Thursday, 24 July 2008

My Sadness - An Injustice of Olympic Proportions

I have lived in Shanghai now since the turn of the century and during that time I have learned to love China..well at least Shanghai. I have been a staunch defender of a central government because I have seen how democracy is fundamentally flawed. I have watched the Bush Administration democratically elected twice, deceive their voters, rig the election and plunge the country into another pointless war. I thought to myself that there must be a better way and I thought, at least for a while, that China was getting it right.

When I compared the Sichuan Quake to Hurricane Katrina, I saw the huge difference between a government that worked and one that didn't but since then, one thing has undone much of the trust I placed in China. It's not the Olympics and they way they are handling security. It's not Tibet, and it's not even the fact that folk here don't have a vote. It is the way that grieving parents of children lost in the school collapses have been brushed aside.

For a moment, I thought they were on track. Premier Wen was at ground zero in less than a day to provide direction and comfort. The PLA were airdropped in to provided rescue teams in isolated locations. They managed to divert rivers and ease damaged dams that had the potential to wash entire communities a way. As I watched this unfold I thought to myself, this is how you bring a nation together. The country banded together and billions of yuan were collected to provide relief and to aid in the reconstruction. Foreign media were given access and foreign aid was gratefully recieved. They even announced that they would investigate why so many schools collapsed when neighbouring buildings did not crumble.

I recall in one account, an entire class was trapped under the rubble. You could hear them crying and to keep their spirits up the class began to sing. After two days the singing stopped. When a read that report I cried. Now just writing about it, my eyes are already welling with tears.

So I waited. I waited for the investigation. I waited for parents to be told that someone along the line had messed up. Maybe it was corruption or maybe it was just error in judgment but I waited for the government I had learned to trust, the government that had given me hope that there was something better than anarchy would step forward and say "here is the evidence, and here are our findings and here is the reason why an entire generation of children in Sichuan are gone."

Instead I read this, this and this.

I remember when Sydney got the Olympics I was in my final year of Uni and when in 2000 they held the Sydney Games I was already in Shanghai. It was truly a happy affair. I could feel Australia's pride from half way around the world.

In 14 days the Beijing Olympics should have also been a proud moment for my ancestral country. China should have been able to say that they pulled together in a time of crisis and and matured as a nation and celebrated the Beijing Games with their heads held high.

Instead, I will remember 2008 as the year China put a sporting event ahead of justice. I will remember this year as the year that some bureaucrat profited from the death of tens of thousands of school children and got away with it. At the beginning of August, the rubble from the collapsed schools will be cleared away. I hope and pray that the evidence that is needed to bring justice has already been collected.

As a final note (and I know the good folk at the GFW are reading this) I understand that this is a time when the world is watching China and it is not the time to air dirty laundry. I don't believe that you are evil, and deep down in the most primeval depth of my heart I hope that an investigation did take place, the criminals found and quietly dragged from their homes in the middle of the night. I know this is something you are capable of and if ever there was a time to exercise this power, now is the time.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

10 of this months most popular far (July 1 - July 19)

  1. Beijing Boyce » Um, really? SCMP claims Beijing to ban blacks, Mongolians at bars
  2. Fears of a 'no-fun' Olympics in Beijing |
  3. Commandos free hostage from jungle hell after six years |
  4. Brooklyn Museum: Community: bloggers@brooklynmuseum » Shelley Bernstein
  5. Police deny bar owners' claims of restrictions on blacks in Sanlitun
  6. Chinese Bloggers Scale The 'Great Firewall' In Riot's Aftermath -
  7. “The Connection Has Been Reset”
  8. China Olympic Terrorists
  9. India jails widower for raising orphaned bear - South and Central Asia-
  10. Digg - A letter to Richard Dawkins regarding the existence of God

Clever Malaysian Criminals

In the last couple of months I have been getting emails from phishers posing as Maybank and CIMB in an attempt to extract my bank information. I am not a customer of either of those Malaysian banks so it makes it easy for me to spot that it is a fake however, the latest email is quite clever in that it recognises that you have probably received many emails trying to steal your password.

