When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Note: This post was posted on 19th March but dated 26th March so it stays at the top. Scroll down for posts newer than these.

Unlike many or perhaps most other blogs, this blog has no particular theme, ergo one reason for the name 'Balderdash', though perhaps the neologism 'Eclectia' would have been a better choice.

I am curious about what sort of content interests my readers, and so have decided to do a poll.

The major categories of content I've identified:

1) Quotes (Funny quotes or quotes of bad english)
2) NUS Commentary
3) Political Commentary (though I think it pales in comparison to more specialised sites)
4) Religion (includes polemics, links and such)
5) Personal anecdotes/musings
6) Pseudo-/Quasi-Intelligentsia topics (Content on topics like philosophy, science, social science, mathematics, the arts and such. Also includes material related to academics)
7) Amusements/frivolity (links, jokes, funny pictures etc)
8) Technology (here again I am left in the dust)
9) Miscellaneous (please specify in poll comments or the blog entry comment box)

THE POLL IS NOW CLOSED. Thank you for your participation.

This poll is dated 26/03/2005 so as to remain at the top of the other entries for the next week.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Why should civil servants stop plundering the coffers?

WHEN the latest Transparency International forum was held, it was reported that the panelists issued a joint declaration that corruption should be stopped, given that it arrests a country's development ('Global Anti-Corruption NGO Blasts Corrupt Officials'; The Straits Times, February 20).

I am amused that members of the educated elite would find it appropriate to ask Governments to set up anti-corruption watchdogs, bodies which would effectively put an end to the practice of politicians and civil servants enriching themselves splendidly at the expense of their country.

One would have thought that it is up to the people to track down corrupt officials and try to expose them to the press (even if their letters might not be published).

It is NGOs like Transparency International, if they feel strongly that corruption should be stopped, who should go and 'carry out investigations' and such to stamp out corruption.

They are just like the typical NGO which urges politicians and civil servants to do everything, even to the extent of depriving them of their filthy lucre.


The above is a parody of the following (real) letter. And, no, if you think I'm insinuating that civil servants are corrupt, you've totally missed the point of the parody (I was originally going to write about the Police urging robbers to turn themselves in, but decided that it was so subtle, even I wasn't getting it).

Why should Govt put itself out of power?

WHEN Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered the National University of Singapore Society's 50th Anniversary Lecture, it was reported that an NUS alumnus asked for Singapore to have alternative leadership, given that the Government is now opening up for more debate ('If casino gets nod, 'social costs will be managed'; The Sunday Times, March 20).

I am amused that a member of the educated elite would find it appropriate to ask the Government to set up a two-party system, a system which may effectively put the ruling party which forms the Government out of power if it succeeds.

One would have thought that it is up to the people to set up a viable opposition party that may offer alternative leadership to the present Government.

It is people like the NUS alumnus, if he feels strongly that there should be alternative leadership, who should go and 'rope in ex-ministers and MPs' and other like- minded people to form a political party.

He is just like the typical Singaporean who depends on the Government to do everything, even to the extent of asking it to put itself out of power.

Peter Teo Boon Haw

loupgarou26: "the government serves the people, not itself. if it be the best interest of the people that a two party system exist in order to provide checks and balances as well as to prevent political stagnation, then the government should create a playing field where a two party system can exist.

OR have we already reached the state where the government serves itself above the people.

has PAP become "PAP Action Party" and not "People's Action Party" ?"

[Editor's note: A clarification about my letter parody - I am not suggesting that we SHOULD split the PAP up, just that to rule out that possibility a priori because political parties don't and shouldn't do anything against their own interests is ridiculous.]

I want to parody the reports about mandatory HIV testing, but I've no ideas. At first I did something on SARS, then realised it didn't work very well.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

"It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - Krishnamurti

Random Playlist Song: Florence Foster Jenkins - Aria - Queen of the Night

Finally, someone who sings worse than my brother in law!


I think I'm suffering from blogger fatigue. Reading, more than writing.

And, no, RSS doesn't help. It's not the layouts that bog me down anyway.


The new colour the house is painted in looks like the old colour. Makes you wonder what the point of repainting was.

Above is the fragile glass dish (on which to put soap) that my mother got and which now lies in my sister's toilet.

