When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

"I have the heart of a child. I keep it in a jar on my shelf." - Robert Bloch


My friend was making plans to celebrate his Xth anniversary with his girlfriend, and was looking to convince her somehow to have the dinner on a weekday (a price in the low-100 range) instead of a weekend (mid-100 range). I pointed out that it was very sexist for him to have to not only plan but pay for the thing, and he just shrugged helplessly. Later I was musing to someone else about the equally sexist practise of men having to propose marriage, and his reply was that: "i dun think it's sexist lar. it all depends on how you look at it. i think of it as a nice gesture. and it would be a nice gesture of the lady to give some solid bedroom action after the dinner HAHAHAHAHA"

In theory I'm for women having the right to wear the tudung if they want, but in practise there are many complications. When you hear of parents forcing their daughters to cover themselves (some of whom take them off when they leave the house or go clubbing), or of Imams who preach that Muslim women who don't wear it will have their hair scorched off when they go to hell, you wonder.

The trouble with vigorously suing people for defamation and proclaiming that repetition of the lie makes it credible is that when you don't, people automatically think that what is said is credible. And since there will always be many people out there saying bad things about you, you're never going to be able to find them. In contrast, if you ignore people who slime you, others are more likely to think that they are crackpots (a la Conspiracy Theorists).

Mindef is so anal that when you call them to ask for event sponsorship, they ask what colour the carpet in the hotel will be.

I was mildly annoyed to see a $0.50 deduction for the CDAC fund on my paycheque. I investigated the optout procedure, and it turns out to be slightly extended (you need to print out and fill in a form, giving it to your employer) - not worth it for only 2 months (in this case, 1 month since I've already 'donated' once).

If a girl says she’s fat, she’s probably not. If a girl says she’s thin, she is.

A good analogy for the difference between Japanese and US RPGs: the former are like taking a theme park ride and the latter like going on a free-and-easy roadtrip throughout the country. In the first you have virtually no autonomy but are guaranteed a controlled (and hopefully good) experience, but in the latter you get to explore different possibilities (which really is what a game is about - playing). The same can apply to Macs and PCs.

Apparently, in 1994 pot and alcohol were freely available in NUS (so if my theory about the 2 main lubricants of creativity is correct, NUS students were more creative then than now), and students were very lively (even publishing samizdat - 'Subterranean' [being under the Ridge] piles of which would be thrown away by the administration). Coincidentally or otherwise, this was also when the administration was a lot less tolerable. Seeing as some have observed that NUS is a microcosm of Singapore, this makes sense uner the paradigm of calibrated coercion.

Escape from Paradise is in MD/SC and HSSML General Reading. Haha

John Abizaid, the ex-Commander of the US Central Command, is currently a fellow at the Hoover Institute at Stanford. NUS's Lee Kuan Yew school wouldn't accept him, however, because he doesn't have a PhD and has never published before. This despite his wealth of experience and having a Masters Thesis described as "absolutely the best seminar paper I ever got in my 30-plus years at Harvard."

Using sago starch or mixing an equal portion of rice flour into your corn flour makes for crispier deep fry coating.

Thomas Kemper Root Beer is good, but it lacks a depth to its flavour which would let it linger ever-so-lightly on the tongue as it slips down the throat.

Yogurt gelato is very weird. I don't recommend it.

"If you have to explain satire to someone, you might as well give up." - Barry Humphries

I'm considering removing the "satire" tag from all the posts that have it. There is the complication, though, of whether I should leave it on satire that I didn't write.
Damn, forgot to traumatise the kids with my namecard!

Friday, July 20, 2007

"To refuse awards is another way of accepting them with more noise than is normal." - Peter Ustinov


She knows, too, that I despise the modern stage. She adores it, and imagines that she is working on it for the benefit of humanity and her sacred art, but to me the theatre is merely the vehicle of convention and prejudice. When the curtain rises on that little three-walled room, when those mighty geniuses, those high-priests of art, show us people in the act of eating, drinking, loving, walking, and wearing their coats, and attempt to extract a moral from their insipid talk; when playwrights give us under a thousand different guises the same, same, same old stuff, then I must needs run from it, as Maupassant ran from the Eiffel Tower that was about to crush him by its vulgarity.

Do you know, my boy, I like literary men. I once passionately desired two things: to marry, and to become an author. I have succeeded in neither. It must be pleasant to be even an insignificant author.

The curtain rises. A vista opens across the lake. The moon hangs low above the horizon and is reflected in the water. NINA, dressed in white, is seen seated on a great rock.

