Edition Two 2010
UWA International Students magazine
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Contents 04 04 05
11 13 15
17 18 20
Ed itor’s Message ISS Director’s Message ISS Committee
TRAVEL Food and Travel Blog Photography
ENTERTAINMENT Busking An Interview with the Strobes Top 5 YouTube Videos
INSIGHT Idealism and Pragmatism For the Sake of Everything You Hate What are the strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism as a theory of punishment?
Lighthouse was produced by Editor Hwuey May Kang Graphic Design Bec Kohn, Wayne Chandra & Su-Anne Lee Editorial Assistance and Advertising Alex Pond Cover Photography Albert Teow Disclaimer: the views of this publication do not necessarily represent the views of the editor, ISS or the UWA Student Guild.
ISS Direc tor
I hope you had a wonderful winter break! We know we have. Most of the ISS Team has been on holidays during the making of this issue. Some have travelled back to their home countries while others ventured to other parts of Australia. Four of us had the opportunity to attend the NUS International Students’ Forum in Tasmania and it was a blast!
Welcome to the second semester of 2010. I hope all of you enjoyed your winter holidays because I definitely did. :)
Now that everyone has had a short break, it’s time for yet another semester at UWA. In this edition, Lighthouse brings you many interesting articles as well as an abundance of beautiful photographs. Before I go any further, I would like to thank Albert Teow for his compilation of amazing photographs that made this edition’s front cover. As you have probably noticed (if you haven’t, please just glance through the contents page), most of this edition is made up from articles in the ‘Entertainment’ and ‘Insight’ sections. We have featured an interview with a local band as well as thought-provoking articles by Lita Chan, Yasheng Ang and Hui Min Koh. So have fun reading them! As this is the final edition of Lighthouse for 2010, I cannot help but feel a little sad. Being the Lighthouse Editor has been an amazing experience and it has led me to meet many amazing people. I hope everyone has enjoyed our humble effort for this year and I wish the next Editor good luck. So to end with, I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to help me with the production of Lighthouse. I sincerely appreciate it. Hwuey May Kang Lighthouse Editor
For all the new international students who just joined us this semester, on behalf of the International Students Services, I warmly welcome you to joining our family. As some of you may have heard about us during your pre-departure briefing, International Students Services is a department that supports international students that come to UWA. We are here, as a helping hand, to help you adapt into University’s life and understand the Australian culture better. My committees have lined up a list of fun and exciting events for this whole semester just for you. So visit http://www.iss.guild.uwa.edu. au/2010/mail-list.html and sign up to our mailing list in order to get updates on when all the events will be happening. Lastly, I’d like to wish you all the best for the semester ahead! Giselle Sim ISS Director firstname.lastname@example.org
The ISS Committee Don’t hesi tate to con tact us! W contacted e can be by the follo wing ways : Office:: R oom 262 G u ild Building Lounge:: 2nd Floor, Guild Build (South) Phone:: (0 ing 8) 64882 289 e-mail: isscommittee @guild.uw a.edu.au
y retar c e S ISpoSrts Secretairye: Foo S e-awMarader na AninGnun Jaya
Hey guys! To start off we’d like to welcome the new mid-year intakes to our exciting university, and a welcome back Writer’s to the old timers! This semester will be an exciting one for us here in the Multicultural Week Committee as we look forward to the beginning of October. That’s right, from 4th to 8th of October the biggest event in semester 2 is back!!! I’m talking about the Multicultural Week 2010 (or more commonly known as MCW) where UWA celebrates its cultural diversity through food, fun, and for the first time, fashion. To join in the fun, look around for our colourful posters in UWA for full details. MCW will also hold the annual Spring Feast, a food fair for all! If you want to open a stall and sell your specialty dish please e-mail us at iss-mcw@ guild.uwa.edu.au. Lastly, it is not too late to join our exciting committee! If you are interested in making new friends and gaining experience, e-mail us at email@example.com. Andi Sanusi Deputy Director – MCW
Food and Travel Blog by Hwuey May Kang, Su Ern Lee, Samantha Tan and Yasheng Ang If there is anything that makes us happy, it is food. As we were sitting down at Enex 100 (the Hay Street Mall on St George’s Terrace) brainstorming for yet another edition of Lighthouse, we realised that there will be an absence of a food article and since food is so important, we must by all means have a food article! So, we decided to do a short ‘blog’ by reviewing a few popular restaurants and cafes around Perth and here it is.
