Yawning Bread (Au Waipang) is being rightly provocative…

19 Mar

One of the favourite blogs of all my favourites is Yawning Bread from Singapore. Here are a couple of recent challenges from Au Waipang. I might add that it is an improvement there that you can now reference individual entries, but don’t confine yourselves to these two. He writes beautifully and is often insightful.

1. Criminalise lesbianism, say Church leaders. Au Waipang is referring to the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS). Post-colonial churches are quite often conservative these days, though “liberation theology” and “radical faith” are still alive in certain quarters.

…it repeats the “hate the sin, love the sinner” gobbledegook. Only contorted minds manage to see such a distinction, first by artificially divorcing an act from a person’s essential sense of self and identity, then by saying I love one but hate the other. As I have argued many times before, it is artificial to draw such sharp distinctions between practice and nature (or identity). One makes the other and vice versa. It is entirely self-serving to protest goodwill towards others through such sophistry.

For example, if someone goes around saying he is not racist, that he loves everybody regardless of colour, but oh by the way, he thinks the English language is God’s gift to mankind, and it is sinful and abhorrent to speak another other tongue, and while we’re at it, despicable that people should eat with chopsticks or (God forbid!) their hands…. why can’t everybody use the fork and knife the civilised way? What would you think?

Language and tool-using are learned behaviour, not even inherent like the colour of the skin (or for that matter, whom one is attracted to), but the moment one condemns and criminalises such practices, can one still proclaim that one is colour-blind?

Then after all the above inconsistencies, the NCCS argues for consistency. If gay male sex is a criminal offence, so should gay female sex. Bravo, bravo!…

There are plenty of Christians who … [lament] the fact that this religion is increasingly being perceived as intolerant and extreme. Yet you seldom hear these Christians speaking up — at least not in Singapore. Their docility makes them easy capture for their religious leaders who have hardline agendas. In this respect, Christianity’s position is no different from the present-day crisis of Islam minus, fortunately, terrorist cells that use the religion as cover for its political ends.

The second entry is The good ol’ days of jail and caning for immorality.

…Even as I write this, somewhere at the back of my mind I am aware that some readers will be tsk-tsking to themselves: this is all so sleazy. Why must gay men behave like this, they’d ask, and in that asking, assume a moral answer.

What should be borne in mind is that all men behave like this. It’s about the most human thing in the world, to go out searching for casual, anonymous sex. The difference between the heterosexual and homosexual experience is how sex can be obtained and the degree of social and state tolerance…

A great site, and not only for attention to gay and lesbian issues.

Not quite at a tangent…

Read Blogs can top the presses from The LA Times 17 March 2007.

…There are, by very rough count, 60 million bloggers around the world today. Some projections have that number nearly doubling again this year. Depending on which side of a vitriolic divide you fall — that is, whether you think this is good or bad — this represents either the end of civilization or the rise of true democracy…

Most of these blogs are the creations of individuals who have a passion to write, usually about a single subject, that subject often being themselves. Some of them are truly horrible and, thankfully, short-lived. The passion burns out.

Others, though, are remarkably good…

…Simply put, while mainstream media does the heavy lifting of careful, day-to-day and occasional in-depth reporting, bloggers have revivified political commentary, mainly through their exuberance.

IF the traditional media see their roles as delivering lectures on the news of the day, blogs are more of a backyard conversation, friendlier, more convivial. Bloggers publish in variable lengths at uncertain and unscheduled times. Blogs tend to be informal, cheap to produce, free to consume, fast, heavily referential, self-referential and vain because of it; profane, accident-prone yet self-correcting…

Copeland said the relatively small world of left-of-center political blogs now receives an estimated 160 million page views a month, in the same ballpark as some major newspapers and far more than any opinion magazine…

Yawning Bread’s archives extend back to 1996! It is one of the oldest blogs there is, appearing even before it was thought of as a “blog”. I have been reading it since 2000.

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2 responses to “Yawning Bread (Au Waipang) is being rightly provocative…

  1. marcelproust

    March 19, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    This comment doesn’t really belong here, but I don’t feel comfortable with that guest book thingy.

    It looks like some knives have really been sharpened for Amanda, doesn’t it? That seems clear, regardless of the extravagance or otherwise of her Mandarin tuition. Surely the knife sharpener must be that Mr Andrews. What do you think?

    See, eg:

    Vanstone admits to $30000 worth of Mandarin lessons.

  2. ninglun

    March 19, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised. I don’t like the cut of his jib at all, personally. 😉 I guess you heard the ABC News:

    The former immigration minister, Amanda Vanstone, has defended spending thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money on language lessons and speech preparation.

    Senator Vanstone says she spent around $30,000 over four years on translators, Mandarin lessons and speech coaching.

    She has told Channel Nine the spending was justified.

    “If money had been spent for someone to come in and just give me tutoring in a language so I can order a gin and tonic or you go to a restaurant and order a meal, as in Mandarin for me, that would be fair enough to complain,” she said. “But that’s not what it is. It’s helping with speech preparation, for particular delegations and things.”

    Ms Vanstone said she made no secret of that.

    “I don’t know why it’s such an issue now, it’s really an issue because someone’s added it up over four years and said, ‘This is for teaching her Mandarin’ when it isn’t, it’s for helping with drafting, getting a draft right and helping with a little bit of the delivery so that you don’t call someone a filthy cow,” she said.

    Given that the sum involved would hardly pay a square centimetre of one of those highly expensive stop-gap planes Defence is getting (the Super Hornet or whatever) because what we really ordered is still pretty much hypothetical, I fail to see what the fuss is about.

    Fortunately Kevin Rudd is fluent in Mandarin already…

    Hope you read Au Waipang as well. The guest book is really easy to use, Marcel…

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