All men and beasts, lions, eagles, and quails, horned stags, geese, spiders, silent fish that inhabit the waves, starfish from the sea, and creatures invisible to the eye--in one word, life--all, all life, completing the dreary round imposed upon it, has died out at last. A thousand years have passed since the earth last bore a living creature on her breast, and the unhappy moon now lights her lamp in vain. No longer are the cries of storks heard in the meadows, or the drone of beetles in the groves of limes. All is cold, cold. All is void, void, void. All is terrible, terrible-- [A pause] The bodies of all living creatures have dropped to dust, and eternal matter has transformed them into stones and water and clouds; but their spirits have flowed together into one, and that great world-soul am I! In me is the spirit of the great Alexander, the spirit of Napoleon, of Caesar, of Shakespeare, and of the tiniest leech that swims. In me the consciousness of man has joined hands with the instinct of the animal; I understand all, all, all, and each life lives again in me.

[The will-o-the-wisps flicker out along the lake shore.]

[Whispers] What decadent rubbish is this?...

Now it appears that he has produced a masterpiece, if you please! I suppose it was not meant to amuse us at all, but that he arranged the performance and fumigated us with sulphur to demonstrate to us how plays should be written, and what is worth acting. I am tired of him. No one could stand his constant thrusts and sallies. He is a wilful, egotistic boy.

He had hoped to give you pleasure.

Is that so? I notice, though, that he did not choose an ordinary play, but forced his decadent trash on us. I am willing to listen to any raving, so long as it is not meant seriously, but in showing us this, he pretended to be introducing us to a new form of art, and inaugurating a new era. In my opinion, there was nothing new about it, it was simply an exhibition of bad temper.

Everybody must write as he feels, and as best he may.

Let him write as he feels and can, but let him spare me his nonsense.

--- The Sea-Gull, Act I. Anton Chekhov
Two mathematicians were having dinner in a restaurant, arguing about the average mathematical knowledge of the American public. One mathematician claimed that this average was woefully inadequate, the other maintained that it was surprisingly high. "I'll tell you what," said the cynic, "ask that waitress a simple math question. If she gets it right, I'll pick up dinner. If not, you do." He then excused himself to visit the men's room, and the other called the waitress over.

"When my friend comes back," he told her, "I'm going to ask you a question, and I want you to respond `one third x cubed.' There's twenty bucks in it for you." She agreed.

The cynic returned from the bathroom and called the waitress over. "The food was wonderful, thank you," the mathematician started. "Incidentally, do you know what the integral of x squared is?"

The waitress looked pensive; almost pained. She looked around the room, at her feet, made gurgling noises, and finally said, "Um, one third x cubed?"

So the cynic paid the check. The waitress wheeled around, walked a few paces away, looked back at the two men, and muttered: "...plus a constant."

A guy applied to join a nudist club.

"Exactly what do you do here?" he asked.

"It's quite simple," said the club secretary, "We take off all our clothes and commune with nature." "Cool," said the guy, "...count me in!"

So he paid his membership fee, took off his gear and strolled off. As he walked along a path, he saw a big sign which read, "Beware of Gays." A little further along he saw another sign which read the same thing, "Beware of Gays." He continued walking until he came to a small clearing which had a bronze plaque set in the ground.

He bent over to read the plaque and it said, "Sorry... You've had two warnings!"

Teacher asks Alice: "What did you do at recess?" Alice says, "I played in the sand box." Teacher says "That's good. Go to the blackboard and if you can write 'sand' correctly, I'll give you a fresh-baked cookie." She does and gets a cookie.

Teacher asks Little Johnny what he did at recess. Johnny says, "I played with Alice in sand box." Teacher says, "Good. If you write 'Box" correctly on blackboard, I'll give you a fresh baked cookie." Johnny does, and gets a cookie.

Teacher then asks Mustaffa Machmoud what he did at recess. He says, "I tried to play with Alice and Johnny, but they threw rocks at me." Teacher says, "Threw rocks at you? That sounds like blatant racial discrimination. If you can go the blackboard and write 'blatant racial discrimination' correctly, I'll give you a cookie..."

1. Q. What should you do if you see your ex-husband rolling around in pain on the ground?
A. Shoot him again.

2. Q. How can you tell when a man is well-hung?
A. When you can just barely slip your finger in between his neck and the noose.

3. Q. Why do little boys whine?
A. Because they're practicing to be men.

4.How many men does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. One - he just holds it up there and waits for the world to revolve around him. OR Three - one to screw in the bulb, and two to listen to him brag about the screwing part.

5. Q. What do you call a handcuffed man?
A. Trustworthy.

6. Q. What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath and calling your name?
A. You didn't hold the pillow down long enough.

