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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

"A diplomat... is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip." - Caskie Stinnett

***

In addition to putting godawful clips in my hair, some people are going to try to get me drunk later today. Gah.

***

Makeup and Perfume

"Why do women wear make up and perfume?

Because they're often under increasing pressure from a society which over- simplifies the process of ascertaining ones worth and attractiveness by reducing someone down to individual physical attributes.

...or is it because they're ugly and they smell bad?"

***

Catching up on 3 months of Tom the Dancing Bug:


Creationists Challenge the Teaching of Water's Freezing Point

"This 32° theory is full of holes! In fact, these "32 Degree-ers" can't disprove that god simply makes it seem exactly like water freezes at 32°! He's tricky that way.

What can be their objection if textbooks say, "Some militant secularists belive that water freezes at 32°. The enlightened know that water freezes whenever god wants it to!""

***

Looks like the IOC PR exercise was quite successful.

Some Russian who added me on ICQ (not a spambot for once - HAH!):

"I saw Singapore on the TV when there was a session about the Olypmic games. You live in a great place.

Simgapore is a tiny country, but the level of life, the people, the architecture - everything is just fantastic."

***

Kevin does an exclusive podcast interview with Elia Diodati (aka The Personage Formerly Known As Acid Flask):

"I ask Elia Diodati to spill the beans on himself, give us a peek into his daily academic life in the United States, and to share fond memories of Singapore (which naturally simmers down to comfort foods such as Char Kway Teow)."

theorycast.01 :: Acid Flask Interview (Podcast)

***

This is hilarious:

A: willy wonka and his golden tickets
my friend of mine just pointed out how racist willy wonka is for placing all the golden tickets in places where kids/people are predominantly caucasion/white/anglo saxon. he(willy wonka) did place the golden tickets around the world.

it's just that my friend and i noticed in the new 'charlie and chocolate factory' trailor there was a whole bunch of asian kids hoarding to get the wonka bars.

B: How is it racist? At the turn of the century there were little non-caucasian people living in the UK and everyone was considered anglo-saxon.

This whole racist idea is crap. Were the Grimm brothers racist for not gaving any asian or african people in their stories? Every country has their fairy tales. I'm sure Chinese people don't consider their authors racist for not including white people in their stories.

C: Please note: racism is not what you seem to think it is. In order for him to have been a racist, he would have had to believe in the inherent superiority of one race over another. Importing some black pygmies from Africa and having them live happily in your factory does not really fit that bill... try again.

A: i would honestly say that willy wonka would have had a lot of say on where the golden tickets were to be placed. and if so, it does look like he did not place it in places we would deem ethnic. so i say that's a form of racial discrimination. what do you think?

C: If we couldn't be condescending, the internet would be reeeeealy boring. I am especially more condescending because of the number of idiots in this thread who are agreeing with this nonsense.

You're suggesting that having five golden tickets for a free factory tour, and having them in places where his candy is distributed somehow fits the definition of racism? If we're really only talking about wonka and not dahl as you claim, then let's be realistic: his character exists in a kind of old-worldish industrial-revolution era where it is unlikely that his candy bars would be shipped to Africa, South America or the Orient.

***

GEK1506 : HEAVENLY MATHEMATICS: CULTURAL ASTRONOMY

Module Description : The goal of this course is to study astronomy in a cultural context. We will look at questions like: How is the date of Chinese New Year determined? Why do the Muslim and Chinese months start on different days? Will the Moon ever look like it does on the Singapore flag? What date of the year is the earliest sunrise in Singapore? How did ancient sailors navigate? After taking this course you will become conscious of the motion of the Sun and the Moon and notice and question things you have earlier taken for granted. You will appreciate mankind's struggle through the ages and throughout the world to understand the mathematics of the heavens."

The lectures are held at night, maybe so students can go star-gazing.

Finally we have a quirky course like this. We're moving with the times!

***

The New Paper's article on Steven Lim's eyebrow plucking activities has him plucking a guy's eyebrow. Damn.

