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Saturday, December 03, 2005



Some time ago, this poster popped up in my estate cautioning people: "Do not be victims of scams". 4 examples of said scams are then given, complete with graphic illustration: Fortune Telling, Computer Chips, Magic Stone (sic) and Lottery Tickets.

Now, Magic Stones have long been villified, and every now and then you see a story in the Shitty Times about how someone got conned into buying them. I'd always suspected they featured in regional culture (and thus it was insensitive, perhaps even seditious, to label them scams in our harmonious multi-racial society), but it took the addition of fortune telling to incite me to draw on my not inconsiderable resources to find out the depth of the sedition.

In Thailand, Magic Stones are used by Buddhist Abbots to help cure AIDS patients (Perceptions of HIV/AIDS and caring for people with terminal AIDS in southern Thailand). Meanwhile in Phuket, the annual Vegetarian Festival involves the throwing of magic stones. Even the Kabaa is basically a magic stone, in a manner of speaking. In Singapore, money was raised earlier this year in a donation drive for a temple to house what is believed to be the tooth of Gautama Siddhartha; is a magic stone really so different from a sacred tooth whose provenance is disputed? And this is to say nothing of how magic stones feature in many variants of New Age religion (eg healing crystals).

The singling out of fortune telling is even more egregious, since fortune telling is so mainstream among the Chinese that I won't even bother writing about its numerous instances and forms.

At this point, or at some time before, many a reader would doubtless have gone: "But Agagooga, of *course* everyone (except gullible old grannies, who we have to protect) knows that magic stones are scams! Res ipsa loquitur! Anyone who buys what is billed as the 'Pill of Eternal Life' is a moron! Those who buy indulgences from unlicensed sellers at $0.01 for a year out of Purgatory should know better! Someone selling the 6000 year old skull of the first human being is obviously a fraud, since everyone knows the earth is billions of years old! Anyone vouching for a life-prolonging and health-improving pill containing mercury is lying, since we all know that mercury consumption kills! Hawkers who offer tooth fragments from the Merlion must be con artists since everyone knows the Merlion is a creation of the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board!" But then, who is to say what is a genuine religious object and what is a scam? One man's scam is another man's faith.

For the state to have to intervene to be the arbiter for what is which blurs the State-Church divide, and risks making it partisan. It is really impossible to judge what is a legitimate religious endeavor and what is simply a scam, for all religions started out either as cults or as heresies, and most were persecuted (both by religious and secular authorities) during their inception. To persecute emerging forms of religion is simply to entrench existing forms of religion at the former's expense; all forms of religion and mysticism involve claims that cannot be convincingly and empirically proven with finality.

Some suggested to me that the defining characteristic of a con artist (as opposed to a religious figure) is that once the con artist gets the money, he disappears, whereas a religious figure lingers around and so has accountability of sorts. So presumably the lesson for aspiring con artists is to either form a religious system around their scam that is at least semi-coherent (a la L Ron Hubbard: "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion." [attr]) and carry out a long term con job or to masquerade as a member of an existing religion and con people of their money within that particular religious framework. Not a very comforting corrolary of those people's suggestions, I must say.

In the final analysis, perhaps the best piece of advice to all faced with mystical propositions, be they magic stones with healing powers or more mainstream forms of miraculous religious healing; the sale of lucky 4D numbers or a blessing upon one's Yong Tau Hoo; promises of eternal life or an alleged prediction of one's future; promising people a greater chance of winning in lucky draws or a bomo charging for his services; improved job prospects or the guarantee of being the last one standing at next year's Subaru Car Challenge, is simply this: Caveat emptor.


[Addendum:

Someone: "i wun be surprised if some of the supposedly-healed ppl are kelong one
esp those last stage cancer

that's a typical scam u noe..for magic stones
cheat tries to sell to auntie A
aunties B n C are part of scam..stand beside n saying how the stone worked for them"]
My mother went to wash Blue Bear despite my express instructions not to do so, and now he has a bald streak along his tummy (I compared his current condition to a photo of him after my sister washed him last year, so no, I'm not imagining things).


