When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Imelda Goes to Singapore", from last year's Biennale

Friday, October 19, 2007


"WE the Majority

A recent NTU study revealed that almost 70% of Singaporeans expressed negative attitudes towards lesbians and gay men. Singapore remains a country and a society that wants our children to grow up in an environment where wholesome family values are embraced, without a mainstreamed gay lifestyle.

Repealing Section 377A would be the first step towards eroding the family values we hold. We the majority can make our stand clear. It's time we speak up. Keep S377A."

This morning there were only 200+ signatures. Now there're 1245 (there were 1203 a few minutes ago when I started this post - probably it's partially the lunchtime effect).

This is as opposed to the Repeal377A crowd which has 6393 (over a much longer period of time - it started on 3rd October while this started on 18th October).

Let's just hope I don't have to say "I told you so".
u r wt u wr:

- 'My mate fancies you' (I'm not sure that, outside of male fantasies, there is a non-negligible number of women who want to hook their mate up with other women)
- '50% single'
- '*picture of tiger* I'm gonna get you'
- 'Our feeling will show together before long'
- 'Turn me on' (a 40+ year old woman was wearing this)
- 'I am what I wear' (SEE?!?!)
- 'Will work for sex'
- 'You can be my other boyfriend'
- 'This guy beside me is my brother'

- 'I don't make mistakes. I date them' (Contributed)
- 'Little Miss Slut' (Contributed: 'it's in [New Urban Male's] display window at vivo, that's where i saw it. i hope i never see it on a live torso')
- 'I know you want to ask my name' (Contributed)
- 'The flower smells like me' (Contributed: "at This Fashion")

- 'I'm only here because my server is down' (Guy's shirt)

I saw a girl with so much eyeshadow that it looked like her eyeballs had been gouged out, leaving the empty sockets.

Some non-elasticised blouses have a very irritating design. They have low necklines to show off necklaces and pendants (right), but this okay when the wearers are looking straight. Yet, when they look or bend down yawning gaps open.

I saw a girl wearing a shirt which said 'Chicks rule'. This is like the n-word rule. When a guy calls a girl a chick, he's objectifying her and seeing her as a sex object. When a girl calls another girl (or herself) a chick, it's a harmless, unproblematic expression.

It is interesting that the 'Little Miss' series represents, both semantically and pictorially, girls as pre-pubescents. Those who don these shirts, then, conceptualise their gestalts as pre-pubescent in nature.

This phenomenon does not only manifest itself in the Little Miss line. Precious Thots merchandise also uses this pre-pubescent imagery (it also manifests a conceptualisation of romantic love as puppy love, perhaps because they don't really love their boyfriends), and when girls draw cartoons of themselves it's always as pre-pubescent girls. Disgusting Chick ("Groovy Chick") takes this a baby step further, putting the girls in more mature clothes and occasionally giving them tiny breast buds, but still placing them firmly in the realm of the pre-pubescent (since these are Ang Moh girls being caricatured and not Singaporean Chinese girls).

I attribute this unconscious vocalising to a desire to be rid of their periods.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author." - G. K. Chesterton


Potpourri by NUS Piano Ensemble

The concert was generally pleasant, but for 2 songs. Poulenc's Sonata for Piano Four Hands, being a 20th century piece, was bad enough and full of "see how clever I am" elements (of course, at the expense of a tune), but worse was Kwan Rui's "Forbidden core", played by the composer himself (and a female ensemble member).

The description of the piece:

"Have you ever tried to get to know someone better as a friend but realised that he or she has decided to remain at status quo? Some prefer to to know others at a deeper level while some are happy with getting to another person just skin deep. Yet, no matter how deep the relationship between 2 individuals is, there will always be a sphere of secrets, emotions, fears, desires and beliefs that an individual would want to keep to one's self.

This is the forbidden core."

In short, it sounds like he just got rejected.

The piece opened with the female partner playing. Then he walked in slowly while gazing downward, step by step, as if in a dance. When he got to the piano he sat down to her left and started playing. From time to time he kept reaching over to her side to play some notes. At the end of the song, she got up, went over to his left and played some notes.

