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Valar Qringaomis

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Friday, January 06, 2006

Someone: this should interest you

Presenting to you, DARE 21”, the sexiest, most outrageous party event of the new year. This bash is like no other, because we promise an enjoyable evening for you, with cheap drinks on the go, and good friends to be with. What more can you ask for? If you need an incentive to go, let me tell you a good news! For ladies, if you dress less than 21 inches from top to bottom, you will get free entry and a free drink! Therefore. for gentlemen, you know what the incentive is right?

science bash
they get better ideas every year
next it'll be free entry in the buff

i thought i'd seen it all, this one drives me speechessl
i'd feel insulted and objectified if i were a girl

Me: get short girls

HGWT

25. Beautification - real or psychological (exfoliating scrub, toner, blue tracing paper [aka blotting paper], face/skin lightening cream, facials, nail polish, bust enhancement/implants, eyebrow shaping, revealing clothes, various other varieties of snake oil) and then feeling offended and objectified when men look at them admiringly. Either that or trying to look like a guy

Someone: they prob figured that was the least they could ask for without getting sued for promoting indecency or smthg

hahah short girls, good one
let's rustle up a posse of ugly midgets

post it up so one and all can marvel at the increasing stupidity of science students

Me: this beats STRIP

Someone: i'd like to know who comes up with these ideas
clearly a bunch of horny science guys

i mean, don't the girls have any say in this
what's the incentive for them. to be ogled at?
that happens whatever the case

Me: free drinks?

Someone: aiyah. i think skimpily dressed girls are de facto in any case
it's just to bait the guys

evolution gave us the short end of the stick
if only more guys realised that

Me: where there're girls, there're guys

women like women
men like women
nobody likes men


Someone else: that's not sexy. that's complete prostitution
I am going to Malaysia this evening for a wedding, and won't be back till Sunday morning/afternoon. On my part, the following has gone some way towards dissipating my energies, allowing me to enjoy the rustic charms of our neighbor (or maybe the nap I had had something to do with it). For those who enjoy dead horse flogging, the following should be of some interest. For those who don't, flaming me will be an excellent way for them to spend their time and energy. Either way, everyone will be happy!


It is instructive to compare the sort of comments in the following 2 blog posts:

Post A: A half-joking post making fun of Singaporeans' HDB flats (More comments on Tomorrow.sg)

Post B: A half-joking post making fun of Malaysia in general and musing about why and how people from the 2 countries engage in this timeless game

The provocation or perceived provocation in both posts is the same: someone from one country making fun of the other.


It's been more than 6 full days since Post A was posted, and more than 2 full days since it was recommended on Tomorrow.sg, so enough time has passed to analyse the comments on each post, leaving aside the veracity of the original snipes at the other country in the first place.

Post A: Received not many comments, and those that were posted are placid. Some dryly noted that staid as a HDB flat might be, it beats slums and dingy huts. The mood was generally amiable, if a little annoyed at times.

Post B: Tons of flames insulting the blog owner and wishing various disasters to befall him, plus various threats to cut off Singapore's water supply. An outraged mood was palpable, with many roused to great anger.

Some comments not in the comments box:

1) "the ego in you bring up average shallow sinkie ,i know spr more than you as i am right in yr backyard and comparing apple with orange and claim yours is any beter is an act of self comfort-as good as mascubating"

2) "i feel totally disgusted by u.
I mean, maybe only a handful are like what u said, u CANT speculate ppl this way.
I seriously hope u get jailed for this entry.
And yes, i wont take ur side. =)"

3) "what would it be if malaysia cut its water supply to singapore? will u guys be drinking salt water instead?"


