anotherlongshot (anotherlongshot) wrote,

Some highlights:

1. I have 24-hour access to the law library. This is really amazing. I was initially shocked to discover that the library doesn't open on Sundays and closes at 5pm on Saturdays, but this ceased to matter when I found out that PhD students get 24-hour access to the library. Yes. I'm going to park myself there this weekend and start writing my conference paper. (Yes, I am defying the advice given by my supervisor and am going ahead with it. It's really not that complicated, I think.)

2. I attended Philosophical Logic lecture and I really enjoyed it. I just wanted to know what it was out of curiosity and it turned out to be a very enjoyable one hour. The lecturer is a temporary lecturer from an American university and he explained Bertrand Russell really well. I mean, if I understood it, he must've done a really good job. He was also quite funny and made random jokes, so that definitely helped too. I'm looking forward to more of his lectures. On the other hand, I'm probably going to stop going to the theories of liberty one. The lecturer wasn't that great and I don't see the point in auditing lectures on subjects that I already kind of know.

Well, I say this now, but my kiasu-ness will probably compel me to attend that lecture on Wednesday anyway because I am weird like that.

3. I failed to wake up early enough for the laundry. Because the laundry room across the road only has two wash-and-dryer, both machines were in use when I got there (I think it was 9.20am). I waited half an hour for the owners of the clothes to get their stuff but no one arrived, so I asked a college staff who happened to zip in to get something from the storage what I should do, and she helped me take out the washed clothes and put them on the ironing board. It's so annoying when people don't remove their clothes fast enough. I haven't got all day to stand around and wait for you to feel like showing up, so if you're not fast enough, then too bad.

4. I went to the gym while my clothes were being washed. I set a goal of 30 minutes on the cross trainer. 10 minutes in, I felt like I wanted to die. A part of my brain was telling me to stop; another part was telling me to stop at 20 minutes; and the part that refused to give up told me to keep going. In the end, I accomplished what I set out to do, and that's the whole point. You hang in there; you keep at it; and when you accomplish it, it is amazing.

5. I spent my afternoon reading 'Hard Cases' in Dworkin's Taking Rights Seriously. The Court of Appeal cited this chapter in particular in Lim Meng Suang for...I forgot what proposition. The first time I read the judgment and saw that they cited Dworkin in approval, I was immediately suspicious. There is probably nothing that Dworkin has ever said about rights and adjudication and judicial review that a Singapore court would ever cite in approval, as things presently stand.

I believe that the CA cited Dworkin as some sort of authority that it should not become a 'mini-legislature'. It's actually kind of worrying because this is only accurate if one considered half of a sentence that Dworkin wrote on the issue. The whole sentence is this: 'In fact, however, judges neither should be nor are deputy legislators, and the familiar assumption, that when they go beyond political decisions already made by someone else they are legislating, is misleading.'

It appears that the operative part of the sentence for the CA is 'judges neither should be'. What is crucial, though, is the part that immediately follows: 'nor are'. Dworkin is not just saying that judges shouldn't legislate, which is plain and obvious; he is saying that judges do not legislate when they 'go beyond' decisions made by the legislature. He goes on to make a distinction between arguments of principle and arguments of policy, which I think is crucial distinction that the CA missed entirely in Lim Meng Suang. If the CA had made this distinction, I believe that it would have found itself competent to at least comment on some of the 'extra-legal' issues that confronted it in the judgment.

In any event, I think that an apex court should not totally avoid political, ethical and moral issues, especially when it adjudicates constitutional cases. Constitutional rights are inherently about such issues. The substance and scope of one's conception of human rights (I use human rights to also include constitutional rights) is intricately bound up with one's moral and political philosophy, and constitutional issues can never (this may be an overly broad claim but I am tired right now and am unable to fully adhere to intellectual precision) be meaningfully delimited from its moral and political underpinnings. I think that the only area where the courts clearly have no competence is that of policy; and so it was entirely reasonable and correct of the CA to decline to decide whether abolishing section 377A would have an impact on public health issues. However, this question is substantively different from the issue of whether it is legitimate for the law to enforce public morality, etc. That is a question about the law, which is entirely within the remit of the courts.

I have a couple more arguments that I will make in my paper. I am too tired to be doing this. It's 1.20am. Why am I writing this? Let me move on.

6. I was gonna make dinner but I came home and Theo was cooking up a storm in the kitchen. He made pasta for four people and offered to share it. Daniel came back just as Theo was done, and we all had yummy pasta. I had a massive portion that I thought I wouldn't be able to finish; it was this huge plate of linguine. But I finished it. It was actually really good. He put onions and peppers and some garlic and some spices and salmon and mushrooms - pretty simple but really tasty.

Arthur came back just as we were almost done with the food - in other words, too late. We sat around and talked for a bit. Arthur kept joking about Daniel's bathroom intruder issue (his bathroom is across the hallway, but it's meant to be his only, and someone has been using it without his permission, and he doesn't know who it is). It was nice.

Have I ever mentioned Theo? He's Cypriot, but right-wing, so I guess in his mind he is Greek. Anyway, Cypriots speak Greek, more or less. Sometimes, when Theo talks, I think about G. It's not my fault. They pronounce 'health' and 'hell' almost the same way. Theo has a thicker accent and G's accent is a bit more American but some words sound so similar anyway.

Also, Theo was on the phone with his girlfriend and I picked out a word that G taught me when we were at Potato Head on National Day. It was the only word that he'd ever taught me. I cannot spell it, but I can say it, and G said that it can be used in almost all situations. In my mind, it means something like 'I see'. It sounds like 'taxi' but with a 'd' sound instead of 't' sound.

7. I need to sleep. I am excited about writing my paper. I hope it turns out well.
Tags: cambridge, friends, g, human rights, law, phd, philosophy, running

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