Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Should Parochial schools be given School Vouchers?

Yes, school vouchers should be allowed for parochial schools if the schools deserve it.

I don't see why parochial schools should be excluded from being 'publicised' if teh schools really do deserve it. Just because the school is taught differently from the traditional schools doesn't mean that it is all the worse for it, and should be excluded from benefits.

Not only that, but from the students and parent's perspective, parochial school vouchers should also be allowed. This enlarges the student's choice of schools, and hey, why not? If the parents are so adverse to their children learning in a parochial school, then don't enroll them there! But for the parents who would like their children to be educated in a parochial school (maybe for religious reasons), issuing a school voucher to a parochial schools would save them a lot of time in having to appeal for their child to be allowed to attend a parochial school.

Also, one of the purposes behind the school vouchers were to encourage free market competition between the schools. This competition would force 'bad' schools to review their education system and improve themselves. Parochial schools should also be given that opportunity.

School vouchers should definitely be allowed for Parochial schools.

Should public school teachers get merit pay?

Yes, public school teachers should get merit pay to encourage them.

Firstly, there are many different kinds of teachers. Some teach for the money. Some for the experience. Some for the prestige, and some because they enjoy teaching. Teachers who work harder because they sincerely care for the education of their pupils should be rewarded more than the others who just go through the motion daily, teaching, but not understanding.

A good teacher must not only teach, but respond to the individual needs of his/her students. It is getting very difficult to find teachers like this in public schools these days. The sincere teachers who you find in public school are there not so much for the meagre pay but out of duty and care. These teachers should be rewarded. Otherwise, why should any good teacher want to teach in the public school? No incentives, no motivation or encouragement whatsoever. Even the most caring teacher will quit from the lack of encouragement; public school students can be very difficult to teach. Most good teachers will be employed by the better private schools.

But of course, private schools cost more to run, because the teachers fees are higher! So only the well-off students have the benefit of private school education. The poorer students are at a disadvantage. Are they not to get the benefit of having a good education from a caring and sensitive teacher because they are poor, and cannot afford private school education? Of course, one may argue that that's what scholarships are for: for the promising by economically disadvantaged students. But I put to you: how can these poorer students show any promise if they have no one to assist and encourage them? To a teacher who teaches for money, investing their time for these students is not worth it. They are busy! Why should they give away their valuable time for students who may not even prove to become anyone special?

Merit pay then, encourages teachers to invest their time in students, not just the quality ones, but even those who are struggling in their study. Don't forget: students are our future leaders. What we put into their education is what will come back to us.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Story of Lang Lang

Lang Lang, a 22-year-old musical prodigy, has been called one of the greatest classical pianists of his generation. (CBS)


"I love the audience. ...It seems like a lot of people watching...the creation of this wonderful work. And then you are at the same time the interpreter. It's like building a bridge to their heart."
Lang Lang

(CBS) On a recent night in Hong Kong, Lang Lang captivated the sold-out house as he always does. All eyes were on center stage.

He's more than a mere virtuoso with elastic hands and dazzling dexterity. And he's more than just a supremely talented musician. Lang Lang is also a showman.

As Correspondent Bob Simon reports, Lang Lang is a spellbinding performer with a flair for drama –- strutting, swooning, and wrapping the crowd around his 10 nimble fingers.

"I love the audience, because I love the tension there. Because it seems like a lot of people watching, I mean, the creation of this wonderful work," says Lang Lang. "And then you are at the same time the interpreter. It's like building a bridge to their heart."

If Lang Lang sounds a little dreamy, he often plays that way too, with his eyes closed, head back, cast in a musical trance.

"Every time I play, I try to see the images. For example, I see something. I can see beautiful forest and everything's green," he says.

Lang Lang’s not the only one who sees green. So does his record company, which has hyped him like a rock star. Part Mozart, part MTV, they’re counting on Lang Lang to bring in a new generation of fans.

He embraces the limelight as he embraces everything – eagerly, and with a boyish enthusiasm, as Simon found out when they sifted through the delicacies at a Beijing street market.

