Monday, 26 July 2010

Barney Stinson Solves The World's Problems One Punchline At A Time

"When I get sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead. True story."
Gosh. The torment of losing a painfully thought-out post is always almost unbearable at the point of realization. Lasts for a good 30 seconds more or so, then life goes on.

Baby says that maybe it's a sign that I shouldn't post it. Will listen to the voices for now!
“Pathos is what men have in common, however variable it may be in its aspects and intensities. Pathos designates a passive experience, not an action; it is what happens to man, what he suffers, what befalls him fatefully and what touches him in his existential core – as for instance the experiences of Eros. In their exposure to pathos all men are equal, though they may differ widely in the manner in which they come to grips with it and build the experience into their lives. The community of pathos is the basis of communication. Behind the hardened, intellectually supported attitudes which separate men, lie the pathemata which bind them together. However false and grotesque the intellectual position may be, the pathos at the core has the truth of an immediate experience. If one can penetrate to this core and reawaken in a man the awareness of his conditio humana, communication in the existential sense becomes possible.” (Voegelin E., 1957, 29-30)

Sunday, 25 July 2010

More Inception

Never Wake Up: The Secret and Meaning of Inception by Devin Faraci is possibly one of the most alternative and yet most coherent explanations/interpretations of Inception by far.

His write-up is corroborated with the first interpretation in Peter Hall's Dissecting Inception: Six Interpretations and Five Plot Holes.

It seems like I'll be going with the idea that the entire movie is a dream. Devin Faraci takes it even further by bringing out the analogy that the audience is the dreamer, and Peter Hall brilliantly indicates what the audience's totem should've been, but wasn't available, thus confirming it.

Must reads for all Inception junkies IMHO!

Friday, 23 July 2010


I'd just chanced upon a movie reviewer's page that appears to suggest that Inception might get stick for its lack of emotional development of its characters as it is too 'cerebral'.

The article says, "Although [Christopher Nolan's] films provoke deep thought and weighty themes, they are never said to touch the heart. Nolan is regarded as a cold, clinical director, whose movies care more about ideas and mind tricks than making us feel for characters. ... Although the Inception review responses hail Nolan for his mind trips and con games, they are more mixed when he goes to the emotional. Even some of the positive reviews nitpick Nolan for doing better with the workings of the head than the heart. ... will emotional flaws prevent the film from being Nolan's masterpiece after all?"

The article ends off on a neutral and questioning note, but the nuance is unmistakable, and it also indicates that there are more professional criticisms of this sort elsewhere.

All I can say is go watch something else if the cerebral stuff isn't your thing. It's like criticizing a perfectly sweet apple for not being sour enough.

Thoughts and comments on Inception to come once more people have watched it so that I don't contribute to the spoilers! Lastly, if you love good mindfuck movies, please watch Inception. It's the next level from the likes of The Matrix and Minority Report.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Blind Men Also Love Barbies

Abstract of a study, titled "Blind men prefer a low waist-to-hip ratio", done by Karremans, J., Frankenhuis, W., & Arons, S. (2010), says:

"Previous studies suggest that men in Western societies are attracted to low female waist-to-hip ratios (WHR). Several explanations of this preference rely on the importance of visual input for the development of the preference, including explanations stressing the role of visual media. We report evidence showing that congenitally blind men, without previous visual experience, exhibit a preference for low female WHRs when assessing female body shapes through touch, as do their sighted counterparts. This finding shows that a preference for low WHR can develop in the complete absence of visual input and, hence, that such input is not necessary for the preference to develop. However, the strength of the preference was greater for the sighted than the blind men, suggesting that visual input might play a role in reinforcing the preference. These results have implications for debates concerning the evolutionary and developmental origins of human mate preferences, in particular, regarding the role of visual media in shaping such preferences."

Excellent. More evidence in favour of the basal instincts undergirding our mate choices that truly drive the media, rather than the often asserted opposite that socialization shapes everything. Of course, socialization has a huge part to play in skewing us towards the trends of the culture we live in. But the origins of media content don't just sprout out randomly.

There's always a rhyme and reason. Everything is traceable back.

