When you can't live without bananas

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Monday, December 31, 2001

I rarely lose posts because I copy the text to the clipboard every now and then to make sure it's backed up.

How come Mr Ong appears everywhere? I met him and some ex-4Kers when I went to Jade after A Levels, and he still claims that "Mazit" exists. And Shawn bumps into him quite often too, causing him some consternation. But I like Mr Ong. Mr Ong is nice. And we now know Mr Ong's age! Let's see. 18 years when he finished JC. 2 years NS, 4 years (or maybe slightly more) for University. So Mr Ong is about 40. Hrm, so the white hair isn't really a good indicator of his age.

Sorcerer vs Philosopher - they had to dumb it down for American audiences :)

I missed the first 2-3 minutes of LoTR because I went to catch the 2 pm show - right after I booked out. I think I'll get the VCD (hey, I *am* entitled to that, since my ticket was paid for [though not by me])

31st December is rather late to send Christmas greetings, hmm?

The legal age in Britain is, what, 18? So it'd have been just legal.

And aren't Lomo cameras the lousy ones that have become a cult thing?

Some stuff which I'd meant to post yesterday:

As of tomorrow, I'll no longer be able to use my red Child/Student Transitlink farecard, and will have to memorise the fare structure for public buses. Goodbye studenthood.

I was at Borders reading the Silmarillion (my e-text was not complete) - No, not the rubbish at the front which rambles and confuses many people, and which many people feel that you shouldn't read if you want to retain a good impression of Tolkien, but instead, the part entitled "Of The Rings Of Power And The Third Age" - and this Borders staff member, a 17ish girl, came up to me to ask me what the names of each book in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy were, because a customer had asked her for them, but she didn't know what the titles were.

While at the aforementioned place, I also saw a CD with 19 - no, not a typo. *Nineteen* - versions of Silent Night. I think I'd die if I listened to even half of them.
Uh. Just figured out these would be confusing to read in the order they appear, so a note: if you read them from my first post to the last they'll flow more.

THought i saw another malaysian guy (now studying biz at city university) at borders. Was thinking of going up and saying hi, but he walked out of borders too quickly.

It's disgusting- every other asian restaurant serves an "authentic" dish called "singapore noodles". it's something of a cross between hokkien noodles and char kway teow. Brother and i went to a m'sian/indonesian/s'porean place that Didn't serve it- it's called Melati. We ordered the noodle dishes- Pretty good and not too expensive. We were taking a shortcut home through Soho and came across it. Trouble is, the whole area is a red-light district- When i walked out of the restaurant, a lady at a counter in a shop opposite looked directly at me and signalled for me to enter. Spooky. Some girls were very obviously prowling the streets, but they were wearing much more than I thought people of their profession usually did (probably because it was a cold night).

Spent afternoons at markets- notting hill, petticoat lane, camden market. Walked till my feet were aching.Found a lomo camera stall, and i asked the stallowner about the original st. petersburg Lomo compact automatic. They weren't in stock at the moment, but he showed me his anyway. He was very proud of it- even showed me photos he had taken with it. It's a superb and funkty one-of-its-kind camera with a patented high-speed lens and other features. Very interested in procuring one in the future.

Been bumping into people- chee tung at niketown on oxford street, ng weijie whlie watching rent. Chee tung looks pretty much the same, i couldn't recognise weijie initially because he grew his hair out. By the way, rent is now my favourite musical. IT hails itself a modern remake of La Boheme, an italian opera, and tells the life of bohemian youngsters in new york (it was a broadway musical that crossed the atlantic). Really touching, the theme song "seasons of love" was amazing (i can practically memorize the lyrics, listening to it on a cd my brother graciously burnt for me using his CD-R drive and the resources of morpheus). At lesat 4 of the characters have aids, and there are queens, fairies, clubbers, hookers, bohemian-turned-businessman, and a life support gorup. Though of course, the addictive song/dances hardly do justice to the real life of bohemians.

Met up with mr. ong- he had come to sightsee and meet some old friends. Went to watch starlight express (he described it as "cats on tracks", it's a musical about trains wth different personalities, all the dancers on skates throughout the musical) with the most corny bits- ash-ley the smoking train, AC/DC the electric train, and 3 boxers- box-carts. Quite entertaining. Mr ong saw it 15 yrs ago when he flew to london on a student package after he finished his degree. Also went to natural history museum with him.

Watched other things like kiss me kate, art, my fair lady, noises off. Also caught movies with my brother- harry potter again, LoTR fellowship of the rings. Harry potter refers to it as the "philosopher's stone" as it rightly should be in the UK- daniel radcliffe must have done double of all those scenes to record separate versions, one with "philosopher's stone" and one with "sorcerer's stone"- it wasn't dubbed. LoTR very big here in london, most people seem to love it. long queues to watch it, and we couldn't get tickets until the 3rd nite after it premiered (and we had to buy 1 day in advance). Frodo's eyes are gorgeous- gigantic and blue and luminous. In the scene where bilbo's eyes practically pop out as he demands the ring back from frodo, one man at the end of the row literally jumped out of his seat and shrieked!

My brother got tired of listening to me trying to create more space in the cramped room we're sharing by reciting "wyngardium levi-Oh-sa".

I brought stationery and address books to do christmas cards form here, but never got around to doing so, so like gabriel, i sent out ephemeral thoughts of happiness and joy and blessings for christmas. (=

Found a kindred spirit in my time in oxford- a guy, Jia zhang, from ipoh studying his a-levels in UK. He's applying to read physics, and has offers from other unis in UK already. Thinking of transferring to the US after his 1st year. He loves organic chemistry- "ah, pattern recognition!" - mainly because he finds the rest of chemistry cannot be rationalised (?) or conclusively proven, as classical physics (not that organic chemistry can be, it's just easier because it's more visual). Things like the wave-particle duality of electrons that forms the theory behind atomic structure, and consequently all atomic interactions. Aim in life is to make lotsa lotsa money, but that sounded too shallow to him. I thought there wasn't anything wrong with that,- agreed that type of thinking was okay in south-east asia at lesat.

He suggested I make a trip ("pilgrimage") to Forbidden Planet a specialty store with sci-fi/fantasy paraphernalia. Hordes of comics and anime stuff, the LoTR/Harry potter things, videos. Billions of people inside, many speaking with a strong singaporean accent. Also i saw this guy in wizard garb browsing- silver earring on left ear, pointy black hat, black cape with patterns of dragons and other creatiures in gold thread, leather pants, and those cloth "elven" shoes that end in a point upward at the toes. My brother thinks he may be a store mascot.

Spent 26-27th at post-christmas sales (prices crash rock-bottom and people flock the street iwth bulging NEXT, Bhs, H & M etc bags)- 30-70% off everywhere. Then got tired of walking (and running out of money) and spent the last few days doing free touristy things- victoria and albert museum, st. paul's cathedral service, tate modern art gallery. Also got my brother to follow me to take photos at King's cross station, platform 9 3/4. I'll upload the photos as soon as they're developed- watch my homepage.
Hi, it's nite in london and I'm packing up to return to singapore. Flight leaves tomorrow morning to arrive on jan 1st morning, which means It'll be new year while I'm flying.

The main reasons why i haven't been posting are
a) messy configuration of the room. 2 people are now sharing a 1-person space, and due to lack of a computer table, I have to sit on the floor with the keyboard on my lap whlie the monitor sits 1 metre above me on a chest of drawers, to type.
b) My last 2 posts got lost when i disconnected too soon or pressed the wrong button (again, attributable to the above configuratoin)/

Let's hope this one comes through. I'll post in little batches so things aren't as likely to disappear.

Have received replies from all the unis I anticipate going to.

Been bumping into many pple from singapore. at king's college london, Danny wong had just finished his med interview as I was going for mine. Apparently the interviewers from king's always ask "how/what can you contribute to the university?" My father's ex-uni classmate (who lives in klang, a small town off KL in malaysia) said his son, in response, described his expertise in making and flyign traditional kites, and that he would start a club of some sort to teach it.

Sunday, December 30, 2001

Haha. Extracted from Buffalo Chips:



There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second.

This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house.

Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks.

This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second--3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element.

Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them... Santa would need 360,000 of them.

This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch). 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance. This would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake.

The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.


By now, most people will have found the presents left by Santa. How you ask, since it was proved in that Santa does not exist in the Christmas eve edition of the Chips? I submit to you the following rebuttal:

Several key points are overlooked by this callous, amateurish "study."

1) Flying reindeer: As is widely known (due to the excellent historical documentary "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," the flying reindeer are not a previously unknown species of reindeer, but were in fact given the power of flight due to eating magic acorns. As is conclusively proven in "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (a no punches pulled look at life in Santa's village), this ability has bred true in subsequent generations of reindeer - obviously the magic acorns imprinted their power on a dominant gene sequence within the reindeer DNA strand.

2) Number of households: This figure overlooks two key facts. First of all, the first major schism in the Church split the Eastern Churches, centered in Byzantium, from the Western, which remained centered in Rome. This occurred prior to the Gregorian correction to the Julian calendar. The Eastern churches (currently called Orthodox Churches) do not recognize the Gregorian correction for liturgical events, and their Christmas is as a result several days after the Western Churches'. Santa gets two shots at delivering toys.

Secondly, the figure of 3.5 children per household is based on the gross demographic average, which includes households with no children at all. The number of children per household, when figured as an average for households with children, would therefore have to be adjusted upward. Also, the largest single Christian denomination is Roman Catholic, who, as we all know, breed like rabbits. If you don't believe me, ask my four brothers and two sisters - they'll back me up. Due to the predominance of Catholics within Christian households, the total number of households containing Christian children would have to be adjusted downward to reflect the overloading of Catholics beyond a standard deviation from the median.

