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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

July trip
1/7 - Bruges


*This post was supposed to have some photos in it, but thanks to the incompetence/stupidity/laziness of a French Internet Cafe staff member in Nimes, they have been lost for eternity*

*Picture of a horse, to the rear of which is connected a cloth sack*
Replacement picture:
This is why you almost never see horse shit on the streets of Bruges, and why the streets don't smell

*Belfort*
Replacement picture:

With my proclivity to climbing tall buildings, I had to mount the belfort - one of the Belfries of Belgium and France.

A glockenspiel is a carillion in English. Oura tricked us. Boo.

*Wrought iron doors*
2 wrought iron doors from 1290. The railings are still strong enough to be opened, suspended from the hinges (then again, they probably restored it)

It's fun to watch the bell ringing mechanism go. Presumably it's 18th century like the bells. At the turn of the hour, the bells play a Carmen medley, at a quarter past Handel's grobischmie (?) and at half past, Beethoven's nineth, and so on.

They had a picture of the carillion player, Aime Lombaert. He has an Amish facial hair pattern.

*Me at the top of the Belfort*

*Views of Bruges from the Belfort*
Replacement pictures:
IIRC, the day when I was there it was very clear

*Statue in Markt (Square)*
Replacement pictures:
(I hope these are of the Markt and not the Burg)

I saw a Delifrance in Bruges. I wonder if there're Delifrances in Wallonie.

*Wedding with people in funky suits*
This wedding was being held in the city hall.

In the basement of the Crown Plaza in Brugge, there're old foundations which the builders of the hotel built around. So you can go into the basement and run around. Unfortunately the basement was closed for a party on Saturday, so I had to go down on Sunday morning.

*Basilica of the Holy Blood*
Replacement pictures:
Interior pictures

The basilica is 2 storeyed - at the bottom you've a very bare level made of stone which is dark and hardly decorated, but on top it's like a normal basilica.

There was a "Noble brotherhood of the Holy Blood". Uhh. They also had pictures of a procession on Ascension, where the people dressed up in historical costumes. I saw a Moses carrying 2 tablets on which Roman Numberals from I-X were written.

*Tabernacle with the vial of blood*
Replacement picture:
Description: "This tabernacle is in the Basilica of the Holy Blood, in Bruges. Inside lies the container of the Holy Blood of Christ, which was brought to Bruges most likely after the Crusades." (Source)

I saw a nachtwinkel (night shop), open from Mon-Sun from 6pm-2am. I peeked inside and saw a woman in punjabi suit trousers and a sari top going upstairs. Thank god for immigrants!

In a shop window I saw a motorised 1:16 scale model of a M1A2 Abrahms - "Iraqi Freedom Edition". It could even shoot a bullet to a provided cardboard target.

Langestraat in Bruges was labeled "Hello Street". According to Use-It, there were supposed to be 20 signs along it asking people to salute each other,but I didn't see any. Gah.

Bruges had some small windmills, but they were nothing compared with Kinderdijk. Or indeed the other Dutch windmills I'd seen.

*Jerusalem church*
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Jeruzalemkerk was built in the 15th century, a copy of the Church of the Holy Grave in Jerusalem.

*Small alcove in Jerusalem church.*
You must stoop to enter.

*Altar*
Replacement picture:

Most of the museums in Bruges offered a museum pass - for €15 you could enter 5 museums or similar sites (like the Belfort). If I were paying the adult price it'd be worth it, but in the end I decided to spend slightly more time in each place and resting, so I visited individual sites. The main factor in my decision was whether I wanted to visit the main art museum. I'd seen plenty of works, Flemish ones in particular, and would see more in Brussels and Antwerp, so I elected not to. I think all were in a conspiracy, for their tickets all said that photography was disallowed. Bah.

Although Bruges is in Flanders, most people know it as Bruges - its French name. In Dutch, it's "Brugge". It's the same with Ghent (Gent). On the other hand, no one knows where Luik is. Bloody French.

Flanders had a "Flanders Early Music Festival" this year from 22 Jul - 5 August. Maybe I can go one day.

*Frontage of the Stadsarchief*
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It's the old recorder's house; a renaissance building.

