Tag Archives: freedom of speech

An age with relative freedom

We played some music by the band Queen yesterday. When listening to the song, I Want to Break Free, my husband commented that many radio and TV stations in the USA banned this song since its release in 1984. I was surprised. I have always considered the USA a relatively ‘free’ country, much freer than many Asian countries, but why would it be so prudish as to ban a music video of four men dressed in women’s clothes? Or, could it be because some people in power didn’t like skinny ballerinas performing a modern dance in skin-tight leotards?

What does it feel like being shackled? It is the sense of total isolation, in the deafening and incoherent cacophony. Continue reading

Blogging in English: Who am I?

I started writing this English blog since April last year, and my embarrassing first post was about cardmaking: it all started with my mother in law. My even more embarrassing second post was one way to make your child more popular.

15 months later, my recent two posts were Pondering Freedom of Speech during Ramadan and Copyright violation: are you a victim?

From cardmaking to Ramadan, have I not noticed the difference in my subject matter, style, and language?

Lorelle on WordPress logoRecently, I took up Blog Exercises set by Lorelle VanFossen, a veteran blogger, and a die-hard WordPress loyalist (Please make sure you spell the trademark WordPress properly with 2 capital letters, to avoid her wrath.)

Her exercises have become my blogging nutrients. I have a dedicated bog exercises series to record my journey, because deep down, I really have a desire to improve, not just in my English grammar, my writing skill, but also my thoughts.

Today, I would like to encourage you to view Lorelle’s comprehensive Giant Blog Exercise Check List Part 1. I think it’ll benefit you as a blogger, a writer, and a thinker, whatever your blogging topics are. This list will open your eyes. It may even change your life. If not, at least it is a place with wonderful resources for your reference. The topics cover: Continue reading

Pondering Freedom of Speech during Ramadan

I love British comedy: dry, witty and deep. However, even with the help of subtitles, some of the time, I still don’t understand the jokes. I would need interpretation. My husband has become fed up because I keep interrupting him, and he would reply, “Don’t worry. You won’t get it.” or “It’s not worth explaining.”

I remember when I first watched British comedies 14 years ago, I was shocked with horror what comedians were allowed to say in public. They freely poked fun of the Pope and the Queen, made rude jokes about themselves, politicians, people with disabilities, or made sarcastic jokes about religions. I constantly told my husband — No, in Malaysia or Thailand or Singapore or China, you definitely can’t say this, this, this, this……, using horrid stories about judicial caning, death sentence and disappearance as solid evidence.

My husband will never understand my fear of total freedom of speech.

Being the youngest in a typical Chinese family. A family of 10.

Being the youngest in a typical Chinese family

I grew up in a culture that guarding my words was important. I grew up in Malaysia, surrounded by Muslims, Hindus, and Chinese of all religions. Each group has its unique tradition, taboos and belief, and I learnt naturally to pick up cues of what to say or what not to say to different groups of people. We learnt to live harmoniously by accurately understanding our boundaries. We embraced peace, not trouble.

I had fear.

I’m very used to living within boundaries since birth.  As the youngest child in a traditional hierarchical Chinese family, I must show filial piety to my parents and respect my elder siblings. Obedience is a great value. Silence is gold. Continue reading

Who is FANG Zhouzi? Meet The John Maddox Prize winner

I’m thrilled to learn from Shaozi that FANG Zhouzi 方舟子 has just won The John Maddox Prize.

China’s whistleblower Fang Zhouzi won The John Maddox Prize

The inaugural John Maddox Prize was awarded to Professor Simon Wessely and FANG Shi-min.

Who is Fang Shi-min? He’s best known as 方舟子 -Fang Zhouzi, the most outspoken whistle-blower on all sorts of scientific and academic fraud in China. He’s nicknamed the ‘Science Cop’, exposing plagiarism, falsification of resume and credentials, misinformation, pseudoscience, and outlandish data fabrication.

Fang Shi-min (Fang Zhouzi) graduated from Michigan State University with a PhD in biochemistry. According to the panel, Mr Fang was awarded for his bravery and determination in standing up to threats to his life to uncover clinics promoting unproven treatments, and to bring a wide public readership to the importance of looking for evidence.

You can hear Mr Fang’s short acceptance speech here: FANG Zhouzi’s speech on receiving the John Maddox Prize 2012 or see a 7 minute documentary of the award on Youtube:

“I’m truly honoured to receive the John Maddox Prize. Science in China faces great challenges from superstition, psuedoscience, anti-science and scientific misconduct. There are more and more Chinese people who realise this is a big problem and are standing up for science. I consider this award as an acknowledgement of our efforts from the international science community and I deeply appreciate it. Thank you.”

By Fang Zhouzi 方舟子

FANG Zhouzi: scientist attacked being a whistleblower

According to Evan Osnos, of The New Yorker, Fang Shimin has over the years investigated and exposed the kind of fraud, plagiarism, and academic malfeasance that endangers China’s ambition to produce credible world-class innovation. Most recently, he was in the news for reporting that the former head of Microsoft China, Tang Jun, held a Ph.D. from a diploma mill called Pacific Western University.

Fang Zhouzi’s crusade also penetrated the literary world. Mr Fang accused China’s golden boy, Han Han 韩寒, of using ghostwriters. Han Han is a professional rally driver, best-selling author and singer. According to the Wikipedia, in 2010, Han Han was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine. The British magazine New Statesman also listed Han Han at 48th place in the list of “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010”.

Han Han has since sued FANG Zhouzi for defamation. The battle of FANG Zhouzi and HAN Han is the most sensational gossip in the Chinese blogosphere in the past year.

FANG Zhouzi vs Han Han (image via Chinadaily.com.cn)

My Related Post:
Oriental and western views on postnatal confinement

Other Links:

Brawl in Beijing – Critics of Chinese researchers targeted in physical attacks (nature.com)
FANG Zhouzi exposing academic fraud
China’s Scientific & Academic Intergrity Watch
The New Yorker: Science Cop Mugged
Taking Stock of Fang Zhouzi
Han Han VS Fang Zhouzi
Chinese writer Han Han sues blogger Fang Zhouzi for accusing him of having a ghostwriter
Qihoo 360′s Latest War: Duking it Out With “Science Cop” Fang Zhouzi (techinasia.com)
Courage for sound science wins John Maddox prize (nature.com)
Journalist and psychiatrist awarded prize for bravery (newscientist.com)
Qihoo’s Zhou Hongyi Needs to Just Shut Up (techinasia.com)
Fang Zhouzi’s blog (in Chinese)
Letter of Recommendation for Fang Zhouzi and judges’ views