Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Going to Thailand

Tonight I'm flying off to Bangkok. Among the attractions of the area I'll be staying in are: the National Gallery and National Museum, the 16m tall 45m long reclining Buddha, and a clandestine meeting with a special agent whose identity can be guessed at only by loyal readers with RSS feeds.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

An Important Event In the History of This Blog

This is the view outside my office window. The tree is a coconut tree -- those fruits are unripe coconuts. Ripe coconuts are the brown shelly things that you're more likely to see in the supermarket. In their unripe stages (when they're called young coconuts or green coconuts), they don't contain the yummy hard white pulp. But they have more water in them, and it's good to drink.

Since the last post, many good things have happened. I've gone to a conference in Australia, where I hung out with lots of awesome local philosophers and danced in the usual crazy way in front of David Chalmers and Tim Crane -- see the penultimate picture here. David had been distributing "Possible Girls" to the ANU folk and lots of them thought I was a metaphysician. I also delivered a paper on how Humeans should respond to Korsgaard's stuff on the error constraint, which went quite well, and spent more than an hour talking with Michael Smith the next day about topics of common Humean interest. And I finally met utilitarian hero Jack Smart, who is still attending conferences in his late 80s.

But the event of greatest blog-related importance is that I've finally bought a decent camera phone (a Sony Ericsson P1i, with wi-fi and a 3.2 megapixel camera), which was used to take the picture above. Many more pictures of exotic tropical locales should be forthcoming -- including Thailand, which I'm visiting next week!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Malaysian politics is INSANE

Checking in from my office in Singapore, where the news from neighboring Malaysia is like nothing I've ever heard before.

Soon after his party's victory in the March 8 elections, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been accused of forcibly sodomizing a 23-year-old male staffer. This isn't new for Anwar, who also was the subject of sodomy allegations 10 years ago. In the prior case, the sodomy was alleged (among other things) to have happened in a building that hadn't been constructed at the time. So to most Malaysians, it looks like the ruling party is just going back to its old strategy -- when Anwar gets too powerful, falsely accuse him of sodomizing somebody. The fact that the young staffer went to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's residence before the police report was filed doesn't help matters.

But that's not the worst. In 2006, beautiful Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot and then blown to bits with C4. They had to identify her body from bone fragments. Her ex-lover (ruling party defense analyst Abdul Razak Baginda) and two special police from current Deputy Prime Minister Najib's office have been charged in the murder. A few days ago, a private investigator who worked for Abdul Razak Baginda has put forward detailed allegations that DPM Najib and the murdered woman also had a sexual relationship. (And yes, this is yet another Malaysian scandal involving anal sex.) The next day, the private investigator retracted the allegations entirely, claiming that he had made them under duress. Draw what conclusions you will.

I'm flying off to a conference in Australia tomorrow. I imagine that politics there are a little less insane. In any event, probably no more political blogging from me for a week.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Deontic flavorings of Singapore

The ingredients list on my bottle of wintermelon tea (I never had wintermelon before and mmmmmm...) goes as follows:

Water, cane sugar, winter melon juice, permitted flavouring and

This is the first time I've seen 'permitted flavouring' on an ingredients list. I'm wondering what other deontic flavorings obtain in Singapore. Obligatory flavoring? Forbidden flavoring?