Thursday, April 18, 2013

Magic in the air ...

Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #4)Crystal Cove by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the latest (final?) installment of the series that started with Christmas in Friday Harbour. Lisa Kleypas has always been my go-to author for stories with epic emotions and larger than life characters.

(the rest is under cut for spoilers)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Midweek sh*ts and giggles

The first in 2013. Enjoy.

Is it Friday yet?

Charles I: the first cannibal king of England? Dafuq?

Sashay! Sashay!

Fairy tales for contemporary feminists, FTW!

That's what happens when only men wrote history books.

OMG, yes!

In the land of make believe ...

.... you're mine tonight
... although you are far away

I fell in love with Dusty Springfield thanks to Jennifer Crusie's Welcome to Temptation, one of the shiniest example of screwball romantic comedies in print. A woman forced to make soft porn in a small town and fell in love with the mayor who's fighting against an anti-pornography law? Classic. I love to belt along to Dusty (singing badly, I will admit) as I tool down the highway in my cute compact. But this post is more than just a rec of my favourite author and 60's singer, but an examination of how badly you can screw up your life if you are unable to get out of the land of make believe.

Fantasies are one of the most amazing creative forces that shape human existence. Our lives are enriched by it; either we enjoy the escapism of our own day dreams or we enjoy the artistic output of other fantastic minds (Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, etc.). Fantasies can help us cope with traumatic events by providing a happy ending (that didn't happen) or softening the blow (the Nile ain't just a river). There are those who scoff at people who fantasises or daydreams, thinking that keeping your feet firmly on the ground is the only way to live. But hey, different strokes for different folks, aye? Being a killjoy ain't gonna make your virtuousness any more palatable when you shove 'em down other people's throats.

But there is a dark side to fantasies as well, they're not just unicorns and enchanted gardens. Some of us entertain thoughts and ideas that are contrary to normative values of the society we live in (not to mention stuff that would get you either stuffed into a straight jacket and drop-kicked into a maximum security prison). No matter how perverted or twisted your fantasies are, so long as they remain just that, fantasies that is, it shouldn't be a problem.

Or would it?

Armin Meiwes was born in the wrong country and time. If he were a native of Papua New Guinea prior to the 20th century, human meat would have been available on the menu to satisfy his palate (perhaps without the cordon bleu pretensions). Unlike many who would simply visit fetish sites to get their kicks, Herr Meiwes actually advertised for a human to be eaten and apparently had a few responses. Needless to say Herr Meiwes did not get away with consuming his victim; although the act was consensual (if someone doped to the gills with painkillers and liquor after chopping off his manly bits can give proper consent), Herr Meiwes is now serving a life sentence.

Recently we heard about Gilberto Valle, a police officer in New York who has been found guilty of "conspiracy to kidnap and illegal use of law enforcement computer databases to research potential targets," thanks to his cannibalism fantasy. He toyed with the idea of stalking, killing and eating his wife and a few women of his acquaintance. It wouldn't have been bad had he stopped there, but he was caught accessing law enforcement database to feed this fantasy. 

Surely this baby-faced dude couldn't want to roast and eat me?

The trial unearthed his gruesome porn habit and his chat and email records showed stalker-y tendencies that would make any sane woman shudder. Although none of his "victims" were actually harmed, but he is now considered to be a danger to society, thanks to evidence that his fantasies have bled into some actions in real life. No, he did not buy any duct tape or chloroform. But he took pictures of women of his acquaintance and shared it with like-minded cyber pals with ideas of what he would like to do to these women. His persistent queries over his wife's running route took on a sinister cast when it was discovered that he was preparing a menu featuring her as the main course.

So where do we draw the line between what we can safely fantasise and becoming a real threat to society? Minority Report, much?

If you fantasise too much, Tom Cruise will come and get you. A real horror for non Tom fans.

