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Saturday, April 24, 2004

The Horror of Blimps

"I always knew this was going to happen. I always knew that skepticism and science were mere psychological decorations and vanities. Deep in our alligator brains we all know that the world is just chock full of evil and monsters and sinister forces aligned against us, and it is only a matter of time until they show up. Evolution know this, too. It knows what to do when the silent terror comes at you from out of the dark.

When 50 million years worth of evolutionary survival instinct hits you all at once flat in the gut at 200 mph it is not a pleasant sensation.

Without volition I screamed my battle cry (which is indistinguishable to the sound a little girl makes when you drop a spider down her dress (not that I'd know what that sounds like,) and lept out of bed in my underwear.

I struck the approaching menace with all my strength and almost fell over at the total lack of resistance that a helium balloon offers when you punch the living shit out of it with all the stength that sudden middle of the night terror produces.

It's trajectory took it straight into the ceiling fan which whipped it about the room at terrifying velocity.

Seeking a weapon, I ripped the alarm clock out of its plug and hurled it at the now High Velocity Menacing presence (breaking the clock and putting a nice hole in the wall.)

Somehow at this moment I suddenly realized that I was fighting the blimp, and not a monster. It might have been funny if I didn't truly and actually feel like I was having a legitimate heart-attack."

Chicken in a Biskit

It seems the old Nabisco Chicken In A Biskit is no longer available in Singapore. In its place, we have ersatz "In a Biskit - Chicken". Though the original had a frighteningly high sodium content, the biscuits were addictive. They were baked for just the right amount of time, leaving them crisp but not too dry, and the chicken flavouring grew on you. The new "In a Biskit" line has more flavours, but the crackers are over-baked, are not crumbly enough and are too brittle. The flavouring is also not as nice as before.

Some people disagree, though. At least this page ranting against it has a picture of the original Classic Packaging.

Joseph's Dreams

Joseph's coat annoyed his brothers

But what makes us mad
Are the things that Joseph tells us of the
Dreams he's often had

I dreamed that in the fields one day
The corn gave me a sign
Your eleven sheaves of corn
All turned and bowed to mine
My sheaf was quit a sight to see,
A golden sheaf and tall
Yours were green and second-rate
And really rather small

This is not the kind of thing
We brothers like to hear
It seems to us that Joseph and his
Dreams should disappear

I dreamed I saw eleven stars,
The sun the moon and sky
Bowing down before my star,
It made me wonder why
Could it be that I was born
For higher things than you?
A post in someone's government?
A ministry or two

The dreams of our dear brother are the decade's biggest yawn
His talk of stars and golden sheaves is just a load of corn
Not only is he tactless but he's also rather dim
For there's eleven of us and there's only one of him
The dreams of course will not come true
That is, we think they won't come true
That is, we hope they won't come true
What if he's right all along?
The dreams make more than crystal clear
The writing on the wall
Means that Joseph some day soon
Will rise above us all
The accuracy of the dreams
We brothers do not know
But one thing we are sure about
The dreamer has to go!

Too bad he had lousy EQ too.

Janet Metz's voice can be sickly sweet and cloying at times. Eek.

Extract from a song that shall remain anonymous:

"Every time I look at you
I don't understand
Why you let the things you did
Get so out of hand
You'd have managed better
If you'd had it planned
Now why'd you choose such a backward time
And such a strange land?

If you'd come today
You could have reached the whole nation
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication

Don't you get me wrong...
Only want to know...

Tell me what you think
About your friends at the top
Now who d'you think besides yourself
Was the pick of the crop?
Buddah was he where it's at?
Is he where you are?
Could Muhammmed move a mountain
Or was that just PR?
Did you mean to die like that?
Was that a mistake or
Did you know your messy death
Would be a record breaker?"

No wonder it was banned in South Africa for being "irreligious". Bah.

"The selections are intelligent, however, and include... a puzzling 'I Don't Know How to Love Him' in which [Yvonne] Elliman either plays with or loses track of the rhythm." - LOL

Just as my download privileges on Soulseek expired, they decided to give me 35.0 more.

A reward for donating twice?

Friday, April 23, 2004

Günther Branlutte


Amidst the furor of the NKF donations issue, one question that seems to have gone unasked, not least by the 2/3 of Singaporeans who donate to the NKF - could all that money be put to better, more efficient uses? No one doubts that the NKF saves lives, but I think that diminishing returns have long since set in, and lives could be better saved and improved by channeling the money to other causes. At the same time, some of the NKF's excuses are immensely lame. Take how they justify their sponsored spanking new building costing $21 million: "Their great gift is for all Singaporeans, and the future generations". I think the $21 million would be much better spent actually helping the people they are supposed to.

