Hong Kong Freedom of Press under attack by CY Leung (HKSAR Chief Executive)?

Thursday, 13 February, 2014
20140213 Ms  Li Wei Ling Press conference

20140213 Ms Li Wei Ling (李慧玲) Press conference

Is Freedom of Press in Hong Kong  under severe attack by HKSAR Chief Executive Mr. CY Leung as Ms. Li Wei Ling 李慧玲 (FB page) alleged? You be the judge yourself after watch the full press conference. I personally believe Ms. Li Wei Ling 李慧玲 is a person of the highest integrity through her years of journalistic work. Have a watch of the clip 李慧玲回應被商台解僱事件記者會 starts at 1m23s (full press conference with Q&A on 2014/02/13, over 1 hour long) and judge for yourself.

Shall Copyright Law trump Freedom of Press? NASCAR and Encana seem to think so.

Tuesday, 26 February, 2013

Shall Copyright Law trump Freedom of Press? The senior executives NASCAR and Encana seem to think copyright law should be more powerful than many people will permit it to be. I for one would love the Supreme Court of US and Supreme Court of Canada to decide some of these “copyright” cases so that any potentially ruthless & illegal actions cannot be taken again in US and Canada! Of course, IANAL (I am not a lawyer) and I rely on further instructions and guidelines from the justices at the two Supreme Courts to decide one way or another in each of the countries. Quoting an Feb 21st article by me,

“It should be noted that copyright law has been used in Canada in recent years to over-reach (in my opinion) into other unrelated areas. Take Euro-Excellence Inc. v. Kraft Canada Inc., 2007 SCC 37, [2007] 3 S.C.R. 20, a Supreme Court of Canada judgment on Canadian copyright law as an example, it ultimately is a case about the import of chocolate that somehow got twisted into a case about copyright.”

For the case of NASCAR, see reports in Washington Post and Paid Content.

For the case of Encana, see my summary reporter in examiner.com.

Claimed “copyrighted” video clip in the NASCAR case:

Claimed “copyrighted” audio clip in the Encana case.

Argo, Oscars, Grateful President Jimmy Carter, Ben “WTF” Affleck

Sunday, 24 February, 2013

Oct 15, 2015 update: It is with deep sadness that I report the passing of Ambassador Ken Taylor at 81. CTV News report with video. Global News report (with video).


President Jimmy Carter vs. Ben

90 percent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian. And the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA. And with that exception, the movie is very good.” — Former President Jimmy Carter on Ben Affleck’s movie ‘Argo’ to CNN’s Piers Morgan.

There’s nothing much right from Day 1 I could do about the movie [Argo]. I changed a line at the end because the caption at the end was disgraceful. It’s like Tiananmen Square, you are sitting in front of a big tank.” – Ken Taylor

Many people (including me) are predicting Argo will likely win Best Picture in The Oscars tonight. So no time is better than now to set the record straight and urge Mr. Ben Affleck, director/actor of Argo to thank Canada and Canadians in his Oscars acceptance speech. If I may be frank and honest, Mr. Ben “WTF” Affleck, enough is enough. Your drama license to twist history to enhance your story telling makes this and other Canadians angry. What will Americans feel if filmmakers from UK or France rewrite history in a “based on real events” movie and minimize the US effort in World War II? Ben, Man up and thank Canada and Canadians in your Oscars speech tonight. If not, I’ve decided to change your name to Ben “WTF” Affleck!

President Jimmy Carter on Argo in Speech at Queen’s University Nov 2012

AP, “Canada deserves Argo Oscar mention, ex-ambassador says ‘The Canadians were brave’, says ex-ambassador Ken Taylor


The original postscript of the movie said that Taylor received 112 citations and awards for his work in freeing the hostages and suggested Taylor didn’t deserve them because the movie ends with the CIA deciding to let Canada have the credit for helping the Americans escape.

Taylor called the postscript lines “disgraceful and insulting” and said it would have caused outrage in Canada if the lines were not changed. Affleck flew Taylor to Los Angeles after the Toronto debut and allowed him to insert a postscript that gave Canada some credit.

Taylor called it a good movie and said he’s not rooting against it, but said it is far from accurate.

“He’s a good director. It’s got momentum. There’s nothing much right from Day 1 I could do about the movie. I changed a line at the end because the caption at the end was disgraceful. It’s like Tiananmen Square, you are sitting in front of a big tank,” he said.

THR, “Ex-Ambassador Again Slams ‘Argo’ for Canada Snub

The full convocation video with President Carter. (portion related to Argo, ~25:55 – 28:15) Queen’s University press release.

An excerpt from the transcript of President Carter on CNN Piers Morgan with my extensive notes,

“MORGAN: A scene from the Oscar-nominated film, Argo, about a daring rescue during the Iranian hostage crisis. I’m back now with former President Jimmy Carter, who was, of course, in the White House at the time. You’ve seen Argo, I take it? How accurate is it from your memory?

CARTER: Well, let me say first of all, it’s a great drama. And I hope it gets the Academy Award for best film because I think it deserves it. The other thing that I would say was that 90 percent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian. And the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA.

And with that exception, the movie is very good.

But Ben Affleck’s character in the film was only — he was only in — stayed in Iran a day and a half. And the main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process.

