Ultimate purpose of our lives

Wednesday 26 July 2017, 7.00am HKT


PHILOSOPHY OF EVERYDAY LIFE

WHY are we born? What is the ultimate purpose of our lives? How can we know purpose of our life? Why are we born?

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I put a question back to you for consideration:—

  • Why do you need to know the purpose of life and why you’re born?

In short, does knowing or not knowing make any difference to your life right now and a couple of years from now?

And here’s another trenchant one:—

  • What makes you think you or anyone else knows this ‘purpose’?

Indeed, how could we be sure the reason given to you is any more objective or subjective than anything you could come up with by yourself?

Here’s the real answer to the question:—

  • The purpose of life is one that YOU get to discover for YOURSELF.

We all live in our own individual spiritual universe. And that universe comes to an end when we die. The afterlife is unknown.

We discover our purpose in life by living life itself, making the most of our finite time on the Earth.

So far from what humanity has seen and experienced about life, it is better to treat Life as a mystery to be lived in rather than a set of problems to live through.

Higher-order philosophical questions have their worth and place in life. But also realise the old saying:— A place for everything and everything in its place.

Knowing the purpose of Life is different from knowing your own purpose in life.

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 25 July 2017. (B17112) Original text 11 Dec 2016.

Image via c4c.

The Agony Broccoli writes (4/4)

Monday 16 January 2012, 9.00am HKT


FROM PART 3

If we want to change the world — or even just the bedlinen — look at the man in the mirror first, observe accidentally with care, and then prepare deliberately accidentally for reality.

* * *

On cultural identity anywhere you sit

Re: Chinese culture, I’m trying to do my bit to promote a British Born Chinese [BBC] culture. But I think the Facebook generation just really aren’t interested, rebelling against an upbringing of Chinese patriarchy — they just want to enjoy themselves. Practical Chinese nature and all that, it does my head in when I try and talk to people about creating a BBC cultural identity, just seems pointless after a while.

I hear you and you have my sympathy.

I’m basically considered a ‘broccoli’ here — British-raised/overseas Chinese — although factually I’ve been raised everywhere else in equal time. Know me for five minutes and you’ll probably notice I’m simultaneously as Eastern and as Western as any person could possibly get. And that’s a problem, as I shall explain.

Facebook has a couple of BBC groups, but they’re mostly dormant or are spam magnets for penis-enlargement scams or botox peddling.

Here in Hong Kong, there are some ‘party gatherings’ for general networking or drinking organised by or aimed at ABCs, BBCs and whatever-Cs. However, they’re mostly populated by financial suit types who concentrate more on the networking bit and try to inveigle you into buying some financial product that frankly between you and me borders on being a fancier form of botox or penis-enlargement scam.

Our position

The problem with Hong Kong (and with China also) for a ‘foreigny’ Chinese person is that the expat and local communities are as different as chalk and cheese. They don’t connect with each other much — there IS a genuine language barrier here as well as a mental one — and the Clockenflap festival was a noticeable exception to the rule.

In China, the expat community there is (or can be) overly Chinese-centric, and that gets annoying over time. Indeed, I find the more highly educated expats there are the most annoying, mainly because they try just a little too hard to be Chinese. But maybe that’s just because of my bias.

In reverse, the expats in Hong Kong are overly pro-Western (though not anti-Chinese or Chinese-averse), and that too gets annoying over time. Adding to the annoyance are the local Hong Kong Chinese themselves, who virtually avoid knowing anything about the West as well as about China. You can easily see this apathy by looking at the generally dismal standard of Chinese and English among Hongkongers.

