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Saturday, September 28, 2002

I call your attention to Articles 152 and 153 of the Singaporean constitution.

Article 152 Minorities and Special Position of Malays

1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore.

2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognize the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.

Article 153 Muslim Religion

The Legislature shall by law make provision for regulating Muslim religious affairs and for constituting a Council to advise the President in matters relating to the Muslim religion.

Refer also to Article 15

15) Freedom of religion.
1) Every person has the right to profess and practise his religion and to
propagate it.

2) No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.

3) Every religious group has the right --

(a) to manage its own religious affairs;
(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.

However, the next one is the kicker which justifies the tudung crack down:

(4) This Article does not authorise any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality

What's with the racism streak of late? I've got far more reasons to be than you do, but at least I don't hide it behind nitpicking.

Word of the day: "apoptosis"

Lame war joke follows.

A man walks into a bar, and sees two very familiar figures sitting in a corner. He asks the barman, and the barman confirms it - it's Bush and Powell! Immediately, the man walks over and shakes them by the hand, saying, "It's an honour, sirs. What are you guys doing here?"

Bush, "We're planning World War 3."

"Really? How's it going?"

"Not bad. We plan to kill a few million Iraqis, and a blonde with big breasts."

Puzzled, the man asks, "Why do you want to kill a blonde with big breasts?"

Bush immediately turns to Powell, slaps him on the shoulder, and says, "See, Colin? I told you no one would worry about a few million Iraqis."

Friday, September 27, 2002

How come we don't have a minister of Buddhist Affairs? Or even a Minister of Taoist-Buddhist-Amalgam affairs. There are much more even Buddhists than Muslims
Shocking news:

the rgs pinafore has a nice colour

not the new ones!

[Ed: Do I sense a trend?!?!?!?]

they claim its "closer to the original rgs uniform color"
and that my dark blue/almost black ones are the ones that are off

Colour Sample

the one on the left is my color.. approx.. my friend did this.. and the other type are the approx colors.. somewhere between there.. taking into consideration the color fades

[Ed: With my anemic Paint Shop Pro Skills, I have brewed up a more or less correct colour sample. Behold the power of my mighty hand!

New Colour (2002)

Old Colour

Editor's Note: Referring to the 1986 Yearbook that I somehow had in my house, I saw that, on one of the 2 sole pages with colour, some of the girls were wearing pinafores approximating the new colour, so there may be a grain of truth in the school's assertation.

Maybe it's to prepare them for RJ's purple uniforms

I draw your attention, especially, to the girl second from the right.

Appparently they started a petition. Which didn't work. Well, the new colour looks like the prefects' skirts' colour. Conspiracy theory: Bibi and Baba wanted to save money on different materials and dyes for Prefects' and normal skirts

On an unrelated note, most of the people in the 1986 yearbook look terrible, and it's not just 1980s hairstyles. Maybe it's something to do with RJ people looking worse and worse every year - it goes in a cycle, first going up, then down, then up again.]
Perhaps the largest single update of How Girls Waste Time has been completed, thanks to copious comments from someone from a forum ;)

"*thanks God she doesn't fit onto 3/4 of the list*
i agree with you like every single bit about this list cos girls are guilty about it. -smirks- not that i am trashing my own gender, but its true that females, not all, but a good part of them, are guilty of such.

of course guys have their own habits and stuff but honestly i don't care cos half the time i'm being too much like a guy to worry about what im doing and if its a typical "male trait" which girls don't understand.
i suppose it varies for diff people.

and you forgot constant whining

stuff i noticed in class

elaboration on toilet habits + constantly being in groups and pairs

girls somehow almost ALWAYS been to be in groups, almost ALWAYS have to go to the toilet in groups, love to profess their love to each other, start calling each other "pet, mother, father, brother, sister, sister, pet turtle, pet dog, pet cat, neighbour,sister in law, brother in law" that kinda stuff

its apparently cool to be "bimbo"/acting "bimbo" gives girls a kick

girls are either trying to make theirselves prettier, or trying to look like a guy

owning about a million bags + pencil cases + wallets (purses) + handphone covers to match their mood/clothes/bedsheets/room color/whatever not

staying up until 5 am to make lil thankyou cards for everyone in their cca/class/both/everyone they know.. half of which get tucked into a corner and forgotten/throw away and trashed anyway

watching sappy movies -- >> a walk to remember -- a million times cos its so touching and sappy and romantic and their perfect idea of a relationship (even if they had to die)

owning everything of the same color - > pink pink pink PINK PINK PINK pink pink pink pink pink

writing letters in class to the girl sitting next to them

using frabic paint to write on the insides of their belt/shoes/bag/lockers/files/whatever they get their hands and frabic paint on

want me to add on?

- they think its cool to wear their hairbands around their necks and let their hair flop around their eyes (i mean i dn't care if your hair is in your eyes.. but if you have a hairband, wear it!)