I was informed about it the first day. And I was very much involved with the Canadian government because the Canadian government would not legally permit six false passports to be issued. So the Canadian parliament had to go into secret session the first time in history, and they voted to let us use six Canadian passports that were false. [Kempton’s note: Lets be clear, I doubt the Americans will issue false US passports to Canadians if our roles were switched. Agree? To me, I am so proud of my government, and the cabinet (?, not the parliament?) in approving the false passports to help our friends in urgent need.]

MORGAN: But when you first heard about this outlandish plan to create a fictitious science fiction movie to get these hostages out, you’re the president of the United States. I mean, if this had gone badly wrong, you would have been an absolute laughing stock. So it’s a bold moment for you, for the presidency, for the country.

CARTER: Well, I don’t deny that, but it was much bolder for the Canadian government to do it because the Canadian government was not involved in the hostage crisis, as you know. They could have been hostages themselves had it been revealed. [Kempton’s note: This is absolutely the case! Remember, other countries (I will not shame them here) were asked to help the trapped Americans and they refused. Canada helped. And by helping, “Argo” is how Mr. Ben “WTF” Affleck decided to thank us?! WTF Ben!]

But as I said, you know, they did the primary work. And as a matter of fact, the American hostages left Iran and landed in Switzerland and landed before the Iranians ever discovered that they had been there.

When I left office, I ordained that we would not reveal any American’s involvement in the process, but to give the Canadians full credit for the entire heroic episode. And that prevailed for a number of years afterwards. [Kempton’s note: This is a right tactical move by President Carter. Totally different from what the movie implied.]

But I think it’s a great film, and it tells a dramatic story. And I think it’s accurate enough. [Kempton’s note: President Carter is nice. I am frank with Ben and is hoping I won’t have to call him Ben “WTF” Affleck after tonight. Will see.]

This article is cross posted in examiner.com by me.

McDonald’s Big Mac Commercial 1984 – Cantonese trumped English campaign

Thursday, 28 June, 2012

1984 McDonald's Big Mac Commercial - Cantonese Hong Kong

The following are videos of 1984 McDonald’s Big Mac commercials in US (I believe) and Hong Kong respectively. To me, the Cantonese campaign actually trumped the English one! The HK commercial actually came as a part of a really smart campaign. And in hindsight, it can also be said that it was part of a campaign to “brainwash” HK kids with the virtues of Big Mac! How so? Well, HK kids were asked to memorize and recite a promo about the virtues of Big Mac in less than six seconds (see following Cantonese ad), in exchange for a FREE Big Mac!

I and many HK kids recited the promo in less than six seconds with flying colours! I didn’t know then, but in hindsight if this campaign didn’t fall under “brainwashing” I don’t know what would. Yes, in case you ask, after all these years, I still can recite the Cantonese Hong Kong Big Mac promo in less than five seconds (not six)! In Canada (I am less sure about US), we now have advertising/marketing guidelines as to what we can do to advertise to young children, and I am happy to say there are forms of advertising we don’t allow any company to do to influence the mind of young ones.

P.S. Setting aside ethics and morality for a moment, the Hong Kong advertising/marketing team did one heck of a job in improving upon the original US ad concept. Translating the language and culture of an ad is almost impossible but improving upon was really pushing everything one level up! Great job even I had to set aside ethics and morality to praise the original 1984 HK McDonald’s Big Mac team.

English “1984 McDonald’s Big Mac Commercial”

Cantonese “香港電視廣告 – 麥當勞: 巨無霸急口令 (1984年)”

In Chinese/Cantonese: 隻層牛肉巨無霸, 醬汁洋蔥夾青瓜, 芝士生菜加芝麻, 人人食過笑哈哈

1984 McDonald's Big Mac Commercial - English

Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference

Monday, 25 June, 2012

Chris Keefer - Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference - pix 01

Faria Kamal - Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference - pix 02

My personal thanks to the doctor and medical student who spoke up on our behalf. Shame on our Canadian government. Shame on us Canadians that we are not more aware of this problem. Canadians are BETTER than the actions of our current government in power!

According to the YouTube clip info, the names of the doctor and medical student speaking up are Chris Keefer and Faria Kamal respectively. I applaud Chris and Faria’s brave protest, risking retribution from the Harper government and their hospital administration.

Shame on Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference

See CBC News, “Refugee health cuts protest cuts off Oliver announcement

TorStar, “A new low for refugees in Canada

The issue (a website) as posted in the YouTube clip info.

Chris Keefer & Faria Kamal - Doctor and medical student interrupt Minister Joe Oliver at press conference - pix 03

Conflicts in Reality TV and psychological profiling – The Chicken or The Egg – Most fascinating and controversial session at 2012 Banff World Media Festival

Saturday, 23 June, 2012

The Chicken or The Egg - Casting for Reality session at #banff2012 - pix 1

The conflicts in reality TV as we seen in the most recent “old days” were created by show creators’ or casting directors’ gut instinct. They put interesting people or people with opposing characteristics on a show and “hope” for the best.

The Chicken or The Egg – Casting for Reality session at 2012 Banff World Media Festival gave me a deep and insightful insider look of the current practice in casting for reality TV. Psychological personality tests like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) are used to precisely create (I debate using the word “manipulate”) the reality TV casts composition to manufacture the right mix for “fireworks” to happen on screen.

