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Thursday, November 07, 2002

Incidentally, it just occurred to me that those inspirational pieces of government propaganda on Signaporean TV really says a lot about the population. The ads I had in mind are:

a) The one where a despondent looking guy walks into his HDB living room over and over again, to the glum looks of his family, before entering in one glorious day to their hugs and smiles. This is followed by the soothing, "Three quarters of those who get retrenched find another job. Don't give up."

b) The one that's a bit too weird and abstract for my taste or capacities for description (it involves a park, flowers, cartoon graphics, and a bench) which ends in the words "Don't stop advertising."

I'm told there are others.

What does it say about the government's attitude to the population that it feels the need to pat them on the shoulder reassuringly just because they're unemployed, WHILE still hiking up prices for all manner of things? Note also that for all the gornaw about creativity and entrepeneurism, the official line is, "Get another job.", not, "Try to create something of value." or "Be your own boss." Get back to work - there's always some other MNC or GLC willing to take on a wage slave like you.

Also note the pleading exhortation of creativity - that they have to place an ad for ads. (Very charmingly post-modern:). Do they really feel that creativity and economic necessity has to be dictated? Okay, they're not the only country in the world to do this, but most interfere directly (like Malaysia has) with things like "Buy local goods" or :"Promote local tourism." Singapore goes, "Advertise more.".

I can only draw two conclusions about the latter ad; either that the government feels their captive populace are so easily manipulated that they will actually be inspired to buy more simply because more ads are being foisted onto them; or that advertising is such a vital sector of their economy that its continued health must be assured, no matter whether it works or not.

Btw, what did the Underdogs guy want from you?
Word of the day: "parastatal."

Been working late the past few weeks. Not entirely sure how long more can continue on with the 9am - 10+pm routine without cracking, although I am assured that people working in global investment banking firms have it far worse. Possibly - an old classmate of mine residing in Hong Kong in Credit Suisse First Boston tells me war stories of averaging up to 110 hours a week (that's about 15 hours a day - including weekends). But then again, the bastard is *paid* commensurately; this year his take-home pay including bonus was approximately 140K SGD. I get paid about.. well... let's just say it's an order of magnitude less.

As my colleague puts it, "We do First World work for Third World wages."

There has actually been a fairly rich panoply of events to blog about recently though, and a lot of it non-work-related. However, my few scrounged hours of leisure at the office are, inevitably, spent surfing news sites and keeping up with mail. The impetus to record my daily events for posterity has waned considerably; this entry is being made solely because I got to work remarkably early today thanks to a combination of 4 hours sleep the night before (I tend to wake up earlier when I sleep less, but I end up suffering more during the day), and light traffic (because of Ramadan; all the Malays are "buka puasa"-ing themselves for the day ahead.). Actually, fasting time tempts me to conversion - they get to go home earlier, and spend lunchtime slacking (obviously they don't have to go through the whole "quest for food" thing).

I just came back from a brief trip down to Singapore last weekend. That sojourn was made at terribly short notice - due to irritating bureaucratic legalities prohibiting Singaporean PRs from driving Malaysian cars, my aunt requisitioned me and my cousin to drive her car down to move stuff from her apartment. Not that I particularly minded - it *was* the long Deepavali weekend, and I expected to reap a pay-off in the form of food) Such expectations were gratified - on Saturday night, my aunt and uncle (who flew down to Singapore separately), took us to a herbal Chinese food restaurant opposite Raffles Hotel, which, I am told, Ong Teng Cheong was fond of frequenting. Probably for stress relief purposes - dealing with the PAP party machinery in a hostile government situation is enough to give anyone an infarction. The meal was superb; I particularly enjoyed the cod in herbal sauce and the braised scallops with whipped egg-white. And of course, my uncle brought out some choice selections from his cellar; a '96 Jasper Hills Shiraz; and a '94 Chateau LaGrange St-Julien. (Too bad he wasn't sufficiently induced to lay on the Sauternes for us:).

Later that night, went out to Crazy Elephant over at Clarke Quay to meet a few Melbourne friends; one now in SMM, and the other serving out his SAFOS bond at Tengah base (Air Force engineer logistics course). They all seem a tad burned out now - I suppose working life tends to dull one's sensitivities a bit. A lot of the boisterous clamouring one would have seen in days of yore was replaced by a sullen, stare-at-beer-mugs kind of awkward silence. Occasionally, a flash of the old humour would come through, in a brief remembrance of things past (the damn book still sits heavily on my shelf half-finished), and a few lighter moments when one of us using the bar's pool table as practice for his camp's upcoming tournament romped past several competitors in straight frames. Other than that, it was just the four of us, tired, prematurely burned-out, and just generally sian, and having little to fill in the conversation void once the first hour of general catching up was over.

How do people do it? How do people tolerate years of wage slavery - and often in far more appalling conditions than what we go through? Or is it simply that me and my generation (Read: "peer group") are (sic) "spoiled bastards?".

How do the adults of the previous generation endure up to 30+ years of such brutal living? Granted, my father has admitted that in his time, he was able to leave the office by 5 pm most days, but that obviously has changed in recent years, as employers realise to their joy that people are willing to be squeezed in this day and age.

Digression: The other day, while walking past Petaling Street, I noted the air mata kuching (longan drink) stall at the corner which has been there for about 40 years (current proprietor is second-generation). A rough estimate of his cashflow based on a 1000 customers a day, on average, puts his disposable income at about 50K SGD a *month* after rent (read: protection money), labour (he hires a couple of Indonesian maids to serve while he watches on benignly - they probably get paid in food and water and lodging), and materials (after all, the overheads on a bowl of air mata kuching are minimal. How much can longans cost, wholesale? Sugar? Ice?). He even reputedly owns a good number of the fake-watches and fake-sunglasses stalls in the immediate periphery. My point is - while he's certainly raking in the cash now, he must have spent at least 10 years of his life slogging it from 6am to 9pm *seven* days a week serving out bowls of sweetened longan crap to the incessant flow passers-by. Am I prepared to take that kind of sacrifice and hardship needed to spend my middle-later life just lounging around a cornershop watching the money flow in? Is it worth it? Tough question.