Musically it was even worse. There was a melodyless theme which was mostly a repetition of 2 chords and their transpositions. Meanwhile the cacophony was worsened by the constant disruption of abrupt, dischordant chords.

The rest of the concert had pieces by Moszkowski, Chopin, Faure, Aletter, Medtner, Gottschalk, Infante and Leschetizsky (ie All Romantic and later. Oh well. At least I'll get to hear Zukerman and the Russian National Orchestra play some Baroque stuff in 2 Thursdays' time!).

Probably the most impressive was the Leschetizsky piece - Andante Finale Op. 13 (a paraphrase of the Sextet "chi me frena in tal momento" from Donizetti's opera "lucia di lammermoor") - for the Left Hand, played by a German (?) exchange student named Therese. I'd heard pieces for the Left Hand before but to see them performed live is a different experience as you see the dexterity required and the use of the sustain pedal to compensate for the lack of the other hand.

Logistically, they had the ingenious idea of projecting the program notes on a screen. Besides allowing them to be longer, to make use of colour and clipart and the audience to read them in the dark, this also saved on printing costs and protected the environment. Excellent.

The last curiosity was why, of the 16 performers, only 2 were male. I'm told that although females slightly outnumber the males, the guys are either on exchange or didn't want to play.
A recent conversation with a slightly bizarre mix of prudishness and perversion:

me says: so what are you doing for the weekend?

friend says: I dont know yet
my friend says she wants to do something
but we'll see how it goes

me says: which friend?

friend says: the one that i'm sleeping with

me says: i hope that's not how you describe all your friends
isn't it obvious what she wants to do?
why waste time?

friend says: you realise we're still friends yeah
not just people who know each other and fuck

me says: that i didn't know actually

friend says: i thought I told u that ?
it is called friends with benefits

me says: well, i thought the relationship was more about the benefits rather than the friends

friend says: both la
I need a friend too

me says: i have enough friends and not enough free sex
so i'm in a slightly different position from you

friend says: u do ?

me says: i also want to find this sort of friend leh
please tell me where to find this sort of friend
i need more friends like this

friend says: if i knew i would have a few

me says: some people have all the luck
most people don't even have any

friend says: u have a soulmate
all i have is a fuck buddy

me says: i have a non-homosexual life partner called Gabriel

friend says: u consider gabriel your soul mate ?

me says: not exactly, but he fills in a lot of a soul mate's traditional roles
i suppose i could consider him a proxy soulmate without the sex, children, romantic
dinners - hell, we might even end up in the same household if the League works out

friend says: so if gabriel was a woman .......
would u ........

me says: ER. not if he was as ugly as a woman as he is a man
it's like saying would i fuck someone with your personality/compatibility if she was a
woman lah

friend says: i just chose to put it in those terms
so would u ?
u did say you could objectively say that he has nice tits

me says: okay put it this way, would you fuck a hot girl with my personality/attitude?

friend says: you havent answered my question

me says: well, if gabriel were to magically become a woman who looks like he currently does,
of course not lah
the thing is, if the qualities you like in a friend happen to be in a woman, would
you still fuck her?

friend says: lets put it this way la
i think you and I would fuck a woman who is hot. period

me says: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA. point.
so if gabriel was a hot woman YOU would fuck him/her too

friend says: if i knew it was gabriel
frankly speaking
that's enough to turn me off

me says: but it WOULDN'T be gabriel lah, that's the point
okay, so there's a difference between your male friend becoming a woman and a woman who has the same qualities as your male friend

friend says: the latter is fine of course

me says: of course

friend says: sooo ....
if it was the former

me says: OF COURSE NOT. because the identity as the male friend is already ingrained into my head

friend says: lets say gabriel magically became a really hot chick 10/10
and he starts to seduce u

me says: no.
i don't do trannies
at least those i KNOW are trannies
it's like the old saw lah.. you wake up and find out your bed partner has a dick
put it this way, if you didn't know this hot 10/10 woman USED to be a guy you know
you might just end up liking that person because that woman has qualities of your guy
friend you enjoyed
and then... next morning... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

friend says: so if you became that 10/10 woman, would u hang out with us and conceal your
identity ?

