When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

I'm wondering if Free Hugs day in NUS (if anyone does it) will be stopped by Campus Security, like the flash mob was years ago (damn, I'm old!)
"The fact that the longest piece of literature an incoming professor may get to prepare him for his job is the guidelines on sexual harassment, as I have heard from one incoming professor, suggests imbalance at the least...

At the University of California, Berkeley, when multiculturalists demanded that students should take a required course dealing with a number of major American ethnic and racial groups, the opponents of the required course riposted, 'And what about Europeans?' The advocates of the requirement had to reluctantly concede. Europeans were added...

Class has certainly come in third, if it is evident at all, in the revision of curricula. The poor get into the new curriculum only if their poverty is associated with being female or nonwhite...

Women's studies is part of multiculturalism, so large a part that it often outweighs all the rest. In the canon of received outrages perpetrated by multiculturalists... a hefty segment deals with offenses to the sensitivities of women."

- We Are All Multiculturalists Now, Nathan Glazer


[On UC Regents v. Bakke which ruled affirmative action alright only on the basis of 'diversity'] "Students don't have to read Supreme Court opinions to get the diversity message... The number of references to cultural difference in a small sample of personal statements penned by successful applicants to Harvard Law School would make one think she was looking at applications to star in Disneyland's attraction 'It's a Small World'...

Post-Bakke universities want to know all about the unique culture of the ancestors of their minority applicants, but ignore the discrimination suffered by the applicants themselves. 'Diversity' allows that the enslavement of a black applicant's great-grandmother over 150 years ago is relevant to her application, but implies that the racism suffered by the applicant herself at the hands of high school teachers and administrators a few years or even months ago is not... 'Diversity' is popular with [everyone] becuse it hints at racism (mollifying the activists) without being so impolitic as to name it (to the relief of the elites)...

The simplest claim is that practices that 'correlate' with group identity should receive rights protection. For instance law professor Barbara Flagg argues for the protection of 'racially correlated' traits,' while law professor Kenji Yoshino argues for an approach to anti-discrimination law that 'observe[s] correlations between behavior and identity that exist in the world.'
Ed: So what will they do when they find out that criminality, lack of education and laziness are racially correlated traits?...

We can never say 'black identity is X'. Instead... 'The concept of black identity has, at a certain time and place and under certain circumstances suggested to certain people X commitments or entailments.'... I'm sure this strikes some readers as so much needlessly obscure postmodernism, something to ignore and hope I get to the real argument soon, or maybe a reason to toss the book into an active fireplace...

Some cultural traits may be 'better suited' to certain tasks or institutions than others, some cultural traits may be less valuable in general than others and some cultural traits may be downright destructive of a society or enterprise. This seemingly harsh conclusion is unavoidable if we think that cultural traits matter.

There's more than the writings of Dr. Seuss to recommend my position (although he is quite a persuasive authority on ethical questions)...

I must confess that, in the course of what has been for the most part a fairly conventional heterosexual sex life, I have regularly committed sodomy as defined by the Georgia statute, and regularly enjoyed 'deviate sexual intercourse' as defined by the Texas statute (though never, to the best of my recollection, in the states of Georgia or Texas).

As an actively practicing heterosexual sodomite, I feel duty-bound to refute the presumption that sodomy is the exclusive domain of homosexuals...

The racial portion of the census was designed to produce a necessarily stylized set of statistical data in order to further a specific set of governmental objectives, such as monitoring racial discrimination. As William Spriggs, Research and Policy Director of the Urban League asserts: 'The data... is not used in some biological sense, and it's not used in some sort of touchy-feely sense of who are your parents and who do you want to recognize. It's related to the persistence of gaps born of legal segregation.' Given its objectives, the old census appropriately asked individuals to check the one box that 'best described' their race, relying on common sense identifications to generate the 'correct' response most of the time...

By allowing individuals to mark multiple boxes, the census may now less accurately reflect the socially understood racial identity of the responders...

Brian Barry notes that at least one account of the 'oppressed groups' in American society includes 'women, Blacks, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans and other Spanish speaking Americans, American Indians, Jews, lesbians, gay men, Arabs, Asians, old people, working class people, and the physically and mentally disabled. This implies that about 90 percent of Americans are oppressed.'"