I’ll summarise the situation of the alphabet soupsters for you:

  • If you’re an ABC (American-born Chinese), you’re in with the expat/American crowd until the going gets rough — then you’re jettisoned.
  • If you’re a BBC of a more English/British disposition, you’re 70-30 in the Brit and local camps.
  • If you’re a BBC who’s more Chinese in mentality, you’re just another Chinaman who happened to have been born abroad, and therefore 100% lumped with (and bulliable by) the localese.
  • If you’re a Eurochinese (i.e. born/raised on Continental Europe), you don’t count because you’re just another Euronal from a different planet and speak with a funny but adorable accent. So you belong to your own national camp 100%.
  • Interestingly, if you’re a CBC (Canadian-born Chinese), you’re mostly considered a local, even if you don’t even speak the local lingo.

But if you’re a multilocation-raised broccoli who speaks perfect, unaccented Cantonese and knows how to live the local life as much as the expat one, then you’re outta luck here. You’re completely stuck in between the expat, ABC, BBC and local camps — not very enjoyable. (Like me right now.)

The multilateral response to broccolis

* * *

On trust and a united front

Re: The BBC Chinese culture/Chinese apathy thing, I think it happens every ten years. Chinese are so damn unorganised when it comes to politics [and] looking out/supporting each other. Anyway, there’s lots of issues here in the UK but I won’t go on about it.

Actually, that’s a stark-naked realistic description of the situation in Hong Kong and China!

Some China-watchers who actually live inside China have long said that the almost genetically driven distrust/mistrust of the Chinese mind makes for that inscrutable character of John Chinaman described so well by Westerners in the olden days.

On a collective level, that leads to weak social cohesion (‘unorganised’ as you put it so well) — which also leads to disorganised society.

But that’s irrelevant philosophical sociology mush. Daily life intrudes, and there comes many moments in daily life when we just have to put some trust in somebody in order to get those humdrum activities of daily life moving along (like groceries). You, me and most people appreciate this fact of life, and move on.

The problem with us Chinese — mind, not so much the Hong Kong and overseas Chinese as it’s more in the case with Chinese mainlanders — is that even primitive levels of trust have now disappeared from their society. The fast and radical economic and social changes in China after it had reintegrated with the rest of the world 30 years ago just ended up creating a dog-eat-dog world over there.

I’ve heard numerous horror and bitchin’ stories from people who have lived in China. There, they say you can’t get simple things like groceries done without also constantly watching against being shafted. Imagine having to operate on shaft-alert mode day in and day out. Even the mainlanders are sick and tired of this. Imagine, if the food market can’t provide this rudimentary level of trust or support, what can we expect in more complex situations?

Maybe a united front isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, sometimes

* * *

Inadvertently observe carefully

I find it amazing that us foreign-educated Chinese are the sharpest observers of Chinese culture and identity [and] weaknesses, and yet we get the most maligned because of the opposition between East and West. If our opinions were listened to, Chinese culture would probably be a better place.

You’re a pretty sharp observer yourself.

Amaze no more. The reason is simple: there is something else to compare with and against.

Your remark is worth its weight in gold. Most of us (human beings) already think that — just that we don’t say it as you’ve said it.

In fact, I totally agree with you about if foreign-educated Chinese were listened to, even if abjectly. But practically everyone remembers this too:

For every vision, there is an equal and opposite ‘revision.’
(Corollary to Murphy’s Law)

Which is why most ‘foreign-educats’ no longer bother to say anything — waste of breath.

The Chinese mind sometimes works against its own best interest, so said Stephen Hall (a.k.a. Sin Tak-fun) who was a local business figure and social luminary in the 1920s to 1980s.

