Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Breastfeeding Fatwa

"Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand."

An-Nisa' 34, Al-Qur'an

Emphasis mine. Apparently we need to abolish some laws concerning spousal abuse in Malaysia.
How dare they deny men their God-given right to beat the crap out of their wives, amirite?

A while back, news broke on a fatwa issued by a Dr Izzat Attya (or Atiya), head of the department of Hadith in al-Azhar University in Egypt - the world's foremost Islamic institute. Its ulamas are considered to be second to none in their knowledge about Sunni Islam (the official, legal form of the faith here in Malaysia) and other Islamic universities in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, rely on al-Azhar for academic support. So, in a way, Dr Izzat is probably one of the most eminent scholars in the world on the Hadith. The Hadith, if you're not well-versed in all that is holy in Islam, is a collection of narrations of the words and deeds in the life and times of Muhammad bin Abdullah, the Last and the Mostest Importantest Prophet of Islam. These stories and quotes were written by his wives, relatives and close associates within several years of his death and were frequently consulted to settle matters which the Qur'an is mum or isn't clear on.

The fatwa - a religious opinion concerning Islamic law by an Islamic scholar - was issued to circumvent the problem of Muslim women having to work with men in the same premises, and the inevitability of a woman finding herself alone in the same room with one or more of her male coworkers at some point. And that is an expression of the serious sin of khulwa: the act of two unrelated, unwed persons of opposite genders interacting in a secluded setting where something sexy immoral could conceivably occur.

Dr Izzat Attya's solution is simple: A Muslim woman should breastfeed all her male colleagues "directly from her breast" at least 5 times to establish a mother-son bond, and hence, could be left alone together at work.

Wait what?

Lil Kim Burqa
Holy neathage! I have a sudden burning desire to go work in the Middle East.

He ruled,

""Breast feeding an adult puts an end to the problem of the private meeting, and does not ban marriage."

"A woman at work can take off the veil or reveal her hair in front of someone whom she breastfed."

What the doc was saying is that a guy needs to plant his moist, eager lips on a woman's teats and suckle before he could be left alone with her. So, someone has to watch them do the deed first. And the guy has to call his female coworker "Mama" as well. How ludicrously kinky. Sounds more like the plot of an Islam-themed office porn flick than a religious prescription, eh? Not to mention the stipulation that a guy would have to take 5 swigs from a woman's milk bar before he can even catch a glimpse of her face or hair.

The basis of Dr Izzat's fatwa can be found in a particular
hadith but in order for this to make sense, you will need to know a bit of back-story here, which I'll condense (haha) from what I gleaned from, the Qur'an, the Hadith and other various Muslim sources.

It all started when Muhammad wanted to marry Zaynab, the hot beautiful divorcee of Muhammad's adopted son, Zayd. The prevailing laws of the time forbids a man from marrying the divorcee of his son, whether adopted or blood-related. But lo and behold, Muhammad had just the Qur'anic verses to justify this and he conveniently revealed them to all his Muslim brethren,

"And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, "Keep your wife and fear Allah ," while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished."

Surah al-Ahzab 37, Al Qur'an

It was also revealed to Prophet Muhammad that adoption is not okay in Islam (al-Ahzab 4-5), but the care and fostering of orphaned kids is still encouraged amongst Muslims. Also, foster children are not considered mahram (unmarriageable) to members of their foster families. As a result, the adopted Zayd bin Muhammad returned to carrying his biological father's name and became Zayd bin Harithah, while his ex-wife became fair game for Prophet Muhammad, yet more peace be upon him.

But that's not the end of it. With the revelation of al-Ahzab 4-5, all adoptions in the Islamic world were suddenly and summarily voided, and that opened another can of worms. Enter Abu Huthayfa and his wife, Sahla, who had adopted a freed slave called Salim before this. Sahla relied on Salim to help with the housework and the new verse made it a sin for the two to be alone together in their household. They came to the prophet for a solution and Muhammad's reply as reported in the Kitab Al-Nikah (number 3424) of the Hadith was,

"Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) said: Suckle him. She said: How can I suckle him as he is a grown-up man? Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) smiled and said: I already know that he is a young man."

This hadith on suckling a grown man is the basis of Dr Izzat Attya's fatwa.

The fallout? Outrage and much gnashing of teeth from the ummah swept through Egypt and the Arabic world, including (strangely enough) the men. Apparently, Muslims there are quite lactose intolerant, haha, geddit? Dr Izzat published an apology and retracted his fatwa, saying it was a "bad interpretation of a particular case" but all that did nothing to prevent his suspension and dismissal from his post at al-Azhar, where he may or may not have been working with some mighty fine colleagues of the female persuasion. The subject of whether or not his favourite pickup line was "Got milk?" also went sadly unreported.

Got Milk
"It's builds your bones - and your boners!"

Mahmoud Zaqzouq, Egypt's minister of religious affair, reportedly said that future fatwas should "be compatible with logic and human nature." That made me laugh a little for, er, some inexplicable reason.

So, was the fatwa inherently flawed? Was it not in concordance with the Qur'an and the Hadith? Was it really a "bad interpretation" as he said when he rescinded the fatwa? Sounds like a perfectly valid interpretation to me, but that's just my opinion. And no one would dispute its incompatibility with simple, non-religious logic, of course, but does it really go against human nature? It has the stench of human nature all over it, methinks.

Was rooting for this particular fatwa,
k0k s3n w4i

Thursday, May 27, 2010

7 Village Noodle House of Jalan Raja Uda

"Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat."

Fran Lebowitz

7 Village

Now, any Malaysian foodie worth his or her salt would automatically be mistrustful of a restaurant selling hawker-style food which looks this ostentatious. The fare would rarely be exceptionally good and the price would usually just be exceptional - but I had it on good authority that this establishment started more than two decades ago as a little roadside stall not far from its current locus a little off the well-known Jalan Raja Uda of mainland Penang. There is no doubt that it must have served real good eats to have achieved this level of success but the real question is: did it maintain its cooking standards when it took an upgrade?

Not that I have an answer. I was only in Butterworth for a month, but this place was certainly near the top of my Penang food hit-list - mainly because of its proximity to Phoeb's place where I was staying for a spell.

Note that this place is also called Restoran Lin, though I don't think many people refer to it as such.

7 Village Interior
The non air-conditioned section. Check out the convenient English menu board for us Chinese illiterate blood betrayers.

