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Valar Qringaomis

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Even though I am somewhat out of the loop, not having heard of this ruckus till today due to my being too busy running errands the previous day, I got a request from the VJC chapter of my fanclub, like so:

son of victoria] xxx: "oh can you ask him to do a post on gssq on this
a request from his most ardent fan =P
reading since his national slavery days"


And so, even if it is only one person strong, (since I still have no idea what to write for an article I'm supposed to submit): VS | United Against Co-ed [Ed: VS - Victoria School]

"The Argument

Mr. Ang posits that we need to bring in girls into the school because 1) girls will raise the academic standard of the school in and of itself (statistically, it is true that girls do better) and 2) bringing girls into the system is the given pre-requisite for IP (integrated program) to continue, or VJC will not accept partnership in IP with VS since it is deemed to be the ‘weaker partner’. This move is supported by Mrs. Chan, who does not support IP with VS, but in her capacity as secretary of the VAC, advocates that we bring in girls into VS anyway because she is concerned for our welfare. Mr. Ang also advocates IP as imperative to keep us sustainable...

We need to make it clear that we have a culture to preserve, that it may be intangible but not worth any less than the tangible aspects just because we cannot quantify them. We need to tell those who say they want to preserve and save the school to know that they save nothing if they rob us of identity. Without results we would be Siglap Link secondary; we’re agreed that that’s unacceptable. With results but as another anonymous mixed school, we are nothing."

Another centre of the insurrection: Victoria School


Funny, I thought that almost all guys would rather be in co-educational schools than not. When prefects in RI were trying to get elected in the sham elections we held, a common refrain was: "I can't merge RI and RGS. But I'll do my best to make RI a better place."

So far the only reason they seem to have raised for why Victoria School shouldn't go co-ed is that this goes against history and tradition. But culture is a living, fluid thing - if you cherish it so much that you try to freeze it in time, holding it to some reified ideal, you end up stultifying and killing it. Maybe this is the "if we couldn't have it, neither can you, so we must make you suffer like we did or we would feel aggrieved and betrayed" syndrome in action again. Besides which, they *did* admit girls to their Pre-University classes for 3 whole decades, just like other proto-Junior Colleges.

Take this rant for example: "We are special because we are different from the other schools.Academic factor is just a small factor in a student's development.We have seen Victorians all doing well.We do not need a bunch of Victorian-wannabes to spoil our good name.We are the true blood Victorians.We have kept the flag unfurled and it will always be flying up high.VS is VS because of our traditions and our boys.If erosion of our basic values is the best proposal they can offer, then perhaps there are better people for their positions. - Lee Jianwei. VS 1994-1997, VJC 1998-1999"

From the vehemence expressed, you'd think they were going to change the name of the school to "East Coast Secondary School" and make them all wear purple uniforms. What does going co-educational and admitting girls have to do with spoiling VS's "good name"? Or diluting their "true blood"? How will it bring their flag down? How is extending education to more poeple eroding "basic values"? I never knew single sex-education was a "basic value" - I always thought values were things like patience, dilligence, honesty and the like.

I also seem to sense an unquantifiable and unqualifiable undercurrent of misogyny in the following declamation: "Since we train our boys to be GentleMen, SportsMen and Professionals, a single-sex school provides a uniform mode of communication, transmission and presevation of values for a teenage boy growing up. A Sec 1 boy coming in is surrounded by older boys who should serve as a positive role-model for him and being in that fraternal community, he is constantly reinforced by the affirmation from his peers. In short, don't see Victoria as a school that for 129 years has only admitted boys, but as a school that has for 129 years till now, continually turned boys into men. Men of standard, calibre and character." Just how are the evil girls going to stop the maturation of fine young boys into fine young men? Maybe their giggling will drive the boys wild. Or maybe we should make them wear tudungs so the boys don't get distracted. If this is what a single-sex education does to you, maybe VS should go co-educational after all.

[Addendum: "For those who are not Victorian, i trust and hope you have seen this spirit within us, when we cheer, when we fight, when we sing! Will girls in Victoria be able to continue this spirit? because to be crudely honest, and i hope no one takes this the wrong way, but girls will NEVER be able to do what we did, to show what we displayed. Please do not get us wrong. We are not sexist, we are not opposed to change. However, when something like this comes along, and our 129 years of tradition and heritage are threatened, WE WILL NOT SIT BACK AND LET THIS HAPPEN." Erm. Right. 'Nuff said.]

The descent into arugments from semantics is also ludicrous. It seems some are taking heart from the lyrics of the school song: "Victoria thy sons are we" and are prefixing their MSN nicknames with "son of victoria". Evidently the concept of the neutering of the male pronoun through centuries of use (or of the difficulty of using politically correct, gender neutral language while sounding poetic and keeping meter) hasn't quite hit home.

[Addendum: It also strikes me that the same arguments could be used for maintaining racial or class segregation, perhaps even more effectively.]

That said, the reasons for turing VS co-ed don't seem particularly strong. They want to start an Integrated Program to attract top talent, yet it's not clear that this will succeed.

Currently, VS is in "Band 3: Average L1B5 = 12" (A Broader Picture of Schools' Performance in Academic and Non-Academic Domains (2004)). Given that there are 12 schools in the 2 bands above it, it's not clear that going Integrated will seduce parents into sending their children there; even if they ride on VJC's comparatively high(er) historical ranking, the 2 girls' and 1 co-educational school offering Integrated Programs have a more (much more, if memory serves) distinguished academic history and record.

Consider too that, in the words of a JC classmate of mine when I asked him what the rationale for single sex education was: "When guys reach puberty, they get horny." Extrapolating from past relative rankings of single sex and co-educational schools, going co-educational would more likely depress the school academically than not.

