When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, December 14, 2002

New title picture. This should be familiar *g*

Also added a Picosearch search box - with partitions too!
Word of the day: "macerate"...

... which is exactly how I feel today.

Die Another Day was... well. My first impression was that it's the kind of flick that I would find utterly, totally ridiculous if it didn't have the BOND franchise going for it.

Obvious plotholes:

a) After a rather cool, if overdone, opening sequence displaying torture with scorpions, ice, fire, and beating, his hirsute body is TOTALLY UNMARKED, as is his face. Guess even the standards of North Korean torturers, like everything else in the Hermit Kingdom, is falling to seed.

b) Didn't anyone notice the tracks or engine sound of the invisible (but really sharp-looking) Aston Martin Vanquish?

c) If they REALLY wanted to set up James Bond, why the hell would they engineer his release from the North Korean prison? The only reason he was traded was because the Americans believed he had cracked and was, in M's words: "haemorrhaging information". Although a semi-plausible explanation was that they wanted to spring their henchman (the guy with the "expensive acne")....

d) Standard Bond cliche: I counted at least five opportunities for the bad guys to waste Bond.

e) If the North Koreans REALLY had depleted uranium tank-busting guns, they wouldn't NEED an Ion Cannon.

f) Hovercrafts DO set landmines off. You think air doesn't exert a downward pressure? That many kilopascals of convective force would crush a steel can, and you think it won't set off an anti-tank mine?

I could think of others, but these are the most obvious one that spring to mind.

Also noted with amusement that the Korean general, as played by Kenneth Tsang, says EXACTLY the same line as his equivalent character in Replacement Killers: "My son is dead."

And he's been in at least several other Hong Kong flicks as the triad/general/big boss thirsting for vengeance after his son was slain. Either that, or as the tough but secretly heart-of-gold police commissioner overseeing his maverick underlings (as in Rush Hour 2 or one of the many many Lucky Stars/female cops HK flicks of the 80s). The stereotyping of Asian actors continues apace - nowadays when you need an Asian ganglord/warlord in a Western flick, he's your man!

Yet another Asian actor headed for stereotyped casting is Rick Yune (the guy with the diamonds embedded in his face) - whose last few roles have also been the "brutal Asian punk" - (Fast & The Furious, The Fence). I still remember that amusing scene where he is depicted as coming from a upper-class Asian family in California whose tranquility as they eat in dinner is interrupted by a SWAT team breaking into the dining room to haul him away. It even his patriarchal father slapping him out of shame.

"SWAT came into mah house! Diz-respected mah family!" (If you've seen it, you've seen it; if you haven't you haven't)

I actually had figured out who I was going to meet for the movie just after typing that last blog entry, so the need to look around vaguely was obviated. My first instinct was to go "oh fuck! THAT bastard!". But that was just a visceral reaction; I don't really hate the guy - just that he gets on my nerves. Still, it wasn't a bad thing to meet up with him, and a few other fellow Melbourne friends were there, whom I hadn't seen in a long time. They were all working in the same corporate law firm; doing underwriting and equity work.

Embarrassing moment - there were three girls and two guys there when I met them for a drink just before the movie. All of them looked reasonably young, and reasonably employed.

Me: (after usual pleasantries) "... so I hear you're working in your cousin's law firm now, right? Wah.. good to be related to the boss, man."

Moment of silence.

One of the girls there, a rather pensive-looking one, said: ".. erm. Yup. I'm the cousin."


Damn these young entrepeneurial types!

Good to have your own law firm though. Although the glamour is on the litigation crap as evinced in numerous American TV series, and America's ongoing obsession with suing anything that moves, the real money's in the donkey paperwork; conveyancing, S&P, agreements-drafting, regulatory stuff, the whole lot. Law had tempted me at one point as it was an interesting way of living off my writing:) Also, although techincally illegal, lawyers can make good money by rolling over their client accounts (viz: lawyers are usually conduits for cash, particularly in housing sales. While the interest from these accounts is, stricly speaking, supposed to be passed on to their clients.. well. It's hard to keep track when a lawyer has about 30 clients' house sale payments stored in one overall client A/C...)

Ultimately, I found myself enjoying Die Another Day, despite the cheesy psycho-megalomaniac-billionaire, the ion cannon, the rather lacklustre special effects, and the usual lame-ass lines. ("You're so good.. only when you're bad." Or something like that. My mental slate was effaced by the sheer corniness of the line.). It was good to turn my brain off and watch the explosions.

I had dinner at a very nice restaurant just outside KLCC. It was one of those posh expatriate restaurants where even the few Asians there spoke with accents. As I dined, I couldn't help but shake the feeling that, even though we're 'sovereign' nations, in many, more subtle ways, we're still being colonised. Only the colonials now aren't poncey British East India company compradors smooking cheroots and wearing safari hats; they're smart, young executives working out of multinationals, often with Ivy League or Oxbridge accents. They earn tax-free US or British-pound denominated salaries; they're provided with luxurious apartments (or even houses, for upper management); their schooling and daily expenses are often subsidised or paid for entirely, and, of course, they make free rein with our women:)

I once watched a documentary depicting the obscene lifestyles of expatriates in Singapore; what struck me was how uniformly the males found it great; while the females were more ambivalent. The only theme of pathos I noted was of course, homesickness, and a certain wariness at having to mingle so much among their own community, or amongst the traitorous filth (*sorry, was unable to resist. heh*) who've betrayed their cultural heritage for Western decadence - ie. banana-scholar-types. This was partly out of necessity and partly out of tendency.

A telling phrase: "It seems that it's easier to hang around the Singaporeans who've gone abroad and come back with an accent."

In my previous job, one of my employer's clients was an international school. We handled their payroll account. The kindergarden teacher got paid about 11,000RM a month (no joke), AND was provided apartment in Mont Kiara (somewhat equivalent to The Bayshore or Laguna View).

Some of them talked about the depression and resentment they felt when they returned to their home countries; in Singapore, or Hong Kong, or KL, they were high-flying angmoh/gwailo/mat salleh bigwigs with astronomical spending power, while back in London or New York; they're just another executive. The women aren't flinging themselves at their feet anymore. The food tastes blander. (an actual complaint). There's no longer the luxury condo with all the amenities paid for. And so on.

My friend in Hong Kong once told me that the major investment banks actually give their associates (one rank above entry level - analyst) an IDD allowance ranging around a few hundred USD a month.

The males went on to describe the rounds of barbeques, the nights at Clarke Quay or Bangsar - but also noted that the work tended to be a lot harder and for more brutal hours - particularly for lower and mid-level executives. This of course jars with the fact that when working at Bangsar; I often noted hordes of angmohs sitting around the pubs and cafes around 2pm onwards just chilling the day away - but most of them had their own little businesses. Usually owning those self-same cafes or restaurants.

The women were interesting. One woman who was full of nothing but praise, was the wife of this MNC's regional manager, who was provided a huge house somewhere near Mount Pleasant, free power, free water, free phonecalls, a maid, education, etc - I can see why she's just overflowing with joy. *sardonically* She went on and on about the quality of the Filipino maids, the safety from crime, the relaxing lifestyle spent taking tea at the American Club with her friends; but I guess that's the same of any Asian tai tai as well.

But the rest said that they often felt trapped, and amongst a culture that, however enlightened it tries to be, was ultimately chauvinistic and male-oriented, and more unashamedly so than even back in the West. Some noted that marriages or relationships with their fellow expats rarely seemed to last, partly because expats tend to move on after a while to different assignments, while others said that it was hard to trust their males who were being constantly tempted by, I quote, "willing Asian b-*bleep*-ches."

And the most amusing interview was with this octagenarian guy who was with the old British colonial civil service, still drawing a pension and residing in Singapore, and, in his words (paraphrased): "Singapore's become a more Western and modern country, no doubt about it, but it's.. lost its true spirit. It's now indistinguishable from any American city apart from race... they've become more venal, less trustworthy... (and I'm sure the old Chinese rubber barons and Indian chettiars were paragons of virtue)... the coolies by the harbour, the smell of old Chinatown, the polite bootblacks at the Raffles club, playing cricket at the Padang... that's the lost spirit of Singapore." . HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAAH. I almost expected him to mention how good it was to hunt tigers in Sembawang or beat down recalcitrant sultans.

*grins viciously at being able to slip into crazed-xenophobic-nationalist mode once in awhile*

Still, as I ate at that restaurant, I wonder if that high-flying yuppie lifestyle is what I really want. Sometimes I think I hunger for it, to be seated in a multi-ethnic table at some posh club, sipping martinis, smoking cigars, chattering in accents, laughing in cultured tones at the intermission during a performance of Vivaldi at the Philharmonic. I have friends living this kind of life in New York, Hong Kong, London. Interestingly enough, Asian expats don't get a particularly juicier deal abroad (unless you're a Japanese senior exec in a Japanese MNC based offshore) Butt But then again, upon deeper reflection, I realise it's just a transient hunger, like so many, and while it may overwhelm me on occasion, in the final analysis, I'm happier to be what I am.

Oddly enough, the multi-ethnic groups all seemed to be comprised of Malays and Indians and angmohs; hardly any Chinese at these tables.

Ah well: "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."

Once, I was going to a bar with my colleague, and as we drank furtively, he said, "When I graduated, and tried to get into the financial industry, I always had these fantasies of becoming some high-powered investment banker, leading the cool yuppie life. Well, here we are now, smoking cheap cigarettes (we had bought the small pack to share between us), eating finger foods because we can't afford main courses (the bar-restaurant's prices were insanely extortionate), sharing a beer between us (because alcohol is expensive), and working in a local investment bank (as opposed to some cool multinational one), constantly worrying about our next paycheque and our antiquated systems and feeble bonuses. doing middle-office work in our cubicles all day (instead of jet-setting around the world to meet high-powered clients for billion dollar deals). It's like the diet version of the investment banking life."

