When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

"In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite." - Paul Dirac


Recidivism patterns in the Canberra Reintegrative Shaming Experiments [RISE]

Abstract: "This is the final report on a project partially funded by the Criminology Research Council. The original title of the project, in the name of John Braithwaite and Lawrence W. Sherman, was "Reintegrative shaming of violence, drink driving and property crime : a randomised controlled trial". This report describes findings on the recidivism behaviour of offenders involved in the Canberra Reintegrative Shaming Experiments, which compared the effects of standard court processing with the effects of a diversionary conference for four kinds of cases: drink driving at any age; juvenile property offending with personal victims; juvenile shoplifting offences detected by store security officers; and youth violent crimes. Across the four experiments that make up the Reintegrative Shaming Experiments project (RISE), very different results have emerged for the different offence categories. In the youth violence experiment, those offenders who were assigned to conference subsequently offended at substantially lower levels-38 fewer offences per year per 100 offenders-than did the offenders assigned to court. This was not true for any of the other experiments. For drink-driving offenders, a very small increase in detected reoffending was found for the conferenced offenders relative to court-about four offences per offender per year per 100 offenders. The methodological conclusion of this five-year project is that multiple randomised trials are advisable for testing a new method of justice. The design of RISE anticipated the possibility of detecting different effects for different types of offences. That still remains the most plausible account of the differences reported, as opposed to differences by type of offender background. Further research should continue to break out different offence types for testing, rather than lumping diverse offence types together. The substantive conclusion of RISE is that restorative justice can work, and can even reduce crime by violent offenders. But there is no guarantee that it will work for all offence types. Caution and more research are needed before rapid expansion of any new approach to treating crime. Less caution is needed, however, in testing restorative justice on more serious types of violent offences. The findings in this report provide firm ground for repeating the violence experiment in many other venues and with more refined types of violent offences, including robbery, assault and grievous bodily harm."

In other words: Instead of sending people to court (presuming leading to jail and/or fines), they tried a diversionary conference instead ("a meeting between an offender, the victim, their families, other supporters and the police"). In the case of youth violence, there was a significantly lower risk of the offenders commiting the same crime again.


"More than one in five adults have used a vibrator (22%) and they are more popular
with women than men - 26% compared to 19%" - Durex Global Sex Survey 2005. Statistical issues aside, I'm wondering what the hell men do with vibrators. I mean, the descriptions of these things make you want to be female but, erm, what do they do with them...

Rub My Duckie - "Thinking of ways to start making bathtime more fun? Need a tub buddy who knows just how you like it? Have we got the ducky for you! This cute little ducky isn't as innocent as he would first appear. To the untrained eye, this ducky is nothing more than a standard bath-time, splash-time, bubble bath buddy, but give him a squeeze and he'll show you what he can really do!"

forget-me-not panties : with sensatech technology - "forget-me-not panties will help protect the women in your life! These panties will monitor the location of your daughter, wife or girlfriend 24 hours a day, and can even monitor their heart rate and body temperature. Based on pioneering research developed by the U.S. military at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), we have brought this revolutionary technology, previously only available to the military, to you!"
But who will protect the women in your life from you...?
I recently heard another good Law story.

Apparently the Law Club booked all the classrooms in Law faculty for the duration of Reading Week for the benefit of Law students.

Ahh, the advantages of being in a small faculty! I can't imagine any other faculty doing this for their students.

Actually the Engineering club should do this, then the Engin students won't have to invade every nook and cranny of the school, and spoilt the market for all the rest of us (See "SNAILS OFFENCES ACT" - I was tempted to do up something regarding the SLUGS, but that'd be too lame, so).

Engineering students - they come to Arts (everywhere in the school actually), take up space in our library (and probably our classrooms too), crowd us out of the canteen, take our foolscap paper, Milo and biscuits (The last academic year's Exam Teas had free Arts Club foolscap paper, biscuits and Milo, but there's no more free paper and Milo this year. Why ah?), take our women...


Lyrics to the full and presumably uncorrupted version of the song my BMT platoon used to sing:

surangani surangani
suraganina malu kanava
malu malu malu
suranganina malu
suranganina malu kanava

once a papa and a mama under mango tree.
den the papa asked the mama would u marry me
then the mama told the papa u are so ugly
den the papa told the mama pundeh minachi.


Feedback via email: please add "reading your blog" to your list of how we waste time..

A source informs me: "you know, under the helplines section of our [Ed: Raffles Guys' School] latest student's handbook, the helpline you call if you have 'homosexuality issues' is Choices (Church of Our Saviour)."


Someone: i'm not conducting a logical argument

Me: so you're conducting an illogical one? ;)

Someone: that was underhand of u...:D
that's why i never was a debater

it takes a certain type of annoying personality to be a proficient debater
one who can irritate
I grew tired of adding addenda to the Dawn Yeo/Yang expose, so here's some related/peripherally related material.


It seems some don't get my motives for doing the expose, so in explicit form, off the top of my mind, here they are:

1) She lied about having surgery, especially when it was so major.

"I will neither confirm or deny the allegations" is very different from "I did not have sex with that woman!" or indeed bringing up the point and dismissing it with faux resignation.

2) Her constant refutations of having gone under the knife.

"Her good looks have inspired much jealousy... 'People also accuse me of having plastic surgery, but what can I do?' she shrugged helplessly."