December 8th, 2004


December 3rd, 2005 (The wound is much more evident in the flesh)

In the face of his gradual disintegration, my mother's lame excuse is that he needs to be washed once a year, otherwise I'll fall sick (notwithstanding the times when he wasn't washed for more than a year, and nothing happened to me). The natural rejoinder on my part, of course, is that if your wife is sick, you don't dump her.

Looks like I'm going to have to hide him before leaving the house next time.
A pseudo-purity test: I got 64% (as of 6th November) - the highest of anyone I know (or indeed, know of). Damn.


Start off with 100% and minus off 1% for each thing that has happened to you.

Smoked.
Drank alcohol.
Cried when someone died.
Been drunk.
Had sex.
Been to a concert.
Given a handjob/gotten a handjob.
Given a blowjob/gotten a blowjob.
Been verbally sexually harassed.
Verbally sexually harassed somebody.
Felt someone up and/or been felt up.
Laughed so hard something came out of your nose.
Cheated on a boyfriend/girlfriend before.
Been cheated on by a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Been to prom.
Cried at school.
Gotten lost in a WalMart or a department store.
Went streaking.
Given a lap dance.
Had someone of the opposite sex in your room.
Had someone of the opposite sex sleep over.
Slept over at someone of the opposite sex's house.
Kissed a stranger.
Hugged a stranger.
Went scuba diving.
Driven a car.
Gotten an xray.
Hit by a car.
Had a party.
Done drugs.
Played strip poker.
Got paid to strip for someone.
Ran away from home.
Broken a bone.
Eaten sushi.
Bought porn.
Watched porn.
Made porn.
Had a crush on someone of the same sex.
Been in love.
Frenched kissed.
Laughed so hard you cried.
Cried yourself to sleep.
Laughed yourself to sleep.
Stabbed yourself.
Shot a gun.
Trash talked someone and then acted like their best friend the next day.
Watched TV for 9 consecutive hours.
Been online for 9 consecutive hours.
Watched an animal die.
Watched a person die.
Had sex and/or messed around somewhere with at least 1 person present.
Pranked somebody.
Put somebody in the hospital.
Snuck into someone's room and/or your own room after being out.
Kissed somebody of the same sex.
Dressed punk.
Dressed goth.
Dressed preppy.
Been to a motocross race.
Avoided somebody.
Been stalked.
Stalked someone.
Met a celebrity.
Played an instrument.
Ridden a horse.
Cut yourself.
Bungee jumped.
Ding dong ditched somebody.
Been to a wild party.
Got caught stealing something.
Kicked a guy in the balls.
Stolen a boyfriend/girlfriend from a friend.
Went out with your friend's crush.
Got arrested.
Been pregnant.
Babysat.
Been to another country.
Started your house on fire.
Had an encounter with a ghost.
Donated your hair to cancer patients.
Been asked out by someone that you never though you'd to be asked out by.
Cried over a member of the opposite sex.
Had a boyfriend/girlfriend for over 3 months.
Sat on your ass all day.
Ate a whole carton of ice cream all by yourself.
Had a job.
Gotten cut from a sports team.
Been called a whore.
Danced like a whore.
Been mistaken for a celebrity.
Been in a car accident.
Been told you have beautiful eyes.
Been told you have beautiful hair.
Raped somebody.
Danced in the rain.
Been rejected.
Walked out of a restaurant without paying.
Punched someone/slapped someone in the face
I am usually loth to do concert reviews if I lack a more hardcore person and experienced ear to discuss the concert with, but I'm bored and so will talk briefly about the ones I went to on Thursday and Friday. Both were a last minute thing - I only knew I was going for them less than 40 hours before they started, which made gathering a mighty host difficult.

***

Artyfakt Cantate Series No. 3 - Christmas Music from Germany and France
by Colibri Chamber Singers, Common Voices, Temasek Polytechnic Choir, Artyfakt Consort and 5 soloists whose names I am lazy to type out

Works performed:
JL Bach - Uns ist ein kind geboren
JS Bach - Nun komm, der heiden heiland
Camille Saint-Saens - Oratorio del Noel

Although I was seated at the right side of the stage, and slightly behind the string ensemble, having come in just on time due to underestimating traffic, the acoustics of the church were good enough for me to hear the performance well, though sadly I couldn't hear the MCs' commentary.