Binmen in shorts? Much too dangerous declares council - "Binmen in Fife struggling to cope with soaring temperatures have been threatened with dismissal if they wear shorts to work. Fife Council told refuse staff this week that they if they did not wear long trousers they could be dismissed for failing to comply with health and safety rules. The council said that, as a responsible employer, it had to guard against staff suffering sunburn, scratches, cuts and insect bites while at work."
Sounds like SAF logic to me.

pure as the driven slush - "I wasn't traumatized by my abortion. I healed up fine, the soreness only lasted a day or two. There were some issues to get through in my relationship, but we dealt with those, and my partner honored my choices. But I did have many nights of crying afterwards, because of that girl next to me and all the girls like her who were made to feel horrible for making the best choices for themselves and for their babies, those to be and not to be. I cried because I was angry as hell that women have to walk through hoards of people shouting misinformation and ugly taunts about choices that are not theirs to make, from people who withdraw any support they would give to pregnant women the minute they have their babies anyway. Saccharine pleas from people who beg women to bear and put up children to, so they say, adopt themselves -- children who, unless they are perfect lily-white infants, rarely get adopted, and certainly not by suburban religious right families who aren't about to walk around with an armload of chicana or mixed-race toddlers. I cried because women's bodies, women's minds, women's choices are not considered rightfully theirs, and because what we have is so tenuous and incomplete, at that. And more so right now than it was ten years ago when I aborted."

Notes from Penang trip (2005)

I took a page of notes in Penang, but for various reasons I don't feel like transcribing everything. I hereby present a truncated version:


Malaysia is an uncivilised place, but my sister says that compared to India it's paradise. I am not enamored of the charms of Third World countries, so I always say that the only reasons to go to Malaysia are to eat and make fun of Malaysia(ns). With regards to cuisine, the food is generally better, but instead of going to Malaysia to seek out hawkers, one can just wait for the hawkers to come to you - in December, the Penang hawkers will be coming to the York hotel again! And as a bonus, the food will be hygienically prepared, with no negative impact on its taste (though as I understand it, dirt is a plus for some). One can also get Seremban Siew Bao in Chinatown, so there's no need to trek all the way to Perlis for it. As for the latter reason, one can easily make fun of Malaysia(ns) from Singapore. Ergo, there's no reason to go there.

Other reasons why Malaysian food might be better are benefits from specialisation (the variety of food there is less than Singapore) and higher standards; according to a local source, if the food at an establishment is not up to scratch, Penangians will refuse to eat there.

One can get much food in Malaysia that can't be gotten in Singapore. There was this biscuit shop in Penang with shelves full of biscuit tins, and even in the 90s the selection of biscuits in Singapore was wanting (though the fact that they needed to advertise that their 'kualiti biskut' was 'hygienic foodstuff' tells you something). I love A&W Root Beer Floats and Curly Fries! I saw a Domino's on the way to Senai, but I bet they don't have the best ingredients. And I tried a Boston Creme Doughnut at the Dunkin Donuts at Senai, but it sucked because there was something missing (creme), or more likely something added (palm oil).

Hotel 1926 doesn't let you dial outside lines from your room without operator intervention, so if you need modem access don't stay there.

Penang taxi drivers have formed a cartel to cheat non-natives of their money by not using the meter and charging a rate at least 100% above the projected meter fair. Said meters are cunningly hidden by pieces of paper, calendars or even custom-cut pieces of cloth. They can smell tourists just as "Dogs can smell fear, and women can smell desperation" (in the words of The Associate aka He Who Must Not be Named aka mindgame aka nw.t.).

There's a branch of the franchise school in Penang - "Convent Lebuh Light". They have the same crest as local franchisees, but a differently tinged uniform. It proclaims that it was the "first girls' school in Malaysia, Singapore and Japan". At that rate, they might as well add Papua New Guinea, Laos, Zaire and Mongolia to the list.

The Malaysian smell, reminiscent of cesspits being cleaned out, hangs over many Penang streets. It is perhaps due to dubious and unmentionable slosh being poured into open drains without being properly flushed down (in indeed such an effort is made in the first place). Luckily my experiences as the garbage man in NDP 2002 have inured me to must scents.

