"The happiest place on earth"

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

And I'm off.
"I have a rock garden. Last week three of them died." - Richard Diran


I asked my brother-in-law to buy me foot spray, and he waltzed in with anti-fungal foot powder.

His excuse was that he was half-asleep when I told him. I pointed out that I also told him when he was on his way here, and his excuse was that he was on a crowded MRT train.

"Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid." - Heinrich Heine


Me: "If she could be given any magical power, Katie says she would like to be able to read boys' minds."


Frigid Girl: haha
she'll only see one thing

i would like to be able to read girls' minds

then again, maybe not
i might go insane from the irrationality

crap i'm so utterly misogynistic

Me: not misandristic ah :P

Frigid Girl: no, i'm not anti male

Me: thinking women are irrational is misogynistic
thinking men are horny is not misandristic? =D

Frigid Girl: men are horny, what makes you think that's a bad thing

Me: why is women being irrational bad :P

Frigid Girl: horniness is a biologically built in thing

well technically it's not a bad thing
because women didn't use to have control

but now in the age of feminism and all that shit
they're in control AND irrational


and also misery for men involved in it

you know what really terrifies me

today i was waiting for the bus
and this girl tottered towards the bus pole looking for the busnumbers
one look into her eyes and you realise there's nothing behind the eyes
it's just this big smile and the blank eyes

i guess, ideal girl for most men

but for that one moment i saw her i was terrified
how could anyone seem so empty? or brainless for a better word

oh she was in ah lian gear, with a guy, so

Tim the Great: i feel upset when people gush about the french language

normally their french isn't good.
they think it's great to toss in phrases comme ça; there isn't any raison d'être.

and after italian, spanish and german, i can't derive any more pleasure from putting foreign words in my english un peu partout. especially if they're french words.

there was this comment about learners of french being pretentious. and another one most people make about french being pretentious. well there's a third category of people who can speak fluent french (living in france or not) who have become totally disenchanted with the damn thing.

aside: nowadays i like to go to kfc and order "un zinger, svp" in english and when they don't get it, put on my best pink panther accent and go ZINGER

it's too difficult for me to render the french pronunciation. you can give it a try. so much experience with quotes. how many ah.


you didn't watch [Iron Chef] on sundays meh?

i watched every week
that's how i can cook so well
"We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the fact that many inventions had their birth as toys." - Eric Hoffer


On Young Republic, on the Age of Consent:

A: It strikes me as entirely possible to believe, wholeheartedly, that homosexual intimacy is immoral or sinful, without thinking that it ought to be criminalised.

B: I don't know why you people talk about non-state intervention in areas like these, then turn around and sanction state intervention in speech or a minor's sexual activities. There should be minimal state intervention in areas like these, if at all.

A: I'd hazard a guess here that to the extent that one might support hate speech legislation or a minimum age of consent for sexual activity, this tends to be related to the notion that someone is being victimised by the acts in question. (And the discussions that have taken place on this mailing list have been attempting to get at these very points.) Whereas, however wrongful one considers homosexuality to be, it's difficult to plausibly construct an account of coercion out of consensual gay sex between adults. It's not a knock-down distinction, but it's not so incredibly difficult to understand that someone might feel that way, is it?

B: The state intervenes in the case of consensual homosexuality, because (according to the state) its participants are morally ignorant and mistaken and because of the need to preserve family morality and because it's unnatural. The state intervenes in the case of consenting minors, in order to uphold morality, because it's unnatural and apparently they are ignorant and don't know any better. It seems that there is little distinction in some areas.

If one can rule a relationship "coercive" where clear consent was given, then one can outlaw homosexual relationships on the basis that many of them (or so perceived) often bear dominating/submissive dynamics.

It appears to me these are cases of "morality" -- where the state should try its best not to intervene. Yes, there are grey areas sometimes but that is what trial is for

A: Can children be said to give "clear consent" to sex as much as adults can? (You can think the answer is yes but how can you think the question is meaningless, in the face of the undeniable fact that at some ages children can't even walk or speak and there is obviously a continuum of maturity?) I am not especially interested in arguing about this hodge-podge of different policies, but I just want to make the point that arguments about consistency at the level of abstraction that you favour aren't especially persuasive.

B: The ability to consent should not be judged by age, but through other means. Personally I am of the view that if you can make a decently sound argument for your consent, then you are capable of informed consent.

C: A legal age of consent is, I would say, a necessity. This is not hypocrisy on the part of those who say that consensual acts of homosexuality should be decriminalised. In one case, consent is given by two adults whose faculties can be assumed to be developed and who know the consequence, etc, of what they are doing. In the other, the minor - who very rarely is intellectually, emotionally or financially independent - could be left open to a potentially exploitative situation. I don't see what's so hard to understand about this. Nor do I see why this might be considered 'illiberal'.

B: Age and being informed does not correlate; if the law is to protect the uninformed, why should the state not intervene in the case of a naive 20 year old girl who got the short end of the stick (in the aftermath of cohabitation, a relationship or whatever) but intervene in the case of a 15 year old girl who intentionally deceived someone else?

C: Please show me convincing data which shows that 15 year olds are consistently cheating/deceiving/swindling their sexual partners. I will change my stance if you do. Please do not bring up the movie which you did not watch as an example. Please also show me convincing arguments that such 15 year olds are NOT mentally disturbed, and should be punished NOT rehabilitated. I don't know how to tell you this, but most teenagers are not Mata Hari.

