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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, May 21, 2005

I handed in my AMS thesis!!!!! FINALLY!!!!
"Some things have to be believed to be seen." - Ralph Hodgson, on ESP

Random playlist song: De Organographia - Music of the Ancient Greeks - Christian hymn, Anonymous 300ad

***

I just purchased the Tasks of Tantalon, the Casket of Souls and the Skull of Agarash for an undisclosed sum of money.

I was offered the Fighting Fantasy poster book for a sum almost equivalent to what I forked out for those 3, but decided I was not willing to shell out so much for 16 A3-sized posters of gamebook covers.

***

T-minus: Just under 3 hours

I will be roaming around Northeast USA from 21 May to 4th June. Some planned stops include the Smithsonian and Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream factory in Vermont.

I may not actually spend any time in New York since parking (along with everything else) is expensive. Unfortunate, since most memories of my 1994 trip (inclusive of the Empire State, Statue of Liberty, the UN and the Cloisters) have been wiped from my mind, so horrific was that experience, having all the ingredients of the archetypical Singaporean tour: (bad) Chinese food all the way, noisy Singaporeans chattering away in Chinese and a horribly packed schedule, resulting in many stops becoming little more than quick photo opportunities - zoom, click, thank you Smithsonian!

Oh well, none of the shows on Broadway really jump out at me (I'm open to recommendations). Miss unearthly high bills for 2 people for 2 weeks (ask her for how much exactly) recommends 'Wicked' ('Long before Dorothy drops in, two girls meet in the land of Oz. One, born with emerald-green skin, is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. Wicked tells the story of their remarkable odyssey and how these two unlikely friends grew to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good') to me, but according to her it's fully booked till August, and I'm not willing to stand in the cancellation queue.

I'd still like to see Ground Zero and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, though.

***

My No 1 fan brings word of the following discovery from Chinese radio: "HAHA someone did some study of 100 uni girls and conclulded that uni girls think uni guys are whiny and immature".

Though no one did a survey on what University guys thought of the girls, listeners' reactions were interesting:

"933 getting guys to call in and defend themselves
the guy was.... he just turned around and called the girls immature because they wear skimpy clothes around campus even tho the LTs are cold"


She also transcribed the following:

"Life! Mailbag

Be still, my heart

I refer to Mr Mok Chuan-Xin's letter, "RGS Girls Should Cheer Like RI Guys? Not True" ( Life!, May 13)

It was a response to Colin Goh's column, "RGS Girls And Their Low Growls" (Lifestyle, May 8)

Mr Mok wrote that "RGS girls rarely cheered for the RI teams anyway, unless their boyfriends were in them" and that the girls preferred the "boys in blue, our traditional rivals from Anglo-Chinese School"

Such sweeping statements are an injustice to past and present RGS girls who take pride in their identities as Rafflesians and who fervently support fellow Rafflesians, be they from Raffles Girls' School, Raffles Institution, or Raffles Junior College.

Just because boys from other schools are capable of wooing RGS girls does not mean that our loyalties shift during cheering time at sporting events.

Where else did you think RGS girls first mastered the art of separating heart from mind?

Joanna Ong Siyun"

She adds: "WAH. the last two paragraphs just sound so damn wrong, I can't even describe what's wrong. hahaha
is she simultaneously badgering RI boys' wooing skills and portraying her fellow RGS sorority's very spliced anatomy? heehee"

It's amazing to see such violent reactions to jokes.

***

Less than favourable reviews of Gunther:

PLEASUREMAN - "GÜNTHER'S debut (and hopefully last) album brings an irreverent mix of fake French accents and early '90s techno. This is one album you can definitely judge by its cover - a reclining Günther in aviator shades and pouting lips to rival Angelina Jolie... The only value that can be derived from this CD is the laughter that the cover and the PC video induce."

Gunther's mission: pleasure - "Gunther, a self-proclaimed "pleasureman" has a mullet, big pink lips and a thin black moustache. He's a man with a mission: his Web site says he's striving to make the world a more sexual place.

That seems to be clear listening to the 11 tracks on his CD. Gunther sings in the same deep and breathy tone for each of his songs. It's almost as if he's in a constant state of arousal. It's slightly disturbing after a while.

The same goes with the Sunshine Girls, Gunther's backup singers. The girls' singing isn't any surprise to the listener. It's the traditional female singing that one would associate with club techno, but with moans interspersed into the mix. If it's possible to hear someone gyrating, the girls have pulled it off.

The music on the CD is difficult to describe in terms of whether it's good or not. On one hand, it sounds like the only musical input to the CD was someone hitting the "demo" button on an old Casio keyboard. On the other, it's really catchy.

The CD functions on two levels: dance music and unbridled hilarity. The lyrics are a riot and were either written in one night or by someone who learned the English language two weeks before their composition."

***

"Public Lecture on Einstein's Nobel Prize & The Photoelectric Effect Today

In commemoration of Albert Einstein - Man of the Century Exhibition, the Centenary of Einstein's "Miraculous Year" and the International Year of Physics 2005, the Singapore Science Centre and the Institute of Physics Singapore (IPS) invite everyone to their public lecture on Einstein's Nobel Prize & The Photoelectric Effect Today.

Come dressed to look like Einstein. An Einstein Look-alike Contest will take place after the lecture. Contestants must dress like Albert Einstein at any of his poses. Rules and prizes can be viewed at <http://www.science.edu.sg>.


NUS's chicken project has gotten recognition from Ananova - Stroke a chicken over the internet

***

Elio Diodati:

"The half-eaten packets of sng muei and miscellaneous scattered bottles of rice miraculously found their way into snug, airtight containers sitting demurely on the bar counter. And look! No more bills sitting on the dining table! (I later discovered that they were surreptiously swept into my ottoman. Well, that’s certainly one way to deal with them.)

All of the above means, of course, that now I can’t find a single damned thing in my house anymore. How would I know that the “obvious” place to look for my olive oil is the lower left cabinet of the sink, just under the heaving engine of the garbage disposal? I still think leaving it next to the stove is the most convenient location, and not the fire hazard waiting to occur that my mother apparently thought it to be."

Why does this sound so familiar?! Damnit.

Friday, May 20, 2005

"The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star." - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

***

I shall be departing for New York on Saturday morning, so updates from then on will be sporadic at best. Though I anticipate the usual gargantuan travelogue on my return.

I would go terrorise friends studying on the East Coast, but I don't keep track of where everyone's studying, so.

***

Musical brown from mr brown, last passed to me exactly 3 months ago from squidlet, so my answers haven't changed much:

Total volume of music files on my computer:

16.6Gb - 4055 songs — 11.25 days of music

The last CD I 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.

Song playing right now:

No song was playing, but when I opened Winamp I got "Bob Rivers - The Nafta Anthem"

"Our union jobs
With wages high
Will go right down the drain
If auto-makin’ Mexicans
Make economic gains"

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me:

This is when Audioscrobbler comes in useful.

- Jacqueline du Pre, London Symphony Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli - Haydn - Cello Concerto No 2 in D, Op 101, Hob VIIb:2 - Mvt 1 - Allegro moderato
- Aaron Waters - Power Rangers - SPD Intro
- Asian Prince - 25 Years
- Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern, New York Philharmonic/Zubin Mehta - Concerto in D minor for Two Violins and Orchestra, BWV 1043 - I. Vivace
- Planescape Torment - Main Title

Five people to whom I’m passing the baton:

NO ONE. Muahaha. I delight in killing off memes and chain letters *g*

***

KNS comments:

"wah lah, all the students interviewed in the USP video so fugly. I couldn't stand watching it beyond the first minute. What a turnoff, who will want to sign up for USP like that ?"

