Thursday, November 17, 2005

Avian Flu: The Next Pandemic?

Fear Not.. We have precuations to face off against this bleak future!

Monday, November 14, 2005

New Essay

Since I gotta write an essay for my non-credit European History class, I might as well publish it here. It will be entitled Why Was Africa Colonised In The Years 1870-1914?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

George W Bush & World History

I swear George W Bush wrote this. LOL. Just kidding.

The inhabitants of ancient Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate in the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The pyramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, once asked, "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Isaac, stole his brother's birth mark. Jacob was a patriarch who brought up his twelve sons to be patriarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fought with the philatelists, a race of people who lived in biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

Without the Greeks we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns-- Corinthian, Doric, and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intollerable.

Achilles appears in The Iliad, by Homer. Homer also wrote The Oddity, in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name. Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

In the Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athens was democratic because people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought with the Persians, the Greeks were outnumbered
because the Persians had more men.

Eventually the Romans conquered the Geeks. History calls people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlics in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March murdered him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero
was a cruel tyranny who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

Then came the middle ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery, King Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings, Joan of Arc was cannonized by Bernard Shaw, and victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks. Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged
twice for the same offense.

In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verses and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.

The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented
cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.

The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen". As a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted, "hurrah". Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespear. Shakespear never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived at Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies, and errors. In one of Shakespear's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy. In
another, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as Shakespear was Miguel Cervantes. He wrote Donkey Hote. The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote Paradise Lost. Then his wife died and he wrote Paradise Regained.

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was known as Pilgrims Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by the Indians, who came down the hill rolling their war hoops before them. The Indian
squabs carried porpoises on their back. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was the English put tacks in the tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps. During the War, the Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original thirteen states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards and declared, "A horse divided against itself cannot stand". Franklin died in 1790 and
is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis and in due time became the Father of our Country. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, "In onion there is strength". Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the
ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. It claimed it represented law and odor. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a
supposingly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called Candy. Gravity was invented by Isaac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the autumn, when the apples are falling off the trees.

Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian, and half English. He was very large. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest, even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolution, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorillas came down from the hills and nipped atNapoleon's flanks. Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very tense and unrestrained. He wanted an heir to inherit his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear children.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West. Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. Her reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.

The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Samuel Morse invented a code of telepathy. Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the Organ of the Species. Madman Curie discovered
radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx brothers.

The First World War, caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history

World history sucks, isn't it? LOL

Saturday, September 24, 2005

New Heralds of Free Expression

Freedom of Expression is not to be taken for granted. Dissidents in some countries have struggled with it. Journalists have been thrown into jails, to never see their families again. In our fight for this fundemental human right and to end tyranny against humanity, please spread this news to your fellow bloggers and dissidents.

PARIS (Reuters) - A Paris-based media watchdog released a handbook on Thursday to help cyber-dissidents and bloggers avoid political censorship in countries as far apart as China, Iran, Vietnam and Cuba.

The guide, published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) with the backing of the French government, identifies bloggers as the "new heralds of free expression" and offers advice on how to set up a blog and run it anonymously.

"Bloggers are often the only real journalists in countries where the mainstream media is censored or under pressure," wrote Julien Pain, head of RSF's Internet Freedom Desk.

"Only they provide independent news, at the risk of displeasing the government and sometimes courting arrest."

Blogs are personal Web sites that are easy to set up and are often written in the form of an online diary. The name is a shortened form of personal "Web log".

The "Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents" can be downloaded from the RSF website (, and the media organization says it is available in English, French, Chinese, Arabic and Farsi.

The guide is based on technical advice from experienced bloggers and experts, and provides personal accounts by bloggers such as Arash Sigarchi, who received a 14-year-jail sentence in Iran last February but is free pending an appeal.

"Internet journalism could advance freedom of expression and wider view points," wrote Sigarchi, who faced charges ranging from spying to insulting the country's leaders.

"Although I have been convicted by Iranian courts, I have not lost hope and I am sure that in coming years the rulers of my country will have to respect the flow of information and freedom of expression."


"Blogs get people excited. Or else they disturb and worry them. Some people distrust them. Others see them as the vanguard of a new information revolution," RSF said on its Web site

"Because they allow and encourage ordinary people to speak up, they're tremendous tools of freedom of expression."

The handbook offers advice on how to establish credibility by observing basic ethical and journalistic principles.

One chapter offers advice on technical ways to get around censorship. Others feature bloggers' experiences from such countries as Nepal, Iran, Bahrain and Hong Kong.

Publication of the handbook follows moves in some countries to crack down on Internet use.

RSF said countries which were trying to control what their citizens read and do online included China, Vietnam, Iran, Iran, Cuba, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) defends imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, in accordance with Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Reporters Without Borders has nine national sections (in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom), representatives in Abidjan, Bangkok, Istanbul, Montreal, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington and more than a hundred correspondents worldwide.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Empires Good & Evil

UCLA professor Sanjay Subrahmanyam discusses the nature and impact of British colonialism in South Asia and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s depiction of it.

The PM has simplified the colonial encounter

On June 1, 2004 The Royal Geographical Society in London held a debate whose motion was "The British Empire was a Force for Good." The motion was suppor-ted, amongst others, by historian Niall Ferguson, who had recently become a one-man industry on the question of empire, both British and American. In extremis, he made use of a shallow but ingenious counterfactual argument: If only Indian soldiers had not fought in the Second World War, he argued, Hitler would not have been defeated. Since these soldiers were recruited by the British empire, therefore the empire was a force for the good. QED! The motion was passed by a popular vote of the audience.