7. Q. Why does it take 100,000,000 sperm to fertilize one egg?
A. Because not one will stop and ask directions.

8. Q. Why do female black widow spiders kill their males after mating?
A. To stop the snoring before it starts .

9. Q: Why do men whistle when they're sitting on the toilet?
A: Because it helps them remember which end they need to wipe.

10. Q: What is the difference between men and women...
A: A woman wants one man to satisfy her every need.
A man wants every woman to satisfy his one need.

11. Q: How does a man keep his youth?
A: By giving her money, furs and diamonds.

12. Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?
A: Rename the mail folder to "instruction manuals"

What do blowjobs and flowers have in common?
After the first year they are only given on special occasions.

Statistics show that at the age of seventy, there are five women to every man. Isn't that the darndest time for a guy to get those odds?

Drinking makes some husbands see double and feel single.
Galdalf's production of King Lear was great, except that I'm pissed off that the fool got hung (wth?!) just before Act III Scene VII (after which there was the intermission), they fire guns and use other anachronistic props like a bath robe and a wheelchair (they're probably shared with Seagull - I'll find out Monday), Galdalf's moans when he carries out Cordelia's body put me in the mind of "this girl is too heavy for an old man like me to carry very far" and we don't see Gandalf's staff!

I also suspect they cut some parts (for example I didn't notice this delicious exchange), added others (definitely the hanging of the Fool) and simplified some of the archaic English, but I can't be sure, having but read the text only once (and being unsure whether they used the Quarto variation, the Folio variation or some combination thereof). Frigid Girl's masterful command of the play will be used to critique my omissions.

Watching the play performed really adds a dimension that just reading the text cannot provide (the reverse is of course also true), not least because of the rude gestures and noises. A live performance also has merits over a recording, a point which even those who claim being at concerts and listening to CDs provide the same experience would probably concede.

A final thought before I retire, just about having passed the midpoint of these few busy days - in Shakespeare's day theatre such as this was not an exclusively highbrow activity, with commonfolk and aristocrats alike enjoying the delights of the theatre. So either the plays can be enjoyed on more than one level (crude remarks and vaginal references as well as literary symbolism and other thingamajigs) or people nowadays are dumber than they used to be despite (or because of, some snobs might assert) the popularisation of mass education. I'd draw a parallel with Opera, but I can't remember what MFM said about how opera didn't exactly start off as mass entertainment and become glorified as high culture today so I won't.

[Addendum: Oh, and it was much much better than the last time I saw (a version of) King Lear - Ong Keng Sen's atrocious 1999 (?) production which had everyone speaking in a language other than English and was painful (for me) to sit through. I'm not sure if I've recovered from the trauma of that. Everyone gushes about the rich symbolism in the way Asian cultures were referenced, but my favourite foil for that is this bit:

"Many playgoers inevitably saw pointers to national and class conflicts in the tensions between the Beijing opera performer's queen, the Noh actor's Old Man and the Indonesian-inspired Retainer. But playwright Kishida Rio disavows such meanings. "I was very shocked," the Japanese writer recounts, when a Hong Kong journalist asked about political intentions in casting of a Japanese as the Old Man and a Chinese as the daughter who kills him. "I never thought about such implications."" (emphasis mine)

More detailed review, focusing on the points people usually focus on in a reivew.]
"Sometime later, Lennon received a letter from a pupil attending Quarry Bank Grammar School, which he had attended as a child. The writer mentioned that the English master was making his class analyze Beatles song lyrics. (John wrote an answer to the letter, dated 1 September 1967, which was auctioned by Christie's of London in 1992.)

Lennon, amused that a teacher was putting so much effort into understanding Beatles lyrics, decided to write the most confusing, unusual lyric he could. Lennon's childhood friend and former fellow member of the Quarrymen Peter Shotton was visiting, and he asked Shotton about a silly playground nursery rhyme that they used to sing when they were kids.

Shotton remembered the words:

"Yellow matter custard, green slop pie,
All mixed together with a dead dog's eye,
Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick,
Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick".

Lennon borrowed a couple of words from the rhyme, added the three old unfinished ideas and the result was the lyrics to "I Am the Walrus". Beatles official biographer Hunter Davies was present while the song was being written and wrote an account in his 1968 book on the band. Upon finishing the lyrics, Lennon remarked to Shotton, "Let the fuckers work that one out.""

Ah, a man after my own heart!

My Cabinet colleagues and I are shocked, horrified and saddened by this disastrous turn of events. We had expected the Chinese Government to apply the doctrine of minimum force when an army is used to quell civil disorder. Instead, the fire-power and violence used caused many deaths and casualties. They were totally disproportionate to the resistance unarmed civilians offered.