Thursday, May 19, 2005

In lieu of real content, I shall once again pimp Young Republic, where everyone likes to talk about National Slavery; in a 9 hour period we have an unprecedented 20 posts:


A:

> I can think of sinister
> rationales for NS (social control, since men between the ages of 18-25 are the
> main criminal offenders in all industrialised nations; or political control,
> since NS seems to acclimatise many men to abuse at the hands of authority and
> cause many to believe that being treated badly is a 'reality of life' that
> 'must be accepted' and dealt with rather than protested).

thank you B. and indeed i would suppose that you have made a terribly salient observation. i mean, look at the responses on this board: there are the incendiary replies, and then there are the 'let's move on' and 'let's get on with our lives' and 'if we can't change it, what's the point' and 'oh lookee i'm such a martyr! behold my splendid stoicism!' replies. one does not 'move on' from auschwitz, or from the gulags. there is nothing detrimental about complaining or whining: let us remember that amnesty international began with peter benenson's letter writing campaigns. admittedly not quite equivalent to complaining or whining, but demonstrative of speaking out.

> I'm not as convinced by the benign one. I do wonder if any defence needs we
> have might not be satisfactorily met, and a lot of bureaucratic excess removed from
> the army, by having about 6 months universal (i.e. men AND women) compulsory
> military -and- civil defence service, and then paying people at the market
> rates that would get people to volunteer if additional training or exercises
> are required. If defence is so important, why can't we pay for it rather than
> simply requisitioning lives?

no explanation exists, except that NS is merely quite rubbishy. i am all for national service: just not in the overhyped militant and militarised form it takes today. what is wrong with volunteering as a social worker, or a teacher, or a veterinary assistant, or an attache to a theatre comapny? these are all forms of national service: in the end the aim of national service, as is explicitly stated, is to serve the nation. you cannot force any random boy to become a soldier, you cannot defend a country with the unwilling. and that is why singapore would never survive a real war. (aside from the fact that jungle warfare and trench warfare went out about, say, sixty years ago. with WWII.)

what a farce!

love and kisses all round, especially to the insipid!


A:

"2. I'm suspecting that a big factor is economic control, and that NS helps serve as a massive counter-cyclical stabilizer for our economy. For one thing, it delays the entry of people into the labour market, and therefore can be used (in conjunction with retirement age laws) to adjust the size of the labour force. Seems to me that our labour market is slack enough as it is, with unemployment on the rise, and it would make good economic sense to delay the girls' entry in order to allow for a higher retirement age (a big demand of many senior citizens) as well as a tighter labour market? Please correct my economic reasoning if I'm wrong."

Let me correct your reasoning then. Using NS as a means of economic control is both immoral and inefficient. It is the equivalent of saying: 'Let us imprison this person for two years. This way, we can coincidentally satisfy the demand of many senior citizens to retire later!' Taking it to its logical extreme, you can say: 'Oh dear, the market is far too saturated! Let's kill these people off.' Forcing anyone to do something that he or she is unwilling to do for an economic end is immoral. Whatever happened to development as freedom?

Furthermore: aren't there better ways of achieving the final aim? The Theil principle: one should choose the method with the least opp cost. To delay entry into the labour market, does it not make more economic sense to make studying more attractive rather than sending males off to 'serve the nation'? Since studying harder will in the end equip us with more skills. And at any rate education is always a good thing. Ok I take that back, National Education is a farce.

"Thirdly, there's the danger that our army becomes staffed with all the undesirables who cannot make it in the civilian world, and all the negative consequences that result from that."

God, this is so ironic I don't know if I even need to justify this with a comment. Our army is already staffed with many undesirables who cannot make it in the civilian world. And as a result their promotions, etc, depend on the talents of the NSFs, who actually have a life waiting for them after they ORD.

But in a sense being staffed with many undesirables need not be a bad thing. Since these undesirables owe their living to the army and to the auspices of taxpayers, then if our horrible and truculent and fearful and disgusting unchristian and unwestern neighbours decide to attack us (oh the horrid prospect!), these undesirables have no choice but to fight, and the possibility of desertion is high. If one actually has a life beyond NS, then one will not be very sacrificial lamb on the behalf of a chimerical nation.

"And finally, the republican need for a citizen army is a feature of many political thinkers' systems of government from Plato all the way to the Enlightenment - in order to instill patriotism and mellow selfish individualism, in order to inculcate discipline"

This sounds very 17th century. But literally, since the Enlightenment was in the 17th-18th century. But that's not a compliment. Have you missed out on the developments of the 20th century? Do all of us look like republicans to you? Have not the excesses of nationalism been discredited by the World Wars? The old lie, dulce et decorum est? Why does this excerpt from your post sound almost fascist? Why is individualism automatically connected to selfishness? Why is patriotism an end in itself? Why is it even important? Have I not asked too many rhetorical questions?

"in order to avoid the "treachery" of the Army as a seperate interest group working against the interests of the wider nation (as you can see happening in some of our neighbours for eg) and so on."

Is not the army already behaving like a separate interest group within the nation? I'm sorry, but I really don't see us being attacked any time soon, in which the SAF as it is today is merely a perfect example of a lobby group which exists for a political end, which, as B pointed out, is social control. Or something. Defence! I would laugh, except that it is my life which is being poured down a proverbial drain.

"Personaly for me it's not a matter of squeamish inappropriateness, but to me I just feel that girls can do other useful things too other than run around in jungles etc."

So can guys. They could be teaching, or nursing, or getting a lobotomy. All of these things might be preferable (to some guys) to running around in jungles. Which, as I reiterate, is pointless. Do you think Malaysia is going to storm Bukit Timah nature reserve? If we strike back, will we take the plantations, or the heart of JB/KL?

> On females complaining about males complaining about NS (haha) -- why don't you try being the only female in an outing with NS guys, and tell me whether or not you feel like you just became invisible? I don't know about other females, I can't speak for them on this issue but personally for me, I only complain when guys complain about NS because they're talking about something that just excludes me from the conversation. It's a matter of courtesy, really. I don't think a guy will be too thrilled if girls kept talking incessantly about girly things he cannot appreciate in front of him too.

That's generalising. It is ironic that you have such immature views on the sexes, given that your previous post was an outburst against generalising. Why can't a guy be thrilled if girls talk incessantly about girly things? Why can't a guy like girly things? What are girly things? What is the definition of girly? Are you trapped in the 18th century? Why are you practising double standards? Why can you not transcend the discourse of the sexes?

If you're so offended, why not just go out with your girlfriends and talk about girly things. Maybe you could even have a pillowfight, and dress your barbies up, have a cookout and watch SATC and sob into boxes of tissue. Discuss the latest diets, have a wax party, talk about makeup. So fun, and girly too!

love and girly hugs!
xoxoxo


C:

I do think D's "economic arguments" and that women are physically weaker are not quite robust. If you discharge NSF who get seriously injured during service, or exempt pes C9s and Pes Es (surely they are "weaker" than most females.) you would give a boost to the economy too.

