Mafia jokes

What is the difference between the government and the Mafia?
One of them is organized.

Shared by NumeroOcho

How many Mafia hitmen does it take to change a light bulb?
Three. One to screw it in, one to watch, and one to shoot the witness!

Shared by JustMe

How many mafia guys does it take to change a light bulb?
…you gotta problem with the light bulb!?

Shared by a contributor

 

ow many men do you need for a mafia funeral?
Just one. To slam the car trunk shut.

Shared by Argo

 

How do you know if a Pole is at a cockfight?
He’s the one with a duck.
How do you know if an Italian is there?
He bets on the duck.
How do you know if the Mafia is there?
The duck wins.

Shared by NumeroOcho

 

Why do wise guy and wise man mean totally different things?

 

Colonialism – some benefits against many evils

As a former colonial British subject, I am staunchly anti-colonial. Reflecting family influence, I am not anti-British. A few years ago, I surprised many readers of http://www.ezinearticles.com by acknowledging some worthwhile benefits of British colonialism. This article is copied below.

“To be fair, our life under the British was not harsh, unlike the Japanese military Occupation of World War Two. Malaya was being developed, although Britain’s needs and wants were paramount. There were educational and employment opportunities. Hard work and enterprise paid off. I received an excellent education, superior to that provided to my children and their children in post-war Australia.

What rankled was that atmospheric overlay of not being free politically, and being denigrated socially and culturally. We felt that being governed badly by our own people was preferable to being offered better governance under foreign overlords. That surely is a very human attribute. No one likes to have his country under foreign control, and to be brain-washed. We were also keenly aware that Nehru (the man who rose to become the first prime minister of independent India) had been jailed simply for seeking independence for his people. He was no terrorist.

At the end of the Second World War, we Malayans were told that it would be 25 years before we would be ready to govern ourselves. Instead, the British left after about nine years. They were not driven away like the Dutch, French, and other European ‘powers.’ Yet, Hong Kong was denied adequate exposure to Western democracy structures almost up to the date of handover to China in the 1990s.

A terrible legacy of colonialism was the destruction of durable and viable local industries, especially in India and Egypt. So said Nehru. These were replaced by enterprises importing manufactured British goods, as well as supplying materials needed by Britain; especially opium, which was studiously fed to the peoples of China. Another dreadful legacy of European colonialism: new nations created by the colonisers, in Asia and Africa in particular, by drawing lines on the map to achieve a balance of power between themselves or to cause strife between local tribes for ever. Look at Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. Local tribes were split in this process, resulting in perennial wars between these artificial nations; whereas nations normally reflect the integrity of tribes bonded by consanguinity, culture and geography.

History shows that the peoples of Asia had been governing themselves well, long before the Europeans did; that 500 years ago the Chinese people were the most technologically advanced peoples in the world; that the Indians had been the greatest traders in the world, pulling in vast amounts of gold from the Roman Empire for the finest of fabrics; that village-level democracy in India was commonplace more than 1,000 years ago; that philosophy and mathematics were so advanced in Asia that Europe was able to acquire these through the Arabs and Moors; that town planning in the Indus Valley civilisation of more than 2,000years ago set the standard for more recent cities elsewhere in the world; and that Persia, India and China had been producing high quality art centuries before other cultures were able to.

Yet, the racism of the colonial era was nowhere as brutal and un-Christian as reportedly practised in the USA until relatively recent times. Today, in Singapore, while there remain a few local greybeards who remember the arrogance of the European colonisers, there are many white people working without any special benefits. In my country of birth (now Malaysia and Singapore), multi-ethnic populations are governed by their own elected leaders. In spite of some serious complaints about the affirmative action policy favouring the Malays of Malaysia being maintained way past its use-by date, there is social, and some cultural, integration, with mutual community respect publicly evident. A unified people out of ethno-cultural diversity is indeed achievable, with none subservient to the other.