"I think this animal can play really good piano," says Lang Lang, looking at an octopus.

Lang Lang’s mind is never very far from his music, which helps when you’re working with the best in the business -- as he did on a remarkable recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and maestro Daniel Barenboim.

"I can't describe him as a pianist, because you will only hear in my sentence the jealousy that I and all his colleagues feel," says Barenboim. "I'm sure he didn't show you, but you know, he has 11 fingers. He plays the piano like a cat with 11 fingers."

Lang Lang’s acrobatic mastery of the keyboard is undisputed. But some critics find his showy style indulgent, and say those dreamy swoons get in the way of the music.

"There's something about Lang Lang's playing now where he calls attention to himself, to his own feelings. He’s like a hammy actor," says Anthony Tommasini, chief classical music critic for The New York Times.

He skewered Lang Lang in a ruthless review, calling his playing "slam bang crass."

Tommasini says, "I don't think it does Lang Lang any good to have his very powerful record company promoting him the way it is right now: 'The future of classical music has arrived, Deutsche Gramophone says. His name is Lang Lang.'

"That's a lot of pressure. People come to his concerts now expecting a catharsis, an epiphany, rather than a musical performance."

If it’s a catharsis they want, Lang Lang is more than happy to provide it.

Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Piano Concerto, with one of the most haunting themes in all of classical music, has become his signature piece.

"This piece has driven at least one pianist mad. You know about that," asks Simon.

"Yeah, it drives me crazy," says Lang Lang, laughing.

"Rachmaninoff was this tortured Russian. And here you are...this very young Chinese man, who seems to be full of life and full of optimism, and full of happiness," says Simon. "How can you relate to this music?"

"I think when you play any piece, you are not you anymore," Lang Lang responded. "You are totally into the world of the composer's mind."

Prodigies have a way of silencing the skeptics, and wowing the crowds. Barely out of his teens, Lang Lang has arrived as an overnight sensation -- 22 years in the making.

What distinguishes him from the large number of very talented pianists? "I started early," he says.

Lang Lang began formal lessons when he was 3. At 5, barely able to reach the pedals, he was making Mozart look like child’s play. And if you’re wondering who raised such a boy, you’ve got to follow Lang Lang to the northern Chinese city of Shenyang.

Shenyang is Lang Lang’s hometown, an old, overcrowded industrial city. But for China, not unprosperous. Like so much of the country, it’s poised somewhere between its past, and its future. It’s where 60 Minutes found Lang Lang’s parents.

His father says he decided that Lang Lang was going to be an international star at the age of 2. "We planned to train him. When he was about 1 year old, I took him out on walks," recalls his father. "I would draw on the ground and teach him the musical scale. So it was like, today, he would learn 'Doh.' Tomorrow, he would learn 'Re' -– 'Doh, Re, Mi.'"

Lang Lang’s father spent half his yearly salary – $300 – and bought his son a piano when he was a toddler. In fact, Lang Lang’s destiny was conceived not long after he was. His mother played classical music to him while he was still in her womb.

She said she wanted to become a performer herself: "When I was young, that was my dream."

Lang Lang's mother wanted to be a professional dancer; his father hoped to travel the world as a musician. But their ambitions died an untimely death when they became victims of China’s cultural revolution. Jobs weren’t chosen; they were assigned. And so, like a generation of mothers and fathers living under China’s one-child policy, they sacrificed everything and placed their dreams into the hands of their only hope.

It's a lot of responsibility, but Lang Lang says he "didn't feel the pressure at that time."

"I really didn't," he says. "Because I thought, I mean, I always played really good. And always got the first prize."

Lang Lang may have been the prodigy in his hometown of Shenyang, but if you want to play on the world stage, you’ve got to get out of town first.

When he was just 8, Lang Lang’s parents, who were very happily married, decided to split up just for their son. His mother stayed home in Shenyang, and his father quit his job and took his boy to Beijing so Lang Lang could study in the finest music academy in China.

