs faced during MPS was unemployment; the second, immigration and social welfare matters; and the third, applications for subsidised flats from the now-defunct Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT). Today, residents of all walks of life continue to see their elected representatives at MPS to raise issues not too dissimilar from those of yesteryear.
So from the start, Singaporeans have used Meet the People sessions for bread and butter issues, i.e. to use their MPs as cheat codes for daily life

Hello, my name is Edward Foo, a volunteer from... - Edward Foo Poh Jien - "Hello, my name is Edward Foo, a volunteer from the Ready4Repeal online movement. I volunteered to talk to my Member of Parliament (MP), ER. DR. LEE BEE WAH regarding section 377a of the penal code... I then said: “This is regarding section 377a, and I was wondering what your views on this matter are.” The MP then said: “I have other residents with real problems”, and exited the room."

Kirsten Han - Looking at the comments related to Edward Foo’s post...
Comment: "our post misses the point because the objection is not about the role of a MP (about which you are surely right) but the purpose of Meet-the-People-Sessions. I've been volunteering at MPS for a few years and my understanding of it is that it's for social welfare and other bread-and-butter issues. If the MP had entertained them, she would have had less time for the other residents, many of whom have time-sensitive problems. As it is, the MP does not have time to meet each resident (this probably explains the MP's brusque reaction).As a political representative, the MP does have an obligation to hear the petition. But Edward Foo should have used an approach that did not come at the expense of other residents' ability to get social assistance. He could have emailed her, or even approach her after the MPS was over."

Masterchef Singapore Has to be Either Racist or Boring. Which Should It Be? - "Although Masterchef Channel 8 exercises majority privilege, it remains the only sensible decision because you cannot produce a Masterchef that is ‘Singaporean’ and inclusive at the same time.Our diversity forbids it.Pork and alcohol are haram to Muslims but an integral part of most Chinese cooking. Beef is freely consumed by Malay people, but forbidden for Buddhists and Hindus. To cover all bases, a good number of Hindus, Buddhists and Taoists are also vegetarians who forgo all of the above.How would Masterchef Singapore fare if you take into account everyone’s dietary taboos?My guess would be ‘badly’. "
Apparently there was some issue with the English rights too

Use the Command Line to Easily Create a List of Your Personal Files- Your Music, Your Pictures or Whatever - "If you have ever wanted to make a list of all the files contained in a particular folder, you will have discovered that the Windows Explorer interface provides no easy way to do this. It is very straightforward, however, when using the command line. Furthermore, the command line provides a simple way to list all the files of a certain type- for example, all your MP3 files. The method uses the directory or "dir" command. This command will be old news to many but it remains one of the most useful for average PC users."

Does Gargling Wlth Salt Water Ease a Sore Throat? - "Gargling with warm salt water actually does provide symptomatic relief -- and it has preventative benefits, too. Says Segal-Maurer, "You’re creating a high-salt barrier and you’re pulling out a lot of fluids from the tissues in the throat area, so you’re washing the virus out. The salt functions as a magnet for water. It’s good for symptomatic relief. And you end up swallowing some of it, so it’s sort of helping you with dehydration as well.”"

Journalist Petronella Wyatt Tells Today Programme She Was 'Flattered' By Groping In Westminster - "A senior political journalist has revealed she was “flattered” by men groping her when she worked in Westminster in the 1990s... Petronella Wyatt appeared with Women’s Equality Party leader and former political reporter Sophie Walker to talk about their experiences of working in politics, as allegations of sexual harassment continue to rock the chambers.Wyatt, who is the former deputy editor of the Spectator, told host Michelle Hussein: “There were a couple of men that were a bit gropey. But do you know what? I was flattered.”... “A lot of abuse or sexual harassment is a breach of good manners,” she claimed, adding “women have waived their right to gallantry by saying we’re the same as men”... Wyatt also accused Walker of “belittling” the severity of some of the accusations against MPs by ”equating a silly text message or a grope with rape.”"