The choir had a great deal of creativity - within the constraints of the dress code, they managed to squeeze in possibly the greatest number of variations on a black dress code in one place that I've ever seen.

There were fewer PRCs among the soloists than I expected. Even though I haven't been to all that many performances by local groups with soloists, for some reason I expected 1/2 of them to be PRC (only 1/3 were).

The blend of the choir and string ensemble was quite good, but I heard something I haven't for a while - the strains of Sopranos when trying to hit high notes just out of their reach. Otherwise, there were the usual minor mistakes from the performers here and there, but nothing noteworthy. The German and Latin enunciation sounded crisp, especially considering that Singaporeans in general tend to be bad at such (maybe it's only the student choirs).

I was impressed with the alto soloist. Perhaps this is because it's hard to deliver a distinctive and memorable alto, but the soloist managed to pull it off (during the one aria [IIRC] she had). [Addendum: I thought I heard funny noises from the other female soloists at one or two points, but wasn't sure. A mysterious source's anonymous source confirms my suspicions, though.] Meanwhile, the baritone's singing was a touch too thick, but for some reason most examples of such performances feature thick singing (there probably is a better word, but I forgot), perhaps because it carries well.

I am usually leery of organ accompaniment, as it tends to muffle the finer parts of the other sections' performance. This effect was not in evidence, though whether this was due to the nature of the orchestration, the skill of the organist or the quality of the organ, I do not know.

Unfortunately, the duet and trio during the Saint-Saens oratorio were accompanied by piano. It seems the accompaniment was originally scored for harp. Ah well.

Even if the performance had been very bad, you couldn't beat the price, especially considering that there was a string ensemble and organ thrown in and that a cantata and an oratorio (albeit short ones) were performed in their entireties. I am not familiar with the pieces performed, so I cannot comment further.

***

RenaISsancE *2* 2005
by the Raffles Institution String Ensemble (and friends)

Works performed:
Mendelssohn - Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream Op 21
Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto in E minor Op 64
Rodrigo - Concerto De Aranjuez
Prokofiev - Symphony No. 1 in D major "Classical" Op 25

I only scribbled some notes the day after the concert, so they are necessarily brief.

The 2 soloists were great, managing to make their instruments sing without playing too ostentatiously (even the 16 year old playing for the Mendelssohn), but they were let down by the orchestra. There seemed to be something wrong with the brass, as it sounded squeaky, and the violins weren't together (and sounded squeaky too). It's a secondary school student ensemble, and there looked to be Secondary 1s performing, so I don't ask for much, but at one part I was even cringing.

The orchestra improved towards the end, however - maybe they finally warmed up.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Final Theory Test Ten Year Series / NUS exam results

Ed: Keywords - Basic Theory Test

Switching on the light inside your car during night driving will
b. enable other motorists to see clearly the inside of your vehicle
c. enable other road users to know that you are driving

Alcohol and drugs
b. refreshes the mind and improve driving skills

If you have landed your vehicle in the canal with deep water, you should
a. wind up all windows and call for help

When performing paralle parking,
a. the vehicle should be parallel to the parking lot
b. the vehicle front position should be slanting out slightly
c. the vehicle rear portion should be slanting out slightly

If the brake pedal suddenly becomes ineffective, you should
b. open the door and jump out

Driving a vehicle with a reverse light on is
c. a waste of battery

Which is the best way for straightening the steering wheels while reversing?

a. From slanting position to straight position
b. From slanting position to slanting position
c. From straight position to straight position

When you want to turn right and a taxi is occupying the space in front, what should you do?
a. Horn at him to say that he is wrong
["i think the default response for any altercations involving taxi drivers should be to horn at them."]

When turning into a left narrow lane, you should keep to your
b. not at all

Van and lorries are often caught in accidents because
a. they do not always follow the road speed and traffic rules
[Ed: Oddly, this is in the official handbook.]

Motor cyclists are more likely to cause accidents because
b. of reckless driving
[Ed: Meanwhile this answer is wrong. Discrimination!]

