When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, November 20, 2004

"Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae." - Kurt Vonnegut

Random Playlist Song: Trevor Pinnock - The English Concert and Choir: Handel - Messiah - Sinfony (Grave - Allegro moderato)

I'm on a Messiah run. One month to Christmas!

Trivia bit of the day: Not all vampires have a fierce reputation as vicious bloodthirsty killers. Some are considered harmless and actually leave their victims alive.

There are several vampires that prefer to leave their victims alive. Lobishomen is a Brazilian vampire that tends to prey upon women. It doesn't kill its victims although it does leave them with nymphomaniacal tendencies. Lugat is an Albanian vampire which doesn't kill its victims either.


Daisy Low Fat, High Calcium Milk

It is disheartening and thoroughly contemptible that even milk companies are doing this now. This sort of thing really should be outlawed, for it gives consumers the wrong ideas.

No, I'm not talking about the 'exploitation' of women in advertising (I'm sure those women are adequately remunerated for their services), but something much more sinister and subtle.

Everyone knows that images of women are airbrushed, but another technique (involving no digital manipulation) is used, possibly to greater effect. I draw your attention to the right of the image, at the model's seemingly curvy figure. Now look, then, at the left of the image, and notice how the model has almost no figure there. By the simple expedient of twisting her body, she has created the illusion of a curvaceous figure. Which is why, whenever I see women in ads, I always look at the other side of their torsos, to determine if they're using this cheap trick. And more and more, I find that they are.

Another tactic of this nature is beloved of those Japanese women who pose in bikinis (most probably as preludes to shoots involving partial or full nudity), the shots of which were (and assuredly still are) exceedingly popular among slaves.

In this type of shot, which is all too common, the women bend down (affording the reader a glimpse down their cleavage) and oh-so-subtly press their breasts together with their upper arms. This creates the illusion that their surgically-enhanced breasts are bigger than they actually are.

My attempts to demonstrate this inevitably elicit mixed feelings, ranging from amused horror to utter disgust.


I have managed to act out yet another of my demented fantasies - the one involving a bus. No, not this bus. My fantasy involves a double-storeyed, air-conditioned SBS bus with an electronic counter that shows how many seats are vacant on the upper storey.

I happened to be on one of the few SBS No 10s that had a counter, and decided to put my plan into action by repeatedly walking up the last 2 steps and skipping a step on the way down.

While doing this, besides garnering odd looks from the others on the top storey of the bus, I discovered the following:

- Standing on the steps for too long delivers an audible warning
- If you walk up the steps slowly, the sensor will think 2 people are coming up (I didn't manage to master this technique, though)
- When the counter indicated that there were only 2 seats left and I activated it once, it then indicated that the upper storey was full. Bug? Feature to account for miscounts? Or anoccurence of problem #2?

When I'd managed to make the counter indicate that there were "no seats available", being the civic minded citizen that I was*, I ignored my fatigue and studiously counted the number of seats on the upper storey of the bus, subtracted from this number the number of people on the upper storey, and diligently manipulated the counter until it registered the correct number of available seats (in the process making it even more accurate than before I'd started my manipulation).

I would have tried making the counter go in the other direction, and see if it'd crash at infinity, but my stop was nearing, and more importantly, I was winded by my stairs training.

* - Thanks to the many Moral Education aka Hao3 Gong1 Ming2 lessons I'd attended in Nanyang Primary School, where we were all taught to be 'useful' people [maybe useful to a drug lord or mafia boss] and imbibed with many Asian Values.

Incidentally, a search for nanyang primary school brings up my tribute page as the first non-MOE result.

I had an extensive conversation on the stupidity and immorality of hover pissing. And then someone tried to apply game theory and the Prisoner's Dilemma to it. Oh god.

How Girls Waste Time
41. a) Trying to perfect the art of hover pissing because of the erroneous fear that they will catch something if they sit on the toilet seat. In the end they take three times as long but still end up dirtying the toilet seat (encouraging yet more women to hover-piss)

Exam resolution: Even on Miranda, I resolve to try not to disturb people who are in "busy", "DND" or "occupied" modes.


The litmus tests of a more open society

"[Catherine Lim] also suggested three scenarios as litmus tests of whether the Government was willing to "back up its promise of opening up".

Firstly, "if they allow demonstrations. This is part and parcel of any society. But it is absolutely prohibited. I don't even mean demonstrating against the Government. Groups could want to show their disapproval of some international policy, Iraq prisoners, Abu Ghraib and so on," she explained.

Secondly, if the Government tolerated political cartoons, which Dr Lim also described as part and parcel of "democratic life in any country".

"Third and this will be the greatest: If somebody sues the Government and wins. I think Singaporeans will sit up and say: 'Ooh'," she said animatedly.

However, she expressed her doubts that any of these would occur in the near future... Here, she expects more openness and less threats, simply because she believes the Government is in a very secure position.

In the post-911 and post-Sars world, the "climate" will be conducive for Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to pursue the economic imperative of jobs and stability, which is what Singaporeans really want, she said.

However, due to the changing times and changing world and with a more sophisticated citizenry, she is confident that PM Lee will not go about it in the "knuckle-duster" or "lecturing and hectoring" manners of the past."


On Putting Students To Sleep: A Classroom Policy Proposal

One of the dilemmas all professors occasionally face in the classroom is what to do about sleeping students. Should we ignore them and let them snooze away? Or should we awaken them? If we do nothing:

- In this litigious age, doing nothing could even lead to lawsuits, perhaps giving a whole new meaning to the term “class-action suit.” I’m not referring only to those much-publicized cases where a student has sued because after four years of college he or she is illiterate. I’m worried about the dozing student whose head jerks perilously backward, inviting a whiplash claim. Or what about the sleeper whose head lurches forward, colliding with the hard desk surface. Perhaps it’s time for universities to give serious consideration to installing airbags in classrooms. (I kind of like the irony here: windbags setting off airbags…)

So what, then, are professors to do in such situations? While attending a professional convention not too long ago, I hit upon a possible solution. Before checking out of my hotel, I asked the maid if I could take along a couple of those “Do Not Disturb” signs that hang on doorknobs. During the next class, I warned my students they might find the lecture unusually soporific and explained to them my “to wake or not to wake” dilemma. I then invited them to pick up one of the signs. If sleep appeared imminent, those who did not wish to be roused could simply hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on their shirt or sweater button. It would be a clear signal that they wished to be allowed to, well, “rest in peace.”



I am writing in the hopes that someone affiliated with your site might be interested in appearing on a new ABC television series. The show, (which has the rather salacious title of Wife Swap), has two mothers exchange families for 2 weeks, such that both can explore another family’s values and lifestyle, and share their perspective too. It’s a format that has won numerous awards in the UK, and been critically acclaimed on this side of the Atlantic as well.

We are always searching for intelligent, opinionated individuals from a diversity of backgrounds. Currently, we are eager to feature a family headed by parents who are raising their children without imposing religious beliefs on them. In a society where non-theistic individuals can be marginalized, participating would provide an opportunity to put a human face to the atheist or humanist perspective.

Is there anyway that you might be able to help us find some families? This could be as simple as a message about us in a mass email, a notice in a newsletter, or sharing the information with anyone you know personally that might be interested.

Anyone interested can call or email me directly. They would not be committing to the show in any way. I would simply give them more details and answer any questions they might have.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please give me a call or write should you have any questions or concerns.

Kind regards,
Stacy Wood
Associate Producer
Tel: (212) 404-1472
Email: stacy.wood@rdfmedia.com

'One of the most entertaining new entries in reality TV, Wife Swap reminds us that the American living room is as fascinating a laboratory of human emotions as Borneo or the corporate boardroom.' Time Magazine

'Wife Swap is promisingly sly and serious, funny and flabbergasting. It's a reality show, yes, but also in its way a fascinating pop sociological experiment, one that increases in complexity and impact as it goes along.' Washington Post


General Political/Leaders Quiz

'Stalin' is Russian for:

- Man of Steel
- Pinko Commie Bastard
- Man of Iron
- Large Moustache



New KOTOR 2 screenshots:


Carth (?): So, uh, how long have you been a Jedi? Must be tough, you know... no family, no husband...

You: No tougher than enduring your false sympathy while you're staring at my chest.


Carth: Uh... I mean, good, good to hear it. No sense in you running around half-naked. It's... it's distracting... I mean, for the droids.


It's both scary and demoralising to see everyone, even Year 1 students, mugging like mad, even for level 1000 modules.

I hope this is because they don't know their stuff and hope to make up for ignorance (and not knowing what was going on during the semester) with diligence.

Another angry rant against the NUS administration on (yet) another last-minute change in policy:

"blog of an angry life sci student.