Note how the dish rests lightly and loosely in the metal socket, being held in place merely by dint of gravity. Note also how a gentle nudge from one edge of the dish might disupt the dish's fragile equilibrium and send it hurtling over the edge of the bracket to a most unpleasant fate below.

I bothered to use Macro focus for this one, so it's much sharper.

Above is what remains of the glass dish that was placed in my toilet, and which lasted for about half a week. I was quite sure I'd eventually shatter the dish, but I didn't think it'd be quite so soon.

Needless to say, my mother was livid, though she did not shout in my face. Perhaps she recalled my urging her not to upgrade my toilet.

I am ever more sure now of my decision not to have children in the future.


More stuff that makes you go "what the hell?!":

'profanity', in a blog comment -

"I am intrigued by bloggers who like putting up narcissistic webcam photos of themselves leaning their boobs/moobs into the screen. They rule!!!"

More hatemail (of a sort - calmone, be jealous! Meanwhile I shall swoon over the many comments you draw from females):

"little presumptuous piggies like you exist...dude, just get your head out from the well ok? but oh dear god, please, don't stop enlightening and enlivening us with your little baseless essays and manifestos. i LOVE smart little piggies like you."

- from Lissa on the waiting room

It is curious how people love to make broad proclamations about supposed problems with other people's ideas, and then switch to ad hominem insults and attacks instead of addressing the putative problems.

Some time earlier, "z." on Livejournal commented that:

"we should always refrain from criticising things that we barely understand - you provided a very subjective and insensitive interpretation of what makes something halal, the processes and all."

No ad hominem insults and attacks here, at least, but till today, despite my requesting for such, I have not gotten an elaboration about how my interpretation was "subjective", or how I "barely [understood]" the Halal concept.


Parody of Jack Chick tracts: CthulhuMirror - Who will be eaten first?

Panel 1) One day, while sitting in a cafe...

A: George, it's vital that you make the right decision before you die.

2) George: You're gonna say I have to choose between God and the devil, right?


3) A: The stars are right! The Elder Gods are going to rise and eat us all!

"In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming." - HP Lovecraft

4) A: Soon the evil spawn, who had slept for eons... will awaken to clear the earth of man!

That is not dead which can eternal lie... And with strange aeons even death may die - H.P.l

5) A: NO ONE will be saved! EVERYONE will die and mankind itself will come to a horrible end!

... I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars that dream beneath the sea... HPl.

6) A: Soon the seas will turn red with the blood of the human race, as the unspeakable terrors come from beyond the gate, which is Yog Sothoth, to devour all in their path! IaI Shub Niggurath! Ia! Ia!

7) George: So if were (sic) all gonna die, what difference does it make? Who cares? Nothing I can do about it... or is there?!

8) A: You're right George... It's hopeless. But there is one thing we can hope for... TO BE EATEN FIRST!

9) George: BE EATEN FIRST?! What the fuck kind of advantage is that?! Give me one good reason why I would WANT to be eaten first! ONE GOOD REASON!!!

10) A: Do you really want to stick around and watch the entire world be destroyed by evil creatures from beyond Hell?

George: Not really...

11) George: Oh God... your (sic) right... I don't want to see it all end! I want to be eaten quickly! What do I have to do to make my death a swift one?

The thing cannot be described - there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy... H.P.l..

12) A: You must worship and sacrifice at the altar to appease the appetites of the Elder Gods! Then may you hope for a fast death!

Cultist: Ph'ngful mghw'nath Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl lhtagnl

Cultist 2 (thinking): Gasp... This can't be!


Sacrifice (presumably): WAAAHH

13) A: Chant invocations from the NECRONOMICON, the book of dead names written by the Mad Monk, Abdul Alhazred!

14) A: Only then... on the dreaded day when they rise... Will you be eaten first!

15) (Some other stuff I couldn't bother to transcribe - Full parody)


"Such babies usually grow up to be extremely attractive and very feminine girls"

- The now un-free ST on babies with genital anomalies

Something to think about the next time you pick girls up at clubs.


