When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, August 31, 2002

Restored Post

First and foremost, I don't think I'm ever going to sleep at home on weekends anymore. I've been put on the distinguished rolls of "Weekend Remedial Training", to book in by 11:30pm every Saturday and only being let out at about 10am on the next morning, probably until I pass IPPT. Since that will probably happen when the Kabaa is blown up by a Palestinian fundamentalist, I don't think I'm ever going to sleep on my nice bed ever again. Damned SAF. That's another 4 hours (excluding 6 hours of sleeping time) off each of my weekends. I want lazy eye too.

And now back to our regular programming.

Though it's not as bad as Tekong, the Armour Medical Centre can get quite crowded at times - from time to time, like on Monday, people are forced to sit on the floor. Going into the sick bay, I found lots of recruits, and when I offered to lend them my Nokia charger, they all were very happy. Oh, I remember what it's like not having a charger, and how happy I was when our sergeant offered to charge the batteries of the confinees.

I found out what the cryptic PULHEEMS stands for. Apparently the letters stand for, in turn, physical capacity, upper limbs, lower limbs, hearing, eyesight, mental capacity and stability (emotional). I think my scores for the last two are going down (or up, as the case might be).

Even with restraint, my handphone bill for the month ending 18th August was $138.30. I give up. Damn work-related calls.

I saw and talked to Yaodong again. He was in the gym when I had RT. Apparently he was posted to my unit for a day, then got pulled back. He's now a clerk and running for the SAF or something.

I put a can of A&W Root Beer in the sick bay pantry fridge, but the next morning I found, to my horror, that it'd been spirited away by the pernicious demons of the refrigerator. What I don't understand is why they ignored the can of Tiger Beer, and instead went for the ROOT Beer. Gah.

I was going to leave another can in there, but decided to just consume it there and then, chilled with the ice from the Treatment Room refrigerator. While enjoying my brew, I realised that I've never appreciated how beautiful the thick layer of froth on top of the liquid is, and how heady its aroma can be. How the bubbles cluster in clumps at the sides of the glass instead of dispersing regularly on its inside surface. A far cry from the laughable swill that is MUG Root Beer!

I found that my camp does have a Muslim Cookhouse, at 46SAR! So now I know where the Malay cleaners eat.

On Tuesday, I went for a night off (note: A Night Off. Not a Nights Off). I saw a Malay VCD seller at Choa Chu Kang MRT station. He was selling VCDs for $10 apiece, and was giving away 1 for every purchase of 3. Of course, he was selling porn, but isn't that haram? Better than fundamentalism I guess. I think he must be very popular with all the NS men! Then again, we got raided by plain clothes security personnel that same night, so.

I met up with Julian. That clerk is too free, so besides playing Jap and other) games, watching anime and sleeping, he's been training up at the gym. Not only has he lost 10 kg (which I've seemed to put on), he can almost pass IPPT now. A perfect partner in slacking with Chinx the 5 month Temporary Support Staff (TSS), who is stayout and currently in limbo :) And I also noticed for the first time (well, one out of the two times I've been to his den isn't bad), his Lone Wolf collection. Though it consists of New Order books (and not all of them even), it does have the fabled Lone Wolf Book 22, The Buccaneers of Shadaki! And he didn't know it was worth at *least* US$100 ;)

I'm not going to be the Docu I/C anymore, probably because they decided I'm not capable of shouldering such an onerous burden! :) But I hope I'm not going down to any company line.

I was sending a recruit back to the Armour Engineers Training Centre (AETC) - it's an incredibly run down place, though the old SMM is worse (but then, what can beat the old SMM?). While there, I heard loud strains of marching songs, a thunderous cacophony which I'd not heard during BMT. As I remarked to the driver, I'd not heard such since BMT (not so loud or clarion anyway), and he smiled as he agreed. In a way, recruits are very carefree. But then, so are prisoners. My brother-in-law was very surprised, seemingly, when I replied in the negative to his query about whether BMT was the best time of my army life, when we were driving to the Air Freight Centre, retracing the route that we used to take to send me to the ferry terminal to take the boat to the Island of Doom. BMT was horrible, and I'm glad I'm past it :)

I've been doing cover, on a lot of days, for the Chief of Armour Change of Command Parade. It's very boring, but at least I've been reading more. And escaping sai kang and "arrows" elsewhere. Sinsiang positively *hates* doing cover though, but we're short of people, so.

Being forced to listen to drill commands the whole day, I think that the "puji puji" thing is actually "panji panji". Still sounds funny though :) Plus I've noticed a new one - "Kerkirike maseng maseng". Wth?! I've also realised that they can invent all sorts of weird drill commands - besides the one for tilting your heads down in contemplation, and the one for holding your rifles in your left hands while they rest on the floor, they've now created one for "Hip Hip Hooray". This is ridiculous.

The Outgoing Chief of Armour blessed all of us - "May the force be with us, always."

The breakfast at my cookhouse sucks. It's worse than SMM, and that's saying something.

Booking out Saturday morning, I saw Zaixiang. He's still training to be a specialist, and will probably go to 40SAR in November. And, as with everyone, his hair has become... weird. I don't know what it is with NS that makes everyone's hair go haywire. Except me, but I never cared for it anyway.


[On me] I see you, of course happy lor. So adorable.

"It is our duty to inform you that it is an offence to STEAL office stationery. Please be considerate as there are still SURVIVORS in this office who need these stationery to keep their EARDRUM intact. Thanks for your co-operation.

The curse........
Whoever steal scissor/penknife will be cut by paper, steal pen & all your pen will leak. Steal at your own risk........
Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha." (???)

Since human being don't perspire, I ask you all whether you sweat. [Men: Yes, Sir]... Sweating is for ANIMALS. Human beings don't sweat, human beings perspire. Did you all sweat? [Men: No, Sir!] Did you all perspire? [Men: Yes, Sir!] Very good. (being, I'll, are sweating) (???)

[On the SMSes I get] Why all the English so cheem one? What the fuck. I don't understand. (is all, cheem)

You know when is the most chio moment of an ah lian? When she turns demure for you. Wah lan eh.

Just when I comment on not getting hits from searches for "scgs nude", I get one. Gah. And "nude pictures of temasek secondary" and "uniform fetish judo" too. Sheesh. People have weird desires.

My father spends the better part of the day, so it seems, and at least most of the morning, as my sister affirms, checking stock movements and banging on his gigantic and elaborately constructed and fine-tuned Excel spreadsheet. And he still loses money. Sometimes I wonder what the point is - if it's a hobby, it's an expensive one indeed.

My sister almost brought my glasses to London. She took mine by mistake, but luckily I asked her about it. Then she remarked that, "I knew my glasses were dirty, but not that dirty".

Zaini, head of the SAF Music and Drama Company, is a Geography teacher at my mother's school, Henderson Secondary. And he's from RI too. I was rather surprised to learn that.

On Friday, I was at the e-learning centre, and beside me Cheong had just applied for an ICQ account. Besides the fact that his UI is more than 10 times mine, it was also interesting to see that just after I'd added him, he got a spam message advertising a porn site from one of the mass messagers. Those people are FAST!

I saw the guy whom I think is Yisa booking out in No 4, and I swear his nametag said "Zhuang". I was in the rover at the time, so I couldn't say hello, but the next time I'll send my felicitations.

I'm going to start an MP3 collection in camp! Slowly, I'll transfer them over to my desktop in the e-learning centre via Web1000. At this moment, I have "King's Singers - Barber of Seville" and the Bring It On chant. Hah! And Blue Bear now adorns my desktop ;)

I hear Chapman is a councillor in TJ now. Wah.

I had lunch with Geraldine today at some Taiwanese sort of outlet above Borders.

At Borders, I saw 2 petite Raffles Guys (Sec 1 probably) making a brief stop in the "Romance" section. Ah, so young and already so corrupted by the evil of Romance Novels. The tragedy of it all.

Prompted by a Popular Store list which listed Raffles Guys as one outlet, I made enquiries. Apparently it took over the old ODAC room (What need does an outdoor club have of a room anyway? ;) ), and is doing a brisk trade selling screwed up stationery to Raffles Guys. Ho ho.

In Borders there was this guy promoting his book promising the secrets of getting rich quickly. I think it's rather sad that in Singapore, people are so obsessed with making money. Witness the popularity of books of the self-help, management guide and get rick quick genres, and their ilk. The rapturous, lustful looks on the faces of the audience, listening hungrily to what the author of the book had to say, were especially frightening.

Ever since coming back today, I've been pestered by both my mother and my father, for one reason or another.

Now that Sulyn and Kheng Hwa are gone, my father's obsession with neatness and tidiness have come to the fore, and he's been scurrying around "tidying" the place, keeping things when they don't need to be kept and moving everything around.