In fact, given that there are many women who are much fitter than males (I also did some quasi-militaristic CCA in JC, so I do know they exist), wouldn't there be a more efficient allocation if the combat vocations were allocated according to physical ability than sex?

In fact, I see no compelling reason for exempting women from "jungle bashing." if anyone should do it in the first place.


E:

The male gender doesn't owe anyone anything... so before girls conveniently wave away their grievances, they should ask themselves this question: "Is the male gender (and not female) somewhat obligated to defend the country (ie. NS)?". If so, isn't that unappreciative and unfair / a double standard? With this whole equality of the sexes spreading, with guys having to clean the house etc why not look at such social responsibilities too? How would you like it if when a guy is asked, "What do you think about women complaining about housework?" "What is there to complain about? There is alot of tough stuff for work too!" "Don't you think you should do some of the housework too?" "What?! (ridiculous) *vehement NO*. I mean, men have the comparative advantage in the workplace, etc... women are biologically inclined to be the caretakers of the home. C'mon, they were the berry pickers back a long time ago what..."


F:

Is conscription necessary?

This is tenacious but the old Goh Keng Swee believed firmly in this. He used to state a few reasons why.

3)a large armed forces projects power(ok this is not really Goh's idea, its relatively new)- we have shifted from the poison shrimp principle to power projection(an offensive army exudes diplomatic pressure-Lawrence freedman). Singapore is thus feared and respected in the region due to its overwhelming strength despite its underwhelming size.

Point 3 is potentially the undoing of our nation in the long run. here is why...

Power projection means that Singapore must increase spending dramatically thereby fostering a military complex that would become too political to do away with in the future. Vested interests in industries like DSTA which though acclaimed to be the best military tech research institute in SEA is really peanuts compared to the greater west and even austrailia. When the brightest minds of our time are invested the military(SAFOs and SMS, all good and jolly) and many of them ministers in the future, a strong military of this scale becomes an entrenched mindset. This is all good during economic prosperity but come the day of the crunch, we have to be ready to see that we are preserving an army that is larger than necessary, employing resources in a wasteful fashion and benefits the higher ups in society rather than the average man on the street. It is hard to see how a country that does not have a strong mulitplier spend so much on its military where its health care costs burgeon through the ceilings and the great income gulf widens by the day.


B:

>We'd rather not take up
> the SAFOS scholarship, for eg, in spite of the tremendous perks dangled
> before us. We have certain long-term goals that are fundamentally
> incompatible with a military career, that no amount of pecuniary incentive is
> going to compensate for. And as long as you have people enjoying comparable
> salaries and better working conditions in another part of the economy, the
> Army is always going to be viewed by the majority (who value both money and
> quality of life, and the former often as a means to the latter) as a career
> of desperation that one seeks to get out of if one is unfortunate to have to
> enter.

YOU see it as a career of desperation that one seeks to get out of if one is unfortunate to have to enter. This does not have to be the case for everyone. Perhaps this perception is a function of NS? Perhaps if the army had remained professional this perception would not have arisen? There are many people whose long-term goals may well include serving the nation and working in a military career, or may come to include that if it appears to be sufficiently materially secure. This includes not only the SAFOS scholars to whom you refer (a vanishingly small proportion of the population) but also to the nation more generally. Even as matters stand there are regulars. If the army was no longer seen as slave work, and if it faced decent remuneration, I don't see any reason why there wouldn't be more. This question of societal perception is as much a product of the status quo as it is a (as you claim) factor in producing it.

It is argued by some that before the introduction of NS the military was seen as a profession preferred by many Malays. (See 'Malays in Singapore', Tania Li, it is out of print but you may be able to get it in some academic libraries.) The reason why the refusal to place Malays in important positions - or, indeed, in some cases, to call them up for service at all, resulting in them liable to be called up for many years and therefore unemployable in the private market - the reason why these policies rankled so much in the 70s is at least partly because they disrupted a large part of the traditional livelihood of the Malay community. Men whose expertise and professional pride lay in the military were no longer able to succeed there. They were UNHAPPY to be excluded from the military. Is it so impossible that a reasonable group of people might come to feel the same way in a world without

I'm not sure what to make of your claim that everyone suffers equally. I wonder how many people in this list went into BMT platoons with any significant proportion of people who did not do A Levels. So many scholars go into Officer Cadet School and become trained to order the rank and file (a rank and file that almost inevitably consists of the less privileged) to their deaths.

>Under the market alternative, without either patriotism or pride, we substitute
>the weak incentive of money. I seriously doubt this is the way to build an
>effective defence force.

Under the status quo, without patriotism, pride, or money, we substitute coercion. Hooray! An effective defence force!

Smoochies for all (since we've started a trend)


A:

it seems to my mind that G, you are being terribly disingenous. i have no idea if you are truly naive, or if you are merely ignoring facts wholly inconvenient to your argument.

this took the cake: ' On the other hand, conscription of a civilian army works precisely because it's democratic.'

how is forcing a grand majority of males to give up 2-2.5 years of their lives against their will in any way democratic? is it because everyone merely goes through the same rubbish? the treatment of the jews in germany then was very democratic. the corvee then was very democratic. the levee en masse was then very democratic.

'Everyone suffers equally and you don't get let off on account of your class, education level, or wealth.'

That was also laughably bad. What about race? Everyone suffers equally? What about the many Malays who want to make it to OCS but can't, even though the army does not officially discriminate? (Or does it. Refresh my memory.) Your quaint notion of suffering equally is also easily demolished by merely taking a look at the batches which go in: from the more 'slack/relac' scholar intakes of january to the extra 'siong' mono-intakes. the differences are both stark and stunning. 'White horses' and 'specialist letters' aren't the only means of differential treatment. Once again: I have no idea if you really and truly live in an ideal world where the truth hasn't hit you hard, or if you are deliberately ignoring the facts to make good your case, or both.

'Under the market alternative, without either patriotism or pride, we substitute the weak incentive of money. I seriously doubt this is the way to build an effective defence force. And, as I've argued, if the Army is just a mercenary force working for pay, their willingness to die for their employers becomes very very suspect.'

Haha! This made me laugh! You are very funny G! I'm sorry. But yeah, the non-incentive of being enslaved two years is really very much stronger than the 'weak incentive of money'! Er, this really made no sense to my mind. Where is the 'patriotism or pride' in most males doing NS? I seriously doubt that NS is the way to build an effective defence force too, you know. The suspect 'willingness to die for their employers' as opposed to the instinct to flee at the first whiff of trouble?

And it was plain tragic when you said 'The army is the society'. What are we, the Spartans? Barbarians? The Huns?

Paying regulars more and letting those who don't want to serve go need not be bad. It need not be a full privatisation of the Army. But it need not be wholly shielded from market forces either. Basic economic theory is founded on choice. If people don't want to serve, they will come up with ten thousand different ways to escape (chaokeng, they call it). This aversion to service, especially for the many service/support side NSmen, could be lessened if they were simply paid more.

Furthermore, why is having a private army the same as hiring mercenaries? It may merely be that society values its soldiers, and therefore pays them more. I.e, society's vote-of-confidence takes the form of the dollar. Society rewarding soldiers for their 'patriotism' and their 'pride'. Society saying thank you. This is not suspect in any way. We are merely paying them for their services to society. And society doesn't want to pay its soldiers that much, it is merely their valuation of defence: perhaps they think that we're not going to get attacked any time soon (purely logical) or perhaps they think that it's not essential, that they'll just take flight as soon as any trouble appears (purely understandable).

