the mudpond

It's good to let things breathe in your imagination because often your initial response to it is not the best thought-through response. I savour little glimpses of life. Mine and those of people who turn me sideways and around. Friend or stranger. Even a child. (the world looks different from down there) Sometimes an author, photographer, artist. I let things saturate and incubate here. Hopefully, deeper meanings can percolate up and flower.

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

A stray cat.


Vis: What's A Blog Worth?

JAMES HAS A well-informed take on the Visa case. And Jordan, commenting in James' entry raises an interesting point about blog names. [Btw, is MACVAYSIA also a trading name?]

"Good thing there's only one MACVAYSIA

Now, I have a couple, no several (maybe silly) questions to ask. Would some kind soul care to enlighten me vis:

I notice that most blogs seem to have assumed copyright of their contents under that Creative Commons License thingy. But what about the blog itself? If you deem your blog content worth protecting under the Intellectual Property Act, is it not also worthwhile to register your blog name? Can you register a blog since it's not a business entity and is not for profit? Or with Adsense, is the blog 'for profit', after all?

Like, for instance, is
Screenshots registered? Do it have a TM (trade mark) pending? Should our femes blogs register themselves with the Trade Mark Office? Can they? Imag

What's to stop one from setting up a mirror site with a closely similar name like say, Screenshot (in singular)? What if no profit is involved but it compromises or corrupts the integrity of your blog, and perhaps, by extension the blogger's reputation? Imagine a sweet, sweet minishot blog loaded 100% aspartame content... Is not your 'reputation' worth protecting? ;P

I am feeling somewhat dim about this issue. Can anyone shed some light?

While it may very well be not worth Blewtooth's while to hang on to the domain name, perhaps there is an overarching issue (is there, you think?) of what a blog is worth?

1000 Women of Peace

A record of 199 individuals and groups have been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Among the groups nominated is 1000 PeaceWomen.

"1000 is a symbol. It is a symbol of saying: peace is not a dramatic activity but rather is accomplished bit by bit. Peace is not an individual act. You cannot make peace alone. "
~Kamla Bhasin, Projektkoordinatorin India~

Posted by Hello

The project serves to recognise and acknowledge the commitment of women who work for peace. Experts in their own fields, they commit themselves daily to the cause of peace and justice, often under the most difficult circumstances.

The names of the 1000 Partners for Peace from over 50 countries, jointly nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005 has just been released. Publication of their names is to serve the long- term public awareness of these women's work and is not intended to influence in any way the decision of the Nobel Committee.

And among these courageous 1000 women who are beacons of hope to their own peoples are Malaysians Zainah Anwar, founder of Sisters in Islam and Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez.

More profiles on Irene Fernandez and
Zainah Anwar.

Also among the other 98 joint-nominees of 1000 PeaceWomen are: 3 Singaporeans, 6 Aussies, 91 Indians, 9 Nepalis, 11 Afghans, 16 Bangladeshis, 4 Burmese, 8 Cambodians, 81 Chinese, 9 from Hong Kong, 18 Taiwanese, 23 Indonesians, 2 Iraqi, 6 Japanese....



IGNORANCE is the cause of a lot of sorrow; it wants to conquer,
while KNOWLEDGE wants to illumine.

disabled: Inoperative: a disabled vehicle. Impaired, as in physical functioning: a disabled veteran; disabled children.
Technology: Turned off. Not active. "Disabled" does not mean broken or in disrepair. It typically refers to software that has numerous options, or features, that are selectable by the user. If the option is disabled... that function is no longer active.

enable: render capable or able for some task.
Technology: To turn on; activate.

When it comes to disability issues, in this digital era, the technology meanings obviously hold particular and significant relevance and I hasten to add, empowerment. The meanings suggest we can choose to enable or disable our software aka mindsets.

And so, the Enabling Education Network has a simple yet profound insight that I'll bet you already knew anyway:

It is attitudes that disable.

So, whose attitude should we start with? The answer, like any light bulb moment, is so startlingly clear. It pierces the fog of ignorance, making it too painful for some to eyeball.

It starts with disabled people: their attitude towards themselves and their disability.

[I'm reproducing a long section from an article 'Attitudes and Disability' here]

The harsh reality is that if disabled people themselves see themselves as victims, then they will be treated as victims; if they are sunk into self-pity, they will be perceived as pathetic; if they are hostile towards non-disabled people, they will be shunned; but if they refuse to see themselves as victims, if they claim their own dignity, see themselves as positive and able to contribute, they will be seen as positive and able to contribute.

This is not at all the same as saying that disabled people should be quiet, stop complaining, and settle for some kind of half-life. Absolutely not. The issue for disabled people is ultimately one of self-esteem, of refusing to accept the role of victim. There are many different ways of expressing that dignity, but it lies at the heart of whatever choice disabled activists make, whether strongly militant or quietly persistent.

And in the words of Rachel Hurts of Disabled People's International:

'Social change initially comes from us, from disabled people. It has to.'

Okay, that's enough knowledge for now. Illumination is a process... Meanwhile, here's the article exerpted from the book Disability, Liberation and Development.

Yes, let our innernet of consciousness expand with new awareness and awakening sensitivities. Betcha, can’t get more 'First World Mentality' than this, can you? :)

"A life that is not examined, is not worth living."