Ratings: No star
It’s terrible. Do not even think about it. It’s as good as no stars. Do not try. It’s only good if you’re hungry and there’s nothing else better to try. Worth a try. Don’t miss this! It’s worth the calories! You have no idea what you are missing out on. DIE DIE MUST TRY!
Kido’s Japanese Restaurant, Nedlands
HMK: If you are a fan of green tea ice cream, this is the place for you. When I first tasted it, it brought me back to some fond memories of a famous green tea ice cream shop in Penang called Hokkaido. Although, it will not be able to match Hokkaido’s creamy green tea sensation, I would call this a close second. Oh yes, the food is good too.
Ice Green Tea
SEL: Unlike May, I am not a huge fan of all things green tea. Green tea flavoured foods are not my first choice. But I was surprised by this green tea ice cream. I actually like it! It’s not sickly sweet. It has just the right amount of sweetness not to mask the green tea taste. I would try it again.
YA: Looking at the entrance of the restaurant from outside, one probably wouldn’t expect anything much from the restaurant. But don’t be duped by it! The restaurant is bigger than it looks from the outside, and the food is really quite delicious and satisfying. I remember the crispiness of the tonkastu. Not a fan of sweet things, the green tea taste balances well with the sweetness of the ice-cream to make it a dessert that I do not mind having more of.
Voyager Estate, Margaret River
HMK: Short breaks are always important whether it is just for a few hours or a few days. Although Margaret River is a few hours away (3 hours by car) from Perth, it is nevertheless a perfect place for relaxation. It is a comfortable little area where you can just sit in a cafe and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa. One of the main attractions in Margaret River is Voyager Estate. It is a very big, luxurious winery with a high class restaurant as well as a beautiful rose garden. The food at Voyager Estate is a little on the expensive side where its main meals cost more or less around $40. But their ‘Catch of the Day’ is very good. I kid you not. While my cousins had marron which was a bit of a letdown, I enjoyed the fish and sweet potato mash sleeping on spinach butter. Based on that dish and the service, I will give it:
Catch of the Day
HMK: Cicerellos is one of the most famous fish and chips restaurants in Fremantle (Freo). It gives a good ambience where customers can enjoy fish and chips with seagulls and sea breeze. As for the fish and chips, I would say that it is quite good though the line during busy days are always very long that it makes you wonder whether the wait will be worth it. Another thing that bothers me is the rising prices of fish and chips. Every time I go back (which I admit, not often), the price is different and it is always higher than the last time that I’ve been there. However, I will say that I prefer Cicerellos’ ‘Chilli Mussels’ more than anywhere else. It’s absolutely yum!
Fish and Chi ps SEL: You have not been to Perth if you have not been to Cicerellos. I would not say that it has the best fish and chips that I have ever tried, but it is the atmosphere that makes it worth the trip. Freo is a lovely place. You get to enjoy the sea breeze which munching on fish and chips, and oh, you get seagulls for company! What can get better than that? Though honestly, I prefer the food at Kailis Fish Market, it is situated a few doors down of Cicerellos. I like the grilled fish there. Still fish on any day, whether at Cicerellos or Kailis, makes me a happy girl. YA: I have never tried the original fish and chips in Cicerellos because of my dislike for flour-battered fish. I mean, don’t you think flour-battered fish is annoying? The battered skin and the fish meat just falls apart every time you try to cut it into pieces. To be fair, I can’t say that this is so for Cicerellos’ original fish and chips since I’ve never tried it. I simply wanted to spread my hatred for the “normal” sort of fish chips. My favourite thing to order in Cicerellos is the Spicy Crumbed Fish. Trust me, crumbed fish is still the best. And Cicerellos has one of the best. Now, if only they’ll just chase away those annoying and completely stupid seagulls....
Pancakes, Carillon City
cake rry Pan Bluebe
SEL: Pancakes = YUM! I always go for the sweet ones. I like blueberry haven (the left picture) – it has 2 fluffy buttermilk pancakes, with a generous serving of blueberries and a dollop of creamy vanilla ice cream. If that does not make you hungry, I do not know what else will.
Nutella Panc ake
ST: Being a hardcore nutella junkie, I decided to try Pancakes “nutella crepe” and sure enough, it tasted divine! Don’t be fooled by the ostensibly small pouches of nutella – there IS plenty to keep your tastebuds yearning for more! The smooth vanilla ice cream also complements the warm nutella crepe. Coupled with a relaxing ambience and a fine range of reasonably-priced food, Pancakes is a rare gem in the bustling city. I’d definitely be back for more.
