In a 25-country survey conducted last year, Microsoft found that Singapore has the second-highest rate of online bullying among those aged between eight to 17; first place being China.
Singapore law minister said on November 18th “the anonymous, borderless, viral and permanent nature of cyberspace makes harassment and bullying easier and more egregious.”
New laws against harassment and bullying, whether online or in real life, will be tabled soon in response to Singaporeans’ concerns about this growing menace.
I welcome this move.
Last month two Florida girls – one 12, the other 14 – were arrested on aggravated stalking charges after the death of a 12-year-old girl who eventually took her own life.
Authorities say the two girls repeatedly cyberbullied the victim and drove her to suicide.
It’s difficult to actually track cyberbullying rates, let alone how often bullying is directly related to suicide, but Lanny Berman, executive director of The American Association of Suicidology, says he’s seen an increase in anecdotal reports.
Indeed in recent years, a series of bullying-related suicides in the US and across the globe have drawn attention to the connection between bullying and suicide.
I also think that those who post comments online should have the balls to stand up for what they believe in.
One way they can prove that is to use their real names and not pseudonyms.
The Forum page of The Straits Times imposed the requirement of using real names a few years ago. For your comment to be considered for publication the paper’s requirement is: “Please include your full name (as in IC), your address and a phone number.” However the veil of anonymity afforded by the internet appears to be very much valued by the online community.
Many organizations and individuals, have been trying to figure out how to deal with the hateful flames that anonymous commentators post by the thousands but there is no easy solution, really.
Some argue that anonymous comments may offer protection for whistle blowers or those who may suffer reprisals for revealing certain information.
A solution is yet to be found, but I’m sure as society matures and as more people come to their senses, there will be an appropriate resolution to this equation one day in the not-too-distant future.
“Kan nee lao boo chao chee bye!” CT and I took turns screaming away.
CT owns an optical store and I’ve just visited him to purchase some sunglasses for Christmas gifts. We were on our way to lunch when we launched into an endless stream of Hokkien vulgarities and expletives while inside his car.
“Feels good cussing huh?” asked CT rhetorically while he let off another “chao chee bye” and “lan chiow” and I couldn’t agree more before joining in, adding to the cacophony.
CT and I met when we were in our late teens. We were both serving National Service in the army. Those were the days when recruits were literally tortured and abused with no way to seek recourse. In the army we were put through rigorous physical torture and even harsher, dehumanizing psychological and verbal abuse. It gotten so out of hand that after our batch, the government issued a booklet intended to identify what was legal and what was not. If you were told to do star-jumps, or do duck-walks, you could legally decline. That’s the theory. Thinking back, those Ministry of Defence guys were really naïve to think that recruits could do that. Imagine some officer from hell demanding that you do star-jumps and you push back or decline and throw the book at him. Sure, sure.
But the very vulgar and obscene songs, (many of them in the Hokkien dialect), though crude and uncouth as they were (“I rubbed your sister’s cunt until wet wet” or “I fuck your mother’s smelly pussy”) got us young men through some of the most physical demanding and mentally tormenting moments in our national service days. We sang during road marches, drenched with sweat, we sang during three-mile runs, wet from the heavy monsoon rain downpour, we sang while polishing our boots by candlelight (already lights out but as always we still had tons of chores to do) and we sang, sobbing, and with tears flowing down our cheeks, when we received news that while serving the nation, our girlfriends had dumped us.
Even today, my friend CT and I, plus many other friends, acquaintances and colleagues, even the women among us, prim and proper in our daily professional lives, would find it very cathartic to let out a vulgarity or two when we are together, letting our hair down, hanging lose, trying to chill out and relax from idiotic bosses or moronic clients. Like CT said it “feels good cussing.” Often there is also simply no substitute for some expletives that are perfect for describing what words cannot describe. And some of the people among our friends are professors of English Language at UK universities and they curse like sailors too! We have a forensic pathologist and a world-renown orthopedic surgeon among us as well and they curse like hell too! When they let their hair down among friends, they punctuate their sentences with “lan twee”s and “lan chiow”s.
The Association of Women for Action (AWARE) recently objected to the lyrics in a verse of a song sung by army boys in Singapore and the ball-less Ministry of Defence, completely missing the point, was pussy-whipped into actually going ahead to ban those lyrics!
The original verse of the ditty went like this:
Booking out, saw my girlfriend/Saw her with another man/Kill the man, rape my girlfriend…
MINDEF wants everyone to sing the “correct” version which is:
Booking out, saw my girlfriend/Saw her with another man/Broken heart, back to Army/With my rifle and my buddy and me.