Twinkle, Twinkle, Ping! Ping!

Yes, Bloggers 'r' us. And how...

Such fickle and inconstant lovers are we. How we hate and love and hate our feme the twinkling ding-a-ling press gave us. How we alternatively hate and love the power they wield and can confer on us - still.

Ping! Ping! Ping! ... see how our emotions swing.

Just when are we ever gonna get it? Actually, do we even want to get it?

Really, it’s only business, lah.

Admit it. With or without
Google Adsense, it also makes damn good Ping-Ping-sense. What could make more business sense for bloggers than that? If we really want to be honest about it, that is.

How many PPS pings in the past two weeks, do you reckon are owed to that loverly - or is it blardy now? - twinkling little star?

Compassion's Disabling Companion

Literally, suffering with another; a sensation of sorrow excited by the distress or misfortunes of another; pity; commiseration. "Womanly ingenuity set to work by womanly compassion." Macaulay.

Must Compassion always be accompanied and disabled by her undesired and undesirable
companion? Can she ever be free to restore human dignity and worth - all by herself?

One person exemplifies this virtue and ethic. The Saint of Gutters and international symbol for devotion to the poor, destitute and dying. She won the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for bringing hope and dignity to millions of society’s rejects. She dedicated nearly 50 years of her life to them.

Nearly fifty years. Nearly half a century. A lifetime for some of us. And many lifetimes for some of her beneficiaries. She restored their human dignity and worth, not by the subtleties of nice words, but by hard toiling work and tender compassion:

"Mother, so long I have lived as an animal,
now I am dying as an angel."

Okay, so maybe we can't all be saints. Let's just be our normal honest selves then, shall we?

A Sunday Reflection: A Poem to Sit With


Rethinking Disability

HERE'S A DIFFERENT way of thinking about disability and happiness...

Strangers on the street are moved to comment:

"I admire you for being out; most people would give up.
God bless you! I’ll pray for you.
You don’t let the pain hold you back, do you?
If I had to live like you, I think I’d kill myself."
(or, " I don't know if I would have had the courage to live")

Actually we say that a lot, online as well, don't we? Even when we haven't yet met them.

But have we ever considered how such a (so-called) 'compassionate' response might actually reflect on the social worth we place on differently abled persons?

" I used to try to explain that in fact I enjoy my life, that it’s a great sensual pleasure to zoom by power chair on these delicious muggy streets, that I have no more reason to kill myself than most people. But it gets tedious."

Think about it. How your compassion really reflects on your beliefs.

View From Above

JUST WHEN I thought I understood things somewhat, along comes this view from the 19th floor. It makes me realise I really know twat all.

He is a lawyer and a novelist.

Once, when he was a child, he could hold a pencil. Now at age 31, his range of motion is mostly limited to wiggling his thumbs and toes. His head has to be propped up with a towel. Headsets help him control most of his activities - one to emulate the mouse on his computer, another to use the phone, and a third to respond to verbal commands. He was born with SMA.

He is a funny storyteller. Laughing, he said this:

"Most of my interaction with the world occurs via my head … you could probably cut it off and put it in a jar a la ‘Futurama’ and I would still have a productive life,”

Chewing is difficult so mostly, he ingests his meals through a feeding tube. He weigh only 75 pounds and requires 24-hour care.

"My reason for blogging is simple: In a life where I have to depend on others for everything, writing is one thing that I can do independently.”

And there are two things he
doesn’t like. To be called a role model or an inspiration.



I HAVE BEEN mulling on one word.


What is pity? Is it feeling sorry towards something? Is it useful, does it help the subject of your pity? Or sympathy?

My friend Jane attends morning mass daily. Thanks to her, I recently discovered the joys and graces of reciting Lauds and Vespers to begin and end my day. Jane has given me a gift I can never ever hope to repay.

Lately, Jane has been getting me to lead the recitation of Lauds.

Now, I am not particularly fond of the mike. I wriggle out of public speaking whenever I can get away with it. I can expend a great deal of brain power to come up with disproportionately elaborate plots and schemes to cop out.

When Jane first asked me to fill in for someone who did not turn up, a small miracle happened. I didn’t hesitate. Not even for a nano second. I said "yes". No excuses came to mind.

Copping out on Jane is unthinkable.

Jane has been a commentator in the church for over ten years. She has a lovely mellow and calm voice. Perfect diction. Faultless pronunciation. When she reads, you feel drawn to the words that spill from her lips in perfect timing and pitch. To put it rather clumsily, Jane speaks, erm… musically.

It didn’t turn out too bad, actually. My tongue didn’t freeze or trip, the words rolled off quite easily. My throat didn't hurt. I still have to work on the intonations though.

Jane is like my speech therapist. She is my role model, an inspiring one. Ever since she became my trainer and friend, I have dropped one word from my vocabulary.


There's just too much connotation to this word. Pity doesn't help anything. Pity is terrible because you are elevating yourself above another when you pity.

Jane has a confidence that is immensely reassuring. The serenity in her voice is instantly comforting. She is a woman of great dignity. To people like Jane, pity is useless and condescending.

Jane is forty-something. She is wheelchair bound. She is a Thalidomide victim. She was born with no legs at all. Pity does nothing for her except to denigrate her. Pity is an insult to someone who can hold you captive with just her voice.