In this successful governance of former colonial territories, an essential underpinning is a worthwhile inheritance from Britain – a most valuable concept of justice, law and order; as in Australia, more law than justice. (Note QC Geoffrey Robertson’s ‘The Justice Game.’) The other great benefit from British colonialism is the (now universal) English language – the language of Malaysia’s courts as well. A thousand years from now, archaeologists may begin to believe that the Malay Peninsula had also been the home of the English.

Thus, there were benefits of some value from colonialism. It is easier to recognise this in the current atmosphere of relative freedom. Naturally, since change is inevitable, inherited Western democracy structures and practices began to be amended to suit traditional governance values, reflecting the communalism of the cultures of Asia. Yet, as long as the former colonial territories remain capitalistic in this revised framework of governance, the neo-colonisers of the dominant West will no doubt remain acquiescent.

Freedom can never be absolute.”

Avoiding any malicious spirits and others of like mind

When I grew up in under-developed British Malaya, where poverty was prevalent, one would be silly not to tie down any good which could be stolen. In fact, my family locked all the windows, even those which had bars across them, before we went to bed. Robbery was rife. Lesson 1: One did not put oneself at risk anywhere and at any time.

My father also taught us that, should anyone spit at us as we walked past, we should keep moving – and not to turn the other cheek. Behind the subtlety of that advice was a sound dictum: avoid being targeted by the malicious ignorant (Lesson 2).

Yet, all this year, I have been targeted and harassed by a neighbour. My stress was so great that I broke out in shingles, a very painful affliction. Since then, he had crossed an unfenced boundary, removed 2 trees and a shrub just inside my property, and put up a fence which has encroached onto my property. Not a criminal offence, said the police! You can take them to court, said a lawyer. Any award by the court may not cover your costs, advised an official of the court.

I have been peed upon from a great height; and that happened even as I sought to avoid confrontation. I now follow this advice from Confucius: When the typhoon blows, it is better to bend with the wind (Lesson 3).

In order to avoid the risk of becoming a target in the jungle of social media, I do not participate in any forum which allows the malicious and the silly free rein (Lesson 4). I am grateful that WordPress protects me; it has blocked more than 3,200 ‘scam’ comments, covering my 720 odd posts to date. Since I do not proselytise about any topic, and admit freely that my beliefs are all tentative, I expect reasoned and respectable dialogues, rather than intemperate attacks.

Therefore, in relation to spirits who might seek to be malicious, denying them access by keeping one’s metaphorical doors locked is the only way to live securely and in peace. There then remains this question – is there any evidence that any spirits have behaved with malice? Why would they?

East Asian humanitarian entrants

There has been a lot of rubbish written about the boat-people Australia took from the refugee camps in the countries of first arrival in South East Asia. By rushing into Vietnam behind the USA, and then being sent back home by ‘pyjama-clad’ opponents, we had to take some of those who took to the boats.

Returned servicemen told me about the political reality of pretending to avoid the ‘domino’ effect of a communist takeover in South East Asia. For a few years, there would be a report published somewhere in Australia about the risk of drowning and rape in ‘taking a boat.’ Social workers employed in state agencies told us about the corrupt behaviour of some of those we had taken from the camps. I was involved in preventing the escalation of disruptive behaviour by some Vietnamese thugs. Later, we read about the fortified drug houses and youthful salesmen on street corners.

Policies on humanitarian entry from any source are mainly political. Most of those we ‘saved’ could not have satisfied the UN Convention. Yet, by and large, eventually there was (as one might expect in the light of our equal opportunity and settlement assistance policies) successful settlement. But it was a very costly exercise (as is the recent effort to cope with the asylum seekers arriving directly by boat).

The following are relevant extracts from “Musings at Death’s Door.’ HE stands for humanitarian entrants.