The interior is divvied into two adjacent sections; the one with air-conditioning, and the other without. There's a modern-ish cafe vibe this place was going for and I certainly dug the comfy, clean feeding pen. While how a place looks rarely figures into my decision to return to an eating place over and over (and over) again, I do appreciate a restauranteur's efforts at beautifying his or her business.

And I am someone who wouldn't mind paying a little more for it.

7 Village Koay Teow Th'ng
The deal.

The 7 Village Noodle House's main draw and star attraction is their koay teow th'ng, a ubiquitous - and I do mean ubiquitous - Penang fare. For those not brought up with a firm grounding in Hokkien food terms, koay teow refers to a form of popular Chinese flat rice noodle while the suffix th'ng usually means that something is drowned in a soup or broth. It literally means soup when used as a standalone word.

The thing about koay teow th'ngs are that they all taste pretty much the same. It is really, really hard to fuck up such a simple dish. The flat rice noodle wouldn't differ much (if at all) no matter where you get them. The only room for manoeuvre lies in the soup base and the accompaniments. In this case, the soup's pretty pedestrian - especially if you compare it to the broth which came with Lebuh Chulia's Lam Ah beef koay teow th'ng, one of my absolutely favourite eats on the island. But perhaps it's unfair to compare apples and oranges.

As for the accompaniments, the 7 Village bowl comes with a patty minced pork, a pair of fishballs, some chicken strips along with a sprinkling of chopped spring onion and fried onion flakes. They were all perfectly adequate, of course, but mediocrity simply doesn't cut it for me. And the minced pork patty was sinfully bland and dry. It was somehow almost completely waterproof.

The price tag, however, was surprisingly reasonable. It was only RM 2.80 for a small serving (only 30 cents more than the standard price for this dish) and RM 3.80 for a big one. While I may sound quite critical in my assessment, it's actually not a bad dish at all. And the environ of the shop pretty much makes up for the slight price hike, if you ask me.

You might wonder why I even bother reviewing such an average eatery - and if you are interested in knowing, there are two reasons why I did so. The first is this,

7 Village La Mian
The better deal.

This is the 7 Village la mian or hand-pulled Chinese noodle. La means "pulled" or "stretched" in Mandarin, while mian means "noodle"; and some people believe that the Japanese term, ramen, has its etymological root in it. It comes only in one size and costs RM 5.80 - which is a little pricey, sure, but it always felt like money well-spent after every bowl I ate. The noodle is firm and tasty but the true strength of this dish is the thin pork slices it's served with. They are well-marinated, juicy and not too gummy on the chew. Also, the soft-cooked or jellied egg was perfect. I'm not a fan of eggs in general but I can certainly recognise eggscellence haha excellence when I see it. It was boiled evenly and was not runny at all.

I returned to 7 Village many times for lunch, and I only ordered their specialty, the koay teow th'ng just once. It's the la mian the rest of the time for me.

Reason number two is this,

7 Village Mint Tea
You can try and guess what this is but you would all be invariably wrong.

They serve mint tea here! Any place that serves mint tea is automatically awesome and righteous in my book. I have a serious mint addiction. I must tell you guys about it sometimes.

It's listed as "cool mint" in their menu though, and I pretty much had the entire waiting staff scratching their heads when I placed my order for a glass of "mint tea" in one of my earlier visits.

Besides the two main things I've mentioned, there are a sundry of other side dishes you can call to accompany your koay teow th'ng or la mian. I only ever tried two items from their menu and both were quite forgettable,

7 Village Kwan Jiang
It's written as kwan jiang traditional on the menu board. Verdict: I have no idea what the fuck I just ate.

7 Village Lor Bak
Lor bak, which is basically a deep fried meat roll wrapped with bean curd skin.

There's only one good thing to come out of ordering these sides; I noticed for the first time that the Chinese character for "seven" looks like the Hindu-Arabic numeral symbol for the same thing when turned upside down. Yes, that "7" we are all used to albeit with the strike-through people usually employ to differentiate it from "1" or to be cool, or something. If you didn't know what our commonly used numbers are actually called, you learnt something new today by reading my blog.

7 Village Charger
Phone charger with lock boxes. They have a similar setup outside for umbrellas - sans the charging, of course.

The shop is not located right by the main road so it can be tricky to find if you're not equipped with some basic intructions. Just drive along Jalan Raja Uda in the northward direction till you see a Petronas petrol station - try and spot it while it's still far away. There's a positively tiny signboard by the roadside with the restaurant's symbol (the stylised yellow Chinese "seven" seen in the picture above) several metres before the Petronas station which will ask you to turn left, bringing you into Lorong Ceri 6. Go straight in and you'll see the shop on your right.

Alternatively, you can turn left into the lane right before and right beside the Petronas station, Lorong Ceri 5, and drive straight in till the end of the row of shophouses till you see a corner restaurant called Sai Toh Lim. 7 Village Noodle House is in the row behind it.

GPS coords according to Google Earth are 5°25'16.85"N and 100°22'49.84"E.

I mentioned Sai Toh Lim because I'm going to review it next and it's pretty much a direct competitor of 7 Village. Now, I'm retiring to bed because tomorrow morning, I'm driving up to KL for the day to do a spot of book-shopping. A growing boy needs his reads.

Practically a Butterworth native by now,
k0k s3n w4i

Sunday, May 23, 2010

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished in Catholicism

"To the woman He said: "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be your husband, and he shall rule over you."

Genesis 3:16

Too often I have heard people defending the Roman Catholic Church saying that in spite of its misdeeds throughout the annals of history, it remained a force for good and a custodian of morality - excepting those episodes of lapses when the Church was "misguided" or "led astray", of course. Those are the euphemism they use to describe all manners of murder, torture, bigotry, corruption and warmongery this self-proclaimed bastion of morality have perpetrated and engendered throughout the ages. Burned a scientist that disagreed with the Pope? Sorry, we were just "misguided", tee hee.

People should see that decrepit institution as I do: a constant reminder of the atrocities humans are capable of when they allow Dogma to rule over Reason.

Last week, news broke on yet another glowing sampler of the sort of morality offered by the Catholic Church. The story goes like this:

At the St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center at Phoenix, Arizona, a young lady was severely ill from Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH) complicating her 11-week pregnancy. Just so everyone can be on the same page here, medicos and non-medicos alike; PPH is a rare, progressive condition where there's between 30 to 50% chance the mother could DIE as a result of it. It's not exactly one of those things where you simply tell a patient to go and walk it off, is my point. While there's no consensus yet on what exactly causes the disease, everybody and their grandmothers know that pregnancy just makes it worse.