Looking at the fact that I'm suffering like hell for tumor bio, I shouldn't have taken this fucking module. I TOOK it becos I had NO CHOICE. cos the requirement then was fucking different. AND TODAY! TODAY! when i'm sick and tired of reading that fucking tumor bio, I got a mail saying that we only need to take ONE , holy shit - ONE module out of the main concentration! shit! How can they keep changing! how can they! If I knew it, I would NEVER EVER TAKE this fucking tumor module! Damn! Fuck till you die, NUS! and i planned to take chemical biology, I SO WANT TO TAKE IT! shit! shit! shit! go to hell! NUS!
looking at the fact that I fall asleep whenever i start reading tumor bio.. I'm going to die real hard during the exam. NUS. Thank you so fucking much!"

Hmm. They should look into improving their sense of timing. Or maybe it's a devious ploy to demoralise people just before their papers, and see how they react to stress of this nature, and acclimatise them to said stress (see: Social Engineering)

More proof that law students are elitist:

"i was saying.. now i know why they say law students are snobbish

the year 1's just started a hate campaign against SNAILS
MSN nicks like "Escargot spoilt my appetite" "I hate snails" "Snailed!"

profile pics with a snail and a huge cross over the snail

SNAILS = Students Not Actually In Law School
the law library's swarming with them"


Someone: my friend who went with me on a trip or two ago bought this hongkong porn
he likes seeing asian women take it i guess

turns out to be some china woman doing it
he wanted hongkie he gets mainland. it's like that lah.

Me: haha how does he know it's mainland

Someone: "hao shuang ah hao shuang ah"

So now we know what PRCs shout when they make love, besides "wo lai le".



As someone on StumbleUpon comments:

It's like a deranged children's book:

"The little van fell in the water.

The bigger truck tried to help but the bigger truck fell in too.

Along came the BIGGEST truck..."

And notice the guy in the red sweater as the tow truck starts to go over. He merely turns his shoulder to it as if that would ward off the potential of 2 tons of truck coming at him.

Had that been me and I'd just narrowly escaped being smashed flat, I'd probably be curled up on the ground in the fetal position. Crying.


Antarctica Journal of Mathematics

Antarctica Journal of Mathematics [{International Standard Serial Number}ISSN 0972-8643] publishes original research papers in all branches of Mathematics in one or two issues every year.

Each Issue Price: US $ 50 or equivalent(Foreign institutions/libraries)
Rs 1000 (Indian institutions/libraries)
US $ 30 or equivalent (Foreign individuals)
Rs 600 (Indian individuals)

Subscription orders may be addressed to "M. NAGA JYOTHI,1-2-25,OPP.B-20, J.K.C.NAGAR, GUNTUR-522 006,ANDHRA PRADESH,INDIA". Subscriptions should be paid through Bank Draft/Cheque in favour of "M.K.R.S. VEERA KUMAR" payble at GUNTUR. Invoices will be supplied on request.
An ecard for everyone. This is most intriguing.

Thanks to them, a fantasy of mine has come true.

(For some reason it doesn't support Firefox. Damnit.)



Quote for the day: Do you notice how in Indian movies the characters always dance around trees? One day curiosity got me and i asked my indian friend, "hey, why do indians like to dance around trees???" He thought for a moment. "Why do chinese like to fly from tree to tree???"

if sylvester wins, an ah beng will represent singapore on world idol. if olinda wins, then a butch will represent us. if taufik wins, then a mat yoyo will go up on stage. whatever the case, simon cowell is sure to criticize. haiz.


More fan mail:

"I don't know how to put this in text....

is it: ooooohhhh, nah, ewwwwuuuuuuhhhh. nah, gads--you're a freak.... nah...

nothing really can describe the disgust one feels viewing (even momentarily) your site.

what really sucks is you get off on people trashing you; you feed on it. It makes me wonder what you possibly have endured in your life as a child/adult to make you this way.

Explore it, if you dare... you might just eventually figure out why you hate yourself so, so much.

Good luck in your mission...."


Re: "I must say that I was absolutely appalled by A/Prof Tan Seow Hon's
article when I read it in the Straits Times. Utter bollocks."

You might wish to read another article by A/P Tan.

Larger issues at stake in unnatural sex debate - "


Interesting view on the new copyright laws they're going to enforce:

"i can say that this stupid copyright law will cause pirated shops to boom in biz again and distribute of wealth back to e ah bengs instead of the ISP companies

e point i'm trying to make is e absolute futility of this law to root out piracy
it juz causes e GDP to go down since more flow of income to illegal sales
haha....so much for FTA....what an irony"


"Women especially say it is important to get to know someone before having sex with them. The workplace gives a woman the opportunity to observe a man - how he handles people above him and below him, his competence, his temper, his ethics, values, habits. For most women, it works a lot better than bars. Overall, 35 million Americans report some kind of 'social-sexual' experience on their jobs each week. More than 80 percent of all workers say they've had such an experience on their job. When it works, we call it a wedding and the woman's picture is in the paper; when it doesn't, we call it a lawsuit and the man's picture is in the paper." (Linda LeMoncheck and James P Sterba, Sexual Harassment: Issues and Answers)

Source: * Chara's * w i n d o w *


A review of Ninja Storm that's spot on:

We all have our guilty pleasures: series or movies we take joy in but are hesitant to tell even other fans about. Some people have tapes of the complete series of MISFITS OF SCIENCE hidden away in their homes. Others can't get through a week without tuning in for at least one episode of DIGIMON. For me, it's a horrible, terrible fascination with POWER RANGERS. No matter how dumb the premise, no matter how atrocious the scripts, no matter how silly the monsters, I can be counted on to watch at least four or five episodes per season. After eleven seasons, that adds up to a lot of dumb premises, atrocious scripts, and silly monsters. Latent masochism, perhaps?

I can be counted on to watch the whole season.

Lothor, a former ninja who was banished from Earth, returns and fights the Sensei one on one, resulting in the Sensei getting stuck in the form of (wait for it) a guinea pig (voiced by Grant McFarland). (Yup, someone's been reading TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, it seems.)... A typical Power Rangers series ensues.

Actually the guinea pig Sensei was in Hurricanger, so you can't blame the Americans for this one.

Or perhaps not... Although the writers go a bit too overboard to establish the kids as completely average teenagers and not the overachievers that previous Rangers have been - most notably shoving the word "dude" into the kids' dialogue every chance they get - the fact is that these kids actually act pretty normal.... This incarnation of POWER RANGERS doesn't take itself quite so seriously, either. True, the bon mots tossed out during the fight scenes are just as dire as they ever were, but there are a few self-referential bits of genuine humor scattered throughout each episode that let us know the series' writers are just as aware as we are of how silly the whole affair can be. To top it all off, we have Cam, a character who has the unique pleasure in a POWER RANGERS series of expressing just how pathetic he thinks this newest batch of heroes really is... It's also interesting to hear Dustin referring to Power Rangers as if they were an urban legend, and then taking a "Bill and Ted" sort of glee in discovering that he's going to be one. It's a nice new approach to an old formula.

I suppose the "self-referential bits of genuine humour" come from the Disney touch. PRNS does feel substnatially different from previous seasons.


Possibly the most fun to be had on the disc is in the third episode, "Beauty and the Beach," in which an evil copy of Tori is made by the SMOTW™ [Silly-Monster-O'-The-Week], the Copybot, and the guys must figure out who's the real one and who's the fake. Sally Martin proves in this episode that Jason Chan's not the only real actor on the show - her performance as the evil Tori is pretty hilarious.

I still find Tori's accent annoying, especially when she's morphed. The accent coach didn't do his job very well. Or maybe he did it too well. Nonetheless I think Tori is #3 after Kimberly and Ashley.

The reviewer didn't mention the extensive CG. I miss the old skool zord summoning/transformation sequences! Damn cost cutting measures...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

"It's time for molecular trans-mutation" - William Cranston


The saying goes, "Until you're 18, everything blame MOE, until you 21, everything blame SAF, when you go uni, blame NUS/NTU, when you marry, blame HDB, LTA, when you retire, blame CPF and when you die, blame HPB..." (Alwyn)

He forgot to add: blame the PAP for everything, as a substantial portion of the populace is wont to do, even if it isn't their fault.


The following job listing from Magnamund Studios http://www.magnamund.com/ seems like it would be a dream job for a qualified Lone Wolf fan.

Lead Game Designer
Company: Magnamund Studios
Type: Full-time
Location: Paris, France
Date posted: 10/2/2004
We are immediately looking for a Lead Game Designer for our Lone Wolf Online(LWO) game.

Job description
The LWO Lead Game Designer will be responsible for designing a variety of features for the LWO game targeted at America, Asia and Europe. The Lead Game Designer will be involved in the design of all major game systems and have responsibility for several. The ideal individual must demonstrate solid game and UI design instincts, expertise in computer games, pen and paper RPGs and knowledge of the game design process. The
Lead Game Designer will create original concepts, and through the use of prototyping or mock-ups, help prove out the fun factor of an original concept. The position also requires an understanding of the overall game development process and requires a close working relationship work with engineering and production staff.

. Expertise of the Lone Wolf universe
. Enthusiastic gamer - essential
. Excellent written and verbal communication skills, innovative thinking
. Knowledge of online games or RPG computer games
. Keen interest in online gaming
. A wide degree of creativity and latitude is expected
. Must be able to work in a team as well as independently with schedules and reliable milestone delivery.
. Willingness to work hard to meet deadlines.

