When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, July 19, 2003


D: has just gone missing.

Lucky I backed it up not long ago (on 6th July), so at most I lose my 400+ hours of mp3s (sob!), some pictures I've collected over the years, a journal entry, some movies I don't mind losing and some games you can't download anymore, but which I'll never play anyway. Nothing I can't afford to lose, or which is worth US$200-300 (?) recovering.

Ironically, this is the newer HDD which has spoilt after 3 years. The 5 year old one is still going strong.

A helpful source opines that "tho usually even when ur hd dies the bios will at least indicate it's there. so i guess u gotta check ur connections and tweak". Unfortunately, when I try to enter my BIOS, green lines appear on my screen.

More on brights and banding together as a cohesive, influential group.

Nice poster

Useful service: blogging from your mobile phone, courtesy of Kah Keng and Kah Seng

Hidden Cameras Spy on Your Kids - School children get videotaped in their locker rooms. Parents protest that hidden cameras should be prohibited in locker rooms, showers, restrooms and other areas that could violate students' rights. (The images were reportedly accessible through the Internet.)

Man fined for catching alligator - A Florida man who caught an alligator with a rope because he feared it would attack a woman has been fined for being in possession of the animal.

Man cuts off penis, eats it - *Must* be Ma-laysia.

Burgers are as addictive as drugs

Bizarre Game Targets Women: Hunting for Bambi

Bill Gates' Hotmail Inbox!

Cash for some users of MSN Messenger - Microsoft to award $1,000 an hour in weekly giveaways

This is too geeky even for me

I might nominate my Sec 3 or JC Paper 7 history teachers for the "Outstanding History Teacher Award 2003", but one criterion is "fosters the development of beliefs and values related to National Education", so I said "ptui" to that.

2 more sources for the RJC HPF video (if you are still looking for it):


Thursday, July 17, 2003

gynaecomastia is where men grow boobs and other things (female hair pattern, female distribution of body fats etc) in response to hormone imbalances commonly caused by alcohol consumption causing liver cirrhosis interfering with steroid hormone metabolism (oestrogen etc). So drinking isn't so manly after all.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Brother in law on watching the HPF video:

"and how come rjc girls now saunter into class wearing untucked shirts and folded sleeves?"

So behind the times :)
Word of the day: "gynaecomastia"

Apparently word of my distress reached higher echelons of our command structure, as I found myself being talked to by my CSM. I was assured that RT is meant to train me, not to torture ("tekan") me. That may be true, but some people make it appear more of a torture than others, and in the heat of the moment, amidst the shouting and screwing, it is hard to remember the putative aim of RT. It's nice to be reminded of the present kinder, gentler, more caring (relatively, anyway) army. From next week, I will supposedly be moved to progressive training, so it won't be so much of a torture, and will actually be *realistic*, and thus more likely to produce results.

My CSM has made it her mission to help me and Christopher pass IPPT, and me to pass SOC - an admirable aim, but, I fear, doomed to failure. So on Tuesday she was running beside me, sans helmet, webbing, rifle, dummy magazines, waterbottles and toggle rope (yes I'm being pedantic here). She is a better motivator than my Ops Sergeant, but I could sense the disappointment in my "lack of effort", and see it in her eyes. I don't know how people judge effort, but to me, not collapsing or stopping totally already shows some modicum of effort. I could always push myself further, but I don't know where injury lies - the fastest 2.4km run I ever ran (15:16), I got injured.

I am supposed to feel a sense of accomplishment after running or RT, but instead I just feel drained, used and empty. Worse, it drains whatever reserves of determination and strenght (both physical and mental) that I have, and a night's rest - or indeed, a weekend's - rarely is enough to recharge me. The end result is that the constant runs are having a debilitating effect. I feel like Prometheus, chained to my rock by my PES Status, and having my liver pecked out by the eagle of RT/runs daily (or almost daily), only for it to regenerate the next day (since I don't get injured permanently). Pain is supposed to be in the mind, and thinking positive thoughts and psyching myself is supposed to help me make it. This is just self-deception. I suppose, if my family were gunned down bloodily (ala my Chinese essays), I could think positive thoughts and make myself believe that it was a good thing. Why can't I be like the people who fake slipped discs, who who take entrenching tools and maim themselves?