Enter our heroic nun, Sister Margaret McBride who, in her capacity a member of the ethics committee decided - along with with the patient and her doctors - that the best course of action was to abort the pregnancy. And they did. The woman survived. A bittersweet ending, yes, but c'est la vie and all that, you know?

Except, that's not the end of it.

In comes Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, fuckhead - oops, I mean head of the Phoenix Diocese, who said that Sister Margaret was "automatically excommunicated" for her role in the decision. He wrote,

"I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese. I am further concerned by the hospital's statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother's underlying medical condition."

"An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother's life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means."

"The Catholic Church will continue to defend life and proclaim the evil of abortion without compromise, and must act to correct even her own members if they fail in this duty"

So what about the already-born mother, Bishop Thomas J. Fuckhead? Is her life worth less than her 11 weeks old proto-baby? No one is saying that an unborn child is a disease here - but attempting to carry the baby to term would almost certainly kill her. And does the end of protecting your precious doctrines justify your means of belief that that woman ought to just suck it and die? I am gravely concerned, Monsignor Fuckhead, that you're considered the voice of moral authority over every Catholic institution which falls within your diocese.

Can anyone honestly tell me if Jesus himself would condone what this subhuman scumbag would have done if he was in Sister Margaret's position in that last-minute, life-or-death situation?

The coldblooded beast would have stood aside and let BOTH the woman and her child die.

Bishop Fuckhead
I mean, just look at his fuck face.

Remember now that this misogynistic shit-stain is NOT A DOCTOR by any stretch of the imagination. He should have absolutely no authority whatsoever in the formulation of a hospital's ethical practice.

Sister Margaret, who really should receive accolades and much kudos for her decision, was instead excommunicated and reassigned - and neither the hospital nor the bishop's office would say if Bishop Olmsted was directly involved in demoting her. You see, in the upside-down, topsy-turvy world of the Roman Catholic Church where men wears pimped-out dresses and holy blings; you are wrong if you save a life and should receive punishment for your good deed. But if you fucked children and made them suck your dick, the Church will help secrete you to someplace where the law can't reach you and make your victims sign vows of silence to protect you from the police. This is what the Catholic Church really stands for. It cares about protecting its good name more than justice and morality. It will defend its dogma more readily than it will defend your life.

If you are at all a decent person, these practices of the Catholic Church should disturb you - and then anger you.

As a medical student, I warn you against going to a Catholic hospital to seek help when you're ill. You'll never know when some morally bankrupt cross-dresser like Bishop Olmsted is going to decide to let you die just to pursue some "misguided" Catholic agenda. I mean, this is something even the Catholic laity can get behind on. What if it's your wife who's dying of PPH and her condition is critical enough that she would definitely die unless an abortion is performed? What if some creepy old priest on the ethics committee says "No abortion. She's a daughter of Eve so God sez she must suffer, LOL?" They might not even inform you of all the options available to you and your wife just so you won't be tempted to "sin" at all.

This is yet another example of why religion and the religious deserve absolutely no respect.

P.S. I might just start doing writeups on all the horrible things religious people do on a regular basis, so more people will realise that all these antiquated superstitions and woo have no place in our enlightened, modern society.

Hopes to see the Roman Catholic
Church destroyed in his lifetime,
k0k s3n w4i

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shrek Forever After: A Review

"Do the roar."

The Do-the-Roar Kid
in Shrek Forever After (2010)

I'm relieved that they did not go on with the sequel naming scheme which they pinched from the Blackadder series (Blackadder the Third, Blackadder Goes Forth). Shrek the Third, aside from having a pretty much plagiarised name, was also what I would call a late term abortion; it got us pregnant with expectation but when it finally comes out, no one feels like laughing.

I get it that it had become cool to hate the Shrek franchise in the film geekdom but I cannot, in all honesty, take part in that bandwagon. I have grown to love the ridiculously anachronistic pastiche fairytale world that Shrek, Fiona and all their public domain friends inhabits. The cynic in me knows that the franchise have degenerated into a naked cash grab (and common sense agrees), but it still made me a little sad to know that Shrek Forever After will the be the final entry into the Shrek canon. And I say; leave the incredibly original Oscar-worthy CGI films to Pixar - there's nothing wrong with DreamWorks Animation sticking to the savvy, pop culture referencing animated legacy that they have built from feet up on the foundation of the first Shrek film.

Shrek Poster
Originally Shrek Goes Forth.

It's a testament to my great love for the corpulent green ogre that I paid RM 16 for a 3D screening on opening night to see how the final chapter plays out, even when I know in advance that the premise of Shrek Forever After is basically Shrek's struggle with midlife crisis (oy vey). I harbour no unrealistic expectations and I have steeled myself to possibly endure yet another Shrek the Third debacle - and I certainly made no plan to review it.

But it proved to be a movie worth reviewing.

It's like this; Shrek's living his happily ever after with Fiona and their three (some say) adorable ogrelings, Fergus, Farkle and Felicia. His swampside house is now a tourist attraction; Puss, Donkey and his mutant babies are permanent house guests; and his outhouse is perpetually clogged. The villagers who used to run at the sight of Shrek are now guests at his kids' first birthday party, clamouring for him to "do the roar" and asking him to sign their pitchforks. He longed for the days when he was a feared, loathsome swamp beast before he became the domesticated family ogre he is now.

Enter Rumplestiltskin, a ratty, sneaky little lizard of a man who offered Shrek a deal; give up any one day of his childhood and he'll get a day in return - a day in which he would feel like a real ogre again. And poof we go, to a bizarro Far Far Away in which Shrek was never born, Donkey has never met Shrek, Fiona is a warrior princess leading a freedom-fighting guerilla army of ogres and Puss is Garfield. Now, Shrek would have to befriend Donkey and Puss all over again and make Fiona fall for him... all over again.

Yes, I know it sounds like a real contrived plot device constructed solely to take advantage of what we loved about the first two films but it worked for me. And it worked for me because I actually care about Shrek and Fiona, and this film made me realise that. Once you got me on board that train, you pretty much got me seated for the entire performance. Shrek Forever After shows the flip side to the first movie's story; what if Shrek never rescued Fiona from the highest room in the tallest tower of the dragon's keep? I won't spoil anything but a heartbreaking scene in a certain princess' chamber somewhere drove the point home for me.