me says: ...... if i could become a 10/10 woman, why would i want to pick up losers like you?

friend says: hang out as friends ?

me says: well, would you be comfortable hanging out with a friend who is a woman.. but USED to be a man?

friend says: if i knew it was u, trust me, I would have absolutely no desire for this 10/10

me says: i think most of us would feel the same
i mean, hypothetically, you could get a blowjob from a trannie and NEVER KNOW
and still enjoy yourself
but once you know... you can never go back. "in much knowledge is there much
it's like fucking your sister lah, only worse
at least your sister STARTED out female

friend says: difference is you wouldnt exactly be a tranny
this is a magical transformation

me says: so is a tranny, in many respects

friend says: well .....
if it was ordained by god ....

me says: the Lord is cruel and malicious, but even He has His limits

friend says: this is a hypothetical

me says: well honestly, to me, no matter how magical or zhai the transformation, if the person
was BORN a guy, no matter what process makes him female... to me it's a tranny

friend says: so would u date a friend's relative ?

me says: it is interesting how these kinds of moral biases stick to us somehow
dude, next to fucking a tranny who used to be your friend, dating a friend's relative
like wholesome momma's apple pie. besides in Singapore everyone's either a friend's relative
or a relative's friend

friend says: well anyway would u?

me says: of course, why not?

friend says: i mean, if it goes awry, wouldnt it be ....
u know ?

me says: i'd be a bit more careful, yes
generally the answer is no, but it really depends on the girl, i agree there are more
but i view it in the same light as her having a bf - it's just one extra challenge as
opposed to an insuperable obstacle

friend says: and what if it's a really good friend ?

me says: even more extra challenge then
btw why do you think that knowing makes it different?
as in if your male friend became a hot girl magically AND YOU DIDN'T KNOW you might end up fucking her
but once you know.. you wouldn't?
or similarly why you would get a blowjob from a hot trannie IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW?
i assume for you if a friend became a hot girl you would never, under any
circumstances, fuck her once you knew

friend says: yes
u can safely assume so
and same goes for u ?

me says: definitely
but still it's interesting why the knowing makes the diff
don't you think?
i mean, if your friend became a hot girl, and NEVER told you
you might even end up having a happy, productive relationship

friend says: simple
same reason as to why you would never find your sister attractive

me says: i can understand why biologically there's a reason for incest not to work
and that we can be repulsed by it
it makes SENSE for us to be sickened by incest (the genetic perspective)

friend says: but it doesnt make sense to be repulsed by fucking a male friend ?

me says: we're talking about fucking a male friend who's now female
for all intents and purposes it's heterosexual
magically female at that

friend says: the mind just cant get pass that
but im surprised someone like u can't=)

me says: har har

[Edited for formatting and code and quotational redundancy - Gabriel]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rounding off the Cambodia Travelogue, 2 photos from other people:

Classic sunrise view I missed when I ran inside to explore. Oh well, you can't have everything.
Picture credit: Clement

7-twenty - their pirated 7-11
Picture credit: Sanda

I was originally going to run through everyone else's pictures, as with Stanford, but since there's twice as many people concerned here and I am more than twice as busy, I'll be better off consuming another good.
"The Theory of the Second Best concerns what happens when one or more optimality conditions are not satisfied in an economic model. The Canadian economist Richard Lipsey (1928-) and the Australian economist Kelvin Lancaster (1924-1999) showed that if one optimality condition in an economic model is not satisfied, it is possible that the next-best solution involved changing other variables away from the ones that are usually assumed to be optimal.

This means that in an economy with some unavoidable market failure in one sector, there can actually be a decrease in efficiency due to a move toward greater market perfection in another sector. In theory, at least, it may be better to let two market imperfections cancel each other out rather than making an effort to fix either one. Thus, it may be optimal for the government to intervene in a way that is contrary to laissez faire policy. This suggests that economists need to study the details of the situation before jumping to the theory-based conclusion that an improvement in market perfection in one area implies a global improvement in efficiency.

