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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, August 03, 2002

Have been metaphorically walking around the whole day with a "The World sucks. This means you" sign on my forehead but unsurprisingly, very few people noticed.

Friday, August 02, 2002

"You are the lucky ones to get two tickets each to The Recruit Tuesday 6
August 6.30pm. Please collect from The C.U.B. Malthouse box office from 6pm
onwards, tickets will be held under your name."
Yaaaayyy!!!!

Heather says my hair looks like this now. yeah, the "out of bed" look.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

I finally found out where Tay Poh Huat got posted to:

"It's tiring, OK? Planning and stuff."
Melvin, on life in BMTC Manpower

!@#$%^&*()

Incidentally I got quoted too:

Gabriel Seah: "What did I do in my previous life to become a medic at the same medical centre Yaodong goes to every other day?"
Me: "Jesus man I don't know."
... I think Grace is being more mean/forthright/less tolerant (however you choose to view it) towards me than usual.

Mindef's investment in IT hasn't gone (totallY) to waste - MIW.com does provide some useful services for us chattels. And the real time chat is rather useful - I was chatting to a Customer Service Officer, asking for help as I'd forgotten my MIW password (I think my username is "nssucks" but I don't know what the password is - the downside to being a smartass). She said that it'd be mailed to me, and I'll get it within 3-5 working days.

MIW.com.sg. Making your indenture slightly easier.
Grace rocks.
Words:

"...try to quit making snide remarks. Perhaps more people would like you that way." Sigh.

"you don't exactly make snide remarks out of malice. but you havea remarkable inability to deal with people" Whee now I know what my problem is.

"in my opinion, you just have this knack of saying things everybody thinks, but doesn't say...." Mmm.

"See that's how you hurt people again, with your quotes"

Then again, seen: "It must be quite wonderful to be able to speak freely."

I'm not making sense. Nevermind. Fortunately or otherwise, this isn't making me feel more screwed up. Or maybe it's just the effect of talking to Andrew Gan for the longest time - slightly over 2hrs? Uncannily, I can see some parallels about the way both of us are feeling. Though I still find his definition of "snide" very broad - quips about cooking turtles in Trengganu???


We've another Yinkae fan! To my surprise, I found Kenneth "Downhere" Tan, is one of the rabid hordes.
Restored Post

Almost immediately after making my mean comments about RJ girls on Monday, I began to feel bad. Normally, I'm quite mean (though never malicious), but this time I'd topped even myself.

For those not aware of my strange notions, I have no objections to people being ugly. Indeed it is in some ways it contributes to character, and people take you less seriously if you are attractive, Ceteris Paribus.

Anyhow, I seem to be suffering retribution now.

It all started when I agreed to take over Duty Medic 2i/c duty on Tuesday from Tse Ming. Normally, this is quite a slack job, involving sitting semi-slumbering in the sickbay the whole day.

However, Tuesday was just not my day. After about an hour after taking over duty, spent happily sitting on the chair, I got my first "guests" (apart from one patient with sore eyes already residing in the sick bay).

In a way, I was happy to take care of the first new patient - at least it would bring some meaning to my day. However, more and more patients quickly poured in, adding to my workload more quickly than I could cut it down. Then someone came stretchered in from the SOC ground with chest pains.

In the end, the whole sickbay, all 10 beds, were filled (and apparently at one point they had to open 2 stretchers to accommodate 2 extra people temporarily), so the MOs had to be told not to sent people there (presumably they sent the lucky later patients home to rest). To make it worse, 4 of them were on drips (and 1 more joined them later). So I had a full flock to tend to, and they required a lot of care - most required their parameters (Temperature, Respiratory Rate, Pulse Rate and Blood Pressure, the last of which I forgot) taken every 4 hours, and I was supposed to spoonfeed all of them (literally) - I had to supervise everyone's consumption of medicine. And of course there were all the forms required by ISO. With so much to do, even if I remembered to do some things, I had no time to do them as I was busy doing others. Most seriously, I let some people's IV packs run out, so instead of reloading their drip packs from the top, I had to unscrew the admin sets from the catheters and screw in new ones. From ~8:30 to 3:15, I had not the time to take more than 2 minutes to sit and rest, save for a 5 minute lunch. And to add insult to injury, one patient retuned the radio from 92.4 to 93.3. How wude! In the end I was so stressed I went to hide in the toilet and cry.

Later in the day all of the patients were discharged, but for one who had sore eyes. I thought that after such a hectic day, I would be able to have a peaceful night, at least, but the patient with sore eyes disappeared for a while, leading to some distress on my part, and one guy reported sick and we had to send him to Tengah Air Base's Medical Centre, and I ended up sleeping at about 12:30.

Wednesday promised to be a normal day but I got to sign an extra duty, given by my Medical Officer, because I neglected to classify a patient who complained of asthma, albeit occuring 5 days ago and slight, as "Priority 2" (which oddly enough is higher than Priority 1). So I went to hide in the toilet for a short while again.

And besides these things happenning, I've also been feeling indescribably (in quality rather than quantity) screwed up. Geraldine blames it on hormones.

I guess what comes around, goes around.

On the upside, on Tuesday, I managed to be civil, polite, nice even to everyone, especially my patients (I'm sure being sick, and especially having the Yakult Straw stuck in your arm for hours with cold saline pouring into you is bad enough without having a grumpy medical orderly tending to you).

Also, I felt a touch better after getting my extra duty. At least it's not useless like confinement, where one sweeps the road and does other rubbish like rolling giant stones up hills, which then roll down just as you near the top - oh wait, we're not Titans. At least by doing duty, I'm saving someone else's weekend. Also, I'm not quite sure how and if they keep track of extra duties on top of regimental ones - ie if in the end, I'll have ended up doing more weekend duties than others who have not committed grievous sins, and even if I will have, it won't make that much difference over the long run, as the agony of burning weekends will be averaged out over time. Also, my extra duty is on the 24th of August, and just as a sum of money you're promised in the future (as profits or otherwise), has to have a discount rate applied to it to get a Net Present Value (NPV), so does future suffering have a NPV lower than its actual magnitude. Finally, perhaps the catalyst that brought me over the energy hill past that particular bout of depression was my being amused by how the clerk knew that I was carrying the duty medic forecast - in my reverie, I'd forgotten to take off my armband.


A while back, I was unlucky enough to be struck by a thunderbolt from Heaven - the last donation card for the Army Half Marathon. Theoretically, there is no minimum amount, but our Company Sergeant Major imposed a minimum sum of $5. I thought of handing in a token amount of $1, but as the lao jiaos pointed out, if I did that, I'd immediately get "arrowed" the next time he needed someone to do a dirty job. So I came up with $4 of my own money, and Boon Wei contributed $1 - but he didn't have change at that time. I wonder if he'll remember to give me $1 back, and I don't have the heart or tenacity to chase him. At least I got to invent (or rather, use other people's) names. So listed on my card are "Nelson Kwei", "Joy Chia" and "Lim Liying". Whee. Actually I'd wanted to put names like "skcus siht" ("this sucks" in reverse, if you didn't notice), but with the Army you better not play. Not too much, at any rate.

I am rather upset with myself. Some time in camp, I was thinking of #1 to #7, and I forgot who #5 was, thinking #6 was #5, and I've just checked it up. Sheesh, #5 is one of the most prolific of them all.

I was chatting with the duty medic on Tuesday, and it turns out he's a senior from RI who went to Hualalalala JC.

Tengah Air Base, which I sorta toured Tuesday night, is very big, and there were few signs, so we got quite lost while cruising around, looking for the Medical Centre. Most of the buildings there look like holdovers from colonial times which've been retrofitted, so the place has some character. And they've some interesting posters - there's a Driver's (sic) Pledge, and the RSAF Core Values include Safety and Team Spirit in addition to the 7 SAF ones.

Oddly, the numbers we dial for the various lines for our camp are not the same as the ones that are displayed on the caller ID when those same numbers are used to dial out. Hmm.

Tse Ming tells me he's gotten no offs or confinements since he was posted in last June. Wah. I must really learn how to take care of myself - apparently I "always seem to get the wrong message" and "don't know what's going wrong". What's new?

Today some guy came to teach us about the SAR21. Apart from being extremely boring, he also had atrocious English, but I didn't get all excited. I think I've become sorta jaded towards Bad Army English. Besides which, a lot of the mistakes repeat. Of course it didn't help thatthe Senior Medic was beside me for the first part of the lecture.

Of all the strange reasons to OOC from BMT: One guy couldn't adjust, and this manifested itself in psycho-somatic problems - after a week of BMT, he started hyperventilating, so the MO OOCed him.


I have just under 22 months and 2 weeks left. That translates to 618 days, correct to the nearest 0.5, not including today. My brother in law says that the hardest period of indenture is the time from the 7th month to the 18th month (at least for us cursed 2 1/2 year soldiers).

