China Testing the Waters – A Step Too Far?

China obviously has a problem. It does not want to accept that there is an Internationally agreed limit of national sovereignty that extends to 200 nautical miles from the coast, and no further.

It has laid unilateral claim to most of the South China Sea, which has brought it into conflict with most of its immediate neighbours. This has led to disputes among ASEAN members, but China has been at great pains to insist that such disputes should be resolved amicably, without involving outside parties.

There have been skirmishes over disputed territory, notably with Japan, and the Philippines, where China’s claims are obviously erroneous under the International agreement.

All this talk of peaceful resolution was swept aside by a recent event – the siting of an oil rig in the Paracel island group, and outside the official jurisdiction of China. By forcibly siting this rig in Vietnam’s area, China has given the lie to its proclaimed policy, and revealed what lay behind it for all the world to see.

China has been employing bully tactics on its smaller neighbours for years, at the same time as keeping the larger players from getting involved.

Of course there has been a reaction in Vietnam. See

“China has castigated Vietnam over an outbreak of deadly protests against a Chinese oil rig in a disputed maritime zone – the worst clashes between the two countries in more than three decades.”

Over the years, China has proved itself to be really adept at laying blame at any other door than its own.

However, in this case, where it is clearly the aggressor, it will have to accept that the other countries with which it is in territorial dispute, will have taken due note, and will up their game accordingly.

China – all Stick, no Carrot!


Courageous, Well-Meaning, but perhaps Naive?

I fully expect opinions to be polarised between the sexes on this matter, but it really is natural enough that they should be.

Why I posed naked and natural

Dr Victoria Bateman, economics fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, most certainly has courage in good measure. To write an article for a national newspaper which includes a painting of her own naked body is not something the average female would contemplate in a thousand years.

Her stated intention for doing this was to “raise questions about the depiction of women and to challenge the blinkered association between the body and sex; to show that the female figure is something that a woman walks around with every moment in her life – that it is not, therefore, purely sexual.”

My own experience indicates that the naked female body is not necessarily sexual – it depends very much on the way it is depicted. It can be posed to deliberately arouse a viewer, or it can be completely neutral.

I remember a camera club shoot with a naked model that left me with a whole bunch of very mixed emotions:-

    Embarrassment at sitting in front of a naked lady
    Gratitude that I was being given such a priviledge
    Admiration for the courage of the model involved
The one thing that was conspicuous by its absence was – Sexual Attraction!

No, I think we have to take a step back and think about the process of attraction between the sexes from a different viewpoint. After all, how often is it that you walk down the street and see a naked lady?

(It has actually happened to me once, but not in the UK. It was quite a shock, I can tell you!).

What is the most immediate source of information about any person, of either sex?

The Face.

When we walk down the street, we see faces. We assess them as we go along. We separate them into classifications –

    Those that we know (or not)
    Those that we would like to talk to (or not)
    Those that we find attractive (or not)
    Those that we would share a bed with (or not)

If we find a face that attracts us, we will turn around to try to see it again – the so-called “Double Take“. If the person of interest has done the same thing, as could well happen, it is a sure sign that we are also of interest to them. After that, it only takes a fleeting lock of glances to establish a rapport between them and us.

Love at first sight? Why yes – of course!

Lust at first sight? Most certainly!

The hard part is to differentiate between the two – love and lust. That requires much more than visual contact.

Then how does a painting or a photograph of a naked lady compare to the real thing?

It doesn’t, it can’t, it is totally inert.

Then why is there such a trade in pornography and pictures of naked ladies at all?

I suspect that such substitutes are used as focal points by people that need them while masturbating, but I am not well informed on this point. Any ideas?

So, while I thank Dr Bateman for her courageous article, and commend the artist on his excellent portrait, I maintain that the point of the matter has been missed entirely:-

Its all in the Eyes!

The Reply Box

I recently posted a plea on the Commons to have the ‘Reply Box’ on comment forms at the top of the list, instead of the bottom. My main concern was the length of time it took to load a page. If there are lots of comments, with a slow connection it can take ages to complete loading, but there is actually another problem that could be worse.

If you are accessing a blog via a mobile phone, or tablet computer using a Wifi conection, you may well have a monthly bandwidth limit. If you are away from home, you may find that “Roaming” charges also apply, which could mean that the whole thing gets prohibitively expensive!

Replies to my post indicated that the position of the ‘Reply Box’ was dependent on the mode of display selected for Comments –

    1. Oldest First, with Reply Box at bottom, or
    2. Newest First, with Reply Box at top.

As far as I can tell, there is no logical reason to couple the two things together. The position of the ‘Reply Box’ should be completely independent of reply sequence.

It should default to the “Top” position.

Furthermore, changing my settings to “Newest Comments First” does not help me at all when I visit other blogs. If your blog is still set at “Oldest Comments First”, I still have the same problem!

No – this is a matter for WordPress!

Please get it sorted out!