"U wanna gossip abt me havin surgery, fine i can't really stop u can i? but this isn't just gossip now, it's a very hurtful n wrongful ACCUSATION which is way out of line."

3) Her being indignant about it.

"another thing, sorry to burst your bubble but lemme be helpful n share a makeup secret: u can use brown eyeshadow to accentuate the crease of your eyelid making it look deeper. when u look down, it’ll obviously look like there’s a slight line. take a look at the angelina jolie pic i had, don’t her eyes look even more “cut”? haha cmon its just simple makeup sheesh!"

4) Her slamming, allegedly both in forum threads and in real life, of people who go for such surgery.


mkmk in the comments thread (where much more abounds):

"Plastic Surgery 101

Being a fan of "Nip/Tuck"...

Exhibit 1: photo 11/40, subject's friendster page, the pic with the "supreme" cap.

look under the nose, yep, that's rhinoplasty for you!"

Sheena: "Dearest all who said Agagooga was jealous, may I ask WHY? I mean, he's a GUY! Why the heck should he be jealous of a girl's looks?"

More photos of Dawn from JC: http://photobucket.com/albums/c258/dawnyeomemories/

I love the ad hominem attacks flowing in all directions (though mostly towards the clapbangkiss detractors).

Someone was bored/free enough to dig up even more pictures (some which I don't have) and set up a new Friendster account for her: "About Me:Photos of Dawn Yeo/Yang at varying stages of plastic surgery!"

For some reason most of the females I mention Woffles Wu to know who he is. Wth. I only heard of him on Wednesday night.


My favourite misanthrope: I can't believe people are getting so worked up about this dawn yeo thing. nobody cares what you post about politics and religion, but one bit of gossip draws them all in.

yh (in comments): usual socio-political posts, no comment
post on a surgically altered pretty face, 85 comments
there is hope for singapore


A smattering of reactions from the blogosphere:

Xialanxue has an open letter to her and arranged the pictures in chronological order. One comment there: "funny though! both people "accusing" her of plastic surgery are not "jealous girls" like dawn always says her accusors are. one is a heterosexual male and one is a homosexual female!" Glad to see I've convinced someone!

Dawning of teh Truth - Dawn has inspired an eponymous blog about plastic surgery. The first post talks about nose jobs, and the difference between Asian and Caucasian noses. The second measures alar/eye/dorsum ratios and shows that they fell significantly (20% post-surgery), which proves "she got an Alar Cartilage Resection procedure done".

[Addendum: Fanfiction featuring me and Dawn Yeo from suspiciousbastard.

MSNBC's Clicked picks up on it. (Hat tip to Mooiness!)]

"Dawn Yang" (sans quotes) is, as of 12:39am 1:19am 3:28am 3:17pm on 12th November, the 9th 5th 3rd top search on Technorati. NKF proportions!
A conversation with Johnny Malkavian on why going for plastic surgery itself is wrong and ending with my explanation of why free will is an illusion:

Someone: i prefer natural though. it means so much more when one puts effort into looking good

Me: ...
what about makeup? slim wraps?
you think plastic surgery is effortless?

Someone: think going to gym vs liposuction
makeup ?

Me: that's simplistic
how about creatin?

what if you're naturally born with low metabolism and work out
vs naturally born with a high metabolism and don't

Someone: look at it this way, there's a difference between enhancement and outright alteration
it's like the difference between studying effectively for an exam, and cheating.

Me: what about the student who gets tutors
and the one who doesn't

the one who comes from a rich home
and the one living in a one room flat

the one born smart
and the one born stupid

hell even our dilligence levels are not determined by us
free will is largely or totally a sham

Someone: for someone who doesn't believe in god, that's an interesting view you have on freewill

Me: au contraire
those who believe in the christian god believe in free will more

Someone: why is there no freewill then ?
or why is it a sham?

Me: we are born with some of our mental/personality characteristics which determine our dispositions, outlook on life, temperatment et al.
and acquire others later as we grow from life experience and social conditioning

do we have any control over these? no.
even if we did, the control we had would be a function of the previously-acquired mental/personality characteristics. ie If you're born with an angry streak you'll be less likely to try to control your anger

the only way to posit free will in here is to imagine a homunculus (little man) living in your brain - controlling you and deciding what you'll do - ie Free will

Someone: i thought a homunculus was a wizard's imps
lonewolf to thank i think

Me: however there are 2 issues here:

1) how do we know of the existence of this little man. or at best, a part of our brain immune to outside influences and magically making decisions independently. you may even want to posit a soul - but we can't detect/measure/find/see it, as far as we know it's a logical abstraction which we have formulated to, among other things, solve the problem of free will and which does not exist in reality

2) even if this homunculus/independent component of our brains/soul exists, how does it make its decisions? if it was made that way then this is the same as genetic determinism - you are your genes, or what you're born with. so we have no free will. or perhaps we can imagine that controlling this homunculus is another one inside. so you get matryoshka (those russian dolls - 1 inside another), not actually solving the problem

so of course there're problems here
criminals don't mean to commit crimes
they had bad childhoods, fell into bad company etc
can we really blame them?
in a sense we don't, but if we don't punish them society will fall apart so too pad.
Any reasonable man would agree that Dawn has indeed undergone plastic surgery.

