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Meesa gonna kill you!

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

"Migration is, of course, the key factor in urban growth in most developing and former communist nations... Commentators in each country offer various explanations: a war, an agrarian reform program, the lack of agrarian reform, a foreign embargo on international trade, the opening of international trade, terrorism and guerrillas, moral decay, failed capitalism, failed socialism, even bad taste (It is so much prettier in the countryside, why don't they just stay there?)."

"In 1992, Reuters News Service reported that Libyan leader Mu'ammar Gadhafi had incinerated Libya's land titles. "All records and documents in the old land register, which showed that a land belonged to this or that tribe, have been burned," Colonel Gadhafi reportedly informed a meeting of his justice ministry. "They were burned because they were based on exploitation, forgery and looting.""

- Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital
"A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time." - Alfred E. Wiggam

***

STOCHASTIC OPTIMAL CONTROL AND INVESTMENT

"As soon as we have finished with the discrete-time theory, a crash-course in continuoustime diffusions (including stochastic integration and the notorious formula of Kiyoshi Ito) is in order to make the transition to continuous time smoother (and, in fact, possible)...

Special emphasis will be given to problems taken from the field of Mathematical Finance, but other fun problems will be considered as well...

Discrete-time models are nice because of the absence of technicalities that sometimes obscure the bigger picture. Continuous-time models are more elegant (also meaning: more delicate and technical to analyze) and sometimes allow for closed-form solutions, or in the absence of the latter for good approximating numerical methods. After the price has been paid of having to go through a rocky mathematical road we shall find that there are rewards in the end of the trip...

We model the preferences of an agent (who is you) via a utility function u — for the economist’s sake we usually assume that u is a concave and increasing function; for the mathematician’s sake we also assume it is smooth...

One can find an inter-relationship between the value functions v(t,x) and finally come up with a non-linear PDE called the Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) equation. Since its particularly scary first sight has sent many-a-nice people to the asylum, we refrain from presenting it at this point and leave the suspense for later...

Optimal consumption. There is a natural tendency of individuals to eat and spend money (rather foolishly, sometimes), instead of waiting for time T to consume the fruit of their investment (which would be even more foolish, admittedly)."


That was amusing, but I still don't know what "q(t) measures the discounted present value from t onwards of the profits from the marginal unit of investment at t" means... Stupid optimal control. Maybe I can form a model of optimal studying using it.

Hmm, I wonder if I should create 2 tags for economics - 'economics' and 'applied maths'.
Me: free cone day

Someone: haah omg for a second i read that as "free come day"
ok nvm...i need sleep srsly


Someone else: yeah women are stupid fuck shits

Me: how about you
hehe

Someone else: i sometimes am
look at how hung up i am over a bastard

Me: yeah

ah well
it's the misery of the human condition
it's precisely because he's a bastard that you're hung up over him

Someone else: aiyah why la why


Someone: eh i ask you ah, how come (YR member A), (YR member B) and (YR member C) all so smart one?

Me: haha
never say me ah

I not smart ah :P

Someone: you don't seem especially smart. not as smart as them anyway

Me: ><

familiarity breeds contempt
haha


Me: study before 26 lor

Someone else: i can't
my freind i got exams on 23 21 25
none of which i had finished studying

i will start after the 25 paper at 3p.m.

Me: eh at that point hug buddha's foot not enough
must suck his cock

Someone else: erm....
i am not a girl

and things have gotten so dire
i suck 10 cocks
also no use


Someone: if ur faith was like drugs then it sure isnt the same faith as mine dude.

Me: some drug addicts manage to break free :P

maybe I was on opium
and you're on crack


MFTTW: er... girls will feel insecure if their boobs are smaller than yours? that's possibly the funniest thing i've heard all day :P


HWMNBN: messenger for mac is really horrible

Me: macs are horrible

HWMNBN: i'm performing my duties as a man and configuring ***'s new powerbook which she bought because it fits the colour scheme of her houe
(she bought a wii and a xbox 360 as well for the same reason. and an airport extreme)

Me: ... women
how is it?

HWMNBN: horrible
but to be fair someo f it is because i'm not accustomed to the interface and one clicking
but generally horrible and much less user friendly
but it's prettier i'll admit

Me: so why do people love mac?

HWMNBN: why do people believe in God?
ie. stupidity

Me: how is it less user friendly?

HWMNBN: it's not obvious how to alt-tab betweenw indows
there's no context except holding click on the docked icons

just to name a few

Me: is how to alt tab obvious in windows?

no context because there's no right mouse button
hurr hurr

HWMNBN: even if it isn't there's the TASKBAR

she didn't want toget a ps3 because it was black
.....

i have to admit that the whiteness of the macbook and the wii and the xbox 360 does complement her general living room decor very well so i can't aesthetically complain.

***

Someone: i didn't read extremely closely but yes i agree with the author somewhat, but this crutch mentality is not restricted to females
i.e. females not having a personality/interest and relying on men to fix their computers

i dont necessarily think the fixing computers thing is the issue... i believe that sometimes stuff is best left to specialists

but the lack of a personality, inability to exist as a person is an issue for most singaporean women and some singaporean men

Me: how come so many singaporean guys are specialists?
my female friends need me to install software for them

Someone: singaporean women are such gu niangs lah
but it's cos singaporean men don't give them shit for being gu niangs
they marry them for one

Me: most guys like simple girls
the market responds

Someone: simple does not equal crutch mentality with no personality
simple girl = not materialistic

Me: yeah
but it's an associated phenomenon

I still don't get what 'crutch mentality' means

nono
simple girls tend to be materialistic
they're simple in other ways


What's a "simple girl" you ask? The sort which goes for a "sincere guy" (hah!). Do some surfing around.

My impression of "simple" girls:

- Simple-minded
- Not too smart
- Not interested in intellectual topics
- Demure
- Want the guy to take the lead
- Chinese speaking
- From heartland families, usually
- Traditional
- Expect marriage and children, and don't mind being housewives

ie The sort most guys would like.

Eeeeeeeee.

Someone: yes eeewwww
that's what i term the crutch mentality

Me: sad lah
the misery of the human condition

that's what I term simple girls :)

Someone: if their husbands died tmr, they would just die
basically if they didn't have anyone in their lives for them to depend on, they would just die
mother, father, group of "simple" girlfriends

Me: ok
so "uselessness"

why are singaporean girls so useless?

Someone: how the hell i know
i'm not useless

you know, i never used to be useless but i find myself developing some of these traits cos of peer pressure
it's a struggle to reverse the process that singaporean society has on your mind

Me: like?

oh someone commented jap, HK and korean girls are like this also hehe

Someone: yesterday, my bf called to say he would be back at 2am instead of 10pm
i was slightly disappointed so i told him so in no uncertain terms

and then i hung up, and then i had a "wtf" moment. what was the issue i was trying to pick with him anyway?

Me: actually this is not an exclusively singaporean issue
http://www.owensworld.com/jokes/read-195.htm

Someone: why why why are women the way they are
my guess is that we give in to our emotions too much, and we expect love to be reciprocated

Me: so it's not just that Singaporean women are screwed up. it's all women =D

Someone: i dont see it so much in my expat friends
but that's prob just cos they're hedonistic sluts

you're a compulsive quoter
is it cos you have nothing original of your own to say?

Me: eh
I got say a lot of original things what
I got so many theories :P

and I quote what I say to others haha

Someone: whatever lah

Me: it's better to characterise me as having an object oriented approach to conversational bits

shit. this must be [HWMNBN]'s influence

Someone: it is

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ministry of National Development e-Poll:

"Which 3 positive aspects of Singapore do you think about and miss most of all when traveling overseas (eg. the food, the weather, television programs, etc)?"


Me: Who will miss the weather and television programs?!
Friend: Those are the 2 worse things about Singapore.
"Economics, over the years, has become more and more abstract and divorced from events in the real world. Economists, by and large, do not study the workings of the actual economic system. They theorize about it. As Ely Devons, an English economist once said at a meeting, “If economists wished to study the horse, they wouldn’t go and look at horses. They’d sit in their studies and say to themselves, ‘What would I do if I were a horse?’ And they would soon discover that they would maximize their utilities." - Ronald Coase, The Task of the Society

“La economía es de gente, no de curvas”
A very... interesting thread on gun control on YR:


A: Incidents like these are not justifications to impose gun control, or at least gun control on all citizens (I might find taking away the gun rights from felons and such palatable)..

Firstly, it can be quite dangerous for the government to control all the weapons and the citizens being completely defenceless from the abuses from their government. You can't presume the government is going to play nice with their power. If a determined person really wanted to, they could easily ignore voter recall and impose their own authority with the population having no means to fight back.

Secondly, gun control would have probably not prevented this. It merely creates a black market...


Me:

>Incidents like these are not justifications to impose gun control, or at least gun
>control on all citizens (I might find taking away the gun rights from felons and
>such palatable)..

You *might* find it palatable to *take* gun rights from felons? Which means you might find it palatable to *give* gun rights to felons?

>Firstly, it can be quite dangerous for the government to control all the weapons and
>the citizens being completely defenceless from the abuses from their government. You
>can't presume the government is going to play nice with their power. If a determined
>person really wanted to, they could easily ignore voter recall and impose their own
>authority with the population having no means to fight back.