Their sacrifice paid off. Lang Lang was a standout at the Beijing Conservatory and, at 13, he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. But a child doesn’t leave his mother without leaving a few scars, too.

She remembers saying goodbye to her son. "At the time, Lang Lang was very small. It was very hard to say goodbye to him. I can never forget. His mouth was quivering, and then he and I both started up," she recalls. "He cried and I cried. But for his work, for the piano that he loves so much, I let him go."

Lang Lang said goodbye not just to his mother, but also to the comfortable life he lead in Shenyang. In Beijing, he and his father lived for six years in a dingy, unheated apartment, sharing a bathroom with three other families. Was it a painful move? Obviously. But his parents knew that an even bigger move was inevitable.

"You know since you play piano and classical music, this is the road," says Lang Lang, who, at 15, followed that road to America.

He moved with his father to Philadelphia, where he’d won a music scholarship. Then, he received his big break. He was tapped as a last-minute replacement at Chicago’s summer music festival. At 17, Lang Lang found himself being introduced by the legendary violinist Isaac Stern.

"I thought play the best in my life at that time. Absolutely the best," recalls Lang Lang. "They all jumped right after the last note. And I had some good reaction before, but never this kind of [reaction]."

It changed his life forever. International engagements came pouring in, and Lang Lang hasn’t looked back. He plays in 150 concerts a year. But the rewards are beyond measure. At 21, Lang Lang performed a rite of passage into the upper reaches of classical music – a solo debut at Carnegie Hall.

Not bad for a boy from Shenyang.

But our story doesn’t end there. Before the night was over, Lang Lang brought to the stage a special guest, someone who dreamed long ago of playing abroad. His father.

With his traditional Chinese fiddle, Lang Lang’s father accompanied his son in a finale, the likes of which Carnegie Hall had never heard before.

"I think a Chinese folk player, play with his son in Carnegie Hall. I think it's probably the most exciting thing in both of our lives," says Lang Lang

Article from CBS News 28th May, at 3:32pm

Thursday, 24 May 2007

2nd Semester units

I just love blogging, even though I know that nobody really reads it. It is fun, and it helps relief any pent up danger inside me. :D I'd rather blow at the screen than at my family. ;)

So just for the sake of blogging, (and adding to my all time record of the most amount of posts in a month), I'll just inform you of my 2nd semester units.

1. Criminal law and procedure
2. Torts
3. Creative Writing
4. Introduction to Journalism

Dad nearly blew when I told him I signed up for photography. I got the 'picture' and switched. I was considering Forensic Science, Introduction to Politics, or Principles of Commercial law. But unfortunately, ALL of them clashed with my 2 law lectures. sigh. Forensic science may have been rather interesting. ;)

CSI... dead bodies and all. :P (Don't worry, I've been disillusioned by my tutor. CSI is nothing like the real thing, huh?)

Criminal law and Procedure and Torts both have weekly 4 hour lectures!! How am I going to sit through that?! Ugh... at least they had the decency to break it up to two 2 hour lectures weekly. But still, I thought my tutorials for this semester were bad. The Creative writing workshops are 3 hours long!!! (Although there are no lectures.)

But I think that is the course I look forward to the most. That and Journalism. I enjoy writing. However, I know that when I have an assignment to write I'm going to start freaking out... I don't write very well under pressure. But then again, maybe I do. At least I get something done, whereas if I'm relaxed, I never do.

lol... been rambling on long enough. I have the dinner to clear up: back to reality!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007


I finished ALL my unit assignments yesterday. 2 days early!!! I'm so happy, relieved, glad, whatever...

All I have to do is study for the exams now! It'll all be over so soon! And then I shall have 2 months of holiday. How cool is that?!

Today was the last day for 2 of my tutorials, so guess what: BOTH tutors decided to spend the tute at the tavern!! Gulp. I don't drink, so I was just sitting there wishing myself anywhere but there (with HALF! of my classmates blowing clouds into the already polluted air). I was gagging! Even now, at least an hour after, I still have that horrid stench of the cigarettes in my head! Ugh! Stop killing yourselves people!