Of course, The Associate aka He Who Must Not be Named aka mindgame aka nw.t., having nothing better to do and delighting in pissing me off, decided to engage in pointless, postmodernist and solipsistic arguments to try to drag me into epistemological nihilism.

When I said any reasonable man would agree that she had undergone surgery, he claimed you needed the opinion of an expert on plastic surgery. Which is plainly ridiculous - if almost everyone cannot recognise her, and most think the pictures are of 2 different people; you do not need a doctor or even a paramedic to certify that someone whose head has been separated from his body and is currently 100 metres away is definitely dead. Exasperated, I pointed out that the only alternative was that she woke up one day and found that she had a new face, a possibility which he did not rule out.

And then he disputed my use of the term "reasonable man", claiming that the "reasonable man" in Germany in the 1940s would have agreed that Jews should be exterminated because they were scum. To say nothing of the assumption that most Germans in the 1940s were anti-Semitic, this line of logic would mean that reasonable men do not exist since no one is infallible, and that nothing can be said or proven since everything is, ultimately, an opinion. Oh, and courts of law would also collapse and we would revert to a state of pseudo-anarchy.

(In a murder trial, the defense attorney was cross-examining the coroner:

Attorney: Before you signed the death certificate, had you taken the pulse?
Coroner: No.

Attorney: Did you listen to the heart?
Coroner: No.

Attorney: Did you check for breathing?
Coroner: No.

Attorney: So, when you signed the death certificate, you weren't sure the man was dead, were you?
Coroner: Well, let me put it this way. The man's brain was sitting in a jar on my desk. But I guess it's possible he could be out there practising law somewhere.)

In the end I got so fed up I put down on him.

With his sort of logic, even the fact of the world's being round would be impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt (let alone all doubt), since a reasonable man might disagree that we cannot prove that we are not brains floating in vats, and thus cannot know anything (except perhaps the fact of our existence). Hell, I'm not even sure that he exists, so I think I shouldn't talk to him for a week, especially since this is the umpteenth time he has wasted my time and raised my hackles with this bullshit.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.
Rosa Parks T-Shirt Project



There was a recent incident in which Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. This issue sparked off a huge debate amongst Americans, not to mention provoked much interest in the civil rights of Blacks, the subsequent acts taken by the State government, and expressing the views of Alabamans in general.

We are not embarking on this project to judge the act in any way; rather we feel that it brought a very important issue – the civil rights of Blacks – to prominence. Thus we were inspired to spontaneously start this initiative in an effort to promote active participation in citizenship, which we believe would eventually lead to less racism in society.


o The capacity to which our society can become more tolerant is immeasurable
o Increased communication between Whites and Blacks is essential for society to improve and progress as a whole, and lead to a more harmonious and united society
o Citizens should bear in mind the responsibility of keeping to legal boundaries in going about their daily lives
o Sensitivity to people of other races is essential to the concept of racial harmony


o To push for the concept of less racial discrimination in society where Whites and Blacks can interact on a level platform, bearing in mind the need to adhere to the segregation laws and Jim Crow laws (which prevent Blacks from voting) while doing so.
o Galvanize the Blacks of today to rise up from their apathy and despair they are stereotyped as having and take an active role in peacefully campaigning for desegregation (even if any laws might exist restricting peaceful assembly and demonstration), as well as participate actively in the reforming of our society
o To ultimately help create a more racially-cohesive, united society where everyone has a part to play in active citizenship


We would like to remind the public that even though Rosa Parks has become our mascot and symbol for the project, we are in no way attempting to judge or condone the Rosa Parks incident. Rather, we are using the accidental fame of Rosa Parks to spark interest in our project; they also serve as a reminder that legal boundaries are important and should be adhered to even while fighting racism and racial discrimination.

[Ed: If you don't get it, read the post below.

If you still don't get it, consider:

- Why would someone make a Rosa Parks T-shirt in the 21st century?
- Why would the T-shirt makers have Singaporean-style caveats about obeying the law?
- Why does it refer to the incident as "recent"?]

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The following made its way into my mailbox. Somehow I'm not surprised that it's Raffles Guys behind this (and GEPs too).

Chinese Newspaper article

T-Shirt logo

I tried to do a rough translation of the article, for people like me who can't understand Chinese, but it was unfortunately beyond me. Fortunately, there is a helpful information sheet below.

Attached document:


A project brought to you by class 415 of Raffles Girls School (Secondary)


There was a recent incident in which eight white elephants made out of cardboard were placed at the Buangkok MRT station on the North-East Line by some residents to convey their views on how the station is still as yet closed. This issue sparked off a huge debate amongst Singaporeans, not to mention provoked much interest in the closure of the station, the subsequent acts taken by the government, and expressing the views of Singaporeans in general.