Magnamund Studios is based in central Paris, France. Relocation to his area is a requirement. Applicants must submit résumé to: cont-@magnamund.com
All materials are considered confidential.

(Project Aon Announcements)

The website looks splendid. There're some screenshots up, a message from Joe Dever and even a "first look" trailer!


Two of the most splendid paragraphs in Lone Wolf (and indeed) gamebook history.

"You unsheathe the Sommerswerd and the shadowy chamber is flooded with blinding golden light, as if a sun had flared into being beneath its black dome. The steel walls vibrate, then buckle beneath an onslaught of pure energy that is radiating from the sword's blade. Until now the power of the the sun-sword has been held in check, locked and subdued within its divinely crafted blade. Even the surge of power that destroyed Darklord Zagarna at the walls of Holmgard was but a candle flicker compared to the searing radiance that is now pouring from its tip.

For an instant you see panic blaze madly in Gnaag's fly-like eyes, before he is consumed by the power of the Sommerswerd and vapourized to sightless atoms. With a cry of victory, you sheathe the sun-sword and stare at the place where, only seconds before, your arch-enemy confronted you."

(The Masters of Darkness, Section 214)

">The Gates of Horn and Ivory are a reference to James Branch Cabell's
>Figures of Earth, unless there is an earlier source.

Oh, there are a couple of earlier sources. :) A brief web search suggests that the best-known use of the gates is in the _Aeneid_ of Virgil (15 B.C.), but apparently the metaphor dates back to use by Plato in his Charmides (380 B.C.), and from there to the ancient Egyptians (goodness knows how long ago). I suspect these all pre-date Cabell by a fair bit."

Ooh. Touche.


One of the weird 27/30 year old women who keep asking me for authorisation on ICQ has messaged me!

Aglafera: Hi, where you were gone? I your school girlfriend, you do not remember me?

kimberly: huh?

Aglafera: You remember as we were hidden from parents at night and drank whisky?

kimberly: not really, no

Aglafera: ;(((

No, I do not have a 27 year old girlfriend from "e1u6" city whose company is located on "b1p0m8" street.

Meanwhile, another one keeps telling me that she is "Santa Clause" and sending me a URL that doesn't work.


ねとらん者トレカ  第3弾  Wo-Hen Nankan オークション[ビッダーズ] ("Netrunner characters, 3rd edition" (Trading Cards of Popular Net Personalities))

Name: Wo-hen Nankan!
Class: Virtual Idol

- the cards are protected by card sleeves
- the card itself costs 380Y, delivery is as that table
- it says nothing about overseas delivery

"Hi! I'm currently taking applications for people who want to be my girlfriend. I'm a really cool singer, people call me Asian Prince! be sure to send me mail!"

Note from Xephyris: "it loses a lot in translation"


Hilarious article from Funkygrad:

‘Wonders’ of Hall Life

"What is the primary motivating factor drawing young boys and girls out of their comfy homes and relocating themselves in 'Kent Ridge Hill' or 'Boon Lay Island'? The answer is plain simple - horniness.

If you are/have been a fellow hostelite, I can picture you nodding your head away. You have uprooted yourself to live in a miserable room, sometimes even having to share with a stranger, just because you have done the cost-benefit analysis of having barely-legal young girls fresh out of JC or young hot men fresh out of the military as your neighbours. Stop deluding yourself and agree with me.

I come from an infamous hall from NXX. To protect the 'innocent' as well as not to land my editors into any lawsuits, let me refer to my hall as Horny Hall. This hall was my first choice because according to my reliable sources, Horny Hall has a reputation -

'The girls are damn horny. Everyone sleeps around. Very happening!'.

Everyone knows that not just Horny Hall, but many other halls as well, have some sort of 'reputation'. I am sure you have come across news reports of students being evicted out of hostels due to 'undesirable behaviour' before. Sex among students in hostels is 'illegal' and if caught, be prepared to pack up and move back to your hometown. However, it is a well-known fact that despite these written rules, many students still commit their irrepressible deeds, albeit 'hush-hush' behind locked doors.

With the current pressure from our government to push up our falling birth rates and campaigns like 'Romancing Singapore', I believe these acts of passion would not only be business as usual but get even more vibrant. It is a pity that I got evicted. No, wait, I did not get to stay on simply because I did not have enough CCA points. Let me recount some of my observations of hostelites (not sexual) in Horny Hall. Here are the typical profiles with a 'horny index'. The 'horny index' is to given to measure how frequent they have sex during their stay in hostels:

1. The Jock (a.k.a soccer/rugby/basketball/swimming captain)
Horny Index: 8/10

He is an ex-commando with a keen sense of agility and exudes physical prowess. He is tall, tanned, muscular (need not always be) and good looking. You seldom see him in his room, but he can be located easily either at the football field or basketball court. Even if he is in his room, it will be locked, with a sign saying 'Do Not Disturb'. Chances are when you get to talk to him, he has another babe in his arms

2. The Netball Captain
Horny Index: 8/10

She is tall, lithe and tanned. No one ever fails to comment on her beautiful legs. She is too well-liked by everyone. Her fans are made up of both boys and girls who claim that they admire her superb netball techniques. Yeah right. When you do not see her around, she is probably in the jock's room.

3. The 'Exchange Student'
Horny Index: 8/10

Hailing from either Europe or the Americas, (s)he is so good-looking but you can only visit him/her in your dreams. If (s)he is not out partying, then (s)he will be travelling, probably in Koh Samui or Hong Kong. When you do see him/her around, (s)he will be with someone of the opposite sex, introducing him/her as 'hi, this is my friend'. And then off they disappear behind their locked doors.

4. The ASEAN Scholar
Horny Index: 7/10

Having worked so hard all their lives in India, China, Vietnam etc, these scholars lock themselves in their rooms all day long and most locals think they must be rushing next term's tutorials. However, it would not be uncommon to see a fellow scholar of the opposite sex knocking on his/her door with a laptop and humongous files at the most unearthly hours. Perhaps they have to discuss a project. But for the whole night? Hmmm.

5. The Village Bicycle (a.k.a the Slut)
Horny Index: 10/10

She can be pretty or otherwise. She is infamous famous. She has a large network of friends, and is found in every other guy's rooms, every day. Enough said.

6. The Casanova (a.k.a the Heart Breaker)
Horny Index: 9/10

He sings, dances and is active in sports. He has been involved in all committees, and all the girls love him because he is so eloquent and charismatic. Really?

7. The Xiaomei (a.k.a Innocent girl)
Horny Index: 9/10

Buy her sweets, biscuits or simply pack an extra take-away for her when she is rushing her assignment deadline. Tread softly into her room which is filled with Hello Kitties and Piyo Piyo soft toys. Approach her from behind and surprise her with the hot char kway teow you have got for her. She will swoon all over you, and you might want to start worrying about your girlfriend finding out.

8. The Invisible (a.k.a the Pervert)
Horny Index: 10/10

He is so mysterious and will never ever look into your eye. He only appears when you are either doing your laundry or having a bath. Now we know where all our undergarments have disappeared to.

The above are typical profiles of students across all halls in Singapore based on my personal observations, but this list is not exhaustive. Having spent 2 semesters in Horny Hall, I have experienced the 'wonders' of hall life and I am hungry for more. What are you waiting for then? Go apply for a hostel room too! (You can tell your parents that you get motion sickness travelling to school everyday, I am sure they would think it is better for your own good.)

Editor's note: We last heard from this writer that he has made it to the 346th person on Horny Hall's waiting list."

Someone in THMC: "girls arent horny. people dun sleep around
this article not very accurate lah. its doesnt mention lesbians"

Someone else: "e eviction is real. my neighnour got evicted..haha. a guy stayed in her room overnight...i dunno wad they did la...but was fined n evicted.."

The pictures of the Pimps at the SMU Sports Bash also induce guffaws.


Someone asked me to explain to her why I call NUS the Premier Institution of Social Engineering. Admittedly it's partially a cute term, coined to bring forth mirth, but I also get the feeling they're trying to socially engineer us. Some reasons:

- Rules which continuously change for no good reason, keeping us on our toes and adaptable, as well as helpless and resigned to whatever the government may decree from above
- Compulsory propaganda modules
- Ridiculous rules (eg dress code, no alcohol and dorm rules, especially the one abt the other gender) which, though mostly ignored, are still there. So people get accustomed to them, and people get evicted from dorms
- Grouping all the USP people together in PGP in the same few blocks (eugenics, of a sort)
- See the current blog picture for a poster put up somewhere in NUS
- The syllabus, system and cohort sizes are adjusted in accordance with societal (or rather governmental) needs and desires, rather than academic ones. ie University graduates are being turned out to suit the needs of society and the economy.

[Addendum on 30/04/2005: There's also loads of enforced interaction in the hostels, which acts as a form of matchmaking, which is why so many hostelites are attached to each other.]

