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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, April 19, 2003

After a long hiatus, I present these referrals without (much) comment:

zhuang yisa - He seems popular

flat mental nude lolita photos - ???

schoolgirl pinafore boys fetish

children's disgusting song lyrics

"chinese high" secondary 4 boy died - He did?

harmful effects of instant noodles - Supposedly they make your hair drop

"the worst school uniform" - River Valley, no doubt!

donation for a place in acjc - Well.

fruit feces week "hong kong" delicacy - !!!

japanese hentai game review invisible rape sister
+hentai +"turn based" +college +sex +download - They've some strange games out there

my name is kairen and i like britney spears - He says he does. Argh.

hot girls personal homepage (main site)

rgs raffles bondage

free hamtaro porn pics - Bestiality?! Argh.

rgs ankle socks

geraldine blogspot rjc - She's popular eh.

mt sinai sluts - Surely not Henry Park. So it must be RJ again!

alma mater chio rgs

ball point pen art by malay Singapore
Amid the millions of letters on SARS, some interesting ones on animal cruelty:

No cruelty in shark harvest

NOT all sharks are threatened with extinction. In fact, only two rare species are. Also, it is not true that cruel treatment is meted out when the fins are harvested.

At the 12th Meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) held in Santiago, Chile, from Nov 3-15 last year, it was stated that sharks, by and large, are not endangered with the exception of two - the whale shark (Rhincodin typus) and basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) - included in Citses Appendix II which came into effect on Feb 13 in Singapore.

As far as our association is aware, these two species of sharks are hardly traded in Singapore. So there is no justification to raise a hue and cry about eating sharks' fin in Singapore. Sharks are often hauled in by a tuna/sword-fish fishing fleet and the normal method used by fishermen is to electrocute them with an electric rod if they are still alive before harvesting the fins and cleaning the stomach, then freezing them.

The major portion of meat is a valuable commercial product. It is stored in a huge refrigerator and is never discarded or thrown into the sea as alleged.

DANNY YIO
President
Singapore Marine and Land Products Association



Chickens suffer more than foie gras ducks

I HAVE followed with interest, but also a certain feeling of unfairness, recent letters to the Forum about foie gras (duck liver).

Ducks raised to produce duck liver (and magret, and leg confit) are over-fed (not by pump, air guns) for the last 12 days of their lives.

It is pure fantasy to describe their lives as an ordeal. Those poultry live in small farms, outside, and are treated in the best manner possible. Stress and mistreatment ruin the finished product.

The last few days of their lives are, however, not the most comfortable.

Pinpointing those ducks is extremely unfair. Comparing them to endangered species is dishonest. Naming the countries that are banning them is laughable: in those countries, millions of people eat in fast-food outlets every day.

Have you read anything about chickens, for example? They spend their 40-day short lives in a cage, they cannot move, their bones often break from sickness and weakness, they are fed with flour made of bones and unusable parts of chickens (it is called cannibalism), lowest-cost supplements and antibiotics, their beaks are cut so they do not harm themselves (tells you a lot about the mental health of the birds).

A scientist is currently proposing a genetically modified featherless chicken, easier to process. A lot more misery can be described.

We can agree that thousands of ducks have a rough time at the end of their lives. But before hitting on that industry, perhaps we should bring some attention to the billions of chickens whose short stay on earth is a constant torture.

PHILIPPE VO
Director
Classic Fine Foods Pte Ltd Singapore



All very reasonable sounding, but written by people with vested interests. I will give them the benefit of the doubt, though.


In contrast, this one pissed me off. Maybe I will finally get down to writing in:

Seeing red over new censorship proposals

I STRONGLY object to the new censorship rules proposed by the Censorship Review Committee.

Firstly, by allowing some previously banned materials or shows in, we are compromising our moral standards. This has serious implications for the values younger Singaporeans (including myself) will grow up with.

I respect the panel of academics, journalists, professionals and artists who are taking the trouble to review the censorship rules and proposing changes they see as liberating for a society like Singapore.

However, I would like to challenge the way such decisions were made. Were community groups consulted? How did the panel arrive at its proposed changes?

A society is shaped by popular culture. What kind of values are we suggesting to our young people if we allow racier shows like Sex In The City to air on television? It may have won an Emmy but the values that come across at the end of each episode are less than desireable.

I also want to question how the Censorship Review Committee is going to deal with shows that explicitly exploit images of women. I believe many shows that were censored are shows dealing with female nudity or themes relating to female sexuality.

How are we to ensure that Singaporean women's image will not be compromised by Western definitions?

Singaporean women have already been caught in so many debates regarding their sexuality. We do not need popular media to blatantly play out on a greater scale what men want to see in their fantasies.

[Name removed at the writer's request on 26/02/04]


The last mail pissed me off so much, I sent in a reply.

My sister says it's too ideological, and that I've to be more dispassionate. Everyone else says it's good, though I'm sure The Associate would have much to say!