Anyway, I sat there, with a smile pasted on my face, with nothing to say, nothing to drink (but water from my waterbottle), feeling as out of place as a fish in a pasture surrounded by cows! And all these people can talk about is .... ugh. won't go there.

I was just sitting there screaming in my head: "stop smoking! you're killing me!" and "You really need God."

but of course, no one actually hears me because it's all in my head, and I'm just sitting there laughing and nodding.

I feel so stupid and dumb. What on earth am I supposed to do? Stand up there and start preaching a sermon on how we are supposed to take care of our bodies because we are made in God's image, and they are the temple of the Holy Spirit?!

I left those tutes early.

Saturday, 19 May 2007


Find out who's the mastermind: you or the computer!

Live Television!

Afraid there's not too many channels to choose from, but hey, what can you expect? 4 channels is heapsss already! ;) I couldn't possible watch more than 2 at a time! :D

Have fun.

Sudoku Puzzle

For the mathematicians and "logicians"! :D

Polaroid Puzzle

Polaroid Puzzle

Friday, 18 May 2007

Man crushed by flying cow!

Jano Gibson
May 18, 2007 - 11:54AM

A man was killed after his car collided with a large cow, sending the creature flying into the air before it landed on the car rooftop and crushed the driver.

Police said the 26-year-old Broome man was driving along the Exmouth-Minilya Road near Carnarvon, in Western Australia, on Wednesday night when his Ford utility smashed into the cow, which was standing in the middle of the road.

"It is believed that the cow had been thrown onto the roof of the car and dented it on the driver's side, crushing the car on impact," WA Police said in a press release.

"The car continued to travel down the road, where it appears the animal has fallen off around 50 metres past the point of impact."

The car veered on and off the road several times before coming to a halt in bushland, police said.

It was not until 9.30am the next morning that a passer-by came across the accident.

The driver's death brought the state's road toll to 98.

Article taken from Fairfax Digital

How to eat chocolate (:P)

Eating chocolate is both an art and a passion. It is important truly to appreciate the "food of the gods" and eat chocolate in moderation. And to truly appreciate chocolate in all its splendor, you must try its many different forms.

Begin by reading books on chocolate. You can never learn too much about it; make sure to get books with colorful photographs of chocolate. Look especially for books that discuss tasting chocolate, discussions on the various brands of chocolate and the history behind chocolate. All of this is essential background knowledge to truly appreciate eating chocolate.

2. Try milk chocolate varieties. See if these please your palate. Always seek the best quality milk chocolate varieties rather than the common supermarket and corner store bars and confectionery. Look especially for Swiss, Belgian, French, German, Argentinian and Tasmanian milk chocolates. Swiss milk chocolate is typically known for its ultra creaminess.

3. Try dark chocolate next. This ranges in intensity from around 45% through to 100%. Be careful not to try the dark chocolate at too high a level to begin with or you may not like it. Start at around 45 - 50% dark and work your way up. Most people do not like the 85 - 100% range at first, or maybe never, as it tends to be very bitter. 100% has no sugar content at all and is very harsh to the untrained palate. When tasting dark chocolate, allow it to melt in your mouth rather than chewing. This will make it less bitter and more tasty!

4. Try truffles. These should be hand-made, preferably by a chocolatier, a patissier or a baker who specializes in chocolate treats. The cream must be fresh. If it is not, the experience will be ruined. Return them and demand new ones - the chocolatier deserves to be made aware of any quality issues.

5. Try drinking chocolate. This is a delight not to be overlooked in the pursuit of enjoying chocolate. Purists may pooh-pooh drinking it but did you know that this is how chocolate was first appreciated by the Aztecs and then the Europeans many centuries ago? There are many different ways to enjoy hot chocolates or iced chocolates. What is important is to find high quality drinking chocolates. Beware drinking chocolates marketed at children or for mass cafeteria consumption; they are likely to be oversweet and sickly. Look for low fat and sugar content (as in, no added fats to pad out the powder and not too high a sugar ratio). True connoisseurs will look for powdered drinking chocolate that has no added milk fats, slight sugar and high cacao content or for the pure grated or broken high quality chocolate itself (added directly to warm milk).