The World Is Your Oyster

Here are two videos that have totally revved up my desire for traveling. I'm pretty aware that their feats are possible because going hungry and being homeless for not holding down a job isn't a concern, but it is still goddamn inspiring all the same.

And if I'm wrong and they have traveled in the face of potential poverty, then all the more I salute them for providing validation to the idea that little should stand in the way of our dreams.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

You know you're minority when the social group you belong to features often as your adjective.


Finally concluded my interviews with Tay Eu-yen, founder of The Butter Factory, today. Seldom do you get to meet people whose aspirations are so inspired by something more than just the need to earn money to get by in Singapore, whose aspirations are perhaps defined by something nobler; an inner drive.

The rarity of such encounters make them a novelty, when really it shouldn't be the case if this place had soul. As much as I hate to say it, it gets tiring meeting people after people who can't seem to figure out why they're holding down that uninspiring job other than to get by, that "it's for the money."

Sure, money's important, and we can't help it that rising costs keep us firmly stuck to chasing greens. But the system exists only because so many people, who fear being marginalized when not pandering to the system, validate it.

Maybe, to many, it's hard to understand why I take such constant issue with Singapore's pragmatism and obsession with stability, security and economic development. The prospects of living in a society that has little or no soul is very, very frightening to those who yearn for creation, art, culture and freedom - more than the things that merely allow us to just get by.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


It really bothers me to read about the persecuted British author Alan Shadrake who wrote about Singapore's capital punishment in his book Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock.

His charge? Defamation and contempt of court.

What makes my blood boil more is how the majority response appears to be that he's wrong to even try and meddle in our home affairs, that he's an ex-colonialist who has no idea what's happening here.

The ad hominem problems are shifting our attention away from the real issue he is trying to highlight - problems with our corporal punishment system.

I think he is entitled to his view, regardless of whether his opinions have weight or not, but it is thoroughly embarassing that we are refusing to approach the matter intellectually, resorting to subtle state violence yet again under the convenient cover of sovereignty.

If the government has nothing to hide or prove about how our law is run, why resort to this?

I hope his persecution only serves to backfire more on the reactive policies being dished out by the state at the moment.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Tortured Heroes

Aside from the fact that a protagonist with issues gives his character more depth and makes him more interesting, a hero that has problems connects better with his audience. Nobody trusts a hero with absolute power, as much as how any man with absolute power is possibly corrupt.
Here lies the source of all marriage problems.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Maybe koalas harbour the secret fantasy of their trees hugging back.

Friday, 16 July 2010

A man is flying in a hot-air balloon and realises he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

The man below says, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field".

"You must be a social scientist," says the balloonist.

"I am," replies the man, "How do you know?"

"Well," quips the balloonist, "Everything you told me is factually correct according to the circumstances, but it's of no use to anyone."

The man below says, "Then, you must be in business management."

"I am," replies the balloonist, "How'd you guess?"

The man below explains, "That's because you don't know where you are, or where you're going, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position you were before we met, but now it's my fault."

Oh Man, Seriously?

Government has just announced that it plans to bring in at least 100,000 more foreigners to meet the demands of our growing markets.

I honestly have so many reservations about where our ship is being taken. If my qualms are right, then we are sinking - indeed a hole has been punched into the hull since the day the government decided that Singapore's goal would be to develop itself into an economic powerhouse rather than a country with culture and national spirit. Bringing more people on board to pour the water out of a sinking ship won't solve the problem.

The news (and very unpopular public response) comes quite timely along with an interview of Gerald Giam of the Workers' Party on Yahoo! Singapore. The PAP might have gotten it 'right' so far (whatever 'right' means), but we can never be sure where absolute power can be taken. A political system that is healthy always requires checks and balances. I always believe that absolute power never has a pure end.

Singapore might be economically thriving at the moment and we definitely have living standards that are much higher compared to half a century ago thanks to the ruling party. But with economic development and wealth as the ends instead of a proud and thriving national culture, we've given up so many other important things, such as knowing how to relax, investing time in our families, art.

The best thing about how effective the government is? They’ve managed to convince so many people to believe money is indeed more important than all those other less important social and creative pursuits.

And when I refer to the development of culture, I don't mean the one that we tend to associate Singaporean culture with, such as being kiasu, or God forbid, Phua Chu Kang.

