Δευτέρα, Σεπτεμβρίου 26

The Porn of War

This is truly sick.

(link via Vernon)

Παρασκευή, Σεπτεμβρίου 16

A 'B'!

Good gentles, my voice stretching over the summer has worked - I now have a low B! Am working on making that stronger so that the low C above it will be louder.


The youngest Iraqi killed by American soldiers

A pregnant, 40 years old Iraqi woman was shot by US military on August 10th, 2005 in the city of Mosul, northern Iraq, while in front of her house. The woman, who was in her 32nd week of pregnancy, was hit in her abdomen and collapsed immediately. As usual, US troops looked carelessly and walked away, not offering any help or medical care.
Bystanders then took the woman to the ER at the Republican Hospital in Mosul. The ER medical team performed a C-section in an attempt to save the fetus, but he was dead as the bullet had penetrated his chest and exited from his back.

Full story here. (WARNING: not for the squeamish - the pictures are graphic)

Well done, America. Great job guys in uniform. The world is proud of you.

A Letter to the Straits Times

Last Wednesday, in the Straits Times (Singapore's newspaper), there was an article about the Ukrainian Catholic Church's movement of their headquarters from L'viv (or L'vov) in Western Ukraine to the capital of Kiev (or Kyiv) in Eastern Ukraine.

Uh-huh. Written by a professor of History in Indiana University, apparently.

What got my goat was his usage of the word 'Uniate' no less than seven times in that article. For those of you who are unaware, 'Uniate' is a derogatory term for 'Greek Catholics' - it is akin to calling those of African descent 'niggers'. A professor of history should know better than this.

Even more amusing was his claim that Eastern Orthodoxy was born in 988 in Kiev. A professor of history? What sort of merde-for-brains academics does Indiana University have?

Both the original article and my letter may be found here.

How very embarrassing for a history professor to make such elementary mistakes. He probably wasn't expecting anyone in Singapore to correct him. My letter to the newspaper appeared in last Saturday edition in the Forum page - there hasn't been a retraction, apology or reply from the Professor since. Of course, those points I made cannot be answered, and his silence is the most face-saving option. Bah.

Dear friends, when I am an old and respected academic, may I never make such glaring errors - and if I do, may I have the good grace to admit having made them!

Low Marx for Poor Memory

The irony is that while millions today know about the Nazis’ unspeakable crimes, rather fewer know about the atrocities committed by Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Pol Pot and other Marxists. It is as if there has been a subtle agreement not to discuss these crimes. This studied ignorance manifests itself when we observe red flags emblazoned with hammers and sickles waved at demonstrations. Do their wavers know what the red flag means for those who were enslaved and killed by Marxist regimes? Why is Marxism’s red flag not treated with the same contempt rightly attached to the swastika?

Much violence has been done in the name of philosophies and religions, including Christianity. The difference is that Christianity contains moral criteria according to which we can judge and condemn such activity on the part of Christians. Marxism never had and could never have such standards. For in Marxist philosophy, there is no place for love of God and love of neighbor. Perhaps that, above all, is what makes Marx so unworthy of contemporary admiration. - full story here.

(link from Katolik Shinja)

Seen in a public toilet

Q: What's worse than a Male Chauvinist Pig?
A: A woman who won't do as she's told.

- from Adrian Chong's blog

Πέμπτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 15

Two Links

both from Katolik Shinja:

Seidnaya - a monastery in Syria where Christians and Muslims pray together!

The Life and Religion of Mohammed by Menezes, J.L. ("Mohammed: the ugly truth about the founder of the world's most violent religion")

Why are we so ready to judge our neighbor?

Why are we so ready to judge our neighbor? Why are we so concerned about the burden of others? We have plenty to be concerned about, each one has his own debt and his own sins. It is for God alone to judge, to justify or to condemn. He knows the state of each one of us and our capacities, our deviations, and our gifts, our constitution and our preparedness, and it is for him to judge each of these things according to the knowledge that he alone has. For God judges the affairs of a bishop in one way and those of a prince in another. His judgment is for an abbot or for a disciple, he judges differently the senior and the neophyte, the sick man and the healthy man. Who could understand all these judgments except the one who has done everything, formed everything, knows everything?

