Sunday, 22 May 2011

let's do a bit of maths for MR Harold Egbert Camping

when it comes to making donations to charities, I must admit that I only do it when there is a big disaster like the Japan one, big earthquakes, etc etc. I normally do somewhere between 10 to 20 pounds, which is about 16 to 32 US dollars. I would guess that the amount I donate isn't very much, but it shouldn't be toooo much below average.

so this Camping has received over $120,000,000 worth of donation, a team of people quitting their job, radio station in 46 languages, based on three numbers which he found in the bible after "studying" it for some 17 years. honestly, if you have studied something numerically for 17 years, at least throw a differential equation in there, not just three numbers multiplied together twice...

let's say average donation is 100 dollars (because there's always religious nutters who go big on these things). there are some 1,200,000 (give or take a couple of hundred thousands) people who made a donation for this cause. ONE MILLION OF UNEDUCATED STUPID FOOLS, together can make a real difference to the lives of many who really are in need, decided that the money should be given to an 86-year-old guy to play with.

if I were God, I'd sue him for liable. I love hearing all sorts of rumours, I love to hear how stupid they sound and how unfounded they are, and how people don't think about what they believe to be true. but this is different. this is absolutely morally perverse. the Catholic religious organisation as a whole is the richest organisation in the world, but one can at least argue that regardless of whether what they believe in is true or not, they have done a lot of charitable work around the world (and of course a lot of things they shouldn't do as well). and what has this old guy achieved? absolutely nothing, the only thing I have learnt from it is that there is a vast number of people who satan should be summoned to stop them from spreading their good words. actually I am getting confused whether it should be God or Satan's job to stop these people...

thank god Camping is 86, the sad thing is, we are taught that as long as one believes, one is saved, he is a hell of a believer, and one that I hope isn't saved.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

expanded short story part 2

After I left my planet, I drifted in the universe for years and years, when I discovered Earth through my telescope, it was excitement that I had not felt since I was told that I was accepted in the excitus program! I examined Earth in great details, it's amazing to see that our scientists were correct in predicting that if any living creature we find, they'll be rather like us since it's the only logical way. and it is indescribable how it felt like to see a planet of creatures in action that I only learnt in history books.

I read in books that before the freedom program was fully developed, people had to eat, they did not eat for pleasure, people had to work, they did not work for pleasure, they had to die, they did not die because of the planet management. on Earth, it seems that they did not even have a planet management system! from distance, I can only make out that Earth people are not controlled, there is a great number of Earth people who constantly talk about what is right and what is wrong, what are the laws that people should follow, what freedom is. but the law is one thing, what people do is another. they seem to have a law that killing someone is punishable, but if one wants to kill someone one can just do it! that seems to be what they mean by freedom. how can everyone be free without being controlled? I speed up my vehicle, I imagine myself landing there and really find out what live is like...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

the expanded short story part 1

I considered myself to be one of the lucky ones, when I was told that I had a place in the mass excitus program sponsored by the planet government, even it meant that I had to leave my father and mother, and grand father and grand mother, and many generations before that behind. if I am to be honest, like most of us, they don't mean much any more. but when I discovered Earth, part of me really wants to go back, part of me seems to have instantly destroyed itself...

it was at least 45 generations ago plus the time it took me to get here when the great scientist 2013989 successfully completed his development of what he called the "freedom program." he solved virtually all of the technical difficulties which limit our freedom; no one gets ill naturally any more, no one grows up naturally any more, no one dies naturally any more... I still remember, in my own head, not on my external memory, that almost everyone at the time was happy beyond description, many called our planet the eternal heaven, no one believed that there was any more reason to procreate, sex became purely for love's sake, everyone wanted to simply live there happily forever. but very soon, the mood changed.

no one died naturally, the whole society soon became static, there was simply no change! giving birth was rediscovered, in a society such as ours where freedom was synonymous as life, ironically, giving birth suddenly became irresistable.

the names of people became meaningless, I was given the name Tifaci; but there were in the end too many people who had the same name, and as a result, we were all asigned a number.

what followed, in hinesight, was very predictable. we went through a period of dark age, where people were forced to die after they had their fair share of time on the planet, and I am one of the few who managed to join the excitus program instead and left the planet behind.

Sunday, 20 February 2011


I have been following the BBC Human Planet series:
In short, it is about how creatures of the same species as you and me, survive and find their way of living in what we often call extreme conditions.

