Saturday, October 12, 2002
I was talking to someone who, as Tim would put it, uses sex to gain power. One of her motives is boredom, and she gets a kick out of doing it. It also makes her feel more self-confident (and she does have valid reasons for wanting to do so).
I wonder if the motives such people have are all the same, if underlying their exterior, they actually have deep inadequacies to assuage.
Mysterious messages - "i'll bet you're one of the kind of people whom our [rgs] secret prefectorial board are sent out to assassinate. you know too much."
And - "and all the ways you are not have nothing to do with the government (except for NS, which, frankly speaking, is your misfortune. again, if you don't like it - don't be a citizen. or, if you wish to evade it - there are SO many ways to zaogeng and elude.)"
Ah. The joys of a super-long weekend. Below is my usual recounting of my week in concentration camp.
The main event in this short week was Range. My third range so far, this was perhaps the best range, in many senses of the word.
The Nee Soon range, where I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday, is reputed to be the best in Singapore, and is always fully booked. It's certainly well furnished - the training sheds have fans, the canteen does not come in a van but instead is in a concrete building (though the variety of refreshments on offer is parlous, and expensive besides) the toilet has soap in the dispensers and there's free toilet paper provided (!). And to top it off, they have metal detectors to check shooters for any live rounds, empty cartridges or any other form of pyrotechnics. High tech!
160 Squadron was having range at the other range, and Saravanan the Younger from BMT was there. He gets to drive for them, but Air Defence isn't stay out. Aww. And it turns out Joshua knows him. There was also this guy with a very pronounced Australian accent (which reminded me of my cousin Marc) who went up to the Pepsi-selling canteen to ask if could "have a Coke".
During range, I realised that my CSM-to-be's laugh sounds unnervingly like Krusty the Klown's. And they both've a husky voice, a paunch and are balding ;)
Anyhow I screwed up my first day. I suspect that, to some extent, the more I shoot, the worse I score - I failed the worst I ever have the first day. Though I was a few shots short of Marksman the second. They can send me for range as much as they want (for one Specialist, this was his 9th range. And he still didn't get Marksman) - it's just going to waste their money on ammunition. I don't really care if I get Marksman, except that I'll not have to go shoot till next year and I'll get a day off. There *is* the $200 incentive, but that's tainted money, so. I am as ambivalent about passing or excelling in IPPT or SOC - many may be proud of their achievements in those, but passing them would give me about as much satisfaction as gassing Jews. Since I was doomed already, so to speak, I fired off a shot each into the lanes to my left and right. Maybe I helped someone get his $200 :) Kudos go out to Kelvin, though, who OOCed from BMT in the first week. He got Marksman though this is only his second range!
We had our share of skullduggery, though it was not as bad as what a certain unit (Best Combat Unit, ahem) was reputed to have done - magic rounds. Namely, we, many of us, were cajoled into declaring IA (Immediate Action - your rounds won't load or the empty cartridges get stuck in the chamber of the M16) during the rundown of one stage of the range, so we could retry it. I was one of them. Unfortunately, the 3 times I retried the rundown, I *really* got IA, and I scored worse than my first time, so my 3 rundowns were for naught. And at the last stage on Day 2, Figure 11 Illuminated target, one guy needed 4/4 shots on target to get Marksman. To improve his odds, he moved one round from the "Sensing" Magazine (so you get a 'sense' of where to shoot) to his Test Magazine. But he only got 3/5. Aww.
I booked out Wednesday night at 10:40pm, and caught the last train back (11:30pm). Then, the next day was the Battalion Ops Anniversay, held at Sentosa.
It was hot. Scorchingly, mind numbingly hot. They should've held it at 5:30pm instead of 12:30pm, then we could've had a foam party after that :)
It was larger scale than normal Games Days, but one station involved building a sandcastle (?!). Creative, they are.
Most of us arrived at the end point earlier than the stipulated time, so we sat down and drank hideously expensive drinks - my 616ml bottle of Gatorade Apple set me back by $4.00, while watching some of our Unit Mates play Beach Volleyball... with Beach Lians and Beach Bengs!
