Why I Take Pride In Being Called A Bitch

A few days ago, I overheard a few strands of a conversation between 2 teenagers (1 boy, 1 girl) which not only left me stunned but gave me something to think about…

Boy: “…don’t be a bitch…”

Girl: “Thank you for noticing but I haven’t reached the bitchdom of Hillary Clinton as yet”

Saying this, she walked away leaving the boy gaping…

For the next few days, I couldn’t stop thinking about the girl…Every time I saw her around the condo, I marveled at her self confidence…Why wasn’t I like that when I was her age? I also couldn’t stop thinking about the phrase ‘bitch’ and why it had so much power over women and why it didn’t have the same power over the young girl…Was she special? Probably not…Did she have someone who gave her good advice? Definitely yes…

bitch

–noun

1. a female dog

2. a female of canines generally

3. Slang

a. a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, esp. a woman

b. a lewd woman

4. Slang

a. a complaint

b. anything difficult or unpleasant: the test was a bitch.

c. anything memorable, esp. something exceptionally good: the last big party he threw was a real bitch.

We are all raised to be “nice”…Malicious, unpleasant and selfish are the opposite of this goal, which means the only way “nice” women become bitches is when they demand equality…When I was working, I always held my self back in the fear of being called a bitch, a demanding and assertive bitch at that…My boss, the media planning director, was always called a bitch when she asked us to do something especially when it was late, but the client services director was never called such names when he came to brief us at 9.00 pm…

After a lot of thought, introspection and reading up on the subject, I’ve come up with this advice for my daughter:

“Don’t hold back in the fear of being called a bitch…If you have a voice that gets heard, someone will call you a bitch…If you do something nice, someone will say that bitch is showing off…If you have a backbone, someone will brand you a bitch…There’s always the someone…Accept it…If someone calls you a bitch, it means you are on the right track…Live life to the fullest with a clear conscience and do what you set out to do …

However, this does not mean you should strive to be a bitch…Don’t be inconsiderate, mean or evil and never treat others with contempt…Always be reasonable and if you can’t figure out the line between reasonable and bitchy, talk to your friends – use them as a sounding board…If you do cross the line, always apologize and try your hardest not to do it again…

Above all, refrain from name-calling…”

Someday I hope we get beyond name-calling, but till then I take pride in some bitchiness…

[I am not assuming that the ‘someone’ is always a man…Both sexes are equally responsible for name-calling]


A Letter To My Daughter

Yesterday, I met a lady who unabashedly told me that she won’t let her daughter study economics as it was a subject meant to be pursued only by men because it involved mathematics…I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard this…As I studied this ‘manly’ subject in college, I thought I’d pen down my thoughts in the form of a letter to my daughter…

Dear Daughter,

As you pursue your education, you may perhaps consider a career in economics like your father…It is a tough subject (I’m sure he’ll be the first one to tell you that) and you will encounter numerous challenges, but don’t let these challenges faze you…The people around you who seem to find it easy did not always (or will not always) find it so…If they did, chances are they were just skimming the surface, missing some of the puzzles worth puzzling over…

Don’t let anybody tell you that this ‘hard’ subject is only for men because only they have the mental ability to wade through complex issues…Doing economics is something that is learned and not an intrinsic quality in a person (man)…Don’t think or let anybody tell you that you are bad at it before you have immersed yourself passionately in the subject…Only you know if you like it and are good at it…And if you want to learn economics – and want it enough to devote yourself to it – you can…

As you progress in your study of the subject, you will have to be patient and diligent and you will have to refrain from doubting yourself…Many people less clever, passionate and diligent than you have done it, so can you…You cannot learn the subject on your own – assume that you will need help and don’t be embarrassed to get that help…If you can, join a study group where people cooperate and collaborate…Sharing information makes the learning process less lonely, more fruitful, more exciting and frequently even fun…

If people don’t take your ideas seriously because you are a woman (yes, there are many men who don’t take women especially pretty women seriously), don’t worry, they are not worth sharing those ideas with…

If your heart is set on making economics a career, find a way to do so…Pay attention to the advice your mentors and colleagues have to offer…Conversely, don’t pay heed to people who discourage you in your pursuit…The higher you climb up the ladder of success, the more resistance you will face because people will be threatened by you…They will say and do a lot of things that will hurt you – equal opportunity does not always mean equal treatment…

Finally, don’t give up…You can be what you want to be…

Love,

Your Mother

Singlish, Lah!

English is the first language for most Singaporeans….or is it? The ‘English’ spoken here is liberally peppered with colloquialisms and spoken at the speed of light, which means most visitors and new residents have a hard time understanding what is being said…Thankfully, the locals have a sense of humor and know that their English is “unique” and don’t mind being the butt of jokes…

IMAG0009

This is a Singaporean ad…Can you tell me what it means?

Please listen to this – it is extremely funny!

Examples of Singlish:
– No good lah – this isn’t good
– Dat person there cannot trust – That person over there is not trustworthy
– How come never show up? – Why didn’t you show up?
– Tomorrow dun need bring book – You don’t need to being a book tomorrow
– He sick, so he stay home sleep lor – He’s not feeling well, so he decided to stay home and sleep!
– Dat one his wife lah – That lady is his wife
– Anything also can – I’m open to suggestions
– Here got what, ah? – What would you recommend?
– Here the food is tok kong – The food here is exceptional

Like the country, Singlish is also efficient…Why use 3 words when 1 will do?