- racial culture, A Critique, Richard T. Ford
"Showing sympathy and showing courage are good actions which may be done in the face of the simple natural evil of frustration of desire involved in pain and suffering. But there are good actions of other kinds which can only be done in the face of evil actions of various kinds. I can only make reparation if I have wronged you, or forgive you if you have wronged me. In these cases, while of course it is not overall a good that wrong be done, reparation made and it be forgiven, still these actions do in part compensate for the wrong done. And while the possibility of its misuse provides a reason for God not to create creatures with significant freedom, the possibility of such compensation for misuse reduces the force of that reason. There is some truth, though not as much as the writer of the Exultet supposed, in ‘O Felix Culpa, quae talem ac tantum meruit habere redemptorem.' There are good actions certain kinds which can only be done in the face of good actions of various kinds—such as showing gratitude, recognition of achievement, and reward; and the possibility of these responses to actions which may themselves be responses to pain and suffering (e.g., showing gratitude to doctors who have worked hard to relieve pain) provides further reason for permitting the pain and suffering.

It is good that some actions, including the actions of animals lacking free will, should be serious actions which involve benefiting despite loss or foreseen risk of loss to themselves... You cannot intentionally avoid forest fires, or take trouble to resque your offspring from forest fires, unless there exists a serious danger of getting caught in a forest fire. The action of rescuing despite danger simply cannot be done unless the danger exists—and the danger not exist unless there is a significant natural probability of being caught in the fire. To the extent that the world is deterministic, that involves creatures actually being caught in the fire; and to the extent that the world is indeterministic, that involves an inclination of nature to produce that effect unprevented by God. Fawns are bound to get caught in forest fires sometimes if other fawns are to have the opportunity of intentionally avoiding fires and if deer are to have the opportunities of rescuing other fawns from fires... Not all evil actions are actions of agents with free will and so to be justified by the free-will defense. Animals sometimes reject their offspring or hurt other animals. Yet these actions, like physical pain, provide opportunities for good actions to be done in response to them, e.g., make possible adoption of the rejected offspring by other animals, or rescue of the injured by other animals, or the animal courageously coping with his injury or rejection...

My opponents usually object to the scale—there are, they claim, too many, too various, and too serious evils to justify bringing about the goods which they make possible.Yet it must be stressed that each evil or possible evil removed takes away one more actual good.

If the fawn does not suffer in the thicket, other deer will not so readily have the opportunity of intentionally avoiding fires; he will not through his suffering be able to show courage or have the privilege of providing knowledge for other deer of how to avoid such tragedies; other deer and humans centuries later will not be able to show compassion for his suffering, etc. The sort of world where so many such evils are removed and which in effect my opponents think that God’s goodness requires him to make, turns out—as regards the kinds of good to which I have drawn attention—to be a toy world. Things matter in the kinds of respect which I mention, but they don’t matter very much. I cannot see that God would be less than perfectly good if he gave us a world where things matter a lot more than that...

Even if an opponent allows the formal point that there is great value for the subject in being of use and being helped, he may fail to see that that has the consequence for theodicy which I commend because of two characteristic human vices—short-term and short-distance thinking. He tends to think of the worth of a sentient life as dependent on things that happen during that life and fairly close in space to the life. But once you grant the formal point that things outside a life, e.g., its causes and effects, make a great difference to the value of that life, it seems totally arbitrary to confine those things to ones near to the life in space and time. The sufferings of the Jewish victims of the Nazi concentration camps were the result of a web of choices that stretched back over centuries and continents and caused or made possible a whole web of actions and reactions that will stretch forward over centuries an continents (and the same goes to a lesser extent for the suffering of the fawn). Such sufferings made heroic choices possible for people normally too timid to make them (e.g., to harbor the prospective victims) and for people normally too hardhearted (as a result of previous bad choices) to make them (e.g., for a concentration camp guard not to obey orders). And they make possible reactions of courage (e.g., by the victims), of compassion, sympathy, penitence, forgiveness, reform, avoidance of repetition, etc., stretching down time and space. In saying this, I am not of course saying that those Nazi officials who sent Jews to the concentration camps were justified in doing so. For they had no right whatever to do that to others. But I am saying that God, who has rights over us that we do not have over others, is not less than perfectly good if he allowed the Jews for a short period to be subjected to these terrible evils through the evil free choice of others—in virtue of the hard heroic value of their lives of suffering."

- Richard Swinburne, Some Major Strands of Theodicy

Among other problems:

If evil is necessary to contrast good with and to incite good reactions (eg sympathy, compassion), could it be good for a human agent to do evil? If the Holocaust made it possible for others to harbor prospective victims and this is good, would it be worse if the Holocaust had never happened? And wouldn’t the agencies responsible for the need to harbor Jews be (inadvertently) good?