6. Savor chocolate. Whether you chew, allow to melt in the mouth or drink your chocolate, enjoy it slowly and with enjoyment. Take out time to discern the notes in chocolate for yourself and to try and develop a tasting repertoire that suits you. Chocolate differs in taste and quality in the same way as wine, whiskey, cognac seafood and game meats do. Learn to appreciate the subtleties over time. And share with a friend - become experts together!


* The best kinds of chocolate are those from reputable chocolate companies. Look especially for chocolate estate brands; brands that pride themselves on harvest year, country of origin and estate name.
* Make sure to choose full fat milk for drinking chocolate. Reduced fat milk is not as creamy or heavenly and does less justice to the drink.
* Try a "submarine" if you want to watch the chocolate unfold in the glass. Heat the milk, add to the glass and then pop in a good quality chocolate bar. Use a teaspoon to help swirl it around. After it is fairly evenly distributed, start drinking. You will need to keep on stirring it during the time you drink it, as the chocolate that has sunk to the base of the glass needs to be encouraged to swirl around the milk. This is half the fun of the drink.


* Be careful not to begin with very dark chocolate or it is unlikely you will ever grow to appreciate eating chocolate.
* As with anything, enjoy in moderation. Although recent claims point to the health effects of darker chocolates, they still contain fat and should not be taking the place of fruit and vegetables in your well-balanced diet! Use your common sense and watch the waistline.

Things You'll Need

* Chocolate judiciously chosen
* A note book for keeping notes on favorite chocolates and stores you purchased the chocolates from (it is easy to forget if you have roamed far and wide finding different types).

Article from Wikihowto

How to Calculate Your Age by Chocolate!!

Yes, it's true: If you are old enough to do mathematics and you like chocolate, you might be able to figure out your age. By crunching these numbers (including the weekly frequency of your preference for chocolate), your age is mathematically revealed. It's a nifty trick for kids learning basic mathematics, who can practice it on adults and elicit reactions of surprise and amusement. Try it out to see for yourself, and then read on to find out how it works.

1. Determine how many times a week you eat or want chocolate. It must be a number between 1 and 10, including 1 or 10.

* Let's say you eat chocolate 8 times a week (we won't tell).
2. Multiply that number by 2.

* 8 x 2 = 16
3. Add 5 to the previous result.

* 16 + 5 = 21
4. Multiply that by 50.

* 21 x 50 = 1050
5. Add 1757 if you've had a birthday this year. If you haven't had a birthday this year, add 1756.

* Let's say your birthday hasn't passed yet.
* 1050 + 1756 = 2806
6. Subtract your birth year.

* Assuming you were born in 1975...
* 2806 - 1975 = 831
7. You'll end up with a 3 or 4 digit number. The last two digits are your age (if you're under 10 years old there will be a zero before your age). The remaining one or two digits will be the number of times per week you eat or want chocolate (the number you specified in the first step).

Why it works

* This really does work for anybody from 1 to 99 years old, although the chocolate part is just for fun (an added distraction). Here's how the mathematics work.
* Select a number between 1 and 10. Multiply by 2, add 5, multiply by 50. These steps are just a fancy way to push your (or your assistant's) random number out into the hundreds place. Here is what you'll get for all possible selections:

1 350
2 450
3 550
4 650
5 750
6 850
7 950
8 1050
9 1150
10 1250

* Add 1757 or 1756, if your birthday hasn't happened yet this year. This yields the year of your last birthday (2006 or 2007) plus 100 times your chosen number:

1 2106
2 2206
3 2306
4 2406
5 2506
6 2606
7 2706
8 2806
9 2906
10 3006

* Subtract the year of your birth and get your age plus 100 times your chosen number. Put another way:

(Year of your last birthday + (100 x your chosen number)) - Year of your birth = Your age + (100 x your chosen number)


* This will only work in 2007! For 2008, in Step 5, add 1758 if your birthday went by and 1757 if it didn't yet.
* This will not work consistently for people who are 100 years old or older.
* Your friends may think you are strange for playing this game as it requires inputting information from their date of birth into the equation.