David Close Reads the word "Rational" - "‘Rational’ is derived from its near twin ‘ration.’ A rational individual is a rationed individual, who measures his emotions, words, and deeds for maximum impact. Nothing is wasted, all is measured, calculated, focused, tabulated."
!@#$%^&*() ... lit students

YDE Ads Sport Gender Discrimination in These Poster Photos? Well Spank Their Behinds! - "To call attention to its new Fall line, the Young Designers Emporium of South Africa has a new poster ad campaign in its shop windows. The "Brand Spanking New Fashions" posters feature models in their underwear sporting red marks on their thighs to imply they've been spanked with a paddle."

Sex crime prosecutor fired over note to girl - "The Marion County deputy prosecutor who was assistant chief of the sex crimes division was fired this week for sending a romantic e-mail to a 16-year-old girl."

Llanfairpwll - How to Say the Name Llanfairpwllgwyngyll

Lyrebird - "A Lyrebird is either of two large ground-dwelling Australian birds, most notable for their extraordinary ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment. A lyrebird's call is a rich mixture of its own song and any number of other sounds it has heard. Lyrebirds commonly mimic other species of bird or animal, and not uncommonly include sounds as diverse as chainsaws, car engines, rifle-shots, camera shutters, and crying babies."

Sleep survey wake-up call to Asia - "People in Asia burn the midnight oil, sleeping later than most Americans and Europeans and then waking up earlier, a global survey on sleep habits has found."

The Failure of the War on Drugs-BECKER - "A 200% tax on the legal use of drugs by all adults-consumption by say persons under age 18 would still be illegal. That would reduce consumption in the same way as the present war, and would also increase total spending on drugs, as in the current system. But the similarities end at that point. The tax revenue from drugs would accrue to state and federal authorities..."


I was walking along the road in school when a pickup truck drove past me. Not all that unusual, except that a huge cage totally enclosed the back of the pickup.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw 2 moving shapes at the back of the pickup. At first I thought they were circus animals, but the use of animals is been banned in local circuses. Then I considered that maybe they were from Cirque du Soleil, but then I didn't hear any bad pseudo-Jazz music blaring from the pickup's sound systems, nor did I see garish colours and outlandish designs out of some French guy's acid trip. Perhaps it was a travelling freak show? But then the Elephant Man has been dead for over a century.

And so I turned around, and saw 2 girls at the back of the pickup which, as you might recall, had a cage enclosing its entire rear portion. Otherwise, there was nothing spectacular. Though I did see one of the butt cracks that my sister and Ban Xiong keep complaining about seeing.

"We are still looking into the matter. We will get back to you as soon as possible." - I think the FCINUS has been PELUed (Public Entertainment Licensing Unit-ed), perhaps due in part to a faux pas on our part. I suppose we will wait for next semester and see if they've sorted everything out by then.

I saw a sign in the toilet announcing that a PDA lost in October last year had been found. These people are really slow. Or maybe the PDA fell through a time warp, or something.

After listening to many of Ban Xiong's extensive speeches on the difference between Science girls and Arts girls, looking around my economics lecture I almost thought I was in Science. Well, in the most Science-like Arts lecture group, at any rate.


Poly'boose (Polybius)

vision'near cipher (cigenere)

[On fast food discount coupons] One whole page of discount coupons. So mind-boggling. But who has the time to pick them out one by one? [Student: What's so hard about that?]... There are people who really use these coupons. [Me: She doesn't ah?] [Student: She's rich enough]

When Texas Instruments first came up with the handheld calculator... 4 functions: add, divide. Add, subtract, multiply, divide. So bulky, [costing a] hundred dollars. I should have kept it, because I would be able to sell it on eBay.

You look very confused, this girl sitting there. Come and see me. [Student: We're all very confused]

Have you been to Disneyland? I'm sure you have... I haven't been there, don't bring me... The fee to enter Disneyland is very high, but all the rides are free. Actually the rides are not free. As economists you know that you pay a cost, in time. Queueing... Actually the queue is not very long.

Getting Gertie's Gartle (Garter)

[On a class video] This is like, pirated. Stop piracy.

It's pretty amazing what birds will do to impress their mates. *displays notice of assignment deadline* Here's what you have to do to impress me.

[On sensory exploitation] This sounds like a theory thought up after a drunken night.