At Jalan Pinang, there are two "Penang Road Famous Cendol" stores. One of them has a Halal sign and is patronised by Malays and Indians. The other is called "Penang Road Famous Teochew Cendol", has no Halal sign and is patronised by Chinese. It also has a picture of Phua Chu Kang and Rosie to aid hapless Singaporeans misled by the nefarious ersatz Cendol peddlers. However, it sucks. The coconut milk was a bit sour, the ice wasn't smooth and was clumped together, nothing was mixed well and the gula melaka was weak and insipid. Better stuff could be had at any Singaporean food court (or at the [Haram!] Nonya Secrets restaurant we patronised for dinner one nigh).

We were walking along the road when suddenly one guy drove up the street for quite a distance against the flow of traffic and made a large turn across three lanes of traffic coming at him. Only in Ma-laysia.

I was in Giant Supermarket when suddenly James Dobson came on air, sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken. A Silent Scream echoed across the recesses of my mind. Though I was not facing imminent extinction or being torn apart, dismembered, disarticulated, crushed and destroyed by unfeeling, steel instruments, the depth of my horror could not be sufficiently articulated. [Someone: religion is a scary thing. it gives you the power to speak to people in penang]

The Cheong Fatt Sze mansion's a good example of how to carry out conservation works.

There was a factory outlet called "Reject Shop". I love the Malaysian penchant for names.

Malaysian mannikins are disturbing. They look like they were gassed with the Joker's laughing gas.

A place called 'Rustic Heritage' had a sign saying that parking was for 'Rustic Charm' customers only. Oh well.

What's the point of wearing a tudung if you expose your arms or worse, your neckline?

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Slightly off-colour, probably bootleg kids' White Ranger outfit

Even Malaysian Coke is only 325ml. Gah.

The Nandos at Penang airport had flat Coke, and the Mango smoothie I had was the worst I have ever had: limp in flavour, not sweet enough and only slightly richer than a 7-11 slurpee (which is itself not rich at all). The food was alright, thankfully.

Rebonding is still very much in fashion in Ma-laysia, and among more segements of society than just SACSAL-types.

The prayer rooms at Penang Airport are segregated, and they have pasted on the doors this sign:

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Translation: This is not a toilet

The Island of Doom looks innocuous from the air.

Friday, July 15, 2005

"Some people have so much respect for their superiors they have none left for themselves." - Peter McArthur

Random Playlist Song: Edward Elgar - The Shower (Collegium Utrecht o.l.v. Chris Pouw)

Cloud,
if as thou dost melt,
and with thy train of drops
make soft the earth,
my eyes could weep
my eyes could weep
o'er my hard heart,
that's bound up and asleep;

Perhaps at last,
Some such showers past,
My God would give a sunshine after rain.

Another song with sentimental value. I don't actually like it that much because of the weird rhythm and harmony at times.

I finally managed to dig up another rare MP3 that I was missing, albeit a 56kbps/22khz one. And this was by Googling the lyrics. Oddly enough the page called it "The Storm". A storm is very different from a shower!


***

"It's like you walk down the street, it's like bloody Bei Da" [Ed: Beijing University]

--- Sister on NUS during the holidays


University Commencement (graduation) speeches are supposed to inspire graduands as they embark on the next phase of their lives. They are often filled with poignant anecdeotes, words of wisdom and exhortations to be true to yourself.

See for example the text of the inspiring and touching commencement speech Steve Jobs delivered at Stanford in which he spoke of what is really important in life. ('You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says)

Hence, a look at the NUS Centennial Commencement Address is interesting.

The first two page of the speech reads more like the "State of the University" report than anything, listing NUS's achievements, tie-ups, partnerships and initiatives over the past year. The third page is about the "dreams and aspirations" of the Class of 2005, yet segues into an account of the NUS Everest team's dedication and determination. The last page is short, yet half of it talks about the new NUS centennial logo.

It's no wonder Miss NUS chose not to go for commencement.

