When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

"It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember." - Eugene McCarthy


Computer quotes from Edwin (I nixed the ones I didn't enjoy so much):

"The Internet: where men are men, women are men, and children are FBI agents."

"unzip; strip; touch; finger; mount; fsck; more; yes; unmount; sleep" - my daily unix command list

"Life would be so much easier if we only had the source code."

"COBOL programmers understand why women hate periods."
This is so sexist!!! It trivialises the pain of periods and by setting up the dialectic of the Self and the Other, implies that women are not good enough to be COBOL programmers.

“Programming is like sex, one mistake and you have to support it for the rest of your life.” — Michael Sinz

Microsoft: "You've got questions. We've got dancing paperclips."

"SUPERCOMPUTER: what it sounded like before you bought it."

"Windows95: It's like upgrading from Reagan to Bush.

"People say Microsoft paid 14M$ for using the Rolling Stones song 'Start me up' in their commercials. This is wrong. Microsoft payed 14M$ only for a part of the song. For instance, they didn't use the line 'You'll make a grown man cry'."

"A printer consists of three main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray and the blinking red light"

"The best accelerator available for a Mac is one that causes it to go at 9.81 m/s2."

"1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d t0 g37 l41d"

"A Windows user spends 1/3 of his life sleeping, 1/3 working, 1/3 waiting."

"My software never has bugs. It just develops random features."

"Better to be a geek than an idiot."

"Windows isn't a virus, viruses do something."

"Geek's favorite pickup line: Hey, does this rag smell like chloroform? "

"Difference between a virus and windows ? Viruses rarely fail."

"Evolution is God's way of issuing upgrades."

"It's a little-known fact that the Y1K problem caused the Dark Ages."

"The box said 'Required Windows 95 or better'. So, I installed LINUX."

"Computer are like air conditioners: they stop working when you open windows."

"Like car accidents, most hardware problems are due to driver error."

"Dating a girl is just like writing software. Everything's going to work just fine in the testing lab (dating), but as soon as you have contract with a customer (marriage), then your program (life) is going to be facing new situations you never expected. You'll be forced to patch the code (admit you're wrong) and then the code (wife) will just end up all bloated and unmaintainable in the end."

"Real men don't use backups, they post their stuff on a public ftp server and let the rest of the world make copies." - Linus Torvalds

"If you give someone a program, you will frustrate them for a day; if you teach them how to program, you will frustrate them for a lifetime."

"It is easier to change the specification to fit the program than vice versa."

"I had a fortune cookie the other day and it said: 'Outlook not so good'. I said: 'Sure, but Microsoft ships it anyway'."

"The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from."

"Programmers are tools for converting caffeine into code."

"The great thing about Object Oriented code is that it can make small, simple problems look like large, complex ones."

"Hacking is like sex. You get in, you get out, and hope that you didn't leave something that can be traced back to you."
"No one can earn a million dollars honestly." - William Jennings Bryan



What's the importance of the social sciences in Singapore? *Silence* Come on, at leas pretend they're important. Even though some people wanted to close down the Philosophy department here.

Social scientists, instead of solving the problem, will turn around the problem, or find a problem with the problem.

One of the earlier efforts, in the education system, was to write a manual on how to teach creativity. It was quite a thick manual, I was told.

[Me on metaphors for the state-citizen relationship: The teacher encourages the students to give their views, but if they're wrong he shouts them down.] I'm feeling very nervous at this point.

Students can demonstrate, they can stop coming to class. What stops them from having a 'class consciousness'?

Essays are modernist projects. They have arguments... they have a framework.

At least we have laws protecting our women. In the US they don't have laws protecting their women. [Many students: What?!] Do they? [US Student: YES!!!]

[On national projects vs welfare] They'll rather spend money building huge buildings, large airports, than throw money at people.

[Student on metaphors for the state-citizen relationship: I can choose which team to spport.] No you can't. There's only one party to vote for.

When the government goes head to head against the Malaysian government, all of us rally around and say how stupid the Malaysians are. Except *** [a Malaysian student]

[Student: Fucking hell.] I don't think there's fucking in hell... Otherwise a lot of people will be signing up for hell.

