When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, July 27, 2002

Kit Chan mutilation

I remember these cards. Didn't think anyone'd be bored enough to scan in the mutilated cards though :)
(after Semester 2 post-academic dinner smoko in ormond college)

I. am. not. drunk.
So what if i can't walk in a straight line
I. am. merely. erm.

I'm just erm Sleepy! Yeah, that's the ticket! (hic)

Oh, i saw a Babylon 5 DVD with the pilot episode "The gathering" and the spinoff movie featuring the earth-minbari war "In the beginning" on clearance sale in Sanity, a cd shop in town here. Anyone wants it? It's retailing for $20 a piece. Send me a msg or something.
Your search - +"*** ****" +"horse" - did not match any documents. [NB: Name has been edited out to protect the person's privacy]


* Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
* Try different keywords.
* Try more general keywords.
* Try fewer keywords.

Also, you can try Google Answers for expert help with your search.

"he's the one who tore up a photo of joy chia .... at the rehearsal of musical concoction concert ... i think he didn't like her or something." - On Junbin.



And she's listed under "Basses", where Yunxin would go too.


She doesn't look so * now. But of course there's nothing wrong with looking *. As Khairul told me, "You look like pig, sound like pig, eat like pig, behave like pig". Or something to that effect.

Please compare with this:

Andrew: whenever i'm sad i think of rabbits (live ones. Specifically live families of them gambolling in meadows). Then i'm happy again !

Me: *Tries to send him video of rabbit getting knocked down by car. But ICQ2GO won't accept my file*

"one consolation now is that our int'l history lecturer is far better than david liew. already i learnt far more from her in 45 mins regarding the vietnam war and copied far more notes than in 3 months at rjc. most of the teachers seem better. SEEM. at least they can teach."


Friday, July 26, 2002

Haha! I found out how to get the real URLs despite Asian Prince's ridiculous attempt to mask them.

This crosses the bounds of good taste.

As do the poems:

"Hair so bushy and flowy,
eyes so mushy and glowy,
you are so sexy and hot,
please be my tea while i am your teapot,
everytime i see your site,
i hope that you will marry, you might.
Will you marry me?"

"Oh asian prince Oh asian prince,
how sweet is your face......
your eyes are deep like a hole,
it's like i'm looking into your soul....
Oh asian prince Oh asian prince,
you are so lovely and cute......
your really nice and funny,
please pet me like a bunny.....
Oh asian prince Oh asian prince,
your body is hot and sexy......
i really am in love with you,
you turn me on,
oh yes you do.....
Oh asian prince Oh asian prince,
i want to be with you under your cover,
Oh please asian prince let me be your lover"


"your ass is a beautiful sight
your teeth are pearly white
you're so manly and strong
please write me a song
you one bad mother
come lay me, brother
then take me away your private jet"

I think I'll print Wo-Hen Nankan pics for my bunk!
Hypoxia? Hah! Pathology term.
Near-end week post:

Restored Post

My suspicions were confirmed! As I booked in, I saw people making Temasek's kites. Welcome to the SAF sweatshop.

This morning, we were mopping tarpaulin with soapy water and then folding it up, for use during the system run. Horrible experience, it was. The damned weight was the best part of it all. The stench was rather bad, like cow dung, and our hands got all dirty. Maybe I'll get ringworm, tapeworm or assorted other worm infestations, and get MCs. Right. Oh and my shoes, socks and feet got drenched by the dirty soapy water.

I was at Somchaya's store, to dry my shoes, socks and feet after doing sai kang, and I found out that he gets to exchange his preview tickets for Off days! So he now has 4 more. Unfair! I want also. Oh and his nametag cuts his surname into two - "Liemhetcharat" becomes "Liemhet", Most amusing!

I am confined on the 4th of August for being late for the Battalion Life Run. Turns out I read the Routine Orders wrongly - the assembly time was 7:30, not 7:45. Doh! Incidentally, this will be my first confinement/extra duty ever. You can't run away from this sort of things! At least this beats the last batch of new medics, who all signed one extra duty on the first day because they didn't greet our OC.

Thought: Do Pioneer writers have to write more articles when they sign extra duties? :)

5 Tonners have seat belts for the passengers. Argh. But we don't use them anyway, so.

We went down to the National Stadium today. We sat and performed various antics on, the newly repaired choir stage, the one that was partially burnt down. The purpose of our acting as guinea pigs is to assuage any doubts the choir members' parents might have about the stage's safety, even after it's been certified safe. Bah. More likely, weakened by 800 army boys sitting on it, the stage will collapse spectacularly on National Day!

After posing on the stage, we went down to the field and formed the outline of a heart (as the NDP participants do at one point in the parade, except they form a solid heart and not just an outline) by wearing giant red Mexican hats, which probably aren't washed or otherwise cleaned in between NDP rehearsals.

Apparently the NDP motivators were told that any Army boys asking them for their phone numbers, or pestering them otherwise, would sign 40 extra duties. But then, there's nothing attractive about them, as one of us put it :) Haha.

Looking at the Singapore flag, the thought struck me, as it has before, that our flag would have to change as our country became older. Since the Crescent Moon signifies a young nation, the moon will have to wax at least in our 50th year of nationhood! But then, how old must a nation be to be an old nation? I wonder what East Timor has on its flag - maybe a New Moon, signifying a VERY new nation.

On hearing of my confinement, my dear mother had to gloat about it. I don't know why she is so sadistic and likes to cackle when other people encounter misfortunes.

I think I've found the full version of the stupid "oei" cheer.



(NJ oei!) oei!
(NJ oei!) oei!
(NJ oei!) Sat! Sat!

Substitute NJC with your desired school name :)
i love my +4 day off... hehehe hope the commander gives the brigade more off for ndp (even if i didnt do anything)
lah di dah.

oh im gonna have a vocation change to System Administrator (Chiong Suah Variant) hehe..
I can't go for College Day/Rafflesian Recall because I've to be at the Indoor Stadium by 9AM. Boo hoo!

Google really doesn't like me. On a search for "phantasy star online patch", I'm 405. Of 405. I'm surprised the person so was desperate he searched all the way to #405.

I'm thinking of putting those descriptions of posters in the sidebar. At this point, it seems incredibly amusing, as we can come up with lines suitably parodying (or imitating, if you prefer) the fluffy, vague and irksome descriptions some people like to have for themselves.

On computer parts:

Athlons have noisy fans.

I like my optical mouse but wireless seems a touch expensive - and to little visible end

Sub-$900 is "ok" for an LCD? Mine was ~$600, bought late last year. $900 seems a tad expensive. If you've WinXP you can have Cleartype! Looks great on screenshots.

DVD: DVD has failed to take off in the PC arena. DVD-RAM and DVD-RW are new and upcoming (as far as I, ensconced in my camp, know), but generally DVDs are only used for watching movies.

My SBLive! cost me ~$50.

Yeah internal modems are evil and screw up your system. I want my expansion slots! Though I won't use em.

I think GeForce 4 is too much for Andrew. One generation less maybe?

Thanks to a certain guardstalker, all of you can enjoy PJ Girl's Cleo article!

It does read like one of those "I'm going to make a statement by writing an article" articles. Do I sense that the writer is trying to give herself advice, or draw parallels with her life? Or maybe I read too much into it, despite not being a lit student.

My mother is being bitchy again. Perhaps this is why I try to stay away when I'm at home.

"You are so mad on the computer, when you go to the U we will sell it, or you will get Henderson (name of a school that has poor results) grades"

I think it hasn't occured to her that one of the reasons I like the computer so much is that it gives me solace from her.

My parents were talking about how all the parents who cry when their children don't get a place in Nanyang Primary. If it counts for anything, the response from ex-pupils is unanimous (but for one lone soul) - Nanyang Primary sucks.

To that, my father said I'm ungrateful and my mother was going on about how parents spend hours on doing work for the school so their students can go in. This is supposed to be evidence of how good nanyang is. But did anyone ask the children? Nooooo.

They claim Nanyang educated me such that I could get into the GEP. However, I am of the opinion that it repressed me, perhaps contributing to my somewhat disturbed present mental state :)
Oh well. Going in to work on Sunday. Due to the screw-up alluded to in previous post, certain server upgrades have been put on hold - as a result, certain tests have to be run on Sunday. Obviously, I volunteered to atone for my earlier transgression.

How depressing - although it DOES provide me with an opportunity to get some work done(I only need to be there for an hour or so). I shall be optimistic!

No charge for the advice, Andrew - now how about that phone?

Curious interlude: I decided, on the imploration of all the virtuous folks here - to call the phone's owner. Now here's the rub - I've tried calling him twice, and both times no one answered. I didn't write down the extension number each time, so I've been going to the toilet to check the notice each time.

Now, that notice on the toilet is gone. I left a message the second time telling his colleague I was calling about the handphone, but forgot to leave a number and name. So if I never contact him again, he may now be filled with the despair of knowing that his phone was close to being restored to his grasp....

The sadism deepens.

I'll try to drudge up the number over the next couple of days.. I hope. In the meantime, all you kind readers keep up the relentless moral assault on the vile hordes of evil.

Word of the day: "hypoxia"

I think I've done a decent job of cleaning up most of my more embarrassing traces in the public domain, leaving only a couple of vague hints to pique public interest:) My university homepage is long gone, as is my connection to the Gavrilo Princip Society among other subversive materials. Unfortunately, newsgroups are another matter - but what the hell, the stuff I used to post under my own name there is stuff I don't mind people reading. Juvenile opinions are my stock in trade:)

Thanks to the plethora of free email services around, creating a pseudo-account for posting is terribly easy - I defy you to find all my posts to alt.sex.aluminum.baseball.

A testament to the power of interactive marketing and product placement.

Today was a more miserable day at work thus far - the projects are piling up, the office politics are hitting a Macchiavellian pitch, and I still spend far too much time surfing the web and blogging. A couple of screw-ups made a few days ago have snowballed exponentially into a major headache at present. Some of my work involves verifying and entering values and calculations into a server which generates a whole set of other calculations and values for use in day-to-day trading activity, monitoring and valuation.. and a few mistranscriptions two days ago by my careless self have now blossomed into a nightmare in which our bank's VAR(Value At Risk) went up about 14 times. As the alarm bells rang, I hunkered down for the inevitable hammering. The whole debacle required a system re-run for the last 48 hours to regenerate the correct data sets.