"That's what you're seeing going on: these people hate freedom, and we love freedom, and that's where the clash occurs... it's going to take a while for them to understand what freedom is all about." - Dubya. It seems he loves freedom so much that he's shoving it down people's throats with the barrel of a gun

Radm Teo Chee Hean wants future SAF soldiers to not obey orders blindly, and to take the initiative. To that end, he wants the SAF to build a culture of trust and openness so people can exercise initiative on the battlefield. I, as well as all the NSFs I talked to, are skeptical. This initiative of his would involve changing the whole culture and mindset of the SAF, most especially that of the regulars. To ask them to stop the current oppression, badly disguised as discipline, regimentation and security, where NSFs do most of the work but are still made whipping boys - to end the tradition of Stupidity, Sadism and Senselessness - is almost impossible. But if it can be done, I am hopeful for future slaves, though it will take at least 15 years of constant effort since he is facing entrenched vested interests.

The Perlis Mentri Besar suggested that handphones be banned from NS camps because they can spread inaccurate information (Read: the unvarnished, un-whitewashed truth), leading to "concerns" (Read: legitimate concerns) among the public.

A columnist in Life asserts that Singaporean drivers are maniacs on the road, implies that they are the worst in the world and says that children are massacred in road accidents regularly. This is the sort of alarmist article, based on anecdotal evidence taken from a small sample that is taken to be statistically significant, that is all too common these days. For his sake, I hope that he was being sarcastic.

Story of the day: In the spring of 1978, hundreds of art-lovers in Frankfurt, Germany visited an exhibition featuring the work of an "exciting" new artist: "Yamasaki - the Discovery of the Year."

The catalog drew particular attention to the "convincing luminosity of his colors" and "the excitement of his powerfully dynamic brushwork." Within three hours, all twenty-two pieces on offer had been purchased, some for more than $1000.

Excitement increased when the organizer, Behrend Feddersen, announced that Yamasaki would be making a surprise appearance to answer questions about his work. Excitement increased further when the artist was revealed to be... a chimpanzee. "I encouraged him to throw paint on 22 canvases," Feddersen explained, and announced that the proceeds would go "to the circus where he works."

I love modern art. Don't you?

Addendum: This presumably was meant to be Pierre Brassau aka the chimp Peter from Sweden's Borås Djurpark zoo, a hoax perpetrated by Åke "Dacke" Axelsson

ST comments / Slavery and Suicide / KOTOR

Many people imagine that the years of their youth are the pleasantest and best of their lives; but it is not really so. They are the most troublesome; for we are then under strict discipline, can seldom choose our own friends, and still more seldom can we have our freedom.
--- Immanuel Kant, Thoughts on Education

Comments on ST stories read while I was terribly bored in Brunei:

Miss Singapore: "It's as if we're looking for Miss Singapore Ah Lian" - ... but with so many shrill, anorexic blah blah, isn't it inevitable that Miss Singapore would be an Ah Lian?

"They don't have the build, They're all so flat in front" - And one wonders why we have so many bust-enhancement ads.

It was noted that most gave politically correct answers. Perhaps this is because in modern society, not to give politically correct answers is suicide.

Alistair Cooke: "I've noticed that if you retire you keel over." - Maybe he should have taken his own advice

Gen D: Depressed , deviant , disconnected: "Once, I met a good catch from Raffles Institution who really loved me. But after I introduced him to heavy petting, he felt guilty and broke up with me after 12 days. It took me forever to forget him." - RI guys are good catches? LOL.

Homophobia: Randal Mangham, a Georgian Democrat: "I don't appreciate having to explain to my 9-year-old why two big husky guys are kissing"

I suppose he lies to his 9-year-old about the stork. I wonder how he explains inter-racial relationships or the war in Iraq to his 9-year-old.

Suicide: "Another profession I'm monitoring is Army personnel because of the stress of their highly structured and disciplined working environment. My figures show that at least 18 of them have committed suicide since 1995." - Singapore's resident suicideologist.

I wonder about how many aren't included in his figures.

The SAF metes out formal and informal punishment to people who attempt suicide to deter them. However, people who attempt suicide need help, not punishment. Undoubtedly, this punishment deters many from making an attempt, but I can't help but wonder how many are pushed by the deterrent to really kill themselves instead of just making the attempt.