You have consistently said that mental faculty should be used as a gauge of whether a person is able to give consent. But you neglect that mental faculty alone cannot and should not be enough. E.g. would you say that a 15 year old who is clearly intelligent and knows the consequence of his/her actions is NOT being exploited when accepting money to have sex with an older, monied person? As I have tried to point out a billion times, children and young adults tend not to be intellectually, emotionally or financially independent. In spite of their overwhelming intelligence, they may still be open to abuse and exploitation.

Me: Actually I would.

Not that mental faculty alone is enough. A 15 year old who is being pimped out by her parents on pain of being thrown out of her home is clearly being exploited.

A 15 year old who gets a friend to pimp her and gets to keep the bulk of the proceeds is likely not being exploited.

I am wary about applying the concept of exploitation to too many things where coercion is not involved. After all, it is said that Filipino maids who are clearly intelligent and know the consequence of their actions are being exploited when accepting money to come to Singapore to work for households, since this is less than a native Singaporean maid would get.

C: We were speaking of youths in a sexual context. I fail to see the relevance with respect to maids. Perhaps you could clarify.

Me: You say sexual relations involving older people paying 15 year olds who are intelligent and know the consequences of their actions are still exploitative; "mental faculty alone cannot and should not be enough". Implied is that there is no coercion involved either.

The concept of exploitation is problematic, since it can and is applied to all manner of human relations. The employment of domestic maids working in Singapore is alleged by Marxists (classical, neo or post) to be a form of exploitation, since they are paid less than what is assumed to be a fair wage (I don't know how the concept of surplus value comes into play here, since no goods are produced and sold on the open market here). I presume most non-Marxists would sniff at such allegations.

Exploitation in the context of paid sex with 15 year olds presumably comes about because of their age, the sexual nature of the transaction or a combination of the two.

I think we have already established that age in this case is merely a proxy for informed consent. In Singapore, girls under 14 are deemed unable to give informed consent to sexual intercourse which is why having sex with one brings a charge of statutory rape. Yet, if we assume that the person in question is intelligent and knows the consequences of his/her actions, we don't need the proxy for informed consent, since we already have fulfilled the criteria for informed consent.

For example, SAT scores explain 22% of first year college grades (http://www.fairtest.org/facts/satvalidity.html). If we had no other information about candidates, their SAT scores would be helpful to predict their first year college grades. Yet, if we already knew their first year college grades, we wouldn't need to know their SAT scores. SAT scores here are analogous to the age of consent, and first year college grades to informed consent.

The other possibility is that the nature of a sexual transaction is such that a minor is inevitably exploited, even if he/she has given informed consent.

From what I know, without invoking vague theories of power, domination and constructed meaning (eg Sex is an inherently violent/coercive act), one cannot explain why sexual transactions are so different from normal transactions that informed consent is inadequate as a criterion for legality. And in any case, if you invoke the vague theories of power, domination and constructed meaning, all relationships would be exploitative, which wouldn't solve the problem of the sexual exception.

Or perhaps sex is still seen as something mystical, sacred etc, which paradoxically would lead us back into reactionary attitudes (eg adultery should be criminalised, homosexuality is a perversion of nature etc)
"If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability." - Vannevar Bush


We were told that during the numerous "Free & Easy" slots in our program, we would be Free but Not-So-Easy, since it would be time for us to do our individual research and attend talks on campus.

I spotted one very interesting and relevant talk:

Explaining Strategies of Manipulation under Electoral Authoritarianism - FSI (Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies) Stanford

5/9/2007, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
RSVP Required by 5pm 5/8/2007

SPEAKER: Andreas Schedler - Professor of Political Science at CIDE, Mexico

Andreas Schedler is Professor of Political Science and Head of the Department of Political Studies at CIDE in Mexico City. His extensive work on political concepts includes journal articles, edited books and book chapters on politics and antipolitics, political disenchantment, democratic transition and consolidation, public accountability, vote buying, electoral authoritarianism, and democratic support. His current empirical research focuses on processes of democratization by elections worldwide since 1980. His latest (edited) book is Electoral Authoritarianism: The Dynamics of Unfree Elections (Boulder and London: Lynne Rienner, 2006).

FSI Contact
CISAC Conference Room
Encina Hall Central, 2nd floor
616 Serra St.
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305"

Unfortunately, we're leaving for Google at 1:30pm. If the venue is not too far from where we leave from, maybe I can skip lunch and attend the first hour.
"America believes in education: the average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week." - Evan Esar


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Thursday, May 03, 2007

What we do (did) during Democratic ImPossibilities - analyse the meritocratic messages of Propaganda Songs

Joel is tired of Carebear. I was trying to catch him humping it but was too slow, so I only have this.

YC loves the dinosaur too. Now we know why it stopped squeaking properly.

Dedicated NUS lecturer gives a telephone consultation

The 'Not so Indian' menu at another of the joints at Greenwood Avenue.

Okay, I can't remember the reason why this was taken, but here you can see that BTH-turtle pig is bullying me.

Some time ago Munchie Monkey's had an 'Around the World' menu, and this must have been the worst selling item - "Malaysia Boleh (Spicy, dry laksa sauce with spaghetti and dried prawn, served with sunny-side-up egg)"

[Lynn: that dish sounds disgusting. there's no such thing as dry laksa in msia, it's all soupy. and spag? aiyo it better not have been a msian who came up with that.]