Also, the assertion that each home would contain at least one good child would be reasonable enough if there were in fact an even 3.5 children per household. However, since the number of children per household is distributed integrally, there are a significant number (on the order of several million) of one child Christian households. Even though only children are notoriously spoiled and therefore disproportionately inclined towards being naughty, since it's the holidays we'll be generous and give them a fifty-fifty chance of being nice. This removes one half of the single child households from Santa's delivery schedule, which has already been reduced by the removal of the Orthodox households from the first delivery run.

3) Santa's delivery run (speed, payload, etc.) These all suffer from the dubious supposition that there is only one Santa Claus. The name "Santa" is obviously either Spanish or Italian, two ethnic groups which are both overwhelmingly Catholic. The last name Claus suggests a joint German/Italian background. His beginnings, battling the Burgermeister Meisterburger, suggest he grew up in Bavaria (also predominantly Catholic). The Kaiser style helmets of the Burgermeister's guards, coupled with the relative isolation of the village, suggest that his youth was at the very beginning of Prussian influence in Germany. Thus, Santa and Mrs. Claus have been together for well over one hundred years. If you think that after a hundred years of living at the North Pole with nights six months long that they remain childless, you either don't know Catholics or are unaware of the failure rate of the rhythm method. There have therefore been over five generations of Clauses, breeding like Catholics for over one hundred years. Since they are Catholic, their exponential population increase would obviously have a gain higher than the world population as a whole. There have therefore been more than enough new Santas to overcome the population increase of the world. So in fact, Santa has an easier time of it now than he did when he first started out.

Santa dead, indeed - some people will twist any statistic to "prove" their cynical theory.

Apparently some people start smoking in NS. Eeee.

My cousin, Yingxing, tells me he was from Gryphon Company too.
Restored Post

More scribblings:

Some people have programmed a army marching song as their handphone ring tones, specifically the one which starts:

"Training to be soldiers,
Fight for our land" etc

On a related note, there's an army song about how army life sucks. Amazing.

2 of Tim's Catholic High friends are in my section. One his former classmate and another he knew from TAF club. And my buddy was good friends with Jason Chen (also a former classmate of Tim's) in TJC. What a small world.

Speaking of Jason, he too has changed to nerdy glasses. He says he doesn't want to spoil his expensive pair.

Real world applications of Physics:
Projectile motion - the trajectory of a rifle bullet and how far away from where you aimed it it will hit

Not only do we have to pay $1 for our haircut, we have to pay $9 for the photos they took of us as a platoon. There goes the NS allowance.

I bought a new watch just before I went in the last time, and 1 day later it was already scratched. Gah.

The lunch on 28/12 was surprising. Not only did we get 3 sticks of satay, keropok, sambal prawns and a large slice of raspberry ham, we also got a fruit tart for dessert. Later it was revealed that this was because this was the same food served at the staff function that night!

More examples of the inane levels of conformity required:
- Hangars in the cupboard must point the same way, as must the shirts' facing
- You have to lay out the SAF-given toothbrush toothpaste and razor even if you don't use them. 100% for show for me since I don't shave.
- The open side of everyone's pillow cases must face the same direction

I recall in one of speeches given, the Training Officer asked us to ask the rationale for the doing of things so we could do them better, but I suspect questioning may not be entertained by some.

One of my sergeants asked me to bring the RJ yearbook on my next book-in. Hmm.

My pushups really suck and combined with my low threshold of pain... I think I should train while I'm back, but I'll probably forget or won't be bothered. I have cramps in places I didn't even know I had muscles. Ouch.

I've been having an unsustainable rate of weight loss - 5.5kg in the slightly over 2 weeks since I was enslaved. If this goes on I might not be able to meet the 1-2kg weight loss criteria to book out in future weeks. Jiaxiang thinks that this loss has been mostly water.

Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Went to Great World City to get a new watch.

Categories of irritatingness of piped Christmas Carols (in order of most to least irritating):

Synthesized music, jazz style
Synthesized music
Modern interpretations, very funky
Atrocious choirs
Modern interpretations
Bad choirs
Children's choirs
Bing Cosby

One shop was playing a spoof of a Christmas song. Hurrah.

The Palm IIIc, the one I saw at Best Denki, is now $339 - $200 cheaper than when I bought it in January.
Mr Brown also commented on the Chief Justice's remarks:

"That a couple who abused their maid were scolded by the Chief Justice for being uncivilised and cruel.

'People don't use the cane now, except for cows and horses,' said Chief Justice Yong Pung How when he
dismissed their appeals.

That's right, we do not use the cane now, except for the deserving cows and horses sitting in our prisons."

Monday, December 24, 2001

I went to see Lord of the Rings today, and not a single handphone or pager sounded! I think this hasn't happenned for a loooong time. And there was quite a bit of consternation when the movie ended - I think they didn't know it was a trilogy.

Restored Post

More thoughts after a week:

There seems to be a quota of 1 malay and 1 indian per section.

My teacher-advisor for the Innovation Programme in Secondary 2, Ng Boon Kiat, advised me not to break a leg or arm to get downgraded as it would cause me problems later in life. It's not really worth it, but I understand how and why people would want to injure themselves. Though even in PES E you have to learn to use a rifle (and presumably all the drills).

Red Jacket was apparently weird in Maris Stella too. He wrote a book during English lessons, but never let anyone read it and got angry when people tried to snatch the manuscript.

Theory: Everybody brings a mobile phone because they think the public phones will be busy, so they are actually relatively free (borne out quite well).

Why does everyone use vulgarities? To relieve stress? To impress the severity of offences on recruits? Because everyone else does? So far, I've counted only 2-3 instructors who don't use them. And why does everything have to be shouted? It spoils the voice. Maybe prior shouting by recruits has blunted the hearing of instructors.

I think jerking your head for the "pandan ke-hadapan, pandan" (phonetics corrected by Fuzzirat) command spoils the neck.

Almost all the army songs are too low for me. Correction, all of them are too low for me. What oh what shall I do? Sing in falsetto? I don't think so. Maybe I'll be like some of the tone deaf people and just shout the songs (not those who sing out of tune). If you think about the words, you find some of them are actually used as tools of indoctrination - and it works. Some people sing, whistle or hum the songs when they're bored or free, probably because they tend to stick in your head like irritating advertising jingles. Many of the others are about sex, or have parts relating to sex, showing how desperate army boys are. Some are actually quite melancholy, and dare I say, sensitive. I wouldn't have expected it from army boys. There's one song with a stanza about the shiokness of canteen breaks, but we won't sing it because it's not applicable :)

I miss everyone.

I wonder how Slavery will change me. Will I become more rude and vulgar? Lose my inimitable sense of humour? Some parts are okay, even mildly enjoyable, but I resent being controlled and enslaved, and I want my life back. Now I see why so many people take PSC scholarships because they get to defer. The next 15 weeks are meant to transform me into a soldier. A killing machine? I can't really see myself as one. Hell, I wouldn't trust myself with a rifle.

The level of conformity required is disgusting. For example, when the bucket is placed on the left of the shioe cabinet, the bucket handle must face the bed.

My handkerchiefs smell of ammonia. I think this is because of the mixture of tears and sweat, but I'm not sure about the chemical reaction. The smell can't be washed out. I think I need a washing machine. But my brother in law says he had this problem too, and washing in a washing machine didn't wash the smell out.

More people who I've seen: Somchaya, Mark Yong, Zhongyong (I think).

The logic for punishing a platoon or section because of one person's transgressions is faulty or absent, kind of like in Ancient China when they killed off the transgressor's entire extended clan for certain offences.

A lot of the PTP people look very lanky and spindly.

For some reason, Jiaxiang my dear Company mate has changed to a set of nerdy glasses.

Day and night, we see planes flying off from Changi Airport. A little depressing, seeing people flying away while we're stuck in the Island of Doom :)

Why are all the commands in Malay? When I watched the Hongkong handover, it was gratifying because I could *understand* what the British Guard of Honour was being commanded to do. English should replace Malay as the language used for giving commands. Actually, it's used in some instances (like "Firers, strip rifle") already for some inexplicable reason. What happened to the conformity that the Army desires? Weird.

There are many punishments for doing things wrong, some of which involve being sent to the detention barracks. So they force us to serve, and then punish us when we do things wrong in the process of doing our service. Ah well.

The night snack is a waste of time. We are not hungry, we'd rather use the time to do personal things, and half the time we don't get the food component.

To convince us to buy insurance, this insurance guy told us about accidents in the army. Stuff that's not reported by the newspapers because they don't want parents to know how dangerous it actually is. Well anyway, statistically buying insurance results in an expected loss - it's because people tend to overestimate the likelihood of risk or accident and are risk averse, which is why they buy insurance.

There's one female company - Raven. If they're so eager to serve, they should exchange places with males who are very unwilling to serve. I'm sure they'll find that there's a willing market for exchanging indenture. On their run, they were accompanied from a LOT of sergeants, probably to protect them from all the desperate NS boys. It's quite unfair, they don't need to shave their heads. Or even cut their hair short - many of them had hair long enough to be tied up!

BMT food is much better than the rubbish they gave us at OBS. And you get a sweetened drink every meal too. (See? More good stuff about the army!)

The unidentified particles I see floating around in the water in my mess mug during water parades is unnerving, and I have no way of removing them.

The buildings are only 2 years old, yet there are cracks, the roof is leaking, toilets and washing machines don't work etc. Maybe they got cheated.

I don't need to shave. Aha. More time to sleep or slack.

The vice-president of the SAJC Student's Council is in my section.

A flat footed guy in my platoon got downgraded to PES C. But he still has to stay in camp until he is posted - quite dumb, really. I don't suppose semi-flat footed people like myself get anything.