Which of the following drivers are not allowed on the expressways?
c. Vintage car drivers

While driving on the road, which situation is likely to cause accidents?
b. Accidents caused by others

If your view is blocked while reversing, you should
b. speed up to prevent others from coming in front

If you are drowsy while driving, you should
b. drive faster to go home to sleep

If you have consumed excess alcohol, you should
a. drive faster to get home to rest

When opening the car door to get in, you should
c. open the door wide to prtect your body

If you are dazzled by oncoming vehicles with high beams of light, you should
c. switch on your high beam

When you are following closely the front vehicle, the headlights should
b. Switched to high beam

After pass through the fllod and the brakes become ineffective, the remedy is to
b. dry brake lining with dryer
c. dry brake lining with cloth

The slack of the fan belt is
a. 10mm - 15mm
b. 10cm - 15cm
c. 10m - 15m
["this is for driving leh, not test to be car mechanic"]

When there is an emergency vehicle following you,
c. go faster in order not to obstruct traffic

You should sound the horn
a. When you think you have the right of way
b. When a car moved into your lane without signalling


Damn, this TYS is worth every cent.

The horn should be used:
a. to express your frustration
b. to greet other road users
[Ed: This wasn't in the TYS, but I got a question with options to this effect today on my test.]

***

NUS Exam results this semester are released before Christmas.

People will still complain, however, that it spoils their Christmas, notwithstanding the fact that they likely cannot be released earlier (marking constraints and having to shape the bell curve) or later (people will complain it spoils their New Year, and releasing results from 2nd January onwards would leave no time for appeals before the new semester).

Of course, if people don't want to spoil their Christmas or New Year, they can always check their results on January 2nd - they aren't going to run away. Hell, a hard copy of results is mailed to us 2 weeks from the date on online release, giving everyone plenty of time to enjoy their Christmas and New Year.

But then humans are irrational, so.

National Education Lesson: Japanese language policy in Asia until 1945

Linguistic imperialism: Japanese language policy in Asia until 1945

"The goal of the cultural/educational policy in Japan-ruled areas was to linguistically, culturally and morally Japanize/imperialize or brainwash the local people by means of school education. The wartime implementation of the policy was extremely harsh: while the Japanese militaristic government launched the propaganda of liberating Europe/US-colonized Asia and establishing a Daitoa Kyoeiken [Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Hemisphere] in its place, with Japan as the leader of the Hemisphere. It actually implied mobilization of resources, both manual and natural, from the occupied areas as it did so. The Japanese education in Japan-ruled areas as well as in Japan was directed to serve this scheme. But the scheme collapsed with the defeat of Japan in 1945.

What characterized the Japanese cultural and educational program in the colonized/occupied areas was the inculcation/indoctrination of Japanese spirit of ethnocentric ideology. It was intended to inspire the new subjects to believe in Japan being a god's country. In addition, the diffusion of Japanese was incorporated, which resulted very often in stamping out the local languages, traditional culture and values. The ultimate goal was to produce loyal subjects of the Japanese Emperor by compelling assimilation of all the dominated people into the existing Japanese order. With this policy of forced assimilation, the Japanese language, which was intended to become a lingua franca within the hemisphere, played a key role in integrating Asian peoples under the Hakko Ichiu [the eight corners of the world under one roof] framework. The educational programs under the Japanese authorities particularly compelled the acquisition of Japanese...

The educational principles of the military administration in Malay/Singapore under Japanese claimed that:

  1. Cultural and educational administration of the occupied areas lies in demonstrating to the Southern peoples the Japanese imperial spirit of Hakko ichiu and unify the national cultures into Japanese culture,
  2. education should contribute to master useful industries and skills in order to promote local industries,
  3. Japanese should be diffused to promote common communication in the Kyoeiken Hemisphere,
  4. respect to labor and promotion of industrious mind should be enhanced. (Fundamental Principles on Education: 1.1942)
"


There daily seem to be new lessons we can learn, in National Education classes, from the Japanese Occupation of Singapore.