Fashion - yes, fashion is a social construct. I've used the 's' word, in a positive sense.

It's not a social construct. Some of you say it takes the romance out of love. You don't take the romance out of it. The romance is still in there. You just know how it comes about.

[Student on love being genetically advantageous: How do you explain courtly love?] [Me: 'Social construct']... Victorian era... Queen Victoria did not like her huband.

If you were a hermaphrodite, what would you do? [Student: Find another hermaphrodite and decide who's the male and who's the female] That would be a dumb thing to do.

Just a rule of tum (thumb)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Another guest editorial:


Was at YIH today when I picked up another copy of THE EPOCH TIMES WEEKLY (SINGAPORE EDITION), which I always find fun to read. Especially when it says that it is the uncensored, unbiased source of news for the Chinese speaking world. In short, this newspaper, with a circulation in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, the US, Canada, Australia, NZ, Europe, Singapore and SE Asia, claims itself as the opposition press to the state-run PRC media.

I always find it a fun read, particularly because a quick flip through it reveals itself to be the least fact-based, sentimental agitprop imaginable. Clearly positioning itself against the CCP, every issue would contain some veiled attack or another. In one issue, it featured an article on Russia describing the wonders that it had gone through ever since Communism fell and it adopted capitalism. Among one of the data cited included “80 percent of Moscow residents have villas out in the countryside, and that every weekend they would head out to the villas to enjoy life.” While it sounds like Moscow had apparently found an amazing level of home ownership, anyone at least familiar with Russian culture would know that these villas are called “Dachas”, and the fact that many Russians have obtained these Dachas was in part due to the Soviet era where the trade unions had the task of obtaining land for the Dachas and distributing them among their members. Such pieces depicting journeys to former Eastern Bloc countries are just one of the inept examples of the Epoch Times’ “journalism”. This week we have another piece on Budapest, predictably ending a paragraph on the Hungarian flag, and how it “reflected the sacrifices and hope for the future the Hungarian people possessed.” This agitprop-disguised-as-travel op-ed piece comes after two pages after an urban legend page talking about the misfortunes that arose from Communists smashing Buddha statues, and a psychic that predicted Edward Kennedy’s near-death escape in the Chappaquiddick incident.

But this week’s issue takes the cake on the final page, with a movie review of KUNG FU HUSTLE. The reviewer describes it as a film “filled with justice and humanity and compassion, displaying the fundamental truth that good never triumphed over evil, displaying justice, conscience, heroism and truth, chivalry and morality”.

Spread that definition wide enough, and it can apply to “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Mummy”, “Star Wars”, “Rambo I—III”, “Rocky I—V”, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Spiderman 1—2”, “Hellboy”, “The Incredibles”, “Die Hard” and “Battlefield Earth”. In short, it is a conventional happy-ending blockbuster.

And that is not all, according to the article, “The portrayal of the gangsters in the movie is similar to the CCP, and the final fight between the users of the Buddha Palm and the Toad Skill is very thought-provoking…only by uniting, like the heroes in the film, against the system, can we come to enjoy the glorious sunshine of democracy.”

Indeed, the mind boggles at how a man can using the toad skill, bloat himself up like a balloon and bounce around like a pinball, or how a man can send giant invisible forcefields down from the sky to crush his opponents. Notice how it does not say that the portrayal of the gangsters is similar to that of the CCP, because obviously if you dig deep enough any political system has its fair share of closet skeletons. Power corrupts. The only advantage to a system such as democracy is that the rights of the ruler hang not on his own conscience, but the will of the people. The Epoch Times, therefore, displays a fundamental lack of the workings of democracy, assuming it is the “glorious sunshine” that will come after any form of autocracy is defeated. History has more often than not, proven that this is not the case, all democracy was achieved via a phase consisting of the disenfranchisement of political and ethnic minorities, and the crushing of dissent. It took the French two empires and three republics to get their experiment right, and the Americans 200 years.

