28 Nov 2006

Is it necessary? : penis enlargement

Yesterday when I was paging through a magazine, I saw a series of horrible pictures about penis enlargement. They really show you bloody pictures of how to enlarge your dick. I was in shock, and I start to feel the pain! Why on earth would people do such a thing?

Does size really matter? I guess it does for some guys. According to that report, after the operation, you can actually get your dick thicker by 50% at least. One guy who was interviewed said he is very happy about the result, and he isn't ashamed of his small dick anymore.

Just by looking at these pictures already makes me feel the pain. It must be extremely painful. I just can't imagine having someone holding a knife and cutting my dick. Moreover, it takes at least a month to recover. Imagine this, what if you get an erection when the open wound is not yet closed.

Though sometimes I agree that bigger could be better, I don't think size is really that important. It is the skill and the performance of the tool that I care about. A thick 9 inch tool definitely looks great and is such a proud thing to show off. But not knowing how to use it well only makes that tool such a big joke. From my experience, guys with big dicks sometimes just don't know how to please their partners. So, from a receiver's point of view, a big dick might be a disaster!

26 Nov 2006

Nov. 27, My Birthday; I panic

10 hours later, I will be 30, officially. I should be happy for my birthday now, but I don't.

30 is such a depressing number. Confucius said in the Analects(論語): "三十而立". James Legge, the first Professor of Chinese at the University of Oxford, translated it as "At thirty, I stood firm". My perception of this phrase is when you reach the age of 30, you should have done something in your life and started to establish yourself well in the society. You are no longer a youngster taking the world as a playground. You are responsible for all your utterances and behaviours. It is time for social responsibility rather than individual ones. True, I totally agree with this saying, but what makes me depressed is that I have not yet achieved what Confucius had taught us, say, being a successful individual who has done good learning and has had clear ideas to establish him/herself well in the society.

Confucius wanted us to realise that 30 is the age we should start considering our social positions, how we could improve ourselves so as to contribute to the overall progression of the society. I have done certain learning to lift up my knowledge, I have done some jobs to gain social experience, and I do have ideas for my lifelong learning and career developmet. However, I feel so lost and uncertain about these. My learning is not useful, my work experience is not helpful, and my ideas for future are not functioning. I cannot see my furture progressing as I planned for myself. I panic because I truly don't know what awaits me ahead. Will the goals I set for myself be achieved? Or I will be just like this for the rest of my life. I am trying so hard to change the current circumstances, and I am so tired of it. Now I am reaching this depressing number, and it worsens my anxiety.

My anxiety is growing to such a scale that I don't know if I can bear it anymore, and this triggers my negative emotions. Thinking of past events is not a positive way of living, but recently, I start to think of my past experience quite often, especially the time when I was in London. We are supposed to live for the furture, not the past. This is not about regret. I don't regret what I have done in the past. It is a case of reminiscene, the one that brings good feelings, the one I yearn for now. It was the time that I did something I considered as living a real life. It was the time that I could fully be myself without fearing for being considered as abnormal and politically incorrect. It was the time I was still naive but happy.

I am unhapppy and I panic. Living in where I am now is not such a big problem, but I constantly feel restrictions that are generated by this city. It makes me feel like a prey trapped in the spider's web. Once I struggle, it tightens up more, and this process suffocates me. But I must struggle so as to reach my goal. Though tired and sad, I believe I have the ability to overcome whatever difficulties. Indeed, thank Buddha for giving me such a strong personality. I believe, through my endeavours, I definitely will achieve the goals I set for myself. This dark phase will be gone soon, and this unavoidable part of my life will complete my journey to be successful.

I am hoping that I will overcome this depressing feeling of being 30 in a short time. If Buddha could truly hear my prayers, his/her responses and supports would be the best present for my thirtieth birthday!

23 Nov 2006

Purity & Innocence

Courtesy of Natalie Souchon

I received this picture from Natalie, a dear friend of mine who works in Tibet now. According to her experience, it seems quite fun teaching there, though it is a difficult place to live in.

I don't know the name of this little girl, but looking at her pure innocent face really makes me feel peaceful. It has this magical power that could sweep aside my frustration and pressure. Aren't children pure and innocent? Yes, they are, but sometimes I just feel that kids living in the big cities are not as pure and innocent as those living in remote areas.