And when my mother came back, she started on her usual tirade about keeping too many things, and how she found cockroaches in my room, and how I should keep food in the kitchen (even if it will inevitably disppear when she uses her Midas touch on it). And as usual, she likes to go on and on relating anecdotes when people are not interested, even getting flustered. She was ending with a "too much fat hampers brain activity", but even when I told her to buzz off, she continued on and on, seemingly oblivious of my growing frustration. Or perhaps not, I suspect she gets a perverse satisfaction from seeing people getting worked up, which is why she always used to continue nagging and criticising my sister even after the latter had started asking her to shut up, then proceeded to shouting and finally slammed the door of her room to go and cry.

No wonder Ms Bala likes Singapore National Education so ;)

"I have also learned lately:

... That the GST hike will be more palatable because the Government has put in some sweeteners like rebates and such. A pound of flesh for some sweets, sounds like a good deal to me.

... That ERP will soon be implemented for the CTE at night. Hey, those cars who have no other route to use aren't going anywhere. May as well make a few extra bucks from the losers.

... That when you build massive estates like Sengkang and Punggol, you wait till the towns fill up before you think about building extra expressways and roads. In the meantime, there is always the magic solution to all traffic congestion, the ERP.

... That Sony warns that using sticky tape or markers to circumvent the new CD Copy-Protection found in their CD albums (that prevent ripping and even playing on PCs), may result in damaged discs.

I have a better idea. Stop buying CDs from manufacturers that use Copy-Protection schemes, and spend your money on things that work. Copy-Protected CDs are damaged discs to begin with.

... That Government really really wants you to be able to own a car (then you won't think of migrating to Australia to afford one), so they lower the import taxes and increase number of COEs.

But they also want you to use the car less, so they raise the ERP and let the petrol companies any how raise the petrol prices.

So you buy your car, use it less and park at home, but Government raises the car park fees.

Maybe if I hang my car around my neck, then I won't have to pay.

Ke si ka ho lah.

"The revision in short-term HDB parking charges is also part of the ongoing exercise to match the cost of driving with usage, rather than ownership of cars.

We thank Mr Rajah for his feedback.

Wee Kiat Sia
Head, Carparks Section
Housing Administration Department, HDB" -ST Forum

... That an HDB dweller living in a 5-room or an Executive flat and using a covered car park pays about $70 for conservancy fees, and $90 for the car park (new rate), which is about $160.

A condominium dweller in, say, Laguna Park, pays about $170 for conservancy, car park and other condo facilities like condo swimming pool.

You do the math.

... That one of the "Travel" prizes featured on the Wheel in the first episode was a staggering $500 travel voucher to Genting Highlands. I am not making this up.

... That to help Singaporeans in this recession who are facing rising transport costs (parking and ERP charges will go up), the MRT and SBS are increasing bus and train fares.

Hey, that SOMEBODY has to pay for that Toa Payoh aircon interchange and EZ-Link system, and the increase in GST. May as well be you. It's not like you are going anywhere, what with pay cuts and job cuts.

... That when the senior management of our Government Linked Companies fail, they do not get punished, because Singapore does not have enough talent, so even half-assed failures also need to be kept. (Not that I am even suggesting that we have half-assed failures running any of our GLCs. Besides, I cannot afford a Queen's Counsel.).

"On the accountability of GLCs' top management, the magazine recalled that in 1999, listed SembCorp Industries' division heads received a directive warning that it would be curtains if they did not meet new targets by year-end.

The targets were not met, but no one was punished.

Asked why, Mr Goh replied: 'I have no idea. But at the end of the day, when they go, who else comes and takes their jobs? You don't have such an abundance of talent that you can say: 'No good, out you go, put in somebody else'.'" -ST 19 June 2002

... That Singapore has got some little talent, that we have to promote relatives of the Most Talented Family in Singapore. (And in no way am I suggesting that any politician is practising nepotism. I am not even thinking it. Singapore is based on Meritocracy and Meritocracy alone. And besides, I cannot afford a Queen's Counsel.)

... That in bad times like these, the Government is paying the Civil Service only a quarter-month mid-year bonus, compared to the three-quarter month bonus same time last year.

The private sector asks, "Bonus? What's that?"

... That NUS students who wish to graduate must complete their CFM, or Cross-Faculty Modules so that they can be "well-rounded" scholars. So if that Engineering student who got all As in his major and is the Nobel Peace Prize winner in Physics, flunks Comparative Literature, or the English major who is a published poet and Booker Prize winner flunks C++ Programming, they do not graduate.

CFM does not stand for Come F### Me.

Female students who did well for their CFM course are reluctant to say so, for fear of misinterpretation. [Ed: Wonder what Shawn's CFM thinks]

... That in these recessionary times (that we are told in July 2002 actually ENDED way back in December 2001), citizens are told to cheer up and embrace the government measures designed to make their lives better -- like hiking transport fares and the GST, and screwing around with our CPF pension funds.

... That we know that the nation has gone down the drain when we are asked to drink purified sewage water on National Day as an act of national pride and declaration of self-reliance.

This government can make you swallow anything.

... That when you can convince a nation to drink purified sewage water, then raising transport costs, increasing GST, and cutting CPF during a recession are a walk in the park.

... That on the Straits Times 23rd August Friday edition, the front page headlines say "Job scene improves with 7500 openings"

While page 3 of the same paper had the headlines "Job insecurity up with surge in layoffs".

... That PM Goh asked Singaporeans if they were "Stayers" or "Quitters" in this our darkest hour.

So let me get this right. If I am leaving Singapore to seek a better life out there for my family, I am a "Quitter". So my forefathers who left China to come to Singapore were also "Quitters".

At the same time, we welcome other countries' "Quitters", foreign talent who left their country to work, play table tennis, and seek a better life in Singapore.

So incoming foreigners called "Talents", but outgoing locals called "Quitters". Ok, got it.

... That the way you win over the Singaporeans who have settled down overseas is to call them "Quitters". Subtle.

... That, oh wait, we did not mean that Singaporeans who migrated are "Quitters", we wanted to jolt you into thinking about your stake in the country. It was not careless labelling, but a calculated catalyst to stimulate self-reflection.

So based on the "clarification", if you left the country to make a better life for yourself, and stayed overseas for 20 over years, then finally came back, you are a "Stayer". Heck, if you even THOUGHT of coming back to Singapore when you were between jobs in New York, you are a "Stayer".

And all you freeloaders who could not afford to leave the country but yet whine and whine about our government, never hang Singapore flag on National Day, bitch about the slightest increase in bus fares during a recession, you are the real "Quitters".

I hope that clears things up.

... That Singaporeans need to remember that in the midst of recession, unemployment, higher transport costs, and other depressing issues, remember that we have Newater!

Malaysia is the real enemy! Drink your Newater and show them we the can!

... That Eldershield is very good, don't opt out. When you are 65 years old in the year 2027, and you cannot wipe your own arse, you will thank us for the $300 a month you will get then. In the year 2027, $300 can buy you one whole roll of toilet paper, maybe even two (if you get the NTUC Fairprice house brand).

... That there is a very thin line between "Stayers" and "The Immobile"."
I was told a little about how socially inept I am. And the thing is, I usually don't realise it. Though I like to think that I've some limiting mechanism, so I don't do it, at least not that badly, to people I don't know that well.

Is it really that bad? Methinks I'm near the bottom of the pecking order.

Friday, August 30, 2002

On the rage that always underlies faith:

"I don't want this - it's too big."

"That's what Jesus said. Yes, I had to tell him. And you can imagine how that hurt the Father--not to be able to tell the Son Himself because one word from His lips would destroy the boy's frail human form? So I was forced to deliver the news to a scared child who wanted nothing more than to play with other children. I had to tell this little boy that He was God's only Son, and that it meant a life of persecution and eventual crucifixion at the hands of the very people He came to enlighten and redeem. He begged me to take it back, as if I could. He begged me to make it all untrue. And I'll let you in on something, Bethany, something I've never told anyone before... if I had the power, I would."

"The humans have besmirched everything bestowed on them. They were given Paradise, they threw it away. They were given this planet, they destroyed it. They were favored best among all His endeavors, and some of them don't even believe He exists! And in spite of it all, He's shown them infinite fucking patience at every turn. What about us? I once asked you to lay down the sword because I felt sorry for them. What was the result? Our expulsion from Paradise! WHERE WAS HIS INFINITE FUCKING PATIENCE THEN?! IT'S NOT FAIR! We've paid our debt. Don't you think it's time we went home?"

"Do you know what makes a human being decent? Fear. And therein lies the problem. None of you has anything left to fear anymore."

