Monthly Archives: October 2010

Japan’s Now, Korea’s Tomorrow?

This is an interesting bit that directly confronts the notion of flower boys, particularly in Japan, coming of age and how they will… Well… Fail their nation in every way possible:

TOKYO – Something is happening to Japan’s young men. Compared with the generation that came before, they are less optimistic, less ambitious and less willing to take risks. They are less likely to own a car, want a car, or drive fast if they get a car. They are less likely to pursue sex on the first date – or the third. They are, in general, less likely to spend money. They are more likely to spend money on cosmetics.

Japan’s young men mystify their girlfriends and their bosses. They confound the advertisers who aim products at them. They’ve been scrutinized and categorized by social commentators, marketing consultants and the government. And they unnerve just about everybody who makes long-term projections about Japan’s flagging birthrate and fading economy. Japan will grow or falter, economists and sociologists say, upon the shoulders of these mild, frugal, sweet-mannered men.

To hear the analysts who study them tell it, Japanese men ages 20 to 34 are staging the most curious of rebellions, rejecting the 70-hour workweeks and purchase-for-status ethos that typified the 1980s economic boom. As the latest class of college graduates struggles to find jobs, a growing number of experts are detecting a problem even broader than unemployment: They see a generation of men who don’t know what they want.

Japan earned its fortune a generation ago through the power of office warriors, the so-called salarymen who devoted their careers to one company. They wore dark suits; they joined for rowdy after-hours booze fests with co-workers; they often saw little of their families. These are the fathers of Japan’s young men.

Washington Post

Now here is where your pop sociology begins — I am guessing that the lack of a father in their lives, or a father who defined themselves very much from a gruff, masculine distance, had a profound effect on the men (and women) who were being raised by them.

Father was a stern, strict figure with a serious hair cut and a grumpy demeanor. He was either working and sacrificing his everything for the family but, due to his strong Confucian heritage, was unwilling to show or express such a thing and kept his healthy distance from his family. It would be this lack of fatherly involvement  that would foster a generation of confused metrosexuals shopping for make-up.

It is a common topic amongst many outside observers that there is just something plain wrong with the Korean and Japanese men purchasing cosmetics, carrying bags that can only be characterized as purses, getting plastic surgery for their nose and eyes… And of course, there is something wrong with the women who make demands for them as well. It is said that many women are attracted to the said ‘flower boys’ probably because the masculine figures in their life never succeeded in being attractive in a masculine way but rather were merely authoritarian and intimidating and thus the new way to be attractive was to stage a rebellion against this said image.

We are seeing a generation where there are few who are achieving the masculine archetype that is more pervasive in places like the USA, and this is a concern for many as societies that just a generation ago could be characterized as sexist and overbearing are now facing some sort of gender breakdown.

This is something I would enjoy studying if I were in sociology and perhaps one of the things that I would consider studying in the future.

China Made Nobel Prize Choice Easy

Although I was not that excited when the Nobel prize committee awarded Obama a Nobel prize for what amounted to be empty promises I am glad they upped their criticism of the Chinese repression of freedom:

China‘s decision to jail dissident Liu Xiaobo for 11 years convinced the Nobel committee to award him this year’s peace prize, according to one of the judges.

Geir Lundestad of the Norwegian Nobel committee confirmed speculation that the unusually tough sentence made Liu an obvious choice. He said Beijing’s decision “solved the problem” of how to recognise Chinese activists.

He said the judges had gradually come to believe they had to “address the China question”.

“If we had given a prize to a dissident from Cuba or Vietnam, fine, there are difficult situations in those countries,” he said during a talk at Oxford University. “But the question would then be: why don’t you address China?

The Guardian

The Nobel prize committee knows its  role better as it accepts that it has the duty to award the prize to dissidents in nations who face extreme repression for merely sharing their opinion.

I hope this becomes a trend.

Physical Labor & Control Of Desire

Many religions throughout the world present the idea of physical labor being a key way to avoid overindulgence and desire. I remember as a child the Biblical saying idle hands are the devil’s workshop seemed puzzling. How could idle hands really be the devil’s workshop? What harm did GI Joes and legos ever do anyone? Well, this was the world view of an immature person — literally, having had no full sexual maturation it was impossible to anticipate the potential depth, darkness of desire and the surrender that man is capable of making to lust.

