Friday, March 31, 2006
  Freedom of expression: what's that?
The bastardisation of free speech is well under way:

"I think you just answered your own question by contradicting yourself. Yes, indeed, theoretically it may be consistent and all, but if you put it in real practice, we may all find out that steering a car with feet may not sound so ideal. And so this analogy applies to Matilah's comments, that though you may theoretically have the right to offend another (which begs the question of why would you do that in the first place: is there no other way to put it across?), in practice, it is not justified because your rights to do so violate another's rights to be prevented from such an offence, verbal or visceral. Of course, we may want to escalate this into a tit for tat game of violating each other's rights, but at the end of the day, if it is mutual understanding or social justice that we are pursuing, then free speech in the former sense is not going to get you there. Why waste or pervert a good thing and might I say, a right?"

Actually, my comments are not contradictory because while my analogy implies offensive language is not neccessary, in no way would I impinge on the rights of another to offend (or drive with their feet). If you cannot grasp the Right to Ignore, then that is to your own disadvantage. I find it even more incredibly absurd that people cannot excercise this right on the Internet, let alone a face to face conversation. The logic of one's rights to say something potentially offensive having the effect of impinging your rights is a completely construed concept. Because the irony of having a ficticious "Right not to be Offended" conversely impinges another's right to speech. Ask yourself if (a)your civil liberties have been reduced, and (b) if your human rights have been reduced. Answering these and acknowledging that the "Right not to be Offended" is contradictory in itself, and will conclusively show that this concept is flawed.

Let's also remember that Rights in this context is dictated by the Law. If you believe in pursuing social justice and mutual understandings over legislation, then I don't see any reason why you should think that Matilah should face potential prosecution by the Law. This situation is very much similar to the incident where the Danish caricatures offended the muslim community. My own article 'What does a Danish flag look like?' discussed the dilemma of religious appeasement and understanding freedom of speech. Alex Au (Yawning Bread) duly noted the bastardisation of free speech when people become fond of affixing "responsibility" to it. It suggests a freedom you have which must be curtailed depending on how offended another becomes. And it's not hard to see that where legislation is involved, self-censorship becomes inevitable.

My opinion does not deviate far from Matilah's idea of free speech. But one does not have to use profanity or share his opinion of you in order to agree with him.

"I am not a believer that law has complete control to mould society especially where the libertarian system is concerned, but if we head down that path (I am not thinking of Singapore, but the USA), it is clear to see what kind of society we will eventually get."
A truly genuine freedom of speech is a non-negotiable entity. You either have it or you don't. No one has the right to alter or define their own borders which apply to everyone else. To leave control in another individual defies the very meaning of 'freedom'. Where Singapore is concerned, the State is nowhere near a libertarian system and its infamous number of laws have clearly shaped its society for what it is today. If anything is to be clear, it is that the continued cap on progressive minds, free speech, gay rights, and other oppressive elements will eventually drive generations of youth out to greener pastures. Added to a failing birth/replacement rate, the Ruling Party will eventually face their own shortcomings.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
  Making something out of nothing: Melanie Phillips' Straw Man ravings
There are more positive ways to make a comeback than by assailing an intellectually impoverished bigot, but such is the negativity in Melanie Phillips' post "Britain's man of straw" that any critical response will do a bit of good.
Phillips doesn't like Jack Straw, one of the men who connived to get the war in Iraq, which she still has only praise for. She has moaned about him on numerous occasions because it seems that this warmonger is a bit too soft for her. Not just in the sense that he looks, behaves, and even sounds a bit like Mr Smithers, but also because she believes that he is fawning and accommodating in the face of Islamic terrorism. Her latest evidence [I'm not going to stoop to the level of Sabrina the Teenage Witch and other Sunny Delight-quaffing airheads, so you can damn-well put your own ironic quotation marks around the word evidence] comes in the form of a speech he gave at the Muslim News awards. I know, I haven't heard of them either. And neither has she, for had she done the two minutes research I have just done she would have found that they are called the Muslim News Awards for Excellence, a cloyingly titled ceremony that aims to honour Muslims for their achievements in all aspects of British society. Past winners include the boxer Prince Naseem Hamid [sad but true: Prince Naseem has never been condemned for Islamic violence, even though he's paid to hit people]. As Jack Straw put it himself: "We are celebrating the very significant contribution which Muslim communities as a whole make year on year to our country."