Today's lesson (with reference to the quoted extracts above):

One always has to be critical of what one learns in school, and not accept it blindly as gospel truth, since it may be taught for reasons other than strictly pedagogical ones.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

2 deaths in 2 weeks - November was really not a good month.
"A celebrity is a person who works hard all his life to become well known, then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized." - Fred Allen

Random Playlist Song: Schubert - Impromptus D.935 - No. 3 In B-Flat - Thema (Andante) mit Variationen (Brendel)

***

"Hey Mr X,
I love your 'how girls waste time' page. I'm so pissed off at this girl, and somehow i landed at your blog, and i saw this link to 'how girls waste time'. I clicked it only because your entries appeared sufficiently non-trashy at first glance (composed in decent english, not filled with colourful gaudy hearts and stars etc). So cool. So many reasons that apply directly to this idiot of a girl am interested in."

***

Web Mail extension and Hotmail component

A: I´ve updated Webmail and Hotmail extensions to the latest available and i´m still getting "negative vibes" with Thunderbird 1.5 latest branch builds...

B: What do you mean by negative vibes? No one understands what your problem is. Negative vibes means like you have a feeling that something bad is going to happen or you get the feeling that someone doesn't like you.

A: It´s a Thunderbird error that says:

"sending of password did not succeed. mail server localhost responded: negative vibes"

***

Yucheng's Yahoo account also got deleted a few years back. It seems Yahoo has a proven track record of random, unexplained and unjustified deletion.

Free riding/Tragedy of the common toilet - The modern Tragedy of the Commons

Postmodernism - "While postmodernism seems very much like modernism in these ways, it differs from modernism in its attitude toward a lot of these trends. Modernism, for example, tends to present a fragmented view of human subjectivity and history (think of The Wasteland, for instance, or of Woolf's To the Lighthouse), but presents that fragmentation as something tragic, something to be lamented and mourned as a loss. Many modernist works try to uphold the idea that works of art can provide the unity, coherence, and meaning which has been lost in most of modern life; art will do what other human institutions fail to do. Postmodernism, in contrast, doesn't lament the idea of fragmentation, provisionality, or incoherence, but rather celebrates that. The world is meaningless? Let's not pretend that art can make meaning then, let's just play with nonsense."

iPod Flea - Sure to be a hit among Mac whores everywhere.

Finally, an English version of the Kikkoman advertisement!

How guys waste their time / Weird things guys do - How Girls Waste Time has inspired a version for males!

AdBlock Plus Home - Ironically, the homepage of this Firefox extension to remove ads from webpages has Google Ads.

Recovering Christians: Sin and Forgiveness - "If a god can be forgiven for such heinous atrocities, what's a little Original Sin?"
Someone asks, in the comments of Bohemia Bunny's Sexy V-girls Update:

"No offence, but is that really a girl? or a guy with a wig?"

Boo hoo.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Hiya...

"The art of Parkour was born in the mid 80's in France and came to prominence in the UK in 2002. Through further development and with progression in mind, Freestyle Parkour was born. It was felt that Parkour as a discipline was starting to become too regimental & elitist and through the release of an inconsistent and out of date definition, became somewhat stifling and restrictive. The aim of Freestyle Parkour is allow for total freedom of movement, promote creativity and to encourage people to find their own way and develop their own creative license. With Freestyle Parkour, people wishing to perform flips, spins and adding flair, will not be excluded. Anyone wishing to see a perfect example of what Freestyle Parkour is all about, should seek out the 'Rush hour' video of David Belle (co founder of Parkour) performing a rooftop run using regular Parkour techniques mixed in with flips and acrobatics. This is EXACTLY what Freestyle Parkour is all about. "- Urban Freeflow

Would anyone know if parkour is still popular? Came across it in singapore (of all places) 5 months ago.