The fact is that as we grow older we become well aware that the human heart, though it is not dark by nature, certainly seeks pleasure and joy for itself as opposed to higher values and service for others. Pleasure and joy come not so easily, quickly or as powerfully from good deeds as they seemingly come from direct sensual fulfillment. This presents itself in all of the regular methods of attaining pleasure, from sex to fine dining to lazily spending one’s life consuming media.

One of my friends, Oronzo, once noted that idle youth can be of huge detriment to society. When the young are unemployed and frustrated about their future with no mates or children to pacify their strong passions it can result in an increase in crime, decadence and unrest — so powerful is the idleness of a man as an individual that in large groups it can literally be a national concern.

Gandhi spoke on the topic as well in his commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita: “Anyone who sincerely wants to observe brahmacharya, to preserve purity and be free from evil desires, must engage himself in bodily labor. People who do physical labor are not subject to the sway of desires such as we are.”

Gandhi earlier on mentions how the prophet Mohammed scarcely ate food nor drank while praying, his fasting skill being so great; he praised earlier Christian tradition and quoted an old Bishop as saying that having a full belly can quickly become the basis of sin, and that we ought to limit ourselves to the amount of food we eat in order to preserve a sort of stoicism.

We see the monastic traditions of both the East & West and it seems to be a recurring theme that control of the senses is to the utmost for the   perfection of attitude, and a good way to control the senses is through physical activity that can produce an exhaustion that numbs the body to the sensual desires that in our quiet hours cry for indulgence.

However, this is not a truth that the modern human wants to hear — who wants it suggested to them that they should toil physically and eat only what they need? Who wants to be told that the path to spiritual liberation isn’t easy?

We all want to think that we can perfect ourselves magically by sitting comfortably and consuming pleasurably but the reality is that 6,000 years of human spirituality from across the globe seems to propose we work hard and lead a demanding lifestyle.

In this very sense, one could say that diet & exercise are vital not only to the physical and mental health that scientists say it is important to, but it is necessary also to the spiritual health (for what is mental health if not something that is largely a reflection of spiritual health?).

The phrase ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’ might produce snickering and ideas about fasting and refraining from having a ‘full belly’ would make many think of some primitive, medieval superstition that amounts to nothing but hogwash but many wise men from many different backgrounds would encourage people to toil hard, to exercise, to be physical and to exhaust themselves, and to eat only when hungry and then be weary of eating too much.

The Difference Between Arrogance & Confidence

I think the main difference between arrogance and confidence is intent; arrogance is meant to make others feel lower and confidence is meant to be something that though directed at one’s individual self also has the purpose of bolstering the group through a general feeling of positivity.

 

In a very real sense it is a positive experience for others to be around people who have confidence and there should be a general goal of all people to have confidence that elevates those around them.

 

This is found in the concept of ‘team spirit’ and our general conception of ‘pride,’ which differs greatly from the often condemned concept of ‘pride’ that we see put down in many philosophical texts like the Bible. This is a reference probably to something better known as arrogance — something that demands superiority over others.

 

Perhaps another primary difference is that confidence does not seek superiority but it seeks fulfillment of the self; a confident person does not seek to lower others or to appear above them but wishes to be recognized for their hard work and achievements and takes comfort and satisfaction in the efforts that they have made.

 

I think this is how we should distinguish between unhealthy jingoism and superiority complexes that we often see versus those that are of purer intentions.

Orlík – Discography of a talented punk/oi Czech band

Band: Orlík
Genre: Oi, Mid-tempo Punk
Lyrical Themes: Nationalism, Soccer
Years active: 1988-1993

Discography (two albums)

Image

This band is unique in the fact that they actually have a talented vocalist with serious ability to sing both in harsh punk / oi mode as well as carry a tune. In fact, the band’s vocalist went on to perform in many Czech musicals and actually became famous for his roles.

His involvement with the band Orlik got him in trouble during some interviews because the band were ‘fence walking’ skins, that is to say, they were flirtatious with the darker sides of far right wing ideology, though there is nothing that concretely would link them to anything other than just general Hungarian nationalism and anti-Communist sentiment.

I have always enjoyed this band — fantastic songs, diverse sound; very catchy. The recordings have the certain je ne sais qouis lo-fi style that reminds me of the Oppressed’s 2nd Album, Music For Hooligans. It is perfectly recorded as it reminds me of live sounding instruments merely being recorded in a studio.

TRIVIA: ‘Orlik’ means ‘Eagle’ in Orlík and was the name of some military group in some modern European war who did some sort of courageous actions.