Poppo, Perth City
SEL: Poppo has lunch specials which are good value for money. They include sushi rolls, katsu don and bibimbap. I usually go for the bibimbap. It is okay for taste, but I wish there was more mince meat! The sushi rolls look good and taste good! HMK: At Poppo, whether you’re craving for Japanese or Korean, it really does not matter because they have a wide selection of both! The food at Poppo is reasonably priced and it is quite good. I especially love the ‘Kimchi Chigae’ and the different types of creatively made sushi.
The Lot Burger
higae Kimchi C in the Chicken
Tea Fusion, Northbridge
HMK: I have always been obsessed with Tea Fusion’s ‘Obssession’. Although I have deviated away from it for a short while but now I’m back into it, more than ever! I totally recommend it if you like mango and milk tea. However, Tea Fusion also have a wonderful selection of relish teas such as ‘1997’ and ‘Green Forest’. I rate all three bubble teas:
SEL: I love, love tea fusion! It serves coloured pearls (as opposed to the boring black ones) that are light and chewy. My favourites are the same as May’s. They are refreshing drinks to perk you up after a long and tiring day at uni. YA: Ah, Tea Fusion! I always think of them whenever I feel like getting a refreshing drink. My favourite order is ‘1997’ because that is the least weird of all the flavour combinations they have in Tea Fusion. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is wonderful that they have all those flavour combinations - that is exactly what sets them apart from all the other bubble tea shops in Perth. But I reckon that ‘1997’ - the most normal of the combinations - brings out the refreshing quality of the Tea Fusion beverages best. ST: I’ll have to be the “Simon Cowell” for this review. Bubble tea has lost its mojo with me for a while now. Be it black or coloured, the pearls are nothing more than starch and calories. Furthermore, my recent trip proved to be greatly disappointing. Instead of sticking to the usual flavour combinations which May, Su and Heather/Uki have mentioned, I decided to try something new: Black and Gold, i.e. sesame bubble tea (second one from the left). If you think about it, the flavour (i.e. black sesame + milk tea) shouldn’t have gone wrong but it did. It was very strange and left a nauseating taste. I doubt that the “sesame” is real sesame. ONE very generous star is all I’ll give. My word of advice: Stick with your usual orders unless you are feeling like a daredevil. Ps: In light of the other flavours, an overall score for Tea Fusion is:
Madzoon, Westfield Carousel
SEL: Many, many thanks to May for recommending Madzoon to me. It’s the BEST. It’s like a childhood dream come true! I get to choose my frozen yoghurt flavours (original, strawberry, chocolate, latte, mango etc) and get to pick to my heart’s content from a wide range of toppings. Toppings include various types of cereal, nuts, fruits, chocolates and lollies. Just put as much (or as little, but why would you?) as you like into the Madzoon cup and the friendly staff will weigh it for you. It is priced according to weight. So what you pay, is indeed what you get. My own gripe? The only outlet is at Carousel – they have yet to open a branch in the City.
HMK: This is the main reason for my going to Carousel – that is, to have Madzoon’s frozen yoghurt. I like the self-service concept where we can choose the flavours and toppings at the amount that we want. My utmost favourite combination is chocolate and strawberry yoghurt with almonds, peaches and kiwi. Madzoon has discounts for all Student Edge Members: Buy 2 and Get 1 Free OR 30% Off every cup.
Secret Garden, South Perth
HMK: The Secret Garden is the perfect place for a Sunday morning breakfast. The restaurant hides a beautiful garden behind it where customers can have food amongst the greenery. The service is fast and friendly and the food is good. I always have ‘Eggs Florentine’ or their selection of focacias. Eggs Flor entine
Gone fishing with the MasterBaiters: Kalbarri by Ron Neil Nevis It’s December 2009 and we head up to Kalbarri to chase the legendary Tailor. The journey up takes 6 hours but as many of you who’ve been on road trips know, there is so much to see. Dead kangaroos, funny looking plants and long stretches of roads are not classified as a norm for those of us who just came to Perth not too long ago. Along the way, we stop by at Badgingarra – Home of the Badger Burger. Yes, Badger. For those of you who are taking a trip up north, I recommend a stop at the Badgingarra Roadside House for a REAL burger and awesome service. We reach Kalbarri by lunchtime and met an old friend there, Laurie Malton from Murchison Boat hire who has our bargain accommodation covered. After “checking-in” to our cosy little apartment, we grab our gear and head off to
Chinaman’s Point – where many have fallen prey to those who dare scale its treacherous rocks and face pounding waves. At the reef’s edge, we catch our breath, wondering what lurks beneath. We rig up and start popping just for the hell of it, hoping to land something big, but give up after a couple of hours and retreat back home via the IGA. Over a classic Aussie Barbie with a nice cold one, we discuss our plans for the next couple of days. Laurie has suggested fishing at Wittecarra’s Creek about 10 minutes drive away. But before then, Shane has a date with a Fishwrecked fisho, ‘Tangles’, and they are off to Frustrations Reef to have a go at sharks, rays and other big goodies. We decide that Fuzz can go too as he’s going back to Singapore to serve in the Army soon.