Such an argument has a familiar ring to it. It could be used for example to defend Stalin and the gulag. Without them, surely Hitler would not have been defeated either. We can thus easily see where suchopportunistic arguments take us. Reading through the public debate in India after Manmohan Singh’s remarks to the convocation of my former university, Oxford, puts me in mind of some of these exercises.

As I see it, Singh was careful not simply to praise the British empire. He first criticised it, on the basis of some rather bogus statistics produced by Angus Maddison on the change in India’s share in world GDP, allegedly 22.6% in 1700 compared to 3.8% in 1952. No one knows what India’s GDP was in 1700. But let us admit a part of the premise, and say that India’s share did fall over these years. Three questions then arise. First, was this fall the result of British rule? Second, in the absence of British rule, what was the most plausible alternative? Third, is this the most useful way of looking at the effects of British rule in India, and of British imperial rule more generally?

Singh also implied that while the economic consequences of British rule were negative, the global effects on liberal institutions and political culture were really quite positive. These consequences cannot be measured in numbers, but the issue is worth thinking about. Nor does it imply that the consequences were planned or intended to be positive by the British, which is again unfortunately implied in Singh’s remarks.

Despite periodically using the rhetoric of paternalism, it is clear that British colonial policies were not primarily designed to promote economic growth in India. They often and insistently said so themselves. Growth between 1800 and 1950 was thus slow and fitful, and many other parts of the world (including Japan’s colonies in Taiwan and Korea) clearly did better than India.

It may be argued very plausibly that some institutions that came under British rule, such as the railways, would have come even without such rule. After all, many modern institutions fell into place in Iran, nineteenth-century Latin America, China, Japan or parts of South East Asia (e.g. Thailand) that were not colonised. Why is it a plausible assumption then that Britons, whose primary allegiance was to Britain, would have done better for India than Indians? Would any historian of Britain be willing to accept, say, that Britain would have performed better economically if only she were ruled over by Indians?

So, much depends too on the answer to the second question: If not Britain, then what? Here, each writer will have his own alternative scenario. Had the French under Bussy conquered peninsular India, would French colonial rule have produced a better outcome? Perhaps French revolutionary republicanism would have worked marvels on India. I have my doubts, but we cannot simply measure this by looking at France’s performance in Algeria. Would India not have fragmented into many small states in the absence of British rule? I have my doubts about that too, since I believe that the Mughal empire left a powerful cultural and institutional legacy of cohesion, which we tend to neglect today because of Hindu right-wing rhetoric.

But the most important question is the third one. The British empire was a complex and multi-faceted motor. Two aspects are worth keeping in mind. First, the British practised selective forms of acculturation, which were less brutal than those of the Spaniards in America, but also less nuanced than the Ottomans. However, acculturation is always a many-sided process. It was not just a question of what the British brought to the table, but the cultural resources that other parties disposed of. This is why the British empire produced such different outcomes in different parts of the world, and even within South Asia itself. It is also why nostalgia about British rule is not equally shared. Second, despite Ferguson’s arguments, most historians of even Britain today would admit that ‘modernity’ was not something that the British produced domestically and then exported. Britain and British society were also deeply affected by the empire. Therefore, we cannot see what happened in colonial India simply as a transfer, or a gift - even a poisoned gift.

By making the colonial encounter in India a meeting between rigid, timeless, Indian society and its frozen values, and egalitarian and fair-minded Britons, we are caricaturing India. But we are also caricaturing Britain. There is comfort in this, but only for those who are comforted by cliches.

Sanjay Subrahmanyam is Doshi Professor of Indian History at UCLA. He is also the founding director of the UCLA Center for India and South Asia.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Is IAEA a farce sometimes?

Tests appear to back Iran on nuke traces - diplomat

VIENNA (Reuters) - Tests by the U.N. nuclear watchdog appear to confirm that traces of weapons-grade uranium found in Iran came from abroad, reinforcing Tehran's assertion it does not seek atomic weapons, a diplomat said on Sunday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has said the issue of contamination is one of two main outstanding questions in its two-year investigation into Iran's nuclear program. Tehran insists the program is peaceful, but Western countries suspect it may be a front for developing nuclear weapons.

An analysis of Pakistani components for enrichment centrifuges identical to ones Iran bought on the black market appear to back Tehran's assertion that traces of bomb-grade uranium were the result of contamination, a Western diplomat familiar with the IAEA said.

"There's still some final corroboration to go on but all the preliminary analysis does show that the particles seem to have come from Pakistan," he said, adding that the final result was unlikely to change as a result of work still outstanding.

This appeared to confirm earlier results, reported by Reuters on June 10, that also suggested Tehran did not produce the highly-enriched uranium itself.

Asked whether this cleared up the contamination issue, the diplomat said: "More or less. The contamination issue will never be 100 percent clear."

The IAEA declined to comment.

Diplomats say several other questions about the nature of Iran's nuclear program remain, including the extent of its work with advanced P-2 centrifuges and the scope of its experimentation with plutonium, which is usable in an atom bomb.

"All declared (nuclear) material in Iran is under verification, but we still are not in a position to say that there is no undeclared nuclear material or activities in Iran," IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei told reporters after an emergency meeting of the IAEA's governing board last week.

"With regard to the country as a whole, the jury is still out," he added.

France, Britain and Germany called the emergency IAEA board meeting after Iran said it would resume uranium conversion -- the step before enrichment, a process that purifies uranium to levels at which it can be used in power stations or bombs.

Iran resumed conversion last Monday and broke U.N. seals on machinery on Wednesday to make its conversion plant near the central city of Isfahan fully operational.