Best of all, the review puts words into Stephen Chow’s mouth, I swear, the author mentions that one of his friends told him about an interview with Stephen Chow, and that in the interview Chow said indirectly that “I am a very humble, normal person, and that movies are the way that I help to realize my fantasies.” Notice he never quotes Chow directly, but he manipulates a quote from a friend about Chow, my my, what journalistic integrity. If we are going to take this quote from Chow as a fact that secretly he desires the overthrowing of the CCP and not that he wanted to fulfill the fantasies of watching numerous martial arts movies as a child, then we must consider that Peter Jackson also directed the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy to fulfill a fantasy of his a possible sign that New Zealand has an oppressive, tyrannical political system despite being the first country in the world to have women’s suffrage and recognize the Maori culture as part of its makeup, and not that he wanted to go and relive the fantasy trilogy that he loved reading. Then quick, we must go and pull the cover on the parliamentary system of New Zealand and denounce it for its evil!

With such fine journalistic quality, the fact that the CCP in all its magnanimity allowed this paper to have its little corner in the SAR may in fact be a sign it tolerates its opponents more than given credit for.

With such an opposition press, I would hunger for state-owned media anyday.

--- Ivan Patrarch-Mayne
"First secure an independent income, then practice virtue." - Greek Proverb


Many years ago, an ancient civilization flourished until an evil force rose up and vanquished its ancient protectors, wielders of the light side of the mystic force in the universe, aided by one of their order who'd been seduced by the powers of the dark side of the mystic force and then betrayed and destroyed them.

In the present day, the traitor, now clad in black armour, helmet, face mask and faux leather gloves, with a flowing cloak and speaking in a deep voice, squares off with a bearded survivor garbed in brown robes from the order's glory days and strikes him down while the latter has an impassive look on his face, as his pupil, a modern day member of the order, watches on helplessly.

This pupil battles the traitor, who is revealed to be his father, and cannot accept this fact since he has always been told that his father died when he was young. His father then tries to seduce him to the dark side, but fails.

Later, the traitor watches helplessly by the side as his master battles and defeats his son, and zaps him with dark lightning-like energies emanating from his fingertips. Just before the master delivers the finishing blow, the son, writhing in pain, appeals to his father, who rushes in and defeats his master, suffering fatal wounds in the process.

As he lies dying in his son's arms, the traitor, now redeemed, has his mask removed by his son, exchanges some heartfelt words and departs to join the spirits of those he betrayed so long ago, who have returned to witness his redemption.

The story of Star Wars, or Gosei Sentai Dairanger Episodes 7-8? :0

Look familiar?

Darth Vader would not have looked out of place in this.

The Glove of Tetsumenpi Chouryou

Flowing cloak

Master Kaku gets slashed. Note the impassive look. Note also the beard and brown garb.

Ryou writhing in agony

Force Lightning!

But the Emperor can't breathe fire.

An impassioned plea

Ryou cradles his father

Ryou removes his father's mask

The apparitions visit the redeemed traitor

Corresponding screenshots from Star Wars may be found here.
"Every sensible man, every honest man, must hold the Christian sect in horror. But what shall we substitute in it's place? you say. What? A ferocious animal has sucked the blood of my relatives. I tell you to rid yourselves of this beast, and you ask me what you shall put in its place?" - François-Marie Arouet


My essay - titularly on 2 essays but actually on nothing (as befits the spirit of close reading) is done, after much angsting and hand-wringing.

To think that the next one will be assigned on Tuesday *swoon*


Dropload Frequently Asked Questions

"Dropload supports itself with the single ad on each page and some donations. We have nearly 100,000 registered users today, and grow at a pace of almost 15,000 users a month. As long as our users keep checking out our sponsers and donate if they can, dropload will continue to exist. We provide dropload for free because there was a market for it, and we're nice people who want to make the internet more usable for everyone (or something heh)."

On the other hand, even if visitors don't check out my sponsors, this site will continue to exist. Joy, joy. Though I wonder how I might upgrade this site if I had more support.


Jiekai happened to take me and someone to see what people were doing at Jitterbugs Swingapore.

The dancing couples looked quite comfortable with each other; so now we know why he's so enthusiastic about dance.


