"I love your "Malaysian Accent", can you say it again?"

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

"Any sufficiently advanced bureaucracy is indistinguishable from molasses." - Unknown


The whole taupok scandal is hilarious (and ridiculous).

Really, those who don't want to be taupoked almost always aren't. People pretend to run away and resist the same reason why wrestlers preen and taunt their opponents - for fun/to give a faux sense of realism. It's all an elaborate show and pretence, like courtship dances in the Animal Kingdom.

In response to my comments about all-girl taupoks (or the lack thereof), boon leong informs me:

"I've seen two all-girl taupoks during my two years in jc actually, so it exists"

Hmm. Must've had many spectators, just like all-female mud wrestling.


I heard an amusing story about NTU.

Apparently when it first started in 1981, they realised that the gender ratio was too skewed, so in 1987 they brought in Accounting and Business.

This didn't work in correcting the sex ratio back to normality, so they introduced Communication Studies (Mass Comms) in 1993.


School has started once more, so I may once more (or for once, as the case might be) rejoice in the following sensations and experiences:

- Sitting in some lectures with no one to talk cock and share snide remarks with, all the while going: "what the hell?! what the hell?!", even though we're only doing simple linear algebra slightly above Secondary 3 standard. Yet, when you go "what the hell?!", it probably means that you're learning something. Either that or the lecturer really sucks.
- Crowding with the unfamiliar throng after the serenity and placidity of the holidays
- Getting back into the school grind of lectures, tutorials, homework and term essays
- The shrill, anorexic, chinese-speaking ah lians, and lesser ones of their ilk
- Girls with skirts which go less than halfway down their thighs, making me wonder how they can sit without zaogenging (Someone informs me that they do actually zaogeng, and you're tacitly allowed to look, but you just can't say anything)
- Sloppily dressed males (ie me)
- Rich people who can afford to print their lecture notes in living colour

And of course, there're noisy bazaars, of which there seem to be at least one a week in NUS, which all have bands performing so loudly that we in the Old Admin Block can hear them during lessons. The worst thing is that they all sell the same crap, which probably all comes from the same suppliers. Almost every bazaar will sell the following:

1) An assortment of skimpy tops in garish colours which look like they won't last 5 washes (which doesn't matter, since the Screwed Up Girls who buy them will probably tire of them by the third wash) and which sell for $10 and under
2) Tiny floral/pink bikinis
3) Cheap looking costume jewelry
4) Flip flops or other flimsy female footwear which looks like it was glued together in a Bangladeshi sweatshop (which doesn't matter, since the Screwed Up Girls who buy them will probably tire of them after a week)
5) Poser T-shirts
6) Various computer thingamajigs - USB hubs, mice, thumb drives and other peripherals
7) Printers and printer ink

At least it is of some comfort that the second worst chicken rice in Singapore (the one in the NUS Arts canteen - 'the Deck'; the worst being the one in the old [and new, I might add] RJC canteen) now has a sign which proudly proclaims: "New cook, new taste".

Following in the grand alliterative tradition of The Grinning Gecko (not too expensive, but not very good food either) and Munchie Monkey's (cheap food, but you assuredly get what you pay for), here are more suggestions for rotten cafes in NUS:

Alluring Alligator
Burping Babboon
Crazy Cobra
Drooling Dragon
Excited Elephant
Flamboyant Flamingo
Flighty Fowl
Hesitant Hen
Icky Iguana
Jumping Jellyfish
Kinky Kangaroo
Lusty Lizard
Masticating Mandrill
Noisy Nightingale
Oily Orang Utan
Porcine Porcupine
Queer Quail
Rotten Rhino
Satiating Snail
Smelly Snail
Smiling Salamander
Tacky Tiger
Ululating Urial (Sorry. *You* go find an animal starting with 'U')
Waltzing Wallaby
Xenophilic Xenarthra (Sorry. *You* go find an animal starting with 'X')
Vivacious Viper
Yodelling Yak
Zonky Zebra

"Robert Sternberg has suggested instead that there are essentially three separate kinds of intelligence - analytic, creative and practical. Analytic problems are ones formulated by other people, clearly defined, that come accompanied by all the information required to solve them, have only one right answer, are disembedded from ordinary experience and have no intrinsic interest: a school exam, in short." - Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

I have this theory that lecturers make their lectures seem easy and fun, at least until the date from which the "F" grade shows on students' transcripts if they drop the module (thereby affecting their vital statistics, their CAPs). Then all the dry and boring stuff comes out.

It is most amusing to see a Manakin do a moonwalk, ala Michael Jackson.


[On sending email] If you are 'Tan Meiling', tell me you are 'Tan Meiling'. Don't put there: 'Blue Devil', 'Golden Arrow'. I don't know who you are. (won't)

[On the best 5 of 8 class quizzes being used for cumulative assessment] Some of you, you do so well. After 5 you do so well, you decide not to come to class anymore. That's alright, you're adults.