Michael Ray Laemmle's answer to What is the funniest restaurant incident you have seen? - Quora - "A gorgeous black woman, clearly a business professional, physically fit, and put-together in a super sharp business suit and high heels, walked up to the counter and ordered three buckets of fried chicken and take-out meals. Potatoes, biscuits, and so on.The obese young black woman behind the counter, taking her order, asked, “Will you be dining in, or taking this out?”... “Bitch,” the business professional said, waving her hand in the air. “Do I look like I can eat a whole bucket of chicken myself?”The woman behind the counter threw up her hand in response, and said, “Bitch, do I look like I know your business?”The businesswoman threw up her hand and said, “Bitch, you better act like you know my business, because my business is gettin’ my shit and getting the fuck out of this here KFC.”“Bitch, your order be ready in about ten minutes. Can I get you something while you wait, bitch?”“Bitch, I’ll take a cup so I can get me some water.”Things had suddenly calmed down and de-escalated. I don’t know how, and what went unspoken, but the tension was definitely released.There was a lot going on here: racial tension, gender tension, class tension, personal tension"

Guide to water heaters: Essential information and considerations when buying - "According to information on City Gas’ website, based on an energy study conducted by Dr. Lee Siew Eang, an associate professor at the National University of Singapore’s department of building, gas water heaters are relatively more environmentally-friendly with 63 per cent less carbon emissions as compared to electrical heaters"

Why didn't electricity immediately change manufacturing? - "The leading thinker on economic growth, Robert Solow, famously quipped: "You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics."... Economists called it the "productivity paradox".For a hint about what was going on, rewind 100 years. Another remarkable new technology was proving disappointing: electricity... Until about 1910, plenty of entrepreneurs looked at the new electrical drive system and opted for good old-fashioned steam.Why? Because to take advantage of electricity, factory owners had to think in a very different way. They could, of course, use an electric motor in the same way as they used steam engines. It would slot right into their old systems.But electric motors could do much more. Electricity allowed power to be delivered exactly where and when it was needed.Small steam engines were hopelessly inefficient but small electric motors worked just fine. So a factory could contain several smaller motors, each driving a small drive shaft"

[Bad] mega.co.nz may delete your data immediately when they suspend your account - Google Groups

What Left-Wing Educators Don't Teach During 'Black History Month' - "As economist and author Thomas Sowell says: "More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States or to the 13 colonies from which it was formed. White slaves were still being bought and sold in the Ottoman Empire, decades after blacks were freed in the United States." Are students taught that "race-based preferences," sometimes called "affirmative action," were opposed by several civil rights leaders? While National Urban League Executive Director Whitney Young supported a type of "Marshall Plan" for a period of 10 years to make up for historical discrimination, his board of directors refused to endorse the plan. In rejecting it, the president of the Urban League in Pittsburgh said the public would ask, "What in blazes are these guys up to? They tell us for years that we must buy (nondiscrimination) and then they say, 'It isn't what we want.'" A member of the Urban League in New York objected to what he called "the heart of it -- the business of employing Negroes (because they are Negroes)." Bayard Rustin was one of Martin Luther King Jr.'s key lieutenants and helped to plan and organize the civil rights march in D.C. that culminated in King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech. Rustin, an openly gay black man, also opposed race-based preferences... generations of civil rights leaders opposed immigration -- both legal and illegal immigration? After the Civil War, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass implored employers to hire blacks over new immigrants. Twenty-five years later, Booker T. Washington pleaded with Southern industrialists to hire blacks over new immigrants"

Why is Australia filled with so many dangerous animals/plants? : askscience - "For the question of why we have so many venomous snakes here to begin with, one has to look at the dispersal of snakes within Australia. First there was the best snakes of all (fact), the Aspidites-- primitive snakes that branched off the snake family before pythons evolved. Australia was pretty empty with just these guys around, so when the elapids came down from Asia, there was lots of space for them to diversify into. Elapids are very venomous snakes with fixed front fangs: cobras, mamba, etc. All venomous snakes in Australia are descended from these elapids.Australia has pretty venomous snakes because they all came from highly venomous stock... Our spiders are not more venomous that those of anywhere else in the world. We haven't had a spider-bite fatality since the '50s, and even then it was children and the elderly that succumbed.South America and Africa have many more venomous species than Australia, including more venomous lizards and venomous mammals (!).Edit: I worked out some ratios of lethal snakes:non-lethal snakes for a few different countries here. Australia ain't so bad."
"we only have two species [of spider] that can kill you. We definitely don't have larger ones either-- while there are outliers like the lanky huntsman, we don't have anything approaching the size of tarantulas and other spiders from South America and Asia."
Maybe Australia is just an outlier for the developed world

