Category Archives: News Commentary

Sarah Palin as Vice-President of the United States? Really?!


September 22, 2008 10:10 PM

I admit to not knowing much about both presidential candidates of the United States. And even though I consider myself a left-centrist, I don’t have preferences for either one. I know John McCain to be a one-time POW in the Vietnam War, that even though he’s a Republican he didn’t agree to everything George Bush said or did, and that generally he seems like an intelligent person in his interviews. Likewise for Barack Obama, I think he gives very effective and inspiring speeches, and is equally intelligent and calm when sharing his thoughts.

But for a while there, it felt like the Democrats was getting all the media attention because they were being revolutionary: Hillary Clinton could become the first female US president, and Barack Obama could become the first black US president. It seemed like the Republicans just couldn’t get equal media air time because their candidates just didn’t inspire our imaginations like the Democrats did.

That was until McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. I thought that was a master stroke by the Republicans. Suddenly everyone was curious about this photogenic woman who went from the mayor of a small town in Alaska to become its governor, and now to become the potential vice-president of the United States. Suddenly, the media was interested in the Republicans again.

In my opinion though, she would have never been considered as a potential VP if it weren’t for Hillary Clinton clearing the way first. But that’s another story. My bigger question is this: is Sarah Palin really the best VP candidate that the Republicans have?

Like it or not, American still leads the way and almost everything that it does or happens to it, affects the entire world. Just think of the current financial crisis, and what’s still happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. After the George Bush years, isn’t it prudent to want someone with better experience and perhaps a bigger world view sitting in that office?

McCain gives me confidence and feels to me very presidential. Sarah Palin? Not so much. So the thought of her potentially becoming US President is a little bit unsettling. Legitimate questions should be asked of and about this woman. Questions such as her Christian conservative thoughts, her legislative experience, her world knowledge, her thoughts on abortion and sex education.

However, when these questions were asked, conservative types thought them sexist and demeaning.

Therefore it is good to have someone like Jon Stewart compare and analyse how these same conservative types were questioning Hilary Clinton and the Democrats in general. It puts it all in very stark perspective.

Saturday Night Live did a similar and a very funny take on sexism with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton whose character says sarcastically,

“An issue which I’m frankly surprised to hear people suddenly care about.”

Due to McCain’s age – he will be the oldest President ever, you have to treat Palin’s potential ascendancy seriously. The conservatives, if they really are patriotic should stop attacking the perceived liberal media bias and start asking Sarah Palin hard and difficult questions themselves. To let her off easily would be sexist and patronising.

In an earlier post, xtralicious has posted about these same thoughts of mine, and in greater detail especially about Sarah Palin’s stance on a variety of issues. It’s a good read, so check it out.

Some women deserve the men they get


August 31, 2008 8:45 PM

Greg Bird is a player in the National Rugby League and Katie Milligan is his American girlfriend. Early last week, Greg allegedly glassed Katie in the eye while arguing in his apartment. When they were attended to in a hospital, they had told medical staff that it was Greg’s friend Brent Watson who did it.

Luckily, Brent was not stupid and he also had a solid alibi. He went to the police and told his version of events. Greg Bird was then charged with maliciously inflicting grievous bodily harm and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and his league club the Cronulla Sharks had stood him down indefinitely.

LeagueHQ – The footballer, the glassed girlfriend and his fall guy one teed-off mate
Police charge NRL ace Greg Bird for lover Katie Milligan assault | NEWS.com.au

So I’m trying to understand Katie’s actions and logic here. Perhaps this is his first violent outburst, or perhaps she thought that she was to be blamed for provoking him. And she thought it’s probably not worth it to trash his reputation and career over, so she had agreed with him to frame a friend of his. In the heat of the moment, I can sorta understand how all of that could have happened.

But what went through the minds of these two deluded individuals to make them think that Brent Watson was just going to quietly take the wrap for something that he didn’t do? Friends or not, this was something ridiculous to expect a person to do.

And after being discharged from hospital, we’ve now learnt that Katie had signed with a lawyer linked to Greg’s management. Which probably means that she’s still on his side, potentially hampering police investigations into the assault.

Greg Bird’s girlfriend Katie Milligan may not speak out | NEWS.com.au

All of which begs the question? Why do seemingly intelligent women put up with violent men and make excuses for them? I can understand it if children are involved and leaving the man is not a simple thing to do. I can even understand it if the woman is financially dependent on the man.

But with Katie, none of this applies. Helping him excuse his behaviour away and trying to cover up for him is the first step to something worst. Katie was lucky not to have lost her eye. Next time might be a different story. And if next time, she still sticks up for him then she really deserves the man that she’s got.

Because she’s shown to him that he can do whatever he wants with her, she can forget about getting any respect or dignity from him. Why should he when she doesn’t even have respect and dignity for herself?