I was classified as a non-swimmer at first, but I passed the retest, risking 40 pushups for failing. What I didn't know was that even passing carried a penalty of 20. After swimming categorisation, someone stole my shoes because I didn't mark mine, and my efforts to make them identifiable by tying the shoelaces together failed as the person presumably just took the shoes. So I got someone else's pair, and they had to be broken in (the support for my non-existent arch had to be flattened). The poor guy with my old pair of shoes will now run around for the rest of BMT (at least) without any support for his arches.

One person was very disgusting - after aqua jogging, he changed out of his trunks in the seating area of the stadium, exposing his private parts for all the world to see.

I am told that my English is very ang moh. My buddy keeps trying to do an American impression on me, with "yo yo" and all that rubbish. I told him if he wanted to do an impression, he'd better get it right :) My section mates speculate my vocabulary will deprove and my English degenerate in the next 15 weeks. What a worrying thought.

I met my old friend from Mr Seow, Xavier the SJI boy, on the bus from the ferry terminal. He's in Platoon 4, 2 flights above me. Aww.

Monday, December 17, 2001

Had lunch with Tim at Tony Romas. Very good bread. I think we ordered too much - half an onion loaf, appetizer sampler and a half slab each. The ranch style beans are nice, I shall order them next time.

He got:
1. A pink elephant pencil sharpener cum paper shredder
2. 3 scented candles
3. A fridge magnet, I think it says - "The only thing better than a good friend is a good friend with chocolate"

We walked down to Paragon for a small scoop of New Zealand's Natural each after that, and one of the available 'boosters' was:

One of the nature's richest sources of phenylalanine! Effectively suppresses appetite and boosts energy levels!"

I think that's what they spike our water with...

And I saw Shuyu and her friend at Wheelock Place.

Sunday, December 16, 2001

This is irritating. I search "listen to the music" on audiogalaxy, and ignoring all the Doobie Brothers stuff, I found one "choir - Listen to the music.mp3". I play it and it turns out to be, wah, "Raffles Voices and RGS - Listen to the Music". The one in which I'm singing, and Jonathan (I think) is doing the solo. Gah. !@#$%^&*()

More mysteries: Why does everyone sound like each other when they shout out "lup, lup, lup wrought lup" (or however you spell the mangled way the pronounce "left, left, left right left".

Will I be punished if I don't (heh heh) shine my boots? I'm gonna bring 2 copies of The Economist along so I can keep up with Current Affairs and keep my mind alive.

Restored Post
I swear - the water they give us is spiked. My appetite has gone down somewhat. At least they haven't started the water indoctrination yet - saying the 7 Core Values of the SAF before drinking up during Water parades.

I went to Takashimaya with Geraldine to buy Christmas gifts for a few people (eh heh), but she rejected my ideas for a gift for the VJ lucky draw and presents for Yunxin (hehe). It's disgusting - Haagen Dazs (can't be bothered with the umlauts, and not that I was in the mood for any due to the spiked water) is now $3.90 a scoop - daylight robbery! (Clarification: I didn't buy any. I prefer Ben & Jerry's, which unfortunately still has no scoop shops in Singapore)
wheee... selamat hari raya! just got up after a 14h sleep

i think the 2 day holiday from ns is really good.... sheesh i pity those other ppl who have the full 2-weekend = 3 week confinement...
overall... id say ns is extremely tiring and physically intensive, but other than that nothing much...
after all the shouting everyday (seems like a lot of ppl dont bother shouting timing much), my voice needs some rest too...
so far, the worst thing is the run.. =( the "very slow pace" was faster than my 2.4 speed... not to say i passed my 2.4, but yah... they ran 2+ km at that speed and i couldnt take it...
we had a 3+h drill session in hot hot sun on friday... was so tired before that, and was even worse after...
seems like every morning, we get more tired... my first night was pretty good.. woke up a few times, but other than that it was restful...
2nd night i didnt wake up at all, but felt slightly tired..
3rd night i woke up once at 4+, but felt real tired...
the interesting thing is that on the fourth morning, every1 had alarms set at 5, but we all decided to just switch them off after they rang and wallow a while longer in bed..

argh, water parades... they say the mess mug is 500ml, but i think its 1l... holding the stupid thing with ur arms parallel to the ground is terrible... my arms kept shaking until water would spill at times... i remember on the first night, i spilled some, so it was below some stupid line, and i had to drink all the water (almost 1l), then fill up another half to drink. i _very_ nearly vomitted right there... quite a few ppl did actually... at least now i can drink 1 mug and fill full, but can drink at least...

i think the water parades r slightly wrong... instead of drinking so much 7 times a day... drinking slightly less but more often, maybe 500ml 20 times a day would be more effective... many times after the water parade id still be very thirsty, but my stomach would already be full from water...

yesterday was good.. we practically had the whole day to idle our time and do admin stuff, pack our cupboards, bags etc... i polished my boots for 2+h, and my boots are the shiniest in the platoon.. and id say the company as well =)

my sergeants r ok i guess... as long as u do wat they want and stuff, which is the whole point of ptp/bmt anyway...

ok, best of luck to those entering the full confinement period =)

oh, im in -edited away for privacy-
living on the 5th floor is SICK. i run up and down all the flights of stairs 10-20 times a day... and its really sick.

Shall keep this brief and uncharacteristically monosyllabic(okay, I just contradicted myself there). Am communicating this way because i'm not sure if you're reading your ICQ messages anymore.

I see you've had a lot of fascinating experiences defending your home and country and being a Better Man. I highly recommend the poem Dead Man's Dump by Isaac Rosenberg for some perspective on the glory and honour of your current situation(barring the mutilated corpses.. for now). A soundbite:

The air is loud with death,
The dark air spurts with fire,
The explosions ceaseless are.
Timelessly now, some minutes past,
These dead strode time with vigorous life,
Till the shrapnel called 'An end!'
But not to all. In bleeding pangs
Some borne on stretchers dreamed of home,
Dear things, war-blotted from their hearts.

Anyway, I have am now past the phase of my life in the Antipodes, and am heading back to more humid concrete pastures. Mine paterfamilias are in town, which is irritating but a necessary evil to be endured, and I have friends and loose ends to tie up. Also am in the midst of repackaging my life for transport elsewhere(which accounts for my disappearance over the last fortnight, coupled with a brief respite travelling in the mountains). I shall be back in touch with the usual lengthy rants in time, after I've settled down, rebuilt my librarium, and plugged myself back into the Internet. Give our few mutual acquaintances my regards, and remember, "if you have to go, go as Mr. Underhill".

Si vis pacem, para bellum.

Saturday, December 15, 2001

Restored Post

Back from Slavery because of Hari Raya. SnorComments decided to close down just after I added it. Gah.

My mind is dying. I will keep it alive with intelligent monologue. My legs below the halfway point of the shin are dying because of the garters. Garters restrict bloodflow. Garters are painful. Ouch.

On the ferry there on Day 1, we saw one person with a hearing aid, perhaps proof of the vicious circle of shouting and military personnel with increasingly bad hearing?

Jiax [who for some reason prematurely shaved his head] reported at the same time as I, so we went into the same platoon - Bravo Company, Platoon 2, and we were in adjacent sections. But we (with a whole lot of people) were moved to Gryphon on day 3 (today, Saturday), because we gained weight :) Now I don't have to do the "SOC" (Standard Obstacle Course). Muaha. My Bravo section was mostly ITE people born in 1980 and 1981, while my Gryphon section has a lot more JC people. However, both groups like to chatter away in Chinese. Oh dear. One of my section-mates asked for my URL. Whoa! I'm told that "you don't look like a RJ guy". Apparently RJ guys are supposed to be quite snobbish.

Physically it wasn't really that bad, at least it hasn't been so far. Mentally, it was somewhat traumatic, but then that's me. I don't really agree with Yongxiang's view (in 2000) that he was looking forward to switching off his mind for 2 1/2 years, but then I haven't been subjected to the rigours of the evil VJ never-ending continuous test cycle.

There is quite a lot of unnecessary conformity and inflexibility: For example, lights cannot be switched on after 7AM, even if it's raining or if it's very dark. Also, the water parades are dumb - they think that we're too stupid to drink enough water. They probably don't want to get into trouble because they're responsible for us, but I quite resent being force-fed water until I feel bloated and sick - the Mess Tin is very very big. Or maybe it's a dewious (sic) plot to make us feel full and eat less so we lose more weight! Either way, the "hold the mess tins at 90 degrees" thing is pointless and hurts the arms. There's also much needless haste, with people rushing here and there for no reason other than a sergeant's whim.

There are quite a few smokers but at least there are designated smoking areas so passive smoking's minimised. Some of the other recruits stank, but I think this is only a foretaste of things to come, considering that this was only a 3 day-long experience.

My nails are now cut quite short, and they are causing me some discomfort, even pain. The sacrifices we make.

Even in bondage, I found the time to take down Quotes. One choice one: Sergeant:[Am I to be addressed as] Sergeant or Sir? Recruit: Sergeant, Sir!

They *did* actually give an interview within 48 hours (well, more or less). The sergeant said I looked very stressed. In response to my worry that I'd be stuck "here" (by which I meant "in bondage") for 2 1/2 years, he said that I'd get to move around. He had a good idea for preventing the mental decomposition I expressed concern about - bring a book (One of my former section mates was reading Harry Potter #3, I believe, last night). And he claimed that there isn't that much conformity. Well.

Thought: Why do 75% of Muslim males have "Mohammed" in their names?