by Dinesh Nair
Busking is a form of street entertainment which is derived from the Spanish word “buscar” which means “to seek”. The primary objective of busking is to seek fame and fortune. Historic records document the Roman practice of throwing coins to performers, which could have been where the concept of a busker receiving ‘tips’ originated. During the medieval times, local merchants in Europe would invite entertainers to perform in front of their stores. They would also ask entertainers to perform in plazas and public squares to attract pedestrians and increase their business. The entertainers were paid in exchange for their services. Merchants in other countries began similar methods and soon entertainment in the street became a popular attraction. Today busking has been widely accepted and popularised in many countries thanks to circus performers who began tweaking their acts to suit street corners. Most present day busking festivals resemble the hippie movement of the 1960s. Bands and performers would gather at public places
and perform for free, passing the hat to make money. Although some people stereotype buskers as being unemployed or beggars, most of them don’t fit into the category. This year, my Easter weekend proved to be a fun filled one for me, as I witnessed world –class street entertainers performing at Fremantle. From the plate spinning mayhem of Klirr deluxe, to the hilarious contemporary clowning of Fraser Hooper to the outrageous antics of ‘comedy monster” Red Bastard, the
streets of Freemantle bustled and dazzled with world class entertainers who performed more than 100 shows over 3 days. Restaurants, Pubs and Cafes bustled with life as these entertainers enthralled and marveled audiences with their spectacular displays.
An Interview With the
by Elizabeth Mui
On the 29th of May 2010 was the ISS’ ‘Quiz night’ event, where an up and coming local Blues band made an appearance at the UWA Tavern and crooned to the crowd, unique riffs and distinctive vocals capturing the attention of those in attendance. The Strobes is a local rock/blues band consisting of Tom Rainford on the lead vocals, Matthew Williams on the guitar, Kris Hailes on the bass and vocals and Jack Nelson on the drums. With members ranging from 16-18 years of age, lead vocalist Tom is currently pursuing an education in music at the WA Academy of Performing Arts while the others are students in high school waiting to join in. So how did you guys come up with the name of the band? Matt: Me, Jack and Tom went to TAFE last year and we had to come up with a name for our group for performance week. We were just looking around the room and saw some evacuation strobes, and that’s pretty much how we came up with it!
out at you from behind. Don’t join dark alleys with him – he’s out there, watch out! How long have you guys been performing together? How often do you guys practise? TS: Matt, Tom and Jack have been playing for about a year together, and Kris joined in roughly 4 months ago. We normally practise once a week for about 4 hours in a session.
Any Nicknames? TS: Jack’s called “The Bear”! The “Big Bear”, Matt’s “Six String”, Tom is “The Stick” and Kris is “The Emo”.
Who are your music influences? TS: Definitely S.R.V, The Jet, The Black Crowes, The Rolling Stones, The Animals and Mrs. Evans.
Why’s Jack “The Bear”? TS: He’s hairy all over! Sometimes at sleepovers, he’ll be like a bear that would strike
Any other local bands you’re fans of? TS: Sonpsilo Circus, Joe Kings and Long Gone Midnight.
