"The happiest place on earth"

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

"The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children." - Clarence Darrow


[Ed: This essay has since been updated. The latest version is on my homepage: Malaysia - the Land of Poor Quality]

In light of recent events, I feel compelled to update my "Malaysia - the land of poor quality" paragraph and expand it into a post.

For one, we have Brown Bear, the teddy bear my brother-in-law stole from me. I bought him in the mid-90s (maybe 1994), but in the late 90s he started getting injured (incidentally, someone observes that he started getting injured shortly after I returned from Plaak in end 1998 - when my brother-in-law stole him). The fur on his nose eroded, revealing first the dark brown cloth base and then the shiny pink material underneath. Then when I went to the UK in 2003 I noticed that he had acquired a vagina. And recently the vagina has expanded and there's a gash down his thigh. Even if he was made in China, it was for the Malaysian market so the specifications would've been looser and the QC less strict. Blue Bear, bought in Singapore, is in a lot better condition considering his age (1986).

Another thing is "kordial" (cordial) instead of real fruit juice. It is pretty depressing walking around supermarkets in Malayusia, as it's very hard to find proper fruit juice. Instead you've a huge range of fruit kordials and fake orange juice (really orange juice drink, but cunningly labeled so you can't quite tell the difference, although of course someone like me always can tell).

We also have Malaysian Pringles (the post speaks for itself). At the last YR gathering we had one tube - in a blind taste test Charles ('The quality sucks!') and Enming knew it was Malaysian (of course the Cock had no idea). I noticed that they were also labeled "For sale in ASEAN only" - probably if you export it to the rest of the world, no one would buy or eat it.

We also have lousy cat food. someone bought Rosie dry cat food from Malaysia (the can had a picture of a tudung-ed lady), but she refused to eat it; when my brother-in-law mixed it with better quality cat food, she even slowly separated it from the rest and refused to eat it. My brother-in-law's mother scolded him for giving her such lousy cat food, and gave it to a feeder of stray cats in Marine Parade who in turn scolded her for the same reason, saying that it was lousy stuff - some strays were reluctant to eat it, and some refused, if given a choice. She didn't feed her own strays with it, but left it in a pile somewhere where there were many others.

Everything is made with and contains palm oil, which is one of the most unhealthy oils you can get. This is probably one of the reasons why Malaysian Dunkin Donuts tastes like shit, despite being alright outside of Malaysia. Hell, even the coffee creamer in Malaysia contains no cream, but instead a palm oil derivative. I find Malaysian A&W good, but this is probably because I've never eaten at a real A&W (those in Singapore probably had the same suppliers).

someone bought bak kwa in KL, from a chain that was very good in Singapore. Unfortunately, this bak kwa tasted like shit, having a horrible smell and taste.

McDonalds Milkshakes are also the worst milkshake I've ever had. In June 2005, I was in JB and when Kok Heng spotted a McDonalds, I realised he shared my passion for milkshakes, so we and Jiekai got one each. Unfortunately, even McDonalds was not safe from the corrupting influence of Ma-laysia. Perhaps they were running out of milkshake mix or something - our two strawberry and one chocolate milkshake were all adulterated with vanilla. Mine was the worst: 90% of my milkshake was vanilla, and it wasn't even good vanilla, having a limp, miserable flavour and without the rich and creamy base of a Real McDonalds Milkshake (which in turn is not on the top of the hierarchy - Carl's Jr provides the base standard for a good milkshake, and Billy Bombers' folded-not-blended passes the test with flying colours).

In Europe, Jiekai and I were reminiscing about the time we sat in a Perodua. The car felt like shit, and I remember that it felt like it'd fall apart at any time. No wonder Jeremy Clarkson smashed his. Jiekai also mentioned that his Creative MP3 player, though only 1 1/2 years old, had problems with its audio jack. To no one's surprise, it was manufactured in Malaysia (I think my other friend whose Creative MP3 player fell apart in 3 months was also manufactured there). I then recalled that my Palm IIIc had given up the ghost after only a year, while the m130 was still going strong after more than 3 1/2 years. Guess which was made in Malaysia and which in China?

My Canon Powershot A70 also spoiled after 2 years - when I sent it in for evaluation, they said that the CCD failure was their fault; naturally, the camera was made in Malaysia. Cadbury's chocolate milk powder also tastes very different depending on whether it comes from Malaysia or Australia, and Malaysian milk chocolate tastes like shit because of the palm oil.

When I was at my brother-in-law's place, I saw this in the fridge: "Sunkist Premium 100% Orange Juice... You can't resist it. Sunkist Quality... The best oranges. Now the best orange juice... "Sunkist Premium" is the ultimate orange juice using only the finest oranges to bring you the "Premium" flavour and pure orange juice pleasure"

Thinking that it was good stuff, I took a swig. I almost spit it out. It was the worst "Premium" orange juice I'd ever had, and tasted like that made from concentrate (vile juice), especially with that nasty bitter edge (Florida's Natural has a slight bitter tang, but that's alright not least because it's compensated with the not-from-concentrate goodness).

Looking at the side, I saw the following: "Ingredients: Concentrated Orange Juice, Orange Pulp Cells, Orange Juice...". Bloody hell. They put in less fresh orange juice than pulp and they dared to call it "Premium"; there wasn't even that much pulp - less than half as much as Florida's Natural's Most Pulp variety. Looking at the side, I was not surprised to find out that it was packed in Malaysia.

