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juin 2014

Gongs, Long Hair and Chewing Gums

Remember Singapore

What do gongs, long hair and chewing gums have in common?

They were all part of a list of items that were either permanently banned or disallowed in public for a period of time in Singapore. Some banned items contained dangerous elements, while others were associated with excessive contents of sex and violence that challenged the society’s moral standards. Banning of certain publications was common. For example, a Hong Kong comic, popular among Singapore students who would spend their pocket money to buy at the roadside stalls, was banned in 1966 due to its undesirable storyline filled with violence, gangsterism and fantasy.

So other than drugs and gambling, what had been banned in Singapore since the sixties?

Playboy Magazines

As part of the « anti-yellow » drive at the start of 1960, the Playboy magazine and its Playmate calender was officially banned in Singapore. Costing $2.10 per copy, the monthly magazine from Chicago…

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Chasing the Unicorn: How To Make Money as a Writer

Paris in the Spring, Punks in the Sun



            “We’re closing,” the manager said, not unkindly. I layered on some warm clothing, hoisted my backpack, and began a slow trek along the glistening sidewalk of the Champs Élysées.

            It was 2am, and I had spent the last five hours in McDonalds, using perhaps the only free WiFi in Paris to scramble for a couchsurfing host until my laptop died. Afterwards, I got a little sleep in a corner of the restaurant. If it kept raining, I knew I was in for a long night.

            There’s a paradox to homelessness: as long as you’re unobtrusive, it’s easiest to be a bum in affluent areas. People leave meals half-finished on the table, and shops throw food out on its best before date, creating a hobo’s buffet; there’s often more public transit; and – the best part in an unfamiliar city – orienting yourself is easy. Supposing I had…

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For the Intestinally Challenged Runner

Not a Day Over 45


There are those days which runners inevitably face. Hot days, humid days, tired days, hormonal days, rainy days with puddles, Mondays, days your knees hate you, days when your bladder won’t shut up, and days which you lack intestinal fortitude.

For this runner, today was all of those days.

If you are reading this and are the kind of person who shies away from knowing way too much about the writer, then stop reading now. For that matter, leave my blog and never return. I might have a problem with boundaries. Fair warning.

I pride myself on being a resilient person, one who has faced many obstacles and has overcome them. I believe I am a strong woman. I have biceps, for Christssake. I do not, however, have an impenetrable strength of bowel.

I have discussed this issue with medical professionals. And my husband. And my sisters. And the girls…

Voir l’article original 624 mots de plus

Processed Magic: the Vague Art of Picture-Book Making

mike curato

processMy friends and family must wonder what I do all day. Sometimes I worry that they’re sick and tired of my only update being « I’m working on the book. The deadline is end of April. » I’m sure some of them have mental images of me waking up in the morning to a big yawn, hopping into my bunny slippers, eating a muffin (aka breakfast cupcake), brushing my teeth, then sitting at my drafting table and whistling while I work all the live long day. How cute! I wish my life could be like this. I know that I am blessed to have a career doing what I love and working from home, but I wouldn’t say it’s been that easy.

Last night, when I was on the edge of tears after a disastrous affair involving perspective, ice skaters, and historic costumes, I shrank away from my studio and sat across…

Voir l’article original 588 mots de plus

« Guitar Lessons »

Fake Bestsellers, Concern Trolls and Hidden Agendas

Galloping across the steppes


A team of horses (Equus caballus) slowly moving across the European steppes around 30,000 years ago. (Art by Tabitha Paterson) A team of horses (Equus caballus) slowly moving across the European steppes around 30,000 years ago. (Art by Tabitha Paterson)

Around 50 million years ago, long before the Epoch of the Twilight Beasts, a little mammal, Eohippus, scurried about in the forests of North America. This creature, about the size of an average dog, was the ancestor of the magnificent horse we know today. During this Period, called the Eocene, the environment and climate was constantly changing, and little Eohippus responded to adapt. Some species kept the paw like feet and just grew a little larger. Others lost a few toes altogether. Like the plants Eohippus fed from, horse evolution was a bushy tree of different species, some branches giving rise to new species, others evolutionary dead ends.

The horse that we know today, Equus caballus, evolved from the tiny little Eohippus. In…

Voir l’article original 1 048 mots de plus

My Mom’s Music & Pol Pot: Happenings in January 1976

Creative Thresholds

by Megan Volpert

bob dylan desire


My mother turned eighteen years old on the same Monday Pol Pot presided over the ratification of Democratic Kampuchea’s new Constitution. She was one year short of drinking age, with no other legal freedoms worth claiming except the delayed gratification of a right to vote against Ford that following winter. Cambodia’s new regime had little to say about the right to vote, except in Article Six, where the distribution of representation among members of the legislative body is outlined as 150 for the peasants, 50 for other working people, and 50 for the revolutionary army. Those 250 people get to elect the administration, as long as they elect Pol Pot. This was Year Zero, where everybody not eligible to vote was eligible to assist the Khmer Rouge in its grand new vision of communism by marching off to dig themselves a slice of mass grave. This…

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