Basically, I have some work of significance to do - but as the new guy, most of those projects are being snowed under by the little everyday tasks that "new guys" are saddled with. As a result, the (reasonably intersting) work I was originally employed for is now taking a distant second to the far more banal sai kang routines heaped on me. Still, I will prevail - despite feeling like I've hit a mid-life crisis in my early twenties.

On top of it, there is a serious logomachy going on between departments, with a lot of my seniors caught in the crossfire; battles over turf, conflicting requirements, personality clashes, and people trying too hard to prove personal points. Thankfully, I'm far too junior to be enmeshed in this kind of corporate politicking - I simply go about my daily labours and go unnoticed for now.

Andrew - agh. That foul concoction known as bubble tea has finally infiltrated my favourite copy shop! Before I left, it was already making inroads into Australian society, or at least the Asian-student demographic. I hear that the shop near Hoyt's is owned by some enterprising students and they reportedly rake in about 10k profit a month. Goes to show that Asian-student stupidity has great market potential - remember that Neoprint shop next to Mind Games on Swanston?

As for computer parts; here are my opinions:

a) Pentium 4.... 2.0 gHz or higher. (Or should i get an athlon?) - Athlon. Definitely. It's cheaper, and they survive longer in temperate climes. Make sure you don't get a stock fan - buy a decent brand like Thermaltake. The swap meets should have them on sale.

b) optical mouse - Go for wireless!:) If you don't mind changing batteries.

c) LCD monitor. If the price is okay... like sub $900 i guess...? = Sub $900 is doable for a 15" - probably around low 800s. But frankly, I find LCD monitors a bit.. irritating to my eyes. It's highly subjective, but I personally prefer a cheaper, flat-screen CRT monitor. You'll have to peer into many monitors to ascertain what you're comfortable with. While CRTs may look less funky, they're easier on my eyes at least, and for the same price as a 15" LCD I can jack up to a 19" model equivalent.

d) CD-RW and 16x DVD drive(s). Separately? Separately, of course - how are you going to do on-the-fly CD-to-CD copies otherwise? Ripping an image onto HD takes time. I'd recommend a Lite-on CD-burner; they're the best value for money and they're good quality as well - particularly if you can't afford a Plextor like most normal humans or non-Indonesian students. Same goes for DVD-ROM

e) Printer, inkjet, sub $200... about $100. You could get a low-end Lexmark or Canon for $100, but I suggest forking out a little more and getting a decent Epson Stylus 480 or thereabouts. A decent printer is an investment you will not regret as a student.

f) Reasonable soundcard. About $100. These are dirt cheap. An SB Live! Value will be just fine.

g) 56k Modem. Internal or external? Either would do. With voice/data/fax. Sub ... 100. Internal modems are evil. Evil! They can mess up your system in all sorts of ways and they take up space you might want to use next time. Don't skimp - get a US Robotics 56k Fax/Data for about $150 or thereabouts. You won't regret it. Or better still, get broadband.. but I know how restrictive the connections at hostels are.

h) Ethernet card (hrm, i saw one selling for $30 at the computer shop in the union) For your usage level it doesn't really matter. Get a cheap 100BaseT card anywhere.

i) Video card (i know nuts about them, what is good?) + j) 3D card HAHAHAHAHA. Long gone are the days when you had to get an Orchid Righteous 3D card with that mondo thick pass-through cable to plug onto your S3 Trio OEM. Erm... as far as I can tell , your gaming needs are fairly simplistic, so go for a half-way decent GeForce 4 MX 440, They're about $220-$270AUD depending on which brand - shop around a little. Make sure you ask if they have OEM cards as they'll be cheaper - but it's not easy to find for new graphics cards. If thats a little too steep, downgrade to a GeForce 4 MX 400 for about $150 or so - Leadtek retails at that price, I believe.

USB ports and stuff, umm can't think of anything else. Hard drive? Keyboard? Speakers? HD space depends on your budget; as for keyboard get a decent Logitech one if you can afford it - it'll last - and speakers also depends onyour budget. Try to find the old Altec Lansing ACS45 sets - 4 satellite + subwoofer. It's quite decent value for money. Some of the older ones even still have wood subwoofers, which add greater resonance.

Go to this site for some comparison shopping.

And, finally, if you're not above second-hand stuff, check out this page. It also details when the monthly swap meets occur - that's where you can get some really good prices. They also sell a few odds and ends on occasion you might like to pick up - like antique 386 RAM:)

Lunch time.
I'm irritated. Clicking on one of Gabriel's damn links has totally erased the post I was writing. Fudgecakes.

Why would anyone want to convert a BAT to COM? I mean, who uses BAT files anymore? The only one I have left is a little thingamajig I whipped up a few years back to organise my mp3s, and nowadays there are heaps of freeware utilities that can carry out this function more effectively. But then again, I suppose as a genuflection to the technogeek aesthetic, we should be promoting such technical trivia....

For reasons too complicated to explain, I was scouring the web today for pics of straitjackets(specifically a Kansas gallows vest), or of medical orderlies in mental hospitals. It was surprisingly difficult to find one that was non-pornographic - I cannot begin to describe some of the degeneracy I had to wade through. This only goes to prove the Internet's power as a force for creating communities; even for freaks and perverts with the most outre of tastes. As a friend of mine once said: "These days you can not only find people who share your taste in sex with goats, but people who like the same *colour* of goat." Here's one of the more disturbing ones - disturbing precisely because it isn't so overtly depraved, but has more sinister overtones.

Well, I assure you most of the money raised in Islamic banking (at least in Malaysia) goes into very secular pockets:) But yes, there ARE a lot of rich Islamic merchants around using their money to fund terrorist activity. Sad, but true.

You know and I know money-lending isn't getting something for nothing - but we're approaching it from a modern, Econs-educated sensibility. As you pointed out, no one in the Dark Ages understood Economics. To them, it was witchcraft: money being used to generate more money without any form of concrete investment. To be frank, it does sometimes seem like witchcraft to me today:) You do know that in our society, after you make your first million, it's generally easier to make more millions. This was probably more true in the Middle Ages - the Black Death and internecine warfare notwithstanding

I was going to describe today's goings-on, but it was eliminated by Gabriel's evil link. Damn him. So I'll have to give the short version: went for a mid-afternoon karaoke session with some of my colleagues. Shall not depersonalise them but instead address them by name: Saravanan (aka Sara), Reza, Simon, and an ex-colleague, Ian, who was my predecessor at the department I work in. Now, this karaoke bar we went to is called the Red Box - it's this surreally techno-congested place with lots of perspex, blinking lights, transparent walls around a central area which contains the LD banks, their network server, as well as the automatic feeder arms, and a generally technosleazy motif. It reminds me oddly of the Cheap Hotel in William Gibson's Neuromancer - all the karaoke rooms are extremely small, yet comfortable coffins equipped with fake-leather seats, a 29" television set and a control panel for song selection. Nothing does the job of relieving a week of stress like belting out Queen's "We are the Champions" at 1:30 in the afternoon while still in afternoon garb. I think we were the loudest group there - when going to the toilet I could hear Simon screaming the lyrics to Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name". It's remarkably cheap too - 10RM per person for the room plus a meal, soup and soft drinks. However, the karaoke captions had more spelling mistakes than in the whole of Gabriel's "Improve Your English" section. I kid you not.

Beep. Neverwinter Night calls. And I *still* didn't get any work done today.

(note: I've just realised that I can't post from home again. And this is despite going into safe mode. So I guess from now on all posts, even late night ones, will have to be done from work the following morning. Nevermind; Internet access is my inalienable right as a constructive member of the workforce)
I was browsing in the newspaper for computer prices, and they.... aren't so bad.
Okay... so far i want a

a) Pentium 4.... 2.0 gHz or higher. (Or should i get an athlon?)
b) optical mouse
c) webcam (actually, strike that, unless it's a more expensive detachable one i'll only use it for taking silly pictures of myself at the computer)

c) LCD monitor. If the price is okay... like sub $900 i guess...?
d) CD-RW and 16x DVD drive(s). Separately? .
e) Printer, inkjet, sub $200... about $100.
f) Reasonable soundcard. About $100.
g) 56k Modem. Internal or external? Either would do. With voice/data/fax. Sub ... 100.
h) Ethernet card (hrm, i saw one selling for $30 at the computer shop in the union)
i) Video card (i know nuts about them, what is good?)
j) 3D card
USB ports and stuff, umm can't think of anything else.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

David Thian has been awarded, for his Physical Employment Status, a grade of "E". In layman's terms, PES E!


1 week of lectures for BMT, no wearing of No 4, stayout and best of all, NO RESERVIST!

That's just a step above PES F (the SAF doesn't want you at all, not even as a road sweeper).

Naturally, he is upset he will never get knocked down, will never injure himself during SOC, will never get soil disease while outfield and will never choke on the acrid smoke of gumpowder.

Money lending isn't getting something for nothing - you forfeit the potentially profitable use of your capital for the interest you get. But then no one in the Dark Ages understood Economics.

And I was referring to distaste of money lending, not of merchants in general - Mohammad was married to an owner of many caravans. Who incidentally was older than him :)

I suspect much of the money which goes for "betterment of society" goes to Islamic charities, which, as we all know, are fronts for terrorist funding :))

Of this is so embarrassing.

I feel like burying my head in a hole.

Then again, we have this:

" Let's say I set up a site "VirginMen", it's very simple aim is to flatter
men, and for the girls to flock in. And here I have the contributions
section, of which men can contribute their own photos or other ppl's photo
as long as no girl(identities shall be kept confidential) opposed the fact
that they are "virgin", of which otherwise the guy shall be blacklisted. On
a deeper level, it serves to a)offend some men (why should they be offended?
It's harmless!), b)invade their privacy. And of course, nominated top male
virgin of the week....mister nw.t! Tell me, will you want your name off the
list? :) And who in this case, will be the really "humiliated" ones (Chief
aka Sex God of JCGirls, supporters of JCGirls)?"
My mobile bill for the month preceding 19th July is $138.30. Oh dear.