[On class quizzes] Some of you like to do this. Your tutorial is on Thursday. You come for the Tuesday class, you get all the answers, then you come on Thursday.

I try not to have tutorial on a Monday. Then your weekend is spoilt (schedule tutorials)

If you really have problems, come to me in a group, but with the problem solved (?)

A student came up to me. 'Can we have more interaction?'. So I began to ask questions. But he did not want to answer questions. I think he just wanted to observe them [interacting].

Some of my colleagues... Oprah Winfrey. Walk around with the mic.

Just nod your head or laugh, so I know you've understood.

Switch off the front lights? Ok. I'm gonna switch off the front lights. I'm also an electrician [not just a lecturer]

pah'rah'meters (parameters)

see'mul'tay'shear'ness changes (simultaneous)

Very big derry association (dairy)

The worst is LT8 and LT11. I'm always being punished, given LT8 and LT11.

[On something boring] Don't make noise. We are coming to the most exciting part.

I don't know what's wrong with the first row. NUS disease. Everyone sitting in the first row is contaminated.

From my experience, at least a third of you think that evolution is complete nonsense, or are deeply skeptical.

[On reasons for doing the module] The main reason is you have to get rid of your science requirement... and you don't want to do physics. I fully understand. I also don't want to do physics.

[On learning what science is] The next time you talk to a scientist, you can tell him what science is all about.

mee'no'pause (menopause)

West Berlin. Those were the good old days, when we had a wall. Everything was subsidised.

I went to Cornell. That was a horrible place. You don't want to go there... Middle of nowhere. Half the semester, everything is covered in snow.

I am totally against lectures. You spend 2 hours getting more information than you can absorb, then you spend 2 hours trying to recover from all that.

[On course requirements] Willingness to think, discuss and argue... 'Just let him talk, he can't possibly mean this; this is NUS after all, correct?'

[On laymen being willing to talk about evolution but not quantum physics] If you talk to a psychology or philosophy major, they'll say: that's exactly the problem. People think they know what they're talking about.

[On Evolution] If I teach Chemistry I don't have to deal with aversions to redox reactions

[On the archaic meaning of 'Symposium'] Plato's Symposium, which is not an argument with a guy named 'Symposium'... I once saw a poster: 'Symposium on drinking problems'. A drinking party on drinking problems.

[On Aristophanes] This guy, believe it or not, is a comedian. He looks like a hangman, but he's really a funny guy.

We try to play a game in the clast (class)

When are my consultation's times? (consultation)

A flastic of anxeity (fluster)

A lot of you are complaining that since you came to University you have no time. Is it true? [Everyone: YES!] We shall analyse that later.

The drivers may be late off (laid)

[On being conned into buying a timeshare] I was hooped in once. One timeshare somewhere. I never go [there]. You see, even as an economist, not applying the principles. (?)

baking pisa / pea'zah (pizza)

I want to dwelve into these (delve)

Apparently some people enjoyed the readings so much last semester that they stole them

A hundred percent continuous assessment. You know what that means? You all got graded today.

[On formatting essays for submission] You don't need to put my name on it, I know what it is.

Everyone thinks that they know about English Literature, so they can talk about it... Science, we are slightly better, we pretend that everything is very complicated.

Can you have science without a paradigm? [Student: No] Primary school: One word answers. Secondary school: Two word sentences. Tertiary education: Full sentences.

No biologist thinks that inheritance is passed on in any way other than DNA. There are a few with different theories, but we call them freaks. In the social sciences we would call it a different point of view.

many unobserved a'n'air'meh'lees (anomalies)

American textbooks make the world so easy, but they're very heavy to carry around. Because what can be explained in half a page, they take ten pages to cover. That's why they're so easy.

[On feedback] They said the course is difficult, it is dru, it is boring. I won't tell you what they said about the lecturer. You can go find out for yourself.

[On supplementary reading] It's bedtime reading... After you have done your tutorials, from 8 to 10am, you read this book from 10 to 11am. You sleep better. (pm?!)

amaze'n (Amazon)

the re'noy'cence in Europe (Renaissance)

A lot of the statements people make are actually very cover'lier (cavalier)

You can find order in chaos. That sounds more like poetry than econometrics.

[On describing inferential statistics] Most textbooks are not very helpful. They just put a lot of crap like this to get it out of the way... At least I'm honest.

This is what the private sector does all the time. Con you with statistics. Nowadays, with Excel - very nice graphs... Distract you from the important data.

[On students walking out of lecture before the bell has sounded] In economics we call this rational expectations of the end of the lecture. In statistics we call it 'perfect forecast'.
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