A China with large sections of her people, including her best educated, at odds with the Government, means trouble, with people resentful, reforms stalled, and economy stagnant. Because of her size, such a China could create problems for herself and her neighbours in Asia.

We hope wiser counsels will prevail to pursue conciliation, so that Chinese people can resume the progress which the open door policies have brought them.


Political, economic reforms 'need not go hand in hand'
Citing Tiananmen incident, Minister Mentor Lee points out that China wouldn't be better off today if students had toppled govt Straits Times, 17 August 2004

"Using China as an example, he asked rhetorically if the world's rising economic power would be better off today, if the students at Tiananmen Square in 1989 had overthrown the government and built a thriving democracy.

'I didn't think so then, and I don't think so now,' he replied.

Commenting on Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's decision then, he added: 'He took over and he said, 'If I have to shoot 200,000 students to save China from another 100 years of disorder, so be it'.'

Mr Deng had gone through hardship in his life to know that China could not afford to let the dangerous situation get out of hand. He chose economic reform first and openness later."
Via a search referral:

b3ta.com user jujuzarf

I take great pride in my ability to properly use a urinal, as not many of my fellow girls know how to do this (yes, it is anatomically possible for us to stand back and use a urinal like a guy instead of hovering over it and spattering like a UFO from the planet wee-wee... it just requires not being afraid of handling yourself).

In areas where I am unlikely to be caught, I will sometimes go into the mens' restroom and use the urinals there, as the womens' restrooms seldom have them. I have to be very careful doing this, as I am rather feminine, and even a highly drunk person would have trouble mistaking me for a guy.

When I was first learning to use a urinal, I had to completely remove my underpants (I later learned to work around this). Because I tend to wear skirts, which have no pockets, it appeared that the most convenient place for temporary underpants storage was my head, since as a urinal-using beginner I needed both hands free.

Naturally, when in the mens' restroom, I tended to hurry, as being caught in the mens' restroom with my underwear on my head and my skirt hitched up using the urinal was not something I aspired to.

One day, my mom and I were at a restaurant meeting a friend of hers from out-of-state. The restaurant was fairly uncrowded, so I decided it was a good day to practice using a urinal. Of course, that day was the ONE DAY when my underwear had to fall off my head... and into the urinal. I decided that the urinal cookie probably wasn't making things clean enough, and abandoned my underwear (I have to wonder about their eventual fate... what is restaurant policy on panties left in a urinal?).

For the rest of the visit, I was fairly squirmy. My mom finally asked me what was wrong, to which I answered "It's that time of the month and I've lost my undies." Needless to say, the visit ended shortly afterward. My mom is wonderful... she didn't even ask how I managed to lose my underwear in a restaurant.
(Tue 7th Dec 2004, 10:17, More)"


girls urinals pictures and videos on Webshots
I tried "girls urinals singapore" to get more pictures for my "Singaporean girls at urinals (aka Penis Envy)" picture collection but got no results, boo.

Girls Who Know How To Use Urinals - DaDesiForum (NSFW)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Behold yond simpering dame,
Whose face between her forks presages snow;
That minces virtue, and does shake the head
To hear of pleasure's name;
The fitchew, nor the soiled horse, goes to 't
With a more riotous appetite.
Down from the waist they are Centaurs,
Though women all above:

- Act IV, scene vi


Look at the woman over there smiling at us coyly,
Whose cold looks predict frigidity between her legs.
Who pretends to be virtuous, and pretends to be prudish;
Neither the skunk (slang for prostitute) nor the horse put out to pasture
Are as vigorous in between the sheets.
Below the waist they are lustful,
Although above they are virtuous.

Ooh, clearly Shakespeare is patriarchially eroticising women's seeming lack of sexual receptivity.


Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou [Thy blood] hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener.
Through tatter'd clothes [rags] small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sins with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so.

O, matter and impertinency mix'd! Reason in madness!

- Ibid

"Those who inflict justice are often more guilty than the ones they punish. Lear refuses to sentence the adulterer for an act in which all nature engages. Lear encourages copulation in order to create more soldiers for his armies and to allow him opportunity for revenge. But he also thinks the problem lies ultimately with women, monstrous centaurs, who deceive men to satisfy their lust for sex and for power."
Factiva only has ST articles up till 1 July 1989, boo.
Eugene and I specially went down to the USP camp today in Pasir Ris, but we got kicked out (multiple times) when we attempted to sample Fright Night because it'd "disrupt the flow".

We could've waited for the last detail (when we'd pair up with the spare Dragons), but we both have work tomorrow, so.