Her problem Straw's conduct at this celebration was that: " no point in his speech did he even mention Islamic terrorism." Now, people from a minority faith who have turned up at their own celebration to see people honoured for their positive role might not appreciate this, especially coming from the man who any other day would be arguing in defence of his cruel war. Melanie Phillips wants these people to be integrated and appreciate British values, but doesn't even need to think twice to attack them at a ceremony about their contribution to this very society. Honestly, how many terrorists did she think were in that room, waiting to receive awards? And what makes her think that anybody in that room even condoned Islamist violence? I know I would feel patronised and under attack if I was lectured on the violence committed by white people, or Catholics or the English simply because others who looked like me had indulged in it.

One subject that had to come up was the issue of those poxy cartoons. I managed to dodge the whole debate on censorship when it was in full swing in late January, one of the reasons being that it seemed obvious: You can print what you like [within the law] because you are entitled to free speech, but you should [and "should" is a loaded term here. I'm using it in a way suggesting what a human being at their best should do, knowing that there are 6 billion others out there that think and feel the same way as them in most situations] not use it to deliberately hurt people. Predictably, and rather sadly, many Muslims shot back by saying that Jews wouldn't like it if the Holocaust was abused. My favoured example is jokes at the expense of the disabled. One of the reasons why Little Britain has become such a pile of shit, and that new film The Ringer will be, is because they apply the same principle the Danish cartoons did against the disabled: "we can say it, so we shall". Jack straw seems to concur with this view, saying in his speech:

"The right to freedom of expression is a broad one and something which this country has long held dear. It was the focus of our human rights work during our recent Presidency of the European Union. But the existence of such a right does not mean that it is right – morally right, politically right, socially right – to exercise that freedom without regard to the feelings of others.
A large number of Muslims in this country were – understandably – upset by those cartoons being reprinted across Europe and at their deeply held beliefs being insulted. They expressed their hurt and outrage but did so in a way which epitomised the learned, peaceful religion of Islam. In doing so they were not being 'unreasonable' or 'un-European'. They were not threatening anyone's values."

Sentiments which don't sit well with our witch, who shot back:

"Thus Islamist violence is sanitised, excused and even airbrushed out of the picture altogether. The crisis in relations between the Islamic and Western worlds is entirely the fault of the West. The protest against clerical fascism represented by the Danish cartoons -- whose target was not Islam but the intimidation practised in its name -- was instead an insult to deeply held religious beliefs. And so it was that protest, rather than the clerical fascism, which should not be tolerated." [my italics]

Her criticism misses the point so much that getting hold of the issues would be like mud-wrestling with a greased eel. Still, lets not let this eel get away. Firstly, Jack Straw is not blaming all Islamic violence on the cartoons. He has babbled about jihadists enoug in past speeches for her to know this. He was referring to Muslim alienation in Britain, and citing the cartoons as a prime example. She uses the word "entirely", not Jack Straw. She is entitled to think that the cartoons were about oppression carried out by Muslims rather than Islam itself [although she has never been rave enough to come out and say that she despises the whole damn faith], but since the cartoonists must have known that using Mohammed as a synecdote for this oppression was going to upset many, and that reproducing them in other newspapers across Europe after the initial bad reception was going to inflame this, her view is totally misplaced here. It would be convenient if Jack Straw didn't mention the nasty element of these largely peacful protests in his speech. But, oh no:

"A handful of Muslims reacted in a distasteful and unacceptable way."

