Society & Culture

Fish for Friday

If you live in a part of the world that follows an essentially Christian custom, then there are two days in the year that have special significance.  These being Christmas Day and Good Friday.  If nothing else, from a secular perspective, this has translated into these two days continuing to be maintained as public holidays.  For Good Friday especially, no other day in the calendar is presented as quite so sacrosanct. On this day, many people even if not strictly Christian, will tend to observe the custom of eating fish (or seafood) and avoiding other meats. An explanation offered is usually something suitably vague, to the effect of: “We don’t eat red meat on Good Friday because that would be eating Jesus.” Best to ignore what happens on other days then.  Or churchgoing Sundays with bread and red wine. From this, how many have truly questioned the reason for the Good Friday custom?  The vague adage ...

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Towering Feng Shui

It guides building design in Hong Kong.  Recently it was used in the design of the Australia 108 skyscraper to be built in Melbourne, Australia. It’s called feng shui.  (If you’ve never heard of it before, enjoy being surprised by the correct phonetics!) An ancient Chinese tradition, often linked with Taoism, it serves as a guide to the orientation of buildings both internally and externally.  To maximise auspiciousness, and the flow of qi.  It is a combination of geomancy and Chinese astronomy, the traditional five elements (wu xing) and the concept of yin-yang. With the Australia 108 to be tallest building in the southern hemisphere, there’s a lot riding on its completion. Even the chosen number, 108 storeys, was to maximise feng shui compliance and appeal.  (The number 8 is considered lucky.) Yet was all of this clever marketing by property developers and architects to attract rich Chinese investors? Some dismiss feng shui as superstition.  ...

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Same-Sex Marriage: Discrimination and Inconsistencies

That there are inconsistencies with discrimination is likely little surprise.  The nature of discrimination is to differentiate and discern differences.  That anti-discrimination can also be so inconsistent or contradictory, however, warrants further thought. The issue of same-sex marriage, or gay marriage to use another term, is something which continues to strike discord amongst many. There are those for it.  Often gay couples, annoyed and dismayed by the fact that two consenting adults whom love one another are all too often unable to be married.  Apart from an expression of love and commitment, marriage has various legal and financial ramifications conveyed to a spouse but not necessarily to a de facto partner. There are those against it.  Often drawing a line in the sand on religious grounds, that a marriage must be between a man and a woman.  That somehow, allowing same-sex marriage supposedly degrades the institution of marriage and may pave the way ...

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