Thursday, September 30, 2004 Specials - USA Elections 2004

Just a couple of points to make:

1. Missed the debates this morning coz I overslept (anyone has it on VHS to lend me?)
2. Overslept becoz of workload of Law *nuff said*
3. What does it say that I'm more interested in US domestic politics than I am about my own?
4. Further, what does it say that I probably know more about USA domestic politics than I do my own? (Or for that matter possibly which country's domestic politics is in this issue of The Economist)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

*Stat Counter Up and 1st Torts test*

Yup, stat counter up and interestingly enough, it seems that people actually visit my site from IVLE...hope I didn't bore them too much... Probably did considering thus far that most visitors (80%) spend less than 5s on my site =P

And major major relief after first torts test. Couldn't believe I was struggling for time despite having one hour. Ah well, it's over and I'm happy. Hopefully I would do decently on it.

Side note: Am timekeeping for the semi-finals of Mallal Moots this evening. 2nd session so I'll be there around 6:20 p.m.


Sunday, September 26, 2004 - Custody dispute after fertility clinic mistake - Sep 24, 2004

She makes a good case and I would agree with her on most points bar perhpas one - that of her assertion with regards to the 'male-oriented' aspect of parenthood and its implications for Custody Law.

I think my views on this aspect are relatively clear, while I sympathise with the Feminist Movement, I think the time has come to acknowledge that males and Fathers have rights too. The fact of the matter is that there is a genuine aspect of discrimination that occurs against the male gender when it comes to Family and Criminal Law (see the prevelance of the ideology that males can only be sexual predators and women sexual victims)

When it comes to Family Law, the fact that we have a WOMAN's Charter is highly indicative of the fact that the law in this instance is not gender neutral. It would be terribly odd if the Feminist Movement by fighting for equality and the 'opportunity' to go out and work (as opposed to being tied to bringing up a family) nevertheless still clings to these outmoded ideas as a manner of creating a highly inequitable situation whereby fathers and husbands are put almost right from the onset, in a disadvantaged positions: see for example ailimony and custodial rights.

Back to LAWR Student Panel....


Head hurts but I suppose that's to be expected with judges dancing all over the place trying to do what's right (subjective justice I suppose) in their eyes and yet not overstep their bounds when it comes to policy making.

It's a fascinating tension played out here, whereby with the separation of powers into the three branches of government, what you have is essentially an articifial attempt at compartmentalising sovereignity in a bid to prevent abuses of political power. On the whole, this is the least bad method of governance (of course that is in comparison with a utopia whereby humanity loses it's essential humaness and we all can live in a utopia...bah humbug), since people in general can't really be bothered to run their lives and make choices until something happens and they can't rectify it (yes yes I know this is an unsubstantiated assertion, I'll try to back it up in a latter post).

I think I really do enjoy law, horendous amounts of reading and all...but what I truely enjoy is probably more jurisprudence (Philosophy of Law) than the actual practice itself I think...=P

Cheerios! - Review: Hilarious 'Shaun of the Dead' - Sep 24, 2004

*Soft laugh*

I wonder if this will be coming to our screens anytime soon. Hmmm...

Friday, September 24, 2004

*On Exams and Luddites*

The Luddites may be on to something. Just an update to my faithful and not so faithful readers as well as the occasional passerby who happens to come to my page, reads it and gets his/her psyche scarred.

SLS 24h paper due to be out at 10a.m., an email eventually comes our way at 3:30 that tells us that it was to be posponed...*grrr*

I would have much rather gone down to school and picked it up in hardcopy rather than sit in front of my computer from 10 to 12 repeatedly hitting refresh in hopes that the question will appear. And in case you were wondering, I did call the Fac of Law, got hung up the first time, the second time was told that something was wrong and to cool my heels...which I did till half past three...

Bah humbug...

Thursday, September 23, 2004

*Expletive Deleted*

What the f is going on?!!!!! I've got a stupid 24h SLS (Singapore Legal Studies) paper that was supposed to be sent to me at 10a.m. this morning. It's 11:38 now and I'm still fing waiting for it!!!!

Bloody hellfire and eternal damnation....

