Monday, November 28, 2005

Back From Ohio

Slowly recovering from sub-zero Thanksgiving. Am glad to return to the (relatively balmly) California winter. Took tons of pictures. Will post them and write about them when I get the chance.

Will be spending the next few days finishing up my paper and hunting for cut-price turkey meat. Have fun Singapore.

P.S Is anyone who reads this blog going to attend the Blogger's Christmas Party on December 23rd? If you do, can you leave me a comment? I'd like to go but don't like going if I don't know anybody there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"I Fail To See It"

First, read this. Then read this.

And then ask yourself, "Since when was ignorance a quality argument?"

"They deserve every black eye and every broken nose. Why? Because they choose to remain with the guy. ANYONE who chooses to remain with a beater deserves all that is coming to her."

(Bolded for emphasis)

Therein lies the flaw of Hades' entire argument. Sure, it's a choice to remain with the guy - but making that choice can be damn difficult.

Let me get a few myths straight.

Domestic violence (meaning abused men, women AND children) is not about violence. It's about control. The violence is merely a symptom of the need for one person to dominate someone else's life completely.

Calantha wrote:

"Anyway....since the abuser can make it hard enough for the victim to leave, it's worse when there are kids involved. I agree that such a home is not a place to raise children, but they are sometimes used as pawns in this conflict (ie "If you try to leave me, you'll never seen the kids again/I'll kill them.") No mother or father wants to hear that or let it happen. Stupid Catch-22, that's what it is. And sometimes the police don't do a damned thing to help."

That is true, but that's an advanced symptom. It usually starts a lot smaller. Persuading you to give up your job. Expressing a dislike for your friends. Making himself unpopular with your family. Then it spirals downwards. Cutting off your supply of money when you don't listen. Your friends don't talk to you because they can't stand your partner. Your family doesn't talk to you because they can't stand your partner.

Not so easy to leave your partner after your support network's been completely destroyed neh? Once that happens THEN the real abuse starts.

The sad part is, it doesn't start this way. Many domestic violence victims stay because they had a -very- good relationship at one point in the past. In fact, one telltale sign of domestic violence is the niceness-abuse-reform. The velvet glove covering the iron fist so to speak.

Hades writes:

"Women who choose the bad guy over the good deserve to have their skulls split open. I mean, why not? She had the choice, she made it. No one forced her to be with El Skull Busto with the "I DATE MY SISTER" tattoo. She chose it of her own free will. Surely she deserves whatever she gets."

Because abusers don't necessarily come with "I DATE MY SISTER" tattoos, any more than Ken Lay had a "I STEAL FROM ENRON" tattoo. Domestic abusers come in all shapes, sizes and forms. They cut across race, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

Life would be a lot simpler for me, professionally and privately, if people came with warning labels attached.


Don't take what I say as the gospel truth. Go do some research. The results may suprise you.

Sad thing is, at one stage, I did think a lot like Hades. It was only due to a fortutious encounter with the head of the Domestic Violence Unit of the San Jose Public Prosecutor's office that I even know as much as I do now.

I am sure Hades is well-intentioned, but this is the exact kind of thinking that should not be perpetuated. If we do, the abusers win. The abusers get their way because fewer people is unwilling be sympathetic.

YOU are the one with the choice. YOU are the one that can help. How will you choose?

Monday, November 21, 2005


The days are getting cold, and the nights colder. The leaves on trees turn brown and my knees hurt like the dickens at night and early in the morning. I complain incessantly to my wife about the cold. Her only response "Ohio will be colder." She gleefully shows me the weather report on Ohio.

Why's Ohio important? Cos I'm headed there over Thanksgiving. There is much fowl to be eaten and two ladies, two mischievious cats and a pair of wingless snow owls to be met. People from my wife's former life that I've never been involved with, until now. They (meaning the ladies, not the cats and snow owls) were gracious enough to fly me in. I hope I do not disappoint them. :D

On other news, I return 14th December to Singapore, and I fly back 6th Jan. I'll be happy to meet up with people that I've only managed to blog to, if you drop me a message at khaycelim-at-gmail-dot-com. I'm normally a lot more shy about these meetings, but I figured this would probably be my last and only chance to meet some of you - I probably won't be flying back next year until Dec 2006, if at all.