A worthy culture is one that we’re willing to be proud of and be a part of. Looking at how so many Singaporeans want to leave the country, I can't really see how our culture is steeped in the right direction. It is somewhat disheartening to see any one out of two typical responses coming from Singaporeans: the unthinking acceptance that what we've got is as good as it gets, or the desire to leave this country that many don't feel a loyalty for. Many Singaporeans shape their worldview around the heavy notion of pragmatism instilled by the government - therefore, many Singaporeans are pragmatically choosing to migrate away.

This post is skimpy - there's a lot more to it than what I've chosen to air. But at least with the potential for bi- or multiparty politics, hopefully more issues can finally appear on the policy-making agenda.


Has there been a more ripe time than now in recent years regarding civil and public participation in Singapore's current affairs?

Three articles (out of many others) have caught my attention just in the short span of one day:

Future Generations will Pay for the Sins of PAP
Lee Insults Singaporeans - Again

Worker’s Party member: Why more young graduates are joining the opposition

With more sources voicing opinions of this sort, progressive politics might actually finally arrive at our city state's shores.

Thursday, 15 July 2010


It was a delight to watch (one-sided) alpha male social dynamics unfold among my professors just now.

Insecurity amongst other males always plays nicely into the hands of any alpha male who wishes to assert his authority on the social situation.

Whoever Insists His Business Has Nothing To Do With Politics Is Obviously Lying

I was just musing to myself (yet again) how offering a product or service on the basis of an idealistic notion of serving your patrons (and society at large) is just not enough in our modern day and age. In every practical market/industry, there are companies that have firmly established themselves as benchmarks for the quality of the services or products offered, and many of these companies are big-ass corporations.

In other words, it is insufficient to go into business without a workable business model that will cover all kinds of things ranging from finances to logistics to human resources. Going in with a product, even if it's a great one that will benefit mankind greatly, and hoping its weight will carry itself is naive and unrealistic.

With this notion in mind, 'bigness' can be a great advantage to gain for any corporation that wants to firmly root itself in the market and lock out competition. It is terribly difficult for new firms to enter certain markets because it is too difficult to offer products and services on the level that the existing giants already provide for.

Anyone who is decently versed in the supposed virtue of the free market will know that it is an established fact that the more firms in a market there are, the more efficient the market becomes - competition is good for the consumer and society on the whole.

The fact that bigness shuts out competition is a profoundly bad thing. Market moralists will argue all sorts of things to defend the market intellectually, but the truth is that any corporation that becomes big enough tends to become a monopolist.

But while I argue that it is a bad thing that new firms face difficulty in entering markets locked out by big corporations, it does not follow that big corporations should therefore lower their standards or provide handicaps so as to give weaker entrants a chance.

The issue really is in the immense amount of power that resides in the hands of big corporations who now can redefine the rules as consumers become dependent on them, a power that is unchecked because there are few entrants and firms that can provide alternatives for consumers. With bigness comes great power and with great power comes the potential for great sin.

Also, there are tons of reasons why the pursuit of profit at all cost is bad, or why the Milton Friedman argument that the 'only thing businesses should care about is profit' is a dodgy mantra to follow. But here's an important one. Without virtues or ethical principles guiding a company's direction for profits, especially when the company is a monopolist, the company can be easily bought over by politicians.

Should there be any social elite with the capital who decides to further any self-serving agenda, any spineless powerful corporation can hop on the bandwagon to further the interests of that social elite, providing all sorts of support ranging from commodities to marketing to manipulation of consumers, as long as the social elite has sufficient money.

When political power and corporations come together, giving rise to the agenda-setting problems that the United States particularly faces, society can be quite doomed.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


Been involved in setting up and writing for our psychology blog With a decent start, we've been listed on

Do check us out and bookmark if this stuff floats your boat!

Daddy Issues

I think daddy issues can be likened to an original sin. That is, wherever or whenever it first began, a vicious cycle has since spiraled unavoidably from it.

The anecdotal evidence is often astonishing. It's almost as if it's possible to trace every unexplainable esteem-related quirk to one's father's involvement in his or her developmental years.