Being a teacher living in the city, I truly feel sad for the city children nowadays. They are not easy to teach, and they are not willing to learn, either. They have spent too much time on T.V., video games and the Internet. They have been busy with things that are not what they should be doing at their age. They are not having a decent childhood. The adults are forcing them to grow up as soon as possible so that they can compete with other children. They are not happy, and they become so material that should not be seen in children.

This little face in the picture is so different from those city faces. Her kind of sad looking only highlights her innocence. She seems reluctant to be the focus of the camera, and this reluctance is clear and simple to capture. Unlike this one, expressions of city children are always mixed with adult ones they learned from soap operas and commercials. Sometimes we may think that their cunning expressions are cute, but this in fact becomes such a hassle when you have to deal with it everyday. Why can't they just act like normal children? I believe they can't becuase they have been deprived of their childhood by us, the adults. As a consequence, we are responsible for their lost of childhood.

Thanks to Natalie for sending me this nice picture. She is born to be an artist. She captured the right angle at the perfect moment that intensifies the girl's pure eyes and her innocent reluctance. I think she should carry on her creation in the arts. Lastly, I wish this pretty girl a bright and fruitful future.

21 Nov 2006

Possessed by the inner demon? : Requiem, a film about demonic possession

Does demonic possession really exist in this world? Can we claim that a person is possessed by demons when we have got psychoanalysis as an academic subject? I am neither a theologist nor a psychologist, so I am not able to provide a concrete answer. I am not analyzing demonic possession or the potency of exorcism, either. The topic is provided only to help us analyze the context of Requiem (2006), a German film about demonic possession directed by Hans-Christian Schmid.

Requiem is based on the true incident, the Klingenberg case, happened in Germany in the seventies. In the small town of Klingenberg, a young girl named Anneliese Michel died from starvation and exhaustion after exorcism in 1976. Whether she was truly possessed or not, both the German court of justice and the German Bishops' Conference declared that this is not a case of demonic possession and the girl should survive if medical treatment is practiced. According to the article on Wikipedia, the girl’s parents, the pastor and the priest were all indicted for negligent homicide. Though this Wikipedia article is disputed, it still gives an introduction to this incident. Alternatively, if you can read German, the website of the German Bishops' Conference has further information on this case.

Although the film was based on the Klingenberg case, the director had adapted the context of the film and claimed that actions and characters were all imagined. According to the interview on the official website of this film, he stated that he personally does not believe the existence of demonic possession. In fact, the narrative of Requiem intends to correspond to the decision of the German court. It seems to state that demonic possession simply does not exist.

In the beginning of the film, the character, Michaela, was presented as a good girl being diagnosed as having epilepsy. She was forced to quit school and stayed at home for health reasons. When she finally experienced her free life in the university, her mental illness suddenly started to exacerbate. The director intended to exaggerate this condition so as to show Michaela’s inability to cope with her new life. This free new life contrasts to the strict upbringing she had at home. This change came swiftly for which Michaela was not able to adapt herself, but lost in it.

Michaela tried so hard to cope with this new life because she had the pressure from her mother who always considered her as not healthy enough for normal life. Through interactions between the two shown on the screen, we could capture the mother’s strict attitude to Michaela. In the scene the mother commented harshly on her clothes, we saw her wrath that ended as somewhat like a demonic possession. This strict upbringing actually suppresses all her feelings. When she is not able to handle a certain situation, she would show this demonic possession to release her anger or frustration. This frantic behaviour is presented when she could not complete her essay writing and got frustrated with the typewriter. This explains Michaela's demonic possession is the behaviour she adopted to express negative attitudes. It also delivers the idea that Michaela was in fact in need of medical treatment for her mental disorders.

However, this intention to say Michaela was not possessed by demons is not delivered successfully. The Klingenberg case is closed with scientific reasoning, but many people still believe Anneliese was a devote believer. Her grave has become a place of pilgrimage. Whether it is this reason or not, the director added certain horrid and supernatural atmosphere in this film. When Michaela’s problem worsened, she had hallucinations and asked for help in the church. She convinced herself that she was truly possessed by demons and kept saying she needed exorcism. She could not touch her beads, nor the Cross, and she could not bear hearing any prayers anymore. She showed her failure to believe in God and finally let her abnormal behaviours take control of her. In the scene where she was presented as fully possessed, she acted like another person yelling at her mother for her strict upbringing.

It is until the end of the film that the director finally decided to place Michaela’s demonic possession in a religious context. Doing so indeed can give more horrid sense to the film, but it seems to distract the whole film from its original implication. The intention of this film is to express that Michaela’s demonic possession results from her inability to manage her attitudes, and in order not to take any medical treatments, she convinced herself and others that she was possessed. Her demonic possession is a representation of her mental disorder.