It is certainly amazing how those people live - stealing food from lions by pure bluffing, diving 10 meters deept in the ocean hunting for fish without any aid for as long as five minutes with one breath, climbing a 40-meter tall tree to steal much-needed high-nutrition honey from bee hives, etc etc. but equally, if the people from the tree house create an episode of Human planet from their perspective, they will find it equally amazing, and it is indeed amazing, that I, like many others adopting a western way of living, can somehow sit in front of a computer all day and then get bread and milk and chickens and fish and oranges in the evening.

the thing that strikes me most in terms of our different way of live is, as one of the filming crew said, how fullfilling their lives are, despite that they probably live much shorter lives than we do. and I think this has a lot to do with achievements.

Most ordinary people in the west nowadays invest 20 or so years in studying, then they start working, most achieving absolutely nothing and if one of them disappears, it would make absolutely no difference to anything in the world whatsoever. this is why we have to have books, various courses, which tell us how to manage our lives by creating goals and milestones for ourselves in order that we feel we are doing something and achieving something. "in five years time, where do you see yourself?", most managers might say, "to become a director"; most receptionists might say, "to become a shift leader"; and when you become a director, you want to go higher, and most of the timefor most people, what they really mean is to get more money. is there an end to this? not really, there's always more money to be had. so by "achieving" what you have set yourself in five years time, is just to repeat the cycle, it is rather meaningless. let's face it, to really achieve in our world, you have to be saying something like "to solve the energy problem", or "to solve the overfishing problem."

what about the people in the treehouses, or those who live on boats subsistently? they never have to ask themselves where they want to be in five years time, they are happy where they are, they are achieving every single day by hunting and fishing what they need for the next few days, and that's why their lives are fullfilling. there is no such a thing as "in five years time, I want to be catching 200% more fish than I do now every day", since they don't need that much fish, they only need to get what they need for the next few days if not just today.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

swine flu vaccine

It's heartbreaking to see the mother talking about her three year old daughter who died because of swine flu, and she was not vaccinated because (despite being a young child) she was healthy before. the vaccine is worth a few pounds, and to the mother what it means is that her child isn't worth the government a few pounds to save her.

it is such a dilemma that it really isn't a few pounds, it could be a few million pounds the government has to spend to save the child. if the policy is such that all under five's should be vaccinated regardless they have underlying health problems or not, most of the few-pounds would have been spent on children who wouldn't have got the flu, and those who would get the flu would survive just like any other flu anyway.

a government just has to do what it thinks is best for most people, but who is there to explain to the sad mother all these, who can tell her that her child just isn't worth the money? is this another argument that when things grow too big, it's not good?

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The hardest words to say

Jack Straw (former home secretary of Britain) was very brave today to publically say that one of the factors that contribute to the recent cases of young Pakastani men hunting for young white girls as easy target for sex is a cultural one. apparently it angered a lot of the Pakastani comunities, and BBC interviewed one of leaders, one of the very first things he said was "it's got nothing to do with Islam, nothing to do with culture." and the rest of what he said is just mumblings that it is not possible to remember.

No one said that it's got anything to do with Islam, but if you insist on drawing attention to Islam whenever an observation is made about anything you somehow feel obliged to reply to, you're going to make matter worse.

jack straw was brave because he said something that he knew is going to make the illogical react, someple say that he has his own political agenda which is why he said what he said, I have no comment on that and I am going to take what he said in its face value, it serves to illustrate a problem.

when any issue becomes sensitive - most of the time either because people just feel very strongly about it in the case of religion, or for historical reasons where huge number of victims are involved such as eugenics - it is impossible to have a sensible and logical debate about it. people hear the word eugenics, before their brain even registers what it is, they shut down, reject it, and incapable of saying why apart from pointing out that Hitler tried and millions were killed. when people are told that religions fundamentally cause conflicts, especially if you're the evangelical kind, they shut down, reject the accusation, this time avoiding any mention of the billions and trillions killed, and again fail to give reasons for why they believe in what they believe.

as a side note, I do think that if genes (the dna that define us physically) and memes (the same thing but mentally) can be talked of in the same way - both work on fittest survive - religions are just a form of eugenics, but they work on a memetic level rather than a genetic level. instead of getting rid of those do not have a certain physical characteristics in the case of eugenics, religions get rid of, those believes that don't have certain characteristics. seeing it this way makes it clear that religions are thousand times worse than eugenics in terms of number of people killed (if that's the way some people like to measure things).

be brave

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

what makes it sad

I was in a shopping mall in hong kong with my sister the day before yesterday, there was a big screen showing live a bus in the middle of a road in minilla seeged by a gunman. the gunman let a few people off, mainly elderly, people who were ill and a couple of children... he demanded that he is to have his job with the police back, he was recently made redundant (or fired I'm not sure).

