Dregs of Society

Baring the soul, challenging the accepted and redefining that which isn't.

State of Mind September 25 2014

Hi all, it’s been awhile and frankly I doubt anyone else comes here anymore. But frankly, that’s okay and that’s actually exactly the way we wanted it. Not that my co-author would see this but if anyone’s out there, it’d be nice for you to say hello. Or I could be just doing the digital version of talking to myself, throwing words out into the great void of cyberspace and be considered the cyber equivalent of delusional. But hey, who cares right? 

So a quick summary of my thoughts on the world right now.. 

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#HeForShe. I don’t doubt that there are areas in the world where women need to be accepted and given more freedoms. I’m still curious as to how, from my limited perspective, women in western nations suffer such things. I’ve always been a firm believer that work renumeration should be carried out on a meritocratic basis. If 1/14 ministers are men, perhaps it’s a numbers game or perhaps the men are just that much better. 

I think people fail to recognise that the very idea of equality means not having a gender quota. That’s an artificial modifier that forces one to hire a surplus of male or female candidates from what the original pool would be; it’s a forced and thus unequal parameter. I fail to see how fighting for equality by instituting quotas in workplaces is anything short of hypocritical. 

Similarly, I think women by and large are pretty free here to do as they please. Women aren’t restricted to having to shave their arms or wear a bra in public or anything like that. Much like how you reserve the right to not shave, we reserve the right to think it veers away from our taste sensibilities and think it disgusting. It goes both ways; an inordinately hairy man from the norm would be considered disgusting by the majority of women. Any problem with that? 

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ISIS. We found Osama but can’t find 50,000 odd fighters in the desert? The western allies have divisions of soldiers, more tanks than sand on the beach and entire carrier wings of aircraft with precision guided ordnance. Burn them from the face of the earth. They aren’t soldiers and shouldn’t be accorded that kind of rules of engagement respect. Kill them all. 

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Australian economy slowdown. I’ve been pressured in recent months upon graduation and job hunting to expedite the purchase of my first property. The more I read, the less confident I am of this upswing in the economy and correspondingly real estate prices. Perhaps a prudent move would be to roll the die and let the chips fall in 2 years time. After all, it’s only really then that I would feel anywhere near financially self confident to attend to a mortgage and the other myriad host of expenses one faces whilst living in one of the world’s most expensive cities. 

Talent can be a nice thing to have sometimes. You look good, attract attention, and if you’re lucky, you make some money. Women flock to you. In that sense, having talent’s preferable to having none. But talent only functions when it’s supported by a tough, unyielding physical and mental focus. All it takes is one screw in your brain to come loose and fall off, or some connection in your body to break down, and your concentration vanishes, like the dew at dawn. A simple toothache, or stiff shoulders, and you can’t play the piano well. It’s true. I’ve actually experienced it. A single cavity, one aching shoulder, and the beautiful vision and sound I hoped to convey goes out the window. The human body’s that fragile. It’s a complex system that can be damaged by something very trivial, and in most cases once it’s damaged, it can’t easily be restored. A cavity or stiff shoulder you can get over, but there are a lot of things you can’t get past. If talent’s the foundation you rely on, and yet it’s so unreliable that you have no idea what’s going to happen to it the next minute, what meaning does it have?

Equality

This is just a quick post after an early lunch but as you well know, one of the key interests of this blog apart from sartorial and horological decisions is that of male/female dynamics, both in a sociopolitical and romantic context and everything in between.

Thus, it was with great interest that this morning I noted that Bloomberg deemed it international news worthy to note that as many as two women may have been appointed to its 7-member board. This comes after purveying a number of companies financial reports and statements after the recent ending of the financial year for investment purposes, to look at cash-flows, to better understand the nuts and bolts and numerical intricacies of various companies for my own personal reasons. I noted there too, were statements that by the late 2010’s, many boards seek to have equal representation in men and women on their executive boards or equivalent.

This immediately perked my interest and I understand that many companies are nowadays showing diversity inspired challenges and seeking to hire or put into positions of importance, a diverse mix of individuals in order to fulfil these goals. Affirmative action in progress; you may call it. All in the name of equality. 

I have dispute with this. The very definition of equality is that things should be meritorious. That we are picked simply by our ability to perform to job expectations (or exceed them) and not because we were born a certain way sans penis or with a certain skin tone or our sexual orientation. Some feminists will parade on and cry fury that the need for such programs is exactly because women never get picked and they need the help in order to be thrust into the spotlight and positions of privilege. That strikes me as counter intuitive; the very act of crying out for help and legislatively mandated assistance is, to me, an admittance of inability and saying you need crutches. 

Furthermore, a business is a business. People tend to forget that the whole point of a business is simply to be in the black and to have that number as large as possible. Sure that’s a simplistic way of looking at things and there are numerous other factors with market share, growth rates, profit to equity ratios and so on and so forth but ultimately, businesses are exactly that. Profit driven enterprises. The requirement to hire someone just to fulfil some sort of quota seems to be counterproductive to that as someone who is not as productive or competent may get hired on the basis that some arbitrary quota needs to be fulfilled. 