This approach is very different from the other film also based on the same incident, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), a Hollywood horror film directed by Scott Derrickson. In this film, we clearly get the intention that is to show us what a demonic possession is. The director used special effects to show scars, stigmata, and corporeal and sound changes on Emily. It focuses on giving entertainment and really provides a horrid sense. It places demonic possession over psychiatric disturbance. Unlike it, Requiem seems to place its focus on the human emotions, especially on the psychological process of why demonic possession became the symptom of Michaela’s mental disorder. When the director suddenly shifted his focus from psychiatric disturbance to supernatural forces, it caused problems to this film. What has been presented in the end seems to contradict to the main idea set up for the film. Does the director try to tell us that Michaela was really possessed by demons?

Mental disorders are usually considered as demonic possession in the old days when knowledge of the mental realm is not yet fully studied and analysed. Therefore, we naturally think mental disorders, along with the accompanied weird and abnormal behaviours, are consequences of demonic possession. Speaking with a religious sense, when a person acts differently from others and expresses disbelief in God, he/she is possessed by demons. On the other hand, living in this modernised world, religions are losing their hierarchical powers. When technologies develop, we distance ourselves more away from religions. As a consequence, we no longer consider God as the only saviour. In mental realm, we seek advice and treatment form psychoanalysis when mental disorders happened. However, could we really deny demonic possession? Can we say that it is only a form of mental disorder that could be fixed by psychoanalysis?

In the end of Requiem, it touches this question without giving any possible answer. I believe no one, not even those experts in theology and psychology, can really give a definite answer to whether demonic possession exists or not. Here, we are not trying to argue the existence of demonic possession in our everyday life. Mental disorders indeed require our attentions. It is a condition that may come from a person’s failure to manage his/her negative attitudes. Of course, we could take it as a demonic possession, but at the same time, we should always seek advice from psychoanalysis. After all, saving a human life is more important than compelling the demons to leave the body.

Reading the name of this film, we might think Requiem is a horror film. However, this film is humanitarian, and this special concern gives qualities to it and wins it the Fipresci Award in Berlin International Film Festival 2006. It is such a downfall when the director shifted its humanitarian focus to supernatural forces in the end of the film. Demonic possession should only be considered as a material that adds flavour to the film. If we want a horror film that is filled with supernatural forces and exaggerated performances, we can always choose a Hollywood production without any hesitation. The director of Requiem could have focused more on his humanitarian concerns and completed the film with this special quality.

16 Nov 2006

My New Gadget: Nokia E50

I finally got a new mobile, Nokia E50, a fancy looking multifunctional one. It feels so good to use Nokia again. Have a look of the product information of Nokia E50.

This mobile has multiple functions and is very good looking, and I think its target customers are on those extremely busy businessmen like those you see on Wall Street or in the city of London. It is not a simple mobile you use to call, text or surf the Net. It is designed to be a mobile office on which you could deal with almost all your tasks. I feel this mobile is more like a PDA or a small laptop than a mobile phone.

I am definitely not a businessman. Actually there is no reason for me to buy such a fancy mobile. I got it because I had a very good discount from my contract with the phone company, which made the price of it very attractive. More than that, I think we should always treat ourselves well. Since my B-day is coming, this mobile would be a good birthday present for myself.

My last mobile was a disaster. I got it right after I came back to Taiwan from London. I was almost broke then, so the only option I could go for was the free phone offered by the phone company. I am not saying that mobiles of Sony Ericsson are badly designed and produced. My last SE mobile just could not function normally, especially the battery charging. It caused me quite a big problem, and I just could not put up with it anymore. I firmly believe that free stuff is never good stuff. I would rather spend more money on something I am confident with. Anyways, I am giving myself this indulgence to play with the latest electronic gadget.

After my exploration of this new mobile, I have realised that it really performs well and all its functions are applicable to me, even I am not a 'businessman'. I work in education, and I have lots of stuff to deal with. All my tasks and stuff to do are stored in my laptop, memo and my brain. How sad that I am getting old that means I cannot count on my brain anymore. Thanks to the multiple functions of E50, all things to do or remember can be stored immediately and be transferred to my laptop or memo without losing any important information. Honestly speaking, I am an old-fashioned person still keeping the habit of using memo. If once the electronic gadget crashed, at least I got my memo to cope with my work.