I hope I can go to Melbourne during my leave. We've range the day after our last day of leave, which means we've to come back by Saturday night. And I've duty on the Monday just before leave commences. Maybe I can do some jiggling of duties...


Instead of cramming all the details into one, loosely connected post, I tried to write thematically, at least for the first part of this post, on my retribution. That should make this more readable.

Sometimes I think I waste too much time blogging, especially since I write about stuff that's often not significant or even interesting (which'd redeem even the most trivial details).

I think there's a Phillips Curve style tradeoff between time and readibility and elegance. Hmm.

I am blogging about blogging. I suppose that'd make it meta-blogging! (Just as thinking about thinking, an equally irritating concept, qualifies as meta-cognition)


Quotes:

"the details are often amusing but they're so many it's hard to get to the end" (sms on my posts) - I try my best, but it's so irresistible to note down everything I find vaguely amusing it's much ado about nothing

"[On RJ girls being ugly] i thought rj girls are the best in singapore" (sms from Royston)

"Downgrade is definitely the way to go" (sms)

"[On life in HQ MC] I almost forgot that I was a soldier"

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

How can anyone not be angsty- when the world is too much with us-? Or am i the only one my age who hasn't gotten over it already?

I don't tell anyone Anything. Or i just expect everyone to *get it*. *sigh*

I've been telling All my tutorial groups (and i mean All of them) about how my aunty is expected to see 1 patient in 2 minutes in her Jurong polyclinic job, and how she's timed and the no. of patients she covers a day is all recorded to see if she's performing up to mark. And how they shouldn't be all gasping at "The doctor over in that place in city Only saw his patient for 8 minutes? That's incredulous!" since it's all a relative thing.

One of them diao-ed me the other day so i diao-ed him back. (Sitting in the hall for dinner)
James: Hi, i don't think we've met before. I'm james (reaches out to shake hands with christine and i) are you new in college?
Christine: Hello i'm christine
me: Hello, i'm andrew and i've been in college for a semester already... and i believe i met you in choir. (Glares)
I don't think i'm really that repulsive.

Reminds me of saint johns saint margaret's church. If people ignore/forget me they could just invent names for me, like lydia did for a few sundays in a row. (laughs) I'm still not over the "Nobody likes me/nobody'll ever like me" thing.

Webster.com
Main Entry: angst
: a feeling of anxiety, apprehension, or insecurity

cambridge dictionaries
angst
strong anxiety and unhappiness, esp. about personal problems

Newbury house online dictioary:
angst n. frml. [U] (German for) great anxiety, often accompanied by depression:

Angst, a fundamental category of existentialism. According to the 19th-century philosopher S�ren Kierkegaard, dread, or angst, is a desire for what one fears and is central to his conception of original sin. For the 20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger, anxiety is one of the distinctive ways through which Dasein (the historical person) is disclosed as a contingent�

Wordsmyth.com :
Definition 1. a feeling of dread, anxiety, or anguish

"The sweetest thing" is such a cameron diaz returning to "there's something about mary". Geez, madonna's already done the gratituitous "I'll fondle my chest on the big screen, and push them Uuup and Dooown to show all my male viewers how they were firm and perky... and still are"; who really thinks she's sagging....!
Skinny girl with squinty look is in my tutorial group- she told everyone to call her "Kelly". I've decided she's not as repulsive as i used to think.
Ooooooooh!!! I just recalled why i was repulsed by her .... she so strikingly resembles my ex-geog teacher Ruby tan!

It's 17 degrees celsius and bright and sunshine-y! I think i'll go outside.

'Fat people are always funny, right? They are also slow, stupid, clumsy and cannot dress, let alone have a fashion sense. Yes, it's all about me, me, me and me.'
- Large-size comedian Norleena Salim

"We need to have Hong Kong movies in Cantonese with themes from ancient classics especially on humanist themes. Best regards to all. C.T. Kong. "
- Straits Times Forum "What do you miss most about old Singapore?"

"Michelle Yeoh vents her fury over movie piracy" (Headline)
Malaysian-born actress Michelle Yeoh, who arrived in Kuala Lumpur yesterday for the premier of The Touch, has vowed to destroy any pirated VCDs of her movie that she spots.
'Someone better stop me, otherwise I will go right to the shop or stall and stomp on the pirated copy,' she said in an interview before the premiere of her movie here.

Word of the day: "opprobrium"

Every morning, I go through a charming little ritual during my pre-work smoke break. See, the place I work has a trolley in the corridor stacked with mugs and a couple of kettles of excessively sweet, condensed-cream saturated tea, coffee and chinese tea. A corporate charlady ensures these refreshments are miraculously ready and hot at certain times of day(morning, lunch, evening), so that us caffeine-overdosed executives can go about our daily routine of helping the obscenely wealthy become obscenely wealthier.

In the interests of hygiene, the company doesn't provide mugs. Rather, we staff bring our own mugs, dump them in the trolley, pick them up during tea-breaks, and leave them there to be washed. Initially, I suffered some confusion over this system - I thought the company was trying to be artistic and boost morale by providing a diverse range of drinkware. Or that it was some subtle psychological trick to help foster the illusion of free will and autonomy (hmm.. today shall I choose the green Kermit mug, or the one with the sunflowers?) Eventually when I figured things out, I resignedly had to pick a mug of my own to be permanently stationed there.

The insanity deepened, however, when I foolishly chose a Suntec City mug of average height and girth, with a fairly non-descript logo on the face. This was because I felt paranoid leaving my two favourite mugs to public view (one with Chinese calligraphy on it; a present from my biological father back when present-giving was still a thing our family did, the other a plain black mug that has no distinguishing feature other than having used it for almost ten years). The only other alternative was a massive pewter stein with an elaborate frieze of a dragon embossed on it - a biazarre New Years' trinket from days of yore.

Now, a chameleonic mug simply means that every morning, I have to spend an inordinate amount of time searching for my indistinguishable mug amongst 50 other indistinguishable mugs! It doesn't help that the mugs are stacked across two levels of the trolley - and while this whole episode sounds rather banal, it's highly embarrassing to be seen squatting in a corridor, fumbling around upturned mugs.

"I am not wasting one more minute of my life on prayer."

Andrew: will reserve judgement to private conversation, for a change. Besides, coming from a tradition of no moral fiber, I think you can guess what my answer would be be.

Also, a certain level of depression is good for building self-awareness and rounding out a person's character. Take me for instance, I would say that constant bipolar depression has built me into the mature, centered human being you see today. Oh wait...

Don't take it too personally - when life gives you lemons, grab tequilas and mix a margarita. A sense of humour is what's important in today's world. Failing that, try an utter disregard for the opinions of others. Those qualities are essential to sane living in today's world.

"The Associate"-y thing is to mindlessly channel appropriate quotes.

The attraction of blog is starting to pale again. I mean, it's a good(or should I say, only) proxy for the social life I don't have, or the conversations I can't make. But that notwithstanding, the first flush of writing again - however bloatedly and badly done - fades, as it always does, replaced by the faintly amused sense of.. pointlesness. I mean, it's nice to be part of a dialogue. It helps to keep the mind active by narrating trivial affairs that no one cares about on a page that no one really reads (other than those disappointed wanderers who were looking for Shuqi porn). It helps assuage boredom and loneliness a little bit by feeling part of a (sort of) community. I like using words too - however hamfistedly -they're all I've ever had. But upon greater reflection, it also highlights just how alienated one really is from the "real world" when one's primary source of social and cohesive interaction is through the masturbatory use of bad juvenilia depicting the sianness of one's daily life. Which again begs the hypocrisy - if I find it so distasteful, why do I keep coming back to it?

Don't have any answers.

Everytime I make a Lifestyle Decision - ie. stop going online; watch more porn, play more games, do more work, read more books, moratorium on digitalia and emphasis on cilia - I find myself drawn inevitably back to the tenuous world of interactions forged in a text-based environment. And each time after I go in, it leaves me feeling - contaminated, unfulfilled (the few real friendships I've managed to build notwithstanding). Go off? Stay on? Back and forth, back and forth. Fading attention span, replaced by sudden burst of newfound enthusiasm, and fade. Rinse, repeat and wash.

It's terribly possible to be pathetic and be aware of it, but still be too weak-willed to do anything about it.

