Friday, May 29, 2009

Learning from the animal kingdom ... NOT!!!!

We humans like to think that we are special. But there is a group of people who believe that humans are no better than animals and as such, all creatures should be treated equal. If you want to give paid maternity leave to your cat or your seat on the LRT (light rail transit) to the visiting hippopotamus, be my guest.

But as human beings, we are held accountable by a different set of rules, yes? You may say that homosexuality is natural, but if a human being had done what this male duck did, he would be imprisoned. With a straitjacket over his prison uniform.

Apparently, it took Dr Moeliker over five years to gather up courage to report the necrophiliac homosexual rape of a male mallard (fancy name for duck) outside his office. Love how deadpan and wry his writing is (it is something I don't see in the journals I usually read, darn those dry, snooze generating stuff) and it is reflected in his presentation (see below a video presentation of Dr Moeliker on the occasion of receiving his IgNobel Prize).

Guys, I won't blame you if you feel a little inadequate; the rapist duck clocked in at 75 minutes thrust time and only stopped after the estimable Dr Moeliker interrupted his business. In between, he had rested only twice, each time lasting less than five minutes.

Sexual harrassment also exist in the animal kingdom. South African biologist Nico de Bruyn reported of an Antarctic fur seal who had (mistakenly?) mounted an adult king penguin (of unknown sex) for 45 minutes. Golly, there is just no escaping jerks like that, huh?

Where do you see yourselves in 40 years time?

Apparently for Singaporeans, it is JB (Johor Baru).

I got the link to this video via the Assunta alumni newsletter. Thus far, the response is mixed; some thinking it's funny and others are appalled. Me, I have mixed feelings about it. Apparently, the video was made in response to this report of a statement made by Singapore's Health Minister, Mr. Khaw Boon Wan.

If you can't understand Singlish (Singaporean English), I can't help you. :p

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lunacy in sanity?

I am a firm believer in self determination. If someone is ill, that person has the right to dictate the kind of treatment he/she wishes to receive and whether or not to continue with the regime. This is fairly straight forward when one is dealing with a functional adult of sound mind.

But what if that person is a minor?

The bioethics involved in treating a minor is still in a murky zone. Status quo indicates that the decision regarding the welfare of a minor rests in the hand of the child's guardian. Hence, the guardian has a a right to push or even reject a treatment for a minor. This is easy enough if a child has no bigger complains than the usual coughs and colds and playground injuries. However, it has come to fore of parents (and guardians) who are refusing treatment or seeking harmful or even allowing the minor to remain untreated for reasons of faith or even non-spiritual belief.

In the case of Colleen Hauser and her son, Daniel, who fled their home in Minnesota to escape court-ordered chemotherapy, who is in the right? The mother, who believes that her child should not have toxic materials injected in him because she favors the natural healing methods of an American Indian religious group known as the Nemenhah Band? Or is it the court who determines that Daniel would benefit from conventional treatment that has been proven to cure Hodgkin's lymphoma?

Many cultures imbue the right of parents to determine the decisions affecting their children. It is not uncommon in Asia for neighbours to look the other way while a child is being disciplined; of course in some cases, such discilinary measures not only verge but enter the realm of abuse and still people will accept that it is the right of the parents to act in such a manner. In the West, this feature has changed with the adoption of bills that prohibit parents from using corporal discipline on their children. It got to such that a mother cannot smack her toddler's bottom for being mischeavous in public.

But in the case of Colleen and Daniel, who have the right to determine what is best for him? It would seem to many that his mother is jeopardising his life by refusing him treatment and influencing him to reject it as well. In the case of Madeline Kara Neumann, who died from untreated diabetes complication, her mother rejected conventional medicine and instead, chose to have her healed via faith healing. Whether it is laying of hands or dependence on supplements and sweat boxes, these are parents who chose other treatment options for their children out of their own particular belief system (regardless of what faith they hold to). One of the extreme cases involved very young children who had the devil tormented out of them by a rabbi with consent from their mother. One of the child now suffers permanent brain damage.

As a person of faith, I am appalled at how belief system can be perverted in such a way as to inadvertently harm vulnerable children. But then again, people have used faith to justify harming other people with purely malicious intent. One would think that with the brain that The Almighty has gifted them, they could reason better than that.

But apparently, not.

*shakes head*

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adding to a growing vocabulary ...

Came across a new word today: figjam.

It is an acronym for F*** I'm Good Just Ask Me. Applicable to narcissistic types who think that the world revolves around them, that they can do no wrong, it is always the other person's fault etc etc etc. I'm sure you've met this type before. If you have to work with one of them, God help you and you have my sympathies.

Just glad that I don't have an opportunity to label anyone with this today. Go, me.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

More reason to snip away at the prized goods ...

For all the men out there who thinks that circumcision is horrid, go and read this. Besides improving your hygiene, it might just save your life.