Possible ad-hoc statements to make to rescue the paradigm that Malaysians and Singaporeans respond the same way to the parlour game of bashing the other country:

- Too little time has passed; 2 days is quite long already, and anyway I'm leaving for Malaysia - irony of ironies - this evening and doubt much will have changed by the time I return on Sunday
- No sensible Malaysians visit(ed) my blog (the corollary of which is that no sensible Malaysians visit kennysia.com and Minishirts Minishorts 412 Precondition Failed), and no stupid Singaporeans visit tomorrow.sg
- Tomorrow.sg has less hits than 412 Precondition Failed and kennysia.com. Considering that Tomorrow.sg gets many hits a day (an average of 69,115 in October, 66,962 in September so doubtless more now), is a prime target for Singaporeans and has 652 readers on its RSS feed as of time of writing, whereas 412 Precondition Failed gets about 2,000 a day, I find this very unlikely.
- Although Singaporeans and Malaysians respond the same way to the parlor game, Malaysians are more vocal and willing to leave remarks, and Singaporeans are quiet, even online (seeing coffeeshops and taxi drivers though, not to mention online forums and blogs...)

All of which strike me as most unsatisfactory (on the level of Creation "Science").

Many of the Malaysians who posted showed themselves to be ignorant country bumpkins who are incapable of rational argument and tolerating those with different views from their own; they can't stand seeing an opinion they don't like, so they must ban it. The Singaporeans have so far proved (and will prove in the coming days) that they are not like that. Malaysians do seem particularly fond of ad hominem attacks, while most Singaporeans (those who bother commenting in the first place) at least address the issue in their rebuttals. And at least Singaporeans can take a joke, or don't turn into raving lunatics at half-jokes.

It is ironic that in defending the honour of their country, they just sadly proved my point. Irrational prejudice against all people of a certain group is contemptible, but rational prejudice against most people of a certain group certainly isn't; not all people rushing at you with parangs want to hack you open, but it's best to act as if they are (actually the person was practising his leaping parang kung-fu). Are we then prejudiced against people rushing at us with parangs? Not all people walking around your house at night trying to be quiet want to rob you, but it's best to act as if they are (actually the person dropped keys in your house is your uncle whom you didn't recognise in the dark, and didn't want to wake you up, being considerate). Are we then prejudiced against people walking around our houses at night? Shooting the parang-wielder and person walking around your house at night without challenging them first, of course, is unacceptable.

As a side note, I must say that it's interesting how some Singaporeans criticised me for allegedly damaging cross-strait relations and generally being obnoxious (I have my periods), but no Malaysians responded in similar manner on the other side.


Someone: no matter how seemly we may behave, our manner may still grate on the malaysians

see ah, we singaporeans are very snobby ah, if we act gracefully we are posing and acting high class ah


Someone else: you need to learn how to be more economical in your debates lah
so that you don't seem like a broken record
the more you stir the milo, the more it becomes well-stirred.

Me: really, it's been going on for decades
who am I to interfere with such a long-lived tradition?
In charity, too, the rich get richer - "In late November it was reported that the American Red Cross still had $400 million of the $567 million it had collected for the tsunami. Meanwhile, many of the countries hit by the waves, all of which have their own national Red Cross or Red Crescent societies, continue to beg for more help with housing, health and education programs."

There is Eternal Life for Animals: Books - "Based on Bible Scripture, There Is Eternal Life For Animals presents Animal Afterlife from a Christian Perspective. All animals go to heaven. How do we know? We look in the book that God left us, the Bible. This book takes you through the Bible and proves through the scriptures that there is life after death for all the animals."
Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Prove Christ exists, judge orders priest - "Signor Cascioli, author of a book called The Fable of Christ, began legal proceedings against Father Righi three years ago after the priest denounced Signor Cascioli in the parish newsletter for questioning Christ’s historical existence."

NTU hostelites stay put to protest fee hike - "The fees will rise to $350 for single rooms and $240 for double rooms for the new premises... In June last year, the residents were told by the administration that the new rates would fall between $175 and $190."
There is hope for Singapore yet. Time to put on the knuckledusters!
Someone on simple girls: "the ones that you often want to beat over the head with a stick
especially when they come crying to you after that "sincere guy" turns out to be a jerkwad in disguise"


Someone (2) on simple girls: they'll lose their simplicity after awhile lah

Me: after their virginity
hahahahahahaha
man the sincere guys are going to come flame me
as long as they don't parang me I'm fine

Someone (3) (on the above): cos sex is complicateD? ;p


Someone else: you could go to the van gogh museum and join my 'van gogh sucks' club

Me: impressionism is not my thang anyway
sloppy.