Let's see if it's rejected, or how horribly mutilated it is if it's accepted :0

[Ed: This is the text of the letter I sent in:

'I refer to the letter "Seeing red over new censorship proposals", published in the Forum on Saturday, April 19th.

*** appears to be distressed over the proposed relaxing of censorship rules, and I am certain many Singaporeans are lamenting our declining moral standards.

However, just who defines these nebulous moral standards? Beyond certain broadly defined universal constants, like "Thou shalt not kill", "Thou shalt not lie" and the like, it is hard to find morals which all societies uphold. What is one man's meat is another man's poison - the Amish and the Taliban, for example, thought the naked ankles of women to be as immoral as most of us think the naked bosoms are. Morals change with time, too - just as most people today think both polygyny and polyandry 'immoral' and unjustified, our great grandparents would have viewed the increasingly risque beer posters with more than mild displeasure. Besides, it seems that the moral standards in Singapore, at least as far as movies are concerned, are that the mere flash of a nipple is deemed unsavoury, but it is perfectly fine for strapping males to gun down everyone in a room.

She also wonders what will happen to the young, who are vulnerable to influences. Regulators in more liberal countries have also pondered this, which is why attempts are made to restrict the young and impressionable from being influenced. For example, more explicit television shows are only permitted to be screened on television at late hours, when parents will likely be at home, parental locks are built into most televisions, and the viewing of pornography is restricted to those above 18. In any case, Singaporean youth are immsensely resourceful and curious, especially when it comes to the Internet. Does anyone have any illusions about what most young boys (and not a few young girls) laugh or giggle about during their whispered conversations? It is said that Forbidden fruit always tastes sweeter, especially to impetuous youth, so by imposing a blanket ban on everything some of us consider "undesirable", we are actually increasing their appeal. At the end of the day, it is up to parents to teach their children about the birds and the bees, but sadly most do not, leading them to seek out alternative sources and be "corrupted" (if you like).

Lastly, she is concerned about the image of women. However, the very show she reviles, Sex and the City, is about female empowerment. These women do not depend on men like Ally McBeal, but are financially and emotionally independent. Whatever men can do, they can do better.

Censorship in Singapore is justified by claiming that it reflects the views of a majority of Singaporeans. What if a majority of Singaporeans got it into their heads that bandanas should be banned as they are unsanitary? Would Singapore then outlaw it? I think not, for why should the majority be allowed to impinge on the freedom of a minority when the minority is not causing any trouble for others?

John Stuart Mill famously pronounced that, "Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign". The idea of censorship - of stopping mature adults from being exposed to new ideas because it's "not good for them" or society "disapproves", smacks of unreasoned, unjustified repression, and shows that the Powers That Be do not trust their own citizens, and condescend to blindfold them. Censors can not and should not be babysitters for mature adults. Besides, there is the problem of enforcement - does anybody doubt the availability of obscene VCDs in Singapore today? For a sobering lesson on the unfeasibility of puritanism, just look at the disaster that was Prohibition in the 1920s.

Simply, if you're offended by something, you can choose not to view it. Just as nobody is forcing you to watch the latest R(A) movie, nobody will be forcing you to watch 'Sex and the City' if you do not want to. If we can restrict the consumption of currently censored material to adults above 18 and keep its advertising subtle, as with R(A) movies presently, there is simply no reason why mature adults should be restricted from watching what they want. Ultimately, we cannot and should not try to impose our subjective "moral standards" on other people, for as the Golden Rule says - "Do not do unto others what you would not have others do unto you". Sadly, I do not think that Singaporeans are mature enough to accept greater freedom, so we will continue to have to let the vocal minority dictate what we should be able to watch. Nevertheless, I applaud the newly proposed guidelines on censorship, as they are a step forward in the right direction for a maturing nation.'

Added 26/02/04]
So the time to change my blogskin has come.

Most skins on Blogskins.com suck. They're either too gaudy (maystar's skins), too garish, too similar looking, too bloated, or all of the above.

I like simplicity in itself, and so it has become the new skin :)
One night, we were in the bunk when Mark came from next door and flicked a large grasshopper into our bunk with a piece of newspaper. I was inclined to kill it, but the rest (with the strange affection for animals that takes most males when they aren't torturing them) were disinclined, so Jason whisked it out of the door. I then took a broom and swept it - under the door of Mark's bunk - and scurried back to our bunk giggling. A while later, Mark came back with the grasshopper on the piece of newspaper, but we shouted at him not to do anything. He then went to the drivers' bunk and flicked it into there, then ran back to his bunk. I was going to go help them remove the grasshopper from their bunk, but the lights were off. The next day, we saw the giant grasshopper perched on the ceiling outside the drivers' bunk.

I've decided that those people who call me "Jiabao" will get one of a variety of unsavoury names, like "George", "Cesspit" and the like. Time to put this plan into action!