Was asked to go to a nativity play. Me, at the birth of Christ. Heh.

At home now, on a Saturday afternoon. Two nights ago, an event occurred that was filled with point and counterpoint; as I shall narrate herewith.

We'd completed moving all our documents and files to the new office; the only thing remaining was the desks and PCs. In a fit of mad jubilation, myself and a couple of colleagues decided to indulge in a little libation of celebration. Given that we were in a somewhat insane mood, but still painfully frugal, we decided to drive to a shopping center, pick up a few bottles of Belgian beer, and seek celebration in some open space.

As me and my colleague drove, we somehow whipped ourselves up into a frenzy of conversation, alternately brooding and exultant, both self-mocking ourselves for our cheapskate loser lives, and somehow glorying in the sheer absurdity of driving to a shopping center for beers when pubs were all over the place.

We arrived, and parked. Buying the beers was hastily accomplished; and we even had the foresight to purchase a can opener which we labelled as the department can-opener for any such future adventures.

All the while, we were constantly berating ourselves for being such losers.

Anyway, we suddenly realised that the beers were disgustingly warm. Now, while warm beer may be a delicacy in Anglia; we were of the more Visigoth persuasion that beers should be chilled to a Kelvin's breadth of absolute zero. And so, we decided to quest for ice.

This quest lead us to Carrefour, Jusco, Isetan, and various other department stores for two hours; only to be painfully rebuffed each time. At one point, we were steered to the fish department, where the lady asked us painfully - "Do you need ice for packing fish or drinks?" She stared pointendly at our heavy plastic bag with bottles.

Finally, we gave up, and decided to exeunt to the obvious solution; the nearest 7-11. As we entered the shopping center car park, my friend suddenly asked me, "Do you remember where we parked?"

Panic-stricken, I looked at him and shook my head. Generally, I try to scribble down on a piece of paper where I'm parking, particularly in some of those gargantuan shopping center car parks Malaysian shopping centers have (KLCC, a veritable labyrinth). However, when someone else is driving, I usually switch off my brain, which is one reason why I have such an appalling sense of direction.

After wandering blindly in the mines of Moria for a time, I noticed that some of the security guards were patrolling the car park in these club cars (similar to golf buggies, but without a roof - used in some holiday resorts to convey guests and luggage to their outlying chalets). we flagged one down, and the kind security guard, who was clearly acquainted with the concept of lost-and-wandering-village-idiot-parkers, promptly drove us around the car park to find our missing car. With an portable ticket scanner, he ascertained the exact point through which we had entered, and was able to backtrack from there to find our car. Technology rules! Although it was mildly humiliating to be seated at the back of the club car puttering around the parking lot, with people watching in faint amusement as our heads scanned the rows of cars on either side...

"Luckily we didn't wear our staff tags."

After this misadventure, we hied straight away to the nearest 7-11. We picked up a huge bag of ice, and proceeded to a darkened car park lot near Maybank. Realising that we had to figure a solution to pack the beer in ice, we hurled the ice bag against the pavement, shattering the solid block into a more fragmented conglomerate, ripped open a couple of holes, and painstakingly stuffed a few beers into the morass. All the while, a couple of motorbikers parked nearby watched our antics in amusement.

We then drove to a nearby coffee shop, met up with the rest of our colleagues (who were in a fair choler about our extremely long hiatus), and had a pretty good meal to celebrate our Exodus. However, all that frenzy about ice soon proved unnecessary because the nice coffee shop owner offered to put up the rest of the beers in her fridge, while half of them were sticking out of a massive bag of ice like tentpoles, all the while dripping melting water on the floor.


After that, we drove to a nearby parking lot (lots of them, empty and wide and quiet, in central KL), and just.. sat. And drank. And smoked. And talked. One of my colleagues, watching the stars, quietly remarked on how he was an astronomy buff when younger, but how the increasing pollution over KL soon occluded any view he head of them. And... then we all talked. About our lives. And futility. And perspective. And how we are stardust; when our bodies die, and the atoms that made us return to the soil, and when the Earth itself implodes, those atoms that were once us will be cast into the universe, only to become part of the grand confluence of fusion as a new star is born. And we'll be part of that new star. We'll all be stardust.

And it was a perfect moment, a perfect, beautiful moment, speaking of love, loss, anguish, life, and all its little foibles, and its brief, brief spark against the immeasurable eons of Time - and how that made it all the more precious. How our incandescent fragments of existence were all the more to be cherished for their insignifcance, for the time allotted to us, for the moments that we have.

And, as another colleague said, even if we don't leave anything behind other than DNA or a record in some archive somewhere.. we *lived*. And that, really is all that matters, sitting here, underneath a car park, forgetting the daily routine and toil, forgetting all that insignifcant chase of economic well-being or career success or even seeking a family and a stable life.. it all doesn't matter. Against the now. Against.. being alive.

Just then, my cousin called, and I had to scoot off to meet him, and a couple of our friends who had just arrived from Melbourne.

That, was the painful counterpoint. To be with hollow people, listening to them talk about their miserable, pathetic social lives, discussing pecadilloes and empty jokes, hollow masks covering festering silences of shallow emptiness; laughing because it's the polite thing to do, never thinking beyond the next moment of social gathering or physical gratification. The hypocritical politeness; the trite laughs, the terrible, horrible void where their souls should be, with nothing but an empty sense of adolescent self-worth and familial expectation and social interaction.

Which is worse? Having the choice, to be what you are, and somehow choosing it, knowing, at the end of the day, you made some stupid series of small mistakes that culminated in becoming.. what you are? Or is it a mark of pride? To have consciously forged your own path, wil we, nil we, and to have become thus as a result of one's actions? "I made my choice a long time ago. I won't demean myself by turning back now." "Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven."

Or what about never having a chance to be other than to become what you are? Never standing a chance? To be fore-ordained, without any prayer of success from the beginning? "We've got to believe in free will because we have no other choice!"

Diabolus enim et alii d�mones a Deo quidem natur� creati sunt boni, sed ipsi per se facti sunt mali." ("the Devil and the other demons were created by God good in their nature but they by themselves have made themselves evil.") No matter what Catholic theology says, IS THIS TRUE?

I've given my life to a set of obsessions I'm no longer sure are noble; I might be willing to trade in my patented eccentricities for a normal life if there was anything about a normal life I could stand.

Last night, I went for a jazz performance with my father and sister in some upmarket bar in central KL. Why I went, I don't know, but maybe it was the prospect of free food and drink. I was exhausted; I'd spent the whole day at work finishing up the moving off our office paraphernalia with my colleagues - testing LAN points, moving desks, reorganizing our massive collection of files..... and following that, I had to rush down to meet my father. *shrugs* I guess it wasn't so bad; they had a great Japanese bass guitarist, and the band played several fascinating remakes of Norwegian Wood.

And today, it looks like another hectic day; this December, a lot of friends from overseas have started coming home for holidays or graduation, and I'm trying my best to catch up with those I can for late night suppers, without collapsing in fatigue the day after at work.

Other pending projects - trying to figure out how to transfer files from my sister's laptop to my HD. Realised that I haven't got a USB cable (and I'd deactivated the USB ports on my PC anyway in BIOS to save system resource space), a parallel cable, OR a serial transfer cable. Realised also that Win XP only supports serial transfers out of the box, which means damned long waiting time while I transfer the 600 or so photos from my sister's HD. It doesn't even support parallel cable transfer!

(Note, I'm lazy to plug in a network card into my PC, and even lazier to go get cable.)

And there was a disgusting lack of freeware file transfer programs on the Internet, and the few file transfer programs I *did* find did not seem to have any cracks written for them. I am appalled at the warez industry's lack of completeness in this matter.

Comments to Gabriel:

a) Whether Jesus was a Jew or not is subject to much theological debate throughout the ages. He was certainly steeped in the racial heritage and the religious culture and customs that constitutes Jewish society at the time. But let's not get into the whole "son of God" vs "son of Man" thing now.

b) I only have 3 Dragon Warrior books.

c) The question should be a compelling one for you. *evenly*

d) We evolved an intellect to help us shape the natural world to our whim. Hence, us using our intellect to extend our lives is simply an extension of evolution, in a way - only that evolution is now self-directed and conscious. Please also bear in mind that the use of the terms 'artificial' and 'natural' are semantic ones with no real meaning; in a way, we 'naturally' evolved intellect, and our use of science and physical technology is a 'natural' extension of that capability.

e) Social studies was amusing, because I *really* believed that entrepot trade made such a huge difference to Singaporean welfare for the longest time.

f) Writing assessment books is EASY. I was offered a job editing them for some MOE-linked body. Was tempted, but decided that I had *some* dignity.

g) Don't diss the Victorian era. It was perfectly fun if you were a white, upper-crust British aristocrat with hordes of servants at your disposal and your well-trained bloodhounds coursing the manor for game and nights spent playing whist at the Pall Mall or the Capitol with your fellow, bowler-hat clad aristocrats. GO read Sherlock Holmes again:)

h) Why don't you try putting up some fanatic Christian arguments against stem cell research or some Jainist teachings advocating against hurting plants? ALL religion is irrational and fundamentally flawed; why pick on Islam?