Sunday afternoon, I spent shopping. Yes, even I have to occasionally succumb to the lure of crass commercialism. Was down at Suntec, enjoying the lighting and architecture, especially the Stargate-like fountain terrace. Stark reminders of past times when I had occasion to tour the whole sprawling complex while it was under construction, and Suntec's fledgling years when most of it was empty, sprawling corridors as shoppers thought it was a difficult place to access. Managed to purchase a new pair of Fifth Avenue office slip-ons as was terribly sian of tying shoelaces in the morning (actually, tired of constantly replacing shoelaces as I tend to yank them too hard). This represents my first shoe purchase in almost 4 years. Now I officially own 4 pairs! (I face great sianness buying footwear due to my abnormally small size 5(British) / 37.5 (European) feet). Although the shoes are a little too big and they chafe my heels; I will have to find a cobbler to get some padding.

Was also irked to discover at DFS Galleria that overland (ie. non-plane) travellers are not eligible. Looks like Langkawi remains my only source for cheap liquor for now.

Sunday evening was spent glazing out in front of my uncle's plasma flat-screen TV with my cousins watching hackneyed DVDs (Rules of Engagement, Gladiator, Ben Hur). Dinner was leftover chicken rice. However, in a pleasant surprise, uncle called to take us out for 'supper' - which culminated in us ending up at Jeremy's Restaurant in the Carlton Hotel (run by the owner of Vis-a-vis (the restaurant, not the mailing list) in Bukit Timah as a more upscale (vis-a-vis Vis-a-vis(!)) version). Again, had more exquisite food - foie gras (been YEARS), escargot, mussels, and, of course, the usual assortment of grand cru Bourdeaux wines (none of which I recognized, except for the Lafite Rothschild).

Someone pointed out that my evident pleasure at such fine dining reflects the aristocratic bastardism of my 'spoiled brat' upbringing. Probably. But I like to think that my appreciation is heightened due to having spent years in Australia living off Coke, scrambled eggs, and instant noodles. Seriously though, I prefer to think of it as a preview / inspiration for the level of material comfort I should achieve - the stage where you don't have to squint at every item in a restaurant bill / menu, do service tax calculations in your head, and decide to go for the salad instead. But one thing I *do* realise is that I have a distorted perception of economic welfare - mainly because I seem to know of people my age who own Jaguars, hold 20,000SGD house parties in Nassim Hill, spend thousands of pounds on their mother's credit card WITHOUT THE MOTHER NOTICING BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT IT WAS PART OF HER OWN PURCHASES, take holidays in the Swiss Alps as regular constitutionals, and actually have a university education (note, a lot of people I know with those first few qualities miss out on the latter). You readers think everyone has a university education? Living your life assuming a university education is the *norm* instead of the minority privilege it actually is seriously distorts your thinking, as it did mine, I confess. One learns the hard way that out in the working world, "Where did you study?" is NOT always a good conversational starter, particularly if you have a senior executives who worked their way up from being clerks.

Back at the apartment, I rang Gabriel on the phone to help me carry out some eBay transactions for me as the only Net access in the house came from a terminal wired into the plasma screen TV, and my uncle and cousins were watching some interminable Korean VCD series. Due to some communication issues (re: continually being unable to log on), it took a while before I could leave the toilet in which I had sequestered myself to talk in privacy. Upon coming out, the cheese platter that my aunt had lovingly laid out for us was half-empty, and most of the icewine had been finished. Feel my rage. *deadpan tones*

Anyhoo, spent Sunday just catching up with some old associates and acquaintances, and nothing much happened. No one seems to have changed appreciably; nor were the conversations sufficiently fascinating to blog here (although it *was* good to catch up with a lot of you guys. Really. I mean it:) It does strike me that I almost never have friends in the same age group - it's always older or younger. Maybe I enjoy bridging mental gulfs?

On the long drive back to KL, it was spent listening to my uncle go on and on about his newfound love for wuxia novels and Korean series. He even waxed lyrical on the Korean cultural renaissance and how Korean series now placed an emphasis on romantic love, compared to the more seamy Taiwanese and Hong Kong series currently on the market. It's bizarre how this workaholic uncle of mine, after 30 years acquiring wealth through shrewd and ruthless deal-making to the point where he doesn't need to work anymore, now chooses to spend his nights watching Return of the Condor Heroes or Summer / Autumn / Spring VCDs until 3 am. Me - I simply passed the time tuning him out, chilling to Teresa Teng tunes and stared at the headlights trawling past.

Certainly there is a yawning chasm of perception between myself and my younger contemporaries; particularly those still mired in education. I mean, the sheer.. difference between the concerns I had 9 months ago and the concerns I have now are massive. Of course, being part of the productive economy as opposed to being a resource-devouring minor (or, to be more charitable, human capital investment) is the primary reason. That's why it's increasingly difficult to empathize with people who are, however justifiably, worried about their examinations or their university options.

The things I worry about these days seem to be more - real, for lack of a better word. Of course, since I went into university, the pressure to excel academically was totally expurgated, but I still had exams to pass. I still had all-night, pressure-learn-panic sessions for those subjects which I attended only two or three lectures the whole semester. But now, the nature of worry changes, as well as the object of worry. Before, it was a sharp, adolescent kind of fear, kinaesthetically akin to splashes of acid on parts of your skin. Now, it's more of a dull, incessant haze - like the throb of bruises all over that just won't heal. Before, I panicked to cram factoids into my head and complete assignments in time. Now - I worry daily that systems will fail or that information goes incorrectly checked. Interestingly enough, the... pressure applied at work is more subtle. Being late for a policy paper at work can be hedged, fudged, or called-off entirely, unless you have the misfortune to have THAT kind of boss, whereas being late for a university essay (although there are notable exceptions) results in an instant blow to your bottom-line, markswise.

But some things don't change. I still stare glumly at my phone bills each month, and I still can't afford all the books I would like. Nonetheless, even the gaps feel better in my highly cyclical financial state (overspending the first week after payday; scrimping dollars the week before). It's good to at least know that money is coming, and it's not coming after a painful confrontation with your parents as to why you spent all that money on comic books. It's good to be able to tell your parents that it's my damned money, and if I want to buy a new Furby, I don't have to answer for it. And perhaps I'm conservative, but it's good to be able to at least give a part of your pay back to your family every month, even if it means you have to eat one less meal at Deutsche Bierhaus, or spend less time making IDD calls.

It's NOT good to have credit cards though. Have resigned to simply clearing out my bills by next year, and starting 2003 with more stringent financial planning.