*Stadhuis*
Replacement pictures (Stadsarchief on the left):
Since there was a marriage going on it looked somewhat different

*Pavilion by Toyo Ito*

Since it faces the Mayor's house, locals call it the 'Governor's Carwash'
The water around it (due to rain and the area around being depressed) didn't help
As modern art goes it's actually alright

At the base of the Belfort, Americans were ordering frietten sans saus. Tsk. Wanting to try something new, I opted for Samurai saus after checking the ingredients list. To my extreme discomfort, the sauce was extremely hot. Checking the ingredients list again, I realised that "rode pepers" did not mean "red peppers" but "red chilis". In the end I ate much of the fries sans saus and cooled down with 1 bol of banaan ijs.

The Dutch fry their frites very roughly, but the Belgians do it more delicately. Perhaps this is why people say Belgian fries are better, yet the best fries I've ever had were Dutch.

A Scottish band was playing in the square and they were quite bad. Then for Amazing Grace, bagpipes played along with the band. It was so hideous, some dogs started barking.

*Bridge, canal near Church of our Lady*

*Church of our Lady*
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*Madonna and Child*
1504/5, Michelangelo. Behind a sheet of glass.
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This is one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside Italy.

Then I needed to go to the toilet, and since Bruges like the rest of Flanders and like the Netherlands does not have free public toilets, I went to use the one in a nearby museum, The Memling Museum (of course then proceeding to look at the exhibits).

The museum had a free audioguide with commentary on at least 3/4 the works, but no written information was provided in any language, not even Dutch. Bloody hell. I had no time, energy or interest to listen to everything. What I usually do is read labels and descriptions and only listen to the audioguide if they, together with the items in question, pique my interest.

The audioguide commented about a work from the 2nd half of the 15th century that it had the 'throne of Grace' theme and that its 'naiviety and vivid colours give it undeniable charm'. Bah. If it's lousy say it's lousy.
When this work was restored, the Holy Spirit, positioned in between the Father and the Son, disappeared. Aww. I was also reminded that you don't often see the Father represented in art.


Travel tips:

- Read Jiekai's cock files and do the opposite of what he did
July trip
30/6 - Utrecht/Bruges


*This post was supposed to have some photos in it, but thanks to the incompetence/stupidity/laziness of a French Internet Cafe staff member in Nimes, they have been lost for eternity*

*Appelflappen exterior and interior*
Luckily, I snapped a replacement photo before leaving. I love appelflappen. Mmm...

I got a "Welkom in Utrecht" card from the city/state administration a few weeks before I left. Gah.

The Utrecht University general purpose administrative applet has a 'shopping basket' where you can add modules. Good name.

I went to the post office again to ship stuff, and found out that 5kg was the boundary between 2 prices, so at 4,975kg I was 25g from paying more than €10 more (I paid €22,50 to ship this second parcel). Darn, I thought it was charged by the kg.

I saw a sticker on an advertising panel: "I ♥ Murphy's Law". Wth?

Even the Dutch call their country "Holland" in English. You have orange banners which say: "Hup Holland Hup". I guess it's snappier in a 2 syllable form than 3.

In early June, my housemate went to see the Last Supper. He said it was funny because Christ's leg was cut in half because they needed a new door.


One Belgian train had on its window: 'Nooduitgang / Issue de secours / Notausstieg / Uscita d'emergenza'. Looks like they forgot one very important language.

At a snack bar (or frituur, as the Flemish call it) near a train station I transited at, my frites-containing baguette was wrapped in paper, and holes were then poked in it. The plastic bag this paper-wrapped parcel was placed in also had holes poked in it. With such dedication, it's no wonder the Belgians are said to make frites better than the Dutch (though I don't find that so).


A combined map/guide (Use-It) called Bruges the Venice of the North. They must be joking - I thought that was Amsterdam. Bruges doesn't even have that many canals! For an imaginary country they sure are cocky. Other information from the guide follows.

Bruges is the most expensive city to take a public pee in in Flanders - the fine is €152. This compares to €60 in Ghent and €50 in Antwerp (for first time offences).

Belgium has the highest suicide rate in the world after Sweden.