Swinburne chides those who have short-term and short-distance thinking. Yet if one sums up value from now to the end of time, one will get an infinite amount of good. Besides being implausible, the flip side is that the evils are also summed up. Just as centuries of anti-Semitism made the Holocaust possible, so too does it justify and undergird modern anti-Semitism. The Holocaust thus will result in infinite evil, which balances out the good across time he is summing up.

Theodicy: praising the Holocaust

Friday, September 07, 2007

I used to wonder why some people liked to stay back in school until a late hour. In recent semesters I have become acquainted with some of the reasons why, but today another very important reason for this phenomenon was in evidence.

While walking to the bus stop at about 10:30pm, I passed by the Arts Canteen. Perched on the pavement just outside it (before the stairs leading to Computing) I noticed a black shape.

Now, in and of itself, that would not be so surprising, unless it was a bomb planted by some disgruntled Year 4 student trying to blow the new canteen up, but then I noticed that the shape was moving.

After some squinting, I managed to make out that it was a couple making out. The guy was sitting on the pavement, and the girl was seated in his lap, with her arms around his neck and performing all the attendant actions.

As I walked past, he slowly lay back and formed himself into a supine position, with her simultaneously leaning forward until she was on top of him.

Some asked why I did not take any photographic evidence of this tryst. Besides the immense regard I have for people's privacy and their right to make out in public, there's also the small matter of my being pai kar today (I got painkillers from the doctor) and not being able to run fast enough, with my heavy bag, in case someone got angry that his private property was being violated.

Frigid Girl asked if she was wearing a skirt or trousers. This was a good question, but they were getting at it very slowly and measuredly so unless they liked it slow and hard it was probably trousers. Screwed Up Girl suggested that they were rehearsing for a play. This was not such a good question.

In retrospect, perhaps the most amazing thing is not the relative conspicuity of the time and venue but the fact that we (or at least I) don't see this sort of thing (to this extent, at least) more often.

Some accuse me of being a voyeur, but apart from the fact that I walked past instead of lingering (taking in only enough to fulfil my journalistic duty), when you perform certain activities in a public place you are an exhibitionist so the moral baggage goes onto your shoulders instead.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


[On Applied Maths] I think by now your Economics is getting quite good and you can write sensibly about a real world problem.

[Female Student 1 to 2: Don't need to be so nice to guys. Must play hard to get. [Female Student 2: What the hell.] [Male student: So many guys have tried to get you?] If you want to play hard to get, people must want to get you. [Female Student 1: That's a good point, Gabriel. I shall meditate on that.]

[Student on claiming a higher level good outweighs lower level evil: How can he justify it?] I don't know how he can. If you're going to be so stubborn - just joking.

[On JS Mill] It's better to be Plato dissatisfied than a pig satisfied. There're lots of pigs... Student pleasures. Drinking and cavorting and whoo! That's fun, but that's nothing compared to sitting down for an evening with Plato. Just you wait.

[O why only 5% of the literature in Philosophy of Religion is on the non-Abrahamic conception of gods] In Buddhism there's nobody to hold accountable. [Me: You can have, like, Philosophy of Suffering] Yeah, but then it'd be like self-help.

That is not clear, neither coherent (neither, nor)

A lot of the engineers and science students don't do well in this module, even though they know all the maths and equations and they have done problems on this before. That's why they don't do well in this module, because they can't use clear complete coherent sentences to explain what's happening.

Rule number 1. In this class you do not start any sentence with 'I'm not sure'. That just wasted 30 seconds of my time.

Ooh. There're topless little boys. Shall I go be Michael Jackson?

[Female student: Stop caressing your hair]... You want me to flip [it]? *flip* [Female student: Oh no.]

[On having a fulfilling university experience] He spent a lot of USP's money, so USP rewarded him by giving him even more money.

Gabriel, do you have any inhibitions at all?

Are you guys doing foo'coo? (Foucault)

[On US racial classification] If you're from Europe, the Middle East or North Africa you're white I think that's kinda interesting. A lot of Arabs who get racially profiled - 'Hey, I'm white'.

[On Mr Potatohead illustrating identity] My brother said: 'You're an idiot for putting that there'

[On Invisible City] I wouldn't watch it for information or content. Those are not the strengths of the film. [Student *sotto voce*: So what're the strengths of the film?]

[Female student: What's that furry thing around your arm?] It's called a scrunchie. Don't you know? [Female student: Oh yeah.] It's very useful. It can be used to shoot people *shoots her*

Except for Pulau Ubin. They keep a sort of 'Third World out island' for you guys to visit.

[On the ethnographer in Invisible City] I don't like that old man. I don't know him. I'm bothered by him.

