When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, January 10, 2004

WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN [till the next boo-boo] - I thought BigO wasn't one of the "subversive" Singapore mags. Oh well. Tis always enlightening to see how the Straits Times changes its tune.

"Repression... is a habit that grows... an intimidated press and the government-controlled radio together can regularly sing your praises, and slowly and steadily the people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done, or if these things are referred to again they are conveniently distorted and distorted with impunity, because there will be no opposition to contradict."
- Harry Lee, Oct 4 1956

Accept Jesus Christ and Get a Free Playstation 2 - From the always amusing Landover Baptist Church

Drug user accused of faking urine test - A drug-using shoplifter tried to outwit his probation officer by wearing a strap-on device that puts out a drug-free urine sample, but John Gatanas found out The Original Whizzinator turned out not to be as "foolproof" and "undetectable" as its creator promises.

Prison officer sacked for Bin Laden jibe (because there were 4 Arab visitors there) - Political correctness goes too far. As usual.

Quarantining dissent / How the Secret Service protects Bush from free speech - Shameless, really.

Fontifier - Make your handwriting into a font.

More Trivia

- Scientists at Australia's Parkes Observatory thought they had positive proof of alien life, when they began picking up radio-waves from space. However, after investigation, the radio emissions where traced to a microwave oven in the building.

- In the early 1800's John Dalton pioneered the concept of atoms of chemical elements - what did he die of?

"Dalton ... was convinced that atoms really existed - hence his violent objection to the terminology Berzelius was to introduce, in which an element was denoted by one or two letters of its name rather than its own iconic symbol. Dalton's passionate opposition to Berzelius's symbolism (which he felt concealed the actuality of atoms) lasted to the end of his life, and indeed when he died in 1844 it was from a sudden apoplexy, following a violent argument defending the realness of his atoms." (Uncle Tungsten, by Oliver Sacks)

- What is unusual about the paper The Computation of Pi to 10,000,000 Digits published by Academia Sinica Computer Centre, Peking - authored by Wei Gong-yi, Yang Zi-quiang, Sun Jia-chang, Li Jia-kia?

A9 - The answer, from Pi Unleashed (Springer-Verlag, 2001):

* The article made clear the trouble which the four authors had had with their calculation and how they had finally overcome the problems. The article naturally contains a list of references. One of these is another article which sounds familiar, The Computation of Pi to 29,360,000 Decimal Digits by David Bailey, 1988. It would seem that the direction or progess is not always forwards.

Wrestling with perl and cgi for my quote of the day script is very irritating.

Friday, January 09, 2004

"At first I was mad, I've been lied to my whole life about this god/supreme being. Told I had to follow this one account of someone else's life. Argh!

I am here to tell you that I no longer accept it, I am no longer mad, but rather now I feel sorry for those still stuck. It is a little like escaping from the "matrix." I want to free other minds, but most are not ready to be freed. They are too dependent. I have often thought this maybe that is one of the hidden messages behind the Matrix movie."

How true. I often regret that I do not do enough to help free others.

I am intensely curious as to how He Who Must Not Be Named's assertion that Singapore society will not be able to accept a Slave lottery any more founded than an assertion that either of the three big monotheistic religions is superior or inferior to the other 2, or indeed, is more prone to inciting violence in its adherents?

In other news, the 1000th Comment has been made, by "nobody".

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

for all concerned: I've arrived back in singapore (on monday) and this friday morning i'm taking a coach up to KL to visit friends, will be up there till tuesday afternoon/evening. Give me a call/sms and we'll meet up sometime. Returning to melbourne in february.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Back to work tomorrow. Why can't I be a mainland chinese girl doing hospitality at KDU who hooked up with some rich old man??

I think I'd be a pretty good tai tai. I have most of the basic tai tai skills down pat already:

a) Abusing the domestic help
b) Organising mahjong sessions
c) Going for tai chi / line dance / meditation / yoga classes at a community center
d) Spending money

This morning, after spending a few minutes listening to the engine of destruction was Gabriel's snoring, I flogged his bulk into consciousness and after our ablutions, his parents were kind enough to ferry us to Tiong Bahru for breakfast. It dawned upon me that after virtually every drinking session during these banzai trips down south, I *always* have mee pok the following morning. Strange how habits can form without you noticing.

Bought several tubes of grape-flavoured Mentos. Always wondered why we don't have those in KL. I shall show these treasures from afar to all and sundry at work tomorrow. Their expressions of wonderment shall brighten my day.