The issues often appear to weigh heavier on the female side of the story. John Mayer even wrote the song Daughters to lament about the problem. There are enough implications in both folklore and psychology academia to suggest that any wayward upbringing on the father's part has considerable repercussions on the developmental state of his little girl, many of which are irreversible.

Some other sources suggest too that sons aren't spared. In The Game, Mystery's esteem problems are linked to his father's violent role as head of the family. Recent psychology research, particularly inclined towards the evolutionary side, has found more support for parenting problems linked to the father than the mother.

But whatever it is, and whichever gender daddy issues afflict more, the quality of a man's role as a father undoubtedly plays a significant part in the building of a child's personality, character and esteem. And given the dismal track record of men for being responsible, it doesn't come as a surprise that so many people face daddy issues, who will later go on to perpetuate their own daddy issues on their children.

Evolutionary psychology would assert that paternity uncertainty is a reason for a male's tendency to be less interested in child-rearing. Men are also not equipped with maternal instinct, which is such a strong mechanism that motivates women to care for their children, regardless of their own conditions, states of mind or even age. Maternal instinct has probably served to ensure that women will rise above the occasion no matter what to meet the needs of their children.

And on the whole, men tend to be more anti-social and avoidant. To date, I know of very few fathers who demonstrate love, even if they really love their kids very much. Males simply find it tough to put aside their prides and egos. Many a family has been destroyed by a man's inability to accept that he is wrong. A common consequence is the man's avoidance of the issue, a refusal to share the burdens of the problem or even admit his incompetence, which often leads to alcoholism and domestic violence. As one author put it quite succinctly, men would rather be respected than loved.

Girls with daddy issues have problems dealing with relationship issues that range from sex and commitment to insecurity. Boys with daddy issues often find it difficult to remove the negative parts of their fathers when dealing with their own future families, or the world at large, eventually becoming the men they resented when growing up. A theme is apparently consistent - the father figure is possibly a significant model that aids the child in nurturing his or her understanding of the world so that he or she may better navigate it. It could be akin to the developmental psychological process of imprinting. At a tender age where the world is a blur, it comes as no surprise that children desperately seek to replicate the behaviours of worthy role models. We could be evolutionarily adapted to turn particularly to our fathers to program our understanding of the world, or it could be some other reason.

Regardless, daddy issues thus get perpetuated. By seeking the same kind of men their fathers were, women will resume the cycle by giving their kids the same 'bad' dads. By turning into their fathers, men will resume the cycle by being 'bad' dads.

Here's an excerpt from The Game that drives home the point lucidly for women:

"For most of their childhood, females are conditioned to act subservient to male authority figures. Once they grow up, a certain subset of them ... move through the world psychologically stunted, constantly dumbing themselves down in the presence of the opposite sex. They believe that the techniques they used to manipulate their fathers will work just as well on the rest of the world, and often they're right."

As for the male side of the story, how Mystery resented his dad so much but eventually became him was also well plotted out. His father was an aggressive man who often resorted to violence to get his way. Mystery built his worldview around that, whether he knew it or not.

So guys, think carefully about whether you're ready before you start that family - more likely than not, the family you start will be a world of your own doing where the fate of its inhabitants is at mercy.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

I love the fact that irony is the essence of modern day wit.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Drawn into the backdrop here
You could fade, you could fade away
Bright lights on a starless night
Burn a hole in the dying day

Drawn into the darkness here
With your eyes on the prize at stake
Faint hearts on an endless path
Letting go of the ones we break

Looking at life through a loaded gun
Take your best shot, aim it at the sun
Looking at life through a loaded gun
You know you’ll find

You’ll find yourself
You’ll find yourself alone

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Fame Monsters

I chanced upon Urban's The Art of the Tease issue while passing by the free browsing area inside Hong Kong Cafe last week. In it, it talks about today's internet and reality TV stars like Xiaxue, Dawn Yang, Paris Hilton and Lady GaGa, as well as home-grown reality portals such as and RazorTV.

I thought it was a well-written and timely article. While objectively reporting on the fame and reality TV scene in Singapore, one might say that there were some very subtle nuances in there that indicated how the writers felt about it, while at the same time giving little away. That's high level journalism in a place where opinions are fiercely attacked and/or are regarded as politically incorrect.