Let’s spell it out: the Chinese mind often suspends common sense and rationality when it comes to looking at its own. I don’t have to look too far for proof:

  • blindspot mode automatically kicks in (automatically predictably so) whenever the discussion contains any seemingly negative-sounding remarks about us Chinese
  • mainlanders automatically launch into a diatribe about how ‘The West’ had conspired to dismantle wealthy, resourceful and resource-rich China through opium, invasion, pillage, the Japanese, the Nationalists, the Soviet Union (!) and (now) containment (true enough and therefore unanswerable)
  • Hongkongers automatically prattle away that the West made lots of money off us Chinese, and if it wasn’t for our Chinese willingness to suffer the shafting in transactions with the West, the West wouldn’t be where it is now
  • mainlanders automatically refer to our glorious 4,000- or 5,000-year-old Chinese civilisation and need no stinkin’ West to lecture us on civil society
  • Hongkongers automatically point out how familiar we are about Western ‘bad habits and bad thinking’ on the grounds that we have been ruled by a Western power for 156 years

We need only one comparison to put the whole thing into perspective.

Japanese TV have regular ‘cultural perspective’ shows that invite foreigners (living in Japan or not) to spell out various forms of Japanese asshattery, stupidness and serious shite. The shows are noteworthy for their no-holds-barred, free-for-all attitude to listening foreigners’ complaints. The issues covered are serious; the presentation designed to be lighthearted.

A lot of people say such a TV show just wouldn’t fly in the USA. It sure as hell would cause instant flying riots from the Chinese, if my own experience of Chinese people is anything to go by.

It’s easy to spot the ‘fail’ — but did you ‘observe’ not doing this in the first place?

* * *

Idealistic vs. practical idealism

I have the idea that you were an idealist at some point in something and that you decided to just enjoy your life instead of trying to change things? It’s probably best that way and just to get on with things instead of trying to change the world. Idealists are never listened to, only businessmen.

Riding my chopper motorbike in my fringed leather jacket is a helluva better idealism in practical terms. Fixing the bike’s carburettors and changing the oil are much more satisfying than changing the world whose population of psychopaths has already gone beyond the point of no return.

Trumps any idealism

Idealism ain’t no free ride, I’m telling you, man. Idealism comes with a heavy pricetag. Only businesspeople with high moolah and low morals can afford it.

But idealism is bad business, and bad for business — which is why businesspeople don’t want anything to do with idealism. Can we blame them?

I suppose you are right about me being an idealist about something (?) at some time. I mean, we were all idealists to some degree in our younger days.

And then we become older and cynical when it’s our turn to pay the bills, look after the unabortable babies, hold down our imaginatively titled jobs, or beg like serfs for a job from potential employers who wear that insolent sardonic smile on their faces and behave with imperious disdain at our need for a job.

And then spend every bleeding night dealing with the ‘drama’ of those odd strangers with funny noses and shifty eyes living inside our homes we call ‘husband,’ ‘wife,’ ‘son,’ ‘daughter’ or even ‘grandchildren.’

Yes, I too tell people (just like Kevin Flynn did in “TRON: Legacy”) that,

“You’d be amazed just how productive it can be to do just nothing.”

Changing the world is just SEP:

* * *

On being mentally prepared for realities

Anyway, I’ll have to take the English teaching option a bit more seriously, and decide from there, once I’ve got other work out the way, and improve my Cantonese in the meantime. Not too keen on having to impress the snobby culture, but it is what it is, I suppose.

That’s the spirit.

People just don’t realise the value of those great British skills of ‘muddling through’ and ‘keep calm and carry on.’

REALITY: IT IS WHAT IT IS

* * *

ASK YOURSELF

Which is more important to you — your ‘world’ or your ‘country’?

How do you decide which?

What is the meaning of YOUR life? WHY do you exist?

* * *

REMEMBER

“The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything
is calculated by an enormous supercomputer over a period of
7.5 million years to be 42. Unfortunately no one knows what the question is.”

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Alphabet soup via c4c ♦ Old Hong Kong flag via Wikipedia ♦ ABC via 4you4free ♦ ‘Know the Blindspots’ via Workzone Safety ♦ Chinese beach swimmers via c4c ♦ Fail stairs via c4c ♦ Motorbiker on chopper via Hotel Brenner ♦ Somebody Else’s Problem via Cutcaster ♦ ‘Reality is what you can get away with’ via Talent Imitates, Genius Steals.