On other news, Tor has tagged me with a meme, which I will do once I've completed my cyberspace law paper. In truth, I could probably have scraped by with an easier topic, but I feel I need to take this one on. Much thanks to Huichieh actually, and his book recommendation Freakonomics. That was the inspiration for the angle on my paper.

P.S Shianux, if you are reading this, do a search on Boldrin and Levine. Everything I thought I knew about the economics behind IPR was wrong. Everything. God help us all.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

On Plastic and Wasabe Beef

Taking a break from my usual cook-eat-sleep-study routine to check out
some of my fav blogs, and I see this, this and this.

Let me state right upfront - I can't find it in me to condemn Dawn Yang for her behaviour. Furthermore, I do not believe Dawn Yang has done anything particularly deserving of the Singapore Blogs Lynch Mob.

The Cowboy's nailed most of the issues down - there's nothing wrong with having had plastic surgery, living a life of luxury, partying with pretty people nor having great press coverage.

There is one issue that bears examination. Dawn lied. At the very least, she coyly denies having had plastic surgery. This, I think, is the source of ire among the Singapore blogosphere. She lied. She cheated. She deserves to be taken down.

Doesn't she?


I asked those questions to tell you this story.

Last Friday, I was rushing from class to my MPRE exam - 25 miles away from where I study. I was already running late and I had to grab lunch from the school cafeteria. I don't normally have lunch there - the food there is way too expensive, but I hadn't had time to pack my homecooked lunch on Friday on account of studying for my exam. So I paid too much for a wasabi beef sandwich, and ran out.

On the way out of the cafeteria, I heard my sandwich go "splat". There it lay, on the ground where pigeons pooped, men trampled and rainwater collected.

I almost cried.

The first thing that crossed my mind was how I couldn't afford another sandwich. I probably could have, but I was afraid that with this "waste" I would somehow be depriving myself of vitally important money down the road. Plus, I knew I wouldn't have the time to queue for another sandwich.

So, feeling like an absolute fool, I scooped it up. Except I didn't eat it straight away. I made to dispose of part of the sandwich into the bin, but retained most of it. I travelled a bit of distance from the cafeteria before I tucked into my soggy, dirty sandwich.

I deceived the crowd around me that I'd disposed of the sandwich when I didn't, because I felt I had to. Heaven forbid if anyone I knew saw me do what I did. I was ashamed that I had to resort to eating something off the ground. So I lied to everyone around me. Most of all, I lied to myself.


Yes, Dawn Yang probably should not have tried to play it coy with the truth. Yet, I recall my wasabe sandwich and I just cannot find it within myself to condemn her. Judging by the reaction in the blogosphere, I'd say she was spot-on about her intuition - that people react to plastic surgery, wealth and popularity like it connotes some character flaw.

Put another way - if she weren't rich, popular and pretty, would we even give a $#!+?

I don't know what her reasons are for wanting to mislead, but I'm fairly sure she has her reasons. Regardless of the legitimacy of her reasons, I believe she is entitled to some level of human weakness.

For in the end, are we all not human?

Friday, November 04, 2005

Yay Me

Pardon the long silences. Between cranky school computers and travelling a hundred miles a day, I've had very little opportunity to update people on my situation. I am glad to say that the situation is remedied by the purchase of a slightly-used laptop.

I am currently studying for my MPRE, which is a component of getting called to the California Bar. People tell me its easy. I don't believe them - hence my nigh-religious mugging and neglect of all important things, blogging included.

One thing I have noticed about law school in America. It feels like I'm back in NUS. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The mass hysteria to join large firms, check. Leaving assignments to the last minute, check. Having way too many activities to reasonably choose from, double check.

More later. Finishing up a mock MPRE exam.