Someone else: exactly. and van gogh is extra sloppy

Me: not as bad as modern art

Someone else: i'm actually a damien hirst fan...
sheeps and sharks
comedy value high


Someone: i have decided when i get a dog it will be a female boston terrier called Polly
(it is short for Polymer)

Me: ... engineers
I'm going to a wedding (in Malaysia, hehe) where there is this no black rule:

"You should wear anything but black for the church service in the morning. Unless you’re a guy wearing a black or dark suit, which is fine. Try to avoid black dresses for the morning ok?"

On reflection, if men can wear black suits, they can wear black pants.


Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, "Why is the bride dressed in white?" "Because white is the colour of happiness and today is the happiest day of her life," her mother tried to explain, keeping it simple.

The child thought about this for a moment, then said, "So, why's the groom wearing black?"
"He was awesome in his conviction. I tell you, by the time he was done, I was close to feeling the presence and might of Allah myself. That was surprising and a little frightening, that Mahmud could stir such feelings in me, of all people. I was amazed. But then he had finished his expounding, and after a few moments the sensation ebbed and I was my own self again.

"What do you say?" he asked me. "Can this be anything other than the truth?"

"I am not in a position to judge that," said I carefully, not wishing to give offense to this interesting new friend, especially in his own dining hall. "We Romans are accustomed to regarding all creeds with tolerance, and if you ever visit our capital you will find temples of a hundred faiths standing side by side. But I do see the beauty of your teachings."

"Beauty? I asked about truth. When you say you accept all faiths as equally true, what you are really saying is that you see no truth in any of them, is that not so?"

I disputed that, reaching into my school days for maxims out of Plato and Marcus Aurelius to argue that all gods are reflections of the true godhood. But it was no use. He saw instantly through my Roman indifference to religion. If you claim to believe, as we do, that this god is just as good as that one, what you really mean is that gods in general don't matter much at all, nor religion itself, except where it is needed as a distraction to keep the people of the lower classes from growing too resentful over the miseries of their worldly existence. Our live-and-let-live policy toward the worship of Mithras and Dagon and Baal and all the other deities whose temples thrive in Roma is a tacit admission of that view. And for Mahmud that is a contemptible position."

- Robert Silverberg, Roma Eterna

Thursday, January 05, 2006

I read a shocking defense of human sacrifice for the first time:

A: The Mayans went to their sacrifices willingly as they believe its a privilege to die for their Sun God.

B: not true. I believe most of their sacrifices are war captives.

A: But it is their culture!! U're not about to apply some white man's brand of shit and judge them based on that are you???

B: they are war captives wat, its like saying rape victims deserve to be raped because its the culture of the rapist.

A: Would you say the Greeks are immoral chauvinistic pigs because under their culture... women aint allowed to vote? That they value women only as vessels in which their seed is being baked? Or that they are all paedophiles because they practise "Greek love"?

Point is at that point of time within the Mayan civilisation, waging war and sacrificing to their gods are their way of life. They believe that the Sun God must receive a daily or weekly or something(i forgot the time frame) sacrifice for it strengthen his power against the forces of darkness or something.

Yes we don't agree with human sacrifices. But we must look within that particular culture's mindset at that point instead of using our current standards to judge them.

B: so you're saying that despite the fact that the iraq war is generally an "illegal war based on false information and lies", it is justifiable for one culture (american) to attack another( iraq) bacause its the basis of (american culture).

---
I think you don't get the point, from the point of the victor, it is acceptable, but from the point of the victim it is not acceptable. so you're saying that only the victor's culture applies.

did the mayans only fight with other mayans and seize captives from them? sure, I accept human sacrifices from the context of willing ball game players.. but to say that prisoners of war are willing sacrifices is a far stretch. that's like saying nazi pow sent to the gas chambers went willingly.

A: And how do you know they didnt go willingly? Cos of Mel Gibson's portrayal?

I didn't say its ok for America to attack another. It's wrong by current standards. Neither did I say victor's culture applies. The losing tribe(mayans), should they win the war, would also do the same to the losers! It's just their culture to do so.

But you must also know that the Mayans or Aztecs were a pretty war-like and aggressive people. Waging war is pretty much their way of life.