Maybe I should switch from the Prime plan to the Ultimate plan. Ugh.

I am currently pink as a lobster from sitting in the sun at Marina South earlier today. Bah.

The above has given me a headache. I need to rest.

Clarification: Dom is anti-England and pro-Third World in the realm of football. And I got all those juicy bits off his sister's page. Specifically this part.

Geeky tool of the day from the Langalist:

BAT to COM file convertor

"Converting them to the .com format makes them execute faster, and also hides the actual contents of the batch file from prying eyes, should you have that need. On the other hand, leaving batch files as plain text makes them easier to understand, modify and debug.... See also http://www.computing.net/dos/wwwboard/forum/9854.html "

And weird site.
Third word of the day: "adiaphoron"

What the hell? Try here instead. If that doesn't work, go to Kazaa and download it yourself- after all, you're on broadband and I'm not. Remember - the *cello* instrumental, not the original.

One of my more dysfunctional comrades from the frontlines in Singapore breezed into town on a Tioman wind. He's here to unwind, gratis, before heading over to the UK for some bizarre PR job with a telco. I am mildly destitute, but the demands of protocol insist that I show him a decent time here. Have managed to cunningly swap out my working Saturday with another of my colleagues, so we'll probably go shopping - he has some bizarre purchasing requirements before heading Britanniaside. Nevermind; I shall relish the chance to spend a weekend with an old friend like a normal human being.

This morning, something happened that made me feel part of my homeland in a way that I have never experienced. As I was driving into the open lot where I park, I made an illegal U-turn as I do every morning. This time, however, the long arm of the law caught up with me - in the form of a police officer(Malay, naturally), riding his motorcycle up as I pulled over to the curb in sour disgust.

He ambled over casually, and as I lowered the window, the conversation went something like thus:

The below is translated from Malay/English pidgin. It's a pity, because the conversation can only be fully appreciated in all its subtle intricacy in the original form. Still - for comprehension's sake...

"License and IC please."

I fumbled in my wallet for my drivers' license and IC. He accepted both documents and walked in controlled strides to the front of my car where he proceeded to scribble what I presume was my license plate number industriously into his notebook. Following some intense transcription, he walked back to the window.

"Do you know that what you did can be fined up to 500RM?"

Now, despite being still rather naive and wet behind the ears as far as living back home is concerned, there were basic precautions even *I* knew how to perform in such an exigency. As soon as I saw his lights flashing in the mirror, I had rapidly pulled out my wallet and stuffed all the notes contained within save two into my glove compartment. Some of you can already see where this is leading, I'm sure...

I replied(and here I have to use the original Malay phrasing), "Boleh tolong, bang?" ("dis donc. Can you help, brother?")

Now, in Malaysia, those three words represent the underlying foundation of all interactions between the private and public sector; or, to be more accurate, of all interactions between anyone vested with the authority of government; and the governed themselves. In those three words are conveyed a fatalistic recognition that everyone is part of a brutal Hobbesian world; a world in which everyone is a mere cog in a mechanism of oppression - and the authority figure is simply carrying out the task that Fate has chosen for him as the arbiter of arbitrary rules... he's simply doing his job. His own personal sympathies may lie squarely with the poor citizen who was simply trying to live perfectly in an imperfect world. Yet not all is doom and gloom - for implicit in that statement is also the understanding that, despite the roles assigned to us, we are all still men of honest features and noble hearts, and that between such brothers-in-arms forced into opposing roles by cruel Kismet, some Pareto-efficient outcome can be achieved, to the joy of everyone, despite the rigours and hardships of everyday life.

Upon my invocation of confiteor, he replied, "So how do you want to play it?" ("Nak bagaimana?" - it's NOT a literal translation, obviously:)

I opened my wallet to reveal the paucity of money in my wallet. Hastily, I plucked out the two notes(totalling 60RM), and proffered them to him with the cantata cry:
"This is all I have."

Immediately he waved at me frantically, his features in a grimace: "Eh.. don't wave that so high lah. People are watching. This is your first time, is it?" I detected a faintly paternal tone in his voice, the voice of a kind passerby educating a young waif in the ways of the world.

Then he brandished his clipboard and gestured with his head in a very loaded manner. Ah, the amazing way in which we can "condense meaning from the vapour of nuance" in such a simple bodily movement!

I nodded, and he walked lazily to the rear of the car, taking down more notes. I later caught a glimpse of the notebook and, as some of you brighter ones can probably guess, there was nothing on it save a kidney-shaped scrawl. Then he returned to me, continued with the "wayang"(pavane) of industriously enforcing traffic law and making more scribbles. At length, he passed his clipboard to me through the window, with my license and ID fastened to it by a metal caliper at its top. Wordlessly, I took the clipboard onto my lap, unclipped my license and ID before taking it back, and slipped the two notes into the caliper before passing the whole clipboard back to him. He took it with a grunt, and admonished me, "Next time be more careful. You got off cheap for the car you're driving." He then strode back to his motorcycle, and I continued my interrupted process of parking.

Now, after this, I felt nothing but a completely warm glow of patriotism that not even our lacklustre National Day propaganda festivals have failed to engender in me. I'm totally serious here. It was a profound love for a nation and society that so valued the spirit of free enterprise and libertarian principle. And like some enlightened Singaporeans can make the distinction; loving a society, even as it currently stands, does not necessarily entail support for the government. After all; consider the net result -

a) I had certainly learned my lesson in the dangers of breaking traffic laws(I'm definitely going to take a longer route around the block for the next few months)
b) The policeman had earned his due as an enforcer of the moral principle embodied in (a)
c) We had circumvented an oppressive and totalitarian government who would have screwed me out of a considerable amount of money, and the police officer of his rightful due as the hand of justice.

What a wonderful country I live in!

Actually, there's another interesting little event of the day to relate, but I'll save it for a later entry. On to the "reply" phase.

You saved.. 74 cents, Andrew. Actually, that's not a bad way to go - in your time there, you WILL consume massive amounts of photocopying services. Building a little parsimony in your thinking at this stage vis-a-vis photocopying will help you in the long run. If you don't mind the walk, get stuff out of Bailieu reserve(you can haul it out for two hours or so) and bring it to one of the copy shops on Swanston street or the one on Bouverie next to the IS department.

I know who the chao keng army clerk is; I think - and I definitely know who the chao keng Pioneer writer is - but who's "the chao keng army storeman"?

Dom is so NOT pro third-world or anti-england in any way:) He actually just attended a symposium organised by the SG government on questions of reshaping the civil polity of Singaporean society. He has some amused insights, but they are his to share, if he so chooses.

Who are all the silent inactives?

Oh, I called the guy who owns the handphone. He wasn't at his desk. My brief spurt of morality is starting to fade like an orgasm.

Thank you for your authoritative statement on Islamic banking (too bad there isn't a sarcasm tag in HTML), Gabriel - I actually have to say that I'm quite a fond admirer of some of the verbal and conceptual loops Islamic banking takes in order to fit with the letter AND spirit of the Koran. Now, I will TRY not to lecture(the same way I will TRY to be a better person and TRY to eat less luncheon meat) but the basic tenet behind the prohibition of usury is a distaste for rent-seeking behaviour ie. something for nothing; which modern economists acknowledge as being disruptive to the functioning of a free market. And in Koranic days, the most cheapskate form of rent-seeking behaviour(short of being a despotic ruler) was to be a money-lender - something for nothing. Now, granted, the letter of Islam is obviously unalterable to take into account the evolution of the modern capital market, in which interest on monies paid is no longer a function of such behaviour, but rather a legitimate recognition of investment. Which Islam DOES encourage - in fact this emphasis on returns on investment as opposed to simple interest gathering underlies a host of products such as Mudharabah, Al-bai Bithaman Aijil, and many others. Again, I will not go into a comprehensive overview of the various products available under Islamic banking, but when you speak of gratuity payments, you are probably referring to a very specific Islamic concept sometimes called al-Wadiah; which refers to the giving of a gift in exchange for trust. It is the principle
underlying most Islamic savings accounts. Bonds, NIDCs(negotiable instruments of deposit) and term loans all use other Islamic concepts in which gratuities play no part.

Now, I normally have an intense distaste for most of what Islam represents, and I will definitely acknowledge that there is sophistry being toyed with here in the letter of Koranic law, but Islam was a religion of merchants for a very long time before the fanatic waves culminating in the Wahhabism of today's Osamas. It was also the most tolerant religious structure in medieval times - Jews were treated better in Jerusalem than they were under the Christian papacy. And there are *many* tenets in Islam which encourage trade, entrepeneurship, and even some lines extolling the virtue of merchants who get rich and subsequently use this wealth for the betterment of society. Classic trickle-down economics. You've got it backward, Gabriel - Islamic banking is an example of people following the spirit of Islam while playing games with the letter of religious text; and we could do with a lot more of this.

"Sembahyang" means "pray"

Alright, have to go now. Sub umbra alarum tuarum.
Today was our Life Run, held at Marina South.

For once, I was a few minutes late, arriving 5 minutes later than the stipulated timing, both because my father'd taken a wrong turn and he'd been unwilling to stop banging at his stocks and shares for some minutes before we left. Oh well, the most that can happen is that I'll be confined or sign one extra (the first that I'd have signed in my indenture, by the way).

The significance of the concept of Life (Lifelong Investment in Fitness and Exercise) still eludes me, but I suppose the powers that be thought it a cute acronym.

I was, and still am, aching in at least 4 places - the extremes of my chest where my arms meet my shoulders, and my inner thighs, the former courtesy of IPPT and the latter kindly given to me by unarmed combat. As such, the Life run became a Life walk for me, and I joined the suspiciously large walking contingent.