Who's your girl? [Student: I've no idea.] Stop doing this whole thing... And I'm the Queen of May. All bow to ***.

You know what's good about PGP food? Nothing.

[On her tube top] I just bought this, so it's too loose. [Student: Like you?]... [Student 2: There're 2 things you never call a girl. Slut and loose.

Why the hell would I be naked in the library?... Is there a naked library somewhere I should know about?

I don't know how guys juggle girls. It's a lot easier to juggle guys than juggle girls... [Student: Guys don't care]

Can you at least make it anonymous, otherwise my juggling days are over?... The easiest is overseas relationships. No one will ever know... the more nationalities, the better... I'm seriously gonna get multi-citizenships. There're a lot of prospects.

We have a huge masturbation community in Kent Ridge... This guy didn't close the blinds... [Student: Outside the block there's a PRC flat] The biggest sex scandal in hall involved a PRC. The biggest wanking scandal in hall involved a PRC.

From my room I can see this couple. The girl is always sitting on the guy's lap. Then when the blinds close... I need X-ray goggles.

[On Malay Fighter Pilots] There're more than one. Now there's two... They'll form a Malay squadron and defect to Malaysia.

Do guys think of suicide? [Student 2: I think there're guys who commit suicide too]... [Student 3: You think only girls commit suicide meh?]

Being gay and being into trannies is not the same thing. [Student: You mean you're into trannies?]

You know they say guys, when they're 24 years old, they're like 20... [Student: So when I was 4, I wasn't born yet... Must've been a retard who said that. Stupid feminists. I hate feminists.]

Friday, April 06, 2007

"To be a book-collector is to combine the worst characteristics of a dope fiend with those of a miser." - Robertson Davies


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David Copperfield's Altruism

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

"A superstition is a premature explanation that overstays its time." - George Iles


jb: *** makes me want to punch his face in
and then a kick for good measure I suppose
in the ideal location

Me: so where do you kick girls?

jb: you don't kick girls
you slap them


I typed the wrong thing twice in a row

I need a drink

[later] I was going to get the sherry
but it's too alcoholic even for me
I went to get peanut butter bread instead

Someone: there is a girl in my school who passed away from cancer
and the Dean of Students sent out an email to the entire school
saying she attended classes till the day she couldn't walk

i'm thinking that's weird if you know you are terminal

Me: no wonder she died

MFM: I just sat through an hour of heavy-duty stats: one of the grad students I work with was defending his thesis. I think no one asked him difficult questions because they didn't understand his work

Someone: i'm trying out this new jap sweet from watson's
helps you lose weight

it's just 14 calories but it's full of basil seeds

so what you do is you eat the sweet and then you drink a glass of water, and the basil seeds expand in your stomach so you're not hungry at all

i just tried it out and now i'm omg full
12.90 for 10 pieces

damn effective tho, i dont even want to drink water after this i'm just too full

Someone: i assure u that smu accounting isn't bullshit
but then against most of hte profs were fm ntu

Someone else: i dont club or drink
so whatever
waste of money

i read chomsky though

Frigid Girl on Literature being about sex: most of us have no freaking idea what we're talking about
(aka no experience)
but we still act like we know anyway
we have to

Me: can you read this
putain de bordel de merde, tu me casses les couilles connard, va te faire enculer

Frigid Girl: wah lau
so many vulgarities
this sentence ah... it's like some person took the french dict and tried to squeeze every possible vulgarity into the most concise sentence

Me: what if I put this on my nick ;)

Frigid Girl: try lar. doubt she'll understand it
i only understood it cos i expressly went to learn all the vulgarities first

Me: wth

Frigid Girl: i make it a point when learning any language
it makes the language more practical
instead of theory

Me: uhh


Frigid Girl: girls are silly
they hug each other in front of guys for some exhibitionist purpose
used to happen all the time in RJ

i remember there was this guy who was chasing our Evil Cult prez
then she would meet up in the canteen with the various sectional leaders (girls) and then "heyyyyyy!!!!!! <3 <3" *hugs* *hugs*

and the guy would be next to her watching helplessly

MFTTW on 'racism' and making 'irrational' generalizations: my friend's learning theory professor said even apes generalize
and you can model it mathematically
so it's scientifically sound to generalize

and she also said
these people should come to baltimore and walk around east b'more
and see if they can avoid getting racist
esp after getting mugged a few times :P

Me: "For that matter, it is difficult to understand how any kind of action is possible on the epistemological assumptions that postmodernists profess. Not only are their views on knowledge politically disabling, one cannot help wondering how they can conduct the normal business of everyday life without suspending their postmodernist disbelief. Either that, or postmod ernist theories are guilty of more than a little bad faith."