There's also the odd feeling that you're doing something - if not exactly socially relevant . .something that *matters* in the real world. Passing my philosophy paper or finishing an Oracle assignment in university was simply me getting my family's money's worth out of overseas education and hopefully opening the way to a job. Working in a real firm - well, I'm under no illusions about the morality of my work, which basically entails safeguarding corporate interests and widening the wealth gap. But nevertheless, I'm doing *something*. A paper I write directly affects how the bank I work for values a billion-dollar investment portfolio (not nearly as grandiose as it sounds, but I don't think anyone wants a long discourse on risk management at this point:). A system I helped plan makes work a little easier and our job a little more efficient. A bit of research I contribute helps affect a policy decision. Things like that. Material contributions to the real world - although "material" makes little sense in the nebulous world of capital markets, where *value* often exists as a digital exchange between computer systems in different banks, or, more metaphysically, as a notional pipe dream representative of investor expectations.

I don't worry so much anymore about the usual meaningless yet charmingly adolescent subjects of depressive introspection - relationships, personal popularity (or lack thereof), high-flung existentialism, low-brow nihilism, etc. Instead, my worries seem to have sharpened at both conceptual extremes; from the extremely trivial - stuff like finding a cobbler for my shoes which don't fit properly, wondering what to eat for lunch, dithering over what colour tie to wear, getting irritated at leaves falling all over car - and stuff at the other brutally practical and concrete extreme - career future, personal future, financial difficulties, further studies, workplace politics, and workplace problems (Like my boss' irritating tendency to pick at this horrible huge wart on his neck, while insisting on about 8 or 9 rewrites of a paper in successive drafts. All of the rewrites involving spending HOURS, I swear, HOURS trying to decipher his fucking horrible handwriting and shorthand notation, which all involves sentence restructuring and virtually NO value-adding amendment).

But I guess the only adolescent hangover is that I still suffer from the one things which all humans share according to the Cherokee Indians: loneliness. The nature of what I have to deal with may have changed, but my capacity to deal with it remains fixed in the childish mindset I've been carrying around for years, it seems. So much for "maturity."

In related but practical matters, I have yet another dilemma to contend with. Currently am on tap for a job at GIC. Given that the vast majority of the readers on this blog are probably from the cultured ("cultured" in the Yakult bacteria sense of the word), Ecole Nationale d'Administration-type scholarship caste, I probably won't have to explain what the GIC is or does.

"On tap" basically means that I get to go for the interview, next week, with a strong implied chance of getting the job assuming I dress up, comb my hair, dance the dance, talk the talk, and don't vomit all over the interviewer. This is not as much of an achievement as it sounds, for a variety of reasons, some of which I'll share here.

The primary reason is that I'm just *not* sure what kind of job I'm interviewing for. Is it some lame admin or HR position? But then again, as someone once pragmatically pointed out - in your CV, people tend to see the "Goldman-Sachs" or the "Morgan Stanley", and ignore the bit that says, "Clerk" or "CEO's coffee-pourer".

Another reason is that this interview is with a very specific subset of GIC. Despite their justified notoriety as being one of the tougher scholarships to obtain (I am told), it's not very well-known that GIC is split into three separate companies - GIC RE, GIC SI, and plain old GIC. They have different investment mandates - go to and see for yourself. My interview is with GIC RE - which potentially means a *very* narrow specialization, and (to me, at least), fairly boring investment opportunity sourcing. I mean, how fun is it to do the PV of leasing cashflows for the next 20 years? The most technical thing one ends up doing, even in a front-line position, will probably be haggling over IRRs with truculent developers. On the plus side, they *do* have significant portfolios in REITs and other associate property securizations, which makes it a little more interesting. And now, having successfully bored every single reader worrying about ORD / A levels / O levels / getting laid, I shall move on.

See, I'm of two minds about taking up this job (contingent upon it being formally offered me, as compared to the current verbal handshake offer). Firstly, the logistics issues are frightening. I have to move back *down*; re-apply for a PR, get new credit cards, get new housing, (possibly) apply for a car loan, shift all my crap (ie. books + PC) down south, abandon the creature comforts I have here, and so on and so forth. The administrative difficulties are staggering. Not to mention the brutal work hours - but I'm already used to pretty brutal work hours. In fact, I work much better late at night. Another thing to worry about is that the GIC RE team comprises of either old, highly-experienced lao jiaos, or young, sprightly, over-qualified post-grads from Stanfrod types. It's bad enough being the one-eyed king in the valley of the blind, which I am in my current job, thanks to my ability to format graphs in Excel any way people want; it's even worse to be the vegetarian at the Meat-Packers' Association technical symposium.

But the opportunities are tempting too.

Firstly, I can achieve the "get out of family's house" dream I've been ranting on about at length in earlier posts.

Secondly, as I also mentioned previously - BROADBAND!

Thirdly, by all lights, GIC's still GIC, and even if the specific job scope is narrow, the prestige is still greater, and it would be good to move away from a support-centre job and into an actual business unit. An ancillary benefit of this is that the job means meeting more people, widening scope of contacts, networking, etc.

Fourthly, GIC RE's mandate is in *offshore* investment - which means I won't be sizing up HDB financing (hah!) or wondering if it's cost-effective to chop down another nature reserve for another golf course (at least not a local one. I believe in exporting one's environmental despoliation to other countries for *their* descendants to handle). Travel - now there's a tempting prospect.

Fifthly, I can lose weight! Currently am weighing in a bit too heavy at 65kg (by my semi-anorexic standards); living alone would mean eating a lot less consistently and wholesomely as I'm the person who'd rather drink a lot of milk than walk all the way down to 7-11 for a hot dog. Ergo: weight loss.

Sixthly, I might have more friends around me. But this one is tempered by the realization that these days, everyone's going to be too busy working to meet up or hang out. A sad but true fact of life.

Actually, if anyone knows of a decent place for rent or even purchase (not bloody likely, but if the price is reasonable...), please let me know. Gak. More post-tertiary education issues to contend with; like finding a house, signing a lease agreement, and not pissing off your landlord. Am looking for a plce with these factors, in order of importance

a) MRT-access - 300m or less would be perfect.
b) Reasonable rent. $400-600/month.
c) SCV; if not actual SCV, then at least cabling / port for subscription
d) Enough space for all my books and PC.
d) Freedom to smoke
e) Freedom to get quietly smashed in private (if a room).
f) Laundry would be nice.
g) Cooking would be nice as well. Willing to pay reasonable extra.
h) Freedom to bring 'hos back to my chillin' bachelor digs! (Fantasy world, but who knows? Oceans rise. Cities fall. Hope prevails. Yeah right.)
i) Reasonably near Central is nice, but I don't care if it's in Boon Lay as long as it's NEAR THE MRT.