I’m afraid very soon, they will even regulate how conversations are being conducted in the camps and in locker rooms.
Here are some examples of how modifications could take effect:
ORIGINAL ARMY BOYS’ VERSION
“Hey recruit, go fuck your mother’s stinking cunt, you better wake up your fucking idea ok?!”
MINDEF-MODIFIED, AWARE-APPROVED VERSION
“Good morning, soldier-in-the-making, may I humbly implore you to engage in copulation with your maternal parent’s malodorous reproductive organs leading to the birth canal while you awake from your slumber and become cognizant of realities. Would be that acceptable to your good self?”
ORIGINAL ARMY BOYS’ VERSION
“Hey idiot, if you don’t do this, you can kiss my ass!”
MINDEF-MODIFIED, AWARE-APPROVED VERSION
“Oh hello, you-who-are-intellectually-challenged, if your desire and aspiration run contrary to mine, on my derriere you may plant in a juxtaposition two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction.”
ORIGINAL ARMY BOYS’ VERSION
“Hey, you bastard, come talk to me after this!”
MINDEF-MODIFIED, AWARE-APPROVED VERSION
“Hi, you-who-were-born-before-your-parents-were-married, come parlay with yours truly when the present moment has passed into oblivion!”
ORIGINAL ARMY BOYS’ VERSION
“Hey, mother-fucker, call a spade a spade will you? This is training, not torture!”
MINDEF-MODIFIED, AWARE-APPROVED VERSION
“Greetings, you-who-engage-in-sexual-intercourse-with-that-parent-of-yours-who-gave-birth-to-you, would you be so kind as to not call a spade anything else but a horticultural implement for removing unwanted botanical specimens? This is human resource development, not the infliction of torment designed to perpetrate pain and to solicit compliance.”
To me, MINDEF is simply still as clueless as ever, and I’m once again made aware that AWARE is far from being aware of anything worth being aware of.
Just ordered a reverse-Calabash by German pipe maker Werner Mummert.
The unusually-shaped pipe incorporates a tagua nut, from a tree also known as ivory palm or vegetable ivory. With the hunt for ivory being frown upon worldwide, the tagua nut has become popular in recent times because of its resemblance to ivory. Ecuador is the world’s largest supplier.
Here’s a tagua nut sculpture; looks like ivory carving right?
I don’t smoke cigarettes though I smoke a pipe. Well, actually I am more of a pipe collector than a pipe smoker. I also indulge in an occasional cigar, but I am NOT a pro-smoking activist. However I must say that the views of my friend, the highly-opinionated author John Arnone, who now lives in Thailand, and obviously a cigarette smoker, are worth a read. What follows below was written by John Arnone:
Did you see the report from the World Health Organization that confirms that air pollution is indeed carcinogenic and is causing cancer? On October 17th, CNN reported that the World Health Organization released a report stating that air pollution is now officially identified as a carcinogen and is causing cancer in human beings. They went a step further in declaring that in 2010, air pollution took the lives of 223,000 people worldwide. Air pollution was defined as fumes caused by transportation (cars), stationary power generators, industrial and agricultural emissions as well as home cooking and heating.
Absolutely nothing was mentioned about second hand cigarette smoke. Further, it did not mention whether or not that figure of 223,000 people was deducted from the figures attributed to second hand smoke by the fanatics of the world who were so quick to condemn smokers.
Considering the amount of air pollution in the atmosphere and second hand smoke, which would you say is causing cancer in non-smoking people? Further, I read a report that 60% of all new lung cancer cases are non-smokers. How could that be? They have successfully removed smokers from their presence, so where are they getting their lungs polluted?
For thirty years they persecuted smokers under the guise that we were causing cancer in non-smokers.
We were maligned publicly on a daily basis. Our friends stopped inviting us to visit unless they too smoked. Smoking rooms were removed from airports around the world leaving long distance travelers hanging in the lurch. We were banned from bars and restaurants and even prevented from smoking in our own offices. In Thailand we were banned from parks and lines were drawn ten feet from buildings so that we won’t kill anyone. We were taxed into submission. Do I need to go on with this? All non-smokers know what I am talking about because they all took part in the inquisition known as the anti-smoking crusade.