Just about the only things in Malaysia that're well-made are hawker food (outside of food courts), pirated products and fresh fruit and vegetables. (Some people think Malaysian Milo tastes good -because- of the Palm Oil, but not being a fan of Milo I can't comment)

Just why Malaysia is the land of poor quality is left as an exercise for the reader. Unfortunately, Singapore is near Malaysia, so we get a lot of this shit also. The only way to solve this problem is consumer education and awareness.
Blogs for Bush: The White House Of The Blogosphere: The Death of Science

"It was, after all, science and its enthusiasts which fell for the Piltdown Man, Haekel's embryos, eugenics, Population Bomb, ALAR, etc, etc, etc. So many bogus theories, dressed up as science, and greeted by the believers in science as the be-all and end-all of existence. After a while, it was bound to errode the foundations of science - and now it has. Science is now so intertwined with myth and political gamesmanship that whatever judgements are pronounced under the cover of science are immediately suspect - everyone who hears such things wonders when some future science will completely refute what is held as rock-solid science today."

Creationist bashing gets boring after a while, which is why I haven't engaged in it for a time - really it's like shouting at people with their fingers in their ears and chanting "I can't hear you". But anyway I've just thought of a new corollary:

History is not based on genuine empirical evidence (of the sort that say, Charles's Law is) but rather on subjective attempts to string together a few axiomatic principles of the nature of the human condition such as those presented by Mr. ***, and pre-conceived notions of past occurences into a full-blown narrative of the past. In the process a lot of bad logic goes into the works eg the circularity of relying on documentary and archaeological evidence (especially dating artefacts by means of the decoration of pottery shards), or the deliberate ignorance of the documentary record that doesn't fit into the theory (eg Fairy tales, The Book of Gilgamesh, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, The Donation of Constantine, The Book of Mormon, The Hitler Diaries), or all sorts of chicanery in an attempt to produce "proof" that Alexander the Great reached India.

The patchy "evidence" of the historical record doesn't really "prove" the veracity of the historical narrative, all it proves is that at a certain period of time a certain artefact of this sort existed (in many cases it proves even less than that, i.e. all those fanciful reconstructions of "life in the Egyptian Old Kingdom" etc are great works of fiction and art in many cases). This is empirical evidence all right, but of a conjectural variety and not "logical" in the true sense of the word that we use. To artfully paint the "historical links" between documents and artefacts is very creative and imaginative indeed, but it is not logical, any more than *** were to buried with Gibbons, this would provide "proof" for alien visitors in the future that 17 centuries ago a great empire fell.
This must be one of the biggest loads of bullshit I have ever read.

From Wikipedia:

Autofellatio as entheogenic practice

Autofellator Glenn Scheper conveys an aspect of autofellatio that is often lost in the spectacle of this ostentatious sexual practice but which nonetheless suggests a connection to the ancient cosmogenical myths involving autofellatio. Scheper discovered autofellatio as a 24 year old and attributes several years of psychotic disturbances to this find. In essence he posits that the practice brings the practitioner into a heightened awareness – a rapture-like state of consciousness – conducive to profound ontological insights. Autofellator Al Eingang explains some of the reason for this attained ability to «tweak» one's orgasm both for extended duration and increased intensity:

"Imagine having someone suck on your cock who knows exactly what you're feeling at every moment; who can adjust every variable instantly to provide you with maximum pleasure. Imagine […] sucking on the cock of a man who knows exactly how hard and fast to push, and when to pull out […] Having that much control means that I can have a variety of kinds of orgasms…" (Al Eingang)

Scheper likens what happens to the phenomenon of infinite regress known in quantum mechanics as a strange loop or Von Neumann's catastrophe of the infinite regress where the mind loses its grip on the subject-object relationship and one finds oneself at once being receiver and giver of fellatio. This could be comparable to an experience of apotheosis which Scheper compares with the surmised initiatory states of consciousness attained by religious icons such as Enoch, Moses, Buddha and Jesus. The literature history is, according to Scheper, replete with esoteric references to this act. He gives for instance the following example from the Old Testament involving Moses:

And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. (Exodus 33:21-23)

The exoteric significance of this section becomes very obvious when one sees the rock as Moses' skull; the glory as Moses' phallus, that also being his standing aspect. Scheper points out that for this metaphor (and other that he enumerates) to be recognized it is essential to realize that the classic autofellatio discovery position is inverted, "when body weight flexes one's neck to yield a sudden advantage. Thus upside-down"

Someone: fukewunnerstan
The depths (or lengths, if you like) that some people will go to to promote their MLM despite obvious and known aversion on the part of recipients are troubling.

One of my biggest fears is that after I die, I will be unwillingly inducted in by means of rites performed on my corpse.

I'd rather it be teabagged, flagellated, castrated, deveined, disemboweled (with the intestines burned in a fire), skinned, drawn and quartered and the head stuck on a spike while each part is transported to a different locality (perchance to be used for Gunther von Hagens' Bodyworlds).

I know it's irrational, but still, it's one of the greatest insults I can think of.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Being back in the land of SACSALs ("SACSAL refugee camp") is, in different ways, both comforting and depressing.

To mitigate the moral hazard problem inherent in group work (perhaps "solve" is too hopeful a word), in one module we're required to name the best and worst member of the group, and if there's someone who deserves more or less credit than the rest, and why.

The Ben and Jerry's waterbottle I thought I lost 2 semesters ago was in Chattercube! Though it had a year's worth of ants inside. Ugh.

After a short email exchange, Eurolines refunded me half the return fare from Utrecht to London.