-andrew
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"Daniel Radcliffe" AND armpit
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household items used during sex - This is a step up, at least.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Son" gods, like Dionysos in Greece and Osiris in Egypt, also made their appearance in the age of agriculture. Like storm gods, they were dynamic, but not quite in the same way. Their role was rather to suffer and die. The so-called mystery religions, which were enormously popular in the ancient Mediterranean world, centred especially on these deities, which in name were vegetation gods but figured more prominently as dramatic, divine saviors. In these gods especially, Eliade discerns an important psychological aspect of religious symbols. They not only tell us about the world and the sacred but also show "the continuity between the structures of human existence and cosmic structures." Their myths do not just reflect the cycles of life and death in nature; they reenact as well the great personal struggle that takes place in the life of each human individual: the drama of birth, life and death as well as the hope of rebirth or redemption. No symbol, says Eliade, manages to bring divine life so near to human as the figure of the savior-god, the divinity who "even shared mankind's sufferings, died and rose from the dead to redeem them." Precisely because of his marked "humanity," this type of god plays a crucual role in the history of religion."


- Daniel L Pals, Seven Theories of Religion; The Reality of the Sacred, Mircea Eliade

***

I finally got down to sending my Powershot A70 in for repair. It turns out that it's a known problem, so they replaced my CCD for me for free. It was ready in 2 days, and they even offered to mail it to me, so I have no complaints, except that they didn't mail owners of the camera to let them know about the free repair policy.

I noticed that at the Canon service centre, they used Epson printers. I asked why and was told Canon didn't manufacture that sort of printers (the sort from the old days where the paper is advanced by means of a conveyor belt pulling it along using the holes in the side of it).

***

I was forced to use an iBook G4 for a period of time, and the touchpad was ridiculously hard to use. Pushing my finger down hard didn't work. Neither did pressing the touchpad lightly. The owner of the iBook suggested I use my middle finger - he said it was easier. How appropriate.

Oh, and the lack of a delete key was annoying (technically, there's a delete key, but it's a backspace in disguise so deleting text is a pain).


Meanwhile, a friend's Macintosh laptop dropped from the level of the cushion on a chair to the floor, and not only did it spoil, the hinge connecting the screen to the rest of the laptop came out. Such shoddy manufacturing, tsk tsk.

[Addendum:

My Little Bird: "i heard an interesting anecdote from a project mate at an IT show - a mac whore/salesman was saying how durable the ibook was and smashed the ibook he was holding to the floor - the ibook refused to boot up (although it remained in one piece) - the project mate walked off as he was still (frantically) trying to reboot it.

oh please add that this intelligence feed is from a mac user.
in contrast to a mac whore"]

Monday, November 28, 2005

Random Playlist Song: Brahms - Ein Deutsches Requiem Op.45 - V. Ihr Habt Nun Traurigkeit

Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit; aber ich will euch wieder sehen und euer Herz soll sich freuen und eure Freude soll niemand von euch nehmen.

Sehet mich an: Ich habe eine kleine Zeit Mühe und Arbeit gehabt und habe großen Trost funden.

Ich will euch trösten, wie Einen seine Mutter tröstet.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I was musing to people about my latest plan: to buy up the terrace houses along Heng Mui Keng Terrace (near Business) and build a branch of Hotel 81 there, offer special student hourly rates, and watch the money roll in. Some might point to how hostel rooms are designed for precisely this purpose, but not everyone is a Hall Inmate, and even some who are are risk-averse, the scholars especially.

Someone told me that there already was a "Fragrance Hotel" (not the real name, but something he thought of on the spur of the moment) near school, so I decided to seek it out after my last paper.

After some walking, I found "Pasir Panjang Inn", with a daily room rate of $75. They also had day use rates from $40 to $55 in $5 increments ("no day use after 8pm"). The hotel's location is far enough from school to afford lovebirds some degree of privacy, yet near enough to walk to conveniently (the rent's probably not as high as along Heng Mui Keng Terrace, too). There's even parking for those lazy to walk there!

Come to think of it, sometimes when waiting at the bus stop near Heng Mui Keng Terrace, I saw couples walking down in that direction. I'd never known what they were doing, since there was nothing of interest there, but now I do!

Maybe I can still formulate a business model around pairing (or trio, or quartet, or quintet, if they prefer) people who have no one to go there with. This should be even more profitable than finding rooms for people to squat in!