Not the strongest language, but it gets the job done, and I repeat, how many bad eggs were in that room, and why should their crimes be used in a speech addressing decent harmless people? Her piece climaxes with a burst of spiteful insanity, when she labels "ominous" this part of Straw's speech:

"The release of the British hostage, Norman Kember, and two of his companions has been very prominent in the media over the past few days. I believe the calls by many Muslims in this country and fellow British citizens for the safe release of those kidnapped victims and showing their solidarity with their plight may have contributed to their survival."

It's innocent and probably accurate. When the four hostages appeared in orange jumpsuits we knew that these were serious terrorists. The fact that three survived is incredible. But she wants to associate our Foreign Secretary with terror, and she'll be damned if she'll let what he actually said get in the way of that:

"Let us remind ourselves who these Muslims were who made these calls for the hostages’ safe release. After consultations with the Foreign Office, the Muslim Association of Britain – the British arm of the Muslim Brotherhood which works for the Islamisation of Britain and Europe -- dispatched its president, Anas al-Tikriti, to Iraq to negotiate with the kidnappers. The MAB also persuaded Sheikh al-Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s mentor and supporter of human bombs in Iraq and Israel, as well as the leaders of Hamas, Hizbollah and 23 other Muslim organisations, to sign a press release calling for Kember and three other hostages to be freed. The al Qaeda leader Abu Qatada was also pressed into service to appeal for their release from his prison cell, as did Moazzam Begg, the British man who had previously been detained at Guantanamo Bay, while Muslims at Finsbury Park mosque -- now run once more by the Brotherhood -- said prayers for Kember’s safe return which were played on televisions across the world."

The accusations that the MAB is an "arm" of the Muslim Brotherhood is a deliberate exaggeration on her part and further sloppy use of language to mislead readers. It does seem that they have links to them, but also that they are independent in the way that they act. They condemned the London bombings and held protest vigils several times last year, so their opinion of terrorism perpetrated by Muslims in Britain is quite clear. I have no reason to like them either, and never applaud their members at anti-war demos. But I'll wait for some hard facts before I claim that they are an "arm" and by implication are in existance to carry out Muslim Brotherhood policy in Britain. Qatada volunteered to be filmed and was used as a tactical measure because he knew he would influence the captors. The real proof of how the government regards him is illustrated by the fact that the message was filmed in his current home: Full Sutton jail. Hamas and Hezbollah are regarded as terrorist organisations by this government while Moazzam Begg was released from Guantanamo Bay an innocent man. Perhaps our witless friend might want to bear in mind that presumed innocence is another luxury that democracies enjoy, along with freedom of speech. He should be disregarded in her list of terror-sympathisers, but then, every sentient reader knows that these people were not the Muslims Jack Straw had in mind. Muslims repeatedly joined Christians in vigils for Norman Kember and put their names on the massive public statement calling for their release, while those of the same faith protested at his captivity across the world. Jack Straws failure to recognise the near-irrelevant subject of Islamic terror in this speech is superseded by her stubborn refusal to recognise the benefits of Islamic cooperation and goodwill.

Her final flourish is this:

"The British Foreign Secretary has now said, in effect, that the lives of Norman Kember and the other two hostages were saved thanks to the Muslim Brotherhood. What price will the Brotherhood now exact from Britain in return?" [again, my italics]

Readers of Melanie Phillips know by now what "in effect" means. It means: "if you substitute the words actually uttered with far nastier ones then I have a case". So, if I ate meat for lunch, then "in effect" I could have had roast orphans with my salad. Jack Straw said that Muslims helped him stay alive. Screw "in effect". If there is one lesson I would like her to learn, it is that you are not going to expose a hidden agenda by just altering somebody's words and changing the meaning of their sentence. Jack Straw didn't even claim that Muslims "saved" Mr Kember. He said they "contributed" to his survival. We know the SAS saved him because pro-war advocates have been crowing for days how, if the troops weren't there, these pacifists wouldn't have been saved. Nice. Had the troops not been there, of course, the pacifists wouldn't have felt compelled to go. But that's another debate.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
  The chronicles of Fetus Spears
That's the bastard child crossbreed between white trash and whiter trash:









The coming of the King of white trash has been born, yes. A lot's happened since then. And although the Fetus Spears has ceased blogging soon after birth, it's still quite a funny read. It still saddens me to see newborns brought into this world who are destined to a doom of infamy. Most recently, I've also noticed the UK's own televised chronicles of the sex aftermath by ex-Page 3 girl, Jordan and significant other Peter Andre. Nevermind the bastard children, I'm still trying hard to think of a single successful celebrity couple who have actually been able to pass the test of time.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
  Suicidal narcissist speaks from hell the office
Martha drops an email from work. Work; the one thing that martha and now the leech evidently have too much of and that I lack.

me: Haven't heard from you in ages. Thought maybe you killed yourself or slashed your wrists from all that depression of working in a square cubicle listening to the silent humming of computers all day.

martha: i slashed my wrists ages ago but my blood was so cold that it was practically frozen inside that there was no blood flow exiting the wound so im still here.

Ocassionally I get some email forwards from her, and usually they're somewhat interesting.... like this Toyota Inari 1.1. which she thought would be the perfect automobile for the anti-socialite such as ourselves.

Bigsmall; Put it in your dictionary.

Imagine the amount of awkward silences this car would save you if it went mainstream... Oh well, an anti-socialite can keep on dreaming.

"by the way today lunch time (before i had foood) our fire officer called me up and said there was a baby whale stranded on the beach so i butted in to the rescue but seeing as i was in work clothes and not a swimmer all i could do was stand there under hot sun looking baked yet still deliciously sexy." - martha inserts narcissism where necessary.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
  Crackdown on domestic terrorists
From the Washington Times:

"But the Amsterdam trial has an importance that goes well beyond the sphere of counterterrorism. This verdict is the culmination of a new trend that has been growing in Holland since the van Gogh assassination, as the country has gone through a severe self-examination. The Hofstad group is just the most dramatic and evident manifestation of a much larger problem. Most of the members of the group, in fact, were born in the Netherlands, sons or grandsons of North African immigrants who had grown up immersed in Dutch culture, yet had embraced radical Islam and decided to "wage a holy war against their own country," as Dutch prosecutors defined it. Bouyeri, who had described Holland as a "democratic torture chamber," talked about overthrowing the Dutch parliament and replacing it with an Islamic court. While receiving generous benefits from its social security, the men planned to kill the country's leaders and start a civil war that would have pitted Muslims against Christians."
- Discovered at Vox Popoli

The protests and riots in European cities including the London bombings have shown that an increasing proportion of the muslim community have adopted extremist ideals, waging holy war on their own countries. Widespread fundamentalism is becoming an increasing problem and it's my guess that some of the violent sentiments expressed on cardboard reflect the opinions of many who participated in protests, and who do not value western democracy and freedoms. Yet they exercise their right to take to the streets and shout their anti-west slogans, in a twisted sense of irony.

The problem of discompassionate muslims can be found deeply rooted in racial segregation, and the failure of a generally diasporic community to assimilate in their resident European countries. European born-and-bred 'Jihadists' have no loyalty towards their own nation. Few journalists (including Melanie "Mad Cow" Phillips) I have come across have also noted the errosion of western values due to religious appeasement. I haven't read her latest publication Londonistan (a mockery on Britain's failure to tackle home-grown extremists and the transformation of London into today's European HQ for terrorist recruitment), but I figured it has to do with the errosion of civil liberties as an influx of immigrants bring along with them anti-western values which eventually affect a democratic society where people of every creed are allowed to vote.