"Mary gave birth to CHRIST without having known a man's touch, that's true. But she did have a husband. And do you really think he'd have stayed married to her all those years if he wasn't getting laid? The nature of God and the Virgin Mary, those are leaps of faith. But to believe a married couple never got down? Well, that's just plain gullibility."

"We figure an abortion clinic is a good place to meet loose women. Why else would they be there unless they like to fuck?"

On cross-species hybridisation:

"It's impossible, Lois could never have Superman's baby. Do you think her fallopian tubes could handle the sperm? I gurantee you he blows a load like a shotgun right through her back. What about her womb? Do you think it's strong enough to carry her child? ... He's an alien, for Christ's sake. His Kyrptonian biological makeup is enhanced by earth's yellow sun. If Lois gets a tan the kid could kick right through her stomach. Only someone like Wonder Woman has a strong enough uterus to carry his kid. The only way he could bang regular chicks is with a kryptonite condom. That would kill him!"

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Found this in an old journal entry. Thought I'd share it with you guys:)

"The Eagle soars in the summit of Heaven,
The Hunter with his dogs pursues his circuit.
O perpetual revolution of configured stars,
O perpetual recurrence of determined seasons,
O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying
The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust."

-T.S. Eliot, "Choruses from the Rock"

I've probably plugged BrownTown before, but here are a few gems from the latest 3 editions of "Singapore National Education"

"I have also learned lately:

... That my wife got a comment from her hairdresser that her black, uncoloured hair now very unique and rare.

... There is no traffic jam we cannot solve without higher ERP charges, more ERP gantries and ridiculous COE quotas.

... That according to Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Senior Minister of State for Transport, motorists can look forward to more expensive ERP charges and more gantries erected on the CTE, to ease the congestion. (Everybody now, "Beyond Cars!")

According to the same brilliant man, more roads do not mean less traffic (blatant demand, or latent demand, or some fancy term like that), and more doctors and more hospital beds do not mean lower medical costs.

Here's one more for the economic paradox: Having more ERP gantries and higher ERP charges does not mean less congestion along the CTE. It just means more money for Government coffers.

... That to help Singaporeans understand why traffic jams occur, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, Senior Minister of State for Transport, introduced the term "social cost", a cost motorists inflict on other road users every time they add to a traffic jam. To manage this cost, people must be made to pay every time they cause a jam.

So who makes the Government pay the "social cost" when they come up with dumb-assed policies and poorly-designed roads that inflict road users?

... That according to a ST Forum writer, Cantonese TV shows will erode National Unity. In fact, I think it will also be responsible for increase illegal parking, pre-marital sex, loose morals, and in some cases, even male pattern baldness. Civilisation as we know it will cease to exist if we allowed Cantonese shows on TV.

... That maids are the main cause of the lack of entrepreneurs in Singapore.

... That we got Singapore Woman's Charter, but no Singapore Man's Charter.

... That Singtel has been judged as not measuring up to the "world's best standards of corporate governance and disclosure". In a survey of the annual reports of 116 Asian companies, regional journal CFO Asia ranked Singtel 113th.

Even the National Bank of Bhutan beat Singtel.

... That the way to encourage folk to buy original music and not steal it off the Net is to piss paying customers off. It is getting harder to support original music. I was going to buy the "I Am Sam" soundtrack I saw in the store but I decided not to because it was corrupted. The cover stated that "This Audio CD cannot be played on PCs".

Too bad. That is one less "copy-protected" CD to spend good money on. At least they were honest, not all corrupted CDs are marked like this.

... That HDB racial quotas are okay, but "Racial quota for schools 'not the way to go'" (ST Sat 2 March 2001).

But it is okay to have exclusively Chinese Special Assistance Plan schools.

... That before Singaporeans cry foul against The Singapore Petrol Cartel, they need to remember The Other Singapore Petrol Cartel, PAP Petroleum ("PP: Pumping Our People for Profit") keeping it all in the family with the Three-Quarter Tank Rule.

... That petrol companies are not colluding or acting like a cartel. They just happened to raise their pump prices the same amount at the same time. And for the same reasons.

... That maybe if we can get Singaporeans fired up about a 4-cent per litre increase in petrol prices, they will forget that they are paying the earth for their ERP, COE and car taxes.

Wag the Dog.

Little Known Car Facts #473: The price you paid for your new Toyota Corolla could have bought you a new Mercedes C200K Elegance in Australia. But you don't want to migrate, citizen. You never read our village newspaper? Australia all bladdy racist, one.

... That CASE will probably not "see red" over any increases the Government makes on car ownership in Singapore. Because the Government is not a company and we are not consumers of the Government, what.

Pop Quiz: Which of the following is more likely to happen?

a. The Petrol Cartel bucking under the pressure from CASE and lowering their prices.

b. Seeing the $100 COE again.

c. The 3/4 Tank Rule being revoked.

d. Cows jumping over the moon.

... That I particularly enjoy driving home late from work, like 10.30pm, in order to experience the free-flowing 20km/h traffic on the CTE.

Stagger your working hours to avoid traffic congestion, my ass.

mrbrown's How to Avoid the Jam on the CTE When Going to and From Work Tip#219: Go to work at 6am in the morning, and come home at 1am.

... That Chu Mei Fung, the notorious Taiwan politician who was secretly filmed having sex with a married lover, will be granted a license to sing in a concert in Singapore. The organisers were given the go-ahead but stand to lose a $10,000 deposit if she does anything related to her VCD. Like talk about her VCD, or take off her clothes.

And Singaporeans flocking to buy tickets to her concert are doing so because they heard she has a great pair of lungs.

... That "petrol duty was reduced in October last year, as part of the off-Budget package to moderate costs for Singaporeans in the economic downturn". Tell that to the Petrol Cartel you helped with your Three-quarter tank rule.

... That the new contactless ez-link card system cost $300 million to implement, in order to fight commuters cheating on bus fares, that was costing bus companies $13 million a year.

Either this will take them 23 years to recoup, or someone down the line will end up paying more for this new technology, which incidentally, failed on the day that some Transport minister was supposed to preview it. Apparently, the software had bugs. Haven't start spoilt already.

I figure it will take commuters 23 days to find a way to beat the system (here's one: a few stops after you get up the bus, you scan your card at the exit, but get down with the masses later).

Ez-link, way up there in usefulness with EMAS and GPS for Taxis.

... That the details of National Servicemen as recorded in their exit permits are made available to the Social Development Unit (SDU) for the latter's membership-solicitation purposes.

Defend your country and get a date at the same time. Where else can you find sweaty hunky soldier men but the Army?

It is nice to know that our government departments and quasi-government bodies (opps, sorry for the pun) are so co-operative with sharing our personal information.

... That the EZ Link system was set up at great cost to eliminate fare cheats (the 60 cents for all trips regardless of distance). The money recovered from this great system will go into buying Smartcard Analysers for bus inspectors to catch EZ Link fare cheats.

... That some MP called for Singaporeans to show their patriotism by boycotting Malaysia and buying their petrol and groceries in costlier Singapore instead. Singapore responded by patriotically creating a traffic jam at the Causeway. Lucky he never call on Singaporeans to give their sons up to die for their country.

When you run your country like a cold-hearted corporation, don't be surprised when your citizens act like hardheaded consumers.

Pop Quiz: The Singaporean, Citizen or Customer?

... That some minister expressed unhappiness with Singaporeans who are not willing to take up jobs that pay $800 to $1200 a month (i.e. take home pay of $640 to $960 a month after CPF deductions).

Maybe their reluctance can be reduced if HDB flats cost $80,000 to $120,000 to buy (instead of the $90,000 to $450,000).

And maybe it will also help if ministers take home less than a million dollars a year.

... That in one of the boldest moves yet to save our ailing economy, some super-duper think-tank sub-committee has recommended a cut to the maximum personal income-tax rate and corporate income-tax rate.

That is so original, it made me cry.

Other bold moves not yet considered are cutting land prices and Minister salaries. But that will be taken up by another sub-sub-committee at a later time.

... That with the new proposed measures to cut income taxes and corporate taxes, and raise the GST, more expats and MNCs may come to Singapore to enjoy the tax breaks, while Singaporeans will pay more GST.

"Lower taxes may attract MNCs, expats to S'pore" -ST April 13th 2002.

... That when you experience declining sales due to an economic downturn, competition from other forms of entertainment like computer games and DVDs, and general poor product offering, you can blame music piracy for it, and you further value-add by releasing "copy-protected" CDs that crash computers and piss legit customers off.

We need to be protect the music industry from CD-burners like we need to protect the rail industry from aeroplanes.
Some insightful quotes that I picked up from a stoned viewing of the Clerks DVD.