- they have hair styling in class everyday on whoseever hair is long enough.. 4 people making up one hairstyle (unique scary ones at that)

- cakes and picturs and more cakes and more pictures at every juncture/occasion/whatever not reason they can think of

- forming cliques and swearing loyalty, then chatting and screaming and talking about their boyfriends so loudly anyone can hear them anyway

- complain they have no money then blow 50 bucks on new clothes

- spend hours and hours cutting and pasting pictures of their friends and pasting it into a collage on their folders... then throwing them away to start a new collage again and destroy perfectly good pictures of people in the process

- mutilating/wasting their diaries when they change their boyfriend and can't stand seeing their ex boyfriend's name in the diary"
My Conman in Tokyo clips site is coming back up, albeit with 3 of the least funny and crappy clips excised.

So now it's unashamedly promoting the slapstick moments ;)

Or it will be when Web1000 lets me register.

Update: It's up!

Flubtitles For: Conman In Tokyo [Hk Version]

Bollywood Reviews!

A few days ago, we all got "Shoulder to Shoulder - Our National Service Journal. Bonding our people, defending our nation"

As Propaganda goes, it's very well done. I can feel them trying to brainwash me. It seems in recent years, the soft approach has been gaining credence, as they realise that going on too hard will alert people to their game. Instead of lies, they now deal in half-truths ;)

Indeed, what is written inside is quite true, but inevitably, they leave out the dark side. The dark, unknown, reviled side. Which is why they need the Official Secrets Act :)

I was most stimulated by the letter at the end, of a father to his son, composited from what many NSmen and NSFs said their fathers said to them, and what they would tell their sons. I might write a letter like this, and of course add an addenum. Among other things, advising him not to backstab his fellow soldiers, not to let NS warp him, not to pick up drinking, smoking, gambling, swearing or prostitution, not to get injured (ie don't try too hard), to Pray fervently, not to kill or maim himself, to expect to be dumped if he was attached, to enjoy the sweetness of not being shackled before enlistment and lots more besides. Oh, and conceivably most importantly - to hate the System, not the People.

Another perspective (Circa July 2002):

"it serves to create a subservient population. it's part of an overall conditioning package.

it provides you with an outlet to vent your feelngs on -
which is how the system works
providing minute things for you to fixate your energies and hatreds on - specific micro issues(like COEs being too high or all the things you think of to get off days for NS)

but ultimnately it enmeshes you deeper within it - til you're a part of it
even your army bitching becomes just part and parcel of being a loyal singaporean male

no.. you don't hate the system
you simply focus on the symptoms (NS) as opposed to the disease(the entire paradigm of loyalty and subservience and social engineering that singapore is)

[Me: which distracts you from the root of the problem? brilliant.]

you spend two years focusing your energies on evading and beating the system
then once you get out, what do you do?
you become a productive, HDB-dwelling, CPF-paying, middle-income-class professional"
Yet another interminable post:

Restored post

This whole week has been "cover" week for me. I've hardly been in the Medical Centre, always being somewhere - outfield or in a hall, doing Medical Cover.

On Monday, I was in the land rover covering Support company's SOC at 41SAR's grounds. 41SAR, as I've been told, is right next to the dreaded Detention Barracks. Driving down the road to 41SAR, DB came up, naturally enough, on my right. Except for the barbed wire fences, it could be taken for a normal SAF camp - nay, better, for it is very colourful. Just as in the Island of Doom, however, the cheery exterior conceals a depths with unspeakable horrors. Perhaps, in the SAF, the level of decoration of the camp is inversely proportional to the amount you suffer while in it! I also noticed something odd about the driver. Upon further enquiry, I found that my judicious use of Sixth Sense was indeed correct - he was from HCJC. The way they post us these days...

On Tuesday, I was sent Outfield with Support to cover their Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier Driving Test. I spent most of the morning in blissful sleep.

One officer had a notebook open, and inside were some trivial words that he wanted to know the meaning of. After hovering around for a time, I bravely snatched the baton and chimed in, taking over from the person who hitherto had been making the words more understandable to the group gathered round. As I was able to explain better than the one I replaced (I think), I was feted ; He whom I replaced appeared slightly relieved, even, though he was booed as I, a 3 A student, could beat him, a 4 A (and 5 D, 1 M) student, in this arena at least. Stunned by my seemingly erudition, they asked if I was a Uni student (...), and one revealed that they liked to fraternise with students with many As to "absorb" some of, and bask in our aura.

On Thursday, I went Outfield to do cover again, but this time with civilians - DSTA, Singapore Technologies (Engineering, Kinetics, Dynamics and the lot) and others were doing trials of the Bronco All Terrain Tracked Carrier (ATTC) swimming. For some reason, there was someone who was introduced to me as a Catholic Priest. Maybe he was there in case anyone drowned. He asked if I was Catholic. When I replied in the negative, he said "not yet". Gah. Anyhow, he's with ST Dynamics, and has a son, so.

There were 2 boatmen from Steven's unit - 35 SCE. They say he's full of crap but rarely late (so something's changed at least). They say that at Seletar Camp, the pace of life is very slow. But their book in timing is 10:30pm, never later than 11:00pm, so.

We were having a short discourse on mosquitos (Yes, that's how sad - and bored - we were). One person tried sitting in the middle of 10 burning mosquito coils, and he still got bitten. Those mosquitos are irrepressible. Later, prompted by a few, I tried sleeping on my stretcher, but my cough kept me up.

One guy was very kiasu. He had the Nokia splash-proof, shock-proof phone, yet he ziploced it.

