Re: Helpful Clarifications

1

It doesn't preclude whimsy, does it?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 7:56 PM
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Ok, whim away.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 7:59 PM
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3

I think there's a lion sleeping, a whim away.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:02 PM
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3. That wasn't obvious at all. I never even considered that that might be the reason, I thought it was part of your anonymity project.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:03 PM
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Sorry.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:03 PM
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Are you calling my joke obvious, Ned? How dare you.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:04 PM
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4 to 3, really?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:04 PM
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heebie pwned, a whim away.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:05 PM
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No, 4 to the third paragraph of the post, which was numbered "3".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:05 PM
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4 to Alameida's 3, I think.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:06 PM
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I think people were just naturally trying to draw some conclusions, alameida. I would agree that, probably, that true physical securty is underrated. Is true physical security incompatible with true liberty? If so, how insecure do things need to get before you *would be* willing to trade some liberty for some security? (Of course this may depend on exactly how much liberty needs to be traded... which was where Narnia came into the picture, I thought, as an example.) People who blithely answer this question with absolutes are unserious, I think.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:06 PM
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If you end up getting caned, Al, I'm going to think you're a show-off.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:07 PM
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9, 10, I was just being whimsical.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:08 PM
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12: Hook 'em, baboons!

I was in Laos recently, and it definitely never escaped the back of my mind that here I was, in an autocratic police state, and, say, what's illegal, again, all you smiling people?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:10 PM
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You know what other city is ridiculously safe? Oslo. (At least it seemed that way when I was there.) I think draconian laws are the least important factor in reducing street crime.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:11 PM
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In all this confusion over threes, it has not yet been properly noted that heebie's 3 was sublime.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:13 PM
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Thanks, po-fo!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:14 PM
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Just imagine how sublime her 2 are.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:16 PM
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My 2 cats? My 2 parents? My 2 brothers? What, what?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:21 PM
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19: all of the above!

"My Two Carp", starring: you guessed it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:25 PM
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I am sometimes unsure to what extent the low crime rate is the result of severe punishments for wrongdoing. I mean, that has to be the main factor, but I also feel it's a cultural question. they some law-abiding motherfuckers around here. in addition to the severe sentences, there is also a very visible push to re-integrate people who've been to jail into society. huge ad campaigns about how people can change, how you shouldn't judge people, etc.

it's really the crime that's the biggest positive difference from my point of view. security from terrorism, ok, I do feel sure that the intelligence people here are doing a much better job than the indonesian ones, but it's also a higher-value target. I guess my message is really, Narnia: not as creepy as you think.

in terms of opposition from ordinary people, there are aggreieved malays who feel shut out of the highest rungs of society and political power. there are also, strangely, chinese people who resent the enshrinement of english as the lingua franca and the shutting down of the chinese colleges in the 60's. of course my friends are mostly from the local elite (which is disproportionately christian). still, I know lots of ordinary narnians through AA (including a real live taxi driver.)

I guess it's not exactly news that strong economic growth combined with a sense among ordinary citizens that they personally have nothing to fear from the government=happy, docile citizenry. still, it's striking. I guess the strikingness is partly the competence of the benevolent dictators. I always have believed that without strong checks and counter-vailing forces, a too-powerful government would always, more or less immediately become corrupt and incompetent and mired in cronyisn. this is false. as emerson said, this is partly due to just having had a genius political leader in LKY.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:36 PM
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I've always heard that Tehran has really low crime, and you can safely wander around at 3am. I wonder if there's anyone on Unfogged who can say definitively if this is true...


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:45 PM
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you can safely wander around at 3am

Something tells me the 2-nd person pronoun in this clause is gendered. I think the enforcers of Sharia law have problems with women roaming the streets after hours.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 8:52 PM
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That's why it is so safe! Men are free from the horrible temptations of harlots and women who work late at the office.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:00 PM
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Daniel Drezner wrote an interesting post about Narnia (search for the name, it's the one written August 8, 2005) and how it is essentially an outlier for all sorts of political science theories. The appended comments are also interesting.

LWY is a huge influence all over Asia; my Dad can't gush enough about how all the PRC heavies are influenced by him.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:06 PM
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in terms of opposition from ordinary people, there are aggreieved malays who feel shut out of the highest rungs of society and political power.