MFTTW: hiyah just cos your espouse a theory doesn't mena you have to live it out mah :P

people are hypocritical beings
we do it all the time and don't blink an eye

*** told me that she had a choice of project groups between joining 3 asians and 3 white girls
and she chose to join 3 asians.

and even though i have taught lazy asians
if i were white i would also join asians
instead of other white people

best, join the singaporeans. they work the hardest.


MFTTW: yes i am. i don't even bother to deny it.

if all the crimes in *** city are committed by black people
it isn't racist to assume that if you see a black guy on the street walking towards you at 3am in the morning, he is going to rob you.
people who say "oh it's all contextual" clearly haven't been robbed in their lives.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I was sitting in the Reading Room essaying with a friend and I left for a while to stretch my legs.

When I return, the friend informs me that the girl who was sitting opposite us asked him, "Is your friend Agagooga"?


These people never accost me personally.

1600 words of dialogue down, 1400 to go!

The Sedition Act is the sigh of the oppressed Malay, the heart of a heartless Singapore, just as it is the soul of a soulless situation. It is the opium of the Malays.

Monday, April 02, 2007

What Is the "Postmodern" Agenda?

"On the face of it, this insistence on the social construction of knowledge may seem fairly unobjectionable and even conventional, not least for Marxists who have always recognized that no human knowledge comes to us unmediated, that all knowledge is appropriated through the medium of language and social practice. But postmodernists seem to have in mind something more extreme than this reasonable proposition. The most vivid illustration of postmodernist epistemology is their conception of scientific knowledge. Sometimes they go so far as to claim that Western science—founded on the conviction that nature is governed by certain universal, immutable, mathematical laws—is just an expression of the imperialistic and oppressive principles on which Western society is based. But short of that extreme claim, postmodernists—either deliberately or out of simple confusion and intellectual sloppiness—have a habit of conflating the forms of knowledge with its objects: it is as if they are saying not only that, for instance, the science of physics is a historical construct, which has tried over time and in different social contexts, but that the laws themselves are “socially constructed” and historically variable.

Postmodernists will often deny that they are epistemic relativists. They will insist that they know there is a “real” world out there. But the irony is that, in the very act of defending themselves, they are likely to prove the case against them and to demonstrate the very conflation (or confusion) of which I’m accusing them here—proceeding, for example, as if not only the science of physics but the physical reality represented by, say, the laws of thermodynamics is itself a historically variable social construct. They surely do not believe this to be literally true; but something like this is the practical consequence of the epistemological assumption that human knowledge is enclosed within particular languages, cultures, and interests, and that science should not and cannot aspire to apprehend or approximate some common external reality. If the standard of scientific “truth” resides not in the natural world itself but in the particular norms of specific communities, then the laws of nature might as well be nothing more than what any particular community says they are at any given time.

Not all intellectuals who think of themselves as “postmodernists” would knowingly subscribe to this kind of extreme epistemic relativism, even solipsism—though it seems an inevitable consequence of their epistemo logical assumptionsX at the very least, postmodernism implies an em phatic rejection of “totalizing” knowledge and of “universalistic” values—including Western conceptions of “rationality”... This denunciation of “essentialism” tends to cover not just truly monolithic and simplistic explanations of the world (like Stalinist varieties ot Marxism) but any kind of causal explanation...