My mother lent me Dave Pelzer's "The Lost Boy" to read. I started at about 9am and was done by 2pm. It wasn't bad, but after all it was A New York Times Best Seller for over 3 years, a # 1 International Best Seller and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize to boot.

Much is said about the innocence and angelic nature of children. In retrospect (and on reading the aforementioned book) though, one realises that there is quite a bit of bullying, peer pressure, malice, spite, exclusion of others from social groups and casting out of some, and people do the oddest and silliest things for social acceptance. Then again, as people age, these are still present, only more subtle. Actually, possibly they lessen in intensity as morals and ethics guide our actions.

Now that we're done with the reflection, it's time to do the other part of the commentary.

I should've known, when my mother lent me the book, that it was going to be a feel-good kind of book. And indeed it was. Intoxicating to many, is it any wonder books from this genre (so to speak) often top the bestseller lists? Witness the popularity of books such as "A 3rd Helping Of Chicken Soup For The Souls Of Compulsive, Incorrigible Gamblers Who Mortgaged Their Wives, Children, House and Dog to Pay Off Their Gambling Debts, And Who Then Resorted To Becoming Pimps For Child Prostitutes, Sold Their Kidneys And Blood And To Pay Off The Last Cent, Burnt Whatever Shred Of Dignity They Had Left And Debased Themselves By Eating Feces On National Television - 666 More Stories To Open The Heart And Rekindle The Spirit". As I read the book, I could feel the author trying to release my endomorphins.

Recently, we got a new Company Sergeant Major (CSM). He seems to be more lenient with releasing the book in/book out books, but he wants to enforce a lot of silly rules, like a lights off timing, and making us reveille by - wait for it - 5:45am! The days of snoozing till 6:45 and not eating breakfast seem to be over. They will be missed.

The quarter of a mooncake that I brought to camp and neglected to bring to Sembawang had grown mould by Monday morning, after 2 weeks out of a fridge. And to think I'd eaten an eighth on Saturday night. Maybe that was the source of my stomachache.

The curse of missing items has struck again, and it now it is the doom of another. James, coming back from our jaunt at Sembawang Wharf, found that his groundsheet, and some other things, was missing. The horror. Apparently he knows where to find a second hand groundsheet, but there's only one left so.

However, the possibility looms of my not needing to pay for the groundsheet that was spirited away - a storeman revealed to me that his friend has 2 groundsheets, so a simple swop, and both our problems are solved. Anyhow, from the Horse's (Storeman Specialist) mouth - groundsheets cost $30-$40 only and the ET Stick $20-$30. Then again, still a hefty sum, actually.

Since my shins hurt, I deigned not to go for Unarmed Combat. And so I missed my Mock Grading, and by extension my grading. And I'm going to take a whole new UC package. Whee. More thigh splitting splits, here I come.

Yaodong may have played his last game - an officer came in asking for his complete Medical History. Uh oh.

We've all these jokers coming in - the latest: One person who ate 16 tablets of Panadol and then claimed he wasn't trying to commit suicide.

Robin and Ian Chen Yi'en are armour warriors too. Whee. I was looking at them when they were getting ready to run their SOC.

One of the mysteires of life is why people think that RJ people are very stuck up. It seems to be everyone's impression, and when I reveal the identity of my Alma Mater, I invariably get comments of "RJ people are very snobbish". A few bad sheep perhaps, or maybe they're just more inclined to be disinclined towards us, and have the mindset that we are "stuck up". One person was telling me that he knew 2 RJ girls. He pronounced them both "very chio" but also "very stuck up".

In a related vein, whenever people ask me if I know certain RJ people, it's invariably Arts Girls they're asking after. Sociable lot, aren't they?

An interesting proposition was levelled at me - A level students with good results (and assumedly who will earn a lot in future) are sent to OCS so during Reservist, the Government won't waste a ton of money paying Corporals.

Alvin, now disrupted, had told us not to send our bedsheets downstairs to be washed, because they'd come back with holes and funny stains. Turns out they won't, and Alvin was the one who was responsible for changing the bedsheets and had lost track. Cluck cluck.

One driver was telling me how all his nights off become stay outs - he just rides out on his motorcycle and comes back at 5:30am in the morning. And who said the MT line people weren't slack? Unfortunately, even if I had a motorcycle, I wouldn't be able to do such as I'd be caught or ratted on. Oh well. And over at 4th Brigade HQ, Som's bunk mates go for illegal nights off all the time. Oh well.

Our Commanding Officer (CO) is very long winded. I think he can give Ho Chin Geok a run for her money! It's simply draining to listen to him droning on and on.

I've got duty on the day of the Army Half Marathon. Hehe, no 5km fun walk for me.

First, in September's issue, our budding Pioneer writer featured me as a Medic. Now for his October masterpiece, he claims to have drawn Mr Ong Chiau Jin. I shudder.

Disturbing thought: The copse you pee at today may be where you take cover tomorrow

Zixuan asked me to go for a focus group at NTU on Monday on, of all things, slimming. Gah. Anyhow it fits in nicely with my schedule, so I'll humour her, but neither Myo Li nor Shuyu will be around (so I can't poke around the latter's room, hehe)

On the bus back yesterday, I saw this NS guy with the Nokia phone with the built-in digital camera. Rich kid! And daring too - that is definitely disallowed in SAF premises, and it's very visible.