Eugene: "We all know Stanford is a good university, So's John Hopkins, MIT, Cambridge, etc. But what really makes them what it is, is some kinda soul, the oomph that comes with the fact that you graduated from one of these universities. Its not just the cirriculum and tutors, its the whole lifestyle and culture of the university. Yes, there's always people who'll say 'the grass is always greener on the other side' but then again, maybe it really is greener. So instead of aiming for being a top 10 University, why don't we win over our own hearts first. How many people honestly believe we're 18th? It's such a Singaporean thing, rankings, points, scoring systems, and then maybe someday you realize, its all a facade. I don't need to be a top 10 school to feel great about being in it, I just need a school to actually bother about the people in it, instead of spending all its half-assed time trying to do things to satisfy criteria to become higher ranked. Honestly, to the people who matter to the school, does it bloody matter?"

***

Piled Higher and Deeper

Girl 1: I'm off to class, see you- What?

Girl 2: Is that what you're going to wear?

Girl 1: Yes...

Girl 2: Frumpy sweater, baggy sweatpants and white tennis shoes?

Girl 1: I should wear a hat, huh?

Girl 1 (thinking): In Engineering, a girl has to dress to repress.

Male: excuse me, female, will you marry me?


Miss NUS (formerly from NUS Computing): "at least u get the joke! my computing friend doesnt!!!!

hey i have had weird cheena guys wanting my contact number in class before
which goes to prove that such things do happen"

(another one)

***

It seems M$N IM has been able to support 300 people per contact list since late March 2005:

"MSN Messenger Contact list limit doubles

Now the really popular people can find solace. MSN just upped the limit on the contacts in your contact list from 150 to 300. The change is live for everyone right now, regardless of which version of Messenger you're running. So go ahead and add all those users whom you never could before. As they say, sometimes size does matter."

I just tested it and this seems to be the case. Hmm. Interesting. Oh well. My secondary account hasn't yet reached the size of the first.

(Tipoff from Cherub)

***

Home of the Raffles Voices Alumni

"Welcome to the Raffles Voices Alumni contact page. This is where former members of the Raffles Institution choir can gather and keep each other informed of their whereabouts and well-being. If this is your first time here and you are unlisted, do mail the webmaster with your particulars via the "add me" link so that you can be listed in our hall of fame. spread the 1urv."

***

FeedLindsay.com

""TOGETHER WE CAN FEED LINDSAY™"

Somewhere between all the underage drinking and filming her new movie, Lindsay forgot to eat!

If that's not enough, using a high tech gizmo, we created a photo of what Lindsay may look like if she continues on the Hollywood diet. *Warning, not hot!* .::here::.

Sign the petition and wear your Feed Lindsay Gear™ proudly! Let her know that no one wants a skinny malnourished skeleton, but her old curvaceous self! Together we can Feed Lindsay!"

***

GÖDEL AND THE NATURE OF MATHEMATICAL TRUTH

"It was Snow, too, who coined the phrase that you've one-upped, the two cultures, warning that practitioners of the mathematical sciences, on the one hand, and the arts and humanities, on the other, are losing the ability to understand each other, to the impoverishment of all...

I like to think that the shallower aspects of the intellectual scene of the last century have played themselves out. I mean in particular the assaults on objectivity and rationality, which often take the form of attacks on science. There's nothing less exhilarating than reducing everything to social constructs and to our piddly human points of view. The pleasure of thinking is in trying to get outside of ourselves—this is as true in the arts and the humanities as in math and the sciences. There's something heroic in the idea of objective knowledge; the farther away knowledge takes you from your own individual point of view, the more heroic it is. Maybe the new ideas that are going to revitalize the arts and humanities are going to be allied with the sciences. It's not, of course, that novels will all address scientific themes—that would be ridiculously restrictive. But I hope that the spirit of expansiveness that's associated with the pursuit of scientific truth can get infused into the arts and humanities.

One of the strange things that happened in the twentieth century was that results from mathematics and physics got co-opted into the assault on objectivity and rationality. I'm thinking primarily of relativity theory and Gödel's incompleteness theorems.