Our class has always taken a strong interest in current affairs and this in particular caught our attention. We are not embarking on this project to judge the act in any way; rather we feel that it brought a very important issue – effective, reasonable ways of airing one’s views – to prominence. Thus we were inspired to spontaneously start this initiative in an effort to promote active participation in citizenship, which we believe would eventually lead to a more open, participative society.


o The capacity to which our society can grow is immeasurable
o Increased communication between the government and the people is essential for society to improve and progress as a whole, and lead to a more participative and united society
o Citizens should bear in mind the responsibility of keeping to legal boundaries while expressing their views
o Political maturity is essential to the concept of active citizenship


o To push for the concept of a more open, participative society in which people can discuss and air their views in an intellectual and insightful manner, bearing in mind the need to adhere to the law while doing so.
o Galvanize the youths of today to rise up from the apathy they are stereotyped with and take an active role in airing their views, as well as participate actively in the molding of our society
o To raise funds for Youth Guidance, a charity organization which works with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police in mentoring and reaching out to youths at risk. For more information on the organization, please see the section titled “About Youth Guidance” below.
o To ultimately help create a more participative, united society where everyone has a part to play in active citizenship


We would like to remind the public that even though the White Elephant has become our mascot and symbol for the project, we are in no way attempting to judge or condone the Buangkok MRT incident. Rather, we are using the accidental fame of the elephants to spark interest in our project; they also serve as a reminder that legal boundaries are important and should be adhered to even while expressing one’s views and opinions about political issues.

email: proj.white.elephant@gmail.com

I will remain insistently agnostic about this, at least until I've finished Robinson Crusoe. Rosa Parks T-Shirt Project
I hate Robinson Crusoe. And, I think, so does everyone else. He fazes even a legendary graduate student. [Addendum: If anyone understands the stupid model of Robinson in an exchange/production economy, please contact me. And apparently the bastard shows up in Macroeconomic models too - joy!]

"In this economy Robinson Crusoe plays a dual role: he is both a consumer and a producer. Robinson can spend his time loafing on the beach thereby consuming leisure, or he can spend time gathering coconuts. The more coconuts he gathers the more he has to eat, but the less time he has to improve his tan...

Suppose that Robinson is tired of simultaneously being a producer and consumer and that he decides to alternate roles. One day he will behave entirely as a producer, and the next day he will behave entirely as a consumer. In order to coordinate these activities, he decides to set up a labour market and a coconut market.

He also sets up a firm, Crusoe, Inc., and becomes its sole shareholder. The firm is going to look at the prices for labor and coconuts and decide how much labor to hire and how many coconuts to produce, guided by the principle of profit maximization. Robinson, in his role as a worker, is going to collect income from working at the firm; in his role as shareholder in the firm he will collect profits; and, in his role as consumer he will decide how much to purchase of the firm's output. (No doubt this sounds peculiar, but there really isn't that much else to do on a desert island.)...

We're going to think about this problem first from the viewpoint of Crusoe, Inc., and then from the viewpoint of Robinson, the consumer. The discussion is a little schizophrenic at times, but that's what you have to put up with if you want to have an economy with only one person."
A late followup to the silly "universal conscience" argument:

A: I cannot believe this. How is homosexuality immoral?

You see the problem with your argument, really, is that it sucks. What the hell is a lawful society ordered upon society's combined morals?? Now that's a super theory. You should publish it, you could really get a PhD for that breakthrough.

What the hell, really, is your idea of a 'conscience'? Because after having not read the posts for about two weeks and coming back after so long, it really seems as if your use of the word 'conscience' is interchangeable with 'my narrow world view based on a non-superficial and totalitarian interpretation of the Bible'. And sista, that just don't cut it. What the hell is a conscience? Mightn't it be an artificial construct, a human conception? And haven't the world's shittiest deeds happened on the best of consciences? Oh, let's say, the crusades. Which good God-fearing
Christians with a strait understanding of the Bible, incited in the name of God. Of course I'm caricaturing, but that's still a salient point.

On a tangential note, it has occurred to me that your style of argument and the line of argument are exactly the same. Both are highfalutin, holier-than-thou, moral-highground (of course, you being so 'moral'). Much like evangelical Christianity, you cannot tell when your simplistic arguments and your disgustingly
pharisaical tone of voice drives people absolutely insane.

The point is, there is a difference between morality and law, a distinction which I think ELgin has failed to make. A legal thing may not be moral, just as a moral thing may not be legal. The main difference between my (liberal) view and B's view is that B thinks that laws must conform to HIS idea of conscience and morality, while in my view you're really free to do whatever you want to do as long as you aren't harming anyone else. Whereas you can't do anything which offends B's conscience (by which I take to mean his squeamishness) in his perfect world.

Thank God most of the developed world thinks more like me than like B.

you see, when people disagree with you (or deviate from what you view as normal), they don't necessarily have to be a) wrong (in the more fundamental sense of the word, as in right vs wrong) or b) immoral.

you see, you can disagree with me. i will not call you immoral. i will call you extremely stupid.
Something I could profitably pass on:

"Hey everyone,

I'm wondering if you could help me with this: I want to know whether different university/college libraries permit students to check out DVDs from the library, i.e., take the media out of the library and return it on another day.

Currently at Carleton College students may only use media resources within the library (for various reasons) but this policy is under review, and one thing I'm doing is gathering information on this policy-- for universities across the USA, but even in England and Singapore and Denmark or Russia or as much as I can get.

So obviously I thought, what better way than to email the Humanities group, rather than check out individual university webpages. I figure this is something you're probably already familiar with.

I'd really appreciate it. Your response could be a simple yes! (students may check out media resources from the library) or no! (students may not check out media resources from the library) or in-between (yes for some media resources, no for other media resources).

So... just email me at zafarn@carleton.edu and it'd be great to hear from you! PLEASE RESPOND! I know how easy it is to forget about emails but this should be really quick!

Hope you're have a fabulous term!"


'Hormonal' women most attractive - "Women with high levels of the sex hormone oestrogen have prettier faces, research suggests. The findings make evolutionary sense - men are attracted to the most fertile women, the University of St Andrews team told a Royal Society journal."