The Agony Broccoli writes (3/4)

Monday 16 January 2012, 3.00am HKT


FROM PART 2

WHERE YOU STAND depends on where you sit, as the saying goes. The nice reader who wrote in about possible relocating touched on the matter of knowing the right lingo and our home countries change with times.

* * *

On knowing the right Chinese language

And also … Cantonese sounds much nicer, and probably easier for me to learn.

I’ve been saying this for a long time to one and all, but nobody believes me.

Cantonese has long been the Chinese language of the UK. (Yeah, I know how that sounds.) If you’ve lived long enough in the UK, it just ‘makes sense’ that you find Cantonese easier to handle.

(It’s roughly the same situation in Canada — but that’s another story.)

I don’t have a drop of Cantonese blood in me, but Cantonese is my mother tongue, believe it or not, mostly learnt in the UK. I happen to be an extremely fluent Cantonese speaker. Whenever I open my gob in Cantonese, many Hongkongers presume I’m an out-and-out local — that’s how locally Cantonese I speak.

A slight digression:

Right up until the most recent time (around the mid-1990s), when Chinese people came to the UK to live, work or study, they just spoke Cantonese, regardless of Chinese origin. The Hakka spoke Cantonese, the Shanghainese too, the Fujianese, the Mandarin-shleppers, Singaporeans, and the Indochinese.

“Cantonese speak Cantonese: if you don’t understand Cantonese, go back to your village.” Let’s not travel down that road about Cantonese-ness. (via Wikipedia)

Back in my day, my Mandarin-speaking friends and classmates spoke Cantonese in the UK. Every Chinaman in Blighty spoke Cantonese, and no one paid a thought about speaking any other kind of Chinese.

(In case there are morons out there who misread this, Cantonese-speaking in the UK is just a convention — a social commonality — not some pro-Cantonese ethnolinguistic rights activism like we see in China of late.)

Today, the last time I was back in the UK (2006?), I heard only Mandarin, usually in a variety of mainland Chinese accents.

It’s broadly the same story in the USA, where my family lived for a while:

  • Toishan and Cantonese in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco
  • Cantonese and Hokkien in New York City and environs
  • Cantonese for the whole of Texas, Colorado and Nevada
  • Vietnam-style Cantonese in Nebraska (!)
  • Chicago Chinese are normally Mandarin speakers but they’re pretty fluent in Cantonese too
  • Mandarin in and around Washington DC

Today, it’s Mandarin all round in America.

Srsly, if you’re planning on coming to Hong Kong, it’s Cantonese or English — don’t try anything else. Mandarin a.k.a. Putonghua is secretly dissed in the minds of most Hongkongers. Right now, with the Dolce & Gabbana ruckus going on in Hong Kong, best avoid Mandarin in public places.

That being said, be advised that Hong Kong’s manufacturing base is in China, specifically in the Pearl River Delta region about 50 miles (80 kilometres) west of here. If you don’t know Mandarin (as I don’t), you’re pretty much stuck hire-wise.

* * *

On a changed Britain

UK has changed a lot,  I grew up in the ’80s so can only remember the dreks of the ’70s. But in some ways it’s the same. And, yes, with the economy and riots and whatnot, it’s not the greatest of times.

I hear you. I was in the UK in the Seventies and Eighties, and they weren’t the greatest of times either. But in my day, the UK was latest and greatest when everything was crumbling to bits:

  • Harold Wilson and Teddy Heath taking us into the EEC
  • Decimalisation of the quid — not nice, but still a serious relief to the venerable £.s.d. because by then we had stopped learning proper arithmetic and multiplication tables so couldn’t work out Old Money anymore
  • The county of Westmorland became part of the Orwellian republic of Cumbria in the North West of England (see map) (and that’s srsly unforgivable)
  • The Spaghetti House Siege
  • Jim Callaghan and the ‘Winter of Discontent’
  • The Labour Party’s Michael Foot and his foot in his mouth
  • The heatwave of 1976
  • The rubbishmen’s strike (phooew!)
  • Maggie Thatcher (enough said)
  • The newspaper strikes that lasted more than a year
  • The Falklands invasion
  • The Harrods bombing (I was there not more than 20 feet away from the blast!)
  • The Brixton riots (I was NOT there)
  • The university fee overhaul that caused The Great British Brain Drain (a contradiction in terms!)