8 hours later, 8 were dead, 7 injured, some critically. the gunman was dead also.

the scale of the tragedy is big, Hong kong just does not experience this kind of things so close to home.

someone said that every single day there are much bigger tragdies happened all around the world, there is just nothing special about this one. indeed when I turned on the uk radio this morning, this incidence was not even mentioned at all, but there was a report on the conflict in congo, where rape tactics are being used again, soldiers/militants are going into villages to rape women in a systematic way, there was a plane crash (or two plane crashes), and a small piece on the flood in pakastan.

there are two things that mmake the bus seege particularly upsetting, one is obviously the connection to Hong Kong and hong kong people, more so I think is the fact that in that 8 hours, so much could have been done to save the HK tourists, but the Philipino special police was incompatent, and also what the philipino government said immediately afterwards was infuriating.

those who survive are always the ones who suffer most, my best wishes to them and hope they will recover soon.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

part 10: the language

a month after the funeral, she feels more settled into her new way of life. she is unhappy as much as she is bored, she has no motivation to do anything. she passes her time walking - sometimes amongest trees, sometimes amongest people - they all seem the same to her.

she walked so far one day that she had to look at a map at the train station to find her way back. on the map, it says "you are here" as if the map was with her talking to her. she looked up and discovered that the name of the train station was not the same as where she was on the map. a woman came over and pointed at the map, smiling, "you are here, not there." Jane could see that the woman was about to start chatting, so she said thanks, and slowly walked off. Only a second later that she realised that she hadn't got her direction yet...

when she walked out of the station she could see puddles on the ground, fortunately no one was carrying umbrella so that it did not look like it was raining. she tried to picture the map in her head and tried to find where the woman was pointing at. "I'm here" she found it amusing, "I'm always here, not there, how can I be."
there was a rainbow hanging from the sky, she looked to the end of the rainbow, further, and further still, "he's there", her long hair flying in the wind, trying to escape her head, "will I ever be?"

can I be honest?

A very good friend asked me, can I be honest about everything she asked me?

I have to "be honest" here, no, I actually can't! not so much that I will lie about things, but there will inevitably be things that I just don't want to tell her about how I think of her. in fact, this very question is a good enough example.

"why not? if we are good friends why can't you be honest about everything?"

"because there are questions where if I'm totally honest it's bound to make things uneasy."

"like what?"

"like "can you be honest about everything I ask you?""

"well I thought our relationship can be as honest and open as possible..."

"but this "no" to the question already changes perception. if I had said "yes", it will certainly be the real questions that change other perception that I may not necessarily want to change..."

is this a attitude of me towards friends in general or I do wonder, are other people really more honest and open than I am?

Sunday, 30 May 2010


I have recently started playing Go the board game in a Go club in london, I travel there by train, then tube, then it's a short walk to the venue. just about every single time I make the journey there will be people making remarks such as "it's absolutely amazing you can do this when you cannot see...", "how can you memorise the steps you have to take..." etc etc - they are of course referring to walking up and down stairs, going through the tube station.

I think these people, or indeed most people, are misunderstanding what disability as far as being blind is concernned actually means. let me explain by my experience in playing Go.

Go is a highly complicated board game, the playing area is more than 4 times that of Chess (19x19 compared with an 8x8 board), the degree of freedom is quite possibly many thousands times more than Chess. I can certainly see that I have a lot of difficulties in actually playing the game well because it is very hard to keep track of what is going on all over the board. however, many people especially at the beginning experience the same. the most difficult thing for me in playing Go is actually finding the oppotunity to play it, and also the oppotunity to watch other people play in order to improve, let alone all the books, magazines etc that are never available in any accessible format understandably. this is by far the biggest disadvantage to me, because I can only really learn by playing a game myself, I cannot learn from watching other people's games. this is real disability.

every single blind person can walk up and down stairs, and should be able to travel on their own to wherever they need to, or do shopping, or whatever, if they can't they are not just blind they have other problems. but the real disability is really not being able to observe, learning is heavily restricted - that's what people need to understand and if they are kind enough, try to help out with. don't amaze at those who can travel, amaze at those who somehow manage to learn things that are highly restricted to observations.