I’m all for equality, but on equal grounds. This is exactly highlighted in a movie I watched the other day where an Asian sounding name got hired over the beautiful blonde girl and her friends consoled her saying “it was probably a diversity hire”. Isn’t that exactly it, by introducing such measures, those who don’t fit the mould of being a tall caucasian male, especially in the Anglosphere would forever have that taint of “oh he/she may be a diversity hire”. Hell, I don’t fit the mould of that but I do know that I would never want to be hired simply because I’m Asian and a quota needs to be met. If I was hired because of my ethnicity, it would be because hailing from the East gives me unique insight and perspective towards Asian markets and clients and an ability to relate to them in a way that no one else may be able to. That is to say, because being Asian makes me able to perform my job better; on my merit. 

It is rather true isn’t it. I certainly am overdue for an adventure, not having gone on one last year. 

And perhaps it may be the only high note of 2014, which let’s face it, has been a thoroughly depressing and saddening year thus far. I can’t think of another more terrible year, but I’ve noticed that the first halves of my years are generally sordid and horrid affairs with little to speak of in the way of positivity and enthusiasm.

So who knows. Maybe June will be the turning point. And July will be a soaring time and August will be the peak. 

Journalism in Jeopardy

I don’t consider myself a particularly avid newsreader, often hoping onto the various and then again only mainstream news websites whenever I find myself with nothing to do (which, upon reflection, can be quite often). Apart from the major news outlets such as CNN or the BBC, there’s always a few of the smaller more focused ones such as tech based websites, business based ones and a whole host of other random websites which tend to focus on areas I have more of an interest in. Needless to say, celebrity gossip doesn’t feature quite so heavily, though I certainly do keep an eye out for any news of Emma Watson’s marriage so that I’ll know when exactly to give up hope and fling myself off a building. 

I’ve said it multiple times over the years but I’ve always felt that the quality of journalism, never high in Australia, has certainly suffered and decayed to the point where I now question if it is fundamentally unreadable. The need for subscription and an article limitation (more than the internet, I believe that access to news should be a fundamental human right. I don’t quite need to surf pictures of cats so much as keep myself aware of the world around myself) has caused this website of already dubious quality to now just be completely useless. 

Article access not withstanding, I’ve been following the coverage of MH370 with interest, not due to any falsified or in any pretence of humanitarian reasons but instead for my own curiosity as to the situation of ASEAN and East Asian relations. Hailing from Singapore, I note that there’s always been a tinge of condescension and patronising attitudes towards our other ASEAN neighbours as they find themselves plagued with corruption and incompetence and without delving into stereotypes, I actually felt a distinct edge of pity towards the Malaysian people and the handling of this affair. 

From widespread circulation alleging that whilst other nations had devoted military grade hardware to varying degrees and other technological implementations up to and including crowd sourced satellite searching, it appears that Malaysia’s greatest contribution to the search for a missing airliner has been the employment of a witch doctor to essentially dowse the location of the missing jet using… coconuts. 

Whilst I remain convinced that this may have been an oversight and a product of the irresponsibility of journalists, it did make me consider how much of journalism was in fact shaped by public opinion and seeking to tell the public what we want to hear versus the actual on going facts. Malaysia and it’s in-fighting bureaucracy has ever been publicised and the political gaffes that its leaders have made over the past few months, years, decades have ever been the topic of dark parody and satire by its neighbours. From riots relating to the alleged similarities between diaspora and vegetables to what essentially amounts to state sponsored racism at worst and majority backing affirmative action at best, Malaysia certainly seems to have painted itself as a bit of a class clown in the ASEAN school of thought. 

I wonder how much of their words have been taken out of context from the original statements, if there may have been translation issues from Malay to English and if there was any effort on the part of journalists to further perpetuate this. It would have been irresponsible to say the least, considering the families of the 200 odd passengers await any sign of news with bated breath and all they have to show for it are in fact articles regarding the incompetence of those in charge for it. 

The latest allegations regarding Malaysia’s lackadaisical air defence network is another stroke of tar on the already sullied reputation of the Malaysian people. I could keep going but instead of pointing out the negativity and scandal that may arise at this rate, I hope that this incident would reach a conclusive end soon though I fear that truth may be in fact stranger than fiction. Further to that, I hope that this serves as a lesson and that this may never occur again. 

I still find it hard to believe that in today’s day and age, with GPS technology remotely accessible in pretty much every single Apple device, airliners or ships with their worth in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars do not have such things. 

some days, some nights
some live, some die
in the way of the samurai
some fight, some bleed
sun up to sun down
the sons of a battle cry
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And just like that my world was once again turned upside down.  

some days, some nights

some live, some die

in the way of the samurai

some fight, some bleed

sun up to sun down

the sons of a battle cry

***

And just like that my world was once again turned upside down.  

(Source: airows)