The 35-nation IAEA board reacted by urging Iran to resume a suspension of nuclear work usable in an atomic bomb program, including conversion, and expressed "serious concern" at Iran's move.

The trio of European states and Iran are due to meet at the end of August, in hopes of defusing a crisis in which Iran has rejected a European package of economic and political incentives aimed at convincing it to abandon sensitive nuclear technology.

Friday, August 12, 2005

60 Years Ago..

The Beginning of The End?

60 years have elapsed since the first nuclear bomb detonated in Japan. The heartbeats of 250000 Japanese stopped consequently, so did WWII. A popular historic interpretation is that both 'Little Boy' and 'Fat Man' not only stopped the only determined member remained of the Axis Powers to continue fighting, but also ended the WWII. This interpretation is of course valid since then there is no more resistance from any Axis Power member state.

However, that interpretation does not justify that nuclear weapons ensured worldwide peace. An examination into history reveals a nuclear arm race in the midst of WWII among the Americans, Germans, Japanese and Russians. The nuclear arm race continued after WWII. In fact, more countries joined the nuclear club at the end of WWII. The British exchanged their chemical weapon technology for American nuclear weapons technology. In the name of the Cold War and to strengthen Western Europe's position against Communist expansion in Eastern Europe, the American government armed their NATO partners France and Germany with nuclear weapons.

The growth of the nuclear club was built on the basis of nuclear deterrence, ie. if a country possesses nuclear weapons, the country would be less likely to be invaded or attacked. More and more countries want nuclear weapons so that they will be less likely to be invaded. However, if the number of nuclear weapon states increase beyond a critical point, the probability that any invading armed force originated from a nuclear weapon state becomes significant. The nuclear deterrence effect becomes obsolete.

Unlike 60years ago, it is so much easier to assemble a nuclear weapon now. Back then, government must recruit top-notch scientists to research and design nuclear weapon from scratch. It is both capital- and intellectual- intensive. Today, all that governments need is a lot of highly enriched uranium (HEU), and some well-trained engineers to build their own A-bombs. The technological hurdle now ceased to exist. The South Africans were able to create their own uranium enrichment process in less than 5years with simple engineering: the Becker Nozzle Process. This ease allowed even some developing countries to attain nuclear weapon state status.

A-bombs back then required at least 6kg of weapon-grade HEU. Today, we can achieve much greater devastating effect with less fissile material: 4kg of Plutonium-239 to flatten Hiroshima 1.5times over. Plutonium is not only the most efficient nuclear fuel today, but also the most readily-available weapon-grade fissile material. Fast Breeder Nuclear reactors produce weapon-grade plutonium and electricity simultaneously. The plutonium can either be used to fuel reactor or be assembled into a nuclear warhead.

Incidentally, Japan has the highest stockpile of Plutonium in the world. After-all, the Japaneses have been running the world's longest and most successful line of Fast Breeder Reactors to generate electricity for domestic/industrial use. Isn't it worrying that Japan after-all might have developed their own nuclear ICBMs? They have the technology all this while. Mitsubishi has been building unmanned rockets to send Japanese satellites into space. Nuclear science & engineering has always been an integral part of Japanese higher education since the 1960s. Although Japan has been actively promoting nuclear non-proliferation, we must be prudent to take note that the state is not a moral actor. Moreover, Japan's diplomatic relationship with her two nuclear weapon state neighbours (China and North Korea) are far from friendly.

I have attached a chart below that reflects the varying degree of attaining nuclear weapon technology in various countries today. This is taken from Section VI - Nuclear Weapons Technology, NATO Handbook 1998. With so many countries with nuclear weapons today, are we at peace or living through a tenseful period?

Click to Enlarge

Although America has the largest nuclear weapon stockpile in the world, her effort as the world nuclear police has failed. It goes to show the breakdown of the nuclear deterrent effect. The nuclear club today includes developing countries such as China, Pakistan, India and North Korea. Many tensions still exist between various member states of the Nuclear Club today. 60yr ago, the nuclear club consisted of member states with common vested interest. Today, the nuclear club consists of member states with conflicting interest. As the number of nuclear weapon states increase, the probability of a nuclear war becomes bigger.

Witnessing your rival country to equip itself with nuclear weapons provides greater motivation and stirs up nationalistic pride to at least level up on military capabilities. Was this not the case between Pakistan and India? Today, both countries are still waging covert operations against each other, at the expense of the people of Kashmir. In the end, all these activities will develop into a nuclear arm race. Was it not an arm race that started WWI?

In fact, the total destruction associated with nuclear weaponry makes other areas of weaponry more attractive. It also increases the state's threshold to consider what is not total annihilation. Has not non-nuclear warfare become progressively gory in recent times? Does the employment of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and the 2yr-bombing of Chechnya with Chemical Nerve Agents ring a bell? Ebola Outbreaks in Africa are not natural epidemics too.

To worsen things, today's nuclear proliferation is akin to having a bunch of people own guns, and a small handful not having guns. Those without the guns feel left out and want the guns for protection. The people with the guns are afraid that if those without it get them, they'll use the guns on them. Insecurity and distrust are the underlying themes in such international relations.

Firstly, distrust fuels insecurity. Secondly, insecurity breaks down the deterrent effect. Insecurity facilitates the spread of nuclear weapons world-wide and justifies the state's possession of nuclear weapons. The end of the Cold War not only created a multi-fragmented distribution of world power, but also catalysed the spread of nuclear weapon technology. Consequently, international politics is less predictable now. This futhur fuels the insecurity and warrant the need to build a bigger nuclear stockpile to compete for the major centre of world power. Furthermore, insecurity grows with age. That is why war (nuclear or non-nuclear) is therefore more likely today than it was 60years ago.