A friend is going on exchange to the Netherlands this semester. Her visa got rejected because the bank's letter didn't say if the money in the account was in US$ or S$. Wth.

Florida's Natural now produces fruit juice nuggets. Wth? Incidentally it doesn't seem to be made from Californian oranges anymore. Guess the partnership fell through.

Stuff that's more expensive in Cold Storage:

- Champignons (maybe 2x the price)
- Potted plants (maybe 4x the price - my parsley!)

Maybe it's cheaper at Shop & Save.


Is this the right class? There's supposed to be 150 of you. First day, right?... For most of you this is the first classof the new semester, which probably explains why most of youaren't here.

*Flashes slide: "Expect this course to be hard"* That's the good news.

Some of the models will be pretty. Some of them will be ugly. You will take them all on.

Causes from MIT (courses)

Am I going too slow?... One nod. I guess it counts.

[On grading] 4% is attendance. It was forced upon me by the faculty.

[On homework] Copyright will be highly appreciated in this module... To be fair, I will punish both... You should keep your submission as confidential as possible. (He hasn't heard of Creative Commons)

Science faculty graduates earn 5 times more. Excuse me, 5 percent times more than arts graduates (more)

[On matrices] This matrix is totally different from the movie Matrix (...)

Change position means change the poles (Transposition, changing)

Row and colour (column)

[On matrix multiplication] Your reaction seems to be - *flashes clipart of woman with a dropped jaw*

If I give you a 100 by 100 matrix, can you invert it? Yes. But you don't have to know. The computer will know.

What are you doing in science? [Student: Life sciences] So you don't like maths? [Student: I like it.] She likes mathematics.

[To a Sikh] Am I allowed to crack any Singh jokes? [Sikh: I guess it depends.]

XXX. [Student: Actually my first name is YYY.] I know, but this sounds better.

What is the grade you got the last time you took my module? [Student: B-] You deserved it, did you? [Student: I think so, since you gave it to me.]

We have 2 Kenneth Tans. So who's Kenneth Tan 1?

[On a Dutch architect who designed NUS] This guy built this campus so students would get lost. [Student: No, it was so students wouldn't go on strikes... lots of hills, hard for students to congregate.] I hadn't heard of that theory. [Student: It's an urban legend.] I thought it was so the corridors would get wet everytime it rains. Please, this NUS building was not designed by engineers. It was designed by architects.

[On the previous lecturer not stopping on time] I will make sure he stops on time. I have been here long enough. I know how things work... I will tell him 'a girl from your class complained'. That will throw him off the scent. [Student: It's a guys' class.]

I don't like to call teachers here lecturers. Lecturers are like past US presidents who go around the country lecturing about the misdeeds which they have done.

[On prestige in degrees] There were 3 things we could've done. Engineering, medicine or law. The others were not. *pauses* That was the choice available to me, anyway.

Engineers have made themselves very boring. That might be a myth by the non-engineering people. The other group are doctors... They'll keep talking about past cases. You can't talk to them about current affairs. They'll take about some dead bodies.

[On a comparison with doctors and lawyers] Engineers are very stupid, they have no political clout.... If the engineers go on strike, nothing will happen.

A lot of ministers were engineers... They have moved to other fields. They are probably not boring anymore... How come no engineers are challenging me? I am insulting your profession. [Student: This is your personal view right?... Sad to say, I agree with you.]

They keep on inserting things, but they never take out anything... They have no time to digest... They just memorise and regurgitate. That is the way engineering is taught, not just in Singapore but all over the world.

Anyone knows what financial engineering is? You cook the books, is it?

If you come to me privately, I will not answer you. I will probably insult you and scold you and tell you to... run away.

[On giving examination hints by phone] I don't know who is on the phone. It may be a spy planted by the Vice-chancellor or the President to find if *** is giving hints.

[On The Bluffer's Guide to Teaching: Bluff Your Way in Teaching] I recommend this book. I use it all the time.

As I become less nervous, I think my voice will raise more (rise)

[On course information] Is that all? Oh yeah. My name is Dr ***. My first name is Ed. If you like, you can call me Ed. Unless you don't feel comfortable here [doing that].

My office - on the fifth floor. I can't remember the number, but you'll see my name on the door.

This is like a stage. 8 inches. *jumps dramatically off raised lecture platform*

[On the visualiser] This is a neat device. Anybody's a palm reader?

July trip: 9/7 - Pompeii-Naples (Part 2)

July trip
9/7 - Pompeii-Naples
(Part 2)

I then went to the Naples archaeological museum. There was an erotic collection - "the secret room", where reservations were supposedly required and from which children under 14 were banned.

I was quite shocked. Most labels had no date!

The museum should be renamed the Pompeii exhibits museum, since the best and most unique stuff is all from there.

Ritratto colossale di Vespasiano

The most number of similar statuettes I've ever seen. One's Mut and the rest are Isis ('Iside'). They were very fond of this, with many themed shelves.

Unknown sculpture. This was outside a gallery, in the dark.

Statue of Athena (Athena Farnese). Roman copy of 430 BC by Pyrrhus. Dedicate 'da' Perikles (?)

Information panels mounted on the walls were in English, but those for individual items werenot.

The museum had a very big coin collection, tracing the development of coinage in Italy. The tracing was both thematic and chronological.

Fulloni al Lavoro, Pompei

Bottega del Panettiere da Pompei (Shop of the Baker)

Mosaics from Pompeii/Vesuvius area (mosaics aurcing [?])