Yes they wage war largely among the various tribes of the Mayan culture. And who ever loses will definitely be offered up as sacrifice to the gods. Its their way of offering thanks to the gods, and as well as not depleting their own tribe.

It's all too easy to judge the ancient cultures with our own current standards. The Greeks practise homosexuality, the Egyptians incest, Mayans human sacrifices...etc... the list goes on...

And my point is we must not be too quick to judge based on our perspective. Only a two centuries ago, people were judging homosexuals harshly and labelled them as unclean, abberration, spawn of satan...etc... at that point of time... it WAS the accepted viewpoint.

Galileo was incarcerated because he believed in something that was not of that culture at that point of time; that the earth and not the sun revolves around.

Sure you can look back and say that our ancestors were stupid pigs for believing that the sun revolves around us. But at that point of time, it is an accepted fact.

How can you judge them when their belief and way of life is set on that?

And once again no I'm not saying its ok for one culture to attack another. I'm saying it's not ok because I am brought up within this century's standards.

But who are we to criticise a culture that had since long vanished whose way of life is vastly different from us?

Do we say our Chinese kin from China are barbarians because they eat dogs? They probably don't see it that way because dogs are quite part within of their culinary culture!

B: yeah. but you're treating an entire culture as monolithic.

ie: everyone from the privilege class down to the slave caste agrees that their culture (of keeping slaves is totally correct).

the victims of human sacrifice isn't just the warriors.

I just don't agree with absolute moral relativism , I still think some objective criteria like the golden rule, or consensualness should apply.


A Dialog on Aztec and Maya Religion

"I think that there is ample evidence that a great many Mayans and most of those under Aztec rule did, in fact, consider human sacrifice (or at least the scale upon which it was practiced) to be wrong (or at least unjust). The latest evidence suggests that the Maya collapse was not due to environmental factors, but to a decision by the common folk (who bore the burden of sacrifical demands) to vote with their feet to avoid the honor of meeting their ancestors heart/head in hand."

And I would hardly call prisoners of war willing sacrifices.
Someone: gssq giving relationship eligibility advice sounds like a good post :)

Me: heh
you think it's interesting? or even will help people?

Someone: i think it would be VERY interesting to many people
notwithstanding the irony of a single person advising others on relationships

***

Despite it being Malaysian in origin (they make it sound like they're from Manhattan, down to using the market's [which ironically isn't even called the Manhattan but rather the Fulton Fish Market] logo and proudly stating "since 1822" and waxing lyrical about the fish market's history, with only one paragraph betraying its origins), I have no qualms about recommending Manhattan Fish Market, which currently has an outlet at Plaza Singapura. So that makes it 2 things about Malaysia that I wholeheartedly like (the other being Malaysian Airlines).

The service is great; one friend was hesitant about having rice or fries with her main course, and the proactive waiter suggested changing it to a salad.

The food is quite good, and it's a bit cheaper than Fish and Co too; the latter used to be good, but success has made them complacent - prices have gone up and good quality and service have gone down.

Perhaps the only grouse I have is how they show videos of fish. The first time I went there, it started out okay, but after a while disgusting sea creatures came up on screen, the sight of which undoubtedly would have doused the appetites of the patrons, but then it seemed I was the only one to notice.

***

Never buy NTUC brand charcoal - it doesn't even catch fire after you leave it in a lit stove for a long time.

***

The Jedi Mind Trick strikes again:

Someone in a comment box: i read up on the bible and the christian god is nothing like what you say. you have many biased opinions that seem validated.
but on further examination and pondering it's not.

Me: Your opinions would be taken a lot more seriously if you supported them with concrete examples and properly constructed arguments, rather than relying on vague assertions and broad sweeps of your hands.


Someone else: that is like saying "i read a physics textbook and now i believe i know as much as feynman"

Me: no
it's saying: "i read a physics textbook and now i believe i know as much as feynman. furthermore, you have many biased opinions that seem validated. but on further examination and pondering it's not. who cares if I won't (or can't) point them out?!"