Matchmaking service clients looking for Mr Right but finding nothing but unhappiness - "Ko, who would not give her real name, recalled a consultant at Love Group Hong Kong showing her photos of four to five men – all said to have the qualities of her ideal partner. The men had to be at least 179cm tall with an annual salary of HK$1 million (US$127,528) or more, English-speaking and with overseas experience. The 31-year-old was told she could meet these men after she had paid for the service. But after forking out HK$19,900 (US$2,538) from October last year for a six-month plan, she did not meet any men who fitted the bill for her.Instead, she received 28 profiles of potential matches by February, with just one or two who came close to her stated requirements. Her worst date, she claimed, was a marble manufacturer who was rude and could not speak English. “I felt like I was being cheated,” Ko said... Psychologist Bella Chan, 45, signed a six-month plan for HK$39,900 (US$5,088) in April last year. Chan, not her real name, wanted to meet a Western man in his late 40s to early 50s with an income of more than HK$1 million per year."

The NHS child gender clinic

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The NHS child gender clinic

‘Doctors at the UK’s only NHS children's gender clinic are misleading patients and making decisions about treatment that will have an impact on their lives, their whole lives. It would be a serious allegation whoever made it but it comes from a former member of staff, Dr. Kirsty Entwistle, who is a clinical psychologist has written an open letter in which she says accusations of transphobia are preventing the clinic staff from speaking out. Well Paul Jenkins is the chief executive of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. And he’s here in the studio… one of the things she says is that clinicians tell children and families that puberty blockers, these hormone blockers are fully reversible. But the reality is that no one knows what the long term impact is, on children's brains. Is that true that the reality, the long term reality is not known?’

‘So can I start by saying I'm absolutely clear that the service we offer through the service is safe, caring and thoughtful in its approach to a very contestable contested and complicated issue. To turn to the issue of the medication, there are a number of interventions that are offered. And actually it's worth noting that only less than 50% of people who are referred to our service actually end up being referred to a hormone treatment. But the first one that the hormone blockers are referred to is reversible, it's actually used in a much broader range of indications than just gender dysphoria. And it's been used for around 30 years.’...

‘She says we don't know. Because we don't know the long term effect of these on the brain’

‘So what I would say is this is, so it's a very contested area of medicine’

‘Hang on a second, if it's contested why are you not telling people that it’s contested, rather than saying that it's fully reversible?’

‘The puberty blockers are reversible. What I would say more generally, is this is an area where we need to be thoughtful about our practice, we need to hear concerns like the one that’re raised here and give proper attention to them. But what as a service we've really been committed to is participating in long term research. So our trust was awarded a significant grant to do the first long term outcome study.’

‘But hang on, on the one hand, you're saying that they do not have a long term effect. On the other hand, you're saying we need to do research to find out if they do have a long term effect’

‘I’m talking more broadly about the impact… of all the interventions’...

‘She says as well, there are children who have had very traumatic early experiences and early losses who have been put on the medical pathway without having explored or addressed their early adverse experiences. If you make the mistake of suggesting this in a team meeting, you run the risk of being called transphobic’

‘I would be very disappointed if that was a view of our service, we take a very thoughtful approach, we don't, we're not wedded to a medical model. And the whole purpose of the GID service is to explore with each individual, what is best for that young person, take account of their circumstances. And in some cases, we will take a very long time to come to a view about what the best approach working with that’

‘But in some cases, will you say look, you have had a traumatic experience, it is probably that that has caused you to come to us. You are not someone who should be transgender.’