The SAF Music and Drama Company came down to teach the Battallion the not-so-fun dance. The response from us was grudging and lukewarm at best, even with the bubbly enthusiasm of the MDC people. I think the only thing that excited most people was seeing the MDC girls. One of them was rather unnerving - whenever she lifted her arms, you could see part of a tattoo starting underneath her belly button. Where it went to, or what it depicted, I have no interest in knowing. When I pointed the tattoo out, Sinsiang said I was very "observant". Bah.

Later, during "Connect" time (see earlier entries for an explanation of this), the CO asked us to close in around the MDCers and "connect" with them. Everyone suddenly became very animated and swamped the poor few MDCers. And later we were chided by the CO:

"Next time we connect, and there are ladies present, do not behave as if you haven't seen ladies for 20 years"

There was a kite making competition. How novel. And HQ lost. Again. Even though we have the most men :)


"When I contacted Jenny [Someone: Gay boy] (Zaini)"

"All those of RSM calibre. Regimental's shortest man (Regiment's)"

"Firstly, did you all enjoy the fundance? [Silence ensues] You all didn't enjoy the fundance."

My parents are trying to persuade me to take up driving lessons. When I voiced my lack of interest,

"You must learn to take an interest in something. Everything also 'not interested'."

I am very tired after my LIFE walk and Games Day, though I can't seem to fall asleep. So I will again rattle on.

Daniel? Why doesn't he call himself, say, Nebuchadnezzar!

Will 'Daniel' have to go back and do NS?

Wth's "sembahyang"?

The dear macross file refuses to play. Incidentally, I used to have the original version, sent to me by Julian, but it gave me a headache and I deleted it. He sends me stuff now and then, but they do induce migraines sometimes, so the next time I get one from one of his ingame mp3s or other new age music, I'll delete it, together with my Shostakovich directory!

wt can have my Abdominiser. One of the few Sellavision products my parents ever bought, because it was recommended by my auntie. Not that it did me any good :)

Islamic banking involves gratuity payments I believe. So we have yet another example of people following Islam to the letter and not to the spirit. Rather a pity, because actually the spirit of Islam is relatively tolerant and liberal, considering the socio-economic-historical context of its founding. It's just that people seem to be obsessed with following what is said - not caring about what is not said. I'm sure if Mohammad were alive today, he'd ban smoking, but since he didn't explicitly forbid smoking, Muslims happily smoke their lungs black, while imbibing just a few drops of alcohol is considered to be sinful.

In this weblog, besides the 3 active posters, we have one relatively active poster - the chao keng army clerk, one occasional poster - the chao keng army storeman, and rounding out the slave chattel, the chao keng Pioneer writer! Apart from that, we have an aureate not so screwed up girl with an oh-so-slight accent who pops in now and then to utter one liners and an anti-england and pro third-world guy in christ's cambridge who hates anakin skywalker and has posted once. And some silent inactives, of course.
mum was right, although the advice came at 12 something last night and i told her i thought it was being too kancheong. This morning i went down to the office

Andrew: Hi, i was wondering since daniel (chaowan) is leaving...
nice new woman in office: Yeah...-
Andrew: if i could move to his room?
nice new woman in office: My you're fast. What an opportunist! (But all in a kind friendly tone since she's friend-ly!) You'll have to see mary (house manager) for that.

Mary said it's tight, v. tight ... but she'll check it out for me. 'Cos i'll have to move out of my room and into his room by tomorrow (friday), before the cleaners leave at 3pm (so they can clean my room) so the fresher (new student) who might have been allocated his room could go to my room instead. And i have classes until 1pm tomorrow. I hope i can!! Actually, i feel like calling mary up to say i'll vacuum my room (hell, i just vacuumed it yesterday!) so the cleaners don't *have* to do much cleaning. And anyway i keep my room neat and clean (comments from other people)

Yay.... i hope... if i get his room (his room is the same size as mine) i'll be on the 1st floor instead of the 4th floor, and i'll get an extra study room! But i'll be losing nice neighbours ... sally and sophie and (the invisible) Ian (who has only been seen a) doing student service; b) walking outside for dinner; c) taking baths at 11.30pm).
Study room also means i'll only have to move my belongings into the study during holidays, instead of packing everything and dragging them to trunk rooms.

I was so embarrassed by the untidiness of my room last weekend (when i moved back in) i put up a notice outside my door saying "ANDREW is not entertaining visitors until his room is tidied up ... just joking, but mind the mess~!"
Hahaha! Thought nobody would notice it - i needed to copy last year's exam paper from the library and photocopying's exorbitant at 12 cents a page. And each question was on a new page. So I photocopied the 2 long questions and typed the rest into blogger (not keen on emailing it to myself like i used to- the library computers disabled everything except for Netscape and yahoo mail formats all yr text to fit the 80 (?) character width thingy). And cut out the text and printed the questions out in ormond. Instead of spending 9*12= $1.08 i spent 2*12 + 10 = $0.34 !!!
I see Andrew has deleted the questions from his exam paper that he, for some unknown reason, put up. :) Wise choice, methinks - next time wait till at least a week after the paper, hmm? But do click "publish" next time.

Someone was pointing me to threads on the Sammyboy forum a while ago. Though the other parts of the site aren't very savory, I must say the template for a letter to the Straits Times is very funny.

"The Straits Times "Letters to the Editor" template. Use the template below to compose your letter. The publication of your letter is guaranteed! All you need to do is to fill in the blanks. What could be simpler.

Dear Editor of the Straits Times,

I fully agree with the govt's stand on ______________.

The Singapore govt has led Singapore to become one of the most successful nations in the world. This would not have been possible without the leadership provided by the govt since independence.

Mr. __________, in a letter to your forum dated ________, said that we should allow more freedom and more political space in the area of_____________________. He also suggested that__________.

I do not agree with him at all. Singapore's political situation is unique and to take a more liberal stand regarding____________ would be playing right into the hands of Singapore's enemies.

We are very fortunate to have the PAP govt to lead the country through_____________. Without the PAP, Singapore would still be a fishing village.

To Quote the Hon BG___________, Minister of ____________, Who stated...."_________________________". I agree with the Hon BG___________ 100%.

We are lucky that we have people like him who are loyal and committed to Singapore.

Had he decided to go into the private sector, he would be earning a lot more. However, he was willing to make considerable sacrifices in order to be given the opportunity to lead Singapore.

Let us not be mislead by people like __________ who claim that Singaporeans have no political freedom. The fact that free and fair elections are held every few years shows that the country is democratic.

Ideas such as those proposed by ______________ should be nipped at the bud. To allow such ideas to take hold would cause the country to fall apart.

Singapore is my home and I have 100% faith in the govt to lead us through________________.

Let us all rally behind the govt. They have the interests of all Singaporeans at heart.


While doing research for my problem-based learning (PBL) tutorial tomorrow i came across this. It's 48 pages in total, but it's well-written and is quite moving. It's a report on promoting the health of the Aboriginals and Torres Straits Islanders- and their health status. It's engaging, and comprehendable to the layman unlike the articles i've been reading on the leptin protein and NPY. Read it!
I'm always amused and overjoyed when the angmohs in my apartment block in singapore speak english with a Purrr-fect singaporean accent. Most of them have spent a lot of their lives here

The average singaporean (non-malay) wouldn't even know what "sembahyang" is. But everyone knows babi- or maybe it's just because of the frequency of its usage by the associated ethnic group as an insult.

Chenyi suggested doing 500 crunches a day. (gape)

SCGS was renovated/moved (?) after *associate* left, so the scgs you're referring to may be a different one.

* * wank shed has a "You know you're watching a malay drama when..." that is very funny and very accurate 'ccording to jer fuu.

Bear in mind the same person gave her age as 55 when her class asked her two years ago. As crystal put it, "Once you get to a certain age you don't age anymore".

Doing research on dietary intake, overweight and obesity, energy balance brought to mind these lyrics. Yes it's corny- but corn lacks tryptophan and lyseine.

"Be Prepared", The Lion King
I know it sounds sordid
But you'll be rewarded
When at last I am given my dues
And injustice deliciously squared
Be prepared!

It's great that we'll soon be connected
With a king who'll be all-time adored

So prepare for the coup of the century
Be prepared for the murkiest scam
(Oooh... La! La! La!)
Meticulous planning
(We'll have food!)
Tenacity spanning
(Lots of food)
Decades of denial
(We repeat)
Is simply why I'll
(Endless meat)
Be king undisputed
Respected, saluted
And seen for the wonder I am
Yes, my teeth and ambitions are bared
Be prepared!
Word of the day(I know that makes two in one day, pedants): "tanstaafl"

Cicero would be appalled at your Latin gaffe; by all accounts he was a stickler for language. It's "De gustibus, non disputandum est."

Although, after a quick consultation with an acquaintance at Georgetown University with a stronger classical education than I possess, I was told that either "non disputandum est" or "non est disputandum" is technically acceptable; although "non est disputandum" would have a more literary effect by putting the emphasis on "disputandum" at the end - a literary characteristic of ecclesiastical Latin while the other variation is more commonly found in Vulgate Latin(the Manglish/Singlish of Latin).

Yes, I'm bored, so I shall bore you all too.

Argh. Work. Getting in the way of posting today's rather interesting experience with local law-enforcement. So shall hopefully have opportunity to post more anon.

BTW, I think I figured out how to link to that Asianprince page you wanted. Check back with me ASAP. And the ringtone I need composed is for a Nokia; the tune is available at http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Island/1996/macross_plus-myung_theme_cello.mp3. It's the cello version of the Macross Plus theme: "Voices" by Yoko Kanno. For the anime freaks, *yes* I know it's a cliched theme, but I still assert that the instrumental has mondo more intensity than the original.
Word of the day(it's past midnight): "sorite"

Another amusing test someone sent me - the Magic Creature Test. I am a Unicorn/Centaur, apparently.

I really should be sleeping, but I noticed Gabriel's assiduous posts, so I should keep pace and fire off a quick one before going to bed. Besides - I actually have a fair amount of work to do tomorrow. Damn it.