I actually take the view that if history went a few creaky ways (say, with Martel being beaten by the Saracens at Poitiers by abd Al-Rahman, leading to an explosion of Islam across Western Europe in the 8th century), Christianity may very well be the backward, hokey religion in an oppressed, obscure part of the world (say, Eastern Europe, or even a very backward, primarily wilderness America). A religion which inspires suicidal martyrs who cry "Deo Gratia" or "Body and blood of Christ!" instead of "Allah u akhbar", while Islam become the major enlightened religion of the developed world bloc. A superstate based around the Middle East? Could have happened.

Islam just happens to be the primary religion of a backward, oppressed part of the world. If Christianity filled that role, you'd have fanatics silencing moderation by insisting that people with astigmatism be chased out of churches (Leviticus 21:18-21); or that people working overtime on Sunday should be stoned to death (Exodus 35:2). Please remember that it is the condition of being economically and educationally backward that creates the need for simple, moralistic, religious answers; a need which becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of social stagnation. Any primitive religious stricture which promises salvation for doing good and damnation for doing evil, can fill in the void.

Except Buddhism; which is the ONLY religion that argues explicitly for moderation and contemplation, without any "kill the infidel" crap.

i) Re: 'no worries' - clearly Australian.

j) Andrew - it was the only watch strap I could find at the time. The compass was not a deliberate choice. Still, I take your point.

Managed to pick up Robin Hobb's Fool's Errand - in softcover version. The whole "release extortionately-priced hardcover for up to a year before the cheaper softcover" practice is DAMNED bloody irritating. Because that means I have to wait at least another six months before I can pick up Murder in LaMut, Legends of Dune, Golden Fool, Way of the Weasel and Night Watch. Am presently going back to fantasy-lite/scifi-lite for a while - at least until A Feast For Crows or more SF Masterworks books come onto the market. Or until someone recommends a good current-affairs book; just finished Judith Miller's "Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War, and right now I wish I could build a hermeticaly sealed bunker in my room and never leave. Only consolation is that making bioweapons is easy; distributing it as a weapon is the comparatively hard part.

Picked up Robert Heinlein's Friday - cool, genetically enhanced courier babe. Where the hell can I find such types hanging out?:) As someone once noted, "it wouldn't be a Heinlein novel if the characters didn't live life to the fullest; fighting, eating, fucking and killing as if this was their last day on Earth."

"I want to mention one of the obvious symptoms (of a sick culture): Violence. Muggings. Sniping. Arson. Bombing. Terrorism of any sort. Riots of course - but I suspect that little incidents of violence, pecking away at people day after day, damage a culture even more than riots that flare up and then die down. I guess that's all for now. Oh, conscription and slavery and arbitrary compulsion of all sorts and imprisonment without bail and without speedy trial - but those things are obvious; all the histories list them."

"Friday, I think you have missed the most alarming symptom of all."

"I have? Are you going to tell me? Or am I going to have to grope around in the dark for it?"

"Mmm. This once I shall tell you. But go back and search for it. Examine it. Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms such as you have named... but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."


"Pfui. I should have forced you to dig it out yourself; then you would know it. This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength."

Off to go catch some Chinese movie in the afternoon with friend from PWC - this month's batch of Golden Village passes FINALLY came in.

This friend I'm heading out with claims that auditors can tell other auditors upon first glance. It's something to do with the choice of shirts, the way they look at you, and the way they insist on separate bills, according to him.

Tonight, will be off visiting a coterie of my fellow happy nerds lately come down from Melbourne. It should be a pleasant sojourn. Can brush up on my Warcraft III skills.

[Agagooga saith:

The social studies now ain't yer mama's social studies!

And all the Victorian men maintained their stiff upper lip with frigid wives while they got VD in the red light district.

Fanatic Christian arguments against stem cell research or some Jainist teachings advocating against hurting plants is much MUCH rarer than the teachings of deluded Islamic radicals. The scary thing is, many Muslims follow the teachings of Mr Abu Bakar Bashir and his ilk. Not many Christians believe in faith healing.

Virtual history is debatable, but I think some aspects of Islam resulted in its current state, rather than the vagaries of History. And the Old Testament's not followed to the letter anymore. It wasn't even in the 1st Century.]
Non-halal food ban angers Paris shoppers

Muslims and non-Muslims criticise a supermarket for removing alcohol and pork from its shelves

PARIS - A supermarket in a Paris suburb has caused a furore among shoppers and incurred the wrath of the mayor by stripping its shelves of alcohol and pork to appeal to the largely Muslim neighbourhood.

Mayor Manuel Valls said the new owners who took over the Franprix store in October risked turning Evry into a ghetto by selling only halal meat and banning taboo products.

'It's primarily local French people or Muslim immigrants who are protesting, because they are the ones that do not wish to be locked into a ghetto logic,' he told RTL radio.

'A lot of local residents already suffer from a social and territorial apartheid.

'If, on top of that, we close them into a religious logic, we are throwing out the values of the republic.'

In a letter to the new owners, Mr Valls demanded they 're-establish the normal functioning of the shop...as soon as possible' or else he would resort to 'all the police powers at my disposal'.

Mr Muhamed Djaiziri, one of two brothers who own the store, said he was ready to discuss the matter, 'but we did not appreciate the tone of the letter'.

He said the decision to ban alcohol was to avoid the attentions of young Muslim radicals in the area, while the ban on pork was to qualify for a 'halal' meat certificate from the Muslim authorities.

The brothers said they would sooner lose the Franprix franchise than reverse their new policy.

Mr Abdel Djaiziri told the daily newspaper Liberation: 'It was necessary to change the business to adapt to a primarily Muslim clientele. If we lose the Franprix sign, it's not important. What's important is that we keep doing good business.

'We asked for a certificate to guarantee our meat is halal. That's incompatible with selling pork. Is that against the law?'

The dispute erupted amid simmering tensions in France over Islamic fundamentalism, with anxiety fanned by fear of terror attacks by Islamic militants.

French officials say they have not uncovered any specific threats of planned attacks.

Several shoppers, including Muslims, told French media they were furious at the restrictions.

'France is a republic. Rule by ethnic or religious communities is not appropriate. I am against this sectarianism,' said local Muslin resident Badiane M'Baye.

Franprix said it had written to the Djaiziri brothers to remind them they were obliged under the franchise to stock a wide range of goods.

'We have written to the management asking them to sell the entire range of Franprix products,' a spokesman said.

France has about five million Muslims, the country's second-largest religious group. -- Reuters


NO PORK: Manager Muhamed Djaiziri shows a food package containing pork, among the items that his supermarket no longer stocks. Displayed in front of him are halal versions of food that he and his brother have been stocking since acquiring the supermarket in Evry, a Paris suburb. -- AFP}

I am against this sectarianism too!
Balderdash is now re-opened, with a substantial part of the archives missing, replaced with *bleep*s. At least I'll be reminded less of my servitude.

Nobody *ever* reads disclaimers.

What does putting someone's hand in a bucket of warm water while they are asleep do?

Are there non-reckless taxi drivers anywhere in the world? The one who took me back to camp on Thursday was going at 120 km per hour along the ultra long and straight stretch of Lim Chu Kang Road. Maybe he fancied himself a drag racer.

I called Alexandra Hospital and was treated to a most unique parting phrase - "no worries!". Hah!


[On her Sectional Leader] He's like a gay lah... Typical gay hairdresser

[On his schooling] After 10 years in AC. [Me: Not 12 years?] 10 years. Cannot tahan anymore.

[On naming the general in Shards of a Broken Crown 'Muhammad'] Cannot, then Raymond E Feist will be killed. But he has a beard, so it's ok.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Realised, when trying to reference some GIC material on this blog for Eugene, that my template didn't have Permalinks for the blog entries. Duly rectified.

Dear goodness me.
Word Of The Day: obsequious
Sentence making: Gabriel is obsequious.


I saw a dog at Tiong Bahru Plaza - one of those shaggy ones, with white and grey fur in such abundance that it covered its eyes, and which was so massive that, upright, it would be as tall as a woman.

Sweat is horrible. It doesn't cool you down, it gives you a sticky feeling and when it is produced, it flows in rivulets down your back. How is profuse sweating an evolutionary advantage? If you sweat a little and it doesn't work, I doubt lots of sweating will do the job. Girls have it good - they sweat 40% less than boys. I wish I sweated 50% less.


[On The Mists Of Avalon] You have the stamina to read such thick books ah? I cannot tahan.

[On my marching] Even CO doesn't dare to march like this.

[On my getting upgraded] See you man, and God Bless You.

[On my getting upgraded] So now you know - don't wait for the downgrade to come to you. [Me: Look for the downgrade]

[On my whiteheads] If I have a girlfriend I ask her to lick till it drop (will ask, them till they)
They're issuing fatwas again!

"Execution fatwa on liberal Muslim scholar

Group of Indonesian clerics call for death sentence after 'blasphemous' newspaper article questioning Muslim practices

The clerics said Mr Ulil, who co-founded the Liberal Islam Network, deserved to die, because his article in Kompas offended Islam and Prophet Muhammad.

In the article, Refreshing The Interpretation Of Islam, he argued that Muslim scholars must distinguish Islam as a religion that teaches universal values of justice and dignity from its Arabic cultural context.

'The practices of headscarves for women, chopping off hands, sporting beards for Muslim men, and stoning, for example, are Arabic culture and values, not necessarily Islamic as many scholars would argue,' he wrote late last month.

Mr Athian Ali, who heads the Forum of Ulamas and Umah, was quoted by Detik.com news portal as saying: 'We saw a strong indication that there is a network of conspiracy to undermine Islam through this article.

'And under the Islamic law, anyone who commits blasphemy must be executed.'

One of the contentious points in the article, he said, was one pertaining to the Islamic law or syariah.