And I understand where she's coming from, perfectly, when she said this:

“It can get frustrating when you meet people and the first thing you see in their eyes is pity when they know little to nothing about you.”

Then, there is this simple wisdom:

pity = give a man a fish, feed him for a day.
empathy = teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.

This might help you appreciate why pity is a natural instinct we should learn to resist.

Oh, by the way, I am dropping another word from my vocabulary.


I am replacing it with 'differently abled'

If you had clicked on the link (and read the entire article), you will understand perfectly well, why 'differently abled' is a better way of seeing and feeling, of empowering and affirming their dignity. Try it, I urge you.

Ping Board Jammed!!

Hey, for the past hour, I have been trying to ping my UPDATED One stop Ping-Ping Bash Page without any luck. Each time it was "ping successful" but did not show up!! Neeways see if this slips in...

Update: Hehe.. now I know exactly how good Aiz is in barring multiple pings...

One Stop Ping-Ping Bash Page

Suanie should have emceed! HEH! HEH! HEH!

Question: What’s worse than a party pooper?
Answer: A Smartass Party Pooper Critic, of course!!
^_^ :D ^_^

So, seeing as how it was a double blow that I didn’t get to go and all; and seeing as how I did not win the Neophyte Award… *sob* *sob* *wheeze* ...I claim the priviledge to rub it in…
cheez... ^_~

Ah well, that silliness out of the way... so on behalf of all PPS members, I’d like to congratulate all the three winners. Still don’t know who they are? Toughie Luckie, I'm sooky, I ain’t spellin' it out here. So click the links, silly!! :D

We'd also like to congratulate Aiz for his dedication in parenting PPS, organising the Bash…....
bala bla..

and everyone who pinged:
... on ideas for the PPS BASH
... in the memorable run-up to the BASH that unwittingly made celebrity bloggers of the Femmes Four aka Bloggers'r' us
... that led to the rise of blogger fanship,
... that overflowed with joy, jeles rants and femes words about the blogwhores'r'us,
... and those who pinged the winners' announcement even before the party was over, so the Party Poopers and Sookers who stayed up would know who just became femes...
... and the frenetic flood of pings that has been flowing since the party ended...

So this here, for your convenience, is the full list of pings-to-date on the Bash, all in one page!
Howzat for one-stop service eh? Aren't I a sweet loser? :)

They Were There!!

minishort report ~~~~ bits-n-explicit ~~~~ loopykiasu: take 2

rub the femes ~~~~ din'z link ~~~~ Bash Pic of the Year

Basher from Penang ~~~~ AIESECers Collide ~~~~ BP Obliges

The Emperor's Gallery ~~~~ CHiQ's entry

The Party Poopers and Sorry Sookers:
#1 Ping on Ping Ping Bash Awards!! ~~~~ #1 Apple Polisher
mycuppa ~~ bawang
Now where's that promised press splash on our new celebrities ?
Gee whiz.. I just realised I have unwittingly transformed into a hits-whore... shit! this thing is addictive, infectious, it's fun!!!


*Ping* *Ping* Disqualified!!

WAH! WAH! No Fair! *SOB* *SOB*
[if you are one of my rare and precious few visitors, you may be perplexed or puzzled at the change in my style of blogging lately. Ok, I'm practising to be a drama queen. I am also experimenting with self-deprecation, self-pity... and verifying a communication theory on blog cultures.]

Not only I can't go to the Ping Ping Bash tonite, I'm also disqualified from the "Which Malaysian Blogger Are You Quiz"!!! How lousy is that??

I barely got past Q1 on age, and then, stump the sucky silly stars @#*€^!#@... this!!

3. How much of your identity do you dare reveal to complete strangers online?

A) Nil. No name. No pictures. I want to be completely anonymous.
B) I'll tell you my name. But no revealing pictures.
C) I'll tell you my name and I'll shamelessly camwhore for you.
D) I'll tell you my name, I'll shameless camwhore for you, and I'll even give out my phone number for you to SMS me!

There isn't the option of "None of the above" like any good ole multi-choice questionnaire should have. Hrrrmmphh :(
How ah??!!

As you can clearly see, I dare show my face, but not my name. Because I happen to think that whereas a name is more permanent (less easy to change) the face/look we have is ever-changing through age or else, just as easily transformed through means of clever make-up, radical hairstyling/sculpting/colouring, funky spectacle frames and such deceitful and age-concealing forms of art... (cosmetic surgery being an extreme measure).

Going by even the most current photo, chances are you will not recognise me should I (it would take a miracle, this) turn up at Charlie's for the Bash tonite.

Is my notion of anonymity really so unusual, abnormal, improbable, ridiculous or what? Like most personality quizzes, this one certainly retains the silly and faulty genes of stereotyping.

Oh nebermine...

Optimist, that I am, let me salvage -- *snort* -- something from this silly disqualification, for self-consolation. It simply means, my blogger profile cannot be replicated. I am not your typical Malaysian Blogger. There's none like me. Which is just great by me!

So there, squareheads!


Oh, by the by... Happy Birthday, PPS... :D A favour, please if you're going ... when you all toast, please can you charge your glass and *ping* *ping* on my behalf? If I can't be there in person, then it'd be so nice to be there, if only in spirit!!