Since our bedsheets and pillowcases are being counted, we've brought in our own. It feels more like home now :)

I've printed out and scanned in some of the products of people's boredom when they are in the Treatment Room. Like that of Ah Beng carrying the stereo (someone pointed out that no one carries stereos around, and someone else said mats do that because it is cheaper and it looks "cool". Heh. I think they carry them so they can put then on the floor and breakdance!) And that of me (which looks horrible). Enjoy :) People's skills at Paintbrush (Windows 3.1 version) steadily increase with practice, and we daily discover things we never knew Paintbrush could do. A pity almost no one recognised the significance of the Zerowing dialogue, though.

I finally got down to writing "Sucks Bigtime" under the word "Army" printed in bold on one of my Army singlets. Yeh.

In one room, I found "Osama" brand 5m power tape (meauring tape). Wth?!

Yong Siang thought that Asian Prince was the same as Amy Jo Johnson, since both of them feature on my cupboard. Gah!!!

Ban Xiong has an amazing appetite for Crystal Jade's Xiaolongbao. Even I would eat only two, but he ordered 2 baskets on tuesday, so we each had 4. They are nice, though, as is the la mian :)

Apparently sometimes Kiong goes home to sleep on his nights off. Wah.

Someone wrote in to the forum to suggest that, during the SARS epidemic, SAF servicemen get stayout. Fine idea!

To save money, manpower and time, we now get food on weekends from the Muslim cookhouse. Dammit, I hate Malay food!

People love to keep the television on in the bunk, even when no one is watching it, a fact I discovered when I turned it off one night, to howls of protest. Apparently they have been weaned on a diet of background noise, and are unable to enjoy the Sound of Silence.

We had our first company run where we had to sing - ugh. Well, I was covering, but still, the noise brought back bad memories.

There was this colourful newsletter with absolutely no sensitive material in it at all pinned on a noticeboard, but it was rated "restricted". Wth.

Our 42SAR canteen's food stall - "All Ranks Canteen", has closed. I got a tip off from the mua chee man at 46SAR one day, and he said that they'd closed as they couldn'tp ay the rent. Later, I asked the people drinks stall, and they said that the people at the food stall had said they were going to "rest", and that they weren't allowed to sell any food. A few days later, while having a haircut, I asked the barber, who was quite close to the people at the food stall, and he corroborated what the mua chee man said. They indeed couldn't make any money. Feeling a little sorry for him (he had helped the food stall wash dishes for food, apparently), I gave him $2 this time (and besides, he did put in some effort this time round). The people at "All Ranks Canteen" might not have cooked very good food, but it *was* an additional place to go to, especially if, as it did once, the cookhouse cooked laksa (and only laksa) for dinner, and they were quite nice too, letting people buy food on credit. The auntie never did manage to con me into buying 3 chicken wings for $2 at 4pm, though, despire numerous efforts.


I saw a perfect birthday present for Wang. He's going to get it next week. Heh heh heh.


Things you learn: Beethoven's Ode to Joy is the European Union's official anthem.

The 'House of Humour' in Jurong Point has no humourous stuff, only screwed up stuff. What a misleading name!

I saw Lu Rui En [Ed: For the uninitiated, she is the ex-RJ student 1 year my senior who featured in the Singtel pod ad who meets a guy in a club and gives him her number, and has now forayed into Chinese pop] in 'Life!' one day and the thought struck me: Definitely A03! Kai says I'm right :)

I find it very interesting how well the mythologies and philosophies of Taoism (and attendent Chinese religions) and Buddhism blend. In Chinese myth and folklore, you can find the Jade Emperor and the Buddha co-existing cheek by jowl, and this is accepted without dissent by adherents of traditional Chinese religions.


Quotes:

screening roaster (roster)

[Forum letter on SARS and the Iraq war] During breaks, I turn on the television to relax for a while, only to find even more depressing and stressful news.

[On the TV show Duke of Mount Deer 2000 aka Lu4 Ding3 Ji4] All the girls will become his wives... [Someone: All the girls acting for more than 5 minutes will become his wives]

[On the phone while on weekend duty] Hello. Duty clerk here. How's your dinner? Na beh.

[To someone else] Wah your lan jiao [is] very smelly

[On someone] He's really not a bad person, except that he's bald

[On Hot Socks] Come to think of it, I've never seen any JC girls wear normal socks
Everyone tells me that the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the Community Chest are filthy rich.

I don't know about the latter, but the former displays its wealth ostentatiously - apparently its premises are lavishly decorated, the temps are paid generously, and you can just see all the publicity they manage to drum up - even producing television shows. One wonders why so much cash and publicity is thrown at the NKF. In 2000, 81.1% of all deaths in Singapore were caused by (in descending order) Cancer, Ischaemic & Other Heart Diseases, Pneumonia, Cerebrovascular Disease (Stroke) and Injuries. (Source: http://www.moh.gov.sg/hfacts/hfacts-gen-pcd.html). As far as I know, kidney failure contributes little or nothing towards the progression of these diseases. I smell a massive misallocation of resources. Where does all the NKF money go to besides organising charity shows with expensive prizes (the top prize this time is $188,000 according to a leaflet I got)? And it's not like they don't have sponsors. I'm told that dialysis is expensive, so I did some research.

http://asp.grameen.com/kidneybangla/Dialysis.htm
Haemodialysis/Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD)
The cost of haemodialysis is very high. Patient is dependent on machine for their life. The cost of dialysis per patient per year is approximately Tk. (Taka) 2,50,000.00/- (7,640.42 SGD). CAPD costs about as much.