My mood was rather jubilant on booking out, but it was soured because of an unfortunate incident with Tse Ming. Normally, he's cheery, jovial and reasonable, but yesterday, maybe because he had a bad day, or was riled by the delayed book out (the Guard Commander was checking bags so there was a very long queue at the gate), he flared up at me. I was smsing him, asking him when to book in - monday night or tuesday morning. He smsed, flustered, back, for me to go to Marina South at 7am on Sunday for the Army Half Marathon (AHM). I replied that I had duty on Sunday, and repeated my earlier question. After giving me the answer - Monday night, he later smsed and called me to remind me to go for Weekend RT, to book in on Friday night. When I replied that I was excused running, he asked me to go anyway, and when I suggested I call the COS to confirm, since RT is mostly running and going would waste not just my, but the Duty Officer's time, he flared up and threatened me with extras, though he finally relented. His parting words (on sms) - "next time I ask you to do something and you don't want to do it, you sign extra, I mean it... maybe you need more weekend duties to wake up your idea". Sigh :( I just hope he was having a bad day. Anyhow, Sunday duty beats Weekend RT in a way because I'll actually get to sleep at home.

Update: I've to go for RT after all, says the COS. Yeh. My camp bed is actually firmer than my real bed, actually, after my brother in law and sister both slept on it daily for 3 months

There was a trailer on Channel 8, and in the background was a track from the Swingle Singers. Intriguing.


[To me and a 5 Distinction, 1 Merit TJC Student] When was the age you all first started masturbating?

[On Porn] There is only one reason I surf the Internet: To Relieve, man, to relieve

We like to talk with you all A Student, to absorb some of your aura... 'All of my colleagues are A students!' (students with many As)

And: [To someone called Wanyuan] Here's my phone number so you can come to my house and eat rambutans (???) - The Commander

Scathing book review of the day:

"HAD enough of novels that make obvious sense? Books with a conventional plot? Stories that actually go somewhere? Characters you can relate to? Then try the latest offerings from Zadie Smith and Nicola Barker. They are probably two of the most frustrating novels you will read this year."

The much lauded Yinkae has been forced to close down. The cries of distress from the hordes of fans are still audible.
Ooo, this was too good I couldn't resist highlighting it:

Witness the popularity of books such as "A 3rd Helping Of Chicken Soup For The Souls Of Compulsive, Incorrigible Gamblers Who Mortgaged Their Wives, Children, House and Dog to Pay Off Their Gambling Debts, And Who Then Resorted To Becoming Pimps For Child Prostitutes, Sold Their Kidneys And Blood And To Pay Off The Last Cent, Burnt Whatever Shred Of Dignity They Had Left And Debased Themselves By Eating Feces On National Television - 666 More Stories To Open The Heart And Rekindle The Spirit"
My father, having gotten off stocks and shares for a while (I think and hope), has thrown himself totally into cleaning out the house.

While sorting out my sister's old stuff, besides copious loads of Romance Novels with lurid covers of questionable taste, has a Raffles Guys School 1986 Yearbook (???)

Thursday, September 26, 2002

"david eddings is actually not too unreadable for neophytes. belgariad isn't a bad series; what makes david eddings bad is that he recycles his damn catchphrases, characters, and narrative concepts ad nauseam.

for some reason, terry pratchett does the same thing (ie. recycling his style over and over again) but it works.

david eddings always has :"be nice", "strange kindly old wizards", "immortals who teach young people magical powers", "GLOWING BLUE OBJECT OF GREAT POWER WHICH EVERYONE COVETS" and the most smugly self-satisfied heroes "

His themes (Eddings) too. He always has the "boys and girls aren't the same" theme.

Discworld's covers scared me off. Never read it.

More lambasting of Eddings:

Site 1

"I just couldn't see what all the fuss over Eddings was about. The background story was so convoluted it truly seemed it like it was convoluted for the sake of convolutedness, and ironically, for a saga with such a complex, tortuous background, the language of the rest of the book was mind-dullingly plain, even predictable.

If I consider Eddings predictable/repetitive or whatever before the first book is even over, I think there's a problem. *g* Not to mention the fact that Eddings' foreshadowing was about as subtle as a hammer... reading Eddings was like being spoonfed, like reading a bad step-by-step guide on how to make a novel - no suspense, no interesting language, and no opportunity to be able to figure things out on our own (which is especially vital in a novel which holds no suspense)... Silk, Barak, Hettar, and Durnik were one-dimensional to the point of caricature...

I dunno, maybe I have a problem, but I find Eddings' writing style so boring, and when it's not boring, the drama and tone aren't worked out well enough to keep it from being corny or lame. I literally laughed out loud while reading the book, not because it was funny, but because it was so damn sappy. :) Other sci-fi and fantasy authors handle fight scenes, angst scenes, and drama scenes much better than Eddings.

Again, I'm not a Eddings hater, but a lot of sci-fi fans worship him and I'm just saying that I don't understand why.... Maybe I'm becoming a psychic or something, *g* but I guessed and predicted so many things that happened in later books, and then there was a whole bunch of other things that even a lamebrain could predict... Even on the first reading I was not surprised or stimulated by Eddings, yet whenever I reread Brooks or Anne McCaffrey they still manage to get my heart rate up and my emotions going even though I know the endings and plot twists."