But anyway, this issue of Urban tackles the recent phenomenon of fame and reality TV. This phenomenon has blossomed into a huge culture of its own, particularly in the US when shows like American Idol began airing back in 2002, giving birth to a whole new type of superstar. More recently, Singapore has picked up on it, gaining a boost by latching on to the internet as a very fertile medium.

The rules of superstardom have been redefined in the process. Now, famous people are far more personal and in the flesh, and they can come from anywhere. Reality TV has provided the channels for all kinds of people to have a shot at fame. Urban discusses how the trend has hit Singapore, and no doubt a huge part of it has to do with western media influence, particularly from the US, coupled with a burgeoning internet-savvy generation.

The internet culture has a huge part to play in shaping modern attitudes towards attention and privacy. What is essentially different about reality TV is that what is personal and mundane is now fascinating. The internet plays that up many times over, with sites like Youtube and Facebook providing channels for anybody to be seen in a public virtual sphere. These have enabled ordinary people to have their own personal programmes that are followed by many. Ideas have flourished with such boundary-breaking platforms, but at the same time what used to be sacred and private are now commodities to be demanded and supplied. This creates a market where fame becomes a currency, or an end in itself.

But even then, such a phenomenon wouldn't have went the mile if not for one last important ingredient, which is the implicit question that Urban asks. What makes a person fame hungry?

Without all these fame-seeking people clamouring desperately to get on board the fame bandwagon, as well as many people out there who (voyeuristically) desire to idolize and follow them, the reality TV industry would be lukewarm at most.

What could possibly motivate somebody to sell one's privacy and, if I might make the stretch, dignity for attention in return? Money might be one of the things fame monsters, in Lady GaGa's words, seek but I don't think that's all of it. I believe money simply justifies the exchange, but fundamentally the desire to seek attention is at the crux of the matter.

I think there are a few layers to why a person would do anything for the sake of fame, rather than acquiring fame only as a byproduct of your talents. Firstly, I think there are generally two kinds of people, and for convenience's sake, I would define one group of people as having 'ego' and the other as not having this 'ego'.

(Here my definition of ego is more loose and not exactly the same ego that most people might know of in the negative, male entitlement sense.)

People who are egoistic in this manner both tend to desire attention and tend to get attention. Because egoistic people might already tend to have a higher sense of self worth, they might be more inclined to do things and establish themselves in roles of leadership, thus gaining statuses and reputations along the way. For example, my ego might motivate me to want to be an outstanding footballer (i.e. better than others at football), so I spend hours practicing and, because I relish to prove myself, I'm willing to boldly take on opponents. Whether I succeed or not, it is more likely that I would have earned a higher reputation and garnered more attention for it compared to somebody else who wasn't even motivated to do anything in the first place.

So with that, people who tend to have more of an ego might have had their needs for attention satisfied in healthy doses, because they might have something to show for it. The reputation comes along with achievements, and so fame is a byproduct of one's efforts towards some other end. Those egoistic ones who were fortunate enough to have had a healthy diet of reputation and attention since young would be more likely to know when enough is enough.

However, if one is of the egoistic sort, but yet at the same time has in some way or other failed to gain the reputation and status that would normally have bestowed positive attention upon him or her, a craving for attention might develop.

So while the dynamic of desiring attention and getting attention might be circular/chicken-egg, if the thirst for attention isn't quenched, it might be possible that the need to deal with one's lack of attention from others becomes an obsession in itself. The desire for fame, status and reputation, normally (and healthily) a byproduct of some other ends, now becomes an end in itself. And when that happens, people can do all sorts of things to get that attention, such as changing the way one looks, becoming notorious because bad attention is still attention afterall, or taking up whatever role there is available just to get into the limelight.

There are all sorts of things that can fall into the black hole of, for lack of a better term, less desirable ends. For example, this also actually calls to mind the pick-up artist community and gaming (the industry of female seduction). The obsession with picking up women as a game of quantity afflicts AFCs (a pick-up artist society term for 'average frustrated chumps') because they lacked the desired social validation from getting women and needed to prove themselves. In my own biased way, I think money is another black hole of less desirable ends. When what you strive to achieve isn't something grounded, like being a good teacher, cleaner doctor, footballer, musician or engineer, there is always the possibility that the paths to getting there can be so general that it involves all kinds of means, including bad ones.