It *can* be quite dangerous for the government to do that. But in how many established democracies do governments do that? Very few (if any). There's something called checks and balances, and guns are not the only way to do that (indeed the threat violence might be the worst possible way to check the state since it'll lead to civil war - we're not living in the Middle Ages anymore, and look what happened then).

Besides which, the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force for good reason. Citizens are (both in theory and in practice) more likely to use guns on each other than the government.

>Secondly, gun control would have probably not prevented this. It merely creates a
>black market.

International pacts to control Weapons of Mass Destruction have not prevented their spreading. That doesn't mean we should junk them.

It can be quite dangerous for Great Powers to control all the Weapons of Mass Destruction and the countries being completely defenceless from the abuses from the Great Powers. You can't presume the Great Powers are going to play nice with their power. If a George Bush really wanted to, he could easily ignore international law and impose his own authority on the rest of the world having no means to fight back.


A: http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0210e.asp - yes, you can tell from "future of freedom" that it's a libertarian website, but, note the following things:

... Those studies and others indicate that often the mere sight of a firearm discourages an attacker. Criminologist John Lott from the University of Florida found that 98 percent of the time when people use guns defensively, simply brandishing a firearm is sufficient to cause a criminal to break off an attack. Lott also found that in less than 2 percent of the cases is the gun fired, and three-fourths of those are warning shots.

...firearms are used 60 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to shoot with criminal intent.


And also

In 1976, Washington, D.C., instituted one of the strictest gun-control laws in the country. The murder rate since that time has risen 134 percent (77.8 per 100,000 population) while the overall rate for the country has declined 2 percent.

I suppose some of you know John Lott? Maybe you've encountered his books already. But I don't know, maybe the Justice Department was wrong. Maybe the guy in charge was having a blowjob from his intern too, because the folks at the Justice Department of the United States clearly aren't authoritative enough.

Guns are an equaliser among women, too. Disarmament would only work in the males' favour:



Of these defensive shootings, more than 200,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual abuse. About half a million times a year, a citizen carrying a gun away from home uses it in self-defense. Again, according to Kleck amd Gertz, "Citizens shoot and kill more criminals than police do every year [2,819 times versus 303]."...

I don't trust the state and I wish to deprecate it anyway (ideally -- perfection is impossible so I'd be willing to accept continuous deprecation). So when you say "the state has a monopoly on the use of force for a reason", I balk at this because ideally, the state should not exist, or it should exist in a very very minute form. I would say any sane person would support libertarianism (left wing or right wing), but it seems you've all taught to accept that the state is some holy grail whose existence shouldn't be questioned.

The common thread for the gun control argument seems to be anecdotes. It's something outlined by John Lott's book The Bias Against Guns: Why Almost Everything You've Heard about Gun Control Is Wrong. It's mainly addressed to the layman yes, so you gun control experts Gabriel and biteme, might find it below your calibre...

"If a George Bush really wanted to, he could easily ignore international law and impose his own authority on the rest of the world having no means to fight back."

That's a really funny example to use, considering that a lot of people would actually say that the US is a big bully, but hey ...

And perhaps it's just my cultural bias, but I was brought up to believe that, "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."Well if not, we should let the government regulate and control speech too. Just imagine all those stories where people other people because of violent video games. Perhaps there's another tearjerking story where someone made hate speech, it become incendiary, upset racial harmony and provoked a racial riot. Clearly, after all these heart-throbbing incidents, recounted in vivid detail, we must ban freedom of speech. Clearly, incendiary words are the causes of riots, just as a lack of gun control is responsible for a violent act... Even though there's a strict gun control regime in France, that didn't prevent the riots in 2005 and I note there is a lot of gun violence in the banlieux (the immigrant suburbs). Clearly, gun control so works.

A lot of these stories are part of the appeal to emotion, not based on an argument of facts. These shootings are rather exceptional, and I note they have occurred in countries like Australia and New Zealand where they have strict gun control regimes. The story is tragic, but I brush it off because I don't see these happening every day and I see it as a pathetic argument (literally, an appeal to pathos). Russia as I recall has a strict gun control regime too, but they routinely suffer from the bouts of organised crime and state-sanctioned murder.

And what of Switzerland and Israel, where the majority of households own guns? And I don't see school shootings there...

"Which means you might find it palatable to *give* gun rights to felons?"

I originally thought that obvious too. But in November of last year we had a candidate for governor of Maine speak to us. Yes yes, I succumbed to his argument of pathos -- but knowing this I've become rather mixed on the issue. What happened was that he (Phillip-Morris Napier, no relation to the company) was discharging ammo into a wood pile (standard procedure, in order to get rid of it). You know, he was up north in Maine, where everyone uses guns. (I wonder why hunting families don't murder each other more often. Hmm. Maybe I read too many Little House in the Big Woods books as a child.) Recently there had been some development in that area of land, hence neighbours from the city were quite frightened at the sound of weapons fire even though it was a common occurrence in the woods. They call the cops on him, who entered his house and shot him upon sight upon Napier's own entry (even though his gun was pointing straight up when he bumped into them), then charged him with a felony. So despite being abused by the police (but maybe you know, you can shrug off two bullet wounds, one in the leg and one in the ass, the nanny state will make it all better), and not having threatened the police in any way, he was stripped away of his livelihood, -- his arms. He had been a hunter all his life, but to add insult to injury, the state didn't even look into the matter of the police shooting him because according to the procedure at the time, the chief of police decides whether to open a case against his own policemen or not, even though the law had been changed since then.

So even taking felons' right to arms might be unjust. I also find it constitutionally questionable whether you can deprive a felon's right to vote too. Something about having served your sentence, etc. and having done your time, so now you should be reintegrated back  into society. But you know, maybe I've been reading too much Les Miserables.

"But in how many established democracies do governments do that? Very few (if any). There's something called checks and balances, and guns are not the only way to do that (indeed the threat violence might be the worst possible way to check the state since it'll lead to civil war - we're not living in the Middle Ages anymore, and look what happened then)."

The checks and balance system isn't perfect. Furthermore, if one branch just simply refuses to budge and comply constitutionally, who removes them from power? What if the military decided to perform a coup? If not now, then in 100 years. Furthermore, if one branch conspires with other to ignore the population, then it could well be hopeless. What prevents the government from simply ignoring their demands for recall? The government has the arms. It has the means of power. Popular sovereignty is useless if the population is not empowered against their governors -- otherwise consent of the governed would be useless. Coups in liberal countries are not unheard of, like Vichy France's resumption of dictatorial powers with no power of protest, or the fact that even though the Allies imposed strict anti-miltary, anti-weapons-build-up laws on Germany after WWI, Hitler still essentially masterminded a coup, or that one of the first steps Pinochet took before his coup was to deprive the factory owners of all their weapons.

Take Anarchist Catalonia, fighting against the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War. The USSR was backing the Republic, but the Soviets naturally found the liberal anarchist faction to be unpalatable, and took steps to deprive them of their arms before effectively banning the POUM and the anarchists from representation in the Republic, and Stalin once again had enforced his iron will on another country and imposed himself on other people's liberties .... through the use of gun control. Not surprisingly, the Fascists took advantage of this treachery and they ended up being the ultimate victor.


B: I'm not sure if you realise this, but armies are very large, and spend a lot of time breaking the individualistic spirit of soldiers to enforce strict discipline. They do not do this for fun. Coordinating large numbers of people in the face of danger is extremely difficult, requiring well-planned command structures and discipline. Real life is not like Rambo. Even if every citizen were armed with an AK47, the citizen body would still be defeated by the army -- very easily -- since they would be totally uncoordinated. This is why revolution very rarely take place, and even more rarely succeed.

Er... the anti-Fascist and republican forces in Spain were like MILITIAS. MILITIAS BY DEFINTION ARE TRAINED. But your argument relates to PRIVATE gun ownership. Don't... see... link...


A: Actually, I was thinking more of the anarchist armies of the Spanish Civil War. Perhaps you know of the book Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell? I'd say citizen arms held up very nicely against the German and Italian-backed Fascists and the Soviet treachery within the Republic (Barcelona May Days) while the rest of the Allied world (Britain, France and the US) blockaded the Republic. The anarchist armies were virtually rankless, yet it took a stab in the back and several years to defeat Catalonia.

And I'm not advocating every citizen for himself; I'm thinking of the Second Amendment and the concept of citizen militias. The gun control disarmament over the past few decades has effected the disorganisation of citizens; it's not because of the disorganisation that one should support gun control.

The National Guard in the United States has sort of replaced the militia; this is half-satisfactory, because the command structure of the National Guard of each state reports to the governor, not the president. If it weren't for the constitutional requirement that no state shall pursue its own foreign policy separate from the United States, we would see a lot of governors withholding their National Guard divisions from participating in the Iraq War. In the event of a coup by the US Army, they would be likely to be opposed by the National Guard divisions

In a culture where most citizens bore arms (it sounds like a paranoid culture, but it's not really; having grown up half my childhood in Maine I'll testify that most households in the north tend to have at least one gun in the house) most people would be rather disciplined and knowledgeable in the use of them, and would know to respect them...

I note that the police often arrive at a murder scene *after* the crime has been committed. As with the principles of Locke, etc., my home is my castle: if a burglar enters my house, I should have the right to shoot him. It's my house, my sanctity and my life. I shouldn't have to wait 5 minutes (or an hour)(or never, if the police happen to hate your race) for the police to arrive. I should not have to retreat.

