Expat@Large

Koro

Posted in penis, plagiarism, Singapore by expatatlarge on May 7, 2012

The term koro is presumed to derive from the word ‘kura’ which means turtle in the Malay language (see below), they say. Turtleneck sweaters, Turtleneck penis…

Oh my god, that woman has stolen my penis! Oh my god, that swine fever injection is causing my penis to retract back in to my body and rumour has it that such a disturbing symptom will kill me!

The Great Singapore Penis Panic! Saw a small (ha ha) book about this in Kinokuniya yesterday, nearly bought it but, you know, I was concerned that the cashier girls might look at me in a strange and knowing way.

In 1967, hundreds of men in Singapore were rushing to hospital clutching their wedding tackle, holding it firmly, as you do, with pegs and weights to prevent death from disappearing dong. There was a rumor circulated by a local paper the the meat from a vaccinated pig was causing this unusual complaint.

It was penis panic! It was cock consternation all across the nation! It was schlong schlorting! It was wang worry! It was attribute anxiety! It was horn hysteria! It was missing member! It was prick perturbation! It was dick dismay. It was wiener [pronounced ‘veener’] vanishing. It was… etc, etc…

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Mass hysteria? Mass panic? Yes. OK, maybe.

The social psychology of ‘epidemic’ koro.

Bartholomew RE.

Source

Flinders University of South Australia.

Abstract

The few isolated reports of individual koro exhibit a symptomatology indicative of major psychiatric conditions (ie. psychosis or affective disorder), and appear unrelated to collective episodes which involve social, cultural, cognitive and physiological factors in the diffusion of koro-related beliefs. Yet, koro ‘epidemics’ continue to be viewed as exemplifying mass psychopathology or irrationality. An examination of the similarities between koro ‘outbreaks’ and a sub-category of behaviour which has been loosely labeled as ‘mass hysteria’, suggests an alternative, non-psychopathological explanation. In reclassifying ‘epidemic’ koro as a collective misperception rather than a culture-bound syndrome, it is argued that koro is a rational attempt at problem-solving which involves conformity dynamics, perceptual fallibility and the local acceptance of koro-associated folk realities, which are capable of explaining such episodes as normal within any given population.

Pub Med

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Ah, love you Google: found a good review of the prick problem at Yesterday.sg. If you don’t want to follow the link here is the text:

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[commence plagiarism]

May 27 2006
The Great Koro Epidemic of 1967

Posted by budak

In the year 1967, Singapore was gripped by the fear of shrinking organs, an incident that has enterred the casebooks of psychiatric medical history. (Warning: risque content!)
While trawling the net for entirely innocent factoids, I came across this footnote of local history known as The Great Koro Epidemic of 1967.

Koro is a mental condition in which men become obsessed with their penis (err…. doesn’t this happen all the time?), believing it to be afflicted by shrinkage with the ultimate result of retraction into the body. Some sources cite a role in Chinese metaphysical beliefs, where abnormal sexual acts (visiting prostitutes, masturbation or nocturnal emissions) disturb the yin-yang balance, leading to a loss of the yang (or male) force with accompanying consequences on key organs.

Apparently, countless Singapore men were afflicted with a raging delusion that their penises were shrinking and retracting into the body, a fate which causes mass panic and mortal anxiety. This phenomenon, known as Koro, arose following press reports of Koro cases due to the consumption of pork from a pig that had been inoculated against swine fever. Needless to say, pork sellers had a bad year. The coy headline of the Straits Times on 5 Nov 1967 (A Strange Malady Hits Singapore Men) gave little indication of the true girth of the problem.