[Ed: The last point was the reason why I originally called NUS "The Premier Institution of Social Engineering", but for a while I was debating whether to include it under "Economic Engineering" because this aspect doesn't engineer students socially but for society. But if we take a broad view of the term 'social engineering', this definitely counts.]

More points from those who have been in the Premier Institution of Social Engineering for a longer time than I are welcome.


Someone was so irked by the "True believers or moral absolutists?" Op-Ed in the ST by A/Prof Tan Seow Hon that she composed a 5 page reply, sent it in to the ST and PDF-ed it: Liberals need not be relativists

Her letters page is also interesting (and more comprehensible), with a prior letter responding to a column on Natural Law Theory (ie something is good because it is natural, something is bad because it is unnatural) by (surprise surprise) Associate Professor Tan Seow Hon.


Free will : the compatibilist solution

"Anti-compatibilism commits the fallacy of composition. The fallacy of composition occurs when one assumes that an attribute of a part is necessarily an attribute of the whole. In this case, we all agree that atoms do not have free will. This is to be expected since they do not have minds.

However, that atoms behave in a deterministic manner does not logically entail that brains do. In this case, behaviour is not the kind of attribute that we can expect to be transferred to the whole. Therefore, anti-compatibilism is logically flawed as well.

This solution may seem to reduce free will to an illusion. But this is a misunderstanding of evolution. Like any other function of the brain, free will has evolved to fulfill a function - in this case, mental flexibility.


The problem which leads to the misunderstanding about compatibilism hinges around the diaphanous model of perception (DMP)...

The facts of reality that lead to the DMP can be expressed thusly :

* From the first-person perspective, all we perceive of the perceptual process is our awareness of the object. We do not perceive the mechanical processes which lead to that awareness.
* From the third-person perspective, all we perceive of the perceptual process in the other fellow, is the mechanical processes which lead to his awareness. We do not (and cannot) directly perceive his awareness of the object.

The DMP itself is a disconnected, two-tiered view of the perceptual process. On the one hand, we are aware that this process has an identity : but on the other hand, our awareness of objects seems automatic. This leads to most false theories of perception, including representationalism.

How does this apply to the MD/free will paradox ? The application lies in the fact that the DMP applies to all objects, including our volition. Following the distinction above mutatis mutandis, we obtain :

* From the first-person perspective, all we perceive of the process of volition is our volition itself. We do not perceive the mechanical processes which lead to volition.
* From the third-person perspective, all we perceive of the process of volition in the other fellow, is the mechanical process which leads to his volition. We do not directly perceive his own volition.

And this is why the compatibility of MD and free will seems paradoxal. But this is only illusion."

I don't *quite* agree.

The immorality of theodicies

"Formalization of [the] argument:

1. There is evil/suffering.
2. A god is morally righteous/omnibenevolent. 3. Either :
(a) A god can create a universe without evil/suffering.
(b) There is an explanation for all evil/suffering. (with a theodicy)
(c) There is no explanation for some evil/suffering.
4. If (a) or (c) is true, then there is no god. This point represents the usual Problems of Evil.
5. If (b) is true, then all evil/suffering is justified.
6. If (b) is true, then all human evil is justified. (from 5)
7. If all our actions can be justified, then there is no more morality. We can rationalize the worst crimes.
8. If (b) is true, then there is no morality. (from 6 and 7)

If this is true, then any action, including mass murder and torture, can be justified by the believer. Furthermore, his own moral system is revealed to be a farce. Whether the believer has a theodicy or not, his belief is contradicted."


FunTrivia's Most Esoteric Quizzes

Some fun ones to try:

- Plants in the Family Ancardiaceae!
Poison ivy and other plants in the family Ancardiaceae.

- Synergetics- The Geometry of Buckminster Fuller
Prepare to be dazzled!

- Things Found In and About Belly Buttons
Everyone, at some time or another, has found something in their button. If you are one of these intriguing individuals, then take this quiz so you will not be alone!

- The Bowels of History
Here is a quiz on some notably gruesome and often scatalogical Historical facts. Test your knowledge on a few items not often mentioned in History class.

- Tardigrades: The Living Gummy Bears
Tardigrades are microscopic creatures believed to be halfway between nematodes and arthropods. Also known as "waterbears" or "moss piglets", I find them absolutely intriguing! I hope this quiz sparks an interest in tardigrades for you.


Origins of cursing

Swearing often reflects specific beliefs and experiences of a society

As long as there are Chinese people, tamade will exist, as it is used as frequently as the most popular greetings in the language.

By Lu Chang, Shanghai Star. 2002-06-20

THE most respected author in 20th century China, Lu Xun, once titled one of his articles with a term of abuse tamade (Fxxx his mother's ...), a very popular Chinese curse.

He humorously said that as long as there are Chinese people, tamade will exist, as it is used as frequently as the most popular greetings in the language.

Sexism and curse words

Chinese people choose a person's mother as a target for assault more often than the person they want to curse.

"The origin of this phenomenon reflects the sexism of a male-dominant society," said Hao Mingjian, a professor and editor-in-chief at Shanghai Culture Publishing House. "The person who first invented this abuse must have been a man who vented his wrath on women of a lower grade in the community."

The phrase tamade has a long history, and there is no reliable record of its origin.

Ancient books have the earliest records of ancient Chinese insults such as "you are a slave or dog", and the most serious one was "your mother is a servant".

It is estimated that the custom of attacking people's ancestors as an insult began during the Jin Dynasty (265-420) when the hereditary system prevailed.

Social stratification

Common people could never rise to a higher social strata even if they had excellent talent.

On the other hand, aristocrats led a luxurious life even if they were totally fools.

This unfair phenomenon irritated civilians, so they began to vent on their foes, that is, insult the forefathers of the noble class.

Insulting someone's forefathers was the biggest outrage to an aristocrat.

Among a person's ancestors, a person's mother was the first considered for attack.

At the very beginning, this idea was invented by learned people who used elegant words, but as the custom spread to civilians, the phrases took on graceless dirty words similar to the English "fxxx your mother's ...".

"To avoid too direct an assault on a person, people changed 'your mother' to 'his mother', and left out 'fxxx' and the rest of the dirty words to show his own grace," Hao said.

Thus, tamade took its final shape used since the early 20th century.

Men invented the abuse and they were the ones who used it the most. With a tamade, a man offended the mother of a person he hated and meanwhile seemed to become one generation older than the person.

"It's a wise tactic," Hao said.

This popular abuse has taken on different purposes, expressing surprise and even happiness.

Social contradictions

Hao believes that abuses actually reflect social contradictions. The proliferation of the term tamade may be attributed to the chaotic "culture revolution" (1966-76) when people were quick to hurl abuse at each other.

During those 10 years, trust and other niceness were destroyed. Hostility among people was accelerated and swearing became a kind of weapon.

"Everything went to extremes and people chose the worst words to attack others," Hao said.

Tamade was the most popular one.

Till the 1990s, swearing was widely advocated in literary works. People at that time thought writers should remove their masks to expose the original aspects of human beings.

"Restrictions of morality has loosen and description of human's original desire and dirty words could easily be found in literary works, which was a social tragedy," Hao said.

Tamade, of course, were used most frequently. Now, people used it on Internet with the abbreviation TMD.


Someone: is the video safe to watch with the door open?

Me: yes it is

Friend: i was kinda hoping it'd be the unsafe kind

Me: you want porn ah?
there's so much to download out there

Friend: yeah
but porn that friends recommend, that's different - that's QUALITY porn


Friendly Email Address - "Welcome to the world of Friendly Email Address (FEA). FEA provides you an alternative email address to your existing email address (e.g. eng12345@nus.edu.sg or u0412345@nus.edu.sg). The FEA allows easy association with yourself rather than the current numbers. It will be derived from your name. E.g. johnlim@nus.edu.sg or khtan@nus.edu.sg."
I can't get gssq@nus.edu.sg, only gss@nus.edu.sg. Bah. I shall remain behind the cloak of anonymity that my matriculation number affords me. Muahaha.

Hollywood Studios Costumes - They have togas and "pimp daddies and hoochie mamas" costumes!

Singapore Cosplay Club - OMG. [Ed: This is a "OMG I want to dig out my eyes and run away screaming", not a "OMG tis r0ckz".]

Gotta love the cheesy midi.

Hostettler mounting campaign to change the name of Interstate 69 - Honi soit qui mal y pense.

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few - "The latest big fine by the FCC against a TV network -- a record $1.2 million against Fox for its "sexually suggestive" Married by America -- was brought about by a mere three people who actually composed letters of complaint. Yes, just three people."

Why Religious Voters May Be More Inclusive than Seculars - "The religious voter, who is by moral training well accustomed to separating his own personal valuations and priorities from those of God, and is thus habitually "double" already, may be a better voter and citizen than the purely "single" secular voter who has no theoretical basis for dividing his view of the world from that of the larger community."
Unfortunately for his argument, the religious voter is *supposed* to pattern his personal valuations and priorities on those of his god. Secular voters, on the other hand, are cognizant of the fact that there is no god-given truth to force everyone else to accept.