Even in its least extreme manifestations, postmodernism insists on the impossibility of any emancipatory politics based on some kind of “totalizing” knowledge or vision. Even an anticapitalist politics is too “totalizing” or “universalist.” Capitalism as a totalizing system can hardly be said to exist at all in postmodern discourse, so that even the critique of capitalism is precluded. In fact, “politics” in any traditional sense of the word, having to do with the overarching power of classes or states and opposition to them, is effectively ruled out, giving way to the fractured struggles of “identity politics” or even the “personal as political.” Although there are more universal projects that do hold some attractions for the postmodern left, such as environmental politics, it is difficult to see how they—or, indeed, any political action—can be consistent with postmodernism’s most fundamental principles: a deep epistemological scepticism and a profound political defeatism.

How, then, does this postmodernism compare to earlier theories about end of the “modern” era? What is immediately striking is that postmodernism, which seems to combine so many features of older diagnoses of epochal decline, is remarkably unconscious of its own history. In their conviction that what they say represents a radical rupture with the past, today's postmodernist intellectuals seem sublimely oblivious to everything that has been said so many times before. Even the epistemological scepticism, the assault on universal truths and values, the questioning of self-identity, which are so much a part of the current intellectual fashions, have a history as old as philosophy...

This brings us to the most distinctive characteristic of the new postmodernists: despite their insistence on epochal differences and specificities, despite their claims to have exposed the historicity of all values and knowl edges (or precisely because of their insistence on “difference” and the fragmented nature of reality and human knowledge), they are remarkably insensitive to history. This insensitivity is revealed not least in a deafness to the reactionary echoes of their attacks on “Enlightenment” values and their fundamental irrationalism...

[C. Wright] Mills also took it for granted, in classic Enlightenment fashion, that the whole point of such historical analysis was to mark out the space of human freedom and agency, to formulate our choices and “enlarge the scope of human decisions in the making of history.” And for all his pessimism, he assumed that the limits of historical possibility were, in his time, “very broad indeed.”

This statement is in nearly every particular antithetical to current post-modernist theories, which effectively deny the very existence of structure or structural connections and the very possibility of “causal analysis.” Structures and causes have been replaced by fragments and contingencies. There is no such thing as a social system (e.g. the capitalist system) with its own systemic unity and “laws of motion.” There are only many differei kinds of power, oppression, identity, and “discourse.” Not only do we have to reject the old “grand narratives,” like Enlightenment concepts of progress, we have to give up any idea of intelligible historical process and causality, and with it, evidently, any idea of “making history.” There are no structured processes accessible to human knowledge (or, it must be supposed, to human action). There are only anarchic, disconnected, and inexplicable differences. For the first time, we have what appears to b contradiction in terms: a theory of epochal change based on a denial of history.

There is one other especially curious thing about the current postmodernism, one particularly notable paradox. On the one hand, the denial of history on which it is based is associated with a kind of political pessimism. Since there are no systems and no history susceptible to causal analysis, we cannot get to the root of the many powers that oppress us; and we certainly cannot aspire to some kind of united opposition, some kind of general human emancipation, or even a general contestation of capitalism, of the hind that socialists used to believe in. The most we can hope for is a lot of particular and separate resistances...

Even the postmodernist emphasis on language and “discourse” may be traceable to an obsession with consumer capitalism and to the conviction, already prominent in the sixties, that the old political agencies (the labor movement in particular) have been permanently “hegemonized” by capitalist consumerism. Postmodernism has simply taken to the ultimate, and often absurd, extreme the familiar attempt to replace these hegemonized agencies with new ones, by situating intellectual practice at the center of the social universe and promoting intellectuals—or, more particularly, academics-to the vanguard of historical agency.

Here too postmodernist intellectuals reveal their fundamental ahistoricism. The structural crises of capitalism since the “golden” moment of the postwar boom seem to have passed them right by, or at least to have made no significant theoretical impression. For some, this means that the opportunities for opposition to capitalism are severely limited. Others seem to be saying that, if we can't really change or even understand the system (or even think about a system at all), and if we don’t, and can’t, have a vantage point from which to criticize the system, let alone oppose it, we might as well lie back and enjoy it—or better still, go shopping...