The summer before entering college I had to read a book that was popular back then, by an NYU philosopher, William Barrett, called Irrational Man. It was, vaguely existentialist and it argued pretty strenuously that man constructs all truths. It spoke a lot about Nietzsche and Heidegger, but there were a few pages on relativity theory and the incompleteness theorems, arguing that the upshot of these results was that even in physics and mathematics there's no objective truth and rationality: everything is relative to man's point of view, and that the proofs of mathematics are incomplete because there's no foundation for mathematical knowledge. Everything is infected with man's subjectivity, leaving us no grounds for distinguishing between rational and irrational. I read this right before entering college and it took the wind out of my sails. I had been excited about learning the important things but now I was reading that the one important thing to learn is that there aren't any important things, at least none that we haven't made up, which seemed to undermine their importance. I liked making up things as well as anyone; after all, I was a future novelist. Still, the thought that this making-up business penetrated even to mathematics deflated me.

And the irony is that both Einstein and Gödel—who had a legendary friendship when they were at the Institute for Advanced Study—could not have been more committed to the idea of objective truth. Both were super-realists when it came to their fields, Einstein in physics, Gödel in mathematics. The irony is sharpened in Gödel's case since not only was he a mathematical realist, believing that mathematical truth is grounded in reality, but, even more ironically, it was this meta-mathematical conviction that actually motivated his famous proofs.

Gödel was a mathematical realist, a Platonist. He believed that what makes mathematics true is that it's descriptive—not of empirical reality, of course, but of an abstract reality. Mathematical intuition is something analogous to a kind of sense perception. In his essay "What Is Cantor's Continuum Hypothesis?", Gödel wrote that we're not seeing things that just happen to be true, we're seeing things that must be true. The world of abstract entities is a necessary world—that's why we can deduce our descriptions of it through pure reason.

... Gödel appropriated this ancient form of paradox in order to produce a proposition which we can see is true precisely because we can see it's unprovable. This proposition has a purely straightforward mathematical meaning but it's also a proposition that speaks about itself. : The proposition is, in effect: "This very proposition is unprovable". Is it true, or is it false? If it's false, then its negation is true. Its negation says that the proposition is provable. So, assuming the system to be consistent, if this problematic double-speaking proposition is false, its negation is true, which would mean the problematic proposition itself is thus provable. So if it's false it can't be false. If it's false it's true. Therefore it has to be true. But unprovable!"

Brilliant!

***

Someone: strangely the islamic airlines dont reflect the state of their home countries
going to malaysia makes you wonder how they run a government at all
the hongkongers think its a 3rd world hovel
we visited putrajaya on wednesday
they spent $200m on 7 bridges with fancy struts

***

~ Are You Normal - An accurate quiz. How rare!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Quotes from classic literature on denouement:


"Every tragedy falls into two parts,--Complication and Unravelling or Denouement." - The Poetics of Aristotle by Aristotle

"But with the denouement of the scene he threw off all restraint, and laughed aloud." - Ten Years Later by Dumas, Alexandre

"He was not sorry for the denouement of his visit: he only wished it had come sooner, and spared him a certain waste of emotion." - The Age of Innocence by Wharton, Edith


Kimberly: "I love fairy tales. I've always wanted to be a princess, and get rescued by a handsome prince on a white horse."

Tommy: "Well... how about a white tiger?"

Kimberly: "That would work."

- Storybook Rangers, Part I
For all those who are ending up here by searching for various permutations of the following words:

- TT
- Durai
- NKF
- petition
- against
- online
- Singapore
- step
- down

The correct URL is: http://www.petitiononline.com/nkfs/petition.html

Nothing for those searching for other things though (fans of my search referral logs will know what I'm talking about).
"If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you." - Don Marquis

Random playlist song: Bach - Italian Concerto BWV 971 - 03 (Gould)

***

The current public outcry over the NKF can't help but remind me of how, in Communist China, there will be a governmentally-sanctioned (or at least ignored) pogrom every now and then over some minor municipal issue - a cover-up of some rich person's running down of a peasant, one of an umpteen number of corruption cases, or Japanese businessmen having a 2-day orgy in a hotel.

