Prisoner human rights lawsuits — a growth industry

This is going to end up a Scottish prison rights (or opposition to) bloog at some point. Yet another ‘human rights’ case funded by legal aid is being raised on behalf of a serial armed robber, who thinks that all his outgoing calls being preceded by a recorded message (stating that the call is originating from a Scottish prison and may be monitored) causes “an additional level of discomfort” in his dealings with the outside world.

I’ll just stop there and let you absorb the lunacy of this supposedly legal claim.

If I had a relative who was a criminal (oh wait, I do — he just prefers to be fugitive in China), I wouldn’t be ashamed of it, I would want people to know so if they do ever get to speak to said criminal relative, forewarned is forearmed.

I don’t want taxes I pay to go to funding this serial criminal’s attempt to create a mockery out of what is already a screwed up prison system. Dude, you hold people up. You threaten them with violence. You got caught. You don’t deserve the same rights as people who don’t break the law.

I really hope that the judiciary sees this for the waste of time it is.


Very uncool of me to agree with this considering what I do for a living right now: “If you truly believe you need to pick a mobile phone that “says something” about your personality, don’t bother. You don’t have a personality.” — I hate Macs

By the way, I don’t like the Mac ads. They’re kinda boring.

Also, my sister’s Mac started giving her serious problems after two years, needing to go get fixed. I used my Windows ME laptop for five years before upgrading, and I don’t HAVE to upgrade to Vista now. But then I forget that rabid Mac fans buy an upgrade as soon as it comes out, and probably assume that the rest of the world is as brand-loyal as they are.

Oh boy

a quiet counter-insurgency, my arse
Image source: theory.isthereason

THE People’s Action Party (PAP) is mounting a quiet counter-insurgency against its online critics.” So online critics are insurgents? I’m guessing this is the unsubtle way of letting Singaporeans with independent political thought who might dare express an opposing opinion that they are “rising in revolt” and are therefore leaving themselves wide open to perfectly legal raids and arrests by the ISD?

It’s not the content of the report that bothers me, politics is a dirty business and astro-turfing ain’t exactly new. I have a real problem with them associating online critics and insurgencies as stated fact. Insurgencies are usually violent and cause fear in the general population. It’s about declaring a murky and very real war against an established government, with shifting alliances and guerilla tactics.

That the news article never even questioned the reference to online critics as insurgents (bad, like the Taliban in Afghanistan) versus Ng En Hen’s new media committee as counter-insurgents (good, like the NATO forces fighting the Taliban) is what makes this so baldly propagandistic. They don’t care that ‘anonymous’ postings promoting the PAP line are a lameass tactic, they are fomenting the concept that being critical of the PAP is equivalent to being part of an anti-government revolt.

And we all know what happens to Singaporeans who are deemed a national security risk.

Your average Singaporean isn’t going to risk being branded as a revolutionary who will turn to violence, even when they know it’s complete and utter bullshit. The PAP has nurtured the offline political climate for so long, and they’ve attempted to do the same online for ages. So far they haven’t succeeded.

Read Xenoboy.

Questions of natural selection

Why is it the people who buy the expensive cars with the attendant high maintenance and repair costs are the ones who drive as though they are the only people on the road, pushing into queues WITHOUT LOOKING to make sure it’s safe?

Why is it the people who behave as though they are the dog’s nuts are the ones who DON’T WASH THEIR HANDS after going to the toilet? YES, I WITNESSED IT AGAIN. I think I need to print out a sign and stick it on the wall in the bathroom, something along the lines of ‘I have noticed, on more than one occasion, that at least one dirty besom doesn’t wash her hands after weeing. Please note that it’s people like you who aid epidemics of infectious diseases like SARS and bird flu. Wash your bloody hands.’

The more you get, the more you want

Maybe because I’m the kind of Singaporean they want (except for that pesky independent thought thing), or perhaps because it doesn’t take a genius to know that welfare can be a bad thing, but I agree with workfare and disagree with any proposed introduction of unemployment benefit to help the less well-off:

“We can’t stop the income gap from widening because the wages are determined by the global competition for knowledge workers, and by the excessive supply of unskilled workers,” says Mr. Lim, the minister and union leader.

“But what we’re trying to do is to make sure that the widening income gap doesn’t necessarily translate into a widening social gap.”

