Thursday, April 28, 2005

1 month Blogging: What brought you to Blogging?

Hi everyone. While I am writing the next post, requested by May about racial descrimination, I decided to write a short story about how I came to be a "blogger" and find out how so many of you came to be "bloggers" and why it is special or important to you?

Fat Bastard's Story
I had recently returned to the US after volunteering in Asia and Africa. I was gone along time (7+ years) and had not kept up with the changes and technologies of the Net. Last month, I decided to do a Google search for a recipe "Ikan Pangang" that I had enjoyed in Malaysia many times. The first thing that popped up was Kuishinbo~Meow~ where some guy named cooknengr told a girl "fish-fish" that she would be "Ikan Pangang" if she stayed in the L.A. sun too long. I clicked on the link and saw my first Blog. I was determined to get the recipe and chased a few food blog links and left contact information on a few pages requesting some of the Malaysian bloggers to cantact me. After a few days, I went back to check if there were replies and thus started my first blog hopping session. I was facinated and irrevocably hooked. I had had no intension of having a my own Blog, as I thought I would need to have mass programming skills. Then I came across a page I really wanted to comment on and I was required to log in. To login I needed to register and while registering, I needed to pick styles, layout etc...and here I am.

I had always thought that it would be nice to have a web page or site where someone could ask a question and get some un-biased answers. A page intellectually stimulatiing as well as informative. With my background, a high school drop out and homeless for nearly 3 years, I had had to learn or re-learn the proper skills to function in society. Ah, the turmoil and conflicts, self- loathing, doubt, and fear, coupled with a complete and desolate loneliness. To gain control of these agressions and basic instincts that had surfaced during my long trials of Manhood, I hurt so many people. In time, I wanted to change, to achieved one of the highest titles that can be bestowed in our society and become a positive contributer to this world (and hopefully change some of the injustices), but how? Inorder to traverse this full spectrum of life's "situations", I sort of became an expert on finding answers. All sorts of answers...I became a kind of "how to" Guru both in the proverbial "streets" and in the academic settings. Blogging has opened a new avenue for me to find answers for others and also to allow me to keep learning.

In closing this post, I would like to add something that astonishes even me. As some of you have seen some photos of my life and read some of my personal observations, you may have geussed that I am very adventurous and daring. I sky dive, scubadive, bungee, mountain climb and cliff hang (photos to follow). I have eaten almost everything presented to me that was edible. From snakes and snake eggs to the famous thai beetles Mang-dah. I felt, if you were eating it, I would eat it. I have had drunkin street brawls and so many passionate situations, that if written down may net me a book deal or land me in jail? Why do I mention all of this? Because until I started blogging, I never knew how much love and warmth and support I could gain from people I never met (formally?). I truly feel affection for some of you. I say to myself, how can this person be so beautiful, so moving? I could really love that person. At times, I wait for responses from my new friends, sometimes impatiently, wondering what they are doing and how they are coping with their problems.

Blogging has removed so many of the stereotypical bounds of age and looks that society (big corporations) has led us to believe are so important (through marketing of "beauty" products), and put personality in the forefront. This is something most of you knew, but alas, I was ignorant of. While glimpsing small portions of your lives, I am made a better person.

I want to thank you all for opening my eyes and making me feel so welcome in such a short time. You are all so wonderful....

I would like to hear your story on how you became a blogger and what it means to you. Please dont be shy or think it is too boring or insignificant...just hit comments and let us all share a part of you!

Monday, April 25, 2005

The lost Children...Why is this so familiar?

The Lost Children
For they sailed beyond the parturient sea,
Abandoned, forgotten...
Be still oh mortal soul,
Make no castigation,
hold grief and tears,
Be Still

Friday, April 22, 2005

Three little piggies went where?

Oct 2004, Thailand. A rare photo where the children stay together (and still) long enough to get a photo... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

By Request...Would legalized prostitution reduce sex crimes?

After reading this post, please scroll to the bottom and answer the new Poll.

I was asked to post this topic and I knew it would not be easy. So many toes to step on. To keep this as simple as possible, Prostituion is defined as "sex for money". There are issues of bartered sex and of trading sex for gifts that will not be covered here. There are other issues of Std (sexually transmitted diseases) either being reduced by regulated sex trade or spreading STDs due to ineffective protection. Feminisms views of objectifying women leading to women being second class. The Government forcing morality on society. Removing organized crime from sex trade. Religious factions forcing their "idealism" on society. Decreased financial burden on Governments in policing prostitution. Increased revenue through taxation. The exchange of one form of exploitation (Pimps) for another form (Government). The list can go on and on. Again, I will not go into these as the post would take 12 hours to read.