Part of the Home Team NS chalet looks like a real camp. So much for getting away from it all...
Liquid Nitrogen: cutting my hair v short is a form of violence to me haha
like removing femininity

i couldn't stand ny hahahaha
nyps was worse than nygh i think

Tim The Great: i call my chemist friend

mmmm i have a thing for lab suits

actually i don't
i always wanted to say that


Me: gah

Someone on sodomy: muahahahahhaa go back to RI under the 'alumni' tag then

well who else would you sodomise? i know girls are the obvious answer but that's like taking the bus when you can drive

i can't come up with an analogy that sufficiently expresses my amazement at the fact that girls come purpose-equipped with an orifice, yet you choose not to use that one

Someone else: damn

someone's trying to change the password of my email account

i wonder who's interested in that

MFM: I think I've given up going out in sg on weekends. the internet is a more pleasant and interesting place.


I wanted to forget my JC classroom experiences as quickly as possible

what a waste of two years
I learnt nothing in JC, and my intellectual abilities prob deteriorated in that environment

oh i did learn something --- that life outside GEP in the sg education system is hell

I hated rgs
but nothing compared to hc


[On cycling] the road designs are presenting a greater difficulty than anticiipated
[they're] explcitly designed for speed
unlike chicago's grid design
cars have to stop at every intersection on most streets

here the design philosophy is to make ordinary roads as much like highways as possible

so wider streets with fewer traffic lights, which makes it dangerous for bikes to filter into the appropriate channels

we have less traffic lights per length of road
we also have a (surprisingly) much less flexible road system
we're heavily dependent on a few arterial roads

thus I found out that it was impossible to plot a route using mainly minor roads
yay traffic jams

Someone: i block my pw groupmates (yes even pw groupmates) for short periods of time, like when they're emotionally unstable.

Me: ahahahahahaha
girls ah

Someone: wah you're quite accurate.

Me: :PP
what do they do ah

Someone: uh. vent their frustration on me when someone else pissed them off?
type in caps etc

curiously, more often than once a month.

Someone else: btw mcd's west coast charges 60 cents for an ice cream that costs 50 cents at engin.

tsk.just as i was about to embark on a diet of their ice cream daily.

milk content. also, cheap. and satisfying.
satisfies my sugar craving without being too heavy on the calories

150 cal
hot fudge sundae is 340
regular fries is 210

9 grams of sat fat in the fudge sundae. i think it's the fudge that does it

SUG: don't sucuumb to adult peer pressure

Me: if I did I'd be christian

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wow, once we order pizza the rain stops.

No matter, it's not like the culinary options around here are very diverse anyway.

Sarpino's has a buy 1 get 1 free offer! And it pwns both Pizza Hut and Malay 2-for-1 too!

Regular (10") $ 21.80
Medium (12") $ 26.80
Large (14") $ 31.80

San Remo
Juicy Chicken Chunks with Roasted Red Peppers, Parmesan Cheese and Topped with Mozzarella Cheese

Pepperoni Classic
A Meaty Italian loaded with Extra Pepperoni, Sauteed Mushrooms with lots of Mozzarella Cheese.

The Aloha
Turkey Bacon loaded with Sweet Pineapples, topped with Italian Cheese.

Sorento Delight
Fresh Tomatoes, Basil Leaves, Fresh Roasted Garlic, Garlic Butter and Virgin Olive Oil based, topped with Mozzarella and Sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese

It'd be so much nicer with bacon, but oh well...

[Addendum: It was very good, except for the lack of pork. So much for authentic...]
The reason why the seven stars are no more than seven is a pretty reason.

Because they are not eight?

Yes, indeed: thou wouldst make a good fool.

- King Lear, Act I, Scene v


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What's On - Dance

"Esplanade Presents

Introducing Alternative Beats and Hips Don’t Lie - two workshops on one weekend that promises to be heaps of fun for all!

For Hips Don’t Lie, feel the energy and sensuality of your body as you engage in the exotic art of belly dancing!

Established belly dancer Maia will teach you the basic moves and guide you through a simple belly dance choreography to a Shakira song in this workshop!"

Wah, looks like both genders are welcome.
Yay! Free BJ from Lynn! And I get a first shot at it too...

Monday, July 16, 2007

"Technology adds nothing to art. Two thousand years ago, I could tell you a story, and at any point during the story I could stop, and ask, Now do you want the hero to be kidnapped, or not? But that would, of course, have ruined the story. Part of the experience of being entertained is sitting back and plugging into someone else's vision." - Penn Jillette


Stuff from Sprinter (Singapore Press Releases on the Internet):


"Mr. President, I steered through Parliament the constitutional amendments which gave life to the concept of Elected President. I am convinced that for Singapore to sustain its growth and well-being, it needs not just good and honest people in the government but also an institutional system of checks and balances. Trusting the electoral system always to throw up the right people for government is naive, for honest men may not always win popular elections...