The anti-smoking Nazis alienated us, taxed us and verbally abused us at every opportunity and now we find out that not only are we innocent, but it is possible that many smokers are also dying from the combined causes of air pollution and our smoking. So rather than the perpetrator, we have been pretty well proven to be additional victims of carbon dioxide. Something I always suspected. Is anyone offering apologies? Are draconian taxing practices being reviewed? Are no smoking laws for restaurants being changed back to smoking and non-smoking sections? No to all of it. Rather, the entire matter has been swept under the rug as if the smoking inquisition never happened.
CNN balked when bringing up the cigarette issue in conjunction with it. I suspect that all news sources will avoid the issue as will the governments that were so quick to persecute a third of their citizens. No one wants to remember how they hanged a prisoner only to find out afterward that he was innocent.
Four or five years ago I was forced to go outside the Siam Paragon shopping mall to smoke a cigarette. As I was sitting outside, I noted that people were walking around me in an attempt at saving their lives. I also noted that not fifty feet away there was a major traffic jam on Sukumvit and thousands of cars were spewing smoke into the air, but no one else seemed to notice. I remember actually chuckling that people could not understand that the air of their city was hopelessly polluted, but they were ducking my second hand smoke. What really bothers me is that if I figured it out, why did it take a covey of scientists so long to come to the same conclusion?
When you think about it, smoking is kind of stupid. Why would a person want to put a piece of paper with tobacco inside in their mouth and light it on fire? And yet at least a billion people internationally have done so. Why? When we have the answer to that question we will finally come to the conclusion that everyone should have years ago. People inherently are nervous and get on each other’s nerves. Smoking helps to pacify them. By smoking, they risk long term damage to their lungs, but by not smoking they risk obesity and have to invent terms such as bipolar disorder to explain their erratic behavior. It’s kind of a catch 22. All that I know for certain is that my brother, father and best friend all quit and within three years were dead. The were all long time smokers and were badgered into quitting.
But all of my speculating doesn’t answer the question of why the non-smokers of the world went after the smokers with such a vengeance. Surely they were not thick enough to be able to look up into the sky and not surmise that in many places the air is not fit to breathe. Or was it something so subtle as the peaceful look on our faces when we are puffing away? I don’t know, but I do know that I rate the smoking inquisition as only second to the holocaust, Khmer Rouge and Rwanda as the biggest mean spirited mass movement of the past hundred years. And yet, two thirds of the entire population of the world took part.
Now, no one wants to say: “I’m sorry.” They just want to pretend that it didn’t happen.
NOTE: The above was written by my friend John Arnone.
Singaporeans’ obsession with foie gras must have made many restaurateurs wealthy. The old Saint Pierre even had a separate foie gras menu. Gary at Hakumai does a foie-gras-on-top-of-giant-Botan-ebi-sushi! Every time it is served, the groans and moans emanating from the women diners sound as if they are in the throes of a massive orgasm!
In Shenzhen five days ago I discovered the same thing – the goose liver, not the orgasm; but goose liver cooked Chinese style. To be more precise, braised Teochew (or in Mandarin, Chaozhou) style. A huge plate of braised goose liver from farm-fed, free-range geese, not forced-fed, cost me just 20 bucks Singapore! Enough to feed five people!
Well worth making the trip there. Alec Ee once hand-carried a generous piece of Teochew-style braised goose liver all the way from Swatow (Shantou in Mandarin) to Singapore, but this was the first time I myself was savoring the tasty morsel in a Chinese restaurant in China itself – the Xingli of the Ritz Carlton in Shenzhen:
Teochew style goose liver is done the same way Teochew braised goose, for which the Teochews are famous, is cooked: simmering it in a concoction of salt, lemongrass, cloves, cinnamon sticks, ginger, anise pods, peppercorns and sugar in a pot of soy sauce and some water.
The taste? Heavenly! Just heavenly.
You can do the same with duck and chicken livers too!
A notorious pirate in Somali by the name of Mohamed Abdi Hassan, also known as “Big Mouth” is believed to have been the leader of the 2009 hijacking of the Belgian dredging vessel Pompeii north of the Seychelles. The ship and its crew were held for 70 days before being released in exchange for an amount of money rumored to be more than US$2 million.
Well, “Big Mouth” won’t have much to shout about now. Fucker just got arrested.
Belgian media reported that Hassan was lured to Belgium as part of an undercover operation which asked him to come take part in a movie about life as a pirate on the high seas. So he and an accomplice boarded a plane and flew from Nairobi to Brussels. They were arrested upon arrival.
