Category Archives: Ideas

There are always some ideas or questions that I think in my mind, I thought it would be good to record them down

staying neutral on same-sex marriage

Staying neutral on Same-Sex Marriage

The news of Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide in the U.S. has taken over the Internet.

While the two sides supporting and against it are arguing back and forth, what if I have no opinions on this and I just want to stay “neutral”?

Is there a true “neutral” position that one can adopt?

I begin by understanding the issue, marriage. By enumeration (which I will discuss further later), we have two options for marriage:

  1. Marriage between the same sex
  2. Marriage between the opposite sex

As we can see, with two options, there are no middle ground.

So to be neutral, we either allow both options, or allow neither of them:

  1. Allowing both options, we have the exact same stand as a same-sex marriage supporter, that is “the sexuality does not matter in marriage”.
  2. Allowing neither of them, we have no marriage and we lose the continuation of the human species, which is not what we want.

So now it looks like the same-sex marriage supporters’ stand is indeed the neutral stand, so what is the catch here?

We risk “going down the slope”. I have mentioned above that “by enumeration, we have two options for marriage”, but there was a hidden assumption there:

When we talk about marriage, we talk about humans.

What if we broaden the scope of discussion, and talk about same and different species, just like what we did to the same and opposite sex? There we have two options as well:

  1. Marriage between the same species
  2. Marriage between different species

I think at this point, it becomes pretty clear that in order to maintain neutral, we have to allow marriage between both same and different species.

So why not take this stand? The obvious answer is that this is insane. It crosses some (most) people’s limit. And that is exactly the problem here in the same-sex marriage. The idea of same-sex marriage crosses some people’s limit, just like the idea of marriage between different species. The neutral position differs from person to person due to their different limits.

For me, I can have my neutral position as “allowing marriage between both same and different species.” But this may sound crazy to many people so it might not be the best position.

So know your limit, and set the neutral position. Alternatively, you can push (or be pushed) beyond your limit and adopt a new neutral position.



Paradigm shift from functions to aesthetics, and next?

The idea of paradigm shift was introduced to me in secondary school English lessons. We talked about how a particular sector changed dramatically in a period of time. This pattern is actually observable in the technology industry.

In the IT world, we had a paradigm shift from functions to aesthetics.

Past: From nothing to functions

In the earlier 2000s, when we first experience the power of IT on Windows 98, people were fascinated by the fact that the computers and other devices can do so many things. We replaced writing with typing, mails with emails, and we celebrated the whole range of functions that IT has brought to us. That was the paradigm shift from nothing to functions. Everyone was new to these functions and we were more than happy to have them.

Recent: From functions to aesthetics

Then we experienced time. In late 2000s and early 2010s, people got used to these functions, especially the younger generations who grew up with these functions. They did not experience the change in their lives, because emails and word processing “were already there” for them. Also, the new functions were developed but they were nothing compared to the breakthroughs during the first paradigm shift. All of these meant that there was nothing for younger generations to be excited about.

This prompted them to look for something beyond the functionalities. And surely enough, similar to any other industries, aesthetics became the focus. Therefore, we saw many software focusing on designing nice user interface and improving the user experience. These “aesthetically appealing” software quickly won over the market, despite the fact that they may be lacking in terms of functionalities.

Future: From aesthetics to …?

We come to the reality now, as of 26 March 2015, it has become the default standard to have an “aesthetically appealing” software. Otherwise, no matter how good the functions are, customers will not buy them. However, this also the period of time where customers are “expecting” aesthetics as a norm from the IT industry. If we apply the similar argument above, this could be the time where we have the chance to experience our own paradigm shift, away from aesthetics.

But what could be replacement? Are there any precedents from other industries? Real estates, pharmaceutical, automobile… all the other industries are either improving on the functions and or the aesthetics. Maybe the answer is combing the functions with aesthetics. This seems to be trend now in the watch industries where the traditional “aesthetics-focused” companies are pairing up with smart watch companies. But do we stop here? Are functions and aesthetics the ultimate goals that we want to achieve? We are nearing the time where we can get one without compromising the other, so what happens after?


Artists should lead productions, not the market researchers

Artists and business

I was shocked when I learnt that in music industry, sometimes it is the market researcher who is leading the production, rather than the artist. (The case I heard was the South Korean companies.)

There seem to be good reasons for this. From a business point of view, good producers have good understanding of the industry and the current trends to make the good decisions. And market research is extremely important for the music to be popular among the correct target audience. So the whole production should be audience-oriented, the company understands the market demand and produce the music that fits the demand.

This is so wrong.

Artists should be the leaders

It is the unique artistic expressions that give the music industry so much real value, not the demand-supply business model. Art, unlike other material products, has its intrinsic values. These values come from artists’ inspirations and hard work, and are expressed in the artworks that are created. Artists are the ones who create and express these values for the audience to enjoy. In order to create, artists should be the ones drawing inspirations and choosing what to express.

However, the reality is the reverse. The market researchers, who are not artists themselves, are trying to produce artworks as business. By analysing the target audience, they try to understand what kind of songs to sing, what kind of singers, what kind of outfits would be successful in attracting the audience. Then the artist “draw inspirations from the market researches” and “express what is demanded”. Essentially the whole flow is dictated by the business people, not artists. This deviates from the idea of artistic expressions being the work of the artists. Market researchers are meant to supplement the artists, not to exploit the artists.

Different goals

I think the underlying issue here is the goal of the music industry. Market researchers are aiming for the monetary gains. For them, the artists or even the whole industry are merely tools. Apparently some artists are buying this idea and willing to follow instructions for either the popularity or the money. But I believe for the audience and the artists, they want to have real artworks that come from the artists themselves, artworks that express the artists’ ideas and feelings. Or at least it used to be the case.

Same piece of news, different responses

Recently there is an incident of Chinese couple behaving rudely on a plane and forced the plane to make an U-turn.

This is captured on a number of news media: Washington Post, Free Malaysia TodayStomp and Stomp Facebook Page.

The most detailed account, as of now, can be found on a video at

We can see that on different websites, the responses on the comment section are quite different in terms of the focus.

Washington Post: The comments on are mostly revolved around an awkward expression used in the article.

Free Malaysia Today: Debating whether this is an isolated case or it reflects the behavior of the Chinese people in general.

Stomp and Stomp Facebook Page: Mostly scolding the Chinese people in general.

The very different responses from different websites can only be explained by the segregation of the Internet communities, which I briefly discussed in my previous post. Basically people have different presumptions and life experiences, these lead to different views and stands on certain issues. Internet, instead of encouraging discussions and resolve the differences in opinions, sometimes further reinforces these one-sided mindsets and allow them to grow in “closed” communities.

This “closed community” phenomenon is most obvious on Stomp and Stomp Facebook Page, whereas on other more “open” websites, there are still some level of discussions going on.

Maybe we really need the net to be more “neutral”.

polarized society

Internet and polarized society

Update: The term echo chamber describes a concept similar to what I call the “polarized society”.

The impact of Internet on polarized society has probably been vigorously studied in the field of sociology. Nonetheless, here is my personal view on it.

Polarized society, brought by the freedom of Internet

Internet is a great tool for communication. However, I feel that it did not help ease the polarization in the society through open communication. Instead, it actually deepens the already existing polarization because people are free to choose “what they want to know” and select their preferred sources of information. With biased people, biased sources of information and the freedom to choose, it is natural that people will start to form “communities” based on their Internet browsing habits and personal opinions. Continue reading