Who writes your songs? TS: Matt’s the main writer, he writes pretty much everything but we all put in our own views in it and it all comes together. Where do you get your inspirations from? Matt: Pretty much all the songs I wrote are from personal experiences, like when there’s a break up with a girlfriend, I just write some stuff about that, like Maybe Baby, and many other songs from our set. Kris: I actually think Mick Jagger once said that if there weren’t girls, guys would have nothing to write songs about. TS: And it’s actually true, because half our songs are based on them, good ones, bad ones...But normally when you have a bitch of a girlfriend you’ll get more songs to write about! Any advice for people who want to form their own bands? First of all I’ll say get other people who are genuinely interested in exactly the same genre that you want to do. You can’t have a band where people have different interests in music. You have to be on the same page in this. You’ll also need dedication, practice and to remember not to take things too seriously. So for a gig that’s about 45 minutes (the quiz night performance), how much time do you guys have to set aside practice for it? This is probably the longest we’ve played for a performance but we usually throw in a couple of covers in them. We only had one rehearsal and for most shows we normally only perform for
about half an hour. In a half hour set, we’d play our originals, new songs and about 3 to 4 covers. What covers do you guys normally do? Covers wise, we’d normally do something close to the band’s genre. Our favourites would include ‘Roadhouse Blues’ by the Doors, ‘Hard to Handle’ by the Black Crowes. Oh! but we wouldn’t play Slipknot songs or something like that, that just wouldn’t fit in with the band. We’ve even turned some songs that aren’t too bluesy or anything and make them a little more ‘blue’ and it’ll be stuck in the middle, like some 60s pop songs. Released an album? Nah we’re done recording few demos, and we’re going to record an EP (extended play) soon. We have two songs up on MySpace too! So check that out at http://www.myspace.com/ thestrobesmusic Any other events lined up for the band? Yeah we got a quite a few shows lined up. We got a few shows lined up in the coming weeks. The main one’s at Rosemount Hotel on the 9th of June which would be an event where we’ll try to get our name out there. Other events include gigs at the Swan Lounge on the 16th and 28th of May in Fremantle. And finally, what do you guys do in your free time for fun? Music is always involved when we hang out together, so busking is one of them. That aside, we play COD: Modern Warfare on Xbox Live.
5YOUTUBE VIDEOS by Nirasheeni Shanmugaratnam
When I find the founders of youtube Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim; I will shake their hands and hug them so tightly that their bones might crack. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly died of boredom only to be saved by youtube and its infinite number of videos. My free time is always spent watching the often mindless but highly entertaining videos that people (with way too much free time on their hands) upload. Sometimes I myself cannot believe the stuff that gets posted up there. From old soccer commercials to videos of grandmothers whacking cars with their handbags, I have seen them all! Of course I do have my selection of videos that I insist on seeing over and over again when I am down and they certainly brighten up my day. I must admit that I’ve used youtube as a formula for almost every problem in my life. The dog has fleas? Well let’s youtube ourselves a solution. Going on a holiday to Malaysia and can’t speak Malay? Well let’s youtube and find a “how to converse in Malay” video. However, as marvelous as youtube may seem, admittedly it has its cons. I can’t seem to tear my eyes away from the screen of my laptop and I tend to neglect all other important matters once I start “youtubing”. So I’ve decided to spread the love and give all you fabulous people out there a taste of the “youtube fever” by introducing you to my top five favourite youtube videos.
We have the OMG cat meets dramatic Lemur. The title of the video is self explanatory. I don’t really know why I like this video but maybe my warped sense of humour is unique only to me. I find this video hilarious and it reminds me of a somewhat domineering husband and spineless wife. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UH7Ixvu8bg&feature=related
I’ve placed a video from a Japanese tv show that plays pranks on people. Some of you may have seen this one before but I find it totally hilarious and laughed until I was in stitches with this one. 100 people running through the streets for nothing coupled with innocent passers-by make an entertaining watch. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wTyI9xqy7Uhttp://www. youtube.com/watch?v=5wTyI9xqy7U
It is a personal favourite among my friends. It’s a video of an audition of a contestant from Philippines’ Got Talent. You will be amazed at the vocal talent of this contestant. I know I certainly was because I have never heard such perfect animal noises coming from a human being in my entire life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4leAT2R9Jw8
At number two I’ve put in a parody. Many of you have probably seen the famous JK wedding entrance video with the bridal party doing the entrance dance down the aisle to Chris Brown’s forever but I bet you haven’t seen a divorce proceedings’ entrance dance. There was a parody put up of the JK entrance dance which I found to be quite funny and very well done. It is obvious that the dances in this video are all professionals but I enjoyed it and thought it was quite creative. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbr2ao86ww0
and finally... Number
At Number 1, the video that never fails to crack me up no matter how many times I watch it, it’s the infamous “Ken Lee” video. A Bulgarian Idol contestant and her rendition of Mariah Carey’s ‘Without You’. So I hope you enjoy this one because I certainly did. In fact, just thinking about the video makes me fall off my seat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RgL2MKfWTo
Idealism and Pragmatism by Lita Chan
Yes, the change of title is deliberate. We tend to see idealism and pragmatism as a dichotomy, at least in the context that some of us are familiar with: “Should I follow my heart and do what I want to do?” (idealism) OR “Should I pursue a career that would provide more security?” (pragmatism). It’s this very context to which I’ll be confining my discussion. I changed the title because I think you can have both. Before I delve into a deep discussion about idealism and pragmatism, it should be noted that if what you want to do is also something that would provide job security, there’s no conflict. Where the 2 approaches point to different paths, the following are the main arguments commonly raised in support of each:
Your work takes up a large part of your life. You should do what you really want to do.