Surely if citizens start brandishing guns instead of running away and deferring to the police (who may not arrive on time), they will be more likely to be hurt? This doesn't seem to be so. According to Lott's book More Guns, Less Crime, by far the safest course of action for either a woman or a man confronted by a criminal is to brandish a gun ... women who behave passively [instead] are 2.5 times more likely to end up being seriously injured than women who resist a criminal confrontation with a gun."For men, it is 1.4 times.

One notes that the threat of getting shot provides a stronger disincentive against burglary than the threat of death by the state. Maybe because if all your victims bear arms, that's a much stronger chance of being killed than the slight chance that the state will execute you for it.

Burglars "have to spend more time 'casing' a house to make sure nobody is home." Felons have testified that they avoid burglarising a house because "that's the way to get shot." (Lott, The Bias Against Guns, p. 11).

It's an interesting thought experiment to consider, instead of banning weapons from planes (where they can still be smuggled especially if there are lax security procedures), what would happen if most of the passengers had their own instead? I'm not sure of this myself (and it is an issue separate from gun control per se, since a private company does have a right to determine what you can bring on board private property), but the fact that a hijackers' operation would likely go very wrong (a la Flight 93) would seem to provide a really signficant deterrence to any future hijackers.

Not to mention on top of all this, standing armies are dangerous anyway; the US spends way too much on its defence budget. The military-industrial complex is a threat to liberty, and it is ever-growing. The idea of, "oh, we have a modern army now, we don't need to protect ourselves" is a misguided notion. If you give 500 people dictatorial powers but arrange a "check and balance" system among them, can you guarantee they are not going to ever perform a coup? If they all agree, then liberty is doomed. Similarly, giving the state control over all the weapons and disarming all the citizens creates an oligarchy, one run by bureaucrats.

Consider for example, that Myanmar decided to hold elections, the government lost by a landslide, but they refused to leave anyway Clearly a ruling government that has been explicitly voted out by the people cannot stay in power if it holds all the weapons. Because a ruling government that controls all the power surely must obey the demands of the voters. Of course, it's going to leave if they tell it to.


If less citizens were able to arm themselves only criminals would have guns; besides the police, who always seem to arrive when it's too late.

If you arm the victims, justice doesn't have to occur posthumously. I'd be a lot more apprehensive of even carrying out an act of violence if I knew there was an exceptionally high chance of failure and that my victims were likely to retaliate against me, Generally, death doesn't even have to occur -- your would-be attacker runs off at the sight of a gun. This situation is a freak incident: just because car crashes occur, does that mean we should ban cars for being dangerous?

It is true, Unlike automobiles, guns are primarily used to kill (after things like hunting) But let's face it, anything can be used to kill. I should have right of access to technology that allows myself to respond to an attacker -- as a last resort, should the police fail me. Why not ban crossbows or crowbars?

For example, what about martial arts training? Why don't you ban those? After all, what do you use martial arts training for? It has one purpose, and one purpose only: for combat. People trained to fight with sufficient skill are able to kill with several, or just one blow. Yet, we wouldn't ban martial arts training, because it only hurts law-abiding citizens that need it. A ban on martial arts training would not be respected by criminal practioners, while it is likely that people who require self-defence would be discouraged from taking it up because of the ban.

... But of course, you don't need to be able to defend yourself. The nanny state has monopoly on power for good reason, and you should run to her whenever someone gives you a big boo-boo "down there" ( i.e. rape). Duty to retreat and all.


The truth is, self-defence is a vital concern in many areas. In many parts of the US as well as around the world, the fact exists -- the police are frequently ineffective, respond too slowly and are sometimes corrupt. There could be many situations in your life when Mother Nanny State isn't around to protect you, but nope! You don't need to bear arms! Though there's wildlife, or a suspect shadow roaming about in your backyard, there's no reason for you to own a gun. Rather, wait for the police to arrive in fifteen minutes, while meanwhile your family faces burglary and rape. Maybe you would call the neighbours, if they weren't disarmed too.

Again, this is not just restricted to the US situation, in case anyone alleges this. How would you respond to the fact that most households in Switzerland and Israel own guns (National Service and all; too bad Singapore doesn't allow this) and yet have a crime rate much lower than most of their neighbours who have much stricter gun control regimes? As for Singapore -- another strict gun control regime country -- our crime rate isn't as low as we'd like to think. (If you seriously think so, you've been buying into too much PAP propaganda, from all the reports of violence I hear in the neighbourhood school areas ... but maybe I'm just too ingrateful for the peace and stability our great nanny government has given us.)

In troubled neighbourhoods around the world, the police are actually often your enemy and will actually be the ones inflicting the abuse. This happens occasionally in the US, in areas where apparently Jim Crow hasn't been totally abolished (the Supreme Court can pass its mandates, but whether the subordinate police forces comply is another completely different thing). There's Florida and the whole Driving While Black thing, and many times the harassment can take on lethal consequences, where the police will shoot you with insufficient justification. This is what happens when you give up your self-defence rights to the state. If they don't actively bear a prejudice against your race, then they might refuse to come at all, a la the KKK rampages where the police departments would just stand and watch while they torched the houses of black families...

The truth is, gun control does very little to stop situations like this and I concur that it was in fact a hindrance...

Take Iraq, for example. Since the invasion, the US has taken a severe anti-weapons policy, going house to house, disarming Iraqis etc. and confiscating and destroying weapons caches. This gun-control policy has only made the price situation of weapons escalate higher and higher --- to the detriment of the average citizen. You absolutely *need* an AK47 in your house in Baghdad to survive, The poorer families who can't afford their own defences are losing out.

What would gun-control advocates say? Hey there Omar, you don't need guns to defend yourself. If you didn't have access to guns in the first place, the violence wouldn't be happening and Muqtada al-Sadr wouldn't be knocking on your door. Why don't you entrust your safety with Iraqi police. The state has a monopoly on power for good reason. Oh wait, I forgot, the police are in cahoots themselves with sectarian groups like Sadr's.

... If the citizens are empowered and armed, most violent criminals would find themselves outnumbered very quickly, just like a racist would be outnumbered and cut down by most members of the public.


Me: http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Hemenway1.htm
SURVEY RESEARCH AND SELF-DEFENSE GUN USE: AN EXPLANATION OF EXTREME OVERESTIMATES, David Hemenway. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern) 87 (1997): 1430:

"Two aspects of the K-G survey combine to create severe misestimation. The first is the likelihood of positive social desirability response, sometimes referred to as personal presentation bias. An individual who purchases a gun for self-defense and then uses it successfully to ward off a criminal is displaying the wisdom of his precautions and his capability in protecting himself, his loved ones, and his property. His action is to be commended and admired.

... Consider a survey finding which contains a 1% overestimate of positive responses. If the true incidence of the event is 60%, estimating it at 61% would not be a problem. But if the true incidence is 1%, measuring it as 2% would be a doubling of the true rate; and if the true incidence is 0.1%, measuring it at 1.1%
would be an eleven-fold overestimate.

The K-G survey design contains a huge overestimation bias. The authors do little to reduce the bias or to validate their findings by external measures. All checks for external validity of the Kleck-Gertz finding confirm that their estimate is highly exaggerated."


>In 1976, Washington, D.C., instituted one of the strictest gun-control laws in the
>country. The murder rate since that time has risen 134 percent (77.8per 100,000
>population) while the overall rate for the country has declined 2 percent.

Washington DC is also a tiny, urban district and it is easy to bring in guns from elsewhere. Urban areas have more crime than others - comparing it to the US as a whole is very misleading. You need a proper multivariate analysis to analyse such issues, such as:

More Guns, More Crime, Mark Duggan [Journal of Political Economy, 2001, vol. 109, no. 5]

"Previous research has suffered from a lack of reliable data on gun ownership. I exploit a unique data set to reliably estimate annual rates of gun ownership at both the state and the county levels during the past two decades. My findings demonstrate that changes in gun ownership are significantly positively related to changes in the
homicide rate, with this relationship driven almost entirely by an impact of gun ownership on murders in which a gun is used. The effect of gun ownership on all other crime categories is much less marked. Recent reductions in the fraction of households owning a gun can explain one-third of the differential decline in gun homicides
relative to nongun homicides since 1993."

>The common thread for the gun control argument seems to be anecdotes.

From Wikipedia:

"The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report ranking of cities over 40,000 in population by violent crime rates (per 100,000 population) finds that the ten cities with the highest violent crime rates for 2003 include three cities in the very strict state of New Jersey, one in the fairly restrictive state of Massachusettes, where as the rest have recently adopted laws that allow for the carrying of a handgun with a permit.

Of the ten states with the highest violent crime rates for 2003, seven have relatively permissive gun laws, and three are relatively strict, requiring legal affidavits stating special need before one can be issued a temporary license to carry a handgun."

Also:

GUN OWNERSHIP, SUICIDE AND HOMICIDE: AN INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVE, Martin Killias

"Using the proportion of suicides committed with guns and the accidental firearm death rate rather than survey data as (indirect) indicators of private gun ownership, Lester found substantial correlations with the homicide rate by firearms in a sample of 16 European nations (r=.42 and .59, respectively). In a paper based on data from 14 countries surveyed in 1989, i.e. on survey data concerning gun ownership, even stronger correlations have been observed. Thus, there are a few international studies suggesting some impact of the availability of guns in private households on homicide and suicide by firearms."