Site 2

"14 Raymond Feist.

David Eddings sucks. Midkemia forever!"

Nuff Said ;)

On souvenirs from life:

There's a rock in my washing area now that, at the end of Primary 5, all of my EM2 classmates went to sign. The signatures and such are all faded by now, but I still keep the rock (Yes I lugged it home)

I also have a PE shirt with signatures from my RV juniors. I hope my mother hasn't thrown it away.

Quote from somewhere on Drama Feste:

"Ohh, but the plays that win every year are the SAAMME! It�s always the dark, depressing poser-ish �oh, life is short and meaningless!� play that ends with a tragic death that wins!"

Thought of the day - thought fragment from scribbled notes of a budding playwright extraordinaire: "reprimands them for thinking that EVERYONE is deep enough to have feelings buried underneath that they do not show, or they everyone is beset with problems"

Words & Music: Martin Luther, 1529; trans�lat�ed from Ger�man to Eng�lish by Frederic H. Hedge, 1853.

This song has been called �the greatest hymn of the great�est man of the great�est per�i�od of Ger�man his�tory� and the �Bat�tle Hymn of the Ref�or�ma�tion.�

This hymn was sung at the funeral of American president Dwight Eisenhower at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, March 1969.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

A passage someone emailed to me.

"We're worried about you. We've always been. You were born with parts missing or twisted (Ed's note: Anatomically?), and these days you've assembled the remainder into a person who has borrowed from a deep, twisted inner world to make the outside look OK. But you're not."

Word of the day: "cremaster"

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Read through Aine-san's blog in amusement. Particularly at the Kingdom Hearts spoilers (or rather, her comments on the game contained inside the "spoilers" section), and then at the indian food observation. You must know, that from a person who has the culinary ability of a earthworm, any sort of ability to produce food at all is amazing. All I get when *I* try to cook is clods of... *coughcough*

Anyway, back to Kingdom Hearts:

I love the voices of Cloud/Squall et al. Yuffie, too, but the rest of the genki Squaresoft characters are missing, so far. At least, I haven't seen them yet. Where's Rikku? Rinoa? Cait-Sith I can do without. Locke? Edgar? Sabin? How about Butz? And where are the non-Final-Fantasy characters? I keep on playing, and hoping, and hoping.

Heheh! Cloud _didn't_ beat me up. Yes indeed, I defeated him with the POWER OF THE KEYBLADE (the main character DOES say that. I cringed). Kinda sucks for him to get err... whupped by a 14 year old kid with a name that is related to his own, doesn't it? Well Sora = Sky, and the Sky is BIGGER than any Cloud. Yeah. Then, of course, it sucks MORE for him to get stomped on by Cerberus _AFTER_ getting whupped by a 14 year old kid. Poor Cloud.

OK. That thing Cloud wears is called a waist-plate. Not (and I REITERATE AND EMPHASISE) a Skirt. I love the way Hades called Cloud "Stiffer than the Stiffs back home" :) Just how I pictured Cloud would act in such a situation!

I love the way how all the FF7 characters turned out BEAUTIFULLY in their PS2 incarnation. Although Aerith has weird eyes (but hey, you can't be an ANCIENT and not look just the slightest bit weird). Cid Highwind (one of my favourite FF7 characters) looks REALLY dorky in his shop with his Cig.

Euuugh. Herc groping Cloud. Get that image OUTTA my head. Euuuugh.

BTW, if you have time, you should go customize your Gummi Ship. Great fun, it is. I'm still trying to make my very own Ragnarok gummi model out of the bits and pieces I get though.

I understand where you're getting at with the RPG thing, The Associate. I loved Valkyrie Profile too, btw. You forgot to mention it's wonderful soundtrack :)

I actually played Septerra Core - it had this funky "combo" attack system a la Chrono Trigger but it didn't really work out very well... a "card summon" system with rather (I thought) crummy summon graphics and effects (the summons themselves were insignificant). The only thing I thought interesting about the game was the fact that if you kept stealing stuff from the shops item prices SHOOT WAY UP ^_^

Heard a lot of good things about Anachronox but never did play it.

Lastly: I feel for you. Getting caught in KL traffic is horrible. Even if I _was_ sitting in the seat next to the driver's seat and half-asleep. Not fun.

Monday, September 23, 2002

Yet another long, long, long rant lost into the Void.

Now I understand why people sometimes stamp their feet and grimace.

Word of the day: "volte-face"

Was AWOL most wekeend entertaining my Significant Other. Erm. More long posts and observations and commentary to follow (bask in the corncucopia, my peons), but first a quick re-cap of current status.

It was raining copiously this morning. Now, since I returned home, I have managed to avoid encountering the absolute-zero-absence-of-Brownian-motion type of congestion that occasionally plagues KL traffic; a phenomena have only heard tales and whispers about all my life, or at least managed to sit out while dozing in a passenger seat. This time, I was completely trapped in one, as a driver, bending my entire Will to avoid losing consciousness, feet moving in the irregular brake-accelerate-brake-accelerate rhythm as I inched down a river of silver molasses in an almost peristaltic fashion. I spent 45 minutes covering a one-kilometer distance in the city center, as adrenaline-mad bus drivers and suicidal motorcyclists respectively bludgeoned and weaselled their way on either side of me.

