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Monday, August 27, 2007

"Adventure is just bad planning." - Roald Amundsen



See, this is where Social Science comes in. We look at the evidence and disagree with their theories. [Me *sotto voce*: So humanities are just talk cock lah.]

[On playing to the ground] That's why you see a lot of the PAP leaders in Singapore talking about kampung spirit as if they actually live in a kampung. I bet with you a lot of them are actually more individualistic than us.

We have heartland multiracialism for the masses. CMIO. Keep them happy so they won't rebel... Individualist multiculturalism for the middle class. Live your dreams, go to NUS.

[On a 1990 One People yada yada music video] The one who's represented as most modern is the Eurasian... wearing the tie here. Worker.

[On a 2003 We Are Singapore music video] You have a Chinese, you have a Eurasian - Jeremy Monteiro. You have an Indian - Jacintha. Where's the Malay? [Student: Cameraman]

Have you ever met someone in the USP who's cool? [Student 2: Me] Fuck off lah.

I was wondering "who is Shafiqah"? [Student 2: Looks like her *points to other tudung girl*] So racist. [Student 2: For the first 2 weeks of school I couldn't tell them apart...] [Student 3: Anything you say here can get your into a whole lotta trouble. Shut up now.]

He was talking about Space and all the time, I was "hahaha, I know all this already" [Me: So you got mindfucked last sem, so you won't get mindfucked this sem.]

[On D&D] You're out token lao3 lao3... [Me: I can't get that many lao lao to come. They're not that gullible.] If they're lao3 lao3 and they're that gullible, it's quite sad.

[On USP] Last time it used to be a bunch of queer people. Strange people. Eccentric people... Now it's a bunch of elitist people.

[On the debates] It's more fun. You can start looking for someone to attack... If everyone is saying such wonderful things, just play Devil's Advocate... and provoke him.

Just now that was ***. She took this class a long time ago and she was afraid she would fail. But she survived. [Student: Did she get {an} A?] Survived doesn't mean get {an} A. She didn't fail.

[On a demo] I need volunteers... It's a bit dangerous, I forgot to mention.

You will just stand there in case the chair flies there. You will protect the ladies. [To another] You protect the whiteboard.

The cold war en'showed (ensued)

[On Man not landing on the moon] The simplest reason against the conspiracy theory... The people who'd want to prove you wrong: the Russians. They didn't say anything.

[On China's moon ambitions] Is it because they want to see if they can see the Great Wall from the moon?

[On first aid boxes in her country] Sometimes it's green. Sometimes it's red and white. It's Malaysia, there's no system.

[On Economics] It gets a little boring to lecture on mathematics

Your notes are more than what you'll need. I got carried away writing them.

The Rybczynski theorem. That's the one with no vowels in it until you get to the very end.

Probably by the end of class there'll be so much notation it'll all look like garbage.

[On the course and by extension the department and degree program] We want to prepare those of you who might be going on to graduate school.

It was so bad that one day I sent my child to school with a note excusing him because he had to go to the dentist or something. They actually had to call me up to find out if the child had written it. My son tells it to all his friends. 'My mom writes like a second-grader'.

Technically it's called a caret, but economists always call it a hat. I don't know why. We're about to embark on what is called hat algebra.

The last time I taught the class, almost nobody knew what Cramer's Rule was, and their eyeballs just rolled back in their heads as I proceeded with the derivation.

We have just proved the Stolper Samuelson theorem. Tada. *dances* We can start tapdancing.

[On theodicy] Picture this as a sort of table tennis match.

[On theodicy] I think people have defended this. 'The perception of evil is just human error'. This was the view propounded by Mary Baker, the founder of Christian Science. But this seems pretty implausible... I'm just gonna say: 'This is not a very good response'... From the point of view of a theist, none of these are good responses. This *points to 'Yea. There is no good.'* is pretty bad.

[Student: Maybe he's lazy.] That's a great way of explaining God's perfect goodness.

Can an omnipotent god do, I don't know, make it 2 degrees in Singapore?

Can an omnipotent god make a triangle with 2 obtuse angles? [Student: What's obtuse?] I'm gonna try... *Fails to* Crap. [Student 2: You should draw it in non-Euclidean space.] Damn, all the science people.