Squatter’s Rights Goes Too Far

It is amazing how these things are capable of happening and how there is a legal system that protects people in such extreme circumstances as this, when the behavior is quite criminal:

In the middle of completely refurbishing his five-bedroom house, Connan Gupta felt he deserved a week off.

It is a decision he is now regretting because 15 squatters took advantage of his short absence to occupy the £700,000 property.

The jobless Italians changed the locks and have taken up residence along with their three dogs and two cats.

They claim the fact they cannot afford to rent gives them the right to take over the Victorian property in Camberwell, South-East London.

Police are powerless to intervene because squatting is a civil rather than criminal offence.

Mr Gupta, a 40-year-old hotelier, has been forced to seek alternative accommodation and instruct a solicitor to have the intruders evicted.

He left the house on October 10 for his week off and returned on Monday to find he couldn’t open the door. A squatter’s rights notice was posted in a window.

‘This is just ridiculous,’ he said. ‘Everything’s in there. All my worldly possessions, clothes, valuables, and medication I need for a skin condition. It is hellish. I always triple-lock the house and when I went away I made sure everything was locked.

Daily Mail

Feel free to go to the site and see some images of the gloating Italian family which is smiling for the camera as if they are doing nothing wrong.

Never mind the fact that somehow the Italians are capable of merely showing up in England to seize such a home!

If they tried this in South Korea they’d merely have to go down to their local In-ryeok (인력) joint and they’d show up with bats and have these people evicted before nightfall.

현역 국회의원 아들, 국회 4급 특채 논란

미국에 이런 문제가 별로 없는 것 같아요. 그런데 아마도 있을거에요? 아마도 우리 공무원 직업이 특히 좋지 않아서 없을걸요:

 현역 국회의원의 20대 아들이 같은 당 소속 국회 부의장실에 4급 상당 비서관으로 취업해 특혜 논란이 일고 있다.

20일 국회 사무처와 민주당 관계자 등에 따르면 민주당 노영민 의원(사진)의 아들 A씨(26)는 홍재형 부의장이 취임한 올 6월부터 홍 부의장실에서 기획비서관으로 채용됐다.

기획비서관은 4급 상당 공무원에 해당되며, 국회의원 보좌관 직급 중 고위직이다. 국회 부의장은 4급 상당 비서관을 2명 채용할 수 있다.

경향신문

한국에는 이런 세습된 공무원 문제 없는 것 같은 미국에도 권력이 세습됩니다. 어디든지 가면 부익부 빈익빈 입니다.

미국하고 한국의 제일 큰 차이점은 미국인들이 돈 없이 열심히 공부하면 성공할 수 있는 법이지만 한국에는 가난한 사람들이 성공율이 낮습니다.

자본주의에 화폐로 화폐 많아집니다. 돈을 제일 많이 챙기는 사람들이 대부분 똑같아요.

아마도 미국의 현시 경제에는 앞으로 한국처럼 될 수도 있어요. 이렇게 직업이 많지 않아서 앞으로 미국 시민들이 어려움을 겪이고 족벌주의가 더 심각한 문제되겠습니다.

미국의 경제가 아주 커서 우리들이 기회가 더 많아서 아직 큰 일이 아닙니다.

한국에는 너무 큰 문제이라서 정책이 필요합니다. 정책 없으면 부자들이 계속 귀족만큼 살 수 있고 평민은 자기 사태를 신변시킬 수 없어서부자족은 독점권을얻을거에요.

North Korea Rushes To Manufacture WMDs

Well, it was to be expected. With KJI preparing to hand power over to his third son, skipping over the other two questionable heirs (one questionable for his lack of political allegiance and the other for being a headcase). This is something that would be quite predictable and really this only entrenches the North even further.

Every bit of power that they get will be used to undermine the outside world’s attempts to make them more moderate.

We really could be looking at more decades of crippling North Korean dictatorship:

Over the weekend, North Korea promised a “1,000-

fold” rise in its military strength, The Associated Press reported. And Pyongyang may be keeping its word.

For example, the Institute for Science and International Security, a US-based research group, says that North Korea is busy as a beaver, building its bomb-making capabilities. Based on commercial-satellite images, US and foreign-government info and news reports, it says Pyongyang is up to something suspicious at the home of its plutonium-based nuclear-weapons program at Yongbyon — not even trying to conceal the work from prying eyes in the sky.

And that’s not all. According to ISIS, Pyongyang also is making progress on producing nukes by enriching uranium to high levels.