Heilig Bloedbasiliek (Basilica of the Holy Blood): At 10:15, a vial believed to contain the blood of Jesus Christ is placed on a pillow. Believers believer that the solid blood is changed into fluid. In August 2005, scientists found this was due to temperature changes, "but what the hell do they know".

In 2005, Spencer Tunick conducted some mass naked procession thing (Photos)

The map marked 'Romantic hotspot's. Haha.

There's a place where you can buy 1kg of pancakes for €4,50.

Astridpark was labelled: 'Frisbee and cute asses park'

Instead of a traditional distance-based scale, the map had a scale graduated in terms of time taken to walk between places.


Someone was asking me to give him travel tips, so I thought up as many as I could think of. At the end I'll compile them into a master list, so if readers have any to add they can leave a comment.

Travel tips:

- Don't be too ambitious, especially if you plan to enjoy the nightlife in the places you visit
- Know your stamina. Not everyone can sustain the same pace
- Don't travel in July, August and probably early September and late June also. It's hot and crowded
- Know your tastes. Don't plan for 8 days in Italy and get ruin-ated
- If you'll be traveling in Europe quite a bit, a Eurail pass may give you good value for your money. Buy it before you enter Europe, since prices are higher if you buy them there
- Find which trains require reservations. For example in Italy and France the expensive ones need reservations
- Travel with someone if you can so long train/bus rides are less boring
- Plan ahead, especially for things like the Last Supper. You do lose flexibility though
- Buy a guidebook. There's a reason why they exist; there is a good reason people don't take the roads much less traveled. But don't use take them as the gospel truth or otherwise be shackled by them
- Use protection
- Don't travel with Jiekai
-> Unless you are blur, so since he's a cock, together you'll be "blur cock"
- Don't trust the French to burn your photos to CD properly. Actually you should check, no matter who burns them
- Don't travel by Eurolines
- Bring your own sheets if you want to save some money. I only got to save money once though
- Read my blog. No, really. So you don't do stupid things like walk 7km to the wrong lake
- Don't travel for too long - you get travel fatigue
- On Mondays, most museums and many attractions are closed


Quotes:

Don't look at other people's exam papers... I get very annoyed... I have work to do also... Most of the time I will be too busy to check.
A female friend:

"I'm watching a Japanese Drama about matriarchial lineage and the thorny issue of inheritance. I'm working in a company that has more women than men now as a part time contractor (ok, glorified pencil pusher).

Remind me never to offend women. Hell hath no fury like a women scorned is an understatement. Women are scary even without being scorned. Add greed, ambition and plain haughtiness, women can be more poisoness and cunning than the most dangerous animal anyone can think of.

[Me: Women are like elephants blah blah] Women hold the memory of the world in little pieces."


Another female friend - singaporean-born and currently foreign-based ("just put me down as An Enlightened Singaporean"):

"you might want to research why this is the case...heh. and i'm being serious

as in, do a series on Why Singaporean Women are Neurotic and Have Low Self-Esteem and Follow Trends Blindly and Cares (sic) About Other People's Opinions"

Friday, August 04, 2006

I've been delaying the start of the travelogue until I recovered my photos, but when I tried to do so, from the way the photos were recovered, it seems the new photos were saved to my memory card directly over the ones I lost (the camera seems to write to the card in a fixed order, always writing to the same sectors first). So Bruges, Antwerp, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are lost.

Bloody French.
Imaginary Girlfriends - Find Your New Imaginary Girlfriend Today! - "Tired of your friends and family telling you to get a girlfriend? Want to make that certain someone a little jealous? Need a confidence boost? Just feeling lonely sometimes? With an Imaginary Girlfriend, you can carry on a completely fictitious, yet authentic looking relationship with the girl of your choice. Browse through our site and choose your favorite girl to see what she can offer as your Imaginary Girlfriend."

Invisible 4 Invisible 0.0.1.1 - "This plugin, when enabled, turn your visibility status to Invisible, for invisible (or offline) users only."
Interesting concept.

Photo in the News: Cat Chases Bear Up Tree - "On June 4 a black bear wandered into a West Milford, New Jersey, back yard, was confronted by a 15-pound (7-kilogram) tabby cat … and fled up a neighbor's tree. Hissing at the base of the tree, Jack the clawless cat kept the bear at bay for about 15 minutes, then ran him up another tree after an attempted escape."
Rosie would never do this.