It looks like the Dutch are the first to step up to get to the root of the problem, by getting immigrants to assimilate to their culture and values, e.g. learning the Dutch language for starters. Government intervention seems to be an inevitable solution if you don't wish your national identity erroded. The whole issue also begs another question. As anti-voting libertarian Vox Day once pointed out, the voting aspect of democracy has now seen Iraq under the threat of the Sharia law being imposed by nominated parties and deeply suspects a wasted war effort. Is this evidence that voting is not always for the better of a free society? Perhaps the leech can shed some positive light on this.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
  The vice president and the quail
This is a must-see video. A hilarious take on Dick Cheney's "war" on quails with an overtone reference to 9/11.

Suddenly shooting a fully grown man dressed in a fluorescent jacket instead of a tiny bird all seems to make sense...
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
  Dim sums and basketball
Ted defends his right to say nothing:

"You guys expect the sky from overseas Singaporean students. Other than the hanging of Nguyen, even for the American students overseas in other countries, they are not fantastically vocal either of GWB's hawk policy against Iraq. The most I ever seen was from a fiesty exchange American student who defended the decision to invade Iraq based on September 11 in a philosophy class, other than that they don't go around waving flags on campus. Yes granted I am describing it in Australia but nontheless it's a valid example. Sheesh.

And yes, organising basketball games and dim sum sessions are ways to gel Singpaoreans studenst overseas for those once in a while occasions,so that they won't feel too homesick. Those who don't participate in such events are able to take care of their own social lives, it's all done on a voluntary basis. Not all overseas Singaporean Student Orgs are representative of the home government's decisions nor should they be expected to defend or attack such decisions as a priori assumption/expectation."

Just to straighten things out, I don't have a problem with dim sum eating, basketball playing Singaporean students abroad. But I will say that Americans don't go around campus with a patriotic flag supporting the war namely because (a)wherever you are in the world today, you will find yourself severely outnumbered by people pissed off that Bush lied and (b) more than half of Americans did not support the war from the beginning and a report by CNN today shows that Bush is as unpopular as ever today.

You have to be one arrogant American retard to try defend the war in this year. If Bush and Blair can't even defend nor explain the absence of WMDs, how is anybody else suppose to... Some americans I come across take it upon themselves in fact to start ranting off about what an idiot Bush is. Hmmm.

The difference between the American and Singaporean student, while involving 2 completely different issues, is that everybody knows what the American probably thinks of Bush and his invasion of Iraq. Show me an apathetic American and I'll show you a Singaporean who doesn't just eat dim sum all day.

Second, and this is strictly from personal experience, Americans seem more sporadic in overseas institutions compared to Singaporeans who seem to cluster at all the popular universities en masse. Therefore it'd make more sense for a sizeable demographic of Singaporeans in Aussie to have spoken up. Take part in a protest. Join a campaign. Either way do something to show an opinion that actually matters. I completely challenge your assumption that student orgs shouldn't be held representative of their country. I challenge the embarrassing culture of apathy and the right to bear the "Singapore Society" tag and not have any association whatsover with government actions that have an impact on the outside world. The absence of politics from the Singaporean identity, whether at home or abroad, is what's completely wrong with the typical Singaporean. The definition of 'uniquely Singaporean' to me right now is for one to be completely divorced from politics...and probably know where all the good dim sum places are. And these are suppose to be the bright leaders of tomorrow?? In a recent article, Alex Au (Yawning Bread) observed how few people he saw whose minds were really at work, in any sort of meaningful way. An overwhelming majority of people immerse themselves in their own worlds, rarely bothering to explore anything else, whether it's another culture, or the political machinery. I see many Singaporeans go overseas, but sadly few ever open their minds.

See, this is the problem with eating too much dim sum and playing ball all day... Eventually you'll find you're still living in Singapore no matter where you go.
"Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." - George W. Bush (March 24, 2004)

Recent Bastard Posts
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Fetus Spears
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e pur si muove
I Really Don't Know
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The Police State
Matrix Singapore
The Reader's Eye
Singapore Rebel (the blog)
Singapore Rebel (the film)
Xeno Boy
Yawning Bread
Retardation of the West
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Melanie "Mad Cow" Phillips
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Sorry Everybody
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