I said that I was putting my money where my mouth was because I was subjecting my Government to the new checks and balances. We were prepared to have our powers audited by a President and a Council of Presidential Advisors for the good of Singapore. I added that, in doing so, my Government would in fact be clipping its own wings.

I believe it is right to restrict some of the powers of the Executive in the long term interests of Singapore...

I do not intend to bring about a situation which will give you cause to exercise your veto powers. I have no doubt, however, Mr. President, that if you are ever in disagreement with what my Government proposes to do in the areas spelt out in the Constitution, you will not hesitate to exercise your constitutional authority. Indeed that is your duty, as the people have elected you to safeguard their interests.

Mr. President, you and my Government will have to work together to give effect to the letter and spirit of this new system of checks and balances. I pledge to you my fullest support and co-operation and that of my Government."

[Ed: This speech was given at the swearing in of the late Ong Teng Cheong.]


"Recently Straits Times carried an advertisement showing a boy saying: “Come on, Dad. If you can play golf five times a week, I can have Sustagen once a day.” I found the language, the way the boy speaks most objectionable. Why put an American boy’s way of speaking to a father into a Singaporean boy’s mouth? Do your children really speak to you like that these days? These advertisements will encourage children to be insolent to their parents. Many American children call their fathers by their first names, and treat them with casual familiarity. We must not unthinkingly drift into attitudes and manners which undermine the traditional politeness and deference Asian children have for their parents and elders. It will destroy the way our children have grown up, respectful and polite to their elders...

Michael Fay, back in America, got drunk and when his father protested, he tackled the father and wrestled him to the ground. I cannot imagine a Chinese son, or any other Asian son, physically tackling his father. But that may happen when sons call their fathers by their first names and treat them as equals. Familiarity can breed contempt.

In Confucian society, a child who goes wrong knows he has brought shame upon the whole family. In America, he may win instant stardom, like Tonya Harding the ice-skater who tried to fix [Ed: Emphasis mine] her rival. The difference is stark between what traditional Asians demand of their children and what many Americans now allow theirs to become...

Singapore is still a conservative society. Few children are born out of wedlock – 1 in 100, compared with 1 in 3 in US. I was dismayed that Sumiko Tan, a Straits Times journalist whom I know to be a serious-minded young lady, could publicly reveal that she had once entertained the thought of having a child out of wedlock. Japan, despite its wealth is still conservative, with only 1 child out of 100 born out of wedlock. Japanese women feel ashamed to have illegitimate children, and quite rightly so."
Many sites on the .gov.sg (eg Sprinter, Singstat) domain seem to have been down for almost 3 hours. Meanwhile, I got a "not enough login servers" for www.gov.sg just now.

Maybe someone is DDOS-ing them, hurr hurr.

[Addendum: I was telling Havard that maybe some country was pissed off with us like Russia with Estonia and was attacking us, but the only country that'd do that to us is Malaysia, and they tak boleh.

Too bad it was just a power outage.]

Sunday, July 15, 2007

"Trying to be a first-rate reporter on the average American newspaper is like trying to play Bach's 'St. Matthew's Passion' on a ukulele." - Bagdikian's Observation


I was quite surprised that the Straits Times ran a seditious article today, on whether the Buddha tooth is genuine.

By casting doubt on its veracity, they're mocking the faith of the 60,000 donors who poured $45 million and 270kg of gold into the four-storey building housing the tooth relic.

So what if dentists believe the tooth is a herbivore's? Broadcasting this fact can do nought but "promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore", given that Buddhists make up 42.5% of the resident population above age 15 (2000 census), making it the most popular religion in Singapore. Besides, why should the Buddha's teeth have to look like those of mere mortals? He achieved nirvana - of course his teeth are going to look different!

The definitive statement on the matter of authenticity comes from the Venerable Shi Fazhao, who justifiably pooh-poohs the dental experts' opinion: 'They can say all they want, I don't care what they say. If you believe it's real, then it's real.' Examination by an expert is not necessary, for as the Venerable Shi Fazhao huffed, 'It's mine, why should I let you examine it? Why don't you go examine what's in Sri Lanka and China first?' Buddhist credentials alone are enough to authenticate the tooth's provenance.

Some other Buddhists also question the veracity of the tooth relic, but who are they to judge? They definitely have beliefs that likewise do not stand up to modern scrutiny. If the tooth relic's authenticity is allowed to be questioned, very soon everyone will be challenging everyone else on basic matters of belief, and then what would happen?!