"Do you think independent contractors working on the uncompleted Death Star were innocent victims when the rebels blew it up?"

"I hate people. But I love gatherings. Hence the irony."

"Honesty through paranoia."

"Empire [Strikes Back]" had the better ending. I mean, Luke gets his hand cut off, finds out Vader's his father, Han gets frozen and taken away by Boba Fett. It ends on such a down note. I mean, that's what life is, a series of down endings. All "[Return of the] Jedi" had was a bunch of Muppets."

2.3kg of Kettle Chips. Australian chips cooked in Sunflower Oil!

On the topic of perversion, "scrotal infusion" is proof of humanity's inevitable descent into barbarism.

This is not a good world to reproduce in.
In under half an hour, my father and I are going to send Sulyn and Kheng Hwa (hitherto referred to as "my sister and brother in law") to the airport, whence they will travel to London for their year long study sabbatical.

I'll miss them. And not only the food for camp, the going out and the free rides back to camp :)
I set up this place, in the hoary days of 2000, to provide a sanctum for bo liao-ness. As I've moaned recently, my insanity has recently been confined to writing florid book reviews, writing about Gordion Knots in the sick bay diary and putting up pictures of Asian Prince in the bunk.

Ah, how far I've fallen from the days of yore. Indulge me, as I reminisce a little (this is what I day when I apply to use one of my days off. Bah).

We had dissertations on the art of using safety pins to pin blouses (I wonder if I still retain my marvelous skill), a rant on my bad nicknames, a CRM sighting and someone's attempt to irritate me - "sigh to... feel as if im toking to my image in the mirror... kimberly toking to kimberly... perhaps its true tt 1 mountain cannot haf 2 tigers.. n 1 mirror cannot haf 2 kimberlies..."

And it seems my writing wasn't that good then either. Ah, the tragedy :)

I've never kept a diary. Not a real diary. My mother tried to persuade me to keep one once, but the few entries I did scribble down were rather mundane, even more so than some of the mind numbingly terrestrial anecdotes that I relate on occasion.

In a way, it's because I brood less, and am less affected by various troubles than other people, or that is the impression I get. Things like still not having decided what I want to do with my life, or in the shorter term, where I want to get my piece of paper called a degree don't really bother me. Or at least not so much that I want to scream to the world (or rather the 86 guests we receive at this humble abode daily). Maybe I'm just less inclined to write it down. Or we can just ascribe it to laziness :)

I realise I've been negligent in checking my referral logs. So here's the latest:

I think Google has pretermitted its indexing of this weblog, because no one searching for Zaogeng finds this humble site anymore. Bah. Anyhow 50 odd guests a day (cf 100 odd before indexing) is that much of a difference, except that the logs are less interesting.

Today's selection:

"making gay friends in johor" - I believe sodomy is Haram, and illegal under Malaysian law. So if you don't want to join Anwar in jail...

"absolutely free malaysian nude college student" - Since most college students in Malaysia are Malay (the Chinese and Indians not being able to get it, go overseas to study), you wouldn't be able to get most of them out of their tudungs. Next.

"logo hari kebangsaan 45" - The Associate tells me "hari kebangsaan" is Malaysia's National Day. Long live Mahathir.

"malaysian female singers free nude pictures" - Haven't the Malaysian Religious Police cracked down on all of them? Then they're left chanting Dikir Barat. Oops, I forgot that Dikir Barat is a male only activity. The only Malaysian femle singer that comes to my (small, at least in the realm of Malaysian pop music) mind is "Ning Baizura", who, I recall, had an irritating "smash hit" - "In Another Life", and then disappeared into the fog of obscurity. The trouble with having a smash hit is that once everyone gets past it, you tend to disappear into oblivion. Aww.

"acjc uniform" - It seems this uniform is very popular. I suppose no one likes the Li Hua Secondary School (aka He2 Gu3 Zhong1 Xue2, better known as River Valley High School) uniform. I cast my vote for it as the worst school uniform ever. Other terrible school uniforms probably include, among others, the one from Marymount Convent (graph paper uniform) and the now-defunct Nanyang Primary School Pre-primary one - there was a preponderance of red, and the girls had some ugly red bloomers. I probably have a picture somewhere, but I don't want to look for it lest I run off the balcony screaming, to plummet to my doom 11 floors below in the bushes.

"ah lians neoprint" - Walking on the streets, I find that there are a LOT of lian looking people. Tim speculates that the Lian look is in. Maybe that's why This "Lian" Fashion is so popular.

"online dictioary" - ANDREW!!! What a spelling mistake to make. Tut tut. :)

"uruk-hai,sex with women" - UGH. This takes bestiality to new heights. Or rather, depths. Why anyone would want to see or read about "The great soldier-Orcs that first appeared in the late Third Age" engaging in carnal acts with... nevermind.

"balderdash" - This occured many times. I think people think it's a cool word, so they search for it :)

"NEVERWINTER NIGHTS NUDE PORTRAITS" - Well. Nude adventurers aren't very good at killing Orcs (or maybe uruk-hai. Nevermind).

"tickling animes" - F3?

"shuqi nude" - Why is she so popular anyway. How about the other 2 the Straits Times had at their webchat? Karen Mok and Vicki Zhao I believe.

"rgs blog", "'rgs' nude singapore" - I would've thought MGS or SCGS would be more popular, because lots of people tell me they don't like Raffles Guys. Maybe it's a hidden, suppressed thing.

In looking up "zaogeng", it being my second top keyword, I found this disturbing site. Okay. That, in and of itself, isn't disturbing.

But I espied these two . The latter is especially close to my heart, because it has MY CLASSMATES there. And dear Chinx and Chiny too.

Warlords 2 was fun! I didn't like them transitioning to RTS. Then it became so similar to the other RTSs.
Word of the day: "euplastic"

Firstly, The Associate would like to prissily state that he generally picks words that are effectively part of his lexicon, incorporated by years of devout meditation and bibliophilic fervour (although, as I've said before, as much as one would wish otherwise, one doesn't get many opportunities to use words like "frenulum" and "incondign" in daily conversation). Selecting unknown words at random from an online dictionary betrays weakness of character. So there.

I must confess that, upon reading through this blog's archives, most of what we write is stultifyingly banal compared to some of the melodramatic travails or deeply moving insights I've seen in other diaries. Granted, a diary, by its nature, is a blow-by-blow recollection of daily events and self-absorbed observations that are often of little relevance to outside readers; unless you happen to be at the apex of some crucial historical or emotional event. In this context, Anne Frank comes to mind, and even then there were only so many "help I'm trapped in an attic while the Nazis are out to get me" type entries before it got a tad stale.

It's also quite depersonalised too at times; awareness of writing for posterity, even in this bastardised form, does inhibit one's candour at times. Forget the wealth of detail which my fellow bloggers like Gabriel invest in this journal- just how much *isn't* being said? How accurate is this journal as a snapshot of capturing one's daily life, observations, thoughts and recollections? Just how much detail is *lost*? For my own two cents, I notice that I often catch myself refraining from mentioning certain facts; omitting certain details, partly for readability's sake (admittedly not that major a concern for me:), but also out of a certain.. wariness at revealing too much on a forum which is directly accessible to the public as a whole. Often, the discrepancy in detail between my private but far more disorganised journals can be telling.

"A picture is not the landscape."

In any event, I also wonder why of late we feel so compelled to inject some form of deeper justification to ourselves for what we do on this blog. Frankly, it shouldn't - for me, it ostensibly serves as a way to organise my thoughts in a more coherent manner, a way to keep my atrophying narrative skills in shape and to kill time in between work. Emotional catharsis and a certain... wary embarrassment at the sheer triviality of the effluvia I verbally disgorge shouldn't be a factor at all. But they are.

I have also decided to get back in touch with my roots and start reading more Malaysian sites and references; over the last couple of months I've realised that coming home to the land of my birth has been difficult - 12 years of absence has really put me out of touch with the local geography and demography. I hardly know my way around town. I hardly know anyone here. Most of the local ... buzz .. seems vaguely foreign to me. I find more contextual relevance in the daily conversations of my Singaporean friends. If I'm going to be geographically based here for the long haul, or at least in the medium-term - I really need to asssimilate more local context.

Today, on the way to work, the stretch of road between the National Museum and Dataran Merdeka were positively thronged with marchers for the Hari Kebangsaan parade. I was appalled by the amount of expense and effort that gets consumed in these displays of nationalistic fervour. I mean, how many schools, squatter colonies, drug addicts and social ills could be rehabilitated with even half of the money that gets burned in these galas. Admittedly, there was something positively stirring (and male) in watching military armoured personnel carriers and towed artillery grandly traipsing down the road - but still ....