>" If a George Bush really wanted to, he could easily ignore international law and
>impose his own authority on the rest of the world having no means to fight back."
>
>That's a really funny example to use, considering that a lot of people would
>actually say that the US is a big bully, but hey ...

So you'd recommend a global arms race to check the US?

>And perhaps it's just my cultural bias, but I was brought up to believe that, "*A
>well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of
>the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed."

You can be brought up to believe that the earth is flat too. The Second Amendment refers to militias, not to individuals holding arms. Besides which, how why is a literal interpretation of a document more than 200 years old relevant to modern society?

>*Well if not, we should let the government regulate and control speech too. Just
>imagine all those stories where people other people because of violent video games.

???

Oh yes. People *shoot* other people after playing violent video games (allegedly).

Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me. A bullet, on the other hand...

>Yes, gun controls have obviously worked. Prohibition obviously worked too.

Guns (directly) kill (other) people. Alcohol kills you (over a long period of time).

As I've said before, the arguments about gun control can apply to Weapons of Mass Destruction too. So would you rather the international arms trade be liberalised?

>Even though there's a strict gun control regime in France, that didn't prevent the
>riots in 2005

???

Were guns used in the riots? What does gun control have to do with rioting?!

>And what of Switzerland and Israel, where the majority of households own guns? And I
>don't see school shootings there.

I do not believe that gun control is a panacea. I see it as one of many factors affecting gun crime. Other factors like the poverty level, culture of violence et al. also come into the analysis.

>" Which means you might find it palatable to *give* gun rights to felons?"
>
>*snip irrelevant anecdote*
>
>So even taking felons' right to arms might be unjust.

???

The issue here is with the classification of the guy as a felon, not whether felons should be allowed to bear arms.

>You know, he was up north in Maine, where everyone uses guns. (I wonder why hunting
>families don't murder each other more often. Hmm. Maybe I read too many Little House
>in the Big Woods books as a child.)

I believe they carry big guns right. It's small, easily concealed guns which are the bulk of the problem. The murder rate didn't soar in the US until Samuel Colt invented the revolver.

>The checks and balance system isn't perfect.

No, but I think it'll work a lot better than your "let's all get guns to shoot the government" system.

>What prevents the government from simply ignoring their demands for recall? The
>government has the arms. It has the means of power.

So what prevents modern governments from ignoring demands for recall in modern society? There's a reason why your suggestion about shooting the government is absent in the literature on governance.

>Coups in liberal countries are not unheard of, like Vichy France's resumption of
>dictatorial powers with no power of protest,

Hello? This was during wartime, with France defeated and Germany at the doorstep?!

>or the fact that even though the Allies imposed strict anti-miltary,
>anti-weapons-build-up laws on Germany after WWI, Hitler still essentially
>masterminded a coup,

He also had the support of the German people, so if they all had guns maybe they'd have run around Germany shooting Jews at Hitler's behest.

>Take Anarchist Catalonia, fighting against the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War.
>The USSR was backing the Republic, but the Soviets naturally found the liberal
>anarchist faction to be unpalatable, and took steps to deprive them of their arms
>before effectively banning the POUM and the anarchists from representation in the
>Republic, and Stalin once again had enforced his iron will on another country and
>imposed himself on other people's liberties .... through the use of gun control. Not
>surprisingly, the Fascists took advantage of this treachery and they ended up being
>the ultimate victor.

I've no idea what you're talking about.

If Stalin hadn't taken away gun rights from the Spanish, the Fascists would not have intervened?! Reducing the Spanish Civil War to gun rights. Very good.

>The anarchist armies were virtually rankless, yet it took a stab in the back and
>several years to defeat Catalonia.

Funny, I always thought it was because of German and Italian help...

Anyhow not all of the Republicans were anarchists, so characterising them as such is misleading.

>Consider for example, that Myanmar decided to hold elections... Of course, it's
>going to leave if they tell it to.

Consider, oh, the 99999999 other countries which have held elections and had the outgoing government leave peacefully?

>just because car crashes occur, does that mean we should ban cars for being
>dangerous?

Car crashes kill yourself. Guns kill other people. And the utility of cars far outweighs the disutility of car crashes.

>But of course, why do you need to take up kung-fu? I say, we should ban it, because
>obviously the police are there to protect you.

I'll get back to you when I master the five point palm exploding heart technique, which will allow me to easily kill people, but still not as easily as with a gun.

>In troubled neighbourhoods around the world, the police are actually often your
>enemy and will actually be the ones inflicting the abuse.

Isn't this the Jiekai fallacy? The solution is to improve the police, not shoot them.

>Take Iraq, for example.

Iraq is in the middle of a civil war. I fail to see your point.


C: No, Gabriel. Correct me if I am wrong but gun crime in Switzerland is
low because, though gun ownership is high, and majority of households own a gun, the aim of issuing the gun is for national defence (i.e. conscription) rather than personal defence. No one in Switzerland is very aux armes, citoyens! Even for those who buy the gun for personal purposes, there are strict laws regulating the registration and sale of arms. Ammunition sales are equally strict, and I believe that gun/ammo vendors are required to perform due diligence. If someone wanted to purchase an entire box (or however it is that ammunition comes), the proper reaction would not be "AHA! It is your RIGHT! I cannot infringe upon it! Anyway, I am doing everyone a favour because I am part of the legal industry and this person will not go onto the black market to buy his arms!" Instead the reaction would be "Uh, why do you need so much ammunition?"

I am not sure if this is the case for Israel. Can anybody please confirm.


"It's an interesting thought experiment to consider, instead of banning weapons from planes (where they can still be smuggled especially if there are lax security procedures), what would happen if most of the passengers had their own instead?"

I am not sure if you realise this, but airplanes are delicate systems. Stray bullets could shatter a window and cause the plane to depressurise. The pilots, presumably the only ones on the plane who can fly it, could get shot. And so on and so forth.

(Interjection by me pointing out that one bullet actually won't cause depressurisation, and B pointing out that many bullets would be loosed in a shootout)

I stand corrected then. A case for allowing guns on planes can now convincingly be made. In case of terrorist attack, we'll have a good ol' Western shootout. And you know like in all those wild wild west films, the good guys always win.


B: Unlike in Singapore, universal male conscription in Switzerland is only theoretically universal. Only about 2/3 actually perform military service. This means that less than 1/3 (1/2 X 2/3 = 1/3) of the actual population will have a gun. Moreover, these are manual or semi-automatic weapons: handguns and automatic weapons, which are the ones usually used by crazed school shooters, are not issued to reservists.

Also, gun-related deaths are much higher than in other European countries.

I don't think Israeli conscripts are armed at home. Certainly I have Israeli friends and they did not mention it. But then again they were also trying to blot their conscription experience out of their minds.


A: "So would you rather the international arms trade be liberalised?"

Actually yes. It's rather hypocritical for the US to be possessing so many nuclear weapons then imposing its will on other countries when they make slightest attempt to enrich uranium. And I haven't been buying into the nuclear weapons hype; North Korea just wants to attract attention. It knows if it ever tries any wrong moves, it will be instantly flattened.


D: hmm... Can anyone tell me how gun control would have stopped these crazy shootings? Isn't it easy for any crazy maniac to get a gun if he
really wanted to? Especially in a big country like the the US of A.


E: being anti- "Pro-gun rhetoric" /=/ pro "gun ban". Perhaps you'd do better to get that simple point clear before launching into a diatribe about the dangers of gun bans.

Besides, from your thoughts, the only impression i got was that you are in favor of a wild west style shoot-em-up, instant justice kind of system, which simply does not jive well with me. i tend to favor the legal process and the courts, archaic as it may sound. that is why i did not bother addressing your points.

D, I believe you are factually correct -- if i wanted to buy a gun right now (illegally), i don't think it will be very hard, much less for a crazy maniac.

however, the basic point of gun control still stands -- if there was better enforcement as well as restriction of the availability of firearms to civilians, then there would theoretically not be such rampant and unregulated firearm use right now.

notice i said "restriction" and not "banning" firearms; unlike some folks i guess i just don't believe that allowing people to carry guns around on their hips like cowboys would have prevented the tragedy that happened.

more relevant to this specific incident, it might be interesting to note that the state of Virginia already has one of the most lax gun laws in the country.


E: I think we were supposed to read the John Lott study that A referenced in the first post of this thread.

You know, the one at http://www.fff.org/freedom/fd0210e.asp

"I suppose some of you know John Lott? Maybe you've encountered his books already."

Oh yes, A, we've all heard of John Lott.

http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/issues/?page=lott
I've heard that he falsified information. I've heard that scholars couldn't duplicate his findings when they conducted longer time-series studies.

http://timlambert.org/guns/lott/node27.html
I've heard that Lott's study never accounted for external, non-gun control variables that could explain changes in crime rates

http://www.vpc.org/fact_sht/lottlink.htm
I've heard that the Olin Foundations funded Lott's study. Wherein Olin is a huge weapons producer in the states.

http://www.vpc.org/studies/uninapb.htm
A whole gang of scholars have analysed Lott's study and found it riddled with methodological and factual flaws.

http://www.whoismaryrosh.com/
John Lott also claimed that women who carry handguns deter violent criminals. He's also posed as a female to give his own book a glowing review in Amazon.

http://www.statemaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-death-rate-per-100-000
A simple check of the facts would suggest that Lott is off his rocker.