It was the turn of the windows of my house to have their rivets changed, in one of the strange minor, petty and often municipal issues whose power to excite people seems out of proportion to their significance, perhaps because such are the only issues that said people are allowed to channel their energies towards (other examples include the Casino and the role of the Chinese Lanuage in Singapore and the case in China of the national outrage regarding the humiliation caused by 300 Japanese businessmen having an orgy with prostitutes in Zhuhai 2 days before the anniversary of the Manchurian Incident).

And so my mother is spending $10k refurnishing the toilets, kitchen stove and repainting the house. Why, when the old furnishings were perfectly usable and serviceable, I do not know. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Anticipating the resulting difficulties and complications, especially when she boasted of how the fixtures in my toilet were to be more expensive than those in hers, I asked her not to renovate my toilet, but was told that "this is my house".

So now everything looks nicer, but is more fragile, since there is a lot more glass; the cupboards are not waterproof, which means it will be very hard for my father to wash the toilets. There is also less space to store all our toiletries and bath equipment, which besides having been dispersed throughout the whole house, are also now less accessible, kept inside cupboards and behind panels as they are: I was asked to throw away a lot of other things. What space there is, I'm told not to use - a perfectly good glass platform should be left unladen with toiletries, I am told, since otherwise it would have to be cleaned. To boot, we get nagged more about not dirtying the place and taking care not to spoil the furnishings.

This is just like when she throws away clothes of mine that are perfectly useable (and not meant for wearing out) on the grounds that they look old and are 'disgraceful', leaving me with little to wear, and much of it undersized; a lose-lose situation for almost all concerned.

My sister's going to go bonkers when she returns from the UK - they haven't started painting yet, and I don't think they'll be done by the time she comes back, so she'll be awoken in the middle of the morning everyday. Aww.


Winning at Wheel of Fortune:

"Frequency distribution of letters in English text
Source: H. Beker and F. Piper, Cipher Systems, Wiley-Interscience, 1982.

A 8.167
B 1.492
C 2.782
D 4.253
E 12.702
F 2.228
G 2.015
H 6.094
I 6.996
J 0.153
K 0.772
L 4.025
M 2.406
N 6.749
O 7.507
P 1.929
Q 0.095
R 5.987
S 6.327
T 9.056
U 2.758
V 0.978
W 2.360
X 0.150
Y 1.974
Z 0.074

Based on the analysis by Beker and Piper, the most commonly occuring letters in the English language are:

E - 12.7%
T - 9.1%
A - 8.2%
O - 7.5%
I - 7.0%
N - 6.7%
S - 6.3%
H - 6.1%
R - 6.0%
D - 4.3%
C - 2.8%

So the 3 consonants you should choose are: H, D and C. And for the vowel, A.

From what I remember, people like to choose the letters C and D, but rarely H. Ah well.


Someone on the 'Li Jiawei' type of hair clip: "please dun use it
no matter how long your hair is
i will be scarred for life
if i see u i will forever change my mind about girls with hair clips"


Christian science - "A whole new side of Jesus is cropping up in the field of decision science. A new generation of scholars is taking Jesus to their collective theoretic, strategic bosom. Two recent studies stand out... In a mere 32 pages, Hassner uses game theory to "clarify aspects of the gospel narrative that have puzzled readers for the past 2,000 years". He reminds us that game theory can "explain the rationality of characters' choices. [It can] offer a coherent strategic interpretation of the work examined or compare the relative plausibility of existing interpretations.""

Sheep dash reaction test - I scored an average of 0.2882, a "bobbing bobcat" (middle category of 5)

New Zealand Fungus Gnat - Arachnocampa luminosa - "New Zealand fungus gnat larvae are ingenious hunters. Suspended from their tubes are several dozen "fishing lines" made of silk and covered with globules of sticky mucous. When night comes and the larva begins to glow, various insects that are attracted to the light and fly near get caught in the sticky mucous of the fishing lines. Vibrations are sent up the line and sensed by the larva, which then begins to reel in its catch by swallowing the line. At the same time, certain chemicals within the mucous begins to paralyse the prey so that it doesn't try to break free, or get ensnared in other lines or damage the one its on. When the prey has been reeled up, the larva bites it, kills it, and then either sucks out its juices or eats the entire thing."



I see that everyone is falling asleep. You shouldn't be, otherwise you'll be falling asleep for 2 more years, in econometrics.