As a counterpoint, consider that the historical links between the Hwa Chong Institution The Chinese High School School and Nanyang Girls High aren't particularly formalised. The two were founded by different people, though both were supported by financial contributions from the same pool. It's more a shared communist history and interbreeding due to geographical proximity (and maybe the overhead bridge of love linking the two, but that's only in the last few years) that link the two. Perhaps VS should similarly find a all-girls school to adopt as a sibling school in a common quest to qualify for the Integrated Program. [Addendum: However, as someone points out, VS was founded to educate males from the Malay elite. Thus, it is unlikely that a girls' school with historical ties to it can be found for a team up.]

In any case, one of the 2 main reasons for starting an Integrated Program is to prevent brain drain and talented students defecting to non-affiliated JCs ("Research Studies"? Bollocks!). As far as I know (though I don't know very much, as far as this particular topic is concerned), this isn't a problem in the Victoria School-Victoria Junior College transition. So we are left with the other main reason - being able to boast about having an IP.

Nil sine cogito.

***

Some VJ girl: haha love your nick

[daughter of victoria] kimberly [Nil sine cogito]: hee hee
change yours too ;)

Some VJ girl: yee dont want
i dont want any association with it whatsoever

[daughter of victoria] kimberly [Nil sine cogito]: lol [you will] get stoned ah

Some VJ girl: hahah ya la
you can be my idol just by putting tt nick hahaha
respects

v true lor today the vs guys were asking the RI guys how they would feel if they were to become coed
they were saying combine with rg damn cool wat
hahahaha then the vs ppl were like wth

my ri friend was like see we at RI would embrace you all but now we know who are the chauvanists around here..
bastard. i emphasize EMBRACE ha


Also seen: "I have enough to do with projects, PTs, EOIs, ELDS and Sec 2 life in general without being hit on by the half of the RI population that's non-gay.

It's true. Guys are distracting. Especially the unwanted flirts.

I think that girls are much nicer people, on a whole. Of yet I have probably only met three or four guys around my age who are non-gay, non-annoying and actually nice. The rest, eeeek."
"Discretion is not the better part of biography." - Lytton Strachey

***

My No 1 fan blah blah asserted that "Salons are for hair! Saloons are for billiards and cowboys!" when I thought that the terms were interchangeable, so I went to check the dictionary:


saloon

1. A place where alcoholic drinks are sold and drunk; a tavern.
2. A large room or hall for receptions, public entertainment, or exhibitions.
3. Nautical
a. The officers' dining and social room on a cargo ship.
b. A large social lounge on a passenger ship.
4. Chiefly British A sedan automobile.

salon

1. A large room, such as a drawing room, used for receiving and entertaining guests.
2. A periodic gathering of people of social or intellectual distinction.
3. A hall or gallery for the exhibition of works of art.
4. A commercial establishment offering a product or service related to fashion

***

"When the Morphin' Rangers get hit, they get back up. When the Wild Force Rangers get hit, they get demorphed and lay on the ground for ages. The WF Rangers wouldn't only lose, they wouldn't last long enough to make it a memorable fight."

Heh.

***

Ban Xiong asked me to go for S.T.R.I.P. Unfortunately I'm busy tomorrow so he will have to go to China Black himself.

I was going around Chatterbox asking people to be my eyes and ears on the ground, but almost no one had heard of it. So much for their marketing. YC, however, was very enthusiastic, and offered to bring his video camera down for a visual record of the night and to interview people ("'A party by friends, for friends': so which of your friends would you strip for?") if I'd pay for him. It's $12 minus $2 for pre-order; $10's cheap for much entertainment. Unfortunately, he was told that video cameras were not allowed. Maybe they think their program is on par with professional performances, and so are restricting recording equipment like cinemas, concert halls and theatres. Alternatively, maybe people are really going to STRIP during STRIP, so they don't want incriminating evidence flying around the net.

Online ad: "Featuring HOT HOT HOT hunks and babes together with Super Diva, MISS GIA!!!"

Who is Miss Gia? Not Miss NUS, surely.

***

From where do we get our laws?

"Really? The Ten Commandments played a role in the formation of American law? Let's examine this statement in greater detail. I'll refer to the commonly accepted Ten Commandments and not the more esoteric list, which involves not boiling a goat in his mother's milk...

So, there you have it: Murder, theft, and sometimes lying all have a basis in American law. I'd estimate that the Ten Commandments are only about 25% relevant to our laws.

And guess what? All other forms of laws already include murder and theft. Why do we not recognize Hammurabi's laws? Or Greek laws? Why do some Americans focus so much on the Ten Commandments when American laws barely have anything in common with them? It's a meager attempt to justify the inclusion of a religious icon and claiming that everyone benefits from it."

***

The latest Miranda nightly (the first in almost 2 months) includes iSee instead of ICQOscarJ, and so has Active Status Discovery (finding invisible users). I see dead (invisible) people!

Tip on audio editing: "thats where the 'Fade In' and 'Fade Out' functions come in handy: they make bits of songs sound like a stand alone track, assuming you make the proper cuts to make things as smooth as possible."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education." - Wilson Mizner

***

Entrance to the RJC staff room requires one to not only enter a code, but have one's fingerprint scanned. Presumably they fear that terrorists will come in and assassinate them.

Of course, since the door is left open half the time anyway due to the staff not wanting to inconvenience themselves needlessly, the system accomplishes manages to accomplish 3 things at the same time: bringing hassle into the daily lives of staff, raising the electricity bill (air con leakage) and raising the security quotient by a negligible amount.

Why they couldn't settle for a cheap, simple card scanner is unknown. I guess expensive security measures look good on paper.

***

I find that nowadays I have little desire to carry out anything more intense or protracted than short blog-sorties, ergo the (temporary?) disappearance of my blogroll. But then I was never really plugged into the whole mainstream blogging circuit in the first place, though it helps in escaping most of the politics.

Perhaps RSS coerces people into reading blogs because everything's already collected nicely for them in a centralised location, and even if they open their readers to check only one site, the unread feeds will stick out like a sore thumb and seduce people into checking them.

