The Scorpion and the Frog

The following is the fable or parable of The Scorpion and the Frog. This story has been told countless times, and though the exact wording vary from source to source, the idea’s the same: A man’s nature is more powerful than logic.

One day a scorpion arrived at the bank of a river he wanted to cross, but there was no bridge. He asked a frog that was sitting nearby if he would take him across the river on his back. The frog refused and said, “I will not, because you will sting me.”

The scorpion replied, “It would be foolish for me to sting you because then we would both drown.”

The frog saw the logic in the scorpion’s words, and agreed to carry the the scorpion across. But when they were halfway across the river the scorpion stung the frog. The stunned frog asked, “Why did you sting me? Now we will both die!”

The scorpion replied, “Because I’m a scorpion… and that’s what scorpions do.”

The Scorpion and the Frog, another version

The following was adapted from International War Veteran’s Poetry Archives.

A Scorpion approached the river and asked the Frog to carry him across, as he could not swim. The Frog answered that he was afraid of being stung by the Scorpion.

The Scorpion said, “I need you to carry me and will do you no harm!”

The good-natured Frog agreed to carry the Scorpion across the river, but as they reached the far shore, the Scorpion stung the Frog. The dying Frog asked, “Why did you betray me?”

The Scorpion laughed, and said, “This is SE Asia my friend!”

Body language

Okay, here’s a few tips on body language that I think everybody just has to know.

This is very condensed, just to check your interest level. Look for body language books if you find what I present here interesting/useful.

Liar liar

A person’s most likely lying if he/she does any of the following while speaking:

  • lightly brushes against his/her nose
  • rubs ear
  • rubs eye
  • covers mouth (“The Mouth Guard”), sometimes disguised as a cough

If you’re the person speaking instead, and the listener does any of the actions, then the person listening thinks you’re lying! To remember these tell-tale signs, remember the three wise monkeys who “see no evil”, “hear no evil”, and “speak no evil”.

If the person thinks you know he/she is lying, these are some tell-tale signs:

  • he/she scratches neck
  • pulls collar away from neck

Body language for love!

When a man is interested in a woman, the number one thing that he would do would be to pull up his socks!

When a woman is interested in a man, the number one thing that she would do is dangle her sandal/slipper while looking at/talking to him (while her legs are crossed).

Came across these in an episode of “Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars”. I don’t like the show, but the guest speaker was a person specialising in body-language, and I just lurve body language!

About the guy bit. As a guy I never pull up my socks, or at least I never remembered pulling up my socks before. But it is the number one tell-tale sign.

I remembered a few more of the women bits though. A woman will also do the following if she’s interested:

  • moisten lips by licking lips with tongue
  • twirl tips of her hair
  • sit cross-legged while speaking to her man in a way that the leg further away from his acts like a shield against everyone else in the area
  • uncrosses and re-crosses her legs in front of her man (a la Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct)

Interested yet? You should be! Remember, body language is rumoured to be over 60% of the message, while verbal language only accounts for 40%!

My favourite

This is also one of my favourites, if not my favourite. The very, very obvious defensive arm-crossing stance. It’s my favourite because it’s so easy to spot! I didn’t even need to try to see how someone slowly grew from open (arms by side) to defensive (arms crossed with look of annoyance on face).

Recommended Reading (lots of pictures!): Body Language by Allan Pease
And as a bonus for those who read this post till the end, here’s a link to a great site showing quite a bit of body language pictures!

Why is Order Good?

If you are the majority of us, you’d find that law and order suits our needs very well. We can go about our daily business without worrying about whether we’re going to get mugged or shot at as we’re crossing the street.

But, looked at from the mugger’s point-of-view, it is a whole different story. What if we were inherently born to be bad?

A sense of identity

We are not born equal. If you believe in fate, some of us will be born to be doctors, lawyers, welfare workers; then there’ll be those of use who’ll be executives, managers, sales-people; and then there are those of us who find a calling to go into a life of crime.

The character outlines I have just mentioned represent people like me and you. Ordinary people who have had identities chosen by fate — they were born to be doctors or murderers.

Perhaps though, you don’t believe in fate, but believe more in cause-and-effect — those who study get better jobs, those who don’t will have to make do with less.

Identity calls for a life of crime

An identity is very much a part of a person. Without an identity, a person cannot be distinguished from anyone else — everyone would be the same.