Xeno Boy is back. Whee. It would indeed have been a pity to see "Singapore's first political blog" sink into the ocean after a mere 6 days.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Atheistic Evangelism

I remember the good old days in college. Myself and an agnostic friend would dress up in suits and ties (an odd arrangement considering we were both UNIX hackers and rarely out of blue jeans and weird T-shirts), then go out on campus during times when lots of people would be about. In our hands would be some thick religious-looking book (usually the book would be on the subject of Evolution), and we would have all the poise and charm of a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses.

We would approach a person or small group, and ask, "Have you considered a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?" Or, alternately, with "God?"

The usual response was twofold. Either they would say, "No!" hoping we would just go away.

Then we would reply, "GOOD!", hand them a pamphlet from our two-person Atheist organization (usually a page at most), and walk away. Lots of odd stares, but we feel we had an effect on the population, if only because we acted like Jehovah's Witnesses, then left people alone. :)

What happened when the victim said, "Yes!"?

We'd say, "WHY????", hand them a pamphlet, and walk off.

Again, stares and the feeling of having done something good for the Universe... :)

Ahh, the good old days...hmmm, y'know, I had been wondering what to do with all my free time Saturday morning... :)

My little bird suggests that we do this next term in NUS. Heh.


The Gods Must Be Crazy

A fascinating collection of book reviews on Islam and Christianity. Choice lines:

"As one expert noted, "In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and (the obligation to) convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force"--which, if true, would make peaceful coexistence an impossibility from the start. As much as one would like to dismiss such sentiments as typical of the bigoted Orientalism that Said denounced so vigorously, the expert in question happens to be the fourteenth-century Arab thinker Ibn Khaldun, whose opinions on this topic, needless to say, are not so easily dismissed. Yet in the years since, Islam has passed through periods of dormancy in which jihad seemed to be the farthest thing from anyone's mind, which suggests that Ibn Khaldun is as irrelevant to contemporary events as the Book of Joshua is to Israeli policy in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank."

"As for Shariah, the notorious legal code that Americans associate with forced amputations and the stoning of adulterers, What's Right With Islam maintains that Shariah should be understood first and foremost as a moral framework for the promotion of five all-important facets of human existence: life, mind (i.e., psychological well-being), religion, property and family. Since many or even most Americans also embrace such goals, Abdul Rauf contends, the United States is a better Muslim society, more "Shariah-compliant" even, than any number of regimes in the Middle East."

"While arguing that Islam respects the rights of Christians and Jews, he acknowledges that it makes no allowance for those who reject the idea of a supreme being altogether. Even if mullahs do not go about issuing fatwas against atheists and freethinkers, the implication is that, even at its most liberal, Islam will remain deeply uneasy in a society in which many people regard skepticism and free expression as the highest virtues. Abdul Rauf also defends the veil, on the grounds "that covering up...can actually empower women by allowing them to rise above fashion, appearance and figure," provided, of course, that such covering up is "purely voluntary." But such words are extremely problematic in this context. While the hijab has served as a symbol of resistance to Western colonialism in Algeria, Palestine and elsewhere, it is simultaneously a sign of submission to an alternate form of authority in the shape of religion and patriarchy. It is a sign that the wearer has surrendered her free will. Yet volition is the one thing that a free individual cannot voluntarily relinquish."

"Al Qaeda was really more "a database," Kepel writes, one "that connected jihadists all over the world via the Internet." It was a postmodern organization married to a premodern worldview. Yet the neocons, firmly in control under Bush II, preferred to do battle with a conventional military force, which is one reason they declared war on Saddam Hussein."

"Pacific as the Gospels may be, the religion they gave rise to has been remarkably violent. According to the historian William McNeill, Western Europe during the so-called Age of Faith was the most warlike civilization on earth, with the exception of Japan. The Arabs were stunned by the brutality of the Crusaders when they invaded Palestine in the eleventh century. The "parfait gentil knights" were bad enough, but the fanatical hordes known as the Tafurs were even worse. Barefoot and ragged, armed only with clubs, sticks, hoes and other crude implements, they charged into battle gnashing their teeth, feasting afterward on the roasted flesh of whatever poor Muslim they managed to get their hands on. Yet the knights were so impressed with these holy cannibals that they gave them the honor of being the first ones over the wall during the climactic assault on Jerusalem in 1099."

"Telling people how to behave is one thing, but telling them what to believe means invading every intellectual nook and cranny in order to root out contrary ideas. It means robbing the individual of his last shred of privacy. From Christ's demand for complete psychological surrender, Drury contends that it was only a step to the great heresy hunts, book burnings and religious massacres of the Middle Ages."

"Harris is a doctoral student in neuroscience at UCLA, yet the nice thing is that there is still something of the undergraduate about him. Everyone knows the type, the smart aleck in the back of the room who isn't afraid to raise questions that everyone else is too polite to ask, questions like: If bad ideas lead to bad acts, then why should we allow individuals to entertain ideas that are incorrect? If a friend mistakenly believes he is dying of cancer, shouldn't we disabuse him of the notion so that he doesn't do something drastic, like throw himself under a train? If he believes, similarly, that unbelievers are destined for hell, shouldn't we disabuse him of that so he isn't tempted to speed the process by shooting or blowing them up? Harris recounts the tale of a thirteenth-century bishop of Toulouse, who, on hearing that an old woman had fallen victim to the heresy of Catharism, had her carried in her sickbed to a nearby field and burned alive. Considering all those souls who would have been robbed of their chance of salvation had the infection been allowed to spread, the good bishop felt he had no choice."


Useful Terms: Fanfiction Terms

Finally! Now I know what the hell all those terms mean:

antific- Meaning a fanfic where the author puts a disliked character into numberous undesirable situautions and may ultimately kill them. Can be humourous.
ATG- Short from for 'Any Two Guys'. This is a slash fanfic that is so poorly written that, with a few name and minor detail changes, the main characters could be mistaken for any two guys off the streets.

boyfic- A fanfic with lots of explosions, action and violence but with little to no character development. A sarcastic term.

fangirl- Basically, an over-the-top fan who's so into the characters that they wish they were real, want to marry them, etc. Fanfics written by this strange species (haha, just kidding) are usually wish-fulfilment stories and are usually not fun for anyone to read but the author.
fanboy- The male version of a fangirl.

GWLBWLB - Stands for 'Girls who Love Boys who Love Boys'. In short, shounen-ai and yaoi fans.

lemon- A story where the characters have explict sex. For 18 and over.
lemonade- Put a lemon and some fluff into a blender and you get lemonade.
lime- A story where the characters have non-explict sex, sort of fade to black. For 18 and over.

PWP- Meaning 'Plot, what plot?' or 'Porn Without Plot'. Basically, a pointless and plotless story were the characters do lemony things.

seme- The one who acts as the male for homosexual relationships. He's the 'giver'. When listing homosexual pairings, the seme's name always goes first. Example, SasuNaru, with Sasuke was the seme.
shipper- A supporter of two characters in a relationship. For example, I am a Syaoran-Sakura shipper, a Tamahome-Miaka shipper and a Sasuke-Naruto shipper. The seme or male is always listed first, when listed properly.

uke- The one who acts as the female for homosexual relationships. He's the 'receiver'. When listing homosexual pairings, the uke's name always goes second. Example, SasuNaru, with Naruto was the uke.

What I don't get is why there necessarily must be a 'male' and a 'female' partner in homosexual relationships. That's as stupid as saying that all lesbians use dildos on each other.

Another mystery is why it's always homosexual relationships that these fanfic writers explore. Maybe it's a reaction to and rebellion against the profusion of stereotyped smutty romance novels on the market.


Patience and Absurdity: How to Deal with Intelligent Design Creationism - "Patient analysis of creationist blunders and sham reasoning (definition: ostensible inquiry whose conclusion is fixed in advance) has as often done harm as good to the life sciences. Biologists are confronted endlessly with touring companies of debaters and religious charismatics who present the scripts of “scientific” creationism. Most evolutionists and other biologists who are aware of these performances take the easy way out: they ignore all religion-based commentary on science, justifying indifference by declaring that to argue would dignify absurdity. Or worse: they shrug off sham reasoning with a glib dismissal: “Nobody really believes that stuff.” The excuse is itself absurd: Vast numbers—indeed, a majority—of our countrymen do believe that stuff, even as they are ignorant of the real science."

Does Affirmative Action Hurt Black Law Students? - "A new study that challenges a 'cherished' admissions practice has critics lining up for a rebuttal"

Worrying death threat - "[The] hot topic of the last couple of weeks in [the] Persian blogosphere has been a blog called "Islamic Army" in which its anonymous author has threaten a big list of Iranian blogger for their "insults" to Allah, Prophet Mohammad and other Shia Imams."