***

Someone: anyhow, so your place next fri cfm ah ?

Me: cfm?

Someone: CONFIRM

Me: haha
I thought CFM = come f*** me

Someone: fuck you lar

Me: true what
I've only ever seen CFM stand for that

***

"5. Motivation

Please add a statement of purpose for studying at Utrecht University"

My sister suggested I write 2 words: "Vlaamse Frites".

***

Since Jack Chick tracts are blocked by the MDA, I had to revert to my second order preference and visit Steven Lim's website.

"16 August 2005 0442hrs - Catherine Chan, you are still the one I love most in this life....

Dear readers, this blog is specially dedicated to Miss Catherine Chan Wei Yee. You may ask,"Who the heck is this monkey?" Dun insult her... because this is the girl that I once really love so much till the point of no return...I cried for her, heart pain and had done many sweet little things for her. This NUS undergraduate made me wanted to see her every single day. N she is my 3rd ex-girlfriend. Beginning to end barely lasted for 4 months. We met in Mirc in Jan 2003..She used the nick of Starfairy, n me, Sghunk..We chatted craps n the following next day, we met at city hall mrt station. I was late n she mistook another idiot as me n she was planning for an "escape" route...fate created miracle, I caught her just before she turned in to the toilet as I recognized her face from the pic. Thanks God for sending me an angel... She was so beautiful, slim, tall, and very power...We almost liked each other immediately n passion ran high in Suntec City. We kissed n played at the fire escape staircase n we unofficially got ourselves a lover on 25th Jan 2003... I bought two hand phones for her, bought her flowers n gifts as I was pretty rich that time n I love her so dearly...We kissed again on Valentine's Day..I bought her a ring and I told her how much I love her...She bought me a black jacket which I m still using now. She even eloped with me to run away from her very protective mother just to be with me. She stayed in my house for two full weeks and I neglected my work, but I dun care...cos I had found the one...Her Malaysian mother threatened to report police if she dun return..Finally, her mum pretended to give in n asked her to bring me to visit her in Malaysia. We will overjoyed! I tot we can be together finally...I was wrong...Catherine's passport was confiscated once we reached there on 20th May 2003. Her mum is a fucking liar!!! I hate her.....She even beat her own daughter in front of me with a wooden pole.. Seeing my baby yelping in pain, my heart pain pain..Ouch!..I turned crazy n yell at her mum......Bad moves, End of Steven/Catherine fairy tales... =( Two lovers being torn apart forever.....since then, I never met her again... = ::( 20th August 1984 is Catherine's birthday..... This year's coming soon... Thank you for leaving me..... such a memorable love story which I will never forget even I close my eyes for the very last time... Happy Birthday to you, Catherine...!"


This sounds like a sub-plot in a bad Channel 8 soap opera. Especially since there doesn't seem to be anyone in NUS by that name. Maybe she left NUS after the trauma of the breakup (or the relationship, if you like).

But then the question arises: who is the girl in this picture?

***

Download more RAM! - "Is your computer running slowly? Do you need more RAM? Then simply choose the amount you need from the list below and it will automatically be added to your computer. How easy is that?"
I have been featured in the latest issue of The Students' Sketchpad.



Now I am not only hemsem, but femes! Yay. Aren't you jeles?


The obligatory notes:

- A tuft of my hair is sticking out. There's a reason I rebonded!
- From the way they drew the buttons it looks like I'm wearing a blouse. This must be the ultimate revenge of the Girls In Shirts cult. Damnit, I knew they were still out there.
- The clip in my hair's a bit suspect
- I'm reading a letter from Jamie Han! Ho ho.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

"Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions." - Evan Esar

Random Playlist Song: Robert Shaw Festival Singers - Same Train

***

Nonsensical Ramblings: What happened to you? (on PLMGSS)

"And why oh why did the school relax the rules on hair?!! Both the primary and secondary schools have allowed students to keep long hair! Whatever happened to this long-standing tradition?! Although I longed to keep long hair when I was in school, I took pride that we were one of the few schools in Singapore where long tresses were not allowed. Why this now?!?!! At least they keep the distinctive blue pinafore + white belt combo. At least we are still distinguishable from the other girls' schools."

And so my source was right.

***

Someone on Law: "the people there looked like they stepped off the catwalk"


Re-evaluation of the NUS Centralised Online Registration System Petition

"To: The NUS Student Body

We, the students in the National University of Singapore are deeply frustrated with the Centralised Online Registration System, with particular reference to tutorial balloting Round 1A where many found it impossible to log into the system and register their choices despite repeated attempts. We wish to see a re-evaluation of the system, as well as a non-evasive answer from the system admin as to why such a fiasco happened despite NUS being a top ranked university in the world."

When I first saw this in the early evening, it had less than 50 signatures. An hour or two ago, this had only 100+ signatures. Now it has 489. Geometric progression! Or maybe I was looking at the other petition, worded identically but addressed to CORS as well as to the Student Body and with a field to fill in your matriculation number.

Someone also photoshopped the NUS error page: "Sorry, you are owned. The server is a bit screwed up and we don't f**king care about it. Its your own problem if it is overloaded. Your request doesn't mean anything to us, so we don't process them."

***

An exchange in Act of War: Direct Action:


US Commander, Major Richter: Money - is that the only thing that matters to you?

Russian oil tycoon and part-time terrorist, Sakharov: I am a capitalist.

Major Richter: You're an asshole.

***

National Day is over, yet McDonalds outlets are still playing that awful song. Maybe it's a devious ploy so customers don't linger and leave after finishing their food in doubletime, freeing up space for new ones.

Male interns at Lee and Lee can't have long hair. Gah.