Mr Ulil wrote: 'The effort to impose syariah, to me, is the manifestation of Muslims' helplessness in overcoming their mounting problems in a rational way.

'Muslims think all their problems would [Ed: sic] automatically disappear when the syariah, with its archaic and dogmatic interpretation, is implemented on earth.'

Several minority but vocal Muslim groups have been campaigning for the imposition of syariah as the only way to address moral degradation and social ills."

Perhaps the reason why Islam has fallen into the state that it is in today is that voices of dissent, rationality and moderation are repeatedly silenced. For the life of me, I cannot see how the ideas related above are offensive to Islam. And the point on syariah is spot on :)

Offensive advertisements:

{Life!, Monday December 9th 2002}

'Now my husband keeps praising my improved bustline" [Ed: Emphasis NOT added]

"...Thanks to Slim Fit I not only improved my bustline but also my relationship with my husband!" - Ms Chin Jwu Jiun

It's a fact that a rounded bosom gives a woman more self-confidence than if she is less well-endowed. We understand the frustrations that many women undergo when they compare themselves with others more voluptuous women. We know how it feels like if an insensitive husband makes admiring comments about shapely, sexy females on TV. We sympathise with the sense of inadequacy it causes and how it hurts your feelings deep inside.'


I think all web1000 sites are blacklisted by Google, probably because web1000 allows adult content. Maybe it's time to move again.
Yucheng got 4 days of MC for his ingrown toenail, so he asked me go to celebrate with him, and he brought along his brother Yuqun who's now in Primary 5 (who hasn't changed in 5 years and is still boisterous and attacks me without fear of recrimination - kind of like Yangyang, actually).

As ever, his cheapskate ways persist. Not willing to buy a cup from the KFC/Pizza Hut/Taco Bell outlet, he was thinking of using a used cup we found on the table. He was scared of contracting Hepatitis, however, so he poked a hole in the cup, complained that it was leaking and went to have it changed. Gah.

We saw Treasure Planet. If this keep up, we'll run out of shows to watch :) "Cinema admissions. This being Singapore, I can't think of anything else people do socially." - Mr Reeves. Oh well. Maybe I'll go to the beach next time. The only comment I have about the show: I doubt the classical sailing ship is the most suitable design for space-faring vessels, and how come there's air in space?

The cinema was rather empty - I guess all the school students have watched the show already. There were 2 schoolgirls behind us who, even by the end of the show, had not managed to finish their nachos. Tut tut.

After that, Yucheng indulged me by waiting for me while I returned The Mists Of Avalon (which I'd just finished last night, in time to return it on its due date today) and I applied for my POSB Mastercard Debit Card, and I him by waiting for him and his brother to find the latter assessment books. Yeh. I can almost smell the Underachievement - the tallest blade of grass is the first to be cut down by the lawnmower - poster now! On a semi-related note: I don't think I've ever seen a male bank teller before. Bah.

At one corner of Takashimaya, there was this man dressed in subdued Magician garb and entertaining children (and also denying that Albert Einstein came up with the theory of relativity). Oddly, this show was called 'The Age Of Fun' and was modelled loosely after the Victorian Era - hardly an "Age Of Fun". And in keeping with the season, Giordano Junior's salesgirls are wearing white Santa hats with bobs on the ends. AHHH!

Along Orchard Road, 3 secondary school boys were making a fool of themselves, waddling like ducks while uttering weird noises, and then waddling back with their hands on their heads. One guy in RJ pants was filming them with a digicam, and 2 girls were looking on with amusement. After they'd finished humiliating themselves, they started scribbling on a worksheet which, on closer inspection, said "RICSC Urban hike 2002". Looks like RI, Raffles Guys' and RJ's Computer Science Clubs are holding yet another combined activity. Further down the stretch of The Centre Of Singapore, a girl from the Singapore Oriental Arts Troupe was twirling hula hoops around assorted bodily appendages... to the tune of Christmas carols like Frosty the Snowman. ARGH, the torture!

Brunei has really done weird things to Yucheng's stomach - today he had wafer ice-cream - the one in large blocks which the ice-cream man chops down to size. Three times.

At the two Popular Bookstores we went to, there was the usual deluge of assessment books. Actually I think writing them is a very simple matter that requires not much work and brings good profit margins. Maybe I'll write some with subliminal anti-propaganda messages one day.

While waiting for the twain to find assessment books, I got the opportunity to browse through some books on Social Studies, the subject which I missed having to do by 3 years. I'd already known that it would be quite bad, but I didn't expect it to be so extreme ; The parts on Singapore are fawning, sycophantic and obsequious, not mentioning Singapore's faults, while the "case studies" have detailed listings of how other countries went wrong.

Also seen in Popular Bookstore: In Quest of Excellence - A Story of Singapore Malays by Saat A. Rahman. The community must be really proud that they've a book to showcase their progress and how far they've come. Maybe they should make a book commemorating the progress of Singapore's Zoroastrians also. On 2 pages, the book had photos of 2 young Malay girls, with the caption: "These two young beauties". Well. One was ugly, and the other normal, but more importantly, none of them were modestly clad! None were wearing tudungs. Ah, the profanity! Call in the The Ministry for the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue!

Twas fun seeing school students today!

A water pipe just burst in a toilet and as usual my mother is growling at everyone for unwarranted reasons. I wonder if age does that to a person. If so, it'd be better to all of us to end life at a young age - humans were not meant, evolutionarily, to live such long lives anyway.
Just got this msg on my mobile:

"was that msg for me or u sent accidentally?"

It came from the New Guy. Puzzled, I asked him what the hell he was talking about.

He then replied, "I sent to you meh? I thought I sent it to someone else?"

So I guess he accidentally sent me a message inquiring about an SMS message someone accidentally sent to him. Riiiiight. Either the mobile phone service has got its wires seriously crossed, or it's just plain freaky time.

It's the little things:)
Word of the day: "schadenfreude"

On Googling.

Forced myself to sleep at 9pm last night, and I'm still dead exhausted the following day. There's really an interminable amount of work to be done today as well - largely because we're moving offices to another floor. Thankfully, I haven't been here long enough to accumulate the truly gargantuan amount of files and documents that some of my colleagues have - only about a couple of boxes worth for my part.

Was highly amused by the amount of administrative and mystical wrangling that went on during this process. We had to euchre a few warm bodies from the administrative department in order to assist in the moving of desks and cabinets. As for our own PCs - in the admin's head's own words: "Use your chairs as wheelbarrows"


Also, when I said 'mystical' wrangling; I meant it literally - because a surprisingly large number of our staff were fairly avid fengshui devotees. Our department head had actually proposed the move to be on the 18th, for obvious reasons; and had hinted that he wanted us all to move at about 7-something in the morning due to various cosmological factors. Thankfully, common sense prevailed; which is why we're moving on Friday the 13th. However, a couple of my colleagues actually borrowed my watch because it had a compass attachment - in order to ascertain which way their desks should face. A few were suggesting lighting up incense, and one even half-jokingly proposed that we scatter a mix of rice grains, tea leaves and salt around the office. Our boss's table is directly facing the window, so when we talk to him, we have to squeeze ourselves into a narrow strip between his desk and the ceiling-to-floor glass pane.

As for me, I'm just going to follow that old custom of jumping over a fire when moving into a new house - I'll get someone to hold my lit lighter at the foot of the cubicle opening and lithely step over it.

Our new workspace is laid out in an incredibly hierarchical fashion. Previously, most of the mid-level team managers shared the same-sized cubicles as the rest of us exec grunts and clerks. Now, the managers actually have much larger partition/offices around the workspace periphery. The rest of us are huddled into a cubicle farm in the center; and each cubicle is approximately 20% smaller than our present ones. Upon beholding our new cells, me and my friend simultaneously broke out into a rendition of "In the Ghetto". On top of that, our uber-boss, who was previously located on another floor, is now in an office about six feet away from where I sit. Sweat broke out on my brow the first time I saw the seating plan, and actually seeing the close physical proxmity has made me realise just how precarious my present situation is.

(Another song that was running through my head.. "Sixteen tonnes.. whaddaya get? / Another year older and deeper in debt / St. Peter don't call me coz I can't go... / I owe my soul to the company store....")

On top of that, my immediate supervisor (who's one of the lucky managers with a periphery office), has a structural column smack in the middle of her partition. She stared at it impassively or a few moments, before noting that there's some space in the corner obscured by the column where we can hide from our bosses if necessary. Someone suggested setting up a mini-fridge there.

We also have a little library of our own now; a room crammed with periodicals and journals accumulated over the years. I suspect that it will be the new department rec-room. (Department games currently include a dartboard, a chess set, a Scrabble board, and a pack of cards)

Am going out to watch Die Another Day today - should be an amusing experience, even if I know I'll be irked by all the censored scenes. However, there's another fillip to tonight's plan - I have *no idea* who I'm going out with.

Two days ago, someone's name whom I didn't recognise flashed up on my mobile phone, and a vaguely familiar voice asked, "Eh, you wanna go watch the new James Bond movie this Wednesday? My friend's buying tickets now."

My mind occupied at the time (driving), I unthinkingly replied, "Sure."

Yesterday, I got an SMS saying - "We're watching the 8:45 show, see you at the box office at 8:30"

Now I have a problem, because I really have no idea who I've just agreed to go see that movie with (unfortunately, it was a male voice, so no hope there), and how I'm going to recognise that person (people?) when I get there. Nonetheless, that person *seemed* to know who I was (at least my name; what are the odds of accidentally dialling a wrong number of someone with exactly the same name as me..), so I'll just look around vaguely until someone waves at me.