The people who run Sentosa have really upped the bullshit factor - now there're quite a few exhibits retelling the "Legend of the Merlion" (Yeah. 'It appeared in the 1970s magically, conjured into existence by the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board. STPB wanted to con tourists and make up for our deficit in historical character'), and how it saved Singapore from a flood. Bah, I suppose this is how legends come about. There's also this point they proclaim to be the "Southernmost point of Continental Asia", and the fuzzy logic goes - it's connected to Sentosa by a suspension bridge, which in turn is connected to Singapore by a bridge. Ergo, it is the Southernmost tip of Continental Asia. Right. They forgot the part about Singapore being linked to Malaysia by the Causeway and Second Link. I hope, for their sake, that Malaysia and Indonesia never get down to building that bridge between West Malaysia and Sumatra. Give me Tierra del Fuego anyday.
Perhaps the reason they need so much bullshit is that the beach isn't sufficiently attractive. Sure, the sand is fine, the water is clear (for Singapore) and they built islets offshore, but look beyond and on the horizon you will behold the sight of... container ships. They ingeniously try to turn this drawback into an attraction with a poster proclaiming that Singapore is a busy port, so if you just look you will be able to see ships of all sorts, and maybe even an occasional warship. Right. And bedbugs on mattresses are good because they draw off excess blood - leeching is healthful, but we don't have any leeches, so settle for bedbugs. Enjoy!
The thing that made us most happy, though, was not the romp across Sentosa, but the 1 1/2 days of FREE off. Unprecedented. At least in my limited experience.
And the usual short soundbites and one-liners:
In the ongoing re-regimentisation of my company, we've now been told to lock our cupboards. Oh bother.
Having been somewhat tardy all along, I was pushed by the Senior Medic to speed up the screening of obese regulars. Apparently, they are worried because if they don't lose enough weight by next April, they lose some pay. Aww.
Joshua from my BMT section has popped up in my camp. He's a signaller at HQ Armour, so he just stays indoors. Gah.
Nigel likes to sing in falsetto. How rare.
On Monday night, our CO came to talk to us. For 1 hour straight. Ugh. Luckily, his speech at the Ops Anniversary in Sentosa was less than 10 minutes! I was beginning to fear for my sanity when, at the Games Day at Bishan Park last monday, he ended his discourse at 10 minutes and said that he would "say the rest" of what he had to say at the Ops Anniversary.
In Tim's camp, you get 1/2 a day off if you do Sunday duty, and you can't do such 2 weeks in a row. Gah.
Disturbing dream: Somehow I dreamed of a certain someone frolicking in bed with a colleague from another unit. Ugh.
I got asked, "Eh, your name is really Shuqi ah?". Gah. Even after so long, they still haven't gotten over it. I wonder if the Shu Qi in the RGS Choir gets this much unwanted attention over her name.
We were recently given an FM Receiver by our unit. This is much more useful than the miniature face towel we got the last time, which is so small it can't be used for much.
The latest thing to be spirited away - my towel. In the morning it was hanging outside the bunk. At night, after range it was gone. Someone really doesn't like me.
SAF creed: "we are the unfortunate, led by the unqualified, doing the unnecessary, for the ungrateful." pls pass this on -to let everyone know the dark truth (sms)
[To me] Eh, your name is really Shuqi ah?
[On marksmanship money] $200 means a lot to me. It may not to you... Use the $200 to go for a spa.
[On the New Paper New Face competition] Beauty need not be flaunted in pubic manner (public) (sms - a Freudian slip, mayhap? ^_^)
[On my suggestion that she join the New Paper New Face competition] sounds great! Why dun u join with me, kimberly? (sms)
I know sometimes I say things, very boring. Teoh boh? [2 people: Teoh] Those who say 'teoh', go and carry on 20 [pushups].
Proselytisation troubles me somewhat. I'm supposed to spread the good news, but then I wouldn't like someone trying to convince me by convincing me of the benefits of fasting a month a year, praying 5 times a day. And yet.
