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.


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