As the Venerable B. Dhammaratana explains, since everyone believes in different legends, 'You can't say which is right or which is wrong.' If someone wants to believe that the earth was created by Pangu cracking open an egg, no one can say that he was wrong.

This questioning of religious beliefs is a dangerous precedent that could lead us down a slippery slope. Why, very soon we will have racial riots and our society will descend into anarchy!

I look forward to many people being arrested soon, and others losing their jobs, for threatening the fragile balance we have achieved on our fair island.


The seditious Kalama Sutta:

""Of course you are uncertain, Kalamas. Of course you are in doubt. When there are reasons for doubt, uncertainty is born. So in this case, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering' — then you should abandon them."

Shanghai/Hongkong 2007 Trip - Day 2, Part 1 - Shanghai: Walkabout, Museum

China Trip
Day 2 (24/6) - Shanghai: Walkabout, Museum, French Concession
(Part 1)

Ed: The pictures in this post were restored in late December 2010 after Mediafire deleted my account in 2007. The two post titles are different for historical reasons (I have left the original title in bold while using a more useful one as the bona fide one)

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Rough translation:
"Seven don'ts for city residents, and the seven things for them to work towards.
Don't: spit, jaywalk, litter, scold vulgarities or obscenities, despoil the environment, destroy public property [Ed: Since this is a Communist country, technically all property is public] or smoke in public.
Please: observe rules to build a law-abiding city, be hygienic to build a healthy city, care for your environs to build a green city, be polite to build a courteous city, be trustworthy to build a reliable/trustworthy city, love science/knowledge to build a learning city and practise free love to build a city full of fellowship."

I swear, the best thing about being conversant in (a form of) Chinese in China is that you get to read the propaganda posters.

An alternate translation by My Beloved Understudy:

"And from what i gather, the Don'ts:
Anyhow Spit (aim at your target before you spit), Anyhow Dash across the road (Take your time, otherwise will trip and fall), anyhow toss rubbish by the roadside (you can get some small change by selling to karang guni)

It's a literal translation...

more don'ts:
make vulgar or dirty statements
desecrate or damage natural objects (You can blow up man-made ones for all we care)
Damage public property (You can blow up all private property for all we care... wait, there shouldn't be 'private' property... they all belong to us!)
Smoke in public (Use a chimney instead)

and the objectives all citizens should look forward to:
Be vigilant and build a lawful city
Be hygienic and build a healthy city
Protect the environment and build a ?city of conscience?
Be respectful and build a courteous city

Be trustworthy and build a city based on trust (just leave your yuans at the city council)
Love science and build a city of knowledge (Communists really love knowledge, don't believe what you read elsewhere)
Be loving and compassionate and build a city of friends (We'll take care of the backstabbing for you)"

Most stuff in China is incredibly cheap - Made In China stuff is already quite cheap, but *Sold* In China stuff is even cheaper (proof that markets don't clear). For example a bottle of Coke can cost as little as 1.50 Yuan (30 Singapore cents).

Yucheng, Lin brought me for breakfast and the Wo Tie was like Xialongbao, with juice inside. The result being that I scalded myself. Gah.

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I didn't expect there to be so many umbrellas. The locals are quite nua (there were some males using them also)

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Nanjing Road

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Fountain along Nanjing Road
The screen was showing a video celebrating the demolishing of the slums in preparation for Expo 2010, and showed people being happy at being resettled, pronouncing them happy that their shabby flats were gone. I'm sure no one consulted the resettled people in the making of that video.

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Nanjing Road East

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Large kids store

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Shanghai No 1 Department Store
Yucheng: "The prices are also Number 1"

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New World

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Weird sculpture (IIRC it commemmorates a workers' uprising)

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Random building

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Country Club disguised as a toilet

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Raffles City (Capitaland)
In Singapore we transliterate it to Chinese as "莱佛士" (lai2 fo2 shi4). There, it became "莱福士" (lai2 fu2 shi4), evoking images of good fortune. Bah.

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Man relac one corner-ing

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Biscuit stall

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People's Square

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Shanghai Museum, "designed in the shape of an ancient, bronze, tripod cooking vessel called a ding."

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Johnny Malkavian photographing

The girl at the ticket counter refused my NUS card because she said there was no expiry date on it, so I paid 20 yuan instead of 5. Gah.

I used the toilet in the museum and was very pissed off to find many globs of spit on the floor of my cubicle. I don't know what's wrong with these people - the toilet bowl is so near. On the other hand, there wasn't as much spitting in the street as I expected so maybe it was saving up.