People I've seen so far:
Matthew Seah

On the oath-taking:
- there were a *lot* of tone deaf people, apparent when singing the National Anthem after we'd publicly pledged our souls away
- the oath had numerous references to the *government* of Singapore. Suspicious.
- I mangled the oath, but they made me sign the written form the next day, but I suppose oaths extracted under duress are not binding.

On the injections:
- I was only tearing slightly before taking them, and when I was "penetrated", I merely shrieked and collapsed to one knee. Not bad, not bad indeed.
- 2 days on, one of the injected areas still hurts, I'm not sure whether it was the Typhoid Fever shot or the Tetanus shot.

On depression:
It was worse on the 1st day than on the 2nd, and the 2nd than the 3rd, so I think it will subside with time, but on the first day, I was really musing about the relative merits of overdosing on Panadol, walking into the sea or maiming myself by throwing myself from the third storey.

On the instructors:
- Most of them seem intrinsically nice, it's just that they have to be strict to train us. One pulled the "Manly" card on us today. He equates speaking softly and looking down with being feminine and having a lack of confidence. Well, there are people whose deathly quiet voices inspire awe. People can be firm and confident without shouting loud enough the make the building collapse. And if everyone shouts, other groups will not be able to hear instructions from the instructors or each other and will have to shout even louder. Yet another vicious circle... Why must everything in the army be about shouting?
- Our Company Sergeant Major is very nice and jovial. He has nicknamed one of our Section-mates "40KG", because that is what he said he wanted to lose over the 16 weeks (I wonder how the bet will go...)

Coming back on parole, my brother-in-law commented that my Fieldpack and Boots are better than the ones he had.
methinks "degenerate to a lower level.. lowest common denominator" is suggestively vague. Imprecise and misleading! Ditto for some of the rest.

In response to "Ed", would like to clarify my opinion- "a few different words here and there" hardly "pare(s) the english language to nothing". Complex vocabulary is often associated with very specific terms of usage- by all means use them if they are the most appropriate ones.

Suspected Jianwen's "grand plan" of delaying his enlistment by passing his napfa test after a levels would fail.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Following is the essay I write to commemorate my last day of freedom.

Follow-up essay:

In some countries, like Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan, compulsory military service, reminiscent of the press gangs of the British Empire, is enforced upon most of the male (and female, in Israel's case) population.

This practice is exceedingly harmful, not only to the individuals involved, but also the the communities, societies and nations involved.

Conscription entails the drafting of young citizens (of at least 18 years of age - those below that are considered child soldiers by international agreement) for between 1 to 3 years of full-time military training, and most countries require some form of reservist training from the servicemen after they have completed their full-time training to sharpen and hone their skills, and ensure that they are ready to defend their country at a moment's notice. This training, both full-time and part-time, irreversibly changes the structure and character of the conscripted populace, both on the individual and macro level.

Being in a military environment for an extended period of time, the conscripted male (as it is invariably a male) is subject to many influences. In a military camp, people often degenerate to a lower level under the stress of training, and this, coupled with the fact that people from all walks of life are conscripted, means that most degenerate to the lowest common denominator. To give vent to their frustrations and stress, and also because everybody is doing it and they do not want to be seen as different, most incorporate vulgarities and obscenities into their regular vocabulary, if they have not done so already, in which case they increase their frequency of swearing, and build upon their already extensive vocabulary. Thus, those who manage to avoid the depredations of modern culture and life, with f-word touting Hollywood stars and friends who spout vulgarities at the slightest provocation, inevitably are corrupted, killing any hope one might have of cultivating a gracious or courteous society.

Language is not the only way in which conscripted people are affected. Their behaviour is also adversely affected. In military training, barbarous behaviour is cultivated in the recruits. They are trained to kill and to strengthen their savage instinct, to bring the primal beast in them to the fore, through indoctrination sessions, martial training and the practice of getting soldiers to yell as loudly as they can when answering officers' commands, which perhaps leads to a vicious circle with the soldiers' loud shouting deafening the officers, such that the decibel level at which they stop pronouncing, "I can't hear you" keeps increasing. Incidentally, since the officers are those who are judged to be the most intelligent and have the best leadership qualities, this means that the cream of the nation's male youth has their hearing adversely affected, with the appropriate ramifications for the future of the country. Other influences may affect the soldier. For example, weak, tired, hungry, thirsty and aching, a person will be susceptible to outside influences, whether desirable or undesirable, an example of which would be religious fanaticism and fundamentalism - Military camps could be the breeding ground of a future generation of religious fundamnetalists.

While in military training, soldiers are given martial training, and learn both armed and unarmed combat. Furthermore, they have easy access to all matter of weaponry, which they have been taught to use. In tandem with the barbarity inculcated, and the pent up aggression, stress and vituperation, enforced military training leads to a higher crime rate, as since all male citizens, regardless of background, personality or psyche are conscripted, potential or existing criminals are learn how to expedite their criminal acts. Military service results in brutish, gruff and uncaring people - hallmarks of the criminal. The "might is right" attitude that the armed forces impart to their personnel means that people are less willing to be restricted by their moral inhibitions - Singapore's motto is "what you can't defend is not yours", a clear nod to criminals that if they can prey on innocents, they should.

Even if military training does not result in a person committing criminal acts, it still leaves scars on a person's psyche and body. Fatalities and unnecessary exposure to danger may result due to military training, but the extent of these is not known due to their being covered up by governments. Even if one is not killed or permanently injured during training, the constant abuse, physical, mental or otherwise, (by drill sergeants, who seek to torture a recruit until he break down, so that a useful soldier may be made out of him) and punishment, often unfair and meted out the slightest perceived transgression, breaks down the fabric of a person's mind, destroying his self-esteem, may cause mental breakdowns and plants the seeds of horrific nightmares which may haunt the soldiers for the rest of their lives, and this is assuming no permanent physical damage is sustained by soldiers during their tenure. The requirement that soldiers obey orders without question breaks down soldiers' will, and destroys any creativity they already had. People's character and personality are blunted and deadened, even destroyed, by military service. Likeable, jovial and vivacious people are transformed into gruff, coarse and unfeeling brutes, or if not, dead, lifeless husks. The greater tragedy of it all is that this is yet another vicious cycle, as officers seek to inflict the same torture upon their soldiers that they once were exposed to.

Military service also has negative social effects. In some countries, it is a justification for wage discrimination against females, negating the work of the early suffragettes. Sexual discrimination is also implicit in the concept of military service itself - are not females as good as males? Were they not born equal? The practice of conscripting males raises many doubts about the equality of the sexes. Even in Israel, females serve for shorter terms than their male counterparts and are not involved in front line duty. This suggests that women, then, are an inferior gender. Chauvinism is also encouraged by this sexual discrimination, as males look upon themselves as the Protectors of the nation, sheltering the weaker sex. In Singapore, the concept of 'Total Defence' was promulgated in the 1980s, that "everybody has a part to play". Evidently, some people have a bigger part to play than others - those who are active in Military Defence are also required to fulfill their roles in Economic, Psychological, Social and Civil Defence.

The economic impact upon the country that practices conscription is also incalculable. The lost years of the full-time training is substantial - what would be the impact on a country's GDP if half the workforce (considerably more in actuality, since females constitute less than half of the workforce) were to stop working for 2 to 3 years? And what about reservist training, where personnel can be summoned for up to 40 days a year of training? Besides the economically productive activity forgone, the country also has to pay the reservists while they are in training, a considerable burden upon taxpayers. This does not even take into account the uncountable cost of the mental atrophy that military service induces, the cost of the reduced ability and therapy of of tormented employees and the reduction in a person's creative capacity, as military service trains soldiers to be unthinking and obedient, following orders. As an example, let us look at Singapore, where 6% of the country's GDP is spent on defence, the second highest item on the expenditure list. The cost in economically productive activity forgone both in time and direct military expenditure is considerable. In Singapore, it is reported that there are 300,000 soldiers, including reservists, but one suspects that this figure, like that of China's armed forces, is considerably under-reported. Assuming 3 million citizens (under estimating for a conservative estimate), and a 100:100 gender ratio (to exclude those unfit for military service for one reason or another, again rather conservatively), and further assuming that half of the population is between the ages of 18 and 50 (again a gross underestimation), we can see that the lower bound of the size of Singapore's armed forces is 750,000, which is 3/4 of the reported size of China's army in 1990. Why such a small city state needs such a humongous army to protect such a small land area is unknown.

The burden on the individual is also considerable. Some of the best years of his life are lost while he is in full-time training, and he has to see those friends of his who are not in military training go on to College and University, pursuing their dreams, while he is stuck in a trench plucking leeches from his legs. He drifts out of touch with them, and loses many friends due to different mindsets and enforced separation. Those who have significant others or are married see their relationships suffer, due to a dearth of interaction and the other partner moving on mentally due to University education. Those who are in dire financial straits, whose families need a monetary infusion, are also disadvantaged by enforced military service, as their ailing mothers die due to a lack of money for medical treatment. This is to say nothing of the moral problems - who could bear to kill another human, even in desperate circumstances? Most major religions do not support killing - Christianity urges people to turn the other cheek and the Koran says that "he who kills one person kills the whole of humanity", and military service impinges on the religious obligations and tenets of many (Christianity and Islam accounting for more than half of the world's population).

Even in its titular aim - protecting a country, conscription may not be all that effective. Being forced into service, many conscripts are demoralised and unwilling to fight, and during a real war, desertions and defections are likely. There are also disturbing implications for World Peace - the larger a country's army gets, the larger neighbouring countries will build their armies, and an arms race is set off, destabilising the region and the world. Also, the country that practices conscription itself may be tempted to invade neighouring countries, for, though most countries have "Ministries of Defence", they are actually Ministries of War - not everybody is as honest as Saddam Hussein who has a Ministry of War and a Ministry of Propaganda.