At the same time, word has it that those who declare their intention to kill themselves or otherwise go to see SAF psychiatrists are blacklisted and in future will not be able to find a job or go to a local university. How many people who need help are thus forced to carry on, suffering in silence? And how many are pushed to end their misery, not being able to seek treatment for fear of jeopardising their future education or career, preferring death?

Relationships: "I'm not even going to get a girlfriend. If you have a girlfriend, you have to pay for everything" - some J2 guy. It's no wonder we need Romancing Singapore *g*

Brainwashing: It's frightening how easily Singaporeans were brainwashed in the 80s into supporting the "Stop At Two" campaign, and how they took to jeering and heckling "devaints". Luckily, people today seem more resistant.

God and Insanity: Deanna Laney, the Texan mother acquitted of killing her children, was acquitted on the grounds of insanity as she had believed that God was telling her to kill them. I can't help but be reminded of the story of Isaac and Abraham in Christian Mythology (NB: Since we can call Greek religion mythology, logically we can do the same for others). How is it that at that time, it was laudable to kill your child if your god demanded it but if you try to do so now, you are either considered insane or hanged for coming up with a lousy excuse for murder? It would not be unreasonable, then, to conclude either that Abraham was insane (or did not exist, or did not really try to sacrifice his child) or that the Christian God really told Deanna Laney to kill her childen. Either prospect would be discomforting to Christians.

Knights of the Old Republic is set 4000 before the original Star Wars saga, but somehow the technology used seems as advanced as that in the original Saga. This begs the question - just what were the scientists doing in the intervening four millennia, especially seeing how much our own technology has advanced in the past 50 years?

Going straight
Revered by the religious right and bolstered by a supposedly scientific theory, a new wave of therapist-gurus claim they can 'cure' homosexuality. Their success rate is hotly contested.

The Singhsons

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Replies to comments:
Strange, why would people want to look for "naked SCGS girls" when they're half naked anyway. Nevertheless, why does it matter whether they come from SCGS, wouldn't girls from MGS, RGS, Changkat Changi Secondary School, Chow Yang Special School etc all be the same naked ? Oh well...
:) If half nakedness were sufficient to satisfy everyone, there'd be no more porn *g*

I'm not sure whether people from good schools look better, though they probably look less lian. Maybe it's the exoticism factor.

Hello my young friend,

How's life as a combat medic in 42 SAR treating you? Not too tiring I hope? Have a good time in Lancer. See you on the other side...

Chairman of the Medical Board


Replies to posts:

Andrew: What sort of nut mix do you like? I hate pistachios but the rest are okay. Provocation is good :) I want to see you dancing a hot dance!

Enjoy Uni... don't work that hard, ok? Uni is meant to be fun!

The Associate: Which side of Serangoon is your anti-Christian friend on? :P

All: I am gratified that worthy souls, erstwhile contributors, have taken up the torch that I was forced to discard by the roadside, and entertained the dischordant rabble with material different from what they are used to. Hopefully, this euphoric period will continue.
Hnnng...! I'm back.

Sites, Links and More

PC EZ-Bake Oven
"Now the computer savvy among us can relive the fun of having your very own personal mini-oven with the PC Ez-Bake oven! It fits in a 5 1/4" drive bay and plugs right into your power supply with the included Molex connector. Also included is "PC Ez-Cook", the open-source oven controller software with hundreds of easy and creative recipes for your PC Ez-Bake oven, and even a fuzzy-logic cooking control system to precisely measure the doneness of your cake, cookie, or cheese souffle. The PC Ez-Bake oven can even be used to cook your Pop Tarts, Bagel Bites, or any tiny or flat food. YUM!"

Tales of Malaysian NS: Very strange. Now when I go into the cybercafe, we have to write down our names, IC numbers, and college letter (A, B, C, or D) in a book. Sometimes I worry that the secretariat will find out about my blog, track me down, and get me into some sort of punishment. An extra 3 months in the special camp for NS delinquents? Nonstop kawat from morning? A ban from the cybercafe?
How about 7 extras? They have cybercafes in camp? Wah.

Albino Blacksheep / Flash / Stairway To Heaven: Reverse Lyrics - In reverse, Led Zeppelin's song comes out as: "Oh here's to my sweet Satan. The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan. He'll give you give you 666, there was a little toolshed where he made us suffer, sad Satan."
Interesting. But then again, tickle me Elmo's laugh, when reversed, also comes out as a vulgarity.