In conclusion, nuclear deterrence is an obsolete concept now. It saved our parents and grandparents, but it will not save us. The last 15years since the collapse of the Berlin Wall has seen more wars than ever. Does it not make you wonder if the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima, Japan, is indeed the beginning of the end?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Fifty Year Shadow by Joseph Rotblat

60yr ago today, Hiroshima was devastated by an A-bomb. It was the first nuclear explosion in East Asia. It also rocked the world into the Nuclear Age. So what if it ended WWII? Such weapon of mass destruction has changed the face of war. In the age of nuclear deterrence, is it more morally right to destroy a place by means of conventional arms, or is a nuclear bomb no better? I have published an article here by Joseph Rotblat - a physicist and emeritus president of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, and the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize Winner. Please read and think. We used to bow down to Kings and Emperors. Today we only kneel down to the Truth.

FIFTY years ago, I joined Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell and eight others in signing a manifesto warning of the dire consequences of nuclear war. This statement, the Russell-Einstein Manifesto, was Einstein's final public act. He died shortly after signing it. Now, in my 97th year, I am the only remaining signatory. Because of this, I feel it is my duty to carry Einstein's message forward, into this 60th year since the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which evoked almost universal opposition to any further use of nuclear weapons.

I was the only scientist to resign on moral grounds from the United States nuclear weapons program known as the Manhattan Project. On Aug. 6, 1945, I switched on my radio and heard that we had dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. I knew that a new era had dawned in which nuclear weapons would be used, and I grew worried about the future of mankind.

Several years later, I met Bertrand Russell on the set of the BBC Television program "Panorama," where we discussed the new hydrogen bomb. I had become an authority on the biological effects of radiation after examining the fallout from the American hydrogen bomb test in Bikini Atoll in 1954. Russell, who was increasingly agitated about the developments, started to come to me for information. Russell decided to persuade a number of eminent scientists from around the world to join him in issuing a statement outlining the dangers of thermonuclear war and calling on the scientific community to convene a conference on averting that danger.

The most eminent scientist alive at that time was Albert Einstein, who responded immediately and enthusiastically to Russell's entreaty. And so the man who symbolized the height of human intellect adopted what became his last message - this manifesto, which implored governments and the public not to allow our civilization to be destroyed by human folly. The manifesto also highlighted the perils of scientific progress in a world rent by the titanic struggle over communism. I was the youngest of the 11 signatories, but Russell asked me to lead the press conference in London to present the manifesto to the public.

The year was 1955, and cold war fears and hostilities were at their height. We took action then because we felt that the world situation was entering a dangerous phase, in which extraordinary efforts were required to prevent a catastrophe.

Now, two generations later, as the representatives of nearly 190 nations meet in New York to discuss how to advance the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, we face the same perils and new ones as well. Today we confront the possibilities of nuclear terrorism and of the development of yet more new nuclear warheads in the United States. The two former superpowers still hold enormous nuclear arsenals. North Korea and Iran are advancing their capability to build nuclear weapons. Other nations are increasingly likely to acquire nuclear arsenals on the excuse that they are needed for their security. The result could be a new nuclear arms race.

Fifty years ago we wrote: "We have to learn to think in a new way. We have to learn to ask ourselves, not what steps can be taken to give military victory to whatever group we prefer, for there no longer are such steps; the question we have to ask ourselves is: what steps can be taken to prevent a military contest of which the issue must be disastrous to all parties?" That question is as relevant today as it was in 1955. So is the manifesto's admonition: "Remember your humanity, and forget the rest."

Monday, July 18, 2005


Dear Young Singaporeans,

If the NKF farce isn't a sufficient wake-up call, please open your eyes. Can you all see what's fundementally wrong with our society? Economic progress and stability does not justify what a farce our nation has degenerated to. In a matter of 2 years, not only the government has successfully increased GST from 3% to 5%, but also it has justified why the government will not compensate the citizens their CPF cuts. Despite vocal opposition against casinos, the Father of Modern Singapore has turned his back against the citizens in the name of economic gain (or personal gain perhaps).

Are we truly citizens of our own country if we do not even have a say on how our country is run? It's interesting that Wikipedia classify Singapore as procedural democracy. The term procedural democracy is an insult to the ideals of what democracy calls for. Procedural democracy prescribes that the government should make decisions according to a particular principle. This principle address three distinct questions: Who should participate in decision making, how much should each participant's vote count, and how many votes are needed to reach a decision? Although this principle addresses 3 very important questions, it fails to address the most important question: who decide what the governing principle is? Does anyone even know what our national constitution say? What are our basic rights? Ignorance has become the most powerful weapon welded by our political elites.


Yours truly
Donaldson Tan

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Finally Exams Are Over..

I will be in Europe from JUN 18 to 6 JUL. I will update this blog ASAP.

PS: I am pretty sure I will get first class grade for freshman year. Do congratulate me in advance. (Chuckles!!!)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Journalism and Blogging:
The Search for Common Ground

I cannot wait for exams to be over. Since I am too busy with revision/catching-up, I decide to post an article from a fellow blogger to stimulate you all intellectually - Donaldson

by Steve Nadis

UNTIL LAST FALL, Evan Thomas had never looked at a Web log or “blog.” “I knew they were out there; I just couldn’t make myself read them,” says the Newsweek editor and visiting professor at the Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy (Havard University). His patterns — reading The New York Times, New Yorker, and Washington Post — were well entrenched and allowed little time for exploring this alternative media outlet.