“The Indo-Chinese boat people, selected from refugee camps in the Asian countries of first asylum (Thailand, Malaysia, in the main, but also Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines), represented the first significant entry of Asian HEs; the predominant entrants were, naturally, Vietnamese. … Family reunion was very generous; the applicant was seemingly free to define his relationships. For instance, a Vietnamese sponsor, after a residence of 3 months in a migrant hostel, claimed his wife was actually his sister; both now wished to sponsor their respective spouses from the camps.

Indeed, for a while, thanks to a sympathetic public servant lacking common sense, Vietnamese HEs were permitted to change their personal particulars. The only change not sought was gender; nature can be so unkind!. I closed down that loophole, with Ministerial approval. Those of us in the migrant settlement business were impressed with the ability of some of our HEs to find, or even create, loopholes in official entitlements. For instance, a Vietnamese grandmother with 3 grandchildren managed to extend their public housing from a single flat to 3, on the grounds that they did not (over some time) get along with one another. Then, an elderly couple left a flat attached to their son’s home to obtain scarce public housing for senior citizens; so said their son to me.

For the record, Australia accepted more Indo-Chinese HEs per head of host-people (that is, Australians) than any other country, including the USA and France! It became clear soon that we had taken in quite a number of criminals, gangsters and economic migrants. However, apart from those visibly involved in the drug trade, the Indo-Chinese HEs have settled in well. The success of their children is the evidence.”

Manifest racism

A dislike of the ‘other’ seems to be ubiquitous. Why would that be so? In the early 1950s, when war-displaced refugees, as well as immigrants, arrived in bulk in Australia, I found that the Europeans were interested in the few Asian students around. Many of them displayed an understanding of, and respect for, Asian cultures. I have never heard of any expressions of dislike from the Europeans. But they were disliked – and had to put up with rude remarks in public places – just as we had to.

In spite of the tolerance inculcated in the public progressively by teachers and politicians, it seems impossible to prevent those I describe as yobbos from expressing in public their antipathy to this or that individual. Perhaps this is only like kicking the poor cat after a difficult day at work.

The following extracts from ’Musings at Death’s Door’ may have some historical value.
“In the bar of a small country town, we noticed that a small group of large men were talking about us. Suddenly, the biggest walked over to us and said, ‘Where are you boys from?’ Seeing that it was none of his business (we had gone there looking for directions), I responded ‘What’s it to you, mate?’ in what was described by one of my friends as a some¬what British accent. After a moment’s thought, he stuck out a huge hand and invited us to join him and his friends. We did that. It was all very comfortable. Years later I realised that he must have been the local police sergeant, based on some friendly conversations with the local cops in Canberra; they were continually on the lookout for ‘blow-ins.’

… in the 1950s, I was told, as a graduate in psychology, that I was ‘too black’ to be employed as a community psychologist. … … A couple of years later, as a graduate in economics with a completed postgraduate year, I was told by some major international corporations and other large companies which could offer me a substantial career path that the Australian worker was not yet ready for a foreign executive …

… … My employment in the federal public service, the only major employer offering me a decent career path, was initially a success. I was promoted rapidly, reaching the top of the Administrative Division (Section Head or Director) in good time. My first 2 heads of agency were fair men. However, when I sought promotion into the Senior Executive Division in the next 2 agencies, it was made clear (involving some chicanery) that I was aiming too high. My assessment of my ability was based on a simple comparison: a few of those I had leapfrogged in a demanding agency had subsequently reached head of division positions (2 steps above) in other agencies.”

The legacy of European colonialism

In relatively recent decades, some prominent Australians declared that the ‘black armband’ view of Australian history needed to be counter-balanced by stressing the successes of white settlement (as if there is some doubt about the latter). This included revising historiography. The aim seemed to be to claim that it was not British policy to destroy any indigenes and their cultures. I am not sure how that ‘white-washes’ the shooting, poisoning, and other terrible things done to the Aborigines by the ‘settlers.’ Since many of the non-urban First Peoples are now living in terrible conditions, I doubt that one can claim that European invasion and settlement was of benefit to the Aborigines.

