Sunday, March 21, 2010

Give the mike to me!

It never failed to get my goat when Western writers write dismissively of how Islam is the reason Muslim women are oppressed / victimised / depersonalised etc etc etc. The misconception of Islam particularly by Western (or Western-trained feminists) tend to magnify misogynistic practices (that is commonly cultural, rather than religious) into painting Muslim women as victims in general. This writer made a persuasive argument why there must be a better approach towards highlighting the problems faced by Muslim women the world over and why it is important that Muslim women themselves work towards this goal.

I am fortunate to live in a Muslim country where a Muslim woman can get an education, go out to work, get married to whom she wants and wear pretty much what she wants. Reading some of the work by the sublime Fatima Mernissi and the experiences of Muslim women in other countries (particularly west of 101 degrees East) made me truly appreciate how wonderful my country can be.

Not saying that all is hunky dory here for the Muslim ladies; divorce still tend to favour men and the Syariah court is hideously slow and toothless when it comes to child support and ta'liq (conditional divorce; the man swears before witnesses during the wedding solemnisation ceremony that his wife can apply for divorce if he deserts her and/or did not provide material support and/or did not provide sexual relations and/or abuses her. The theory is that in such cases, the wife may bring supporting material to support desertion/abuse claim and the Syariah Court is to grant her a near automatic divorce.).

But surely the first religion to allow women to inherit, obtain divorce and choose her husband can not be all bad, right?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nightmare, I has 'em.

Not quite safe for work, but let's live dangerously, shall we?

Ganked from Obefiend's Blogserius.

Pictorial shits and giggles

Not the bedmate of your dreams.

It's not just Tom Hanks in The Green Mile.

Literal, much?


My, what a big ... rocket ... you've got. *titter*

There's some really sick shit in comics, no?

Keep it flowing, baby!

Bonding moment: lost.

And we used to fear katak pisang in the bathroom in the olden days *pfft*

Balancing skillz; I has 'em.

Very true!

And the winner of this year's Darwin's award is ...

Because in a war, you never know what the right hand is doing.

Hindsight: always 20/20 (*sigh*)

Chewing the fat

The world is full of terrible people who likes nothing better than to pigeon-hole others; may be it makes their lives easier if they can categorise individuals (a la non-scientific Linnaeus). But the uglier truth is that many people enjoy putting others down to make themselves feel better.

Skin colour, height, size, employment, disability, sexual orientation, social mobility, religion etc etc etc is fair game for segregating people into the category known as "Others". These "Other" people are denigrated, scoffed, ridiculed and held in contempt because they are different. For certain criterion, such as body size, the negative reaction can be really overwhelming.

Reading this article is very sobering, but not really surprising. How many of us have gone to a physician, asking for help and was met with contemptuous dismissal? I suppose doctors are human too and have all the requisite human failures like a meanness of spirit or prejudice, however inadvertent.

This line from the article gave me chills.

"Over the last few years, fat people have become scapegoats for all manner of cultural ills."

From global warming to skyrocketing healthcare cost? Oh wow. Surely it has nothing to do with people relishing high-energy lifestyle that strains the world's resources. *insert eye rolling*

Another line that got me thinking was " ... who wouldn’t dream of disparaging anyone’s color, sex, economic status or general attractiveness, yet feel free to comment witheringly on a person’s weight."

People seem to think that criticising you is a way of showing their concern, but I think they ought to examine their motives a little closer. Is it really concern that motivates you or is it just a way for you to feel superior over the other person? If it is the first, are you aware whether the language you used was hurtful or did you make an attempt to be clear but with consideration of that person's feelings?

Please, you can lie to others but you shouldn't lie to yourself. Your expression, body language and word choice speaks loudly of your true intention. Let's be honest. You want to make yourself feel better by making someone else feel bad about themselves. You do think that you are better than that person and that you have the right to speak what you want because you're just "concerned and being honest about the issue".

So before you want to make a personal remark to someone else regarding their appearance (or marital status and other potential minefield topics), stop and think for a while. Consider why you need to say it; if you have run out of casual conversational gambits, try the weather. It is better to be boring than to be unpardonably rude.

Just sayin'.

Monday, March 15, 2010

No escape in dreamscape?

I dreamt that I had dengue haemorrhagic fever (while in some kind of stereotypical mad scientist lair) and was debating with myself whether I should go to the hospital. And who should take me.

All this while I graduated from mild petechiae into downright frightful ecchymoses. Contemplating my platelet level. Have I hit the teens or am I still in the lower twenties?

What the hell is my subconscious trying to tell me????

All I know is that even in my dream, I am still a nerd.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

One liners

1.My husband and I divorced over religious differences.

He thought he was God and I didn't!

2.I don't suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

3. Some people are alive only because it's illegal to kill them.

4. I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

5. Don't take life too seriously; no one gets out alive.

6. You're just jealous because the voices only talk to me.

7. Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

8. Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

9. I'm not a complete idiot. Some parts are just missing.

10.Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.