Musici ambulanti from Pompeii, Villa of Cicerone

Memento Mori. Pompei, Bottega (I 5, 21 Triclinio)

Alexander mosaic, house of the Faun, Pompeii

Statue of the Dancing Faun, Pompeii. House of the Faun

I walked into the erotic room despite not having a reservation and no one stopped me.

Tintinnabulum bronzes (privo ora di campanelli) raffigurante il dio mercurio polifallico, Pompei. 1st century AD

Winckelmann on dancing ithyphallic male statuette: "Perfection so complete that Michelangelo himself could not have produced anything more accomplished".

Quadretto erotico da venereum in edifici privato. Pompeii, 50-79 AD

Scena erotica, du venereum in edificio privato. Pompeii, 50-79 AD

Bassorilievo marmoreo con scene erotica

Satiro che abbraccia una menade. Pompeii, 1-50 AD

Ass mounting a lion. 1st century AD, Pompeii. Shop sign representing these motifs - "The world outside down" / "Patience triumphing over strength"

Piatto attico a figure rolle, 5th c. BC

Gruppo marmoreo di Pan e Pafni. 2nd century BC

Fauna Marina. Pompeii.

Leone e Amarini tru dionisio e menadi. Pompeii, House of the Centaur

Combattimento di Gulli

On the top floor there was almost no material in English. Why is it always like that? Maybe they figured English speaking visitors wouldn't bother visiting the whole museum.

There was a panel about garum. Heh.

Il panettiere Terentius Neo e la Moglie

Reconstructed Roman food outlet
The sign reads: "M HOLCONIVM PRISCVM II VIR I D POMARI VNIVERSI CVM HELVIO VESTALE ROG", which expands to "Marcum Holconium Priscum II virum iure dicundo pomarii universi, cum Helvio Vestale rogant". This means 'all the fruit sellers, along with Helvius Vestalis, want Marcus Holconius Priscus the duumvir as mayor'. Electoral posters stated that so-and-so was supported by members of the various collegiae (professional associations).

Blue vase. Pompeii, 1st century AD

The upgrading of the museum didn't seem to be systematic - 2 Egyptian items popped up at the top floor despite the Egyptian collection being in the basement.

Unknown. No label.

Gruppi figurati con perona e avicane (? - avicone?), Pompeii. Woman breastfeeding a dwarf?

[Addendum: "Not a dwarf, her father. I forget the names, classical story, father sentenced to death by starvation in prison, daughter breaks incest taboo to keep him alive." - dave in comment

This story is probably:

Roman Charity - "Roman Charity (or Carità Romana) is the story of a daughter, Pero, who secretly breastfeeds her father, Cimon, after he is incarcerated and sentenced to death by starvation. She is found out by a jailer, but her act of selflessness impresses officials and wins her father's release. The story is recorded in Memorable Acts and Sayings of the Ancient Romans, Book Nine (De Factis Dictisque Memorabilibus Libri IX) by the ancient Roman historian Valerius Maximus, and was presented as a great act of filial piety and Roman honor."]

Unknown medallions. No label.

Roman flute

Farnese Atlas. Roman copy, 2nd century AD.
Considering how important an archaeological item this is, it's a mystery what it was doing in a dark, unlit hall at the top of the museum, with little else around it. Must be an Italian thing.

This was an archaeological museum, but the top floor had a hall with paintings. Most seemed Neo-Classical, but most were not labelled. Some hung near the ceiling and the lighting was awful (the hall was naturally lit poorly - dark)

Nichole de Napoli. Death of Alcibiade. 1839.

Dancing women. 1st century BC.

At 645 I was at the entrance to one section on the top floor but they were closing (this for a museum supposedly closed at 730 - does one see a pattern here?). The man at the door asked me to go look at the mosaics, but I said I'd mosaics finito, so he let me in to look around (yay). I didn't note down what these were called because I was rushing:



There was also papyri from Herculaneum, which was nice.

I went down to the groun floor and reached one section (Classical sculpture - the only bit I hadn't fully seen) at 6:55, but I got kicked out again. Gah. Luckily I'd left it to the last. So despite the museum officially closing at 7:30, I went out to sit on the steps.

Vive la Italia! This was in the Museo station on the night of the finals.

Naples street

Naples has so many slums. Seeing a church rising from and surrounded by slums is quite amusing, especially:

Church with rubbish bins in front

xxoos would like this 5kg jar of Nutella - even better than the 3kg one I saw in Germany (?)

Almost everywhere was closed on Sunday, following in the continental European tradition. There was one street which was supposed to have good food, but only 1 pizzeria was open (probably due to the World Cup) - it was almost as bad as Brussels on Easter day.

At the time when we were looking for a place for dinner near Naples Garibaldi central train station (the only place where there were actually restaurants open), I doubt the match had finished, but the Italians were celebrating anyway. 50m from us, people were firing fireworks into the sky from the street. Perhaps on purpose, one fragment flew onto someone's car's windscreen, and some sparks flew onto restaurant tables near where we stood. Unfortunately I was too slow to capture this digitally.

There was a place with "horse" d'oeuvres. "d'oeuvres" was also spelled wrong, but unfortunately I can't remember how.

In the end we ate at Restaurant Isis. The service was horrible - the waiters were watching the World Cup, but then only one spoke English anyway. When we asked for the tourist menu (which had only stated that we would get 4 courses, and not that the choice was restricted) and then tried to order, he brusquely told us: "I choose [what you can choose from], not you." When, despite this rudeness, I tried to thank him, he snatched the menu away. Maybe he heard me complaining to Andrew about the service. When we got our salad, we found that it was only iceberg lettuce with a wedge of lemon. Gah.