Professor Kua Ee Heok of the Department of Psychological Medicine, National University of Singapore, in his monograph, Transcultural Psychiatry, has this to say of Koro:

“Koro refers to a syndrome, which has for its central theme a fear of death due to the person’s conviction that his penis is shrinking into the abdomen. The panic-stricken man often clutches on to his penis with bewildered spouse and relatives assisting. The term koro is thought to derive from the Malay word kura which means “tortoise” – the symbolic meaning is that the penile retraction is compared with the retraction of the head of the tortoise into its shell. The syndrome in traditional Chinese medicine is known as suo-yang, which literally means shrinkage of the male sexual organ. In women it may take the form of retraction of the vulval labia or nipple.

Koro is often viewed as a form of panic disorder with the symptom-complex of fear of penile retraction and impending death, palpitations, sweating, breathlessness and paraesthesia. The factors, which contribute to the occurrence of koro, include beliefs and attitudes pertaining to sexuality. A common Chinese belief is that the loss of semen weakens the body, and loss of yang occurs with masturbation and nocturnal emission. The loss of semen through sexual excesses is thought in traditional Chinese belief to lead to fatal ill-health. Personality traits associated with koro have been described as nervous temperament, suggestibility, sensitivity and immaturity.”

Dr. Kua also cites a report in the Singapore Medical Journal (1963, 4, 119-121) in which Dr. Gwee AL, describes a Koro case involving a male Chinese aged 34, seen on 24 March 1956.

“He was at a cinema show when he felt the need to micturate. He went out to the latrine in the foyer and, as he was easing himself, he felt a sudden loss of feeling in the genital region, and straightaway, the thought occurred to him that he was going to get penile retraction. Sure enough, he soon noticed that he penis was getting shorter. Intensely alarmed, he held on to his penis with his right hand and shouted for help, which however was not forthcoming as the latrine was deserted during the show. He felt cold in the limbs, and was weak all over, and his legs gave way under him. So he sat down on the floor, all this time holding on to his penis. About half an hour later, the attack abated.”

Dr. Gwee also authored a later study (in the Singapore Medical Journal 1969, 10, 234-242) about the 1967 epidemic, which affected over 500 persons. From this report, Kua notes the following sociological background to the outbreak: “ …before the outbreak of the epidemic, there was concern about chickens being injected with oestrogen to increase their growth. Some men were afraid that the oestrogen in the chicken would cause gynaecomastia and avoided chicken meat. At about the same time, there was a rumour that contaminated pork was being sold on the market and that diseased pigs were being inoculated against swine fever. This triggered off the epidemic and a possible explanation of the outbreak is that the inoculation of the pigs was seen to be similar to the injection of chickens with oestrogen.”

It was also noted that the epidemic “subsided rapidly after reassurance and explanation from the doctors through television, radio and newspaper.”

Chris Buckle of the University of Ottawa, highlights the Singapore Koro Epidemic in his study entitled: A Conceptual History of Koro.

“In July 1967, all swine in the country were inoculated with an anti-swine fever vaccine. It was an event that brought much public concern and considerable media attention.

On October 29, 1967, rumors began to circulate that the consumption of this inoculated pork was causing men’s genitalia to retract. It is unknown how, why or where in Singapore the rumors began. However, there is some evidence that the kosher Malays were blamed for the event, an accusation in line with the background of racial tension that plagued Singapore in the nineteen sixties. While this idea was not described in the government controlled Chinese or English language media, personal accounts do give it credence.

On October 30th a small Chinese language paper reported that “people developed koro after eating the meat of pigs inoculated with anti-swine fever vaccine”. A few days later, the same paper reported that an inoculated pig had died from penile retraction.”

Within the week, public hospitals were seeing hundreds of koro patients, and Buckle notes that no statistics exist for the presumably high number of individuals who were treated by family or traditional Chinese physicians. It was reported that “men resorted to clamps, pegs, and even weights to ensure that their tackle remained in its rightful place.”

Reflecting perhaps the high degree of public trust in state bodies in those good old days, koro cases increase exponentially following a statement by the then-Ministry of Primary Production (now AVA) that “emphatically denied rumors of pork contamination.” Buckle writes that as a result, “an alarmed Ministry of National Development issued an immediate statement claiming that ‘no one in Singapore need worry over the safety of pork from pigs slaughtered at the government abattoir where every carcass is carefully examined and stamped as fit for human consumption before they are released to the market’”.