Attention: CIMB Bank Customer.

Spam attacks on our customers have been in an increase in the past few weeks. We hereby inform you that CIMB has taken a great step to protect our customers and put a stop to spam attacks.

We have introduced a secured server database to protect records and guarantee secure transactions. It is recommended and mandatory for all CIMB Account Holder to register below. Please note that we will not take responsibility for any loss if you fail to register.

Please follow the below secured sever location to proceed.

Clicks Online Security
CIMB Bank Berhad

And just this morning I got an email from my dad warning me of Malaysian push pockets as opposed to pick pockets.

A few days ago a new type of crime has surfaced in town.
It goes something like this:- Somebody slips a hand-phone into your pocket, sometimes it could be just a wallet with an identity card and a few Ringgit.

A few minutes later, the ' owner ' comes up and confronts you, the ' thief '.
He makes a big commotion that you stole his stuff.

You, caught unaware, are then pulled aside by the ' owner ' for a settlement you are intimidated and threatened that if you do not pay up, the police will be brought in.
If you pay up, this ' owner ' lets you go.
If not, the police are brought in.

Another strange thing is that, there always seems to be a ' witness ' to the your ' theft '.

Very clever. Of course I always felt that Malaysian criminal were above the curve.

Friday, 18 July 2008

While the lights are out in Twitterland

During this period of "maintenance" when twitter is down on a particularly unproductive Friday, I took the opportunity to take a look at what folk were saying on In doing so I felt a little dirty. Like I was cheating on Twitter when she was on a business trip, then it struck me how I have developed emotions for these social networking services. Not the people on them, I could care less about what happens to @scoblizer in real life but the attachment was to the service. I actually felt that I was cheating on Twitter by using while She was down.

So I posted my feeling and one of the humans that actually appear on all my networks Joey in Hong Kong asked the question:

@dedlam LOL. What about FF? Who's your favorite mistress?

My reply to her was that FriendFeed was also a favourite mistress but to our surprise both of us independantly concluded that Plurk was the beer goggle induced "hot" girl you pick up from a party and take home and find in the morning that... well lets just say "not so hot".

Upon reflection, I have become a little frightened by the prospect that as social networks and online communities take on a life of their own. The bond that we feel towards the community is not because of the members but because we as species have evolved into a monsterous abomination of nature that develops emotional attachments to binary code, html and telephonic touch-screen devices with motion and light sensors.

The next venture coming for the Google labs is aptly named Android, but with this sudden moment of clarity, I ask, Is this emotional attachment part of an elaborate scheme? Will the next generation be part human and part technology? Starting as genetic cyborgs within two or three generations will all our humanity is bred out of us the dominant species on this planet will indeed be Android? I shudder to think what lies in store for the human race.

Is Twitter Satan's Spawn?

(Can you tell it's Friday afternoon?)

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Twitter has all Growed Up

My morning ritual when I wake up is reach over to my PDA, check my email, then check TinyTwitter for what may have happened in Twitterland when I was in LaLaLand. I know it's sad. It's like waking up and first reaching for the hip flask of whiskey tucked beneath the pillow.

Before I write about what I found this morning, last night the ever reliable twitter search engine,, was acquired by Twitter. Almost as I was using it, the site redirected to the twitter server and rebranded itself with the Twitter logo. I believe this is a match made in heaven as it adds the very reliable functionality of Summize to Twitter as they begin to improve their service quality. You can read about the acquisition here.

So this morning I woke up and one of the first tweets I see is an apology.

(Before I proceed, I would first like to apologise to the main characters of this drama for re-airing your dirty laundry but you know it's just too good not to write about.)