F: I'm wondering how armed citizens, or even a militia, could stand up to a modern army. Especially one that doesn't care much about the lives of the citizenry (if they did, would they still launch a coup?)

With modern technology, it should not be that hard to impose gun controls. Granted, with all the ammo and guns already lying around, the benefits won't be seen for decades. But the old guns and ammo will eventually spoil or get discovered. The lack of short term benefits is no excuse not to try. If obtaining guns were hard enough that only a few hard core pros can obtain them, it would probably be much safer - you wouldn't stand much chance against a trained killer anyway. There are also a wide range of not quite lethal weapons that can be used in defence.

Of course waving a gun at a criminal is likely to give him second thoughts, but I'd rather reduce my chances of getting killed than to reduce the chances of my getting robbed. I'd take a knife wound over a gunshot wound any day!
"When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers." - Oscar Wilde, An Ideal husband

***

From thegreatsze:


Fwd: Lesson in economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.

If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.

The fifth would pay $1.

The sixth would pay $3.

The seventh would pay $7.

The eighth would pay $12.

The ninth would pay $18.

The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59. So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until on day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20, "declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man," but he got $10!" "Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got TEN times more than I!" "That's true!!" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!" "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison. "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.

In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics
University of Georgia


For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake." - Napoleon Bonaparte

***

I sync 10MB of photos onto my iPod and suddenly the device has 110MB of space taken up by photos, and 100MB-sized photo cache has appeared in the corresponding folder on my desktop.

Wth.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person." - Ethel Mumford

***

My favourite periodical:

March 17th:

"The experience of Bosnia and Rwanda, where murderous hatreds resurfaced after decades of apparent symbiosis, shows that categories are resilient. That is one reason why Mr Pittinsky thinks that “mere tolerance is inherently unstable.”

He is not the only scholar to stress the limits of tolerance alone as an ideal. Robert Hayden, a social anthropologist at the University of Pittsburgh, has coined the term “antagonistic tolerance” to describe the way sacred sites were shared by Christians and Muslims in the Ottoman world, and by Hindus and Muslims in British India. His point? The fact that groups accept a regime or “truce” imposed by an imperial power does not mean they will refrain from competing once they get a chance.

To ex-subjects of the Soviet imperium, talk of officially encouraged admiration for “fraternal” nations, laced with displays of embroidery, cuisine and folk-dancing, sounds cloying. Soviet allophilia finally failed because people saw it was dishonest; it hid the travails of ethnic groups who had suffered deportation and persecution under Stalin. By the end nobody believed in brotherly love.

So by all means, let allophilia be studied, measured and encouraged. Just remember: state-sponsored cultural events may not be the best way to go about it."

The obituary is also fun: [On an idiot French guy] "Whether Mr Baudrillard's world was utter nonsense, or whether it was a profound critique of a consumerist civilisation drowning in its own meaninglessness, was a matter for lively debate... [Americans] objected also to Mr Baudrillard's contention that the first Gulf war of 1991 had never taken place."


March 24th:

"Just a few years ago, Kazakhstanis were tickled by the news that two dozen freezing Sri Lankans had been detained by police in the middle of winter after wandering aimlessly across the snow-covered steppe in the north of the country for four days. They had been dumped there by traffickers and told they had arrived, as they had been promised, in Germany."

[On Amnesty International] "An organisation which devotes more pages in its annual report to human-rights abuses in Britain and America than those in Belarus and Saudi Arabia cannot expect to escape doubters' scrutiny."


March 31st:

"SIR – I believe your obituary on the “death” of “Jean Baudrillard” is in error (March 17th). Sub-Lacanian theory would presuppose that the signified “Baudrillard” is merely a neo-modernist capitalist paradox and “death” is a sub-textual patriarchalist paradigm interpolated through a post-colonialist hermeneutic.

As such, as Sontag states, “society is dead”; the signifier is merely replicated as a series of pre-cultural totalities implying post-Foucaultian absurdity. A Derridean reading would suggest that Murphy's mythopoetic reality is a more appropriate gesture to assume.

Thor Halland
Pattaya, Thailand"
"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul." - Marilyn Monroe

***

Quotes:

[On over-emphasising equality] In France, you give rights to everybody, then you have zero economic growth... That is not good... They have this green car... They get everything free... 100 guys with one car [each]... This is not very good. (card)

You should think about this, because if you can understand this then you can go on to Graduate Studies.

[On contacting him during Reading Week] This is the office phone, in case of [an] emergency.

I don't like girls from engin because they look like robots.

[On a deranged person] Are you sure he's Singaporean living in the US? Or is he from Mars, living on the Moon?

I get very excited when I see the heart on Facebook, whether it's the whole one or the broken one. I'm just damn gossipy.

You should've done Geography... You learn more Economics in Geography. Look at me, I know more Economics than you.

[Sign] This product is manufacture under a quality system certified as comply with ISO 9002 (manufactured, complying) (Unfortunately there're no English standards)

Have you read Antichrist?... Knee Chee. [Me and Student: Nietzsche] Knee Chee. [Me and Student: Nietzsche]

[On the Yen Carry Trade] It's been featured in the newspapers a lot in the past few weeks and if you don't read then it's your funeral.

[On no one knowing how the economy works] All these things you better know, before you go for your job interview, otherwise you'll be in trouble.

Assume the government has a target ratio of foreign workers to domestic workers. They will not flood Singapore with foreign workers.

Here I go against 1983, my own paper. Nevermind, times change.

[On IS shifting down being okay in Singapore regarding employment] The argument is that it's not that bad, because some foreign workers can be told to go home.

[On sticky prices] I have not observed the prices in the hawker centre go down very much, right, in response to the CPF cut.

[Me: Should I go for my friend's presentation?] You should do what you want. [Me: I don't know what I want.] You're such a girl.

They did a project on how left handed people are marginalised. [Me: Har?] It's social theory - everyone is marginalised.

[A foreigner interfering in our domestic politics:] I went to Parliament. There's no debate until the WP guy says something, then Lee Kuan Yew gets pissed... Parliament is like masturbation. Everyone keeps complimenting each other.

I talked to her for 2 hours. It's considered to be a fling... [Student 2: Then I must be a harlot or something... Did you at least talk dirty?]

[Me: Your hair is showing] Aiyah. [Me: The point of wearing that {the tudung} is to hide your hair, so I feel obliged to tell you when it's showing.] Yah, my sister says 'haram'. [Student 2: My best friend keeps going 'haram, haram'. I'm not Muslim... I wear a short skirt - 'haram']

[On the take-home exam] It's actually a lot of fun... for me... You'll be cursing me. The next day you'll be thanking me. Well, you won't be thanking me. It's a good experience to go through.

[On pay hikes] You see in the press a whole lot of ideological work at this time.

[On the guns not being used] You can be a Professor here and say the most horrifying things, and you'll never go to jail.

We went on to look at the Frankfurt School, and we gave up on Jurgen Habermas.

Post-modernism takes critique to its extreme... Post-modernists react in a variety of ways. One way is to celebrate - hooray. Critique is nonsense... Richard Rorty and contingency... One way - it works, we don't need philosophy... Another way is more nihilistic, solipsistic. Oh no. There is no truth. What are we to do.

I used to have hair like you when I was an undergraduate. That's why I'm like this now. I used to tie it behind really tight.

unique trijectory (trajectory)

[On child labour laws] They're withdrawn from the factory. Most of them become street sex workers.

In Nepal 5 workers can form a union. [Instructor: The Singaporean response to this {problem} is classic.]

The GINI coefficient in Singapore is one of the highest in the world... This is unique to Singapore because the government is so wary of having a minimum wage... The result: a competitive economy with low wages for the bottom. We have a structural problem.

The British have been trying to reform their property rights [laws] since the 12th century.

[Me: 'He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.']... You just insulted like 1/3 the population of USP.

[On the 'writing' module] It's about the prof's own ego lor. It's what he agrees with.

Do you know why finance lecturers are all gay? Because finance is a very anal topic.

[Students singing: There's something sweet, and almost kind. But he was mean and he was coarse and unrefined] Why are you on a Beauty and the Beast roll today? [To someone] Let's beat them up... then we'll be beasts. [Student: There's no logic behind certain actions.] Especially female actions.

I won't say 'screw the professor' because he's gay, and I don't want to do that.

[On feedback about leading the class] Mine has no strange or nasty comments, so I can't guess which one is Gabriel's.

Are you going anywhere overseas? Oh fuck, Stanford. Why did I ask? Now I hate myself for asking.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

"Defining and analyzing humor is a pastime of humorless people." - Robert Benchley

***

u r wt u wr:

- 'Looking for the best one?'
- 'I'll put you under my spell'
- 'Life is better blonde' (the girl was not blonde)
- 'Miss Mistletoe'
- 'Delicious SUGAR DADDY milk caramel pop'
- 'These are all my access pages' (I assume this is a geek joke)
- '*Picture of an apple* Temptation'
- 'Meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder.'
- 'Friends don't let friends talk to ugly guys'
- 'Kiss my boo boo *picture of boo boo from Yogi Bear*'
- 'Babe'
- 'This is your lucky day because I just happen to be single'
- 'I need a stiff one' (The contributor of this adds: 'I couldn't figure out if she wanted a drink or someone without erectile dysfunction, or whether she was a necrophiliac')
- 'Mind your own business and don't look at my T-shirt' (contributed)

Guys':
- 'Mr Pecker's rooster farm. ''We have the biggest cocks in town'''
- 'KNNBCCB' (I didn't know they made shirts like this)
- 'Nice assets *picture of 2 hands grabbing*'

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes." - Voltaire

***

My friend and I enjoyed our free BJs very much. We got there early, and so were one of the first to be serviced, while the girls were still fresh, enthusiastic and eager to please.