Substitute "women" for "malays" and we have this problem in the U.S.

Here, too, we find it easy to not care very much.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:07 PM
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I am sometimes unsure to what extent the low crime rate is the result of severe punishments for wrongdoing. I mean, that has to be the main factor, but I also feel it's a cultural question.

I think this is undoubtedly true. Asia is much more consensus oriented than North America - this, combined with Buddhist principles, account for the lack of anti-social behaviour. It is simply, from a cultural standpoint, unacceptable to stand out in SE Asia. The idea of respecting your elders is not simply a platitude there, but a deeply ingrained ideal. Breaking the law is thought by most to be an affront and a cause of shame, whereas many North Americans think of it as the imprimatur of independence (which is not a value idealized in that part of the world).


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:10 PM
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One of the problems of living in SEACSX is that most of the unfogged discussion occurs while you are sleeping. Let me add a couple of comments beyond "what alameida said".

It is hard to praise the virtues of SEACSX without it sounding as if you are simply applauding the timeliness of the rolling stock. And the Bill of Rights is the single thing about the U.S. that I admire most of all. But liberty/security are not an either-or proposition: there are many dimensions to both, and the trade-offs are complicated. On balance, I think SEACSX manages those trade-offs surprisingly well, and the citizenry is pretty aware of how it is done. The U.S., as many commenters noted, has been managing these trade-offs very badly recently, and the citizenry seems mainly oblivious.

I don't mean to imply that SEACSX is necessarily a model to follow? It is not clear that the model could be reproduced elsewhere, or even would be scalable were SEACSX a larger country. It is not clear that it is sustainable, either, although I am more optimistic about that now that I have lived here for a while.

The Tom Friedman/expat/wisdom of the taxi driver phenomenon that was noted in the previous thread is a real danger. It is less marked in SEACSX than in many places, though, because it is so prosperous and so integrated. Though I recognize that I live much of my time in an expat bubble, I also interact and socialize across race/class/ethnic divides much more here than anywhere else I have ever lived.

There is plenty that is wrong with SEACSX, from my perspective. But put me behind a Rawlsian veil of ignorance and ask me what country I'd like to be born in, and it would definitely beat the U.S., and most other countries as well.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:29 PM
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I hope "flyover country" doesn't include the South, Alameida.


Posted by: Chun the Unvaoidable | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:30 PM
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27: So this explains the low crime rate all across Asia then, does it?


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:34 PM
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Chun the Unavoidable!


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:34 PM
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i think a lot of 'security' is in people's heads. I've never felt the least bit afraid to wander the streets late at night. Is the risk that i'll be jumped by some hooligans that large? i bet i face several times great chance of getting my face broken by accidentally chatting up some meathead's girlfriend. And it doesn't seem that the high-school-city (I can't call it 'Narnia' - Narnia is the most perfect thing i've ever heard of; not two months ago i woke up having dreamed of the second chapter of the Horse and His Boy and it was the best morning in a long time) is short on physical brutality either.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:48 PM
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I think saftey is important in the sense that taht cop thread mentioned. I remember first getting this when aquinas talks about the favorability of state, meaning King, over anarchy. Violence needs to be minimized, but violence including state violence, and balanced against freedom.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 9:49 PM
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34

I think this is undoubtedly true. Asia is much more consensus oriented than North America - this, combined with Buddhist principles, account for the lack of anti-social behaviour.

One of the messages I have been receiving over and over here at the East West Center is that consensus oriented behavior really is more of a Confucian thing than a Buddhist thing. (Or that it only became Buddhist after the Dharma teaching was throughly sinofied, or something.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:02 PM
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30: FWIW, I am still impressed with the low crime rate of China. There has been some uptick in crime due to the massive migration of peasants to the big cities in the SE, but it is still basically a really safe place.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:06 PM
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i think a lot of 'security' is in people's heads. I've never felt the least bit afraid to wander the streets late at night. Is the risk that i'll be jumped by some hooligans that large? i bet i face several times great chance of getting my face broken by accidentally chatting up some meathead's girlfriend

yoyo: you are a man. just wanted to throw that out there.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:11 PM
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Chun's back? It feels like the old times I wasn't there to witness.

