Month: January 2015

Unmournable Bodies

From Teju Cole:

The scale, intensity, and manner of the solidarity that we are seeing for the victims of the Paris killings, encouraging as it may be, indicates how easy it is in Western societies to focus on radical Islamism as the real, or the only, enemy. This focus is part of the consensus about mournable bodies, and it often keeps us from paying proper attention to other, ongoing, instances of horrific carnage around the world: abductions and killings in Mexico, hundreds of children (and more than a dozen journalists) killed in Gaza by Israel last year, internecine massacres in the Central African Republic, and so on. And even when we rightly condemn criminals who claim to act in the name of Islam, little of our grief is extended to the numerous Muslim victims of their attacks, whether in Yemen or Nigeria—in both of which there were deadly massacres this week—or in Saudi Arabia, where, among many violations of human rights, the punishment for journalists who “insult Islam” is flogging. We may not be able to attend to each outrage in every corner of the world, but we should at least pause to consider how it is that mainstream opinion so quickly decides that certain violent deaths are more meaningful, and more worthy of commemoration, than others.

Between Being Brave and Being Funny

I have never once seen a cartoon of Mohammed that has made me laugh. Not one.

Thus starts Hugo Rifkin’s excellent article, “There is a difference between being brave and being funny“.

It is easy to mock the Saudis, because they are savages who live in palaces. Iran exists in totalitarianism, and the Islamic State are murderous fascists. All — obviously, obviously — are ripe for it. To mock Islam itself, though, is to accept that all bar a small, statistical anomaly among those whom your barbs are stabbing will not be comfortable at all.

So, it seems to me that the solution to the fear, equivocation and confusion that any liberal satirist might feel right now is not, necessarily, to keep on grinding. Rather, it is ponder why it should be that offending Muslims, actually, isn’t funny. It is to look at their marginalisation in the West; their near invisibility in politics, media, comedy and all the rest of it, and recognise that this is a problem that makes mockery, which is vital for everyone, far more complex.

No Different Than A Blank Piece of Paper

Why blogging is not dead, according to Kit Stansley:

So, I’m just going to say a thing about this right now… “blogs dying” is not real. It’s not a thing. It’s like saying “cantaloupes running” or “light-bulbs laughing”. Those are definitely two real words that someone put together in a phrase, but they fail as a concept, and here’s why: Cantaloupes do not have legs. Also, a “blog” is no different than a blank piece of paper. It’s a piece of paper that a lot of people can see, if they’d like to, or, alternatively, a lot of people can ignore. Maybe you put something really personal on that paper and fold it into a pretty little origami crane and no one gets to see it but you. Maybe you write jokes on that paper and pass it to your best friend in the back of study hall. Maybe you pick up a pen and write a novel on that paper, or draw a picture of something you’re really proud of. Maybe you whisper a secret to it and then set it on fire and make a wish on the ashes.

Discard Everything That Does Not Spark Joy

Ms. Kondo’s decluttering theories are unique, and can be reduced to two basic tenets: Discard everything that does not “spark joy,” after thanking the objects that are getting the heave-ho for their service; and do not buy organizing equipment — your home already has all the storage you need.

Obsessive, gently self-mocking and tender toward the life cycle of, say, a pair of socks, Ms. Kondo delivers her tidy manifesto like a kind of Zen nanny, both hortatory and animistic.

“Don’t just open up your closet and decide after a cursory glance that everything in it gives you a thrill,” she writes. “You must take each outfit in your hand.”

Advice from decluttering expert Marie Kondo.

Ahmed

“Ndilalah itu,” kata bapak pemilik bengkel ketika ngobrol-setengah-menasihatiku beberapa tahun lalu, “aslinya singkatan dari sudining Allah–atas izin Tuhan.” Jadi pada kata ndilalah yang awalnya artinya ‘kebetulan’, di baliknya sudah ada alasan tertentu. … Continue reading Ahmed

The Good Fight

The good fight is the one that’s fought in the name of our dreams. When we’re young and our dreams first explode inside us with all of their force, we are very courageous, but we haven’t yet learned how to fight. With great effort, we learn how to fight, but by then we no longer have the courage to go into combat. So we turn against ourselves and do battle within. We become our own worst enemy. We say that our dreams were childish, or too difficult to realize, or the result of our not having known enough about life. We kill our dreams because we are afraid to fight the good fight.

From “The Pilgrimage”, Paulo Coelho.

Macau casinos are reporting losses due to anti-corruption drive in China:

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s bid to catch “tigers and flies” in an anti-corruption drive and weaker economic growth means Macau may face shrinking revenue until at least mid-2015, when new resorts open. The crackdown has deterred high rollers who account for two-thirds of Macau’s casino receipts, and wiped out about $73 billion in market value of companies including Wynn Macau Ltd. (1128) and SJM Holdings Ltd. last year.

“The VIP heyday is over,” said Philip Tulk, an analyst at Standard Chartered Plc in Hong Kong. “The anti-corruption crackdown doesn’t look to be a short-term phenomenon,” with funds flows between the mainland and Macau being much more closely scrutinized, he said.

I wonder what will the effect be once similar corruption crackdown is running full speed in Indonesia.

Paying Dads to Change Nappies

Why Swedish men take so much paternity leave“:

One of the most powerful arguments in favour of splitting parental leave more equally is that it has positive ripple effects for women. Since Swedish men started to take more responsibility for child rearing, women have seen both their incomes and levels of self-reported happiness increase. Paying dads to change nappies and hang out at playgrounds, in other words, seems to benefit the whole family.

1995

Aku masih ingat dengan 1995. Tahun yang terbayang akan terasa spesial, sebab Indonesia berulang tahun kelima puluh. Aku masih ingat logo dirgahayu Indonesia waktu itu, angka lima puluh dengan bendera yang … Continue reading 1995