I remember once hearing the following story: a slave ship put in at a certain port where there lived a holy virgin who was in earnest about her spiritual life. When she learned about the arrival of the ship she was glad, for she wanted to buy a small serving maid for herself. She thought to herself, ‘I will take her into my home and bring her up in my way of life so that she knows nothing of the evils of the world.’ So she sent and enquired of the master of the ship and found that he had two small girls who he thought would suit her. Whereupon she gladly paid the price and took one of the children into her house. The ship’s master went away. He had not gone very far when there met him the leader of a dancing troupe who saw the other small girl with him and wanted to buy her; the price was agreed and paid, and he took her away with him. Now take a look at God’s mystery; see what his judgment was. Which of us could give any judgment about this case? The holy virgin took one of these little ones to bring her up in the fear of God, to instruct her in every good work, to teach her all that belongs to the monastic state and all the sweetness of holy commandments of God. The other unfortunate child was taken for the dancing troupe, to be trained in the works of the devil. What effect would teaching her this orgiastic dancing have, but the ruin of her soul? What can we have to say about this frightful judgment? Here were two little girls taken away from their parents by violence. Neither knew where they came from; one is found in the hands of God and the other falls into the hands of the devil. Is it possible to say that what God asks from the one he asks also from the other? Surely not! Suppose they both fell into fornication or some other deadly sin; is it possible that they both face the same judgment or that their fall is the same? How does it appear to the mind of God when one learns about the Judgment and about the Kingdom of God day and night, while the other unfortunate knows nothing of it, never hears anything good but only the contrary, everything shameful, everything diabolical? How can he allow them to be examined by the same standard?

St Dorotheos of Gaza

from Pontifications.

Τετάρτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 14


Anyone who can explain the title of this post gets a drink! Whose New Year is it and why'm I celebrating it? Heh heh.

In other news, I've lost 2 inches around the waist. WHEE! I think it's primarily the result of reducing the confounded steroid dose (for my hives) - my appetite's gone down. I've also been fencing 2-3 times a week, which helps too I suspect.

This pic was taken yesterday:


Don't I look spiffy in that sabre lamé? In other news, that scraggly bit of beart growth is the result of some six weeks of not shaving. It'll take me forever to get enough to wax into a handlebar moustache!

Τρίτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 13

How Very Odd

I've just been on the phone with Vernon Chan, who just told me of the oddest thing. Before I go into that, a bit of background.

Back in late June, I attended a concert given by a local amateur choir - Vox Camerata. A decent effort, even if I didn't like the conductor's interpretation of the pre-Baroque repertoire. Then during the interval, the overly-familiar conductor, attempting to be witty, made some inappropriately comments about the close relationship between Thomas Tallis and William Byrd (two English Renaissance composers) which would have been off-colour enough in intimate company, but downright rude and offensive considering I'd only just met the fellow.

Less than discreetly, over the following weeks, I make no secret of my dislike of the fellow. I don't go about telling everyone, but I make my position clear when the topic comes up.

Then, today, Vernon tells me he's found these two blog entries - one on the choir's blog, the other on the conductor's own blog. Seems someone on IRC's been badmouthing him, using my words and my thoughts.

Problem is, it's not me. As Vernon commented, 'It's not Edward lah. Like duh, sounds like him, but you'd remember if he observed in your rehearsal. Important point - Edward hasn't been to your rehearsals, and knowing him, wouldn't want to, much less tell anyone he'd been near one. It sounds like a impression of Edward by someone who didn't bother to find out which college Edward goes to. He could go on at length about the college if you give him half a chance.'