And that's all I have to say for now, as work calls. Damn, I haven't even gotten in any serious gaming time in over a week. Am losing my edge.

Hopefully Andrew Gan [8/11/02 - edited upon request] has transferred some merchandise he purchased for me over to my sister - for some reason he seems chary of hanging on to it until December. Oh well.

A final anecdote that sums up today's climate - my colleague who just came back from leave related to us how a stentorian Indonesian customs officer took away a yellow plastic gun she had purchased for her four year old son. The good customs officer promptly went through the scientific process of assessing its lethality by simultaneously peering down the barrel and pulling the trigger, whilst my colleague's son was wailing plaintively, "That man took away my gun!". After some altercation, the deadly weapon was allowed into the country, and reportedly the weapon's owner immediately retorted, "Once he gives me back my gun then I shoot him!"

This is a pointed political analogy to the issue of Iraqi regime change, North Korean disarmament; and the general attitude of the Israeli army to the occupied territories:)

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Someone's getting snotty about language, I see:)

Here's a quote that says everything you need to know about politics and human nature:

"There would be dancing in the streets if the (Iraqi) regime fell. Half would be dancing because they are happy, the other half because that's what they are used to doing for whoever rules them.�

Tuesday, November 05, 2002


Monday, November 04, 2002

This is ridiculous. They look like they're posing for a movie.

The Last Action Heroes!

HERE COME THE MEN IN BLACK: Special undercover Indonesian police officers showcased their anti-terrorism tactics during a demonstration at the Brigade Mobile Police headquarters in Jakarta yesterday. The demonstration was held to show that the government was ready to face any terror threat.

[From 30th Oct's Straits Times]

Lively Star Control 2 Discussion Thread

They're remaking SC2 in time for the 10th Anniversary. Yes 2002 is the 10th Anniversary. Woo hoo!

Quicktime Commercial for the remake

Toys for Bob - the company set up by Paul Ford and Fred Reiche III, which is remaking it

Estimated time of release - November 2002 (At least that's what they say)

Estimated price - FREE

Open Source too.

Someone on Zhen1 Qing2:

i think there has already been 5 kidnapping cases
and they used the same good ol' cliches
mr. a broke up
then he goes to a park
then he sees a lovey dovey couple
haha quite funny

extremely heart warming eh
the people in zhenqing are always eating by the way

NB: Above person just got me into trouble. Gah.

My sources tell me Horse is in Prague now!
Human rights: A suitable target for foreign policy? Cover story The Economist April 12, 1997

"WE SET this nation up to make men free, and we did not confine our conception and purpose to America," proclaimed President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. As the century draws to a close, the Wilsonian idea that it is America's mission to promote freedom abroad retains a powerful grip in his country.

On a recent visit to China, Newt Gingrich, the speaker of the House of Representatives, told his hosts that the idea of freedom was so central to American identity that a Chinese-American relationship that did not include discussion of human rights was impossible. In such a dialogue, proclaimed the normally garrulous Mr Gingrich, "I can't speak. I have nothing to say." Yet, for all the boldness of Mr Gingrich's words, western policy on human rights is a mess.

For the past six years, the European Union has sponsored a motion censuring China at the annual session of the UN Human Rights Commission. This year, however, France and Germany have backed off, making a common EU position impossible.

In Washington meanwhile, the Clinton administration has been facing a barrage of accusations that America is sacrificing human-rights policy on the altar of trade with China. Fighting for human rights in places like Myanmar and Nigeria has become more difficult as a result.

The whole shambles will merely confirm the prejudices of sceptics who think that the very notion of linking human rights and foreign policy is mistaken (see article). "Realists" argue that the "internal affairs" of other states are not the proper business of foreigners.

that rule is broken, they say, the door is opened to all sorts of unnecessary disputes. Why argue with another country if it presents no threat to your security and is prepared to co-exist with you peacefully?

The realists also often argue that it is hubristic to try to export western ideas of freedom to places with different traditions and levels of development. Attempts to introduce western political models into poor countries have a habit of coming unstuck: look at Africa or Cambodia.

The West's own experience teaches that rights evolve over time. Universal suffrage came to Britain only in 1918. Racial segregation continued in parts of the United States until the 1960s. These are powerful arguments, but they are not ultimately convincing.

It is true that in the long run internal changes, particularly wealth and better education, tend to be the main agents and underpinnings of civil rights. But that is not to say that there is no role for external pressure.

In some places-South Africa, for one-such pressure has undoubtedly helped to bring change. The pressure need not be for wholesale reform. It is possible to object to governments torturing or silencing their citizens without asking them to adopt the American constitution in its entirety.

But why bother to object? Why should it matter to the citizens of Western Europe or America if one lot of foreigners is mistreating another lot?

For several reasons. The first is simple morality. If you hear your neighbour beating up his children, do you give a shrug and say it is none of your business? Most people think not.

Realists argue that the moral rules that apply to individuals do not apply to states, whose relations should be governed by considerations of national interest not of morality.

But countries are made up of individuals, and in democracies their wishes are meant to be reflected. Few voters would endorse the idea that their governments should completely ignore moral issues in making foreign policy.

Most tend to feel-correctly-that at some stage their own countries would be defiled by maintaining uncritical relations with an utterly barbaric government. Who would argue for normal relations with Nazi Germany?

Good for one, good for all But morality is not the only reason for putting human rights on the West's foreign-policy agenda. Self-interest also plays a part.

Political freedom tends to go hand in hand with economic freedom, which in turn tends to bring international trade and prosperity. And governments that treat their own people with tolerance and respect tend to treat their neighbours in the same way.

Dictatorships unleashed the first and second world wars, and most wars before and since. Democracies seldom, if ever, take up arms against each other. Even in more prosaic issues than those of war and peace-the observance of international agreements on trade or the environment, for instance-liberal democracies are more likely to play by the rules.

They, after all, accept the concepts of scrutiny and legal challenge. A world in which more countries respected basic human rights would be a more peaceful and orderly place.

All very well, the sceptics reply, but even with a global economy the world is not a global country with a global set of laws, a global police force to enforce them and a global judiciary to try wrongdoers. Moreover, in the real world, western democracies trade enthusiastically with countries like China and Indonesia.