The revelation of child sexual abuse by the clergy and in orphanage or juvenile delinquent institutions the world over as well more reports daily about children sexually abused by their family members have gotten people up in arms and paranoid about child molesters. In the Western countries, there are sexual predators lists made available to the public and websites where you can check if you got sex offenders (particularly those who prey on children) in your neighbourhood.

Law enforcement take sexual predators of children very seriously. Many have a specific group working to identify and capture paedophiles. It is admirable and heartbreaking work as there are many children who are still injured despite their efforts. But should Lolita fantasists be penalised for their fantasy? Rachel Aviv reported the slippery slope that landed John, a military veteran unable to connect with women of his age who sought refuge in fantasising about sex with young girls, in prison.

His addiction to hardcore pornography featuring young girls being abused has led him to a sting operation that exposed him as a possible sexual offender. I found it disturbing that he could look at those pictures and get aroused, not seeing them as victims or empathising with their pain and trauma. Most child pornography are created illicitly by the abusers, unlike mainstream(?) porn featuring adults who consent (mostly) to the acts that are committed on celluloid (or digitised in these days). This dissociativeness is not unusual among hardcore porn consumers; the images are just pictures, not real people to them. Porn rewires your neural pathways for gratification; it keeps consumers going for greater kinkiness because they can no longer get off with plain vanilla sex.

Many would say that if the law enforcers did not entrap him, John is highly unlikely to act on his fantasies. After all, the man still knows right from wrong and is aware that his fetish is illegal. He had not abused any girls; most of his sexual encounters were with prostitutes.  But would his fantasies have just remained on his desktop computer and not getting him to purchase an airline ticket to a holiday destination that is known to offer child sex workers? We will never know.

It is a great leap from watching porn to actually committing the acts you watch, true. Just like millions who play Grand Theft Auto never go on shooting sprees. The Internet is a wonderful tool to connect with other people who share similar ideas and engage them in role-plays and fantasies. However, it is incredibly sad that a man who had served in the military, considered a competent man in his area of expertise but was so crippled by his poor social skills that he attempted to find a sense of belonging among such a dastardly community.

Therefore, when the fodder of your fantasy tends to be the kind that WILL land you in prison, you have to be extra careful about committing acts that can be construed as turning your fantasies into reality. Or you could be like John, behind bars for the better part of twelve years without even living out his fantasy.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Pornography is to sex ...

... what McDonalds is to food.

An examination of pornography as industrialisation of sex and how it feeds toxic masculinity that actively participates in the vicious cycle of victimisation and sexual violence.

Oh dear ...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shameless self promotion here

Tonight is the night that I got inspired to tickle my keyboard for more tales about my Daddy.

Be a darling and visit my Malay blog and Cowbird.

I'd love to know what you think.


Saturday, March 9, 2013


Most films about the teaching profession are very positive. A forceful and charismatic teachers lands in a (usually) lousy (inner city, no doubt) school with a class filled with delinquents, lazy jocks, the misunderstood creative outcast, the nerds and the rest of the usual cast of student "archetypes", at least by way of Hollywood scriptwriting. To Sir, With Love is perhaps the most iconic of redemption-of-students-by-saviour-teacher, the formula of which was replicated by films like Stand and Deliver and Dangerous Minds (based on true stories, yeah okay).

I bet there wasn't a dry eye in the cinema by the closing credits.

And then you have Dead Poet Society and the female copycat version Mona Lisa Smile where the teacher inspires the students to think outside the box and abandon the shackles put upon them by the hidebound society that cossets their privileged arses. While most of these movies share a running theme that is mocked by the most cynical as mawkish sentimentality, they do underline an important aspect about the teaching profession: teachers are potential cult leaders.

I'm just kidding.

(the rest is under cut for extreme movie spoilers)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Choosing to be Happy

Yup, it's a choice.

Just adjust your expectations to meet your reality. Easy right?



Unforeseen hiatus

I have disappeared from posting here for over a month. Was I missed? I would like to think so (narcissist, much?).