`Beef' cut from India's history textbooks - "References to the beef-eating past of ancient Hindus have been deleted from Indian school textbooks following a three-year campaign by Hindu hardliners. For almost a century, history books for primary and middle schools told how in ancient India, beef was considered a great delicacy among Hindus — especially among the highest caste — and how veal was offered to Hindu deities during special rituals."

Why do we need to wash rice before cooking? - "In the States, if you rinse the rice, you are rinsing away vitamins, minerals, and iron. Rice is fortified with vitamins, minerals and iron that is applied on the rice. It s up to you whether you want to wash your rice before cooking it."

Apple Mac experts explain why they switch to Linux - "Everything about Apple is cool, their ads, their gadgets, their brand. Even the mere mention that one is a Mac-user often elicits a ‘Wow!’ and sets one apart from the rest. Unfortunately, what lies beneath all these coolness has made longtime Mac die-hards, Bryan and Chris, who are also editors of a popular Macintosh Web site, ResExcellence.com, make the painful decision to ditched Apple for Linux, specifically for Ubuntu Linux."

Malaysian babies can no longer be Hitler, Stalin or even 007 - "Adolf Hitler, Stalin, Zaniah (female adulterer), Batumalai (stone hill) or Ah Kow (dog) figure amongst a list of names that are termed "undesirable" for use by Malaysians to christen their children. "

Tampon Shooter Blowgun - "Inspired by marshmallow shooters, this air-powered tampon gun turns your feminine hygiene products into high-flying projectiles. Have a shootout between rival tampon brands, or use it as a fun alternative to paintball. The tampon shooter has a range of 10 to 20 feet depending on your ammo and lung capacity. The matching bandolier lets you carry a full “clip” (i.e., box) of 20 tampons, so you’ll never be caught short in the heat of battle... Do not use tampons that have been worn. This is unhygienic and the expanded tampons will clog the gun barrel."

The Purpose Driven Life Takers (Part 1) - "Imagine: you are a foot soldier in a paramilitary group whose purpose is to remake America as a Christian theocracy, and establish its worldly vision of the dominion of Christ over all aspects of life. You are issued high-tech military weaponry, and instructed to engage the infidel on the streets of New York City. You are on a mission - both a religious mission and a military mission -- to convert or kill Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, gays, and anyone who advocates the separation of church and state - especially moderate, mainstream Christians. Your mission is "to conduct physical and spiritual warfare"; all who resist must be taken out with extreme prejudice. You have never felt so powerful, so driven by a purpose: you are 13 years old. You are playing a real-time strategy video game whose creators are linked to the empire of mega-church pastor Rick Warren, best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life."

Asia's former tigers are moving towards irrelevance - "It has been uncomfortable for nations that were the toast of bankers and investors in the 1990s to find themselves so quickly eclipsed by China and India. If they want to keep attracting performances from the Lavrovs and Rices of this world and simultaneously engage in the serious business of regional diplomacy, Asean leaders need to develop a clear idea of how they see the world and how they want to improve it."
Unfortunately they don't make their point about "the importance of democratic principles" very well.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

A surprising number of people (any number more than 0 is surprising) think 4 exams in 4 days is nothing.

I must know a lot of masochists.

2 are open book though, so that will help if I embark on this crazy plan.

Damn scheduling this sem. Finding the right blend of interest/difficulty/scheduling/learning something new seems nigh impossible.


Someone informs me he has had 4 exams in 2 days before. Ooh.

[Addenda: "SC3213: Ethnographic Analysis of Visual Media
This module will not only help enhance the marketability of our students but also encourage them to take on the post-graduate programme where a more hands-on module is offered."

Great to see we're taking on SMU.

"Preclusion: Students who have taken any Philosophy modules; students concurrently taking ES2000, EG1413 and Philosophy modules and all 1st and 2nd year Engineering students."

Wth?! Maybe engineers only become smart enough to do this in 3rd year.]
1uRV Affair II
(1uRV = 1 united Raffles Voices)



"Hear the stories
Meet the people"

I like this tagline. HAHAHAH
Damn, I should go on exchange again!