***

I went down to NTU last Monday, and as the place was as poorly signposted as ever, with few signs or markings on buildings (at least not facing the direction the SBS 179 bus comes from), I once again got off at the wrong stop. Except that instead of getting off one stop late as with my last trip there, I got off 3 stops early, and due to the few maps scattered around campus, I had to use my dowsing rod to divine my location and the direction of my destination.

"The sign is under the shelter so you can't possibly see it from the bus" - NTU student.

***

The Elizabeth Kubler-Ross model of coping with grief postulates that when people experience a loss, they go through 5 stages of emotional response. This framework can be used to analyse Screwed Up Girl's reactions when she found out I had nicer hair than her.

Denial: First she denied that I had better hair

Anger: She then angrily blamed it on her perm gone wrong

Bargaining: She tried to fudge the issue by blaming her perm and saying it was only because she hadn't been taking care of it recently

Depression: She gave me a downcast look

Acceptance: She hasn't said anything since, so I assume that she's accepted the fact.

She went through all 5 stages in about a minute. Man, she sure is resilient.
I take back what I said about one of the worst poems I've ever seen. This one must take the cake:

"bearsex"
by phil locke

copyright 1997


a man
so large and warm

a bear
so soft and gentle

a bed
of flesh and fur

a haven
from the world outside

a scent
of sweat and lust

a taste
of skin and tongue

a passion
of cocks and fire

a racing
of hearts and hands

an explosion
of ecstasy and release

a heat
of bodies intertwined

a sleep
of bliss and joy

a dream
of trees and caves

awake
and he's still there




For the record, I learnt about this interesting nugget in the days when I was still reading OMGJeremy.com.
"PL1101 - Purpose in Life (from a professor's viewpoint)
Organizer: Campus Crusade for Christ

All you aim for in life - is that all? Lost and drifting in life?
Come and discover your life purpose from the viewpoint of a Christian professor - Dr Seah Kar Heng.
Dr Seah will share thought-provoking views on life - The Seah Kar Heng Story PL1101 is the 'module' to take! Get it over in 1 session! Absolutely exam-free!"

The marketing is almost as bad as for S.T.R.I.P.

***

I'm told beatcoop.com was up as recently as last monday. Now the whole domain is down. Gah.

It seems Lolita is being used as a text for EN2101E this semester. Ho ho.

On the first day of school there was already a bazaar. And there's one this week too. Gah. This week's bazaar is organised by the NUS Sports Club, and has an "Astro-Palmistry" stall. Luckily the sub-clubs are under the aegis of the Sports Club, or we'd have more bazaars than days to hold them. Maybe the various Arts societies can come under the aegis of the Arts Club too. That'll save us a lot of trouble.

It seems SDU is very free with its money: it gives NUS camps $5000 for organising speed dating activities. Maybe we should get SDU sponsorship for Bloggers.SG next year.

Selected lectures should be like the United Nations General Assembly, where the audience can plug their headphones into audio jacks to receive translations of what the lecturer is saying. God knows we already have the translucent glass screens for the translator to sit behind. This will definitely boost productivity much more than any more silly centennial celebrations.

The chicken rice stall's latest trick is to put up a sign saying "Chef's Recommendation", and to change its signboard so it now reads, in Old Chinese, "Hong Kong Style Roast meat", so it is now even more obviously twinned with the wanton mee stall next door. Foolishly, having only partaken of it once last semester, I decided to try it. Limp and tasteless, it was still slightly better than last semester, their seemingly having changed the cook once again, but it was still worse than what you can get at your average hawker centre. Maybe I'll make it traditional for me to eat there oncee (once and only once) every semester just to see if they ever improve.

I read a NUS corporate publication and sitting on the NUS Council are Winston Hodge and Ng Yat Chung and the Permanent Secretary of the Law ministry. Uhh. There's also a representative from MOE, but that wasn't surprising.

NUS has as its millennium goals having international students make up 1 in 5 undergraduates (not hard - just truck in more PRCs/Vietnamese to Engineering, Science and Computing) and having 1 in 5 students take entrepreneurship modules (they must be dreaming. They'll be lucky if 1 in 50 do so).

I was going into a toilet cubicle and this guy with long hair came in. At first I thought he was a girl. I wonder what happens when butches go into female toilets. Then again, someone pointed out that usually they're too short to be mistaken as guys.

I didn't get a response to my mail to the IVLE team, but now on IVLE there's a link to a Used Textbooks forum, though as with many IVLE features its existence is non-obvious. It's nice to know that they respond to feedback.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The joys of Miranda:

Someone: "darn!!!
i can't annoy you to hell.
i cant nudge you, i cant send you smileys and winks. you are boring."


Someone else: u can't see nudges, winks and flash smileys ?
DAMN LUCKY MONKEY U

Me: haha
how often do you get them?

Someone else: winks, almost 0
flash almost 0
nudges, those faggots do that quite often
and trust me, i HATE NUDGES
they freaking irritate me to the max
and worst thing is, when i tell pple to stop
they keep doing it to irritate, knn

Me: haha
screw them upside down lor
and I think you can disable them in msn

Someone else: tks, my great and wonderful saviour
didn't know i could cancel that shit
MUAHAHAHA
no more irritating crap from nudges

yes, the world is beautiful
and the air is fresh

***

A female friend: "i touch most of my male good friends"

Uhh.


Someone: *shrug* politics here is so much of a joke i've stopped paying attention a long time ago

Me: yeah
they depoliticise and disenchant us, them lament that we're apathetic

Someone: so how?

Me: so how what?
vote with your feet lor
I was poking around the Net and found that someone had spammed Google with his essay on racism in Malaysia:

"My dad is a racist; so is my mom. Similarly racists are my brother, sister and relatives. All the Malaysian friends I now have are, and those I had were or at the least had been, racists too.

Well, perhaps thanks to all these people, I have become - and remain - a racist as well.

You see, we are the members of a much larger community: Malaysia - the racist nation!