They may wince at massacres in Beijing or East Timor, but they will not, in Jack Kennedy's words, "pay any price, bear any burden" to promote liberty. They will almost certainly not go to war and they are generally reluctant to disrupt trade.

The countries singled out for a bashing are often soft targets, like Myanmar, which offer few economic opportunities and have little power to hit back. Sometimes when the West claims to be acting in the interests of human rights, it is really responding to domestic pressures-such as protectionist demands against cheap competition.

It is true that there are elements of inconsistency, even hypocrisy, in the West's attempts to foster the cause of human rights round the world. So what?

That is an inevitable consequence of the fact that human rights are only one of many foreign-policy concerns. Keeping the peace and encouraging trade are also important goals.

The point is that democracies should both accept and proclaim that promoting freedom is an important aspect of foreign policy.

that objective should be pursued will depend on circumstances. Some governments are more brutal than others; some are more susceptible to pressure than others.

Depending on the egregiousness of the offence and the other interests at stake, supporting human rights may mean anything from armed intervention to a statement in parliament. The effort will not always succeed, but it is unlikely to be wholly ignored.

Nowadays autocrats are defensive, especially when they are accused of failing to respect human rights-witness China's outraged protestations every time it stands accused.

The idea of democracy, and indeed the practice, albeit often in a flawed manner, is spreading as never before. Pressure for human rights discomfits oppressors, encourages their victims and, in the long run, makes the world safer. Apply it.

I've always thought he looked like a clown.

Yaoi Girl's arms are aching from "carrying boxes of sweets and cds around".

Bah :)

I'd love to see females carrying chairs next time. Sexism is evil.

"as I ate my dinner I was gratified to find out that he had got close to the part where surely manly comradely kingly kinly and whatever other ties don't go as far, Aragorn and Boromir! Or, I have yet to see what reason you had for lying full body on top of Boromir, Mister Aragorn, Sez the Evenstar. You know, if you've watched the show.

So. Anticipation."

You. Stop thinking filthy and perverted (in all senses of the word) thoughts.

Or I'm gonna pick up Yuri just to annoy you.

Stanley's doing office work for the CID now.

I repeat: How come everyone gets all the cushy jobs?!
And the incomprehensible mystery is solved.

The mystery caller was He Who MUST Not Be Named.

Of course. How could I have been so stupid?

Perhaps I didn't know him for who he was because he didn't use any bombastic words.

And he denies that he was the one who called twice, only revealing his identity this time because he needed me to do dirty work on eBay for him.


[1st call:

Him: "Who do you know who talks like that?"

Me: Actually a lot of people]

Charles Tan Yong Chye is an IQA inspector for medical centres.

He's stayout but opts to stayin (?!)

How come everyone gets all the cushy jobs? :)
Oh this's ridiculous.

Tired of reality TV? Try the Everitt road show

THE most talked-about show in town is not playing at the Esplanade, but at an outdoor theatre in the east with a cast of amateurs and an unpredictable plot.

The Joo Chiat drama - a long-running neighbourhood war in which seven families are united against one - has become Singapore's answer to reality TV.

But the fans watch it live.

Up to 100 people a day, from as far as Malaysia, turn up at Everitt Road hoping to catch some action...

Ms Chan said laughingly to her father: 'Dad, all these people have actually been waiting for us to come home. This is so sad, they have no life!'

A young man with spiffy gelled hair called out: 'Hey, old man, we came to watch you dance. Dance leh!'

A smiling Mr Chan obliged by waltzing in his driveway with an imaginary partner for about 30 seconds or so, to the onlookers' amusement...

Video footage from the Gan's security camera catches Mr Chan dancing in his front yard.

Mr Chan said jokingly the following day: 'People have to join Star Search to become famous, but we have become instant celebrities.'...

The dispute involves a tangled web of old hurts and recent slights spanning 10 years and incorporating issues such as parking space, littering, verbal abuse, harassment and stalking...

Public interest in the case has heated up, fanned by two Mandarin documentaries aired about two weekends ago, which showed video footage taken by the Chans' neighbours.

The most talked-about clips: Ms Chan and her mother showing off their diamond jewellery and asking their neighbours: 'You have or not?'; Ms Chan saying that she dislikes poor people; Mr Chan, clad in just a pair of shorts, dancing around and shaking his bum at the camera, with his daughter singing 'Call the police'.

The footage has caused much eyebrow-raising over how a well-educated person like Ms Chan, who holds a doctorate in life sciences and teaches at a secondary school in Bedok, could behave in such an arrogant and childish manner.

Avid gamblers also became devoted fans when the Chans' car licence-plate number, 3174, came out tops in the 4-D draw on Oct 13...

Madam Cheong said: 'Last November, Ms Chan followed my eldest son to the bus stop while he was going to school for an exam and scolded him in public. My son felt so embarrassed.'

Ms Chan denied it indirectly, saying: 'They must think I am very good at multitasking. Where do I have so much time to do all that they accuse me of?'

The Chans said that after some conflict with the older Chua brother's family and the Lohs over parking space, their two cars were vandalised repeatedly - 132 scratches over two years, in fact.

They also said that the Tays had dropped cigarette butts into their backyard, burning a hole in their awning.

All three families have denied responsibility for the incidents.

The Gans' unhappiness stems from the spotlight outside the Chans' house that shines directly into one of their bedrooms. The Chans say the spotlight is for security purposes.

The families are also rankled by the name- calling dished out by the Chans, such as 'cheapskate', 'low-class' and 'bastard'.

The Chans say these were merely said tit-for-tat - in response to their neighbours' Hokkien expletives.

Both sides claim that they have video and photographic evidence of the other's wrongdoings.

[NB: This whole thing reminds me of Lin Yucheng - from the quotes to the story to the writing. LOL]

Sunday, November 03, 2002

Contrapunto Bestiale Alla Mente - Adriano Banchieri (1568-1634)

Tempo: 160

4c2 4c2 4c2 4.c2 8c2 4c2 4c2 4c2 4b1 8c2 8b1 8c2 8d2 4e2 4c2 4c2 4c2 4.c2 8d2 4c2 4d2 4d2 4d2 8b1 8a1 8b1 8c2 4d2 4c2 4c2 4c2 4.c2 8c2 4c2 4c2 4c2 4b1 2c2

I go searching for a digitised form of one of my old GP handouts and I find it, in its entirety, on the web. Wah.

Allan Bloom - "The Closing of the American Mind" - Music (1987)

"Nothing is more singular about this generation than its addiction to music...