Amusing NUS Module Information

I love reading module information.

"GEM1008: Evaluating Academic Arguments
Preclusion: Students who have taken any Philosophy modules" (Bloody hell.)

"GEK2503: Images of the earth are not only beautiful to look at but also useful for learning about the earth and its state of health... This module is for students who enjoy viewing images of the earth" [Someone: is this course sponsored by google earth?]

"GEK1537: The Search for Life on Other Worlds
Pre-requisite: High school education and interest in Science" (If you don't have a high school education and are in NUS, you're definitely smart enough to take this. then again maybe you'll be too smart and spoil the market, so they'll ban you) [Someone else: i think sci lecturers are weid (sic)]

"GEK2501: Understanding your Medications
Pre-requisite: Open only to 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students" (First years can't handle it? And it's too simple for those who do funky combinations and need an extra year/semester [or too hard for those who fail so many courses they can't graduate in time])


"CS2305S: Problem Solving in Computing
Topics in thinking and problem solving include logical and deductive reasoning, doing proofs, inductive reasoning and statistical analysis, fallacies and psychological traps, survey skills, abstraction and modelling, problem solving heuristics, creative thinking, and decision making."

Me: why got fallacies ah
­
Someone: computing has a lot of fallacies what
­
Me: ad hominem argument: "M$ sucks"


I still remember the time when I said that for the Medicine module about Women's health, the pre-requisite was to be female, and people believed me *facepalm*

Then again:

"GEK1541: Reproductive Health: What One Must Know
Pre-requisite: Both male & female students are eligible for the module."

Maybe someone believed me about Women's health and NUS found out about it. But then this discriminates against hermaphrodites... [Someone else: see­, sci again]

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My favourite scene from the Da Vinci Code (movie):

Langdon: Symbols are a language, that can help us understand our past. As the saying goes, [a] picture says a thousand words. But, which words?

Interpret for me please, this symbol - the first thing that comes to mind, anybody.



Voices: Hatred. Racism. Ku Klux Klan.

Langdon: Yes, yes. Interesting. But, they would disagree with you in Spain. There, they are robes worn by priests.



Langdon: Now, this symbol. Anyone?



Voices: Evil... Devil's pitchfork.

Langdon: Poor, poor Poseidon. That is his trident. A symbol of power to millions of the ancients.



Langdon: Now this symbol.



Voices: Madonna and Child. Fad [Ed: Faith?]. Christianity.

Langdon: No, it's the pagan god Horus and his mother Isis, centuries before the birth of Christ.



Langdon: Understanding our past determines actively our ability to understand the present. *Flashes the Swastika as a Nazi symbol and in other contexts* So, how do we sift truth from belief? How do we write our own histories personally or culturally? And thereby define ourselves. How do we penetrate years, centuries of historical distortion to find Original Truth?


I find the movie's ending lame though. "What matters is what you believe". I believe the World Trade Centre was felled by the Illuminati!
Questionnaire on study skills in the Netherlands:

"16. Did you study in your room?
17. If your answer to question 16 is ‘never’, please explain why" (I wonder if anyone will say: "Because I didn't study, period")

"32. If the level of English of a lecturer was below your own standard, could you accept that?"

"49. Did you receive positive and stimulating feedback from your fellow students on your work during a course?" (This is what I mean by translation issues in European English.)

"62. The Dutch take a deadline very seriously as a final date to hand in an assignment. Was that clear to you when you started?" (Well, come to think of it, no one asked for extensions)

"79. Do you think it is important to achieve high marks?"


They also asked me what my mother tongue is. What Singapore claims my mother tongue is is not the same as what I know it is.
My brother-in-law is very smart. He knows that my phone screen is cracked, but he still sends me an SMS.

DUH!
This puts paid to most apologetics:


A man takes the day off work and decides to go out golfing. He is on the second hole when he notices a frog sitting next to the green. He thinks nothing of it and is about to shoot when he hears, "Ribbit. 9 Iron." The man looks around and doesn't see anyone. "Ribbit. 9 Iron." He looks at the frog and decides to prove the frog wrong, puts his other clubaway, and grabs a 9 iron. Boom! He hits it 10 inches from the cup. He is shocked. He says to the frog, "Wow, that's amazing. You must be a lucky frog, eh?"