‘I think there are two things here, I think we need to respect the feelings and experiences of young people who are uncomfortable with their natal gender and give proper respect to that. We may also need to explore a whole range of things that have happened to young people in their, in their lives, some of which may be relevant to their feelings, some of which may not be and I would feel that our service is set up in a way that does give space to explore those more complex, more complex issues.’

‘So are you willing to to say to children and to their parents who come to you no, we think our service is not for you?’

‘Yes. And I think there are cases where we will come to that conclusion’

‘Right. So there are people. So again, she's wrong. You turn people away and say this is not for you.’

‘Yeah. Yeah.’

‘She says that it is highly unlikely that any child presenting at the clinic will be told that they're not transgender. Again, that's false, isn't?’

‘I'm not, I think it's unhelpful to see these as black and white issues, as I said, the purpose of the service is to explore on an individual basis with those young people and their families, what they're feeling, what their experiences are, not to dispute the genuineness of how they feel about their-’

‘But that's the problem, isn't it? What she is saying is that you feel nervous, and people will fully understand why you feel that you want to be inclusive, and you want to talk to them about things that they genuinely feel. But what she feels, it seems from this letter, is that you've got the balance wrong, and you are not able because you're frightened of being labeled as transphobic, including members of staff inside the organization. There is this failure to be blunt with people on occasions and say, look, this isn't for you.’

‘So again, I think that's not the way that, I can well understand some of the pressures that are individual members of staff, we've heard some of those concerns. We are trying to look at some of our processes and procedures to make it easier for clinicians to concentrate on that individual, work with young people rather than being swayed or influenced by some of the very heated debate about the issue that exists in the outside.’

‘And when the heated debate takes place, this is another, the last thing she calls for. She says you must protect and support staff when they're falsely accused of transphobia and take formal action against people who make false accusations. Will you?’

‘Well if those issues were raised with me, and I think one of the disappointments here is that those issues were not raised in the organization, then, yes, we would if that was justified.’

Links - 10th August 2019 (1)

The Queen’s Twitter Account Makes Major Error When Tweeting About D-Day Commemoration - "The official twitter account of the Royal Family posted a video of Queen Elizabeth II welcoming leaders from “the allied nations that took part in D-Day,” but the footage included the chancellor of Germany.The video was taken while the queen was welcoming world leaders to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day ahead of the National Commemorative Event."

Stop asking 'how are you?' Harvard researchers say this is how successful people make small talk - "“How are you?” These are the three most useless words in the world of communication. The person asking doesn’t really want to know, and the person responding doesn’t tell the truth. What follows is a lost opportunity and meaningless exchange with zero connection.But the key to making the most out of small talk, according to Harvard researchers, is to simply ask the other person follow-up questions... those who were asked more meaningful follow-up questions (a.k.a. questions that aren’t “how are you?” or “what do you do?”), found the other person much more likable."

Clever Cosplayer Hacks Nerf Blaster to Cast Floating Holographic Spells

A Stanford professor drops his ridiculous defamation lawsuit against his scientific critics - Los Angeles Times - "Stanford environmental professor Mark Z. Jacobson made a big splash in 2015 with a paper predicting that renewable sources could provide 100% of the energy needed in the 48 contiguous states by 2050. But he made an even bigger splash last September, when he responded to a critique of his claim published in a leading scientific journal by filing a $10-million defamation lawsuit."

John and Yoko waiting for the maid to make the bed so they can continue protesting against the system. : pics

Irish Moms - Posts - "If animals can do it, and insects can do it, why the f*ck can't you?! *cyclists blocking an entire lane by riding 3 in a row*"