In most of the other instances when this film reached out for my heartstrings, I could just barely feel a tug. I guess it's just a sign that this franchise needs retiring. While many, many fans feel that this is one (or three) sequel too many, I think that a trilogy is a pretty good place to be. Yes, I'm pretending that Shrek the Third was never born - presumably because it signed a rigged contract with Rumplestiltskin in an attempt make itself a better movie.

The name Rumplestiltskin had always sounded like an innuendo to me.

Unlike the boring, uncharismatic Prince Charming who played the central villain of Shrek the Third (which I feel contributed most to the film's failure), the manically animated Rumplestiltskin was a constant delight to watch. If you have never heard of the voice actor, Walt Dohrn, it's because he mostly voiced peripheral characters in the last two movies and is the originally just the Head of Story for this. Apparently, Dohrn was only voicing Rumple in the scratch track - a prelim recording just to give an idea of how the character would sound like - and it stuck. They simply couldn't find anyone else who can voice the character better. Fellow film geek, Shaki - with whom I watched Shrek Forever After with - clued me in on this.

Wow, Walt Dohrn looks nothing like how I imagined him to be.

Of course, Jennifer Saunder's Fairy Godmother will always be my favourite Shrek villain but Rumple, in my opinion at least, is better than John Lithgow's Lord Fuckwad Farquaad.

It's subtle but you might notice that while Shrek Forever After is as funny as either of the first two films, there are much less in-your-face pop culture references and more of cartoonish physical comedy. Its soundtrack also hit all the right notes the second movie did but sadly, there is nothing here that is comparable to Shrek 2's storm-the-castle-astride-a-giant-gingerbread-man sequence set with Jennifer Saunder's epic performance of Holding Out For a Hero in the background (gosh, I want to rewatch that NOW). The fourth film, however, did give us pretty hilarious montage of Shrek's day as a real ogre again and causing general slapstick mayhem to the villagers scored to The Carpenters' Top of the World; the whole scene is a Shrek classic, if there's ever such a thing. And since we're on the subject of soundtracks, I thought the best thing to come out of Shrek the Third is Damien Rice's song, 9 Crimes, which featured Lisa Hannigan.

Aside from Rumple, we were also introduced to the Pied Piper - a bounty hunter hired by Rumple to do a spot of ogre hunting for him. There wasn't a voice actor in the role but I liked the character immensely anyhow. One of the things I enjoy best about the Shrek series is to see how they reinterpret fairytale characters; and the black-clad, Crispin Glover-ish Piper is one cool glass of water indeed,

That's some mighty fine tootin' right there.

That all-ogre dance sequence set to a flute-version of the 1978 hit Shake Your Groove Thing in the film has a truly inspired choreography and it actually wowed Shaki and I at one point. If there's anything I dislike about Shrek Forever After, it's the Piper's minuscule amount of screen time.

With any luck, we might see him again in the Shrek spinoff next year.

"Wait, spinoff?! What spinoff?" I hear you gasp agog.

If you haven't heard, they are going to build a movie around Antonio Banderas' character and they are calling it Puss in Boots: Story of an Ogre Killer. Salma Hayek is slated to voice the love interest pussy, Kitty, so that's great news - she has such great chemistry with Banderas (I am thinking of a very specific scene in Desperado, of course). I'd make a joke about cats having six mammaries, but that's probably in poor taste. The bad news is Chris Miller, the bloke who directed Shrek the Third, was tapped to helm this. We shall see how this ship sails.

As a final word in this review, I advice everyone who loved the Shrek films to go see this in theatres before its 3D run runs out - though don't anyone expect How to Train Your Dragon's level of pure visceral joy and visual awe. I personally feel that the 3D enhanced the viewing experience marginally, but the lack of it certainly won't ruin the film for you. So if you're feeling skint, the 2D version should be perfectly serviceable.

Now we'll see if DreamWork's next slew of movies will come up to scratch. MegaMind is next, and a full trailer had just premiered.

P.S. LOL, little grandma kittens.

Holding out for another hero,
k0k s3n w4i

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Religious Deserve No Respect

"The biblical account of Noah's Ark and the Flood is perhaps the most implausible story for fundamentalists to defend. Where, for example, while loading his ark, did Noah find penguins and polar bears in Palestine?"

Judith Hayes

It is deeply ingrained into our society's mind that we owe every religion and its adherents due respect merely because they exist. On a pragmatic level, this will probably save us from a lot of unpleasantness and possibly prevent the desolation of all of human civilisation in a mushroom cloud of "holy" wars - and more pertinently in Malaysia, a country which is predominantly Muslim, the reaction to criticism towards Islam all too easily degenerates into violence.

Do not for one moment, however, mistake my fear for respect.

In a previous post I penned on human evolution and the Neanderthal genome project, I displayed a complete irreverence for Bible literalists and Christian Young Earth Creationists; an irreverence I've hinted at in my previous posts on religion, but never actually demonstrated with all the bells and whistles. In the comments section, I engaged a holier-than-thou Christian apologist and proselytiser in a debate I've experienced a hundred times over in the past (and a lot of atheists will tell you that talking to a godbot feels akin to talking to a brick wall) where I promptly dropped all pretensions of courtesy. Anyhow, at some point, he demanded that I respect what he believes in, and my response was, um, colourful, to say the least,

"As for giving you and your religion respect... GO FUCK YOURSELF. Do you realise WHAT you're asking me to respect? You are asking me to respect a system of belief that calls for MY eternal torture just because I'm not one of its sheeple. You are asking me to respect an institution that has perpetrated some of the greatest injustices to humanity for centuries. You are asking me to respect a fairytale book filled with murder, intolerance, misogyny, homophobia and massacres. Come, let me hear you ask for my respect one more time now."

"Disturbing" was one of the adjectives he used to describe me. Now, the drama extended off-site a wee bit where another person also found my disrespect for other people's religion "disturbing". I wonder if at any point in time these people realise what EXACTLY it is they are asking me to respect? I have to respect their conviction that I deserve eternal torment at the hands of their god? I have to respect their psychopathic approval of the condemnation of so many of their innocent fellow human beings to hellfire?

What a fucking ridiculous proposition.

Hell yeah.