The Good and The Bad

I agree that tests like MMPI-2 will help screened out extreme contestants that should NOT to be allowed on TV in order to protect themselves from potential harm (sometimes self-inflicted). In some sense, even the contestants have probably signed their lives away and give up any rights to launch any legal actions if anything go wrong (an analogy is the forms you have to sign before your parachute jump),  the reality TV shows makers should be more aware and ready to provide help to the contestants when troubles arises. The speakers of the session are aware the duty of care they are responsible of, even though they may not be legally bound to. Have a watch of the follow video clip and share your thoughts.

The Chicken or The Egg - Casting for Reality session at #banff2012 - pix 2

The Chicken or The Egg - Casting for Reality session at #banff2012 - pix 3

Since we are talking about reality TV, Ricky Gervais, winner of the Sir Peter Ustinov Award for Comedy at the 2010 Banff World TV Festival, had an interesting take in the finale of Extras (highly recommended funny comedy). I was lucky to ask Ricky specifically about the finale. Here is a clip. (broken clip link fixed in 20200421)

Official The Chicken or The Egg session description from 2012 Banff.

The Chicken or The Egg – Casting For Reality
Uncovering the characters in reality television can be a challenge as producers search for engaging and genuine subjects. In this behind-the-scenes look at the nuances of discovering incredible individuals to participate in this ever growing genre, you will hear first-hand from a producer and personality expert from some of the hottest reality shows. They will discuss the fine line between creating television that is entertaining, yet not exploitative, that presents the nitty-gritty of real-life drama.
What is the creative process in finding the characters that drive our favourite reality shows?
What are some of the challenges in putting together the perfect ensemble cast of characters?
What is the network involvement in casting for reality series?”

Official 2012 Banff bio for Jonathan Glazier.

“Jonathan Glazier – Creative Director – Entertainment Master Class and Pepper Rafferty Read the rest of this entry »

Did Bloomberg distort Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak’s view on Facebook as an investment?

Wednesday, 6 June, 2012

Did Bloomberg distort Apple Co-Founder Mr. Steve Wozniak's view on Facebook as an investment?

Here is an edited version of a request for clarification sent to Bloomberg reporters and editor for the May 13th, 2012 story “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Would Buy Facebook At Any [Price]“.


To: Bloomberg reporters Ms. Shraysi Tandon & Mr. David Fickling and editor Mr. Michael Tighe [see Bloomberg article for email contacts]
copy: Mr. Steve Wozniak

I was in touch with Apple Co-Founder Mr. Steve Wozniak electronically yesterday [see lengthy exchange in this public post’s comments]. And I was very disturbed to hear Mr. Wozniak telling me his view on Facebook “investment” had been distorted by Bloomberg. At the core, Mr. Wozniak told me that he made it clear to Bloomberg’s reporters that any purchase of Facebook shares would be just “ceremonial” (he gave the analogy, like “waiting in line for iPhones“). The following are Mr. Wozniak’s words. Emphasis are added by me to draw your attention.

if I bought Facebook shares (it wasn’t possible due to my schedule) it would not be as an investor but rather ceremonial, like waiting in line for iPhones. But that got missed by a lot of people. I’m very sorry if they duped you.

This is in direct contrary to the video excerpt Bloomberg decided to include. Here is a transcript of the broadcasted video exchange between Bloomberg reporter Ms. Tandon and Mr. Wozniak re investing in Facebook (~00:22 to 00:37)

Reporter: “Would you invest in Facebook?”
Answer: “I would invest in Facebook. I don’t care what the opening price is. I would, just for good reasons. Especially if was an investor looking to make money.”

Mr. Wozniak also wrote the following. And again, I have added emphasis to draw your attention. [see excerpt from public post’s comments]

“I have a great idea. Why don’t you contact the reporter and ask him if, before the interview, I told him how I don’t read financial papers and have never used the iPhone stock price app and that I couldn’t answer financial questions. He was a very good tech reporter but asked that question at the end. It was a trick and a setup, as he’d heard my explanation an hour before during my speech. I think this may have been in Singapore. You have to ask how ethical that was. He knew the truth but set it up in a way that would deceive you. And it was my intent at that time to buy Facebook stock, but not as an investment, and the reporter knew that well. I had told him that my wife and I don’t trade stocks and all we have is Apple and Fusion-io. So he knew the truth but published otherwise. Sorry, but at the end of a tired day one word may have been wrong (invest instead of buy) but 2 people, myself and the reporter, knew it was not an investment. I doubt I used the word “investment” since it’s a word not in my vocabulary. I have never in my life invested in stock. Please contact the reporter to verify this and let him know what you think. And ask him not to do it to the next “nice” guy.”

I personally don’t know Mr. Wozniak and had only got in touch with him yesterday. Mr. Michael Tighe, as the Bloomberg editor in charge of this article, can you please confirm with the Bloomberg reporters if Mr. Wozniak’s view got distorted seriously. At times I am a blunt reporter and based on Bloomberg’s original report, I had written,

“I love +Steve Wozniak for his tech but his investment “advice” was worst than idiotic.”

To me, Bloomberg’s reputation is on the line here. Distorting a “ceremonial” purchase of Facebook stocks and turning it into a story with title “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Would Buy Facebook At Any [Price]” is a serious journalist blunder at least or an inexcusably unethical behaviour at worst.