There are some theists who say that. God is sovereign over life... If he created the laws of logic... If he's omnipotent, he should be able to change these things... This is confused. There's nothing to be done. There's nothing to be sovereign over. It's incoherent. Literally.

'Can God sit in the corner of the Oval Office? Yeah, he's omnipotent!'

[On utilitarian moral theory and god ignoring rights] To achieve good, these things have to happen to you. Sorry.

[On contingent evil and natural laws] You need to know what winter clothes to buy, how the seasons change. You don't know that. Let me look for a better example.

Theodicy is a word that comes from 2 ones. This one *points at 'theo'* and this one *points at 'dicy'*.

[On the evidential problem vs the logical problem of evil] [This was really popular] in the 1960s, 70s... Most people agreed that it was logically possible. But that didn't keep our atheologians down, nosiree. They switched tacks.

The reading assigned for next week is not going to be available online. It's possible the library will get to it, but the probability is really low.

[On a field trip] I don't think any of us wants to be in a big group of 40 with me waving a flag.

[On a field trip] I'll schedule early morning activities to discourage people from partying the night away... Watch the sun rise.

What places are important in your lives?... [Female student: Toilet] Someone in the earlier class said that. How long do you spend in there?... How about the back row? [Male student: Army camp.]

You don't drink in the karaoke? How do you do it?

[On places making up our landscape] What's the difference between school, home and places of worship and the rest? [Student: You don't have any choice.] Oh, I forgot one. *circles 'Army Camp'*

When you go to the shopping centre, you dress differently from the pasar malam. My sister does, I don't.

It's kind of interesting, the nostalgia... You guys in your young 20s. 'Ah, for the days'.

How many of you speak in dialect with your grandparents? How many of you speak in dialect with your parents? How many of you speak in dialect with your friends? [Student: Sometimes, for the fun of it.]

You see all the knee'chers there (niches)

I come from the second last kampung in Singapore, opposite Nee Soon Camp... It could've been such a cash cow. [Instructor: Turn it into a Night Safari]

[On the tragedy of Singapore] When you're 20 years old and you get nostalgic, that's quite tragic, really.

verse (versus)

[On having no heritage] It can be very liberating... It's very easy to be scandalised... Most of my colleagues find the idea of Vivocity repugnant.

Expats spend way too much time talking about politics here when they know nothing about it... 'It's like Nazi Germany'... [Though they have] a $18,000 per month housing allowance.

Boat Quay. People say there're plenty of drunk Australians. Every city in Asia has lots of drunk Australians. There're probably more drunk Australians in Bangkok than in Singapore.

[Student: Asia is so big. What is [the] True Asia?] Malaysia. Truly Asia.

A lot of expats who live here... They feel disturbed because they feel too close to you... Live in London, live in Singapore. Live in New York, live in Singapore... 'Singapore is not different enough for me'.

Here's another rule of thumb. The people who want authenticity usually have a lot of money.

Rich Gulf Arabs. It's insane, the things they do. I've hung out with them, it's crazy... I don't argue. Now and then, they pay for dinner.

They're on the ILVE, which I'll open up tomorrow. [Student: Just say 'the online system'.] (IVLE)

If people fall asleep during your 15 minute presentation that's bad. You should be able to get through at least 15 minutes before they pass out.

I'm an Indian after all. I don't do much work.

[On a square] Is this an ox? This is the engineer's version of an ox. They reduce everything to a square.

[On manipulating a weighing scale] Come... we get a lady to verify [the gentleman's results]. You don't have to reveal your real weight... She just wants to start at a different zero point. Is that what you do at home to make yourself appear-?

[On someone solving the problem with an advanced technique and getting the wrong answer] Usually the physicists and engineers make such mistakes. They use some sophisticated formulas and then they forget to change the units.

[On a Chinese paternal response to interracial relationships] If I marry a white guy he'll cut me off from the inheritance. If I marry an indian guy he'll disown me. If I marry a black guy he'll probably murder me.

[Instructor on impulse: You do karate? Do you break bricks?] I can show you more impressive things than that.

[Instructor: If you want to injure someone do you follow through or do you pull back?] You attack him from the back.
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