As I crossed the border into JB, the effluent smells and the teeming chaos of Malaysia overwhelmed me at the checkpoint; and it dawned on me that that was the feeling of home - you could feel it at the border, crossing from the Realm of Order to the Realm of Chaos; from the polished marble floors of the Singapore-side checkpoint, to the stained cermaic tiling on the JB side - in the stagnant drains and taxi drivers harrassing passersby for business; watching as the crowd seemed to break from ordered, steady lines into a morass of people flooding the passport counters - and I felt a memory I need to hold on to - the memory of how good it is to be back here, despite having lost everything, amidst the crowds and noises and corners, and smells, and alleys and angles; all of that chaos singing clarion to me.

The drive from Dim's place back to KL was surprisingly crowded, as he was ferrying a couple of other people from JB. One of them had the unfortunate name of Keng Dik (sp?); the other was a junior of mine from Melbourne who did IT as well. On the trip back, I learnt much about the intricacies of Nata di Coco (a conversation that largely revolved around the miraculous properties of coconut husk), as well as taking home, once again, an awareness that these days too many people know too many other people.

Ate KFC at Ayer Keroh. First time eating in one of those "bridge-over-the-highway restaurants".

And now, as the sounds of my parents watching yet *another* Anita Mui tribute concert on TV filter into my room despite my best efforts to soundproof the door, I think I'll get some sleep, because tomorrow is going to be hellish with the double whammy of the NKVE being closed while Samy Vellu carts away rock, and the school holidays ending. It will be a long slog, full of mind-convuluting planning, and reflex-testing trials. And that's just the journey to work.

Ours not to reason why.

Friend (at party): "What's it like working in Malaysia?"

Me: "One word defines it. Traffic."

(on being stuck in a jam once, in sight of a turn-off into a carpark, less than 50m away, that took me an hour to get to through the congestion on the main road) "Reject the concept of distance. Embrace the concept of traffic."
Everything I learnt about medieval pole arm nomenclature, I learned from Diablo II:)

Medieval Pole Arms - I found this page clear, well written and interesting.

I never knew weapons such as the Spetum, Voulge or Guisarme existed. More probably, I'd seen pictures of them but didn't know what to call them beyond the generic "pole arm". I also finally know what a glaive looks like, and what I always thought to be a morning star is actually a specialised form of flail.

Also, contrary to what I was led to believe, "Swiss pikemen did not ground the pike butt to accept a cavalry charge, but rather held the rear part of the shaft higher than the front, so the points which glanced off armor would not go uselessly into the air but would be forced downward into rider or mount - at worst, into the ground to form a barrier."

Interestingly, 5 of out of 6 of the sources listed in his bibliography were published in the first 25 years of the 20th century, and the last in 1934.

I was boggled by the Principia Discordia until someone explained it to me thus: "It's basically a deliberate mindfuck, set out into the world to see how far the madness spreads."

Trivia bits:

'Cocksucker Blues' was a 1976 film about The Rolling Stones.

The movie 'Cleopatra', starring Elizabeth Taylor, was banned from Egypt in 1963 because she was a Jewish convert.

The Marx Brothers (Chico, Harpo, Groucho, and Zeppo) were actually named respectively Leonard, Adolph, Julius, and Hebert.

When young and impoverished, Pablo Picasso kept warm by burning his own paintings.

Charles Baudelaire, preferred to Wagners music, the sounds ' of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws'.

One of Britain's most famous composers, Sir Michael Tippett, composed pieces notoriously difficult to play, At the premiere of his 'Symphony No. 2', the orchestra got lost in the middle of the piece and the conductor had to start again.

The French equivalent of 'the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog', a sentence which contains every letter of the alphabet (useful when learning to type), is 'Allez porter ce vieux whisky au juge blond qui fume un Havane', which translates to 'Go and take this old whisky to the fair-haired judge smoking the Havana cigar'.

In the story of Cinderella, her slippers were originally fur, but they became glass because of an error in translation.

Nineteenth-century artist, Cesar Ducornet, drew with his feet - he had no arms.

Mickey mouse's Latin name is Michael Musculus.

About half the pianos in England are thought to be out of tune.

The phrase ' The 3 R's ' ( standing for 'reading, writing and arithmetic' ) was created by Sir William Curtis, who was illiterate.

Monaco's national orchestra is bigger than its army.

Richard Strauss wrote a 'gay Viennese ballet' on the subject of Whipped Cream.

During World War II, W.C. Fields kept US $50 000 in Germany 'in case the little bastard wins'.

The French composer J.B. Lully, while conducting a concert, pierced his foot with a pointed baton, and died from the resulting gangrene.

The Stone's album 'Sticky Finger's has a zip on its sleeve.

The most commonly sung song in the world - Happy birthday to you - is under copyright, the copyright runs out in 2010.

On the same day as he completed his masterpiece "The Divine Comedy", the Italian poet Dante died.

Bob Dylan turned The Beatles on to marijuana.

Actress Sarah Bernhardt played the part of Juliet (13 years old) when she was 70 years old.

The original title for the best seller 'Gone with the wind' was 'Ba! Ba! Black sheep'.

The Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from British Public Libraries.

Irving Berlin, who was born on 11 May 1888 and who composed three thousand songs in his lifetime, couldn't read music.

The Green Hornet is the Lone Ranger's grandnephew.

Some hotels in Las Vegas have gambling tables floating in their swimming pools.

The French critic, Saint-Beuve, was born on 23 December 1804. On one occasion in his life he was unfortunate enough to get involved in a duel. When asked to choose his weapons, he replied " I choose spelling, You're dead".

The longest Hollywood kiss was from the 1941 film 'You're in the Army now', it lasted 3 minutes and 3 seconds.

The music hall entertainer Nosmo King derived his stage name from a 'No Smoking' sign.


"My mom and dad went to an ADULT BOOKSTORE and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt

Porn Star"

Seen on a T-Shirt
Am blogging from Agagooga's humble abode at present. He was kind enough to pick me up from the vicinity of Ardmore Park, where I had been reasonably inebriated as the host of the prior gathering I was at insisted on making all his guests down straight shots of Absolut Mandarin vodka.

A few candid observations I made while wandering around town prior to my degenerate state:

a) The whore motif still appears to be a popular one amongst women these days.

b) Listening to some Filipino maids talk in this bizzarely stilted conversation stream that resembles Vulcan translation -

"what are you thinking of Brittney?"
"I am thinking what you are thinking."
"The word is bitch right?"
"I feel I am in your mind at this moment."
(I swear, this was almost what I heard, verbatim, at Atria)

c) three guys in RJC PE t-shirts who resembled Asian hobbits (couldn't tell if they had hairy feet through their sneakers). Two of them were putting the One Ring (I could see the inscription) around the other's neck, in front of the Blind Accordion Man at the Orchard Road tunnel (a friend of mine tricked me by saying the Blind Accordion Man had started a Blind Accordion Institute where he teaches blind people how to play the accordion and sing badly in public spots while making millions)

d) Toe-socks are evil, creepy, and scary.

Was at Ardmore Park because my old friend YM was having a party. I haven't seen him in years, but to behold him with a glowing ring around his neck (one of those coloured plastic monstrosities with a little bulb in it), and the One Ring text tattooed around his forearm was a bit of a shock. As Mark said: "You know those irritating flickering blue lights on beng cars? You've just become one."

Eventually spent most of the function in a corner next to a koi pool, frenziedly smoking, downing lychee martinis, and feeding the fish with cigarette butts. Was mostly talking to Gil, Mark, YM and Zee - my generation Palmerston crowd. The problem with large gatherings is the inevitable breakdown into smaller cliques - and I've never gotten the hang of the flitter-around-and-network school of partygoing.

However, I must say Ardmore Park has the nicest apartment function room I've ever seen - equipped with microwave oven, huge freezer, and coffee-maker.

YM calls those hors d'ouevres with bread, a little bit of veg, meat and cheese "open-face sandwiches".

Also enjoyed the reaffirmation of my desire to garner vast material wealth (inspired by the 8 cars I saw in the parking lot all with the same licence plate number - "3538").

Noticed with some amusement that more than a few people I knew had signed on with the SAF. I suppose all that advertising about the virtues of an army career has finally paid off. One of them was a junior of mine who did microbiology at uni (I always thought he'd end up working for Yakult) who now says he can't tell me what he's doing. Probably developing the next generation of anthrax.

At one point Mark & Zee were in a corner discussing business. Who wud've thunk it?

Eventually, after the celebrations, and watching YM retch into his swimming pool, I decided it was time to exeunt. Nevermind that I had no money, nowhere to stay, and had to stagger to Kranji at 9:00am tomorrow morning so that I could make it to JB for my friend to give me a ride home. I like living on the edge. Forward planning is for losers.

Gabriel met me in front of Borders after I had called him one million times. I was able to make it to Wheelock Place on foot only because some drunken Indonesians were staggering to Shaw Center and I sort of trailed along like a remora, direction-wise, with my fellow convoy of the inebriated. When I hit Borders, Gabriel's reassuring bulk loomed in front of me, and he was kind enough to help me stagger to a nearby mamak store where I recuperated with some cheese prata.

After a cab to his place, I am now in a slightly more lucid state, which is not very pleasant, but the Wolf Blass wine Gabriel has provided me is helping rectify that error in my condition. Tomorrow morning, I have to somehow haul ass to JB where an Dim is waiting to spirit me home in his Proton Waja. For free.

In the meantime, I shall smoke out the window in Gabriel's house, enjoy the good company , soft drinks, and general support of my incapacitated state (at one point Gabriel permitted me to ride piggyback for 50m down River Valley Road when my alcohol-impaired motor skills got too onerous), and I still don't understand why he lets me blog here when most of my entries are spent abusing him for his hypocrisy and moral self-righteousness.
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