COST OF IPD
INTERMITTENT PERITONEAL DIALYSIS (IPD)
The cost of single IPD is approximately TK. (Taka) 7500.00/- only (Ed: 229.213 SGD Singapore Dollars) . In IPGMR this form of treatment is being offered free of cost.

http://www.sangstat.com/resource/solid_cost.asp
The cost of dialysis is US$45,000 to US$50,000 per year.

http://www.acponline.org/journals/annals/01aug97/aggressv.htm
For survivors who remained dialysis-dependent, we estimated outpatient costs of long-term dialysis as follows. In a comprehensive cost analysis comparing the costs of dialysis with the costs of transplantation, we estimated the total annual cost of dialysis to be $32 800 in 1989 dollars ($46 322 in 1994 dollars) (17). Because 41% of those costs were for inpatient care, we subtracted 41% from this figure to avoid double counting inpatient hospital costs. Therefore, we assumed that the annual outpatient cost would be $27 330 for survivors who required long-term dialysis.

I've no idea how much NKF charges its patients, and how much their costs are, as this information is suspiciously missing from its website, but you can access its balance sheet here: http://www.nkfs.org/finance/index.html. I wonder if anyone did a rigorous cost-benefit analysis of how this money is spent.

Counter points raised by others:

1. Maybe a reason not that many people die of kidney failure is that the NKF's efforts work.
2. Just because not that many people die from kidney failure doesn't mean that NKF is wastin money. Say there are 100 people with kidney failure and 1000 people with potential strokes: The money could just as well be channelled to helping the 100 people with kidney failure or 100 people out of the 1000 who have potential strokes
3. Just because you dun don't die from it doesn't mean it's not worth helping. [Ed: Yes, but shouldn't saving lives be a higher priority?]
4. Maybe the fact that money goes to NKF is because death from kidney failure is actually preventable. While most people who get strokes/heart attacks just fall down and die without warning


Only 57% of people polled recently disapproved of the selling of Playboy in Singapore. I'm pleasantly surprised, if still a little disappointed at Singaporeans' conservatism and prudishness. They're still not willing to trust each other as responsible adults, and get a perverse sense of satisfaction by imposing their odd moral notions on others.

The logic we have seems to be that if a majority of society disapproves of something, it should not be allowed. So hypothetically, if 57% of Singaporeans thought Islam should be banned, would it? Surely not. More likely, the ministers would flock to lament the lack of religious tolerance.

Strange that few lament the lack of emotional and social maturity.


The qigong guy (I assume it's the same as the previous one since the ad is similar) is advertising again! He's inviting people to hit his body parts at 3pm on Sunday, 3rd April at Geylang and he will use his "qi" to repel them and protect himself.

"Nam Wah Pai Qigong Demo"

"Have you ever seen a person attacked not move and yet his attacker is thrown off some distance away? (macrocosmic Energy Movement)"

"See the Master using his "Qi" energy to repel 8 strong men charging at him"

Wah. Sounds funky. I also want to learn how to harness cosmic energy.


I wonder why the TV show Duke of Mount Deer 2000 aka Lu4 Ding3 Ji4, currently showing on Channel U, is so popular. Maybe it's because all males want to have 7 wives :) A selection of pictures follows:



Group photo in the palace (ignore the nun)



All sitting on a wooden jetty dressed as tribeswomen



Mugshots



The one they killed off because Shu Qi was too expensive
Excellent article (though in a more secularised society like Singapore's, there's really nothing to come out of):

Coming Out - Atheism: The Other Closet

"The religious right have engaged an a war of words and slander against their greatest enemy: the logic and common sense of atheism. The Bible goes so far as to forbid contact with atheists (2 Corinthians 6:14), thereby stemming debate and preventing the incursion of logical, non-religious ideas entering the flock... Only a small portion of atheists are open (out of the closet) about their atheism, and as a result we are viewed as a much smaller percentage of the population than we really are. In other words, the legislators are paying less attention to us than they should. In still other words, the Christian Right are winning.

To me, one of the best components of atheism is the freedom of thought and mind. Prejudice against people of other sexes, races, or sexual preferences is rare, because most of such prejudice is religion-based and completely illogical. We argue with each other, thrive on debate, and feel like we're better people after we've been proven wrong. We do good because it's the right thing to do, not out of a selfish fear of eternal damnation or a need to "win points" with a deity... Since we are bound only by our disbelief, there are atheists with differing views on every political, economic, and social issue. I view this as a benefit which should serve as a model from which the rest of the world could learn. Atheists are united in diversity. We are moral, we are ethical, and we're tired of being defamed and maligned for our disbelief. Sound familiar?