The mean is BLUE [Ed: Best Linear Unbiased Estimator]. This is very consoling, very reassuring. You can sleep soundly tonight.

99.9 percent of the population in Singapore, maybe less in other countries, is statistically illiterate. All of you are better than them. By the end of this course you will all be statistically literate, and I'll be so proud of you.

If your census left out someone living undergroun, or living in the jungles of Bukit Timah...

I just mentioned 'after the break' and suddenly everyone got so excited. I haven't finished!

If someone puts a confidence interval on the front page of the Straits Times, you'll get a whole lot of letters asking: What is this guy talking about?... You will see them in the Economist, but that's no surprise because it is the very best magazine in the world, at least according to me. If you read only one magazine, read the Economist. It has the best political analysis, it has the best economics analysis, even the level of English is the best.

[On the 'Confidence Trick' for Confidence Intervals] Whether or not it's trickery, you'll have to do it for exams.

[On the 'Confidence Trick' for Confidence Intervals] Make sure you don't think too much about it. These things - you can go insane. Or you can go to the philosophy department, which is a better alternative.

Shore dinger's cat (Schrodinger's)

The veil might burst or the veil might not burst (vial)

That's why you never see confidence intervals in the newspapers. I tried it once personally, in the Business Times, and it backfired very badly on me... At the presentation, I explained like I am explaining to you now. All the journalists sat at the back. The next day, it came out in the newspapers. They completely misinterpreted what I said. The next day, all the letters came in. 'What is this guy talking about?'... That's why I don't talk to anyone about confidence intervals. I only talk to you about confidence intervals.

I'm going to tell you a story about the t distribution... Why are you moaning? People complain it's too boring, so I try to liven it up with stories, but you all don't like it... for module feedback you can complain about it. Then next semester I'll change strategy again. No more 'Lady Tasting Tea', no more stories, no more pictures of Fisher. I'll put in a lot of mathematical formulas. So you will kill your juniors.

[On Student's t distribution and yeast in Guiness Stout] The Guiness Stout you are drinking is so good because of Gosset and Poisson *laughs from audience*

[On punchcard computing] Every 25 years the alumni office will have a dinner... For my year they sent us a punchcard as the invitation card, to remind us of those days.

It was a really nice, real written article. You should read it before you go to bed. (real?)

[On Windows] I don't know if it's a superior product, but it works for me. [Professor: Because you're locked into it.]

[On computer upgrades] They will send in a team to migrate my computer from here to there, and everytime they migrate something will get lost.

My kids went on my computer in my office and they changed everything. They changed it to Mozilla... It fouled up everything... these kids of mine, they fouled up everything... She changed the configuration.

We shall talk about Paul Krugman next time in our lecture because he has not very flattering things to say about Singapore.

It might be worst (worse)

Have you re'wound your tape? (rewound)

mer'new'pew'lated (manipulated)

[On half hearted experiments on competitive markets in Singapore] Just a bit and they cry to the government. Because they are a government-linked company they cannot lose money... 'Ok, we've tried already, it's failed'

[On reading week] We're not revising, we're learning new things.

What's reading week like for you guys? We don't have reading week in the States... Do you sit under a tree and read a novel?

[On a reading] I thought it was very hard when I first read this book. I sat down with 4 University Professors and took a year to finish the book, and we still weren't sure what *** was saying. I wrote to *** *** and he came down from San Francisco and spent 2 nights going through the book with us. So of course I'm going to assign it to you in your first year of college.

The hats of birds and mammals (heads)

Here we have a grammatical error. The next sentence is not a sentence. Why is it not a sentence? Come on, this is elementary grammar school stuff.

'I often hear' is not the kind of sentence I want you to use in your essays. *** *** can do that because he has 55 pages of references... you can't do that.

[He talks about] 'truncated and degenerate' [languages], and he gives an example of a truncated and degenerate sentence. I don't think he did that on purpose. If he did, he's brilliant, but I'm not willing to concede him that.

[On a video clip] There's no sound in this clip because the narration was really goofy and the music was [annoying, so I removed it]

Graph is very powerful. I don't know why you hate to use that. (Graphs are, them)

[On a student answering another student's question] Ok thanks. You saved my life.
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