The worst bit came when we got our bill. Andrew was very sure he had given the waiter 2 €20 notes for a bill of €24,90, yet he came back with €0,10 change and insisted we'd given him only €25. We tried to speak to the manager, but it looked as if this waiter ("Mario") was the only one who could speak English, and seemed almost as high in rank as the manager. We asked for our bill to be printed out again, but it only had the final charge printed on it, not how much we'd given him and our change. We would've kicked up a fuss, but it was his word against ours, we didn't speak Italian, the Italians in general didn't speak English, it was 10+pm and the guidebook didn't have a number for the tourist police. My father commented that Naples is a run-down city, used to be a City of Thieves and has a lot of gypsies, so that may explain things.

Fireworks in the streets. I'm not sure if the match had ended by this point.

Despite the conception outside Italy of pasta being a main course, in Italy you order a first course and a second course at restaurants. The first course is almost always a pasta (I saw soup a few times though) and the second is a meat or fish item.

For some reason, when we reached the train station at 10+, the trains had stopped running (2 of the staff told us this after running down the deserted tunnel high-fiving us). So we had to walk back to our hostel near Cavour - a 1/2 hr walk in a hilly city, and where most of the street lights were off/not working (wth?! Maybe it was a World Cup special. Even Malaysia is not that tak boleh).

Capoeira in Naples Hostel

Capoeira in Naples Hostel


People were ecstatic over Italy's win. People raced up and down the streets blaring their horns and waving flags. Each motorcycle had at least 2 people on it; many had 3 and I think I saw one with 4. There were also like 20 people in a car - the boot cover was removed and people were standing in it (it reminded me of a Technical from Command and Conquer Generals, or alternatively of 20 clowns squeezing into a car). The air was smoky and gunpowder could be smelt in it.

Sign in the hostel: "This hostel tends not to bother the guests... Do not throw cigarettes, hair, or other items out of the window [neighbours can be dangerous!]". Hair?!

Travel tips:

- Give exact change in Naples, or use a credit card

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"A signature always reveals a man's character - and sometimes even his name." - Evan Esar


Someone: yeah i'm the smallest B in singapore, but when i went marks and spencer to get the famous bandeau bra i was horrified to find that i could fit an AAA

i refuse ever to buy bras from marks and sparks

what the hell is a triple a bra

that's like for people with concave chests

Someone else: come let's bitch, i like bitching about ***, she's easy to bitch about it

Me: someone said beauty is in the eye of the beholder
then I said yah some people are blind

Someone: you should show them a pic of a beholder

Someone else: seriously, nanyang gd meh
got sex crazed ppl? i didn't know that

Me: I also didn't know

Someone else: i always thot that the sex crazed ones were girls
not guys
in pschool

Me: :0
puberty earlier mah

Someone else: the girls in my pschool class talk more about sex and know more about sex den any of the guys
it was until p6 they started educating a few guys , den they passsed down the gospel

one of their tools was getting the pointy thing of the teletubby to go through the hole in dipsy's
or issit poh

u know the teletubby
got one is one with a large phallic dong on the head
the other is one with a hole

girls are hornier everyday larh
it's just that prolonged periods of horniness have left them mildly acquainted to it

Me: mildly acquainted?

Someone else: yah, no longer as impactful anymore
why do u think they can sucker in for romantic comedies anytime

its not the intensity
its the fact that they ALWAYS want to watch it

Me: what does that have to do with no longer as impactful
if anything they'd need more intense shit

Someone else: haha u'd think so

i dunno man, if i always got a hard on, i'd get used to being horny
and i'd look for something to pass my time with
like knitting

Me: so they're used to being horny?
so how come so many are frigid

romantic comedies are self indulgent romantic masturbation in a vacuum
love drive

Someone else: its because they're used to being horny
it makes perfect sense

look making fun of ppl with hard ons between guys is funny
but not funny when the guy actually has a hard on

therefore, girls must always be horny, since when i make fun of them being horny 90% of the time they are offended and don't find it funny

Me: hahahahha
this is a weird theory

Someone else: it's a true theory

women spend 90% of their income on things to make them look 'good'
thats consistent horniness to me

tts just my theory larh
i mean, when u read magazines that talk about sex, learn to dress up well so u can look better than your peers, aren't these all signs of a consistent trying to get laid?

Someone on the above: knitting!you could knit little hoodies for your hard on

that's what a girl would do
the consummate need to knit little hoodies fro random objects
like tissue paper boxes and their unbelievably tiny yippy dogs


School of Computing - SoC Relocates

"The Management is proposing the construction of a link-way from the back of the Law building to the Central Library. This scenic route, with a view and sounds of the forest overlooking Research Link and the Forum, takes only about five minutes to complete... both canteens in Arts and Business are virtually next to each other, giving us more choice and variety." (Emphases mine)

A: complete with mosquitoes and other pests i'm sure

B: errrrrrrrrrrr
"scenic" meaning "make out alley"

although ti's hard to imagine computing people making out.
well i suppose they could always stroke their laptops lasciviously

C: computing is taking over law? hahahah. arts canteen will soon be flooded with nerdy looking guys from engine AND computing. oh no

[B: hey hey. arts canteen could do with some de-homogenizing. it might even improve, since you are diluting the concentration of sacsals]
Circular definition: a definition that is circular.