Firstly, with regards to the spiritual crusade over the fate of Some Poor Bastard's Nokia, so far all the commentary reinforcement has been for the side of angels.I guess everyone likes an underdog. As for citing the Golden Rule however; in my life it's always been "Do unto others before they do unto me." The battle rages on. Keep the moral paratroop drops coming.

Secondly, Manglish = Malaysian English; the local equivalent to Singlish. And as for the differences between the two; well, I've said earlier it's rather difficult to go into an extended colloquy on the whole linguistic gap issue - particulary when one realises that Malaysians in different part of Malaysia DO have different speech patterns. An East Malaysian Mandarin-speaker is verbally closer to Singapore compared to their more gracile, Cantonese-using counterparts in Selangor. There is also a greater use of Malay vernacular, such as "lari"(zhao), "lepak"(zuo bo), and "jakun"(obiang). I leave the last word to my Collins English Dictionary(Australian Edition) from its preface on the evolution of the English language:

"The popular tendency to lump together the English of Singapore with that of Kuala Lumpur is probably an oversimplification. Research yet to be undertaken is likely to reveal systematic differences due to the predominant Chinese and Malay influences respectively. Vocabulary differences reflect cultural differences."

ACJC sluts - *amused* - I've known a few. And yes, free of your inhibiting political correctness, I would say that ACJC girls (at least in my day) tended to have a distinct leaning towards slutty behaviour.

Vandread is an anime series with some of the best CGI use around.

Akira Fubuki is a very good-looking Japanese hard-core porn star. Savour the joy.

There's nothing inherently wrong with Asians having Western accents; I just have an irrational prejudice towards them. Think of it as part of my conservative moral values. And it is the fact that they are "as Australian as the natural Aussies" that I find mildly offensive - assimilation is one thing, but in my experience, many of them seem excessively eager to ignore their roots. Not that one can blame them - Western culture with all its compelling hedonism and allure - but anyway, I have no idea how this thread of conversation degenerated into me being the defender of Chinese culture. So I'll leave it at that.

I *have* known a Caucasian raised in Penang. Speaks perfect Hokkien in a Chinese accent. He's a beng in angmoh form.

I'm actually thinking of going into full sit-ups, but I hear it's bad for your back. And I'm too lazy to do a full gym routine - with cardio, warm-ups, calisthenics, weights and all. Ah well - given my piteous physical state, even crunches are an exertion for me. So I'm hope I'm getting *something* there....

SJI's bad statues are all in the new building. The old building actually had some pretty nice murals and portraits around - which, as you say, may explain why it's now the Singapore Art Museum. All their artistic sensitivities must have been left there as well in the move to Malcolm Road.

The Economist's greatest strength for me is the way it picks esoteric but relevant topics, in addition to its usual pithy insights on the latest news. It also has a very clear political and economic ideology which it hews to consistently - unlike most other mainstream rags which try to waffle around centre-left liberalism(esp. Newsweek) but happily pick up right-wing rhetoric when the national mood suits them.

SCGS - "yellow" - because the building is painted yellow. Or was, in my day.Well, not exactly yellow, more like this off-shoot of beige. What do you expect; I'm colour-blind! (literally - the green/red variety which means I fail that eye test where they show you a bunch of dots and ask you discern a number)

Just completed a discussion of Islamic Banking with a friend of mine. Bear this in mind: Islam prohibits usury - which kind of is the underlying principle of all banking activity right? Somehow, them funky Syariah scholars have managed to develop a very comprehensive range of Islamic products from banking, insurance, to fixed-income securities... some of which are actually viable alternatives to conventional banking products. Most of this is achieved through very amusing sophistry that results in products whose stated underlying principle differs from normal products, but produces the same net effect.

And yes.. we're a diverse bunch; we've got the happyhappy international student, the stressed-out army boy, the working dude.. who else? Hell, we're even international (or at least cross-border). With the amount of stuff we discuss, some of those words have got to surface on search engines eventually... I just wonder if other blogs get as much porn-related hits as we do. Incidentally, a large proportion of the people referred to your site came from other blogs, Gabriel. It seems that word is spreading - but then again, most of those sites belong to people who list Balderdash under their "Friends" link, implying a real-life connection. Bah. Reality.

Lacking anything better to do, or indeed anything to do, on Wednesday night, I took up Geraldine's offer to watch the Day II of the SYF Choral Festival, held at the Singapore Conference Hall (It seems the youth are deserting VCH, forsaking it for other venues! Aww).

Unfortunately, because the arms weren't cleared until 6:45 or so (so much for "CDO to clear arms by 1730"), I arrived at about 8:30 and missed the whole of the first half of the very short concert - it started at 7:30 and ended by 9:00. And so I paid $12 (which is already quite outrageous for such a short concert) for about half an hour of music.

And Screwed Up Girl told me my seat was at B4, but B4 was occupied, probably by gatecrashers. So I ended sitting on the not uncomfortable floor at the top of the hall.

At least I got to see Ms Chiang! Her hair's grown back - somebody'd told me she'd cut it again. And I saw some of my juniors presently in Sec 4, though I didn't get to go and say hello.

All of the conductors look weird in the program. Must be a makeover given to all of them.

The second half started off with the "Girls' Choir". They were all attired in T-shirts (most not tucked in) and pants, and seemingly had no conductor. The reason for their slackness became apparent when they started singing "Joyful, joyful" from Sister Act 2 - in true Sister Act style, starting off sort of traditionally and then becoming very sleazy and incorporating lots of choreography, body movement and stunts (2 girls did a split near the start of the song, so). And one of them really really looked like a boy. Or maybe it was - token representation from the other gender. Anyhow, the filler item finally ended and the real choir, the JC choir, came onstage, each chorister in their own performance attire.

And boy was there a great variety of performance attire. Including the Secondary Schools, the gamut of colours and designs (many bad) was visually entertaining. There were the usual waiters (Victoria School being the most waiterish of the lot), gowns in an ugly shade of cyan and the two sister schools (MGS and RGS, differing only by the fact that the former's gowns have a white band at the waist, something which caused a great deal of discomfort in TJC's 1998 Christmas Concert, when both choirs were invited to perform). There was also something new - CHIJ St Nicholas had this ugly Chinese inspired costume, with black leggings inside (Unfair! They don't have to wear skirts or dressses, with all the attendant implications), and a red surcoat on top, with a black line with patterns on it running down the central axis of the body. Perhaps the most interesting costume was this gown which had a colour gradient - black at the neckline, fading to medium gray at the hemline above the ankle. All I can say is - "De gustibus non est disputandum".

Looking at the extreme left of the top row of the JC choir, standing with all the girls, I saw Kelvin Chan. So he's stll singing Sop! Yeh.

Nelson really looks very different from the last time I saw him. He wasn't wearing his beloved Kashmiri Wool jacket anymore as he can't fit into it - it's too big!

I was rather amused by Nelson's conducting of the JC choir in "Yun Fei Tian Bu Dong", by Ju Xi Xian (so now we know who composed it!). While the JC choir sang it, I was making reference to TPJC's version, also conducted by Nelson, which I have on my computer, and which you can get at TPJC Choir's MP3.com site. (NB: This was one of the first MP3s I got. Recommended by Tim, naturally, for the sample of bad english - Nelson introducing the song, naturally! "Our first song...s (s sound added after a pause), yun2 fei1 tian1 bu2 dong4, Moving Cloud In A Still sky, is a Chinese art song which describes people's feelings ['feelings' said in a Hong Kong accent]. Though lovers [r in 'lovers' is rolled] are apart, but the *passion*, never dies ['never dies' said sleazily]. Like the boat that sails [said loftily] upon the shimmering water, it carries the love for the dear ones, far away. [polite claps from audience after prolonged pause]")

Surprisingly, Nelson managed to make the JC choir sing "Yun Fei Tian Bu Dong" even more sleazily than TPJC. I didn't really think sleazy singing was appropriate for the song, but we know his tendencies, so. :)

Again, a lot of people were afflicted by Parkinson's Disease. When the lively song, "Mein Kleiner Gruner Kaktus" (My little green cactus) by the Comedian Harmonists, was being performed, a good portion of the JC hoir started jerking uncontrollably, like they were afflicted by fits or something. I do hope they get treatment soon, before the fits spread throughout their whole body.

The final song, Evenin' Time, a Jamaican Folksong, was by the Festival Choir, conducted by the person they'd shipped in from the USA - Professor Jing Ling-Tam (who looks rather like a bargirl in the program), and arranged by her too. At the start of the song, and during the musical interlude, she upstaged the drummer by going and banging the drums herself - how ignominous!

After the final item, all the conductors appeared. Uncharacteristically, Jennifer Tham was in a business pant suit.

After the conductors'd all run away, the Festival choir did an impromptu encore - of Ba Jun Zan, naturally, arranged by the Professor herself. I didn't really like the arrangement, and the performance was made worse by the fact that the choir and the audience was clapping along, their enthusiasm led them to sing somewhat haphazardly, sounding like madmen towards the end and I couldn't hear any solo - which made the song essentially a chorus of supporting parts. After they'd finished that song, they were still very happy and so started singing another number, even as everyone was leaving the hall for fear of being stuck listening to an over-enthusiastic choir singing over-enthusiastically without any conductor.

Overall, it was rather funkier than the last SYF Choral Festival I went to, in 1998 or 2000, in terms of the selection of songs and the mixing of choristers from the different schools and dividing them into the Festival, Mixed, Boys', Girls' and JC choirs. Looks like they're moving with the times.

As always, the MC thanked everyone for making the concert a huge success. But then, what are the criteria defining the success of an event such as this? The audience was mostly made up of choir people, so the number of filled seats wouldn't be a very good gauge of success.