[Addendum: "no man.. u know, they tell us USP blocks are to facilitate group work and stuff. rubbish man. its all abt the gvt's ploy to get scholar to marry scholar so we can get scholar babies. maybe that's why i NEVER see anyone checking our usp rooms. esp when i hear so many stories abt RAs checking other blocks often enough to have evicted (last time, before the revision of the rules to a fine) and fined quite a number of couples

honestly
wah rrao

stayed here for almost 3 years and i swear. other than the mandatory room check at the beginning of sem (always before 11pm) to make sure there are no squatters, we never have room checks. unless someone paotoh you. thats another story."]


I don't want to see the letters "IS" or "LM" ever again. Unfortunately I think I'm going to have to be reacquainted with them during the holidays in preparation for next semester.

It seems some PRCs staying on campus free-ride by throwing their clothes into washing machines while other people are using them. Then when they take them out later, the original person's clothes go missing.

The Arts Club has this project called "Dirty Laundry". People write down whatever they want to say about the Arts Club or the school, and it gets stuck up on T-shirts hanging from a clothes line. I was quite impressed with the project, especially since they put up my note about the Arts Club and NUSSU being like NTUC in their dealings with the administration. However, someone pointed out this amusing piece of "dirty laundry" to me: "Chicks - aint it cold in the LTs and Tutorials - Pls dress up!"

A day before the start of examinations, someone was printing 2.5 module-semesters' (1 module semester is a unit akin to Kilowatt-Hours and equivalent to the material needed for one module in one semester) of notes. I told him that hugging Buddha's leg wouldn't be enough - he'd need to perform a rather more indelicate service for him.

Around the time Reading Week starts, the Central Library becomes a really awful place to study. For one, there's oxygen deprivation: having a large number of people staying in a confined, poorly ventilated and relatively confied (at least compared to Law and Business) space for extended periods of time is a recipe for disaster. Also, there's the smell. Well, the smell I'm told about, rather. Male olfactory senses are not as finely honed as female ones, so I will take my friend's word for it. She says it's because some people don't bathe. Perhaps I unconsciously smell the smell, so although it doesn't register consciously, it leads to my feeling that the atmosphere there is positively oppressive, and I feel jittery and prone to suffering from bouts of hysterics. Another thing that makes it irritating is that most of the time, at least a third of the seats have bags and belongings at them, but no people.

Laser printing is 4 cents per page at Law, Business and Science (though the latter has a horrible system where you need to buy a prepaid card and student assistants release the print job for you), but 5 cents a page at Arts, USP and I hear in Engineering and Medicine also. Price discrimination is at work, since in all places printing is run by Seng City Trading. Someone speculated that there wasn't price discrimination since the paper at Business was worse, but I and my panel of 2 experts thought the paper at Business was of better quality than at Arts. Meanwhile photocopying in the libraries costs 3 cents a page, but 2.5 cents a page outside. A more complicated analysis of comparative elasticities might warrant an ISM (someone is doing one on CORS this semester - "Module Allocation - An Efficiency Analysis", damn).

I saw a PRC in the library reading a book: "Concepts of Criticism". The chapter he was on was: "The Concept of Romanticism". Wah.

I realise one reason I dislike essay exams is that I can't do the essays justice in 2 hours.

I heard some people wheel in trolleys full of books for open book exams.

It seems the bell curve applies in a module whenever there are more than 30 people in it.

A friend of mine booked a taxi to come after her exam, so she could reach home speedily. Wah.
Quotes:

The Law library is super cold. Those stupid girls. They wear the super short shorts, complain "hen2 len3 ah, hen2 len3 ah" [Translation: It's very cold]... The next day, the same girl complained again... I was thinking. "Huo2 gai1" [Translation: Serves her right]... She complained to the guy. I think the guy was thinking the same thing. (One wore those, then complained)

[On an example of a time fixed effect affecting the crime rate] The Coming of Christ

Questions [on the exam]? How am I? I'm fine, thank you.

[On technology making participant observation easier] It was easier to travel to Indonesia, or Morocco... than for people like Tylor, or Frazer, or Marx, though he probably wouldn't have been interested.

[On theoretical eclecticism] What was Marx? [Someone: Communist.] Was Marx a Marxist? It's possible he was not. Communist, maybe.