[On Cambodia] I want to give you 2 afternoons and 2 nights to do your own thing. I do this with incredible hesitation... I was gonna be very draconian and have a curfew and lock you all in.

Second semester is beautiful. If you take this class next semester it doesn't rain but it's 45 degrees.

I always bully him. [Me: You got boyfriend to bully already] I abuse my boyfriend. That's different.

'The softest thing in the universe can overcome the hardest thing in the universe'. That's one of those Chinese things that sounds good but doesn't mean anything. [Student: That's because you don't understand {it}] So what does it mean? [Student: You have to ask Lao Tzu].

Guys like girls who have big - eyes. [Me: I thought you were going to say 'big breasts'.]

[On internal flow] This is very important to engineers... Fluid flowing through a pipe... We'll go to the fun stuff, which is external flow.

Some of you are lucky. There will be some JC students who will come and listen to your talks... The USP office has some outreach efforts... I volunteered on your behalf.

Do you know this girl called ***?... She's always talking about her neh and her vagina.

Do you do your work?... You never seem to do your work. In class you don't take down notes, you take down the professor's quotes. It annoys me.

What did I come out to do? [Me: Annoy people?] That comes naturally... Oh, fill water!

If you're from RJ and you're here it means you fucked up your A levels.

The strategy in Singapore, when you're writing about political parties, the government, is to praise them at the start.

[On the Catherine Lim affair] This again is a PAP strategy. You make your argument using quantifiable data, then you attack the credibility of your opponent.

Lorena Bobbitt. I can't believe you don't remember this. It was so painful.

Come and speak, but speak the right things. This is consultation in Singapore.

[On the Father castrating the Stand-in in public] The most phallic expression - 'big stick'.

[On a picture of Catherine Lim] This is the dangerous woman who's going to tear the social fabric of Singapore.

[On Luce Irigaray's Mimesis as a 3rd way apart from acceptance and competition to contest patriarchy] Imagine living through these 6 months... The violence and hysteria bringing out the hypocrisy of the system. Mimesis... She didn't want to take the Chee Soon Juan path... Singaporeans saw the cracks in the system, the castration complex. The rift in the PAP... Go with the system. Play the part and show how contradictory, how foolish it is.

3 years ago he lost 3 seats. What's the kind of message he's getting from them? Singaporeans see him as a weak girl... It was very hard to be *** at the time.

[On insecurity and if 1994 had happened today as opposed to 1997 or 2003] Today, they're showing you pictures. Singapore is prosperous. Who cares what Catherine lim says?

If you allow an articulate citizen to debate some of our ministers, I think some of them will lose... As longas it's on equal terms. Just the ideas [and not deference to Asian Authority].

I think it's much easier to put people behind bars if they come with bombs and guns... If they come with irony, humour, satire, short stories with hidden messages - what are you going to do? Very dangerous ah.

It was used copiously until 1997. Asian Economic Crisis. When Asian Values meant nepotism, corruption. Lee Kuan Yew never talked about Asian Values again.

Using a woman to dismiss another woman. That's a very popular... tactic against feminism in general.

I find it very bazaar. (bizarre)

Here's the Founding Father. Think of the Freudian superstructure... His story is seen as the Singapore Story... That castration complex... It's the whole culture. If you ask people from AWARE how they got started, they will say: 'Lee Kuan Yew'. He told Graduate Women to organise. Founding Father: Lee Kuan Yew.

Now Lee Kuan Yew is employed in a different way. He's a gay icon... You get him to say things that the government has to say but cannot... You can't imagine any of the cabinet ministers saying that... People don't like it, but it's Lee Kuan Yew, so it's kinda okay.

[Student: So what happens when he goes?] That's an interesting question. When he goes he will rise from the grace. 'Touching promise' - Catherine Lim... You know what performance theatre is suffering from today? The ghost of the Father. Whatever they do... He's in the room.

'The PAP government'... Some people say 'the PAP state' but that's a little bit dangerous. The state is composed of the Executive, the Legislature and the - Judiciary. Are you saying that the judiciary is not independent? That's the one thing that'll get you sued in this country.

[On avoiding violence] That's why they say they don't want to be the government... You become like Chee Soon Juan.

What bothers me... If the PAP is in power too long, sometimes when you challenge and take over, you become exactly the same... One day when the PAP falls, the Opposition is going to come in and become 10 times more authoritarian than the PAP, because it's a hard-won prize.