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Malaysia's Anwar called 'traitor'

*Reverse Causality*

You know...I wonder whose fault it really was for supposedly hurting the country by damaging the economy and tarnishing its image through the street demonstrations...

Surely not the racist ex PM who couldn't accept the possibility of his deputy trumping him and got him arresting on trumped up charges of corruption and sodomy. Nope, blame his deputy and the people who realise that the 'truth' fed to them were absurb and verged on the surreal and exercised their constitutional right to make their grievences known outside of an election. Wait, they did make it known through the ballot box too. If your party suffered because of a naive knee jerk reaction of loyalty to your superior and your citizens realise that, maybe it's your fault too?

Gee...*rolls eyes*

Monday, September 20, 2004

*In defense of Dr. Chee Soon Juan*

Admittedly, what he has been saying is pretty much bluster with regards to the current trial fiasco. But two things off the top of my head.

1. I've been taking the ST reports with a pinch of salt for the past decade or so.
2. Would he be in such a situation if he were transposed to a more adversaral style of democracy i.e. every democratic state outside of Asia?

The fact is, the press in Singapore has quite thoroughly demonised him. Everything he does or does not do is taken to be evil incarnate. If he has the support of foriegn nations (including a fellowship at University of Chicago and the Charimanship of the Institute for Asian Democracy - heh so much for Asian solidarity) then he's working for foreign powers. On the other hand, if he doesn't then the press will talk about him lacking support and being isolated etc.

Can he ever win? Granted that his adversarial style might rub people the wrong way but look at the 2 opposition members in power with their 'thread softly' approach. Even if they could bring benefits to their constituency (which is debatable considering the fiasco with PAP's vote for us or no upgrading electoral threat), I haven't every seen or heard them push for any form of greater accountability or representation in our current system. (Plus, having read some of their stuff in parliamentary debates, can't say that I'm impressed by anyone except for the ministers).

*Broadband Router Up!!!!*

Insane estatic laughter follows...finally I managed to configure the stupid thing. I wouldn't even have had this problem if I didn't try to act clever and set my own DNS (primary and secondary) addresses...all I needed to do was leave it blank...


Protection of Conscience Project

Interesting concept and I suppose I should support it. And I suppose I do, except that they take the opposite viewpoint of everything I believe in except on capital punishment.

But I like to think that the major difference between my tolerant liberal viewpoint and their reactionary one (Conservatism has a long and time honour tradition of fighting for the ancient liberties, I refused to grant them the right to use such a noble tradition) is that I will fight to present their viewpoint.



Friday, September 17, 2004

*On Case Summaries and Study Groups A.K.A. Random Observations past midnight*

1. Thank goodness for study groups coz your workload is divided.

2. Even with Kidner, 27 case summaries is no joke

3. Cousin's wedding at CHIJMES tomorrow...nice change from chinese restaurant

4. Linkin Park RULEZ!!!!!

5. I hope for world peace...failing that, representative democracy in our sunny island

*Response to letter in ST Forum*

A response to Mr Siow...*sigh*...why do I even have to make these arguments??!!!

Dear Sir,

I read to Mr Siow Jia Rui’s letter, “Right of assembly doesn’t translate into having power to produce an effect,” with some dismay because he confuses assemblies with unruly mobs and civil disobedience as civil disorder when nothing could be further from the truth.

His key argument seems to center around examples of ineffectual demonstrations. Beyond that however, he takes up two issues, which are predicated upon the demonstrations. Firstly, he argues that there are counter productive. Secondly, he argues on the need for the rule the law to curb abuses of political power in the context of Singapore’s multi-racial, ethnic and religious society.