Judge called for jury duty in own court - ""You are hereby summoned to appear as a prospective juror at the Town Court ... (of) Hon. Michael J. McDermott, Justice," reads the notice, addressed to Michael J. McDermott... Being judge and jury isn't an official excuse in the law"

Japanese Guzzling Hawaiian Deep-Sea Water - "Desalinated deep-sea water from Kona is the state's fastest-growing export with demand soaring in Japan. Super-cold water sucked up from thousands of feet below the Pacific Ocean's surface is being marketed as healthy, pure, mineral-rich drinking water. Koyo USA Corp. already is producing more than 200,000 bottles a day and says it can't keep up with demand in Japan, where it sells 1.5 liter bottles of its MaHaLo brand for $4 to $6 each. "

Stranger Redecorates Woman's Home - "A woman came home from a vacation in Greece to find a stranger playing house, changing utilities into her name and even repainting a room she didn't like."

Use of 'Kemosabe' upheld as not demeaning to Mi'kmaqs - "Is Kemosabe a racist greeting? Not according to a Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission board of inquiry, which spent an entire day watching episodes of the Lone Ranger to decide whether being called Kemosabe demeaned a woman's Mi'kmaq heritage."

Rude sign downs chopper - "The four crew members of an army Iroquois helicopter have been stood down from duty after flying over the Indy 300 motor race on the Gold Coast with a sign urging spectators to "show us your tits"."

Couple Allegedly Has Sex in Shoe Store - "Two out-of-towners got caught in a rain shower, and decided to seek refuge by breaking into a shoe store. Then one thing led to another — at least that's what the couple told the officer who found them having sex amid new boots in the store's display window."

Monday, November 15, 2004

"A man can but wish for a Swiss house, a German car, and a Japanese wife, who is well-versed in Chinese cooking, and a cellar of French wine." - Mizusaki (attr. Xephyris)


2 people on my M$N list have the presumed acronym "THMC" in their nicknames. I asked both of them; one didn't reply and the other said it was for him to know and me to find out (bah).

Earlier, one person changed his to "THSC", and when I asked him what it stood for he said it was "Temasek Hall Singles Club". Therefore "THMC" must stand for "Temasek Hall Something Something".

One person suggested that it was "Temasek Hall Morons Committee". Mmm, good guess. After all, they need to form lots of committees to get lots of ECA points to compete with each other to get rooms in halls. They're all suffering from money illusion. Bah.

Someone: nus.. sigh. but i really like the way you refer to it as
"The Premier Institution of Social Engineering". reminds me of all those cheesy NUSSU ads on double decker [Ed: The one of the swimming pool in which 2 graduates (with the stupid graduation hats) prance]

Someone on previous post: "and there i was, the computing student who had to make sure the rest of them were not handing up their rubbish for marking"

This is exactly what happened for my Japanese Studies project!
I almost thought I was reading my own thoughts there!


Sheares Revisited

What I've learnt from FYP and Sheares Hall

2. Got various invitations/hints to sleep overnight in a guy's room, on his bed. I'm shy, so I ended up not getting any sleep at all as long as I was in Sheares. Even guys try to play matchmakers. Albeit very indiscreet, quite vulgar, and quite brainless ones.

4. Got an offer to be made 'a real woman'. Interestingly, this offer was the second one from the same and only fellow who has ever expressed carnal interest in me. YES! Hope for the troll! Sadly, I think he doesn't remember the first time anyway, and I think he's probably not very discriminating, nor was he very serious (both times). (This isn't the same fellow as point 2.)

7. Learnt about the extensive Porn library and its librarian in Sheares.

I went for project one day, and after having been there for a few hours was informed that the stack of CDs in front of me was porn. Want to watch? Apparently there were 2 different types of porn in that stack. The ones with plot, and the ones without. Was informed that the ones without plot all looked the same in the end and hence, the ones with plot were slightly better.

The stack of CDs I saw was an insignificant portion of the porn collector's library. No, Porn-librarian was not my group mate, and I don't think I know him.

I think it was mostly Taiwanese porn. Not sure.

12. Learnt that hall people, or Sheares hall guys really do nothing except gossip about their Sheares hall mates. Gossip usually involved - girls, girls and girls. Learnt that a guy and girl walking alone anywhere together would usually result in gossip. Guilty without trial.

15. My life long ambition is to be one of those narrow-minded old ladies who dress up in samfoos and stake out our national parks to spy on and throw bricks at amorous young couples. After that I hope to progress to the old cranky coot in your void decks who does nothing but terrorise the little kids who walk past making too much noise disturbing me while I spy on the rest of the inhabitants in the block of flats.

In conclusion, I will never ever step back in Sheares again. Might miss the guys, and think of those times fondly when I'm drunk, or losing my mind, but otherwise you'll have to kidnap and drag me screaming and kicking back.

Some people get all the fun / action. *pout*

Computing / Sheares Hall guys must be very despo *runs away*


Someone on SMU: im only taking 4 modules. no exams for the other 2. all projects and reports.

i rather have exams...
the grading system is silly.

financial accounting for instance. we have 1 presentation, 2 reports, hmwk, quiz, participation, mid term n final term exam. so hard to score!

"leadership and teambuilding" is even more cock. we had to plan and do a community service project and submit a report. then according to the report, the prof will IMAGINE how our implementation of the proj went and mark accordingly. and its 35%!

participation is very wayang.
some people juz talk for the sake of talking..

Me: so you regretting SMU?
so-called seminars are rubbish I hear
basically it's a combined lecture + tutorial
and a lot of presentations

Someone: i wouldn't say i regret.. perhaps not yet. haha.
yeah, alot of presentations n projects. especially the past 2 weeks..

then grp presentation was evaluated in this way: 4 groups present on each of the 2 presentation days. 5 students will be assigned as judges on each day. at the end of the presentation, they will rank the 4 groups. the prof has a vote too. adding up, the grps will have an overall ranking 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th. marks are awarded according to the ranking. so the grp that get 3rd can never have a mark

the grp that get 3rd can never have a mark higher than the 2nd grp. though they might have the same grade. so even if a grp is very good, but the student judges think otherwise, or they wanna help their own friends, the better grp also LL.

and becoz everyone knows we are being rank, there is competition. during QnA, there were these few people who juz kept bombarding other grps.. they want to screw up people's presentation, make themselves seem better.

my grp did the *** one lor.. heng i had training under u before that. haha.. i compiled a list of anticipated questions and sent them to my grp. but only 1 of the gals read thru. then when people bomb, we block, bomb again, we block again.. the prof said we handled the Q n A well even though questions werent easy. haha

Me: haha training under me?
you're welcome ;)

An alternate view:

hahahaha please lah it's HOW easy to do well in smu
largely for two reasons

1) singaporeans are morons
2) singaporeans are morons

i should compile a list of why i love smu
except i can't get past the first reason of 1) the girls are hot.


The Concept of Liberty

In Two Concepts of Liberty Berlin sought to explain the difference between two (not, he acknowledged, the only two) different ways of thinking about political liberty which had run through modern thought, and which, he believed, were central to the ideological struggles of his day. Berlin called these two conceptions of liberty negative and positive. Berlin's treatment of these concepts was less than fully even-handed from the start: while he defined negative liberty fairly clearly and simply, he gave positive liberty two different basic definitions, from which still more distinct conceptions would branch out. Negative liberty Berlin initially defined as freedom from, that is, the absence of constraints on the agent imposed by other people. Positive liberty he defined both as freedom to, that is, the ability (not just the opportunity) to pursue and achieve willed goals; and also as autonomy or self-rule, as opposed to dependence on others.

Berlin's account was further complicated by combining conceptual analysis with history. He associated negative liberty with the classical liberal tradition as it had emerged and developed in Britain and France from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth centuries. Berlin later regretted that he had not made more of the evils that negative liberty had been used to justify, such as exploitation under laissez-faire capitalism; in Two Concepts itself, however, negative liberty is portrayed favourably, and briefly. It is on positive liberty that Berlin focuses, since it is, he claims, both a more ambiguous concept, and one which has been subject to greater and more sinister transformation, and ultimately perversion.

Berlin traces positive liberty back to theories that focus on the autonomy, or capacity for self-rule, of the agent. Of these, Berlin found Rousseau's theory of liberty particularly dangerous. For, in Berlin's account, Rousseau had equated freedom with self-rule, and self-rule with obedience to the ‘general will’. By this, Berlin alleged, Rousseau meant, essentially, the common or public interest—that is, what was best for all citizens qua citizens. The general will was quite independent of, and would often be at odds with, the selfish wills of individuals, who, Rousseau charged, were often deluded as to their own interests.

This view went against Berlin's political and moral outlook in two ways. First, it posited the existence of a single ‘true’ public interest, a single set of arrangements that was best for all citizens, and was thus opposed to the main thrust of pluralism. Second, it rested on a bogus transformation of the concept of the self. In his doctrine of the general will Rousseau moved from the conventional and, Berlin insisted, correct view of the self as individual to the self as citizen—which for Rousseau meant the individual as member of a larger community. Rousseau transformed the concept of the self's will from what the empirical individual actually desires to what the individual as citizen ought to desire, that is, what is in the individual's real best interest, whether he or she realises it or not.