The problem with not having an adolescence is that when you reach (sort-of) adulthood, you wonder where adolescence went, and while you're glad you skipped some of the more irritating rites of passage, you wonder what the hell took its place? After all, if what we are as mature humans is defined by our experiences and growth as immature humans; what happens if you skipped a few beats? At this stage - I really have none of the trappings of a life most people in my position should have - money, photo albums, CD collections, trinkets, phone numbers - and worst of all, memories that aren't burnt by years of vicious, reflexive repression. Memories of having roots, of having a place, time, ideal or family to belong to. Memories of friendships and lost loves. All I get are vague recollections which I keep damping down with alcohol, tobacco, and constant self-indulgence. All I keep is, to use that hideous cliche, "running from my past." Adrift with no resources, allies, memories, or friends - only an unrelenting sense of all that's wrong with this world. *insert Wagnerian melodrama soundtrack from The Flying Dutchman*

So I guess for the next few days I'll try to finish up Neverwinter Nights, get some work done, read a few new books I bought, maybe even go out for a meatspace drink in meatspace time with meatspace friends. And stay offline. Mood may shift then, and then I will hypocritically denounce the above act of weakness. I may even be embarrassed enough, post-angstus, to elide this post out, despite my own strong feelings about any form of censorship, even of oneself.

But maybe not. It's hard to be a personality with decisions when all you are is this - bitchy, whiny lack of anything more profound than immediate gratification. Moods may change. I may have something to write. Something to do. It may even, God forbid, be something interesting for a change. Something funny, readable, voyeuristic. Both to me, and the others around me. Something a little less hypocritical than self-indulgence in the kind of blather I gleefully condemn and indulge in equal measure. I doubt it.

Okay, okay, Gabriel, I *know* I promised I wouldn't get on this kind of vein, but hey, self-indulgence, right? Humiliating, but necessary.

"Can't remember to forget you."

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

I just got really Really depressed again.
The world sucks.
See how *articulate* I've become.
Won't even think how much lower i could sink.

Will organise my organiser... that at least should work. Somewhat. Doesn't that tell you something about me?

I just thought about posting a summary of everything we need to know about this week's problem so my classmates would know and could share in my research (in time for presentation on friday), but i figured i might just get dirty looks from them next lesson for being a know-it-all.
I'm trying to decide what to sign up for...

Tennis lessons (6 times, $87) 1 hour each week
Rowing lessons (6 weeks, $53) 1 hour each week
Dancesport Beginner Street latin dancing (12 weeks, $50) 1 hour a week
Dancesport Swing & Rock n' roll (i think they're separate classes, i can't imagine bop-ping a charleston)- (12 weeks, $50) 1 hour a week
Hip hop (8 weeks, $110) 1.5 hours a week

Possibly (if the rest of them sign up)
Ceroc dancing (8 passes each for a 2-hour instructional class plus 1hour social dance)

*sighs* If only everything were as simple as making this insignificant decision .... (makes some ditzy remark)

After today's seminar on Adolescence and the developing teenager, I think i'm still unstable, in the thralls of adolescence.

My social life is picking up, I actually have an appointment this weekend... what? Working in the hostel kitchen doesn't count? Darn... back to square one. (goes to look for a can of worms in the fridge)

(Shnips off last lines of last post) Am ready to hear judgement. Bring it on!

And yes i'm still angry with you gabriel!
"May those who love us, love us. And those who don't love us -- may God turn their hearts. And if He cannot turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles, so that we may know them by their limping."

Andrew: Seeing that we come from a cultural tradition where the sanctity of individual life isn't of much import, I can't really offer much solace, and since you've requested a refrain from judgement, I shall do so. In addition, being from Malaysia, I can say that the notion of armed conflict is a tangible reality I take a little more seriously, especially with our racial situation. But let me toss you a helpful quote from General Patton:

"In war, the object is not to die for your country, but to make the other bastard die for his."

If it makes you feel any better, the odds of Singapore being involved in a proper war (UN peacekeeping does NOT count) within our lifetime are fairly... slim. If it makes you feel even better (or worse), conscript armies tend to do quite well in war once they are pushed to it - although having seen NSmen do Teletubby dance routines at some camps doesn't necessarily engender much faith in national defense.

Monday, July 29, 2002

After coffee with ben & friends, I just had to get this out- typing this at 1.59am at the expense of everything else that should be going on at this hour. I am Very disturbed by me and my thoughts on the issue.

1) I really don't like having lunch alone. Really. Ever. I ate 2 meals alone in a row last week and got all depressed and didn't want to talk to anybody after that and i'm still recovering from it.

2) I would not take up arms to kill any person in war (or peacetime), be it for the defense of Singapore Or Malaysia. Which may count for a court-martial, or cause more hurt and harm to my family and friends. Even if it came down to the enemy shooting me in cold blood or me shooting first. Or possibly if it came down to the enemy shooting my family and I or me shooting first.

This is going to have implications for me on the future i know, but this kind of action is something I am not prepared to carry out. And i don't know if i can live with the consequences- i don't think i can.

I know in war everything changes, we can't afford to hold on to ideals where they compromise survival. But.. maybe it's just that i'm immature for my age, or have led a sheltered life so far (not that i'm not grateful for it) but- okay it's not something unique to me, on the contrary every person of a sound mental state should also- have an aversion to the taking of life. Rifle, pistol, armored tank, logistics~ co-ordinating/mobilising resources, witholding medical treatment, .... what abt the administering of treatment to another soldier who will be back in the battlefield killing other people weeks earlier than he would have without the treatment? Or simply thrusting a rifle into a soldier's arms when you know that same rifle will take off the heads of as many rounds as it holds?

Am i a pacifist? Perhaps. Probably. But war remains a possibility and no matter how far or distant I make myself from it inevitably i'm going to be standing on one side against one other (or more). Escapist i call myself. Coward even- as a fit eighteen-year old with no disabilities or significant medical conditions, in control of my faculties, not to want to pick up my cross should the circumstances arise. I can continue counting (and dividing, and subtracting from) .

As ben said (which i will reciprocate to him, i hope, if the situation ever arises) "If i met andrew on the battlefield, him fighting on the frontlines for malaysia with his battalion behind him, me with my battalion behind me, i would kill him. But as a friend i would want be the one to kill him such that he dies a quick death, as painless as possible. "

The reality is that diplomacy doesn't always work. And when it fails, when non-military negotiations fall through, that is not the end of the matter- only the beginning of military intervention. Ideals still exist, just that they undergo a rearrangement in priority and the irrelevant ones play musical chairs and leave quietly. Humanity hasn't fallen through if they can't settle everything in a calm, rational matter; war and battles was the status quo quite often in many places, at many times. And people get hurt. Suffering and death. Discipline is enforced.

More than a deterrent is a standing army. Sabre-rattling? Every country has defensive counter-measures and counter-offensive measures- in peacetime strategists plan with botanical representations the options available in an armed conflict. Targets are secured, or destroyed, levelled to the ground.

And people, individually and collectively, are scarred for life. I shudder to use this word because of the implications on this blog(gers)- i shall substitute it with references to the many novels and biographies of people who have lived through war and who relive the trauma every night when they try to sleep. To kill a person once, what is worst than that? To kill the same person over and over again in your dreams, repeatedly, and there's nothing you can do to take away the murderous hand- because the enemy lives and lurks in tomorrow's nightmares waiting to be killed again.

There's poetic justice in the choice of firearms- the long rifle for sniping enemies in the different uniforms on the other side of the "no man's land", the short pistol for removing the enemy in your midst- the wolf in Your clothing- the deserter whose actions may have implications across the nation- who looks out for himself first. One looks down the long barrel and aims with the sight, handles the rifle with care, for fear of the recoil, the reloading- you don't want to pick off the wrong target. With the pistol you fire at point blank, knowing how vulnerable you are at close range, but you don't aim, you hardly aim because a shot that is one degree off still penetrates into your platoonmate.

Now i see why political apathy is on the rise- easier to condemn all than to express an opinion that demands to be substantiated.

And yet i agree wholeheartedly that a me that has been trained for 2.5 years to contribute to national defense is preferable to a me that has no preparation whatsoever (in the face of the possibility of war) i'd still rather it not be me who is handed with the responsibility for the lives/deaths of other people. Or even 6 years in medical school. Being responsible for my own is enough.

All my male singaporean friends my age must have sorted out these issues, at least to some extent, through their experiences. What will they say? If that is you, what would You say?

(feels shivers up my spine)





And i'm wondering if my parents were more receptive to my current situation because i'm soft and mayn't have withstood the rigours of military reality. Or even a crude and far-fetched approximation to it in training.

And i request no judgement be made up on this blog.
It was a lazy Monday morning, and I had nothing better to do. So I went back to RJ again, to meet Huihui, among other things. But if you think this is a lot, ask Andrew Gan how many times *he* went back in his brief stay here. It's rather interesting, actually - when I was in RI, I visited Nanyang rather much. In RJ, I went back to RI somewhat often. And now I tread on RJ ground every now and then. I must make it a point to visit RI again one day. Nanyang can wait forever :)

At the start of my visit, I was telling myself that I would try to refrain from making disparaging comments, and instead would make not-so-disparaging comments, but I believe I have failed utterly.