Thomas was not alone in ignoring the so-called “blogosphere” — the Internet realm consisting of millions of blogs, including those started by an estimated 8 million bloggers in the United States alone. Sixty-three percent of Internet users, according to a 2005 Pew Foundation study, still don’t read blogs, nor can they define the term — i.e., a Web site that’s like an online journal, typically characterized by daily postings, an archive of past entries, electronic links to other sites, and a reader comment section.

Yet Thomas was also correct in realizing he might be “missing something.” Whether you peruse blogs or not, love them or hate them, there’s no denying their growing presence in the global media market, competing with the press for readers and sometimes coming out ahead. “The top four blogs today have a larger readership on a daily basis than The New York Times,” claims Joe Trippi IOP 2004, an Institute of Politics fellow last fall. Even The New York Times itself proclaimed, in an article by reporter John Schwartz, that “for vivid reporting from the enormous zone of tsunami disaster, it was hard to beat the blogs.”

It’s enough to get observers at places like the Shorenstein Center wondering: How well is the public served by this new communications avenue? And is there some way of ensuring accountability in the anarchic, free-for-all forum of the blogosphere? Those subjects were addressed at a Kennedy School conference, “Blogging, Journalism, and Credibility,” in January, co-sponsored by the Shorenstein Center, Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and the American Library Association.

Before trying to evaluate the credibility of blogs, it’s worth considering why readers bother with them in the first place and why respected journalists like Andrew Sullivan MPA 1986 (former editor of The New Republic) have switched from the conventional media to the other side. Recent tsunami coverage offers a good example of the power of blogs, with vivid firsthand accounts — in text, pictures, sounds, and video — filed from ravaged coastal zones. Blogs also played a vital role in soliciting and distributing aid for tsunami victims. The disaster — wrote Neil McIntosh in the newsblog of the British paper, The Guardian — may be “remembered as a time when citizen reporting, through the force of its huge army of volunteers...finally found its voice, and delivered in a way the established media simply could not.”

Two years ago, the Iraq War sent people tired of stories about “shock and awe” to blogs in droves, says Trippi. “While the networks showed troops parading around in military vehicles, blogs provided different views of the war than readers had been getting before.”

Blogs offer a daily, partisan voice that has been missing in American journalism, notes Kennedy School Professor Thomas Patterson. “It’s good to have voices coming at things from different lenses and angles, rather than being limited to a top-down media controlled by a few outlets.”

Rebecca MacKinnon, a Berkman fellow this year and Shorenstein fellow last year, left her job as a CNN-TV reporter to become a blogger because she saw the future of journalism in this new form of participatory media. Blogging consists of a dialogue between authors and their audience, which contrasts with the traditional, spoon-fed approach of “here’s what you need to know.” One problem with American TV news, MacKinnon says, is how little of the available information actually makes it into a two-minute story. Worse yet, many important international stories don’t even get two minutes; they’re not covered at all. In addition to providing virtually unlimited space to explore neglected issues, blogs can also provide context on what journalists are reporting and why.

Blogging’s most visible role to date has been in the area of fact-checking, serving as a “truth squad for journalism,” as Shorenstein Director Alex Jones puts it. Bloggers hounded Trent Lott over a racist remark he made that was glossed over by the regular media, keeping the pressure on until Lott resigned his post as Senate majority leader. Dan Rather left his anchor seat at CBS News in the wake of a controversy set off when bloggers, and blog readers, determined that some memos concerning George Bush’s national guard service, presented in a September 2004 broadcast of 60 Minutes, were fraudulent. “Nineteen minutes into Dan Rather’s report, bloggers provided detailed reasoning as to why those documents were fake,” Trippi stated at a Forum last October.

As for the accuracy of blogs themselves, Trippi touts their “self-correcting” nature: When a blogger makes a mistake, he explains, “they have thousands of people immediately criticizing them, and they need to correct it within minutes. That’s something The New York Times can’t do.”

The self-correcting mechanism can work up to a point, says Jones, “but sometimes it’s difficult to tell the truth from the screaming. It’s easy to see this devolving into a cacophony of charges and countercharges.”

Last year, he began thinking about whether bloggers might adopt their own set of standards in order to enhance the accuracy of blog renderings — an idea that led to the January “credibility” symposium attended by dozens of journalists, bloggers, and academics. The event, which was publicized on the Web, set off a firestorm of sorts, as some people complained that few hardcore bloggers were invited, while others resented the notion of Harvard experts and old guard media types trying to regulate them.

“Who the _ _ _ _ are journalists to be lecturing bloggers on credibility and abiding by a set of standards?” PhillipG ranted in the official conference blog.

Virtually every aspect of the conference was contentious, including an open session held on the last day to allow more participants to attend. “Trying to buy off ‘the little people’ won’t give your silly conference, which is chock-full of unqualified people...any more credibility,” wrote someone identified as “No Thanks.”

Even a disclaimer on the conference blog that said, “Just because we link to something doesn’t mean we endorse it,” drew flak. “Wonderful. What a great precedent for a conference on ‘credibility,’” wrote “ahem.”

Other comments were more personal and vicious. “It gave us nonbloggers a chance to see some of the shoot-from-the-hip nastiness that’s part of the blogosphere,” Jones says. Yet once bloggers and journalists sat down at the same table, the conversation became civil and productive. “One thing we learned is that many of the qualities that make blogging valuable, such
as its passion and transparency, are things journalism could readily adapt,” he says. The group made less headway on the credibility problem, which Jones now admits cannot be easily solved. “Any standards will have to come from bloggers themselves.”