There was something on the BBC about the benefits of fasting during Ramadan. Many benefits were touted, but what I wonder is this - if it is so beneficial, why don't they fast the whole year round? During fasting, Muslims are supposed to be spiritually pure, not get angry and generally be paragons of virtue. Why can't they do this the other 11 months of the year? Perhaps the world would be a better place then, with no more Palestinian suicide bombers (not to mention the fact that they will be so weak due to the fasting that they will not be able to kill anyone), manipulating of oil prices through OPEC for material gain, threatening of Singapore when they have an Israeli Prime Minster over for a social call and such. Ariel Sharon and friends should fast too :)
I was at Concorde Hotel's Melting Pot Cafe yesterday for lunch. Horror of horrors - they're removed their excellent, unequalled pork satay from the lunch buffet, because Muslims complained about the pork fumes. !@#$%^&*() They're renovating next year, though, and apparently plan to install something to suck up satay fumes, so there may still be hope *crosses fingers* The pork chop was still excellent though. At least there's still City Satay, though if and how long they'll be able to hold out against the temptations of going Halal is unknown...
Stronghold was great fun. I think I'm getting the hang of it. Now, however, I am required to type things for my mother. Gah.
"Professional Portfolio Form
Accreditation For Senior Teacher Appointment (Yr 2003)" (Read: Shameless Bullshitting)
Woah. Whaddaya know. 20 months left!
I love SqrSoft Advanced Crossfading 1.75!
I'm told Bayley won Drama Feste this year, with an adaptation of 1996's play - "5 people sitting around a table arguing". A bit lame, "about how they couldn't write a script, so they sat down to sort it out and the ending was them taping the whole conversation and using the scenario as their actual play which they acted out", but beats angst so thick you can cut it with a butter knife. And Hullet's was politically incorrect, insulting prefects, slamming ruggers and social studies (ie Propaganda Studies). And it has a transsexual too.
The focus in the game seems to be more on the Military - there are 4 times as many Military as Economic missions. I'm currently done with Economic Mission 2 of 5.
But I think I tire of doing things like accumulating 500 units of cheese ;) So I'll move on the Military missions. Just as soon as I type the next batch of bullshit for my mother.
Using archers to shoot the naughty rabbits who nibble at my wheat crop sounds like a most interesting proposition (I can just hear Bunny Killer yelping now...) ^_^
I quake in fear at the prospect of facing the inestimable might of the imp... err, omnipotent one - He Who Must Not Be Named!
So what if your factual assertions are true? Most of them are, grudgingly, but with a lot of caveats - after all, it seems you've taken the source material from yet another wellspring of equally biased propaganda; the opposition(vis-a-vis the Official propaganda). No one has ever been able to convincingly argue to me that a lassez-faire approach to the political market is the best approach, from a utilitarian standpoint. In fact, by definition, applying economic criterion to the political arena is like comparing apples to oranges, and inferring that the system is flawed due to issues with its individual features is fallacy of composition to the max.
Freedom and liberty as axiomatic "goods" in and of themselves? I think not.
I could honestly say I had never dreamt i would be in this circumstances.
In other news, i have 2 plasters on the same hand for the second time this week (when i first moved in last saturday i had 2 plasters on my fingers for cuts while moving furniture. The plasters stayed on for 3? 4 days)- these were incurred while - sweeping - the balcony (it's just been such an accident-ful day: i walked into closed doors twice- consecutively- yesterday). I could leave off with the plasters, just that i hate the stinging feeling when they touch soap.
Last night, my ocf cell grp came over to my apartment for home cell. They were having dinner at mark's place while i was... baking a cake. Yes, baking. I finished classes at 3.45pm and decided to go to safeway to buy ingredients- i needed something that would make me feel happy. Went off to bake it and it took longer than expected (by the time i joined them for dinner everyone else had finished eating. Siew min innocently asked "Were you cleaning up your house?" while the rest looked expectantly at me).