In all honesty, I agreed to go more to figure out who the hell it was, as opposed to actually wanting to watch the movie.

My godsister, whom I haven't heard from in years, suddenly called me out for lunch because she wanted some advice on what to do now that she's finished her As. To be perfectly frank, I'm the *last* person I would go to for any practical or even reasonable advice about one's future, but for some obscene reason her parents actually think that I, as a young, socially-mobile(hah!), mature(hah! hah!), responsible(ran out of breath to "hah!" with) adult would be able to guide this tender young mind and steer her through the rocky road of university life.

Well, I can suggest a few techniques for fending off lecherous male pick-ups at clubs, I guess. ("I'd love to go back to a motel room with you! Do you mind if I take my syphilis medication first?")

Comments on recent entries:

That description of HCJC guys is TOTALLY ACCURATE. TOTALLY. COMPLETELY. UTTERLY. Some day I will regale stories about this colony of CHS-HCJC (frankly, is there a difference? For most of those bastards it's just a transition between levels, as opposed to actually changing institutions) engineering students I knew in Melbourne. I call it a colony because seven of them were living in a rather nice two-bedroom apartment, which had turned into a pit of absolute squalor after a year. None of them slept in the same place two nights in a row - because they would just drop supine onto one of the many sleeping bags and mattresses scattered all over the place when fatigue overtook them. There were enough PCs and laptops to start their own LAN cafe. Indeed, the place served as an impromptu network gaming arena which anyone was free to come in and play at anytime - I recall staying there for a couple of days once, and people would just walk in and out at all hours (doors perpetually unlocked) to take their turns playing Counter-Strike. Stacks of porno magazines and wuxia novels were everywhere. The television was constantly playing 'Super Sunday' or one of the few hundred episodes of Taiwanese variety shows in their massive collection. There were at least 80 or so empty bottles of assorted hard liquor on a large bookshelf as decoration.

Damn it, I miss university life.

Incidentally, they were *awfully* nice guys, and a couple of them were among my closest friends. It was really fun with those guys, given my own horrific standards of hygiene. Although the sticky doorknobs and vomit-stained ceiling (yes. CEILING) was a pushing it a tad, I admit.

In Western culture, people hate Jews because of the ancient Christian school of thought that persecutes them as the slayers of Jesus, not to mention a distaste for their insular, Chosen-People-style culture of superiority. It's a bit chicken and egg though, because their close-knit culture of shared ethos and shared religion was both a result of their persecution as well as a reason for it. Some have claimed that their general economic success (Goldman, Sachs, Morgan, Lynch, Rothschild...), is due to their culture of literacy and the extreme intellectual rigour their religion demands of their rabbis (Ever been to a Jewish seminary? Go watch "Keeping the Faith"; I'm told that even in extremely Orthodox ones, the thing about rabbis-in-training getting into badass intellectual, Talmudic gangfights in the library happens a lot). Of course, *all* religions demand extreme intellectual rigour of their priests, in the final analysis; just that, as Umberto Eco said, Moses encoded all the cool stuff in the Pentateuch (think Sefer Yesirah, notarikon, temurah, etc) and gave the Ten Commandments to the masses.

As to the new layout - it's *your* blog.

I wish I could capture every moment, really, on this blog. Because, as boring and mundane as each weary day is, there is always, *always* some little victory, some moment of perfect beauty that transfixes my heart with joy. Whether it's a cynical laugh, a cool drink, a good book, a shared moment, a fragment of joy, a shard of pain, a zhai idea, a piece of work completed, a concept learned, an idea realised, a truth attained - it was there, and it reminded me I was *alive*. And it is always the minor things. Always. The little thing that you don't think of a day or two later, but that held you, for that one instant, captivated, holding every aspect of your perception in its thrall.

And as much as I try to capture on this blog, so many more slip away. Sigh. But they were there; the little victories. And they are all that matters.

Blood Sword rocks! It is easily the most descriptive and well-written fantasy gamebook series of all time! I learned the words "onomastic", "proroguing", "scion", "psychopomp", and many, *many* others. I actually have three out of six Dragon Warriors sourcebooks, and could have acquired all three if I'd been a little less scrupulous and not returned them. Be that as it may, they were a pretty good, albeit seriously flawed system, which I enjoyed more for the world's complexity than for the gameplay mechanic.

Gabriel: I was telling your friend with the accent why the question: "What can change the nature of a man?" is such a compelling one for us. Your friend noted to me: "You seem to have more control."

*dizzying moment of flashback*

"..But you seem so much... calmer. More well-intentioned."

"I became that way, yes. Because for me..." His voice took on a strange echo. "It is *regret* that may change the nature of a man." He sighed. "But it was too late. I was already damned."

"I found that changing my nature was not enough. I needed more time, and I needed more life. So I came to the greatest of the Gray Sisters and asked her for a boon - to try and help me live long enough to rectify all the damage I had done. To make me immortal."

"And Ravel did. But when she first tested your immortality and killed you, you forgot everything. *Everything*" He looked broken at my words.

"And the Planes have been dying ever since. The crime is great, and the blame is mine."

*another dizzying moment of disjoint*

"As I spoke the language of the Uyo, the incarnation's eyes widened, and he stared at me. After a moment of silence, he replied in the same language.

(Only I know the language of the Uyo. How do you know it?)

(You are correct: you are the only one who knows the language of the Uyo. So if I know the language of the Uyo, I must be you.) He was silent, staring at me.

(It is these *others* who are not you, for they do not know the language of the Uyo.) He nodded... slowly.

(I hear you.)

(This place confuses one's perceptions - we are both you, and now we must become as one.) He looked frightened.

"I..." To my surprise, he reverted to normal speech... and all the inflections to his voice were gone. It was calm, level, and much like my own. "I... no longer wish to live like this."

"You no longer have to. You have suffered much. You were born into a world where nothing made sense, where strangers claimed they knew you, they blamed you for things you knew nothing of, and they tried to hurt you.. All the pain and worry and torment of your existence; I will wipe it away."

He looked at me - and I watched as the incarnation lost its mad gleam, and his eyes became more like my own.


"I will protect you now. You will know peace. For that is all you ever wanted, isn't it?"

[Ed: I watched 'Keeping The Faith' twice. All I remember was that the book was very heavy. And, hey, Jesus was a Jew.

Why don't you let Sarinee scan your Dragon Warriors books too?

Which friend with the accent? I have many friends with accents. And the question is not compelling for me. It's just a damn good game.]

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Word of the Day: "disingenuous"


"I need some help... what is that voting board place where people used to vote on RJC bitches, chio bus etc etc etc? I know it's called something something board but nothing comes to mind when I think about it now... anyone who knows... help... I am so damn bo liao now that I want to go and read it. Also, I realised that when you search for 'RJC chio bus' on Google, you get that chap's site like one million times... gssq... dunno what the hell his real name is, I just know that he's some screwed up GEP guy. (aren't we all.) Anyway, anyone who knows, tell me. I need to put up an 'RJC chio bus' page too then when people search for RJC chio bus they will find my site. It's quite funny because when you search for 'Bhavit Sheth' (my neighbour's name) you get my site too... Google is crazy shit man. I want to be able to write code like that man. So damn powerful. Zai sia. "

Of Despair Inc :-('s 2003 collection of Demotivational Posters, I think I like this the best:

If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.

This comes close:

Leaders are like Eagles. We don't have either of them here.

Monday, December 09, 2002

How cool! My new handle on this blog is simply - "The"! Not "The" anything. Just.. "The". Not an object, but an eternal pointer!

[Ed: An unfortunate result of the template using "Blog Author's Nickname" tag instead of "Blog Author's Name", and your nickname automatically being your first name. Rectified as of now.]

[Me: Ah.. once again I am.. compleat]

Word of the day: "flagellation"

It's 10:30, and I feel this strange burst of monstrous inspiration. Maybe it's because the whole day was spent in the throes of an emotional high (one of those inexplicable feats of serendipity that comes in the absence of travail, the right conjunction of hormonal and neurochemical balance, and seriously funny conversations), and traces of it are still lingering in my system.

First things first; to complete the now seriously overdue chronology from like yay-so-many weeks ago. If anyone wants a recap, the entry's here.


Woke up with a peculiar absence of hangover headache. I was sprawled face down on a brown, chintzy sofa. As I got up to take in my surroundings, the familiar cry of the drunkard's morning resounded in my head: "Where the hell am I?" I was in some apartment; that was obvious. The layout had the blocky, utilitarian, cinderblock look of the HDB aesthetic. I slowly clambered to my feet, taking in the small TV in the corner, the pictures of various trance and house DJs plastering the wall; scattered muscial manuscripts and note sheets all over the place; several aromatherapy burners on the tiny coffee table, beanbags everywhere.. and the heavily used Yamaha piano in the corner. The windowshades were drawn, and I had a feeling that light was generally never permitted to enter this domicile from the outside; it was to be only internally generated from candles or a halogen light bulb.

Okay. I knew whose place this was now, even if I'd never visited before. But just how the hell did I end up here?

After clambering up to the kitchen to wash my face and procure some food(the stacks of dark-choc Tim-Tams and table water biscuits further confirmed the identity of my erstwhile host), I trudged back to the sofa, turned on the television, and quietly watched CNN for a while, eating from a can of button mushrooms.

Presently, the bedroom door opened, and A- trudged out. For those of you not in the know; A- is an old, *old* friend of mine, who deserves some mention here as my fellow basket case and one of my terribly few platonic female friends. Probably the only one I presently keep in regular touch with.

Some context into the nature of our friendship; we've stopped each other from suicide at least once each (ongoing "suicide prevention buddy" program), we had the same tuition teacher, and we only talk to each other about once a year.