Our USP staff are very funky. We know this from looking at the Motivational Posters they put up: "Risks - If you never try anything new, you'll miss out on many of life's great disappointments."; "Sacrifice - All we ask here is that you give us your heart."

This ad (I think in the AS6 level 2 toilet) has been constructively vandalised.
"- Can speak both English & Mandarin <- Discrimination? Want Chinese only say la no balls. PC also for what ?
- Trainings are is provided! <-- Bad English!"

Okay I was wrong. People do want to play with my hair.

Hall inmates are really something. Who would play with an AED? I hope their heart stops.
A series from the time I was studying in the Science Library:

"WARNING - Theft (sic) and vandal (sic) will be handed over to the POLICE."
I would have vandalised this atrocious sign or even thefted it to stop the pain, but I didn't want to be handed over to the POLICE.

While entering or exiting the toilet, I saw this across the corridor. Amazingly, none of the girls I spoke to (3 of them) had noticed it:

Unfortunately you may not be able to see what the sign says. Fortunately, I dispatched my minion Bunny (whose price for her services was a link) to move in for a closer look:

"NOTICE: Male if found in the female toilets will be handed over to the Police. Science Library, 7 Jan 2004"

Presumably they had a peeping problem in the Science Library. I am reliably informed by multiple sources that no such signs can be found in female toilets in Arts (despite, or perhaps because of the different supply and demand both) - Science guys must be very desperate.

I protest this rampant sexism - having a sign like this in the female toilet but not the male toilet sets up the dialectic of the Self and the Other. It just perpetuates negative stereotypes and essentialises females as innocent creatures who just want to finish their business in the toilet and males as nefarious boogeymen whose sole purpose in life is to peek at females.

Their attitudes towards sexism disturb me. I thought it mildly offensive that they would put up a sign about peeping males in the female toilet. Prejudice of any sort is unfair, no matter how 'rational' it is. Of course, prejudice of any sort is rarely rational at all. It poisons the way people interact with each other. To think that all males want to peep at females in the toilet - no matter how 'rational' - is awful.

Many people justify sexist comments the way they do: 'it's rational [since males have peeped at females in the toilet before]! therefore I am justified!' but this rationality is merely a laziness, an unwillingness to think beyond comfortable modes of thinking.

At any rate it is really ridiculous to formulate conclusions on an entire gender based on one male peeping in the female toilet. In fact I think it would be unsound to formulate such conclusions based on 200 males peeping in the female toilet (though slightly more sound than basing it on one male).

'Perverts' cannot fall into the same category as 'Male', for obvious reasons: perverts choose to be perverted, Males, on the other hand, do not choose to be Male. To hate someone based on something that is not his choice seems to me not only highly illogical but morally dubious. It is impossible to prove the claim that Males are perverts. (NO MATTER HOW MANY MALES HAVE PEEPED AT FEMALES IN THE SCIENCE LIBRARY TOILETS. THIS POINT IS SO IRRELEVANT.) It is not equivalent to say 'Men suck' and to say 'perverts suck'. This is terribly obvious to me. Am I missing something here.

I don't see how it is any less sexist to say "Based on past experience, males have peeped at females in the toilet and you should guard against this possibility." Any statement in the following form: "(group X) is (undesirable quality Y) and therefore can be excluded from (social/political/economic activity Z)" is unacceptable. It is stupid - grossly so - since any such statement, even if derived from inferential knowledge, is bullshit. Such statements are two or three steps away from saying, 'Oh they are of no inherent/less inherent worth. Therefore we are justified at spitting at them/enslaving them/sending them to death camps." They obviously have very different views of what sexism is.

MFTTW: this is amusing on so many levels -- for its obviousness, for excellent command of English... it's almost poetic

maybe females in arts don't mind getting peeped at.

Me: uhh

oh yah that's why they wear such short skirts

Someone: wat if female is found in male toilet?
happened today at sci lib

cos i come out
then i see a looong queue at girls side

then one ask me
is there anyone in gents?
n whether i can check for her before she goes?

i was like

then i just listen to her lor
turns out it was empty
so she just go in one of the cubicles

Me: haha

Someone: eh i dint mind
but come on
its in her best interests rite?

Me: no I mean women can go into male cubicles

Someone: eh well
i had to wait outside n tell her got ppl coming
but no one came la

if she can go into man's toilet like that wonder if the same behaviour applies to men's pants :P

ok la she was prolly in urgent distress
so i think can justify
but can the same rule apply to guys?

Me: men in women's toilets are perverts
women in men's toilets need to go

Someone: exactly my point
n they say we live in a patriarchal soceity

Me: aiyah
it's all our fault lah

"Singaporean men marry foreign women because they're losers. Singaporean women marry foreign men because Singaporean men are losers."

Someone: eh techically im not born in singapore:P

but that doesnt imply that im not already coopted by the losership
"Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." - Jeff Valdez


"someone stole my econs notes!" "it's the invisible hand!" - Someone's status message

Someone's answer to the envy meme for me: "haha how you're so unafraid of being politically incorrect!"

The Louvre's Greek collection will be coming to Singapore this year. This will be a chance to see once again what I have no photographic record of thanks to the Cock. But then, photography will likely be banned, so. Gah.

Whenever I open iTunes my computer freezes for many seconds. Gah.

At International Nasi Lemak in Changi Village, there's a sign proclaiming the Mackeral otah is "Halal 100% Muslim Owned". Wth. The certificate isn't enough.