Anyway, it was a carrot-banana cake... actually a carrot cake because i forgot to add in the bananas. It came out chaoda but everyone said it tasted very nice. I hope they weren't just being polite. It's my first solo baking in melbourne! Then again, carrot cake is one of the easiest things to bake. (I'm so delighted with my pyrex baking dish!!) I didn't tell anyone i was baking until it came out just in case it was really bad, then i could throw it all away. Anyway it came out looking quite chaoda (it was actually just the top 1cm that was burnt)
But i didn't expect it to cost so much- i ended up spending $20 in the supermarket for all the essentials that i didn't have in my rather empty kitchen- flour, egg whisk, walnts, carrots, sugar .... anyway they should last a long time i hope. I don't even have a mixing bowl or proper containers- i mixed my ingredients in the plastic microwavable casserole pot and shredded my carrots into my lunch box.
Now i have a cup of shredded carrot and i dont know what to do with it. (brightly) I could bake another carrot cake (=.
And now, the promised tract on some market imperfections of the Singapore political system, based largely on what I scribbled in a fit of boredom at Range. Are we going to have a full fledged political discussion here? No matter. I tried to keep this short so I won't lose *too* many of you :)
First, there's the issue of GRCs. The official line is that they help minorities be represented, and lead to greater efficiency due to co-operation between town councils. However, the evidence is that Affirmative Action does not work. Why can't minority candidates get into Parliament on their own merit? I am sure that there are many competent minority candidates around - putting them into a GRC team casts doubt on whether they were elected on their own merits. If racial prejudice is still prevalent, then I fear that the attempts to craft a multi-racial society, where we are one united people regardless of race, have failed dismally. Incidentally, the reason why voting along racial lines would mean that no minority candidates enter the legislature is the direct consequence of another government policy - racial quotas for public housing. So one reasonable sounding policy leads to another, but the inevitable conclusion does not sound as plausible as it should.
Extending this argument to majority-ethnicity candidates, and all of them, indeed - every candidate should be elected on his or her own merit. What sort of democracy is this, where those in Parliament aren't really chosen, but were elected in a group? With the GRC system, weaker candidates can be grouped with uber strong ones, and still get it - who would dare contest Tanjong Pagar? Who could even win if he tried? No one would dare go up against the Senior Minster. The GRC system, and in tandem with that the hefty $13,000 deposit required for one to stand for elections, just weakens the ability of small political parties and Independent (Read: most of the opposition) to contest elections. And on co-operation between Town Councils: Town Councils shouldn't be run along party lines, and due to their nature they should be non-partisan.
And then, the issue of gerrymandering. Whither Cheng San, ask I? Suspicious, is it not, that it disappeared after the PAP almost lost it. The broader issue is the independence of the electoral commission. Its non-independence may not mean that it is biased against the opposition, but anecdotal evidence would seem to indicate otherwise. Besides Cheng San, there is also the fact that for the 2001 election, the boundaries and seats were announced on October 24, a mere day before the elections were announced on Oct 25 and just 17 before November 5th's polling.
Then there's the Public Entertainment Licensing Act. Stringent laws govern all sorts of "public entertainment" in Singapore (another issue in and of itself), but for some strange reason, political speeches and events are considered "public entertainment" and thus need a license from the relevant department to carry out their activities. Furthermore, the department has, on many occasions, been tardy in giving approval for functions, and has inexplicably rejected some applications, citing the threat to public "order". The PAP, however, can wriggle through a loophole by going under the auspices of the People's Association.
There is also pork barrel politics. In the 1997 and 2001 elections, this was especially evident, with constituencies being openly threatened that they would not get upgraded if they didn't vote for the PAP. So public money - taxpayer's money, is used for partisan causes. Poor Potong Pasir, old and decrepit, is passed over in favour of newer estates, all for the crime of voting for Chiam See Tong. And the 2001 election came suspiciously close after the announcement of the New Singapore Shares initiative.