I am too tired to carry on. My brain has just gone into overdrive screaming at the many naive (or not) refutations of reality.

Love (I am far too exhausted for hugs or kisses)


F:

3) power projection- we have 55000 professional soldiers and 189000 reserves(not NSF). the Singaporean army in total is about 300000. Yet tim Huxley points out that though we are sizeable, we have three weaknesses.

1)low morale- conscription breeds dissent

2)Suspectable quality of troops- to familiarise as you pointed out is nice and fast but being untested, the Singaporean army is only fierce on paper as we know it(perhaps thats all that is necessary anyway)

3)Officers are not familiar with the military- the problem as Huxley pointed out was not that Singapore had bad officers but officers were shifted around quickly or promoted too fast to know the bolts and nuts of the military. When a general retires at 42, how much ground experience does he really have?

The Military in Politics

i think its essential to point out as you have done that we are not indonesia or pakistan where the military sometimes dominates the political mainstream. however, the problem lies not with military participation in politics, but rather that ex-military men have a powerful voice in the civil service and the government. Military men are drilled with a different mindset, like it or not and that has its strengths and weaknesses. it is imporbable that they would suddenly turn around and chop at the hand that had fed them quite so well in the past.


Me:

> 2. Also, "for the record", most female soldiers (at
> least until they become dis-illusioned) and DXOs
> (glorified military administrators) are PES A / B. So
> women are physically weaker, but still combat-fit? So
> D's arguments that the physical fraility of
> females precludes them from serving NS is not very
> valid here.

There's a condition called "Poor Physique" that gets you downgraded - to PES B. Basically you have to be underweight/short to get this. So even the SACSALs could get by in most combat vocations (no one's asking them to be divers or commandos).


A:

I'm sure I will regret asking this, but what is a SACSAL?


C:

> Now I never said that women were physically frail. I only meant it
RELATIVELY to males. Read my reply to Wowbagger about comparative
advantage.

That's precisely my point. There may be a comparative advantage for some girls to serve NS given that some of them are as fit as guys. Is the average female weaker than a guy with back injuries, those who had their legs fractured while doing S.O.C? I find that very hard to believe.
"The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." - Bertrand Russell

***

I think Revenge of the Sith is the best of all 6 Star Wars movies. As a gripe I read went, they'd have done much better contracting the plot for the first 2 prequels to the guys who made KOTOR and KOTOR II, but the third one's good. The only niggling point is that Anakin's fall to the Dark Side wasn't brought out very well - he made the final decision too fast and too awkwardly.

Some people (conservatives from the National Review, naturally) were claiming that Revenge of the Sith was anti-Bush. I was previously dismissing such as the paranoid rantings of insecure right-wingers, but with the talk of democracy, "If you're not with me, you're my enemy", the putative peace and prosperity of the New Order ("I have brought peace, justice, freedom, and security to my new Empire"), the fawning obeisance of the Senate towards the Supreme Chancellor and a cut line ("There are times when we must all endure adjustments to the constitution in the name of security... I have no choice... this war must be won", it was hard not to sense allegorical elements.

Incidentally, this is the first movie I've seen that's so big that it needs *3* best boys - 2 normal ones and one for the rigging. But just what do best boys do anyway?

***

USP's stepping up their marketing efforts, launching a page aimed at prospective students.

There's even an interview with staff and students (Windows Media Player required):

"Our students need to have a profound sense of being humbled by this knowledge. To know that gaining knowledge, using knowledge, err, and their talents can make them a very powerful force for good, but at the same time they can be a source of great evil, so the humbling effect of knowledge is very important in the kind of teaching that I like to do in USP"

A very powerful force for good? A source of great evil? Sounds like we've just gained superpowers!

***

Others are roused against evangelism:

A: > And in withdrawing, the Source of Goodness will take all
> that is Good with Him, even the sun and the rain and the things we have come
> to take for granted as our "rights" - leaving us with, in a word, hell. By
> your own choice. But it need not be so.

This is to me one of the most alienating aspects of Christianity. I think there are many valuable elements in the Christian tradition, but the removal of all that is good to outside our particularised human existence is not one of them. I have always hated, in particular, not the notion that I could go to hell, or that others might, but that apparently it should be possible for me to find eternal bliss and perfect happiness while - for example - my family burns in everlasting torment. You can rationalise all you like about how the joy to be found in human relationships comes from God and as long as we still have God we have what really matters, or that it's not our place to feel for the sufferings of others because it's all part of God's greater plan for them. That sort of evasive sophistry completely gives the lie to xxx's claim that Christianity is a creed for here and for now. If people whom I love suffer, I'm not going to be sitting about in divine grace, I'm going to be foaming at the mouth and tearing the Pearly Gates down to get to them.

Robert Heinlein's "Job: A Comedy of Justice" deals with this very theme and is heartily recommended to anyone who enjoys... well, enjoys books.


B: > And I'll exercise my right of reply now, for perhaps the last time before
> the censors close in, to say what the Good News of Christianity really is.

Let's see. The destruction of the earth? The casting of nonbelievers into hell? If God existed, he'd be charigned to know that you so-called "believers" have turned him into a petty, attention seeking creature, seeking to be worshipped. You claim God shall throw a cosmic hissyfit, and condemn non-believers to hell because "I am so high and mighty, too bad if you believed in the wrong god in life."

> The Good News is that God watches over the world with loving care, sending
> the sun and rain on evil and good alike because of His undeserved grace, not
> willing that any should perish but desiring that all should be saved from
> their wickedness and its consequences. For He did intervene once in history
> to make that possible, by dying for us - even for a person like Gabriel.

He sends tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes and other "acts of God" as well, because of his undeserved grace. Survivors die from the fallout of diseases, such as malaria. He only died for us, if you want to be exact and quote the bible, but again, there you have it, going around in your little circular arguement.

Hope is an amazing thing when humans are in despair. How often do smiling evangelists come to people at the worst point in their lives, knowing, sooner or later, that person's life will get better?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

"If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised." - Dorothy Parker

***

I don't know why some evangelical Christians keep trying to convert people AGAIN and AGAIN, even when it's clear that no one is interested.

Even if I finally got around to actively sharing the good news with others, I would stop after one or two tries when it was clear that my efforts were unwelcome.

Maybe it's like MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) - the more people you convert, the higher your chances of going to heaven.


My response to the latest evangelistic tract on a mailing list I'm on:

I am disinclined to show how your [religiously-grounded moral] system is even more perilously flawed than one based on utilitarianism/the harm principle, having just viewed a 2 hour long paean to religious tolerance and harmony (because of the late hour, of course!)

Suffice to say that I too have good news to share.

The good news that there isn't a vengeful, petty, psychopathic divine being watching your every move.

The good news that innocent people do not get condemned to burn in hell for all eternity, suffering infinite punishment for a finite crime (if indeed it can be called a crime).

The good news that you do not have to spend your life trying to contact imaginary friends and preparing for the hereafter, so you can devote your attention to this one - which is all we have.

The good news that you do not have to be bound by archaic, ridiculous and self-contradictory dogma that's 2 millennia out of date.