To justify their bondage of a good half of the populace, lawmakers often like to tout the benefits of conscription. They say that it improves the physical fitness of the soldiers, teaches healthy living, good sanitary habits and discipline, and that you get to make new friends but this is tantmount to saying that it is good for your aircraft to encounter serious engine trouble because you get the thrill of jumping out of a plane in a parachute. These are all incidental side effects from conscription, and do not outweigh the bad effects, or they can be achieved more easily by partaking in other, less hurtful activities like joining a health club or chatting on IRC. Some people, attempting to sooth their spirits, console themselves by remembering that they are paid, but then, prostitutes are paid too (and much more handsomely than soldiers!). In fact, prostitutes sell their body, but soldiers "sell" (or, strictly speaking, are forced to give up) their body, mind and soul, as they pledge eternal allegiance to their country and promise to obey the Premier or President. Some people also say that military service is much easier now than, say, a few decades ago, but then, dying now is much better than a few centuries ago, as instead of your body being set out for the vultures to pick at, or, if you were executed by hated enemies, you are first flayed then beheaded and your 4 limbs, sexual organs and head sent to 6 different corners of the globe, you are buried in a nice casket or cremated and put in a beautiful urn - you still die.

With such a myriad of disadvantages, it is no wonder that many countries are stopping or scaling down conscription - Switzerland is going to reduce the size of its armed forces, Belgium ended conscription in 1992, the Netherlands in 1996, Spain and France in 2001, and Italy will do so in 2006, Portugal in 2003, and that many countries offer Alternative Service for conscientious objectors. It is a pity that some countries continue to inflict such torment on the male citizenry, but we can do nought but hope of the best, at least in Singapore, since a campaign of civil disobedience would be crushed ruthlessly, and the populace has been indoctrinated to believe that military service is good.
I was thinking of posting an anti-NS rant before I left, a follow-up to the essay I wrote in Secondary 4 about why compulsory military service is bad, which Ms Low Seng Eng, my English teacher, proclaimed, "If you want to read something funny, read Gabriel's essay" and she said to me, "you'd think they all come out in a body bag or straitjacket". but I think that idea's come to nought. Oh well. 'll probably post my essay later tonight.

Found on Buffalo's Chips: You never know when a little conversational Latin might come in handy. Toward that end I've dug up a few Latin phrases for you to familiarize yourself with...

Non calor sed umor est qui nobis incommodat.
It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

Di! Ecce hora! Uxor mea me necabit!
God, look at the time! My wife will kill me!

Lex clavatoris designati rescindenda est.
The designated hitter rule has got to go.

Sentio aliquos togatos contra me conspirare.
I think some people in togas are plotting against me.

Caesar si viveret, ad remum dareris.
If Caesar were alive, you'd be chained to an oar.

Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

(At a barbeque)
Animadvertistine, ubicumque stes, fumum recta in faciem ferri?
Ever noticed how wherever you stand, the smoke goes right into your face?

Neutiquam erro.
I am not lost.

Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur.
Oh! Was I speaking Latin again? Silly me. Sometimes it just sort of slips out.

My sister gave me her old handphone (the one which survived a 11 storey fall). Yes, yet another first for Gabriel. The Hi-card is very expensive - 7 times more expensive than a publich phone (72 cents per half minute).
"Obfuscates". Right. (=
As a dabbler in writing, heartily agree with Economist's advocation of fewer, less complex words
[Ed: I like a few different words here and there - overuse of simple language deadens the mind a little and is boooring to read. Besides, I learnt most of my English from my wide reading, and if everyone uses simple language all the time, then it will become like George Orwell's 1984, where they progressively pare down the English language to nothing. Basically - all things in moderation]
. (Stint of mentorship with 4 other guys as "little boy minimalist naturalist poets"- as qian xi so cunningly put it- forced a discipline of words)

Usage of cumbersome vocabulary stinks of unwholesome pretension- and anyway, language is largely about communicating as effectively/clearly as possible. Read somewhere in a Roald Dahl adult short story that some writers use at least one "big" word in every chapter so as to "impress the heck off their readers".

Try aloe vera gel/lotion on sunburnt skin.

Hmmm. Yeo Feng's blog seems to be a one-man show. [Ed: I've posted 2 posts there, and will endeavour to post regularly]
Som, Yucheng [who has been reading too many self-improvement books] and Jianwen (that I know of) were swallowed today, and I'm next Tomorrow.

elvis presley - (Liszt) Transcendental Etude 12, Chasse-neige.mp3.temp - Hrm

Ugh - My nose is sunburnt, I forgot to apply sunscreen there on monday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

I've been invited by Yeo Feng to be a contributor to his weblog - Avid Techie - Technophile's Diary.

It's rather interesting, and if he keeps up his enthusiasm, it promises to be regularly updated with a stream of updates.

Also, it's holding a year end contest now.

Internal search engine stats (format - search | number of searches):

1. neopets 6
2. flesh parade 4
3. darksun shatterd land 4
4. singing chickens 3
5. blood sword 3
6. problems facing warner bros in terms of staffs turnover 3
7. ayers rock 2
8. stupider 2
9. queen rania of jordan 2
10. kwek mean luck 2
11. a03 2
12. uluru 2
13. goodbye speeches 2
14. pachelbel 2
15. pictures of the ob-irtysh river 2
16. animal onomatopoeia poems 2
17. farinelli 2
18. china's national anthem 2
19. dark side of xeen protect code 2
20. wav files 2

The Economist has released its English Style Guide ("This guide is based on the style book which is given to all journalists at The Economist.")

It advocates fewer, less complex words. Generally, this is good, but the minimalist approach doesn't sit that well with me - I like playing with words, though not to as great an extent as many of the people on vis-a-vis and The Associate, which I find obfuscates the content of a conversation. Also, many of the guidelines seem to be directed at Anglicising the writing style of a writer, but after all The Economist is a British publication.

"What was meant by the Israeli defence ministry when it issued the following press release remains unclear: The United States and Israel now possess the capability to conduct real-time simulations with man in the loop for full-scale theatre missile defence architectures for the Middle East."

Though I approve of some of it, especially the warning against Political Correctness!

Angela has offered her services at $1000/hour to hack into Singapore's database. That's quite cheap actually.

No one wants to take up my offer of $1/hr pay to hold ballloons in the park. Geraldine suggests that I print my URL on them.

Went down to Beach Road to buy some stuff for bondage. For some reason, there were quite a few mats around.

At least I won't have to bring a shaving kit along.

Just got to use computer (people playing virtual golf and earth:2025 clones finally released them). Had to sms my bro urgently, so I put my smallest denomination coin (50p) into a sms cum email cum normal phone phone. SMS- 10p. Email- 20p. 1 sms to brother, email to mum. And to gabriel, since there was 20p left (and no refund would be given.) Surprise surprise- Bumped into Shang yee (she just heard that i was around) in Boots pharmacy- was shopping for moisturiser, she was apparently looking for presents for em and nic. Now i feel like i'm really the last person around without a ready handphone.

Cambridge may be more interesting... haven't been there before. Oxford definitely has better shopping by most accounts (shopping centres, all kinds of fashion and many bookshops, Blackwell's) will take a look at the other colleges this afternoon if there's nothing else on. Can't believe i'm expected to be cooped up in the common room under glaring incandescent lights with so many other pple. Ah well, bought a copy of Rendezvous with Rama which i've been aching to read for a long time.

Experimenting with another comment system... Hope this one will stay up for a long time :) But "SnorComments accounts that have been inactive for 2 months will be deleted." Ugh.

My elbows, arms and wrists are still a little sore from yesterday. Ouch.

12:34PM: Mmm, my sister bought me more Pork instant noodles, and these are premium!

Little Cook TVP Pork And Mustard Stem Premium Noodle

These really contain real pork and real Mustard Stems, by the way!


12:51PM: Gah, my mother keeps hiding things and then complains that we don't use up the stuff we've bought. My fudge-in-a-bottle cannot be found.

NTUC Bukit Timah Plaza has an Australian food pavillion, with lots of nice stuff.
Got a Christmas card from Andrew. I don't actually send cards to anybody, partially because I'm lazy, but he still sends them to me, isn't he sweet? :)

Too bad whatever he enclosed dropped out while in the mail. The envelope is damaged near the bottom part of the reverse side. Ah well.

I don't send out Christmas cards / give everyone birthday presents because the problem with this is that if you forget one person, then it is rather suay. You have to draw up a long list and you invariably miss people. Also, the exigencies of life necessitate that you send cards or buy presents for people you don't even *want* to, which is rather sad, insincere or maybe even, dare I say, hyprocritical?

Ahh, but I'm just rationalising my laziness :) I send out my Seasons Greetings and Birthday Presents psychically, with ephemeral pulses of affection and love!

Monday, December 10, 2001

Just finished second interview. Ah. Am recording down subjects of conversation in my notebook for future reference. Used the phrase "place poetry" 4 times in the medic interview (hee heee heee)

The first interview was more academic in orientation, abt clinical exposure, knowledge, medical cases. More formal, me and interviewer on opposite sides of the table facing each other, and a stack of paper for me to draw relevant diagrams on. THe second was on me "as a person"- using the personal statement as a jump-board thingie (whatever it's called). Me and interviewer on cushioned sofas at angles to each other, and a coffee table in between strewn with papers. But for the second interview, there was a lean towards bedside attitude/ behaviour towards patients at the end of the interview/conversation/session thingie.
Going off to record proceedings of interview.
Actually, not sure if i'm allowed to publish this- one isn't supposed to communicate to other interview candidates what happened, to avoid giving anyone unfair advantages. I'll just post this then- assume i'm the only balderdash blogger here right now.