Article by WikiHowto

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Yuja Wang playing Rondo Alla Turka

Waaah... it's people like her who make me want to cry and give up learning the piano, but yet at the same time press on in hope of achieving something half as great...

I really, really can't believe it! It's SOOOO good, and I love the improvisation of the Alla Turka. I wonder if she improvised herself, or if not, where I can find that score!!! I want to learn it! (And I can too... I'll force myself to. I just HAVE to!) And after all, I did manage to learn Liebestraum... :D

The hardest part of that piece would be the coordination of the 2 melodies (it's actually contrapunctal!) on the separate hands: RH having the running melody and LH the 'theme'. It's very cool and simply awesome!

Yuja Wang was unknown before, but not anymore! I'm adding her to my list of 'Awe inspiring Pianists!' :D

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Children and the TV

I came across this article while doing a research on censorship. Quite interesting and relevant. :)

How Television Images Affect Children
by Ron Kaufman

"[A nursery school teacher told me] her children were crudely bopping each other much more than previously, without provocation. When she remonstrated with them, they would protest, "But that's what the Three Stooges do." This attitude did not signify a serious undermining of character. But it certainly showed me that watching violence can lower a child's standards of behavior. Recent psychological experiments have shown that watching brutality stimulates at least slight cruelty in adults, too."
-- Dr. Benjamin Spock, from the book Baby and Child Care, 1968

Fifty-seven percent of television programs contain "psychologically harmful" violence, according to a study funded by the cable television industry. The study, released February 7, 1996, tracked 2,500 hours of television programming. This was the largest sample ever analyzed by researchers.

Oh, that's ridiculous! Television is not harmful, it's just entertainment. But can the steady flow of images watched nightly from television screens across the country be so easily dismissed as simply entertainment? If the sheer volume of absorbed images is considered, how can what is shown on television have no effect on one's own mental images? And if new mental images are created, shouldn't it be logical to say that they can have an effect on behavior?

But the argument that television has a significant effect on children should not rely on studies alone, but on common sense. When a child is placed in front of the television his focus cannot be diverted and his gaze cannot be broken. That child only has eyes for the video screen. The bright colors, quick movements and sudden flashes capture the child's attention. Only the rare child finds the television completely uninteresting. Even if only cartoons are watched, most children find the images presented on the television set mesmerizing.
Television programs have the power to influence a child's entire daily schedule. "They say they that they go to school "after Huckleberry Hound," eat a TV dinner "during Gilligan's Island," and go to bed "after Charlie's Angels," writes Kate Moody in the book, Growing Up On Television. Unsupervised, a child could watch TV constantly -- endlessly.

A widely quoted figure is that, on average, a child watches between four and five hours of television each weekday, and ten hours on Saturday and Sunday. In a July, 1996 speech, President Bill Clinton noted that, "a typical child watches 25,000 hours of television before his or her 18th birthday. Preschoolers watch 28 hours of television a week." In the life of children, watching television is a significant sensory experience. Many children easily spend more time with the box than they do with any other form of entertainment.

"Each year children read less and less and watch television more and more. In fact, Americans of all ages watch more television each year," writes Moody. "The typical child sits in front of the television about four hours a day -- and for children in lower socioeconomic families the amount of time thus spent is even greater. In either case, the child spends more time with TV than he or she spends talking to parents, playing with peers, attending school, or reading books. TV time usurps family time, play time, and the reading time that could promote language development."

Watching TV is a passive event. Children -- and adults -- remain completely immobile while viewing the box. Most viewing experiences, at least among Americans, are both quiet and non-interactive. All attention is given to the images.