This is my point of contention; the automatic deference everyone is expected to offer up to religion and the religious, and how it is asked of us by people who do not even take a single minute to consider what that deference entails. Listen, I respect every human being's freedom to believe in whatever nonsense they want to. I have never, in my life, told anyone that they should abandon their faith and superstitions - but that is about as far as my respect would go. And why do these pious types have such a strong sense of entitlement when their entire worldview is built around the damnation of people like me? I have listened to enough church sermons to have no illusions about the "respect" they reserve for my ilk. Just because they don't drop the F-bomb in every other sentence doesn't mean that they actually respect me when they say they do.

What's even more bewildering and alarming to me is that they should find my disrespect "disturbing" but is totally cool with their all-loving and all-merciful god's policy of torturing untold numbers of basically decent people who happen to believe in something other than the Christian faith, and people who died without having any exposure to the Gospels - for ETERNITY without RESPITE. How can they approve such obscene atrocities and still be "disturbed" when all I did was deny them the respect they feel they oh-so-richly deserve?

Religion, I fear, have poisoned their sense of what's right and wrong. Insolence is evil. Sadistic everlasting torture is a-okay!

Mark Twain has something to say about that, and I quote him from Letters from the Earth (1962),

"... the world calls him the All-Just, the All-Righteous, the All-Good, the All-Merciful, the All-Forgiving, the All-Truthful, the All-Loving, the Source of All Morality. These sarcasms are uttered daily, all over the world."

When people use the same strong language in quarrels about political ideas, music genres or their favourite footie team or American Idol, we never hear these same shrill entreaties for respect. Considering that religion is also a matter of personal choice, why then must we toe the line in favour of the religious in these discussions?

As I've said in yet another post on religion,

"I do not believe in pussyfooting around the subject. Any idea - especially religious ideas - should be open to dispute. No one's ideas should ever be sacrosanct or protected from criticism merely because they are religious. The Spanish Inquisition was a religious idea. Hitler's Endlösung der Judenfrage and notions of a divinely-favoured master race (and an Aryan Jesus) were also religious ideas."

And let me also add that it is pure folly to allow any viral idea to stew and proliferate unchecked. That's where the darkest chapters of human civilisation have their gnarled and twisted roots. Remember September 11. Remember the witch hunts and the Holocaust. Remember the honour killings and the human sacrifices. Remember when burning "heretics" alive was a perfectly legit way to resolve theological disputes. For a more contemporary instance of the problem of giving religion too much respect; we have the latest Catholic scandal of child-fucking priests and the Holy See's hand in covering them up (I've been following the BBC News site obsessively on this). Any non-religious organisation involved in such extensive obstruction of the law and the legal process would be deemed a criminal body, and international outrage would be so much the fiercer. It is a token of this horribly misplaced respect for religion that that fuckhead of a Pope isn't arrested the moment he places his Prada-clad feet outside of the Vatican.

I was also frequently told that I should not blame modern followers of a religion for the atrocities that their predecessors have committed in the past - a position I firmly disagree with. I believe it is our moral duty to constantly remind the faithful of the lurid, bloodstained legacy that their organisations have scarred this world with. We should constantly tell them, "THIS is what happened back when you guys were absolutely certain that you were right. THIS is what you people did the last time you thought God was on your side." Besides, just because these groups of people have remained relatively peaceable for several decades, whitewashing their reputations with the sheer passage of time; it doesn't mean that we should so hurriedly forgive centuries of their crimes and ignore the still-evident bigotry lying just beneath the polish.

Gott Mit Uns
And speaking of polish; it says "God with us". The Nazi Wehrmacht or unified armed forces wore these on their belts. Just sayin'.

To every person of faith reading this:

You do not ask for respect - you earn it. You deserve respect for believing in a deity as much as someone deserve respect for believing in fairies, invisible pink unicorns or the goddamn Batman. Deal with it. One should not get automatic respectability simply for being religious. I will respect your race, your gender, your sexual orientation, your freedoms, your rights, your deeds... but I will not respect you for your beliefs and creeds.

And if you come into this blog demanding respect from me, I will quite reliably lose my temper and ask you to forcibly penetrate yourself from behind.

P.S. It is true that I afford far more respect to religious people who happen to also be my friends - but that's because I know them personally and have a good measure of their actions and morals. If you're a stranger commenting in this blog, you're nothing more than a mouthpiece for whichever religion you profess to.
And the moment I feel that creepy missionary vibe emanating from you, the kiddie gloves come off.

P.P.S. I neither expect nor desire anyone's respect for my unbelief - and anyone is welcome to challenge (however rudely) everything I've said. However, I know it's far more likely that religious people would simply read this post superficially, declare "OMG, EVIL ATHEIST HAVE NO RESPECT FOR ME ME ME!" and completely ignore all the excellent points I made.

P.P.P.S. The opinions written in this post are mine and mine only. I do not presume to speak for other atheists.

Occasionally angry atheist,
k0k s3n w4i

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Special Delivery from Teluk Intan

"Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn't seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces."

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Not frightfully relevant, but I thought it's a nice quote to share.

I made a deal with my ex-roommate, class representative and all-round champion nice guy, Inn Shan, that if he gets me some of Teluk Intan's famous heong peng/peah, I'd get him some pickled nutmeg from Penang in return. It's a deal sworn in blood and brotherly clasped arms; a promise made between Real Men in a thunderstorm amidst seasprays from violent waves slamming on an epic cliff face. It's more manly than an outdoor barbecue - more manly than even than a hundred seppukus! Seppukus with handlebar moustaches no less!

And I totally dropped the ball on my end.

Yeah, I forgot to bring pickled nutmeg back from Penang like I said I would, and poor Inn Shan who was looking forward to some cool, sour, crispy, minty nutmeg pickles would have to wrestle with the dark, deep depths of disappointment and despair that can only come from a person being denied a snack he's been expecting to consume. I feel your pain, Inn Shan. I had a similar experience when I four when I dropped an ice-cream cone on the roadside and I was told that it was all my fault and that I didn't deserve a replacement cone. Tragic day, it was - I shed many a single tears.

Sorry, mate. I will make it up to you come August when I return to Penang.

Lots of Heong Peng
A bagful of Inn Shan's manly but totally non-homoerotic love for me.

I fell in love with two of Teluk Intan's most well known eats (their heong peng and their very special mutant chee cheong fun) when I made a short dinner stopover there back in 2007 after a Penang road trip with Inn Shan and Sze Yin - and I still pine for them on most nights after I have run out of most other things to pine for (I usually pine for yet another album by Regina Spektor, a fully-electric Mini Cooper and the death of organised religions worldwide). I would also have loved me several kilograms packets of fresh Liew Kee's chee cheong fun but since the shop is only open for the evening meal peoples, Inn Shan couldn't get them for me as he was leaving his hometown in the morning.