Someone: "Dear academic staff and students,

We will be holding a dedication service on this coming Friday, 25/08/06 7.15pm, at the Multi-Purpose Auditorium (Level 3, Block B) to thank the Lord for the blessings that He has poured upon His people, dedicate this campus in His Name and seek His directions for the new year!

Please do come by and celebrate with us!


7:15pm To be seated
7.30pm – 8.00pm Praise and Worship
8.00pm – 9.00pm Corporate Prayer led by representatives from the student body, academic staff and alumni
9.00pm – 9.30pm Closing

BTC Dedication Service Team"

this email is fr the law club
wtf i thought nus was secular

Me: wth
so did I

Someone: i dunno man

Me: can I dedicate Bukit Timah Campus to Cthulhu?
want to come to my ceremony?

A: ­is this some BTC branch of VCF or something
Me: sounds like an official dedication

B: that's very presumptuous
­it's my campus too. what if i don't want it to be dedicated in 'His' name
­wth is a corporate prayer

­the way they phrase these events always gets my goat

C: ...
­i can understand campus crusade or the catholics having their own mass... but they have a dedication team...
­they take 1 HOUR to pray????

maybe they are praying things won't fall apart or something. or that now that law is isolated, a targeted terrorist attack. hehehe

hmm. if they dedicate it, then it's like they're asking for God's special blessing on it, no? but doesn't God already take care of everything... why need extra

D: this is just a group of christian studetns and profs
law club disseminates catholic and muslim groups also

who says the muslims and catholics and buddhist groups havent dedicated the campus
­they do
Me: yes
I am against that all

D: in any case when we mean dedicating a campus, it's not like we're saying this campus is for christians and christians only

Me: no
but it's still presumptuous

E: go where to complain ah? i am a wiccan and feel that they are infringing on my right to free religion

Me: dedicate it to the Goddess!

E: i can find the necronomicon
maybe inside can find cthulu's summoning ritual ah

F: i noe
the latest email
i just saw

blessings my ass lah hah....
SMU new law school
bigger competition

we get sucky compound
bad food
and a whole load of crap

blessings indeed

G: they could email around a ritual sacrifice to dedicate NUS to the spawn of satan, i mean.

H: I hear Lucifer is v trendy

I: can i dedicate to the FSM?
Me: yeah
alternative interfaith service
cthulhu, the Goddess, satan, FSM

I: invisible pink unicorn too

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"As a scientist studying animals, not humans, I am also concerned about how our verdict of cheating affects our views of the animals themselves. Some of the early papers on extra-pair paternity in birds are interestingly divided in whom is portrayed as the active party in the behavior. Initially, there seemed to be two approaches, neither one particularly favorable to females. Either the males were roaming around taking advantage of hapless females waiting innocently in their own territories for the breadwinner males to come home with the worms, or else females were brazan hussies, seducing blameless males who otherwise would not have strayed from the path of moral righteousness into turpitude. One scientist refers rather peevishly to "female promiscuity" in blackbirds. Several papers, including one published in the prestigious journal Nature, call young birds fathered by males not paired with the mother as "illegitimate," as if their parents had tiny avian marriage licenses and chirped their vows (Gyllensten et al. 1990, Hassequist et al. 1995, Bjornstad and Lifjeld 1997)... A paper on Tasmanian native hens, birds with a rather complex set of relationships between the sexes, discussed what appearsto be polyandry, multiple males associated with a single female (Maynard Smith and Ridpath 1972). The paper refers to this behavior as "wife-sharing," but I have never seen multiple females associated with a male, its mirror image, and a common mating pattern, called "husband-sharing". Making the males the active parties (they "share" the female, as if she were a six-pack of beer), may reduce the likelihood of noticing what the females do, of seeing things from their point of view. Similarly, if we only see female baboons as mothers, we are less likely to notice that in fact their relationships, not those of males, determine troop structure and movement (Smuts 1999)."

--- Marlene Zuk, Animal Models and Gender, from Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective, 4th ed.
"The cure for writer's cramp is writer's block." - Inigo DeLeon


Australia's tall poppy syndrome - "The tall poppy syndrome refers to the behavioural trait of Australians to cut down those who are 'superior' to them. It is used to explain why most politicians, some academics, and the occasional millionaire, command a level of community admiration inferior to that of a toilet cleaner."

Ask-Imam.com [17416] - "i understand taking photos is haram but can you please back it up for me with evidence,quotes,hadith and quran."

Police warn of hallucinogenic chocolate bars at Amsterdam airport - ""He ate some and we found him hallucinating", mixing up police uniforms with wedding dresses, police spokesman Rob Stenacker told AFP on Thursday."

Sex Ed Changes At School With 65 Pregnant Teens - "An Ohio school board is expanding sex education following the revelation that 13 percent of one high school's female students were pregnant last year... The new Canton school board program promotes abstinence but also will teach students who decide to have sex how to do so responsibly, bringing the city school district's health curriculum in line with national standards."

Bees build nest in starving dog

New Scientist Short Sharp Science blog: One woman, two souls? - "Don’t you just love it when evidence emerges challenging unprovable religious preconceptions (no pun intended here) espoused by the Pope, the Roman Catholic Church, hardline Islamists... The thing they all believe is that at the instant when an embryo is formed by fertilisation of a human egg by a human sperm, an tiny-weeny “soul” gets installed in the entity to make it a true human being.... what happens when a living woman turns out to be a chimera - a combination of tissues from two, separately fertilised eggs, which by chance, fused together in the womb to create a single person composed of two genetically distinct types of tissue?