The fact is, that there is nothing shameful about atheism. Rather, it should be viewed as a major accomplishment. Most people stick with the religion in which they were raised, never thinking or examining the reasons why. Those that switch religions (or sects of a particular religion) often never truly question the belief in a god. Those that do should be proud that they have searched and reached an educated conclusion, and so should you.

As an atheist, you have broken out of the cycle of doing what you're told because someone says God says so. You think for yourself, you are self reliant, and you are responsible for your own actions and decisions. Showing yourself is your next great decision.

Coming Out - Doing it.

Ok, so now you've decided/realized that you're an atheist, and you're about to tell the people you know about it. Exactly how is it done?

There are three simple rules to follow when coming out as an atheist, which I've found to be quite helpful.

1. Be confident. Don't come out by saying "I'm thinking that I'm having some doubts about religion." This will only invite people to try to "save you before it's too late." When you tell people, state it with no uncertain terms, in the present tense, and make sure to convey that you've come to an educated decision. Try something like "after a lot of soul searching and talking to a lot of people, I've decided to give up on religion" or "I've been an atheist for some time now, so I won't be going to church with you anymore."

Smile, be confident, and proud. This is an accomplishment not a shame. This is a good thing you want to share with your loved ones. If you convey this attitude, the people you are telling may receive these signals, which may make the situation go a little easier.

2. Be Compassionate. Yes, YOU be compassionate to THEM. Understand that the people you tell love you, and actually believe in God and their preachers' teachings. They are victims - just as you are - of the lies and falsehoods told by religious organizations, the only difference being they actually may believe those lies. They may express their emotions as anger, but a little education and steadfastness mixed with understanding may allow them to get over that hump quickly.

Make sure you tell your parents that they succeeded (instead of failed) in raising you as a person who makes his/her own decisions and does not follow blindly. They did a good job. Tell them you're happy, and, at the end, let it slip in that this is your decision and that they have no reason to be hurt or to judge you, and that you're grateful for their acceptance and love.

3. Hope for the Best, but prepare for the worst. The best is obviously "I'm an atheist too" or "so what" but don't count on it. As I said earlier, friends are easier than anyone else, and are less likely to reject you because of you atheism. I've lost potential friendships because of it, but never an established friend (even the most pious ones). However, be prepared for all the standard questions from "you're going to Hell" to "does this mean you pray to Satan" to "How could you do this to me?" from loved ones and family members.

The best defense for this is to have answers for questions at the ready. You know your people better than anyone, and are best suited for guessing what those questions might be. Below are some frequently-used statements and some suggested counterpoints for your reference:

* "Atheists have no morals, since they don't believe in God" - What a sad world it is when people can seriously say that humans need to fear eternal damnation in order to do good.

Humans have the idea of right and wrong imbedded in them by their own brains, as well as their upbringing and society. Atheists do good, not out of fear of reprisal, but because it's the right thing to do. We value family, society, culture, and, of course, freedom. Many of us will - and have - defend these values with our lives.

Examples:

o Slavery was not only acceptable 200 years ago, it was considered a good deed by many, and defended using the bible. The bible was also used to justify the Holocaust, the Crusades, and the Spanish Inquisition. This shows that the bible can be used to defend even the most immoral and unethical ideals, and is therefore not an adequate yardstick to measure moral or ethical behavior.

o Mention bad religious people. Remember that Hitler was a Catholic, and that Jeffrey Dahmer said grace before he ate his victims. Mention also that one need only open a newspaper to find yet another story about allegations against priests for sexual misconduct, often with children. Don't forget our good friends Jim Bakker (who swindled millions from his flock) and Jimmy Swaggart (asked for forgiveness only after being caught using prostitutes).

o Always couple these statements with the fact that, while atheists make up 8-10% of the population at large, we only make up 1% of the population in prison. I mean, think of it, what if 8-10% of the population (on top of all the religious criminals) decided it was OK to steal, rape, and murder? We'd have chaos! These will serve to prove that religion and ethical behavior are not even slightly related.

* "Atheists believe in evolution, but that doesn't answer as many questions as creationism"- Atheism is not a scientific theory, rather a lack of religion. We do believe in science, and that all questions will eventually be answered with science if they are not answered today, but we readily admit that not all answers are known to us right now. That is no reason, however, for inventing a fictional god to whom to give credit, especially when all it does is create more questions. Science has done well so far, giving theories regarding evolution, geological movement, and the Big Bang, all supported by evidence, but not necessarily endorsed by all atheists.

* "Atheists cannot know there is no God, since you cannot prove he doesn't exist" - Again, this is a two sided coin, but the theists are loathe to admit the other side. Atheists don't need to prove the non-existence of God, any more we need to prove the nonexistence of Zeus or Santa Claus. Can theists prove God over any alternatives? Of course not. Nobody can prove God exists, yet they will stand on their heads saying they're sure. Well, if they can be sure despite evidence to the contrary, we can be sure in light of evidence in support of atheism.