This time, he got me Ta Sin Guan Tin confectionery's heong peng instead of Hup Aik's, but I must say it's as just delicious as the latter. I assert this as a matter of personal opinion, of course.

Heong Peng
More of Inn Shan's viscous, sticky love for me inside. Wait, that came out wrong.

For my non-Chinese, non Malaysian readers (I know I have some, don't lie), heong peng literally means fragrant biscuits or pastries. They are incredibly flaky, have sprinkles of aromatic sesame seeds on top and are filled with with a gooey, ambrosial, sweet-savoury filling born of the sexy union between malt sugar and shallots. Don't you just feel like sinking your teeth into that picture above now? I've no idea if these fucking delicious baked stuff are kosher, halal, or whatever word it is that Hindus use to say "contains no cow" but lucky me, I suffer from no dietary restrictions whatsoever.

Someday, I got to try some of Ipoh's heong peng too since that town's version is supposedly much more famous. Any Ipoh native feeling generous here?

My diet plans are crumbling around me faster than my life's happiness. See, I just started the final year of med school and after a brief disorientation session by the faculty this morning, my future seems like this dark and joyless place to me.

But at least I'll have pastries.

All gooey inside,
k0k s3n w4i

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lost Weight, Won Bet

"We are the pretty people
You wanna look like us
We are the pretty people
Give it up, give it up, give it up
We are the pretty people
Best of humankind
We are the pretty people
Flawless by design"

Pretty People (2004) by Dexter Freebish

This prodigal son returneth from Butterworth yesterday morning after a grueling 7 hours of unaccompanied, monotonous driving (though the scenery on the highway just south of Ipoh was real grand, I must mention). If you think that's hard, try upping the ante by starting the journey at 4:00 am after skipping an entire night's sleep. For those who were worried about my safety, fret no more. For those that have been hoping for news of my demise, sorry to disappoint.

Now, remember this post I wrote about a month ago? In that, I mentioned in passing that I wanted to lose 5.0 kilograms of hunk meat off my manly girth while I was half-vacationing in the de facto food capital of Malaysia - that is to say, I was taking on a task most Herculean. Overconfident much?


I actually did it! I lost not 5 but 6 kilos in 5 weeks - dropping from 76 to 70. To put it into perspective, that's about 8% of my total body weight. It's quite a feat, even if it did not compare to that other time when I shed 9 kilos over 3 weeks through semi-starvation. Now, in case anyone starts shouting "ANOREXIC!" in my face, I want to point out that I have no body image problems whatsoever. In fact, anytime my weight goes above 74 kg, my body mass index falls squarely into 'overweight' territory. I am merely trying to maintain a healthy average, is all.

The story actually started at the beginning of this year when I discover that I am circling 77 kg after an impromptu weighing in at an ENT clinic where I was posted. In March, I told my grandmother that I'm turning vegan for a month and told her to adjust the dinner menu thus - though I still devour with gusto the flesh of many small and large animals outside of home throughout that period. I figured that turning the biggest meal of my day into rabbit feed would would be a big blow to my caloric intake, and at the same time, I also intensified my daily routine of crunches and push-ups which I started sometime at the end of last year (this, I'll explain why later).

All that only managed to lose me one measly kilo.

1 kg
I was crushed.

Now in Penang, I revised my strategy and... no, I did not resort to dodgy weight loss supplements, but I did follow this regime;
  • Order only the smallest possible portion whenever I eat out, and finishing only about three-fourths of it. If a serving is big, I split it with Phoebs. Strictly only 2 meals a day, and no snacks - or rather, I've replaced snacking with swigging fruit juices. Calorie-wise, I actually ate less than Phoebs on most days.
  • Swim till exhaustion 4-5 times a week. And by 'swim' I mean 'flail about helplessly like I'm drowning' since I've never actually taken lessons.
  • Crunches and push-ups every other day.
  • Always choose the stairs when going up. My parking spot in Phoebs' condo building is on the 4th floor while her unit is on the 12th floor - so that's 2 to 3 times a day of massive stair-climbing because we both enjoy going out a lot. Moreover, the pool is on the 5th floor so after every dip, I have to drag my battered, limp body up seven entire floors as well.
When I return from yesterday to Malacca, my grandmother said that I look thinner. Would you believe that it had been 3 long years since the last time I hear anyone say that to me? Hold on, I think I got something in my eyes...

Somewhat related to this is a wager I made with Phoebe last year and the condition of that wager is; whoever manage to have visible semilunar lines first, he or she wins an iPod Touch (or another gadget of comparable value). Essentially, we're betting half of our very first paychecks here and I only did it because I needed a strong motivation to work out. As for Phoebs - well, she just wanted an iPod Touch very, very much.

For those that did not have the benefit of a whole year of human anatomy classes, the semilunar line is a curved groove running along the lateral border of each rectus abdominis muscle - and the two abdominal recti form what is colloquially known as the "six pack".

Semilunar Line
Meh, close enough.

I won that bet, naturally.

And no, I won't post up any pictures of my abs here because I swore never to bare my body to get ahead in life on the internet. You never know where those photographs might show up, you know.

Of course, being the awesomely magnanimous boyfriend that I am, I allowed to Phoebe to extend the conditions of the bet (after I have won) to whoever gets a six-pack first so she would have a chance to win it back. I never seem to have been able to collect my winnings from all the bets I have made in the past. A friend said that he would cut his penis off if I manage to get a girl to be my girlfriend while another friend said that he would eat 10 kg of his own shit. That girl would later become the Ex-Grrrfriend™ that I mention occasionally in this journal (and just in case anyone reading this is a star Olympic Conclusion-jumper; I was already going after her at the time, and yeah, my high school friends were dicks).

Now, that I think of it, the Ex-Grrrfriend™ also lost a bet to me once, and my prize was that I can ask her to do anything - anything at all - and she would have to comply. The main reason why I didn't feel like holding her up to her end of the bargain was because I lost a bet to her in turn - and that one says that I have to dress in drag in a maternity dress (complete with a faux-womb) and allow her to take photographs of me.

Over my dead, now-sexy body. Oh yeah.