Amazingly Yahoo Sucks Even More - "In an astounding show of jackassedness Yahoo deleted my Yahoo ID last year with no warning and no explanation. The Yahoo ID was the owner of 4 Yahoo groups including a humor list I had been operating since 1991 (I moved it to Yahoo in 2001) all of which are orphaned. I have sent numerous requests for an explanation, for the list of members of the groups, to have the groups transferred or at least to have them killed to Yahoo all of which are answered with a ‘We care about you, here is your case ID’ email and never another word. Earlier this year I even called the Yahoo office in California and spoke with a nice young lady who was unable to help me and told me to email the same address I had been trying to contact for the last few months."
So much for the keylogger theory.

Porn makes sperm better swimmers - "Looking at pornographic images of men and women together can increase the quality of a man's sperm, a new study suggests. Pornography involving a woman alone or multiple women doesn't have the same effect. Evolutionary biologist Professor Leigh Simmons of the University of Western Australia says the effect is based on an evolutionary process observed in animals known as sperm competition."
Interesting nugget from the disturbed bunny

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I had the pleasure of watching Tom Yum Goong with SM yesterday, and I must say that it's the best of the last 3 movies that I've watched. kai proclaims it his favourite movie of the year. The movie is full of social commentary, and artistic brilliance permeates each scene.

Near the start of the show, one villain Johnny summons a group of young hoodlums by pulling a string which sounds a ship's whistle (actually the thing which makes a lower, deeper, more sonorous sound, but I don't know what it's called) foghorn [Ed: I love the combined base of knowledge of my readers! They can answer any question!]. They then come in on bicycles, rollerblades and foot, and try to beat the protagonist up. The director is casting his withering gaze on the decadent youth of today, as viewed through the eyes of his protagonist. Having too much time, they have fallen into bad company and instead of studying work for the villain Johnny, beating up helpless Thai immigrants who cannot speak a word of English on his say-so.

One of the main villains in the show is a post-op transsexual (I knew she was one from the first time I saw her). In one of the movie's pivotal scenes, she battles discrimination, prejudice and loathing from the rest of the family (one calls her "bu4 nan2 bu4 nu3" [neither male nor female] to emerge triumphant and head her family business. She does this by poisoning her 2 male rivals. She also fights with a whip in one of the movie's last scenes, thus showing that post-op transsexuals are every bit as capable and ruthless as before their operation. She also has the show's only makeout scene (assuming that the movie wasn't cut despite its NC16 rating), showing that even villains (ie the Caucasian who made out with her) are capable of overcoming prejudice and social conditioning to appreciate post-op transsexuals for who they really are, rather than holding their physical condition against them, so there is no excuse for normal people untainted by evil, to continue in their prejudice.

Another moral of the movie is that all humans are capable of evil. We see people of different races and nationalities - Thai, Australian, Caucasian, Chinese and Black, united in fighting for the antagonists. Evil is in the human heart and thus there is no reason for us to be racist, since we are all capable of evil deeds.

In a seminal commentary on globalisation, there is a TV channel in Australia where the presenter has atrocious pronunciation, and the person who wrote her script is equally dismal in his standard of English. Obviously the director despaired at declining linguistic standards, and decided to share his horror with his audience.

Tom Yum Goong also makes a powerful statement about Neo-Imperialism. In the restaurant scene, we see that all the diners who are eating dishes made from endangered species are white. Meanwhile the lackeys who impede our protagonist and the kitchen staff are all Asian. Obviously the director is decrying how globalisation is resulting in the rape of Thailand and other IndoChinese countries for the benefit (culinary or otherwise) of Imperialist Westerners.

The artistry of the movie also far surpasses anything in Wong Kar Wai.

The blows of the protagonist speak of his grace and efficiency - he does not engage in flourish and showy moves, preferring deft blows that get the job done without wasting his stamina or energy.

The clarion clear sound effect as each lackey's bone is broken is pure and powerful, and as the protagonist cumulatively breaks bones, the rhythm of the cracking bones builds into a symphony of sound.

The looks of rage on the actors' faces when they fight and the sheer agony reflected on them after they've had their tendons severed also speaks volumes. Through their eyes, one is initiated into a whole world of meaning.

In one scene, the floor is filled with black-suited lackeys writhing in pain after being crippled by the protagonist. The way their bodies are arranged, the degree of the curl and the rhythm of the writing is sheer genius.

Lastly, I have to mention the reverse psychology trick about DVD piracy. In one scene, as the protagonist crosses a street (or something), a woman says in the background: "Don't buy pirated dvds... it's disgusting!". By providing an example of the vacuous and poorly-supported arguments that content providers (which have copyright for what is in effect eternity) offer to justify draconian measures to crack down on the faux threat of piracy, Tom Yum Goong exposes the lies of the industry and makes us cognizant of their fallacious arguments.

"Chang ku yu nai!!!"
"See what will happen if you don't stop biting your fingernails?" - Will Rogers, to his niece on seeing the Venus de Milo


Friendster's novel way to solve the free-riding problem:

"Sorry! You cannot see who has viewed your profile since you are viewing profiles anonymously. If you want to start tracking who is viewing your profile, go to your settings and change your anonymous setting to "off"."