Two singing girls, both made in China


August 13, 2008 10:54 PM

Lin Mioke and Yang Peiyi, the singing girls in the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony

This made news headlines and I can see why. The real story isn’t that the girl lip-synced but rather, she lip-synced to the voice and song of another girl. Personally I don’t see the fuss. I mean, we already know that the Chinese government mandated that factories closed and cars banned from the roads in Beijing so that the image of the Olympics is nothing but perfect.

This thing with the two singing girls, like the grand opening ceremony and the use of CGI to enhance the televising of the fireworks, was orchestrated and tweaked to project the best image possible for China.

They manipulated all that so why not the girls too?

Silencing the star in red – News – Olympics – smh.com.au

Though I must agree with the sentiment of one of the commenters in the Gizmodo post about this story:

But there’s one thing you gotta ask yourself – how come in a nation of 1.3 billion people they couldn’t find a girl that looked “cute” and “sings good”. Come on you can’t tell me that combination doesn’t exist among that many people.

Olympics: Little Girl Substituted By Cuter Little Girl In Olympic Opening Ceremony

Surely China, which now includes the territories of Macau and Hong Kong, which have produced hundreds of hottie singers and actresses from its own entertainment industry, shouldn’t have had the problem of doing the above?

But I can understand why people feel the need to talk about it. I saw how the local tabloid TV beat it up. To some, this supports their notion that “made in China” means low quality and that since the Chinese are good at making counterfeit goods and general fakery, why should we be surprised?

Besides the slight xenophobic tones and racism of how some choose to interpret this event, I think that only some Chinese netizens, who’ve felt that the other girl was wronged and was robbed of her rightful limelight, and this post at Jezebel grasped the real problem with it and that is,

Is it appropriate to tell a little girl that she isn’t pretty enough to represent her country?

Opening Ceremonies: The Kid Stays Out Of The Picture

Death by Bullying


July 9, 2008 9:16 PM

In the news today was a story about the 2005 suicide of a female ambulance officer who’d endured 6 years of workplace bullying. She was 38, and married with a 3 year old daughter.

She could not even leave her car at work because the tyres were let down, her toilet at work was urinated “all over” and she was constantly ridiculed by fellow officers in front of patients, her mother-in-law, Carolynn Hodder, has told the inquiry in a written submission. She believed her death was the culmination of sustained victimisation by colleagues since she started at Cowra in 1999. She said the bullying went up the line to management and was ignored.

Christine Hodder had lodged two formal complaints, one in 2001 and another a few months before she died, about bullying and harassment by several officers and had twice been on stress leave.

Bullying caused woman’s suicide, inquiry told – National – smh.com.au

The bullying was despicable. But what intrigued me more was why had she stayed on in such a vile and toxic workplace for six whole years? Was there really no other choices of employment? Being the husband, wouldn’t it have broken his heart to see his wife in such pain and stress on a daily basis? Why didn’t he encourage her to leave? Or maybe he had tried but she wouldn’t budge? Did she want to make a stand against the bullies? But surely he could have tried even harder then?

If I was placed in such a situation, there’s a limit to my making a stand. I’d first tolerate and then I’d endure. Then I’d make formal complaints. I’d tolerate some more, and maybe suffer retaliation for making a formal complaint. After that, if no actions were taken I’d leave. This is not war, you don’t get a medal for being brave or standing your ground against all odds. In fact, it’s stupid. Why would you want to continue working for a company which doesn’t value your morale?

Christine had made two complains to senior management, and had gone on stress leave twice. I wonder what it was that made her think it was going to be worthwhile to persist. And when she finally decided to leave, why leave in such a final fashion?

In this story, her co-workers are the worst offenders. That’s obvious. But what of the husband? Why didn’t he pull her away from such avoidable misery? And what about Christine herself who facilitated her own bullying by staying, and who thought in the end that there was only either the job or death?

As tragic as it was, Christine’s death was very much avoidable. And because it wasn’t, all parties are culpable including the victim herself.

Hell is


May 13, 2008 9:33 PM

Hell is not Mother Nature. She has been around long before we ever existed, and will do so even after we’ve gone. On a planet floating in space, we may be the most intelligent passengers, but we are passengers no less.

The universe has no compassion – it just is. Things do not happen because of cosmic vengeance or divine retribution. There’s no malice, no motive and no calculations.

China: Quake left 18,000 buried in one city – China earthquake- msnbc.com
Quake survivors now face exposure danger – World – smh.com.au

But Hell is indeed other people (“No Exit” by Jean-Paul Sartre) …

Burmese Army stops locals trying to give aid – World – smh.com.au
Myanmar Restricting Aid Delivery – New York Times

Who by their actions should have marked out their places in it, if there is such a thing. But for Hell to exist then so must Heaven. And if so, divine benevolence. But there is no divinity. Not when blameless souls perished, or lay dying, while selfish parasites live out their lives on this earth in comfort and luxury.

Though if Hell is other people, it also manages to shine a light on those who are selfless and on other nations’ largesse even as their offers of help are being rejected.