Can legalized prostitution reduce sex crimes? To answer this, it is important to look at countries that have legalized or decriminalized Prostitution, and compare statistical data. If a majority of countries allowing prostitution show a marked decrease in rapes and molestation incidences, then the answer would be an extrapolated affirmative "yes" it does prevent sex crimes. The most reliable source of comparatative data I could find is a report by the Taiwan Government from 1998: Rape per 100,000 people. 1. United States 34.20 2. England and Wales 14.69 3. France 13.38 4. Taiwan 8.82 5. Spain 3.23 6. Japan 1.48. As can be seen, countries with leagalized or decriminalzed prostitution listed, have a marked decrease in reported Rapes compared to the USA. The problem with this comparison is that we have to determine if the definition of rape is the same for each country. A question also comes to mind of the negative ramifications of a man or woman reporting rape in a society that may ostracize them. All things must be equal to make an accurate comparison and that is next to impossible. There are no definitive studies that show prostitution decreases sex crimes.

Fat Bastard's Position...This subject is unique as it deals with one of our most basic drives. The drive to procreate. Philosophy, religion, politics and culture all play a role when examining Prostitution. You almost need a degree in Human Sexuality to understand how hormones, environment and and up-bringing play a role in sexuality and how we deal with it. Further more, a degree in psychology is needed to determine what drives people to commit sex crimes, rape and molestation. Even with all this education, there are no clear answers. But there are plenty of OPINIONS. Opinions that are not backed by facts or research.

The situations in our world that would cause a person to turn to prostitution all seem so sad and devastating. From my background, I would never condone my sisters or children to enter the sex trade, especially for financial gain. In my travels, I have encountered numerous prostitutes and sex travellers, and not one prostitute said to me "I am performing a valuable function for society". I am sure there are some prostitutes that are working purely for financial gain, I just have not met one. I do know that in the US, criminalzation of prostitution has not stopped it, just kept it underground. It also reduces the legal recourse for prostitutes that are abused (who care if a prostitute is raped when she was out to commit a sex crime?) Do prostitutes have a true choice. If they do, then is what two consenting adults do in privacy a crime?

I did run across an article on the decriminilization of prostitution in New Zealand. It seems that the proposal was opposed by 75% of polled citizens, but still passed. Also, 30 of the countries top clergy opposed the law by sumitting a letter with 5 reasons the law should not pass. The arguements were week, but a valid point was made. In short, they opposed the law for fear of de-sensitizing the youth towards prostitution. Numerous attempts to repeal the law have failed.

In closing, I conjured up a picture of a very unattractive boy, no social skills and very shy. Sitting at home, watching MTV springbreak, with all the g-string bikinis. A constant bombardment of sexual imagery pours through TV and magazines. Day in and day out, the frustrations and the hormones grow. Through his interaction with peers, he realizes his chance for a mate are non-existant. In a perfect world, we would tell him that love and sex will come in time. But in reality, we know that it may not. Then society, that is bombarding him with sexual imagery, tells him he must control his urges or be removed from society. Feeling helpless to relieve a basic drive, he feels that there two possible outlets...Take what he needs, or pay for it. You decide.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Vanity - inflated pride in oneself or one's appearance

My new "under construction page" is a page I am building for me. I have blogged through so many sites and some of the personal insights are amazing and quite moving. Also, the cathartic nature, the outlet of emotion seems so healthy, that I have decided to "prescribe" it to myself. Just click the vanity link right here ========>

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

By request...Abortion: What or who is right?