You should keep your interests and career separate. Once your interest becomes your work, you won’t like it anymore. You won’t be happy if you’re not financially secure.
Life’s short. Fill it with things that you want to do.
You can always pursue your interest when you retire. Seize the career opportunities when you’re young.
Unless it’s something you really want to do, you won’t do well.
So far nothing’s new. We’ve all heard the arguments. Some choose one way, others the other. So how can we have it both ways? I think the answer lies in identifying your values. By that I mean the criteria you use to judge yourself as being successful or not. Some people won’t regard themselves as successful unless they’re rich. For some, it’s being in a loving relationship. Others’ definitions might be more specific (e.g. getting a PhD degree or climbing Mount Everest).
Let’s assume you’re an artist. If your value is being a provider for your family, you’re not going to be happy if, because of your pursuit of art, you’ve difficulty making ends meet. Conversely, if your value is creating an impact through the expression of your creativity, you’re not going to feel fulfilled with a job that won’t bring you closer to your goal. This is because “what you really want” is not necessarily the pursuit of your interest, but rather “what ultimately supports your values”. Looking at it this way, the idealistic way (the way that supports your values) will also be the pragmatic way. If you’re doing something that supports your values, you’ll be motivated enough to overcome challenges that come your way. Whether that will also bring financial security would depend on your values, but your choice would be pragmatic in that you’ll be working towards the criteria that you set for yourself as meaning success. I don’t claim to know the terms “idealism” and “pragmatism” other than in their lay usage as described above. Neither am I a career counsellor. However, having gone through the experience of having to make certain career choices, I just wanted to share some food for thought. I hope, even if you don’t find my thinking convincing, there’s something in this that will help you with your career choices. Best wishes for the future.
For The Sake Of Everything You Hate by Yasheng Ang
Does it surprise you to know that the purpose for writing this article is to propose an alternative view to the one I propounded in the article I wrote for the previous issue of Lighthouse? I refer to the article Adapting To The Newness of Beginnings. In that article, I put forward this view: to adapt to the new, get a change of perspective; a change of viewpoint may make it easier for you to adapt to it. I confess that I have never liked that article in the first place. It was written with a view a tad too optimistic for my liking. You may find it strange that I submitted an article I disliked. But as a student, I find it useful to be capable of writing and uttering things that I do not agree with or believe in. It was this very skill that earned me fabulous scores in the Social Studies examinations I took back in my secondary school days in Singapore. And although I did not wholly believe in the view propounded in that article, I did think that there must surely be somebody out there more optimistic than me who would find that article completely sensible. After all, the mere fact that I am disagreeable with a view does not make it a view unworthy of adoption by another. That was what I thought, and so I submitted the article. It is unfortunate that soon after I wrote the article, I came across an incident that made me wonder if that view is really worthy of any consideration at all. Let me recount to you that unfortunate incident. A few months ago, my friends and I attended a dinner organised by a faculty society. I only attended the event for the sake of a friend who is in the society. Although the society has never made it to my list of favourites, I certainly did not expect the dinner to turn out as badly as it did. It took place in what looked like the backyard of a restaurant building. All around us were booze-drinkers who shouted crude and incomprehensible nothings. The organisers of the dinner ate without care for the guests, and my friends and I were left to starve - we were given only a minimal amount of food. And as pathetic as we were then, two guests came along and cruelly robbed us of a portion of that food. In the end, two of my friends had no choice but to go to the restaurantâ€™s kitchen to beg for more food. The chaotic surroundings in combination with hunger and the fear of being puked on by the surrounding students brought me to the brink of tears. I was that upset. Now, if this were the kind of lifestyle culture to expect here in Australia, would a change of perspective help me adapt to such a culture? Perhaps, but I really do not see how a person can look at such a culture with anything other than teary eyes. And that is the problem with the view taken in the previous article: not everything will turn out okay just because you try to make it okay. There are some situations where even a change of perspective would not help, and there are some situations that are simply not worth the effort for adaptation. So what about these situations that cannot be solved by a change of perspective? I propose another view: work to eliminate everything you hate. Like the view I discussed in the previous article, this is an idea I picked up from reading. I am a fan of the Japanese novel series Saiunkoku Monogatari. In the latest release, one of the characters said that he wants to become king for the sake of everything he hates, and not for the sake of everything he likes. To work for something he likes, he would end up ignoring all the things he dislikes - including harsh but constructive advice. Working to eliminate everything he dislikes however, solves a problem by directly confronting the root of the problem.