The following extracts from ‘Of empires gone and going’ in ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ do, however, accept that there can be benefits from colonialism, from empires.

“What was the legacy of colonialism? In British Malaya, now Malaysia and Singapore, the positive gains were: the English language, now the language of international relations; Western democracy (for what that is worth); respect for law and order in the British way (but needing some serious improvements to deliver justice); and a form of multiculturalism which is potentially more equitable than the traditional forms.

Colonialism, allied to slavery, ‘blackbirding,’ contract transfer of labour from one colony to another, and free immigration entry as needed, contributed to the juxtaposition (and some intermingling of genes) of diverse populations and cultures. This did enhance inter-cultural contacts and relations between the peoples affected.
Did the colonies of the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Belgian, French and Germans benefit in a similar manner? They were known to be more brutal than the British. Certainly, Ho Chi Minh, the leader of the communist revolution which drove the French out of Indo-China, learned about obtaining independence through revolution during his studies in France.

A cursory scan of some of the better-known empires to see if they offered durable benefits either to the subject peoples or to mankind in general might be of some casual interest. The difficulty inherent in this endeavour is in separating civilisation from empire, the former generally localised but often making a contribution to the future of mankind, the latter often generalised geographically but soon not worthy of remembrance. Civilisations endure. Yet, apart from those of China and India, has there been any substantial long-term continuity of civilisations?”

Flaunting cultural difference

Most Australians would seem to accept personal decorations as an expression of personal freedom. A fashion favoured some years ago by Italian soccer football players of a facial growth of a few days has now been adopted by many players of other sports; the outcome is not always an aesthetic success. It has also been believed generally that some young Australians decorate their heads and faces in order to reduce their chances of employment. Making fashion statements by wearing an undergarment over an outer garment does not seem to make much of an impact. Decorating one’s head by wearing a hat or other head covering can enhance one’s public appearance. Wearing head gear such as a skull cap, turban, or scarf to reflect cultural tradition arouses no more than passing curiosity.

However, a ‘walking tent’ or an approaching person whose whole face is covered except for the eyes is little different from an approaching person wearing a motor cycle helmet – an unidentifiable individual. Would it be surprising that, in a modern cosmopolitan city where harm is possibly a whisker away, some of us become a little apprehensive at being approached by the visions described above?

People from all over the world have rubbed shoulders (so to speak) on Australia streets until recently without any of them claiming stridently to be different, the difference being a projected aura of cultural superiority by the newcomer. Of course, immigration selection was once careful not to allow immigrants who might not accept and live by the nation’s ethos. Now we seem to be collecting entrants as if there is a shortage in the supply line, and without adequate regard for inter-community social cohesion.

The following extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door’ touch upon this issue.

“The full body-covering niqab, said to be necessary to protect the modesty of women in the presence of apparently ever-lustful men, hasn’t been seen on Moslem boat people seeking asylum. I also wonder if the men supporting the niqab suffer from a permanent erection when surrounded by Australian women of a range of ethnicities who are dressed ordinarily.

Then, imagine driving through Sydney traffic wearing a niqab; how much necessary peripheral vision would be avail¬
able? Imagine too a security guard’s problem when a niqab-wearing person enters his bank; male of female, friend or foe? In some countries the guard would shoot first, as no one with a face covering, say, a motorcycle helmet, could enter the premises without removing the helmet.

This is sheer cultural arrogance! Human rights avail¬able in a free Australian society are being used against the ethos of Australia. I suspect that most cosmopolitan Aussies, including earlier immigrants, would wish niqab lovers a happy life in another country offering compatible cultural values (perhaps with sharia law thrown in). “

Discovering a belief in God through logic

I was born to be a believer and a sceptic. I prefer my beliefs to be based or derived from logic, hopefully supported (where possible) by some evidence (however intangible). Scepticism protects me from charlatans, especially those who offer certainty in an ephemeral arena. With a mind which is open, I believe that one can overcome the limits of scepticism. Perhaps a sense of justice or fairness may also be involved.