Monks aid cyclone victims – Asia-Pacific – msnbc.com
RAAF touches down with Burma aid – World – smh.com.au
UN chief presses Myanmar to accept more aid – International Herald Tribune

We can’t all be completely selfless, but we can definitely be a bit more caring and considerate in our daily lives and lend a helping hand when we can, even if it’s for the smallest of favours. Disasters will happen and evil people will continue their evil ways, but at least we are not adding to the bad stuff that happens everyday.

6 kinds of drugs is what killed Heath Ledger


February 7, 2008 10:49 PM

Heath Ledger memorial by Warner Brothers
(via The Dark Knight @ Warner Brothers)

It has been revealed today that Heath Ledger died from 6 kinds of drugs: 3 kinds of anti-depressants, 2 kinds of painkillers, and 1 common ingredient in over-the-counter cold medicine or sleeping aid.

Among the drugs found in his body were two widely prescribed narcotics: oxycodone, the main ingredient in the prescription drug OxyContin, and hydrocodone, the principal pain reliever in the prescription drug Vicodin.

There were also three anti-anxiety medications: diazepam, the generic name for Valium; alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax; and temazepam, sold under the brand name Restoril and often prescribed as a sleep medication.

Doxylamine was also found in his system. It is an ingredient in some over-the-counter sleeping pills, and some non-prescription cold medicines that contain decongestants.

Ledger’s deadly cocktail – Heath Ledger – Entertainment – smh.com.au

The amount of each individual drug in his system was low enough for the medical examiner to rule out suicide. It still makes you wonder though. Yes, the drugs could have been prescribed by different doctors who are not aware of other drugs that he may have been taking. And Heath may not know the dangers of mixing the drugs. But why take two different kinds of painkillers, three different kinds of anti-depressants, and sleeping pills in the one day? Surely, you don’t need to be a pharmacist or a doctor to know that that is an excessive amount of drugs.

If it was a suicide, it would have at least made some sense. As it is, it’s a senseless waste.

Edison Chen sex scandal: his ego and their combined stupidity


February 6, 2008 7:13 PM

Edison Chen and his girlfriends over the years
(image source, SFW but links out to image depositories
of all the Edison Chen photos that aren’t)

The above flowchart shows all the women that Edison Chen – a Canadian-Chinese actor/singer based in HK – has been connected with. A couple of weeks ago, the HK media was rocked by the release of pornographic images of Edison and three of these women. They were allegedly leaked by the tech guy repairing Edison’s computer, who has since been arrested.

For those not familiar with the Chinese entertainment world, most of the women on the chart are singers and actresses, with a few models thrown in for good measure. The most famous one to Western audiences is Maggie Q (near the top right), who has appeared in MI:3 and Die Hard 4.0.

Of all the pictures obtained by the computer tech, there were 6 women involved. For the investigating police, only 4 are known to them. Three of these 4 women (2 singers and 1 actress, with the actress being currently married to one of Edison’s friends, Nicholas Tse, an actor/singer) were the unfortunate ones to have been exposed before the police and the courts put a stop to it by warning that anyone caught distributing the photos risk being arrested.

Shanghaiist has a good round up of the events and people involved (NSFW even with pixellated photos – read it at home!).
Shanghaiist: Edison Chen, Bobo Chan, Gillian Chung and Cecilia Cheung embroiled in Hong Kong’s biggest sex photo scandal ever

For a less titilating summary:
Edison Chen photo scandal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To me, it’s one thing for naive everyday people to be caught up in a moment of foolishness like this, but for people in the entertainment business who have carefully crafted images it’s quite bizarre. Assuming that these people are aware of the importance of image in their line of work, what possess these women to pose for him? And how big must his ego be to not care about the possible consequences if they leaked out like it has now? Or are they all just dumb?

Photos of 6 women were found on this one computer. Are there more saved on other computers stashed away in his home? How depraved is this guy, really? And what would his fans think of him now? He may be able to shrug this off and become more “adult” and edgy with his image – that’s what I’d do anyway if I was his PR, but the women involved probably do not have this luxury. It’s still very much a double-standard world.

In this situation, there are two glaring lessons for the Youtube-loving, Facebook-hugging, and MySpace-living digital generation of today:

  1. Unless you are in the adult entertainment business, never ever take naked pictures and video of yourselves unless you can live with the scandal and embarrassment. And even if you can live with it, employers in most industries won’t. No matter how much you think he loves you, or how fun you think it’d be, think very carefully about what you are doing.
  2. If you are going to send your iPod/MP3 Player/Computer in for repairs make sure that there’s nothing incriminating or highly private on the machine. Encrypt the information if you can and know how to. Otherwise, transfer the data onto another computer and delete the originals. While you are at it, delete your browsing history, cache and saved cookies.

A contrite Edison had asked for people to stop spreading and to take down the images. People in HK may be compelled to do so, but at this stage it’s spread beyond HK’s borders and its laws. Unlike printed photos with negatives, once it’s out there it ain’t coming back. The Internet is a bitch like that.

One thing’s for sure: these people are not going to have a very happy Chinese New Year.