[On Royston Tan being state-funded] Capitalism has been so successful that subversion has become capital... Everyone wants a piece of Royston Tan... Today Royston Tan is a hot piece of property.
"Consider the many connotations of "cup"... it has definite Freudian sexual undertones... As the cup is offered to the male, Oscar notes, it is immediately pluralised into a pair in his mind and transformed into that wondrous female undergarment which invariably shapes the contours of gentle male dreams.

... At some deep subconscious level, males fear females most when they receive that nice cup of coffee from those delicate hands.

For a proffered drink, as history has shown, has always been woman's deadliest weapon against man.

She can do either of two things with it. She can put into it some secret potion (usually something related to her own body and so sinisterly obscene that even Oscar cannot mention it in his thesis) that is guaranteed to put her husband or lover under her spell forever.

Or she can administer a strong drug that will make him fall into a deep sleep, so that like Delilah or Lorena Bobbitt, she can denude him of his manhood forever.

Subservience, power, lust, fear, revenge - surely no symbol has accreted so much portentous meaning."

- Potent brew of power, lust and fear in Coffee Cup, Catherine Lim. Straits Times, 17 September 1994
"Music is essentially useless, as life is." - George Santayana



You're not suited for anything. I'll be surprised if you get employed.

If you think an internship in Citibank is about photocopying stuff and binding books, it's not. At least not at the department I was at.

There're way too many SMU students interning at banks these days. So - go NUS!

Please come into the IVLE forum and slam me. No one is slamming me. You can slam me very easily. [Student 2: That sounds wrong.]

I've this friend who can't stop looking at flowers and she keeps thinking of vaginas... We all thought she was lesbian.

Last time I was in a poly lecture. This girl walked in. This guy said 'she's very chio'. Then the guy beside him said 'I fucked her already'. The guy behind him said 'I also fucked her'... A guy at the other end said 'I also fucked her'.

Your prostate is outside your body right... [Student 2: Inside. If it's outside I go doctor] (must go to the]

I must chastise myself (keep myself chaste - she means 'pure')

Your presentation should be interesting and informative... A lot of students in NUS think you should get as many facts in as possible... They speak as fast as possible. You don't learn anything.

The Rybcyznski theorem. The one that no one can spell properly. One time it was on my exam. A huge proportion of students couldn't spell it. Amusing to me, maybe not to them.

[On multiplying both the numerator and denominator by the same variable] We also did something. I call it being tricky, but it isn't much.

Here's an indifference curve. Why they call it Ih, I've no idea. Oh, I for indifference. I always use U with a bar on top.

[On a counter-example to Unfriendly Atheism] They might not know about the facts of evil out there. From time to time they fall down and scrape their knee, but they never read the newspaper.

[On why Friendly Atheism - thinking theists can be rationally justified - is puzzling] If I believe that there are no purple polka-dotted elephants dancing around the room, and you say that there are, I wouldn't say you are equally rational as I.

My grandmother... She goes to church. she sings in the choir... She doesn't know the philosophical case for whether God exists or not... Or my nephew. I could say: 'Listen little ***, how could it be that a perfectly good, omniscient being could exist, given all this evil?' He'd probably put his finger in his mouth and drool. 'You're funny, Uncle ***'. My grandmother would give me a cookie or something... Maybe she's read Mackie, but 'my pastor is a nice guy. I believe him.'

[On Friendly Atheism] [Student: In Mathematics, we have set theory... An even more implausible theorem which says you can deconstruct a sphere and build it into 2 equally large spheres. Some mathematicians believe in it. Some don't.] *short silence* Let me give you another example. *Laughs from students* For non-set theorists.

[On a pill to forget his responsibilities] Even though they're really hard and I'm so stressed, in my cushy academic job... I wouldn't take it.

[On the Runaway Train and the Fat Man, and the problem of Job] God killed his kids. That seems pretty bad. He replaced them with more. That's just as good. *makes face*... Job's good was enhanced. We have to grant that - that's what he said. Unless he's completely deluded. But what about his kids?... Was it okay to do it for Job's good?... You're using these kids as a means to some end. Maybe that end was good. Even if the good was better than the alternative, it seems bad to use people this way... You're only affecting one person, and you're sacrificing lots of kids... It seems even worse than the train case.

Transcending function, what would have a deep impact on you if you walk out of the house without it? [Male student: I want to say 'female hygiene products'] I think we should let the females speak for themselves... [Student 2: Clothes]

[Student: My handphone is always with me, unless I'm bathing.] Who here is ever away from their handphones? *silence*

So many of you here have piercings... Of some kind, I suppose. Whatever kids are doing these days.

[Student on gendered objects we carry around: Condoms.] Isn't this also the guy who uses feminine hygiene products? So the line is a little blurred here.