Or maybe another way to look at it also is when one considers a person who has lived a life of poverty all his life. When a million bucks falls into his lap one day, he might not know what to do with the money.

I don't think this psychological issue of craving attention is a particularly recent occurrence. People have been self-obsessed or attention-seeking since time immemorial. However, given the proliferation of reality TV and other channels where fame can be easily attained for a portion of your privacy, dignity or soul, together with an ever-increasing population of internet-generation youths, those who crave attention can finally have their day. It comes as little surprise then that this culture marks the new vibe of the new generation of fame and superstardom.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

On Footballing Individualism

Brilliant article by Dan Wetzel from Yahoo! Sports. A huge part of me screams this, which is probably why, while I know Germany is the sharpest team in the World Cup now, my heart still lies with teams like Brazil, Argentina and Spain.

The original article can be accessed here:

by Dan Wetzel

CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Soccer's superstar players never materialized here at the World Cup. The game's best – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Wayne Rooney, etc. – often failed to lift their play and, in turn, their teams, to a level this grand stage demands.

The conventional wisdom on why: They were too selfish, unable to adapt to the team concept of a national squad.

Then there's Diego Maradona's take: Unlike the past, the stars weren't selfish enough.

"Today the players are more collective, more team players," the Argentina coach said after his own star-studded team was bounced from the World Cup. "They want to do everything with their teammates. It is a different type of game right now."

This goes against so much of what we've come to believe, and expect, in sports. The reason that Uruguay and the Netherlands square off here Tuesday in a semifinal is because they embraced selfless, team-oriented play.

Such a mentality is celebrated.

What Maradona is suggesting is that this line of thinking has become so widespread it's actually killed the star player, who no longer acts like a star player. Rather than demanding his place in the natural pecking order of pure talent and past performance, they sink back into the pack.

Such thinking would carry little weight except it is Maradona who said it. Who could know more about what's needed for a talented player to morph into a larger-than-life superstar and dominate the World Cup? No one owned this event the way Maradona did in 1986 when he led Argentina to the title.

His implication is that the star needs to act like the star. That he is better than his teammates is a given. Rather than apologize for it, he must remind them of it, make them respect it. He must lead not by being one of the guys but by being above the guys. It's the cult of personality, if you will.

"I think we were more selfish," Maradona said, which has to be the first time an old player said that about a bygone era. "Maybe before it was about being selfish players who [made the] rest of the team work for us."

Today's players receive remarkable hype – television commercials, video games and media attention. They are single-name personalities around the globe.

Yet you'd never hear one say that the rest of the team works for them. They'd be vilified. Instead today's stars go out of their way to support their teammates and talk publicly about how no one player is more important than the other.

Only some players are more important, Maradona notes.

Consider the most competitive environments on earth – the military battlefield, the flight deck of a commercial airliner or a hospital operating table.

This is where failure is not an option. In those cultures, the delineation between the star (the general, the lead pilot) and the others (private, flight attendant) is clear. Often socialization between classes is prohibited – enlisted men do not dine with officers – and the word of the higher-ranked person must be respected.

When having open-heart surgery, no patient would care if the lead surgeon is friends with or helps empower the nurse. In fact, the idea that the nurse would fear disappointing the lead surgeon and would clearly defer to him at all times might be considered a positive. You'd want the most brilliant talent to be the leader.

In Maradona's day, he says, that carried over to a soccer team. He was Diego Maradona and they were not.

"Time changes in life," Maradona said.

In this time, the star player must be humble and supportive. And not just on the field, but in all parts of team life. Obviously all players know they need others to make them better in the game. Someone has to pass them the ball. Or receive a pass. But off the field, is one for all, all for one really the best concept?

It's difficult to say. Maradona only knows the mentality that made him lead a country to World Cup glory. It certainly isn't the only way.

Perhaps it is one of them, though. And with most of the world's top individual players home watching the semifinals, with criticism of their selfish play ringing through their heads, maybe the opposite is true. Maybe they weren't selfish enough.

Maybe Maradona's correct. Maybe the soccer world has gone soft.