That’s unlikely, given the diversity of the international blogging community, notes MacKinnon. “The bottom line is that the public needs to become more critical readers of all the media it consumes, mainstream or otherwise.”

Tension between bloggers and journalists is bound to persist, Jay Rosen of New York University — a former Shorenstein fellow and current blogger — predicted in his keynote address. “Journalists have to get used to bloggers looking over their shoulders.” Both now live in a “shared media space,” and some fighting is inevitable.

But it’s not a “zero-sum game,” says MacKinnon. “The two can coexist.” In fact, journalism and blogging complement each other: The material found in blogs is often raw and unprocessed, whereas newspaper and magazine stories are edited and fact-checked to varying degrees. “Blogs are really a conversation about events and facts that journalists are reporting about,” adds MacKinnon. Very few blogs do original reporting. Lacking the same access to
policymakers as journalists have, bloggers tend more toward analyzing existing news reports.

It’s not really a question of one or the other, blogs versus old-school journalism, Jones wrote in a Los Angeles Times essay. “It’s better to have both.”

Evan Thomas, however, still has “mixed feelings” about blogs. On the one hand, he says, “You can never have too many people in this game. When the conventional media blows it, bloggers can catch it. The downside is that there’s a lot of garbage out there.”

Steve Nadis, a writer based in Cambridge, started his own blog, “Call Me Snake,”, in the course of writing this article, though he fears it may be part of the “garbage” Evan Thomas refers to.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Searching for the Third Gender: Part 2

I have been very busy with my preparations for my exam, thus delay publishing my posts is inevitable. I hope I have not disappointed too many people. I decide to publish this half-written post anyway. I am very convicted to do well academically because of my moral obligation to my parents, their financial committment to our future and most importantly, we believe in bringing out the best of each other. That's what family for, isn't it? I love my parents. BTW, to all fellow Singaporeans at Imperial College (and the UK as well), I would like to wish you all good luck and all the best for your examinations.

The previous post has highlighted that God created only 2 genders, therefore the 3rd gender must be a social extension to categorise people whose gender identities cannot fit the classical description of male or female. This post aims to answer the question "Is strictly classifying people male/female sufficient?" by exploring the feasibility of the third gender in our society.

The third Gender is theologically feasible. Justification for the Third Gender does not lie in Creation, but Free Will. The Third Gender is one of the manifestation of Free Will. There are two levels of Free Will. The first level of Free Will is involuntary choice. Involuntary choice is what we all would deem as natural, because the resultant actions are guided by our body inclination. Breathing is natural. The urge to have sex is natural. The urge to eat is natural. Attraction to somebody is natural as well. All these are involuntary choices that results from the manifestation of Free Will. The second level of Free Will is voluntary choice. The most generic way to describe voluntary choice is that "you can do what you want". This includes choosing whether to take the elevator or walk up the staircase. As much as primary Free Will (involuntary choice) determines that you must eat, the secondary Free Will facilitates you to choose your diet.

Our ideas of gender identity has been built by physical basis of the mode distribution of differences in sexual characteristics throughout history. This idea was chosen not because it is the most comprehensive one, but because it is the most convenient mean of gender differentiation.

In order to extend the gender classification system, we have to build the construct of gender identity on two levels. The primary level is based on this mode distribution. This is in hand with the biblical system because it recognises what God had created. The secondary level, which is determined by social interaction, takes in account of the individual's opinion and society's opinion. The gender identity which we all express spontaneously is in fact the materialisation of the secondary level.

The individual's opinion can be measured easily (eg. the Kinsey's Scale), but society's opinion cannot. Although one can observe the effect of society's opinion of the individual's behavior, it is difficult to quantify the diverse opinions represented in society, because the effect of society's opinion is time-dependent. Perturbation effects must be taken in account for a proper evaluation. It is this tremendous effort needed to overcome the difficulty of measuring society's opinion that makes this comprehensive classification system much less convenient to use. However, we should not carry on imposing gender identities on individuals in the namesake of a liberal civil society. We should not carry on this discrimination.

We shall examine Free Will, Individual's Opinion, Society's Opinion in my next post, in order to extract a more descriptive picture of the Third Gender. Meanwhile, here is a rebuttal to a friend:

"I think most people would agree that males and females think differently, primarily due to social conditioning, but also due to instinctive responces. Faced with dificulty, a male brain is more likely to get excited, and prepare to fight, wheras a female brain is more likely to turn and run. These and other characteristics are not due to social conditioning, and in most cases these characteristics match the genetic and physical make up of the person. each of these characteristics are defined by the hormones present in the body, so surely gender should be determined in terms of hormones. Also it should be noted that males poses varying levels of masculinity due to the ratio's of male to female hormones. Some men will be extremely masculine due to lots of male hormones, wheras some will be more feminine. Yet no man can be completely feminine, due to the presence of some male hormones. Therefore our current clasification of gender implies that the presence of any hormones caused by the male chromosone (Y) defines 'male' and the lack thereof implies 'female'. It would seem that there exists two genders: male and female, but within male there are varying degrees." - Oliver

Oliver's arguement rests on the mode distribution of differences in sexual characteristics as the primary basis of gender differentiation. In fact, he accounts diversity of gender identities with varying degrees of hormonal balance. A recent medical experiment showed that gay men and straight woman showed signs of arousal to male pheromones. Is that due to hormonal imbalance or is it manifestation of primary Free Will? In fact, he ends his arguement with "there exists two genders: male and female, but within male there are varying degrees." The most obvious flaw in this conclusion is that he fails to recognise genetics females are capable of masculine behavior. Free Will (primary or secondary), in no way, hinders females from expressing their masculine side. The arguement of Free Will qualifies better than the arguement of varying hormonal balances.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Searching for the Third Gender: Part 1

This post had been particularly difficult to write because I had to contend with my religious affilation, on top of my packed revision schedule for exams in June 2005. I am a Christian.