This transformation became more sinister still in the hands of Kant's German disciples. Fichte began as a radically individualist liberal. But he came to reject his earlier political outlook, and ultimately became an ardent, even hysterical, nationalist—an intellectual forefather of Fascism and even Nazism. Once again, this involved a move from the individual to a collective—in Fichte's case, the nation, or Volk. In this view, the individual achieves freedom only through renunciation of his or her desires and beliefs as an individual and submersion in a larger group. Freedom becomes a matter of overcoming the poor, flawed, false, empirical self—what one appears to be and want—in order to realise one's ‘true’, ‘real’, ‘noumenal’ self. This ‘true’ self may be identified with one's best or true interests, either as an individual or as a member of a larger group or institution; or with a cause, an idea or the dictates of rationality (as in the case, Berlin argued, of Hegel's definition of liberty, which equated it with recognition of, and obedience to, the laws of history as revealed by reason). Berlin traced this sinister transformation of the idea of freedom to the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century, both Communist and Fascist-Nazi, which claimed to liberate people by subjecting—and often sacrificing—them to larger groups or principles. As we have seen, to do this was for Berlin the greatest of political evils; and to do so in the name of freedom, a political principle that Berlin, as a genuine liberal, especially cherished, struck him as a particularly monstrous deception. Against this, Berlin championed, as ‘truer and more humane’, negative liberty and an empirical view of the self.

In addition to the debates concerning the conceptual validity and historical accuracy of Berlin's account (extensively documented in Harris 2002), there is considerable misunderstanding of Berlin's own attitudes to the concepts he discussed, and of the goals of his lecture. Berlin has often been interpreted, not unreasonably, as a staunch enemy of the concept of positive liberty. But this was never wholly the case. Berlin regarded both concepts of liberty as centring on valid claims about what is necessary and good for human beings; both negative and positive liberty were for him genuine values, which might in some cases clash, but in other cases could be combined and might even be mutually interdependent. Indeed, Berlin's own earlier articulations of his political values included a notable component of positive liberty alongside negative liberty (see e.g., 2002, 336–44). What Berlin attacked was the many ways in which positive liberty had been used to justify the denial, betrayal or abandonment of both negative liberty and the truest forms of positive liberty itself. Berlin's main targets were not positive liberty as such, but the metaphysical or psychological assumptions which, combined with the concept of positive liberty, had led to its perversion: monism, and a metaphysical or collective conception of the self. Two Concepts of Liberty, and Berlin's liberalism, are therefore not based on championing negative liberty against positive liberty, but on advocating individualism, empiricism and pluralism against collectivism, holism, rationalistic metaphysics and monism.

(Emphasis in bold mine)

I do not think I am the only one who sees parallels between Fichte's concept of Volk and one core aspect of so-called 'Asian Values', ie Putting the community above the self.

The logical conclusion of this is, as the author notes, a form of Communist/Fascist-Nazi ideology.


"According to the truly frightening Spirit and Destiny, colourpuncture was devised by a German scientist, a claim which is typical of the New-Agers' desire to have it both ways: it's an alternative to mainstream medicine, so not subject to the same principles and tests; but devised by a scientist, with the implication that it has some credibility with the mainstream... Theirs is a "voyage of discovery", implying at the outset that what is being "tested" is a wonderful world of wisdom and knowledge, not a dubious sea of sloppy-minded rubbish." (Bad Moves: Loading the dice)

Ooh. Touche. I love this guy.


The longest, most amusing and most detailed Gamebook reviews I've read:

"Niggle #14, Trial of Idiot Savants: Occasionally a writer will get confused enough to jot down something like this: "Bob grinned and shook his head at himself, musing on the finer points of Cartesian dualism in the middle of a great jewellery heist." It's a good bet that if you find yourself apologizing for what you just wrote, you have a problem to fix, even if it's just the existence of the apology itself. For this book Waterfield has come up with a completely irrelevant, arbitrary and unexciting puzzle, and to be on the safe side he declares as much. Well, in this case there _was_ a problem to be fixed: the exercise in section 309 is flawed in multiple ways and will accomplish only that the player dies and never returns for another attempt."

"Niggle #17, Attack of the Stunt Doubles: There's a system for dream combat which basically amounts to this: you are screwed."

(on FF28: Phantoms of Fear)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

"The intermediate stage between socialism and capitalism is alcoholism." - Norman Brenner


Since I haven't been blogging much, and a picture speaks a thousand words, here are some voyeuristic shots for your visual gratification.

The carbon arc 'lamp' I did up a few weeks back:

My setup - 8 'D' cell batteries, crocodile clips, 0.5mm mechanical pencil lead and stands made by driving a nail through disposable chopsticks into erasers.

Close the circuit and a glow starts

Peak brightness! You can't tell from the photo but look directly at this long enough (a few seconds, say) and your eyes are going to hurt for hours (I speak from personal experience)

The carbon electrodes are worn to points at the tips

Heartfelt thanks go out to Shu Huang for his time, suggestions and encouragement. Thanks also go out to Xephyris, Min Rui and Ban Xiong for coming down to support me.

[Someone: i was going to tell u that ur photos show what a nerd u are
then i saw the last photo and verdict: damn cool

Me: haha so you're a nerd too

Someone: hey i'm from computing
bastion of nerds, supposedly
u shouldnt defy such laws of nerdiness

But who cares about home projects? Everyone is here for voyeuristic shots!


GO CLUBBING! GO MAMBO! KEV AND LEO WILL BE THERE (Ed: This was later turned into a PowerPoint Slide Show and shown to someone a few seats away)

Now here's something you don't see everyday. Not one, not two but *6* girls sitting on the floor.

Never before in the Premier Institution of Social Engineering have I seen even 1 girl sit on the floor, for females' fear of dirt (real or imagined) is known throughout the land. In fact, I'm not sure if I can recall if any girls in RJ did this voluntarily either.

Truly, this is a remarkable discovery.

[Someone: good shot in street photography!]


Someone: do u know i found out during my SS project that the science ppl are much more proficient in english than the arts students

we had 5 ppl. i offered to compile our project because i didnt trust any of the other 4

2 were science students. this couple
the remainder was this econs girl, and potential ps guy

econs girl cannot write in english to save her life. she talks like a market ah soh and her writing reflects it
the guy doesnt know how to write in formal english. i can blame that on the fact that he was just released from slavery (year 1)

so i can't agree with this in ur blog haha "science grads are functionally illiterate for the most part, so we don't count them"

i was horrified

Me: so the science grads are functionally illiterate. the arts grads can't read or write. "Best" of both worlds

Someone: and there i was, the computing student who had to make sure the rest of them were not handing up their rubbish for marking
NUS is doomed

A source estimate that there are around 50 students in NUS's Arts Faculty with a CAP of 5.0 (ie a PERFECT grade). He also says that half the engineers he knows have CAPs of >4.3.

This is eminently depressing. Why kill yourself for a piece of paper? (and one from NUS some more, someone adds)

Someone: i usually don't bother about ppl like that
they tend not to be human


Some Year 4 (?) girl gets caught for smoking on NUS campus:

"It has been brought to my attention that you were smoking... at The Deck... I would like to caution you that smoking is bad for health, not only for yourself, but also for others who are around you."

"Hello? Even polytechnics, where half the student population is under 18, have designated smoking areas! But in a "world-class", all-so-posh university where practically EVERYONE is above 18, there is nowhere you can smoke?! Makes sense anot?

Now smoking in NUS has to be done surreptitiously, with a network of friends posted at strategic locations as lookouts for the security people."

And if you scroll down, for the girls there's a picture of Fredrik Ljungberg modelling underwear for Calvin Klein ("No woman who has passed puberty, is straight, and is sexually aware, can look at this picture and not like him. This is like the epitome of manhood. The Adonis of all mankind. So I'm shallow, sue me.")

And for the boys, there's a post which gushes fulsomely on breasts ("I have it from a good male source that it's near to impossible for a guy to screw a skinny girl doggie-style. Firstly, there ain't nothing for you to hold, either on the butt or the hips. You can't even reach forward and grab her breasts because chances are, she ain't got no breasts.")

There's something for the whole family!


Someone: "There is no mention of anything like the caste system in the ancient Vedic Religion which is considered to be the original source of what is now called the Hindu Religion. The Vedic period dates back to around 5000 B.C. There was no idol worship or the concept of multiple gods and sub gods in the Vedic Religion. On the contrary, since the universe was born out of the Great Fire (Agni) in the aftermath of the 'Big Bang', the ancient seers of Vedic times considered it proper to propitiate and worship Agni which constitutes the principal element of what is called 'Panchabhootham' that includes other key natural elements like air, water, ether and earth."

isn't it remarkable that so many religions have a 'big bang' story?

Me: haha
but how would ancient peoples know about the big bang when it was so long ago?

Someone: and when noone existed
perhaps it's in the code of our creation

angasm.org - philosophy:inspiration - nw.t claims that this is the clearest explanation of trans-world depravity he can find but I can't make head or tail of it.