I have to say things seriously started unravelling by the late 80s. My last trip back was around 2006 and, boy, the UK felt more like America than anything else.

(Disclaimer: I’ve nothing against the USA. For cryin’ out loud, I’m even a cowboy boot wearer since when very young. But I do like the UK to feel like the UK, and America like the good ole’ US of A. Just sayin’.)

* * *

UP NEXT IN PART 4

Look in the mirror carefully, and observe accidentally,
then prepare for reality

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Cantonese poster by Apple Daily via Wikipedia ♦ Regions of England and the UK both via Maps of UK.

The Agony Broccoli writes (2/4)

Sunday 15 January 2012, 9.00pm HKT


FROM PART 1

We continue with my facepalmingly overlong, overwritten response to the very nice reader who wrote in about possibly relocating to Hong Kong.

* * *

On choosing the right time to land

Well, from what you said, looks like I’m stuck here [in the UK] until I get to travel out to Hong Kong in [sometime this year], at least to visit […].

Our hottest months are from July to October basically. If ever coming over during then, know that, after long living in the mild weather of the UK, you are highly likely to break out with some sort of skin condition because of the heat and humidity. Not trying to scare you, but just sayin’.

Hong Kong is a subtropical country: you can’t survive without air-conditioning.

Read my overlong, overboring, overwritten exposé of ACs myths.

* * *

Choices are your own, and you might actually have to live with them

I’ve already started learning Mandarin, and when I went to Beijing with my friend, got to practice it. I enjoyed it a lot, and I think as a choice between Hong Kong and Beijing, I’d choose Beijing for the weather and the girls, and Hong Kong just for family roots.

I’ve never been to Beijing myself, but I am inclined to agree that northern birds are better cleavaged and more personable (to some extent) than southern womenfolk. But then again, I’ve been known to pay only scant attention to birds other than for their obvious endowments.

Srsly, seems like this roots vs. someplace else thing is a common-enough issue with overseas-born or -raised Chinese.

CHOICE ‘A’: GO FOR ROOTS

If you’re choosing a place you have family roots in, the upside is obvious — you have kith and kin to fall back on in case of trouble.

English: Category:Exhibits in Hong Kong 展品 Cat...

You make your own roots (via Wikipedia)

However, people who are willing and able to relocate to another continent tend not to be troublemakers and tend not to get into scraps. So here in Hong Kong a.k.a. the City of Stairs and Celestial Rents, the fallback translates more usually than not as access to free or free-ish accommodation while you look for piss-pauvre employment and more permanent living quarters that cost you an arm and a leg.

The downside with the family-roots choice is that after a short while here your life becomes somewhat structured according to your relatives’ (especially if you’re a live-in at their place). And if your other folks tend to be somewhat old-fashioned, you end up with various obligations and atavistic practices especially during holiday festivals.

CHOICE ‘B”: GO FOR SOMEPLACE ELSE

If you want to go the completely-new-place route (like choosing Beijing or any other place where you have no family ties), the upside is that your life and living carries on in very independent fashion. You are your own man (or woman), and you can do whatever you bloody well feel like it, thank you very much.

United Kingdom: stamp

(Sem Paradeiro via Flickr)

Take Beijing, for instance. If you can handle the massive redtape, the money-grubbing ways of the more personable chicks, or the more sinocentric attitudes of the Pekinese, then fine.