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Discriminaton against non-Chinese speakers

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Dog on a leash

Besides the excellent permanent collection (which somehow escaped the Cultural Revolution), there was also an exhibition on "Art in America". Since it was spread out among 4 floors, I viewed American and Chinese art alternately.

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No fountain pens allowed in the American art exhibition. Wth?!

US art cannot make it in general. For example "A peaceable kingdom with Quakers bearing banners" was very uhh. Although many genres were represented (even still life), religious art was notable for its absence - its place was probably replaced by works celebrating the American Mythos.

I saw a woman in a habit on an animal with a man leading her. At first I thought it was the Flight from Egypt, then I saw it was "Daniel Boone escorting settlers through the Cumberland Gap".

Sargent - A Parisian beggar girl, 1880 was blur but I could make out that she was in what looked like a dirty wedding dress, which confused me.

First was the bronzes collection. Many of the best works were probably not in China, but what was on display was already most impressive.

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Wine vessel, Late Shang. 13th-11th century BC.

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Food vessels. Early W. Zhou. 11th c. BC.

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Ges (dagger-axes). Late Shang and Early W. Zhou.

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Water vessel of Zi Zhong Jiang. Early Spring & Autumn period. 770-7th c. BC.

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Bell with Dragon design. Late W. Zhou, Early 9th c. BC-771 BC.

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Bells of Marquis Su of Jin. Mid 9th c. BC.

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Elegant but stupid fire extinguisher case (only Chinese-speakers would know what was behind)

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Ox-shaped wine vessel. Early 6th c. - 476 BC.

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Wine vessel with dragon spout and animal rack. Early 7th - Early 6th c. BC.

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Cowrie container with 8 yaks. W. Han, 208 BC - 8 AD.

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Pillow with 5 Yaks. W, Han. 208 BC - 8 AD.

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Statue of Lady. W. Han. 208 BC - 8 AD.

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'Transparent' mirror.

They were very proud of it, giving it an extended writeup:

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"The 'Transparent' mirror of the Western Han period can reflect an image; but when held to reflect a beam of strong light, it can throw onto a wall a magnifified image of the decorative pattern and inscription on its back. Apparently, as the cast bronze mirror cooled and became polished, stress set up in the metal gave it variable elasticity; resulting in a pattern of minute deformation which cannot be seen by the naked eye, corresponding to the decoration on the back of the mirror."

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Appendage by burn-out casting. Wine vessel with cord-patterned handle. 13th-11th century.

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Pottery dog. E. Han, 25 - 220 AD.

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Maitreya Bodhisattva, stone. N. Wei. 386 - 534 AD.

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Figure blowing bamboo flute, Figure playing lute. Pottery, E. Han. 25 - 220 AD.

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Buddhist stone stele. N. Wei. 386 - 534.

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Bodhisattva, gilt bronze. N. Wei. 501 AD.

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Sakyamuni Buddha stone stele. W. Wei. 540 AD.

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Sakyamuni Buddha gold-painted stone. 546 AD. Liang.

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1000 buddha stone stele. N. Zhou. 557 - 81 AD.

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Sakyamuni stone Buddha. N. Qi. 550 - 77 AD.

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3 Amitabha bronze Buddhas. Sui. 581 - 618 AD.

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Stone Bodhisattva. Tang. 618 - 907.

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Lao Jun. Stone. Tang. 740 AD.

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Stone amitabha Buddha. Tang. 723 AD.
Johnny Malkavian on photoshopping a finger onto this: 'If we do that, between the 2 of us we [will] have 3 of the world's largest religions coming after us'

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Equestrian, Coloured pottery. Tang. 618 - 907 AD.

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Head of Kasyapa. Wood. Tang. 618 - 907 AD.

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Civil official, maid servant. Pottery. S. Tang, 943 AD.

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Bodhisattva, gilt bronze. Tang. 618 - 907 AD.

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Stone musicians. 5 dynasties. 907-60 AD.

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Bodhisattva, painted and gilded wood. Song. 960-1279 AD.

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Stone prince. Song. 960-1279 AD.

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Stone reclining Buddha. Song. 960-1279 AD.

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Gilt bronze Bodhisattva. Liao. 916-1125 AD.

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Bodhisattva, gold painted wood. Jin. 1115-1234 AD.

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Stone lokapala. 960-1279 AD.

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Painted clay Bodhisattva. Song. 960-1279 AD.

I then went back to American art. I saw what was probably my first Jackson Pollock (No. 18, 1950), and it was hideous. This was probably why fountain pens were disallowed - to prevent pissed off people from vandalising the crap they had.

"Grrrrrrrrrrr!!", 1960 by Roy Lichtenstein looked familiar. I'd seen some of his works in Stanford.
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