If my "I'll pay you a buck if you let me tug your ponytail" charity proposition ever gets accepted, the next offer I'll make is "I'll pay you 5 busk if you let me hit you with my ponytail".

I'm told that the reason why the banners hanging from lamp posts along Orchard Road are all of a uniform size and follow the same template (the sponsors at the bottom, and 'Uniquely Singapore' at the top) is that the STB head is (was?) the former Chief of Army and while he was driving down that road he wondered why the banners were so messy. Gah.

Behind NJC there's a place called Greenwood Avenue with many eating outlets. The 3 places there I've tried so far all pass the native country test - if you set them up in the country from which the cuisines come from, they will survive. Estivo's has the best gelato I've had in Singapore (but their crepes suck, being limp and non-crispy). Sebastien's (French) and Peperoni Pizzeria (guess) are similarly good.

Singapore on the second day of Chinese New Year was still more vibrant than most Continental European cities on Sunday. (yes, this is backlog from really long ago)

Whoever designed Shaw Bugis is damn cock. The row letters aren't illuminated, so after the lights have been turned down you see people wandering around with their phones trying to find out which row is which.

'dani' on why no one ever says hello to me: "Aiyah, girls are paiseh to approach guys mah. Maybe its the great charm you manifest from your writings? Not forgetting your alluring physical appearance and gentlemanly appreciation of girl's mannerisms cough. Always a catch."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I was first introduced to Butter Chicken dish in 2004 in Tasmania in the form of a sweet, rich and most importantly un-hot curry. Since returning to Singapore after SEP, I've had Butter Chicken twice, first near Bedok camp and the second time at the Science Canteen. Yet the first was very hot, and the second a little hot.

So with my exams over, I felt like making it for myself. Looking at the ingredients list, however, was enough to put me off (Indian food in general needs many many ingredients - this is why curry powder was invented).

Eventually though, I found a recipe which did not need too many ingredients (I only had to buy yogurt and chicken), especially garam masala (the magic ingredient I leave out is included inside, so unless I make my own I'm stuck with an unpalatable substance in my chicken).

Some pictures taken using the new Canon PowerShot A710 IS I got, accompanied by Johnny Malkavian, yesterday (the old one is 4 years old and is getting wonky, and an image stabiliser was appealing):

You may notice black specks in the curry. This comes from simmering it without a cover (I was unsure whether using a metal cover would damage the Teflon and my mother was resting) for 15 minutes without stirring; I am annoyed because I suspect if I'd covered it before simmering for 30 minutes as per instructions, it would have gotten even more burnt.

Instead of using canned tomatoes and tomato paste, I used a tin of 'tomato sauce' (the main ingredient was puree) which might have resulted in a less robust flavour. Also, I forgot to add in the crushed garlic and ginger (I couldn't find the pestle and mortar so I used the tenderiser on the chopped vegetables) till after the chicken had been added, but I don't think that affected the taste. I also added a sprinkle of sugar to up the sweetness quotient a bit.

My mother and I found the taste a little strange - maybe it doesn't pay to use the simplest recipe (her explanation was that it was a mish-mash of flavours). Alternatively, I suspect that I do not have a comparative advantage (let alone absolute advantage) in making Indian food.

Yet, I am still searching for a local version of the Holy Grail - good curry made without chili powder. And since you can't get it commercially here, the only alternative is to make it yourself.

My father asked why I was so kind to keep making food for my brother-in-law. Hurr hurr.

Sometimes I wonder also.
The Great Debate in Chernobyl! This Sunday at 8.00 pm. « THE INTELLIGENT SINGAPOREAN

"Another great debate will be held on the 6th of May this coming Sunday at an earlier time of 8.00pm (Singapore time).

The bad news is we have been kicked out from the “Great Hall.” I will not elaborate further except to say it is in part due to darkness colorful usage of language and Dr Chandra’s personal references."

Okay, I have no idea what this is about.

The last time they had a 'debate', besides the debators referring to "publications" only they knew (and which in all likelihood don't even exist), it was also horribly stage managed, with all comments not following their script (which for all we know was performed by one person sitting in front of a terminal) being deleted immediately.

akikonomu thinks it's one big satire, for the same reason he says Andy Warhol thought Valerie Solanas and S.C.U.M (the Society for Cutting Up Men) were a parody of feminism, even after the assassination attempt - the alternative would be unthinkable (who can forget the classic claim that Hitler was an evolutionary psychologist?) Meanwhile I was speculating that the name is a subtle dig - only UnIntelligent Singaporeans will be duped by the faux conspiracies.

So - good joke.

My only worry is that it impugns the political blogosphere among those who don't get the joke; beyond a certain point, the uninformed are unable to differentiate between the insane and those pretending to be insane, and it's not clear that it matters which either - whether or not Valerie Solanas was pretending to try to assassinate Andy Warhol, he had to wear a corset for the rest of his life. And it's not clear that those who *are* in on the joke think it's all in good taste either.


One Day all to Myself……

"Akikonomu Says:
May 2nd, 2007 at 4:43 pm

Dear intellisg and inspir3d,

Is it true that most of the questions asked by commentors here are actually posted by the brotherhood itself, in order to create an image of a mystical and shadowy group?

inspir3d Says:
May 2nd, 2007 at 5:55 pm

“Is it true that most of the questions asked by commentors here are actually posted by the brotherhood itself, in order to create an image of a mystical and shadowy group?”