Wait, wait, is this the first ever manifestation of pure retro-blog-nostalgia? (Can we coin it? Is it reblostalgia?)


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:15 PM
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35: Yes, I agree. I just have little patience with generalizations about "Asia", particularly ones that display such apparent ignorance of its religious and cultural diversity.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:17 PM
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27: So this explains the low crime rate all across Asia then, does it?

It certainly explains it, in part, in SE Asia. As I mentioned the companion thread, I didn't feel appreciably less safe in other parts of SE Asia, including Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia (Bali - the non-Muslim part) and (although to a much less degree) Cambodia. While there were times in crowds when I might put my hand in my pocket over my wallet, that wasn't necessarily based on any empirical fact, but was maybe due to western sensibilities. I *never* had a concern for my personal safety.

I would guess that the crime rate may be higher in those other areas than it is in Narnia, but it would be lower than it is in NAmerica. To the extent that the crime rate is lower in Narnia than those other areas I mentioned, it is much more likely to be attributable to economic disparity (Narnia being very wealthy comparatively) than the punishments. After all, there are severe punishments for drugs in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia as well (at least in theory).

A couple of my favourite photos from travelling are my pix of a poster "The Penalty for Drug Trafficking In Malaysia Is Death" (with a noose in the background), with "Welcome to Malaysia" in smaller print...There's also one from a billboard in Indonesia, where it says, in broken English: "Hide The Drug!" (as opposed, I suppose, to "Don't do drug" or, well, "Just Say No")...


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:19 PM
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35: Yes, I agree. I just have little patience with generalizations about "Asia", particularly ones that display such apparent ignorance of its religious and cultural diversity.

Oy - enough with the hate. To the extent I referenced "Asia" I think I was pretty clearly talking about countries in the environs of Narnia (ie. SE Asia - where the cultural and religious point applies - recognizing that although Malaysia is majority Muslim, there is a large minority Chinese)) as opposed to say, Tajikistan...


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:26 PM
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40: There's no hating going on. But if you think it makes sense to talk about, say, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the same cultural and religious breath, then I think you don't know very much about SE Asia, even if you did take a trip here once.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:32 PM
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But if you think it makes sense to talk about, say, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the same cultural and religious breath, then I think you don't know very much about SE Asia, even if you did take a trip here once.

Does it make sense to edit (and co-author) a textbook on the modern history of the three countries mentioned, plus Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, and a few others? With "general" chapters as well as country-specific ones?

If not, my publisher (University of Hawai'i Press) should probably be notified.



Posted by: dr ngo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:49 PM
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I've got one experience to compare this to: I was in Paraguay in the 70s. And wandering around day or night, I felt safe from *crime,* but I was always aware that I could (without any real warning) suddenly step through, uh, the mirror, or whatever, and find myself in a Kafka story. No due process, no explanations, no way out.

The other Americans my age were peace corps and the like, and if they either screwed up or were unlucky, they had a safety net. I didn't. I wasn't afraid but I knew there was stuff I needed to be careful about.

Sitting in a restaurant talking to Paraguayans involved a code not unlike the code Alemedia is using.

Yes, I know Paraguay means something less than flyover country where Alemedia wouldn't want to be, anyhow.

Finally, on the food in the market: I can't quite match Alemedia's range (on the one hand) but I know personally the people who grew the okra, tomatoes, lady peas (I think; I bought them at the farmer's market but didn't ask who grew them), corn, and garlic I ate tonight. There's a lot to said for local, seasonal food, and winters aren't that tough where I am. I like seasons. People without seasons never see daffodils. The food in Narnia doesn't seem quite worth the price, and safety can be had other ways. But just reflexively saying no to flyover country may not be one of them.

What is it one doesn't get out here in flyover land? It's sort of the thing as seasons-- you don't get everything all the time, but you get a succession that can be pretty great. We just went through local raspberries, and figs are just coming in. What could beat that? And food is just one example....