Unfortunately, I cannot share the good news that certain people on this mailing list will henceforth stop trying to convert others for the umpteenth time, annoying the hell out of everyone.

***

Basking in the love:


Name: Tim

Message: Gosh you seriously suck. Man, you're ugly and surely, you're leading a miserably lonely life without the love of a single soul. Unless your blind parents are idiotic enough to love your. Damn you're spastic.

***

Gran hits burglar with garden gnome - "She yelled at the man, then picked up a gnome and hurled it at him, reports The Sun. It bounced off his head, leaving him lying dazed on the roof in Wadebridge, Cornwall. Jean dashed to fetch her rolling pin and a camera, and then took photos of the burglar as neighbours called the police."

Deputies report rampage of naked, shocking behavior - "An Inverness man was arrested Saturday after breaking into his neighbors' house and threatening them, shocking himself by sticking his fingers into a lamp socket, threatening a deputy with a metal rod, running naked through his yard and chewing through a cable in a patrol car, authorities said."

AOL Treats Fla. Emergency E-Mails As Spam - "Emergency managers in Indian River County, hard-hit by hurricanes last year, thought the best way to get out weather alerts was by e-mail - until they learned that AOL was tagging the messages as spam."

***

Questions to students who had accepted NUS (password required)

2. Why did you choose to study in NUS? (multiple responses allowed)

- NUS is exciting
- It is one of the top universities in the world


Hahahahaha.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

"Only fools are positive." - Moe Howard

Random Playlist Song: Chopin - Etude Op 25 No 9 in G flat Major (Butterfly)

***

The Sordid Story of SMU

"The true story is that one day a bunch of MIW were sitting around in the Vice-Chancellor's place having a drink. And one of them lamented that his super-smart, ultra-perfect son had qualified for NUS engineering but wanted to go to NUS business instead. And NUS business cut-off point (another national secret) had surged upwards in recent years.

And the group of them chatted about this phenomenon of all these bright kids going into something as stupid Undergrad Business... instead of that holiest of holies ENGINEERING...

So they decided to that in order to make NUS B-School less attractive to Singaporeans, they would have to destroy its brand. So NUS would have to lose its business school...

The NTU Dean pointed out... that if NTU lost its business school.... then all of a sudden.. you would have a gazillion male nerdy engineer dudes living in an ulu part of the island with no women at all...

No women = no babies = no future peasants!!!

And that was when the whole plan fell apart, so SMU was set up."

***

Philip Yeo Sparks Surge in Sex Change Operations and Emigration

"“It’s true that we guys get whiny thanks to NS,” said Corporal (NSF) Choe Sai Kang, who is also contemplating an A*Star scholarship. “But that’s all you can do when you encounter stupidity and can’t do anything about it because if you do, you’ll kena DB. Anyway, if we’re whining about A*Star scholarship conditions even after doing NS, what does that say about A*Star except that they’re more condemned than the SAF? I guess that’s Singapore for you: they want us not only to face up to stupidity, they want us to like it too.”

Those who can’t bear changing their sex, have opted to change their nationality instead.

“After taking two years of shit for my country, not only is it not appreciated, I’m told they’d rather have foreigners who have never endured a single day for Singapore,” said Mr. Mohd Cabut bin Negara. “I wish I’d known earlier. If so, I’d have emigrated long ago so I can be the kind of person that Mr Yeo wants for Singapore.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for A*Star has said that the hoopla has only proven Mr. Yeo’s point that Singapore men are whiny, thin-skinned girly men who can’t take unpleasantness.

“Yeah, right,” said Corporal Choe. “I really accept that criticism from someone who threatens to sue obscure bloggers for defamation.”"

***

Mindjack - Piracy is Good?

"British satellite broadcaster SkyOne — part of NEWS Corp's BSkyB satellite broadcasting service — ran the premiere episode of the re-visioned 70s camp classic Battlestar Galactica... so three months would elapse between the airing of "33" in the UK, and its airing in the US. Or so it was thought...

The British aficionados of the series provided torrents for each episode within a few hours of each broadcast. Many fans in the US picked them up and watched them; so did many people in Australia.

While you might assume the SciFi Channel saw a significant drop-off in viewership as a result of this piracy, it appears to have had the reverse effect: the series is so good that the few tens of thousands of people who watched downloaded versions told their friends to tune in on January 14th, and see for themselves. From its premiere, Battlestar Galactica has been the most popular program ever to air on the SciFi Channel, and its audiences have only grown throughout the first series. Piracy made it possible for "word-of-mouth" to spread about Battlestar Galactica...

The pervasive culture of TV downloading leaves the producers of pre-produced television programs high and dry, receiving nothing of value for their work. But is this really true? The absolute, basic motivation of a TV producer is not money — though money is needed for production — but to gain and hold an audience's attention. TV producers want their programming to be watched as widely as possible — by everyone. That's what they care about, and that's all they care about, because, with viewers, everything else takes care of itself: audiences equal money."

***

magic missile () - video

Cop: Your friend says you shot him with an arrow

Guy: No, my friend opened a booby-trapped chest and a Magic Missile booby trap set by goblin sappers - that is what hit him

Cop 2: The booby trap, which was you

Guy: No, he was trying to show me that he could duck out of the way of an arrow - of an arrow and I had to show him that a longbow at close range with a Magic Missile, uh, enchantment on it - there's no way to duck out of the way in -

Cop: So you rolled a 18 and then what happened?

Guy: I rolled a 18. He failed his saving throw [Cop: Ah] and then the arrow got him between where the greave adjusts

Cop: Ah, well there's only the 3 points you can tell

Later...

Guy: I live in a world of cold steel, and dungeons, and mighty foes, and

Cop: Oh, I live in a world of dungeons too. The dungeon where I'm taking you is called the Reno County Jail... You gonna love that

Cop 2: There's a dragon there named Nick the Grip and he's been - uh

Even later...

Guy: I'm wearing Boots of Escaping! I'm wearing Boots of Escaping! *Guy gets shot by a taser* I will call down a mighty reckoning on you!

***

The Illusion of Racial Harmony? - "Upon hearing this, fellow conscript said that Malays ought to buck up and ‘prove themselves to the other races’. And he sincerely believed that it was the Malays fault. Most Singaporeans consider Malays to be lazy and that their relative poverty is their own fault. I used to think so too but at least I grew smarter and escaped from the government’s Chinese chauvinist rhetoric."

Three People Killed Over Role-Playing Game in Southeastern Brazil - "A 21-year-old man and his parents were killed after the man agreed to be murdered along with his family if he lost a murder-mystery role-playing game, local media reported Saturday"

Sunday, May 15, 2005

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers." - Thomas Jefferson

***

The depths the local media has sunk to in their extended A*Star/Phillip Yeo publicity exercise is depressing. They've really outdone themselves this time.

(More detailed analysis may be found on the specialist blog Singapore Ink. - kopi, tea and lager, which lovingly chronicles the latest circus)

At least in the 21st Century, they no longer have a monopoly on news production, analysis and dispersal, and outraged parties who have been misquoted, misrepresented or scandalized by the nadir that they've sunk to can set the record straight.

With a performance like this, it's no wonder people, especially the youth, are getting turned off and apathetic.

Luckily I don't keep up with it any more, and never had the intention of joining it (despite the suggestions of many).