Akikonomu, you don’t seriously expect me to answer this question, do you?
Don’t think so much, just enjoy the show =)"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"To do just the opposite is also a form of imitation." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg


Someone: i searched for 'malay family' in pro.corbis.com and got a picture of two orang utans

Me: ><
sue them for sedition!

Someone: i checked it up
it's the search string lah

cause they classified the orang utans under 'malay archipelago'
so when i type malay family
the utans pop up

Someone else: even MOE change the syllabus for sec sch/ jc

this guy ah
10 years or maybe even 20
still teaching the same damn thing


HWMNBN: i actually had a recent insight into women

the thing about women is that most of them want you to be able to psychically want/desire exactly what they want of your own free will and accord without any prompting or clues from them

however if you require clues or show hint that you are being coerced it irritates them on a fundamental level
they want you to be psychic and FREELY share those same desires - well not exactly the same desires. but freely be what they want you to be, feel what they want you to feel, think what they want you to think

in other words they want you to willingly and without any coercion from them be exactly what they want you to be. and they deeply resent having to either coerce or provide hints

from this simple axiom springs forth much misery

oh the other female misery-inducing axiom is PMS, but that's a different story

actually the difference is that i think most men don't mind about the "freely" bit so much, as long as they get the end result

with women it is important to them that the man FREELY conforms to her will without any suggestion or imposition of will on her part, if you know what i mean
ie. a fantastic coincidence

most men are more goal-oriented

the important difference is that women don;t WANT to demand
they don't want to impose their will. they want the guy to FREELY happen to want the same thing.
but of course that never happens. so they resort to demanding coercing/psycho-ing etc etc.
but their inherent resentment of that process is what gives so much grief.

i think the guy actually tends to prefer an element of direct domination/control

Someone: well i was at sentosa's jazz thing yesterday, and the rtiger beer girl wore leggings under her skirt, and her top is practically a mock turtleneck sleeveless, so cannot downblouse and upskirt

Me: ><
very smart

HAHA finally practicality!

[NB: In response to LDPVTP's comment that "your friend who said that thing is a pervert", I would like to note that this someone is a straight girl.]

Someone else on putting on Facebook that he was interested in men: aieeeeeeeee i thought that was filling in my gender *reminds self never to do online registrations when half-asleep*
Current summer plans:

US (Palo Alto/Stanford, Berkeley, San Fran - Multiculturalism Program) (5) 6 May-19 May
US (Assorted undetermined West Coast places - Bumming) 20 May-27 (29) May
Institute of Policy Studies Internship 4 Jun-22 Jun
Shanghai 23 Jun-28 Jun
Hong Kong 28 Jun-2 Jul
Institute of Policy Studies Internship 3 Jul-10 Aug
Mt Kinabalu (scaling) 12 Aug-15 Aug

Monday, April 30, 2007

"Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard." - Daphne du Maurier



"The basic problem I had with what the author wrote was that she seems to have a chip on her shoulder regarding heterosexuals in particular, and the establishment in general. E.g. "I'm in love with a breeder. Well, FUCK." It doesn't automatically follow that all heterosexuals will have children, and that term (breeders) strikes me as pejorative, comparing humans to cattle. Similarly, the repeated references to "The Man" emphasise a "them and us" mentality (and possibly also a 1970s mentality). Then she compares a bar being raided by the police to an attack by skinheads. My view is that if the police are doing a raid, i.e. they believe that a crime is being (or has been) committed, then the best approach is to co-operate with them and be polite, rather than to "join your acquaintance in taunting and otherwise harassing the moron at hand". This may be suggesting that a bunch of redneck police officers will say "Hey, let's go beat us up some faggots", but how often does that actually happen? Given the amount of litigation in America, I assume that such an event would have led to a court case, so there would be evidence to support this (such as a newspaper report). In all my own dealings with the police (both when I've reported a crime to them, and when they've caught me doing something wrong), I've found that if I behave reasonably then so do they.

However, the sentence that bothered me the most was "You see, by virtue of your heterosexuality, you are the oppressor". As I interpret that (and please do correct me if I'm wrong), she is saying that regardless of my actions or inactions, I am oppressing people simply by existing. This comes back to the "them and us" attitude - it sounds like "homosexuals and heterosexuals can't live in harmony, so the only way for homosexuals to be free is for all heterosexuals to die". The most charitable response I can think of is to dismiss these opinions as comic relief ("Help! Help! I'm being oppressed! Violence inherent in the system! Violence inherent in the system!" - Dennis, Monty Python and the Holy Grail), which I'm sure isn't the desired effect. To digress slightly, this reminds me of X-Men 2, where mutancy is a fairly blatant metaphor for homosexuality; using that metaphor, I think the writer comes across as being more like Magneto than Professor Xavier. If this is truly what she believes, then she is entitled to her opinion, but it seems just as bigoted as homophobia to me, so it's certainly not going to make her other comments any more persuasive. Hence the title of this web page."

This encapsulates a lot of my grouses about PC/left wing hysteria.

*crispy waffle* calls this an example of "The Perfect Waffle".

I'm inclined to agree.

If only someone hadn't brought the waffle iron back... The cheapest proper one on Yahoo Auctions is $200.
"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast." - Oscar Wilde


"computing might help save lives, but physics lets you build battlecruisers." - Someone on the NUS SoC ad

Masters Students don't like take-home exams because since they don't care about grades (and don't study [much] anyway), their objective is to minimise suffering. After doing a take-home, I can understand why.