The use of libel and defamation lawsuits, with large amount of damages awarded, to ruthlessly and mercilessly smash opposition members against brick walls for the most trivial of matters is also prevalent. I believe that, so far, only Chiam See Tong hasn't been the target of a lawsuit. Admittedly, that is because he is cautious in the extreme, unlike the others. It is known that the Singapore Government has -never- lost in a defamation suit. Ever. And it keeps slapping them on opposition politicians. The connections some judges have with the ruling party does not help matters any, and brings to mind the doubts cast on the credibility of Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minster of Italy, due to numerous conflicts of interest. When Jeyaratnam successfully appealed to the Privy Council to overturn a verdict delivered against him (which said that he had been offered "grievous injustice," and that he and a colleague had been "fined, imprisoned and publicly disgraced for offences of which they were not guilty."), sometime later, the law was altered to disallow appeals to the Privy Council. Besides lawsuits, the government is also fond of casting doubt upon the character and integrity of opposition candidates. Whether the accusations are true or unfounded is not for me to say, not having done enough research on this topic, but while reserving judgment, I still have my doubts.
And then there's the matter of the press. The press is often seen as a tool of the government, as one of its official voices. Indeed, so strong is the perception that Malaysia has, in the past, asked the Government to apologise for things published in the Straits Times that offended it, as if what was written in there was official policy or dogma. The Government doesn't help dispel this perception - it has often touted the Press as a tool for "Nation Building", a most nebulous term. And it has, in the past, chided it for things such as "undermining public trust in the police", when all that was done was that valid questions of police actions were merely asked. Many people who work in and for the press also have government connections - Chua Lee Hoong [who often opines pro-Government views] and one former journalist, for example, used to work for the infamous Internal Security Department (ISD), and many managerial posts are filled by former Civil Servants. Many publications have also been closed by the government - Utusan Melayu (1969), the Nanyang Siang Pau (1983), the Eastern Sun (1971) and the Singapore Herald (1972). Many societies acknowledge the vital role that a free press has in a democratic society, to question relentlessly and encourage transparency, and thus to arrive at the truth. The Government responds that whoever wishes to participate in politics should do so from within the framework of the political process, but the role of the press is unique, really. Ideally non-partisan, it can, with responsible reporting, play a complementary role in a civil society.
Our late former President Ong Teng Cheong, our first Elected President, voiced some of the difficulties he faced in his job. His job was to safeguard the reserves, and so, while in office, he asked for a listing of the reserves. He was told that a full, detailed listing was not available, and even the one he finally got after a few months of dithering was incomplete.
Of course, the anemic showing of the Opposition is not due solely to the PAP's machinations, but also to their own failings. Opposition politicians tend to like showy, flamboyant populist acts, which does discredit them to some extent. The PAP is also adept at snatching up talent, and due to the poor showing of the opposition, most who enter politics gravitate towards the PAP, thus perpetuating a vicious circle.
And now I wait for the men in black suits to take me away :)
More materials available at Singapore Window and the Think Centre.
The first part of "The Transporter" seemed to me like a BMW car ad in disguise, like a longer version of the shorts that were commissioned some time back.
After all the explosions and rockets, there was a sex scene between Shu Qi and Jason Statham. Now, I know such is obligatory in all modern movies, but this one was especially contrived and stilted. It must have been one of the most artificial I've ever seen.
Jason Statham looks quite rugged, really. He exudes charisma from every pore :) Shu Qi on the other hand... Well after all that's been said about her, this is actually the first of her movies that I've seen, really. But I've gained enough of an impression from other sources :) She isn't as slutty in the film as she normally looks, but her english is TERRIBLE. Every time I hear it I cringe, which may be why they made her speak in Chinese as much as possible.
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Friday, October 11, 2002
One man's urine is another man's drinking water.
Citizens should be seen and not heard.
You pay millions, you still get monkeys !
We pay monkeys to get peanuts.
After the government takes enough to balance the budget, the taxpayer
has the job of budgeting the balance.
Cleanliness is next to a Corrective Work Order.
The early bird catches the Hello Kitty.
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man an NSF.