Finally, Ms. Shraysi Tandon, Mr. David Fickling, and Mr. Michael Tighe, I hope if there was a mistake, Bloomberg will do the honourable thing and issue a formal correction and apologize. Since you are all professional journalists, I don’t need to remind why we in the business of reporting will all remember Jayson Blair (former reporter with New York Times) or Stephen Glass (former reporter with The New Republic) for a very long time to come.

Please kindly recheck the source and basis of your story and issue a correction and apology if a mistake was made. Please let me know an error was indeed made, I would like to promptly issue my apology to Mr. Wozniak in saying his “investment “advice” was worst than idiotic” based on Bloomberg’s May 13th report.


Kempton Lam
mobile: 403.xxx.xxxx
freelance TV reporter, commentator & blogger

P.S. Cross posted onto examiner.com. I am hoping to hear from Bloomberg really soon to set the record straight.

Finding Jan Wong Out of the Blue – The ugly sides of Globe and Mail & Manulife

Monday, 14 May, 2012

Jan Wong Website page pix 01

As a long time reader (and fan) of Jan Wong‘s (website, twitter) newspaper articles and “Lunch with” columns, it came to me as a total shock when I belatedly discovered the real reason of why Jan is no longer working for the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail (she was fired from the fallout of one article) and why Jan, a successful books author and highly skilled writer, has to self-publish her memoir Out of the Blue (Amazon) (this is a story in itself).

Check out this video “For my review of Jan Wong’s “Out of The Blue” & news report” and the following insightful articles and interviews.

* CBC News, “Q&A: Jan Wong’s long march from depression to reinvention”

* CBC Books Radio interview, Michael Enright’s interview with journalist Jan Wong about her latest book”

* 2012, May 11, TVO Allan Gregg video interview, “Jan Wong On Her Battle With Depression

* TorStar Apr 27, “Toronto author Jan Wong’s book on workplace depression an instant classic

* Ottawa Citizen, Jan Wong’s blues – “Journalist chronicles her controversial descent into workplace depression

* Now, “Jan Wong wronged? The Bestselling journalist wound up self-publishing her memoir?

* Now Book review, “Out of The Blue – Wilful Wong

* backofthe book.ca “Jan Wong’s Globe and Mail blues

* The Chronicle Herald “Old China hand explores Canada’s mysterious East

* Quill & Quire Book review, Out of the Blue: A Memoir of Workplace Depression, Recovery, Redemption and, Yes, Happiness”

Ref: 2006 Sept article from Premier Jean Charest.

Disclosure: I own shares of Manulife and I am shocked and angry of Manulife’s unacceptable business practices. Setting personal feelings aside, it is just bad business to deal with legitimate insurance clients like it did with Jan. These kind of unacceptable behaviours can rightfully drive potential future clients away. I may write a separate article about this. Will see.

Jan Wong Website page pix 02

Interview with Maya Posch, an intersex person, re Netherlands court’s decision to let her officially change her gender to female

Friday, 30 March, 2012

Interview with Maya Posch, an intersex person, re Netherlands court’s decision to let her officially change her gender to female

Here is my video Interview with Maya Posch, an intersex person, re court’s decision to change her gender to female.

See Maya’s original news announcement. Check out more Google+ posts from Maya.

NDP leadership vote cyber-attacked – Is the NDP claim of “No possible way to get into their process” misguided?

Saturday, 24 March, 2012

In response to CTV reporter question re integrity of the leadership vote, NDP Brad Lavigne (Principal Secretary to the Leader of the Official Opposition) stated “No possible way to get into their process.

Really, is Brad serious? He should really read the October 2010 Washington Post article “Hacker infiltration ends D.C. online voting trial” for a change and stop the “No possible way” misguided claim at least (or delusional at worst)! Absolute declarative statement like “No possible way” is a sign of NOT understanding the complexity of security matters especially surrounding internet voting.

In Aug 2011, I wrote an in-depth article re the potential problems of internet voting if used in a Canada wide general election, “A software engineer’s critique of Elections Canada Chief Electoral Officer’s plan“. I thought it is timely to repost my article “A software engineer’s critique” again.

Currently according to the Spanish e-voting company Scytl and NDP, they are claiming the NDP leadership vote suffered a DoS attack and the integrity of the vote was not affected. As I tweeted: How did they prove there was no vote tempering? Won’t it be #NDP & #Scytl self interest to coverup their incompetence? #ndpldr

News articles,
– Globe and Mail, “Hackers attack NDP, delaying electronic leadership vote
– CTV.ca, “Attempted cyber-attack holds up NDP leadership vote
– CBC News, “NDP leadership voting delayed by outside attack

Election Canada investigation unearths more re ‘Pierre Poutine” robo-calls scandal

Friday, 23 March, 2012

* Ottawa Citizen, “‘Pierre Poutine’ recorded message supporting Liberal candidate in Guelph

* Globe and Mail, “Elections Canada unearths ‘Poutine’s’ aborted robo-call posing as Liberals

RETRACTION re Apple Factory story – This American Life

Saturday, 17 March, 2012

RETRACTION re Apple Factory story (This American Life, streaming + free mp3) – Worth a listen by Apple fans/foes, journalists, and aspiring journalists.