* "Atheists seek to remove religion from society, and to force all people to be atheists" - Absolutely wrong. We seek only the freedom for people to make their choice on their own, free of intervention from the government or public school system. We seek the freedom not to support religion through taxes, forced participation, or special privileges of any kind. That being said, your thoughts are your rights, and none of our business. Wear your jewelry, celebrate your holidays, and pray in your house, church, or in public if you like. Just don't force your religion on other people. That's what we're all about.

* "Atheists are so closed-minded, they can't see that miracles happen every day!" - Some people look for miracles where none exist (they never do). Allow me to put things in perspective: Someone's cancer going into remission is no miracle, but we can talk when disease suddenly disappears from the face of the earth overnight without help from medical science. Food getting through to a hungry village: human perseverance. Starvation vanishing from earth without a reason overnight: Miracle. One more time: A child is born - science; The spontaneous end of birth defects - Miracle. Got it?

Note: only good things are miracles, so volcanoes, tornadoes, and hurricanes don't count. Just for good measure, I also wanted to list some good questions to have as support for your reasoning to be an atheist. NOTE: These may start or worsen a fight, and are to be used sparingly. They are dangerous questions which can only be answered with "the lord works in mysterious ways" or the like. You also might get the old "you're asking questions about God, so you must believe in Him" speech. This is easily countered by saying that it's easier to prove the bible wrong using the bible itself, and that your arguments do not constitute an acknowledgement of God's existence any more than a discussion about Greek mythology would prove a belief in Zeus.

Use these only when you are sure of a congenial discussion, and be prepared to agree to disagree.

* If God is all-powerful, why did he take 6 days to create the universe, resting on the 7th? Why didn't he just snap his proverbial fingers and create everything all at once, and not need rest afterwards? Doesn't sound so all-powerful to me.

* If God knows the future, why does he make mistakes? He should have known he would regret the flood, and that Sodom and Gomora would be full of sinners, etc.

* Why does God need to be "served", and why can't we do it from heaven?

* Yes, we have free will, but God already knows who will sin, who will accept Him, etc, for all eternity (since he has perfect knowledge of the future). Why then, are we here? Why not just send our souls to Heaven or Hell, depending on what he knows we'll do?

* Why does God care if he is praised? He is this all-knowing, super being, why does he care if we mere humans give him credit for creating the universe?

* How can you justify the fact that this merciful, loving god is sending all non-Christians to Hell, no matter how good they are? Even those from before Christ was born went to hell. However, terrible people, including Hitler and Jeffrey Dahmer, could go to Heaven if they repented before death.

* Why does this wonderful, forgiving God hold Adam's sin over all our heads? Why must we all pay for this by being permanent sinners? If God was so pissed, why didn't he just kill Adam and Eve and start over? Again, this is God's choice, so they're going to have to explain why God CHOOSES to hold this incredible grudge.

* Where did God come from? How did he get created? Why is it a valid argument to say that He "always existed", but an invalid argument to say the same thing about matter and energy?

Once you've both agreed to disagree, you've successfully outed yourself to that person. Avoid that awkward post discussion silence, making sure the discussion has completed, and not that the person to whom you are speaking is searching for words to continue. The best thing to do is change the subject to something positive, smile, and get on with your relationship with this person. S/he may need some time to adapt, but it will be made easier if you be yourself and show your happiness at being free of the closet.

Be a proud, open, honest atheist, not another closeted victim of the Christian Right."
Not your everyday Teh Tarik Man



PRIZE-WINNING AGILITY: Norazlin performing his way to the RM10,000 first prize. He combined martial arts moves with his teh tarik skills, which included somersaulting while holding a full mug of tea and balancing on one leg atop a ladder.

As I always have chanted : Malaysia Boleh!
From He Who Must Not Be Named:

"In Speech, Bush Calls Iraq, Iran and North Korea 'Axis of Evil" -- N.Y. Times, 1/30/02

ANGERED BY SNUBBING, LIBYA, CHINA SYRIA FORM AXIS OF JUST AS EVIL Cuba, Sudan, Serbia Form Axis of Somewhat Evil; Other Nations Start Own Clubs

Beijing (SatireWire.com) � Bitter after being snubbed for membership in the "Axis of Evil," Libya, China, and Syria today announced they had formed the "Axis of Just as Evil," which they said would be way eviler than that stupid Iran-Iraq-North Korea axis President Bush warned of his State of the Union address.

Axis of Evil members, however, immediately dismissed the new axis as having, for starters, a really dumb name. "Right. They are Just as Evil... in their dreams!" declared North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "Everybody knows we're the best evils... best at being evil... we're the best."

Diplomats from Syria denied they were jealous over being excluded, although they conceded they did ask if they could join the Axis of Evil.

"They told us it was full," said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"An Axis can't have more than three countries," explained Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "This is not my rule, it's tradition. In World War II you had Germany, Italy, and Japan in the evil Axis. So you can only have three. And a secret handshake. Ours is wicked cool."