Breast implants linked to suicide, not cancer - "Though this study could not dig for the reasons, Morrison noted that other studies have found poorer self-esteem and elevated rates of depression and other psychiatric disorders among women who opt for breast augmentation."

Melanin Properties - Afrocentrism and Pseudoscience (Skeptical Inquirer Spring 1992) - "Afrocentric beliefs include a range of tenets. One of the fundamental ideas is that Egypt is the source of civilization and that during its glorious days Egyptians were black. For some, Egypt was the source for European civilization by way of the Greeks, a claim for which there is some evidence. More extreme proponents claim that Egypt was the source of the New World civilizations of Mesoamerica and the Andes as well as Chinese and Indian civilizations. These are claims for which there is no credible evidence."

SKINNY SIZE ME - "Did you know about Merab Morgan, a construction worker from North Carolina, who lost 37 pounds - eating only McDonald's for 90 days?... Onions are one of the healthiest foods you can eat - medicinally, onions lower blood pressure and increase metabolic rate. Onions have quercetin, which is also found in green apples, black tea and the lining of the red grape - that's why people who drink red wine live longer than people who don't. Quercetin improves immune response - it prevents the oxidation of LDL, it prevents blood vessels from aging, and it protects people from DNA breakdown or cancer.""
Maybe this is why I lost so much weight on my cooking.

Hobbit’s Nonsensical Guide to Health Economics (PDF) - "Fear #2: Supplier-induced demand is Singapore’s second greatest fear in healthcare. That assumes doctors have the free time to induce demand. Try telling this to public sector doctors who don’t have time for lunch to meet their nutritional demands, let alone induce demand – the only time they induce demand is when they are constipated."

Confusing Cause and Effect - "So now teachers are being told to use purple ink instead of red when correcting students’ papers, according to the Boston Globe. Purple is less hostile and threatening than red, apparently... The Binet-Simon scale used to include moron to describe people with IQs from 50 to 69, imbecile for 20-49, and idiot for anyone under 49. These words are all insults today, but they were just clinical terms to begin with, meant, in fact, to refer to these states of intellectual development without being insulting. But moron, imbecile, and idiot are all insults today. So is retarded, which was used after moron etc. came to be seen as offensive, and special, which replaced retarded after people caught on. Today I think the official term is developmentally disabled or mentally handicapped. These probably have too many syllables to really make the jump into common usage, but I still think I can already see these terms’ obsolescence on the horizon."

Math is Bad, Because it isn't Christian! - "His basic argument - the argument that he expects people to take seriously - is that everything is either christian or non-christian. And if it's non-christian, then christians shouldn't look at it, listen to it, or study it. And you can't ever make anything that started out non-christian christian."

Winning 4D with the HELP of DEVINE SPIRIT - Kumantong - "Singapore 4D lottery can be predicted. Some folks use softwares to predict thier numbers. Most folks buy 4D numbers by pure luck. For me, I use the guidance of Kumantong with the Swinging of Pendulum. This blog is created to share my prediction of upcoming 4D draws. Follow my Numbers at your own RISK. Predicted numbers are all for TOP 3 Prizes- 1st , 2nd , 3rd Prizes. All are Singapore 4D draws."
Unsurprisingly, he has a lot of Google ads on the site.

Millenium Falcon sighting
Much better than your average "UFO sighting" tape.

Venice may be first city to charge entrance fee - "Venice may soon become the first city in Italy to charge tourists for the pleasure of visiting it as authorities look to the introduction of an 'entrance charge' to offset the damage done to the unique architecture by hordes of holidaymakers."

Armor of God PJs - Children's Pajamas Inspired by Ephesians 6:10-18 - "As they read the scriptures, they put on each spiritual and powerful piece of the Armor of God to keep them safe and peaceful while they slept."

Death Star Firepower - "Exactly how powerful is the Death Star? With a little bit of physics and a little bit of math, we can determine just how much power you would need in order to blow up a planet."

Are you SURE you want to remove that? - "An Indian businessman born with two penises wants one of them removed surgically as he wants to marry and lead a normal sexual life, a newspaper report said Saturday."
It must be a gift from the gods since "Two fully functional penes is unheard of even in medical literature"

Jeremy Waldron : Boutique Faith - "Abyss-redemption, Peters says, is the argument Milton’s Satan offers to Eve to overcome her reluctance to taste of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. ‘If what is evil/Be real, why not known, since easier shunn’d?’ There is something of it, too, in the argument of St Paul that we cannot know the law without knowing and even tasting the sins that its naming brings to the centre of our consciousness: ‘I should not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment, wrought in me all kinds of covetousness’ (Romans 7.7-8). (I remember as a boy in Sunday school being very excited to find out that there was something called ‘adultery’ in the Ten Commandments, excited in part by the tight-lipped discretion with which Sunday school teachers responded to my impertinent questions on the matter.) This is an odd sort of tutelage that the law is supposed to provide: it sacrifices our innocence by calling sin to our attention, but it makes us more sophisticated in a grown-up form of virtue."
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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

July trip: 9/7 - Pompeii-Naples (Part 1)

July trip
9/7 - Pompeii-Naples
(Part 1)

Even in famously rude Rome I didn't see people getting MRTed. At the most people squeezed past as the last few people came out of the train.

In Rome when motorists see you crossing the road, they speed up and swerve towards you (especially those on scooters).

It has just occured to me that museums have no right at all to restrict non-flash photography or impose other funny restrictions (eg no commercial use), since copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author. Even more reason to spite the incorrigible ones which try to increase postcard sales by restricting visitors' rights.