The immediate cause of the “1,000-fold” threat seems to be the US refusal to ease sanctions against Pyongyang before a new round of talks on North Korea’s nukes. But that’s just part of the story:

NY Post

They’ll Enforce Federal Law If Marijuana Prop Passed

Oh, here we go — just what we need, the federal government intervening and saying “we know what is best!” How dare the Feds say Californians do not have the right to vote into law such a change when we are talking about a substance that has less negative effects than alcohol.

As a man who loves booze and as someone who has been an active witness to the potential evils of drinking I find it disturbingly hypocritical and backwards that marijuana has not been legal.

The premise of the law were largely racist and can be attributed to a cultural misunderstanding which tried to convince the Anglo-Americans that ‘marijuana is worse than alcohol.’

I imagine if things were the other way around and the Natives invaded Europe there would have been large movements to ban alcohol…

And we’d have a heck of a time convincing them that alcohol is just as OK for you as marijuana.

Attorney general joins local law enforcement officials in opposing legalization of marijuana. Prop. 19 supporters say the U.S. has no legal ground to challenge the measure.

Stepping up the Obama administration’s opposition to Proposition 19, the nation’s top law enforcement official promised to “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws against Californians who grow or sell marijuana for recreational use even if voters pass the legalization measure.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder’s response to the initiative comes as the administration has been under pressure to campaign against it more forcefully. Last week, Mexico’s president, Felipe Calderon, chided the Obama administration for not doing enough to defeat it. And last month, nine former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration publicly urged Holder to speak out.

In a letter sent Wednesday to the former DEA administrators, Holder wrote, “Let me state clearly that the Department of Justice strongly opposes Proposition 19. If passed, this legislation will greatly complicate federal drug enforcement efforts to the detriment of our citizens.”

LA Times

If I was able to be in California after this law passed and the Feds wanted to bust them, I think I would be willing to go to a ‘smoke out’ and smoke weed on the steps of the state house with thousands of other people  like they did in Canada several years back.

Ridiculous.

All across America, every day, there are people dying of drunk driving and countless assaults and rapes, the majority of these committed under the influence of alcohol, and we are pretending that marijuana is somehow ‘severe.’

Giving an alcoholic a pipe & a pocket full of weed might just save a family and save his life.

We need to rethink everything on this topic.

I suggest every American over the age of 18, heck, every Korean, every Chinese, every Japanese, every world citizen, be given a 2 liter of bottle and be forced to drink to the point of extreme intoxication, and on the next night be given a whole lot of weed and smoke up…

I think the next day weed would be legal in nearly every nation and there would be discussions on the banning of alcohol.

Media Spinning An Assault

This is pretty amazing to see first hand the sort of agenda local police and the media have:

Edinburg, Oct 14: An Indian-origin man ended up becoming a victim to an “appalling” racial assault when he tried to stop two men from troubling a lady.

The 21-year-old Indian man was reportedly attacked in the wee hours of Saturday, Oct 9 on Edinburgh’s Waverly Bridge.

He was punched by one of the men before the second struck him on the head, knocking him to the ground, BBC reported.

On seeing this, three other men joined the attackers in beating up the Indian. The victim was then left on the ground as all the five men and the women fled from the scene.

The Lothian police have termed the “appalling assault” a racially-motivated attack, in which the victim sustained a broken jaw.

“This has been an appalling assault levied against the victim for no reason other than his race and his efforts to come to a young woman’s assistance,” a police spokesperson is quoted as saying.

One India

Wait.. What? The man interfered in an apparent dispute between two men and a woman, which is a good deed if it looked like it was going to become violent…

These thuggish, brutal men then decided to beat him, and several other men nearby joined in… This sounds like something that would potentially happen to someone who was of any race trying to do the same thing.

If these men are of the character to break someone’s jaw because they are Indian, as they claim, wouldn’t they also be of a similar persuasion to break someone’s jaw if they were getting involved in one of their conflicts? And… If these men were not racist at all, which is inconceivable apparently, they would not have smacked this guy for interfering? Only racists have the capability to hit other people over minor disputes?

Oh, I know racism is dumb but I got to tell you — dumbness exists in all facets of human life.

This is just dodgy reporting and a lot of assumptions meant to achieve the goal of making racism seem to be a tremendously powerful tool that is lurking behind each corner, that it is some invisible empire when in reality it sounds like this was nothing more than a fight resulting from someone trying to get involved in a pre-existing conflict. It is also to sell a story.

Assaulting someone because of something minor that results in an injury just isn’t that interesting. So let’s make it interesting, right?