Warm fuzzy feelings welling up well inside of me

Just remembered
Saw a pair of nike "Hot socks" labelled as "footies" in BATA the other day. Ah.
Just completed one interview (!�"$%"~�!@�). Next one in 15 minutes time. Ah.
Went out with the class to Sentosa today.

We were supposed to meet at 9 am at World Trade Centre's McDonalds, but almost everyone (but for me, Myo Li and Felicia) was late, and most of them were fashionably late (more than 1/2 hr).

While strolling around the WTC, a handphone rang with China's national anthem as the ringtone.

Chin Yung and Chin Xiang brought their prom pics along, and the former had a photo with African! The odd thing is that he didn't know her name, but he knows her through his sister (or something). "Why you call her 'African'? She's very white." - Zhixiang (who still has that disgusting Powerpuff Girl hanging from his bag).

Tong was wearing floral printed Hot Sorts (which, in her defence, she says her mother bought for her). Lucky she wore them at the hips, or they'd be hotter. Felicia's were not floral printed, so they looked less Hot even though they were the same length, and Myo Li wore floral printed, but un-Hot shorts.

And I found out the name of the J1 Councillor who looks like a Horse! Chin Xiang took a picture with her. Too bad I can't remember her name now, not that I would have posted it anyway.

Felicia told me that she'd found out what the hair accessories which are like small elastic bands are called - Ponytailers. Someone suggested "scrunchie", but we all know that those are the big, fluffy/furry/bulkier ones.

When we finally went to Sentosa we started playing Beach Volleyball. After applying liberal doses of sunscreen. The last time the class went to Sentosa, most of them got burnt to a red crisp (haha I didn't go so I was saved). I'm not as useless as in Lower Secondary, when I ran shrieking away from the ball, but I'm still quite lousy (though better than Myo Li :) ). There was this girl in the group a while away who was playing Beach Volleyball in a dress. Hrm.

I also went Kayaking, for the first time since OBS 3 1/2 years ago. The first time I went out, it was with Tong, and I capsized twice. The first time, my (almost 3 years old - quite long lasting for me) glasses went to the bottom of the lagoon, where they now reside. Well, the colour was fading from the frame and the lenses were scratched. My wallet also got soaked (okay, I'm dumb bringing things along). We both agreed that it was probably a combination of both of our mannerisms of jerking a lot and what not that caused the capsize ("I've never capsized a kayak before").

Later we played Captain's Ball while frolicking in the water, and some of us tried to teach Myo Li to float, not very successfully. No one understood my reference to getting a yeast infection from the dirty seawater.

I didn't bring a change of clothing (yes, I'm dumb), but I did that in Hawaii too, when I walked back to the Hotel from Waikiki (I think) Beach. And on that occasion my glasses fell apart and a nice optician reassembled them for me free. That day, I sat on the beach and let myself be buffeted by waves, which is where and when this picture:
was taken.

The Tulip brand pork sausages we bought contained... Pig blood plasma. Ugh.

I struck out on a single kayak after that. It was quite fast, and I didn't capsize. Well, I did, but I was besotted by Pirates (Changge and Qingru) who capsized me not once, but twice! And they tried to hijack Tong and Felicia's kayak, but were stopped and ran away with the oars.

There were some lians frolicking on the beach, with one slightly plump guy in a bikini.

Jason had a nice pair of $300 sunglasses, which were golden and gave very clear vision. Changge: "Good to look at girls."

The bad thing about going to the beach is that you get sand everywhere - I had to wash it off my perenium. And now I am sore, especially in my wrists and arms, and rather tired.

A thought on "Total Defence" - there's a part for everyone, but some people play a bigger part than others. Maybe I should boycott the other 4 aspects of Total Defence - Psychological, Social, Economic and Civil.

Seen on TV Works - Adrian Pang singing 'All I want for Christmas is Angelina Jolie'. Gah.

My cable connection is temperamental and I have to reboot every now and then. Grr.

There is a "Moral Uplifting Society" near Forum the Shopping Mall. I believe it is this one:

Che Sen Khor Moral Uplifting Society

In oxford now, languishing in the junior common room waiting for the admission exam. \Still contactable via email, so do drop me a line. Walking around the uni town was fun, parks are quite horrible (winter), shopping to do. Free food and accommodation for the time i'm in oxford (in saint anne's college).

Bumped into Yoong Chuan on the MA plane to london- he's also around for interviews.

Anyone wants anything from UK? Can't promise anything but will try to oblige-
expect to frequent discount racks in clothes shops and bookshops and the like most often.

Heard ACJC prom was dotted with ugly clothes. Well. Will probe further when i get back

Gabriel, F and B industry in muslim countries just re-package their deals during ramadan. I know many hotels in malaysia run big night buffet promotions in ramadan, and scale down their high teas. Eating out becomes a big affair as many families go out to break their fast. Restaurants don't just close down for a month you know, have a look around the ones in singapore (though i daresay you might see one or two guilty people gobbling down food)

Gotta run. Ciao.

Lin Yucheng sent me his Prom photos. Apparently he has mellowed, though I can still detect many traces of his old irritatingness.

And he did what Ian suggested I do, and went up to take photos with people (girls all, in his case) that he didn't know (or claims not to, at any rate). Well. And he dedicated a whole category just for that.

Looking at the photos of the Prom, it almost seems as if there were as many guys wearing suits at the Hualalalala Prom as there were guys *not* wearing suits at RJ's. Ok, not quite that many, but you get the idea. The girls' gowns and dresses are also rather insipid (and there's one garish one). And almost everyone was in black! ARGH.

Maybe it's something to do with Hualalalala.

Sunday, December 09, 2001


Yong Lin just told me why my stacking of paragraph tags won't work. Blogger used to do it for you, but now it won't. So I'll have to change all my paragraph tags to double break line tags.

Flurry of updates on the main page.
Ah. havent posted for quite a while.. been busy writing essays.. yipeeeee! left 1 more to go..! =) excluding those i have to edit once my senior finishes reading them...

Prom.. grr. stupid mc. lousy music. bad food [Ed: Eugene Ng and I think it was quite good! Maybe Fuzzirat spent too much time taking photos, and his food grew cold, or people spiked his food with salt and pepper (someone did that to me in prague)]. it was (in one word) terrible.
Yep, this is my prom post. Ta-da!

Went out yesterday with some friends.. heheh... left house at 5+ pm, reached home at 3am... quite fun.. its good to have seniors with cars... =)
Watched some funny chinese movie bout a dog becoming human... very cute.. =) go watch if u'r bored...

Argh, 2 days to play b4 enlistment! and 3 interviews scheduled on those 2 days already.... hopefully on tuesday i can go out for a while b4 i go home and pack and rest b4 going to camp the next morning... =P

oh well. later going to cut my hair for interview.. which is a bit strange cos on weds im gonna get another haircut..

ookie... time for other ppl to post.

wheeee! 1 more essay!

Saturday, December 08, 2001

Reblogger doesn't seem to be working anymore, so I'm disabling it. Ah well. So much for talkback.

I've also changed to a fresh new template which now, after some debugging, works. Though I still haven't figured out why <p> won't work on the posts.

Had high tea with Mr Lim and the history people on thursday. He said that he *does* drink vodka. Sometimes. Mmm. Saw my sister-in-law.

Was dragged out to the SPH Journalism Scholarship seminar by my father, and I met Xiaoshi, who'd been dragged out too (and sneaked into a Fatboy Slim concert the night before and slept at 4 am, 1 hour later than me). Many RJ people were there.

I came too late to sit in on anything other than the Question and Answer session, and someone asked this really odd question about whether the significance of the date 20/02/2002 was newsworthy. Maybe I should form a support group - "people who ask disturbing or otherwise consternating questions at seminars and talks". Towards the end, people kept dribbling off.

At least SPH recognised that they were, or were perceived as being too pro-Government in 1996 or 1997. They are more balanced now, but still err too much on the side of caution.

Xiaoshi said I was "useless", because "who has a phone and doesn't bring it out?". Well. It's my sister's old phone, the one that survived a 11 storey fall and has a temperamental screen and battery.

Here's a thought: How does the Food and Beverage industry survive in Muslim countries during Ramadan? I don't think Muslims would go out to eat much, at least not for the pre-dawn breaking of fast. And don't chefs have to taste their food?

Ms Bala brought up a good point - "What will happen to your blog without you?". Well, I *have* some, ahem, posters who will post from time to time. *Prod*.
I'm getting the strangest search engine hits (Bad habit picked up from Liying. Gah.):

"Gabriel Hate page" - Ooo, someone doesn't like me.

"look at my vagina homepage" - I doubt anyone would make a homepage dedicated to her vagina. JC Guide *has* to name themselves that way.

"rgs class homepage" - If only I was in Raffles Guys.

"Miss Gabriel PICTURES" - transvestite pictures?

"singapore jc girls pictures", "collection pictures of singapore girls" - Why're JC girls so popular?

"rjc homepage" - Erm. Hope whatever RJC information that's on my page didn't alarm them.

Friday, December 07, 2001

After a 6 day hiatus spent playing Baldur's Gate II, Throne of Bhaal and grappling with Civilization III, in a spurt of energy, I have finished the last 58 pages of the 2000 RGS Yearbook!

It is now up for viewing.


Very good. Jiekai sent me one of those horoscope things - you write numbers in a column, fill in song titles and people's names, and beside "YOU MUST TELL (THE NUMBER IN SPACE 2) PEOPLE ABOUT THIS GAME", I had down 4000.
Hmm. Just realized my last post might not have been greeted with full enthusiasm. Avert your eyes if you're easily offended.


Thursday, December 06, 2001

Go to Andrew's Moonlight Masquerade- For your reading pleasure, Observations below. Will upload photos.