Someone: hahahahha
"upon futher examination and pondering i have decided an intelligent higher being exists"

Me: this is also how the malaysians flamed me (if they bothered criticising my arguments instead of me, and saying I should be banned from blogging and/or sent to jail in the first place just because they didn't like what they read)

oh not just malaysians

"We know of an ablution [an ablution is a washing of the body, especially as part of a religious rite] in the ritual of Eleusis; the laurel-wreath oration of Demosthenes speaks of purificatory ablutions in the mystery of Sabazius; the cult of Attis had its taurobolium, and the mystery of Isis knew a sanctifying baptismal bath, as did the mysteries of Dionysus and of Mithras. Upon mature consideration modern scholarship has rejected the ideas that such rites exerted an influence on the baptismal doctrine of the New Testament."

More Jedi mind tricks
After hearing so many tales of people's tussles with the NUS administration, it is my turn to experience for myself how wonderful it can be.

I sent in my bank statement to NUS on the 9th of December. The person in charge was on leave, so I called her a few days later to alert and to remind her about the document. About a week later I sent a reminder email.

Yesterday evening, the Netherlands side contacts me, informing that they still have not received the document, and that if they don't get it soon, I might not be able to get my Visa in time (which means I might not be able to go).

This morning, I've been trying to call both of the people in charge of Student Exchange, but neither of them is picking up. It looks like I'll have to trudge down, or contact a higher power.

There was also a package sent to me by Utrecht at the end of November which I had not gotten after a long while. After I called NUS sometime in mid-December, they claimed that it'd just arrived, and I got an an email saying "please collect your package by 14 November"; they didn't even bother to change the date.


On the other hand, the administration on the Netherlands side is great:

"Dear Gabriel,
Thank you for your reply. I am also very sorry that it has still not arrived here. I hope we can find out where the document got lost. I hope to hear from *** soon so we can at least try to trace it down."


They sent it out by SpeedPost on 13th December and it reached Holland on 15th December, so it's lost somewhere on their side.
“Advances in technology have led... to vulgarity... Process reproduction and the rotary press have made possible the indefinite multiplication of writing and pictures. Universal education and relatively high wages have created an enormous public who know how to read and can afford to buy reading and pictorial matter. A great industry has been called into existence in order to supply these commodities. Now, artistic talent is a very rare phenomenon; whence it follows... that, at every epoch and in all countries, most art has been bad.

But the proportion of trash in the total artistic output is greater now than at any other period. That it must be so is a matter of simple arithmetic. The population of Western Europe has a little more than doubled during the last century. But the amount of reading—and seeing—matter has Increased, I should imagine, at least twenty and possibly fifty or even a hundred times. If there were n men of talent in a population of x millions, there will presumably be 2n men of talent among 2X millions. The situation may be summed up thus. For every page of print and pictures published a century ago, twenty or perhaps even a hundred pages are published today. But for every man of talent then living, there are now only two men of talent.

lt may be of course that, thanks to universal education, many potential talents which in the past would have been stillborn are now enabled to realize themselves. Let us assume, then, that there are now three or even four men of talent to every one of earlier times. It still remains true to say that the consumption of readlng—and seeing—matter has far outstripped the natural productlon of gifted writers and draughtsmen. lt is the same with hearing-matter.

Prosperity, the gramophone and the radio have created an audience of hearers who consume an amount of hearing-matter that has increased out of all proportion to the increase of population and the consequent natural increase of talented musicians. lt follows from all this that in all the arts the output of trash is both absolutely and relatively greater than it was in the past; and that it must remain greater for just so long as the world continues to consume the present inordinate quantities of reading-matter, seeing-matter, and hearing-matter.”

- Aldous Huxley, Beyond the Mexique Bay, A Traveller's Journal, 1934


Lamenting the decadence of the contemporary era is a parlour game that has been played since the dawn of time.
"In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others." - Andre Maurois

***

Top Gear Pacific Rims

"Jeremy & James try out a lot of Korean and Malaysian cars, whcih (sic) are all dreadful
One of them was even granted as (sic) THE worst car of 2004"

Narration: "Maybe we'll fare better with something from Malaysia. A Proton. Now, the last Proton I drove was something called "The Impian". It was a very long journey, and the car was so awful that, to be honest, I wanted to harm myself.

But this is the new Gen 2, at 9500 pounds. And it seems much more promising. I like the look of the thing, I really do. I like the price. I don't even mind the gold larme (?) gear modern stereo.