When I first started teaching and lived in a house for gifted students. The "good" ones studied their physics and then listened to classical music. The students who did not fit so easily into the groove, some of them just vulgar and restive under the cultural tyranny, but some of them also serious, were looking for things that really responded to their needs. Almost always they responded to the beat of the newly emerging rock music...

This is the significance of rock music. I do not suggest that it has any high intellectual sources. But it has risen to its current heights in the education of the young on the ashes of classical music, and in an atmosphere in which there is no intellectual resistance to attempts to tap the rawest passions... But rock music has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal, to sexual desire-not love, not eros, but sexual desire undeveloped and untutored. It acknowledges the first emanations of children's emerging sensuality and addresses them seriously, eliciting them and legitimating them, not as little sprouts that must be carefully tended in order to grow into gorgeous flowers, but as the real thing. Rock gives children, on a silver platter, with all the industry, everything their parents always used to tell them they had to wait for until they grew up and would understand later.

Young people know that rock has the beat of sexual intercourse. That is why Ravel's Bolero is the one piece of classical music that is commonly known and liked by them. In alliance with some real art and a lot of pseudo-art, an enormous industry cultivates the taste for the orgiastic state of feeling connected with sex, providing a constant flood of fresh material for voracious appetites. Never was there an art form directed so exclusively to children.

Ministering to and according with the arousing and cathartic music, the lyrics celebrate puppy love as well as polymorphous attractions, and fortify them against traditional ridicule and shame. The words implicitly and explicitly describe bodily acts that satisfy sexual desire and treat them as its only natural and routine culmination for children who do not yet have the slightest imagination of love, marriage or family. This has a much more powerful effect than does pornography on youngsters, who have no need to watch others do grossly what they can so easily do themselves. Voyeurism is for old perverts; active sexual relations are for the young. All they need is encouragement...

These are the three great lyrical themes: sex, hate and a smarmy, hypocritical version of brotherly love. Such polluted sources issue in a muddy stream where only monsters can swim. A glance at the videos that project images on the wall of Plato's cave since MTV took it over suffices to prove this. Hitler's image recurs frequently enough in exciting contexts to give one pause. Nothing noble, sublime, profound, delicate, tasteful or even decent can find a place in such tableaux. There is room only for the intense, changing, crude and immediate, which Tocqueville warned us would be the character of democratic art, combined with a pervasiveness, importance and content beyond Tocqueville's wildest imagination.

Picture a thirteen-year-old boy sitting in the living room of his family home doing his math assignment while wearing his Walkman headphones or watching MTV. He enjoys the liberties hard won over centuries by the alliance of philosophic genius and political heroism, consecrated by the blood of martyrs; he is provided with comfort and leisure by the most productive economy ever known to mankind; science has penetrated the secrets of nature in order to provide him with the marvelous, lifelike electronic sound and image reproduction he is enjoying. And in what does progress culminate? A pubescent child whose body throbs with orgasmic rhythms; whose feelings are made articulate in hymns to the joys of onanism or the killing of parents; whose ambition is to win fame and wealth in imitating the drag-queen who makes the music. In short, life is made into a nonstop, commercially prepackaged masturbational fantasy...

The music business is peculiar only in that it caters almost exclusively to children, treating legally and naturally imperfect human beings as though they were ready to enjoy the final or complete satisfaction. It perhaps thus reveals the nature of all our entertainment and our loss of a clear view of what adulthood or maturity is, and our incapacity to conceive ends...

I believe it [rock music] ruins the imagination of young people and makes it very difficult for them to have a passionate relationship to the art and thought that are the substance of liberal education...

I suspect that the rock addiction, particularly in the absence of strong counterattractions, has an effect similar to that of drugs. The students will get over this music, or at least the exclusive passion for it. But they will do so in the same way Freud says that men accept the reality principle as something harsh, grim and essentially unattractive, a mere necessity. These students will assiduously study economics or the professions and the Michael Jackson costume will slip off to reveal a Brooks Brothers suit beneath. They will want to get ahead and live comfortably. But this life is as empty and false as the one they left behind. The choice is not between quick fixes and dull calculation. This is what liberal education is meant to show them. But as long as they have the Walkman on ' they cannot hear what the great tradition has to say. And, after its prolonged use, when they take it off, they find they are deaf."

Huihui [NB: They're coming back mid December!] just introduced me to Tom Lehrer.

Wickedly delicious ;)

National Brotherhood Week

One week of every year is designated National Brotherhood Week. This is just one of many such weeks honoring various worthy causes. One of my favorites is National Make-Fun-Of-The-Handicapped Week, which Frank Fontaine and Jerry Lewis are in charge of as you know.
During National Brotherhood Week various special events are arranged to drive home the message of brotherhood - this year, for example, on the first day of the week, Malcolm X was killed, which gives you an idea of how effective the whole thing is.
I'm sure we all agree that we ought to love one another, and I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that!
Here's a song about National Brotherhood Week.

Oh, the white folks hate the black folks,
And the black folks hate the white folks;
To hate all but the right folks
Is an old established rule.

But during National Brotherhood Week,
National Brotherhood Week,
Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark are dancing cheek to cheek.
It's fun to eulogize
The people you despise
As long as you don't let 'em in your school.

Oh, the poor folks hate the rich folks,
And the rich folks hate the poor folks.
All of my folks hate all of your folks,
It's American as apple pie.

But during National Brotherhood Week,
National Brotherhood Week,
New Yorkers love the Puerto Ricans 'cause it's very chic.
Step up and shake the hand
Of someone you can't stand,
You can tolerate him if you try!

Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
And the Catholics hate the Protestants,
And the Hindus hate the Moslems,
And everybody hates the Jews.

But during National Brotherhood Week,
National Brotherhood Week,
It's National Everyone-Smile-At-One-Another-Hood Week.
Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you.
It's only for a week, so have no fear;
Be grateful that it doesn't last all year!