Some attempts seem to have been made to improve the atmosphere of the school, even though it is dying and has a projected 1 1/2 years left to live (before it is reincarnated beside the Columbarium Peck San Theng). Among the improvements - a cleaning up of the toilets near LT2.5, which are now finally usable, serial numbers for the toilets - maybe to report on dirty toilets to the school admin which can then take suitable action and the painting of some classroom walls in non-white colours.

They've also made some modifications to the timetable - most lectures are 1 hour long now, and there are 1 1/2 period tutorials (ie 1 hour long too).

Going down to the canteen, I saw nothing new except that the Ching Teng queue has been moved from inside the stall to the store front. Oh, and Stall 2 has joined the bevy of outlets nationwide trying to imitate BreadTalk's "Flosssss", and now has wholemeal sandwiches (I'm sure Mr Sowden'd drink to that! Oh but I don't think he drink. Nvm.)

Sitting in the canteen was this girl whom I was told had sore eyes. That brought to mind the article, not so long back, on how GPs were seeing more and more patients with sore eyes. All these kiasu people don't want to miss school, then end up infecting others.

Mr Lim came up to talk to me in the canteen, and he asked me if I ever took down my own Bad English quotes. I was rather aghast, because I don't see how anyone could have the temerity to correct people's English if he didn't acknowledge his own faults, so. :)

A rash of acne seems to have struck RJC. Among the afflicted - Culottes Girl (Serbee doesn't wear culottes anymore, but old habits die hard), Sin Tong (who has also gotten a more trendy hairstyle) and Seng Tat, in order of increasing severity. Must be the hormones. On the flip side, Vampire looks less pale now. Exposure to the sun has done her good.

Standing beside Seng Tat was this small, dimunitive boy whom I was told is in the Chinese Orchestra. He had a lilting, exquisite and cultured voice. So cute!

More and more people are dyeing their hair - even those without the A03 look are getting into the swing of things, and males have learnt the wonders of having coloured hair. Seems "moral" laxity is prevalent nowadays.

A question which perplexes me - why do the people in RJ look the same every year? Year in, year out, they all bear certain distinctive characteristics and features (which are impossible to describe, but must be intuited). Well actually I must add three qualifications. The first is that, as many have observed, the people in RJ get uglier every year. The J4s best the J3s, who similarly beat the J2s. And the J1s are the worst of the lot (c'mon, Screwed Up Girl's rather above average. What does that tell you?). The middle point is that there seem to be many fat people this year. And the last point to make is that I can roughly generalise about RJ girls what I did about ACJC girls:

ACJC girls all wear Hot Socks, the lowest skirt in ACJC's 3 cm above the knee, they're either lian or cute and are very small.

Now for RJ, reduce the number of Hot Socks wearers, raise the hemlines a little and substitute "ugly" for "cute". I'm so nice today. Of course, the sample I had to work with might've been biased. Geraldine said that I "came at the wrong time".

Today was phototaking day, so all the classes were lining up to get their shots taken. I wonder why the "coy vixen smile" is so popular among girls taking class photos.

I'm told the short, fat Indian servant who locks the school up at night died Saturday night after a heart attack, after receiving a 10 year Long Service Award earlier that day at College Day. Even though she shouted at us a lot, and made us carry chairs and tables for her, we all mourn her passing.

I still am enamoured of my uniform fetish. I saw a youngish looking guy with the uniform I used to wear and asked if he was J1 or J2. He was J1, and apparently he got his uniform from his brother.

On my rounds around the school, waiting for Huihui, I was rather disconcerted to see one girl who hadn't mastered the proper technique of squatting in a skirt - don't squat, kneel or half kneel. You'd think that JC'd knock some sense into them, but noooo! In the same vein, I was also rather distressed to see that some girls still dried their hands on their skirts. Of course some guys dry theirs on their pants, but with the waterproof uniform, we won't really know, will we?

The girl with lacerations on her legs has healed - mostly. I am very happy for her. Really. Though I still don't know how she got the lacerations.

I have come to the conclusion that black shoes and a long skirt make one appear stout.

*removed by request*

The school might be selling RJ bears soon! Over-excited at the prospect, I uttered a very bad pun unwittingly - "Can I bear one?" The prototypes don't look too good, but it's the sentimental value. Besides, they paid meitculous attention to detail - the uniforms are purple.

Now they sell Stuff in the RJC bookshop. FHM is nowhere to be seen. Guess the buyers grew more hardcore.

I was looking at the Judo board, and apparently some people have been retained. Listed in the 2002 committee were "Cheng Zairu 1S06A" and "Sim Wenshan 1S03H". Oh dear.

I saw Johannes walking around and he looked and sounded very stressed and tired. Must be the Commons.


At about 1pm, I finally met Huijun, who was standing around in an uncharacteristic red sleeveless top (with all its attendent implications about personal grooming), which was considerably more trendy than what she usually wears. The first order of business was to return the 1995 and 1996 RGS Yearbooks - so now I've only 1998 and 2000 with me.

We dallied a while while waiting for Huimei, who was somewhere in the staffroom. Meanwhile, Huijun enlightened me on another way that people can be "big" - their butts. So that's 4 dimensions.

After a while, HM came, and around then the Commander strode by, whereupon I went to hide for fear of her wrath.

One thing I don't understand about the two of them is why they always smell so strongly of low quality soap. When I pointed this out, they claimed they showered with Dove. Gah.

After dallying awhile, we wandered off in an indetermindate direction, finally landing up in Suntec's Country Manna. After I'd eaten and they'd nibbled, we gallivanted a while more, and they checked out exercise equipment for Huixuan to maintain her SCGS figure before they went to their Canada pre-departure trip at IBM Towers.

They tell me that our school smart cards can't be used as EZ-link cards anymore. Damn. And apparently we're cheated everytime we attend performances where the singers move around, or use mics, as 30% of the sound is pre-recorded. Or something. Which was why I heard 2 people singing for the first few songs of RGS's Cinderella the Musical this year - the girl playing Cinderella (Xuanming), came in 4 bars early.

Canadian education seems cheap - they'll pay C$10,500 for a year's tuition. Wah. And it appears that the University of Toronto doesn't offer non-Honours degrees anymore. Kind of beats the point, doesn't it.


I visited the barber before I went home, and there was a cat sleeping on one couch, which didn't stop me plonking myself on it (the couch, not the cat).

And when I got home I tried the mangosteens that were left behind Saturday by the Soka people. They are indeed very good.


Read and written: "scgs figure, my foot. it's a big fairytale."

Heard:

"I think I get uglier when I come to RJ" (got) - Geraldine

"That's what I want to know. Why do girls like to shriek so much." - Huijun

"What happened to your palmtop?" - Ibid

"[On my opinions on ACJC girls. The utterer claims she was thinking in Cantonese] He was saying they have small balls" - Anon

"Koh Tsin Zhen is ugly? I am uglier than Koh Tsin Zhen."

"Zhengjun is very ugly"

"I would like to learn how to hack, to crack"


I found at least 3 familiar names in the article below. And it appears there are more among the expedition!

THE Y SCENE
Students heading to East Timor

BY KOH TSIN ZHEN
Feb 14, 2002

EAST TIMOR and school field trip may not sound like they belong together in the same sentence.

Yet that's where 20 students, aged between 16 and 19, are heading for their March holidays.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Cai Xu Sheng, 18, said: "I want to see for myself what East Timor is like. I hope to bring some joy to the children there."

The East Timor Humanitarian Programme is organised by Youth Challenge, a charitable, non-governmental organisation.

BUILDING A LIBRARY

The Singaporean team aims to collect 25,000 English and Malay language storybooks to set up a library for the orphans there.

The original library was burned down during the conflict in 1999.

The team also plans to collect school shoes, uniforms and bags for the East Timorese.

It's a programme with many dimensions, and that's why preparations began as far back as last September.

Valerie Woo, 19, a recent graduate from Raffles Junior College, has been in the thick of the planning.

She is presently volunteering as a full-time co-ordinator of the Timor project.

That means she arranges for sponsors, transport, the collection and packing of donated toys and books, and co-ordinates the requirements between schools and companies.

"It's a busy schedule," she said. "I'm enjoying it and it's valuable experience."

"After all, as Mr (Vincent) Lam (executive president of Youth Challenge) often tells us, 'How much you get out of it is how much you put into it'."

Team members are putting in night-time dance practice as well, in preparation for a concert to entertain 400 orphans in East Timor.

But Johaness Chen Yihan, 17, a second-year Raffles JC student and co-team leader of the East Timor contingent, is not complaining.

"It's physically tiring, but I want to help the orphans," he said.