The outbreak subsided after press statements by the Singapore Medical Association that “koro is a culturally determined form of emotional ill-health affecting primarily the Chinese…the present incidence of koro is essentially due to fear and rumors which have no foundation”. Meanwhile, advertisements for Australian pork began to appear in the papers. The Chinese-language Nanyang also reported that a man in the ministry of production had apologised for comments about the link between the swine vaccine and koro. The final nail on koro’s coffin came with the televised statement of the Deputy Director of Medical Services, Dr. Lim Guan Ho, who stressed that koro “is only a disease of the mind and the victim requires no medical treatment at all.”

I wonder if any readers of sufficient seniority might have recollections (not necessarily of personal encounters with koro though) of this incident??

[endplagiarism]

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Many Japanese and Korean men look down, search, and then shrug. They’re used to it.

E@L

Happy Circumcision Day!

Posted in christ was a failure, circumcision, holidays, Kerry Packer, NYE, penis, people are stupid, religion by expatatlarge on December 30, 2011

Why today? Why tomorrow? Why is THIS new year for us?

It isn’t for the Chinese, the Sinhalese, the Thai (except for business purposes), nor for dozens of other regions, countries, and religions who have their New Year all over the place (in a temporal sense as well as the physical one).

For example, for both the Tamil in India and many of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Jan 14 is considered New Year. But for different reasons. The EOC of “Georgia, Jerusalem, Russia, the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Ukraine still use the Julian Calendar“, (Wiki, above link). Since 2008, the state of Tamil Nadu has adjusted the New Year to an allegedly more secular date. People don’t like governments fiddling with their holidays (unless it is to add more) so, meanwhile, many objecting Tamils continue to celebrate New Year in… mid-April, the time of the advent of Spring!

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I grew accustomed to thinking that the West’s (the so-called christian world) New Year, Jan 1st, was arbitrary; a relatively random date, stolen from the Romans, close enough to the summer equinox and to the saturnalia festival to be like, hey, why not now? As it doesn’t correspond directly to any celestial timing landmark, nothing lunar or solar – no equinox, solstice, full moon, new moon or alignment of the planets exactly on that day – I was a tad confused, but not overly concerned.

But I was brought up Catholic. I went to Church and pretended to listen, giggled uncontrollably when the priest said “virgin”, etc… At school we had Religious Education every day at noon, twenty minutes of unanswerable questions fobbed of with answers that amounted to, essentially, “because!” Some of this must have sunk in for, despite evidence to the contrary such as this blog, I am quite moralistic in many ways. Fortunately for my sanity, most of the contradictory details and ridiculous assertions of the Bible and the attendant accumulation of mythology, the suspect explanations and circular arguments in the explications upon it, washed off my back and flew through my ears. But as I once had a terrific memory (when? I’ve forgotten) certain factoids must have become lodged in an otherwise inconsequential matrix of neural firings. So I knew deep down somewhere in the amygdala (the cerebellum? I’ve forgotten), that momentous knowledge, the significance of the great and holy feast we get pissed at tonight, but I had forgotten-slash(as it were)-suppressed it.

As Christmas allegedly celebrates the birthday of Jesus, and his being Jewish, he had to be circumcised* on the eight day of His precious and not-inconsequential life. Penis? Chop chop mistah.

Presuming the male infant (miraculously delivered from a virgin who obviously lost her hymen from the inside out) survived to that venerable age of course.

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Why wait? Weeeeeeell… You know how it is with closed communities, when cousins marry sort of thing: birth defects like renal agenesis and inborn errors of metabolism like Gaucher’s disease, glycogen storage disease, thalassaemia, etc… Many are fatal in about four to five days, some even sooner. Seen it only a few times thankfully, when I was (really) working. Sad.