After the concert, I went backstage to wreak some havoc. Kelvin Chan was happy to see me - till I messed up his hair, that is. I was actually not going to do that, even though gelled hair tempts me so, screaming out at me, "Touch me! Ruffle me! Disorder me!". However, I saw, to my horror, that he'd spiked his hair a la ACJC posers, so I took appropriate steps. Then he complained that I'd bullied him again. But he's a lot less touchy about his hair now - last time, when he had his perfect, neat and combed coiffure (which probably took half a tub of hair gel each time - though he told me, when I asked, that he spent only $2 or $3 per month on his hair gel), anyone who touched it was subject to his Yell of Death. I do wonder how much money he's saved since late 1998 or early 1999 when he proclaimed that he wouldn't style his hair unless a special occasion was coming up. I hope he hasn't reneged on his promise and spikes his hair in school now!

After some searching, I found Nelson, and as usual, there was a long line of vassals waiting to consult with their liege. I did manage to get in a word at the end, and he asked me to "keep the emails coming". How heart warming :) He's finally hired a maid, so "doing house chore" is no longer the best way to lose weight, and he's gaining too. He seemed quite happy that his lightest weight was lower than mine (my post-BMT one that is), but complained that he'd gained 4 kg to 88. Maybe he's going to catch up with me!

I also saw my choir seniors hanging around, the batch of 1996. Even now, they are a close knit lot, and I saw the usual faces - Chun Leck, Zisheng, Jiahao (not the fat one but the tall one), Junbin, who has now upped his funkiness quotient by growing even longer hair and colouring it mostly blonde, though on first glance, his chin stud is gone, and friends. Ugh, I can't remember some of their names! Sob.

Geraldine's swapped uniforms with Adela, so their sweat got to mingle and mix. I've never actually gotten the chance to swap uniforms actually. I wonder who has my size :) The former was also wearing purple hot socks! I'm utterly shocked, dismayed, disgusted, revulsed and revolted! Perhaps as retribution for that sin, she's now breaking out in pimples!

Going home, I put my beret on Yechao's head. He liked it so much, he refused to let go, so I was forced to activate my long disused, much dreaded OBEDIENCE COLLAR to get it back, together with some wrestling and drop kicks. Gah.

Tong tells me that she saw Mr Jamie Reeves at Rawa Island. Haha! Ah all these lucky girls get to travel before their Uni term starts.

I just think that "Contrapunto Bestiale Alla Mente" is such a cute song. And the one by Collegium Vocale Koln is especially cute.

And some digging reveals an excellent article:

Italian Renaissance Humour

Interestingly enough, it also touches on Matona Mia.

Ah, thank god for Wu Jie, introducing us to the world of classical choral music! With all the famous works, including opera choruses, pieces of sacred music and other works for which terms for don't readily come to mind at this hour, fatigued as I am by IPPT and UC.

Words of wisdom from Tong: "anyway, u shldn think so poorly of ur own company that u can't do stuff alone." Mmm.
Mid-week post:

Tomorrow we have a Batallion Run at Marina South - a refreshing (I hope) change of scenery from East Coast Parkway. And then I get to (wow, I GET to) clear half a day of my off. During which I can either be boring and stay at home and sleep or be equally boring and go to RJ again. Goodie.

I was surprised to see, in the Lion-Serval shared level 1 void deck, the kites that Temasek Secondary uses for their item. I'd actually been naive enough to think that the students or the school kept the props. Oh, why would they be so dumb when they could use the SAF's resources? And someone pointed out that NSFs probably made the props too. I wonder which unit keeps CHIJ's garlands.

I am told the NDP stage burnt down! Perhaps it is the work of evil terrorists!

Restored Post

I suspect that there are steroids in our water. Instead of the mind altering substances of BMT, they are spiking it with body altering substances! I come to this conclusion from looking at this morning's IPPT results. 41 Situps, 10.5s (I think) for Shuttle Run, ~184cm for Standing Broad Jump (They are so confident of their soldiers that the minimum marking is 189cm - I jumped just short of that and so got the same as for my S Papers - Unclassified! Haha.) and 16:44 for the 2.4km run. This with next to no physical training since BMT, and a weight increase to boot.

Whoever planned our program was very intelligent. Either that, or very sadistic, for after IPPT in the morning we had our first Unarmed Combat lesson.

Unarmed Combat in the SAF is titularly Taekwando, but it is rather different from the version I learnt a long long time ago (and for which I have the cert, gotten through numerous gradings in the now-defunct Geylang Stadium [formerly Gay World I believe] somewhere). It is also much worse. Today's lesson was actually rather light, except for the stretching, which by all accounts, is actually the most tiring and painful part of the whole lesson. We did splits in all directions, or tried to at any rate, and held them for 30 counts - rather light apparently, as people have ever done 200 on their first lessons. My thighs still hurt now though.

Apparently the durians that fall from the trees outside my camp are very big and nice, and taxi drivers stop by to pick them. Looking at one of the thickets, I also saw rambutans and possibly jackfruit.

Ho Poh Fun was in Life, as Andrew mentioned somewhere. I read the article, and it only mentions her and her age (55) in passing. So nothing to laugh about.


"Oh no! i just saw a man with the same hair as asian prince!" (sms)

"You all are fighting over a box of condoms?"

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Before posting my load of crap for the day, I will reply to the previous posts by others in reverse chronological order, which I don't normally do :)

I think NS details are boring, but hey, I want to track my "lost years" in some way, so I know they weren't totally wasted. Well.

Ahh the vicious circle of thievery and recrimination. Just return the damn thing! The Golden Rule rocks. My naivete is refreshing, is it not? :)

I suppose our eclectic mix of posters, posting on a wide range of topics, serves to attract a great deal of surfers searching for eccentric stuff. Oh and there's the zaogeng, how could I forget? Just one quote from my BMT sergeant here, and we see what results we get! Do these people try and peer down blouses and up skirts in real life? And you forgot the most important keyword for Islamic terrorism - Mohammad! Or variant spellings - Mahomet, Muhammad, Mohammed, Mahomet - anymore?

SCGS - yellow?

Ahh I am lamentably deficient in reading High Fiction and Quality Non-fiction. Oh well.

The Raffles Tree is disgusting. An example of horrific modern art. For those fortunate enough not to have seen this grotesque artifact - check out a 3D view!

Well Carmee Lim was very into IT and a good principal by all accounts. But a bad singer, so.

Wasn't "The Man Who Lost His Language"'s story of the person who could could talk about what she heard and write about what he read, but could not write about what he heard or talk about what he read about the husband of the author? The one who got the condition a while after finishing his masterpiece. Well at least he sang his swansong.

I love the Economist's book reviews! They're just so witty and acerbic. Most of em anyway - some articles in the mag in general have whole paragraphs that read like a amalgam of loosely connected statements (kinda like my bookout posts, but worse).

This one in particular is memorable (took me a while to find - their search engine isn't very good). It's on a book called "The World We're In" by Will Hutton.

"Had Mr Hutton devoted himself to extolling Europe's virtues, and explaining how its current flaws could be cured, he might have produced an interesting book. There is plenty that is good about Europe. Indeed, one of the healthiest trends in British politics recently has been a new willingness in all the big parties to look across both the English Channel and the Atlantic for lessons on how public policy might be improved. But Mr Hutton says little about this, preferring to dwell first upon how �values� differ markedly between Europe and America, and then on a multi-chapter diatribe against the United States. He cannot, it seems, build his love for Europe on its positive characteristics, but must rely instead on what he sees as America's vices.

The proper title for this book might, as a consequence, have been �The World I'm In�."


Lots of people ramble. It's natural. My post from the e-learning centre was not primarily a response to comments on my posts being long (which have been made by many people). It was largely an attempt to reallocate typing time from home to camp, and so achieve a more economically efficient outcome! And about bending to public opinion: I'm not really one to heed society - I'm sure all of us can attest to that :) I started out not caring about people reading this thing, but hey, there is a certain narcissistic joy in knowing your output is being read!

Maybe SJI's bad statues is why it's now the home of the Singapore Art Museum. Yeh.

I don't see why Asians can't have American/other Western accents. Hey, 2 of my cousins were born and bred in Australia - why shouldn't they have Australian accents? They're as Australian as the "natural" Aussies. And do you feel similar revulsion towards Caucasians or Caucasian looking people who adopt Singaporean accents? The principal of RJ is rather in this category. And when people ask him where he's from, he says "Bishan".

Crunches are useless. They can be done repeatedly without much strain or exertion. Which is why they don't do them during Remedial Training.

I've stopped buying books for now as I can't read them all. Or even most.

And I believe it's "somnambulate".
Looking at referral logs never fails to faze me. So before I post something substantial:

'"mosque""picture""1024""768"' - Err. The Dome of the Rock probably looks nice but sorry I have not a pic here.

"free malay sex stories repository" - Why'd anyone want to read sex stories involving malays?

"fubuki yahoo Briefcase" - From browsing in Kazaa (type in ANYTHING. You'll find porn) I think Fubuki is some Jap porn star.

"haram cadbury's" - Be safe. Buy Ah Ah. Ah Ah. Ah-pollo! Apollo Malaysian Brand chocolates with palm oil.

"shawn ban" - Ever famous, he.

"singapore changi transvestite" - I think this has been searched before. So now we know where to go for ah guas. Though I think there are many in Orchard Towers too.

"vandread ringtone" - Vandread being some music group? Anime series?

"acjc sluts" - Oh I suppose these are quite easy to find in real life. Oh sorry I'm being mean. I have nothing to go on but hearsay, so apologies to any of the aforementioned.

"Teo Shiyi" - He's famous!
Couple of quick updates while waiting for some financial rates from Reuters. In case anyone can be bothered, it's part of the end-of-day reporting process - and I'll spare you the details. Unfortunately, while seemingly-mundane NS activities have a surreally readable quality to them when regaled in excruciating detail, my current job does not. Nada. Zip. Trust me on this one. I suspect it's because more of the readers of this blog can relate to the eccentricities of NS suffering compared to the ..erm.. joys.. of risk management in a merchant bank.

Someone placed a notice on the mirror over the toilet where I found that Nokia phone yesterday. It was a simple exhortation to whomever found it to return it, and an extension number. Below it was scrawled, in Malay, (translated): "You really think honest people exist?"