"Just like the operating room light, television creates an environment that assaults and overwhelms the child; he can respond to it only by bringing into play his shutdown mechanism, and thus become more passive," states a pediatrician quoted in the Moody book. "I have observed this in my own children, and I have seen it in other people's children. As they sat in front of a television that was blasting away, watching a film of horrors of varying kinds, the children were completely quiet. . . . They were hooked."

Looking at a television screen does not magically remove a child's energy from within him. A highly active child will remain inactive while watching TV because that is what the medium requires. In order to receive stimulation from the television, the child must be passive, and accept the predetermined flow rate of the images. Both mind and body are passive (called an alpha state) allowing the child to concentrate on the vast, and often fast, array of bright pictures.
"The picture on the TV changes every five or six seconds, either by changing the camera angle or cutting to an entirely new scene," writes Moody. "One researcher refers to these events as jolts per minute, noting that as time is cut up, the brain is conditioned to change at the expense of continuity of thought.

"Adults and children are conditioned to instant gratification and crisis at many levels."

Children absorb millions of images from the TV in just one afternoon's viewing session. And what are they watching? If the child's TV set has cable, his choices can range from between 50 and 70 different channels; all of them showing different programs.

But if the most recent survey is accurate, the odds are that what children are watching is probably violent. With funding from the National Cable Television Association, a group of researchers at the University of California at Santa Barbara reported in February, 1996 that 57 percent of TV programs contained violence.

The researchers warned that "the risks of viewing the most common depiction of televised violence include learning to behave violently, becoming more desensitized to the harmful consequences of violence and becoming more fearful of being attacked."

This is an important point. Viewing large amounts of TV violence does not necessary cause a child to act more violently, but it can contribute to promoting a view that violence is commonplace in everyday life as well as creating a heightened fear of being assaulted on the street.
The UCLA report also concluded that television shows:
Perpetrators of violent acts go unpunished 73 percent of the time.
About 25 percent of violent acts involve handguns.
Forty-seven percent of violent situations present no harm to the victims and 58 percent depict no pain.
Only 4 percent of violent programs show nonviolent alternatives to solve programs.
Premium movie channels such as Time Warner's HBO and Viacom's Showtime had the highest proportion (85 percent) of violent programming. The broadcast networks had a much lower percentage of violence (44 percent).
Violence on television is not a new phenomena. In 1968, Action for Children's Television (ACT) was formed to try and convince the FCC to limit violence and force the networks to show more educational programs for children. Despite the prodding of ACT, Congress and FCC did nothing to promote children's television. In fact, in 1983, the FCC ruled against providing any provision for children. One response to this ruling was CBS canceling the popular Captain Kangaroo and replacing it with the CBS Morning News.

Finally, 22 years after the creation of ACT, Congress passed the Children's Television Act of 1990 which directed the FCC, in reviewing TV broadcast license renewals, to "consider the extent to which the licensee. . . has served the educational and informational needs of children." Congress also prohibited indecent broadcasts outside of "safe harbor" hours (10 p.m. to 6 a.m.), the hours when it is least likely that unsupervised children will be in the audience.
And with the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress requires television manufacturers to install "V-chips" into new sets. With a ratings system designed by the networks themselves, the chip would block out violent programming. FCC Chairman Reed Hundt said he is prepared to force the networks to adopt a system to rate programs. "Instead of fighting the tide of scientific and lay opinion, broadcasters and cable operators who want to show violent material at times when large numbers of children are in the audience should label their shows for violent content. If they adopt such an approach now, they will avoid losing in the Supreme Court and the court of public opinion," he said in February, 1996 speech.

In July, 1996, the White House, the four major broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) and the National Association of Broadcasters agreed to support a new proposal to require broadcasters to air three hours of quality educational programming each week.

With the government finally taking steps to improve children's television, the focus then must turn to parents. Awareness that excessive TV viewing is not benign and can have serious effects on a child's behavior and attitude is important. Obviously, turning off the set is the best solution.
Otherwise, TV programs should be discussed within the family. Does the violence, sexual attitudes, stereotypes, and advertising methods shown on television benefit or hinder the way you want your child raised?