The term community is somewhat misleading. We are not united as such as a nation should be. We are only united by the fact that all of us - at one time or other - had been are or will become, racists……

All of us formally became racists in the year of 1971, when racism was institutionalised in Malaysia. Not that racism didn’t exist before: it did; it lurked underneath, which — as everyone knows — erupted as the May 13 ethnic riots. Hence came the New Economic Policy, set up to divert the winds off the sails of racism. Ballasting the boat, and listing it in favour of the economically disadvantaged malay-Malaysians may lead to Malaysians seeing each other as equals, it was thought."


On rotten KL infrastructure:

"We have infrastructure good enough to be considered first world or better. Look at the Cyberjaya, Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya?

Gleaming high-rise buildings but also in every city, dirty toilets abound, litter clogging up the drains, public telephones damaged, plus unreliable rubbish collection and disposal. We just treat public facilities badly, not caring about others.

Being an urban dweller myself, I am constantly disheartened by the poor public infrastructure and upkeep in our capital city.

Faulty pedestrian traffic signals, illogical positioning of bus stops, poor public cleanliness, poor quality sidewalks (which are paved using slippery tiles), un-integrated and poorly managed public transportation system, the list goes on.

Your children can't even walk safely along the Kuala Lumpur streets, as they might be bags snatched, kidnapped, murdered, raped, or robbed, as they do not know the jungle laws of Malaysia. The police won't help much as they now have a big pile of corruption cases running after them.

You owe nothing to Malaysia, you pay your due, so live on."


And on Med School in Malaysia:

"As an ex-lecturer at one of the medical schools in Malaysia for 13 years, I taught medical students during their first year at the medical faculty.

We (the lecturers) began to notice the difference in the quality of the students - between those coming from the STPM (mainly non-bumis) and those coming from the matriculation system (the bumis).

Although the students from matriculation were also the cream of the bumi students, in general they could not fare as well as the non-bumis. No matter how hard the lecturers try to coax (sometime to the extent of spoon feeding) and motivate them, we could see the difference.

Even when answering essay questions in Bahasa Malaysia, the non-bumis fared better. I could tell the difference in the script.

Students coming after STPM are more confident, independent, mature, motivated, resilient, self-directed and with high self-esteem. The students from matriculation are hardworking and also motivated but something is amiss with their pre-university education i.e. during matriculation...

When I suggested to some post-SPM malay students (who excelled in the SPM) to choose STPM over matriculation, they refused to do so, citing teachers who said that the STPM was difficult and more so for malays because Form Six teachers were mainly Chinese and non-bumis!"
6 days' worth of quotes:

If you don't like evolution, too bad. I don't like Freud, I think he was wrong, but I've to admit he had a big influence on psychology.

The colour of my hair is partially inherited, but it has been bleached by many decades spent in the tropics.

[On mate attractiveness] You have to be really outstanding to be a complete no-no - a really comforting thought for all of you.

When you pick up a baby and you go beela beela blah... Your mother didn't sit there with a cane and said: 'You must be nice to children'.

I grow orchids, occasionally. If I breed a pink, fragrant orchid... and call it ***'s Glory, or some other stupid name.

Discussions start now. Not in 2 weeks' time. You look absolutely appalled.

[To a student with her back to the screen] Presumably, it would be good - right, it would be good if you could face the screen.

You guys should be reading! Reading reading reading. Believe me. You'll never get another chance like this. I've been teaching in NUS for 19 years.

You're not going to be late next time, are you? The taxi didn't drive into the swimming pool.

[On the wide variation in human mental capability] Why are we so variable? [Student: Environmental factors. You might be hit by a car and become retarded.] I'm excluding all those... and mad brain surgeons.

[On Evolutionary Psychology] If there are any creationists here, it's alright, I understand, never mind.

Some governments to this day believe that selective breeding is good. The phrase 'graduate mothers' is running through my mind.

It's available in the Forum bookshop. It's 30 dollars. Is that a lot? It's a big discount. It's 80 dollars outside.

Suppose you've a friend who's reluctant to contribute during tutorial. Encouraging her will increase your participation mark.

We had a very nice discussion. 7 hour flight. We didn't talk for 7 hours. We fell asleep. He fell asleep on me, but that's another story.

I asked him: What are Singaporean students interested in? He told me... Blogging. Singaporean students are very interested in expressing their opinions electronically online. I landed, I read the Straits Times. There was some blogging convention and everyone was very excited about it. Do any of you know about this? *silence from audience*

At the end of the day... *Calls up IVLE forum statistics screen with people's faces* Sorry. Would that person come down please? No, no.

As about most things in life, quality is important. Don't post idle responses like: 'No.', 'I don't think so.' It's good for you to express an opinion... 'I don't think so' won't earn you many marks.

[On IVLE forum posting] I hope you'll get the comments thing going, just like in your blog. Is that an embarrassing thing? 'I have a blog'. Eventually you may tell me.

[On the term paper] The length I'm expecting is between 2000 and 2500 words. Too short, I know, I know.

It's TBA here. Who here knows what TBA is?... Good. You know what TBA is. A lot of people ask me: 'What is TBA?'

It's very difficult to fail this course.

Originally I decided to have you submit the term paper after the mid-semester break. I must have been feeling really good that day. I decided to give you a few extra weeks.

Are there any questions? *There is no response from the audience* Just as I thought. I'm sure I'll get a bunch of emails.

[On a Powerpoint slide with Fireworks in the background and titled 'To the youth of Singapore'] You might be wondering what this means. I missed the National Day Parade last night. I was sick. In bed all night. This is my way of celebrating. Fireworks.

[On the anaemic response from youth about suggestions on what to do about the Youth Park in Singapore] Out of the several thousand youth, only several hundred responded... They were probably forced.

I have some questions you might want to ask yourself. Question number one. [Powerpoint flashes: 'Are you going to read the texts before the tutorial?']