Bloggers'r'us: The Courtship

I KNEW IT! I saw it coming. I smelt it in the air!

If this isn't an
outright courtship, then I don't know chalk from cheese.

Is this the beginning of a Great Love Affair with the soapbox?

Aaww... how sweet! how exciting!

Love is a many splendored thing, don't you think? Hey, d
udes and duddettes, it's like Oscar Night! Go hunt down the glad rags, rings and things, get a haircut, get your nails done... get a makeover!!

muaharhar... :D

F4: Fan Fans Flames of Fame

AH, CELEBRITY. Everybody loves a celebrity. The fame, the fans. And how, a fan can fan the flames of fame. Or fragrance. Or pungent fumes.

Everyone wants a piece it. Even, apparently, the flies. That is, the bandwidth busting that comes with the fame. If you're currently out in the cold, (yes, I do mean outside the circle of fame) a piece of any action even remotely related to the celebrity will warm others to your blog.

It’s the drawing power of celebrity - a phenomenon that’s been around since the dawn of marketing.

Celebrity sells.

Celebrity can also be benevelont. In marketing jargon, it's known as borrowed equity. Celebrity presence can bestow upon you and/or your blog a special attraction and appeal you otherwise would not (ever hope to) have. The bare facts, as it were... Heheh! :P

OK, like I am a dumb novice blogger. Clueless even about trackbacks and all those fancy bells and whistles that make a bogger look like a real pro. My visitor stats attest to my hopelessness in promoting my blog. See, got no disclaimers to scare you away also. Got no bland Google Ads to distract either. At the rate I’m going, there isn't the remotest possibility that my bandwidth will ever come close to busting. *snort*

Alright, I will not expound further on fanning the flames of celebrity power. I will leave such serious discourse to the qualified marketing or consumer behaviour guru blogger.

But like I told you, I wasn’t exaggerating. Look how celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Paris Hilton have parlayed their stardom into ranges of own-label goods that often have little to do with whatever earned them their fame.

Likewise with celebrity bloggers into matters, thus and thus.

I just love Bloggers 'r' us . Right now I’m one of it’s biggest fans. The phenomenon, not the bloggers. I outgrew that sort of thing a long, long time ago.

Fridiculous Four or F4 or whatever name makes them 'look together', will remain, long after those pages of newsprint have yellowed or degraded from being smelly fishwrap. But the euphoric moments of the fleeting phenomenon of 'ordinary moments made extraordinary' by nationwide MSM coverage – hey you gotta catch its benevolent radiance while it lingers in the air.

It gives me something to blog about - without busting my bandwidth (what a preposterously wishful, nay, fridiculous idea!) or my brain :P

I'll blog about it while it lasts. To echo Edrei, So there! ^-~


Blogger 'r' us: Name The Fame!

IN THE SPIRIT of jubilation over the positive spin on Bloggers 'r' us and in the spirit of celebration of noticeably less adversarial feelings towards the MSM... (peace is always good)

In the spirit of the moment, here's a new game:

Name the Fame

"… so the four of us, the Featured 4 would look like we're together on this. What should we called ourselves? Featured 4... F4!) "
~Kenny Sia in "The Fame, the shame"~

And, here’s my take:

** Featured Four sounds kinda lame. More than four bloggers got featured in MSM in recent times. [MSM equates fame, still... hmmm]

** F4 reminds me too much of …Formula Racing… F for ‘Fail’... for F**K... for Fag... for Fart or Fluff <*pffft*> ... nearly all 4 Fs guaranteed to put moms and dads OFF blogs and blogging!

** Fab Four Heh!!! Just like the
Beatles! Oh, but it 's sooo 60s... apart from Peter, the other femmes three are children of the 80s. Nah, no 'together' spirit, like what Kenny wants.

** Femmes Four. Aaah! I like this. Reminds me of the
Famous Five. 'femmes' is so quintessentially blog-lingo. (so ok, I tweaked the spelling, but it’s no exaggeration. In the spirit of the moment, please, no nitpick, please don't defame me in your femes blog :D)

So, whaddaya think? What should they call themselves?

Psst... any prizes for coming up with a good name at the PPS Bash or not? :D
Pssst... I'm posting this all in the spirit 'cos I'm out of town and can't be at the PPS Bash tonite. *sniff* {:[


Ambassadors of Malaysian Blogosphere


They’re now members of a special circle. The circle of fame. They’ll be stealing, oops, sharing the limelight with the PPS Award Winners. They’ll be the toast of the PPS Bash. Along with the PPS Award Winners.

Congrats all.
Kenny Sia, minishorts, Peter Tan and Suanie.

The New Celebrities of Petaling Street. Ambassadors of the Malaysian Blogosphere

Enjoy your new-found fame. Share it with your friends, let them bask in the glow of your fame, yes, plug them in your posts.

Let your blogs, your friends' blogs shout out to all the world what bloggers are about, what blogs can be and what blogs can do. For Bloggers'r'us and for the culture of blogging.

Now use your new-found fame and influence well, all ye ambassadors of the Malaysian blogosphere.

;P :D


Dirty Little Minds

CUSS WORDS EMBROIDERING cyber-talk. Profanity, a new grammer to the art of conversation.