Consider that the NKF:

- started off destitute and unremarkable ("in an unprepossessing Singapore General Hospital attic with just two beds and one metal tray in 1969") but has managed to make itself incredibly successful
- masterfully uses the local media to promote itself, including commissioning moralistic Channel 8 dramas
- uses defamation suits (almost never glimpsed in that industry) freely against critics to defend its reputation
- pays its staff way above industry rates
- has $262 million of reserves, enough to last 30 years, yet has no plans to use them
- makes those relying on its "welfare" and "charity" co-pay varying amounts due to its philosophy of not giving people a free lunch
- crowds out initiatives other than its own (With everyone donating to the NKF, donations to other charities are reduced, and it's expanding into cancer now)
- is (was) extremely secretive about accounting
- has little or no oversight from others
- elicits much grumbling and strong reactions, yet was until recently still supported by 2 out of 3 Singaporeans via donations
- justifies all this self-righteously with their "we know best so don't poke your nose in our business" attitude

Addendum:
- had a pristine, clean and pure image until people started investigating it, whereupon untold tales of iniquity suddenly came to light
- though selling goods at a profit, claimed it was a 'subsidy' since they were sold at below market rate

(Some interesting views in Mr Brown's comments box and another anecdote about the NKF's tight-fistedness)

***

A message from my No 1 fan [Ed: Not Sheena, that's my No 2 fan!]: She with formerly rebonded and dyed mid-back length hair which is now dyed black and soft straightened, is fond of black dominatrix-style pumps, and has a serious attitude problem, yet who disavows the title of ah lian (tamade to you too):

"The “Clip Gabriel’s Rebonded Hair” meme

Girls! Bring your biggest, brightest, most kawaii clips to Bloggers.SG 2005 on Saturday, and pin them on Gabriel, the only Editor on Tomorrow.sg with rebonded hair!

Guys! Bring your sister/girlfriend’s ugliest clips to poke into Gabriel’s eyes hair! (also a good chance to get rid of those ugly clips – “No dear, I don’t know where the ugly sweet Piyo Piyo clip is…”)

Everyone can have a bit of fun with Gabriel’s Rebonded Hair, so remember to bring your clips along! =D"

Someone: "WTF .. ermmmmmm......
some asexual fasincation with u ? some bloggers are strange.

no no, seriously, what in the world are they thinking.
man, it's almost like a sex ritual, without the sex.

i am just worried for u, u know stalkers these days
they are resourceful"

***

Feedback form:

"The school does not subsidise any of the students' society or clubs."

I have no idea what he is referring to.

***

Someone: today i was at your premier institution
i was told by one of the ogls that the sdu specifically matches the ratio in each orientation group to be exactly 50% guys and 50% girls
go figure. the games remind me of a lot of forced interaction
hand holding... sports activities.. so the girls will often "dress up" in a sporty manner
interesting theory

truly the premier institution of social engineering
TRULY

i sit by the bench where i got chased out of the co op at the last flash mob
and i see butts next to me
two ogs playing this game..
they stand on chairs
and shift one chair from back to front to move from one place to another
one point.. i see 7 butts next to me.. like.. WOAH.. come on man...nonsense!

***

Kreps:


"Academic" snobbery
Academic snobs are not intellectual snobs. These are not the people who read Rousseau and Kant and scoff at others for their ignorance. Academic snobs are people who are snobs because they come from good schools/have good results/are in university.
The existence of snobbery is not surprising. What I am surprised is the extent of it - that this academic snobbery not only separates the very smart from the rest but rather it distinguishes the Very Smart from the Smart, the Smart from the Quite Smart, from the Quite Smart from the Above Average and all the way down.
Untill the advent of blogs, I had no idea that a top JC student would scoff at a mid-rank JC student (wtf, the difference in cut-off pts could have been due to your CCA or affliation or some other shit) and that a mid-rank JC student would look down on a low rank JC student, or that it's such a big deal to go to university (of course it may be a big deal depending on one's circumstance but certainly not something to boast about and most certainly not a thing to put someone down with)

***

This is so characteristically Ma-laysian that it makes me laugh:

My kinda Starbucks

"Teh Tarik... It’s a symbol of National Independence. A liberation from polite English tea, drawing rooms, fine porcelain teasets and painstakingly punctilious and polished butlers. Merdeka! For we Malaysians have reclaimed the fundamental human right to slouch and burp over our sickly sweet brew.