Team members pay a one-off participation fee of $1,500 although, with actual costs reaching twice that per head, members are encouraged to approach private companies for funds.

Present sponsors include the Lee Foundation, Pilot Pens, Rhema Movers and Tat Seng Company.

SAFETY FIRST

Above all, the Singaporean team's safety remains a concern.

The parents of Lim Tse Yin - the 16-year-old co-team leader and a Hwa Chong JC student - initially baulked, she said.

"But it's actually very safe now in East Timor, and with the added security offered by the presence of the UN peacekeeping force and SPF officers, I've no worries."

Parents The Y Scene spoke with were comforted by that.

Mrs Rita Woo, 45, has consented to her daughter Valerie going.

She said: "I trust that the best effort has been taken towards ensuring the team's safety."

The Singaporean team can't speak the East Timorese dialect of Tetun, but that isn't seen as a barrier.

Tse Yin summed it up: "The language of love and compassion is universal."

MOTIVATING SINGAPORE YOUTHS TO VOLUNTEER

THE East Timor Humanitarian Programme will take place from March 9 to 17 this year.

It aims to bring cheer to East Timorese children who lost their parents during the riots after the 1999 referendum vote for independence.

The organiser, Youth Challenge, also hopes to use the trip to cultivate the spirit of volunteerism among Singaporean youths and to motivate them to reach out and make a difference.

This is in line with its motto of youth empowerment and in grooming young Singaporeans to become responsible global citizens.
Is it me, or are women with well-defined abs vaguely threatening?

Choice quotes from jiaming today! Though i have a feeling if/when she sees this i'll get hammered

Jiaming: I'll have to do 500 push-ups a day ... sit-ups or crunches? Does that mean i have to do 500 sit-ups And 500 crunches?

Jiaming:You're a guy, you only need to do 50 crunches a day to get abs ... we girls have to do 500 crunches a day to get abs. See, you should be so happy you're so lucky.

Oh dear, i seem to be in a "quotes" mood.
Gan(the other one): Death (aka the gothic chick in Gaiman's Sandman) ... she looks very lustful.

Ru-dee: I see him now, the red tent (if you don't know who this is....!!)

Ormond academic dinner by Mr. Steve Mcintyre, a distinguished member of the Music Faculty (it was a good speech... cheers Mcintyre!):

"Once some deans got together, one said, 'What's the difference between the faculty of music and the Hollywood film Jurassic Park? One's a mixture of raging dinosaurs, and the other is a highly successful movie by Steven Spielberg.' "

"When i was young, I loved to indulge in what they call 'tickling the ivories'. Nowadays I still 'tickle the ivories', and the black keys too if i'm brave enough. "

And during the Grace, the Resident clergyman prayed for Audacity and Generosity in the student body. Not something you'd hear in singapore =p

I'm going to watch Yi yi!!!
"You know, I Hate anything in an un-respectable position (sic)"- Chang Mei Sze, walking back to dorms.

No it's not That ye foul-minded brats .... but just the same, what do you think she's referring to? =p
Just two quick updates.

Firstly the flag that was entangled on Saturday night's parade was Johor, not Penang. The Associate would like to apologise for this error. Although I would like to take the opportunity to add that close proximity to Singapore's debauched lifestyle must have affected the Johorian parachutist's skills.

Secondly, just went to that other strange person's site - we are attracting attention from the weirdest places and people. Our PR campaign proceeds apace!

Word of the day: "antiscian". Dedicated to my Significant Other.

I have a 1930s copy of Bierce's Devil's Dictionary. *insert bragging rights tag* Liberated(stole) it from the uni library, among with several other choice texts just before I came back home. I justify my actions on the grounds that I never saw student travel concession rates as was my due during my tenure in Australia. It's a plenty good book though - so it was well worth the karmic cost.

Egotist: "A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me."

Today is a rather scrappy day - I finally persuaded myself to fork out the few dollars needed to wash my mud-encrusted car. The surface now possesses a noticeably higher albedo than previously when the coloration was a muted brown. Work proceeded slightly smoother than usual, thanks to my stint on Sunday spent pre-emptively clearing out a lot of the trivia that would have inundated me today. Am of course, still suffering from a lack of sleep - currently half way through second chapter of Neverwinter Nights. They say that if you deprive yourself enough sleep, you start seeing things.

"I try not to take too much reality; it gets in the way of the hallucinations."

I would have been onto the third chapter had it not been for Friday night's exertions and Saturday night's convalescence, but that's an acceptable trade-off. On a related note, will probably stop by some roadside stall on my way home to replenish my entertainment stock in the form of DVDs (Full Metal Jacket, Wall Street, possibly Road to Perdition). These days I get about half a dozen free movie passes a month, but there's a highly irritating lack of content in the local theaters, and what we do get often has irksome censored bits (like the uruk-hai decapitation by Aragorn in Lord of the Rings)

Payday is coming soon - my first since changing jobs. Has it been a month already? Unfortunately, payday is a fairly meaningless experience to me this time round, as about 90% of it going to be ploughed into credit card bills, phone bills, and the customary tithe to my family. The current shortage of funds is an unpleasant thought, particularly as my Significant Other is coming down in late August - which entails more monstrous expenditure. Gak. Am I going to live my life in permanent penury?

Thus far, not a lot to talk about, save the rather unpleasant look one of my colleagues gave me when I was assigned to help her with some system back-testing. She promptly remarked that my ignorance of the system will entail substantial time spent on the learning curve, and hence slow the whole process down. Nevertheless, my supervisor insisted, and I tried to keep quiet, looking as meekly inoffensive as possible. Being the junior fish in any organisation is always an unpleasant experience; and it seems most of my life I've always been a junior fish in one way or another. Oh well. There are worse things than a lifetime of studied mediocrity.

Last night my family went out to my aunt's newly opened Vietnamese-noodles stall to provide moral support. A few years back, I was working for her in another stall, living the happyhappy life of a hay mee hawker during the holidays. This new stall is located at a far more upbeat, late-night hawker center rather far from my house, and much larger than the previous one. It's also elaborately renovated, in some kind of Balinese resort style - with palm fronds everywhere and drinks stall waiters in Hawaiian shirts and straw hats. There was a huge projector screen at one corner; fortuitously just near where my aunt's stall was located. I promptly planted myself at a table in front of it to watch the German Grand Prix all night while my parents nattered to my aunt and uncle. Just before we left, I bestirred myself to help out a little; taking orders and serving meals. Fond memories of the good old hawkering days, but not fond enough to make me want to take it up as a career again.

I can do about 50 sit-ups a day now. Slowly my body is being reshaped from a scrawny twig into a.. erm.. a.. a slightly stronger but still somewhat brittle twig. Perhaps I should go back to the nerd ascetic life.

Hopefully I'll be able to buy a book soon - haven't purchased one in two weeks; the longest period since coming home, and the dearth of new reading material (save the Economist's weekly updates) is wearing me down. Unfortunately I just realised that the purchases of the last four months were facilitated mainly by close proximity to an MPH near my old workplace; these days the nearest one is about 15 minutes' drive away. Thankfuly, it's the city Kinokuniya - and as a stand of dissent against sloth and apathy I shall force myself to drive there through the traffic bottlenecks after work today. Of course, then will come the two hour dither about just what book to buy, but I think Robin Hobb's new Fitz novel should be in paperback by now.

A sort of old friend was remonstrating with me for my moral degeneration over the past couple of years. It segued into a conversation about free will, social constraints, and a lot of didactic moralising (on his Christian part). In the end, however, he took a surprising tack by pulling out one of my favourite quotes:

"It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad, perhaps, in some way, better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions, little 6655321"
-Anthony Burgess, Clockwork Orange


In honour, I am now playing the William Tell Overture on mp3.
Some people, BMT mates specifically, don't appear to be very happy that one of the President's Scholars is one. Oh well.

Haha I'm going to get to irritate Huihui later.


Real's Microsoft Audio sucks page.


I realise I haven't gotten e[RU] (Electronic Rafflesians Unite) since the issue when the 20th handed the baton to the 21st. Looks like some people got lazy :)

Or maybe they just thought j2s not worth including :(

"Finally, this will be the concluding issue of e[RU] brought to you by the Communications Department of the 20th Students Council, as the 21st Students Council will soon take over our responsibilities. Do continue to show them your support, by sending in your comments on this publication to: rjcouncil@hotmail.com We hope that this publication has been an informative one over the past year.

Brought to you by the 20th e[RU] team...

Tan Jianlong (e[RU] i/c)

Tay Kah Keng, Chong Chin Xiang (e[RU] editors)

Timothy Ang (HOD Communications, e[RU] writer)

Lee Yi Yong, Tan Liwen, Wong Liang Wei, Chuan Peiying, Joanna Yeo, Johnson Poh, Lee Chun Jen, Aditya Pratama (e[RU] writers)"

Bah.
Mahler's Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the death of children) are rather morbid.