Proton these days owns Lotus, and Lotus has helped them develop this twin-cam 1.6 litre engine, and various bits of the suspension. Because of its connections, Proton is claiming sporty handling for the new Gen 2.

But I can't help feeling that at this level, it's not really the priority. And I mean I'd gladly trade the Lotus-developed suspension for some Toyota-developed door trim.

Our quest to find a decent car from Korea or Malaysia was not going well."

***

It's A Wonderful Life (1946) - "It was actually a box-office flop at the time of its release, and only became the Christmas movie classic in the 1970s due to repeated television showings at Christmas-time when its copyright protection slipped and it fell into the public domain and TV stations could air it for free."
Hurrah for decent copyright terms. Incidentally, the moral of the movie is: if you dedicate your life to other people and don't live for yourself, you're going to end up very miserable.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews more likely to jaywalk - "It is rarely said that religious types live dangerously, but it seems they do when it comes to crossing roads. A new study in Israel suggests devout Orthodox Jews are three times as likely to be risk-taking pedestrians as their neighbours in secular communities."

Learn the Art of Dancing Dirty - "If you ever wanted to learn how to dance dirty, but can't stand Patrick Swayze, there's good news for you. Learn the Art of Dancing Dirty, 1988 is an instructional video that has nothing to do with Patrick Swayze, showing you erotic dance moves with the help of two creepy "Dance Instructers" Felix and Marla. And when I say creepy, I mean it. These people couldn't make your skin crawl more if they were covered in hissing spiders dressed like Dracula."

Convert Graffiti 2 to Graffiti 1 on Palm device - "This is a Graffiti 1 conversion for Palm Zire 71, Tungsten C and Tungsten E/T2/T3 users"

The politics of publication - "Rather than assessing the research itself, those who distribute the money and positions now evaluate scientists by performance indicators (it is much easier to tot up some figures than to think seriously about what a person has achieved). Managers are stealing power from scientists and building an accountability culture that "aims at ever more perfect administrative control of institutional and professional life". The result is an "audit society", in which each indicator is invested with a specious accuracy and becomes an end in itself."

Monday, January 02, 2006

Comment left by someone:

"Have you watched this?

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2023320890224991194&q=loose+change"

Basically, almost all conspiracy theories can be debunked like so: If you can't even keep one nanny from blabbering about the Royal Families' secrets, how are you going to keep mum the hundreds or thousands of people necessary for these conspiracies to have played out the way they were supposed to have?


911Myths... Reading between the lies

"The web is full of sites covering various conspiracy theories. Many seem well-researched, and appear to have plenty of detailed documentation to prove their claims. But are they really true?

We don’t know, but one good way to start is by checking a few claims for yourself. We tried that with a number of 9/11 sites, with surprising results. Many of the “facts” we read were distorted, or simply wrong. Quotes were routinely taken out of context. Relevant information was often ignored. And much of this could be discovered with a minimum of online research.

Whatever you believe about 9/11, the spreading of false claims helps no-one, and we’d like to play a small part in revealing some of them. We’re not about debunking entire conspiracies, then, but will use this site to zoom in on what we think are the more dubious stories, revealing the misquotes, the distortions, the inaccuracies that are so common online.

But does this make us an authority? No. If we’ve an overall message here, it’s check things for yourself. Don’t trust a site just because it’s telling you what you want to believe. Don’t believe us without evaluating our arguments and checking the references we provide, either (we’re as likely to make mistakes as anyone else). Look into the claims yourself, discover both sides of the argument, and make your own mind up. The truth deserves nothing less."

And a paragraph from his FAQ:

"Why spend so much effort on this, though?

Why do you ask? Oh, I know. It’s the old one where anyone who spends a lot of time promoting a particular 9/11 theory is A Fearless Seeker After Truth (even if their site is packed with “Donate” buttons and invitations for you to “buy the book/ DVD/ video”), but anyone who spends the same amount of time on the other side of the argument is A Government Shill/ Paid Disinformation Agent, right?"


A sprinkling of other interesting sites (not all of which I've looked at):

Popular Mechanics: Debunking The 9/11 Myths

Snopes: Rumors of War (Hunt the Boeing!)