The Passion Of The Bunny - It may not have been as gruesome as Mel Gibson's movie, but many parents and children got upset when a church trying to teach about Jesus' crucifixion performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs.

How Mills and Boon turned to manga comics - "Mills and Boon romances are strong sellers the world over. But in Japan, the publisher has appropriated the manga comic format in order to attract a generation for whom a novel just won't do. Mills and Boon is synonymous with fluffy love stories populated by dashing heroes and swooning heroines. Japanese manga comics, on the other hand, conjure up very different images - of violence, simpering schoolgirls and explicit sexual content... If sex alone were necessary to produce successful manga, then Mills and Boon would already be in a strong position to succeed. The heroines of the publisher's Blaze line do not lie back and think of England. What they do, however, is enjoy a lot of sex.

The cover of The Sheikh's Reward, by Lucy Gordon... - the heroine presents quite a different prospect. Her enormous eyes, dwarfing a mouth and nose of doll-like proportions, are like two shiny acid-green pools. The effect, to Western eyes, is a little more scary than seductive... when it comes to manga, the romantic tastes of Japanese women cannot be satisfied by Mills and Boon alone. Offerings from other publishers include explicit sex scenes and love stories between men. These are not produced for gay men, but are aimed specifically at women."

The world's flags given letter grades
A, 88 / 100
Best use of the star and crescent. Unfortunately, it depicts something astronomically impossible, namely the eclipse of the moon by a star. But perhaps it's not a star but a nuclear satellite-weapon aimed at India?

B, 70 / 100
Did you even try?

D, 40 / 100
Appears to involve a moustache sprouting from a flagpole.

D-, 37 / 100
Automatic weapons on a flag are especially bad. Appears to have been designed by a committee all of whom had stupid ideas for pictures of extra things to put on the flag.

Northern Mariana Islands
F, 2 / 100
Appears to have been constructed from clip art. Truly awful."

"Visitation of the Bishop of Calcutta to Malacca, October 1835. ‘A large Chinese joss-house was inspected. It was full of images standing in small niches; lights were burning before them; the house was filled with incense; whilst huge diabolical figures sat on the floor and by the door. The Bishop was horrified: “We are in one of the devil’s houses,” he whispered, whilst hurrying out, “and there he sits!”" - Sent by my sister.
So the Bishop was bigoted. Point?

On Justice: "We find in the rules laid down by the greatest English judges, who have been the brightest of mankind, [that] we are to look upon it as more beneficial that many guilty persons should escape unpunished than one innocent person should suffer. The reason is because it is of more importance to [the] community that innocence should be protected than it is that guilt should be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in the world that all of them cannot be punished, and many times they happen in such a manner that it is not of much consequence to the public whether they are punished or not. But when innocence itself is brought to the bar and condemned, especially to die, the subject will exclaim, 'It is immaterial to me whether I behave well or ill, for virtue itself is no security.' And if such a sentiment as this should take place in
the mind of the subject there would be an end to all security whatsoever." ---John Adams

Intellectual midwifery
"As Thomas Babington (1800-1859) wrote in his Southey’s Colloquies, “Men are never so likely to settle a question rightly as when they discuss it freely.”"

A Passion Against Man
"To possess an inquisitive mind, a mind eager to explore the world and gain knowledge, is to commit the first sin. Remember the story of Eve? To painstakingly study nature and unlock her laws, thereby paving the way for man's mastery of his world, is to court imprisonment and torture. Ask Galileo or a scientist studying human cloning. To concern oneself with producing the wealth and material goods life requires, is to invite condemnations of "greed" and "materialism." Read Jesus' "Sermon on the Mount." To cherish the pleasures that the earth and one's own body afford, including one's sexual capacity, is to be denounced as "selfish" and even depraved. Consult the Puritans or the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae. To take pride in one's curiosity, in one's growing knowledge of the world, in one's successful actions in it, in the resulting joy and pleasure these bring—this is branded by all as the height of sin. On this anti-man approach, to remain alive is to sin. To fully purge oneself, one must die. Only such an account of man can begin to explain the charge of collective guilt for the death of Christ, whose undeserved suffering at man's vicious hands is, somehow, supposed to help alleviate our innately "sinful" nature. If the anti-Semitic view of the Jewish race as inherently corrupt is irrational and evil, how much more irrational and evil is this view of the human race?"
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