Someone: hahaha i love the ST
they are the leaders in intellectual thought
they are the true postmodernist

they can offer rival interpretations to anything
how can we beat them
we can't

rival interpretations to what mrbrown said to what mrmiyagi said to what wows said

Me: they're good at getting something from nothing
maybe they did the USP writing module haha

Someone: what? they probably proposed the course :P


Meanwhile, a comment seen on Singapore Ink:

"Person A: i really wonder if yeo did his NS

Person B: that’s how he know it make people more infantileZ haha

Person A: it explains his unwhiny character
he sits on his bitch chair and complains to the press and his lawyers

Person B: good Right
if you gotz initiative, if you have motivationz, if you are proactive - it means you’re whiny

Person A: hahaha

Person B: you can call him names
just don’t criticise his work

Comment by Scared kenna Sued"


Young Republic:

"Oh yes, on Philip's comments today: Yes but no. One very good reason why Singaporean Male ASTAR scholars might seem more 'infantile' is precisely because national service is an infantilising experience. And he may be right and Singaporean guys should really start reflecting on whether they have become whining, useless losers.

Alternatively, it could also be argued that because of two years of serving for an ungrateful organisation all out to exploit them, they have seen first hand why it might not be such a good idea to just listen to everything Philip says.

It could also be that getting thrust into truly alien environments, as opposed to their fellow elitist foreign scholar/female counterparts, has opened their eyes to opportunities that they had not known existed. ( Such as being inter-dealer brokers, whom rumour has it make hundreds of thousands of dollars per annum, if not millions, and are actually encouraged to go drinking and whoring nightly. But 'tis just a rumour....).

Or it could be that Philip just doesn't like the guys simply because we have more balls to actually disagree with him. To put it in another way, perhaps it could be argued that he likes the foreign-born scholars and the girls because they are more subservient and docile. And that to question his wisdom is most unwise- the role of the ASTAR bonded researcher is to just shut up and do whatever research is directed for them, never mind that it may not be where their passion truly lies or that they might have ethical doubts about the sort of work they are doing. All for the good of the economy and the security of this Republic.

One more thing. The following idea, ( somewhat tongue-in-cheek but you never know....) came about during breakfast chats with my family. Perhaps ASTAR should consider, as a real way to get real talent into Singapore, to start paying genuine top dollar for the top science graduate students from MIT, Caltech and so on. I mean, funding all these cheap slaves from poor Asian countries as well as Singaporeans whose parents don't earn megabucks, even if you are paying a million a piece for each of them, is not really going to bring about the super results that you want- the fact that they are all so willing to obey what you say, even when you know it's hot air, says quite a lot about their standard of imagination, or rather, the lack thereof. At most, they can be Master Test Tube Washers, churning out huge quantities of research no doubt, but alas, research that produces few genuine breakthroughs that we can keep as trump cards for Singapore.

Therefore why not just buy as many grad students as you can from all the prestigious universities? Money should not be an object; we can always grossly inflate the budget for hiring top talent, the savings for this of course coming from cutting back on frivolous spending like utility subsidies for the destitute or something. Pump extra incentives for coming here. Yes, doing even things like strapping yourselves to office chairs and sliding down long, long, long corridors is probably going to be much more frowned upon here than in Massachusetts. And of course there's other niggling things like, the lack of freedom of speech. But so what? You're coming to a nation that adores expatriates of all colour, even if those Failed-In-London-Try-Hong-Kong, or Perth-Impossible-Go- Singapore types.

Someone please rebutt the above and tell me what I've said is not true. I'm depressed by the above scenarios myself."

***

I set out to ascertain the veracity of the oft-heard comment that Malaysian hawker food tastes better than Singaporean hawker food. And so I put forward this premise to my panel of correspondents (I love all of you, really), and got some interesting theories. My usual methods of gathering information can be divided into 4 categories: research, observation, interviews and contributions. Not having been to Ma-laysia for many years, I had to rely on the views of my correspondents and my own speculations. Perhaps I shall be able to make my own observations if/when I go to Penang next month.

First we examined whether this premise was sound. A simple majority of respondents disagreed with the proposition, and a two-thirds supermajority (albeit from a smaller sample) thought that Singapore had better restaurants. Interestingly, no one thought that Singapore had better food (ie They all thought Singapore's offerings were either as good or lousier than Malaysia's).

Of course, patriotic Malaysians would dispute this claim. nw.t blithely claimed, for example, that: "i've known many singaporeans who feel that malaysian hawker food is way better strangely enough, most of these singaporeans are well travelled individuals who have been up and down regularly, as opposed to your cossetted schoolmates who have been up to KL once or twice in their lives". Curiously, those who championed Malaysian food all tended to be passionate in the extreme about it.

On the other hand, my sister has been spending a few weeks in Kuala Lumput, and she says that Malaysian hawker food is just different - not better, and that Singapore has more variety (perhaps the Malaysians gain advantages from specialisation). And that Malaysian servings are small.

First, the statistical aspects of this problem must be examined.

I suspect that the deified view of Malaysian hawker food may be due to selection bias. Passionate defenders of Malaysian food likely have their favourite food outlets, which they then compare with those in ordinary Singapore neigbourhoods. As for the matter of comparing the best outlets that each nation has to offer, I do not have enough data and so am unable to do an analysis. Perhaps one of the Singaporean variety food shows can do a special feature on this.

Another reason for the better perception of Malaysian food is the same reason why PRCs seem so much smarter than Singaporeans. Since the population of China is so much bigger than that of Singapore, the most mathematically able (say) 1% of Singaporeans is numerically equal to the top 0.003% of PRCs. It is thus no surprise that PRCs seem so much smarter. Malaysia has a bigger Chinese population than Singapore, so it would not be surprising if they had better hawkers. Some might point out that Malaysia is a large country, yet the geographical distribution of the Chinese population in Malaysia is not uniform - KL and Penang, for example, are majority Chinese, and they tend to be concentrated in the urban areas.

The above 2 reasons also account for why Singaporean men think that Singaporean women are uglier than Japanese and Taiwanese women - not only are there more of the latter, the men's impressions of foreign women are formed from watching Japanese and Taiwanese AV.

Another reason might be that Singaporean and Malaysian hawker food is qualitatively different. Some people might prefer Malaysian-style Hokkien Mee or Char Kway Teow to the Singaporean variant. So we're not actually comparing the same thing here.

I think my final theory might account for most of the difference: since people agree that Singapore has better restaurants, maybe the good cooks in Singapore become restaurant chefs, while those in Malaysia stay as hawkers. And since restaurant food is more expensive than hawker food, the poor Malaysian country bumpkins (heh) don't get to savour the "Taste of Singapore".

And now, I shall speculate about why Malaysian hawker food might taste better.

There is a great deal less regulation in Malaysian. Hawkers thus have freer reign in doing their thing, the most obvious aspect of which is lower hygiene standards. One may observe the same phenomenon in Singapore - the good stalls tend to get "C"s and "D"s hygiene ratings. It is also no surprise that the food in Singaporean foodcourts tends to be mediocre, standardised and franchised as it is (lowering the perception of Singaporean food further). Also, dirtier food is more authentic, so it tastes better. However, one needs a strong stomach in order not to get sick, and many of my respondents complained about how Malaysian food made them sick. So it depends on how willing one is to get sick, I suppose.