Previously, I had argued that the bipolar gender classification is insufficient on both physical and psychological grounds. This leads us to the crossroad where we have to choose our next route: "Did God create more than 2 genders?" or "Is strictly classifying people male/female sufficient?"

According to the famous 7-day theory (as recorded in the Genesis of the Holy Bible), God created man on the 6th day. Genesis 1:27 (NIV) says "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them". The creation of man is furthur elaborated in Genesis 2:22 (NIV) which says "Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of man, and he brought her to the man."

The second quote is a figurative description of the creation of woman. Is it possible to literally create a woman from a man? The answer is yes. Genetically, woman is someone who possesses the XX sex chromosomes and a man is someone who possesses the XY chromosomes. Examining the genetic structure, it is possible to extract the 2 X chromosomes from a man to create a pair of XX. By inserting this XX pair into a sexless human stem-cell, we essentially engineer a genetic female. Given that God created woman from man, it points out that God first created the X and Y chromosomes in man. In doing so, God had already created male and female when he first created the male man. The terms male and female in Genesis 1:27 therefore must refer to the X and Y chromosomes respectively.

cross diagram

Figure 1 shows that the propagation of genetic sexes will only preserve male and female genetic sexes. Moreover, people with mutant sex chromosomes are barren, thus the mutant sex genes cannot propagate themselves into the next generation. Therefore, we can see there is selective pressure (an act of God) eliminating mutant sexes within the human population and there is selective pressure acting for the preservation of the normal genetic sex. Also, mutation of the sex chromosomes occurs randomly and and not on a rampant basis. All these point out that mutant sex chromosomes are results of pure chance and it is not an intended result of an elaborate design by a higher entity. In conclusion, in creating only X and Y chromosomes, God therefore had meant human to be divided into 2 genetic sexes. In another words, God did not create more than 2 genders.

Now that we have established that God created only male and female, we must remember that biblically, gender and genetic sex are essentially the same. However, the social classification system (which is based on the biblical classification system) fails to accomodate people who cannot fit the classical description of male or female. Does it not point out that our social classification system is not comprehensive enough? To address this discrepancy, gender must be furthur socialised to accommodate the diversity of gender identities, and this no longer depends solely on our physical construct. In this way, we are extending the social classification system, maintaining the biblical classification system and still recognise God's soverignity.

In conceiving the idea of a third gender, we must take caution to remind ourselves that there is no actual creation of a third gender. God, not man, is capable of creation. We had already established there are only two physical genders (created by God). The third gender is therefore non-physical in basis - it is a social concept conceived by man to accommodate people whose gender identities are strictly neither male nor female.

This social concept, aka the third gender, will be discussed and explored furthur in the next post.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Rebuttal to a friend

This post continues to discuss the topic "Are you sure of your gender?". Some of my friends has made known their comments and I would like to share their opinions with you:

"People tend to take care of girls not merely “because they are girls” but because women are generally weaker in terms of physical strength. Women’s emancipation cannot be complete if they were only given equal opportunities. The physical imbalance is still not compensated. You seldom expect women to win men in a race. Men are simply built with physical advantages compared to women. Therefore, we need a human construct to protect and women and right the physical imbalance so that each one of us is given equal opportunities. We need a social construct to protect the physically weaker sex so they will not be subjugated." - Jolene

Male don't compete against female in physical competitions, so their physical attributes won't contribute to their advantage. Moreover, it's not necessary true that woman is the weaker sex. The female body is more kinetically stable than the male body. The extra-stability conferred by the female physical structure compensates the lack of higher muscular strength exhibited by male bodies. Moreover, statistics has shown that ladies live longer, less likely to suffer from mental illness, and live a better quality life than guys. Having different set of strengths doesn't make woman the weaker sex.

Conversely, I am not suggesting that male is the weaker sex. There's no need for a social construct to protect the physically weaker sex because there isn't one in the first place. The male sexual intercourse technique involves penetration and in its most primitive (and forceful) form constitutes as rape. This contruct leads to the idea that only man is capable of rape, and thus promoting the myth that male is the stronger sex.

One more point to note, is that democracy today promotes equal opportunites for everyone, regardless of sex, unlike the old times when society was biased against women. Democracy aided in dispelling the myth that male is the stronger sex and reinforce that fact that ladies today are on par with guys in terms of physique and opportunities. Fair competition between sexes is the evidence that there is no weaker sex.

"Gender is a social concept, so it would be rather nonsensical to define gender using scientific rules. For a lot of scholars, “gender” and “sex” are different things. Culture and society are non-stagnant. So, given that, gender is “sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.”, it can be extended from “male and female”. The problem is imagining and creating that 3 gender. So far, all that we see are conjugations and combinations of the two existing genders." - Geraldine

Sex and gender are undifferentiated layman-wise. An average person uses terms sex and gender inter-changeably. Extending the sex/gender of a person to classify the "conjugations and combinations of the two existing genders" makes perfect sense because it acknowledges the lack of proper classification of sexuality in our society today and addresses the diversity of sexuality in our society. The recent increased use of terms such as metrosexual, male lesbian, necrophillics propagates the increasing diversity of sexuality in our society and therefore calls for the need of a new classification system.