(If you want to see who has viewed your profile, you have to let people know that you've been viewing their profiles, ie It's a reciprocal thing.)


A: hm, they're offering titanic on dvd with alternate ending. Is that the one where it floats?

B: No, the one where it turns out to be a spaceship and takes off for Mars!
It was all a coverup


Someone on research in Singapore: the reason why sg will never succeed as a global research hub is because we are leaking top talents, theere is no impetus for anyone to stay here

tracey ho... president's scholar, lky scholar, now professor at cal tech
it's really not that sg has no smart scientists. they are all gone, that's all.

because it's stifling here. you get a start up package with strings attached. there is no productivity because labs compete instead of collaborate
can you believe this crap, NUS and NTU and ASTAR hide research from each other because they always want to scoop the other
in biopolis, their incubators are chained and padlocked beacuse they'v ebeen victims of sabotage.
it's like chaining up your fridge cos someone is stealing your oreos.

Me: doesn't that happen elsewhere?

Someone: there is competition here. but it's collaborative competition.
of cours ethere are cut-throat pple here too. but they ar edrowned out b the majority who just want to share and get more done
singapore is so fuking small, being selfish is just spiting yourself...

i think the biggest flaw is the lack of a challenging academic environment. one genius cannot do it alone...
but *** [Ed: A Singaporean research agency], they are so stupid. they pick up leftovers that no one else wants, and throw money at them and laud their greatness. these are 2nd, 3rd tier people.

1st tier people come, sure, cos o f the money and the sugar-coated promises. but they are smart enough to retain their primary appointments elsewhere.

the scientific climate gets me hot and bothered. really.
and we are losing our geniuses like a leaky boat. urgh.


Someone: when i pissed..i suddenly could cuss non stop..lol

Me: you cussed non stop when you pissed?
erm. remind me never to use the same toilet


Nazi Germany | They stooped to conquer

"Dictatorships are ultimately based on terror—not necessarily overt repression, but the knowledge that lurks at the back of every citizen's mind that there are lines that cannot be crossed without incurring terrible penalties. These are not necessarily conventional lines established by an easily recognised social morality. Second-guessing what National Socialism might regard as a political crime was a risky business. Silence was preferred; the averted gaze replaced the straight stare. Only a very few brave Germans tried to keep other political options alive, often earning a spell in a camp for their pains. News of how awful the camp experience was rippled out from the families who had suffered, resulting in an efficient, private compliance."

"People deserve the governments they get."

Monday, November 07, 2005

After being spammed with loads of inane voice clips on M$N native, I have changed my status message from "On Miranda: Your nudges, winks, flash smileys and emoticons can't faze me!" to "On Miranda: Your nudges, winks, flash smileys, annoying voice clips and emoticons can't faze me!"

I should use M$N native every once in a while to remind me of why I use Miranda. And to find stuff to add to "Why MSN Instant Messenger (M$N IM) is evil".

Sunday, November 06, 2005

"I felt like poisoning a monk." - Umberto Eco, on why he wrote the novel "The Name of the Rose."


Source on SMU students asking stupid questions: im not surprised that u think they asked stupid qns. coz i used to think so too. i refused to degrade myself to that state. then i suffered badly.

get A for examination based subjects, but B for those with heavy weightage on participation. ive learnt to go with the flow.

Me: haha
basically you must ask stupid questions to score marks huh

why not ask smart questions?

Source: no, basically u need to talk.
where got so many smart qns to ask. or maybe becoz pple arent that smart anyway. lol

people will think u made that [Ed: This conversational extract] up

Me: so you regret going to SMU now?

Source: sometimes. honestly ah, i thought i could spoil market here. lol. end up so many ppl are smarter than me over here.
and those who aren't as smart are more thick-skinned. they asked stupid qns and score better than me

smart ones usually know everything. and when they asked, its probably smart qns too. but they have learnt to go with the flow to even ask things they already know.

i remember people asking things that were explained so explicitly in the textbook but was not brought up in class. im sure they got the qn only after reading the text. lol

Me: bah
SMU is a sham man

how high is participation?

Source: 15,20,25% it all depends


He Who Must Not Be Named took a bite of my Timeout ice-cream stick and remarked that it was really good. He then took another bite.

I remarked that it was because, unlike cheap Ma-laysian ice-cream, this was not vanilla-flavoured ice cream coated with an artificial chocolate-flavoured coating, but had the real stuff in it. Oops - I forgot that for the past few years, in their never-ending quest to con consumers, they've changed their terminology from "artificial" to "nature identical". Oh, and the probable lack of palm oil was most likely also a factor.


Boys, the floor is yours - "Evidence suggests that the pendulum has swung in favour of girls. Teaching is term-based and suits women teachers, who have come to be a majority. The curriculum is increasingly focused on steady coursework (which girls automatically prefer) rather than dramatic sudden-death exams (which boys are supposed to like). The whole system is increasingly feminised, which may account for the fact that boys are doing badly. This week’s figures have just over half of all British boys not reaching a proper standard of literacy and numeracy by 11 years old. In the US, where worry on this subject is more advanced than here, 70 per cent of children with learning disabilities are male, and 80 per cent of high school dropouts are male. A sense is growing on both sides of the Atlantic that education has derogated from its duty to boy-nature by going all girly. Boys, they say, need something else."