Even though the theory of the second best was developed for the Walrasian general equilibrium system, it also applies in microeconomic (partial equilibrium) cases. For example, consider a mining monopoly that's also a polluter: mining leads to tailings being dumped in the river and deadly dust in the workers’ lungs. Suppose in addition that there is nothing at all that we can do about the pollution. But the government is able to break up the monopoly.

The problem here is that increasing competition in this market is likely to increase production (since competitors have such a hard time restricting production compared to a monopoly). Because pollution is highly associated with production, pollution will most likely increase. This may actually make the world worse off than before."
"The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else." - Umberto Eco


Someone: hey btw ah who is Miranda
is it the girl in the video

the one where you were poking a girl

Female friend: thaers this whole debate on whether its the men or women who cared abt penis length and therefore aid in the evolution of a longer thicker penis

and theres this hypothesis that it is men's ego and comparative attitudes towards their penis size led to the evolution of a large penis

and another hypothesis that its the women preferred a bigger penis cos it will help in aiding female orgasm

theres also this hypothesis abt race

(1) tt different culture's approach to sex actually influence penis size
(2)that climate influence penis size

for the first 1 its more like how the cucasians and blacks are more promiscuous than asians etc therefore they have larger dicks

and in the 2nd one europeans live in relatively cooler climates than africans and hence it causes shrikages


for indians nt so small

but i cant account for the thais
who apparnetly have the narrowest and shortest dicks

poor thais
no wonder all awnna be women

HWMNBN: imagine if their powers combine

the sheer lunacy and persistence of the psycho girl with the evil cunning and fiendish vindictivness of the LDPVTP

all will fall before it

Someone: every black guy i have met or talked to has hit on me

haha i am black magnet

Someone else: i got lil miss trouble

its not a real lil miss
the illustration is of a sheep giving another sheep a bath

Someone: well researched

i guess it's action vs. inaction
a case where people feel safer doing something about it rather than to leave it to chance

I must say it's becoming a fashionable clusterfuck too
to repel is smart and cool

Me: yeah well
a lot of people didn't care about the research and just bashed me because they just argued from and with emotion

Someone: indeed, the world isn't ready for you Gab

Me: hahahahahaha
do you think it ever will ;)

Someone: in your own words: A better path of action would probably be to reach out to people on the ground to change hearts and minds, and wait for globalisation, education and rising living standards to make Singaporeans more tolerant.

just add "of Gabriel" at the end

Me: hoho
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They will be healed and set free without ounce of doubt?!

Someone needs to do a double-blind experiment...

Truly, God hates amputees.

Maybe he can heal this guy, whose 气 ("chi") power wasn't strong enough to prevent his arm being cut by a sword. His faith must've been insufficient:


[Me on a literature essay: How much of this do you believe?] [Literature student:] I know the theory. I know how to apply it... 40%

[On literature] If you listen in class you will get why some things are more correct than others. [Me: Because the ideology is such.] Yeah, because the ideology is such

Are the two people outside dating? They're eating Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner.

[Me: I'm interviewing poor people] Why don't you interview us?... I don't live in a 1 room flat. [Student 2: PGP...] [Me on some biscuits: This is to 'bribe' them] Why don't you bribe us? [Me: What services can you perform for me?] [Student 2: This is where this conversation ends. Bye.]

I'm very disturbed... Every time I type the word 'feminine' or 'feminism' into Google Images, I get porn.

What sort of maths is there? [Me: Substitution.] Okay. Forget it. [Me: What sort of maths do you want? 1 + 1 = 2?] Something like that... Square. Square root. What I can do with a calculator.

I'm writing too much like an Arts student... I can't say 'I believe'. Science students say 'I agree'. [Me: You can't say 'I'm sympathetic to Darwin's notion that...'

[On a KIA breaking down on the middle of the Penang bridge] The fan belt blew up. There was no warning. Kinda like an Acer computer.

[Instructor: Can you explain his observation?] I'm not very sure. [Instructor: If you're not very sure, then stop there.] I'm very sure.