There is also the ambience factor. Gritty atmospheres tend to add to the hawker food experience - witness how people flocked to Glutton's Square opposite Centrepoint when they re-opened it a few months ago.

Other theories: Malaysian hawkers use more MSG and oil, being less health-conscious; ingredients are cheaper so they put more of them; Singaporean hawkers cook with less love and are more bo chap when they cook; the Chinese in Malaysia feel beleaguered because they are a dwindling minority: to them cooking is an expression of their cultural identity and ethnic pride so they put more effort into it

The most exotic theory I heard went something like this: Malaysian food has more "wok hei" (the fire of the wok) since their woks are more seasoned, "like how claypots get better the older they are". This is because:

"1.) malaysian hawkers are poorer leading to a slower wok replacement rate
2.) they may not be older but still more seasoned cos malaysian hawkers work longer hours
3.) the wok may be more seasoned cos the fire used is hotter"

Erm. Right.

Other comments:

"one thing's for sure..malaysia very hard to find decent hainanese chicken rice
something to do with the rice - too small"

"i find singapore does clear/soupy stuff better in general - like porridge or teochoew muay
but malaysia does better with more flavoursome/deep fried stuff

in any event, i don't deny that singapore does some things better, but with a panoply of different styles and varieties, it's hard to make an objective comparison
but certainly, the geographical disparities that KMalaysia offers lends itself to a wider variety of styles"


As always, I welcome more views on this issue from respondents.

A response from nw.t can be read below this post.

***

Lego Harpsichord - "With the exception of the wire strings, this instrument is entirely constructed out of LEGO parts--the keyboard, jacks, jack rack, jack rail, plectra, soundboard, bridge, hitch pins, tuning pins, wrestplank, nut, case, legs, lid, lid stick, and music stand are all built out of interlocking ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) plastic bricks and related pieces."

Teenage whore. - http://teen4sale.blogspot.com/ - Someone sent me this. I don't know if it's real.
Damn you and your culinary lies, Gabriel (which have so irked me that I have had to waste valuable sleep time writing this, but unfortunately I exist only in service to Truth.)

a) Singaporean restaurant food excels only when it comes to Japanese and other European cuisines. Top-notch Chinese restaurants in Malaysia are comparable if not better than Malaysian ones. (see more below).

b) I will admit there are quite a few lousy stalls around, but I refuse to believe that a few weeks of properly meandering around the KL area will lead an objective observer to show that there is less diversity of offering ,although it is, in fairness, far more spread out geographically, so a novice wanderer among the KL culinary byways may go astray. NO ONE I know who has spent more than a week in KL outside of their hotel restaurant still thinks KL has less variety especially when you consider that the indian and malay coffeeshops are far more prolific - for instance, you can't get good banana leaf rice outside of Apollo or indeed the Little India area, although if someone is willing to correct me I would greatly appreciate it - and offer more exotic delights such as the Ramli Camel Burger (TM). I can think of at least six "standard" Malaysian hawker dishes I can't find easily reproduced in Singapore (to be fair, not non-existent though, just difficult to dig up); I can only think of two "standard" Singaporean ones (mee pok and Singaporean style hay mee) which cannot be simply found in KL.

(to someone else reading this now: Katong laksa is a reigonal specialty of sorts (insofar as Singapore is capable of regional specialties) - it's not a "standard" Singaporean hawker dish. Which is why I didn't mention Penang hay mee or Kajang satay or Kelantanese curry)

(to yet someone else: alright, I agree you can't find roti john or the thomson crispy pratas readily reproduced in KL either - although I refuse to call the thomson crispy pratas standard hawker fare)

(man, food brings out passionate feelings - to another of my gadfly critics: YA KUN KAYA TOAST IS NOT HAWKER FOOD! DO YOU SEE ME FLOGGING IPOH WHITE COFFEE HERE?)

c) I resent being labelled as a patriotic Malaysian by implication, and I demand you rephrase that paragraph - as you know I have invested a lot of intellectual credibility in rejecting nationalism/patriotism of any kind so for you to impute such motives to me is defamatory. I speak purely out of objective and prolonged exposure to both Singaporean and Malaysian culinary environments - again, something many of your correspondents lack.

d) Singaporean servings are smaller???? Find me a place in Singapore wehre the standard 4 SGD bowl of laksa is larger than the average RM3.50 bowl of Penang hay mee in KL??? Impossible. [Gabriel: Hello. S$4 is for a bowl in an air con place. And RM3.50 is about a third of S$4. Like this I should compare a S$6 bowl of laksa with your stupid RM3.50 bowl.] I admit chicken rice portions can be small at times; ditto for wan tan mee. But not for noodle or other heavier foodstuffs - with the notable exception of char kuay teow (KL does it way better, but they do tend to be parsimonious for some reason - costs of cockles maybe? -although I'm not sure the larger quantity of floppy, tasteless, sickly sweet kuay teow that constitues the average Singaporean offering of char kuay teow is a plus point) [Gabriel: That depends on if you like sweet sauce. I do. And my sister's Malaysian friend agrees that Malaysian portions are smaller.]

(the above observation excludes shopping center and commercial food courts - those are almost uniformly sub-par in both quantity and quality both in Singapore or in Malaysia)

e) At least Malaysian hawkers don't put ketchup in won ton mee!! [Gabriel: I like ketchup. What's wrong with ketchup?]

f) The numerical/statistical argument is irrelevant when we are talking about relative standards of quality. There are, no doubt, numerically more good Ampang yong tau foo places in KL than there are in Singapore. But that's a facetious argument which serves only to obfuscate and befuddle the hoi polloi - does it matter if there are 10,000 ampang yong tau foo stalls relative to the 100 in Singapore? (no there aren't 10,000 stalls, in case some people are too literal minded). I feel confident that the quality distribution of said 10,000 AYTF stalls will still occupy a larger percentile of the sample than vis-a-vis the 100 Singaporean ones.

Okay, it's not quite normally distributed - and there are specializations, which is why I will admit there are more dry mee pok stalls or teochoew muay (the soup-over-rice with fish slices kind of porridge, not the brothy type with peanuts and Chinese pickles) in terms of quality and quantity in Singapore.

I could also do a lot of dissection into the cultural bias of your sample, but let's not go there.

g) Singapore's better restaurants provide better Continental and Japanese cuisine. As I said earlier, for "ta chao" (big fry) or even Lei Garden / Overseas / anything by the Crystal Jade (the expensive Crystal Jade, not the noodle houses) or Tung Lok cartel-style fine Chinese dining, Malaysian restaurants not only hold their own or are superior, but are measurably cheaper PPP-adjusted dollar for dollar (I'm not talking about exchange rate differentials here).

(the food fight goes on - to Chris: I don't consider dim sum local fare - but I admit I am ambivalent about whether Malaysian or Singaporean restaurants are better, because they are surprisingly bloody different in implementation, outside of the sine qua non offerings (har kao, siew mai, char siew pao, carrot cake, chee cheong fun))

Arguably there are better Thai restaurants (i have to admit, arroy thai and renn thai are superlative), but not better upscale Indonesian ones (other than sanur and house of sundanese
food, there are at least 4 superior ones in KL I can think of - although you wil no doubt pull out the demographics argument again). Honestly, I fail to see how the "Taste of Singapore" is denied to Malaysians - the only thing one misses out

So tell me how does having more al dente pasta or black truffles smorgasbords or Wagyu steaks communicate the "Taste of Singapore" to your own affluent population?