Dennis: "How come there's no men.msn.com?" - because everyone reads the women's site, like you did.



Proud to be “SingapoLian”: A Scrutiny on the Rise of “Ah Lian” Culture in Singapore

According to local sociologist Chua Beng Huat, “Ah Lians” are, for the English-speaking middle-class, caricatures of female youth who are working class or otherwise failures in the competitive education system and market economy in the 1980s (Life is not complete without shopping: Consumption Culture in Singapore). The perception of “Ah Lians” then evolves to become less of a manifestation of class differences and becomes just the direct opposite of self-appointed sophisticated English-speaking cosmopolitans as class differences blur with non-working class people embracing “Ah Lian” culture. This paper will examine the intriguing transformation of “Ah Lian” culture from a subculture with negative connotations to an endearing identity to associate with for Singaporeans. The favourable shift in the perception of “Ah Lian” culture stems primarily from the fact that people begin to find it cool to “play” at being working class. Complemented with a diminishing association with crime, “Ah Lian” culture is endowed with new meanings played up by the media. It is hoped that through this analysis we will discover the influence “Ah Lian” culture exerts on the mainstream society with its dramatic rise in popularity and also unravel the complication of proclaiming “Ah Lian” culture as a truly Singaporean phenomenon.


Some views on violence on TV

"My personal opinion on the whole thing is that whenever you see some kid (or adult even) do something horrible, whether or not they watch violent television or play violent video games, it all boils down to that person having some screws loose in the first place, because normal people can differentiate between what's right and what's wrong, and know that going out and beating people up or shooting them obviously falls into the latter category. When it's a kid involved, of course the media is blamed, because it couldn't possibly be the parent's fault, right? I mean it wasn't their fault that they didn't pay enough attention to their child to know they were nuts, and that they were the ones that let them watch and play all this violent stuff in the first place, and then, oh I dunno, they happened to have a gun cabinet or something in the house as well. Those things couldn't possibly be why! The solution is clearly to ban all violent video games and television. But not the guns, of course."

"*sarcasm on* And Loony Toons make children want to stick their fingers in the ends of loaded guns.* This is just an example of how brain dead most college professors are. THey have NO connection to reality at all. Otherwise colleges wouldn't be indoctination centers for the left."


The Llama Song

Heres a llama.
Theres a llama and another little llama.
Fuzzy llama.
Funny llama.
Llama llama duck.
Llama llama.
Cheesecake llama.
Tablet brick potato llama.
Llama llama mushroom llama.
Llama llama duck.
I was once a treehouse. I lived in a cake.
But i never saw the way, the orange slayed the rake.
I was only three years dead, but it told a tale.
And now listen child, to the safty rail.
Did you ever see a llama kiss a llama on the llama?
Llama's llama.
Taste of llama.
Llama llama duck.
Half a llama.
Twice the llama.
Not a llama.
Farmer llama.
Llama in a car.
Alarm a llama.
Llama duck.
Is it how it's told now?
Is it all so old?
Is it made of lemon juice?
Doorknob. ankle. cold.
Now my song is getting thin.
I've run out of luck.
Time for me to retire now.
And become a duck.

Wth?! This is as senseless as the badger badger badger thing.


Jimbo's Guide To Having a Totally Pimp Xanga Site! [Ed: Any other blogging site will do]

STEP ONE: Have an appealing color scheme. Dark grey text on a black background works, black text on a black backround is even better. As an alternative, choose neon green text over a flashing yellow background. When your eyes begin to scream in pain, you know you've got it right. (NOTE: Change your color scheme every day. It's hardcore.)

STEP TWO: Make a profile. For your picture, put a picture of another person, or an object that has nothing to do with you. If the picture must be of you, try to make it of your eye, ear, or other single body part. Extra points go to pictures that are completely out of focus.

For "Location", put something absolutely crazy and wild, like "Albania", "Antarctica", or "Zimbabwe." HAHA! It's funny because it's not the country you really live in! CRAZY!

STEP THREE: The content. Make sure posts have no punctuation or line breaks. This makes them much easier to read. And remember, this is the Internet, so spelling doesn't matter. (NOTE: Insert some spelling errors if there aren't any. It's hardcore.)

Posts should be extremely detailed: "lol likk so me n kris wer gona go to da malll but i was lik nuh uh bitch and tehn she wass all up in mah face n shitz but so i then it lik wha? an no way n stuf likk dat an lololol omgomgomg tehn i lik talkd ta her agian an it was awsom cuz she dint lik him but i did sooo..."

...Or extremely short: "2day we went to da mall n shitz. teh end!!1"

Now, you want to ensure that as many people as possible can easily read and understand your writing. To do this, you must master the art of Inside Jokes.

An easy way to not write a lot of shit, because it's hard!
Make almost everyone feel inferior because they're not in on the joke!

If you have friends, and do things with them, then you can make an inside joke. Example: if you all went to the movies and something totally hardcore happened, simply mention the movies. Do not, under any circumstances, explain what happened.


WRONG: "On saturday, my friends and i went to the movies. We tried to sneak in, but it didn't work. Then we started making fun of the movie employees."

If you want to talk about something else other than your incredibly interesting life, other possibilities are:

Fill Out One Of Those Email Quizzes In Every Post
Offer Your Very Insightful And Original Opinion On a Current Event

Edn TRanZMISZION!!1 LOLL!1 (Happy birthday Julia!)


Singabloodypore raises important questions about the growing creep of CCTV cameras in Singapore:

"The threat of the evil-doers is now being used to invade schools and remove civil liberties from Singaporeans. Cameras in lecture halls, sounds like someone is frightened of what may be said in those rooms. The threat from 'terrorism' is the fear of an idea. When will the cameras be removed? Is there a timeline for installation and 'removal'?

Who will protect Singaporeans from their so called protectors?"

Meanwhile TalkingCock raises similar issues: CCTVs to be Installed in Homes Next: Minister

"Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Ni said it was ‘only logical’ that CCTVs be extended to homes as well.

“We cannot be called the Ministry of Home Affairs if we don’t monitor the affairs at home, mah,” said Minister Wong, saying that prior initiatives like co-opting taxi-drivers, relying on phone-in tips, and increasing armed patrols in residential areas were all not pro-active enough. “Terrorism and crime begin at home, like charity.”"

An Ode to the Gahmen’s Increase in No. of Surveillance Cameras:

"Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
They'll be watching you"

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve
neither liberty or security"


Between the first episode until the end of series 11, it has only rained six times on Power Rangers.
* Calamity Kimberly.
* Hogday Afternoon, Part II.
* Trakeena's Revenge (Leo on Mirinoi).
* Ransik Lives (Ransik's flashback).
* Frax's Fury (Frax's and Ransik's flashback).
* The End of the Power Rangers.

(Power Ranger Factoids)


EA: The Human Story - "EA's bright and shiny new corporate trademark is "Challenge Everything." Where this applies is not exactly clear. Churning out one licensed football game after another doesn't sound like challenging much of anything to me; it sounds like a money farm. To any EA executive that happens to read this, I have a good challenge for you: how about safe and sane labor practices for the people on whose backs you walk for your millions?"

What's Happened to Asian Values? - Someone sent this to me when I pooh-poohed 'Asian Values' and claimed that it made a case that there was such a thing. However, I find this paper makes the case for 'Asian Values' peripherally at best, and not very strongly at that.

Singaporeans Cheered by Bush Re-Election - "“I’m so happy to be in Singapore and not America,” said talented foreigner Mike Gration. “Where I come from, Texas, the home of George W. Bush, they actually redraw electoral boundaries for their own political advantage to disable opposition politicians. It’s something that won’t happen in Singapore.”"

Pirate wedding party goes bad - "The bride’s uncle pulled a pistol on the groom and best man, who were role-playing as pirates during a wedding reception at the Bounty Lounge"

Library's artist should have checked out a dictionary. 11 of mosaic's 175 famous names misspelled - "A colorful mosaic gracing the entrance of Livermore's new library is of a genre known as naïve art because of its whimsical design and childlike nature. Maybe that explains why 11 of the 175 names and words on the piece are misspelled -- from "Eistein" and "Shakespere" to "Van Gough" and "Michaelangelo.""

Man claims he's Jesus, fires random shots - "Allegedly, Hancock had pointed the gun at Maynard, saying "Stand before me, look me in the eyes -- you need to run, you're the demon."... Hancock had been watching the movie, "The Passion of Christ" earlier that evening and believed he was Jesus Christ, the report says."

Western women can't squat - "A study aimed at finding the perfect way for women to pee has floundered because Westerners can't squat properly."

Crafty sheep conquer cattle grids - "Hungry sheep on the Yorkshire moors have taught themselves to roll 8ft (3m) across hoof-proof metal cattle grids - and raid villagers' valley gardens."

Inon Zur, Composer - The same guy who did the music for a gazillion games also did the music for PRT, PRiS, PRLG, PRLR and PRTF?!
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