Porn-y fairytales.

Blog posts of sexploits as graphic as bare-all pictures. Tales as tall as houses.

Do we blink?

Art and Porn.

Fantasy and reality.

If it’s all the same to you, what’s a child to think?

Hard core cyber sex is just a click away. Internet pornography is pervasive, and seemingly unstoppable. Teenagers learn what sex looks like, sounds like, in all its extreme permutations.

On the cusp of sexual experience, do they believe in its unrealistic depiction: all girls are Brazilian bikini-waxed nymphomaniacs; good sex amounts to "harder, harder" penetration; boys are devoid of tenderness?

Panic and criticism - simplistic responses to the natural (and unstoppable) curiosity of young people about sex.

Take the smutty little idea round the backstreet and quietly smother it. No wait, better give the filthy thing a public flogging. Scorn and derision. Sneers and jeers. That should kill the curious little kittens living inside our teenagers.


Splendid idea.


I seem to be on a roll. I have absolutely no idea why. Please do excuse me.

Smile, Dad


my stone-faced dad --
if only you could come home!
beaming a smile...

SPG: Back Under Wraps

WELL, SHE's back under wraps.

As much as I appreciated her artistic blog, I sincerely respect and salute her for getting back into her sarong:

"People I don't know out there can't hurt me with their opinions.[...] My parents didn't like the picture. And since they are the people who take care of me and love me, I am accountable for how they feel."

Shows, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Or a gal by her sarong. Or rather, the lack thereof.

Shows, our Asian values - filial piety and respect for our elders - are still alive and strong.

Whether or not you like it.

Then, the media wasn’t wrong to report it. It occurred. We shouldn’t want to pretend it didn’t. Then, the media did not judge, it reported public reactions.

Whether or not you like those reactions.

News is a cultural resource, whether found in the mainstream or on the fringes. We shouldn’t be afraid of what other people feel. Though, at the end of the day, we can and must judge for ourselves what we feel. And as it turns out, the
cyber audience also strongly disapproved of SPG’s nudity. A strong reflection of how journalism (in this case) has engaged its audience in an activist, democratic sense.

Whether or not you like it.

Those are mainstream opinions. We may not agree. But there you go, those views highlight exactly just how permissive a society we are.


Here's what I think is really VERY SARONG. The stark lack of journalism ethics:

ONE: her right to privacy:

"Any article about me as a 'nude blogger' after yesterday's ST does not come with my support or agreement."

TWO: sensationalizing the issue and judging the blogger.


A Freudian slip on the part of the writer, perhaps?

Yanks is a most violent word for such a sensitive issue. Mind you, she's still a teenager.

Yanks. Psychologically, you could make a victim of her with this indecent word. You rape our sensitivities with your 'yanks'

Please just report the news. Please don't assault her (and us) with your indecent, violent and narrow minds.


Yes, Men Too


Anger at oneself for participating in the abortion. At others for putting on the pressure. At the circumstances. Or at God for permitting it to happen in the first place.

[No, this is not an anti-abortion rant. While I have my convictions and beliefs, I am not into crusades. I am however, very much into sharing resources or learning new perspectives on human responses to this tremendously difficult issue and the ethical minefields that surround it.]

Pro-choice or pro-life, I am certain we all agree on this:
An abortion is not a mysterious disappearance of a (human) life.

Almost anyone can imagine the mental pain and anguish suffered by women facing an abortion decision. And after the abortion.

I am certain too, male or female, we can also agree on this:
An unwanted (for whatever reason) pregnancy is not an immaculate conception.

Doubtless, many men not only willingly participated in the decision, they also assisted their partners in securing an abortion. Some have even pressured their partners into having an abortion. As well, there are those who watched helplessly as their precious unborn child was aborted in spite of their pleas to give their baby life. Still others weren’t told of their fatherhood until that life was already taken.

How do men feel about terminating a pregnancy they helped create? How does the loss of a child from abortion affect them?

The written and spoken word as catharsis.

Unlike the always wrenching but depressingly familiar woman’s story told in the countless narratives of magazine features, movie plots, soap operas and real life dramas playing out in the daily news, the male story is rarely, if ever told.

Enter blogs as digital catharsis. Blogs as gender equalizer.

One of the more (and truly) beneficial uses of a blog is that it can provide therapy or at least significantly clear mental cobwebs when crisis occur. Especially in life-changing episodes that often seem impossible to share with another human, face-to-face.

One of my earliest blog entries was
"That (Taken) Life”. In it, I linked a blog named A Hole In One, a chronicle of a young unmarried woman’s innermost thoughts, feelings and circumstances surrounding her decision. Juxtaposed against her compelling story, I shared a male friend’s deeply moving thoughts - two decades after the abortion he ‘participated’ in. I told of how, even today, he still feels no end to the anguish of having taken a life.

They never considered parenthood as an option. It seemed unrealistic. At only 16, neither felt the life inside her had a future. He told me that the baby’s life was not their priority. That they acted out of self-interest, first and foremost.

They were motivated by fear. Of the hard work that would come with looking after a child. Of missing out on a career. Of being robbed of their freedom. Of being an embarrassment to their families.