I would also point out that "the good cooks in Singapore" are largely foreign imported - most good local homegrown talent either stay with their hawker stalls or they go the disgusting franchise path - a horrible phenomenon that I am sadly starting to see in KL - . Those that have opened up proper restaurants (again, outside of the cartels mentioned above) still do not measure up, in my honest opinion, to their counterparts in Malaysia.

The argument is about hawker/local food, not foreign cuisine , to which again I will freely concede that Singaporean expat chefs can do far better.

h) As for Malaysian food upsetting the fragile digestive systems of your sensitive correspondents - well, what can I say. One needs repeated and prolonged acclimitisation to enjoy the tastes while suffering none of the consequences:) KL has no wussy nanny-State-fiat-imposed "Use less oil" or "Ask for vegetables" campaign.

I might also point out I have concentrated on KL, and have not even begun including Penang or Ipoh. Johor doesn't count because it is, quote (sic): "spoil market by all the Singaporeans.", and I don't know enough about Kota Baru or Negri Sembilan.

[Gabriel: Not having either the time or desire to spend weeks in Ma-laysia on culinary adventures, I shall have to defer to other opinions and seek the input of other connoisseurs of Malaysian hawker food on the relative merits of the two countries' food.]
"I never met anybody who said when they were a kid, "I wanna grow up and be a critic."" - Richard Pryor

Random Playlist Song: Kermit and Miss Piggy - S.Y.F.F.I.T.F.

Miss Piggy: Oh Kermie, it's alright. You don't have to introduce me. Because, if you don't, I can always just S.Y.F.F.I.T.F

Kermit the Frog: You can always just S.Y.F.F.I.T.F?

Miss Piggy: Mmm hmm. Stuff Your Froggy Face Into The Floor!

***

You scored as Lord Zedd.

Lord Zedd

100%

Master Vile

92%

Goldar

83%

Rito Repulsa

75%

Ivan Ooze

75%

Scorpina

75%

Finster

67%

Rita Repulsa

67%

Squatt

58%

Divatox

33%

King Mondo

25%

Queen Machina

25%

Prince Sprocket

25%

Baboo

8%

Which Power Rangers Villain Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com


***

Gah. The crapster extended his stay in Shanghai till the 19th, so I've no one to go around making snide remarks with.

***

Seen in a comments thread on Singapore Ink: "As agagooga frequently says but never poses an answer to - “what’s illegal may not be wrong, and what’s right may not be legal”"

So how just should I pose an answer to this question? :) I will attempt to do so nonetheless.

Dumb Laws has a listing of silly laws from around the world. Breaking these laws may not be wrong, but it is nonetheless illegal.

As for something that is legal but not right, in Singapore a husband may rape his wife, yet not be liable for prosecution for rape under Singapore law.

***

Misogyny on TV - Feminazi Propaganda

"Portrayals of amazon freaks denigrate and pervert females, attack feminine identity and incite in men a lust for sexual violence. These shows are extremely obscene, many are pornographic, they display dominatrix whores who incite lusts for sexual violence, and are an attack on women, the family and civilization.

"Turn on your television set and take a look. Female tough-guys are on half the channels. Macho girls are stomping, kicking and punching a politically correct path through our culture, implanting new and false images into the public psyche. The method of presentation is simple. A man in a woman's body is seen to act like a man and look like a woman. The image itself serves to confuse both men and women -- instantly deconstructing notions of human gender developed by trial and error over many centuries. A corrupt new role model now appears, with tremendous psychological energy behind it: a vast sisterhood of lady fighter pilots, hand-to-hand combatants, detectives, FBI agents and firemen appear on the screen. Since seeing is believing, millions of human beings are growing up with bizarre self-misconceptions planted firmly between their ears. On the flip side, depicted with sly mockery, is the pregnant husband, the sobbing he-man and the non-homosexual wimp." - J.R. Nyquist

Mighty Morphan (sic) Power Rangers (90s) (FOX) - Boys and girls morph into androgynous creatures to encourage violence between boys and girls in real life. This is unquestionably the most obvious androgynous propaganda show that has even been on television. Death to the makers and supporters of this anti-human, immoral, child abusing hell.
A teen girl on jeopardy said when she was younger she was forced (forced was her word) to watch Power Rangers and because of it took up karate and became a black belt -- the crowd cheered.
The death of at least one girl has been attributed to the show. Several years ago when the Power Rangers were popular I heard on TV about a gang of pre-teen boys in England who beat a little girl to death and later claimed they were just playing Power Rangers and they got carried away.
The makers of social poison like this should be sued for intentionally marketing violence to children, especially when there is a link that demonstrates that the show encouraged violence.
Phil Phillips who wrote "The Truth about Power Rangers" said: "This is the worst 30 minute kids program I have reviewed in over 11 years. Power Rangers is shot on cheap sets, jampacked with violence, acid rock music, martial arts, sexual immuendos the occult, and a piffing moral at the end of each program to add to its politically correct reputation."

Two of a Kind (Warner Brothers) starring Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen
They displayed what may be the most obscene and immoral thing that is ever appeared on television, a little boy and girl fighting against each other in a karate match. Such obscenity even between grown men and women should not be shown on the public airwaves, to show this inhuman obscenity is worse than showing child pornography on television. Every single person who made this child exploitation are child abusers who should be a arrested and imprisoned for life. Anybody who participates in the making of this is not fit to walk around in a society of civilized human beings. One of the Olsen girls was in the staged fight and afterward told the other one who just came there to meet boys, "this is not a singles bar, no guy's even gonna look at you until you master karate." I would like to kill the evil bastards who put those words in her mouth. The makers of the film went beyond free speech to actually using children in physical obscene violence between the sexes, they should be arrested for this inhuman child abuse.

Mulan - The most evil "cartoon" ever made. A hateful attack on girlhood, a perversion of female identity. An attempt to encourage girls to be violent."

What are these people smoking?!

***

Exam boost for pupils if pet dies - "GCSE and A-level pupils in England are given 5% more if a parent dies close to exam day or 4% for a distant relative. They get 2% more if a pet dies or 1% if they get a headache. Critics say the system panders to an "excuse for everything" attitude."

[On the word 'caul'] "If I saw a term like 'amniotic sac' in an FF book I'd expect it to be in capitals and with Skill and Stamina scores attached"

***

Search referrals:

"vaginas" AND "eggs" AND "vietnamese" AND prostitutes AND magazine AND "vietnam war"

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'evidence of people coming up out of tomes after jesus died on cross' - If people can come out of tombs, I don't see how they can't come out of books.

Malay guy cock picture - This inspired a post on Singapore Army Stories - Days Were "Malay guy cock picture"

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singnet throttle solved - Fat hope. Go to SCV! Though I suspect IRC speeds are capped

THE BEST WAY TO MASTERBATE MYSELF WITH NO DILDO OR VIBRATOR ONLY HOUSE HOLD ITEMS IM A GIRL WHO WANT TO MASTERBATE BY HERSELF - Try doing it cross-legged.

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"fat people always lie" + "knights of the old republic" - I should transcribe some KOTOR II quotes also.

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pictures of hidden spy cam in singapore's girls toilet - If it's a hidden cam, you wouldn't be able to see it, would you?

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