Chinese soldiers spotted hauling baby formula onto warships in Sydney Harbour

Anti-#GamerGate Journalist Peter Bright Arrested For Soliciting Child Sex - "Bright, however, has a long history of being anti-#GamerGate, and using his blue checkmark account on Twitter to rag on #GamerGate and accuse people of being pedophiles. This is despite the fact that in his Twitter profile he defines himself as poly/pan/pervy, and was a staunch supporter of feminism... the FBI report indicated that they could find not actionable evidence remotely indicating that #GamerGate was ever a harassment campaign... Bright also took digs at anime fans, claiming that “anime is for pedos”... the original allegations surrounding #PizzaGate was that there was coded language and odd phraseology in the John Podesta e-mail leak. It was alleged that the food references were code words used by pedophiles to talk about their victims. The coded language was never thoroughly proven, but in our examination of the e-mails there was one letter that outright stated that people would be bringing their kids to a pool party in October for Podesta’s “entertainment”. This was neither coded nor hidden, and the e-mail is still available to read on the Wikileaks website... the citizen investigators looking into #PizzaGate called for an investigation into Podesta and those linked to him, but the media swiftly changed the narrative into a story about dungeons in pizza parlors and then swiftly passed it off as a “fake hoax”, resulting in the Wikipedia entry purposefully leaving out key details in order to misrepresent and obfuscate the topic matter."
Another male feminist bites the dust

Troy Garnaut - There’s a reason there are only 100 Jews left in... - "Now lets kill some jews."
"There’s a reason there are only 100 Jews left in Egypt. Hesham Mansour is an Egyptian actor and writer with over 800,000 followers on Twitter, 55,000 Likes on Facebook, and another 51,000 followers on Instagram."
Naturally, blue check mark!

Training a Single AI Model Can Emit As Much Carbon As Five Cars In Their Lifetimes - "In a new paper, researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, performed a life cycle assessment for training several common large AI models. They found that the process can emit more than 626,000 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent -- nearly five times the lifetime emissions of the average American car (and that includes manufacture of the car itself)"

Unbiased America - Posts - "MEXICO OFFERS MAJOR IMMIGRATION CONCESSIONS TO AVOID TARIFFS U.S. and Mexican officials are closing in on a deal that would dramatically increase Mexico’s immigration enforcement efforts and give the United States far more power to deport Central Americans seeking asylum, the Washington Post is reporting"

Mexico says sale of presidential plane will curb illegal migration - "Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has pledged to use profits from the sale of his presidential plane to fund efforts to curb illegal migration. "

How Europe smothered the radical Left - "The ‘four freedoms’ refer to the European single market and its guarantee of free movement for goods, capital, services and people – i.e. unimpeded capitalism within the borders of an EU riven by inequalities of productivity, wealth, infrastructure and education. National borders are erased when it comes to things that suit the most powerful interests – access to cheap money, cheap assets, cheap products and cheap labour. But when it comes to the redistribution required to address the resulting imbalances in economic and social power, the borders magically reappear. In many ways, the EU is running a more radical and unequal form of capitalism than America is."

Lucas Adler - Finally catching up on #GOT. Like many men, I was... - " Like many men, I was initially worried about Cersei's quote that was sure to become the anthem of annoying girls everywhere - "You want a wh@re? Buy one. You want a queen? Earn her.."I was relieved to see what subsequently happened to Cersei after that scene. Please remind any annoying person who tries to use this as the new "If you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best" nonsense, lol."

Meme - "You want a whore, buy one. You want a queen, earn her"
"Oh man... She's just like me *fat purple haired woman on couch with facial hair and bad complexion*"

Extremism and hate preachers on the rise at campuses, universities warned - "Extremist speakers are on the rise at universities, figures show, amid warnings that hate preachers are enjoying “near unfettered” access to students.During the last academic year, there were 200 events held at university campuses which featured individuals with radical views, according to an analysis by a counter extremism think-tank.These included hate preachers, pro-jihad activists and anti-Semites, some of whom toured around the country delivering lectures to students... some of those 200 speakers’ views include supporting convicted terrorists, defending Hamas’s use of suicide bombings and animosity towards Jews and “disbelievers”.They also include advocating for an intifada in America and violent jihad, punishments such as stonings for homosexuals and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate... The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) hosted more extreme speakers and events in the past academic year than any other university in the country, for the third year running the report claimed.The London university, which is known for its liberal outlook, held 43 events that featured speakers with extreme Islamic views, a three-fold increase on the previous year."