One of the pretty people,
k0k s3n w4i

Friday, May 14, 2010

Our Month Living Together

"Oh, oh, starry eyed
Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit me with lightning."

Starry Eyed (2010) by Ellie Goulding

I am a difficult person at the best of times, and so much more difficult to live with - I understand this. I am not a man with illusions about his failings. I am arrogant, irreverent, obsessive, disrespectful of authority and conventions, and on top of it all, kind of a slob and a know-it-all. So understandably, I am apprehensive of the prospect of living together with anyone for an extended length of time. Scrape apprehensive - the whole concept scares my pants into low Earth orbit.

"I can't imagine having a boyfriend like me," I've told Phoebs many, many times. "I can't even be friends with someone like myself. I'm precisely the sort of person I despise socialising with."

But I did it. I lived together with my girlfriend for more than a month, and we managed it without any bloodshed serious altercations. Except that incident with the mop. The floor was obviously clean after I was through with it, Miss Phoebe. When you insisted on mopping it again, you're clearly smearing faeces all over my handiwork (note: I don't mean this literally). What if I take the Maggi mee you already cooked, huh, and cook it for an extra 2 more minutes? You will have to eat soft, sodden, overcooked instant noodle, that's what. And that's so not delicious.

Now, it seems foolish to be so worried about being stuck together for this short period of time - and it appears so much shorter to me right now looking at it from the last night I'll be spending with her (note: this I mean literally). As I go tap-tap on the keyboard this instance, Phoebe lies in sweet repose, dreaming whatever dreams it is that Phoebes dream. And because she insulted my honour by mopping over the floor I've already mopped, I am going to take revenge by rudely waking her up at 4:00 am on a school night by whispering in her ear,

"I love you."

She stirred. Success! My honour has been avenged!

"I heard that," she breathed lazily, and ruffled my hair in that way I adore so much. It makes me feel like a puppy. If I have a tail I would wag it right there and then.

"Go back to sleep," I told her. "I'm not sleeping tonight. There's something that I want to do."

"What is it?" she asked.

"Manly stuff," I told her, and returned here to continue this little letter.

Aside from my numerous and colourful foibles, Phoebs and I also have to contend with our diametrically opposing worldviews; I am an atheist, flaming and shrill, and she is a good Christian girl. This, I do not have to tell you, is one of the top entries in The Great Whopping Recipe Book of Disaster. I have had friends asking me how we managed to make it work for the last... how long has it been since the Boxing Day of '07? Gosh, we're halfway through our third year already and it didn't feel as if we have to work at it at all. We've fought all of 3 or 4 times in total with any seriousness all this while, and it has not once ever been about our very differing positions on faith and god. If miracles exist, this is one for the canon.

Truth is, we didn't make it work. At least, the "we" part of it is untrue. Phoebs made it work, and she did it pretty much single-handedly. It's hard to explain but it's just impossible to start a quarrel with her. Maybe I can furnish an example,

In one recent instance (one of many), I spent hours pulling apart Biblical scriptures verse by verse in an incredibly dull damn engaging monologue to her. Then, I launched into a rant about the latest lies committed by yet another American evangelical preacher on the public to discredit legitimate science while telling her about a report I read the other day on cetacean evolution. Right after that, I burst into a passionate soliloquy about human morality in general and how religion... oh, you get the picture, right?

Anyhow, when I finally (finally!) stopped talking, I noticed that Phoebe appeared to be deep in thought. There was a short, solemn pause before she turned and looked me in the eyes and asked me,

"Can we go for ice-cream tonight?!"

She had that childlike earnestness in her eyes which tells you that ice-creams are a very serious business indeed.

"Wha- were you even paying attention to me at all?" I sulked in mock-indignation.

"Of course I did! You were talking about the Bible, like usual! And something about a creature, or preacher, or something like that. Wait, wait... you mentioned whales too! See, I was paying attention! Hey, that dress is sooo cute! Let's go into that shop!"

I'm mostly paraphrasing here since I do not have an eidetic memory (but the ice-cream line is totally true, I swear). Sometimes, the only logical response to Phoebe's absurdities is to laugh - and she makes me laugh very often. I have never met a girl who can be so unintentionally hilarious so much of the time.

She has started snoring softly now. Haha, can't wait to laugh at her about it when she wakes up at seven. Speaking of waking up, her alarm will raise hell in less than hour. I better finish writing this.

While waiting for the elevator to take us up to her place after we returned from a dinner date with her cousin, I nudged her and said,

"Don't cry when I leave, okay?"

"Cannot," she said, wrapping her arms around my waist and burying her face in my sweater. "Must cry."

And I didn't say anything after that. Felt oddly unfinished, won't you agree? So right here and now, I would like to finish what I have started.

Phoebe, don't cry when I leave, okay? You cried every time we have to part and to tell you the truth, it breaks my heart to see you so sad. I don't want to be the reason you do something so unlike yourself. I want to thank you yet again for loving me so completely, flaws and all - and till today, two-and-a-half years down our road, I am still incredulous that I managed to win your heart. I dislike making promises I have no way of knowing I can keep like "I will love you for eternity" or "I will never leave you" - I think they are just sweet nothings and empty calories that goes down easy, but never nourish.

What I can honestly say instead is; Right this moment here, I feel like I can love you for all of time, I want to be with you till the day I die and I wish you feel the same way too.

And I laid these words out in writing in case they need to last forever.

Phoebe at Oldtown

This half of us,
k0k s3n w4i

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Caveman in Us All

"To be human: To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape."

Hogfather (1997) by Terry Pratchett

BBC reported yet another incidence of science marching on yesterday as the majority of humanity still cling on to the literal interpretation of a bunch of doggerels started by a tribe of superstitious shepherds in the fucking Bronze Age, and was added to by four followers (who, by the way, can't seem to get their stories straight) of a Jewish Magic Man in Pontius Pilate's Judea who was his own father, born of a virgin, went dead for a weekend and is devoured every Sunday ever since by his believers in the form of little holy crackers. I usually say all of this in a ridiculous sing-song falsetto.

No, I don't think I'm being too offensive or disrespectful here. After all, I'm talking about a belief system which clearly insists people like me should be tortured in hellfire for all eternity. Feel the Christian love, yo.

No time to argue about the contradictions in said books. This will save everyone a lot of time.