THE AXIS PANDEMIC

International reaction to Bush's Axis of Evil declaration was swift, as within minutes, France surrendered.

Elsewhere, peer-conscious nations rushed to gain triumvirate status in what became a game of geopolitical chairs. Cuba, Sudan, and Serbia said they had formed the Axis of Somewhat Evil, forcing Somalia to join with Uganda and Myanmar in the Axis of Occasionally Evil, while Bulgaria, Indonesia and Russia established the Axis of Not So Much Evil Really As Just Generally Disagreeable.

With the criteria suddenly expanded and all the desirable clubs filling up, Sierra Leone, El Salvador, and Rwanda applied to be called the Axis of Countries That Aren't the Worst But Certainly Won't Be Asked to Host the Olympics; Canada, Mexico, and Australia formed the Axis of Nations That Are Actually Quite Nice But Secretly Have Nasty Thoughts About America, while Spain, Scotland, and New Zealand established the Axis of Countries That Sometimes Ask Sheep to Wear Lipstick.

"That's not a threat, really, just something we like to do," said Scottish Executive First Minister Jack McConnell.

While wondering if the other nations of the world weren't perhaps making fun of him, a cautious Bush granted approval for most axes, although he rejected the establishment of the Axis of Countries Whose Names End in "Guay," accusing one of its members of filing a false application. Officials from Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chadguay denied the charges.

Israel, meanwhile, insisted it didn't want to join any Axis, but privately, world leaders said that's only because no one asked them.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

I seem to be getting not a few commenters from Melbourne University.

Andrew's friends? :)

Sunday, April 13, 2003

We were cleaning the toilet one morning when Jason got into one of his moods, and started pulling my singlet and singing a Chinese love song. I then threatened to serenade him with madrigals :) I also saw Melvin cleaning the shower cubicles with the toilet bowl scrub - eeeeew. "What they don't know won't hurt them." Grr. While cleaning, I was also pondering why most people dislike toilet cleaning. Granted: It's wet and dirty, but it's much easier and faster than bunk cleaning. Of course, nothing beats the smoking point.

There was one night where they tried to pin down and stip Yong Siang 4 times, but didn't succeed even on the fourth try, with my semi-complicity. I'll put it down to bad teamwork.

On Tuesday, we had an outing to watch 'The Core' at Jurong Point. We managed to catch the shuttle bus, and Yaodong was on it! Only when we got to Jurong Point, he was still sleeping, and no one bothered to wake him up. We, being the last ones to get off the bus, crept off carefully so as not to disturb his slumber, and in the end the bus driver had to shout him awake. Oh well. A few days later, someone was telling me how he came in one night on a stretcher, but miraculously got up in the ambulance to talk to the medic and remove his mask, only to fall into a coma again once the ambulance reached Tengah Medical Centre, waking up again when the ambulance left for NUH and then falling into a coma again when they reached NUH. Why does he do all this, I wonder? Doesn't he realise it only makes people hate him?

We had to clean the very dirty fans in our bunk, and one was directly above Yong Siang's bed. Even after I had put sheets of old newspaper on his bed, though, some of the dirt fell onto it, leaving black marks on the bedsheet and the others were saying that Yong Siang would kill me when he came back. After some consideration, I had a brainwave, and took one of many packets of SAF powder in one wooden shoe cupboard and sprinkled and rubbed powder onto the black spots, reasoning that this would make the black marks invisible. However, there were now obvious patches of cream on the white bedsheet, like it'd gotten vitiligo, so I proceeded to dump the whole packet of powder onto the bed so the splotches weren't obvious. Yong Siang loves powder anyway, so this wouldn't have been a problem for him. Later that night, Boon Huat came back and seeing Yong Siang's bed unoccupied, he took it with glee, it being the best bed due to its location directly under the fan. Since by then the lights were off and we were all sleeping, he didn't see the condition of the bed, so when he sat on it, *poof* went the powder. The next morning, when I awoke, there was a thick layer of powder on my wooden cabinet - Boon Huat had hit most of the powder from the bed, and much had gone onto my wooden cabinet.

The Printol company, Coventry Chemicals, hasn't produced any Printol for a while, apparently because they ran out of some ingredients, so we now have 'Sudol'. It is made by them too and comes in the same container, but it sucks. It has more than twice the concentration, is "toxic" rather than corrosive, and smells like sewage in concentrated form (at least Printol smells sorta nice and clean). The smell was so bad that after mopping the floor with it, I felt like fainting. :(

I did someone a favour by exchanging duties with him, taking Friday even though this week had a long weekend, since he said he had something to do. That was okay, but somehow, my company got an early release on Friday and fell out at 12pm, while the Medics left at 3 plus. Argh argh argh. Just my luck.

One poor guy reported sick for footrot but we had trouble getting his temperature, so I had to take his rectal temperature :( Luckily, it wasn't as traumatising (both for me and him) as I'd thought it would be.