The Devil's Dictionary, online!


I query the Oracle:

Who is "Lissa"?

Sunday, July 28, 2002

I had dinner with Yortsin and the history people today at Suntec City. It was nice, seeing the ripples from my old life. On a $100 budget (each of the students chipped in $20), we got a Gambler (1 Chicken, half rack of ribs, 6 middle portions of chicken wing, 6 muffins and 4 sides) and 6 ice teas at Kenny Roger's. And a crazysexycool mudpie, a Boner cake (both of which are much smaller than the ones at the Wheelock Place outlet!!!) and a coffee at NYDC, and we still had $15 left over.

It was very interesting, for those who didn't have dyed hair in school all got some form of highlights (Tong says in her defence, that Felicia was using up the remnants of her dye on her), and Zixuan, who had very obviously dyed hair in school, hasn't coloured her hair since and the highlighting isn't obvious anymore.

Huishan said she remembers me from Nanyang. Apparently even then I was always smiling, a sign that even then, I was mentally disturbed!

I was merrily scribbling away on my ubiquitous piece of paper when Zixuan reached across, grabbed it and crumpled it. So mean!

Apparently Tong looks like some Taiwanese singer/show host "A Ya". I dug up some pics, in the process coming across stuff about the Indian Soyabean board, but frankly I can't see the resemblance. And I finally returned her the 1997 and 1999 RGS Yearbooks.

Huishan and Tong are going to go for Taekwando lessons. Frankly I don't see what's so fun about it, and my groin muscles still hurt from Wednesday's stretching. So much for "the most important stretch", as Melvin liked to say.

Apparently 8 year old girl has had a string of boyfriends. Ooh.


When I stepped past the MRT gates at City Hall, I saw Enbin. He was going to some SYO thing with army friends. Lucky Clerk. Air Force Clerk to boot.

While waiting for Yortsin outside Polo Ralph Lauren's (which Zixuan asked me the pronounciation [sic] of because she claimed I knew everything), I saw Xavier, Xingtai and some other guy walking past. Talking to the former, I found that he didn't notice me during the NDP NE show, when he was chasing people off the field. And he asked if I knew Xingtai, to which I replied that it was a "I know your face, you know my face, but we don't know each other kind of thing". And Xingtai still has the juicer he won at the 1999 RI Graduation Night (and to which Robin, who was MCing, quipped, "How appropriate").


Engineer is in the NUS University Scholars' Program (USP). Wah.


My mother just came in and made some snide remarks, but she did raise one good point - I need to practice for my GP.
I've got a new phone number, (+61 3 ) 9344-1291 since I took over chaowan's room.

In other news, my first choir practice and chapel was today!
Watching any anime episode out of sequence tends to make it utterly incomprehensible(relatively) - animes tend to go for episode-spanning type story arcs, in which a minor event or statement in one episode can have massive emotional or narrative consequences down the road. Utena is squarely in this category, from what I know of it, but there are worse. Way worse animes out there. Check out Serial Experiment Lain. Go on. You know you want to.

You actually re-read your own writing? Isn't that a bit coprophagic? Not to mention self-indulgent?

I've just rebooted (to get my connectin back due to the faulty Terayon modem) after watching Episode 33 of Shoujo Kakumei Utena - The Prince Who Rins (sic) Through the Night. As expected, it made no sense - even the Hentai reviewed previously has more of a plot than what I just forced myself to watch.

But then as the squeaky one pointed out, "were you expecting it to [make sense]?"


Coherence in posting - so it's more tolerable for the readers, no less myself, to read. I read some of my writing sometimes and I don't feel like continuing.
Coherence in posting? Whatever for?

Re asianprince: an obvious idea that I'm ashamed to say I didn't think of.

Incidentally, the links to that U. Mass site are now dead. The ENTIRE asianprince site is dead, for that matter. Asianprince has eluded you once again! Either that or his hosting server got antsy with all the probes people were running on his account.



Ah, nw.t comes back into his prime (at least in his description of his tryst).

I feel that I should brush up my skills too, but I still seem to be unwilling to discard trivial details which cannot be woven into the tapestry of a coherent post.

So as a token of my commitment to defecate less, say more, I'll just tell of how I defeated Asian Prince's URL masking, as he was "linking to a javascript that controls the links - and that javascript is running on serverside" and with "a lot of stuff... being run off a university of massachussetts server under some viet sounding usernames". Compounding the problem, "the pages in that server are protected. so, no go." This is object oriented conversation for you!

Basically I used Proxomitron as my IE local proxy (Mozilla won't display the menu bar he had at the top), and looked at the HTTP message log for the referrer information.


I got a fansub of Utena through WinMX and I'm watching the opening now. Disturbing - one line of the opening title reads, "Heroically I'll throw away my clothes 'til I'm nude"
Word of the day: "kenosis" (My favourite excuse for appalling behaviour)

Gabriel: How many Swedish-made penis enlarger pumps did you confiscate? Also, Athlon STOCK fans are noisy - that's why I suggested getting alternative cooling systems. And, finally, alt.sex.passwords was and is a very good way to get free passwords. They generally mail off to you within a few days, completely gratis, and they even have an irc channel in AsylumNet where they take requests in real-time to crack passwords for commercial sex sites. Why do they bother? I have no idea - but since a free service exists why not utilise it? Do a deja search on the threads there if you don't believe me.

DVDs are not going to take off for gaming for a while, I agree - but movies are where it's all at. For one thing, pirated DVDs are almost always clearer than VCDs - particularly if you don't mind waiting until they've had time to rip off a proper DVD build. And for another, it's only a matter of time before more games go DVD. Although the last time I played a major DVD PC game was Tex Murphy: Overseer, but that turned out to be a bit of a gaffe on their part as the extra DVD features - graphics, cutscenes, etc were virtually unnoticeable and useless.

Going into Nanyang Primary may have been bad, but do you really think Rosyth, Maris Stella, Henry Park, et. al. would have provided an appreciably less dysfunctional environment? It's the system man! Down with the system!

How did you get the Asianprince URLs in the end? Professional curiosity.

50 years is still very young for a country. Most European countries have been in existence for centuries, albeit in radically different forms. China has been around for a lot longer.

Andrew(sic): "asian student stupidity ??! My ocf friends hang out a lot at Boba pearl!" - thank you for proving my point. Get the Babylon 5 DVD for yourself - The Gathering and In The Beginning are the best tele-movies in the whole Babylon 5 spectrum (the others like Thirdspace and River of Souls are CGI-fests but ring oddly hollow compared to the tv series' episodes).

"Shoujo Kakumei Utena" translates very roughly into "Revolutionary Girl Utena". Before you go, I've only watched one episode, and "ritualistic high school action flick with lesbians" sums it up almost perfectly. Add transsexualism, swordfights, and floral motifs, and there you go. Classic anime:)

Hi-Chew sweets in green tea flavour were my favourite "keep-awake" during university.

My phone line is down, much chagrin and rage involved. Thankfully, two wrongs make a right - because on this beautiful Sunday morning, I am ensconced at my workplace updating blog entries, and doing all the stuff I should have been doing last week instead of frenetically blogging. The fact that I'm still writing this blog clearly shows I haven't learnt my lesson. That notwithstanding however, the utter silence and the chance to get away from home for a while is actually quite refreshing.

Friday night I was out for the first time in months - mostly driving around listening to some weird progressive-rock music, The Pixies, and Mansun. These CDs were "kindly provided" by a friend of mine who'd cruised down from Singapore for a weekend after some R&R on Tioman. I use the term "kindly provided" because, as my friend was flipping through the CDs in my car's CD collection, I could read the lines of pain forming on his face as he listened to what I had to offer. After several Chris Isaak and Belinda Carlisle tracks(this was part of my euphemistically named, "Retro" collection aka "Cheesy songs that defined my adolescence" aka "Stuff that 95FM plays because it was what 98.7FM was belting out in my adolescence." aka "Stuff that will hit 90.5FM in a few years' time"), he said, "I can see why you have bipolar mood disorder.". Finally, when we hit my Roxette collection, he intoned, "Any lingering respect I have had for you has just passed through my anus and is now soaking into your car seat." He flatly refused to go through my classical and anime track compilations.

Okay, so my musical collection revolves around sappy retro rock ballads, mainstream-alternative(Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, et. al), Top 40s stuff, classic rock, mainstream gangsta rap and golden oldies. So? Were you expecting Slipknot, Rammstein, Rage Against the Machine, or even, god forbid, Tori Amos just because I read Poppy Z. Brite?