Hope this makes for interesting reading. Since it is generally of a complimentary nature, nobody should be offended/put off by them.

Rika Tandean the Chio Prom Queen in an ivory-white gown.
Sarah Lin as Lady of the dance; scarlet chinoserie number. Attitude sia!
Stephanie Young Ming looking positively Wicked with her eye make-up and red-hot gown.
Rong Ying in a smashing black cocktail dress
Zoe in a black dress with crystals in front spelling "PORN STAR"
On the same table, Dayna Chia with most of her black hair falling straight down, hair on the crown of her head dyed a reddish brown and swept to one side. Also, a girl with a backless black number, and a dragon tattoo adorned with glitter on her back (I assume it's temporary).
Bare-midriffs: Yvonne in a peach tube-top and skirt ensemble that brought out her glowing complexion, Nau'shil in an ethnic-inspired blue wraparound two-piece, Melissa Chong in golde-thread skin-colour lar zhar .
Mint quoted as saying "With or without make-up, I look absolutely the same ..." Beg to differ.
Lynette Foo very sophisticated and elegant in her dress and accessories- lovely earrings. She also had her wavy hair rebonded for the occasion, leaving the ends wavy- completing the look.
Fat Lian Troupe in red/black numbers (names witheld to protect the seemingly innocent), a member of which discovered to her horror, in the middle of a photo shoot, that the front of her gown had been dipping down to reveal more and more cleavage. In public view, she liberally thrust one hand in and adjusted the fabric with the other hand so as to restore the original positioning.
Qingzhi's gorgeous hair done in an updo with glitter (and suspected numerous hairpins).
Gillian's expression on having her feet (clad in impressive silver sandals) trodden on for the umpteenth time (once by me).

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

I've been terribly negligent Re: the yearbook project, my webpage and this blog, thanks to Civ III and Baldur's Gate II, Throne Of Bhaal (completed today after shameless cheating). I am presently trying to engage Yaoi Girl and Xephyris to help me pad the last.

I actually haven't been playing games much since I got Cable. In fact, only good old Alpha Centauri, since last November.

Points about Civ III:
They hid many commands, from the toolbar at the screen's bottom, that were incredibly useful in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC). Like Ctrl + R, to build Road to a place. In fact, much has been dumbed down since SMAC. Less customisation is possible.

I keep forgetting you need fresh water to irrigate lands. !@#$%^&*(). 2 badly placed cities, 1 on a continent I spent some time sending Settlers to.

The split between Settlers and Workers a la Master of Magic (MOM) is an interesting concept.

Chieftain level is no longer ridiculously easy.

And 1024 x 768 gives me a headache. Then when I exit back to Windows, 800 x 640 looks horrible. Why must they force us to play at such a high resolution?

Prom post:

NB: Julian has sent me the pictures which I ran around taking with his new SCV-subsidised digital camera, unobtrusively and surreptitiously or otherwise. Many of them are rotten (with chopped off heads, blurry images and such), but I did get some good pictures. A few of the Named people, yes. Of course, I will keep these for my personal use.

Apologies to those whom I wanted to take photographs with but didn't (Yes, I did bring a camera unlike on Farewell Assembly!). I wasn't zealous enough in running around looking for you lot :)

Post proper:

Because I am lazy, the following post is not guaranteed to flow very well.

Security was ridiculous, and we all were stamped ignominiously on our hands, with the words "RJC Graduation Night" (I took a picture with Julian's digital, but it didn't come out right).

The guys' outfits were boring. Variations on black, and almost everyone had a suit or jacket (except me, Edwin and assorted others). Many borrowed their fathers', and it showed, as I ran around asking people, "Is that your father's?". For me, the utility of not wearing a tie and jacket more than outweighed the disutility of any discomfit I may or may not have suffered. Julian conned me - he said he was going in geeky clothes - white shirt and khakis. In the end he went in a Mao-esque long sleeved blue shirt and black pants. Chin Xiang didn't realise that his earring on the right ear meant that he was gay. Pity, for his homophobia.

As predicted, 99.5% of the girls wore skirts or gowns. I couldn't recognise a lot of people (Probably Francesca and Felicia looked the most different), and Tong [whose skirt I kept stepping on and who poked me until I realised] and Felicia looked especially different. The girl that Shawn calls "Man Mountain" was wearing a crumpled (like mine) long sleeved white shirt and pants. Natalie Morris also was wearing pants, as were about 4 other girls. That is 394 of about 400, which works out to 98.5% of girls who wore skirts/dresses/gowns. Wow, below average!

This PRC girl was wearing a bathrobe-type outfit (of which I have a picture of the backview).

It was very amusing to see all the white lines on people's backs. They should either wear less, or much more. A lot of people took the opportunity to imprint tattoos on their skin, as well as the various star shapes and such, traced out with crystal or stones.

Lots of people had glitter in their hair. Erk.

Chris (Lin) was wearing one of the outfits with a black suit and a coloured shirt inside, opened wide. He shaved his chest hair!

Almost everyone looked quite different (except for me), even Engineer (who informed me that He2 Gu3 Zhong1 Xue2 aka Li Hua Secondary School has no Prom Night, not even a "Graduation Night") and Huihui.

The waiters were quite young, some were even our age.

I'd thought I saw Foreign Blood, but on closer inspection, it turned out to be Mrs Olivia Ang. Ah well. Even Ms Ho Poh Fun was there, and she had quite a fresh look (though she still had her bun, to...).

This A03-ish (and if I remember correctly, A03) girl had a tiara on top of her dyed hair. Perhaps a not-so-subtle assertion that she should have been nominated for Prom Queen?

2 or 3 girls were wearing outifts that reminded me of a wedding dress. Hrm.

Michael on the J1 Councillor whom I think looks like a horse (though not as bad as Horse herself) - 'a bit'.

They got us to clap for the first course, which arrived complete with a laser show, loud music and dry ice.

As with the RGS Alma Mater Night 2001, "Masquerade", I only saw 1 person with a mask - Minhui.

#5 won the "Xena" award. Yeh! She was in a gown too.

Most people were running around taking photographs, so many of the lucky draw winners forfeited their prizes. Julian's sharksfin got taken away. Oh well.

This person, Zoe, had "Pornstar" spelled out on her chest with crystals. Julian took a photo, but it didn't come out well (It was too far away).

The Principal Mr Hodge asked me to "take care" in Slavery. How sweet of him :)

Trust the Council to come up with awards like Ms Wheatie, Master Maize & The Messenger. Maybe it's because they have a bad sense of humour (read: corny) too. See what Orientation comes out as every year? One Red team, one Blue team, the former with a Lion as the symbol and the latter with the Eagle as a mascot, with a corny skit, which both unite towards the end. David Liew gave out the first 2 awards - how appropriate.

Dumb questions they wrote for the Prom King/Queen nominees - the worst was "If you were walking down the road and a duck bit your toes, what would you do?". And the stupid answers given - "What do you like most about yourself and why ?". Answer - "I like my height because I'm tall".

Suggested requirements for MCs:
Ability to tell dumb, unfunny and corny jokes. An irritating and loud voice. A lack of a sense of shame. A love of shouting into the mic.

"We have not 1, not 2 but *3* DJs" - The MC. Too many cooks spoil the broth. Why on earth do we need 3 DJs?.

Looking at the pictures with me inside, I notice that I have a tendency to narrow my eyes while I smile my dumb smile. Bleah.

Most of the people who were nominated for the awards were Engin people (if my estimations are correct). "Only Engin people are bored enough [to fill out the forms]" - Eugene Ng (I believe).

One of the lucky draw prizes was a Coffee Maker with 10 kg of Coffee Beans. How helpful of them - I wonder if the poor person lugged them home himself.

All 3 nominees for Lady of the Dance were in Flesh Parade, but only 1 of the 3 for Lord of the Dance was.

Walking around after the Dinner ended, taking frivolous pictures with Julian's digital camera, I realised that Red Jacket looks uncannily like... Zhuomin. Gasp. And he wasn't wearing a Red Jacket. I tried to stalk him and get a good shot, but he escaped me.

Snapping happily away, I ran out of batteries, and missed a shot of 2A01A! #1-#7 (or #6, I think #7 might not have been there), as well the other Named ones.

Post Prom:

Lucky for us, we got upgraded, so we got nice big rooms. There was an attempt to segregate the 2 rooms by gender, but it didn't work out since by the time the majority returned from their pubbing, the "Loser Crowd" of Katie, Luther, Me, Julian, Chin Xiang, Minrui and Wang Shuo [who was asleep the whole time next door] which had stayed behind since we didn't dance or drink, having moved to the "girl" room because it was cooler, was sleeping (rather, pretending to). We had a view of Raffles Guys School (RGS) from our windows. Nice stained glass.

Apparently the girls were jumping on their beds prior to the Prom, but Luther and I were discouraged from doing likewise. So much for female maturity (I'd actually have a picture of Shuyu and Tong hitting each other with files in 1-10 the Thursday before Promos, but it didn't come out because the Flash was off).

Julian and Chin Xiang fulfilled their fantasies of prancing around in Japanese bathrobes ("Yukata"). I actually have 2 "uprobe" pictures, but they're totally dark, and anyway they were wearing pants underneath. The latter fulfilled yet another desire by trying Felicia's Mother's Red Shoes, and found out firsthand the joys of female footwear.

I realised, when Julian took his glasses off, that from an angle, he looks a bit like a Joel Koh with more pimples!

Luther was the first to pretend to sleep, and Katie was on the bed beside him, but they looked like a divorced couple because they kept facing opposite directions.

Somehow everyone was amused when I hid underneath the comforter, remarking that I'd "gunnysacked" myself, and people started whacking me with pillows.

