"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

"Bene qui latuit, bene vixit" (One who lives well, lives unnoticed) - Ovid, Tristia


Music meme from [info]squidlet

1) Total amount of music files on your computer:

Playlist: 15.99GBs, 3894 files, 262:07:04. Average track length: 4:02

In July 2003 I had a massive HDD failure; both of my HDDs suspiciously failed within hours of each other. And I hadn't backed up my files. Happily, I took the opportunity to clear out my playlist, and now have almost every file that I wanted from my old playlist.

2) The last CD you bought was:

The Naxos historical recording of Menuhin in 1932-36 playing BWV 1041-43 and BWV 1003, Movement 3. That was when I'd just gained my freedom in June 2004. I found this CD in Melbourne's Queen Victoria Market for A$10.00. Twas cheap.

Not bought CDs since then (loss of the slave penance does hit one somewhat), but not downloaded much since then either.

3) What is the song you last listened to before you read this message?

Mozart - Flute And Harp Concerto In C Major, K299 I - Allegro

4) Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

I don't listen to music all that much, especially nowadays, but if I had to choose:

Concerto in D minor for Two Violins and Orchestra, BWV 1043 - I. Vivace from Stern's 80th birthday concert
Arrogant Worms - Carrot Juice Is Murder
Planescape Torment - Main Title
Taize - Per Crucem
Handel - Messiah - But Who May Abide The Day Of His Coming (alto, air) from the 1988 performance by Augér, von Otter, Chance, Crook, Tomlinson, and the English Concert under Pinnock

5) Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

No one. I don't like spamming people with memes. Eheheh. But go ahead and spam me. If I'm sufficiently aroused I will reply.


Singapore is a fine city

"Punishment should also await those who derail Singapore's effort to develop a gracious society.

A $200 fine should be considered for being unkind to pregnant women, the elderly or parents carrying infants on public transport.

It should be enough to make anyone on the bus or in the train jump off his or her seat on sensing a pregnant lady, a frail old man or a mother cradling her baby nearby.

For those who are not punctual for a wedding dinner or concert, a $100 fine might be appropriate. The fine will be doubled if they fail to turn up. That is for being disrespectful.

The idea is to get rid of bad habits when education and encouragement fail to do the job.

Never mind if Singapore is known as a fine city as long as it is fine - beautiful, gracious and refined."

HAHAHAHA. I suspect this article is actually a subtle parody of retarded newspaper op-eds (at least I hope it is).


Project MUSE: Englehart, Neil A. "Rights and Culture in the Asian Values Argument: The Rise and Fall of Confucian Ethics in Singapore"

Human Rights Quarterly - Volume 22, Number 2, May 2000, pp. 548-568
The Johns Hopkins University Press

I. Introduction

Cultural relativist arguments are problematic for advocates of universal human rights and democracy because a fundamental tenet of the universalist position is the need for tolerance. Universalists must advocate respect for both self-determination and democratic self-government. They can, therefore, be theoretically confounded by the paradoxical claim that some people might choose to be ruled undemocratically or voluntarily surrender certain basic rights--that they might, in Don Herzog's phrase, be "happy slaves."

Before sweating through such difficult theoretical issues, however, it is worthwhile to assess the empirical plausibility of claims to cultural uniqueness. Unfortunately, such claims are sometimes made for cynical reasons. Jack Donnelly notes, for instance, that African governments making cultural relativist arguments are often highly selective in their application, basing them on traditions that no longer exist, or selecting only those elements of [End Page 548] tradition most useful to them. Adamantia Pollis has similarly pointed to questionable uses of relativist arguments by some Asian and African regimes.

The focus of this paper is a particular version of cultural relativism that holds that Asian cultures are characterized by a set of values that includes obedience to authority, intense allegiance to groups, and a submergence of individual identity in collective identity. The conclusion often drawn from such arguments is that democracy and human rights guarantees, at least as understood in the West, are alien to Asian cultures and inappropriate for them.

My aim is to evaluate the claim that cultural factors such as "Asian Values" really do militate against democracy and human rights."

Too bad TPIOSE doesn't have a subscription.

[Addendum: 2 helpful readers have sent me this article. Thank you very much for your assistance!]


On the secret behind all those cheapskate "mind reading" tricks - the ones where they ask you to think of a number, manipulate it, jumble its digits up etc and then arcanely predict the result:

"This is yet another clever variant on a mathematical process called "casting out nines" which school kids, in the days before calculators, used to use to check for mistakes in big multiplication problems.

Casting out nines is essentially the remainder you get when you divide any number by 9. "Casting out" means to keep subtracting nine until you can't and still have a positive number. That's the same as division. Take the number 1947, for example. Dividing it by 9 gives you 216 with a remainder of 3.

But you can also get that remainder a simpler way, that is, keep adding the digits of the number until you get a single digit. That digit is the remainder you would get by casting out nines. To wit, with our example:

1+9+4+7 = 21 2 + 1 = 3

If you get 9 as the result, there was no remainder (or, if you will) the remainder is zero.

You can use this as the basis of a whole host of mathematical 'magic' tricks by embedding the process in the middle of a bunch of other manipulations, like your trick (which I admit took me a little while to figure out) to cleverly disguise it...."


David on the posters for the Engin bash:

"HARLOW??? what kind of ad concept is that? CNY-inspired? will NUS engineering students be grooving to the latest dong-dong-qiang music? will they be munching on pineapple tarts and kueh lapis, and will the "1 free drink" be a packet of Yeo's crysanthemum tea?

the engin students in the organising committee probably couldn't find a single sexy girl in their faculty (it's engin after all...) to pose for the poster, but that doesn't mean they have to use someone's kid brother! looks like they're organising a party for paedophiles!"

And on the "Race Queen" competition:

"Hot Race Queens. Pengz. Sounds like the event will be graced by a horde of transvestites from Changi Beach. (no, i've never been there. heard about it from my army friends. boy scout's honour!)"

Pictures of posters for both events are included in his blog post. Enjoy.


Family battles fatal insomnia - "Imagine what a nightmare it would be to never have a nightmare, to never again have a dream, to be banished forever from the topsy-turvy realm of sleep. Just imagine what it would be like one day to wake up and never fall asleep again, to be tortured in a twilight world of perpetual insomnia, lying in bed, exhausted but with eyes wide open, listening to the groans and whispers of the night -- sleepless, until death mercifully claims you."
This is why I advocate euthanasia.

French Criticize Music Download Crackdown - ""We denounce this repressive and disproportionate policy, whose victims are just a few scapegoats," said signatories of the campaign, led by weekly Le Nouvel Observateur in its edition published Thursday. "Like at least 8 million other French people, we also have downloaded music online and are also potential criminals," the open letter said. "We demand a stop to these ridiculous legal pursuits." Well-known artists including Manu Chao, Matthieu Chedid (M) and Yann Tiersen, score composer for the hit French film "Amelie," added their signatures to the campaign entitled "Free up music!""



[Lecturer: Did you have a good Valentine's Day?] Doing your tutorial.

[On limit pricing] Don't be hoodwin by Microsoft when they say they are pricing Windows at 200 dollars when they can price it at 2000 dollars. (hoodwinked)

I never liked to play board games... when you live in North America you have nothing to do in the winter. People invite you to their house for dinner. After dinner they take out the board games.

fyu'gee'tives (fugitives)

[Lecturer on game theory: There are many retaliation strategies] [Me:] Industrial sabotage.

Did anyone bring in any music?... I brought in some special essay-returning music. [Student: Is it sad music?]
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