High school orders students to stop blogging - "Officials say decision motivated by cyber safety concerns, not censorship"
"Safety" and "security" - the 2 big red herrings.
"We all know that the great argument of those who defend capital punishment is the exemplary value of the punishment. Heads are cut off not only to punish but to intimidate, by a frightening example, any who might be tempted to imitate the guilty. Society is not taking revenge; it merely wants to forestall. It waves the head in the air so that potential murderers will see their fate and recoil from it.

This argument would be impressive if we were not obliged to note:
(1) that society itself does not believe in the exemplery value it talkes about;
(2) that there is no proof that the death penalty ever made a single murderer recoil when he had made up his mind, whereas clearly it had no effect but one of fascination on thousands of criminals;
(3) that, in other regards, it constitutes a repulsive example, the consequences of which cannot be foreseen.

To begin with society does not believe in what it says. If it really believed what it says, it would exhibit the heads. Society would give executions the benefit of the publicity it generally uses for national bond issues or new brands of drinks.

... How can a furtive assassination committed at night in a prison courtyard be exemplary? At most it serves the purpose of periodically informing the citizens that they will die if they happen to kill--a future that can be promised even to those who do not kill. For the penalty to be truly exemplary it must be frightening. [...] Today there is no spectacle, but only a penalty known to all by hearsay and, from time to time, the news of an execution dressed up in soothing phrases. How could a future criminal keep in mind, at the moment of his crime, a sanction that everyone tries to make more and more abstract?"

- Albert Camus, Reflections on the Guillotine (as transcribed by voctir)

Someone else quoting from the same:

"What then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be an equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal, who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him, and who from that moment onward had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life."
My brother-in-law got handed the following in Orchard Road. The last part's the best:

A New Era is Approaching

Experiencing the Monumental Change in History, Support 5,000,000 Withdrawal from the Chinese Communist Party

[Caption of first image] On July 22, 2005, more than 2,000 people from across the world gather in front of Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, USA to hold a rally to support the Chinese people resigning from the Communist Party.

An unprecedented astounding change in history, is rushing toward us. In November 2004, the The Epoch Times published an editorial series the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, comprehensively and profoundly exposes the true nature of CCP. After that, the Nine Commentaries has been widely circulated across the world, including the Mainland China. The VCD of the Nine Commentaries has become best seller in major coastal cities in China, and has led to an unprecedented upsurge of withdrawal from the CCP. This is a rare spiritual awakening movement that has an epoch-making significance in the world’s history, and also a beginning for the Chinese nation to walk toward a New Era.

As of today, the number of people who have publicly announced their withdrawal from the Party and its affiliated organizations at the Epoch Times Website has reached more than 5 million, including former CCP’s political counselor at Chinese Embassy in Sydney, Australia Chen Yonglin, former director of Shenyang City Judicial Department Han Guangsheng, and former Tianjin “610 Office” officer Hao Fengjun. While in Mainland China, a large number of people have posted their statements of withdrawal from the Party in public places. The Nine Commentaries has been translated into 20 languages, and was awarded as best seller in June in South Korea, and won top honon in the category “Asian American Issues - Online” in USA. There have been over 350 forums on the Nine Commentaries. The book is recognized as “a book that shakes the Chinese people around the world, a book that is disintegrating the Communist Party.”

The CCP has systematically destroyed Chinese traditional culture, devastated Chinese spiritual civilization and ethical soci-

One of the most evident characteristics of Communism, no matter whether in China or other countries, is the flagrant violation of human rights, and suppressing all individuals and organizations that threaten its dictatorship. East European communist countries and former Soviet Union have collapsed successively, indicating that the same thing will happen in China. — the member of delegation to the Council of Europe, Member of Swedish Parliament Goran Lindblad

ety that is based on Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, and corrupted social morals. Disrespect for Heaven and Earth and the order of nature resulting in disastrous ecological environment.

Chinese Communist Party’s despotic rule is unconscionable, has long been despised by the whole world. Today’s communist Party members have long discarded the “communist ideal.” When the Communist Party is approaching to its end, and is about to collapse, all kind-hearted people of the world must be able to recognize its unpardonable crimes. Purge the Communist Party’s baneful influence spiritually, break from the control of Communist evil specter psychologically, and free from the bondage of terror, and give up all illusion toward the CCP.

A mystical stone of million years have these characters etched on it: ‘The Chinese Communist Party Collapses”

[Caption of second image] Admission ticket design for "hidden words stone" scenic spot in Zhangbu Village, Pingtang County, Guizhou Province

In June 2002, a 270 million- year-old “hidden words stone” was digcovered in Zhangbu river valley scenic spot in Guizhou. A crack that formed 500 years ago in a megalith reveals six characters neatly brush-written in Chinese; the characters represent The Chinese Communist Party Collapses.” (Chinese words)

Experts believed that there are no traces of having been man made. This “hidden words stone” not only is a world-class marvelous sight, but also has great geological research value. More than 100 other newspapers, television stations, and websites have retransmitted the news about the scientific investigation. Even though no one dares to mention the sixth character, “collapses”, everyone who dan see it understands its meaning.

For detailed information, please visit the following site http://clearwisdom.net or contact Ms. Ng at 98591154

Amazing how an anti-Communist tract can sound so Communist itself in tone and language.

Meanwhile their miracle sounds suspicious. I bet they took lessons from apologists/evangelists in how to fake and defend so-called miracles.