"An economist is a man who knows a hundred ways of making love but doesn't know any women"
"An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible."

At 7:25am on the 18th (Wednesday) there were 9 people on the 6th floor of the Central Library (part of which has gone pseudo-24 hour in view of exams). Hurr hurr.

For one Propaganda module, they have to write a 500 word Wikipedia article on Singapore and submit it (Example: Singapore Literature - Edwin Thumboo). Neat.

There's this module where people have to write papers based on talks they attend. The bizarre thing is that the papers have to find common themes across the talks. Given that the talks this semester have been about things such as AIDS prevention, cultural imperialism, business ethics, religious ethics, environmental ethics, religious tolerance, urban planning, poverty alleviation, it is hard to find common themes. So I suggested writing something about how subsidising AIDS treatment/prevention is cultural imperialism, because the liberal state should not privilege any conceptions of the good life by subsidising then, and that they should let AIDS patients die of AIDS because, hey, claiming that having AIDS is a bad thing is presumptuously ethnocentric. Someone said he would write that but didn't want to fail. Ah well.

I was eating at Engin with someone, and he'd left a plate of food on the table while he walked out of viewing distance to talk to someone. When someone else and I accosted him, he said there was someone at our table, and he probably thought it was his friend's table. When we went to our table, we found out that the guy was protecting the food from birds. Ah, it's so hard to find people like this nowadays.

The Science Library has a 'general reading' section. Maybe they wouldn't read anything otherwise, hurr hurr.

One day, I saw a McDonalds receipt in Chatterbox from the same day, but with a timestamp of just before 4am. It listed enough food for two, and 2 drinks too. I was speculating that people were taking advantage of the venue's 24-hour availability to engage in nocturnal activities, until a few days later someone said that it was her 4-member group doing a project till 7:30am that day - the other 2 members did not want to eat anything. Ah well. Given that the aircon shuts down between 10 and 11pm, anyone camping over would be guaranteed to have a hot time.

In a similar vein, I was related a secondhand story about how someone entered the sofa room and saw 2 people making out.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

"I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it." - Rita Mae Brown



You're counselling someone else ah? [Student: Yah, my gay friend.] Ask him to turn straight. Ask him to turn straight, ask me to turn gay.

'You and gabe gossip about me'. Na hea. If I gossip I will do it openly.

Capitalism is like masturbation.

[Me to someone camping in school for 5 days: You've been here for 120 hours right?]... Well, if you want to put it that way and make me sound like a loser, also can.

[Student to a Muslim complaining about exams: Everyone's fighting the same fight.] I'm fighting for the liberation of Israel. What the hell am I saying? I'm fighting for the liberation of Palesteen. [Student 2: You're going against your own side.] Are there any Jewish people here?... I believe that the Holocaust happened. (Palestine)

[On the take-home] Feminism: your favourite. You can write about your UDs.

[On a Fong Seng outlet] You see the politics going on? They claim to be a Taiwanese food place but they're all PRC. They're conquering them.

[Me: Girls all like to bake.]... Any girls like to program?

[On the take-home exam about feminism] You look like a kid who's been taken into a candy shop. I pity women in the next 24 hours.

Is she bringing her boyfriend with her? [Students: Which one?]

[Me: Women like rich men] That's true. Or I can get so rich I don't need a rich man. [Me: You'll just look for an even richer man.] Yah.

I have an exam at 5 o'clock. I have a 24 hour [exam] now. No time to eat. No time to sleep. [Me: No time to complain. *exit Gabriel*]

Have fun! [Me: You find interviews very fun ah?] Yeah. Because I get to talk about myself.

[Malay to a non-Malay] Too bad you're not Malay, otherwise we can start a racial riot.

Day 1 of your period... Day 14 is when you're most horny. [Me: Your most fertile period.] [Student 2: I feel like a piece of land.]

[Being sexist] This is when everyone ignores Gabriel. [Me: Help, I'm being oppressed... by women.]

Why would I be into tentacle porn? I don't have tentacles.

His blood is AB-normal.

What's a s'whap club? [Me: You swap partners.] [Student 2: Sounds like salsa] (swap)

*Enters room* I heard bitching and gossip. I've very sharp ears.

I shall call her 'Jujube' because 'UD #6' sounds like a contraceptive.

[Me: What's with the shawl?] I'm cold. [Me: Why don't you wear more?] [Student 2: Then it won't look nice.]

I don't think RI boys are as stuck up as RGS girls... You add the feminine ego.

What's BFG? [Student: Big Friendly Giant. Roald Dahl.] Who's Roald Dahl? [Student: You don't know Roald Dahl?] [Student 2: She's Malaysian.] [Student 3: Go home. We don't want you. Only your water.]

I ask you ah. Is the science library 24 hours?... Cos I keep seeing people in the same clothes.
"A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits." - Robert Heinlein


The 17th European Union Film Festival

It is good to see that unlike last year, Belgian is not a language anymore. I don't know about Austrian, since there aren't any films from Austria.