RT is evil. It made me so tired on Tuesday that I didn't book out :( I also realise that running more or less ruins the rest of my day, and the thought of a run later throws a dark cloud over the earlier part of my day. Some people don't feel right if they don't run. I don't feel right if I do. So running 4/6 times this last week was really depressing.

Word spreads. A friend told me that one day when he was the guard 3i/c, the guard commander told him about this "Corporal Gabriel" who had a page about army life. How, erm, cool is that? A regular specialist who reads my blog? I am amused. The same friend also supported me in "telling the truth about the SAF". I better watch out for the Men In Black now.

I am proud of the elves. They have initiative, and helped me process 397 recruits' dockets, even when I was not around to ask,

The planets were in an evil alignment on Monday. We had to send 8 people to Tengah to report sick, and of those, 2-3 were sent to NUH A&E. I only slept at 1:30am. But Benjamin only slept at 3:30am, so I got the better straw.

Our book in timing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday has been changed to an unearthly 10:30pm, with no compensation on other days. That will surely shock my brother in law - "We never had any of this '2330' nonsense. Always '2359'". Makes no sense to apply for off on any of those 3 days now.

The cookhouses no longer each cook the food campwide for an entire week. Now they take turns for each meal. I think someone realised that when 42SAR was providing the food, the number of chips dropped into the boxes was abysmally low, so they want to keep us guessing :)

To "improve [our] general knowledge", newspaper articles and pages torn out from "Shoulder To Shoulder - Our National Service Journal" (how that is supposed to help anyone, I don't know) have been placed beneath telk (is that how the plastic wrap is spelled?) at cookhouse tables. Admirable sentiments, but I wonder how often they'll update the quickly-stale news.

I hate my cookhouse's "lor-style" meat. The taste isn't so bad, but they always dump liberal quantities of Star Anise into the food, and I invariably bite on one, to my great discomfort :( Other than that particular gripe, contrary to what one might expect, I am actually a great deal less fussy about cookhouse food than many.

My Secret Garden is not so secret anymore - one day I walked in during lunchtime to find 5 people slouched on 2 of the 3 mattresses, listening to polyphonic ringtones (ugh). And at night, Bob likes to come down and sleep with me.

I wonder when we will be able to stop our SARS measures. The Powers That Be may be slow to move, but they are paranoid to the point of ridiculousness, and slow to end redundant and useless precautionary measures. If you have SARS, you will know - you won't have to wait until a temperature check weeds you out. Perhaps the only good this does is to weed out irresponsible people.

Bob went outfield and got so many bunk breaks that he didn't manage to finish the food he brought. And he still complained about going outfield. Bah.

I read an email saying that with immediate effect, PDAs are now legal in SAF camps if you don't put too-confidential information on it. Curiously, this was not published in the Routine Orders. I sense a conspiracy! Maybe I should call MSD to confirm.

For BMT in 42 SAR, they don't check all the recruits' field packs. They only spot check a few. Wah, so slack. :)

Ban Xiong's fake vegetarianism has been exposed and he now has to eat Meat. Aww.

A reservist told me that in his day (4 years ago), you got a day off for catching a rat. Wah (both for how long the rats have been there and for the incentive). In related news, I entered the pantry one night and one rat climbed up the water cooler pipe, and 3 scurried away from the fridge and into the cupboard. Only they were medium sized, and moved quite slowly. There are going to be more old, big rats soon. Shit.

Bob is more annoyed at my (and others) calling him that than I am at his calling me "Jiabao". Hee hee. It's quite a catchy name, really: "Bob". Bob also cannot figure out how to leave comments on Balderdash. Gah. Do I have to put: "Click here to leave a comment?".

Apparently the maximum punishment for going AWOL is 2 years of DB. So if you escape them for >2 years it might be worth it :)

Apparently Zaixiang told his trainees that he was from Poly. No one believes him. Haha.

My intense disgust with the SAR-vivor rap is such that I now have the perverse fantasy of transcribing it. That's if I can stop the urge to run away screaming when it appears on TV. "And I'm once again impressed by your general do-nothing/do-everything skills." - Tym. Apparently though, a CD featuring it will be on sale soon.