Melvin dug up the old bottle of air freshener, so we tried to do the party trick of using it as a flamethrower. When we tried, however, the gas wouldn't light. "Non-flammable". Gah.

People love to play with the Treatment Room Screen Saver (but oddly, none other), mostly by inserting "Jiabao" into the Marquee text, so I went to move and rename the marquee file. Muahaha. I am 1337.

I was trying to recall the Seven Wonders of the World according to Herodotus, with Choo and Andrew, and dammit I could only remember six. The Pyramids were a no-brainer (though apparently it's only Khufu's which is the wonder), the Hanging Gardens of Babylon came easily, as did the Temple of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus (though I remembered it as the Mausoleum *of* Halicarnassus), the Colossus of Rhodes and the Lighthouse of Pharos in Alexandria. However hard I tried, though, I couldn't remember The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Damn. I'm really losing my touch.

I finally went to ask one Corporal playing CS in the old E-learning centre how one could get to do that. Apparently one must be from the School of Armour to draw the key :( I thought the place belonged to the whole camp!


Even though we're out of BMT, we still have to obey commands as if we're dogs - "Up!", "Sit!" and the like. Nay, even dogs are better treated - they don't have to knock it down, and they get doggie biscuits when they obey. For us, we just have to move the moment we hear the barked commands - which is practically everyday. In fact, even in BMT it wasn't that bad - at most they'd do a sit-stand combo when we were slow. Sad indeed it is in the Army, when sadism masquerades as enforcing discipline, and regimentation is implemented for regimentation's sake.

I think, apart from off days and long weekends, a new type of off should be introduced - stay out. This will fill the last hole in the compensation of servicemen, and can be a minor reward. Current SOP personnel - too bad,

AETC is getting 6 days off per week of duty at Jurong Island. And Lenny had the nerve to complain!


More unhealthy ads: Slimming Sanctuary - "How do I measure my success? Inch by inch!" This is bad. Females will then take the size of their waistlines as a proxy for other measures of self-worth.

Chua Lee Hoong was bashed in the forum for her column, "Me? I'd rather save the money on". Aww. Personally, I find her columns less irritating - both in style and content - and one-sided nowadays, but they're still irksome most of the time.

Osim is advertising for a 'super dry steam cleaner'. Wth. How can steam be dry? Especially when it condenses.

Some Arabs were unhappy that the Iraqis didn't resist the 'coalition' (of but 2 major nations and 2 token ones). One even said that "I spit on them". Right. *They * weren't the ones who had to live under Saddam. And for all the hooha about the un-balanced coverage of American TV, Arab channels didn't show the scenes of jubilation in the country when Baghdad fell. Meanwhile, no one cares about the Congolese and they are relegated to a footnote in the news (if indeed, they are mentioned at all with SARS and Iraq and all)

A camp mate has seen the joys of Phoenix. Muaha (though I still prefer Mozilla). And some camp mates I showed the Happy Tree Friends too said it was "e3 xin1". Hehe.


In the lift with a woman and her two children:

Woman: Let gor gor go out first
Girl: Uncle lah, what gor gor

Gah! I'm not that old, am I?


Quotes:

I will integrate him later (interrogate)

I can't stand it when you call him 'Thunder Thighs'. It's so funny

[On my stomach] It's the 'no support' pillow. My head keeps sinking in

I'm very willing to receive arrows. You ask me, I won't reject you one (If you, you)

[On me] Ta1 xiao3 shi2 hou4 bu4 hui4 fei2 [Translation: When he was young, he wasn't fat] [Me: How do you know?] I went to your website [Me: Aiyah]

go for canteen break at the irreverent timings (breaks, irregular)

[Me: What do you think of our cookhouse?] Fucked up! [Me: Do you eat breakfast [there]?] No. [Me: Do you eat lunch [there]?] No. [Me: Do you eat dinner [there]?] Sometimes.

I want a PDA. Help me indent [one].

[On Carex Condoms] Zhe4 ge4 ni3 outfield yong4 de4 [Translation: You use these outfield] (!!!)

[Leans close to me] Let me give you a kiss, man. *muak* *muak* *muak* [Sees no reaction from me] You're a homosexual, man. You're a homosexual. [Me: Your breath stinks]

Suppose you tell your PC: I play 'Neopets'. Your PC is Lin Yucheng. 'Very good, very good. Have you heard of this program? Hunter-seeker?... Recommend you for OCS.'
Can your girlfriend do this?
Damn.

Someone beat me to spoofing God's Billboards.

Here are two of my own - the first 2 being tongue-in-cheek and the latter having more of a mentally provocative bent. Unfortunately, it's hard to evoke certain concepts (some meta-physical in nature) succinctly so I don't think I'll be able to make any to spark people into thinking about the meaning of life.







Arguably the most demeaning, denigrating and plain disgusting bust enhancement ad I've seen in the Straits Times.

Boycott PrettiSlim's PrettiBosom!
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