He also said there must have been psychological pain, but that they couldn’t understand their heads, and nobody else could know. And he told me, how in the ensuing weeks, they continued as if nothing had happened. How they never spoke about it. How it was a black cloud that always hung over them.

Last night, two decades on. Two days before Father’s Day, he told me if he had his time over again, it would be absolutely different. Religion, he says would have nothing to do with it. But being a father has shown him that a child’s life is too precious.

Today, I want to share with you three male responses to the abortion dilemma I found in Blogosphere:
* A young Malaysian blogs on his reactions to a friend’s abortion.
* A distraught young lover blogs about how he cheated on his true love. How pregnancy, abortion and guilt ensued. Guilt, for the true love and the stolen love AND the taken life.
* An ‘ethical rainstorm from hell’ was another male response to a life he helped create. He blogged about how he tried to influence her to abort their child. He felt he would lose his emotional and mental balance unless she agreed.


Happy Father’s Day to my dear friend who honored me (and readers) by sharing his private and profoundly life-changing experience.

And to those men, who through their blogs have allowed us a glimpse their innermost feelings and thoughts, that we may understand the different sides to this thorny, emotional and terribly important issue. May more male voices be heard on this.

In the
UK, where abortion is legal, Men Too receive counseling and support in the face of this life-changing situation.


Long Hair Male

TOPIC DU JOUR: Long Hair Males :D

In Christ's time, males with long hair were the norm. Later, they became symbols of asceticism.
When self-mortification was the path to enlightenment. When simplicity was embraced as a virtue.

Diefenbach and Fidus at Hollriegelskreuth, Germany, 1887
Posted by Hello

For the Sikhs however, long hair was a symbol of faith to keep the God-given form intact.

In the sixties it became the language of a subculture. In the communal culture of Hippiedom, long hair was a
style that allowed males to identify with a group, at the same time express their individuality.

For Hippies, long hair was a nomadic culture with values of peace and eroticism. How ironic and bizzare that long hair turns out to be the originial form of the Bobbit syndrome. Legend has it that Delilah chopped off Samson's locks, the secret of his strength.

A hippie is defined as a young person who defied established customs and adopted an unconventional mode of dress. It signified a disdain for convention. Long, centre-parted hair left untied and natural-looking, looked Bohemian.

It made a strong statement. Reflective of nature and getting away from established rules. It identified with 'letting go'. Unrestrained, long hair allowed a transformation of self, a romantic concept.

And then, in the seventies, angry Punks adopted this style.
And it lived on in the 90s with their sub-genre Goth lovers of metal, fetish and horror.

In the dawn of the new millennium, male long hair is nearly always tied up into a pony tail. Severly restrained. Smoothed down with gel. DISCIPLINED. New art language? A
fashion statement? A personal philosophy rather than group-bonded?

Today, long hair as a cultural language is a shadow of its rich and romantic past. A thin watered-down form of its old colorful past. It is rarely ever complemented with dress, values and lifestyle the way it used to be.
Today, it incurrs different stereotypes: Grunge, Skateboards, Surfer, Biker, Rock, and often, Gay, Drugs and most unfairly, even AIDS. Somehow, long hair associations tend to be negativley perceived, to the exclusion of all its other rich cultural aspects.

What does the long hair Malaysian male in the new millennium really identify with? What does his long hair symbolise?

Personally, I prefer how it looked in the old ancient days, circa 1887. Long, luxurious free-flowing locks. Contemplative and Reflective. Complemented with the easy-going free flowing clothes. No artifice, no restraint. Man and Nature. Untamed. WYSIWYG ;P

So, forgive me, I'm just being a silly nostalgic.


Terri Schiavo: Beyond Forgiveness?

WHEN TERRI SCHIAVO died, her sister Suzanne Vitadano told reporters:

“May God give grace to our family”

Hence, her death should have been the end of an unhappy story.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. Sadly, the anger, bitterness and unforgiveness didn’t end.

The passing of Terri left great gaping wounds to heal. Peace should have been the last emotion Terry felt. Thank God she was oblivious to all the angry words that passed between those she loved. No one should have to die as she did.

The Schindlers wanted closure. They sought this, which everyone had hoped would and should finally end it all.

There just simply doesn't appear to be any end in sight. Tragically, the anger, bitterness and unforgiveness course on, relentlessly.

Despite medical evidence and expert opinion, the Schindlers won't believe she was beyond saving. They remain unshaken in their belief that Michael Schiavo caused her collapse and insist the autopsy does not preclude his culpability.

To compound it all, their spiritual advisers and pro-lifers rallied to reinforce this resistance to closure and the healing that would surely have attended:

"No details of this autopsy change the moral evaluation of what happened to Terri."

They immobilise themselves thus:

"Terri did not die from an atrophied brain. She died from an atrophy of compassion."

By not accepting the autopsy results, they deny themselves and the Schindlers closure and healing. By cleaving to unforgiveness, they still will not let Terri rest in peace.

It's a wrenching drama, I know.

But what a shame for the Schindlers. That they cannot see there is hope for them. That there is a new future which they will soon help create; there will be new challenges for them and their family which they cannot yet know.

Unless they open their hearts to peace.

“…Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
and where there is sadness, joy...”

When you are grieving, you often lose sight of the future, because the present is so draining. But no matter what has been taken from you there is hope. They still have each other and they still have a life in front of them.