Firstly, I think it would be facile to counter one argument with another but needless to say, peaceful civil disobedience has been the major reason for the push in civil liberties. Historically in the United States, there was the Women’s Suffrage movement as well as the Black Civil Rights Movement, best exemplified by Martin Luther King Jr’s approach and in contrast to the terrorist like tactics of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers. In South Africa, it was a major reason together with support of the International Community that led to the fall of the Apartheid Regime. Today and much closer to home, the massive march in Hong Kong forced the Legico to withdraw the highly controversial anti-subversion bill that threatened the very fundamental existence of Hong Kong’s young democracy and their Capitalist way of life. It also curbed the excess of political power and interference by Beijing in their Constitution, when the CCP threatened to go back on their promise of “One Country, Two Systems” during negotiations for the Hand-over. In Philippines, People’s Power I and II took down two unpopular and corrupt Presidents i.e. Marcos and Estrada. And to take him on his points, there was anti-Kerry demonstrations as well during the Democratic Convention and his ratings went up. It is due to an effect called the Post-Convention Boost and not simply the ineffectiveness of the demonstrations as Mr Siow wrongly suggests.

Thus, one needs to go beyond a mere listing of examples and attempt an analysis of what the right to assemble and demonstrate is. Needless to say, any form of action can lead to a backlash and a loss in support for the course of action and the cause. However, that does not automatically translate into the action in and of itself being bad. Obviously, the right to assemble and demonstrate can be abused but so can the Law and the Government and we do not see calls to disband them because they do fulfill a higher function. We have already seen how such a course of action can be a force of good. But furthermore, the right to assemble and protest is more important than the actual action itself because it provides for citizens another form of check and balance, beyond that of the intermittent ballot box, which is necessary for the running of the modern state. In general, no rights exist in a vacuum and if a demonstration becomes unruly, then the state has every right, within reasonable limits of methods, to impose order. Or as J.S. Mills eloquently puts it, “The right to move my fist, ends at your nose.”

On the secondly issue, the conflation of checks and balances and the situation in Singapore, I think it is awfully paternalistic of Mr Siow to suggest that the ever more highly educated and literate members of Singapore society are incapable of thinking rationally and not abusing their rights. What is the point of economic development if society and politics do not develop but lie stagnant alongside with it? It is simply incredulous to suggest on the one hand that the excess of political power must be curbed and yet deny citizens the ability to do so by massing and registering their displeasure outside of elections. The rule of law will not be fatally undermined; if undermined at all it is, by citizens’ right to assemble! Furthermore, it is simplistic to argue that our system of government cannot accept or handle any form of ‘Western’ notions of democracy, pluralistic politics and freedom of the press. What SM Goh merely and rightly warns against is the unthinking application of them!

Singapore is our home. And as citizens, we must take responsibility for it. We cannot abdicate our social responsibilities to the government. We must not keep running to it every time there is a problem. To have A Progressive Society, is ultimately up to us.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

BBC NEWS | Europe | Analysis: Turkey, adultery, and the EU

Very informative article which sought to put the law in the context of a penal reform that was to align the Turkish penal code (which has certain 'flaws' corrected) with that of the EU as a precursor to the prelude of talks that might allow them to join the EU, if any that occasion ever arises.

But anyway, on a more interesting note, it suggested that it was linked to a whole package of reforms that would have ended discrimination against and for women e.g. honour killings, rape within marriage and automatic leniency for women who killed their children. Two things about that. 1. Singapore still has not outlawed marital rape (I've talked about this in one of my earlier blogs) 2. How would outlawing adultary affect gender powerlines?

Putting aside for a while all concerns that what goes on in your (or other's bedrooms) should not be the concern or purview of the government, how would outlawing adultary affect issues of things like divorce and alimony and custody of children? This is particularly so as often adultary involves two persons. And if the female partner is fined or imprisoned, how would the courts take that into account should her husband decide to divorce her? We already know what happens to the guy (this aspect of the law being terribly unfair to the males) but would it apply similarly to the majority of females who in Turkey can be considered vulnerable plaintiffs?

Anyone taking family law would like to educate us?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

STI: Print Friendly Story - Effect on Assault Rifles Lapse too Early to tell

*Worth a read*

Pretty interesting and it raises a number of interesting points. It feels like the pro and anti-gun lobbies are talking at cross purposes...

BBC NEWS | UK | Politics | Blair 'shocked' by climate change

*Bah Humbug!*

They were basically saying the same thing when the world was in a period of global cooling.

Please, my message to the world is this...go read Bjorn Lombard's 'Skeptical Environmentist' and Bushes' general environmental policy with an open mind...