But that’s the stall scene. Over the past few years, humble mamak eateries in many Malaysian towns have been totally tarted-up. Once erstwhile Restoran Bismillah’s or Mydeen’s have undergone makeovers into the Mamak Bistro, Canai ‘n Such and Steven’s Corner complete with comfy café-style chairs, shiny fake-marble tiles, 42-inch TV’s blaring 24 hours a day, pert pop tunes and crisp uniforms. And huge fans billowing mist – like holy Himalayan winds – complete the Shangri-La-like transformation into local versions of Starbucks.

Looking deeper, these upgraded purveyors of teh tarik represent our economic resistance against the Coca-Colonisation of our tastebuds and attitudes by foreign multi-nationals. In other words, why pay RM9 plus plus for an iced café latte and upmarket lepak at Starbucks when you can loaf in a similar ambience with a RM1.50 kopi ais?

It’s clear that the relaxed multi-racial, multi-class ambience of these eateries are a possible cornerstone for a new Bangsa Malaysia. Yet just 10 days ago in Parliament, some politicians made disturbing allegations.

Datuk Mohd. Said Yusof (BN-Jasin): . . . they use some kind of ganja. For the Malays, kas kas (poppy seeds) are addictive. Singapore has banned it . . . that’s why our people are crazy about mamak restaurants.  

Datuk Mat Yasir Ikhsan (BN-Sabak Bernam): . . . they have competed against bumiputera stalls and caused them to fold up. 

Mohd Said: Have they checked whether the 24 hour mamak shops are clean? But when it comes to OUR (my emphasis) shops, they search here and there."

Uhh.

***

Talk of brainstorming 'may offend epileptics

"The term "brainstorming" has become the latest target of political correctness, according to a charity... However, charities working with epilepsy say "brainstorming" is not offensive.

"We also contacted people with epilepsy in the community and the overwhelming response was that 'brainstorming' implies no offence to people with epilepsy, and that any implication that the word is offensive to people with the condition is taking political correctness too far."

People found it more offensive that the question was being asked of them, she said."


Hong Kong's cold war heats up

"A growing horde of people are getting hot under the collar over the Arctic air-conditioning they are exposed to every day in this "Pearl of the Orient."

In the space of one day, it is not uncommon to walk out of the soaring tropical heat into bitterly cold buses, office buildings and shopping malls where temperatures can plunge by as much as 15 degrees Celsius... One of the worst offenders was the city's tourism promotion office, which registered 19 degrees Celsius"

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"A friend is someone who will help you move. A real friend is someone who will help you move a body." - Unknown

***

"Historians no longer think of early medieval Europe outside of Spain as the time and place of the Dark Ages but rather as the seedtime of European greatness. Where historians once saw a sharp break between Rome and its Germanic conquerors, they now find continuities in the "Romano-German" kingdoms; where once they perceived poverty and misery, they now see prosperous trading networks and free farm laborers; where once they saw cultural decline, they now find creativity - in Celtic manuscripts, for example, or the poetry of Beowulf, or the monasticism of the Benedictines. In short, many scholars no longer ask whether the Dark Ages could have been avoided because they don't believe they should have been avoided."

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sex in NTU

"Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before." - Edith Wharton

***

I did a reverse search referral lookup for "ntu sex hostel" (sans quotes) and found this article. Its matter-of-fact tone tickled me to no end, and maybe its reading like a newspaper - sorry, The New Paper - article added to the mirth (must be students from Mass Comms writing this).

Somehow, despite someone's describing of the Nanyang Chronicle as an administration mouthpiece, I can't see a similar article being published in NUS.


Sex rules in halls

Students are convinced that hostel sex will continue despite school rules. Some feel NTU should address the problem of unsafe sex instead.

Rules against sex on campus are ineffective.

So expressed the 20 students involved in a straw poll conducted by The Chronicle.

