Thursday, October 30, 2014

Singapore's anti-gay attitude / law - (Hey Singapore, gay penguins are cool!)

{{{image taken from}}}

Singapore is a dictatorship which has been controlled by one family for decades.

('anti' means 'against' something, 'pro' means 'for' something...a dictatorship is a form of government in which one person or a small group of people control everything that happens in the government and economy)

Here's an interesting blog from a native Singaporean who says that Singapore tries to seem like a modern and open-minded society, but, in reality, it is a conservative and highly controlled city-state. (to be conservative generally means that you are not open to new ideas and you do not like to see things change in your society)

I would tend to believe this based on the latest news from this country.  Basically, being gay or lesbian in Singapore is illegal. As a New Yorker, I'm definitely gay friendly and shocked by the recent actions in Singapore. Singapore even tried to ban a children's book about gay penguins. OMG! They don't even like gay penguins!  Even Republicans in the USA like gay penguins! :P

Here's an interesting article from the BBC:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

an activist - someone who takes action to change something he/she thinks is wrong
to condemn - to say that something is wrong

a ruling - a decision by a court.  A court is where legal issues are resolved.

to mount a challenge - to bring forward a challenge, to attempt to try to change something - in this case a law that takes away rights from gay folks 

to ban something - to prohibit something or stop something from happening

to be constitutional - a constitution is a set of laws a government is supposed to follow; usually a constitution gives the people of a society various 'rights' - behavior/actions which are protected by the folks are saying their right to be themselves should be protected by the connstitution of Singapore

a Court of Appeals - if a lower court makes a decision and one of the people or groups affected by the decision doesn't like it, they can 'appeal' the decision...they can ask a higher court to change the decision

to infringe on someone's right or rights - to interfere with or harm a person's right

gross indecency - terrible behavior which people would find inappropriate or wrong or disgusting; so gay behavior is considered to be grossly indecent in Singapore

intense debate - strong, emotional arguments

a setback - instead of moving forward, things have moved backwards

to trample - to step on to harm

non-discrimination - if you discriminate against someone, you stop that person from doing something just because you dislike something about the person that he/she can't control (color, sex, sexual orientation)

inclusive - everyone is equal and welcome to participate in something

carte blanche - total freedom to do whatever a person wants to do

to reinforce prejudice - to make prejudices stronger (a prejudice is when a person hates another because of the other's difference in identity)

effectively made gay folks second class citizens - gay folks are not equal to straight folks, they are second class, not as important

pledged - promised

mores - pronounced MORE ays... a more (MORE ay) is a part of a moral belief system; if a society thinks something is right or wrong, that is part of the society's mores.  For example, American mores are often considered very open-minded around the world. 

guaranteeing - promising that something will definitely happen

widespread tolerance - tolerance means that something is allowed, if something is widespread it means it happens all over the place

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

30% of Americans do not drink alcohol, 10% drink 50% + of all alcohol consumed

{{{image taken from Discover magazine}}}

Last week some interesting statistics were released about the drinking of alcoholic beverages in the USA.

About 30% of Americans do not drink alcoholic drinks at all.  However, 10% of Americans drink more than 50% of all the alcoholic drinks that are purchased.  This means there are some Americans who drink over 10 cans of beer a day or at least 2 bottles of wine each day.

So, basically, this means that the 10% of Americans who have a severe problem with alcohol are funding the alcohol industry.  If the alcohol industry lost these 10%, many companies would go bankrupt. 

Here is an interesting article about this:

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

a demon - a devil, an evil spirit, something like Satan. By calling alcohol a demon drink, this article is saying alcoholic beverages can be evil.

to thrive - to be successful, to prosper

off the backs of addicts - the alcoholism industry makes most of its money from people who are addicted to alcoholic drinks

the take-away - the results, the conclusions

a segment - a part of a TV show

consumption - buying and using something

paying the tab - paying the bill (the title implies that there are consequences to alcohol consumption in the USA)

belatedly - after a long time

to make the rounds - to become known to more and more people

to be dependent on - to really need someone or something

disproportionate - not in an appropriate proportion; bigger numbers than one might expect

to be induced - to be caused

to curb their consumption - to limit their consumption

grave - serious

outstripping - outpacing, being more aggressive than something else, doing better than somoen or something else

a mainstay - a regular feature or aspect

Prohibition - a period of time in America when it was illegal to buy alcoholic beverages

fiscally - economically

to put a dent into - to make an impact on, to cause a real change the author is saying that if there were higher taxes on alcoholic drinks, more people would stop drinking as much (a dent - if someone hits your car with his car, you will have a dent in your car)

pivoting off - coming from

advocated - called for, encouraged

ameliorate - to make something better. If we want to eliminate poverty, we try to ameliorate the problem.

to partake of - to use something

enhancer - to make something better or bigger