But I guess people need symbols to rally around; some kind of tribal identity atavism that reaffirms our bond as an interdependent nation of communities and individuals working towards a common good. Although I wonder just how much the top 5% of the population wealth bracket actually contribute towards "common good" as opposed to "increased shareholder value".

Idle thoughts today.

Am wallowing in the emotional disjoint that comes from completing yet another engrossing computer game. Currently it's a toss-up between Morrowind and Warlords Battlecry 2 (have resolved not to buy any more games until I finish at least two more - besides, there's nothing that fantastic on the market at the moment). Morrowind has a lot of appeal - it's the most epic RPG I've ever seen to date, it's got scale like nobody's business, the graphics are beautiful, the world is incredibly realised, and the sheer diversity of option is staggering. However, it's time consuming, and the sprawling nature of the game means that there's going to be a lot of bread-baking type activity - buffing up skills, cherry-picking the best items, pumping up levels and stats. What I've seen of the story looks fascinating though, and the missions do seem more varied than the usual FedEx type "bring item A to person B in city C." Warlords Battlecry 2, on the other hand, is a fairly generic but involving fantasy RTS - good unit mix and RPG elements, spiffy sprites, and surprisingly no storyline. But SSG's Warlords franchise has a lot of nostalgic memory for me - I remember playing Warlords 2 with friends on one PC; taking turns at the keyboard in the bygone days of pre-Internet multiplayer...

XXX is out on the big screen here, I suppose I should go watch it, if only to use up some of my TGV movie passes. Maybe that's just the thing I need tonight; some cinema time alone, dinner out in the city by myself, and a bit of aimless wandering downtown to put some perspective in my life. I'm tired of heading home and listening to the unending stream of nag; of having to deal with the peccadilloes and idiosyncracies of family living. Go to a good restaruant. Eat some decent pasta. Check out the people passing by with usual mix of amusement, cynicism, reflection, and bitterness. Maybe go to Kinokuniya for a few books. It might also elicit some pleasant throwbacks to living in Australia, when I could move around the city center at will. Kuala Lumpur can be a hellishly difficult place to navigate even with a car; more so given that I have the direction sense of a blind and deaf wombat. Most of my morning drive to the city is performed by pure autopilot; I practiced the route about 15 times before I got it right. Generally I start the car, and it fascinates me how the brain can build in these reflexive routines in its neural pathways through long practice. There's almost no conscious thought in the morning drive threading through traffic, watching for stop signs, obeying traffic policemen - most of the time I'm lost in listening to inane radio banter or CD music. As my old driving instructor (who was also a part-time wushu instructor) put it - it's like the Karate Kid. "Wax on, wax off."

I'm also not particularly relishing the thought of going back to my room for aesthetic reasons tonight; my father ordered our family retainer (I know it's a pretentiously archaic term to use, but "maid" in today's Indonesian/Filipino slave-labour-agency-context doesn't quite fit describing a person who's worked for my family for over 30 years, and she's not quite "amah" material) to clear out all the unopened boxes from my room into the storeroom. Am in fits of rage, mainly because that means my access to the stuff in those boxes will be from now on characterised by choking in the dust and spending hours sifting through OTHER boxes. Not that I really need all my old computer manuals, seldom-read books, quotations file, photo albums, or even leftover computer parts that regularly, but it's irritating to think it's no longer within my direct sphere of residential influence.

Finally completed Tad Williams' Otherland series; it's one of the more epic sci-fi/fantasy fusion blends I've read to date. Although the primary orientation is definitely within the sci-fi realm (genetically engineered telepathic brains in orbital satellites, informatiion-based life forms), the fantasy elements include a dizzying array of VR worlds - think Star Trek's Holodeck, with character and more mutants:) Having finished a book AND a computer game at the same time leaves me rather hollow - once again I am confronted by that bleak mental void in between gratifications.

Oh well. Off to lunch now; managed to euchre a friend over at PWC into picking me up from work. He owes me a meal; and it'll be good to have lunch with a non-colleague from a change; all the work-related conversation and financier jokes relating credit resume evaluation to picking up girls gets a bit stale. Ah, yuppie humour.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Grandiloquent Dictionary

This is the result of an ongoing project to collect and distribute the most obscure and rare words in the English language. It also contains a few words which do not have equivalent words in English. At present, the dictionary contains approximately 1900 words, though it is constantly growing.

The Associate can get enough words of the day for a lifetime from there!
(shocking revelation happened today. Ask me.)

Anyway, during choir today (All- 4- hours of it.. actually excluding breaks it was just 3 plus hours, which was okay, and there was a 1-hr break where i went with edgar to fetch his car) i suddenly felt this awfully strong longing for king albert park. Yes, KAP. It just struck me as I was sitting there in the middle of a Magnificat- that - there was nowhere else i'd like so much to be as KAP. The food wasn't even an issue (!!!) just sitting inside there in mac's. I miss that.

It just struck me... .like a realization... a metaphorical thor's hammer or something... just appeared, so clear, and it wouldn't go away. And all i could think of was how happy i would be if i could be in KAP at that moment. Didn't even think about who i would be with, or what i would be doing... just.... being there.

And thing is, i didn't even go there as much as some other people. I must have been through orchard mrt or holland village many more times than KAP... (maybe not... i remember my mum bringing me there since it opened, the first restaurant in singapore with drive-thru!) yet it was like a siren calling - irresistable - and yearning.

Puts this into mind:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils. "

It's gone, now.
A few weeks ago, I believe I cited something on the fascinating topic of "insertion of foreign objects into the rectum". Today, to avoid gender bias, here's a partial list of "vaginal foreign bodies" drawn from the medical journals. Warning--if you're the type with a queasy stomach, don't read this on a crowded bus:

An orange, an eggplant, a flashlight bulb, a screw, a crayon, a pencil, the metal top from a lead pencil (remained in place 20 years), a wax candle, the broken-off heel of a wooden shoe tree (remained in place 53 years), a pessary (57 years), another pessary with a two-and-three-quarter-inch base (a pessary is a device inserted in the vagina to support internal organs; it's supposed to be checked periodically), tampons, "lost" IUDs (string no longer visible), thermometers, a drinking glass (measuring 5 by 7 by 8.5 centimeters), a metal speculum mistakenly left in place following a gynecological exam (she didn't get far), a cucumber (14 inches), a salt cellar (8 by 4 centimeters), what appears on the X ray to be a Coca-Cola bottle, a brandy bottle (0.35 liters), carrots, a dead housefly, a bag of cocaine wrapped in a condom (1 by 10 by 16 centimeters), two 85-gram bags of cocaine (discovered posthumously), a cylindrical tin container (3 by 6 centimeters; remained in place two years, during which time it became encased in a giant calculus or stone), a jade bracelet (65 millimeters in diameter, hidden during a communist uprising, remained in place more than 40 years, discovered at autopsy), a bottle cap (3.7 by 3.8 centimeters) encased in a cauliflowerlike mass (4 by 5 centimeters), an aerosol deodorant cap, a hairspray can cap, miscellaneous other caps, a plastic cup (3 by 3 by 4 centimeters), an oxidized iron rod that protruded 2 centimeters out of the vagina ("identified by X-ray examination as one handle of an iron forceps often used for cutting metal wires"), a completely calcified plastic stopper, surgical gauze, "avian pulmonary tissue which was artfully introduced in the vagina of [a two-year-old] girl by her schizophrenic mother," plus a lot more in Dutch, Japanese, Hungarian, etc., that I didn't feel like translating. But you get the general idea.

In some cases the victim inserted the VFB for sexual purposes, only to have pieces or occasionally the entire thing get lost inside. Often the woman was too embarrassed to seek help and the object remained inside for years, as with the shoe-tree heel. Frequently the object became encysted or calcified, eroded the vaginal wall, or resulted in other complications you don't really want to hear about. Sometimes the women were "packers" (drug couriers); in other cases they inserted the objects as children. Some were mentally incapacitated; others wouldn't talk or feigned ignorance. Sometimes the explanations make no sense. In the case of one four-year-old, "the parents recognized the tubular foreign body as the shell of a suppository that had been mistakenly placed in the vagina by a layman during a febrile upper respiratory infection two years ago." Huh?

In quite a few cases the woman was the victim of sexual or other abuse. The Coke bottle above had been kicked into the woman's vagina by four rapists; she subsequently died. The candle had been inserted in a 20-month-old infant. In one investigation of 12 girls brought to a clinic for VFBs, 8 definitely and 3 possibly had been sexually abused. Even in cases of accidental VFBs the victim's troubles were often prolonged by medical incompetence. I found several reports of women who had been repeatedly examined over a period of years before somebody found the object. (Granted, a small plastic cap can be tough to spot on an X ray.)