I'm in a mild moral quandary now. The thing is, I don't really *want* the phone, I realise - I want to *sell* it, but I haven't got any easy access to buyers. Am leery of offering it around my office, for obvious reasons. The only one of my associates who's in the market for a new phone is Andrew - you reading this, man? - but he hasn't responded to my offer yet.

Furthermore, even if I can't sell it, I don't want to give it back. I realise I'd rather smash it to pieces than give it back. Why? I'm not totally sure - I've found two wallets in Melbourne over my sojourn there and kept the money in both instances. Although the second time, there was a Chinese charm in it and a few of us were huddled in fear for hours in my living room trying to figure out if we would be cursed if we kept the money. In the end enlightened nescience won out over peasant supersititon - I spent the money on my Sort-Of-But-Not-Quite-Relationship counterparty. Bitch. But the guy who dropped the wallet had been a REAL asshole....hogging the ping-pong table for hours....

I've lost my wallet three times in my life - twice in secondary school and once in Melbourne. Only once did I get it back(kind Comfort taxicab driver). Am I vicariously displacing my desire for revenge on some other poor innocent victim? Does that mean the next time, *he* will repeat this behaviour to some other poor bastard and so and so forth?

Before people think it's an act of pure, irrational malice, it's not just that - I can actually sell it eventually. Eventually. So I still have something to gain from this act of morality, and nothing to lose except a fractional movement towards redemption. Whoopee. It's not like I'll ever know anything about Hell anyway - I plan to live href="http://www.cryonics.org">forever(you get points for glomming this rather obvious paraphrase:)

On the other hand I have a chance to break the vicious circle here. The fate of human morality lies on my slouched shoulders. I've already *found* one handphone this year; a rather beat-up Nokia 8210 which is nonetheless still serviceable. The eternal battle of good and evil rages on the barren plains of my soul. YOUR commentary could tip the balance to the forces of Light(a world in which lost things are returned, old women are helped across streets, and irritating blind accordion/keyboard players in crowded tunnels can hold their heads with dignity) or the hordes of Darkness(the world as it is).

The other comment is to note the incredible stats on the tracker. Do *all* blogs garner such visitation numbers? I guess with approximately 100 million surfers, a few are bound to amble their way over sooner or later, but we seem to be getting hits from diverse places such as MIT's Counter-Strike server, Japan, the UK and a couple of IP address that reverse lookup reveals as being from Hong Kong and France. Truly, we are part of a global community; or, rather, a global mueseum where the assorted webheads of the planet can amble over, peer into the fishtank of our lives and laugh sneeringly at these feeble verbal snapshots of our daily existence.

Other statistics:

Average hits per day(over 12-day period): 78
Total number of unique visitors: 948
Most used OS: Win 98(I see XP hasn't caught on that big yet:)

20% of visitors from Singapore(unsurprisingly), 11% from the US, and 40% "unknown" - and we've registered hits from Croatia, Brunei, Switzerland.. even from old ARPANet and US military domains! Maybe the CIA thinks we're Al-Qaeda operatives. We should include more words like bomb, kill, Allah, jihad, fatwa, martyr, White House, Palestine, Arafat and nuclear annihilation into our daily vocabulary just to mess up their online trackers...:)

Gaze upon the horror for yourself at http://extremetrac king.com/open;geo?login=agagooga

The most amusing(and grossly disturbing) search term of all the ones I've seen so far: "shuqi nude". Really unfortunate to have a former porn star as your namesake, Gabriel:)

And finally, the most utterly obscure: "pirates 100 gems split proposal game theory"

Just noticed Andrew's banzai post seconds before I updated, so I'll toss in a few brief replies - brief by my standards, that is:)

The only occasions where I went to schools other than the one I was enrolled in during my formative years in Singapore were for debates. Surprisngly, my recollections of these schools are rather scanty free associations: Cat High - monastery; VS - box; SCGS - yellow; CHIJ(TP) - walled nunnery, ACS(I) - blue(not just in coloration, but blue-blooded, as an allusion both to aristocracy and the mental retardation caused by inbreeding), RI - tourist attraction.

I don't know if I have as much "SJI spirit" as you do "RI spirit", but some obscure force compels me to go back every couple of years and look around, make sure my prayer is still in the school diary, perform Nazi salutes from the podium at the assembly yard as the uniformed groups are doing parade practice, and say hi to some old teachers.

Oh, and SJI has hideously mutant trees as well. There's an inner courtyard in the classroom block next to the theater; in the middle stands a tree of distinctly dubious genetic heritage.

I really don't quite grok Stranger in a Strange Land; particularly the messianic themes - but I have to admit it's a compelling book - and it definitely has a lot of those anti-establishment libertarian and sexual ideas that Heinlein likes to throw around a lot. While I feel a better sci-fi messiah exists in Zelazny's Lord of Light(a not-fraudulent-enough Messiah says: "I could have emulated Christianity, but crucifixion hurts"); Stranger in a Strange Land certainly offers a lot of interesting insights into just how culture shapes our notions of decency and humanity.

I still prefer Moon Is a Harsh Mistress because it's more(to my mind) directly focused on the political themes Heinlein is good at.. as well as providing one of the best fictional primers for organising a revolutionary cabal, and the most interesting AI in science-fiction. But nonetheless, if you enjoyed SIASL, you should get MIAHM as well.

*thoughtfully* Having lived in both Malaysia and Singapore, I personally believe that there *is* a discernible difference in accents - to the point where I've can guess two-thirds of a time whether an accent is Singaporean or not. However, if you ask me to *quantify* it, I honestly can't - other than a few obvious differences in slang. For instance,
Malaysians tend to use "chun" instead of "chio", and "wah lao" is not commonly used here. Malaysians(KL Malaysians) also use more Cantonese in their patois; whereas Singaporeans use Hokkien. Overall, it's difficult, particularly when you consider that Malaysia includes Mandarin-speaking Johorians, Singapore-educated quislings like myself, or Hokkien-using Penangites.

The decision on whether to live outside of hostel is a tough one - and all I can say is that, a good friend does not necessarily equate a good roommate. I'm sure we will have a chance to have words on this topic eventually.
If you think those statues are bad look at the ugly thing that's supposed to resemble a tree in the RGS porch! Maybe they ran out of storage space for "relics we keep for sentimental value but we can't throw away yet" considering the cost of land there. Oh wait, they retired their last principal.

That was supposed to be a joke albeit in very bad taste. Despite her singing ... no no i don't mean that, i mean the last principal was a very warm and dynamic principal (by all accounts) who encouraged artistic talent amongst her students. I should go hide now.

SJI spirit!

I was talking to a taiwanese tutor the other day, and she told me she could easily identify the masses of singaporean students simply by their strong accent. And she remarked that i didn't have one. Whereupon i said doubtfully that maybe it was because my family is malaysian. And she said no, it didn't sound malaysian either. (puzzled)

Why laksa without (chicken) meat?

I went to tae-bo today. Lousy woman #2 was taking the class, i have to tahan for one more week before she gets replaced.

I suppose you've read heinlein's "Stranger in a strange land"? What did u think of it?

Was talking to ben today, and discovered to my surprise that ormond receives more applications than it has places for! And people are turned down every year! Should i stay next year, or should i leave? Biggest consideration from my family is
a) i can live independently (cooking being a biggie)
b) i have good roommates i'm comfortable with (and won't bully me, won't lump all the housework on me)
Today's word of the day isn't a word, but rather a term: "jamais vu". It's a term with especial significance these days.

The jargon of perception has many fascinating nuances. Deja vu is sub-divided into several nuances - "d�j� vecu"(already experienced), "d�j� senti"(already felt), and "d�j� visit�"(already visited). So many words, so many terms; all to capture something as intangible as an experience....

Finding a neurological basis for language might explain why my writing is so bad. If my neurones were structured to experience and interpret the world way this way, or that way, there's a fair chance I might not talk or think the way I do. Lockean reasoning meeting neurophysiology - the brain a blank slate, onto which experiences shape and warp the apparatus of interpretation and perception, which then affects the way subsequent interpretations and perceptions occur....

Gabriel, you may remember a book called: "The Man Who Lost His Language" reviewed recently in The Economist; I found a copy at a bookstore here and browsed through it. I was intriguingly disturbed by the accounts of an aphasic woman who could talk about what she heard and write about what she read, but could not write about what she heard or talk about what she read; or of a man who could not name an object in his left hand if he could not also see it. There's a similar condition in DeLillo's White Noise about a man who is unable to distinguish linguistic interpretation from experience: if you said the word "bullet", he would automatically dodge. Or lobotomy patients whose whose left hand reflexively unbuttons a shirt as the right hand is buttoning it.

"Too, too solid flesh."

I'm ruminating on all this, because I realised with some bemusement the other day that many of my personality flaws are language/expression flaws of a sort. For instance, I tend to ramble long-windedly in RL or ICQ conversation; when I write I use run-on sentences and excessive parentheses(here's one); I repeat anecdotes or reiterate concepts excessively - and so on.

What does it say about me when I make no essential distinction between literary shortcomings or cultural tastes from personal character flaws?

Gabriel - I'm not *complaining* about your long posts. I merely stated a fact - ie. that people would find them hard to read. And even if that's construed as a complaint; *so?* Do you acutally feel compelled to bend to public opinion on your own personal blog? I mean, Andrew and I are leasing rantspace from you here - with the understanding that I can say what I want - including raising a comment on the lengthiness of your posts. Or writing posts as equally long and equally hard to read(as this one promises to be). And besides, I thought this blog was more for private gratification than for public approval?

By the way, Andrew was asking me the other day about the drug culture in discotheques. We should be worried.

Anyway, that's my two ngultrum worth.

And I chose "motet" purely as a homage to your musical background, choir boy:) *currently listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons - the Brittney Spears of classical music*

BY THE WAY, THEY LIE WHEN THEY SAY $150/month INCLUDES PHOTOCOPYING AT SJI. THEY LIE! THEY LIE! I HAD TO PAY EXORBITANT SUMS FOR PHOTOCOPYING COMPUTER GAME MANUALS AT THE GODDAMNED COPY CENTRE! (Back when pirates still provided computer game manuals; eventually economic pressures and cheap CD stamping led to the current practice of providing lurid, loose-leaf jewel case covers. Ah, the good old days...)