Generally, I don't get many visitors even from my uni mates - much less visitors from my distant high school life - so it was quite a treat to play tour guide, show off our nightlife, make acerbic comparisons between Singaporean and Malaysian culture, and have some really good Japanese food. My friend noted that the slut motif still seemed the order of the night as far as female clubbing/pubbing crowds here were concerned - even if the general choice of apparel differed from Singapore (for instance; we had more camisoles here at night. To which I had to ask, "What the hell is a camisole?").

Dinner was at Ki San Kichi; excellent fare at a reasonable price. It's also the only (affordable) place I know that serves Yebisu beer retail, and their unagi is superb. As we were eating, we were approached by a woman who was flogging charitable contributions from the (sic): "True Love Family Charity Foundation". As she began to unload her spiel, my friend replied, "But we have no love." The poor woman, clearly unused to any reaction that wasn't grudging acceptance or brusque rejection, seemed rather taken aback, and tried to ignore this remark and go on touting the therapeutic values of her 10RM Korean ginseng tea pack.

I then asked, "If this is for families in need of material and/or emotional charity, how come I don't get any of it? I'm probably more in need of both than most of the people on your list." She laughed nervously and tried to relate how the proceeds would go towards educating needy children from broken families - to which my friend interjected, "That's us! That's us! I failed my As!". To which I added: "I have a dysfunctional family situation as well."

It went on in that vein for a while, and I finally said, "Look, altruism is not our thing" - (I don't think she knew what altruism was) - "Why don't you just tell me how much you need, instead of me giving money I don't want to, for shit I don't need, to help people I don't care about." I have to admire her patience and restraint - all that Buddhist meditation must have helped build her tolerance to the vagaries of Mara; a quality similar to some of the more irritating door-knocking evangelists we get around Christmas - for at this point she simply said, "Why don't you make a token donation then?"

I pulled out twenty dollars and handed it over, and said, "I hope they(the needy) learn more from this than we have." She took the money and tried to foist off the ginseng packs on me, to which my friend said, "You got money for nothing and he doesn't want the tea - I suggest you siam while the siam-ing's good." As she left, she had a final parting shot, which went along the lines of, "Family is very important and I hope you learn how to develop good hearts and inner peace." - but at this point I had shut her out to finish up my miso soup.

Now I know it's not very nice by contemporary standards to go about abusing charity workers, but the fact of the matter is, immorality is only an issue if you aren't already in Hell. I might add in my defense that I *did* fork out some charitable gelt in the end, although that was more as payment for entertainment rather than any genuine desire to aid the needy. Still, in a utilitarian sense, everyone's happy - me and my friend were entertained, the charity worker got a decent pay-off for the needy, and I didn't have to humiliate her further by ostenatiously discarding the ginseng tea packs into a nearby drain. So all's good under God's heaven.

After dinner, we proceeded to the aforementioned night drive. KL, being far more spread out, offered us a lot of drives through diverse areas: squatter colonies; verdant secondary rain-forest; dingy suburbs in addition to the glittering cityscapes and the happening pub areas. We drove for about 2 hours, stopped at a quiet bar for margaritas, drove for another 2 hours, stopped at another quiet bar for Hoegaarden light beer, drove for yet another 3 hours, and finally adjourned at a mamak stall for supper. This haj was punctuated by a lot of good conversational catching up as I hadn't seen this guy for almost two years, constant stops for smoke breaks at roadsides, housing estates, or mosques, and a torrent of nihilistic verbal abuse at society, culture, government, politics, Malaysians, Singaporeans, Indonesians, Koreans, Hongkies, Taiwanese, Australians, British, working life, poverty, rich bastards, poor assholes, clubbing lians, clubbing bengs, nerds, scholars, toilet cleaners, writers, poets, the gifted, the retarded, businessmen, family, dogs, sluts, himbos, angsty webpages, happy webpages, ICQ, irc, education, schools, the weather, Shakespeare, commercialised mainstream music, wannabe alternative music, racial slurs, racial harmony, self-help books, financial planning, and losers with no lives who drive around in cars whining (roughly in that order; there's some limited scansion in the way we moved from topic to topic).

As he put it, "Making snap judgements about people and things we know absolutely nothing about is the basis for all conversation."

His parting gift to me was a plastic mineral water bottle filled with Absolut Citron vodka. He had bought it at duty-free but didn't want to give all of it to me because he claimed I had a budding alcoholism problem he didn't want to exacerbate. I was oddly touched. Have been using it to mix screwdrivers with those orange-flavoured Redoxon Vitamin C supplements that dissolve in water. He's heading off to London in a month to work in some PR or media job - he was obscure about the details - but I wished him all the best and joked that he should sponsor a working visa for me to get there. He grimaced and said, not entirely unfairly, "I don't think we should ever reside in the same country."

I spent all of Saturday sleeping - and got up at evening to the usual barrage of questioning from my parents as to where i'd been, what i did, did i drink a lot, etc etc. On one hand it's quite touching to know your parents still care(I guess I must be entering the nascent stage of that "someday you will appreciate what we've done for you..." refrain they've been singing all my life), while on the other hand the incessant nagging is somewhat galling. Still, given my complete inability to do most normal things adequately, such as my own laundry and walking in a straight line, I suppose I do still need a certain level of mild, familial coddling - and definitely I appreciate the fact that much of my lifestyle is subsidised as long as I live under my paterfamilia's roof. But hopefully a measure of greater financial independence that comes with a rising salary(a shame my boss isn't reading this) and a slightly more developed sense of direction will pave the way for leaving the nest.

Since Gabriel has spent so much space on Singapore's NDP, I should share this: there was an amusing parade on television last night. As some of you might know, Mahathir has announced his intention to retire and has even set a definitive date for his departure. Leaving aside speculation about whether they can actually pry the reins of power from his steroid-enhanced, liverspotted claws, there was a "spontaneous" roar of love and support for our beloved leader that manifested in a hastily organised parade in his behalf entitled, "One Nation, We Care." - sponsored, bizarrely, by the National Association of Malaysian Life Insurance and Financial Planning and other insurance companies. Is there a veiled message there?

I wonder how many resources they diverted away from the actual upcoming Hari Kebangsaan parade for this. It's probably being treated as a dress rehearsal of sorts. Nonetheless, it was quite a fine show of paegantry similar to those Communist propaganda galas, sans the overt display of military force �la tanks rolling past or mobile missile launchers with their display of phallic strength. The PM was seated regally on a carved wood throne waving beneficiently at the masses, while banners with the likes of "We Love Dr Mahathir" and "Dr. Mahathir: Father of The Nation's Modernisation" fluttered serenely amongst the crowd.

The parade skills of the military were remarkably good - particularly the navy. They performed quite a lot of elaborate routines involving choreographed movements, formations, tossing rifles around, and the like, with nary a dropped M-16 and almost no mistimings. However, the overall impression was that of armed cheerleaders, particularly due to the campiness of some of their pseudo-dance routines, and their sailor suits with naval smock and all. I was whistling the tune to the Village People's "In the Navy" all the while. The army in particular seemed more manly, but their goosestepping lacked the precision I expect after repeated viewings of Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will(very dramatic movie-isation of the 1934 Nazi Party Congress at Nuremberg).

All the soldiers were Malay, of course, which led to some disturbing worst-case political speculation in my mind.

The highlight came when 14 specially picked paratroopers jumped into the stadium, each bearing one of Malaysia's state and federal territory flags and the national flag. However, one of the unfortunate paratroopers got caught in an overhanging spar jutting out from the covering that protects stadium-goers from the weather. We could see him dangling in his harness, clearly trying not to wiggle too much and dislodge himself. The camera fixated on his struggles for a few seconds, and the commentators were mute with shock - then seconds later they proceeded to focus on the rest of the stadium, all the while pretending nothing had happened! They made absolutely no mention of the poor bastard throughout the rest of the show, and no mention was made of the ostentatiously missing state flag as the paratroopers who made it to the ground brandished theirs in unison.

However, camera pans through the audience for half an hour after clearly showed many heads gazing up from time to time at the entrapped parachutist in worry, including the dignitaries and the PM himself. Some enthusiastic audience members were even gesturing at the guy to the cameras, imploring for help. Mother shook her head and commented, "The broadcasters don't know how to handle a crisis." My guess was that they were simply afraid, Cultural Revolution-style, of broadcasting or highlighting anything that could be taken as implicit criticism of this outpouring of love and devotion to a departing leader who has steered our country so well for the last two decades. Propaganda exercises always amuse me.

Half an hour later, however, the gazes seemed to stop, so I infer that that was when they hauled him down. I doubt even Malaysian broadcasters would have omitted footage of a guy plummeting to his bloody death onto a crowd of spectators. Would they? There was absolutely no mention of this incident in the english and malay newspapers this morning.

For those who want to know, the unfortunate flag was Penang's. Is it an omen of things to come? My father said, "At least it wasn't the national flag."