*** Before I listen to the show ***

As a journalist, I aspire to be the best I can be. No more, no less. I just hope to have the moral fiber to admit to my own past/present/future mistakes & apologize fully when the times come. At this moment, I feel the pain of Ira Glass and his colleagues.

*** After I listen to the show ***

First of all, I appreciate Ira‘s honesty and accept his apology. Secondly, after listening to Mike Daisey‘s second interview/chat with Ira re his fabricated Apple Factory story, I can no longer trust his words. Mike famously said,

“I think you can trust my word[s] in the context of the theatre.”

Huh, “in the context of the theatre”? What about things he said on TV with news media like CNBC, etc. What the heck? Was Mike serious or was he really thinking we couldn’t tell the difference between lies and truths? Under the Wikipedia journalistic scandal entry, I recognize and have followed the stories of Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass. I am wondering under what category should Mike Daisey‘s name be placed? May be under a lesson about ethics and integrity for journalists and aspiring journalists.

Update: WaPo, “Performer Mike Daisey scrubs his monologue about Apple and sticks to the facts after criticism” (emphasis added)

“Daisey portrayed his work as fact during a media blitz to promote his critically acclaimed show, and he misled dozens of news and entertainment outlets, including the popular public radio show “This American Life,” The Associated Press, The New York Times, MSNBC and HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Read the rest of this entry »

Canadians love #hockey but are we willing to see NHLers suffer from brain damages #CTE?

Sunday, 4 March, 2012

I love hockey and like my fellow Canadians, hockey runs in my blood. I feel exhilarated when my home town teams won or when Canadian teams won in international events. I will even admit I love the Paul Newman starred hockey movie “Slap Shot” (1977). Yes, the movie about a failing ice hockey team that finds success using “constant fighting and violence during games“. If I love “Slap Shot“, then why am I asking “are we willing to see NHLers suffer from brain damages #CTE”? I found “Slap Shot” fun to watch because I can imagine my and the viewers’ ignorance was a bliss in 1977. Because viewers in the last century had no idea about Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative disease found in individuals who have been subjected to multiple concussions and other forms of head injury.

The medical evidences are mounting and lovers of hockey should pay careful attention if we truly love our hockey players and will not risk their long-term health for our entertainment. [note: I read some of the following medical research findings after I posted my tweets last night. The most important article is the CMAJ’s editorial.]

* Editorial of Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) “Stop the violence and play hockey” – Rajendra Kale, MD, Editor-in-Chief (Interim) (updated Feb 21, 2012) Here is an excerpt (emphasis added),

“What researchers from the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Boston University School of Medicine have found in the brains of three prominent hockey players — Rick Martin, Reggie Fleming and Bob Probert35 — should be enough to sway minds to impose a ban on all forms of intentional head trauma, including fighting, along with severe deterrent penalties such as lengthy suspensions for breaches. In 2009, McKee and colleagues reviewed 48 cases of neuropathologically verified chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and documented the findings of CTE in one football player and two boxers.5 To date, they have analyzed the brains of 70 athletes, and over 50 have had pathological evidence of CTE (Robert A. Stern, Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Mass.: personal communication, 2011). The simple message from the work done by McKee and colleagues is that the brain does not tolerate repeated hits. CTE has been described in boxers and others under various names such as dementia pugilistica, punch drunk syndrome and boxer’s encephalopathy. CTE is associated with memory disturbances, behavioural and personality changes, Parkinsonism, and speech and gait abnormalities. Hockey has now been unceremoniously added to the list of sporting activities that result in CTE. […]

Scientists might argue that three sliced up brains is not enough evidence and that long-term cohort studies are needed to prove beyond doubt that hockey players are at risk of CTE. Evidence from boxing injuries collected over decades shows that repeated head trauma can cause brain damage. This evidence can be extrapolated to hockey. Vested interests will no doubt lobby to prevent a ban on fighting, but I call on all doctors to support a ban on all forms of intentional head trauma and endorse deterrent penalties in hockey.

Fifty-two concerned players have agreed to donate their brains to the brain bank in Boston (Robert A. Stern: personal communication, 2011). But how many brains should researchers have to slice up to convince NHL players that they are at risk of permanent and progressive brain damage? Should we not stop the violence now and get on with the main objective of hockey, which is scoring goals? Maybe the class action suit filed against the National Collegiate Athletic Association by a former student who played for the Panthers and has memory loss, depression and migraines, which he asserts he suffered as a result of concussions playing football, may provide the final impetus for change.6

As I was writing this editorial, a fourth hockey player, enforcer Derek Boogaard, has been found to have CTE.7 At this rate, this editorial may never be up to date.

[note: The last line is very chilling to me. How many more hockey players do we need to see add to this editorial before we finally change our long-held believe/wish that everything is ok.]

* New York Times, “Brain Damage Found in Hockey Player” (Reggie Fleming) Here is an excerpt,

Chris Fleming said that his father went through decades of emotional problems after retiring. He was found to be manic depressive in his early 40s, drank excessively during that period, and exhibited striking short-term memory problems in his late 50s. Chris Fleming said that his father had trouble controlling his temper his entire life — that was one of the reasons for his hockey success — but that it worsened post-retirement.