A lot of the accidental discoveries are made by people who are messy in laboratories and drop stuff.

I'm supposed to give a lecture on electricity and magnetism today, but I'm not feeling very well so I'll let YouTube lecture you.

[Student: Gabriel is enjoying all the attention he's getting.] Let me give you more attention. [Me: What sort of attention do you want to give me?] This conversation stops now. [Me: This is a very good way of getting less attention.]

Our first victims - I mean our first presentations.

[On feeling my breast implant prop] Ooh.

[Me: Your underwear is showing] You know what this shows? I'm not not wearing underwear.

[Female student:] A breast in hand is worth- [Me: 2 in?] A padded bra. [Me: When you take them off you don't have breasts anymore.] [Student 2: By the time they take them off they don't need the breasts.]

[On Free Will] Some people think there's some spark, some *sings* Uh uh... It turns out if you look hard for it you can't find it at all, but some people still think it's there... It's not affected by events in the spatial-temporal structure, it's not affected by genetic factors.

If we have lighters, why do we still have matches? [Student: My parents are matchbox collectors.] So it's just for matchbox collectors?

[On the test] Don't feel too sad if you want to cry - some people say crying is therapeutic. Find a group, go into some corner and have a good cry.

[On an exam question asking for a formulation of an exam question] I like to set such questions because when I run out of ideas for questions, I will let you ask the questions... to show you how hard it is to set exam questions. You must be very precise.

I won't be testing you on this again... If you learn it, good. If you didn't learn it, then you'll read about it during the holidays if you need to know it.

[On post-WW2 conventions] They were not saying 'let's stop fighting'. It was 'next time we fight, how can we safeguard these things?'

Whenever I encounter a major convention that does good things, Singapore never is on it... I'm not sure if it's an isolationist policy... Or if they want to keep these all open... Even safe ones the rest of the world has signed up for... Why're these against Singaporean interests?

[On Mostar's Croats and Bosnians] When they weren't fighting the Serbs they were fighting each other.

I was asked to go to Iraq in 2004 as part of a team... I was like 'I don't want to go, they're cutting people's heads off there'

[On the US bombing Kosovo] It was weird... Because my country was bombing his country... But we were cool about it... It was weird, because they were hoping for 1 building to be bombed... It was the building where they kept everyone's National Service records... 'Was the building hit?' Everyday they checked.

[On the Economics honours room] It's better. In the past when you come in the first question will be 'what's your CAP?' (would)

[On relationship dynamics] The girl is quite meek. So he has a dominant strategy over her... He's a MCP.

Any questions?... This will give me a chance to elaborate. *silence* Let me elaborate anyway.

Can you see, at the back?... A lot of Singaporeans kids are myopic... Because of whiteboards... In other countries they use blackboards. Less myopic. Go and sue the Ministry, those of you with myopia. Don't mention my name, I'll lose my job.

I also asked you because you were sleeping. [Student: I wasn't. I was paying attention.] You were meditating. That's what I used to tell my teacher in school. 'I was meditating'.

The lecture notes, I haven't updated [them] for 2 years now. I'm not gonna update it. At first I kept updating it. I got bored. (them)

[On static electricity] The biggest entertainment in those days... You take dead bodies... You take a spark. You attach [a wire] to the 2 legs, the arms will move... That was high entertainment in those days.

Once I was giving a lecture... One student said: 'When I was in secondary school I broke a magnet. There was only a north pole. I checked it.' I asked him to bring it to school but he couldn't find it. He missed a Nobel Prize. So go see if you have any north poles lying in your drawers at home.

[On electrostatics] It's not the pen or anything. *audience laughs* It sounds silly but that's what you do in real scientific experiments. You have to have controlled experiments - make sure it's not due to some silly thins like ghosts, or something.

[On alternating current] Only for some applications, like your CD player, so it only spins your CD in one direction.

Some of the worst students get the best grades. [Student: Some of the best students get the worst grades too.]

[On admin matters] If you really think there's a problem, do let us know. I can keep a secret, you know.