The frog reply's "Ribbit. Lucky frog." The man decides to take the frog with him to the next hole. "What do you think frog?" the man asks. "Ribbit. 3 Wood." The guy takes out a 3 Wood and Boom! Hole in one. The man is befuddled and doesn't know what to say. By the end of the day, the man golfed the best game of golf in his life and asks the frog, "OK, where to next?" The frog replied, "Ribbit. Las Vegas." They go to Las Vegas and the guy says, "OK frog, now what?" The frog says, "Ribbit Roulette." Upon approaching the roulette table, the man asks, "What do you think I should bet?" The frog replies, "Ribbit. $3000, black 6." Now, this is a million-to-one shot to win, but after the golf game, the man figures what the heck. Boom! Tons of cash comes sliding back across the table. The man takes his winnings and buys the best room in the hotel. He sits the frog down and says, "Frog, I don't know how to repay you. You've won me all this money and I am forever grateful."

The frog replies, "Ribbit, Kiss Me." He figures why not, since after all the frog did for him he deserves it. With a kiss, the frog turns into a gorgeous 15-year-old girl.

"And that, your honor, is how the girl ended up in my room."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Hmm. Okay.

So Gabe just forwarded me 2 somewhat amusing emails (he called them fanmail. blah.). Anyway, I'll try to answer them one by one, so yeah.

Before we start, we should begin with the part about how I'm not Gabriel, ok? I've got a guest account to post as a contributor here, but we're two different seperate people. So do remember that "Char" is not a synonym, acronym, or whatever-nym for "Agagooga/Gabriel/GSSQ".

Ok, now let's get onto the fun stuff.

Email 1:
~~~~~~~~~~
LoLz :D You the guy who nearly ended up in the slammer. Serves you right you liberalist anti-christian illegitimate son. You should have got much more. mmmmm.....like hanging mebbe or worse.....well I'll leave that to the s'pore authorities. Did you really expect christians to turn their other cheek? What a naive stupid son of a female dog you must be. Damn They must have got your raw hide 4 insulting jesus.
~~~~~~~~~~

Let's see. Technically, I was thrown inside the "slammer" for like 3 hours plus. So the "almost bit is kinda moot, isn't it? As for the liberalist anti-christian illegitimate son... well... I never said I was anti-christian; just anti-fundamentalist. Youre just misinterpreting it for the sake ofmisinterpreting it. Or maybe it's just what the local media has been feeding you, non?

As for the hanging bit, I'm sure it'd work. Perhaps something more medieval, like torture devices used in the inquisition would be more to your taste, perhaps, considering you do seem to be the fanatical, let-me-rape-kill-torture-and-steal-in-God's-name maniac, don't you think? =)

Sigh. Whatever happenned to the sixth commandment? Or perhaps the devil quoteth scripture here, and points you to Exodus 20:7 - "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

and

"Why do you observe the splinter in you brother's eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, 'Let me take the splinter out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother's eye."- Matthew 7:3-5 / Luke6:42

Besides, let's put it this way, sending a personal misguided attack to the wrong person, calling me a naive son-of-a-bitch, using the word "Damn", without knowing the exact religious implications of it, just shows how far matured you are in your own religion. Interesting. I'd wager you'd be laughing your head off while I'm burning in hell.

(Gabriel insisted that I put his comments after every email, so here it is: "If this person is Christian, as he most probably is, this email illustrates why Char posted the cartoons in the first place.")

Email 2:
~~~~~~~~~~
Hello Gabriel. I just wanted to send you a note regarding your blog that was published in the June 27th.

I see that you have had a bad experience from this 'FundieP' character. I am hoping that whatever this person has done to you has not turned you against Jesus or caused you to be 'de-converted'. My only request is that you ignore people for a moment and just focus on the Truth. One of the main problems with religions these days is that anyone interprets anything as they wish and then try to put that on other people. Well, we are ALL sinners, so it's never going to be perfect with any believer or non-believer. We are all going to say or do something completely stupid at times and hopefully ask for forgiveness for that later. I ask that you take all of this to Christ, and see what HE has to say about it. Ask that He give you the answers you need. I believe that if you truly seek those answers, they will come to you. I will pray for you as well. Whatever happens, I wish you the best.
~~~~~~~~~~

Okaaaay. Another evangelistical "give a helping hand to a person when he's down, and hopefully we can convert him while we're at it" case.