A-: "Oh. You're awake. Do you want breakfast?"

Me: "No thanks.. I've already started in on your mushrooms."

A-: "Bloody hell - I wanted those for porridge. Nevermind. It's fine. Go ahead. Come into my house and eat my mushrooms. I don't give a shit." (She has a notably deadpan, monotonous voice.)

She then trudged into the kitchen, and emerged carrying a bowl of cereal in milk. I watched as she sat in her usual, preternaturally composed fashion on a beanbag, eating off the coffee table.

Me: "It's been a while."

A-: "Yes. What did I say the last time about CALLING in advance? Shit, you're damn lucky H- (her Teutonic lover) wasn't around."

Me: "How did I end up here?"

She did not seem perturbed by the question.

A-: "You called around 2am, ranting about how you needed a place to stay because your friend suddenly fucking tua-ed you and that he had to get up early the next morning. Or SOMETHING like that. I don't know lah. I didn't even know you were in town."

Awkward silence for a minute.

Me: "I *would* have called you and your brother out for lunch, you know. Just that this was a really sudden trip..."

A-: "Umm.. yeah. Nevermind."

Me: "This is a nice place though. Erm. Is it cheaper than the last place you were staying at?" (Interlude - she moves from apartment to apartment. Restlessly. Something compulsively pathological.)

A-: "Kind of; and an HDB doesn't have as many facilities lah. But at least the location is better."

Me: "So. What are you doing today?"

A- got up, and started playing Chopin's Etude on the piano. She's one of the best pianists I've ever known; if only she hadn't slit her wrists after she found out that her 36-hour, amphetamine-inspired piano-frenzy orgies had permanently damaged the tendons of her fingers. That messed up her chances to go to a good conservatoire abroad; which, unfortunately, assumes the dimenson of "just another tragedy" in her life, given her sordid familial and personal history.

A-: "Church. Around twelve." Despite everything, she still believes in God. I've never figured out why. She motioned to a clock hanging on the wall. It was 10:45. "So you'd better clear out by eleven thirty." She smiled thinly. "Next time call first, can? Wah lao, aren't you a bit sian of the calling up at middle of the night begging for a place to stay routine?"

Me: "I don't know.... I guess it's a habit leh."

I packed up quietly; made sure all my clothes and toiletries were in order (read: crammed into bag), and headed out the door. She still sat at the piano, playing. As I said, "Goodbye", she raised a hand, her eyes never leaving the piano, one-handedly moving over the keys, playing some peculiar little ditty of her own composition.

As I left, I noted, illuminated by the sunlight coming in from the main door, the faint tracery of scars on the wrist beneath her upraised hand.

When I emerged in the outside world, I spent a few minutes trying to figure out just which part of Singapore I was in. Managed to ascertain that I was somewhere in Hougang - well and good. I promptly took a cab back down to DBS, to try banking in the damaged cheque (which had, by now, more or less dried-out).

The DBS main office at Shenton was located below ground level. I estimate there must have been around 40 counters; and the ceiling was about two storeys high. All of this gave an impression of a massive vault, or an extremely brightly-lit crypt. I wondered idly if it was modelled after Gringnotts; certainly some of the tellers at the counter seemed to be of either goblin or kender pedigree, depending on whether they were sporting surly frowns, or perkily service-oriented smiles.

Noticed that in one of the large waiting areas, there was an old woman bleeding from some kind of gash in her arm, and a couple of frenzied bank officers trying to apply rudimentary first aid. She was bearing it stoically, her seamed features locked in Spartan impassivity; in a manner I've seen among the advanced of age. Maybe it's because their generation is inured to hardship; maybe because age has dulled their nerves' capacity to communicate pain - more likely some cultural inhibition from their time against calling too much attention to suffering; compared to our generation's habit of wearing all our pathetic emotional travails on our shirtsleeves like Boy Scout badges. I was reminded of how my great-aunt broke her hip once, in the bathroom, and tried to conceal it from her children whom she was living with for two days until the pain became unbearable.

Granted, though, I've known some pretty crotchety old bastards - like my grandfather's unremitting abuse of his entire extended family during the final phase of his life. Although he had advanced Alzheimer's disease as an excuse.

Fumed while interminably queuing for about 45 minutes. Good Lord, I'd forgotten how *irritating* it was to queue up for banking stuff, given that these days, after businessng hours, I just slip into the bank branch I was formerly working at and leave the appropriate forms and shit for my ex-colleagues to deal with the following day and SMS me the results. When I reached the teller, she stared askance at the damaged cheque, and said with a dubious tone, "I'm not sure if this cheque will go through."

"Nevermind. Bank it in anyway. No harm trying." After all, I just wanted to show my parents the deposit slip, which indicated that I'd done my filial duty by running their picayune errand. And anyhow, people are always prepared to believe the worst about the banking system's ineptitude, should the cheque be returned....

Also noted on the teller's desk that there were some stacks of entry forms with extremely badly coloured figures on the tellers' desk. Some junior savings account competition; nice to see that our financial institutions are promoting creativity amongst the fiscally underaged.

After that, I shunted back into the world of light, and made my way down to Borders - it was only about 11:45, and I didn't think that anyone would be free that early on a Saturday morning. So I went into Borders, and, once again, back to my element, surrounded by books - sometimes, during the all-too-common moments of suicidal frustration; there is nothing like walking into a bookstore to remind me just *why* I want to live forever.

There may be computer games, movies, anime, and blue cheese - but above all; there's *books*. Words. Carefully strung sentences; dry passages of complex ideas, rousing tales, subtle complexities, descriptions, metaphors, analogies, jokes, characters - in the final analysis, what is there in this wretched world that makes sense? There is only fiction, and everything else.

I called a couple of friends out for lunch around 2pm; after 3 hours of orgiastically reading. Kept my selections fairly niche this time round - was reading Vampire: The Masquerade sourcebooks:) Merely keeping in touch with the mythos.

One of my friends met me at Borders, and we gadded around for a while browsing through the non-fiction section. He had recently acquired a taste for popular science books; having read Dawkin's Blind Watchmaker and Selfish Gene, and was now onto some book called "Mortality, Morality". It was a rather outre little treatise on the physical causes of death; the exact physiological changes that occur in the human body upon death. The "morality" bit kicks in only in a few latter chapters; when the writer rather engagingly discusses the role of death in human moral philosophy.

I was looking for God's Debris; and I had a bit of a tricky time finding it. It wasn't in Philosophy, or Religion. Finally, me and my friend went down to the information counter, where a rather pimply assistant was staring fixatedly at his terminal. As we approached, he didn't even look up; so I politely inquired if he could assist me in finding the book.

He grunted in what I assumed to be assent, and continued vigorously tapping at his terminal. I was prepared to wait in Zen serenity (my tolerance level for bureaucratically pisspoor service has been callused after the experience of applying for passport renewals in Malaysian immigration), but my friend, a more impatient sort, said to me, loudly, with his drawling, typical-Malayalami tones, "This is the information desk, isn't it? I mean - we *are* here for information. Where's the information? Are you receiving any information?"

Malayalami accents have this way of conveying weary yet vitriolic sarcasm in a manner unmatched by any Asian race. Case study: Mahathir during his West-bashing interviews.(another footnote: Mahathir is half Indian by way of the distaff side)

Cheerfully playing along, I replied, "No idea. I'm certainly not getting any information my way."

After continuing in this vein for a few moments, the poor Borders assistant blurted out: "Just give me a moment, okay??"

A few more taps later, he guided us to the "Metaphysical Studies" section (which was pitifiully small, but looked surprisingly well-worn. Figures; people attracted to a topic like Metaphysical Studies are probably those who would spend hours browsing through obscure titiles like "The Wiccan Rede and Your Love Life" and "Broken God" without actually buying anything.). I was surprised to note that most of the books in this shelf were supernatural studies; ranging from the usual Charmed/Buffy-inspired love charm recipe books, to some volumes on the Rennes-les-Chateau mystery - although I didn't see Holy Blood, Holy Grail:)

Chortle-worthy quote: "Then he rang off. Slammed the phone down, presumably. Except that I think it was a mobile phone. How do you slam down a mobile phone? Angrily pressing the off button isn't as expressive, really."

Browsed through God's Debris, but hesitated momentarily at the rather high price for a very slim volume. Still, managed to extract a few pithy observations, and I agree totally with those who say it's a book whose value lies not in what it says, which contains a significant amount of what Scott Adams admits is blatant crap.But it's the kind of book that makes you makes you question the world you live in; as well as the fallacy of the many assumptions that one holds for granted as truths.

"The best any human can do is to pick a delusion that helps them get through the day..... At some level, we all suspect that other people don't believe their own religion any more than we believe ours....Everyone knows that the odds of picking the true religion -- if such a thing exists -- is nil."

"God is probability." (This makes sense, intuititively. If there is any higher power, probability - chaos - is it. Anyone who plays the lottery knows this.)

At around 2:30, our other friend arrived, and we adjourned to Burger King for a quick meal. Damn, I've missed the Mushroom Swiss Cheese burger; in Australia, the local "Burger King" is called "Hungry Jack's", and they put fucking BEETROOT in their burgers!

Proceeded to Kallang for a game of pool. Since there were three of us, and one of us was a pool fanatic who plays regularly, we soon decided that classic knock-out wasn't the way to go. Instead, it was proposed that we play Indonesian pool; a three-man version where you're supposed to defend your balls while potting the sets assigned to your opponents. However, even this got stale after a while, so we decided to play for cigarettes every frame. It got oddly fun, despite the occasional bout of self-mocking convict humour.