We had a really good discussion about tissue paper earlier... [Student: The guys always say the girls should carry tissue, but it's always the guys who have the tissue]... I don't know whether it's an evolutionary thing. 'I'm an equipped male'.

[Student on gendered objects: Hair accessories.] *Everyone looks at me* [Student 2: Apart from the functional aspect]... The back row is the liberal row.

We actually had a discussion earlier about whether girls have so much stuff because they have a bag to put it in, or they get a bag to put their stuff in because they have so much.

Men don't have a lot of accessories. Black tie event - everyone's in black. How do you differentiate yourself? Your tie, your watch.

[On gendered objects transcending function] Cufflinks. I can't think of a more useless, redundant item symbolising bourgeois values.

Some people actually get cufflinks with the seal of their school on it. If you're from Harvard you have Harvard cufflinks. If you're from University of Tennessee you wear some other type of cufflinks.

[On objects and status] You see people with Rolexes on one arm looking at the time on their cellphones on the other. It's very interesting.

[Student on national heritage: I know in Turkey most of them carry a picture of Ataturk in their wallets.] What about you guys? Do you carry a picture of...?

family receipes (recipes) (written)

Let's say you're the curator of the National Heritage of Singapore. What kind of items would you select to showcase State heritage? [Student: Propaganda]... [Student 2: There's this video of Lee Kuan Yew crying.]

Singapore hasn't signed this UNESCO convention... Singapore's probably the number 1 country in Asia for the export of illegal antiquities... biological specimens.

[On brainstorming] I want to go on until this is painful... when you shuffle your feet and go 'this isn't fun anymore'

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"Where we have strong emotions, we're liable to fool ourselves." - Carl Sagan



When people make their stone tools - I was gonna do a demonstration but I figured it'd hurt someone.

[On the symbolic/semiotic role of material culture] Material culture can be read as texts. I don't really like that. So I put a question mark there. I think it's a crap way of looking at things.

[On material culture as symbols] I don't want to talk too much about this. I don't like this subject. It's horrible. The worst book I ever read was on this... For reasons I still don't understanding today, linguistics played a very large role in the Social Sciences in the 70s... Their only moment. Otherwise they hide in offices and do - I don't know what they do.

[On Marcel Mauss] So much of what anthropologists do is based on Melanesia. I don't know why.

People had to pick where the coolest natives were, where the hardest conditions were, and they went there... Even today, if you sit together for dinner with a group of anthropologists, the conversation will revolve around the hardships, the disgusting things they had to eat... See the prior stage in human culture. It's racist, but it's also fueled a lot of academia.

[On a lithograph] This is from Polynesia again. What's interesting - there's an arrow stuck in this guy's head, so I think they're fighting.

[On Gell, the Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology and Melanesian fighting] He found that whoever rolled in with the scariest-looking boat won.

This is quite an ugly quote. The next quote is even more ugly... I'll save you the trouble of reading his book.

One of those Eastern Orthodox churches. The moment you walk in you know that God is scary... It's meant to frighten you. The hollowed-out eyes.

It's very very sexy in the social sciences today to look at issues of gender and the body.

[On Borneo fieldwork] One of the things they gave me was a 150 year old parang. The old man who gave it to me was pretty excited. 'All the heads we cut off with it'. He showed me all the skulls... Now it's in my living room... It makes my house more exotic... It had no functional use.

[On screening 'Invisible City'] I want to show that because: a) I don't have an hour 40 minutes to talk about identity.

[On elections] Are you also running a position? [Me: No, I'm just making fun of those who are.]

[Me: I was trying to find French street names to mangle.] What's the point? [2 students: Liquid Nitrogen.] [Me: I see it has spread far and wide.]

[To me] Before I saw your head, from your gait I knew it was you.

[On the value of diversity] You don't want 4 engineers, all from Mechanical Engineering, and all from India, doing the same project. You all think the same way.

Is anyone from Science and doesn't have a project group yet?... It'll be very fun working with me. Though I can't guarantee an A because I'm from Arts.

Hi. My name is ***. I'm running for ***... Actually for me, as a Freshman I have a lot of free time... I have a lot of free time. I want to use it to serve you all... [Instructor: Now I know who to give more assignments to] Although I am a Freshman, I am not that fresh. [Student: That can mean a lot of things]... [Instructor: During the break why don't you give them your sales pitch? Why don't you post it on the IVLE forum?]

[On the Bernoulli Effect] He claims that when a fast car passes through him, he is pushed towards the car... He claims the reason there is a yellow line at the train station [is this].

How many of you take showers?... Some people take baths.