How I decided that there is (probably) a sole Creator or God of all that is will fall out from the following extracts from ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’ I hasten to point out that all my beliefs are temporary; and that I preserve a right to change my mind in the light of new understanding. My next abode, the insubstantial one in another dimension, may lead to a new perspective.

“ … … as a primary school boy, I was sent to the Pilleyar (Ganesha) temple at examination times, although I topped my class by a large margin every term, except once. … … I then lost the family’s savings through a spectacular academic failure. So much for faith and fervent prayer.

My future was thereby destroyed, as clearly forewarned after my father’s demise by a perambulating yogi … … So much for temple rituals and the priesthood. I gave away God, Hinduism and all religio-cultural rituals.

Then learning and logic took over! Studying the belief systems of the simpler societies at my university, and dipping into some anthropology, sociology, psychology, and the major religions, I realised that there has been, and is, an innate need in many, if not most, of us to understand what we humans are, and our place in the Cosmos.

I realised further that: the complexity and beauty, as well as the observable but inadequately explicable aspects of the experienced world; the exceedingly complex patterns of inter-linked cause and effect, action and reaction, and the inter-dependencies of the physical, chemical and electro¬magnetic forces affecting us; the uniformity, the invariability, the predictive capacity of the laws of nature; the ecological balance between mobile and fixed forms of life; the intuitive yearning by sensitive souls for communion with sublime or higher forces not clearly understood; and the inferred influence of the spirit world, all of which affect our lives, could not have occurred purely by chance.

Instead, they might, I felt, reflect the mind and soul of a Creator. How else could all that have occurred? By chance? Is that another name for an inexplicable cause, akin to the gods of simpler people?

I did conclude, logically, that there had to be a Creator of all that exists. I then noted, with great interest, that an academic and confirmed atheist had reached the same conclusion after a lifetime of non-belief in a Creator, for exactly the same reasons. There has to be a Creator, he now accepts, thereby upsetting most severely his former fellow-believers in that causal mechanism named Chance. Like me, he doesn’t claim to know; only that a creator god makes (unverifiable) sense.”

On subservience

I am intrigued by the discrepancy between the independent stance of the Anglo-Australian worker (originally the bulk of the people) and the obsequiousness/arrogance of Australian governments. Having been a tram conductor, worked in factories and offices, and socialised with all levels of Australian society, I say categorically that this Aussie worker is someone I respect. He is the one who will stop to help you were your car to break down on the street. He stands tall at all times, and encourages immigrants to emulate him.

Contradictorily, Australian governments are subservient, but selectively; originally it was to Mother Britain, later to stepfather USA. Yet, they will throw their weight about in the Pacific (their US-allocated bailiwick), or look askance at the newly independent nations of Asia with foreign faiths. These peoples will never bend their necks again, and will not pay the respect claimed by Australia.

What do I mean by subservience? How is it manifest? My musings follow. Most of us are born into a collective. We are then shaped by that collective, the family. When released into society, we usually live within another collective or two. When we die, we join yet another collective, either below ground or probably in another dimension.

Collectives normally imply a hierarchy, a pecking order of sorts. But … … does that require subservience? In reality, a form of subservience, a degree of subservience, seems ordered; that is, necessitated by the way segments of society are structured or organised. A leaderless society would be an anachronism. Can adult individuals then ever be free of net¬works of subservience? Can we truthfully avoid the requirements of one or more official agencies, and our employers or customers; as well as the expectations of family and neighbours? I think not.

However, were this implied subservience to a collective to be no more than an expression of duty, or an acceptance of a specified responsibility, or evidence of good corporate behaviour? Indeed, are there many of us who do not want to be linked with others within each collective in the ways I have just set out? Further, are there many who are psycho¬logically capable of standing alone, without any sense of duty, of responsibility or good collective behaviour? Perhaps only those who have fallen through the mesh of a non-coherent family.