We then headed down to Holland V. to meet up a third compadre. On the way there, as we were turning in front of the KFC, we suddenly felt a vibration along the floor of the car. Suddenly, the guy driving shouted, "Fuck - check out the Ferrari in front!" As we all looked, then we noticed there were two - no, three - no, FOUR Ferraris in a row pulling in; and their vibrations in sync as they drove past were causing a mini sonic boom of sorts. Ah, the joys of wealth - no, must remember to cultivate zanshin and detachment from all worldly material desires..

Dinner was a fairly desultory affair, but after that, I headed out with one of them to Orchard Road, because he wanted to try out his new Sony Cybershot. Apparently he'd gotten the lens hacked, so that it could see through thin clothing when the IR filter was invoked. Unfortunately, it only appeared to work in bright daylight, as everyone still appeared disappointingly fully clad among us. However, we did have a jolly time taking photos of the Christmas decorations, trying to surreptitiously capture snapshots of chio girls passing by (yes, we have no life), and filming an urban-jungle indie tale of horror & self-loathing dubbed: "The Bleh Witch Plojek."

After some practicing to be Adam King, (does *anyone* , I mean, *anyone* comprehend this senseless ad campaign? He's not even real!), I headed off to meet another friend of mine. This next associate, is a flaxen-haired pretty boy, who is extremely amusing to go out with because I get to see a lot more chicks close up, due to them constantly turning their heads to check him out. By some odd genetic drift, he doesn't look Chinese, despite being ethnically pure Han, as well as being from HCJC, with all the attendant cheena-ness one would expect from an alumni of that noble JC. ("What the fuck is diamond diamond diamond???"). He actually looks partially Eurasian, an image dispelled as soon as he opens his mouth to exclaim: "Out of point leh!" His hair is almost auburn, despite using no dyeing.

I actually pity him, because he's a devout Christian, and also because he's so pretty no one takes him seriously, the poor sod. I remember once at this outing with some scholar caste types, he and I were tagging along as accessories. The conversation had God-knows-how veered into the topic of Cartesian philosophy, and when he chipped in with a Tomist argument straight from the Summa Theologica, a couple of the girls there and a guy visibly started with surprise, because he had been so silent all night. Very very amusing. Later on, one of the guys confessed to me in an aside that they had thought all his brains were in his fringe.

(For the record, he claims that he doesn't spend *hours* styling his locks, they just happen to fall around his chiselled features au naturel. RIGHT.)

We spent the first half of the night sitting at the bar in the Marriott Hotel, nursing some non-alcoholic "mocktails". Although he had inititally expressed a desire to 'cheong', that had rapidly faded, particularly as it transpired that it would only be the two of us. During the first half of the conversation, we discussed the usual; catching up on events, me providing him a lengthly lecture on the cheque-clearing and money-transit process (he asked, for some weird reason, and I indulged. "Since I was young I've always wondered how those banks cart money to and from the mint."), and amusedly noting the way Japanese girls in the lobby would turn their heads to survey him better.

After a while, we decided to exeunt for ice-cream. In his own words: "I crave ice-cream. I always give in to my cravings."

"Oh? And why is it you're still single and (by his own admission) a virgin?"

We slouched out, heading for Swensen's. However, the crowd outside was horribly long; so we did the next best thing - adjourning to CineLeisure. Was tempted to go watch he Returner, but couldn't find a decent time slot. (Me: "Come on, man, why do you need to see Takeshi on the big screen? Just gaze at the fucking mirror.") As we stood there, dithering, I asked him what to do?

He stared blankly back at me.

Me: "Okay. Here's my suggestion. You believe in God, right?"

Him: "Yeah..."

Me: "And I believe in chaos, or, more accurately, probability. Therefore, I say we flip a coin. Heads, we go order a bag of popcorn and have a few cigarettes outside CineLeisure. Tails, we try our luck elsewhere. Either way, this method conforms to our individual belief systems; you leaving in it God's hands, and me leaving it to probability... Now you flip. I can never catch the damn thing on the way down. Poor motor coordination lah."

It came out tails.

And so we traipsed back down the road, in search of ice-cream.... and to our joy, we noticed that the crowd at Swenesn's had somehow thinned trememndously. I was about to suggest flipping a coin again, to decide if we should interrupt our ongoing search or continue - when he screamed, "Fuck the coin lah! Take control of your destiny!" With such stirring words ringing in my head, we sat down, and ordered a Topless 5 each.

Incidentally, I noticed that Swensen's doesn't *have* the Topless 5 on the menu anymore; the waiters recognise it, but it's no longer listed as an option. I wonder why?

"For a skinny guy, you sure eat a lot of ice-cream."

As we ate, and conversed on a variety of topics, from reasons for believing in God, to economics, to movies, to the usual good-natured ranting about women, I pointed out. "You know. We really might give the impression of being some gay couple, the way we're bickering now." (It was a rather heated discussion about his avowed impossibility of finding a girl he's attracted to).

I continued. "Not that I mind too much, actually. Given my blatant lack of success with the opposite sex, at least as part of a gay couple I can say I snagged a looker in you. Although it's patently obvious which of us is the butch and which is the bitch."

He went on to moan and bitch about how the only girls who seemed to throw themselves at him were the skanky hos to which he had zero attraction. (Which might be largely true; when clubbing with him, the girls I've seen try to obviously flirt with him aren't too bad lookers, but he could probably do better. However, the really good-looking ones tend to be escorted or famously attached, which immediately dissuades him, given his moral persuasion).

I persisted, "But you've never thought of going for a girl you're attracted to? A really good looking one? I mean, fuck even if she has a boyfriend lah."

"I don't really work that way lor. And besides, what makes you think I haven't tried lah? And failed."

Ah, perhaps there is some moral justice in this world that even the good-looking bastards don't nail all the bitches. (In misogynistic mood today, for a variety of reasons. Blow me.) But then again, I think my friend is just too inhibited.

He added, "Do you think I wouldn't use whatever advantages I have if I was in a club and a girl I liked wasn't escorted? Please lah, I'm not a saint."


Anyway, we parted, as usual, on amicable terms, and he suggested that next time I crash at his hostel room in NUS. "For God's sake, man, it's a bit fucking scandalous to keep staying at women's houses lah." It's a suggestion I'll take him up on, when (not if), the next time comes around that I'm wandering the streets of the Lion City like a derelict.

Went for supper with tonight's friendly landlord (incidentally, the guy with whose digital camera we were playing with earlier). He's a very earthy chap who's seriously considering joining the PAP, but he's worried by rumours that they do *extensive* background checks.

In his exact words: "For how many years do I have to keep my computer free of porn? I mean, how far back does MHA's proxy servers store this kind of data?"

Me: "Don't know leh, but hard drives are cheap."

We were also discussing the moral ramifications of success. I mean, let us consider the Genting casino. That place, one of the most lucrative businesses in Malaysia (indeed, the Lim family is the single wealthiest family in Malaysia as a result), is arguably the ruination of many lives. But to what extent is it an immoral activity? I mean, people have a right to choose, don't they? No one coerces them to drive up the damn, landslide-prone mountain into Genting Highlands to blow a few thousand dollars at the blackjack table.

But on the other hand, the same can be said of liquor and tobacco companies.. as well as drug dealers.

As I told my friend, "To be honest, I'm reconciled to the fact that, if I ever become successful, it'll be by stepping on the bodies of a lot of people, whether it's my employees, competitors, or customers. But the sad thing is, I really don't care much. For me, it's just about making sure I don't screw my friends, and take care of my family. Everyone else.... everyone else is fair game. That's the way it is. It's either squeeze and exploit - or spend my life being squeezed and exploited - like in my damn job now."

"... the only certainty is that none of us will see Heaven..."

His opinion on whether we have it lucky or not: "Well, look at the guy who runs the Lee Foundation. I heard that his family were pretty rich back then - but their father made them eat porridge and salted eggs almost everyday. Apparently they donated more money to a school every year than they spent on their own family."

My retort: "Well, I know a girl who raked up about 15,000 pounds in credit card bills in a *month*. And her parents didn't notice because her mom regularly spends that much."

So where exactly do we stand? Difficult, difficult call. Sometimes I wonder just how motivated I am to get myself out of my rut; but then again, my life isn't that bad a rut, is it? I'm quite well taken care of; and I do have enough money to do *most* of what I want - buy computer games, watch movies, go for drinks. Most of my desires are met, barring extreme stuff like travelling all over the world at will or owning a Porsche.

But once in a while, I do feel this brief, incandescent hunger to *do better* than where I've ended up; to not be a wage slave in aeternam; to be able to afford my own damned bookstore some day.. .to be able to walk into a restaurant and not have to worry about the prices on the menu.

And there's not much else to say. I spent the night in his place; and the next morning I made the slow, interminable bus trip back to KL, and I'm back in work now, three weeks later, expression glazed, but mildly exultant because access to the blog and blogger seems to have been restored at work. Also, I haven't been sleeping well lately - only about 3-4 hours a day. Bad habit, due to some seriously long conversational time.

And the chronology ends there.

Okay. Moving on to brief snapshot of amusing events in the weeks that passed:

I lost my moccasins a few days ago. Was at a showroom bungalow with family, just checking it out, when, as we emerged from the house, I noticed that my moccasins had been replaced by exactly the same pair and make (Timberland brown), but it was a *visibly* older and tattier version. I put my feet in - it was the same size - but it felt *weird* - the sole was clearly shaped by someone else's foot, and there seeemed a lot of sand particles in it. ARGH.