And as I suspected, this was brought to you by the Falungong. One "evil cult" sliming another; wonderful, I say!
"The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract." - Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.


Someone replied to the "Why all girls are bicurious post"!

Someone: Hmm I’m not so sure about ALL females being bicurious... Sounds like an unbelievable erroneous claim to me (been trying to honestly ask myself if I will even think about dating another women, so far the possibility is really.. zero).. But well this possibility can always be tested out. Anyway, I just want to contribute some points regarding some of the ideas put forth in this post. I think I’m a bit confused with regards to how bicuriousity was explained above. Is it because they get their thrills from the prioritized emotional intimacy and hence are receptive to dating other females in order to seek this emotional intimacy, or is it because there is a spillover effect where checking out the appearance of rivals turns to intra-sexual attraction? Pardon me if I’ve misunderstood. =)

Concerning emotional intimacy, It is likely that emotional intimacy and attachment between men and women was selected as it solved the adaptive problem of forming long term pair bonds, especially for humans who can “move around” and thereby more likely to seek sex with others. However is emotional intimacy with opposite sex partnering the same as that for same sex partnering? My guess is that nature would have selected an emotional intimacy between opposite sex mating partners, and probably emotional intimacy between same sex friends (irreplaceable friends?), BUT these two kinds of emotional intimacy serve different functions and to me they probably evolved in different contexts and exists differently. It is hard to imagine being attracted to a same sex friend because of the possibility of emotional attachment, when this can be experienced in the context of friendship. Thus my question is, are we looking at emotional intimacy per se, or emotional intimacy in certain context? That is, does emotional intimacy with same sex or opposite sex partners make a difference? Like in the case of the evolution of many phenomena we have to take note of the context. Also, I’m quite intrigued by the idea that intra-sexual competition in the form of checking out the appearance of possible rivals can spill into intra-sexual attraction. First of all, I admit that I do check out the appearance of other women, and yes many a times there’s this feeling of envy and admiration, but I wonder how even admiration can turn in attraction. From the evolutionary perspective, I think claiming that intra-sexual competition spills over into intra-sexual attraction necessarily limits the power of sexual selection. If sexual selection is strong enough to account for the many psychological mechanisms we know, I think it is very unlikely for something so contradicting to happen. Finally, I think the point made about male homosexuality is pretty interesting, offering a rather interesting explanation of why the homosexuals tend to take care of their physical appearances well.. Here there’s an assumption that homosexuals are just like every other men in terms of the evolved psychological mechanisms that men have.. We don’t know for sure how homosexuality could have evolved, but this indeed seems an appealing account for why males prioritize physical attractiveness in both hetero- and homo-sexual relationships.

So in all I really I don’t quite buy the idea of bicuriosity in females and how it can be explained using emotional intimacy and spillover.. I can be very wrong of course (defense for women in action.. haha) .. Well,Just some thoughts. =)

Me: Most women then, maybe. I should start a poll :P

My theory, concocted from observation, reading and things people tell me (and totally unsupported by any statistical evidence), was that women could be bicurious because of both emotional thrills and checking out the competition. The former seems a stronget point, though. I added the latter as an afterthought so I won't attempt to defend this theory :P

Regarding intimacy between men and women: both genders have the capacity for forming deep pair bonds, yes, but women look out more for emotional intimacy when considering forming a long term partnership, since in evolutionary terms this means the guy would be less likely to impregnate her and run off. Being more desirious of emotional intimacy presumably makes one more able to provide said intimacy. So if you have 2 women who look out for emotional intimacy, perhaps they might find it in each other.

Emotional intimacy with the opposite sex might be different from emotional intimacy with the same sex, but my point was that emotional intimacy is not tied to physical attributes, unlike physical attraction (ie so few males are bicurious).

"It is hard to imagine being attracted to a same sex friend because of the possibility of emotional attachment, when this can be experienced in the context of friendship."

But then this would apply to friendship with males as well, no? Does that mean it's the physical attraction part that hooks the females? I think not, as both statistical and anecdotal evidence shows.

As for intra-sexual competition and sexual selection, a friend points out that most men are turned on by the thought/sight of 2 women making out or getting it on. Indeed some girls "[snog] each other in bars to attract male attention, only to stop the snogging when interesting males have left", so intra-sexual attraction might help with sexual selection after all!
If life's too short to watch French films, it's also too short to watch Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express; random, long-winded, motion-sickness inducing chases, the lack of a coherent storyline, annoying music in some parts, large numbers of mustachioed Indians running around the streets of Hong Kong, 2 halves which are only very loosely connected to each other and characters doing things for reasons that are never fully explicated.

No wonder it would never have been shown in America is Quentin Tarantino never brought it in on his DVD collection. I bet the rest of the "Rolling Thunder" collection is just as bad. I think the moral of the film is that you can make shitty, boring and draggy films and the critics will still fawn and gush over them with post-hoc rationalisations. As Quentin Tarantino observes in the post-film lesson, Wong Kar Wai took inspiration from the "French New Wave" and combined it with the energy of other Hong Kong films, which is why you get a pool of energy without any clear direction. The "French New Wave", according to him, used to "break the rules" (probably one of them being that a film should be watchable) and "make [it] up as you go along" (if you start something with no idea what you're doing or where you're going, it's a good bet that you're going to end up with a mess on your hands).

I want 1 hour+ of my life back (luckily they ended the film screening early).
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