When I got to work, I realized that to my folly, I had forgotten my brolly. (I spent a charming five minutes reciting this phrase over and over in my head just so I could repeat it here; another method for staying awake). Finally hauled myself up to the office bedecked in a fashion statement known euphemistically as "The Wet Look".

On top of it, I realised that my net liquid assets had been reduced to a mere seven dollars or so for the rest of the week. Underwent some meditation at office lobby on whether to spend it on cigarettes or food. Eventually concluded that anything that prolonged existence was, at this point in time, just not that desirable as something that shortened but enriched life.

So here follows the commentary. Firstly, on the topic of console RPGs.....

My desire was to outline a list of what I considered as intuitive "classics" in my own mind. I know the grave difficulty posed in even trying to apply an objective benchmark to what constitutes a "universally acclaimed" RPG; particularly as the demographic of both PC and console gaming share many similarities, not to mention the "what is an RPG" issue that I've mentioned below. In addition, within console and PC gaming, certain profound differences exist as well (such as the geographical split between the Japanese and the West). One major result of this is that the console market encompasses Western *and* Japanese preferences; while the the PC market is primarily Western. So within the console RPG market, anything that achieves Western acclaim almost certaintly originated from Japan but was localized (and hence can make some claim to being "universal"), whereas a lot of great, seminal RPGs that stayed Japanese never really achieved acclaim. I might add that there are many great games of both genres that never really made it big, but were considered "classics" in hindsight. Via my benchmark below I have tried to show games that were classics by both popular acclamation and conceptual innovation.

That said, let me address -

TerraEnigma/Terranigma - I mentioned Illusion of Gaia in my list; so I'd tentatively lump this in the same line - they *were* part of the Soul Blazer trilogy.

Bahamut Lagoon - I don't really consider this an RPG; more like a squad-game of sorts. Opinions do vary, but see my comments on Shining Force below.

Valkyrie Profile *has* been localized into English by Enix; another utterly beautiful game, and one of the most non-linear console RPGs out there. I loved this game; it implemented 2D sprites and animations very well at a time when everyone was beginning the mad headlong rush into complete 3D. Not to mention the funky attack chains:) And the rather nihilistic Ragnarok storyline:)

Ys series.. now *that* takes me back a way:) I only played Wanderers, to be honest, but I've seen a few others here and there. Erm. I'd have to consider this a "good for its time" type of game, but in all honesty I wouldn't accord it "classic" status; to my mind there wasn't anything more remarkable than its soundtrack and general playability. However, never having played anything other than Ys III, and watching bits of the later ones, I can't say much more than this.

Shining Force vs Final Fantasy Tactics *is* indeed a good point; but I'd have to say that Shining Force came on the scene *first* and hence gains more "classic" status as a squad-RPG hybrid; FF: Tactics, Ogre Tactics; Suikoden et. al. are themselves original takes, but Shining Force predated them by years. That's why I consider it a "classic".
And somehow Shining Force always.. *felt* more RPG-ish to me than FF: Tactics; although that may be because I played Shining Force in the days when the barriers between RPG and squad games were still fairly rigidly stratified; and Shining Force had enough arching storyline and emphasis on the individual character to make it more in the RPG class as I understood it. These days my opinions are a bit more flexible, of course; that's why I don't necessarily discount the likes of Black & White as "RPGs"

Same reason goes for Zelda vs Brave Fencer; one was the first, enduring classic, the other was - good but later.

On to the "derivative" concept - D&D RPGs all indeed are based on the same system, but I lumped them together for the same reason I lumped "series" together. By derivative, I mean games that may stand out on their own production values, but are ultimately building upon conceptual foundations inspired by earlier games *and* were designed externally and not part of a chronological or conceptual series. I'm aware that this rather hard and fast definition has a lot of loopholes; after all, can Final Fantasy really be considered a "series" in the properly accepted sense of the word? Gak, it's hard to articulate, but I'm trying the best I can in my wacked out state - I consider Star Ocean, Alundra, etc etc as "derivative" in the sense that they are great games on their own right, but don't necessarily represent (in my mind) games that stand out as "eternal greats" or possess mindblowingly original concepts, either in storyline or gameplay. Although I've inveighed against the "popular acclaim" methodology of grading greatness, let's be frank - which had more of a conceptual *and* demographic impact on the gaming industry as a whole, Zelda or Vandal Hearts? If I were to include all the sleeper hits or cult classics from either genre, this entry would be almost as long as one of Gabriel's rants....

It's very difficult, and some of my PC-playing friends have also lambasted me for omitting stuff like Dragon Wars, Magic Carpet, the original Dune(????!?!?), Quest for the Grail, Hacker, Centauri Alliance, Magic Candle series, and even the original Dungeon Quest. The point is, everyone has different ideas of what constitutes great - perhaps I should indeed lump all the Bioware Inifinity Engine games as part of one series, and fold Arcanum into the Fallout series as well. The reason why I left Planescape: Torment and Arcanum separate from Baldur's Gate and Fallout respectively (despite using the same engine) is because of the utterly incongruent philosophical and storyline concepts that make them completely different gaming experiences from their antecedents. But if I were to do that, I would have to grade each of the latter Final Fantasy games in their own right...