[On essay mills] I brought this up to show that it's not for you. First of all, it's expensive. Forty dollars.

I was reading the Straits Times. There was an article by a Singaporean woman. It was about Singaporean men. [Student: Sumiko Tan]

I found out some students forgot what they learnt in state'tistics (statistics)

You will be dree'vern to do those questions. (driven)

Your matric number, your nair'm (name)

I learned how to con'few expect, expectations (compute)

[On group homework] If you find one student does not participate, or you really hate that member, you can not write their name down. (choose not to)

All these term and conditions I should put in small font, just like credit cards (I should put all of these terms and conditions in a small font, just like on credit cards)

That is why it is fun to learn Econometrics. Actually it's quite fun to do this module. Most of the models you'll learn [in other modules]... are quite trivial.

Have you been to the *** lecture yet? I think it's a test not only of *** concepts, but of listening comprehension concepts.

Tomorrow's weather to be rare'ning (rainy - but he means 'raining')

A lone commute (long)

If you go to probability courses you will go crazy because it is very abstract.

We have assigned 1 random variable to diss'cries (describe)

I have 5 copies of the textbook here for students who cannot comfortably afford it. You can come and get it after class or later.

[On sending out handouts before the class] For handouts, I can teach faster, so you can learn more. That's a good thing.

Different schools tend not to talk to each other. Berkely is very Neo-Classical. I'm from Penn, we're New Keynesian.

[On Economics] Why do we need math? How many of you like math?

[On savings in the inter-temporal consumption decision] You die at the end of the second period, so if you have no children, and ou assume you have no friends, it's gonna be zero.

This stick our first class (is)

sith topics (six)

the a'sand'ments (assignments)

I will post ze assignments (the)

I'm forced to ferry in (carry)

We recommended five textbooks [for this module]

My a'standing (understanding)

the lust year (last)

two bandouts (bundles)

bar'geet constraint (budget)

ack 2 (x)

What happens if the price is change? (changed)

then what happen? (happens)

bandles (bundles)

sar'posse (suppose)

right and god (angled)

nominer function (non-linear)

act one (x)

core doh'n laugh utility function (Cobb-Douglas)

laugh at the hypocrite (partial derivative)

co-doh'glar (Cobb-Douglas)

We have no chains (change)

menace (minus)

plays a very important rule (role)

bar'teet (budget - pronounced with a muted t at the end)

[On Monday morning] Poor thing. You look absolutely exhuasted. It must've been a terrible weekend. You stagger into class. The first week is over, Orientation week is over... Wake up, wake up.

[On WD Hamilton] He was very mathematical... His supervisor didn't understand what the hell he was doing, so he very nearly didn't get his PhD.

[On how some explain why aunts invest more in their nieces and nephews than uncles] Aunts are women. And women have more oooh-ah factor.

[On a module] it's more like a level 5000 listening compre module than a level 3000 *** module (MSN)

Monday, August 15, 2005

For the life of me, I don't see how religious talk can hijack the latest Young Republic thread. Then again...


A: Any comments about the non-contest?

Would it have been really embarrassing for Singapore to have an average upper middle class guy becoming the president?

With the strict criteria for qualification, why do we need a presidential election in the first place?

Reviewing the late Dr Wee Kim Wee's career, he should not have qualified as president either. Yes he was a rather senior journalist, and he had been on ambassadorships here and there. But nothing close to having a hundred million dollars of assets to manage.

B: > If, as you say, the job of the president is a serious one, should we
> make the eligibility criteria for the post less strict so there can be
> more democratic choice?

Yes. There should be no 'active citizen' or 'silver mark in taxes' kind of criteria. We got over that 200 years ago. The current criteria clearly favour the rich and well-connected. It is revolting.

> What sort of criteria would you then propose so that the people would
> definitely not vote in dunces for president?

The 'criteria' I suggest is an election. It is called 'democracy'. Have you heard of this new-fangled idea?

> If the problem is the PEC, then who would you rather assess the
> suitability of Singapore's president?

The electorate. See above.

A: *** asserted to me last night, that people would vote according to religious and/or racial loyalties. It hadn't occured to me that Singaporeans would have voted in Andrew Kuan simply because he is Chinese, but..hmm...

C: The argument that people would vote along racial lines, leading to underrepresentation of minorities, isn't particularly well supported by the record. David Marshall, anyone? And our first elected opposition member after decades of PAP monopoly was JB Jeyaretnam - who overcame not only the 'disadvantage' of being a minority but also the disadvantage of not being from the ruling party, in a constituency (Anson) that wasn't particularly dominated by minorities to any extent.

D: i'm lazy to do detailed research so i might be wrong here. but what is the current list of responsibilities/powers of the elected president? i was only able to find the following.

"Under the revision, the President is empowered to veto government budgets and appointments to public office. He can also examine the Government's exercise of its powers under the Internal Security Act and religious harmony laws, and in investigations into cases of corruption."

is this for real? for some reason (hmm...) i don't recall any of these powers being utilised.

the main duty i know of is to approve/disapprove initiatives dealing with the reserves. does this actually require experience of heading a company with net worth $100m? if so, why do chief justices, attorney-generals, or psc chairmen qualify? granted that they have held senior positions in the civil service, but is there the
'required' financial experience?

if you read today's straits times, somewhere in the commentary section (i think), there was a short article on the role of the elected president. and it discussed matter-of-factly how LKY had created the post not as a check against the current government per se, but rather against rogue governments (ie if the opposition ever came to power). while not exactly a new idea, the fact that it's stated so blatantly
is rather... disgusting.

what a wonderful world.

Me on A's credulous remarks:
>Another concern would be precisely because the public does not
>understand the significance of an elected president. If it is deemed
>to be less than an important office, a presidential election, being
>universal, would serve as a means to vote against any candidate
>endorsed by the ruling party, even if he was in fact, the most
>qualified.