When you live in a town where paid employment is a dirty word (really) and widespread disbelief abounds when one might choose not to sign up for welfare if unemployed, there’s lots to be thankful for. I’m thankful that Neil has never fallen into the cycle of unemployment benefit and was raised in the belief that one had to work for one’s money (despite the attitude of the community around him). I’m thankful that I have never been raised to feel entitled to welfare handouts.

I think Singapore would be going down a very ill-advised road if the government ever decided to introduce unemployment benefit, unless that benefit meant providing more work opportunities and/or training to those who’re having problems. And if an unemployed, low-skilled Singaporean considers themselves ‘too good’ for certain jobs, then that’s a CHOICE they have made.

The problem I see is it’s the oldies who are willing to do the work, even really crap work, if they have to. With people from my generation, we’re all Gimme Gimme Gimme while being Lazy Lazy Lazy. We don’t know how lucky we are. When it comes to senior citizens who have worked their butts off, they deserve support. Housing support, daily expense support, and centres where they can pursue recreational activities. I will gladly pay tax towards that. But not to create a society where the unemployed stay unemployed because there’s no NEED to work to feed or shelter themselves. If Singapore goes down that road, we’re going to end up with generations of dole-bludgers who have no dignity or pride.

(By the way, what in the hell is up with young women in the UK who have babies to get a council flat? What in God’s name did their parents teach them? Children are not a commodity to be exploited.)

Pretty damned stupid

Plan to list paedophile web names:

Home Secretary John Reid said he may make paedophiles put online identity details on the Sex Offenders Register.

Um. Hotmail. Yahoo! Gmail. Anonymous remailers.

This is retarded and a waste of time and money. Kids should be raised to have self-confidence in who they are, be wary of Internet ‘friends’, and to never meet them for the first time in places less public than a city centre Starbucks or McDonalds. And kids (well, teenagers) are naturally rebellious, so give up on any blanket bans.

When you get all secretive to protect something it’s gonna get out and everyone’s gonna know your shit

The leaked video has been big news all over the media. There was a retired colonel being interviewed on the radio, and his take was the refusal of the US military to release the video for the inquest was probably genuinely motivated by security issues (i.e. screens and whatnot in the cockpit being captured on video), but now that someone in the MoD has seen fit to leak it to the media, it’s in the public domain, and the Pentagon has essentially shot itself in the foot.

Now THAT’S what I call friendly fire.

When life gives you calamansi

Note to self: lie to Neil whenever we need to be anywhere on time — subtract 20 minutes from our actual projected departure time. This morning I was to drop him off at the train station, and we somehow managed to leave the house later than I usually do when only I am in the car.

Of course, it was seriously frosty overnight, and in the few minutes I had the car sitting outside with the engine off while waiting for Neil to grace us with his presence, frost settled on the car and the windshield was… not so easy to see out of. No scraping though, we were late!

I did manage to see a glorious sunrise this morning while on the motorway (the ice had melted by then). It was a layered sky, with a very uncloudy light blue top stack containing a cratered moon, fading into a pink stripe and back to blue, the closer it was to the horizon. If I wasn’t driving, I would’ve whipped out the camera for a shot.

Then the sun came up and shone straight into my rearview mirror and blinded me.

(Neil’s just texted to say he just spotted Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead fame in Newcastle!)

The ‘civilised’ nation

Sadly, so true: “At present, the same global coffee bar chain has cleaner forecourts in the US than it does in the UK because, in the UK, dropping trash is a yob’s right.” — Keeping up with the Jameses

On our very unhealthy trip to McDonalds yesterday, we sat by the window, and Neil expressed his disgust at the ned who spat a great hunking wad of saliva onto the floor outside (the puddle — yes, it was enough to be a puddle — was larger than anything I’d ever seen in China). The room was not as clean as any McDonalds in XIAMEN (yeah, in China where most people have no social etiquette regarding cleanliness).

And the night before (whose excesses necessitated the visit the afternoon after), I was waiting in line at the toilets in the Dreadnaught, and there was a woman who would only visit a stall that had loo roll in it. Fair enough. But then she did what she needed to do and. Left. Without. Washing. Her. Hands.

And that is fucking mocket (mockit?).