I was browsing through the list of films (none of which I can watch anyway, since I'll be in the US for most of May - which also means I'll be missing another opera [Die Walküre]), and made a shocking discovery:

Directed by Erik Van Looy, Belgium, 2003, 120 minutes
Drama – French – English subtitles

When a key civil servant is murdered, the Antwerp police force puts its top crime investigators, Vincke (Koen de Bouw) and Verstruyft (Werner De Smedt), on the case. The trail leads to hitman Angelo Ledda (Jan Decleir). Showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, Ledda finds it increasingly difficult to carry out assignments. When he discovers that he is being used in a political power game, he decides to bite the hand that feeds him. Vincke and Verstruyft have a hard time trying to disentangle the web of intrigue, settlements and networks, in order to prevent further killings."

Damnit. The Wallonese have managed to make the Flemish speak French too...
"I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. That's deep enough. What do you want, an adorable pancreas?" - Jean Kerr


Puzzle to ponder:

Why do all of these start with the same 12 notes?

Palestrina - Missa Ecce Ego Johannes - Gloria
Mozart - Missa brevis in C major - Gloria
Thomas Tallis - Mass For Four Voices - Gloria
Vaughan Williams - Mass in G minor - Gloria

I'm sure there're more masses out there starting with these 12 notes.

akikonomu: okay. my guess is all of them are based on the opening of a gregorian

palestrina is a big clue

i'd say the gregorian is a big possibility. tallis + mozart studied the chants, probably. tallis being a baroque scholar, and mozart being one of the few composers in the classical period to muck around with baroque composition

Tim the Great: it's Mass IV's gloria
New blog header:

A Singapore SAFE for all

My favourite bit:

"Is there any check on the use of the ISA?

The President of the Republic of Singapore has veto power over preventive detentions. This means the President has the power to reject the Government’s proposal to detain someone if the ISA Advisory Board is also against the detention.

Finally, the greatest check against the abuse of the ISA is a political one.

Although the law allows the Minister for Home Affairs to approve an Order of Detention, such decisions have always been made by the Prime Minister and his Cabinet (his Ministers). They must be satisfied that the Order of Detention is necessary before they approve it.

As Singapore is a parliamentary democracy, the Government is elected by the people. The Government will be held responsible by all Singaporeans if it abuses the powers of the ISA.

The people of Singapore are therefore the greatest check on any abuse of the ISA’s powers of preventive detention."

You are an R-A-R: a metaphysical Reductionist, an epistemological Absolutist, and a moral Relativist. What does this all mean? Well, keep reading to find out.

Metaphysics: Reductionism (Monism or Positivism) In metaphysics, my test measures your tendency towards Reductionism or Non-Reductionism. As a Reductionist, you like to cut away the metaphysical fat as opposed to multiplying concepts and entities like so many baby rabbits. The two broad categories of Reductionists that my test recognizes are Monists and Positivists.

1. Monists do not cut away the metaphysical fat so much as they just put the meat into a grinder and synthesize the fat into the meat. They tend to condense particular things and ideas into a Unity or Absolute, in other words. If you believe that reality is ultimately a unity and that mind and matter both exist but are simply two different ways of looking at the same substance, then you are a neutral monist in the sense of Spinoza. If you believe that reality is ultimately an Absolute because a whole is more than just the sum of its parts, proven by the fact that we can never have knowledge of a particular thing unless we also grasp its relations to the ultimate Absolute or whole of reality with which it is bound up, and if you feel that this Absolute is characterized by Spirit or Mind, and not matter, then you share the same views as Hegel and even Plato to a degree. A monist--because he or she believes that reality is a Unity or Absolute--tends to synthesize all particulars into universals, deny the reality of matter (Hegel) or mind (Spinoza, sort of), and so on. These concepts are all cast into the meat grinder and come out as a unified whole. Famous monists include philosophers such as Hegel, Spinoza, and Parmenides.

If none of the above sounded like you, then you are most definitely the other type of Reductionist. 2. Positivists, unlike monists, do not synthesize two apparently competing views into one--instead, they do away with one of the views, that being the one that cannot be empirically verified. A positivist, then, cuts away the metaphysical fat as meaningless conjecture about nothing in particular. He relies primarily on a tool called Ockham's Razor to shave away these ideas. Ockham's Razor states that we should do away with any hypotheses that needlessly multiply explanatory entities. For instance, in regards to the dispute about the existence of universals, a positivist tends to adopt the position of nominalism--which is the belief that only particulars are real. A universal is only a linguistic construction we use to put particulars into groups--meaning we can reduce all universals to the sum of their parts, that being particulars. After all, we can never have empirical experience of "whiteness", only particular things that are white--nor have we ever observed the universal "mankind", though we can observe individual men. On the mind-body problem, a positivist will be likely to do away with the concept of "mind", reducing it to a material product of our brain functioning. This position is often referred to as the Identity-Theory, because it equates mental states to states of the brain. Clearly, a positivist tends towards a materialistic outlook. Positivism will also revile any idealist conception of reality, which maintains that the world of experience and perception is merely a phenomenal world, whereas the "real" world lies underneath experience and is fundamentally unknowable. A positivist will tend to do away with the idealist hypothesis as needless and unverifiable. Well-known positivists include Carnap, Ayer, and Wittgenstein.


Epistemology: Absolutism (Rationalism or Pragmatism) My test measures one's tendency towards Absolutism or Skepticism in regards to epistemology. As an Absolutist, you believe that objective knowledge is possible given the right approach, and you deny the claims of skeptical philosophers who insist that we can never have knowledge of ultimate reality. The two types of Absolutists recognized by my test are Rationalists and Pragmatists.