Someone suggested I keep queuing for more, but it's okay because the afterglow from the first still suffuses me.

Friend: Can I have the girl as well?

I also got to fist the BJ cow; luckily I didn't go all the way or I would've punched the guy inside (the back of whose head was showing - how unprofessional!)

[Addendum: Someone asked me, on Facebook, what BJ was:

"BJ is something that makes me very happy. It is all-natural and there is much licking and slurping involved. It is given out by cute girls (sometimes, cute guys - you know how things change) and when things get hot, the result is creamy. After having one, I cannot have another too soon or I'll feel sick.

BJ is enjoyed by both guys and girls, even though the girls complain about ingesting it because of perceived health/beauty effects."]
"The enemy is anybody who's going to get you killed, no matter which side he's on." - Joseph Heller

***

From a Facebook note:


During my 3-4 months in Montreal there is only one question that people have asked me more than the question “Are you Indian?” and that is “How do you compare McGill to NUS”. Well since the answer to the first one is pretty short, “No, I am Pakistani; Bitch!!”, I thought I’d save myself some time by posting the answer to the second question on Facebook. So here it goes.

STUDENT SOCIETIES

McGill is definitely far ahead when it comes to student societies and the freedom enjoyed by them. I’d guess that there are maybe five to six times more student groups/societies in McGill than there are in NUS and all of them are far more active than any of the societies in NUS.

Moreover, the student societies at McGill seem a lot more proactive than they do in NUS. In NUS you get the feeling that everyone at an event has still got studies on their mind, even if they are not sitting at a booth doing a Maths tutorial. Here its quiet the opposite, student societies not only conduct more events, but the events also seem more enjoyable. But I think the lack of enthusiasm in NUS can be blamed on the fk*** CCA points system, which NUS needs to get rid of soon.

The student union in McGill, SSMU, enjoys far more power and freedom than its NUS counterpart, NUSSU. So while NUSSU is busy licking the balls of the university administration SSMU actually serves a purpose in McGill. I still remember NUSSU’s decision to protest against the tuition fee hike by wearing black shirts. Here it was quiet a big rally that walked through the heart of the campus and proceeded slightly into downtown. Though the rally was not totally an SSMU venture, it just goes on to show the freedom and autonomy enjoyed by students in Canada as compared to those in Singapore.


STUDIES

curriculum
While the curriculum of an average module in NUS emphasizes more on the breadth of topics than on the depths of the topics, in McGill it is quiet the opposite. For the topics we covered in MA1505 (basic math), McGill engineering probably has 2-3 courses covering the same topics. So McGill is in the favour of covering a few topics in detail than a lot of them with minimum detail. Now am not sure if this means that NUS’ curriculum is harder or not but it is the next aspect of studies in NUS that makes u say ‘Gosh! My ass hurts’ a week into the semester.

competition
In terms of competition in classes McGill is light years behind NUS and a statistic that best reflects this bridge in competition is that 4-5 Pakistani engineering undergrads got 4.0/4.0 last semester alone, while hardly any of the Pakistani undergrads in NUS has ever achieved this in any faculty, let alone engineering. Moreover the marking in NUS is always (always!!) relative, but from what I get, its not in 3/4th of the modules in McGill. Assuming the papers are of the same difficulty in both universities, this can either mean that the undergrads in NUS produce such exceptional results that they need to be curved for them to hold any meaning, or that McGill is happy with giving each student what he/she deserves, which in effect reduces competition.


STAGNANT vs VIBRANT

During my time in McGill there has hardly been any new development except squabbling over the tuition fees, endless discussions over whether the McGill principal should continue her tenure and complaining about the lack of research funds in McGill. However since I have not spent much time in McGill I cannot say if there were any significant developments in the recent past, but the impression generally is that there is not much going on.

This is in stark contrast to what is currently going on at NUS. During my 3 years at the university the university has built a new administration building, a new music faculty building and a new campus for the law faculty. Developments in the not too distant past include the construction of PGPR (Prince Georges Park Residences) and the commission of the internal shuttle buses. Developments in the near future include the construction of an impressive new residence.

NUS is also much more active in providing students with the tidbits that spice up a degree. These include the NUS Overseas Colleges, Student Exchange Program, Technopreneurship Incubation Program etc. Though these programs exist in McGill they don’t seem to be as active as they are in NUS. For example it is rumored that NUS intends for half its undergraduate population to have gone on exchange by the end of 2009-2010 and judging from the fact that I alone personally know 10 ppl who are currently on exchange, I’d buy the rumor.

NUS' vibrancy is also reflected in the large amount of bursaries, scholarships and loan opportunities available for its students. The resources available for research and development, in NUS, are also famous by now and according to some have been the primary factor in NUS' high ranking. The Notebook Ownership scheme for the students in each university also goes on to show the resources available at NUS' disposal. While Mcgill only offers 1 notebook (atleast to my knowledge), the Toshiba Tecra, under the notebook ownership program, NUS offers various models from five different vendors at subsidized prices and with the opportunity to take a loan when buying them.

The Career centre at McGill is its only saving grace. Though I have not interacted with them much they seem to be doing some decent stuff. But again, NUS’ career centre has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in the past sem.


IT INFRASTRUCTURE

Well, like anything else that is high tech and requires a bit of money NUS is far ahead in IT infrastructure when compared to McGill. The IT infrastructure in McGill, to be quiet frank, is pathetic.

There is no centralized printing system, apparently each lab has its own balance and you need to buy balance at that lab to be able to print from it. In NUS the printing system is centralized, with the same cash card being used in every lab. The paper quality for the printing is pathetic and it is fk*** expensive.

McGill does not have any webcasting facilities, whereby lecturers are recorded and then uploaded on the course website, which NUS has in most of its lecture theatres. But I am willing not to be too critical of this because few universities around the world have this facility, but for the love of god at least try to upload the sound files properly. McGill does have a rudimentary voice recording system in some of its Lecture Theatres but you never know when you click on a particular sound file if it is gonna work or not.

The software that allows students to register for modules is known as Minerva in McGill and CORS in NUS and guess what Minerva gets the razzie for the site with the worst interface by the McGill professor who teaches the module Human Computer Interaction (HCI). So I don’t need to waste my time comparing them.

The software that displays and keeps track of course contents for students and lecturers is known as WebCT in McGill and IVLE in NUS and while they are essentially the same the only difference is that WebCT stops working before exams because McGill doesn’t have the money to buy storage space. Pathetic! I wasted 2 hours a day before the exam only to be greeted by a screen that told me that the system is overloaded, and that I should try gain later; maybe after the exam.

Moreover the storage space allowed for an email id on the McGill domain is 10 Mb while it is 1Gb in NUS now.

There is, however, one aspect of the McGill IT infrastructure that is far more superior to that of NUS and that is its wireless internet. The internet is truly wireless in McGill as opposed to being pseudo wireless in NUS. While the wireless Internet in NUS performs variably at different locations, the wireless internet in McGill is avaiable throughout the campus even extending slightly beyond its boundaries to places such as coffee shops, where I spent many lazy evenings surfing the net and sipping a cup of coffee.


CAMPUS

The difference between the two universities is nowhere more visible than in their campuses. The NUS campus is what would best be described as a suburban campus whereas the McGill campus is smack in the middle of the city, a minute’s walk from downtown. This difference in campus’ manifests itself in totally contrasting university experiences for the student population.

Due to it being further away from the city centre, the NUS campus is much bigger that that of McGill, with almost five different Internal Shuttle Buses operating within the university. In McGill you are almost always on foot, unless you own a bike. The location of the two campuses also means that in Mcgill, you can buy almost everything from food to sex within a five minute’s walk from the campus. In NUS, however, everything needs to be planned before going on a leisure or shopping trip outside the university which is quiet effed up.

In McGill, there are no college residences on campus: the university has bought a few buildings around the campus and converted them to residences, but they are not sufficient. This has lead to the small area of condominiums and flats encapsulating the university being known as the McGill Ghetto, because of the large number of students living in it. This in turn has a huge impact on the lifestyle of the McGill undergraduates. Since every student lives in an apartment and since most of them live nearby, house parties, dinner parties and all sorts of other parties are very common in the ghetto. With a sufficiently large social network you are guaranteed to have 2-3 parties in your calendar every week.

As compared to McGill, NUS has a large number of university residences with more than 9 different residence units scattered around its campus and since most of them have single rooms it means no house parties, no dinner parties, nothing!

Architecturally the NUS campus does not come anywhere close to the McGill campus. While every building in NUS looks box-like, bland and monotonous, buildings in McGill look more individual, posses more character and exude a more dominating aura. Of course I am talking about the general architecture here which excludes the architectural gems in NUS such as the new Music Conservatory etc.