This year Arts is a very popular course. it's now the biggest faculty in NUS by far, bigger than Engineering. The government is not happy, but who cares?
Chris's 造句 for Chinese 2:

马上: “我的爱爱叫我,我马上去看她”
容易: “学说中文真的不容易” ('说' and '真' were missing some strokes)
A response to my opinion that we should not campaign to repeal 377A (the Gross Indecency aka Homosexual Sex law):

"Unlike XXX, I have come to the conclusion that arguing with you on this matter is a waste of time as well. I will therefore outline only the briefest of replies.

> Constantly bringing up and harping on 377A denigrates and frightens
> gays more than it would if you kept quiet about it and let it fade
> from the collective memory (like the song on Obscene Songs, which I'm
> quite sure =<1% of people on this mailing list knew about). We have a
> lot of immoral laws in our Penal Code, but since people don't talk
> about them they have no effective impact on the way people live their
> lives.
> Can you honestly tell me, if you believe the proclamation about
> non-prosecution, that you are "frightened" at being prosecuted by 377A
> for having gay sex?

Fuck you, Gabriel. I law which criminalises my private activity, while still on the statute book, denigrates me, whether or not it is enforced. As I said there is NO parallel with obscene songs, a point you have failed to address.

And, as many have pointed out, 377A is merely the font from which many other pieces of shit flow. I have NO legal protections at ALL in Singapore: this may strike you as surprising, but I actually want to, say, have a long-term relationship, adopt children, be honest and open about my life while being able to hold public office, not be arrested when I walk down Orchard Road and kiss my boyfried, etc, ETC ETC.

> Also, segregation marks you out by what you are whereas 377A marks you
> out by what you do.

> I cannot see how not being able to have sex is (morally) worse than
> public segregation and/or designating some people second class (or
> non-) citizens and thus inferior to the rest of the nation.

Fuck you. Do you expect me to be celibate?

And THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT YOU MORON. Since the laws are NOT enforced, the question is NOT the ability to have sex. It is the legal discrimination faced by homosexuals, which attacks their dignity as a group OF HUMAN BEINGS AND CITIZENS. This is not about sex, you fucktard.

> Well, look at Malaysia today. Non-Malays (primarily Chinese and
> Indians) are second-class citizens. Assuming that the laws weren't
> enforced, I am not sure that I would push for their repeal, since this
> would upset the Malay hinterland which might push for the existing
> laws to be enforced, which would make the non-Malays worse off.

Again, fuck you. Wild speculation about the possible long-term political effects is NOT an argument, unless you have like concrete evidence that something will actually happen. I assure the injustice of the law, which is inherent and obvious, is more important than your speculative negatives.

> Furthermore, decriminalisation in China was a quiet administrative
> procedure and not in response to a gay lobby.

NO. It was merely the government waking up to the fact that the 21st century has arrived.

You are beginning sound like Andy Ho. Well, I expected it to take longer, but there we are.

> I must also note that
> for all you might complain about Singapore, in China they are a lot
> more repressive and unaccountable to the people.

Sorry, where did I say 'China is better than Singapore'? I brought it up to show the lack of public outcry.

> Yet in China the
> government does not have unlimited political capital and must listen
> to the people sometimes, what more Singapore?

Erm, this is stupid. See above. See my point. Read English.

> For similar reasons, I would not have supported the push for gay
> marriage in the US (how come no one has talked about this yet?)

Since everyone with a brain supports either gay marriage or gay civil partnerships. EVERY major Democratic candidate supports civil partnerships.

At this point, you will argue that civil partnerships instead of gay marriage is a symbolic difference. I agree on that point, actually, BUT it has no parallel to 377A. A law is not symbolic simply because it is not enforced. In the case of 377A it is the legal fount of every single type of legal discrimination you can think of.

In conclusion: you are an idiot. The end."

This is all considering that I aim for the same end, just using different means.