Familiarity breeds people who might borrow money from you.
Where there's a will, there's a potential lawsuit.
Absence makes the man a quitter.
A land that rewards foreign talents over locals, will soon be foreign of
talents locally, and eventually be foreign of talents totally.
What goes up can never come down: Law of GST and PTC.
You can lead a citizen to Newater, and you can force it to drink.
One good hike deserves another.
Every big hike starts with a small hike.
Lightning can strike twice if you suay-suay defame the wrong person.
A bird in the hand is cheaper than going Geylang.
No news is SPH news.
Make hae while the mee boils.
Old soldiers never die, they merely become insurance agents.
Two's company, but three's a GRC !
SINGAPORE ARMED FORCES
ELECTRONIC PAY SLIP
Rank/Name : LCP *** GABRIEL
1 COMBAT ALLCE 150.00
2 RANK ALLCE 370.00
3 * ARREARS-C YR 20.00
Total $ 540.00
1 SAFSA 0.40
2 * THE CHEVRONS 1.50
3 PIONEER MAG 0.40
4 THE CHEVRONS 1.50
Total $ 3.80
Why do I have to pay subscription for The Chevrons now? !@#$%^&*() And I still don't want to pay anything to SAFAS. Pioneer's okay - $0.40 is good value for laughing at Kairen's horrible drawing and lame jokes ;)
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
(normally Delifrance only does the half-price thing after 9, except at this particular branch)
Today, I read about the so-called Portland Six; there was another terrorist in custody in Malaysia, and, most lovingly, I finally settled down to read some details of the so-called Montgomery Sniper.
We live in a chaotic, degenerate world, and my misfortune is that I am aesthetically fascinated by the suffering - as long as it happens to someone else. I suppose I should feel morally repulsed - but consider the Montgomery Sniper. One man, a high-powered sniper rifle, picks off seven unconnected individuals in a two-day spree. Sniping from up to six football fields away. One .223 caliber bullet per victim; mostly head-shots. The man (or woman, you never know, even girls play Counter-Strike) fires once, then moves on. Disciplined chaos. The targets have no connection; are of all races, ages, religions, ethnicities. They include a WASP, a Haitian immigrant, an Indian, and a Hispanic.
Brilliant, freaky madness. No pattern. No motive. No warning. Simply insanity. And probably some serious marksmanship training.
They still haven't caught the anthrax mailer either.
I suppose the suffering of others is one way I can vicariously and voyeuristically remove myself from the Gehenna of my personal banalities; my personal.. *trivia*.
I don't see portents of the impending apocalypse - that implies a direction and history. Simply an intensitifcation of the kind of random, senseless chaos that characterises human existence. There is no pattern, no order, no justice. Simply pockets of enforced stability; and even within those pockets entropy rules. A government is broken or made by the chaotic aggregates of voter demographic. One man is born a pauper; while the next into silver spoon-dom. Another man is insane; a second suicidal, a third, an Everyman. One person a scholar, another a convict. No patterns. No destiny. No meaning. Just random chance. (Although there's a remote possibility of karmic reincarnation, I grant:) And the occasional ability of the individual to impose his own meaning on the world around him. Those men we call geniuses, madmen, .. or heroes. Or villains.
And this is who we are.
"Things fall apart, the center cannot hold.
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."
Sunday, October 06, 2002
I'm disturbed by this set of referrals:
"Google: "serbee" rgs choir
Google: "serbee" sex"
Someone's after Culottes Girl?
And someone's being doing research on Yangyang and Jeremy Lim Renyang too.
People are STILL looking for Hunter Seeker. Lin Yucheng's little program sure did upset the Neopets people :)
I am amused.
Andrew Tan will be a fellow scholar of Number 1 :)
And somehow Yong Jin got both the A*Star and MAS scholarships. (?!)
I'd decided to stop playing all the games that are nice, sometime back. The trouble was I shifted to playing no games at all. Mayhap, when my computer comes back, I will try Stronghold and accumulate 500 units of cheese. Or install WinXP!