SPORTS

As far as sports go, NUS cannot even be mentioned in the same league as McGill because it is not only the facilities that are superior in McGill but also the enthusiasm for sports, which is a spillover from the diverse culture existent in Montreal in and McGill.

As far as sports facilities go Mcgill has two big fields despite its small size. They are more of football fields which can be used for other purposes. While NUS can match Mcgill in terms of the outdoor facilities as it too has two big playing fields, has alot of tennis courts and alot of basketball and futsal courts, it is the McGill Sports Complex (or Gym) with all its indoor facilities that beats NUS to it.

With squash courts, basketball courts, an ice hockey rink, tennis courts (i think), a swimming pool, two gymnasiums and a whole lot of other facilities under one roof, the McGill Sports Complex is very impressive indeed. The Complex, however, is more of a necessity than a luxury for McGill considering that it is covered under snow half the year and since such complexes are a norm in Northern America.

Intramural Games (games where anyone can form a team and register for a tournament) are quiet common in McGill while they are non-existent in NUS. At the same time Inter Varsity sports, in McGill, are followed more closely by the student population, the rivalries run much deeper and the victories are much more sweeter. All this means that being on the Varsity Team is a much bigger source of pride for a student in McGill than it is for a student in NUS, and this fuels the passion for sports in McGill.


CULTURE

The culture existent in the student population of the two universities is also as different as the aspects discussed earlier. While every decision taken by an NUS student is aimed at achieving the singular purpose of increasing the efficiency with which he absorbs the sacred knowledge being taught in University lecture theaters, decisions made by McGill students include such aspects as quality of life etc. So while a Singaporean moves out of his home to live in college residences to save the daily commute, a Montrealer moves out because his parents cannot put up with all the partying, and he might well end up renting a place close to the clubs to save his own daily commute.

P.S. The note is based on my own personal experiences. Since i have spent very little time in Mcgill than in NUS, i can accept that there might be some discrepancies up there. But the general picture is not far from what i have written
"The best defense against the atom bomb is not to be there when it goes off." - Anonymous

***

"From my cold, dead hands"

At least 32 dead in Virginia shooting rampage

"At least 32 people were killed and more than two dozen wounded at Virginia Tech university on Monday in the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history, media said.

Fox News, CNN and the student-run university newspaper gave the death toll as 32. Officials earlier said at least 22 people were killed.

The rampage by what police believed was a lone gunman took place in two separate areas, first at a dormitory as students had begun criss-crossing the sprawling campus for morning classes, and then about two hours later at an engineering and science hall a half-mile away.

The attacks sparked panic and chaos."


Those hands are going to be a lot colder and deader than he realises.
"Exit, pursued by a bear." - William Shakespeare, Stage direction in "The Winter's Tale"

***

Someone: i have this theory that people will keep falling in love with the same types of people
which is why some girls keep geting dumped
cos of the type of guys they fall for

like ***
she had 4 bfs, 3 cheated on her

and she was like WTHH you've been with your bf for ALMOST 2 YEARS?!!!?!
she was so shocked that i was shocked


Someone else: anyway i finally got down to reading marcuse and adorno

marcuse is an idealist
adorno is dam irritating
i think marcuse's slightly more tolerable

they both sounded better in lesson when i hadn't read them


Someone on my keeping feminists honest: let them feminist have their day in peace la, after all, they talk but who listens?

Me: hahahahhaa
other women

Someone: yeah, exactly, and we all know what's that worth.


Frigid Girl: i'm struggling with trying to find french for "i'm fucked"
which is un-findable somehow


Law friend: ok post is done.
pls check if i have written anything libelous

Me: dear, you're the lawyer

Law friend: i need perspective
hahaah

...

masters students are shtupid
shtupid shtupid

they're the reason why we're having an MCQ exam for IP law (d )


Someone: have you read boudrillard?

he's got these ideas about how evolution sexed humans and if we went back to being asexual we'd become immortal


Someone else: ... he would be VERY SCARY if he were female. just like, can you imagine yourself, only female?

which girl analyses things to the Nth degree like you do, and things like econs and philo at that?

Me: yah
girls may be intelligent but they're not intellectual

Someone else: exactly.

Me: sad
oh well

Someone else: ya. i'd love to listen to long diatribes on Neo-Keynesian economic models, but *zzzz* too much for my girl brain


Someone: aiya.. she cdnt confirm whether she got bf or not..
blah

Me: heh
your original target how

Someone: eh, not as if i'm changing target..
^^

Me: then?
getting multiple targets?

Someone: multiple targets?
u think multiple orgasms arh?
bah

...

of course i do [read a lot into simple conversations]..
that's what we do..

when u gossips with girls enough
u learn
u learn their methods
their modus operandi
u begins to know how resourceful they are

all those unconsciously of course


Someone else: i have an interesting observation

when it comes close to deadline less and less people in my "project group" group come online haha

Me: haha
all busy working on the project!

you forgot the quotation marks in "come online"

Someone else: then sometimes some of them will put me on invis or something and forget
and then message me
and then i can send messages to offline people

i wonder why ah
feeling guilty ah? w

is there still a limit on how many people you can have on your friends list in msn?
maybe i should make an account for nus project use only


Someone: eh anyway i am off facebook man
nothing else to search for

mayeb when i think of something i shall go back
or mayeb i should set my own group

'i hate girls who show off their ac boyfriends by wearing ac sweaters'
i'm sure got a lot of them


Me: would you get a boob job and plastic surgery for *** (or some guy you like?)

Someone else: if i have a steady relationship with the guy
and he likes huge boobs and be willing to pay for the operation, why not


Someone: its an ego stroking thing... its just the whole ah beng phenomenon. boys just like sweet innocent girls.

anyway its probably evolutionarily advantageous. since innocent lolita types;

have less likely chance to have STDs
are more fertile since women become less fertile with age
are more likely to stay on with you since cohabitation in animals is said to be advantageous for the future guarantee of a mate
are "clean slates" which you can indoctrinate with your own sexual preferences.

its true.

Me: indoctrinate with sexual preference is evolutionarily advantageous meh

Someone: makes you a happier man, thus healthier sperm, thus higher paternity?
more ejaculation = more sperm for fertilisation?

bonding over your favourite positions may increase chances of fertilisation. since its known that in artificial insemination, having an orgasm for the girl increases the chance of fertilisation.

anyway, if you indoctrinate with you own preferences, then there might be less conflict


Someone else: i only want to see boobs

all the blogs i visit has boobs

i visit your blog
and u got boobs

so the R^2 very high


Someone: ur just trying to bait the girls aren't you. lol

why.. gabriel. you're just inviting trouble and unnecessary labels like Mysoginist
lol

sometimes I think you enjoy it.

Me: it's misogynist, woman!

A Christian girl in Asia who will wave in glee to Jews when they burn in hell

"There's always somebody who is paid too much, and taxed too little - and it's always somebody else." - Cullen Hightower

***

"just dropping by" draws attention to the following 2 emails:

From: Carmen [carmen@therefinersfire:

-----Original Message-----

From: Cheryl Lim <cheryllimys@gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 10:43 AM

I think you should have been killed in the holocaust. Really. But I believe God wanted you alive so that you would spread your vicious and laughable lies to more of your deluded brethren, both jews and gentile converts who deserve to be in hell with you.

How terribly amusing, some of the funny things you have posted in this farcical website of yours.

I'm so grateful to Mel Gibson that he made that movie to honour the gift that Christ gave to the rest of us. Although he didn't mean for it to provoke anti-semitic responses against YOUR people, it did and I am truly happy and not a single bit regretful because you truly deserve it. Hahaha!!!!

In fact you deserve infinitely worse.

But I'm not worried that you won't receive your rightful punishment, which will happen, I promise you with my life.

All you jews who reject Jesus will be burning in hell and I will be waving in glee to all of you with a smile on my face from above, standing at the right hand of my King. I will certainly send my regards again then.

Meanwhile, please do persist in your ignorant crusade to affirm your religion of lies to your brethren so that all their/your fate in hell will be sealed and set in stone.

Many thanks and keep on doing what you have been doing! You have my moral support.

With Much Love and Pity,
A Christian girl in Asia

Yours Sincerely

Cheryl Lim
9298-0747


From: Cheryl Lim <cheryllimys@gmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, January 14, 2007 11:24 AM
To: Hugh Fogelman

You deserve it. There is no need for me to pray for your salvation. There is no need for me to mince my words since you have no hope.

Most of all, there is no need for me to light a bonfire because it HAS been done!

You're definitely going to hell if you never see the light.

May Jesus have mercy on your souls (you and your pathetic, stupid, disgusting, deluded friend John Stone and all you other deluded Orthodox Jews whose ancestors murdered my God and until today continue to spread lies and persist in your delusions) when you burn in sulphur.

Cheryl Lim
9298-0747

Monday, April 16, 2007

"The older I grow, the less important the comma becomes. Let the reader catch his own breath." - Elizabeth Clarkson Zwart

***

"Once, twice, thrice, I Julia tried.
The scornful puss as oft denied:
And since I can no better thrive,
I'll cringe to ne'er a bitch alive;
So kiss my arse delightful sow,
Good claret is my mistress now."