FCC Chairman Newton Minow called television a "vast wasteland." Thirty years later, he spoke of the medium again: "In 1961 I worried that my children would not benefit much from television, but in 1991 I worry that my grandchildren will actually be harmed by it. In 1961 they didn't make PG-13 movies, much less NC-17. Now a six-year-old can watch them on cable."

© 1996 by Ron Kaufman @

Quoted from: Turn off your TV

Wednesday, 9 May 2007


Another letter I received today.

March 30, 2007 (why so long ago?)

Dear Abigail,

Congratulations. Based on your outstanding academic achievement at your high school, you have been nominated for membership in The National Society of High School Scholars. Your hard work has placed you among a select group of students nd has earned you this invitation to join other outstanding high school scholars in recognition of dedication to excellence.

My family established the Nobel prizes that reward individuals and organizations for world betterment. I welcome you and your family to this tradition of excellence and invite you to mark this legacy with an inauguration to out academic Society, an honour that will last a lifetime. In forging this honor Society, we have gathered a powerful advisory board comprised of Nobel laureates and other luminaries, such as famed writer Maya Angelou, and Colleen Barrett, president of Southwest Airlines.

Membership in the Society provides a special opportunity for you to distinguish yourself based on outstanding scholastic achievement and academic excellence. This recognition and honour lasts a lifetime. Your personalized membership certificate, bearing the Society crest and my signature, should be proudly displayed as testament to your achievement. The Society also provides members with a variety of opportunities and resources, incuding access to scholarships, leadership development programs, and service activities.

As you prepare your university applications, you may list your selection and membership in the Society as one of your significant accomplishments. According to member Laurel Angelica, "I feel that NSHSS was instrumental in helping me gain admission to my first-choice college, Princeton University." Your hard work should also be formally recognized and given the weight it deserved during the application process.

Membership in the Society is by invitation only. To accept, please complete the enclosed member confirmation form and return it to our national headquarters with the one-time membership fee of $45.00 by April 30, 2007.

If your family suffers a financial hardship, please be aware that the Society also offers fee waivers. Although we use each student's membership fee for the support of the Society, including all costs associated with nomination, benefits, scholarships, technology support, etc., we would not want to exclude any qualified student on a solely financial basis.

I look forward to welcoming you as a new member of the Society. On behalf of the entire advisory board and myself, I would like to congratulate you and your family.

Claes Nobel

P.S. Please respond by the membership deadline of April 30, 2007.

I didn't receive this letter until today, the 9th of May 2007!! Did I miss it?

And to think that I had to beg to enter UWA... and they didn't allow me in, in the end.

I also received 3 other scholarships to the USA. But unfortunately they arrived AFTER I started uni in Murdoch! I think it is because the term in the US start in a weird time of the year.

But it is nice to feel special anyway. And wanted. :D

Recent picture of me

For those wanting a new picture of me (and recent one too) here's one. :) The dress I am wearing is a new pinafore that mum bought for me from Sydney. It's very pretty. I love the contrast between the inner white layer and the outer black layer. ;)

Have a great week, everyone!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, 4 May 2007

Awe Inspiring Pianists

A collection of some pianists who are just awe inspiring! Words fail to describe their talent! I won't try to describe it then, I'll let you see for yourself.

Anthony Berger

Anonymous but impressive

I can't embed this particular video, but this kid plays Fantasie Impromptu my Choppinat the age of 6 ot 7!!! And there's only 1 slip he made! I'm 17 and I still can't play it as well as he can! :O

Lang Lang (china boy) He's awesome!

And of course, my latest addition: Yuja Wang (I don't even know where she is from!) But that's easy to remedy. I'll just 'google' her. :D Apparently, she's a very famous concert pianist.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Gaither with Mark Lowry

This is THE most hilarious song-comedy with Mark Lowry... it's and my favourite. :D

Jesus on the Mainline

It's FUNNY!!!!!!!!! Whooah! :P

Over the moon (Part 1 and 2)

Cool Water

Gaither Interrupted