If only we can apply the lessons of forgiveness as John Paul II taught us.

“Freedom and frogiveness go hand-in-hand… To refuse to love and to forgive is thus to be bound, to be imprisoned. When suffering comes we have a real choice. We can choose to forgive. Lord, grant to those so deeply impacted by this tragedy real healing. Give them the grace to forgive as you have forgiven”.

I pray the Schindlers will find healing and consolation, and that Terri's memories will bring them peace.

And that God will grant them all the grace to let Terri finally rest in peace.

Related posts:

Terri Schiavo: Beyond Saving

AFTER AN EXHAUSTIVE three-month investigation, the facts are in.
Report of Autopsy – SCHIAVO, Theresa (pdf)

There are two parts to the report that attempt the questions susceptible of medical resolution:
1. A summary, the tests and results.
2. A narrative that takes up the allegations by Schindler et al.

The autopsy report
vindicates Michael Schiavo.

TERRI SCHIAVO WAS BEYOND SAVING. Insofar as the truth is knowable, this is just what Michael Schiavo and the courts said all along: she was a vegetable, it was a terrible misfortune, with nobody to blame.

**The cause of Terri's collapse in 1990 cannot be determined with certainty. It was NOT abuse by Michael Schiavo.

**When her heart stopped beating, she suffered extensive brain damage. The damage was "horrendous, horrific and irreversible".

**Her brain had "profoundly atrophied" to less than half the size it should have been. Her ability to process sensory data had been totally destroyed. And in her final days, she was blind.

**There was no, NO possibility of restoration of any life function above what she had at the time the feeding tube was removed.

Her parents had wanted to prolong her life to recover her normal brain function.
But no treatment could have reversed the damage.

**She had been in a persistent vegetative state. The brain damage left her incapable of eating or drinking had she been fed by mouth, as her parents had requested.

**The brain damage had left her non-responsive -
contrary to her parents' assertion that she was responsive to them.

And finally...

After her feeding tube was removed, she died of dehydration.
Not starvation - as most of us aasumed.


Blink-worthy Is News-worthy

And here's the news:
Porn-on-the-net is stale old fact that has long ceased to be news. It started a long, long time ago. It's so commonplace now, it pops out at you even when you are not looking for it, even when you seriously, most emphatically don't even want to see it. Many people seek and have a daily affair with this publicly available nudity. It’s routine. No big deal. Not blink-worthy - even for those of us who don't have such an affair.

But Martine, Martine is one blog post that has got everyone (porn-surfers included, no doubt) on the *blink* *blink* It raises the question (to use a borrowed phrase)..." and so what’s sarong with a naked blogger?”

Well, I don’t know if it's right or wrong. It has to do with other people’s personal liberties. I do know though, that Sarong Party Girl does "like being in the news". So yeah, tell me again, what's sarong with that?

Seems to me, a naked Oriental/Asian female blogger is definitely newsworthy - until such a time naked bloggers (male or female) become a routine matter or pastime like porn-on-the-net, of course.

Mind you, it’s newsworthy not only here in conservative Asia, but also in libertine western cultural societies.

See, it also made the news in
Australia, the UK and Taiwan.

And by the by, SPG is not the first Asian to have done it. Unfortunately, I can’t comment more cos I can’t read Chinese, but apparently, earlier this month, a
middle-aged female blogger ...
set the Chinese blogging community abuzz too!

*blink* blink*
[end of news bulletin]


SPG Spectacular: Ay, We Can Deal With This, Right?


What’s so remarkably negative about

I’ve read it over. Thrice.

As far as I can tell, it was a straightforward reporting of an 'event'. It also reported some reader responses.

I checked. It has verifiable facts, quotes and attribution. Like all good news stories should.

It's definitely not one of those subjective op-ed pieces, where some anonymous editor tells or rather subtly (sometimes not so) suggests you should be pleased or upset, relieved or scared at the news reported.

It reports a female blogger, baring her all save a recognizable face in her publicly accessible blog - a first in our conservative (and authoritarian) societies both sides of the Johor Straits.

It IS news, yes?
Any first-time event is newsworthy, yes?
This one breaks our social norms, yes?

Yes? Yes? and Yes?

All affirmative? Good. Ah, then, what’s so negative about it?. Why do you find the truth cheap?

P{lease, let's make distinctions.
Between news and imagination. Between verifiable fact and value-laden interpretation.

Apply the fundamentals of what you know about the theory of news. Of what makes any event/thing/person newsworthy.

The News values

1. Consequence (importance and impact)

2. Proximity (geographical, cultural)

3. Conflict (disagreement)

4. Human Interest (about people)

5. Novelty (the bizarre, the rare)

6. Prominence (personalities)

Now ask yourself how the Sarong Party Girl story scored against the above criteria of what constitutes news.

*The nude pictures caused a sensation and made an impact, didn’t they? There are important consequences, right?

*Geographically, culturally it's an issue that touches/strikes our hearts right? She could very well be a Malaysian. Worse still, she could be our little sister, daughter or niece, girlfriend or wife. Or even our gramdmother. [subtext: Oh dear, must get a grip and watch the paranoia}

*We are all interested in sexuality no?

*Controversial, and conflict-laden right?