Perhaps the public does not understand the significance of an elected president because they don't have one.

The public also does not understand the significance of a Member of Parliament. We cannot let them make irresponsible choices. Politics is "a perpetual struggle between good and bad forces... The good can continue to win decisively if Singaporeans continue to elect their Government and MPs responsibly." Evidently we cannot elect a President responsibly, so we need the PEC to screen candidates.

If it all comes down to qualification, why don't we have an entrance exam and an interview for our President? The most qualified candidate who impressed the interview panel the most would then become President. Oh wait...


>Note that for now, the campaign period also lasts at most a week or
>so, and it is not at all clear that this is enough time for
>sufficient scrutiny to be placed on the candidates.

And who fixed the campaign period at being one week?


>Then again democracy means the people get the kind of elected
>president they deserve, doesn't it =)

Are you taking the piss here? I can't quite tell with you.


At least in the Soviet Union you could vote, even if there was only one candidate on the ballot. The number of spoilt/blank votes cast would be an effective and somewhat real measure of the support the candidates enjoyed.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
I saw a banner at an NUS bazaar: "Come witness the crowning of Miss Mercilon. The epitome of grace & beauty, radiates confidence from her clear skin and trim body"

My first thought was that at least they were being honest about the point of beauty contests: to evaluate a female purely on her physical merits (or lack thereof). My second, on seeing the website address (http://www.mercilon.com.my/) was of suspicion, given that it was a Malaysian product (or rather, being marketed by a Malaysian company, as I've since found out). And indeed my suspicions were confirmed, though the truth was beyond my wildest dreams (or worst nightmares, rather).

Visiting the website to check up on it, the words "Your contraceptive choice for a trimmer body and clearer skin" jumped out at me. This pill, marketed (in NUS at least) as a beauty product, was actually a contraceptive. Jaded as I am by a year in NUS, this false advertising still shocks me.

I wonder if the girls taking part in the "Miss Mercilon" contest will have to be on the pill, and if anyone in the NUS administration will discover how they got under the radar. Heads will roll for this endorsement of licentiousness!


"The average body weight decreases from baseline with 1.4 kilograms after 1 year of usage.

Highly effective in reducing acne and seborrhea/oily skin."

Wow. Sure sounds attractive. I wonder what will happen to me if I take Mercilon!

YC suggested paying NUS undergraduates $11 per pill to find out. Heh heh.

"my guess would be that the female hormones cause imbalances that temporarily give them some female characteristics
mood swings, irrationability etc"

"what happens to women who take viagra"
"Some names of NUS student events: Indulgence, Decadence, Ecstasy, Harem, Tease, Legal-disiac, Barely Legal, Bare, Naughty by Nature, E XXX othermic, Forplay, Tryst, Compulsion, Envy: Sin or Sense?, Temptations (All bashes except for the last, a bazaar)

What's next? Brothel and Sleaze? (As suggested by Ban Xiong)" (excerpt from a post in January)


The Science Club ("Unity through participation" - with a motto like this, they might as well not have one) is holding a bash called S.T.R.I.P. - "The party by friends for friends" (I'm assuming friends strip S.T.R.I.P for each other). The poster features 6 people (3 guys, 3 girls) in bed, with the bedsheet pulled up to the same suitable length for all of them. I know that sex sells, but bad sex (both in their overly-blatant approach and the poster not featuring models who are attractive enough - though one was wearing hoop earrings) doesn't; indeed it puts people off. I predict that their marketing will backfire on them when people think of stripping and NUS Science at the same time.

At least I like the fact that at least they're not trying to pretend that S.T.R.I.P stands for anything, but just go straight to selling their bash with sexual innuendo. Of course, at the bottom they have to state: "Come fully clothed and NO STRIPPING PLEASE". (...)

Oh, and this bash is sponsored by, among others, MCYS. How unwholesome.


"Even porn has more class than that"

"precisel, thats the draw isnt it? haha.. i would wanna c if sci pp r really tt wild.. ha.. either way, iwill get a good laugh.. lol.."

"Haha...... a failed attempt of sexual appeal"

"Eh. Science guys suck but the girls not THAT bad what. heh. Its made to entice those desperate for a lay. I bet the gender ratio will be 70m : 30 f"

"Really?science ppl have appalling dress sense.maybe it might be better if they strip. Haha."

"Great. More distasteful marketing. Sex sells, but this sucks."

"Send a letter to ST under the veil of 'concerned parent'. The poster and perhaps the bash will disappear in a couple of days"
"Workshop on defensive tactics against possible sexual assaults

In a collaborative effort involving Campus Security, Organization X-Secure and NUSSU Hotline, a workshop will be conducted on 24th and 25th August (2 same sessions), 6.30pm to 8.30pm (to be seated by 6.30pm) at NUS Staff Club, Aquarius Room. It aims to equip participants with tested and proven techniques to escape possible sexual assault scenarios. This is not a martial arts course per se, but involves realistic techniques to fend off commonly used advances and holds in a rape/molest situation, such as:

1. Wrist grabs
2. Hair pulls
3. Thigh touching
4. Hand shakes
5. Punches and kicks
6. Chokes and strangles
7. Fighting from your back
8. Pressure points

Conducted by Mr. Aaron from Organization X-Secure, who has had many years of experience teaching unarmed combat techniques to over 20,000 air stewardesses, this workshop will empower you with knowledge on commonly used advances and holds in sexual assault scenarios, and practical avoidance/escape drills.

The workshop will be divided into two parts:

1) Identification and Avoidance of threatening situations and

2) Practical skills to respond to situations - diffusing potentially threatening situations, escaping safely in the event of a violent attack, disabling an attacker"


We got this email, and I was thinking of signing up, but a note elsewhere says that "This workshop is for female (sic) only". Bah, how sexist. Who says only female suffer from sexual assault, or indeed any sort of assault? Anyhow, mace, pepper spray and a taser should suffice for anybody.
In Junction 8 today, I saw a pseudo-pushcart stall with a T-shirt that read: "Social hazard. I will not conform to the pattern of this world." Wondering how they were being allowed to hawk products with such socially disruptive messages which will inevitably unravel the fabric of our society, causing it to descend into looting and rioting and the end of Singapore as we know it, I looked at the other T-shirts to see if they broadcasted similarly seditious and subversive messages.

