Hak Mao (Black Cat) was born in New Zealand a month after the Beatles released 'She Loves You'. Having obtained a degree in Politics, she migrated to Australia in the mid 1980s, and despite a love-hate relationship with Sydney is still living there. After abandoning Marxism for anarchism in the early 80s, she eventually found her way back to Marxism, and is gradually reading through the literature again. She is studying architectural drafting, and believes the applied arts should benefit all people, not just the wealthy. Her hobbies include watching rugby and cricket, winding up the credulous, and sarcasm. Black Cat blogs at Hak Mao.
Why do you blog? > To spare my friends incessant email rants.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Try to find your own angle.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Rousseau, Marx and Engels, Copernicus, Darwin.
What are you reading at the moment? > Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (V.I. Lenin), Demon Haunted World (Sagan), Modernism's History (Smith), Looking for Spinoza (Damasio).
Who are your cultural heroes? > Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Eileen Gray, Mies van der Rohe, D.D. Shostakovich, Joey Ramone.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Ozymandias'.
What is your favourite movie? > Gentleman's Agreement, Bound, Lord of the Rings.
What is your favourite song? > 'Waters Part', by Let's Active.
Who is your favourite composer? > Beethoven, Shostakovich.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The ideals of the Enlightenment.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That entity loosely known as 'postmodernism'.
Who are your political heroes? > Rosa Parkes, Nelson Mandela, Jose Ramos Horta, Vaclav Havel.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class'.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > To close the hideous detention centres, and place asylum seekers within their respective communities until their applications are processed.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Tribalism/nationalism - it should be confined to the cricket/football pitch.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > Aha - the trick question! As a socialist, I obviously believe the best is yet to come.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > This is all you get, don't live for the hereafter.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > I've done it, and it worked OK for a little while, but went down a very long hill. I think it depends on the personalities involved.
What is your favourite proverb? > Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > The cult of celebrity. There are, for example, actors I like, but I don't spend time following their lives.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Cruelty.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > After university I should have done an apprenticeship - carpentry or something.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Thailand.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Palm trees, turquoise water, brightly coloured fish, lots of curry and crunchy vegetables.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Eating curry and crunchy vegetables, walking, sleeping (I'm quite the insomniac), reading, listening to music.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Architect or maybe gardener.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh, Zinzan Brooke, Jeff Wilson.
Which rugby union team do you support > Otago Highlanders (Super 12), the All Blacks.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Denis Diderot, Oscar Wilde, Natalie Clifford Barney.
[Previous profiles: Ophelia Benson (Nov 7); Chris Bertram (Sep 26); Alan Brain (Oct 10); Chris Brooke (Jan 2); Francois Brutsch (Dec 5); Michele Catalano (Feb 13); Anne Cunningham (Jan 23); Jackie D (Oct 17); Brad DeLong (Jan 16); Harry Hatchet (Oct 24); Saddam Hussein (Nov 14); Jeff Jarvis (Dec 26); James Joyner (Feb 27); Oliver Kamm (Nov 21); Ken MacLeod (Jan 30); Sheila O'Malley (Dec 19); Stephen Pollard (Feb 6); Glenn Reynolds (Jan 9); Natalie Solent (Nov 28); Roger L. Simon (Oct 31); Michael J. Totten (Oct 3); Bill Wallo (Feb 20); Brian Weatherson (Dec 12). The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature.]