*A female blogger so close culturally (even if she's not Malaysian) who bares all is a novelty. She is quite a spectacle, isn't she?

In fact, SPG scored so spectacularly well it
set us all abuzz, exactly as the story headline said it would! Ah, this time The Star so accurate ler!

Ask yourself (honestly) if public interest was served by this information to the masses?

Or, more meanigfully, if public interest would have been better served pretending 'it' does not exist, did not happen?

Honestly, for crying out loud, haven’t we all had enough of N.S.Ts (no such thing)?

We howl in outrage when the media appoint themselves our news gatekeepers and moral guardians by screening, filtering and censoring information we feel we have a right to access - freely and in its raw form. That is why we all blog, we love blogs, we all love PPS, we’re even gonna have a bash to celebrate its 3rd birthday, with awards and all! We want to be in control of information flow.

It’s silly to cry fowl when that information we so crave sometimes makes us feel somewhat scared and uneasy about ourselves.

It’ s downright dumb to be so scared we start complaining and end up looking like we are asking for censorship. Heh! In cyberspace summore! For that is what the hue and cry is all about. Honestly.

True, our MSM (mainstream media) don’t always mirror reality. But in this case, I am sure we can all agree that the truth is laid bare for all to see, yeah?

Simply put, there is good news and there is not-so-good news. News that makes our hearts swell with pride and have us dying to tell/show the world. News that make us so painfully pai-seh, we involuntarily cringe, try to hide the news, conceal the truth or pretend it didn't happen. Or if all else fails, simply stick our heads in the sand. How we react pretty much depends on our cultural outlooks and mindsets.

C'mon, it's reality and reality sometimes bites. You ALREADY know that.

You also know that the best thing to do with reality is to DEAL with it.

Look, it isn’t the media's job to tell us how to deal with 'bad' news. AND, TO BE FAIR, IT DIDN'T ON THIS ONE. Honestly.

Indeed, in this case, we seem to be coping by falling into an emotional default position of fear. It's irrational. Perhaps, because we are afraid of not knowing how to deal with it. How our youngsters will handle this freedom in cyberspace. And so, we lash out at the messenger.

Be rational. You can. We are, after all bloggers. By default, we are proponent of freedom of expression and information flow. We can deal with this rationally. WE bloggers, of all people can handle this reality in a sensible and wise way.

After all, lest we forget, the authorities are watching to see if we can deal with this.

MJ: Still (My) Number One

Yes! Yes! Yes!

After a thriller of a trial, Michael Jackson is completely acquitted of all
10 charges. News reports here, here and here.

Read the public's reaction in
BBC's Talking Point. Have your say. I must say I am extremely pleased.

From his ‘muted emotion’ upon hearing the verdict, the trial clearly has had a sobering effect on MJ. His relief did not eventuate into the much anticipated spectacle; the spectacle that has always been an integral part of MJ's public persona.

Paradoxically, this trial and verdict is giving the fading star a reprise on the global stage. I wonder if his publicists will exploit/optimize this watershed moment to rebuild his career or if indeed the overwhelming stress and untold damage from the trial is already turning him into a complete recluse.

Interestingly, a BBC article on winners and losers of the trial reflects a rare self-scrutiny of the media’s role in MJ’s fame and fall from grace.

In A Falling Star, I commented that MJ was always going to be the loser whatever the outcome. And so it is now, although acquitted, his reputation has nevertheless been smeared after having been dragged through the mud of fourteen weeks worth of often scandalous and mostly incredulous testimony. No matter what the verdict, there was always going to be self-righteous bigots who would cling desparately to their prejudices and publicly signify 'recoil' from his music by declaring their aversion and distaste.

An aside:
Why must our stars fall so spectacularly and fail us so egregiously? The suspicion here is, because we want them to. Indeed, it may be the prime instructive function of celebrities to show us, in their early radiance, what we could dream of being — and in the murk of their decline, what we fear, or know, we could become.

I am listening to MJ’s greatest hits compilation, Number Ones as I blog this.

Posted by Hello

The track currently playing is Rock With You, a 'bomb' track. It's incredibly funky, irrepressibly bouncy and makes the stiffest among us mortals want to groove or, at the very least, clap our hands. It epitomises the freedom to make and enjoy music. It's a thrilling, 'rawking' tune that still sounds fresh after exploding at No.1 on the charts 26 years ago. You're dead if you don't feel the soul.

Yes, I'm emotionally attached to his tunes. I watched, re-watched and kept videos of Beat It, Billie Jean and Thriller till the tapes turned mouldy. MJ pioneered some stunning group choreography. That music represents the Michael Jackson I know, and that is the MJ I’ll always remember, no matter what he does to himself or how he ages. No matter how many bigots publicly cling to their prejudies despite the legal vindication.

He is a 46-year-old still emotionally stuck in childhood, and ill-equipped for adulthood, what more, middle age. I mourn the degeneration and the death of the King of Pop. I know I can no longer expect greatness from him. I don't care for the circus surrounding his weirdness. He may be a caricature in many minds, but I can separate the man from his music.

I couldn't care less what other new controversy surrounds him. I will continue to focus on the Michael Jackson, circa 1985 when his music spoke louder than his actions. Michael Jackson is still Number One on my charts.

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