The hostel staff asked where we were from. When I said that Singapore was clean, too clean and sterile, one said, "You've come to the right place. Naples - the city of rubbish."

Hostel Alleyway
It looks very run down, but turn left at the church and you faced a modern, clean building - the hostel. Nonetheless, this did not inspire confidence.

A 3 day transportation and attractions admission pass in Naples cost €18 for youth (<26), and both of us wanted to get one. However, the hostel only had 1 left, so I let Andrew have it. When we got to the central train station, I tried to buy one, but was refused since Italy had no reciprocal arrangement with Singapore on such matters (Malaysia, on the other hand, did so Andrew could've gotten his for that price at the kiosk. Damn). Maybe Singapore has no culture and so is rebuffed when it tries to make these arrangements. Or maybe whoever at STPB is in charge of these things figures that Singaporeans who go overseas won't care about this sort of thing anyway. Ah well. What's a holiday without getting screwed, one way or another? We got to Pompeii quite late, mainly due to mishaps on the Circumvesuviana train line, so it was hot and crowded already. The houses of Amorini Dorati, Ara Massina, Menander and suburban baths all needed reservations with at least 1 day's notice. Wth.
View from what seemed to be the main entrance. From other sites, where the tourists are going seems to be the Porta Marina, and the closed area is the suburban baths

Looking at the Porta Marina from the path.

Pericolo tratto sdrucciolecole reggersi ai passamani and path

Casa di Trittolemo

Temple of Apollo


Temple - back of Forum

Roman toilet

Road, Ins occidentalis

Courtyard of house along Via Consolare

Ruts in road (Via Consolare)

Buildings along Via delle Tombe

Tombs along Via Tombe

Villa di Diomede

Plaster casts of people in Villa of the Mysteries

Villa of the Mysteries

Vicolo di Modesto street

Via di Mercurio

Tower in city wall

Domus Agellini

Casa dei Dioscuri

Casa della Fontana Piccola

2 US girls were taking pictures with one of the few fountains in Pompeii. Maybe they were so happy to finally find one.

In the souvenir shop near the Forum, Andrew decided to take a spy shot, since it was very appropriate - notice the live woman in the photo and the woman in the reproduction mosaic:

Unfortunately, he wasn't very skilled in the art of discretion, despite having a Canon Powershot G3 with a swivelling screen. While he was viewing the shot, the woman had sneaked up behind him to look at what he was doing. In the end he developed the picture and mailed it to her, and she told us the woman in the mosaic was Sappho (of Lesbos fame).

Casts in Macellum


Andrew: "How come there're no topless girls?... Maybe the girl in the blue bra will take it off" (One girl had taken off her top and was swinging it around, her topclad only in a blue bra); this is one of the possible redeeming factors of visiting Europe in Summer, and during a heatwave too.

Tempio di Vespasiano (Aedes genii augusti)

I was looking for mosaics and frescoes, but there were very few of them. They were probably all in museums, and mostly not replicated. I imagine that the visit to Pompeii would be much finer and atmospheric if replicas of all or even most of the artefacts carted away to museums were placed in-situ.

Stones to cross the street

There was a long queue to enter the brothel which, as in ancient times, is still one of the most popular attractions in the city.

Brothel frescoes

Brothel cubicle

Vicolo storto panificio (food stall). It looks too new to be Roman - how could it have been so well preserved?


I was looking for the plaster cast of the dog, but maybe that was in one of the places reservations for which were needed.


If I could I would've visited more villas, but I didn't have reservations time and energy were limited and for some reason we hadn't been given maps of the place at the ticket counter. I settled for visiting the recommended places in the guidebook (which somwhow I hadn't read carefully -before- the visit).

Tempio della Fortuna Augusta

Faun in Villa of the Faun

Alexander Mosaic
I messed up the photo-taking angles, so the stitch was screwed up. Luckily I have a picture of the original later.

Villa of the Faun



Terme stabiane (Baths)

Paintings on buildings along the street, IIRC

Political campaigning graffiti


And then I was done.

Near the exit nearest the amphitheatre, I bought a small replica of the faun for €15. The merchant offered €20 at first (despite the price tag reading "€25"), but I bargained it down. I should've settled for €12 or even €10, but I had to get to Naples quickly and my feet hurt.

I'd paid €3 for a menta granita slightly smaller than a 7-11 small Milo freeze in the cafeteria in the ruins. So when I exited the place and saw a €2 granita, I was very happy. But then the cup he gave me was the size of those tiny white plastic ridged cups used for punch at BBQs/parties. Bastard. I should undercut him by selling granites for €1/thimble.

I saw one of those stupid mouth fortune telling machines. Looks like people in Pompeii are gullible too. Or maybe it's for tourists.

I then went to the Tomb of Virgil.

Naples from the Tomb of Virgil


Unfortunately the tomb was raised and inaccessible. A staircase led up but the door was closed. Damn.


Diagram of tomb

Bust of Virgil

Entrance to Crypta Neapolitana - the "metro line of antiquity"

In the same compound there's a "monumental epigraph in praise of the properties of Flegrian mineral water, placed there by the Spanish Viceroy Pedro of Aragon in 1668". Uhh.

Travel tips:

- Just like it's better to say that you're Canadian than American (outside of Quebec and America), it's better to say that you're Malaysian than Singaporean
- When you're on holiday, you'll get screwed, one way or another, so suck it up. But in any case, if you get screwed in one way it makes getting screwed in the other more tolerable!
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