• “You want people to stand up, not scrape and bow. But if you don’t have a certain natural aristocracy in the system, people who are respected because they have earned that and we level everything down to the lowest common denominator, then I think society will lose out.”
    -
    Lee Hsien Loong at the Singapore At 50: What Lies Ahead? conference at the Institute of Policy Studies conference

    The word “aristocracy” has triggered shock and indignation, but the sentiment Lee Hsien Loong expressed on Thursday evening was not at all new.   

    It’d be inaccurate to believe that Lee was trying to describe Singapore as a place with a hereditary nobility/monarchy - what he was talking about is simply Singapore’s system of “meritocracy”. 

    Singapore, as we are often told, is a meritocratic society where people are rewarded for the amount of work they put in. What Lee is saying is that these industrious, ambitious, brilliant people should be accorded respect because they’ve earned and therefore deserve

    Read More »from COMMENT: Of "natural aristocracy" and earning your place
  • Fading McDonald's sign illustration (Getty Images/Thinkstock)Fading McDonald's sign illustration (Getty Images/Thinkstock)

    McDonald’s might be celebrating its 60th anniversary in the United States this year, but it’s hard to imagine that many people are openly celebrating with them. In our health-obsessed society, it’s no longer cool to admit that you enjoy a Big Mac once in a while.

    It’s obvious that people are still eating at McDonald’s, especially since the company currently operates over 36,000 restaurants worldwide, but there is a social stigma associated with the food.

    Customers are not only concerned about the lack of nutritional density in the burger and fries. Over the past few years, rumours have surfaced about the quality of the ingredients being used in the food products at McDonald’s. The situation was so bad that last year the company launched a campaign that encouraged customers to raise their concerns in a public forum.

    As part of the “Our Food. Your Questions.” campaign, users were able to ask McDonald’s questions like “Do you use real apples in your apple pie?” and “How is it that a

    Read More »from What would the world be like -- without McDonald's?
  • After four years together, a Reddit user, by the name of ‘Getzen’, decided that it was finally time for him to move in with his girlfriend.

    Little did he know, however, just how much she despised his dog Molly.

    When his girlfriend gave him an ultimatum – either she goes or the beagle goes – Getzen had no choice but to put an ad up on Craigslist with a title that read: FREE TO ANY WILLING HOME.

    “My girlfriend does not like my beagle Molly,” he wrote in his ad. “So I have to re-home her.”

    The Redditor goes on to explain how she’s “a purebred from a wealthy area,” how she “likes to play games,” but isn’t “totally trained.”

    She’ll also “never greet you at the door after a long day or give you unconditional love when you’re down,” and “does not bite but is mean as hell!”

    Any dog lover would think this is a little harsh to say about a doe-eyed beagle, but in an epic plot twist, he’s not talking about his dog. He’s talking about his girlfriend.

    “So… anyone interested in my 30-year-old,

    Read More »from Man chooses dog over his dog-hating girlfriend
  • While Donald Trump makes political hay from losing platforms for his beauty pageants after race-baiting Mexicans, a Canadian pageant winner is facing real repercussions for using her position to try to effect actual social change.

    Anastasia Lin won the Miss World Canada pageant in May. Lin, 25, is a theatre major at the University of Toronto, and spoke out frequently against China’s persecution of religious minorities during the competition, according to the Globe and Mail. She has also acted in numerous films that deal with the issue of human rights in China.

    Those actions are now having a significant impact on her family. Lin, who was born in China and moved to Canada wih her mother at age 13, wites in the Washington Post that while winning the competition is an honor, it’s coming with consequences for her father, who still lives in China.

    Shortly after my victory, my father started receiving threats from Chinese security agents complaining about my human rights advocacy. As an

    Read More »from Miss World Canada fights back against Chinese intimidation
  • While the Confederate flag continues to be the subject of bans across North America, one Louisiana man who supports “heritage, not hate” has a bone to pick with Walmart.  

    Chuck Netzhammer requested his local Walmart decorate a cake for him in the shape of the Confederate flag and was outraged when he was refused, reports The Daily Caller

    Netzhammer decided to try another controversial symbol, the ISIS battle flag, and was shocked when his cake came back, in full piped-icing glory. In an uploaded YouTube video seen more than 500,000 times since last Friday, Netzhammer shows the cake, along with what he originally wanted – the Confederate flag with the slogan “History not hate.”

    ““WTF Walmart! ISIS is beheading Christians, selling little girls into slavery, and is currently a terrorist org at war with the United States,” he wrote in the caption to his  YouTube video.  “But you can’t buy the General Lee toy car at Wallmart[sic]? It’s a damn shame.”