I have been following @markdavidson for a while, for no other reason than because he followed me. We don't directly communicate at all but I read what he tweets and I imagine that he sometimes catches my rants on twitter too. This morning his tweet said:

markdavidson: I apologize for the public drama in my timeline concerning my ex. I would have preferred to have kept our breakup private where it belongs.

That just got me.I was hooked, in the same way I was hooked on lonelygirl15 on YouTube, I was inexplicably drawn into this drama 140 characters at a time.

This is where Twitter Search (formerly known as Summize) came in. Without this function, the public breakup between a motor journalist and a web host GoDaddy affiliate would have just evaporated into the cyber-ether but because Twitter's API decided to start working propoerly about a week ago and with the purchase of Summize, the conversations between @markdavidson and @missmotormouth are all too easy for us SMS voyeurs to track.

This drama has all the makings of an HBO mini-series, including love, romance, betrayal, the ill advised friends giving inopportune advice. So at the risk of promoting the Twitter/Summize acquistion more than it needs, visit and search for our two protagonists so that you too can participate on a real social experience on Twitter.

To @markdavidson & @missmotormouth. Better to have loved and tweeted than to have never loved at all.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

G8 Gobbledygook

I read this commentary in the IHT this morning regarding the G8 Summit. I felt compelled to share Sheryl Gay Stolberg's brilliant take on the most powerful people in the world today.

"Every year, the leaders of the Group of 8 meet at some fancy place like the hot springs resort overlooking Lake Toya near here, to debate matters of international importance. And every year, they issue joint communiqués overrun with bureaucratic gobbledygook.

This year offered some truly mind-numbing prose:

On the global economy: "We are mindful of the interrelated nature of the issues surrounding the world economy. We remain committed to promoting a smooth adjustment of global imbalances through sound macroeconomic management and structural policies."

On aid to Africa: "In tackling the development agenda, we will take a multifaceted approach, promoting synergies among MDG-related development sectors."

On rising food prices: "The international community needs a fully coordinated response and a comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue in an integrated fashion."

These communiqués, whose true authors remain anonymous, are the product of months of intense negotiations by aides to the leaders - "sherpas," in G-8 lingo.

Alden Meyer, a climate-change expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, who is here this week, summed up the process this way: "They're fighting very hard over who gets to say very little."

She finishes off her piece with some Bushisms

Bush's wish, typeset rather than written in his own hand, had its own starry quality - a parting missive, perhaps, from a president who will not be back when the Group of 8 meets in Italy next year.

"I wish for a world free from tyranny: the tyranny of hunger, disease and free from tyrannical governments," the president wrote. "I wish for a world in which the universal desire for liberty is realized. I wish for the advance of new technologies that will improve the human condition and protect our environment. I wish God's blessings on all. George W. Bush."

I get the feeling the George W's speech writer aught to buy a new thesaurus. How many times have you heard the word "tyranny" uttered from his mouth these last 8 years? Sounds a little like question time at Miss World no?

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Australian Buffet @ Regal Airport Hotel HK

After missing my connection to Singapore, the airline gave me a room at the Regal Airport and a meal voucher. To my pleasant surprise, the buffet had an Australian theme.

You can see from my plate, Roast Beef (rare), Lamb Cutlets, Veal Shepherds Pie, Kangaroo fillet and a couple of spuds for good measure. Add to that the pavlova I had for dessert and I was in gout hell.

But it was worth it.

A letter to Richard Dawkins regarding the existence of God.

20:08 6th July 2008 (Whilst on a flight from PVG to HKG)

Dear Richard,

I am currently reading your delightfully atheist book The God Delusion, (to be honest I am only up to page 177) and I feel compelled to write you a letter. As this plane that I am sitting on shakes with turbulence as I begin, I can't help but think that it is being caused by his letter.

As I read your book, I can see that you are putting forward an extremely strong argument against the existence of God however, in considering you evidence (and the lack of evidence for the existence of God) I am coming to a conclusion that is slightly different to yours.