In 2013, 16-year-old Pakistani girl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the face by the Taliban in retaliation over her campaign for girls to be given equal rights to schooling in a country where only 40 percent of adult women can read and write.
So as far as those militant lice-infested towelheads are concerned, education is only reserved for the guys? Didn’t do much for Hassan did it? In the end, he’s just another diseased lump of meat with no brains.
Recently at our club meeting, one of our members, supposedly an international jet-setter with years of regional experience, asked a visitor who had lost both hands in an accident “How do you put on your clothes?” then proceeded to show the group the scars from his own surgery. I was so embarrassed that I apologized privately to this visitor.
In the more civilized world – as they would have us believe – Republicans refusing to allow Obamacare to pass through caused a ludicrous 16-day government shutdown recently. There have been 17 such shutdowns in the past and this time I shook my head in disbelief as one of the supposedly greatest countries in the world is once again rendered impotent because big egos belonging to small men with even smaller brains held on to their positions and refused to budge.
In 2008, videos of Malaysian politician Chua Soi Lek banging away in a hotel room while watching porn with his mistress hit the streets. Chua resigned from all posts including Member of Parliament for Labia, er, I mean, Labis, vice presidency of the MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association), and Minister of Health.
At that time Chua blamed his downfall for his hard work, saying it caused his political opponents to “fix” him; he was also quoted saying that his only mistake was using the same hotel room all the time. Stupid jerk. But the electorate was even more stupid – in 2010, Chua was back in power and was elected president of MCA again.
Shortly after her mother Janet was arrested for embezzling PhP10 billion of the Filipino government’s money Jeane Catherine Lim Napoles (that’s her in the picture above) was seen flaunting her wealth on Instagram – photos blatantly show her ostentatiously displaying her wealth and there was even one of her in a bathtub filled with cash, although the authenticity of that photo has since been disputed. Now the authorities have uncovered the fact that the girl owns properties all over the world including a condominium unit at the Ritz Carlton in Los Angeles. Oh, by the way, the brat also owns a Porsche. The taxmen are after her now. Serves her right, the brainless cunt.
In a letter titled “Fund-raisers shooed away outside malls” published in yesterday’s Straits Times Online Forum, the writer, a Ronald Pereira who is a member of The Rotary Club lamented that on The Rotary Club Flag Day on October 19th flag sellers from the Interact Club (an organization established by the Rotarians for those between the ages 12-18) were turned away by security of Parkway Parade, Marine Parade and 112 Katong.
The understandably pissed-off Ronald Pereira wrote “I would like to know what message the management of these shopping centers is sending to these young volunteers.”
Well, to be fair, I have no idea how the Interactors went about selling flags but I have seen too many school kids – and often, even adults – selling flags by “ambushing” people at “strategic” locations like where commuters get on or off escalators near train stations and where shoppers get on or off escalators and elevators at malls. It embarrasses people who feel cornered to give and it has nothing to do with doing one’s bit for the underprivileged.
Flag Days should be banned, in my humble opinion.
For the uninitiated, a Flag Day here is a day when volunteers go around collecting donations – often given in the form of coins – which go into a tin (and often now even a plasticky kind of bag with a slit for money to go in) in exchange for a sticker. (In days gone by tiny square of papers were given with a pin.) The sticker (which you stick on your chest) serves to remind other volunteers that you have already donated and should be left alone. It also has the secondary purpose of allowing the donor to tell everyone that he or she is in solidarity, or identify with whatever cause he or she has just given to.
I am advocating that we ban Flag Days for three main reasons:
- There is a possibility of scammers taking advantage of such an exercise. The Red Cross incident last March is a case in point. (Crooks were going around raising funds in the name of the Red Cross.) We already have too many fake monks walking the streets asking for money.
- We should educate people to give not because they are pushed into a corner and the only way to get rid of the fund raisers is to throw in a coin or two. That’s not giving.
- Fund raisers who really wish to do something to change the circumstances of the disadvantaged and the poor should not just take the easy way out by positioning themselves at tactical locations to “trap” and harass passersby into giving. I mean if you really want to make a difference, then do something substantial instead of going around looking for loose change – go buy food for the hungry, build houses for the homeless, visit the sick and lonely and not make Flag Day a fun outing to do “charity” work just to make yourself feel good.
I don’t doubt that money collected this way can amount to a small bundle and that Flag Days can raise a bit of awareness – for example I’m not aware that there’s a Diabetic Society of Singapore until it has a Flag Day (see picture below) – but I honestly believe that we need to think of more sustainable fund-raising methods than Flag Days.