Posted by: TomF | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:51 PM
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"yoyo: you are a man. just wanted to throw that out there."

haven't we before, gone over this, at least for american stats, that while females are at risk of violence from those they know, males are at risk from more random violence?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:52 PM
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TomF, it's good to hear from you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:58 PM
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41: Where would I get the idea that there's hate going? Since it's the second time you've done it I can't think it's accidental, so you've obviously willfully misrepresented what I've said twice now. If that helps you feel smug about being an ex-pat in SE Asia, knock yourself out.

But if you don't think culture and religion have a stronger impact on the crime rate than tough punishment, then you are only reinforcing the stereotype of the arrogant, ignorant, insular ex-pat.


Posted by: 3pointshooter | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 10:59 PM
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If we did, we certainly also should have gone over the extent to which girls are warned from the time they can walk to be afraid of stranger rape, in ways both direct and indirect.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:01 PM
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44, 47: The strangest thing about that statistic is that men are really in danger of violence from strangers. There are plenty of people out there telling women that they should worry more about acquaintance rape than stranger rape. But are men really more at risk from violent attacks from strangers? Or is this a chatting-up-the-wrong-girlfriend thing?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:06 PM
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thanks ogged, I'm always here, just don't always have anything to say.

I kept looking for a way to tell you about this but it never came up. Another feature absent in Narnia but yet part of life in flyover land.


Posted by: TomF | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:22 PM
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Guys suffer more from random violence because they're more likely to go to places where random violence happens.

I don't know that anyone could accurately measure it, but there's plenty of empirical evidence that more dudes than chicks will be in poorly-lit areas of dodgy neighborhoods at night.


Posted by: Evan | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:25 PM
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48: I wonder, though. My sense is that there is a immense variation in the relative risk men face from strangers. I wouldn't be shocked to hear that selling illegal drugs increases your chance of being shot by two orders of magnitude. Selling crack in particular probably increases it by more than that.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:29 PM
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Does being shot by a rival gang count as being a victim of violence from a stranger?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:32 PM
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Bitch: yeah, those are the threads i am thinking of, that lead to discussion about violence.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:37 PM
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51: ok, so, doesn't this support my original gut feeling, that there isn't actually a good reason to be afraid?


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:38 PM
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55

No, because it's pretty much pure hypothesis.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:43 PM
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52: Probably. Did anyone read the book by that Indian Levitt protege? Seems like it might be applicable.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:50 PM
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54: I'm down with your thesis that there is no reason to be afraid of random crime. Or at least, less reason than most people think.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 9-07 11:58 PM
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The people who are most afraid of something that they have some control over (stranger-violence, car accidents, identity theft) are going to make more of an effort to avoid that stuff.

It's kind of backwards to use their successful avoidance as evidence that their initial concern must have been wrong.

Though yeah, lots of people do overestimate certain dangers, and random violence is probably the biggest one in the US.


Posted by: Evan | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 12:23 AM
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Young men really are massively more likely to be attacked than just about anyone else, by a huge margin. For all the usual stupid reasons. It falls off fairly quickly as you get older though, so it's not really that 'men' in general are more at risk of attack.

Re: figures for this, I've found some (fairly old) figures online from the British Crime Survey. Young men are twice as likely as young women to be the victims of violence (in general) and both groups are much more likely to be victims of violence than people over 25. Further, young men are four times as likely to be victims of non-domestic violence or attack by a stranger as women of the same age group. Men under 25 are 4 times as likely to be victims of violence as men between 25 and 44. And they are in the region of 8 times more likely to be mugged.

When it comes to fear of crime, however, rather than actual likelihood of assault, the figures are reversed. With young women likely to report a fear of assault at 3 times the level reported by young men.

According to the BCS survey 20% of men between 16 and 25 have been victims of violence in a given year.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 12:33 AM
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I think, though, that young men are a lot less afraid of being beaten up than young women are of rape. It is also quite often the case that the guy who ends up as the victim of violence had entered the transaction hoping to be its beneficiary. Some young men do go looking for fights; I doubt that any woman goes looking for rape -- outside of craiglist, lt least.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 1:21 AM
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Where would I get the idea that there's hate going? Since it's the second time you've done it I can't think it's accidental, so you've obviously willfully misrepresented what I've said twice now. If that helps you feel smug about being an ex-pat in SE Asia, knock yourself out.

