15 years on

that picture of the protestor in front of tanks

Today is the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, what Beijing leaders termed as crushing a “counter-revolutionary rebellion”.

You’d think after decades in power, the Communist Party would accept that what they are doing is no longer called a ‘revolution’, it’s ‘consolidation’.

While China has changed a lot since then, it also really hasn’t. Here’s to another 15 years of denial.

Grrr! Gnash, gnash

rugops dinosaurNew Dino Reveals Ancient Land Movements:

Found in Niger in 2000 in Cretaceous-age rocks that yielded a treasure trove of new dinosaurs, including the 40-foot-long crocodilian Sarcosuchus, also known as “SuperCroc,” Rugops’ skull belonged to a group of carnivorous dinosaurs called abelisaurids.

It would be so cool to be a paleontologist. See the world, dig up rocks and bones, wear khakis and big hats… I do wonder why we have such a great interest in looking at the past. I think it’s fascinating to see creatures that are long extinct, recreated according to our rules. We can guess how the earth became what it is today.

(Lord knows I spent an afternoon tearing around New York’s Museum of Natural History back in the summer of 2000 while my mate Jeff tiredly looked on – those dinosaurs are cool!)

In examining our planet’s ancient flora and fauna, we hope to be able to gain some insights into predicting the future. That’s the noble goal.

It’s dead fun to dig stuff up, though, I reckon.

130% of 0 is 0

I’m amazed at consumers’ abilities to dig themselves very deep holes: Personal debt on brink of £1 trillion.

The predicted debt levels were described as alarming by Citizens Advice Scotland. Last February, it said a record number of Scots were now so seriously in debt they would never be able to pay back what they owed.

Can you imagine – to never, ever be out of debt? To never, ever save anything you earn because it all goes to interest payments? It boggles the mind. I’m boggled. Wow.

(‘Splains all those advertisements about managing and consolidating debt, though. Too bad it only means being beholden even more.)

Bill Cosby still rocks

bill cosby This Cosby show is undeserved:

Though Cosby’s comments were harsh, they are also right on target. And if some blacks are upset with the comedian, it’s probably more for telling tales out of school – airing the community’s dirty laundry – than for launching an unjust diatribe.

Hear, hear. I’m all about dirty laundry that needs to be aired. It’s a good thing in my book that he stands by what he said.

Otterman commented in an earlier post, “I realise we tend to critique only our own race,” and rightly we should, since we are the only ones who will keep us from falling into an abyss of self-complacency and -importance.

Where’s the news?

I almost dismissed this story, MPs endorse DPM Lee as next PM, as yet more pap from the Straits Times, especially with the opening paragraph:

In a precedent-setting move, People’s Action Party (PAP) Members of Parliament have given their unanimous support of the ministers’ choice of Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as their next Prime Minister.

Why is this news, I thought. Everyone knows that Lee Hsien Loong is going to be the next prime minister, it’s been pretty much set in stone for at least as long as I’ve been alive.

Here is what makes it worth printing:

Although there was only one name put up and MPs ‘unanimously supported’ the choice, as the party statement said, the MPs were pleased with the process.

They said it gave them the chance to participate and gain a sense of ‘ownership’ over the selection process. Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Charles Chong said that a leader selected by MPs as well as ministers ‘has more legitimacy’.

It may be Singapore-style ‘democracy’, where the conclusion is foregone, but I think it’s hopeful. If people feel their opinions are more likely to be heard, more people may be willing to venture them. It’s a long way in the future, but something is better than nothing.

Warning – durians can kill

durianStinky fruit heralds a sticky end:

Thavin was the second durian-related death this month, after a diabetic Thai civil servant from the central province of Singburi died during an eating binge on four durians.

The ministry advised eating no more than two segments of durian a day, warning that the fruit’s calorie content posed a threat to people with high blood pressure, heart conditions and diabetes.

Every time you eat a durian, a kitten gets killed, folks.

Finally, hard facts!

Handjob Parlours™ are not just tales told in hushed voices on serialdeviant.org(y): Face to face with a sex worker.

“Do you want Qiao Da Bei (body massage)?” Xia asked soon after she, with her boss’ nod, showed the reporter into a small backroom off the shabby salon and began massaging the reporter’s arms somewhat unskillfully.

To Xia, Qiao Da Bei can be more profitable than fondling or Da Feiji (helping customers masturbate) which are supposed to be done in the backroom which also doubles as a dining room for Xia and her co-workers.

But Xia is not entirely satisfied with the job. “It’s really boring staying all day in here,” she said. Apart from when work walks in from time to time, Xia and two other sex workers – who are 17 and 18 – spend the days chatting and watching an old TV in the salon.

Well, at least Shanghai and Xiamen are not so different in one aspect.