Thermometers often get stuck when some quack tells a woman to take her temperature vaginally for purposes of contraception, ignoring repeated injunctions by experts that taking your temperature orally works just as well. I have here an X ray of one such woman showing that the thermometer--a conventional glass job--has gotten stuck inside her crosswise. Girls are told to be careful about what they let into their vaginas; the advice applies to inanimate objects too
Boredom. List time!

DVDs waiting at home: Full Metal Jacket; Dr Strangelove (oh joy! found it in an obscure little pirated DVD stall in the city during lunchtime), Clerks Special Edition, and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels.

Books waiting at home: Tad Williams "Sea of Silver Light", Scott Adams "God's Debris", Robin Hobb's "Fool's Errand", Ovid's "Metamorphoses" (I just dug it up out of the last box I got back from Australia - another one of the "stolen from library" collection I had forgotten about.)

Music to be played in the car on the way home: Cheesy Retro Compilation - MyMix Vol. 1

a) Sheen Easton - Telefone (Long Distance Love Affair)
b) Belinda Carlisle - In Too Deep
c) Belinda Carlisle - Summer Rain
d) Belinda Carlisle - Leave a Light on For Me
e) Roxette - How do You Do (watch as people subjected to this CD sigh with relief as the Belinda Carlisle tracks come to an end.....)
f) Belinda Carlisle - Vision of You (... bwaahahahaah - only to be caught unawares!)
g) Alphaville - Forever Young
h) Bananarama - Love in the First Degree
i) Human League - Together in Electric Dreams
j) Scorpions - Still Loving You
k) Dire Straits - Money for Nothing (just to show I have *some* taste:)
l) Escape Club - I'll Be There
m) Pulp Fiction Soundtrack - Miserilou (opening instrumental - "Any of you fucking pricks move - and I'll EXECUTE every motherfucking last one of you!")
n) Ravel - Bolero (because I'm usually on the last stretch home by then, and it sets an appropriately whimsical touch)

Words to ponder:

"And Nothing is very strong: strong enough to steal away a man�s years not in sweet sins but in a dreary flickering of the mind over it knows not what and knows not why, in the gratification of curiosities so feeble that the man is only half aware of them, in drumming of fingers and kicking of heels, in whistling tunes that he does not like, or in the long, dim labyrinth of reveries that have not even lust or ambition to give them a relish, but which, once chance association has started them, the creature is too weak and fuddled to shake off."
-CS Lewis, "Screwtape Letters"
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Monday, August 26, 2002

(from an email)

Subject: NeWater to be renamed "Jamban Juice"

Aware that many Singaporeans were wary of Newater, the treated used water to be introduced as an alternative water source for the country, the Environment Ministry recently held a contest to find an attractive name under which to market it.
The winning name, "Jamban Juice", was announced yesterday at a press conference and prize-giving ceremony at the pilot Newater plant in Bedok. Newater will be marketed under this name when it is introduced into the water supply.
"This is so unexpected", said Ms Lim Sai Chui, 20, who came up with the winning name. "I'm so happy."
Ms Lim is a recent graduate of one of the many creativity training courses being offered in Singapore.
"I didn't think I would have an opportunity to use my newly-learned skills in creativity so soon", said Ms Lim. "But when I heard about this contest, I knew I had to enter. Got chance to win money, of course must try try ah."
"Also, it's for the good of Singapore, what", she added belatedly.
Also present and receiving prizes at yesterday's event were the second- and third-place winners of the contest. Coming in as runner- up was Mr Minum bin Ayer Longkang, 23, with his entry, "Canal Cascade".
Said Mr Minum of his entry, "I realised that Newater wasn't being reclaimed entirely from sewage, but also from drains and other water runoffs. So I decided to go for a name based on this less-obvious used-water source instead. I think the judges may have been impressed by the originality of my approach and the resulting name I came up with."
Third place went to "Flush Fresh", by Mr Lim Pung Jio, 18, who happens to be the younger brother of the first-place winner. When asked about the curious phenomenon of the top three winning entries all using alliteration, the contestants all said that the similarity was no coincidence.
"I learned this in my creativity course", said winner Ms Lim. "It was one of the exercises we did one day, making up alliterative phrases. I never thought it would actually come in useful."
"Me too", said runner-up Mr Minum. "I took a creativity course too, and learned how to be creative in the same way. This just shows how useful these courses are. Isn't it?"
"I never take a creative course, but my sister teach me about allegation, so I use lah", explained Mr Lim the third-place finisher.

In a prepared statement, the Environment Ministry said that the Government expected the new marketing name to smooth the path to acceptance of Newater, as Singaporeans already had several nicknames for plain water, including "Sky Juice" and "Tapsi Cola".
However, the Ministry was taking no chances, and had already commissioned local musician Dick Wee to compose a jingle for use in a future promotional campaign for Jamban Juice. The jingle, set to the tune of popular local song "Chan Mali Chan", is not yet finished, but Mr Wee said that the lyrics to the chorus had already been written. They go:

Drink Jamban Juice (Yam Seng!)
Drink Jamban Juice (Yam Seng!)
Drink Jamban Juice,
It's the water we all choose.

In addition to her first-place prize, Ms Lim is expected to be given a cameo role in the video of the jingle.

Bottles of Newater are being included in the goodie bags of spectators at the National Day Parade. However, they will be labeled simply as "Newater". As such, the bottles will be NDP 2002 collectors items, and Singaporeans are encouraged to keep, treasure, and display them as they would Hello Kitty dolls.
The "Drink Jamban Juice" campaign kicks off on Saturday, the day after National Day. On this day, the Jamban Juice brand will be launched, and all future bottles of Newater will be labeled with this new name.
As with previous national campaigns, all local media will be saturated with exhortations for public compliance with the expected behavior, with the jingle being played everywhere ad nauseum at all hours of the day.
Jamban Juice will be sold at all NTUC FairPrice outlets and HDB minimarts, as well as other supermarkets, and is expected to be available as early as next week. Yam Seng!


Great resources for introduction to Erikson and Piaget theories.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

(Straits Times article on the Green Plan )
The green plan was drawn up over 12 months and up to six working groups will be formed soon to implement the plan.
During its formulation, contributions came from three focus groups with more than 50 people plus 77 submissions of ideas from the public.
Still, some feel it can be better.
One of them is Dr Ho Hua Chew, who heads conservation at the Nature Society.
He told The Straits Times that more details should have been included like what areas will be conserved in the long term and more nature areas should be gazetted.
But a balance has to be struck between the three aims of economic development, social progress and environmental protection, said Mr Lim.
I think I need to format soon.

Sometimes, like now, I feel like saying or putting to paper things which a blog, by its nature, cannot be host to.

Maybe a private diary is what most people would do (either that or slash themselves), but a private diary is not very private, and I'm not sure if I'd lose the diary or misplace it. My URL, on the other hand.

I look at my list. How many of them do I talk to?
Reply to my Phillip Island rant:

PINP Release (Park Ranger) Mon., August 19, 9:30am
Hi Irk, we understand your disappointment of not being able to use your camera but
hope you did enjoy the experience of the Penguin Parade.

The Park did not take lightly the decision not to allow cameras. After many
years of consideration the cameras were banned for the following reasons:
Flash photography is at the blue end of the light spectrum and disturbs
penguins. Whilst flash photos were always banned, the Park could not stop
them being taken. Many people could not turn their flash off. This taking of
flash photos also disturbed other customers who were obeying the ban.
The parade lights are soft and dispersed at the yellow end of the spectrum.
Our research has proven that these lights do not affect the penguins.
We banned all photos because some new digital and video cameras are very
like flash cameras in appearance.
We are now working on providing stock photography that people can down load
onto their cameras. This will allow them to take home some photography.
Since the new cameras regulation many people have commented on the improved
experience while watching penguins. Visitors are no longer crowded by other
customers trying to take pictures and the whole evening is now much more
peaceful for people and penguins.
The boardwalks were built to protect the penguins burrows, having visitors up off the ground stops them treading on burrows and caving them in and lets the penguins go around their habitat without interference of people on their tracks.
We always consider the penguins first. I hope you understand our position.

Marine Researcher
Tue., August 20, 2:59am

Dear Park Ranger.

I too am a very disappointed visitor to your commercial centre. In accepting you have a renowned separate research section, it is not that section which runs your souvenir shops; the only available source of video or still photography of the Little Penguins at quite excessive prices.

In various studies all results have shown that the Little Penguins are not in any way harmed by flash photography.

If you are going to attempt to perpetuate the myth that it does, you should back your statements with the names and references of studies supporting your views.