- Henry Purcell, Chansons de Tavernes et de Chapelles
"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." - Ernest Hemingway

***

MY PAIN IS OVER
"When I came back to Dublin I was courtmartialed in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence." - Brendan Behan

***

This person didn't leave a forwarding address:

"wow.. nice calculations on the minister pay rise.. can quote on my blog? ur from usp rite? wondering if u heard this latest scandal... a girl from your fac studying life science wif nude pics taken by her bf... i heard about it from a friend maybe you know something about it?"

Yes, you can quote it (though I didn't write it). No, I don't know anything about it (Does anyone? One person said he'd heard about something like that, but he declined to elaborate).

[Part 2, still sans forwarding address:

"yea my friend heard the guy talking about the fotos. the girl's graduating i
think maybe it was a gift hahah. maybe one of ur readers seen the fotos"]

[Addendum:

Someone: watscandal
i'm studying life science and i'm from your fac!!!!!!!!

quick tell me!
does the girl look remotely like me?

Me: I don't know leh
no idea

why, your bf took pics of you ah

Someone: wah rao
sounds scary

not that i know of
but life science usp girl


Someone else: your such a gossipmonger its not even funny.
but when you find out abt the scandal, tell me k
im trying to recall who i know frm usp lifesciences.]

Sunday, April 15, 2007

"Only the mediocre are always at their best." - Jean Giraudoux

***

An SMS I just got:

"Can Help? Petshop at joo chiat closing tomorrow. 2 huskies, 1 black labrador, 1shitzu, 1huskie terrier cross breed 2give away. Otherwise they're going 2bputdown. 4details pls Call mariam XXXXXXXX."

I wonder if it's the same pet shop I saw in Joo Chiat earlier today.

[Addendum: Someone: the number to the pet shop cannot be reached

i got the sms abt 1 plus
some of my friends tried calling

Hai~ren gives this link: Updates on petshop closing down

Addendum 2: "Hi, just to let you know, the matter has already been resolved and this was not a hoax or a scam. For more info, you can visit the URL i've indicated. I would appreciate if you edited your post to blank out Mariam's handphone number to prevent further confusion and misunderstandings. Thanks a lot."]
"The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward." - John Maynard Keynes

***

Quotes:

[On the government wanting to be liked] That's why Catherine Lim, 1994... People no longer love the government... It hit them very hard.

The Singapore Story is the Lee Kuan Yew story. What happened to the coolies, rickshaw drivers, prostitutes... It's about the PAP on the playing field, scoring goals for Singapore.

Sometimes people say 'it's all about the fans', but they don't mean it. Our government doesn't even say it.

[On sports bounties] It also shows the government's pragmatism, because they know they'll never have to pay the money.

The GIC has $100 billion, which it invests overseas. Suzhou being a stunning example of success... CPF?... The money it makes doesn't go back to your CPF.

'Eternal life' is one of those ideas. Like 'nation'... 'Nation-building' is never complete... Moses brings people to the Promised Land, but you never reach it... It's an unreachable goal.

[Student on metaphors: The believer follows the religious leader. I don't want to say 'blindly', because I'm a Christian]... This assumes the deity is real. It could be a Wizard of Oz. A little man operating a machine.

[On faith] Hell is Thailand. That's what the PAP does. Or Malaysia... PAP doesn't say if you democratise you become like Scandinavia, high quality of life. They say you democratise, you become like Bangkok - riots. Malaysia - Dr M.

[On founding fathers] It's the Solonic thing. You have to quickly disappear, otherwise you will become more and more human. [Student: You crucify him] Or his son.

[Instructor: *** is god. He chooses his ministers.] And he sends his only begotten son. [Instructor: Well.]

It's very hard to be an atheist... We all want to believe... Even though our rational beliefs militate against it.

[On me] He got quite a lot of luck, but bad luck.

This is approximately my salary. If you are in [a] good university, you get 20,000 a month. Maybe I exaggerate a bit.

[On the Allais Paradox] For Chinese people they prefer gambles, so there is no contradiction... In China, this theory works well. In France, it's not that good.

You cannot enter this market. He is predator. If you enter he will kill you.

[On the chicken game] Here, this is no issue that they will deviate in the same direction [and still crash].

pah'tense (patents) (Ed: 'Pah' is pronounced the French way)

[On market entry] And then you have hotels. Easy to enter and hard to exit. Which I don't know why. (Why this is so)

I need to jian3 fei2. [Translation: Lose weight]... [Me: Then your breasts {will} shrink, how?] Get breast implants lor.

This pre'day'tery pricing (predatory)

This person is assumed to live forever. Quite a common assumption in Economics.

[On optimal control] Let's employ all of the conditions and solve the model. It's gonna be fun.

The Solow Model, which should be second nature to any economist. You know it like the back of your hand... No need to memorise it. You know it subconsciously.

The social planner is assumed to be a benevolent dictator. Like the PAP government. Supposedly.

[On TS Eliot] I like the sex scenes.

[On what nationality/race she'd want to be] Spanish, because the women are hot and the men are even hotter.

[On PRCs] In hall, they leave their used sanitary pads around. [Student 2: There's 1 guy who cuts his hair over the sink and leaves it there.]

'Kiasu' just entered into the Oxford English Dictionary. [Student 2: Oxford or Coxford?] Oxford.

d'rar'cornic identity (draconic)

The image NUS promotes... 2 ang mohs, 1 african... 2 indians, 1 chinese. You come here: they're all chinese. [Student 2: You mean PRC]

After taking some Chinese odules, I don't like China anymore.

I had a quarter boyfriend. [Me: Why, because you only went to First Base?] You're only the second person to comment that.

They provide time series analysis, they provide cross-sectional analysis. Basically lots of complicated stuff I don't understand.

Think about your boyfriend. or husband. Marriage is a credible commitment problem.

Isn't obvious I like him?... You see me crying when I'm with him. [Me: If you're crying why do you like him?] Because I have ***?... [Student 2: It's okay. You can go for muti-citizenship theory.] [Student and Me: They're both American!]

I don't use tampons... You know the thing about tampons. [Me: They makes you looser?] Yeah. [Me: If I stick my finger in your vagina everyday, it's not going to make you looser]. Eugh! Stop it! It's a foreign object. [Student 2: So is. *tsk*]... [Student 3: A dick is a foreign object also] [Student 2: A dick is a foreign as things go, honey, especially in your case.]

He's cute. This is the kind of guy who qualifies for a fling. *** is the kind of guy who qualifies for marriage. *** is the kind of guy who's a fallback plan.

Do you think anyone knows I'm two-timing? [Me: I think everyone knows, except ***]

[Student: I'm getting bored already.] It's so addictive... That means you have no life in Facebook either.

Some departments are full of Marxists... These are like Geography and Ethnic Studies which no one cares about.

When I came here I was blindsided. There's no right to free speech... [Instructor: It's in the Constitution, but that's where it remains.]

[On religious knowledge] 1984. In the 80s, people were saying really crazy things... Weber... Protestant ethic... Some kind of structure of explanation was offered in the 80s. Asian Tigers... Confucian ethics was the big thing... Make people more respectful, obedient... They wanted everyone to do Confucian Ethics, so they made all the exams multiple choice. The others were all essays, short answers.

[On 'Shared Values', 1991] Empty signifiers... Apple pie, motherhood... Their purpose is served by being there: 10 Commandments... Something people can look to and worship.

I don't know what this is like. What is Civic and Moral Education like? [Student: Irritating]

[On her life in the KC branch of the franchise] Abortion videos were shown... before recess. Then during recess the canteen was really empty. [Instructor: You guys must really have had a problem with this.]... They would get a priest to come in and go: 'Teletubbies are evil. Kiss is evil. Ozzie Osbourne eats bats.'

[On Civics and Moral Education] Nothing to do with rights. Nothing to do with 'what to do when you're being seriously hounded by the ISD'

[On propaganda and social engineering] We have this entire culture of cynicism in Singapore... Ironically, or maybe not ironically, it's because of the government... No one trusts the government... Isn't it scary? Everyone votes for a government which nobody trusts.

[On 'Being and Becoming', 1984] A lot of teachers said they couldn't deal with it, because it was too profound... I don't think it went on for more than 1 or 2 years.

[On Malaysia] I don't know how applicable this is. We had 80 values [to learn in school]

[Student on Malaysian civics: If you see a foreigner saying bad things about your country, what will you do?] Tell Mahathir.

[On Singapore 21] You spend your precious time... Your evenings... Then: 'The Singapore Heartbeat'

Some of these have become ideological markers of resistance. 'Every Singaporean Matters' has been used as a rallying call by the gay movement.

[On USP] All my arts modules are government banging.

[On theory in term papers] It was like garnishing. You cut the carrots and put them on top to look nice. [Student: What do you want us to do?] Cook the carrots with the dish.

[On theory in term papers] In Political Science it's very easy to write essays which are like coffeeshop talk. Which is great, I like to read them. But what is the purpose of the module?

[On Jiannie] You guys are not normal. You have long hair and you have a perky butt. People think you're gay.

In our life, we often free-ride... For example we have [a] coffee machine in our department, and it's free. So I started to drink coffee 5, 6 times a day.

splitted (written) (split)

scar'la product (scalar)

I used to be crazy about RI. I had the RI badge, PE shirt... [Me: If guys do that, they're perverted. If girls do that, it's just - strange]

[On wearing a shirt with a teddy bear on it] It's a proven tactic. My classmate asked me for my MSN so she could find out where to find it.

VTO agreement (WTO)
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