Have been talking a lot to some old friends I haven't heard from in a while. It's funny how some things that happened at the time so completely passed your notice; the opportunities you missed and the - the chances you could have had. But when you loook back on it, in 20/20 hindsight, the only thing more glaring than the obviousness of what you missed is the certainty that you've forever lost your chance, that only shot at something approaching... I don't know? Happiness? Possibility? .. Whatever it is, it's all gone now.

Finally finished Mafia; am playing Arx Fatalis now. Am horribly behind on my game-playing schedule; I *must* finish up Arx Fatalis by this week if possible. Am prepared to defer eating, going out (no big loss there), and possibly taking a day off from work to get it squared away. Arx Fatalis - so far it seems like a great homage to Ultima Underworld (and, like the character in Ultima Underworld, your alter ego seems to get *hungry* all the damn time...) , the story's quite fascinating, and the magic system's well done. The graphic textures are surprisingly unique and varied for a world set entirely underground, and the monsters are pretty well-rendered (for some reason they reminded me of the creatures in the old game Azrael's Tear).

Movies watched - nothing much over the last few weeks, sadly enough. I don't know where all the time has frittered away to; but *very* little of it seemed to be spent on my preferred recreational activities. Most of it was on the usual time-wasting family obligations, and too much of it seemed spent in banal chatter online. I swear, I'm going to buy a new book after work today. Because I caught myself looking at my sister's Harry Potter books with some fascination; a sign that I need a literature hit *soon*.

Purchased Analyse That and Solaris; the latter an adapataion from a *great* Stanislaw Lem novel. Solaris is a horribly slow movie, by Steven Soderbergh (of Traffic and Erin Brockovich fame), but it speaks of the poignance of memory very well - and it has a beautiful theme floating throughout it of 'why not accept madness if it makes you happy?' Ultimately though, it's a bit of a hollow story, with virtually zero resolution, but it's a show I loved for the ideas it explores. In fact, I'm curious enough to see if I can dig up the 1972 Andrei Tarkovsky version.

Spent Hari Raya dozing at home, listlessly reorganising my archives. Was euchred into one Hari Raya open house; where I noted that the owner owned a lovely Jaguar XK8. Is such luxury halal?

My sister has come home. Have purloined her digital camera to take some shots of my office, as part of project to create a VRML site depicting my workplace. Yeah right:)

Most of my friends are coming back as well, this December. The chickens are coming home to roolicst.

A friend of mine got a scholarship to go to Russia to study medicine. I told her that she should've leaped at the opportunity. (To go to the Bolshoi Ballet! To visit the Hermitage! Side trips to Eastern Europe or the Caucasus!) Unfortunately her terribly myopic parents refused to let her go, citing fears of Chechen terrorism (seriously) as well as concern for the weather. Sigh.

Comments on the tracking. This batch has the usual weirdness and the usual cheehongness; so shall simply list and defer too much commentary:

"adidas sling bags big enough to put shoes and clothes in" - Get a Samsonite, friend

"eatmejusteatme" - Is this a pornographic exhortation or simply a reference to the blog?

"Taekwando + push ups" - Now I'd like to see some guy doing a push up and launching into some taekwando kick...

"vampire hunter d count meier pictures" - A very good, if rather bloodthirsty anime. Storywise is good but not great, but the animation has fantastic production values. The artist has done a collaborative feature with Neil Gaiman of Sandman fame - Dream Hunters

"soul reaver 2 transcript I see you for what you truly are now" - A Great game, and a great storyline. There IS a full transcript of cutscenes available on the Internet somewhere; at gamefaqs.com, I think

"pee girls web1000 " - Urine fetish?

"full metal panic ringtone" - Another good, nicely wacky, mecha-heavy anime, although I don't think the opening track makes a great ringtone - unlike, say, Gatekeepers 21's melancholy opening. Damn, am still slooooowly downloading episode 4 off fservs....

Something that made me laugh insanely over the last couple of weeks:

See, in China, I'm told by the New Guy at work (who studied Mandarin at Shanghai University for six months after graduating from University of Kentucky) that some hospitals there operate on such a shoestring budget, that one has to pay to purchase blood at a local blood bank, before the doctors can actually perform the necessary transfusion.

So my colleague was asking, "What the hell? Do you mean they like buy the packets of plasma at a gift shop downstairs, and then haul it upstairs to the operating room?"

"Yeah - imagine if you haven't got enough small change or credit cards on you at the time. Or, even worse, if you're a typical Chinaman and want to haggle over the price...."

(mimicking hilariously) "Urrrgggh.... aaggh.. ehh.. can borrow ten bucks or not... shit.. this sample not fresh.. got lumps in it..." "ehhh.. this sample wrong type lah.. can refund or not brother..." "aarrgghhh.. only one packet left... can split into two for me and my friend here..."

Also discovered that New Guy owned a Remington hunting rifle, a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, and a Colt 1911 pistol while studying abroad. He says he hasn't brought any of his guns back. His supervisor seems a little more chary of throwing him too heavy assignments now.

Comments on blog entries. Hm. Maybe I'll comment later. But just because we have Asperger's syndrome doesn't mean we have licence to run roughshod over the feelings of our friends, Gabriel. *Try* not to ruin everything by being yourself, hein?

Sunday, December 08, 2002


"Definitely one of the best gamebook series ever released, Blood Sword is an excellent fantasy gamebook series designed more for hard-core RPG players than casual readers. Set in "Legend," the fantasy world expoused in detail in Dave Morris & Oliver Johnson's Dragon Warriors RPG (which I might scan for this site at some point in the future), Blood Sword books are well-written, fun, and challenging.

There are many innovations that make it more memorable than other series. The most intriguing idea is that you can control a party of up to four characters, or play it with up to 3 other people. Each player controls one out of 4 available classes: Sage (a fighter/monk), Enchanter, Trickster, and Warrior. The characters are well-balanced, and you can finish the adventures without having all four classes (although it would be quite tough to do that without a Sage).

The combat system is very well designed: the closest to an RPG system I have seen. When you engage in battle, you are shown a diagram of the battlefield before each fight. You can carry characters from book to book, similar to the Lone Wolf series. They are also much longer than your average gamebook: each book contains 500+ passages spread over 300 pages of mostly very descriptive (and at times gruesome) text. If you are looking for a challenging, absorbing, and mature gamebook series, look no further than this out of print and extremely rare classic.

Our collection is the complete 5-book series, so download and enjoy. It took me close to 30 hours to scan all of these huge volumes, each of which goes for $30 or more on EBay whenever I see it, so your support in return would be greatly appreciated :)"

That's one thing I can be said to have done for mankind ;)

Hmm he implies that he paid for the books!

Someone remade King's Quest II

Yucheng was restless after coming back from Brunei, so I went to bum around with him today. [Ed: This sentence sounds rather goofy. I'd rather have nicked it, but introductory paragraphs are always needed.]

I got a lift and so was there early. There was this performance by 2 girls from Yamaha Music School. At first, I thought it was going to be an Organ Recital, but then when one girl slotted a diskette into one of the organs, the hair on the nape of neck prickled. Indeed the performance was rather loud ; they launched into a typical fanfare, with instruments like drums, cymbals, trumpets and others I couldn't readily identify used, and the way they moved while playing some of the songs made them look like they'd been possessed. And they performed a medley from 'Spirited Away', that half-baked excuse for a prettily drawn slideshow-extravaganza, with a plot that made absolutely no sense.

It seems that I always have the Seafood Platter for Two (no, not by myself!) whenever I go to Fish & Co. Anyhow Yucheng was *still* hungry after lunch, so he got an Apple Pie (Fried Apple Pies still lose to Baked ones) and a Long John Silver's Combo 1 (Probably the cheapest Fast Food meal you can find). He attributes it to the Jungle Confidence Course doing things to his stomach. Right.

Die Another Day was rather typical Bond - bad jokes, bad sexual puns, nifty toys, big explosions et al. I wonder how they manage to get bigger and bigger everytime - the scale of the movies (explosions, fights, budget, product endorsements), that is. Maybe they'll visit the Moon next time and "Marlboro" will be printed on the Space Shuttle. Luckily the plot loopholes don't grow with the scale of the shows - they were rather minor this time, or maybe I just missed them. The references to previous shows in the franchise were quite poignant, though - they had the jet pack from Thunderball in a disused Tube station. And a final observation: Halle Berry must have the shortest hair of any Bond Girl so far!

My mother berated me for my scruffy dressing and threatened to turn some of my clothes into rags again. The thing is - even when I try to dress "properly", I tend to end up looking scruffy, so I prefer to just dress for comfort.

Haven't ego-surfed for a while.

Just dug this up.

And there's a whole page dedicated to the class. Aww. Such poignant memories :)

[Me on Long John Silvers] Ring the bell and get a 5 cent discount. [Lady at counter: Sorry, excuse me?]

Exchange between me and Marc (Australian Cousin):

Me: haha they manage to get bigger and bigger each time
Him: wat r u talkin about
ur not talking about the "bond babe's" breasts r u
Me: *sputter*

Also: Oh my god.


"i used to keep writing down my thoughts, things i wanted to remember, things i thought would be nice to share, and expand upon on my blog. bits of poetry and song. i had to write them all down because i was afraid i'd forget. then i realised, they're my thoughts, and i thought them because i'm who i am; i'm not going to lose any of my thoughts because i'm not going to lose who i am."


"hmm, this month's cosmo says the best time to quit smoking is 1-14 days after getting your period. heh heh heh, the only time when you like to hear advice is when it doesn't apply to you anymore."

New template.

Any comments? This is an open invitation to flame me :)

Damn. Archives publishing is still down.

Finally got off my butt and made a Why M$N IM is Evil page.
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