Singaporean girls are dumb? Not all, not all. That's why I'm looking for a RJ girl.
[Frigid Girl: the good ones are all overseas already]

[On fan blades and direction of airflow] I tell you a true story... In a country I won't name... My friend was working in an electrical shop... 'My fan doesn't work'... There was a mistake in the factory. The curvature was wrong.

During the second half of the lecture, if it's not raining, we'll go outside and play with paper aeroplanes.

[On a toy rocket] I will ive it to the lady because she cooks. She has the vinegar and the baking soda at home.

I haven't bought underwear in half a decade.

Someone dared you to wear a dress and you wore it right... How about a RGS pinafore?

My ISM. I have to do a book review every week.

[On an irritating person in my year] We found his successor.. [Me: How about my successor?... I'm too unique right?]

Do not weave in and out of vehicles (traffic)
"Nostalgia is memory with the pain removed" - Herb Caen


Someone: *** treats guys and girls the same

*** and i were discussing this last weekend
and she said u dont differentiate
*** does apparently

Me: see
this is what not being sexist gets you

Bisexual female friend: *Nickname: "Dating Tip No. 2: Don't answer if she asks you whether you think she is fat"*

Me: eh even I know that lor
what's dating tip 1?

Bisexual female friend: always apologise, even if you are right

Me: hahahahaha
that's "dating tip when dealing with women"

actually "tip in general when dealing with women"


Dating Tip No. 3: Don't be too nice, even if you love her

Bisexual female friend: that is cold. lol

Someone: anw u know there's such a character little miss ditzy

Me: aiyah I bet fake one
half of those little miss shirts are fake

Someone: i think the fake little miss shirts are nicer than the real ones

Me: yah the power of piracy
unleashing creativity

Someone else: the old philo syllabi]us really sucked
too much matrix clips...too little philo

and a lot of assessment based on pseudosocratic dialogue

so we had to sit in small groups and ask nonsense and try to trick one another into sounding stupid so that each of us can point out that we really don't know anyhting

Someone: and yeah that *** girl is a bit dumb

Me: *** guy
why you say girl?... SEXIST

Someone: anyways i thought must be girl cos
wishy washy

you die lah

Someone: heh serious what
it's observable trend
quite few exceptions

i'm sure you agree lah :P

Me: hurr hurr
say that in lit class
I want to see what happens to you

actually say in any arts and social sciences class
except econs

Someone: yah lah i know i will die cham cham

heh i say in econs will be ok meh?

anyways i kinda lost the chance, i've finished with the feminism module

Me: econs we're not blinded by ideology

Me: I wanted to go to D&D in sackcloth
but no time to source material

Someone else: do you mean dinner and dance
or dungeons and dragons roleplay?

Me: ..........................


Someone else: no, seriously

MFM: [On NDP] I'm not wasting my time watching the dman thing

Me: isn't deconstructing fun

MFM: shoot, fish, barrel
it describes most of the s'pore blogosphere, probably

most s'poreans don't even bother shooting

Me: so which is worse

MFM: not shooting

on second thoughts, it's worse than not shooting; they don't even think the fish deserve to be shot

Someone on not going for D&D: didn't want to spoil my record of not going for any DnDs in my time as NUS student

Someone else: RAG is like the best SDU invention lor, if they ever invented anything

Liquid Nitrogen: news from you is pervasive, it seeps through multiple channels

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"Many a man who falls in love with a dimple make the mistake of marrying the whole girl." - Evan Esar


Some people once tried feeding an SAF green packet (field rations) to a wild boar. It sniffed the food and then walked off.

Chinese Universities are still even more into rote learning than us.

Men and women both lie, but the seminal difference (besides women lying more) is that women lie to themselves. Ditto about being evil, but women can be evil without meaning to.

VPL is bad, but what about VBL?

A lot of banks expanding operations in Singapore bring in ex-Singaporeans (who escaped Slavery one way or another) to work but MINDEF gives them problems all the time.

I saw this place at East Coast Lagoon Food Centre offering 'Concentrated Sugar Cane Juice'. Wth. Do they normally dilute sugar cane? Or maybe that place adds syrup, makes sugar cane from concentrate or adds in sugar cane powder.

By a curious confusion, some critics have moved from the proposition that generalisations don't always hold to the proposition that generalisations never hold. Which is like moving from "You can't say that in rains in Singapore everyday" to "You can't say that it is rainy in Singapore".

I was asking about first aid boxes in Malaysia. Seems sometimes they're red and white, sometimes they're green, sometimes they have both crosses and crescents and sometimes just crescents.