1. Rationalists believe that the use of reason ultimately provides the best route to truth. A rationalist usually defines truth as a correspondence between propositions and reality, taking the common-sense route. Also, rationalists tend to believe that knowledge of reality is made possible through certain foundational beliefs. This stance is known as foundationalism. A foundationalist believes that, because we cannot justify the truth of every statement in an infinite regress, we ultimately reach a foundation of knowledge. This foundation is composed of a priori truths, like mathematics and logic, as well as undoubtable truths like one's belief in his or her own existence. The belief that experiences and memories are veridical is also part of the foundation. Thus, for a rationalist knowledge of reality is made possible through our foundational beliefs, which we do not need to justify because we find them to be undoubtable and self-evident. In regards to science, a rationalist will tend to emphasize the foundational assumptions of scientific inquiry as prior to and more important than scientific inquiry itself. If science does lead to truth, it is only because it is based upon the assumption of certain rational principles such as "Every event is caused" and "The future will resemble the past". Philosophy has a wide representation of philosophical rationalists--Descartes, Spinoza, Liebniz, and many others.

If that didn't sound like your own views, then you are most likely the other type of Absolutist: the Pragmatist. 2. Epistemological Pragmatists are fundamentally identified by their definition of truth. Truth is, on this view, merely a measure of a proposition's success in inquiry. This view is a strictly scientific notion of truth. A proposition can be called true if it leads to successful predictions or coheres best with the observed facts about the world. Thus, for the pragmatist, knowledge of reality is possible through scientific reasoning. A pragmatist emphasizes man's fallibility, and hence takes baby-steps towards knowledge through scientific methodology. Any truth claim for a pragmatist is open to revision and subject to change--if empirical observations lead us to call even logical rules into question (like quantum physics has done for the law of the excluded middle), then we can and should abandon even these supposed a priori and "absolutely certain" logical rules if they do not accord with our testing and refuting of our various propositions. As a consequence of this, a pragmatist doesn't feel that scientific knowledge is based upon unfounded assumptions that are taken to be true without any sort of justification--rather, they believe that the successes of scientific inquiry have proved that its assumptions are well-founded. For instance, the assumption of science that the future will be like the past is adequately shown by the amazing success of scientific theories in predicting future events--how else could this be possible unless the assumption were true? Pragmatism borrows elements from realism and yet attempts to account for the critiques made by skeptics and relativists. It is essentially a type of philosophical opportunism--it borrows the best stances from a large number of philosophical systems and attempts to discard the problems of these systems by combining them with others. Famous pragmatists of this type are Peirce and Dewey.


Ethics: Relativism (Subjectivism or Emotivism) My test measures one's tendency towards moral Objectivism or moral Relativism in regards to ethics. As a moral Relativist, you tend to see moral choices as describing a subject's reaction to a moral object or situation, and not as a property of the moral object itself. You may also feel that moral words are meaningless because they do not address any empirical fact about the world. My test recognizes two types of moral relativists--Subjectivists and Emotivists.

1. Subjectivists see individual or collective desires as defining a situation's or object's moral worth. Thus, the subject, not the object itself, determines the value. Subjectivists recognize that social rules, customs, and morality have been wide-ranging and quite varied throughout history among various cultures. As a result, Subjectivism doesn't attempt to issue hard and fast rules for judging the moral worth of things. Instead, it recognizes that what we consider "good" and "right" is not bound by any discernable rule. There is no one trait that makes an act good or right, because so many different kinds of things have been called good and right. In regards to the definition of "good" or "right", a Subjectivist will tend to define it as whatever a particular person or group of people desire. They do not define it merely as "happiness" or "pleasure", for instance, because sometimes we desire to do things that do not produce pleasure, and because we don't consider all pleasurable things good. Furthermore, Subjectivists recognize the validity of consequentialism in that sometimes we refer to consequences as good and bad--but they also recognize that our intentions behind an action, or the means to the end, can also determine an act's moral worth. Again, there is no one rule to determine these things. Hence the relativism of moral Subjectivism. The most well-known of the subjectivists is Nietzsche.

If that didn't sound like your position, then you are probably the other variety of moral Relativist--the Emotivist. Emotivists are moral Relativists only in a very slanted sense, because they actually deny that words about morality have any meaning at all. An Emotivist would probably accept Hume's argument that it is impossible to derive an "ought" from an "is"--no factual state of affairs can logically entail any sort of moral action. Furthermore, a emotivist's emphasis on scientific (and hence empirical) verification and testing quickly leads to the conclusion that concepts such as "good" and "right" don't really describe any real qualities or relations. Science is never concerned with whether a particular state of affairs is moral or right or good--and an emotivist feels much the same way. Morality is thus neither objective or subjective for the emotivist--it is without any meaning at all, a sort of vague ontological fiction that is merely a symbol for our emotional responses to certain events. Famous emotivists include Ayer and other positivists associated with the Vienna Circle.


As you can see, when your philosophical position is narrowed down there are so many potential categories that an OKCupid test cannot account for them all. But, taken as very broad categories or philosophical styles, you are best characterized as an R-A-R. Your exact philosophical opposite would be an N-S-O.

About the Author

Saint_gasoline is a crazed madman who spends all of his time writing OKCupid tests and ranting about philosophy and science. If you are interested in reading more of his insane ramblings, or seeing his deliciously trite webcomic, go to SaintGasoline.com.

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 21% on Metaphysics
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You scored higher than 80% on Epistemology
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You scored higher than 50% on Ethics
Link: The Sublime Philosophical Crap Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
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