For countless ages, the question of abortion has been debated in both ethical and judicial arenas. Unlike many hotly debated issues, Abortion seems to have only two side: Are you Pro-Life or Pro-choice. There is another position that i will describe later, but first alittle history ...
There are records on abortion that date back as far as the egyptian culture, where abortion drugs were used. The main issue throughout most of history as to weather abortion is legally or morally right seems to be related to when there is actually "life" or "quickening". The Brachman scripture allowed abortion untill the about the 5th month as this was when you could feel the fetus moving. In Judaism, life began with the first breath. In Rome, 200bc, anti-abortion laws were passed not for right to life issues, but in a political move, that allowed a man a 'right to an heir'. Catholic views have evolved. In 600 AD. origionally the catholic view was life began at 40 days post conception. Islam also has a history of 40 days.
In the US, the first laws concerning abortion were adopted from England. In UK, there is evidence of a woman prosecuted for "destroying a fetus in womb" as early as1732 (Rex vs Beare). In general, english law forbade abortion as a low crime before "quickening" (5 months) and as a felony after quickening. In 1840's, the US started passing laws forbidding abortion. There is some debate as to why the laws were being passed, but some critics indicate that the laws were meant to counter the womens sufferage movement to 'control women' as well as fear of "racial suicide" as white births were down. There is also some evidence that the Male dominated medical profession started an anti-abortion movement and some critics claim it was to remove mid-wives from the medical field, as mid-wives performed most of the abortions.
Before Roe vs Wade and other Pro-Abortion laws, it is estimated that as much as 20% of maternal mortality was due to illegal abortions. There is also evidence that there were actually more abortions performed prior to Pro-abortion laws. I must state here that when researching the history of abortion, the information available is hard to decipher, as most articles are so biased by the authors that wrote them, that you can "feel" the writers intent on influencing the reader. It is hard to determine if the information provided is objective.
Today, there are an estimated 46,000,000 abortion performed in the world anually. There are two points made evident when researching Abortion:
1. Unintended, mis-timed and un-wanted pregnancies are a reality faced by women of all countries and all cultures.
2. Anti-abortion Laws will not prevent abortion, they will just prevent women with post abortion problems from seeking medical help.
Fat Bastard's position
This leads to my position. I have 4 sisters and have had more than my share of girl friends. I have been asked to help, in some way, more than 100 girls/women seeking abortion. Some asked for money, some for a ride, some ask for personal support. I have even been asked for a place to recuperate as some parents/husbands/boyfriends would not allow the women respite. When most of these women have asked my opinion as to the rightness or wrongness of an abortion. I have always withheld my opinion, but supplied information on all areas of help and councelling. I have seen post abortion grief and depression. I have seen women that have kept their babies, take out thier "fialed life"misery on their children... "if it wasn't for you, I would have this or that...". The slums of the world are full of these children. I have seen women feel guilty all of their life for giving up a child to adoption, wondering their whole lives where the child was. I have seen adopted children used, abused and corrupted. I have had adopted girlfriend that had perfect loving homes and yet have feeling of low self worth, wondering why their real mother abandoned them. I have also seen women completely at ease with their decisions. What is the right decision? I personally would not want to give advice to a womam and be responsible for any of these negative outcomes. The fact that so many girls came asking for advice, shows that I could influence their decision. Yet, I would not have to live with the consequences of the decision the woman made. What I can do, and have always done, is to provide support for any decision made. ANY DECISION. Without judgment. The decision should be left to the individual. Though I may not (or may) believe in abortion, how could I possibly try to impose my beliefs on another. At best, the abortion decision should be left to the individual woman, at worst the issue should be settled democratically by those affected most by the vote: Women. If the question is religion: then as a religious person, I would believe God would be in control and then the decision is again between that person and God. I would trust God to handle it.
The following link is to a page where countries stand currently on abortion laws.
(note: I am not a historian, nor have I verified any historical facts I have researched)

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Pharmacist's right to refuse a prescription

For those not familiar with this topic, a Male pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for the controvertial "morning after pill". It is a pill that if taken correctly, can reduce the chance of proegnancy if taken with in 72 hours of sex. I wont get into the chemistry or pharmacoedynamics of the pill, unless it is requested (e-mail me if you want specific info). The pharmacist refused to fill the prescription based on religious morals. A blog page I ran accross was ranting ..."where does a pharmacist get the right to decide what can be despensed and what cannot?"

First, a pharmacist does not decide what is or is not dispensed, in the USA, the FDA does this. A pharmacist does however decide what THEY will or will not despense. This power is given to them under all state laws allowing pharmacist the right to refuse to fill any prescription. Not a boss, police, govt official nor even a judge can over-ride this decision. But the customer has the right to go to a different pharmacy. Even if it is not convenient. The law does not guarantee convenience.

The question is wether the pharmacist should be allowed to let religion influence his decisions on despensing. I can ask you, who can not allow their beliefs to influence their decisions. If they are true beliefs, they can not be turned on and off with a time card for work. If the pharmacist worked for a public company, could the company dis-charge the pharmacist for this?... absolutely. Would some call this religious persecution, probably, but the pharmacist would be representing the company they work for and not themselves. There is a set standard of practice that each company has and each pharmacist agrees to follow. Quitting or not seeking a job with the company that conflicts with your beliefs would be more appropriate. But this pharmacist was working for himself and as such, has the right to determine what he will or will not do in his own business. He will suceed or fail based on his practice. So boycott his store, refuse to do business with him, or flock to his pharmacy, if you agree with his decision. But, allow him his rights to choose how he does business.

Agree or disagree? post a comment