In other words, as I was at great lengths to point out; taste is subjective, one man's great is another man's overrated, and that often, it is possible to intuit the greatness of a game that stays in the mind, even if no one else finds it any good,and you yourself can't articulate just why it's so good. That's why I included Blood Omen in that category - it's not a classic in most people's minds, but the storyline has stayed with me for years. I might also add once again; *limited familiarity*. I've been unashamedly a PC gamer all my life, with occasional forays into console gaming. That bias is something I don't pretend to hide nor wish to impose as any objective standard of greatness. I am simply providing, as a hard-core gamer, what RPGs from either genres I personally consider "eternal classics", and what I don't for the reasons and tastes outlined above.

Septerra Core and Anachronox are proof that console RPGs are a contextual formula almost impossible to duplicate if you come from outside the "console" tradition.

Gak. More rant later.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

I feel the malaise on me again. Ho hum. Off to camp in 50 mins.
And I get mentioned again.

"Gabriel was telling me because of the Army Half Marathon, he ran 16 km the other day. No wait, let's rephrase that, he was supposed to run 16 km. You can ask him yourself how his RUN went.

So anyway, I was thinking, the intent of the AHM is to show Malaysia that every dumb dick in Singapore can run 21 km, right? So what's the point of making people like Gabriel Seah run the damn half marathon (apart from entertaining me to no end)? Because believe me, I don't think he wants to run 21 km either. This is the guy who took half an hour to walk 2.4 km in Sec 1. And then the year after that, he didn't have a timing cos he took so long the clock didn't register it.

Just think about it though. Gabriel Seah and a gazillion fat Malay drivers running 21 km, from Marina Bay to East Coast Park and back to the National Stadium. This is actually going to be quite funny to watch. How many drivers and storemen are going to collapse on the route? Will there be enough stretchers for them? Geez, I wonder if Jiax has to run too.

And who said there weren't any funny army stories to tell."

How come it's never anything good :)

Actually it's 10km for enlisted men. And I took 21.5 mins in Sec 1, 30 mins in Sec 2.
Yeh I found a transcript!

Slightly modified transcript:

*Phone rings*
Daugher: Hello.
Kerpal: Hello, is Abtar there?
Daugher: Who?
Kerpal: Abtar.
Daugher: Can I ask who's speaking please?
Kerpal: This is Kerpal.
Daugher: Who?
Kerpal: Kerpal.
Daugher: OK, one moment please.
[Daughter calls Abtar . . .]
Abtar: Hello.
Kerpal: Hello.
Abtar: Hi de.
Kerpal: Hi, I was just calling because I live down the street from you, and your daughter come to my house today and she kick my dog.
Abtar: Pardon?
Kerpal: Your daughter come to my house today,
Abtar: Uh-huh.
Kerpal: And she come on my property and then she kick my dog. And now my dog needs operation.
Abtar: She kicked your?
Kerpal: She kicked my dog!
Abtar: She kicked your dog?
Kerpal: Yes.
Abtar: Which daughter?
Kerpal: The one who just answered the phone.
[Abtar checks with his daughter . . .]
Abtar: No.
Kerpal: What?
Abtar: No.
Kerpal: Yes she did. I saw her. And then I go to I saw her at your house. And, why did she do it?
Abtar: I don't know. She didn't said.
Kerpal: She did! She's lying! She's lying to you, f**king guy!
Abtar: Where, where from you speaking?
Kerpal: I am speaking from my house.
Abtar: Where d'you live?
Kerpal: Down the street from you.
Abtar: Huh?
Kerpal: You know where I live. My dog, she kicked it and now I'm going to f**k her!
Abtar: [mumbles]...ohhhh, you lie I dunno..
Kerpal: Don't lie, you f**king guy.
Abtar: Hey, why? Don't talk like that!
Kerpal: F**k you! You know damn right what she do!
Abtar: Yea, she let but who kicked your dog?
Kerpal: Your daughter kicked my dog.
Abtar: Which daughter?
Kerpal: YOU KNOW DAMN RIGHT!!!.......[quietly]..you bastard.
[Mumbling in background, daughter comes back to phone]
Daughter: Hello.
Kerpal: Hello.
Daughter: Yeah?
Kerpal: Why you kick my dog?
Daughter: Hello, can I ask who's speaking please?
Kerpal: You know damn right! It's Kerpal. It's Kerpal.
Daughter: Who's Kerpal? We don't know Kerpal.
Kerpal: Yes, you do. You kick my dog today.
Daughter: Dog?!
Kerpal: Dog!
Daughter: We don't even-we don't misber--
Kerpal: You don't act stupid. You tell your Dad that I am going to sue him. He is going to go to jail.
Daughter: OK, where the hell do you live?
Kerpal: I live on your street.
Daughter: On my street?
Kerpal: You know!
Daughter: You say that one of us have kicked your dog?
Kerpal: Yes.
Daughter: Where abouts do you live?
Kerpal: You know damn right!!
Daughter: No, we do not know damn right! We don't even know you.
Kerpal: [under breath] Yes you do.
Daughter: Why? Where the hell do you live?
Kerpal: [under breath] You don't ask dumb question.
Daughter: You live on Marative?
Kerpal: No,you just shut up! You try to confuse! I am going to call the police, and then, you're going to go to jail.
Daughter: You damn right call the police because we don't know what the hell-
Kerpal: You do not tell me 'damn right'. You do not swear at me. [under breath] I am going to kill you.
Daughter: You 're going to kill us!?
Kerpal: No, not, I'm just kidding! You just tell your Dad that I am going to get my lawyer and he is going to rush you!
Daughter: [says to background] I don't know who the hell he is.
Kerpal: Haji! (?)
Daughter: Ok, you just go ahead, OK, because we don't know what the f**k you're talking about.
Kerpal: You don't ever tell me to 'f**k'! You say bad word!
Daughter: Well you talk to us this way when you have no proof...
Kerpal: F**k you, you, you do not tell me f**k you! OK you? You know?
Daughter: Please just get lost OK, because we're fed up.
Kerpal: F**k you. You are going to jail.
Daughter: We don't know who the hell you are and you're phoning us with all these obscene-
Kerpal: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! Shut up! You shut up you!
Daughter: Don't tell me to shut up, I did not-
Kerpal: Shut up! You stink!
Daughter: Oh, you stink too!
Kerpal: No, you don't-
Daughter: You stink too!
Kerpal: I do not stink!
Daughter: I think you do!
Kerpal: f**k you, Just because I am paki doesn't mean I stink!
[she hangs up].