My Daddy passed away last month on the third. It was a stunning blow for our family; we took it for granted that he'd live as long as his mother did, his father and his siblings (only two died before hitting sixty). I guess we forgot that all of us were born to die and that there is no promise or contract to let us know how long we have in this world. I have had my Daddy for over thirty five years (he had his for much less, so did my Mum), but I don't think there was ever enough time to have with the people you love, right?

I penned (typed, rather) a little tribute to my Daddy on Cowbird. You can see it here.

Goodbye, Daddy. See you on the other side.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Slow start to the new year

Holy God!

I just remembered today that January is almost over and my last post here was last year for Christmas. In my defense, I have just started a new job, has a steep learning curve to keep up to (and slipping down the slippery slope every so often) and has been falling asleep before 11 pm on a daily basis.

When is a girl gonna have time to update her blog? Does anyone read me anyway?

But then I recalled that my aim for starting this blog wasn't to impress anyone with my (lack of) mad writing skills. I did it to have a repository of some kind to store items that crossed my way that are:

1. Interesting
2. Funny
3. Made me think

I noticed that my writing has slowed down since I got me a smartphone after mooching phones off of my Dad and Sis for the past unknown years. Yeah, the first time I forked out a tonne (or what felt like it) of money for a toy that's gonna be rendered obsolete in a few months time. But in the mean time, I have been using the Flipboard app to read interesting stuff from the New Yorker, Chicago Tribune, Al-Jazeera, The Atlantic, BBC World, The Atlantic Wire, Forbes Tech News,, Popular Science, NYT Bits and many more.

So now I am inundated with COOL STUFF TO READ. Well, as long as my battery is still alive, that is; my addiction to Word Feud puts a significant dent on my battery. But the drawback to using the smart phone is that the multitude of access to COOL STUFF TO READ has kinda slowed down my writing; I still haven't figured out how to update my blog using the phone. On the other hand, typing is darn slow (*shakes fist at touchscreen keyboard*) and redolent with spelling errors (no, auto correct doesn't always help).

Anyhoo, I am promising myself (hah!) that I shall work harder on writing on this blog (and the others that I have, hehehe) and to post something at least once a week. We'll see how that goes.

Well, inaugural post for the year is of course sharing prurient stories (which are always the best kind) with a scientific bend. The first of which is good news for men who drink green tea and take the little blue pills to keep their soldier upright. A team of Japanese researchers from Kyushu University have found that the healthily arousing cocktail is beneficial to suppress cancer or to promote the effectiveness of chemotherapy on cancer. Of course this exciting experiment has been conducted only on rodents at the moment, but I am sure there won't be a lack for human volunteers.

And other non-Homo sapiens volunteers.
(Stolen from

So far so good, right? Hehehe. Not quite.

Bad news for Internet porn aficionados is next. Apparently, viewing Internet porn  has serious effects on your working memory. So if you have been missing appointments, forgetting your significant other's birthday (how could you with Facebook?) and finding it difficult to concentrate on work, take a long, hard look at your Internet porn habits. Granted, the study was only on a small number of men (n=28, all claiming to be straight), but it is highly likely that the same outcome will be seen in females as well as non-heterosexual males AND females.

Spanking the monkey wasn't an experimental parameter in the study.
(Stolen from

The Internet has helped democratise pornography. Previously, it can only be obtained furtively from shady stores and if you are from countries that heavily censors the reading and viewing material of its citizens, great pains are involved (aided and abetted by your local friendly DVD pirates). But the cyber revolution has helped everyone with a computer and a modem to access a plethora of erotic materials in various forms and genre. Gone are the days where a flash of flesh is enough to make a sex-obsessed person's (this goes for males and females of all ages, ok? No ageism) day, it seems that vanilla sex is no longer good enough for those who are actually getting some. Porn addiction has been changing expectations of both partners and not for the better. Oh dear. There are more scientific studies out there on this issue and not just a Cosmopolitan survey, but you can Google those up on your own free time.

Perhaps this new year (with the upcoming lunar new year) we should resolve to clean up our Internet habits, should this pertains to us. Ahem.

*whistles and looks innocent*