Further showing how sad we were, we started watching nature documentaries, switching from the Discovery Channel to Vision 4. Ligers to Deer rescue ("The World's Greatest Animal Rescues"?!, with a deer being pulled from a swamp and slipping. And slipping. And slipping again.) to Lions to Sharks (with a mad Gordon guy swimming with them), with intermittent checks on RTM2 to check on their 3 hour praying marathon.

Since the room was occupied already, the Disco group was forced to all crowd into the other room, together with the people watching the English Premier League. Muaha. There was some jostling for sleeping positions, with Katie and Luther one one bed, me on another, Minrui on the floor and Julian on the big chair, with Chin Xiang coming in intermittently saying "I'm bored".

In the end, I held out till 5 am. Ah well, not bad for someone who doesn't play cards.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Amalgamation of few days of stuff (yes, been negligent Re: here, main homepage and scanning project, which has 59 pages left):

On the arrest of "Tommy" Suharto:
Police said they had known about Tommy's whereabouts since Monday but did not move in until the team of detectives consulted a psychic, who told them that Wednesday would be Tommy's 'unlucky day'.
Isn't this forbidden in Islam?

I've figured out the main reason why Doraemon is so badly dubbed. It's done by Singaporeans (if you see the job even the more experienced ones do on TCS 8, you'll know just how bad Singaporeans are at it), and they let their Singaporean accents creep in.

The show, "Ripley's Believe It Or Not", which is being advertised on TV, does not seem AT ALL like "Ripley's Believe It Or Not", but rather looks more like "Faces of Death" or "Grossed out or not". Probably an attempt to pander to the masses. The original "Believe it or not", as seen in newspaper syndication, is hardly like the one seen in the trailers, with worms going up people's noses, spikes driven into people's skin and such, being filled with TRIVIA, and not things like "Do you know that someone can have 100 hooks driven into his skin and still survive?". Bah.

I want to see Sentai. Somehow, Sentai doesn't have the stigma in Japan that MMPR has elsewhere, at least that I know of. The plot loopholes will probably be much smaller, and the quirks that result from splicing footage from another show will be resolved (like many Japanese people running around in "Angel Grove").

I saw 2 girls sitting on the MRT floor (beside the doors), but there were plenty seats. Maybe they wanted to defile their school skirts.

I had to go to Jade again, and Peter was sitting in the unit next door (the one he'd bought over a year or two ago) which had a sign - "Toptronics master" on top. Apparently Jade has been renamed.

And my purity has been lost. I took my first Neoprint/Photo sticker.

Monday, December 03, 2001

Ahh. Was playing Baldur's Gate II : Throne of Bhaal (Yes, my CD drive works gain! Stupid temperamental jumpers...). Cheated shamelessly.

Sunday, December 02, 2001

Swedish Chef!

Saturday, December 01, 2001

My box feels old.

An Important Lesson Xephyris has Learnt in Life:
Never swallow Listerine (intentionally or otherwise) when you gargle.
Followup Important Lesson Xephyris has Learnt in Life:
Never drink the fruit of a citrus fruit (orange, lemon, or both mixed together) after the above event has occured.

I've finally ordered Dark Age of Camelot - it's shipping in 3 days. I can't wait.

[Editor's note: This was the last time Xephyris posted for a loooooong time (and as of writing, 11/03/02, he still has not returned to this humble home we call Balderdash), as he retreated to play Dark Age of Camelot day and night until he was enlisted on January 7th. After his 1 week PES E BMT, he returned to indulging in the game which so fascinated him :) Send him your regards!]

There's a strange taste in my mouth.
Today, I took my SAT IIs in the Land of Hot Socks, the Buaya and the Buayee (ACJC). Actually, I think it (and the people) are overrated.

There were quite a few RJ people there, some J1s in Uniform and assorted J2s. There was some girl with green tinted hair.

Nau'shil was some way in front of me and wore her RGS jacket during the test. Kind of defeats the point of wearing skimpy clothes.

They've given in to political correctness, but sloppily - most dates in World History were in CE (Common Era) ie AD (Anno Domini) and BCE (Before Common Era) ie BC (Before Christ). Unfortunately, AD was used at least once, in one of the questions. The Chief Supervisor had terrible pronunciation. Too bad I didn't remember any quotes.

What's it with handphone covers? They don't seem to serve any purpose, except to make it harder to take your handphone out.

I later went down to Jade, meeting Mr Ong on his ex-4Kers outing. CDs are now $6 per disc, unless you buy 3 or more, whereupon they become $5 a disc. Odd, with competition (there is now another shop a few units away), prices go up. And now they don't give jewel cases anymore, just flimsy plastic holders, and the printing on the CDs is dinky - 2 that I and Kairen bought say "Magic 80min 700MB multispeed 24X". They still have that unfortunate habit of stamping the CDs, though (maybe it's meant to spoil them!)

Going home, I found that Battle Realms, Civilisation III and my original Baldur's Gate II couldn't install, so I suspect something's up with my CD drive itself.

The IDE cable gave out a while ago.

Primary IDE Channel no 80 conductor cable installed
The CD Drive has disappeared from the Primary/Secondary Master/Slave display at startup after the memory check.
Well, in times of penury, there is only one thing to do - PLAY PIRATED COMPUTER GAMES
Commentary on Gabriel's new monster rig withheld in my fits of rage.

Anyway, here are the latest games I got hold of.

First, in contrast to my 18-hour binge of Metal Gear Solid 2(10 hours of which were spent watching cutscenes ... I kid you not),
I have been to the other extreme in terms of games - from the graphically cutting-edge to a game with no moving graphics:)

King of Dragon Pass, ladies - the closest I've seen to a gamebook online. FANTASTIC shit. It's based on the Runequest
RPG world of Glorantha, which will mean nothing to everyone except the most hard-core RPG people around. You command
a small clan and must lead it to glory... by allocating really cool stuff like magical power(to Destiny, Growth, Battle), managing
your herds, arranging hero quests - sounds like generic empire building? Well, this one is accompanied by brilliant
still art work, *long* epic descirptions of conversations, interactions, events...(at the end, your whole accomplishments are summarized in a saga
format that's surprisingly good to read)... and there's a real feeling that what you do in the game affects everything else that
occurs after on. And your advisers and populace have *really* good personalities. Any game that has a talking head that says
this gets my vote:

"By taking a Trickster onto our ring, the other clans expect us to sow disorder. Let us confuse them further by refusing to do

Other games on my list:

Stupid Invaders - really good animation, and majorly cornball voice-overs. It's a very linear, straight-forward, Ren-and-Stimpy humour type adventure game,
just click to pick up items, look at items, interact with items.. but it's got good production values(and an artwork style that has a strangely Nickelodeon cartoon feel to it),
some very nice jazz tracks at the start of the game, and some good satire amidst all the toilet humour(a lot of farts, burps, green goo, green goo, and more green goo).

Project Eden - this one is a strange beast to review. It's got a pretty decent 3d engine and a team of elite armed cyborgs, but the fps shooting isn't the major premise of the game(or third-person rather, it uses a camera angling reminiscent of Tomb Raider - after all, it's done by the same people. Lots of puzzles, cross-character interaction(you control 4 dudes sent to the "Real Meat Factory" to investigate the disappearnce of some technicians.. ), and a fairly good engine that does lighting efects well, but is clearly meant for the PS2 with its bland textures.

Friday, November 30, 2001

My computer has just been upgraded, thanks to Chris, Tim's brother.

400MHz => 1.33GHz
128MB RAM => 512MB RAM
Intel Graphics Card => GeForce 2 64MB
Integrated Modem-Soundcard which screwed up my sound when I dialed up => Soundblaster Live!

All for $1010. In fact the only things from the old comp are the (new) 15" LCD, the (1 year old) 30GB HDD and the (3 year old) 8GB HDD and the DVD Drive. The only bad thing's the Athlon's noisy fan.
My cousin went to rgs prom in a madonna outfit. No, not the 80's one with the- nevermind [Ed: Spiky bra]. The white cowboy suit in "Music" music video. And the hat, wig, OTT rings to match.

Andrew's humble theory: Black's popular with un-slim girls in order to hide excess poundage. Black's popular with girls trying to emulate hollywood sleek star look. Black's popular with pseudo-rocker chic girls. Black's popular with girls who want to draw attention away from their figure. Black's popular with girls who don't want a colour that suggests sheer. Andrew should stop typing more before he gets into any trouble.
isn't jessica tay this mannish looking ex-rgsian

she looks more feminine now
sends more recent picture, of her with long hair

good grief
who's that??!

Jessica Tay!



you've gotta be kidding
she(in the awful neoprints)'s fat!
Ugh, I've been had.

File sharing, especially MP3 sharing, does have its disadvantages. Misnamed files are very very annoying.

I've just found out that what I thought was Tchaikovsky's "Peter and the Wolf" (leeched during the good old Napster days), was actually by Prokofiev. At one point, I was confused and led to believe that both of them composed such a work. Ah well.

At least it's not as bad as things like "Mozart - Moonlight Sonata". No, the worst I've seen so far is, ahem, "Beethoven - Pachelbel Canon", or something like that. Not to mention all the "paino" concertos.

Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite, Op. 60, is very interesting. I listened to "The Wedding of Kije" again today and it was quite enjoyable, and I downloaded Troika (Sleigh Ride). But then, it's film music. Then again, I found the former by searching for "Classical Thunder", one of those Classical compilations. Which is quite good actually, much better than "The Best Classical Album In The World, Ever!!!!!!!", with such stuff as Respighi (yeah, I'd not heard of him before that either). The Classical Symphony by Prokofiev is good.

A large number, perhaps even most of the songs on MP3.com now appear to have become streaming only. !@#$%^&*().
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