No such case studies supporting your claims exist, in contrare all evidence is clearly that no physical damage is done by the light spectrum of a flash.

To state that your trained rangers cannot tell the diffence between a digital video camera and a digital still camera is ridiculous at best. When I attended earlier this year, the rangers were stopping people, and placing cameras into a plastic bag. This was taking place in a well lit area by large glass doors.

The difference between a still and video digital camera or any other type of video camera is significant and you must believe we the public are idiots if you expect us to believe your trained and experienced rangers cannot tell the difference between the two.

It is time that the Australian and Victorian Governments took action to stop the false claims being made by your commercial department so that simply put you can force we the visiting public to buy commercial photography from your souvenir shop.

Three cheers to Irked for again raising a matter much in need of redress.

PINP Release (Park Ranger) Tue., August 20, 3:07pm
Dear Marine Researcher,

As you say, it is important to back up statements with supporting documentation. For this reason, we will be glad to receive your named references supporting your statement �Little Penguins are not in any way harmed� by flash photography.

If you read carefully our reference to the effect of flash photography on penguins, you will see that the word used is �disturbs penguins,� not physical damage as you claim. Our Research team are recognised among world leaders in Little Penguin research and we are very careful not to commit statements which are not backed up in scientific study. (They also do not use pseudonyms when writing text about their field of study.)

As you will know, when moving through the darkness or semi darkness, the pupils of your eyes are dilated and your retina is then particularly exposed to sudden light. This sensitivity to sudden light must have been noticed by you when someone turns the light on in the middle of the night � it occurs in all species with adjustable pupils.

There are often over two thousand people watching penguins come out of the water and cross the beach. The penguins have travelled sometimes many kilometres in gathering darkness. Consider the distressing effect of not just your bedroom light, but two thousand flashes going off in your face, considering the information above, and you will see how our regulation is created out of care for the penguins and not some other reason.

If the penguins are constantly distressed at this beach they may try to go elsewhere where they will NOT be protected from dogs, traffic, and housing as they are here.

The Penguin Parade, (including both the research centre and the commercial centre, incidentally) is self funded. It is YOUR ticket money and souvenir money that pays for fox control (foxes have killed up to 30 penguins in one night on several occasions in the past). It is your visit as a tourist that keeps this organisation important to Victorian tourism and this has meant the Government actually bought back houses from the nearby housing estate so we could give the land back to the penguins � and this has restored many breeding opportunities in the area where penguin numbers had been declining before.

Our statement about not being able to tell the difference between cameras refers to two thousand people in a crowd in semi-darkness at the beach, not of course at the well-lit doors of the building. As you may have noticed, a high proportion of our visitors do not speak English and by the time everyone wanted to talk about why we were selecting some cameras and not others, the parade would be over and everyone would still be queued up at the doors. You have to be realistic about how these things could be managed!

We are grateful on behalf of the penguins to all our visitors who consider the welfare of the penguins and come with a positive and understanding attitude to see them. Thanks to their visits, the Penguin colony is now thriving after many years in decline and as many of us have dedicated our whole career to them, we are not about to take them or their needs for granted.
I used to find the language of people on vis-a-vis, a Yahoo! Group (then Egroup) consisting largely of (now) J4 HCJC and RJC Humanz scholars rather bombastic, overblown and florid. I wonder what people think of -mine- now.

I'm old.

me: you watch that show?
someone: which show
me: lifestyles of the rich and famous
someone: erpshx
it's a song wat
me: gah. I'm out of date
me: it used to be a show in the 80s
Julian's such a dear:

Porn Star or My Little Pony?

by Lore Sj�berg

She has flowing hair, smooth skin, languid eyes, and she's completely naked. Are we discussing here a star of one of the approximately four hundred thousand single-, double-, and triple-X-rated films out there, or one of the approximately four hundred thousand different "My Little Ponies" they flooded toy stores with in the Eighties?

That's what we're here to find out. Below is a list of names. Each name belongs to either a porn star, or a My Little Pony. Your job is to try and tell the fornicator from the latter. Supine or equine? New Wave Hookers or new-agey hoofers? You make the call.

NB: Read on if you don't want to take the test. But I strongly suggest you do!

Your score: 4 out of 12

Cherry Treats
A white and red "Sweetberry Pony." A horse that smells like cherries. Huh.
Your answer: Porn Star (Wrong)Lucky Star
He appeared in "Pure Milk #2." Sequels are never as good as the original, are they?
Your answer: Pony (Wrong)Love Melody
A "Twice as Fancy" pony. That's pretty darn fancy.
Your answer: Porn Star (Wrong)Daisy Sweet
This pony smelled like perfume. How come they never made one that smelled like a horse?
Your answer: Pony (Right)Sunshine Blue
Starred with about half a dozen women with only one name in "Fresh Flesh."
Your answer: Pony (Wrong)Honey Rose
She was in "Lethal Squirt." I don't want to know what "Lethal Squirt" is.
Your answer: Porn Star (Right)Ruby Lips
This, incredibly enough, was a pony. Sometimes I wonder if the designers themselves weren't watching porn films...
Your answer: Porn Star (Wrong)Misty Rain
"Strap-On Sally," "Foot Fetish Fantasies #2," "Tracey at the Sex Derby," "The XXX Files." This woman has quite a resume.
Your answer: Pony (Wrong)Green Eyes
He was in "Hispanic Heatwave" with a guy named "Skelator." No, really.
Your answer: Pony (Wrong)Heart Throb
A "So-Soft" Pegasus Pony. I try to avoid buying toys with "Throb" in the name.
Your answer: Pony (Right)Chocolate Delight
A "Soda-Sippin' Pony." It came with a straw. I really don't understand this.
Your answer: Porn Star (Wrong)Sweetie Pie
I'm really disturbed to know that there even exists a video called "Breastman's American Butt Search," much less that someone named "Sweetie Pie" appears in it.
Your answer: Porn Star (Right)

Muaha. I was desperately trying to clear my Hotmail archived mail so it won't overflow so soon next time, and I clicked too fast in my fluster. In the end, I accidentally deleted the mail in Mozilla Mail before I'd moved it to another folder, though I'd saved all my messages in eml format.

Racking my brains, I've imported the eml files into Outlook Express, then imported them in Mozilla Mail.

Such are the little things in life :)
Restored Post

I had range Sunday and Monday at the SAFTI range I. The place is really quite pleasant compared to Tekong. There are plants, you don't have to walk and everything is well maintained. But we had to set things up ourselves - eg filling sandbags.

It was my first try at ATP (Advanced Training firing Package), and I did passably, passing on day 1 failing on day 2, mostly because my rifle was spoilt to the point that I had to aim at the 15m line to hit the target, even though the foresight tip had been clicked downwards to the maximum. Irritatingly, I scored 4/4 for one night shoot for the sensing magazine (so we know where to shoot), and 0/4 for the real test. Worse, 2 fingernails, the 2nd and the 3rd on my right hand, got blown off, so to speak, by the recoil of the rifle. However, I was very happy for when I visited the mobile canteen, I saw that A&W Root Beer is back! No longer will I have to swig the swill that is MUG! Apparently it disappeared for a while because it's now canned by F&N, as opposed to Yeos, as I found out by calling the consumer hotline. And it's going for 33 cents a can for the 24 can cartons! I want.

We also had a SAR21 Orientation Shoot. Being bored, I shot the target to my left, the one on my right and for good measure, shot the lane markings (those on the wooden boards above our lanes). We also had "frangible rounds" though what the
difference was I couldn't tell. And someone else there was reading "Servant of the Empire" which hours before I'd been reading.

Andrew called me on Monday to wish me a happy belated :) Oh well, dates were never very important anyway.

I was attached to Kaffir Company to go outfield, and had to pack my field pack. There are a great number of items that we need to pack, and many of them are included for no conceivable reason. The list is not with me, and anyway it's probably restricted [ ;) ], but it includes such stuff as arc of fire sticks (for medics?). Even the more mundane items like uniforms are unnecessary, as people don't change usually when they go outfield, and even if they do they bring their change of clothing separately because it's too troublesome to use the standby set. As with everything in the SAF, packing fieldpacks is just for show.

On a Kaffir noticeboard I saw a picture of the famous Iskandar Ismail. Very surprisingly, he looks Chinese! And he has a bushy moustache to boot. And in the bunk of the platoon I was with, they have an electric stove!

While waiting to move off, the platoon I was with asked me to stay there while they ran back to the bunk to sleep. Gah. And someone took a packet of cereal from my combat rations without so much as asking me, and didn't apologise even when I shouted at him. Some people...