As Vernon also said to me on the telephone - it sounds like someone trying to sound like me, using my arguments, but paraphrasing them, ending up like a third-rate parody of me. Me, claim to be an Oxford musician? Merton College? Uhm. Hello? I nearly ended up in Exeter College, but that was for Byzantine Studies! Besides, I'm really from King's College London and the Institute of Classical Studies. Obviously the guy who posed as me didn't do enough research.

A good number of people knew of my reasons for disliking his work and my points of criticism, so it's relatively easy for someone to mouth them unintelligently - to say the name of the group is ungrammatical twice and not explain this is not my style.

It's a bad parody also because whoever did this considers art to be its own justification - a position I've never espoused. 'some of us are populists, some aren't' - I'd never say that, as I've always believed art is functional and should be accessible. My own friends know how often I make fun of so-called artists and musicians who consider their art to be an end in itself.

Most tellingly, the person who posed as me made some spelling and grammatical mistakes that I would NEVER make. I could be wicked and point out the conductor fellow could do with some English lessons himself, but I'll be nice and not press the point.

Who on earth is so free and bored as to pose as me on IRC?

I suppose that if I've got fakers - that must mean I'm a celebrity. Big whoop.

Παρασκευή, Σεπτεμβρίου 9


You are Athanasius! You are willing to fight a
losing battle, just to make sure that the truth
is told. But don't get discouraged; sometimes
it takes more than one lifetime for truth to

Which Saint Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping, via Andrij.

Τετάρτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 7

My Cyborg Name!

width="240" height="180"
alt="Electronic Digital Warfare and Accurate Repair Device"

- from Natalie.


red aura
Your aura shines Red!

What Color Is Your Aura?
brought to you by Quizilla

Παρασκευή, Σεπτεμβρίου 2


I don't usually comment on current affairs in Singapore, but a detail of this story was interesting - to the fatalistic streak of my Chinese character.

In a nutshell, there was a bit of a dispute between two Indian men in Singapore, which ended with one being stabbed to death. What's curious is the fact that the three stab wounds on his back were right below a tattoo in Chinese that says 命中注定. This can be translated as 'things in life are predestined' or more simply, 'it's fated'.

The irony of this does not escape my readers, I hope.

I'm also Rosalind Russell, apparently...

Rosalind Russell
You scored 14% grit, 38% wit, 28% flair, and 28% class!

You are one wise-cracking lady, always quick with a clever remark and
easily able to keep up with the quips and puns that come along with the
nutty situations you find yourself in. You're usually able to talk your
way out of any jam, and even if you can't, you at least make it more
interesting with your biting wit. You can match the smartest guy around
line for line, and you've got an open mind that allows you to get what
you want, even if you don't recognize it at first. Your leading men
include Cary Grant and Clark Gable, men who can keep up with you.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the
Classic Leading Man Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 14% on grit
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 80% on wit
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You scored higher than 25% on flair
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You scored higher than 62% on class
Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid

- this and previous quiz via Dappled Things

I'm Cary Grant!

Cary Grant
You scored 9% Tough, 19% Roguish, 4% Friendly, and 66% Charming!

You are the epitome of charm and style, the smooth operator who steals
the show with your sophisticated wit and quiet confidence. You are able
to catch any woman you want just by flashing that disarming smile. When
you walk into a room, the women are instantly intrigued and even the
men are impressed. When you find yourself in trouble, you are easily
able to charm your way out of it, or convince others to help you.
You're seen as dashing, suave and romantic. Your co-stars include
Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne, and Joan Fontaine, stylish women who
know a class act when they see it.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the
Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 6% on Tough
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 52% on Roguish
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 2% on Friendly
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 98% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Πέμπτη, Σεπτεμβρίου 1

Kingdom of Heaven

Was feeling bored, so took up the DVD of the film I picked up last month in Malaysia - Kingdom of Heaven. Good gods it's so bad. Pity, since the effects and detailing is marvellous. The attitudes are all wrong, the dialogue is crap, the acting is truly awful.

A complete waste of time and money.