Long living anywhere gets to anyone sooner or later. Unlike Hong Kong, Beijing is user-frustrating if you (regardless of passport) want to take off to some city or country for a long weekend.

In Hong Kong, have money, will travel.

The downside of choosing a place with no ties is that you’re on your own. By that, I don’t mean in the sense of getting into some fracas with the local authorities or favourite local mob (same thing, really). It’s just that you have to start from ‘zero’ (and long lead times) in making friends, getting about, living the local life, living the expat life, learning the social ropes, etc — and that can be hard and gut-wretching for some people.

Protip: Check how you socialise in your current community. Broadly speaking, this will be a good indicator of how you’re likely to fare in another city or country.

For example, when I was in the UK, I was quite the character and lots of people (apparently) wanted to hang out with me, so I got regular invitations to parties and various other “do’s.” I was (and still am) entirely comfortable with the young, the midaged, the geriatric — whatever their age.

And then I turned up back in Hong Kong, and then the parties were no more because Hongkongers here don’t ‘hang out’ mainly because of the high cost. (Sigh)

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

Cantonese roast duck:
Not every duck is Peking duck, and the eating is different. Namsayin’?

* * *

UP NEXT IN PART 3

Know the right lingo, because even your home country changes

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Air conditioner via c4c ♦ Cantonese roast duck via Cook at Home ♦ All other images powered by Zemanta/WordPress.

The Agony Broccoli writes (1/4)

Sunday 15 January 2012, 3.00pm HKT


A VERY NICE READER has written to me about the blog, and about potentially relocating to this dump Hong Kong.

Then I realised the reader’s questions and remarks have thrown up some highly interesting points dying to come out into the open.

I’ve encountered the same kind of questions and concerns many times before in others, so these must be quite typical issues for people thinking about coming over here.

Riders added here that were not in the original communication.

Certain parts of the original communication have been redacted for the purposes of this post to protect the reader (obviously) and myself (even more obviously).

(No, this is not an Agony Aunt/Agony Uncle post.)

* * *

Planning is everything; the plan is nothing

Interesting blog. I’m a British-born Chinese thinking of going to Hong Kong but my Cantonese is non-existent. And if I went there as an English teacher, I wouldn’t get to learn Cantonese. Plus I love the cool weather in the UK but hate that there’s not many Chinese here [in the UK].

I know what you’re thinking. I tell you, you got to have a working ability in Cantonese in Hong Kong today.

Not to put too fine point on things, you also need an ability to write Chinese — no kidding, Hong Kong is THAT changed now.

Mandarin is becoming increasingly ‘desirable,’ if you get what I mean.

I myself don’t read or write Chinese, though English and Cantonese are my mother tongues. My inability to read and write Chinese is a major problem for me, professionally speaking. My work is chiefly a printbroker — I sell printing services to the financial community. While I’m problem-free with the bankers/wankers (who are reasonably good English speakers), the difficulty kicks in with the printing and paper people (who don’t speak or write English). So everything has to be conducted by speech, which, you could imagine, can sometimes be a real butthurt.

My advice to you:

  • You gotta bring up your Cantonese, no debate.
  • You gotta have an airtight employment contract before you start coming over, otherwise you could be left in the lurch.
  • You gotta have proper accommodation before you come over — you just can’t make do with hostels etc while you’re looking for more permanent digs (the rent here is scary high).
  • You gotta play up your ‘Englishness’ if you’re ever hired as an English teacher here  — Hongkongers are a bunch of snobs, and if you seem to be ever-so-slightly less English, you’re done for.

I’ve seen people just get up and go, and end up in a rut here. Hong Kong is a town far too costly to come to without some careful planning.

* * *

On powers of observation

I enjoyed your blog by the way on the [Clockenflap] festival. You have an astute observation on the different types of Chinese, ABCs, BBC girls, amusing stuff, you should be a published writer.