Okay. Back to work.




On Saturday, I was a marshal for the first time. Mainly, this involved lots of standing, until my feet hurt (I should get Ex-prolonged standing) and some moving of heavy barricades.

Specifically, I was a gatekeeper of socks, checking people's bags for guns, grenades, condoms, deodourant, Swedish-made penis enlarger pumps, sanitary napkins, food and beverages (confiscating them so they'd have to buy the overpriced food from the kiosk at the top of the stadium).

We assembled at 9am, and fell out at 10pm. During that period of time, my reading materials were in my bag which was in some room. So as you can imagine, I was bored out of my mind.

The control room's idea of entertainment was setting Stefanie Sun Yanzi's rendition of "We Will Get There" on "loop" mode. For extended periods of time. Many times. If I hear that song again, the skin on the nape of my neck is going to start twitching violently, and I am going to start burning some flags.

In between piping the song, together with countless subliminal messages, they played a documentary on NDP 2002. I happened to hear, from my post, the interview with Jo'an Ow twice and she does seem just a touch ditzy - she was more excited about her hot hair balloon than any J1 girl has the right to be.

While we were moving things, one guy came to talk to Seetoh and me. Turns out he was from Obese BMT, and they wrongly posted him as a Scout. His PC said he'd be trained up, but after 2-3 months of daily 5km runs, his arches collapsed, and he's now a clerk.

Some Warrant Officers were using their measuring sticks as walking sticks and to pick things up from the drain. What a great honour they pay to the badge of their office.

There was a group of Red Cross girls who kept going to the toiler, so I was wondering whether they were incontinent, until Andrew pointed out that people go to toilet to allay boredom, and I remembered entry 41 in How Girls Waste Time:

41. Queuing for the toilet / Forever freshening up (often together with other girls in toilet outings, waiting for everyone to be done before leaving and doing dumb things like splashing water and mashing toilet paper to throw on the ceilings)

The CHIJ kiddies were wearing shirts and blouses over their disgusting dresses (all of which were at mid-thigh at the lowest), which meant it was more bearable to gaze upon them. However, I do hope they are wearing something underneath their costume - I was walking beside a staircase down which CHIJ girls were running, and I was afraid to look anywhere above my nose. But I think they've nothing to worry about - most people'd not want to look at most of them anyway.

The Navy Guard of Honour has quite a few females in it, all of whom seem to have long hair. The Police GOH, on the other hand, has some number of females but they are almost all malay and all have short hair. However, the Army and Air Force have no women in their Guard of Honour contingents.

The unisex toilet near my area had one of those cute dustbins in it, the ones to get rid of bloodstained material. It said, "For Disposal Of Sanitary Napkins Only". Which made me wonder about tampons - surely they're not flushed down the toilet bowl to clog the sewage system?

While other people carry M16s or SAR21s, the SCDF marching contingent gets to carry... water guns (Yes, I went to check with them). Well done.

Apparently there are reservists taking part in the parade - I saw some wizened, pitted faces, and some people with copious amounts of white hair, as well as some with the velcro nametags on their No 4s.

Sometime after lunch, Seetoh got to go to Khatib camp to do RT cover for reservists, and he probably reached home much earlier than us.

Looking for some variety, after lunch I went to visit one of the food kiosks in the Indoor Stadium. A hotdog and a 500ml bottle of Coke set me back by a hefty sum of $4.50! The hotdog had some slices of processed milk products (sliced cheap 'cheddar' cheese), which made it taste terrible, but at least the sausage was of higher quality than the normal ultra-cheap low quality chicken sausages.

After I'd brought my hotdog down to my area, 2 sniffer dogs were brought in by their handlers, who played with them from time to time. I swear one was eyeing my hotdog! The other, and English Spaniel, pawed my right leg and licked my wrist, and I petted its head. Yeh!

One of the fringe benefits of being at the Indoor Stadium: The Milo Van! It was as popular today as it always is at RI's Cross-Countries, and as usual people were filling their water bottles merrily despite a sign asking them not to.

Someone gave me some Hi-Chew sweets - essentially they're wads of chewing gum hat dissolve. So you get to pretend you're chewing real chewing gum, as the texture is exactly the same. I wonder how well Hi-Chew sells, exploiting the suppressed urges of Singaporeans.

I was at my post at the "Premier Entrance" on the ground floor of the Indoor Stadium when I was slapped on the back by my BMT sectionmate Joshua, who's marching for the Signallers for NDP. Too bad he had to run off.

I saw one guy carrying a "Camelpaint" carton. Hehe.

The purpose of the black netting some of the girls, especially those in the Red Cross, put on to cover the part of their hair dangling at the back eludes me. As does a way to describe it lucidly. Have my descriptive skills really eroded that much?

I was checking the bag of a little girl, and her father said "rang4 uncle kan4". Sheesh, I feel old.

Around 5pm, people started coming to our gate with tickets for the parade. Apparently they thought it was to be held at the Indoor Stadium. Has it ever? Bah.

I don't know why people always get agitated whenever they see me take out my piece of paper to scribble down stuff. The 2 Indoor Stadium staff who were attached to us (rather, we were attached to them) yesterday kept mulling about what I was writing. Maybe people think I'm writing down their deepest secrets.

Andrew Tan tells me that "the western [Lindy Hop Ensemble] dancers keep screaming when it [glorified sparklers/mini-fireworks] goes off in front of them. every rehearsal. quite amusing. =)" Well both of us are affected by the pyrotechnics too - the heat and noise is rather intense. The two times I was nearby when they ignited, I didn't just blink - I jerked and recoiled, to the amusement of those around me.

I wonder why they always make brassards and armbands so tight - it's very hard to put them on and even then, they fall off very easily.

My lack of common sense continues to amaze me (or perhaps it shouldn't, after so long). When many participants were walking around, I ducked into a room to hide, and got chided by everyone. This brings to mind an incident on Wednesday, when we were languishing in the bunk after IPPT. Yiliang called up and asked what we were doing, and I said they were in the bunk playing Street Fighter. Alvin then commented that I had no "SA" - Situational Awareness. Hmm, I think that's one of the more lucid paragraphs in this post - the disadvantages of scribbling every mildly amusing thing down, and of blogging in the middle of the night.

As the Soka people were filing out of the Indoor Stadium to proceed to the National Stadium for the item, the "NKF" dancers (those dancing to the songs in each of the 4 national languages) were practicing their dance steps. Then as Vernon Cornelius crooned the chorus of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", the Soka men started singing along boisterously!

My suspicions were confirmed - some of the "boys" in Temasek Secondary's item are actually girls.

I got the chance to try Lucozade. It's terrible. Ugh.

I must congratulate the organisers. The fireworks display was the best that I've ever seen. Needless to say, it was also probably the most expensive. It was like a warzone, with bombs and grenades exploding over our heads, as the ground trembled. Some of the fireworks had very long lasting bursts, so the air was seemingly filled with gold dust, which slowly disappeared, fading into the cool night air.

Back in the Indoor Stadium, the motivators were being told, "If you leave a mess, the poor army officers will have to clean up again". Officers? Yeah right.

I think the motivators have been braiwnashed too well - as they were leaving the stadium, they were clapping and dancing along, Vegas style with linked shoulders, to some song played over the PA system.

When we finally fell out, it was 10pm - and that's with no post-parade party. Sigh. At least I got some mangosteens, left by a Soka lady by the door since they couldn't bring food in, but which she hadn't collected.


SMSes:

"[On "Kyrie Eleison"] who's kyrie?" (A Tan)

"pass the stadium everyday on the way home, the ns men always look so hilariously dejected" (...)

"i don't think the rc girls are incontinent- it's more in the nature of some sophisticated social ritual mere males could never get =P" (!@#$%^&*())


The brand of that stupid pill with the irritating commercial with the man stroking his fake beard is Beiklin! Shame.

Yaoi Girl has asked me to watch "Shoujo Kakumei Utena". Apparently it is a "ritualistic high action school flick with lesbians" and will drive me nuts. Bah, my prowess is greater than she thinks.

But a synopsis I found here doesn't make any sense. There seem to be Yaoi elements in it, as well as "Shoujo" / "Yuri" themes (I've learnt a new word - the former, today)


Haha this is ridiculous.

OCS SONG

We come from many places,
All across the land,
Of many different races
Together hand in hand.
United we stand
Divided we fall;
Ready to serve our nation's call

Chorus:
We come from OCS,
We are the very best
Leading with dignity and pride
Wherever we go
We will always know
Our spirit lives forever more,
Loyalty to country,
That's what we all believe;
To Lead, Excel and Overcome,
Is what we must achieve.
Forever strong and valiant,
We'll give our lives and more;
Never ceasing to serve Singapore
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