"Ideally, one should be free to choose his/her own gender. I’m not very sure about this part. Perhaps, you all can think about why we should or should not be allowed to choose our genders and what the possible outcomes and social implications are." - Tom

Given that our gender/sex is a collective set of opinions, people can work to change the opinion of others, or accept the prevailing forces in society to shape their opinion of their own gender. It implicates that we have the choice to choose our gender. Even apathy is an opinion, by accepting our parents' opinion that we are male or female without exercising independent thought. Our final gender is the compromise between selective pressure and free will. Even Tom agrees that our gender/sex is a collective set of opinion.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Are you sure of your own gender?

I have a little donut here for you readers to stomach:
Are you sure of your own gender?

Gender defined at describes it as:
gen·der ( P ) Pronunciation Key (jndr)
n. Grammar.
1. Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.
2. The condition of being female or male; sex.
3. Females or males considered as a group: expressions used by one gender.

Our sex is governed by a pair of sex chromosomes in our DNA. Males are XY by nature and females are XX by nature. If our sexuality is only confined by the condition of our sex, then what are the sex of the people who are borned XXY or XYX? Are they sex-less or they are male, female or both?

X is called the female sex chromosome. When X expresses itself in the human body, it leads to the production of female hormones. The presence of female hormones exert different effects on the host body. If the level of female hormones is high in a fetus during the pregnancy period, the fetus will develop into a girl because high level of female hormone result in development of the female genitals. Normally, high level of female hormones results when there is more than 1 X chromosome present in the DNA.

Y is called the male sex chromosome. When Y expresses itself in the human body, it leads to the production of male hormones. Male hormones not only suppress the development of female sex organs but also bring about development of male sex organs. A normal male contains the XY sex chromosome. The X and Y chromosomes are codominant, ie. they don't completely terminate the expression of the other chromosome. This suggests that he has both male and female hormones present in his body. However, the male hormones suppress the development of female sex organs, thus the male body will not exhibit breasts and a female pubes, but rather a penis.

Considering the sex condition of people borned with a mutated sex chromosome would be very difficult. It would be seem as if there are double standards in our basis of judgement. Essentially, we are people who see, observe, then rationalise. Our eyes cannot see genes directly when we look at a person. However, we can tell if the person is a he or she in virtue of the presence of certain sexual characteristics such as augmented chest of a woman and the adam's apple of a guy. We will consider a XXY person female because she only exhibits the female phenotype due to the high level of female hormones present in the body and the Y chromosome is defective. However, considering her sexuality on the basis of her genes, she is both male and female because she contains XX and XY. Isn't this conflicting? Don't you find it disturbing? It's even more upset to talk about the XYX people.

XYX is a rare mutation and its resultant phenotype is the development of both male and female sexual organs in the body. If you have both a penis and a vagina that is naturally part of you, do you consider yourself a male, female or both? It would be intitutivel to rationalise your sexual identity by yur sexual preference. Being a mutant, you would think "If I like a girl, I must be male" or "If i like a guy, I must be female" or "If I fancy both sexes, I must be bisexual". Considering that you are physically capable of acting as both female and male during the copulation process, why not consider yourself bisexual? Is one's sexual preference truly the guide of one's sexuality? Even I can't decide my own sex, how sure can I be sure about the other party's?

Now that I am finally done with discussing about the physical aspects of our sexual characteristics, this essay is not complete without examining the psychological concept of sex. As we all know it (through our naked eye looking at society around us) we see girls in skirts, guys in jeans, girls with long tresses, guys with crew cut. The psychological aspect of sexual identity is interesting because we can change it, unlike our physical characteristics which is determined by our genotype. If we project ourselves as the opposite sex, we will tend to dress up like what society would expect the opposite sex to wear and try to emulate their behavior. Not everybody has fantastic ability to perform this job, but there is evidently interest among some people. It's not how good they are in projecting themselves as the opposite sex, but rather the interest, the reason and sometimes the natural preference to be the opposie sex.

Why would people want to be the opposite sex? They could be envious of certain characteristics or social advantage inherent that particular sex. eg. People are more willing to take care of girls because they are girls. In fact, girls' clothes are generally much better designed and tastefully coloured, unlike the limited variety of clothes imposed by male fashion around the world. Sometimes it could be a bad memory from the past. Imagine if you are a young girl who was raped by her dad, would you grow up detesting male sexuality? Probably to the extent that you find it unacceptable to copulate with a male, but you find yourself more comfortble to make love to a fellow woman? Perhaps, it's just one reason to act as the turning point for one's sexual preference. Sometimes, we been brought up with the idea of one's sexual gender being imposed by others. Many a time, my sister would consider as herself as a guy because she was brought up as one, expected to behave like one, especially when the rest of her siblings are male and she's brought up in a confuscian family where guys are always given preferential treatment. I consider her as my sister and not my brother because the idea of her being a female has been imposed on me since her birth by my parents.

With the advancement in modern cosmetic technology, it is hard to differentiate male and female based on appearances. Even examining one's genotype to determine one's sex is not conclusive enough to decide one's sex. There is no rule-of-the-thumb or a proper scientific method present to determine one's gender. Only ideas that have been imposed on us while we were growing up. Hence, there is a need for a scientific method to determine one's gender. If no such procedure exists, how can you be sure if you are male? How can you be sure if you are female? Can you accept that your gender is actually a collective set of opinion?

Perhaps differentiating one's gender by male and female isn't sufficient. After-all, there are 30000 types of sex in the mushroom family (due to high level mutation in their genome). Can't we humans extend our sex types too?

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News Junkie, Irreverent Blogger, Anarcho-Capitalist, Technologist