Again, my re-iteration. I loathe fundamentalists. And I'm unafraid to spout my views on that. I'm fine with Christians in general, having personal Christian friends, and even a confidante who's a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiose in Singapore. I'm fine with religion as long as it doesn't affect me. What I'm not fine with, are people who perverse their belief in their religion to cloud out their own sense of reason, to fufil and justify their own selfish and personal agendas.

As for "Truth", let me then ask, as Pilate did in John 18:38; "What is truth?" Because we all have our own truths we believe in. I didn't leave the Church, and Christianity, because of FundieP's actions, but because I did over 2 years of searching, watching people I knew and cared about die in front of me, and found my answers elsewhere. (Although on a side note, the type of people in the church, of which FundieP belonged to, was one of the many reasons I did renounce Christianity. But there are black sheep in all religions anyway.)

That said, I thank you for your mild "interest" in this case, and trust me, if I'm ever re-converted (although I doubt it), perhaps you might have a better place in heaven, or something like that. And yeps, I wish you all the best too in that endeavour.

By the way, I particularly love this quote of yours; "One of the main problems with religions these days is that anyone interprets anything as they wish and then try to put that on other people. " - is it only me who notices the delicious irony in this statement, considering you are trying to put your views on Christianity on me?

(Gabriel commenteth: "My eyes were opened. I saw the light. The truth set me free.")
And I'm having my first Root Beer in 6 months.

Europe's great, but they don't have Root Beer there.

Damn, my pessimist's mug just reached the "this glass is now half-empty" point. Time to top it up.
Some backlog from the comments on a post about human valuations, dated end March/early April. I went on holiday with the cock, and it was really getting ridiculous, so I didn't continue the thread. I trust that readers will be able to draw their own conclusions, obviating the need for further comments on my part:

ceci: Maybe you would care to comment on the paragraph?

I'm pretty sure that the way we wipe out life, (animal, human or plant) is not the way Nature intended it to be. We can see objectively that burning so much fossil fuel has impacted our world negatively. Environment ethics is a very well-explored topic, and doesn't use hazy logic, unlike religion.

Me: Why do people always like to posit false dichotomies?

The paragraph was an invective against eco-fundamentalists like PETA and ALF.

And fossil fuel burning -> our world is impacted negatively -> we are impacted negatively.

ceci: U and ur "false dichotomies".

The state of environmental degradation today is a result of the "wishes of the majority of people" ; "eco-fundamentalists" like PETA are merely trying to reduce the damage rather than bring about a new world order. To put it this way, humans are imposing their will on 99% of the world's species, and we lack a conscience. Pretending the problem doesn't exist doesn't make you an moderate.


Since when does not speaking the same languages as a different community or population provide justification for annihilating it?

We don’t have to speak the same language to see that animals have goals like propagating themselves and surviving. We humans have magnificent goals, like building nuclear weapons and accumulating cash (and in the process abandoning all human ethics), but that doesn’t mean that we take precedence over animals.

Animals have rights too, plain and simple. Any literature that attempts to elegantly suggest that humans are free to exploit and rape the earth are simply “Easy speeches that comfort cruel men”.

Me: Once again, you prove my point. One does not have to choose between joining PETA and calling for the destruction of nature and the Earth a la Captain Planet villains. Only idiots would view the choice in those terms.

PETA pays for the defence of murderers, and you claim they are trying to reduce damage? PETA has nothing to do with environmental degradation - it's about posturing, looking cool and not eating meat; everyone going vegetarian would do very little to reverse the "state of environmental degradation".

"If I do not go vegetarian, I'm going to go shoot Bald Eagles in the Rockies!!!"

ceci: Oh what rubbish, i'm not going to go into the impact of meat eating on our environment, but if you would care to surf around or even look around you, you'll find that the unethical treatment of farm animals breeds diseases which threaten to become the biggest problems of our time.

Human beings are myopic self interested creatures, and the occasional pie in the face is needed to remind people that doing things like electrocuting 20 foxes for one fur coat is ridiculous.