But then again, I left before '97, so I wouldn't know. They DO have a awfully spiffy OBA membership card - this lime green cash card(with those funky smart chips) with an inspiring picture of that statue of John Baptiste de La Salle with his hand outstretched pointing the way to young students which stands proudly on the upper floor of that cupola-capped mini-bell tower in the parking lot. Cynics say that when that statue was in the old SJI building on Bras Basah, it meant "Go to RI (or CHIJ)". Based on its present location and the direction it's currently pointing a, it means.. erm...(*checking out www.streetdirectory.com.sg*)... "Go to Mt. Pleasant Animal Hospital."

We probably would have gotten better pastoral care there.

SJI seems to have a penchant for hideous statuery. Take, for instance, the bronze monstrosity of St. Joseph writhing in agony while trying to peel the infant Jesus off his shoulders. Jesus distinctly resembles Rosemary's baby trying to emulate an Alien face-hugger. There's also a new one from LaSalle School of Arts in front of the admin block that resembles.. erm... a mutant lady's finger with a Nefertiti figurehead on one end. This latter work of art is entitled: "Spirit of SJI"

Seriously though, haven't you ever found those people who speak "not only the Queen's English, but like the Queen", rather irksome? I spent 6 years in terra incognita australis being squarely on the side of the xenophobes who viewed all ABCs(or any Asian with a heavy accent) with contempt and loathing. I still can't simulate an Australian accent to save my life; preferring instead what I call "The Asian Student" accent. Most of the people I spent time with spoke primarily in this inflectionless burr; (striated with occasional lapses into Singlish or Manglish tones) - correct English, but not polished English, generally no "ahs", and actually rolling the "r"s(albeit not a burlesque "rrrr", but more like a popped "ar"), etc etc. Or maybe I just hung out with fluent but paranoid types.

Many of you will know that I talk utterly unlike I type - my Significant Other is constantly haranguing me for mispronouncing many of the more flatulent words in my vocabulary("It's 'FLA-TCHU-LENT' not 'FLA-TIU-LENT'! Say it! Say it!"). I almost curse God for an Oxford education at moments like that. That notwithstanding, I would say that I'm almost hypocritical as far as linguistic rectitude is concerned - I insist on language standards for online conversation and communication(most of the time:), but in RL *conversation* I'm quite happy to talk/rant in colloquial patois. I guess it's because I like reading more than I like listening; and have subsequently more stringent criterion for the former. Hm. Another new self-insight. Must remember to record that in my meatspace journal.

Mangoes are yellow both inside and out.

Oh, I found a Nokia phone in my office toilet yesteday. It contained a prepaid card, and switched off(so I can't wait for the owner to call), and I have no idea what to do with it. In addition; I can't *identify* its model - it's got a weird cover and I can't quite tell... it's either a 5210 or a 6510. Gak. My parents are exhorting me to take any and all means to return it to its rightful owner. I just want to figure out the PIN code and finish up the prepaid card's value on overseas calls.

Andrew; just remember that prepaid phone cards are notorious for hidden costs. Little things like off-peak hikes and adjacent-cell tarriffs abound. And you don't get itemised billing; only a cheerful computer voice telling you that "*You* have *one* hundred and *twenty*-four minutes reamining on this number."(they tend to add irritating melodic emphases for certain words) It's muy bien difficult to keep track of. You have been warned.

For Gabriel:
ISO 9001 are genearally quality standards for design, development, production, maintenance and servicing. It applies primarily to manufacturing sectors.

ISO 9002 covers all of the above except design control, but its orientation is more towards sub-contracted facilities/operations and service industries.

ISO 9003 focuses on testing and quality control.

I just had lunch at the office cafeteria, and I realised that for the last few days I've begun lapsing back into my "eat-the-same-thing-at-the-same-place" routine for lunch(curry laksa, no chicken, mee only). Have resolved to combat this by going somewhere else to eat tomorrow - why waste the corncucopia of cheap, good food freely available around me?

Over the past week, I've also begun a rudimentary fitness-enhancement programme. Thus far, it comprises of forty crunches a day - twenty in the morning, and twenty before sleep - and more swimming every weekend. All those pictures of sclerotic blood vessels on the bio websites I sometimes frequent have finally hit home - as well as the fact that I can't do pull-ups anymore. Not even one(previously I could do.. two.) While normally I've always found the pursuit of physical health abhorrent for nerd-ideological reasons, I guess a more pragmatic outlook is necessary these days since I smoke a lot more and walk a lot less.

Another impromptu observation - Gabriel likes to quote people in his entries(or, rather, their various malapropisms) whereas I like to quote from books or movies.

Was re-reading Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress today. I picked it from the rear layer of my bookshelf(upon returning Home, I bought a silver-gray Ikea bookshelf for all the volumes I lugged from Australia - that bookshelf is now full to overflowing so I've stacked the books in layers) after some minutes of dithering over what reading material to bring to work - I've finished all my latest Economist issues, and I need something to read while smoking in the stairwell or having lunch alone. Was caught by the sheer, familiar joy of re-reading a great book you haven't touched in a while - all the quotes and ideas and sentences that you loved about it the first time you read it, and now taking on a strange new resonance as you read it again under altered circumstances and altered perceptions.

"A lost cause can be as spiritually satisfying as a victory."

"(I) believe that concepts such as 'state' and 'society' and 'government' have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals.. It is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame.. as blame, guilt, resposibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. In terms of morals, there is no such thing as 'state'. Just men. Individuals. Each responsible for his own acts. In that case, there is no circumstance in which the "State" is justified in putting its welfare ahead of mine."

"But, being rational, I am well aware that not all individuals hold to my evaluations, so I try to live perfectly in an imperfect world... aware that my efforts are less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure."

And onto the line that summarises all the reasons why I support the existing totalitarian regime in Singapore:

"I will accept any rules that you feel are necessary to your freedom. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."

Enlightened self-interest is so much more pleasing a political motivation than hypocritical sentiments about freedom and human rights. But I shall spare you all further excoriation from my soapbox.

Have finished watching Lilo and Stich & Insomnia. The former is one of the better, quirkier Disney films of late - an Elvis sound-track, a return to water-colour backgrounds(the House of Mouse hasn't produced one since the '40s) and a surprisingly good alien-race-federation sub-thread(a better cartoon sci-fi world in 20 or so minutes than A.E. Titan produces for its whole length). That, plus Ving Rhames voicing a character called Cobra Bubbles.

As for Insomnia.. well.. it's worth watching to see Patch Adams beat the shit out of Michael Corleone:).

That leaves my current to watch list standing at Reign of Fire, Six-Minute Photo(another disturbing Robin Williams film - he seems to be trying to move away from either "inspiring role model" or "zany-voiced moron", with mixed results), Road to Perdition. The Two Towers trailer was good, but I'll have to wait, and no word on when the Hey Arnold! movie is coming here.

Currently dry of interesting anecdotes about work or working environment to regale - other than amusement at the way everyone periodically clusters around the Bloomberg terminal to get stock quotes or breathlessly watch index movements. Oh, that, and the observation that 99% of the time, when the lift is crowded, the best looking woman gets out at the 19th floor. On that floor is housed a law firm with the improbable name of Shook, Bok and Lin. I guess corporate law practices need well-heeled, stunning professional women in order to function at their best.

On another note, I'm really short of money now - and my credit cards are almost maxed out. What disturbs me is that going through my credit card bills and receipts shows spending for the most picayune of things - like blank CDs, a new keyboard, and full wax-and-vacuum car washing. On top of that, a friend of mine from Singapore is dropping in this weekend, which obliges more capital expenditure when I can least afford it. Damn.

My bookshelf space shortage mentioned earlier is reaching a critical stage. I've purchased about 40 or so books since I came back home, and now there's barely any space for all of them(and two full boxes are still sitting cheerfully next to my armoire, with one more massive one due to be shipped from Australia in September). This is all further inducement to move out - I can't stand the thought that not *all* my books are on display or at least stacked in piles for easy reach-and-browse. My parents refuse to let me stack the excess volumes next to my bed - they claim it detracts from the overall household aesthetic. Not that we (a) get any visitors or (b) are going to be on Better Homes & Living with our pseudo-fusion amalgam of Ansel Adams prints and Italian black leather furniture crazily juxtaposed with Buddhist altars, ink-brush paintings of Guilin, and mahogany Chinese chairs(the kind your grandfather sits on during CNY and you kneel in front of in filial piety before receiving a pat on your head and an ang pao)

So much for my plan to build up capital over the next few years before venturing into investment opportunities. The guy sitting next to me at work, in contrast, doesn't even own a handphone, ploughs his salary into an investment account, and relentlessly spends hours working on his futures trading model in Excel. He's been running a small mutual fund for his family for several years now, and the self-composed annual reports show pretty good returns.

Favourite comic strips:

1. Peanuts. If you can, get hold of the strips from the 60s - they have an almost heart-breaking poignance. Or the animated specials - which make the best possible use of a jazz soundtrack in a cartoon. I don't mind admitting I was far more affected by George Schultz's passing than S-11 or Dianadeath.
2. Dilbert. My life, particularly after batting a report back and forth with my department head *eight* times for amendments.
3. Far Side. Never has so much humour been conveyed in so little content; in addition, the two Far Side animated specials are some of the most disturbing brilliance in animation.
4. Calvin & Hobbes. I once had a looong argument about whether Hobbes was really sentient or a product of imagination.
5. B.C. Cavemen with an attitude.
6. Shoe - (http://www.macnelly.com) - a far better American satire than the top-heavy Doonesbury.

And I have finally completed the first chapter of Neverwinter Nights. I'm intensely irritated that I only have three or so hours a day to devote towards playing this superlative RPG, but, hey - part of living perfectly in an imperfect world. This unfortunately translates into only about 5 hours of sleep a day followed by the hazardous drive to work through busy city streets each morning while still somnambulant.
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