This new gadget assists me well in my day to day schedule and tasks. However, I cannot understand why Nokia only allows its mobiles to be compatible with Windows only. I am a Mac user, and this mobile cannot comminucate with my ibook. In order to update files and info on my laptop, I must use another PC for file transfer. Quite a downfall to this well-functioned mobile.

In conclusion, what I want to say is:
I learned my lesson that free and cheap stuff are not reliable. I am happy with my new mobile, and I decide to be good to myself forever.

13 Nov 2006

Students in Taiwan are 'illogical'

Recently I have been feeling frustrated with my senior high school students. It seems more and more difficult to teach the new generations of Taiwan. Their learning habit is going from worse to the worst, and this leads to a terrible learning result. How could I help them when they are not gaining positive training for learning form schools? I reason that the main problem lies in the wrong educational policy practiced in Taiwan.

I agree with the original idea of reforming the old educational policies, that is, to eliminate such heavy study burden. I have been through it, and I support it. However, the current situation shows that this reform is a total failure, and it is in fact dragging down the quality and level of education in Taiwan. Policymaking is crucial that cannot be taken as an experiment. What happens now in Taiwan's education is like a big experiment in which students are treated as lab mouse. When there are problems, the policy makers simply don't fix them but discard the whole project and start a brand new one. I don't think any kinds of national policies should be changed from time to time. They should always be well planned that mean to bring progress to the people.

Because of this failure in education, students of Taiwan are not releasing their study burden but having more from the parents and schools. This failure results in low-level performance in learning, and this drags down the competitiveness. For both parents and schools, this low level performance is unacceptable, and the only way to lift it up is to give more studies to students. However, how could we lift up the quality of learning when there is no competitiveness at all? What students do now basically is about remembering whatever is listed in their textbooks. They are not required to do extra work for gaining knowledge outside of their textbooks. Teachers in school are so busy teaching them how to do tests because that is what the parents and schools want. As a result, students are becoming machines answering questions only. This is not learning. They are not able to think creatively, let alone logical and critical thinking.

I was so sad when I read my senior high students' short essays. Most of them could not present their ideas clearly, and some of them simply do not know how to write. At first I though the reason is because they have difficulties in English writing. However, I realized that English writing is only part of the reason, and the main issue is on their logical and critical thinking. Since the very beginning of their learning, they have never been trained in this way of thinking. What they are required to do in schools is always to memorize what the textbooks say. They cannot think! I am so terrified of this realization. This realization helps me understand why some university professors complain about the low quality of current university students.

Is there anything I can do to help my senior high school students? I am trying to train my students to be more logical and critical, but this environment will still block their progress. After all, knowing how to answer dull questions and entering a good university are goals they should achieve. Maybe I should just leave this problem to the university professors.

4 Nov 2006

Justice comes, and we start to see the hope!

What a breaking news! The prosecutors addressed to the public of Taiwan yesterday their final report of both the president and the first lady's corruption. In this report, the first lady is indicted for corruption and faking documents, along with three other presidential aides being charged for faking documents. As for the liar, Chen, the corrupted president, he is protected by the consititution against these charges. This is the first time in the history of Taiwan. The Anti-Chen group has started their protest again right after the news was released.

I truly admire the prosecutor Mr. Chen for his courage and endeavour to find out the truth. It took him about four months to check the usage of each single receipt that is reported in the secret presidential fund. This secret fund is set up to enhance Taiwan's diplomatic works overseas. From the news, we saw how the money of this secret fund was used. Some of them were used in purchasing luxuary goods like clothes, jewellery, and watches, some in baby stuff, some in books, and some in funitures. This really sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? How could these purchases help and enhance Taiwan's diplomatic relations? It is obviously a fraud the first lady intended to commit. The most horrible is the president Chen did not try to stop this wrongful action but helped his wife lie to the public. He made a huge lie that part of the fund is used for a top-secret diplomatc work. Lies don't last, and once you lie, you must tell another lie to cover the old ones. This is a snowball effect that more lies involve more people, and when one of them recognizes the danger of it and decides to quit the game, the snowball bursts. So many lies meaning both the president and the first lady are truly guilty.