Apparently the reason CISCO is always seen with the Singapore Police is that they are the "National Auxiliary Police Force". Hrmph. Sometimes you see them more often than the real police. Maybe it's because out-sourcing is more efficient. They've already out-sourced so many things (eg SAF cookhouses to SFI, much transport to private bus operators) for greater efficiency - I reckon out-sourcing the whole SAF and the whole police force might bring surprising results! :)

Amidst the hand wringing, condolences and tributes to Laleh and Ladan Bijani, I must note that, oddly, the arguments for their undergoing the operation were very similar to those used by Euthanasia enthusiasts. So why the disparate responses to the two? The twins showed courage to undergo the operation, but does living a harder life not require greater courage? They wanted to live in dignity - terminally ill patients in pain want to *die* with dignity.

It is sad that Malaysia is trying to kill off dialects too now, by dubbing serials in Mandarin. Killing off dialects will kill a part of the Chinese culture, and reduce cultural richness and diversity, all in the name of crass economic considerations of doubtful efficacy.

Perhaps the most side-splitting scene seen in Chemistry so far: Rachel's mother's line dancing pals dancing as a "get well" gesture. My shrieks of combined outrage and delight must have been audible from the next building.

Nok2Phone never imports MIDIs perfectly, and I always have to tweak the result. Grr.

Some people insist on taking the moral high ground, and are "appalled that there is going to be a gay event, the Nation.03 party, on National Day at Sentosa, modelled after the gay Mardi Gras parade of Sydney". They argue that "Singapore society [does not condone] public display of homosexuality at a venue associated with family entertainment", that "Holding such a party on National Day is also an insult to Singapore's independence anniversary", and that "the Nation.03 party glamorises the homosexual lifestyle, something which runs counter to the moral values of most Singaporeans". If people want to be so conservative, they can contemplate the revulsion that many would feel if we were just to substitute the words "malay", "buddhist", "female", "brunette" or even "anorexic" or "short" for "gay". Giving females the vote is immoral! Jews are inhuman!

At the same time, it is sad that everything - Remaking Singapore, the new tolerance for gays - is painted as an economic measure. Perhaps this is a sop to conservatives who will not otherwise be dissuaded, but it is still lamentable that they have to resort to such measures.


[Tengah medic on the night we sent them 8 people reporting sick] Why is Armour giving me so much problems? (many)

The only place you can get pork satay is from Chinese... Or renegade Malays. Or should I say "enlightened" Malays.
Inspiration that came to mind while watching Andrew clothes-shop for 2 hours:

Ban Xiong is incredibly enamored of his $50 Nike Lycra shirt and keeps wearing it. Or maybe it's *because* it was $50 that he is so incredibly taken with it.

Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun was selling at $64 in Courts Suntec City. Considering it's been 4 years since its release in the later half of 1999, that is such a ripoff.

I tried I Can't Believe It's Yogurt's Non-fat Cheesecake Soft-serve today. Very rich and realistic taste, but I don't want to know what sort of chemicals go into it.

I only saw one person - an upper primary boy - wearing a shirt from Giordano's "Me" line today. I swear, there was a time when you couldn't go out without seeing at least 5 people wearing shirts from that line. So much for the celebration of individualism and uniqueness.

I actually bought clothing for myself today. Wah. And it wasn't my normal type of shoddy, kiam sap clothing. Still being boring though, and not liking funky clothes like Andrew, I settled for a plain cyan shirt from Export Fashion. Its defect was worse than what you usually get, but it was a good price ($17.50), was my size and was soft. My mother was shocked when I pointed out the small hole at the back - apparently she doesn't understand the concept behind how they can let you buy brand-name quality apparel, albeit with the labels ripped out or defaced, at low prices.

The people who sell pirated VCDs at Tiong Bahru Plaza were back there again today. Uncharacteristically, the table was almost totally filled with tasteless XXX (not they produce any other sort, knowing their audience) VCDs today. I wonder what happens if you shoplift from shops selling pirated VCDs / software / pornographic VCDs. They surely can't call the cops on you. Maybe they are in cahoots with the Ah Longs (loansharks).

Updated transcript of the HPF video, courtesy of Mr Dom.
Melvin points out that http://gssq.blogpsot.com/ (or indeed, any *.blogpsot.com URL) gets one: "Mega site of Bible studies and information.

I am insulted.
Courtesy of my sister, who is ever on the lookout for news about evil pussies:

Fishy end for feline sleuth

Russia's only sniffer cat, which was taken on to track down sturgeon smugglers, has been run over and killed, Russian media report.
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