“He’d get in fistfights with people on the street, and kicked out of the racetrack,” Chris Fleming said. “It just didn’t make sense, someone snapping so quickly and violently. Other hockey players didn’t stay like that. But he didn’t know how to react.”

In the 1990s, Chris Fleming said his father would ask him a question, hear the answer, and then five minutes later ask it again. This could happen three or four times as tension mounted.

“I just told you — you didn’t listen!” Chris recalled saying.

“You didn’t listen!” the father snapped back, having already forgotten the previous exchanges.

Chris Fleming posted several videos on YouTube in which his father reminisced about his life from his hospital bed.

C.T.E. can be diagnosed only post-mortem, with brain tissue being subjected to special staining techniques for neurofibrillary tangles and protein deposits. Experts believe those structural abnormalities bring on significant cognitive and behavioral disturbances for years and sometimes decades at the end of the patient’s life.

Some former N.H.L. players have expressed concern about the repeated blows to the head they took during their careers.

“My memory has gotten worse the last 10 years or so,” said Ron Duguay, who played helmetless for the Rangers and three other N.H.L. teams from 1977-78 through 1988-89 Read the rest of this entry »

Funny Racist Jokes and Memes?

Sunday, 12 February, 2012

Earlier today, my friend Christine showed me a bunch of photos “memes” that she has seen posted and liked on Facebook supposedly created by students from University of Calgary, our alma mater. We ended up having an insightful chat and I’ve used part of my chat text as the basis of this post and added some additional research and videos.

After some careful thinking, I’ve decided not to repost the stereotypical images and the supposedly “funny” text. The problem with these image/text is that they are seen as racist by some people.

Static race-based images and text purported to be jokes have the problem of being devoid of context. The images simply repeat and recycle tired and old stereotypes. And worst, they hurt the people being discriminated against in the process. Our lives are not illuminated by these racist jokes, no additional insights are gained.

Funny Racist Jokes

Are there any funny racist jokes? Yes there are but they are very few and far between. Canadian Russell Peters is one of the rare comedians that is successful in telling funny racist jokes in a manner that, I think, illuminate our lives. Some of Russell’s jokes watched on their own can be seen as racist but I think his jokes come from a good place and he laughs at himself the most! This is important. Comedy is a super fine line thing. Done well, it is funny. Done poorly, it is a complete mess.

Plain and simple, static text and image race-based “joke”/”meme” is a lost cause. The “Likes”, “reshare”, and text comments on these pix send out racist vibes knowingly or unknowingly. And there is NO context!

#fail Russell Peters vs. #success Russell Peters in the SAME comedy show

This 10 minutes Russell Peters clip is a #fail !

But this 45 minutes Russell Peters clip is a #success !

How can one clip fail and one succeed if they are from the same comedy show??? Because the first clip is out of context, he is laughing at us in the leading chuck of the clip! Let me explain. In Russell’s full comedy show, he laughs at himself, his own race, and even his own father! At the same time, he laughs with us on our own racial conditions!

To me, his message can be interpreted as, yes we are all different but we are all in these racial stereotypes and jokes together. Yes, together is the key! We are all in the jokes! It isn’t “we are laughing at YOU”. It is “we are diversified groups of people from around the world” and we are laughing at us together. We are us!

Context is king. With context, sometimes it works, sometimes it fails. But without context, racist jokes/pictures #fail big time for me!

P.S. I have no idea who created the “University of Calgary Memes” Facebook group. And I don’t really care. I will be a bit sad if it is by someone from UC because it is my alma mater and I expect UC students to be smarter and more tolerant.

In an age where anyone can create a social network page/group naming almost anything they like, and the darn meme generation is so easy and automated, I am sure stupid people have way more time to waste than me have time to write a response.

Absence of Malice – New Quote I Love

Thursday, 19 January, 2012

Absence of Malice

Love the movie Absence of Malice starring Paul Newman and Sally Field. Love this monologue of the Assistant U.S. Attorney General character (played by Wilford Brimley) to newspaper reporter (played by Sally Field),

Absence of Malice - Quote I Love

You know and I know that we can’t tell you what to print or what not to. We hope you people in the press will act responsibly, but when you don’t, there ain’t a hell lot anybody can do about it. But we can’t have people going around leaking stuff for their own reasons. It ain’t legal. And worse than that, by God, it ain’t right.

P.S. Right after I finished watching Absence of Malice, I started writing a long post to recommend the film to the HK newspaper Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai Chee Ying (黎智英), the paper’s editorial team and reporters because I consider Apple Daily‘s moral compass as mostly broken. Apple Daily reporters will write almost anything, put almost anything in cartoons (including a a sequences of cartoons depicting a young girl falling to her death), filming almost anything to sell newspapers.

P.P.S. According to Vanity Fair Dec 2004 article “The Gossip Behind the Gossip”, Read the rest of this entry »

Behind the Line – Staff Sergeant Robert F. Blundell and Sexual Harassment allegations at the RCMP

Friday, 23 December, 2011

Behind the Line (video viewable worldwide) is an insightful The Fifth Estate story,

An investigation into sexual harassment allegations at the RCMP. The inside story of women who signed up to serve and protect and now claim Canada’s pre-eminent police force failed to protect them.