Having not gone outfield since BMT (trudging around SMM doesn't count), I was reacquainted with the joys of Camo Cream. Flat Black Camouflage Cream still stings my face, but I noticed that applying a film of Hunter's Green Cream reveals pimples very clearly. Everyone's Camo was very half past six, so for once mine was actually one of the better ones. I also got to wade in muck and cleaning my rifle again. Ahh SMM - 'You didn't fire your weapons right? Just do exterior cleaning'. Though I still don't fire my rifle, so I have considerably less to clean ;)

Being the medic, I walked at the back of the platoon, but I had the heaviest load - while others just had their Standard / Skeletal (if you prefer) Battle Order, I had. in addition, my MOP and my stretcher. Hefting my burden, my knees and soles were already hurting, and I got breathless running after my platoon. One time, after 3 minutes of rest, my pulse went up to 156/min.

The first day, it was a mounted exercise so we sat on the BX-113 (I think) APC. It's very. Cosy. Not as cosy as I thought, but snug enough - and I've the least elbow and leg room. ANd it takes darn long to load and unload my stretcher. At least there are fans inside.

My birthday, on day 2 of the exercise, was spent outfield. Mostly anyway, as we got to come back to the bunk to rest in between. But pushing through more than head high grass, wading through calf high mud and rolling down a slope into a puddle aren't my idea of a nice day. But now I can emphatise with Lone Wolf as he is scratched by Graveweed (damn Mimosa), is attacked by Crypt Spawn (mosquitos so thick you can kill at least one slapping anywhere), and rolling down slopes (how much EP did I lose?) all with a full backpack.

I was asked if I minded being teased often, to which I replied that I was thick skinned in that area. The rejoinder: I am thick skinned in many areas. Well.

An article in the Economist (naturally - what else is there to stimulate my mind?) got me thinking what the point of prison was. It is supposed to deter and rehabilitate, but on both counts it fails, especially the latter. Again related to that publication - some articles have strings of sentences which aren't linked to each other with connectors. Kind of like some of mt blog paragraphs :)

I realise that a not-insignificant part of my handphone bill is spent on work related calls and smses. We should be able to claim some expenses!

For some reason, the people in the Medical Platoon take a long time to book out, and often on nights off they don't go off. Maybe it's the nature of our work :)

Tim is never at home, if he is he sleeps by 9:50pm, he never replies to smses or mail, and he doesn't turn his handphone on. Only Huixian can reach him in his dimension :(

In recent weeks my platoon has taken to calling me "Jiabao", instigated by Seetoh. Apparently it means Gabriel in Chinese. And apparently it also translates to "Jumbo".

The dogs in my unit are really very tame. One guy tried to feed one a fruit bar, but it refused to eat it. He later shook hands with it and used his boot to, err, stimulate her.

I don't know how people can stand wearing the cheap slippers with the plastic thing in between the big and second toes. Ouch.

There is a certain comfort in anonymity, being called "Medic" by everyone.

We had to do a book review so I reviewed Daughter of the Empire in relatively flowery language, and occupied the whole of the text area in rather small handwriting. I think when they see my review they'll forget about reading the rest :)

Most of Friday (9am-5pm) was spent on a minivan fetching people to and from hospitals and dropping medics off at various locations. Suffice to say that we had lunch at Ikea (the chicken wings are good), (REC) Yaodong was at Tengah with "Asthma" (and had nothing wrong with him too, and the MO discharged him after a few hours in the sick bay with only 1 day of light duties), and I saw my RJ senior whom I'd first met at NDP Terence in his horrible looking work outfit at the Military Medicine Institute at CMPB. And the speed limit of 50kmph (enforced by a speed monitor on the vehicle) meant our minivan inched along the expressway while other vehicles zipped by while we sweltered since SAF's too cheapskate to repair the air-conditioning when it breaks down.

On my night off Friday I had dinner with my sister, brother in law and Kat at Oscar's at Conrad. The last meanly poked Blue Bear's nose with a fork! :(

Fetching me back to camp, my sister commented to my brother in law that the only way I can redeem myself in my mother's eyes is to go after Fierce Girl (whom my sister'd 'knew' would a a President's Scholar from the first time she saw and heard her in Nanyang), which'd allow her to boast as much as she wants. I was rather flummoxed, and I think anyone who knew would collapse in apoplexy :0 Anyhow I think she's still attached.

The CCO senior medic was in a bad mood so he gave us lots of area cleaning chores to do. I spent about 90 minutes cleaning windows Saturday :( But later we had "guests" - 2 recruits from the Armour Engineers Training Centre who'd sore eyes. The medic who brought them here thought I was a driver. Grr.

Suspiciously, for both lunch and dinner on Saturday, there was Otar. That's a little too blatant even for SFI.

I got to watch Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue at the Medical Centre! Of course the other 2 duty personnel went elsewhere during that half hour since it wasn't Channel U.

After time in my unit, I know why my brother in law likes course life so much. With great (bah) privilege comes great responsibility. But I still prefer unit life :)

I didn't do any GP essays in the end on Saturday :(

Geraldine commented that I've only one big problem - servitude. I guess my tendency to take things lightly and as they come has a good side as well as a bad side.

The flood of spam is horrible. I shudder to think of how much genuine mail I lose to the junk mail filters (I think, at the least, bcced mails don't get through) and bouncing when my mailbox is full (Miserly 2MB and 36 filters at most...). Then I can't receive mails like "hello, remember me?" from Gail Aw :))

I've learnt that:
- The habit some people have of sleeping with eyes half-closed is very unnerving.
- The most useful thing I learnt during my SITEST was how to tie a thumb knot :)
- My unit doesn't give us birthday offs. Boo hoo.
- There is an August 1999 FHM in my bunk
- My unit hasn't gone outfield for longer than me - 6 months. No wonder they like they NDP song so much they whistle it and use it as a ringtone
- Mee Goreng and Pasta Bolognese in Field Rations aren't bad
- There's a toilet in the middle of the training area
- The AETC recruits who came to the sick bay on Saturday, despire enlisting 2 weeks ago, will ORD 1 day earlier than me (!!!)
- A PAS member alleged that Mahathir watched porn with his grandchildren (?!)
- Some Malaysian children are afraid of going to school because of 'ghosts'
- Hotmail wiped much of my blog post out. Gah.
- There's a unisex toilet at Alexandria Hospital
- Yucheng was responsible for my Tripod page's demise. He forwarded to Tripod a mail some hacker sent him scolding him with vulgarities for his 'exploits'. And he too remembered my birthday wrongly :)
- The name of Kenny G's most infamous and infuriating song is "Songbird". Songbird is to Kenny G as Ballade Pour Adeline is to Richard Clayderman.
- After so many years, my sister still can't reproduce the tune of the NYPS school song. And she's the gall to poke my brother in law whenever he gets one note wrong when humming the tune of BBC's "Sports Roundup"
- My sister supports cohabitation too
- I Not Stupid is on Channel 8 now. Except it's in half hour slots to milk it for all it's worth, and "Lim Peh" has been dubbed over with "Ni3 de4 pa4 pa4". Evil Speak Mandarin Campaign.

I think my vocabulary peaked some time in J2. New words just don't go in now, and I'm starting to lose the old ones. Argh. And sometimes I stumble with pronunciation, though I always correct myself in time.

I need new prey but am too lazy to hunt.


[Me: Why do you hate AC {Anglo-Chinese} people?] AC people are arrogant. AC people are snobbish. Need I say more?... They all have a big attitude problem.

What makes us different from the infantry? Canned food? Coca-cola? So much Maggi Mee inside...

ni3 he1 shui3 ye3 yao4 xie3 dong1 xi1 [Even when you drink water, you must write something down]... Are you going to publish a book? "My NS life" by Gabriel Seah [Someone else: The person I hate most: Cheong... his jokes always make me feel cold]

[Me on a sign at range: What is 'side show'?] Can you see a monkey there, jumping up and down?

You see? Losers always use vulgarities. Loser, loser, loser.

[On the CCO Senior Medic] He doesn't deserve a name. Call him "a n'air (Alt Spelling of pronunciation: ah neh)"

[Qigong class ad] Watch Master Sim use his Taichi repelling force to repel 8 big guys charging at him

Anyway, if you want your mother to stop nagging, you should go and date Peggy Pao.

[On the above] She looks very lian now.

I think I am not living up to my proud heritage of bo liao-ness. Probably because trying too hard would get me charged, so. The most I manage to do is pithy things like putting up pictures of Asian Prince in the bunk! And write long reports in the sick bay message book in florid language, mentioning Gordion Knots.

Why do all Japanese girls look and sound the same? Especially the singers. Maybe the Japanese like their women long haired and high pitched.

I saw Yucheng's mother at Ridout Garden McDonalds. I didn't know she could ride a bicycle.
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