Postmodernists reject Enlightenment universalism on the grounds that it denies the diversity of human experience, cultures, values, and identities; but this rejection of universalism on behalf of an emancipatory pluralism is contradictory and self-defeating. A healthy respect for difference and diversity, and for the plurality of struggles against various oppressions, does not oblige us to jettison all the universalistic values to which Marxism at its best has always been attached, or to abandon the idea of a universal human emancipation. On the contrary, even the mildest forms of “pluralism” have been unsustainable without appeals to certain universalistic values like the classic liberal principle of “toleration.” The radical pluralism espoused by postmodernists—based as it is on denying any fundamental commonality, or even the possibility of mutual access and understanding, among plural identities—has fatally undercut its own foundations. As Aijaz Ahmad puts it later in this volume: “if in the constitution of your identity, I have no rights of cognition, participation, criticism, then on what basis may you ask for my solidarity with you except on the basis of some piety, some voluntaristic good will that I can withdraw at any moment?” In the end, it is hard to imagine how any of the diverse struggles that supposedly constitute the left postmodernist agenda can be sustained without some appeal to those dreaded “modernist” and Enlightenment values of democracy, equality, social justice, and so on.

For that matter, it is difficult to understand how any kind of action is possible on the epistemological assumptions that postmodernists profess. Not only are their views on knowledge politically disabling, one cannot help wondering how they can conduct the normal business of everyday life without suspending their postmodernist disbelief. Either that, or postmodernist theories are guilty of more than a little bad faith...

For people on the left, and especially for a younger generation of intellectuals and students, the greatest appeal of postmodernism is its apparent openness, as against the alleged “closures” of a “totalizing” system like Marxism. But this claim to openness is largely spurious. The problem is not just that postmodernism represents an ineffectual kind of pluralism which undermined its own foundations. Nor is it simply an uncritical but harmless eclecticism. There is something more serious at stake. The "openness" of postmodernism’s fragmentary knowledges and its emphasis on "difference" are purchased at the price of much more fundamental closures. Postmodernism is, in its negative way, a ruthlessly “totalizing” system, which forecloses a vast range of critical thought and emancipatory politics— and its closures are final and decisive. Its epistemological assumptions make it unavailable to criticism, as immune to critique as the most rigid kind of dogma (how do you criticize a body of ideas that a priori rules out the very practice of “rational” argument?). And they preclude—not just by dogmatically rejecting but also by rendering impossible—a systematic un derstanding of our historical moment, a wholesale critique of capitalism, and just about any effective political action."

--- What Is the "Postmodern" Agenda? / Ellen Meiksins Wood, In defense of history : Marxism and the postmodern agenda (1997)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Dug up by request, National Education lyrics set to Holst's "I Vow To Thee, My Country":

We feel the dawning of our day
Together as we sing
We'll touch the radiance of each ray
As voices louder ring

Yes the years of change we'll remember
As our fathers shaped this land of ours
Sunlight turns to amber glorious
In our youthful hand

Let us stride in one-ness and more hope
Our spirits all aglow
Be there challenges we'll always cope
In triumph as we grow

Feel dawn of each day
Voices ringing louder
Radiance of each ray

We who search the skies above
Share the courage of our heart
We who love will always know our part

Sanctified by light that shines beyond
We forge and share a bond
As the sun blaze on our evening sky
Again we hear you cry
We hear your cry

--- "We Share", Edwin Thumboo

(As sent to me in 2004; as far as I can tell this is the original form of the poem - I've already cleaned it up a little from the 2004 SYF arrangement)
Someone: haha anyway do you enjoy poetry
i need help decoding something

ok hold on lemme find the text
ok here http://www.akoot.com/eecummings12.html
im trying to figure out what the last 2 lines mean

Me: haha e e cummings

haha lit is about sex

Someone: haha not all

Me: a lot :P

Someone: haha oh well
i suppose so

Me: when do you need to know?

Someone: well asap would be nice

Me: why don't you use the post-structuralist paradigm
then you can say anything and you won't be wrong

Someone: hahaha
usually you *can say anything in lit

but i have no clue wad a 'common divisor' is
and i think it specifically refers to a mathematical term

"kitty". sixteen, 5' 11", white, prostitute.