The Singapore Department of Statistics keeps statistics on how many admissions each cinema has. Wth.

It seems the harmful eye exercises we got in Nanyang were foisted upon students in non-Communist primary schools for up to 4 years after my time (and probably more). I wonder about now though.

Seen in Vivocity, tube bras at $10, plus the sign "Buy 2 Get 1 Pair Free Padding". Yeah, they'd need them.

There was a court case in the UK: Singh v. Singh (1971). Hope they don't have too many of those in a year.
"In The Twilight of Common Dreams, Todd Gitlin places the debates of the moment in a sweeping historical context and - sparing no sides - he argues that these highly charged conflicts are a sideshow, obscuring a seismic transformation in American political life. The Left, which once stood for universal values, has come to be identified with the special needs of distinct "cultures" and select "identities." The Right, long associated with privileged interests, now claims to defend the needs of all. The consequences are clear: since the late 1960s, while the Right has been busy taking the White House, the Left has been marching on the English department. With dazzling range and acuteness, Gitlin's analysis moves through American history and modern thought, from academic squabbles to the crisis in the Democratic party, from embattled school boards to the right-wing exploitation of those scarlet letters, "PC." In the end, he maintains, the culture wars are evasions of America's deepest trauma - inequality - and he eloquently contends that America is lost unless its obsession with cultural differences can be transcended in the name of the common good."


Monday, September 03, 2007

I bought a new ASUS laptop on the last day of COMEX. The prices are lowest on that day but it's also a madhouse. I wouldn't mind paying $10 more in total just to avoid the crowds.

I'm very smart. I put the Winrar installer in a RAR.

Vista is annoying. Wth does User Access Control ask me to confirm twice thrice when deleting an exe on my portable hard drive? Gah.


On Vista, my old dialog box extensions program (it lets me go to Recent and Favorite folders in the Open and Save dialog boxes) File-ex, no longer works.

Does anyone know of a suitable replacement?
u r wt u wr Foreign Edition: Shanghai

- 'We in wear juicy'
- 'Cute is good. Rich is better' (worn by some Continental European)
- 'Daddy's little girl ain't a girl no more'
- 'Desire lies under her skin'
- 'In full bloom'

u r wt u wr Foreign Edition: Hong Kong

- 'Danger. Hot'
- 'All eyes on me'
- 'Yes and no? Love blinds a man to all imperfections'
- 'Super lovers'
- 'The best way to behave is not to' (worn by a 11 year old [my estimate] / 14 year old [HWMNBN's])
Appropriately, the following was filtered into my NUS email's spam folder.


You have been highly recommended for the Honorary Nineo Scholarship which is offered to only 10 students every year. This scholarship is offered only to the top students in the university based on their academic and extra-curricular achievements. Nineo.com is a fast growing Web9.0 service. Nineo's vision is to help students find work they love. Guided by the philosophy "Find work you love and you will never work a single day in your life", Nineo helps students to identify their passion and then
endeavors to provide projects to them to deepen and develop this passion.

This scholarship will help you to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities at Nineo while still studying and will offer you a possible business opportunity in the future. The Nineo team would like to invite you to the following seminar in order to present you with the opportunity to obtain this scholarship and tell you more about Nineo. You will also get a chance to interact with fellow scholars.

Seminar Topic: "How To Find Work You Love"
Date: Saturday, 1 Sep 2007
Time: 3PM

Since the Nineo Scholarship Program is very elite, we have only 30 vacant seats for this seminar. So hurry and reply to this mail to confirm your seat in the seminar by 8 pm, 30 Aug 2007.

You will be informed of the venue once we receive your confirmation. Please do not hesitate to contact me on XXX@nineo.com or **** **** if you have further questions.


I was so elite, I got this at 8:29pm on 29th August, less than 24 hours before the deadline.
"Now is the time for all good men to come to." - Walt Kelly


Since voting for the next University Scholars Club Management Committee starts tomorrow, last week was this year's Shameless Week. I went around documenting the campaign artifacts that made the most impact on me (for better or for worse). I'm still wondering whether to vote for the people whose campaigns pissed me the least or just boycott the elections totally:

General elections publicity notice

Someone said he looks like Korean/Taiwanese TV stars in this

Chris, one of the many people who sold his body to the Jeanne/Maria/Sarah campaign

My favourite: "Vote Gabriel for club mascot"

Sunday, September 02, 2007

So what happens now?
Another suitcase in another hall

So what happens now?
Take your picture off another wall

Where am I going to?
You'll get by, you always have before

Where am I going to?
Don't ask anymore
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