Anyway, the short of the newsflash is this; a team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany - over a 4-year period - discovered that up to 4% of our genome were contributed by the Neanderthals. For the chronically unschooled, the Neanderthals were a separate species of hominids from ours (or a subspecies, depending on who you ask) and we started to part ways with them on the evolutionary tree about 600,000 to 350,000 years ago but according to Christian and Jewish Young Earth creationists, our planet is at most 10,000 years old only. I'm not saying that all Christians and Jews are as batshit as these kooks, but those that are make a sizable team indeed.

Now, our ancestral story started in Africa when a small number of anatomically modern Homo sapiens (us!) migrated out of Africa and went on to populate the rest of the world, replacing other more "archaic" species of humankind like the H. erectus and H. neanderthalensis - there's debate on how this happened exactly. Did our great, great, great... great, great grandparents simply out-hunted and out-bred the competition? Were they assimilated into our family through some hot interspecies homo-on-homo action? Or did we simply eat them with some fava beans and a nice Chianti? *hissss*

Prof. Svante Paabo et al. now have definite proof that, yes, most of us have some amount of H. neanderthalensis within us. Search your feelings, Luke, you know it to be true.

Let's take a gander at the lineage tree, shall we?

I, uh, improved upon it.

I find it interesting that the Han Chinese people (yours truly included) descended from the original progeny of H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis cross-sub-species love and can't wait to see if the Neanderthal Genome Project will uncover any Neanderthal-specific traits that my genealogical tree inherited from those unions. I'd like to look at some of the published papers that inspired this BBC news piece, but I haven't had much luck with Google Scholar so far.

Today, scientists are battling conservative Christians in the United States who seek to sideline (and eventually eliminate) the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection from their high school biology curriculum by replacing it with some scriptural-derived bullshit called Creationism - a hypothesis that essentially says "Godidit". Here in Malaysia, Muslim conservatives ensured that even the merest idea of evolution is suppressed from our high school biology textbooks and my very first exposure to the most important theory in biology occurred late in college. This is ludicrous because nothing in biology makes sense outside the light of evolution.

Even in college, I've met extensively brainwashed godbots that still reject evolution in spite of all the evidences presented to them. There was an intelligent Christian girl I knew in my A-levels biology class who remained adamant that evolution is bunk. I asked her, "If you don't think it's true, why study it?"

Her reply went something like this; "To get a degree, to be successful in life and to glorify God."

The same girl has parents who forbid her from reading the Harry Potter series because they think it's the work of Satan. Funnily enough, she disobeyed them behind their backs.

Likewise, a great number of my Muslim and Christian colleagues in med school stubbornly dismiss evolution while being bombarded daily with proofs that evolution had occurred in the human body - proofs like the inside-out configuration of the human eye necessitating a blind spot; the tendency for humans to suffer from lower back pain due to our upright bipedal posture; the difficulty women experience while trying to give birth through a very narrow birth canal (another downside to being bipeds); the pain and trouble we often experience at the eruption of our wisdom teeth because our jaws have shrunk; our primate inability to synthesise vitamin C unlike other mammals; the neotenous capacity to digest milk which some of us retained into adulthood (while others are lactose intolerant); the long long list of vestigial organs we still possess like the third eyelid, the vermiform appendix, the tailbone, Darwin's tubercle, the small external ear muscles, the terminal nerve or cranial nerve zero, Jacobson's organ, the plantaris muscle, the male nipple... and I can go on for a long time on all the etceteras I remember from the top of my head but I advise you, intrepid reader, to go look them up for yourself. After 4 years in med school, I realise that if God really designed us... let's just say that he shouldn't have taken that day off after all.

And the way most bacteria and viruses develop resistance to antibiotics and antivirals? That's one of the biggest challenges the medical fraternity faces today,
and it has basis in the Theory of Fucking Evolution by Natural Fucking Selection. The way these people ignore the obvious makes me want to scream through a megaphone at the top floor of a skyscraper while dressed entirely in traffic orange. Or something.

Christians have a long history of fighting science and progress because some of the things scientists uncover went contrary to Biblical "facts". Remember when Christians placed Galileo under house arrest for heresy because he supported Copernicus' theory that the earth revolves around the sun and not the other way round in the early 17th century? The verses they used were Joshua 10:12-13, Habakkuk 3:11, Psalms 19:4-6, Ecclesiastes 1:5 and many, many more. Giordano Bruno was burned alive and screaming at the stake by Christians for daring to discover that, gosh, stars are suns just like ours! And that there are planets revolving round those suns too! The list of vindicated scientists who were wrongly persecuted by Christians in their times included big names such as Rene Descartes, Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Edmond Halley, William Buckland, Charles Lyell, Adam Sedgewick, Louis Agassiz... and dear ol' Charles Darwin. That list reads like a Who's Who of science, doesn't it? The Christians' feud against science spanned centuries, and every single time, it's the Christians who have to suck it and admit that yes, they fucked up. Why, after being wrong for so fucking long, Christians still have the gall to oppose human advancement? How dare they?

I was invited to a church sponsored Christmas party in 2007 where a pastor denounced evolution and FUCKING LIED to his congregation that Darwin recanted his ideas and converted to Christianity on his deathbed - while all the stupid sheeps in the room just nodded smugly in agreement, drinking it all up. Similarly a year ago, I was at a church dinner as a guest of a Christian paediatrician where some guest superstar pastor from Singapore FUCKING LIED that his prayers helped a child grow a brand new kidney - something which would be heavily publicised in the medical and scientific community if true - just to win his Lord Gourd more new, stupid, unquestioning zombie converts.

A Muslim girl in my class simply explained, "Well, I'm a Muslim so I can't believe in evolution."

Well, I like to see how far Malaysia can go in the field of biology and biomedical science with its fingers in its ears going "La la la, I can't hear you!"

P.S. HERE's a useful beginner's read to evolution for anyone who's interested in learning more. While I strongly studying it sequentially, I find Part 2: Past History to be the most accessible section for even people with a rudimentary understanding of biology.

P.P.S. I am not against anyone practicing their own religion but when religion encroaches upon the territory of science and progress, I go marching on the warpath. I welcome anyone to comment and to argue with me, but be warned: I don't play nice.

P.P.P.S. Note that the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection does not explain the origin of life; only the diversity of life. I find that opponents of evolution frequently confuse it with the Theory of Abiogenesis. If I'm a charitable person, I'd say that it's an easy mistake to make - but I'm not, so quit confusing the two, you twits.

Achieved the Age of Reason,
k0k s3n w4i