Friday, September 10, 2004

BBC NEWS | Americas | US assault weapons ban to lapse

*This takes the cake*

M-16 5.56mm round on duck...bye bye duckie... There would be near to nothing left to eat...

BBC NEWS Americas Gun firms pay out over US snipers

*Scratch head* my guess is that, sooner or later, gun manufacturers will have such a huge duty of care that the it would be unprofitable to remain in the industry and I can't quite say I'm sorry.

A gun is designed to hurt, maim or kill. Carrying it for protection is oxymoronic. If displayed, then the automatic reaction would be to incapcitate you or your weapon before hand. If conceal then the deterant effect would not be as high. Besides, most of the time, deaths by handguns/civilian assault rifles remain disproportionately between relatives or people with close relations. Hence that part about strangers become similarly moot. And of course, all those accidents at home because of curiousity (and in the case of Columbine High School, a death wish) on the part of children.

Legally though, I wonder if the victims would have won in court. Negligent distribution is a terribly odd case to make. Such a case could only be won if they had sold the weapons to distributors or retailers it knew were not up to, what, safety standards? And prima facie (on the face of the facts) it just seems terribly odd. I mean everyone knows what a weapon is for, it could hardly be the fault of the manufacturers for selling it to them: see Donoghue v Stevenson [1932]. Similarly for the distributors, if they had been compliant with state or federal law, then they could hardly be laible either could they? The alternative then would be that guns were fundamentally bad, in which case, that would be against the constitutional right to bear arms.

Ah well, a court case in the Supreme Court would have been interesting...

Thursday, September 09, 2004

*This House Believes that State Sponsored Sexism should be Considered Apatheid*

Actual motion of debate ran a couple of weeks ago which got me thinking.

Before beginning, just some terms to define and clarify (yes I can see the debaters' eyes rolling). Just so I reduce the number of flames and hate mail, I'm going to exclude the issue affirmative action and quotas for the under privileged gender (whether male or female) though I'm personally against them.

So what I wanted to run (if I had been opening government) was to argue that state sponsored sexism i.e. disenfranchisment of women, female genital mutilation (FGM - Go read up on it if you don't know what it means, should open your eyes), tacit acceptance of honour killings should not have the protection of labels like cultural soveriegnty and a prevention of imperialism by the International Community. So like Apatheid, the rest of the world should take a firm stance and through the use of sanctions and diplomatic pressure force such states to at the very least begin the process of integrating women into their society.

I grant that such a process is fraught with difficulty, if not danger itself, but I think that it's time to take a firmer stance than to close an eye to the plight of women around the world who are forced into situations that WE would not accept in our place.

Recuring fantasy: Going on a vigilante operation and doing onto the morality police everywhere what they do to their victims e.g. acid burns, killings, flogging etc. And then break their joints and throw them onto the streets...

BBC NEWS | Americas | World 'wants Kerry as president'

*Go Kerry Go!*

'Nuff said

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

STI: Print Friendly Story - No one to blame for Teen's death

This is the story that gets my gall. How oh how could it be conceivable that NO ONE was to blame? This was no act of god, it was a lamppost that had rusted away till it collapsed and hit a teenage boy who was playing at the basketball court!

Possibly, what the article meant was that no one was criminally negligent. BUT surely there must be some civil liability on the part of the town council. This is an entirely justiciable (I'm sorry, I know this word does not exist, it's a legal term) case with regards to an exercise of Statutory power. One, this was not a policy issue, as we're not quibling over how often it ought to be checked. Two, this was an operational issue as it had been check a mere few days ago.

Hence, using Caparo's 3 stage test to determine Duty of Care. Was it reasonably foreseeable that such a danger would occur? Yes, it was next to the bloody basketball court. Was there proximity? Yes, circumstantial, physical and situational. Is it fair, just and reasonable for the courts to impose a duty of care? Absolutely, the town council now decides to bring in the necessary equipment to check for what it purports to be underground corrosion.

So was there breach of standard of care i.e. were the inspector's actions negligent? Even if one were to use the calculus of damage in this instance, one could quite conceivable argue that more precautions should be taken. Granted that shaking the lamppost might not have determined its fatal flaw but somehow I doubt that.