[Note: lah, ah and hor are pragmatic particles]

The Holocaust Is A Myth

anne“Hi! I’m Anne Frank – I’m sure you’ve all heard of me – I wrote ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’…I read in the New York Times today that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the Holocaust a hoax…Well, he’s right…I’m here today to freely admit that I helped perpetuate the Holocaust myth…It is a lie; the Nazis were actually very nice people especially Adolf Hitler…The entire thing got out of hand…One day my friends and I were just sitting around getting bored when we came up with the bright idea of spreading a lie about how the Nazis were torturing and killing us…Why did we do it? Because we were jealous of their blonde looks and success…”

anne“Anne’s right…We are the friends who helped her spread the lie…”

anne“We also circulated this picture…These are not human skeletons but animal ones taken at a gelatin factory…”

anne“Anne circulated this one…Those babies are not dead – they were just acting dead…”

“President Ahmadinejad, we are sorry and we promise you that we’ll never spread such a malicious lie again – NEVER!”

Disciplining Children Means Our Love Is Conditional

I am confused…Apparently, my method of raising my daughter is conditional…All this time I was under the impression that by disciplining her when she did something wrong and rewarding her when she did something right, I was raising her to be a well behaved human being who knew right from wrong, but I was wrong …

A recent study highlighted in the New York Times says by rewarding good behaviour with affection and things and punishing bad behaviour by withholding love and comfort we are doing nothing but harming our children…It goes on to suggest that in order to raise happy and well adjusted human beings, parents should not try to make an example of their child by using conditional means (rewards, punishment), but lead by example…

We all know that spanking children (aggressive negative conditioning) can be harmful, but what most of us don’t know is that positive conditioning (rewards, showering love) may also have negative results…According to research, positive reinforcements make our children feel that they are worthy of love only when they do what we think is right…The study also suggests that praise is just another method of control, analogous to punishment and both are forms of conditional parenting…

In 2004, two Israeli researchers, Avi Assor and Guy Roth, joined Edward L. Deci, a leading American expert on the psychology of motivation, in asking more than 100 college students whether the love they had received from their parents had seemed to depend on whether they had succeeded in school, practiced hard for sports, been considerate toward others or suppressed emotions like anger and fear.

In a companion study, Dr. Assor and his colleagues interviewed mothers of grown children. With this generation, too, conditional parenting proved damaging. Those mothers who, as children, sensed that they were loved only when they lived up to their parents’ expectations now felt less worthy as adults. Yet despite the negative effects, these mothers were more likely to use conditional affection with their own children.

This July, the same researchers, now joined by two of Dr. Deci’s colleagues at the University of Rochester, published two replications and extensions of the 2004 study. This time the subjects were ninth graders, and this time giving more approval when children did what parents wanted was carefully distinguished from giving less when they did not.

The studies found that both positive and negative conditional parenting were harmful, but in slightly different ways. The positive kind sometimes succeeded in getting children to work harder on academic tasks, but at the cost of unhealthy feelings of “internal compulsion.” Negative conditional parenting didn’t even work in the short run; it just increased the teenagers’ negative feelings about their parents.

…data suggest that love withdrawal isn’t particularly effective at getting compliance, much less at promoting moral development. Even if we did succeed in making children obey us, though — say, by using positive reinforcement — is obedience worth the possible long-term psychological harm? Should parental love be used as a tool for controlling children?

…according to an impressive collection of data by Dr. Deci and others, unconditional acceptance by parents as well as teachers should be accompanied by “autonomy support”: explaining reasons for requests, maximizing opportunities for the child to participate in making decisions, being encouraging without manipulating, and actively imagining how things look from the child’s point of view.

All this research has only managed to make my brain go haywire…I was just wondering if unconditional love and no discipline is a practical form of teaching despite what research says? I know from experience that even if I lead by example, my daughter doesn’t always follow…In such situtations, what should I do? Keep leading expecting her to follow? By always bestowing unconditional love on her, won’t she think I’m a sucker and that she can get away with just about anything? Will this sort of thinking help her in the long run?

I’m sure someone will soon publish another research saying that all this is crap and the system of rewards and punishment is the only way to raise well adjusted children…


My Child Is A Donor Student: Repeal Helmet Laws!

I was thinking of taking a break from the blogging world when the urge to write a post hit me on my way to the neighbourhood grocery store today, when I saw a bumper sticker that read:

My Child Is A Donor Student: Repeal Helmet Laws!

Since then, I’ve been trying really hard to figure out the meaning of this message but I just can’t…Is the owner of the car happy that his child got an organ because some unfortunate motorcyclist died due to his stupidity and so wants others to die in a similar but legal fashion to keep the supply of donor organs flowing? Or is he happy that his child carries an organ donor’s card, but then why mention helmet laws? Or is he an organ supplier? Or is he trying to be funny by doing a take on parents who put up “My Child Is An Honor Student” bumper stickers?

I did a Google search…Here are some examples of idiocy on sale on the net:

“Only A Liberal Believes You Can Support Our Troops And Illegal Aliens. It’s A Contradiction!”

“Ideology Is Idiotic”

“Owe-Bumbler! Unbelievable Arrogance & Debt. Economic Fascism. Generational Theft!”

“I Hate Bumper Stickers!”

“My Bumper Sticker Is Better Than Your Bumper Sticker”

“Have You Eaten Today? Hug A Farmer”

“A Village In Kenya Is Missing Its Idiot”

“I’m currently Away From My Computer…”

“I Love My Wife”

“Fat People Are Harder To Kidnap”

“Never Meddle In The Affair Of Dragons fFor You Are Crunchy And Good With Ketchup”

“Kinds Of People: Those Who Can Count & Those Who Can’t”

“Can Vegetarians Eat Animal Crackers?”

The sheer arbitrariness, silliness, stupidity and meanness of the human spirit is absolutely fascinating…I end by quoting a very popular bumper sticker “You Can’t Fix Stupid”…