You would have no “mother” or “father”; they would be “people”, like you. You would be part of “people” too. No one can be distinguished from anyone else.

So if an identity is a defining thing for a person, without which everyone would be the same, what if a person had an identity that called for him to go into a life of crime? This person grew up wanting to be a good, law-abiding citizen, but like an artist who finds no pleasure in life except in his art, this person finds life meaningless unless he turns to crime — it is his art, his life.

Does law and order help?

How does law and order help this person, this criminal? Law and order effectively tries to constrain his identity, to make him into something he is not; it forces him to be a law-abiding citizen. You remove his identity, you remove everything that he is. Without an identity, can one truly find any meaning or purpose in life? So law and order forces upon him a meaningless life.

Although very much the minority, such people do exist. People who are forced to conform because society has erected certain laws, certain standards by which everyone has to follow — “all for the greater good”, whatever that means. These laws are celebrated by most, but but not everyone. Those who do not fall into the category “most” will have to live by another man’s rules.

Free Will

For those who frown upon it, what hope do they have of changing these rules, these standards? Law and order was created in the hope of ensuring free will by creating an environment where people feel safe enough to do what they want, but ironically squashes the free will of the minority.

Strong sense of morality

For these laws to be put in place, one has to have a strong sense of morality, of right and wrong. One has to know exactly what can be condoned, and what cannot — but yet it is these very things that are so subjective.

Devout Catholics will say that everyone has to believe in and worship the Virgin Mary. Orthodox Christians will refute that, saying Mary isn’t as important as Catholics point her out to be. Buddhists will claim there is no such thing as God in the first place, while accepting that different religions have different views. Then atheists will come along and say there is no God, and that we should separate state from religion.

And the criminal-minded will say to hell with morality, and shoot down all the arguments on morality, together with the arguers, because “that’s what we criminals do”.

Dangerous Ideas

The thing is, there is no such thing as proper/absolute laws or rules. Many of us might agree on certain things, like “killing another man for no reason” is bad. But there’ll be some of us who say “reasons are relative. To others perhaps there was no reason, but to the murderer the reasons were more than valid, even if the reason was “for fun”.

Law and order was one of the reasons the theory of relativity was frowned upon, and listed as a “dangerous idea”, in politics and in religion.

Because without a set of universal truths, laws cannot be set, be they “there is a God and thus everyone should believe in him or be condemned”, or “smoking helps relieve stress and thus should not have too many restrictions”.

So, why is order good?

So that brings me back to “why is order good”? If order is found to be “good”, it’s usually because the majority think so. But if it’s good because the majority think so, is everything the majority thinks “good”?

Excuse me, how much is this?

It was lunchtime, and I was walking around Chinatown. Feeling thirsty, I decided to go get a drink.

After about five minutes of walking around, I found a shop selling some mineral water. I opened the fridge (which is located outside the shop) and took a bottle out, while a man looked on at me.

Cloaked Intent

Turning around, one hand holding the bottle, the other rummaging through my pockets for coins, I looked at him, smiled, and asked, “how much?”

He smiled back at me, and pointed inside the shop. I gave a nod and walked in, while wondering why he couldn’t accept the payment.

I payed at the counter where a couple of people were attending to some customers. Upon exiting the shop I passed by the man again who was still standing there, and who was by now grinning to himself.

The Revelation

About ten seconds away from the shop, I turned around and saw the man leaving the shop with the people I saw inside — the customers. He was talking to them animatedly, like he knew them personally… like he came with them and was waiting for them outside the shop!

Not my most embarassing moment ever, but it sure ranks pretty high.

Goodbye Winamp, Hello iTunes!

It’s been a long time coming. iTunes, the much revered Mac/Apple jukebox (MP3 organiser/player) program has been ported (brought over) to Windows! It’s been around for about a month now, and if you haven’t gotten it, get it!

If you have lots of MP3s, you’ll need it — especially if you’ve been a user of the fantastic little app that Winamp was. Winamp was great, but with the number of MP3s we all have these days, it really won’t do. I’m not a power-user (I don’t meddle with MP3 software), I’m more of an “install-and-use” user, and iTunes’ install-and-use features beat Winamp hands down.

Make the Switch

Do yourself a favour and try iTunes today. It’s freeware (you don’t have to pay a cent for it) and there are no ads (like Winamp, only better). Make the switch today!