I was mildly surprised to find out that the stall was selling "Funky Christian T-shirts" and other such merchandise. The usual trite slogans abounded (eg "No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, Know Peace"), and it seemed that I'd unconsciously filtered them out, only being drawn to the one with the seditious message. Looking closer at it, I found that "Rom 12:2" was written at the bottom of the shirt.

After a quick glance at my portable concordance guide, I immediately conceptualised the most obvious sequel (at least to me) in the same vein: "I hate my family (Lk 14:26)". I also was put in mind of the corollary of the "No Jesus, No Peace" slogan:


"Know God, Know Sin. No God, No Sin."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

This must be one of the worst poems I've ever read:

Profile of Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings (Pumpkin)

"E-mail: violetsare-blue@roses-are-red.co.uk
Occupation: Poet

The dead swans lay in the stagnant pool.
They lay. They rotted. They turned Around occassionally.
Bits of flesh dropped off them from Time to time.
And sank into the pool's mire.
They also smelt a great deal."

I hope someone is taking the piss.

[Ed: Not being a 42 fan, I didn't recognise that this was from HHGG.]
Support for Andrew Kuan as Singapore's President Petition

"To: Singapore Government

We, the citizens & supporters of Singapore, want to show our support for Mr Andrew Kuan Yoke Loon to become Singapore's next elected President.

With Mr Kuan's distinguished record in public service, & strong professional financial training & experience (see http://www.andrewkuan.com), we have confidence in him"


I doubt this is going to get anywhere, given that it criticises the incumbent as well as the government. It only had 67 signatures at the time of this post's publishing. It doesn't help that the petition "was created by The Singapore Patriotic Front" (which links to that redoubt of good taste, rationality and good sense, the Sammyboy Forums).

Then again, the "Demand for Independent Audit of Accounts of GIC, Temasek Holdings, EDB & Finance Ministry Petition", started by the same "Harry Yong", only has 175 signatures now, despite having been up since the NKF scandal broke (cf the Presidential disqualifying having taken place less than 12 hours ago). In contrast, a cause like campaigning Against the Killing of Animals Under the Pretext of Hygiene Petition has a whopping 17273 signatures.

Even the Ban Steven Lim from appearing on Singapore Television Petition had more signatures than that before it was deactivated. Hell, even the following has 69 signatures:

"Long Hair For Guys In School Petition

Why do schools have rules that doesnt allow guys to keep long hair? This rule is BULLSHIT unless there are rules that doesnt allow girls to keep short hair. Enough said! Remove the long hair rule."


I think I shall move to the UK. At least Members of Commonwealth countries get to vote there.

***

The petitions get better as you go along. I found this gem with 19 signatures:

Ban ALL TRANSSEXUAL Petition

"To: Singaporean

To: SBS (Singapore Bus Services)

On April 22nd 2005 around 1840, 2 transsexuals were in the same bus (SBS Bus No. 51) as me, they accused me of saying things about them when I were just taking a glancing at their direction to check for my feeder bus service. They seem to be very sensitive and accused us of saying them bad things. Therefore, I am purposing to SBS (Singapore Bus Service) since they have been requesting pets owner either to cage up their pets before bringing it into the bus or don’t bring the pet into the bus, I strongly purpose to SBS to ban transsexual from boarding public bus since they have been making a nuisance of themselves in public transport and places, although this is the 1st time I encountered this kind of things but I have heard from a lot of people around me saying that these bunch of animals ( I do not know whether to call them He or She so I decided to use IT to represent them) cause lots of trouble when they are outside and since they mind view from the public, why don’t they just stay at home? Even better, conceal them to an offshore island away from Singapore. If SBS can ban animal from boarding the bus, we as NORMAL human being can also purpose to ban TRANSSEXUAL from using the public transport as us since they can’t be classified as a male or female so we might as well call them IT. Therefore I strongly encourage NORMAL human being like me and you who is looking at this screen to sign this petition to ban transsexual from using public transport, if this petition can be a success, I will continue purpose to the government of concealing all the so call ‘animals’ to an offshore island away from Singapore. I seriously think that this matter have to be taken seriously because it not only affect the public but also affect the thinking of our future. No one wants their offspring to be someone who cannot be classified as He or She I guess, why must destroy and manipulate a body which god and your parents gave u and turn yourself into an animal? Think about it, thanks.

Your Sincerely,
Javier"


This one is also good:

Campaign against the imposition of the helmet rule in Karnataka's cities Petition

"To: The NHRC, Hon'ble Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon'ble Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Karnataka, Hon'ble Dy. CM of Karnataka and Principal Secretary of Karnataka's Home Department.

We've the following genuine/valid reasons/objections against the imposition of the helmet rule in Karnataka:
Hot Tropical Climate/Weather in India: Wearing of helmets results in excessive perspiration from the scalp because of the tropical climate/weather in our country. With the amount of pollution around one gets a feeling of being trapped inside a chimney.
Difficult to breathe from the full-faced helmets: It's extremely difficult to breathe from the full-faced helmets due to the lack of ventilation.
Impairs hearing temporarily and leads to accidents: We can't even hear the sound of the vehicle coming from behind if we're wearing a helmet and this will lead to accidents as we're forced to turn our heads in the direction of the emanating sound.
Causes baldness: Helmet wearing will also result in the loss of our hair (baldness).
Difficult to carry while shopping and to keep/store in offices: One of our hands should be entirely kept free while shopping for provisions/groceries just to carry a helmet."
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