Few people view actions purely based on merits, and that's why we have religion do tell us that if we don't do this and that, we'll bear the consequence in the afterlife. How would you go about telling teens to chop down fewer trees or kill fewer animals? Simply by telling them that this helps preserve our earth for our later generations? Most people just don't think that way.

As for idiots who say that they'll eat 3 animals for every one animal a vegetarian spares, by all means, because cetaris paribus, eating more meat hastens a person's demise.


when you have snooty rich women convinced they look good wearing the epidermial growths of dead animals, what else is there to do but tell kids that it's cool to be at least aware that this fur coat was created at a living thing's expense?
This is a sucky semester.

I got EC3102 (Macroeconomic Analysis II) and EC3304 (Econometrics II) preallocated. The lectures are on Monday from 10-12 and 12-2pm, and the exams on 28 november AM and 29 november AM.

Of course, it gets worse.

On some advice from gods, I am going for Financial Economics, which has an exam on 30 november PM. This leaves me with 2 modules. I wanted to do 1 (or maybe even 2 - gasp) CBMs, but of the 3 CBMs on offer, I've taken 1 (Evolutionary Psychology), 1 (Gender) clashes with my pre-allocated Economics modules and the last was during July (Negotiation).

And so I am left with a choice of Law (HAHA) or Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy modules. For the first, besides the risk of getting slimed by SLUGS (hurr hurr), I'll have to commute down to Bukit Timah and the exam dates are once again perilously close together (Human Rights Law A has an exam on 30 nov 1pm, so I'll have 3 exams in 1 day and probably on 2 campuses). As for the other module, "international environment law is whatever the cartel/USA declares it wants to follow". Over at LKY SPP, International Economic Policy sounds promising but then I'll have to run over there (near the old Law) for classes from from 2-5.

I was looking at taking 1 of 2 USP first tiers - Game Theory or Foundations for Engineering. The former has an exam on 29 november PM. The latter has no exam but is always tough to get.

I should go shopping for a UE, but one I was suggested: GEK1537 - THE SEARCH FOR LIFE ON OTHER WORLDS has clashing exam dates (AGAIN). Maybe I will get moving for Round 2A. I'll cross bridges when I next come to them - 1A hasn't even ended yet.

It's not just me - exams this semester all seemed terribly crammed together. Whose bright idea is this?!

Ah well. If my calculations are correct, my vital statistic can afford to take some hits. For now.


Me: It's not just me - exams this semester all seemed terribly crammed together. Whose bright idea is this?!

Someone: as i said
welcome home :)

Monday, July 31, 2006

A very meaningful story:

The Road Much Less Traveled

There were two routes that would take me to my best friend's house: the superhighway, a straight and colorless dash cut through the mountains, and the winding Old Motor Parkway, which had been all but forgotten. I always took the superhighway, and I did so without thinking. It seemed the easiest path to follow, and it was the route everyone else seemed to be taking. It was the safe route.

One day though, when my life was in turmoil, I noticed the bettered sign for Route 461. Why not, I wondered, why not take the road much less traveled and see where it took me? I realized that I'd spent my life taking the safe roads, following traffic, without giving much thought to the possibilities of other paths.

So instead of once again playing it safe, I turned onto the road that held the promise of adventure. And as I drove along, I discovered many things:

There were big potholes everywhere that had never been repaired. Thick clumps of grass were growing right through the cracked surface.

There were no signs or directions of any kind.

There were no services at all. I passed an old gas station, but it obviously had been abandoned long ago.

I had to swerve to avoid a hunk of rusting metal in the middle of the road. I think it might have been an old engine.

Much of the parkway was impassable, so I kept having to take detours.

And so, I learned an important lesson that day. There is a good reason people don't take the roads much less traveled. They're dangerous and it can take you more than twice as long to get to your destination.

From that day on, I've always taken the roads much more traveled, and I have never had to swerve to void (sic) a big rusting metal thing again.

Bruce McDonald

--- Chicken Poop for the Soul - Stories to Harden the Heart and Dampen the Spirit, by David Fisher
Gabriel is currently on holiday in Europe. His latest projected location can be viewed on this post.

(Post forward dated to end July)
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