On whether hostel regulations can prevent residents from having sex in the hostels, Benjamin Li, 21, a first-year student from the School of Communication and Information (SCI) said: “Come on, get real.

“Students will always find ways to cheat or get around the system. There are some things that can be controlled, while some regulations are just superficial,” the Hall 1 resident added.

While the NTU rulebook does not specifically forbid students from having sex on campus, students are discouraged from doing so through other indirect guidelines.

Hall rules state that students must leave the door and window blinds open if a member of the opposite sex is in the room. Also, no member of the opposite sex is allowed to stay beyond 11.00 p.m.

However, according to hostelites, many students do not heed these regulations. Some simply ignore the security officers who knock on their doors during routine patrols. Others wear their shoes into the rooms and lock the doors when they visit members of the opposite sex after official hours. This gives the impression that nobody is in.

Many felt that since they are above the legal age for sex, the university does not have the right to encroach on their freedom in this area.

“Since students treat halls like their homes, the school should respect us as young adults and not intrude on our privacy,” said Lim Beng Chuan, 20, a second-year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student.

But NTU is not going to change the rules any time soon.

Ms Angela Shang, Senior Assistant Director (Student Accommodation) of the Student Affairs Office (SAO), said: “The rules are there to help prevent situations of students being taken advantage of.” [Ed: Yeah, right!]

Still, more than half of the 20 students interviewed felt that it would be more effective and practical for the university to promote safe sex, given that university dormitories are well-known for their active sexual environment. This is in light of reports that have shown a threat of an AIDS epidemic breaking out among young and educated Singaporeans.

According to a survey conducted by SCI’s Nexus Research Centre in September 2003, one in six NTU undergraduates have engaged in pre-marital sex, but almost two-thirds did not consistently use protection, while a tenth used none at all.

Sarah Ong, 19, a first-year NIE student, said: “The school should face the fact that hostel sex is a reality. Instead of sweeping the matter under the carpet, they should promote safe sex and more importantly, abstinence.”

Regarding NTU’s official stand on sex on campus, Ms Shang said: “NTU has introduced an Honour Code and Pledge which looks upon university students as adults, encourages self-respect and trust, thereby expecting them to be responsible for themselves and their own behavior.”

The university currently promotes safe sex among NTU students by hosting related health talks and seminars by the Ministry of Health or Health Promotion Board. These events are coordinated by NTU’s Healthy Lifestyle Unit, and are held usually once or twice per semester. But responses to previous talks were only lukewarm.

A few students felt that selling condoms in NTU’s Nanyang Supermarket or through dispensing machines would be more effective.

“It is more convenient, and since there are condoms being sold in NUS, why not NTU?” said Tan Shengyang, 23, a final-year Computer Engineering student.

He was optimistic about students taking to the idea. “People may be embarrassed initially, but I think as time goes by, sales volume will definitely go up,” he said.

According to SAO, students can request for condoms directly from the Nanyang Supermarket or purchase them from shops in the vicinity when the need arises.

Other students thought that selling condoms on campus is tantamount to the school advocating premarital sex.

Sandra Wong, 19, a first-year Accountancy student, raised her eyebrows at the suggestion: “The school may be encouraging sexual activity by catering to the demand.

“Anyway in the first place, NTU is a place for studying, not sex.”

Though agreeing with that, Por Horng Woei, 24, a third-year Computer Engineering student, felt it is time for the school to address the hostel sex issue and promote safe sex by holding “awareness campaigns”.

But he also acknowledged that it is up to the students to be receptive to the school’s efforts.

Por said: “The school can do its part to educate students about what’s right, but ultimately, students are in charge of their own lives. They should know how to handle themselves as young adults and be responsible for their own actions.”


Also, NTU now has its own flower, the Dendrobium Nanyang. Take that, Premier Institution of Social Engineering!

[Addendum: Someone adds: "yeah you got it right, both of the students who wrote is from comm studies. but i don't think nanyang chron is really seen as an administration mouthpiece. it is the NTUSU tribune which is generally criticised to be the administration mouthpiece."]
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