""kitty". sixteen, 5' 11", white, prostitute.

ducking always the touch of must and shall,
whose slippery body is Death's littlest pal,

skilled in quick softness. Unspontaneous. cute.

the signal perfume of whose unrepute
focusses in the sweet slow animal
bottomless eyes importantly banal,

Kitty. a whore. Sixteen
                                   you corking brute
amused from time to time by clever drolls
fearsomely who do keep their sunday flower.
The babybreasted broad "kitty" twice eight

--beer nothing, the lady'll have a whiskey-sour--

whose least amazing smile is the most great
common divisor of unequal souls."
My Facebook Fiance: oh shit
"home" by kit chan is playing on itunes
so sob

its a freedownload

"one people one nation one singapore"
when my roommate
freshmen year heard it
he said
"that's the dumbest song I've heard in my life"

Someone: autoimmune disease ma
kikuchi's disease

Me: are you going to die?

Someone: ....

Me: :P

Someone: gabriel are u 5?

Frigid Girl: bizet wrote FRENCH operas?!

Me: aiyah
give it up lah

LDPVTP: noooooooooo
i want him dead
(this is a typical example of my vindictiveness, btw)

Me: see?

LDPVTP: i never said i was not vindictive
i only protested the rest


MFTTW: you are very bo liao lehhhh
i underestimated the extent to which you would go to further your bo-liaoness

it's almost antithecal to the spirit of being bo liao
cos you work so hard at it

MFM: this *** character is quite annoying, but I suspect I may have been like him when I was 16-18 years old

Me: hahahahahahaha
then what happened to you

MFM: I realised that I was not as smart as I thought
he should tone down by the time he gets to 3rd year of college

Me: haha
so am I cocky? :P

MFM: no

Me: that's nice to know

MFM: he's not just cocky, he's pretentious

for some reason people who speak french are extra pretentious
or maybe it's just that french is one of the most popular foreign languages

Me: nah the french themselves are pretentious


Me: blind men shouldn't cross roads, really

MFM: off-topic, but I know someone who had to pretend he was blind (sunglasses + using hiking pole as 'guiding stick') so that drivers in wales would slow down to let him cross the road


I have no idea what post-structuralism is, and I don't want to know

Me: 3 guys at once... just nice ah

Noodles: yeah, it felt really good

Someone: i went to ri very long time ago, when i was sec 1, for an open house

there was this guy who was terrified of girls. The moment he saw me approaching his direction he was like "no no don't come near!" and cowering

ri guys really look like they've been living with men for their whole lives
i went for a choir performance and the guys in the choir just stared at me

oh ya, i remembered a guy talking to his friends about my assets

Someone else: boys in year 1 are immature.
in year 2 also.
yr 3 they get better.

Me: ><

how about girls
the younger the better ah

Someone else: no
girls in yr 1 are too friggin geena. i couldnt get along with my peers very well
they seem to be getting more and more geena every year

Me: cos you getting more and more lao char bor

guys like geena

Someone else: if they like then good for them. that's the problem with singapore men. they breed geena ah lians
thats why many singaporean men are cheena bengs with bad taste

thats why, i just get so disgusted with most of them i dont even bother anymore.
if they like them "cute" "short" "slim" "innocent" "blur" i mean admit it already, they want a girl to deflower, thats all.

and one that is lesser than them, can be cheated and wont cheat on them, and can be manipulated to do all sorts of lovey caring shit things for them

Tim the Great: yo yo ma's coming
and rostro celebrating his 80th in paris. he won't play

i need to decide which concerts to attend.
going for hahn, perlman, Ma, at least

you only went for baroque stuff in the netherlands ah
singapore got or not

next year's program is really quite good. (sir simon) rattle isn't coming though. never mind, there are a few people interested in a weekend trip to the waldbuhne next year.

these people aren't going to singapore ah. got anyone good or not

Me: singapore no baroque :(

Tim the Great: pianists:

brendel visits every year. also, kissin is coming with Ashkenazy as conductor. murray perahia with st martin in the fields.

too much good stuff.

notice: none of them are french.

Me: I move to france lah

yah french only know how to angst and whine and write rubbish

Tim the Great: kurt Masur is conducting a french orchestra here.

oh there's Pierre Boulez though. nasty modern stuff

about french:

how true that is.
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