A skeptical review of "The New Pearl Harbor - Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11"

911 Conspiracy Rebuttal (2004) (a video)

Of course, everyone involved in these is in on the conspiracy too. If they can mobilise and gag thousands of people for such an elaborate operation, it's a wonder they can't even get Iraq right. Maybe the US government is only efficient and effective when operating in the confines of its territory and perpetrating nefarious plots on its own citizens.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

"We were happily married for eight months. Unfortunately, we were married for four and a half years." - Nick Faldo

***

"Give to UNICEF and you give children a chance. For example just $1 can provide 8 children with pencils and exercise books. Or $225 can buy a recreation kit containing toys, games and physical education supplies for an entire class of girls and boys."

Wah. I want to buy stuff from their supplier.

***

Singapore: Of Churches and Campuses

"a simplistic comparative study of NUS v UM

Shuttle
NUS: the internal shuttle is very reliable. students can even say "how come the bus takes so long?" after a 5-minute wait. no need to show matrix card or pay when you hop on the bus. service is open to everyone in the campus- students, visitors, cleaning staff etc.
UM: you can't get on unless you have a prepaid card which functions manually- as in one 'tick' per ride. waits can be up to an hour before you see the 'batang hidung' of the bus. most of the time when i walk to my faculty i pass by the bus parking lot (in between First and Second College) and see the bus drivers chatting under the shed. we're so desperate for bus drivers that the existing ones are so valuable, they wont be replaced anytime soon."

So if you think NUS sucks... (UM = University of Malaya)

***

Jesus Had Short Hair! - "Richard Wurmbrand, formerly of Romania, is quoted as saying, "The symbol of the Community PEACE is a very well-known symbol. it was called the witch's foot in the Middle Ages and it was a common symbol of the devil, with the cross reversed and broken." In our generation it was designed February 21, 1958, for use in an Easter peace walk in England. In the beginning it was supposedly merely a composite of the semaphore letters "N" and "D" standing for nuclear disarmament. When the symbol is inverted it is a composite of the semaphore letters "U" and "D" standing for unilateral disarmament. Its designer was reportedly Mr. Bertrand Russell, who was reportedly a Marxist from youth. He is quoted as saying, "The world is damnable...There is no hope in anything but the Soviet way.""

Canvascape - 3D walker - "Use the arrow keys to walk around the map. Space bar = jump. What you are seeing is a test using the new Canvas tag to demonstrate its capabilities. I am beginning a project to port 'Doom' to the common browser through javasScript."

Orwell: Politics and the English Language - "[The English language] becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts... This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse."
Almost 60 years later, this essay still resounds. Yet, this is rich, given that it comes from the person who conceptualised (and presumably disapproved of) Newspeak. A simple meal fills one just as well as a lovingly prepared feast, yet the latter is all the more satisfying and conveys to the customer shades of culinary texture and complexity lacking in the former.

Existentialism is a Humanism - "The essential charge laid against us is, of course, that of over-emphasis upon the evil side of human life. I have lately been told of a lady who, whenever she lets slip a vulgar expression in a moment of nervousness, excuses herself by exclaiming, “I believe I am becoming an existentialist.” So it appears that ugliness is being identified with existentialism... Indeed their excessive protests make me suspect that what is annoying them is not so much our pessimism, but, much more likely, our optimism. For at bottom, what is alarming in the doctrine that I am about to try to explain to you is – is it not? – that it confronts man with a possibility of choice."
Written by Sartre in the same year as the above, no less.

My Morning: A Play in One Uncomfortable Act - "HALF-NAKED MALE: STOP HARASSING US YOU PERVERT OR I'LL REPORT YOU [for sexual harassment]! ME: (still holding door) You'll report me for your having sex in my office?"
This is like The Associate claiming that I am a hypocrite and suppress freedom of speech.

Sex in the university - "Hop along as we stumble upon the most condusive make-out spots in NUS. If you are unfortunately caught with your pants down after reading this story, do not quote us.... Rooftop of Central Library: Some might find it uncomfortable making out on the cold and hard cement floor. It is recommended that you bring your own mattress. In fact, we have uncovered mattresses and used condoms at the rooftop."
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