It follows from this reasoning that I should do something to ensure that dreadful dinners will cease to exist. Perhaps I could join the faculty society and actively change the society from within. Perhaps I should actively lobby for more international student-friendly events. I will tell you frankly that I have no intention of doing any such things, because I do not care enough for the society to do that. So what do you think? Is this view any more practical than the previous one? I will end this article with a newly corrected version of the view in Adapting To The Newness of Beginnings. In the face of new beginnings and changes, it is often inevitable that we adapt to new circumstances that follows in order to improve ourselves or to become what we want to be. But we must recognise situations where any attempt to adapt is simply futile or foolhardy, for there is just a thin line of difference between a change that is good and one that is bad.
Meet The Study Abroad Staff! Sarah Kahle & Carrie Haloun have helped hundreds of UWA students get organised to go on Student Exchange & have the experience of a lifetime. The Study Abroad Office staff have a wealth of travel knowledge & experience and can help you to apply to study overseas for one or two semesters - while receiving full credit towards your UWA degree! What was your best travel experience? C - Helicopter ride around New York and sailing the Croatian Islands. S - Living in Vancouver, Canada for a year & eventually getting to the point of actually feeling like a local! What is your favourite city? C - London as it has so much to see and do. And Bruges in Belgium for the best beer and chocolate! S - Vancouver is one of the most beautiful & most interesting cities I have ever lived in and I also love Maastricht in the Netherlands - such an old & beautiful city with an amazing history. Why go on exchange? C - Why not? The opportunity to take classes not offered at UWA, meet people from all over the world, travel and experience different cultures. The reasons are endless. S - Itâ€™s a great way to explore the world and still have a bit of support where needed. And you meet friends from all around the world - places to visit & couches to stay on for years to come!
Do you have any advice for students thinking about going on exchange? C - Donâ€™t let the cost stop you! We offer scholarships (average $3,000) and there are a number of loans available as well. S - Start planning as early as possible & be flexible with where you want to go... Sometimes the best experiences are the most unexpected ones. Destination to watch? C - Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid. Our first exchange partner in Spain and they have some classes in English! S - Singapore - amazing city with a fantastic night life & such diverse & interesting culture. That together with the fact that the National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University & Technological University are some of the best in the world means great things for your resume, and an amazing experience. Oh - and the travel opportunities from there are endless!
The Study Abroad Office can help you to spend a semester or two overseas and has over 100 universities to choose from! Located in Hackett Hall, Office hours are 9am - 4pm, Monday to Thursday. For more info drop in or check out: www.international.uwa.edu.au/studentnet/exchange
What are the strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism as a theory of punishment? By Hui Min Koh
The utilitarian theory of punishment (utilitarian theory) is one of the key justifications for state punishment. According to utilitarianism, state punishment, which imposes pain on the offender, is morally justified where it “prevents more mischief than it produces”. This article seeks to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the utilitarian theory of punishment through the example general deterrence. 1. The Utilitarian Theory of Punishment According to Bentham, the chief end of the utilitarian theory of punishment is to prevent crimes either through incapacitation, rehabilitation or deterrence. Of the three, general deterrence is the strongest utilitarian case for punishment. The utilitarian theory seeks to inflict only as much punishment, through pain and suffering, as is necessary on actual offenders to generally deter potential offenders from future wrongdoing. Thus, the utilitarian theory justifies punishment not on the offender’s guilt or “just desserts” but on the utilitarian calculus of the costs and benefits which the consequences of punishment produces. 2. Strengths Distinguishing law and morality The utilitarian theory is an attractive justification for punishment because it recognises the fundamental distinction between law and morality. The utilitarian theory does not impute “moral wickedness” on legal punishment. Rather, the utilitarian goal of general deterrence is to reduce the likelihood that future harmful behaviour would occur. It assumes that virtually everyone has an interest in avoiding pain and suffering and implies nothing about the quality of the behaviour it is put in place to discourage. Furthermore, this assumption has been socially and judicially accepted as the “paramount objective of legal sentencing”. Thus, without emphasising moral guilt, the utilitarian theory ensures that punishment is not vindictive but aims at preventing harm to society. Rational and Scientific The utilitarian theory appears to be rational and scientific because it insists that pain or suffering should not be inflicted unless the good achieved is greater than the harm punishment imposes. This implies that the utilitarian theory attempts to impose a moral obligation on the sentencer to find the least painful punishment capable of producing the greatest benefit for society.