The Anti-Chen group now protests again, and the Nationalist party will start the third recall of Chen's presidency next Monday. I wonder if this recall will be successful, and I also speculate about Chen's intention to resign. It seems he has already known something is gonna happen because his son flew to the U.S.A. in the end of last month. Though his family said he was leaving for study, this action in fact feels more like fleeing. Both his daughter and son are more or less involved in this fraud. Though they are not charged, this incident has darkened their furture and makes it tough to live. Finally, we see justice and the hope to recall this corrupted liar. He can always deny any wrongdoing, but the evidence speaks for itself. Thanks to the power democracy gives to the society of Taiwan.

3 Nov 2006

“Organic”: on performance and performing arts

Perform: entertain an audience, typically by acting, singing, or dancing on stage
Organic: of, relating to, or derived from living matter
Performance: an act of staging or presenting a play, concert, or other form of entertainment
Performing arts: forms of creative activity that are performed in front of an audience, such as drama, music, and dance.
(The New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2005)

The above are the definition of the terms from the dictionary. Why am I putting these terms and their definitions here? Recently, I have been working on my previous essay on opera productions. Retyping it because I lost my original file due to the crash of my last laptop and modifying it to make it more reasonable and complete. When I was busy working on this essay, I suddenly felt the need to express my thought on performance and performing arts. In my point of view, I consider both organic forms that present ideas, generate ideas, and reproduce ideas.

This concept is easy to understand. What I want to make clear here is to say that both performance and performing arts are organic and ideological. They are organic because they are formed and produced by human beings. They are derived from living matter, as defined by the dictionary. Moreover, what they present is always about our life or environment, such as feelings and perceptions of social relations or nature. This essence of them reflects the definition of organic that is of or relating to living matter. However, this essence of presenting things about our life or environment gives a strong implication to performance and performing arts. It shows that both of them are meaningful from which it makes them an ideological form. Every word we say and every action we take are products that express our desire and intention. We don’t do things or say words that are completely irrelevant to our thoughts. Therefore, what we express is what we want or think, and this expression is full of meanings. Performance and performing arts are the representation of our feelings and perceptions of social relations and nature we experience in our everyday life. They are meaningful, and they cannot be excluded from our life experience.

The presentation of performance and performing arts is an organic form. It is organic not just because of its form is organic, meaning human beings produce and take part in it. It is organic for the reason that it has meanings and ideas are presented through it. The meaning comes from the intention of the person who produces and presents it. This could be a director, choreographer, conductor or performers who participate in it. Their words and actions are meant to give ideas to the spectators. This makes the presented meaning become an idea that is available for digestion and reproduction. The spectators are the most important element to help complete the meaning of this organic form, and the result of this production is a non-stop circulation of meanings. When a person experiences a presented meaning, an idea, whether it is related to him/her or not, he/she would be effected by this presented idea and naturally would generate it in his mind. The producer may expect you to conform to his idea, but the final decision is on you. As a result, whether you conform to it or not, your experience, knowledge and preference will give new meanings to this presented idea, and a new idea concerning what is presented is constructed. This idea of yours is an attitude and a reaction to the idea that is presented in front of you. In other words, this new idea of yours is a reproduction of the old one, and it has given layers of meanings to what is presented, namely, a performance.

In order to draw the attention of the spectators, entertain them becomes an important part in both performance and performing arts. According to the definitions of both terms in the dictionary, to entertain construct the basic meaning of the word. Indeed, who would go for a performance with no entertainments at all? Even a plain talk show has incorporated certain level of entertainment in it. Once you want to present a thing, whatever it is, as a performance for a group of people, the notion of entertainment should be applied. I would argue here that entertainment, with no further analysis to the nature, content and form of it, is only applied to attract the spectators without whom a performance simply cannot exist. This takes us back to the notion of taking spectators as the main concerns for arguing that both performance and performing arts are organic forms. The participation of spectators generates and reproduces ideas, and the consequence helps construct the circulation of meanings. In a circulation of meanings, ideas are shared, experienced and reproduced. This gives both performance and performing arts its implication to be ideological. Everything that is presented is all about ideas.

They are organic. This is what I argue here. We cannot treat performance and performing arts as dead objects that are ready to be dissected and thrown away. They should always be regarded as organic, and its presentation is a representation of ideas and life experience. In them, what has happened or been placed in front of us is always inserted with meanings either from the producer or performers. We are asked to participate in this process of reproducing ideas, and we should not be treated as dead objects. There should always be things that invite our feelings and perceptions. This is a both way communication in which the performance itself and the spectators benefit from each other. As a result, our participation confirms the organic form of both performance and performing arts, and this organic form gives the spectators a chance to examine their living conditions. This special quality gives performance and performing arts a distinctive place in the world of the arts.