Chilling stories. After watching the show, I am sickened to hear officier Robert F. Blundell (constable then) eventually admitted to sexual assaults of fellow female officiers in multiple cases was promoted over the years. And promoted to Staff Sergeant in 2002 while the lives and careers of the traumatized female officiers were wrecked.

Have a read of Blundell’s recent statement. According to Fifth Estate, Blundell was transferred in 2002 to “E” Division Protective Operations.

Have a watch of the full 17 minutes interview with RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson.

And “B.C. Mountie alleges years of sexual harassment” – WARNING: this story contains graphic details

“CBC News has learned that one of B.C.’s highest profile Mounties says she’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after years of sexual harassment.

Cpl. Catherine Galliford was the face of the B.C. RCMP for years. […] But in an internal RCMP complaint, Galliford makes serious allegations about misconduct inside the RCMP. […]

“Everything that came out of his [a supervisor’s] mouth was sexual,” Galliford said. “If I had a dime for every time one of my bosses asked me to sit on his knee, I’d be on a yacht in the Bahamas right now.””

Unless and until the earlier cases involving Staff Sergeant Robert F. Blundell were reopened and properly addressed and penalties handed out and accepted by the victims, AND unless & until Galliford’s allegations were properly handled and punishments handed out, why would any female Canadians want to join the RCMP? Any police force, especially RCMP, that is unwilling and unable to see its own mistakes re sexual harassment deserve no respect from ALL Canadians (female or male)!

CBC News, “RCMP lawsuit may be joined by dozens of women – ‘Broken families’ and ‘broken careers’ tied to harassment on job, lawyer says

At the end of the day, the bugs stop at the desks of RCMP Commissioner Robert Paulson and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. We Canadians own it to our female police officiers to sort out these mess!

What would Munir Sheikh, former Chief Statistician of Canada, think?

Tuesday, 13 September, 2011

Globe and Mail, Sept 13, 2011, “‘No major issues’ with 2011 census, Statscan declares

How can self-selection biased avoided by a volunteer survey? How do we know the data is “clean”?

Sadly, I have little trust in the current government appointed Chief Statistician of Canada. I want to hear what Munir Sheikh, former Chief Statistician of Canada, have to say first?

P.S. In a just society, we have to care about people who don’t fill in a volunteer survey (because they are poor, don’t have time, or less educated, etc). The less fortunate ones are often under represented.

Google (with Google+) wants to be your Police, Judge, and Jury?

Thursday, 1 September, 2011

Eric Schmidt - James MacTaggart lecture at Edinburgh International TV Festival

I will share with you my concerns of what Eric Schmidt has said at MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival, hopefully, without repeating many points others have expressed in their articles (see refs). Schmidt‘s words got me thinking about this faxlore/viral email,

Heaven is where the police are British, the lovers French, the mechanics German, the chefs Italian, and it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where the chefs are British, the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss, the police German, and it is all organized by the Italians.

Eric Schmidt‘s words about identity service and real names (see below with emphasis added) at Edinburgh raised some serious red flags. To me, hell is where Google (with Google+) is our Police, Judge, & Jury, all rolled into one.

In particular these words by Eric Schmidt have given me most concern.

“In the area of social media, we knew upfront 10 years ago that the Internet lacked essentially an accurate identity service. I’m not here by the way talking about Facebook, the media gets confused when I talk about this. If you think about it, the Internet would be better if we had an accurate notion that you were a real person as opposed to a dog, or a fake person, or a spammer or what have you.

And the notion of strong identity was never invented in the Internet. Many people worked on it – I worked on it as a scientist 20 years ago, and it’s a hard problem. So if we knew that it was a real person, then we could sort of hold them accountable, we could check them, [Kempton: “accountable”? How? Is where Google wants to play Police and Judge?] we could give them things, we could you know bill them, you know we could have credit cards and so forth and so on, there are all sorts of reasons.

And the Internet did not develop this in many ways because the Internet came out of universities where the issue of authentication wasn’t such a big issue. Everybody trusted everybody, you didn’t have these kinds of things.

But my general rule is people have a lot of free time and people on the Internet, there are people who do really really evil and wrong things on the Internet, and it would be useful if we had strong identity so we could weed them out. [Kempton: “weed them out”? Is this where Google wants to play Judge & Jury?] I’m not suggesting eliminating them, what I’m suggesting is if we knew their identity was accurate, we could rank them. Think of them like an identity rank.  [Kempton: Again, is this where Google wants to play Judge & Jury?] […]”

“[…] Well, the first comment is that Google+ is completely optional. In fact, many many people want to get in, if you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to.

[Kempton: I cannot agree. The old legal and economic model of “property rights” need to be modified/redefined when the acquisition, selling (via ads), ranking, weeding, etc of our personal identity & information are involved. The new expected and accepted behaviours should be shaped and defined by concerned users including myself, and not just unilaterally by the corporations (be it Google, Facebook, etc).].

The path to hell is sometimes/often paved with good intentions, and often good scientific intentions by “smart people”. The fact that these high tech systems and sensitive information can be seriously misused now and/or in the future cannot be left to sort out by future generations when it may be impossible for them to turn back the tide of horror.

I don’t think Google share 100% of the details and algorithms of how it does it searches and ranks its results (except a few high-level academic pappers). And judging from what it has done so far, I don’t expect it will change its mind with Google+ and be completely open. In fact, Google looks awfully close to “evil” now.