[On a 'childlike naivite and backwardness' and Intelligent Design] George Bush is not one of our theorists. Maybe I shouldn't put him in there. (naivete)

[On being inundated with exam enquiries via email] The second question is, 'What are the questions like?' Actually, that wasn't the question. It was more like, 'What are the questions?... Give me the questions, we'll all be happy'

[On spotting questions] What should I study? The basic answer is that you should study everything.

[On writing essay outlines in exams] It's not an official policy, but maybe if we see you planning your response, we'll go, 'Oh...'

[On how to kill trees in the interests of legibility] You can do double space... I don't think there's a limit on how many booklets you can use, is there?

[On exam FAQs] Administrative stuff. What do I mean? First of all, that you turn up.

No dictionaries. I trust in your vocabulary. You will have no problem whatsoever.

[Giving lame excuses for making the exam open book] You might become complacent... You will regurgitate material. It might affect your ability to craft a critical and thoughtful response.

[On exam hints] I feel kind of bad, spoiling the surprise for you.

[On recycling material for different essays during exams despite instructions against it] It will be quite impossible. The questions are very different... A lot of you are very creative, I know.

[On spotting theorists for the exam - 8 are taught in the course as a whole] Knowing 3 theorists is not enough. 4 - not enough. 5 - pushing it.

Midterm questions are still important. Especially the short answer questions. Maybe they'll show up again. Who knows? (Questions from the midterm)

I came up with this sort of question 1 year ago... It doesn't mean I will set this sort of question again. It depends on my mood.

I killed you once in the mid-term. Chances are smaller that I will give this question again... It's still possible.

You are the major (manufacturer)

This part is my surprise (surplus)

[Me on the NUS Business library closing: Where's the sleazy music? *Sleazy music plays* Oh yeah!]... You just need a saxophone. *Saxophone starts playing* *Laughter from group*

This is an interesting question. I hope it won't come out [in the exam]. Interesting questions should not come out.
"No good deed goes unpunished." - Clare Booth Luce

***

It looks like a new generation of people is discovering the power of the CrushCalculator.

"We all know that names are not chosen randomly, names usually determine what the person become.

Our program predicts your compabitility with your potential partner based on your input. The program will analyze your names using a patented set of complex mathematical and statistical calculations , taking into consideration factors like name origin and personality traits of certain surnames.

The factors are matched against our database of historical data and a compability score is then calculated. The program will also help you distinguish between love, lust, friendship and futile attempts."

The plug must attract a lot of people. Or maybe lots of satisfied users have been recommending it to their friends.

***

[Not safe for work]

I thought Bakunyuu Sentai Chichiranger was bad enough, but it seems someone filmed a whole series:

Dengeki Sentai Perfectranger (there're accurate synopses too)

It's also available in Kamen Rider style. Whee.

***

Via my feedback form:

"WAAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH!
You're confirmed a VIRGIN! you're not getting any from a girl aren't ya?
WAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!
you sad little thing. (the hover pissing is freakin funny!!!!!)"

***

I think I've solved the mystery of why I always see pictures of girls at urinals. It's penis envy!

I'm embarking on a new project - collecting pictures of girls at urinals.

Webshots Search Results: Displaying 1 - 20 of 248 photos found for girls urinals

Okay. I think I better restrict it to Singaporeans. I already have 4 - readers are requested to point me to more pictures of Singaporean girls at urinals.


Someone: "they have a urinal at a ladies bathroom in plaza sing"

***

An Index to Creationist Claims - All lovingly listed, and not limited to Christian Creationism. There are entries on Vedic, Native North American and Islamic Creationism as well. I hope they don't get prosecuted for sedition.

Potter girl bombarded with Bibles - "Harry Potter star Emma Watson is reportedly bombarded with Bibles by furious Christians who believe that the magical movies are a work of evil... In July this year, the Landover Baptist church in Iowa banned the Potter books and requested Christian brothers and sisters to handover a Bible to anyone seen carrying a Harry Potter book, to save their Christian souls."
Brownie points for the first person to tell me what the Hindustan Times got wrong. And no, Enming, you are not eligible!

***

NUS Examination timetable:

ULS2202 EVOLUTION 25/04/2006 (Tue) 9:00 AM

The fundies didn't kill it off after all!
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