But if you don't think culture and religion have a stronger impact on the crime rate than tough punishment, then you are only reinforcing the stereotype of the arrogant, ignorant, insular ex-pat.

First of all, I actually agree with alameida's original claim that low crime in SEACSX is largely driven by cultural factors, and that (as rob h-c said in 15) draconian laws are not as important as many think. Where I part company with you is in the idea that this (a) necessarily extrapolates to either Asia or SE Asia; (b) is due to consensus/Buddhism/respect for elders, as you claimed in 27. The appeal to Buddhism in particular is the one I find troubling. Even SEACSX is probably less than 50% Buddhist. Some other countries in the region are largely Islamic; SEACSX is heavily Christian; the Philippines is primarily Christian. Oh, and Thailand, which is largely Buddhist, has a much higher murder rate than largely Muslim Indonesia.

So I guess my question is: do you actually have any data or real information to bring to the discussion, or do your observations just come down to the fact that you visited some countries in SE Asia and felt safe, and therefore think you can conclude (a) that crime rates in SE Asia are low compared to the rest of the world and (b) this can be explained by some vague and somewhat stereotyped claims about SE Asian culture?

Once you have answered that, maybe you can tell me where I willfully misrepresented what you said?


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 1:45 AM
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Actually, let me try to de-escalate. My earlier comments weren't really intended to be that nasty, although I see how they could be read that way, and so I apologize. It's just that SE Asia is really diverse, and it drives me crazy when people are so quick to appeal to blanket cultural stereotypes for the region. It's like saying you can explain the behavior of Inuit and Mexicans by appeal to North American culture, or Lapps and Croatians by appeal to European culture.


Posted by: cdm | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 2:55 AM
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As for statistics, I see from the latest issue of this magazine, that the number of murders in the city I live in was 9. That's out of 1.6 million. Nine.

Draconian laws ain't in it, the death penalty was abolished shortly after the war. Cultural homogeneity, a little bit, but there's lots of immigrants; on the order of 15 percent, I would guess. Centuries of non-violent culture, not so much, though there was a big change in the middle of the last one.

You've got a big police presence, a serious lack of guns and a strong economy. Plus probably very little lead in the built environment in recent decades (see Kevin Drum in the last couple of days). That seems to go a long way toward doing the trick.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 4:40 AM
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re: 63

I don't know what city you are talking about but that is impressively low for a city that size. London had 169 murders (for a city of 7 million-ish) in 2005/2006. Which works out around 2.4 murders per 100,000 population. Your city works out at ~0.6 per 100,000 which is at the very low end. For that matter, London's rate isn't that high compared to any major US city.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 4:55 AM
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Alameida's post seems to be drven more by fear of 'fly-over' country than anything else, staking the claim that Narnia is better than say Madison, Minnesota, or the like. Sounds right to me, if a low bar. Sadly, the academic career offers you so few choices of where to live (THAT is one thing noone mentions when you get into it).


Posted by: otto | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 5:47 AM
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Picking up on 65, I have to say I'm stung, even shocked, by the hatred and fear of the middle part of the continent, where I have lived all my life and which has completely formed me, that people occasionally express.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 6:31 AM
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For what little it's probably worth, Alameida has told of growing up in the Deep South, a region about which hatred and fear are quite regularly expressed. I'm from down there, though I now live in apparently almost murder-free Munich, and I see it often.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 7:07 AM
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Minneapolis's Muslim Congressman, Keith Ellison, gave a talk to an atheist group the other day. Top that, coastal elites!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 7:08 AM
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On any given day, we've got more presidential candidates than anybody else. Top that, coastal elites!


Posted by: hermit greg | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 8:21 AM
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I would probably find things to like about most anywhere, but I hate cold weather, bad food, and crackers.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:17 AM
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There are lots of crackers in the midwest, unfortunately.

Fewer cobras, though.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 9:22 AM
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Have some Wisconsin cheese with your crackers and you'll like them better!


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 10:00 AM
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Crime rates vary significantly in SE Asia. The Philippines has one of the lowest suicide rates in the world - not that suicide is a crime. However Filipinos compensate by murdering each other with great enthusiasm, guns being the weapon of choice.


Posted by: Herr Torquewrench | Link to this comment | 07-10-07 7:00 PM
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