Even in our human based and reviewable judicial system, we often made serious and irrevocable mistakes. How can we trust Google’s automated system to “weed out” people and to hold people “accountable” without it being open and transparent? To remind us of the implications, just read up how the lives of Guy Paul MorinDavid Milgaard, Donald Marshall, and Maher Arar have been affected by a system that failed them.

Would you trust Google to be your Police, Judge, and Jury? My answer is an emphatic NO!


Reference articles and video clips

* Gawker (with video), “Watch Google Describe How It Can Exploit Your Name

* Pete Cashmore, Special to CNN, Aug 29, 2011, “Why Google+ will never back down on real names

* NPR Andy Carvin‘s Aug 30, 2011 comment

* NPR Andy Carvin’s Aug 30, 2011 transcript of what Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in the Q&A at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International TV Festival

* Mathew Ingram, Gigaom “It’s official: Google wants to own your online identity

* My friend Jan Rubak’s comment.

* Aug 29, 2011, ZDNet, “Google+: Eric Schmidt wants your real name or nothing at all

* PC Magazine, Aug 29, 2011, “Report: Schmidt Says Google+ Is For ‘Real Names’ Only

Eric Schmidt’s Mac Taggart Lecture at Edinburgh International Television Festival (without the Q&A segment)

note: skip to the 0:36:00 mark (36 minutes in) for the start

* 11 Apr, 2011, BBC “Google’s Eric Schmidt to give MacTaggart lecture

Here is a “sort of” transcript (definitely not word-for-word).

*** Other stuff:

Guardian, 28 Aug, 2011, “Google crashes TV’s Edinburgh party – What did the television industry make of Eric Schmidt’s MacTaggart speech?

Guardian, 26 Aug, 2011, “Eric Schmidt: an engineer in EdinburghGoogle’s executive chair reaffirmed the revolution confronting his television industry audience

Friends discussing Stanford Prison Experiment (40th anniversary, 1971 – 2011)

Monday, 22 August, 2011

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Stanford Prison Experiment, an experiment which has become “one of the most notorious experiments in the study of human psychology”. It was supposed to last for two weeks but had to end abruptly just six days later on Aug 20th, 2011 and the experiment continues to shock till this day (via BBC).


I posted a brief Facebook status about the anniversary which lead to the following discussion between me and a friend. Because the discussion ends up quite in depth, with permission from my friend, I am reposting the discussion here.

I’ve also conducted some additional research and added links to a Stanford Magazine article and the 1992 documentary “Quiet Rage – The Stanford Prison Study / Experiment“. While the documentary had its tacky and highly produced moments and Prof. Philip Zimbardo read from a script, there are may insights to be gained from the disturbing raw experiment footage.


Friend: It was an experiment to reveal the true human nature. When some people are given power to do what they wish to do, their real character is manifested. This experiment is definitely a true reflection of real life. For example, when your colleague is promoted to be your boss, who used to be a friend of yours soon shows his/her ugly character!
20 hours ago · Like

Friend: Kempton, there was a movie produced a few years ago based on what had happened in the experiment. I forgot its name but it was a shocking revelation of what some people could become once they were given the authority to control people.
19 hours ago · Like

Friend: The question is, why did some guards become abusive and sadistic while some did not? The answer is, some of them were basically evil in their true self and the situation just provided a trigger for these inner desires to be released!
19 hours ago · Like

Kempton: ‎Friend, you’ve made some very interesting points. For me, I think if we had never been exposed to the ideas & results from this experiments. One of the takeaways for me is that anyone (you me included) could be behaving in an unexpected or even “evil” manner.
19 hours ago · Like

Friend: I can’t disagree with you when you say that we (you and me included) could be behaving in an evil manner. This is especially true when we assume the duty of someone in high authority. But the point is, we KNOW that it is an experiment which just allows us to make some pocket money. We KNOW that after the experiment, we will return to our real ‘us’. If this is the case, I really DON’t UNDERSTAND why those people had to act in such an abusive and sadistic way. How can we explain this, other than Read the rest of this entry »

Bikini Basketball and Lingerie Football are better ways to exploit women than …

Tuesday, 9 August, 2011

Bikini basketball dribbles into Canada - TorStar

I don’t like to see women (and men) being exploited but bikini basketball and lingerie football are, paradoxically, better ways to exploit women than the Hong Kong newspaper Apple B.B. Daily taking photos of nonconsenting pretty women on the street and commenting on their looks.

Apple Daily HK Central - Pretty Girl - pix 01Apple Daily HK Central - Pretty Girls - pix 06

If we allow men to be exploited in cage fights, various forms of boxing, and even bare knuckle fist fights, practically allowing men to beat each other to a pulp and cause brain damages in the long run and call that “entertainment“, we have to be fair to women and allow them to bounce their breasts and show their butts. Equal opportunities to be “exploited”.

To me, the major sticking point with “Apple B.B. Daily taking photos of nonconsenting pretty women” is the word “nonconsenting“. I’m not 100% sure but based on my limited guess of HK laws and the HK’s views of “freedom of press”, I doubt the photos are against any laws. And it is up to HK citizens to accept or complain.

Coming back to bikini basketball and lingerie football, if Canadians don’t like what we see, we can always let those businesses know by our words, actions, and money.

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