Far-right Polish priest detained at Stansted airport - "A notorious Polish priest accused of spreading antisemitism and Islamophobia has been detained by UK authorities hours before he was due to address a far-right rally in Shropshire.Jacek Międlar, a leading figure for rightwing extremists in Poland, was held by UK border officials after landing at Stansted airport, Essex, to prevent him attending the controversial event in Telford."

JMP - "Health insurance is a primary driver of rising medical expenditures. I examine insurance’s effect on risky sex, a behavior with quick, meaningful negative results. Leveraging mandated zero cost-sharing for contraception and pre-policy insured rates as a measure of treatment intensity, I find this 2012 policy reduced fertility but caused unintended consequences: decreased prevention and increased sexually transmitted infections. I discuss imperfections of controlling for pre-trends using state-trends in difference-in-differences and suggest approaches to control for pre-trends directly. I use the 2010 dependent coverage mandate to examine the overall effect of insurance and find protective net effects of insurance on STIs."
Humans respond to incentives
This suggests that free contraception increases STIs/STDs

MDA confirms ban on Christ film - "The Media Development Authority (MDA) has confirmed that the film, The Last Temptation of Christ, is banned in Singapore... One of the most notable critics of the ban on the book, however, was Singapore’s former Minister of Culture, S Rajaratnam.“The banning of a memorable book which the vast majority of Singaporeans have ignored for some 30 years without serious damage to their health and mind is unlikely to bring Singapore crashing down,” he wrote in one of his letters to the Straits Times then.Mr Rajaratnam said his persistence in speaking against the ban “is not over the banning of one book but concern over the cast of mind and motive that led to the banning.”Rebutting the government’s reason that the ban was imposed to ensure religious harmony, Mr Rajaratnam said, “[The] best way of ensuring racial and religious harmony would be by compelling the hysterical minority to ‘empathise’ with the sane majority.”He added, “The reason why Singapore has so far been an exception to what is becoming a world-wide rule is that this Government had the courage always to be on the side of sanity against the intolerance of the hysterical.” In 2011, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs, George Yeo, explained why the government had chosen to ban The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, which Muslims found offensive, but allowed The Last Temptation of Christ, the book. The Straits Times reported Mr Yeo as having said, “So we got questioned. Our reply was the Christians are less likely to riot.”"
Strange, it seems race and religion were not always as hysterically treated in Singapore as they are now. Probably because the Communist bogeyman still existed back then

James Lindsay on Twitter - "When I taught in the university, my last classes ending at Christmas 2009, the general consensus was that if your students could correctly guess your religion or your politics, that was a sign you were doing something wrong in your classroom that needed correction.
You may be wondering what makes Social Justice scholars feel entitled to teach their ideology. Beyond self-righteousness, it is this: their theory claims that *everything* carries ideology with it, so you must teach the right(eous) ideology rather than the (unjust) default ones.
In Social Justice philosophy, it is taught that established (aka rigorous) ways of knowing were developed by the white supremacist cishetero-patriarchy, and because that power and privilege always works to maintain itself, legitimate ways of knowing carry an ideology of injustice
This, admittedly, sounds batshit insane (because it 99.9% is). The explanation is that they believe everything comes down to ways we talk about things ("discourses," which maintain power dynamics), and the dominant always rig the system to maintain their dominance in that way.
Therefore, Social Justice scholarship, thus educational activism, believe that oppressive ideologies are being taught not only by default but also beneath our awareness. Their mission of "liberation" seeks to undo this, so it's a "superior" ideology to teach and institutionalize.
It's of incredible importance to realize that Social Justice thought isn't nonsense or bullshit; it's a bizarre comic-book universe that, from within, makes a kind of sense. Imposed upon the world, however, it's a disaster."
"Of all the comparisons between social justice ideology and religion, perhaps my favorite is the implicit belief that if you fail to indoctrinate the impressionable, you won’t win their minds in a fair battle of ideas."
"I used to teach A Women in Politics course. First assignment: write a persuasive essay on any women’s issue. Second assignment: write a persuasive essay taking the opposite viewpoint of the first assignment."
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