In your book you extol Darwin to a level that sounds similar to the way those who are passionately religious extol figures such a Mohammad or Jesus. As the prophet of Science, Darwin's theory of Natural Selection seems to provide an answer for all the existence of life on Earth far better than the theory of an omnipotent creator who created life by design.

I am not a scientist. I am merely a speculator (and a frequently misinformed one at that) but my understanding of natural selection is that throughout the history of life on Earth living creatures have adapted to the environment around them to survive. Those who did not adapt simply did not survive. The human species however has reached a level of adaptation where we are no longer adapting to the environment around us but changing the environment to adapt to us. As a result, the evolution of the human brain has evolved in such a way that theoretically, no further evolution is required. It is true that chimps use tools, and there is some evidence of herding in nature but nowhere to the levels that the human species have evolved from being hunters and gatherers to being farmers. We have reached a stage of evolution where we manipulate animals in such a way that we have bred animals and plants that make for better consumption and harvesting.

There are much more unsupported claims that I can make to say that as a species we are no longer evolving but the one thing that makes me think upon reading your book is that we as a race are looking at God all wrong.

God is not something that was always there. God is something that we evolved. As our brains evolved so that we could split an atom, or work out the best way to cook an egg so that the egg white is cooked but the egg yoke is still runny, our evolving minds also developed the God concept. This evolution is something that came about, not because we could not explain how nature was too marvelous not to have a creator but because we have simply evolved too much so that Natural Selection is not working. We can see that it is so by the abundance of happy stupid people in the world. (I make this assumption because your book pretty much attacks those who are irrationally religious so I am assuming that you also hold this to be true.)

According to natural selection as I understand it, those who are least fit to survive really should not survive. Be that people of low IQ, or people with disabilities or people who are just too fat to leave their couch. The fact is though, these people are surviving and thriving. The existence of religious zealots, by their definition of people acting on the irrational belief of a personal God is actually proof that natural selection does not explain everything.

Given this I postulate that both Darwin and Theists are right. God does exist. God exists to enable the Darwin's theory of Natural Selection to be right. The concept of God is a mechanism in which our evolved brains have developed to choose what segment of our species to exterminate. Because we control our environment, adaptation for survival is no longer relevant and so the extermination of sections of our species can be achieved through an arbitrary method. That method is the manner in which we believe God. Be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism or the followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, through this debate of what happens after you die, provides reason enough for our species to kill or be martyred.

This simply means that the only thing wrong about the God Delusion is that most believers believe that God came first. In reality, Natural Selection was there first and as a result of the human species developing into a dominant organism, God evolved in our collective consciousness as a means for us to be culled and hence keep a balance in nature. Without God, there would not be enough food in the world, pollution would be far worse than it is already is and there would be no ozone layer to speak of. If we all thought like you you, Richard, there would be no human species to speak of because we would be like mold growing on a piece of stale bread until there was no bread left to grow on.

I hope that this clears a couple of things up for you, because I know you put a lot of work into your book. Perhaps next time you will think things through more thoroughly before publishing a worldwide best seller. Feel free to call me if there is anything else you'd like to clarify with regard to the origins of life on earth. I must sign off now because my plane is either about to land in Hong Kong of crash into the side of a mountain.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

cry for help.....

it is official. my name is dedric and i am a SocialMediaholic. it has been 2 minutes since my last tweet and 5 minutes since my last plurk. you can find me using brightkite and you can see me on picasaweb, flickr, youtube, viddler, seesmic and photobucket. you can know my thoughts by reading my blogger blog, wordpress blog, posterous or blogbus blog. you can be my friend on facebook, friendster or myspace. You can send me a message via windows messenger or gtalk. You can email me, twitter me, friendfeed me and find out all about me on linkedin or plaxo pulse. you can see what i am reading on google reader shared items or from my snips. and if you missed my last tweet you can look it up on summize. did i mention i just signed up to, and i am waiting for my invite code to twitterfone and qik. and if i really want to i can bounce this post through all my networks using

i just wish i had some real friends.