More tales of prurience:

"bloody hell im feeling pretty err lusty at this moment. hahahahaha. im sorry. just hafent ogled at guys in such a long long time. haha. and have guys with sexy sexae voices bump into you and brush their fingers on your arm. hahahahahaha. im sorry i didnt mean it in such a perverted way. sorrysorry. feeling like triking that out too. hahahahahahaha. how fun. we were people watching on orchard yest. wif max and leeying. fun man. but no cute guys. wat a downer. except the oohhahh-able international sch guys!!! =]=] and the malay posers. malay guys in their "rap hiphop" getups are hot! hahaha. sorry. so are international school guyyss!!! haha. too bad la. just feeling deprived. he is like yah not exactly hot but sigh. i love him so much anyway. blardhy. haha. and that cute guy on the bus. wtf. he sat down! just when i got into a position to observe him better! lieuuu. hahah. i am sorry i sound so errrrrr slutty. nono. im not that type lehz. whoever i ogle at is forgotten once i lose sight la. im not that shallow. blardhy hell.... hahahahaha. amusedddd. oh btw i think it is true the attached guys somehow have so much more appeal. =] but of cos. tt doesnt apply in some cases! wink."
A paean:

Are you blind when you're born? Can you see in the dark?
Can you look at a king? Would you sit on his throne?
Can you say of your bite that it's worse than your bark?
Are you cock of the walk when you're walking alone?

Because Jellicles are and Jellicles do
Jellicles do and Jellicles would
Jellicles would and Jellicles can
Jellicles can and Jellicles do

When you fall on your head, do you land on your feet?
Are you tense when you sense there's a storm in the air?
Can you find your way blind when you're lost in the street?
Do you know how to go to the Heaviside Layer?

Because Jellicles can and Jellicles do
Jellicles do and Jellicles can
Jellicles can and Jellicles do
Jellicles do and Jellicles can
Jellicles can and Jellicles do

Can you ride on a broomstick to places far distant?
Familiar with candle, with book and with bell?
Were you Whittington's friend? The Pied Piper's assistant?
Have you been an alumnus of heaven or hell?

Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats

We can dive through the air like a flying trapeze
We can turn double somersaults, bounce on a tire
We can run up the wall, we can swing through the trees
We can balance on bars, we can walk on a wire

Jellicles can and Jellicles do
Jellicles can and Jellicles do
Jellicles can and Jellicles do
Jellicles can and Jellicles do

Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats

Can you sing at the same time in more than one key
Duets by Rossini and waltzes by Strauss
And can you (as cats do) begin with a C
That always triumphantly brings down the house

Jellicle cats are queen of the nights
Singing at astronomical heights
Handling pieces from the Messiah
Hallelujah, angelical choir

The mystical divinity of unashamed felinity
Round the cathedral rang "Vivat!"
Life to the everlasting cat!

Feline, fearless, faithful and true
To others who do what

Jellicles do and Jellicles can
Jellicles can and Jellicles do
Jellicle cats sing Jellicle chants
Jellicles old and Jellicles new
Jellicle song and Jellicle dance

Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats

Practical cats, dramatical cats
Pragmatical cats, fanatical cats
Oratorical cats, delphioracle cats
Skeptical cats, dispeptical cats
Romantical cats, pedantical cats
Critical cats, parasitical cats
Allegorical cats, metaphorical cats
Statistical cats and mystical cats
Political cats, hypocritical cats
Clerical cats, hysterical cats
Cynical cats, rabbinical cats

Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle bells that Jellicles ring
Jellicle sharps and Jellicle flats
Jellicle songs that Jellicles sing

Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats
Jellicle songs for Jellicle cats

There's a man over there with a look of surprise,
As much as to say, "Well now how about that!"
Do I actually see with my own very eyes
A man who's not heard of a Jellicle cat?
What's a Jellicle cat? What's a Jellicle cat?

[NB: The original Broadway lyrics have been replaced with the LONDON lyrics]

Something I don't understand.

Band with former RI, present RJC boys called "The Hotties" (Ugh). Band performs mainly Chinese Pop (eeeeee). Band is so "hot" that it performs at numerous events including:

RJC Talentime // 15th February
Solace // 16th February
RJC Friendship Week Mini Concert // 20th February
RGS PSL Carnival 2002
Oasis Competition @ Heeren
Teacher's Day Celebrations
Asianbeat 2002
HOTTIES LIVE IN CONCERT (NUS University Cultural Centre)

Arts at the Atrium (RI) 2001
RGS PSL Carnival 2001
RI Teachers Day
Nanyang Prom Night
RI Grad Night
MusicWeed // 28 Dec

Arts at the Atrium (RI) 2000
With my lame foot, my options are limited.

Heh heh I found an option in the System Configuration Utility that allows you to limit physical memory. It specifies the maximum amount of physical memory Windows 98 will use.

I'm using 100MB now. System's at a crawl, but problems seem to be gone. And Norton Diagnostics doesn't show any problems with memory.

The pain relief lotion - LMS (Methyl Salicylate Lint.) that the SAF gives smells unnervingly like that you get from Chinese medicine shops - an off-Sarsaparilla scent. And it doesn't work, too.

Hmm this guy says his jv16 Powertools' Registry Cleaner is the best on the market.

Shocking statistics! Perfidious cover ups! Diabolical concealment!

The lotion's smell must be driving me mad.
I believe some of these have been posted before :)

Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either. Leave me alone.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and a leaky tire.

It's always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's paper, that's the time to do it.

Sex is like air. It's not important unless you aren't getting any.

Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

No one is listening until you make a mistake.

Always remember you're unique. Just like everyone else.

Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.

Duct tape is like 'the force'. It has a light side & a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Don't squat with your spurs on.

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield.

Don't worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

Good judgment comes from bad experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

Timing has an awful lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your mouth is moving.

Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Never miss a good chance to shut up.

We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get worse.
Cottleston Pie

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken? I don't know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fish can't whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

-- A. A. Milne

Saturday, November 02, 2002

Grr. I got another mystery call. And I'm not sure if he's the same mystery caller of Thursday.

- He knows (of) Kairen
- He knows (of) Andrew Tan
- He knows (of) Andrew Gan
- He's ORDed.


*Sputter* Someone is very mean.

"gabriel has just introduced me to, no doubt his favourite site or something... still feel rather nauseous at the thought of army guys pouring (sic) over the photos and making lewd remarks on the message boards though"

I shall punish the aforementioned by showing her THIS.

I've been emailed by no less than Sarinee - webmaster of The Underdogs, the premier Abandonware site, regarding scanning Blood Sword!


Hmm. Who's Human Bear?

Looks like the work of some J4s :)

I know I normally diss this sort of thing, but this is a rather interesting type of test :) And it doesn't have the most irritating aspects of those dime-a-dozen quizzes, namely:

- Cut and Paste HTML code
- An irritating graphic in a table cell
- An admonition to everyone to "find out what type of Feces you are"

Your Results:
The top score on the list below represents the faith that Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in order of how much they have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.

1. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (92%)
3. Reform Judaism (86%)
4. Orthodox Quaker (83%)
5. Unitarian Universalism (81%)
6. Neo-Pagan (69%)
7. Bah�'� Faith (67%)
8. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (65%)
9. New Age (63%)
10. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (63%)
11. Islam (61%)
12. Orthodox Judaism (61%)
13. Secular Humanism (59%)
14. Mahayana Buddhism (55%)
15. Sikhism (54%)
16. Theravada Buddhism (54%)
17. Seventh Day Adventist (50%)
18. Eastern Orthodox (49%)
19. Roman Catholic (49%)
20. Jehovah's Witness (48%)
21. New Thought (47%)
22. Taoism (45%)
23. Scientology (44%)
24. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (44%)
25. Jainism (37%)
26. Nontheist (31%)
27. Hinduism (24%)

They're lowering the minimum age of marriage to 14 in Russia. Ooh - Chinese traditionalists and Muslim men rejoice!

Wednesday's forum:

"Socio-religious groups are notorious for being selective in what they take literally from their scriptures whenever it suits them.... It is time for all religions to scrutinise their doctrines and use common sense to recognise the spirit and the circumstance to which the 'laws' related to when they were scribed." Truly.

Rereading my past GP essays, I'm surprised at just how indulgent I was, and how irrelevant some paths I meandered down on were. And how much needless cynicism I injected (all for the sake of good, clean fun of course). Haha. And I've also been perusing old (and new) GP bulletins - some of the essays in them -are- indulgent at times too, but I think I took it a touch far. And some in this year's issues are actually rather limp, making me wonder how they made it into them. Jarring phrase seen in one essay: "Resplendant splendour". Grr.

There's this spastic radio ad that keeps playing on RCS stations nowadays. It is a dialogue between a Texan accented guy and someone with a REALLY strong Malay accent, about the former physically torturing the latter because he's eloping with his daughter to Singapore, and he's worried about her not being able to eat good Western food. So the Malay assures him that he'll 'take care of her' and bring her to Warner Ria Cafe at Causeway Point in Singapore where they serve "Western Food" like Buffalo wings, juicy steaks and baked potatos. Hope he doesn't make her wear a tudung!

Continuing in my "proud tradition", Julian got a day off for writing an essay about how "Who Moved My Cheese" is a waste of $19.90. And got a day off! Woo hoo! Haha.

There's this funny ad on Channel 8 for Way-Way detergent. At first, I saw loads of housewives clustered around a man and a washing machine, and a neon sign saying 'Sexist' lit up in my head. However, a few seconds later, a whole line of men appeared onscreen in white long sleeved shirts and black pants, doing a 'Las Vegas' (locked together shoulder to shoulder, while swinging their legs up in unison). Talk about post-modernism.

I got a mystery caller on my cellular line on Thursday night, but he refused to tell me who he was. And caller id didn't tell me his number too. Gah.


ouch. say no more. I think I just had my dose of exercise for the week (SMS on my partial listing of SOC obstacles)

He's a black horse (sheep) --- (Me)

[On Yaodong] Put his photo - SAFTI range. Pahm [Mimes shooting rifle]

There are a lot of bengalis who like to look like terrorists. I also don't know why.

That's just sick. You have a festering, diseased mind. (SMS on an, erm, suggestion of mine)

Friday, November 01, 2002

I was musing on why pool's so popular - half the people at e-learning're playing it.

kimberly: why's pool so popular?

someone: i think .. cause people look cool playing it

kimberly: it's so poser

someone: but you will play it, wont you, if your friends ask you to?

kimberly: erm. I've been asked
maybe at knifepoint :)

someone: get good at it
it's very rewarding

kimberly: why? how?

someone: 1. peer esteem
2. babe appeal

kimberly: riiiiiiiiiiight

does *** like pool?

someone: she's bad at it
but most girls are
Big post on Agagooga's part. Not that I mind, see, because I'm in camp, have nothing to do, am trying to avoid getting shot with "arrows" (this is an army term referring to the act of "delegating responsibility"), and have access to the internet PC in my office.

Agagooga hasn't mentioned it yet, so I thought it'd be a good idea to say that to "avoid breathing in the foul miasma", as he put it, I've been translating songs from Japanese to English as a distraction.

I can tell you, one doesn't appreciate how hard it is to translate songs from an Asian Language to English until you try it for yourself :) Although that still isn't an excuse for some of the really poor translations (In my opinion) found floating around out there on the internet. See here:
Geki! Teikoku Kagekidan

and here: Ai wa daiya


Another nice distraction is playing "Sakura Wars 3: Is Paris Burning?" I'm nearly through with it (after about 40 hours...) It's an excellent addition to the series - I like it a lot. One of the reasons why, i think, is because the battles are a lot shorter and less tedious compared to the first two games in the series - just enough to provide a pleasant change from the unfolding of the story through the series' "interactive book" approach, and yet not coming across as being a barrier to the story's progression, or character development (one of the main draws of the series). The game itself also highly refreshing because it features a whole new cast (with the exception of Oogami) - the Paris Kagekidan. My favourite character's Erica Fontaine. (Why do I tell you this? because once, a wise person said that "You can discern the personality of a person from his favourite character in a Sakura Taisen game". Well... maybe not.)

Although, admittedly, if I weren't looking up every single word / phrase I didn't understand and writing it all down, it'd be a much shorter game (i'd estimate around 20 hours or so).

I've made plans for distractions after completing Sakura Taisen 3, too - going to try to make a webpage to put up my translations on. Tentatively going to try to make it run a CGI script so people can post comments and stuff on the translations themselves. Coranto seems to be a good candidate.

Gotta keep finding distractions for myself, or I think I'll go insane in the army.
In this week's episode of "Tales From Malaysia": Some Wanita Umno (Yet another of the uncountable branches of UMNO) member called Ummi Hafilda is alleging that her rival, the pro-tem Puteri Umno head, Azalina Othman is a lesbian and thus disqualified from holding that position. For good measure, she's also labelled her a "rotten fish head".

I love Malaysia. Malaysia Boleh!

In another part of the world...

The Evil One's daughter is called Shanae. Wah.

Yaodong got first place at a swimming competition at HQ Armour's Games Day. No one clapped. On prompting from the MC, polite scattered applause was offered. Then 30 mins later, he got 'asthma' again. Maybe he shouldn't swim so hard next time.
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