3. Weaknesses Punishment of the innocent Critics of the utilitarian theory often argue that punishment involves the morally unacceptable implication that a judge ought to punish a man known to him as innocent if the punishment imposed would have the best consequences under the circumstances. Utilitarianism fails to protect the basic individual rights and interests of the offender since it does not prohibit anything per se, which may lead to horrendous outcomes for the offender for a greater social good. However, in defence, utilitarians argue that punishing the innocent is largely only a theoretical problem. In a liberal democracy, punishing the innocent may at times provide short term benefits such as securing social stability but at the expense of long term loss of confidence in the legal system and associated loss of security to all members of the community. Nevertheless, the utilitarian theory may be justified in extreme and desperate circumstances where hard decisions are needed. Disproportionate Punishment Secondly, the utilitarian theory is also criticised for the disproportionate punishment it imposes on the offender. Since the chief purpose of the utilitarian theory is to deter potential offenders, the punishment imposed on actual offenders may sometimes be too minimalist. As punishment imposes suffering on the offender, which is inherently bad, the utilitarian will not wish to impose any more suffering on the offender than is needed to deter others. Consequently, in some cases, the amount of suffering needed to generate the optimal amount of deterrence will be considerably less than harm the offender inflicts on his or her victim. This approach to sentencing is highly unjust to the victim, whose individual rights and interests are disregarded in the utilitarian calculus.
Empirical Testability Finally, in certain types of crimes like homicides, the utilitarian aim of deterrence proves to be empirically ineffective in practice despite the use of the death penalty, which is considered an extremely powerful deterrent to murder. Deterrence is only effective if the potential offender rationally weighs the consequences before committing the crime. Yet, only one third of murders are premeditated rationally. Radellet and Aker’s research suggest that empirically, there is no support (49.3%) or weak support (44.8%) for capital punishment as a deterrent. Thus, public support for capital punishment would invariably decline (92.6% not in favour of death penalty) if its assumption as a deterrent fails on empirical grounds. Conclusion Presently, utilitarianism as a theory of punish has more weaknesses than strengths. While the utilitarian calculus does not impute moral guilt on the offender and is a rational and scientific method of reducing harm for the benefit of society, the utilitarian theory face strong moral and empirical objections. However, the utilitarian aim of deterrence has been and still remains an important justification for punishment today, at least, for the majority of crimes. Furthermore, its key moral objection of punishing the innocent may be justified in extreme and desperate circumstances. Hence, the utilitarian theory still remains relevant despite its moral objection Footnotes 1.
Anthony Duff, ‘Legal Punishment’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (updated 14 April 2008) <http://plato.stanford.edu.entries/legal-punishment/>, accessed 17 March 2010
Stanley I. Benn and Richard S. Peters, ‘The Utilitarian Case for Deterrence’, in Rudolph J. Gerber and Patrick D. Mcanany (eds.), Contemporary Punishment: Views, Explanations and Justifications (Notre Dame, London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1972).
Jeremy Bentham, ‘The Principles of Penal Law’, in J Bowring (ed.), The Works of Jeremy Bentham, 1838 - 43 (New York: Russell & Russell, 1962).
Benn and Peters, ‘The Utilitarian Case for Deterrence’.
Wesley Cragg, The Practice of Punishment: Towards a Theory of Restorative Justice (London/New York: Routledge, 1992).
Cragg, The Practice of Punishment: Towards a Theory of Restorative Justice.
Mirko Bagaric, Punishment and Sentencing: A Rational Approach (Cavendish Publishing Limited, 2001).
Cragg, The Practice of Punishment: Towards a Theory of Restorative Justice.
Igor Primorac, ‘Utilitarianism and the Self-Sacrifice of the Innocent’, Analysis, 38/4 (1978), 194-99.
Bagaric, Punishment and Sentencing: A Rational Approach.
Mirko Bagaric, ‘In Defence of a Utilitarian Theory of Punishment: Punishing the Innocent and the Compatibility of Utilitarianism and Rights’, Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, 24 (1999).
David Boonin, The Problem of Punishment (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Nigel Walker, Why Punish (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).
Honderich, Punishment: The Suposed Justifications.
Michael L. Radelet and Ronald L. Akers, ‘Policy and Perspectives: Deterrence and the Death Penalty - the Views of the Experts’, The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 87/1 (1996).
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