Hear it!
More accolades!

"Mmmm...Been reading Gabriel's webpage (apparently some J3 senior who's screaming his ass off at NS). It's on the column on the left, check it out if you like. Now I know what my seniors griped about. Heh, purple uniforms, the things girls do, etcetcetc. Sigh. I wish I had the devotion and energy to dedicate my life to banning purple uniforms from the school too. And they have lots of things to kaopeh about. LOTS. Was laughing my own ass of at some comments on "The Silly Things Girls Do", posted by some michelle character (one year younger than me T think). Well her livejournal URL is on the left too...

Mood: Humoured"

Treatise on life in RJ - the RJ Biome. Intriguing, if too meta-physical for the likes of me.
My shins hurt. The doctor says it may be shin splits. Ex-Running 14 days. Oh well.

Updated Geek Code:

Version: 3.12
GO d->dx s++:++@ a--->a? C++(++++) U--- P! L- E? W++ N- o+ K- w+@
O- M-- V? PS++ PE+ Y+ PGP- t--(---) 5 X-(--) R+>R+++ tv- b+>b+++ DI+++++ D----
G e h! r% !z

There's something seriously wrong in many places with the logic of this article - Malays in the SAF: is everyone called up?
I had another BMT section outing. Attendance was 5/13. Well, I think we'll never get more than 50% attendance ever.

I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed Tze Li's witticisms - unassuming, yet effective :)

When going out in large groups, the rule is that the group will end up eating either fast food, or more rarely, food court food. At Burger King, I was the only one of 4 who didn't upsize :) I remember the one and only time I've tried upsizing a BK meal - that was in the RI days, at Upper Thomson Plaza, just after they introduced 'king-sizing', most probably because I, among others, suggested it. I didn't manage to finish everything, and was very bloated even so.

We watched Simone. It'd been lampooned by the two or three reviews I'd read, but the movie was decided before I arrived, so. In actuality, it wasn't that bad. Then again, I'm very blas� when it comes to my choice of movies. I'll never be a movie critic - movies that are savaged, I usually find palatable, if barely. Movie critics really take their job seriously, lambasting the movies they review unmercifully. I've only seen one or two reviews which give any movie full marks. Why, reading them, you'd think all of them sucked, and the last good one was Casablanca.

Some directors are irritating too. Why do so many want to do or say things with their movies? Why can't they just make a good movie, tell a story well? Many of those that don't try to send a message, or induce brain activity, are cliched and irritating, like Cats & Dogs. I liked it but for the oh-so-predictable plot, and the classic plot device where the gullible hero is blackmailed and tricked by the villain.

"What I want to do with this movie..." is make lots of money.

The biggest gripes I have with Simone is trivial, really. The first involves the mystery that the damage done by a virus, "Plague 8.1", can be reversed by a few keystrokes. A program in version 8.1 would presumably be rather advanced. Then again, it came in a 5.25 inch floppy (where did he get the drive? And why'd anyone install one on such a high end computer?), so it had to be very old. And maybe the diskette was moldy. Another complaint I have, but it involves a review -it said Simone took on a life of her own, but there was but one incident providing evidence of that, so.

I had lunch Saturday at Hotel Rendezvous. 10 hours later, the smell of the Creamy Curry Prawns was still on my fingers :)

I'm affronted. On Friday, when I went to Cineleisure with my father, I got handed a SDS application form. Do I look 20 and above, single and non-graduate? Well, I'm technically all (but the first, and even then only a year away), but...

My sister is enamored of going around spotting women who wear Wonderbras. She's trained Kheng Hwa to spot them too, and tried to teach me once, but I wasn't very interested, though I can probably guess with some certainty. She also likes to label all Asian women seen with Caucasians SPGs, and goes "toot toot toot" when she sees one.

Most or all of the above was typed Sat night at the enlistees' mess. The only drawback - one driver was smoking, and it's air conditioned, so...

One of the drivers says he's been "booking in" for people for a year, but Boon Wei does't know how to sign my signature, so...
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