I hope that someone comes up with a real convincing reason soon. - Third judge finds late-term abortion ban unconstitutional - Sep 8, 2004

I think I've made my views manifestly clear on this point so I won't bore my readers with yet another little rant. However, I will leave one statement of expression for today. Until you have a procedure that would allow a fetus to sustain itself outside of its mother, I will never ever ever support any ban that would fundamentally be detrimental to a woman's right to CHOOSE! It's a choice not an imperitive!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

*I have the flu*

*Sniff*...I feel sniffy...*sigh*...

Monday, September 06, 2004

BBC NEWS | Health | Pesticides linked to child cancer

*Or does it?*

Read the entire article and decide for yourself. Is BBC being journalistically dishonest here? Or maybe merely misleading?

Thursday, September 02, 2004

IHT: Seoul says scientists enriched uranium

*Snigger* I think the CCP must be reallyt regretting their sale of Nuclear technology to Pakistan now. Yet another not entirely friendly neighbour has nukes capable of hitting Shanghai and Beijing. See? That's what happens when you don't play by the rules. It's all well and fine when you're a pariah, but when you're on of the stautus quo...

I don't ever think it's possible to state the dangers of nuclear weapons. The Johnny come lately of WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction), after biological and chemical warfare, nevertheless poses by far the greatest risk in terms of the ability to wipe out all life as we know it on Earth something like a number of times over. On the bright side, we know that at least that number has come down from double to single digits.

As such, I will applaud every effort made with regards to the restriction of either nuclear testing or nuclear proliferation in general. However, the realist in me has to acknowledge two every ugly truths. One, that such efforts are doomed to failure. Two, banning all forms of nuclear weapons in nigh impossible.

On the first part, states have shown a general unwillingness to stay by the status quo. With the actions of India and Pakistan, and later North Korea, any nation is a proven nuclear capability is safe. Conventional war against a nuclear armed nation, whilst not suicidal, is nevertheless very very damaging. Coupled with its destructive capability, nations who don' t have them either want them for offensive or even defensive capabilities as S Korea seems to have done so. The preservation of the status quo might demand, as part of the arms race, an acquisition of nuclear deterant force. Granted, such a shield is not much of a shield at all when it comes to unconventional threats. But, when your nasty neighbour across the borders has them and considering the absolutely dismal state of TMD's today, I think many nations feel more secure hanging their Sword of Damascus over their neighbour's head.

On the second issue, the genie is out of the bottle. And this genie is one that no one wants or is any more capable of putting it back than our government is ever going to stop launching defamation suits or Mahathir making racist comments. Asides aside (punny huh?), the reason that this is so is premised on two things. Nuclear power is clean and cheap if you don't screw around with the safeguards and two, even I as a faux art student knows how to make a nuclear bomb, um, how nuclear bombs work I mean (BBC has a wonderful section on it). So those NGOs and protesters fighting for an end to nuclear power should grow up and start doing something useful like campaigning for the mere $200 million (it's super cheap by the standards of public policy) need to bring access to clean water and sanitation to the 1.2 billion who DON'T have it! Cheap shots at the greens aside, I think Bush was on the right track when he tore up the anti-ballistic missle treaty to focus on TMD research. I mean sure, it's inaccurate, but compared to the alternative i.e. zilch, it's a million times more accurate...=) On the flip side however, why is the US researching low yield 'clean nukes'? Talk about stuff coming back to bite you on your behind...

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim set free

To quote BBC's Jonathan Kent: "It does in an important way draw a line under one of the darker periods of modern Malaysian history.

I personally think it is sad that the sodomy charges were tagged on. After all it would undermine ex PM Mahathir's legacy. If it were only corruption charges, I suppose it might have been almost believable but to charge him with sodomy in such a haphazard and sloppy fashion makes allegations of politics inspired convictions entirely believable.

In other news, the prosecution for the Kobe Bryan's case have withdrawn their charges after one of their star witness's testimony was to prove too helpful to the ex defendant. In any case, if they had proceeded, there would have been huge eggs on their face. I mean seriously now, would a rape victim proceed to have sex with another man within hours?