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So they waited, and we wait, eight (8, count ’em) days.

Yes, on that day, on THIS day (i.e. tomorrow), the prepuce** of the penis of Our Lord was stretched out, perhaps over an infibulator***, and snipped off. The bris, tossed to the cats. Foreskin for the pussens, mmrrrgniaow.

The 1st of January way back when. Ow.

Hurt? Hurt so much He couldn’t walk on water for nearly a year!

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This is why we (you) celebrate New Year today. I know that you too needed to be reminded of this.

It is the Day Of The Newly Exposed Glans Penis!

Jesus was therefore on target for the Covenant of Abraham. Remember how it goes? I’ll give you a land of milk and honey, life eternal in heaven, etc… if your males remove some redundant skin from their genitalia. Simple as that. Snip your way to Jewish Nirvana.

Notice how religions have this obsession with all things genitalian and reproductive? (See above re: inbreeding.)

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I wonder if, perhaps, the goal of many young men like myself back when, in our post-pubertal teens when the hormones were raging, was to be “in” (as in penis-in-vaginated) on the stroke (as it were) of midnight. I kid you not, it was a big goal in our town. Some instances of this carnal celebration even involved women.

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New Year is Jan 1st and Jan 1st is New Year because of a circumcision.

Yes, you may not have realized it, but New Year is a religious holiday. Please tune your mind to that dubious and concerned (and damn ugly) baby Jesus above, about to lose part of its Godly schlong (a micro-penis, plus microcephaly and a touch of the Benjamin Button about the face, according to this pic – see above re: birth defects) so that the world could later be redeemed (redeemed? I’m not seeing that) from its sins by His cruci-fiction and death, as you pop the cork (not a metaphor) tonight.

E@L

* For those of you uncertain of the technique of this insane religious torture, there are some nice illustrations here. Yada yada, incidence of AIDS is lower, but Jesus was not a fag, allegedly, so why?

** The Holy Umbilical Cord is a first class Catholic relic (that which is composed of a body part) of Christ. Christian teaching generally states that Christ was assumed into heaven corporeally. Therefore the only parts of his body available for veneration are parts he had lost prior—hair, blood, fingernails, milk teeth, his prepuce and the umbilicus remaining from his birth. Wiki. Not his lymph, shit, piss, vomit, snot, tears, sweat, phlegm or ejaculate however.

*** Infibulation and Infibulators

Infubulation may refer to the tying up of the male foreskin to some device, like a cloth belt, to prevent masturbation. IKYN.

It is also a practice by those fucking butchers who perform radical female circumcision to stitch closed the labia to prevent normal intercourse and the enjoyment of sex by women.

Many African Muslims believe that female circumcision is required by Islam. In fact the practice is mentioned nowhere in the Quran, although the Sunnah contains several references to the custom. In particular, Mohammed instructed one infibulator, “Yes, it is allowed. Come closer so I can teach you: if you cut, do not overdo it, because it brings more radiance to the face and it is more pleasant for the husband.”via

An infibulator is person who performs the infibulation.

For the purposes of this blog post however the infibulator is a small metal conic device for protecting the glans penis. The foreskin is draped over it so that religious or medical excision can be performed without danger to the rest of the poor kid’s tiny little dicky-bird.

Never heard of it? Me neither until I heard the following story —

It concerns the late Australian billionaire Kerry Packer. He was having one of his monthly heart attacks at a race track (or was it a cricket match? whatever) and someone called urgently for an infibulator! He lifted his head and hoarsely called out with what might have been his last breath (we should have been so lucky) that he was having a fuckin’ heart attack, not a fuckin’ circumcision! Get me a defibrillator! The emergency helicopter ambulance arrived and did not have either, but Packer survived. He later gave #insert large sum of money# to the ambulance service to place defibrillators in all medical evacuation helicopters. Allegedly true (ish).