    A rep from Walmart has since

    Read More »from Walmart to world: sorry for making an ISIS cake
  • A three-year-old Aboriginal girl who received hateful comments for dressing up as Frozen’s Queen Elsa at a Disney event in Melbourne has found her Prince Charming: the Internet.

    The Courier reports that when Rachel Muir took her daughter Samara to the event at Watergardens Shopping Centre, they did not get a fairytale ending.

    The two had waited two hours in line for a children’s snow pit when Samara was subjected to racial slurs.

    “The lady in front of us turned around to Samara and said ‘I don’t know why you’re dressed up for because Queen Elsa isn’t black,” Muir told The Courier.

    “I asked the woman what she meant by the comment and then one of the woman’s youngest daughters screwed up her face, she pointed at Samara and said ‘you’re black and black is ugly.’”

    Muir said that was left “stunned” by the hateful comments.

    That’s when her daughter burst into tears and hid her face in her hands.

    “I looked around the line and there were little girls of all races lining up dressed as their

    Read More »from Internet rallies to support 3-year-old Queen Elsa who was told ‘black is ugly’
  • They gave up their typical life to face high winds and stormy seas… in a boat. 

    Matt and Jessica Johnson quit their day jobs, sold everything and bought a boat to sail the world. They haven’t looked back since.

    In August 2011, the 32-year-olds left their hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in their sail boat. Mirror reports that so far the couple has visited 16 countries from South America to the Caribbean and even crossed the Atlantic Ocean twice.

    In their former lives, Matt was a sales manager at a car dealership and Jessica worked at an auto insurance company. But one day, they decided to sell everything, including their home, and save up for this life-time trip.

    “Our lives were the typical American Dream. Go to school, get married, buy a house, start a career,” the couple told the online news outlet. “So far we’ve also left out the part about having 2.5 kids.”

    But instead of kids, the Johnsons decided to add a new member to their travels by adopting a cat named Georgie. The feline

    Read More »from Couple sold everything to travel the world in a boat
  • An HIV-positive man took an interesting approach to testing the stigma attached to having HIV/AIDS by standing on a street with his arms out and asking random people to touch him.

    Janne, the man in the video, partnered up with a broadcasting company and took to the streets of Helsinki, Finland, to see how people would react.

     

    Although the video is not in English, they can be seen making a sign that reads “I AM HIV-POSITIVE. TOUCH ME!”

    At first people look at him, read the sign and keep on walking, seeming rather confused by the gesture.

    But despite all of the weird glances coming his way, the man stands there, unwavering.

    It pays off when a few moments later one woman stops, squeezes his hand, and continues.

    Eventually, people are seen stopping in their tracks to turn around and give him a pat on the shoulder.  

    The support begins to get overwhelming when two women take it upon themselves to not only touch him, but to hug him.

    To his joy, those were just the beginning of many hugs

    Read More »from HIV-positive man asks strangers to touch him
  • 15 ways to overcome smartphone addiction

    Nomophobia is short for “no-mobile-phone phobia”.

    It’s the fear of being away from your smartphone or not having network coverage. And it’s on the rise.

    87% of young adults say that their smartphone never leaves their side, while 80% of smartphone users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up.

    Smartphone addiction is becoming a big problem. Here are some signs of addiction:

    - You frequently use your phone at mealtimes.

    - You spend more time on your phone than interacting with others in person.

    - You frequently use your phone when you know you should be doing something else more productive.

    - You frequently use your smartphone while performing tasks that require focus, e.g. completing an assignment, writing a report, driving.

    - You feel uncomfortable when your phone isn’t with you.

    - You sometimes check your phone in the middle of the night.

    Are you an addict, or do you know someone who is?

    (If you’re interested, you can take this free online smartphone addiction test designed by The

    Read More »from 15 ways to overcome smartphone addiction
  • In an attempt to show women who won’t stop complaining about wearing heels what wimps they are, Brandon Cohen took it upon himself to “straight up dominate the heel game” by wearing a pair of strappy high heels for an entire day.

    Unfortunately for him, things don’t go quite as planned.

    The day starts at 8:30 a.m. with Cohen exchanging his shoes for a pair of black high heels. After only a few steps, he begins to immediately regret his decision.

    “I’m already in so much pain it’s astounding,” he says while he waits for the elevator.

    Cohen is then shown trying — and failing — to power through his daily activities from a whole new altitude.

    When he goes out for lunch, he recognizes his first mistake: parking so far away from the exit.

    As he goes down a stairwell, he grips both sides of the handle bars saying “this is just… not safe.”

    After lunch, at around 2:30 p.m, Cohen tells the person who’s filming that he has to get the car because he’s “not going to be able to survive that walk

    Read More »from Man tries to spend a whole day in heels to prove that women are ‘wimps’ but ends up failing miserably

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