I am in me mum’s words “a little bit of a naughty boy.” So if I wanted to make people feel jealous, I would probably say (in a French accent), “Thank you, mais oui, it is because I have lived in so many places around the world and that makes me possible to see through many things.”

Truth is, if my observation really was/is astute, I reckon it’s more to do with growing up with very open-minded parents and grandparents, and less with living a baton-relay race all over the world. This, I find, is the case with observant people I know.

Broadly speaking, grandparents are naturally more conservative than parents — they must be! surely, because of the times and circumstances of their formative years.

That being said, if grandparents and parents are open-minded about things in life, we see life from their perspective (or at least we have an idea of theirs). From that, almost imperceptibly, we take on a freer-form worldview of people and things — and (more importantly) of circumstances. It’s hard to explain.

English: Sai Yeung Choi Street South, Mongkok,...

What do you notice, or want to notice? (Mongkok district in Hong Kong via Wikipedia)

Nobody ever said you can’t be open-minded and conservative at the same time.

Here’s a small digression. If you know how to ‘read’ it, then you’ll have an idea about living here for real:

A classic example of orthodox closed-minded conservative attitude is that pointless faggotry about less vs. fewer that we typically run into from grammarfags (plus that dylexic bunch from linguistics). It’s poison to reasonable observation.

Nearly everyone knows ‘less’ is for mass nouns and uncountable things, and ‘fewer’ for numbers. (Less butthurt from fewer asshats, no?) We got the memo!

And nearly everybody has seen that proverbial supermarket sign

’10 ITEMS OR LESS’

and knows it IS wrong by strict grammar. But that phrase has been in accepted currency for a very long time, and practically speaking should be treated as an idiom — or just one of those exceptions to the rule.

Knowing that “10 items or fewer” is right but “10 items or less” is not wrong makes for a healthier, happier mental life. You’ve got a choice between the two, and choices improve quality of life. There are many other things that help burst your blood vessels already and we need no stinkin’ less vs. fewer for it, thank you very much.

But, no, there are actually people who get into furious indignation about it — some going into overdrive and force the supermarket to reword the sign, and think it’s some kind of altruistic achievement or personal victory in upholding some nebulous standard of decency. Sorry, I go to the supermarket for groceries, not grammar.

There’s at least one movie by that name (“10 Items or Less,” 2006, starring Morgan Freeman) and a TV series (also 2006) on Turner Broadcasting System. Journalists (even top-flight journos like David Frost and those on “60 Minutes”) regularly ask interviewees to explain some crap in “25 words or less.”

Indeed, I write to my clients that I could finish their printjobs in 25 days or less — and get paid for it. And I (as a non-practising lawyer myself) can assure the grammarfags that phrases like

‘this hearing should last three days or less’

‘stolen 10 items or less’

come with unnerving regularity in court straight from judges’ and barristers’ mouths.

There’s a lot of that one-size-fits-all attitude around the world, and it’s very strong in Asian societies.

(In fact, I don’t want to see a “10 items or fewer” sign in a supermarket — a case of reverse orthodox closed-mindedness?)

SVG map of Hong Kong's administrative districts.

18 items or MORE
Administrative districts in Hong Kong
(via Wikipedia)

* * *

UP NEXT IN PART 2

When you should choose to land,
and why you have to live with your choices

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© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012.

Images: Hong Kong coins via Learn Cantonese ♦ All other images powered by Zemanta/WordPress.

Objectivity: Just another $5 word for subjectivity

Wednesday 28 December 2011, 2.34am HKT


“I do not believe in the notion of objectivity. I think that’s essentially horse shit. Everyone has biases and any scientist will tell you that. I think rather than trying to be objective, you need to be more upfront about your biases and be rigorous in terms of fact-checking, context and history.”

— Arun Gupta, Indian-British-American journalist and co-founder of The Occupied Wall Street Journal, the mouthpiece of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement with a print run of 75,000 copies.

(via)

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011. Image powered by Zemanta/WordPress.

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