11. God must love stupid people; he made so many.

12. The gene pool could use a little chlorine.

13. Consciousness: That annoying time between naps.

14. Ever stop to think, and forget to start again?

15. Being 'over the hill' is much better than being under it!

16. Wrinkled was not one of the things I wanted to be when I grew up.

17. Procrastinate Now!

18. A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

19.A journey of a thousand miles begins with a cash advance.

20. Stupidity is not a handicap. Park elsewhere!

21.He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless DEAD.

22.A picture is worth a thousand words, but it uses up three thousand
times the memory.

23. Ham and eggs ... a day's work for a chicken, a lifetime commitment
for a pig.

24. The original point and click interface was a Smith & Wesson.

25. I smile because I don't know what the heck is going on.

It should be obvious, but it isn't.

Quoting from BetsyPhD (winner of this week's Who's Shoes in Manoloshoeblog):

Science reagent company websites make me want to shoot myself. If you want people to get info on your website, TRY PUTTING IT THERE.

This means YOU, YOU and YOU.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Midweek shits and giggles

Some gentle reminders:

1) If you’re going to read naked in bed, position yourself so that the probability of a boob paper cut is low.

2) When taking your child’s cough syrup, do not assume that because you weigh four times as much as he does that you need four times as much medicine.

3)When holding your hamster above your head to check the sex, be sure to keep your mouth firmly shut. Hamster poo pellets are fast and hamsters have surprisingly good aim.

4) When spending the night at a girlfriend’s and there’s no bedside lamp, grab the flashlight out of the drawer. If, when you turn the switch, it starts shaking violently but the beam doesn’t come on, whacking it against the wall repeatedly will *not* make it light up.

5) When getting experimental in the bedroom with a loved one, it’s good to find out what he might have a food allergy to before buying coconut flavored massage oil and rubbing it all over his junk. Unless you enjoy him screaming while you drive him to the ER with a red swollen twig and berries.

6) If the water slide attendant instructs you to cross your legs before taking the 9 story vertical plunge, do it unless you WANT a 75mph enema that makes you taste breakfast from 2 months earlier.

... and finally ...

7) Saying you did something for the lulz does not hold up in a court of law.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Porn is good for you?

I was watching a talk show on television with my Dad a couple of nights ago. It was an interview with Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim; he expounded at great length why we need censorship more than ever in this world of borderless media. It was the usual old guards rant against pornography and assorted "yellow culture" that is polluting the tender minds of Malaysian youngsters.

Since my father wouldn't surrender the remote control, he had to put up with my snarky commentaries in the background. *grin*

The thing is, even if you're the Chinese government, it is downright impossible to filter the information that travels through your fibreoptic lines. Let's also face the fact that as youngsters grew more techno-savvy and interfaces with the computer like a duck to water, they will find ways to overcome all this ridiculous filters to watch and read and listen to all these things that the authorities deem as unsuitable.

You'd have better luck stopping the tsunami with a bucket.

I think it is better that we give the people (cause not only young people who can kick teh interweb's ass) some credit. Just because one enjoys listening to Cannibal Corpse or Morbid Angel, doesn't mean one will creep into a mortuary and shag any corpse that caught one's fancy. It could be;

a) that person genuinely enjoys thrash metal and killer guitar riffs, or
b) that person just wants the shock and awe value of being a fan of a death metal band.


This article by Milton Diamond in The Scientist
gave me the inspiration for the title of this post. In essence, he said that pornography may lead to reduction in sex-related crime (see the original article). Hmm ... interesting. Displacing sexual aggression and suppressing desire = less crime. However, there are other reports that says otherwise.

Diamond contends that exposure to porn PLUS a strict, repressive religious upbringing correlates highly with sex offense. I have an Egyptian friend who claims that men to whom the female body is not a mystery tends to be more tolerant in view of women and their position in society. Apparently, this thought is also supported by Diamond who says that

"... men who had seen X-rated movies found that they were significantly more tolerant and accepting of women than those men who didn’t see those movies, and studies by other investigators—female as well as male—essentially found similarly that there was no detectable relationship between the amount of exposure to pornography and any measure of misogynist attitudes."

Frankly, I believe that if you have no respect for another human being, perpetrating the heinous assault that is rape is no big leap. Pornography may desensitise you and give you unrealistic ideas about sexual intercourse. Understanding sexuality and the issues related to it is more important towards cultivating a healthy attitude about sex and its associated intimacies.

So it is your attitude towards your fellow human beings that dictate your behaviour (criminal or otherwise), not what you choose to watch (or read or listen).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Of all creatures tiny and microscopic

An ode to the dinoflagellates. This woman really knows her stuff and is really passionate about it.

There you have it. Science can make for fun and entertaining reading. Unless of course you are reading journal articles for your progress report or something like that. :p