When I consider how few of the people I have ever met or heard of seem willing to think for themselves; that is, to step out of the frames of reference to which they have been conditioned, I conclude that they feel safer within their cocoon of conformity. Allowing the mind to roam freely in all the universes available – the only true freedom from any collective accessible to a human being – does seem to scare most of us. Subservience in either form – duty/responsibility/good conduct or subjugation of some sort – seems preferred. Does that indicate a smidgen of fear?

(The above extracts from the chapter ‘On subservience’ in ‘Musings at Death’s Door: an ancient bicultural Asian-Australian ponders about Australian society’ reflect my strong social conscience about the dignity of all humans.

In reality, in most nations, most of the people at the bottom of the economic pile, that is, those who provide the work supporting their society, lack the respect that should be theirs were the religious beliefs of their employers to be reflected in the way they are treated. Yet, in Australia, the worker is not subservient or submissive; he/she stands tall.)

The family as the fulcrum of society

The Asian emphasis on family and society … seems to be beyond the comprehension of many Aussies with their two centuries of geographical mobility in the search to better themselves, their acceptance of separation from kith and kin, and their consequent reliance on the collective (i.e. the State) to look after those in need in their family … The Church, society and family gave way to the search for a full belly, based on the nuclear family, where the individual is supreme. The large number of ‘semi-detached’ and single adults (some with dependent children) is testimony to this.

This is not to deny that there are some who look after their own. There are also many who work for society voluntarily on behalf of the collective. And then there are the users of these charitable people. For example, an elderly German lady is living in her own large home by herself, in the Australian tradition. Her married daughter, aged about fifty, lives in her own large home in a nearby suburb. The Red Cross sends a worker, part-volunteer, to help the old lady clean her house. The daughter stands around, supervising the worker, who might be of her vintage. Does the daughter do anything? No way! That’s not the Australian way. The ethos is: the collective must provide – I’m not responsible.

This is not the Asian way, and we all do not have servants – only the few. In human terms, the Asian way is far superior culturally. While there may be some deficiency in some Asian families’ care for their own, there is a far greater risk with an impersonal collective.

… … There are also many of us who do not want the government or its menials examining or coming into our bedrooms, our wallets, or our minds. How much further is it to the totalitarian state? What will be the difference between a communist state and a modern welfare state which tells us also what we can or cannot do or say? Now it is racial ‘vilification’, tomorrow it is political offence, the day after … ?

On the one hand, we have this overemphasis on individual rights, and on the other, on government control, of varying degrees of influence over our lives.

The sooner Australia joins Asia (if the Asian nations accept us) and the larger the Asian component of Australia’s population, the sooner the nation will learn to accept the extended family as the basic unit of society. Intra-familial responsibility should not involve the State, except in great need, not relative need. We need to accept that the stability and security of society over-ride the individual’s so-called rights. Actually, they already do in some areas – we put people in jail for crimes. Whence does the individual obtain his rights, except from, and through, his society?

Then, possibly, we might get rid of the adversarial process in the law courts, where the search for truth in the interests of society will override the current concealment of relevant information (the truth) by judges and legal representatives, purely in the interest of the accused. This means that refugee applications to Australia will be speeded up. Overall, justice will be speedy and enhanced, and costs borne by the individual and the State should be reduced. The legal profession may become leaner in the process, but that should be good for its health.

(These extracts from ‘Destiny Will Out’ highlight the consequences of a ‘pioneer’ nation created by immigrants. Necessarily, the society which developed reflected the need to be self-sufficient, when the traditional support of an extended family was not available. Any relatives within the new country might also be a long distance away, in search of sustenance. Eventually, the State stepped in to fill the social-support gap.

However, with the supportive role of governments expanding, only the nuclear family developed; and that is now at risk. Without stable families of any kind, there can be no society worth talking about.

Since the Asian immigrants are not going to discard their cultural tradition of looking after their own, and protecting their privacy in the process, even in Australia, perhaps there may develop a less-individualistic perception of family and society.)