Some instructive lessons:

- This is a good study in how resistance/opposition movements fail even if there is an obvious, "evil" enemy
- This is why I am very pessimistic about the feasibility of people with radically different beliefs forming cause-based alliances (eg left wingers and Muslims against the Iraq War)
- It answers the question of why people think and claim Singaporeans are not ready for democracy (and how some people think that humanity is inherently unsuitable for it)
- Gay guys are bitchy (no, this is not my only sample, but it is instructive nonetheless)
- The perils of arguing from and with emotion are revealed
- Hysteria is not limited to the homophobes
Subject: We are here for you and your penis! Megadik makes it just mega-large!

Message: Have they ever told you this, "No way! Your penis is really tiny!"?
Didn't you feel stupid?
Don't let women prefer vibrator to you! Megadik will make you a real man !
You must believe in this excellent preparation!

"Oh! Your penis is impressive!" Isn't that what you dream to hear every day?
Soon you'll be the only one girls will desire ! Megadik is your real cure!

Hilarious specimen in my NUS spam folder (one of several variations on the same theme).

I don't get much spam in my Hotmail's junk folder nowadays, but that's because they filter so rigorously, a lot of mail doesn't get through (not even to Spam, where it belongs, instead of the Void)! Like my Tomorrow.sg mail. And when I ask them to let it through they give me some complicated instructions to tell others to follow. Grr.
"If you don't know what to do, call the media and at least give the appearance of doing something." - David Peterson


Laman Web Rasmi Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia - "Garis Panduan Pelaksanaan Ibadah Di International Space Station,ISS (Stesyen Angkasa Antarabangsa)"
HWMNBN insists I get these Muslim guidelines for space travel translated but petulantly refuses to do it for me, so I shan't bother either.

Crocs, kids and escalators a bad combination? - "At rail stations and shopping malls around the world, reports are popping up of people, particularly young children, getting their toes caught in escalators. The one common theme seems to be the clunky soft-soled clogs known by the name of the most popular brand, Crocs."

Sound off: Students sent to office for wearing jacket and tie - "The Golden Gate High School senior wore a jacket and tie to school Wednesday and the act sent him to in-school suspension. His violation? He wasn’t following the dress code."

German politician proposes seven-year limit on marriages - ""I propose that marriages lapse after seven years," Gabriele Pauli told reporters in Munich, the capital of the largely Catholic southern state of Bavaria. "This would mean that one will only commit for a fixed period and will actively have to renew your vows if you still want to continue.""
Finally, a good idea about marriage!

Conspicuous Consumption and Race - "Using nationally representative data on consumption, we show that Blacks and Hispanics devote larger shares of their expenditure bundles to visible goods (clothing, jewelry, and cars) than do comparable Whites. We demonstrate that these differences exist among virtually all sub-populations, that they are relatively constant over time, and that they are economically large. While racial differences in utility preference parameters might account for a portion of these consumption differences, we emphasize instead a model of status seeking in which conspicuous consumption is used to reflect a household's economic position relative to a reference group. Using merged data on race and state level income, we demonstrate that a key prediction of our model -- that visible consumption should be declining in mean reference group income -- is strongly borne out in the data separately for each racial group. Moreover, we show that accounting for differences in reference group income characteristics explains most of the racial difference in visible consumption. We conclude with an assessment of the role of conspicuous consumption in explaining lower spending by racial minorities on items likes health and education, as well as their lower rates of wealth accumulation."

Alpha males - "Alpha males aren’t concerned with being liked. This is true in part because they already get enough love from themselves. But they aren’t the only ones who love them; while conducting research for this article, I came across numerous blogs that featured women tangled in a heated discussion concerning the alpha male. Allow me to paraphrase the overarching female opinion on such men: “Alpha Males are jerks. I can’t stand how attracted I am to them.”"

Cheap trainers still protect feet = "Expensive trainers do not protect runners' feet better than cheaper ones, according to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine."

Question of the Week: Landfills - CNN.com - "The government of Singapore is currently endorsing a campaign to boost its recycling levels to 60 percent by 2012 (up from its 2005 levels of 49 percent). Their final target however is an ambitious "zero landfill" status, which they hope to achieve by ultimately recycling all the waste produced in the city-state."
I didn't know we were so environmentally friendly.

Woman Becomes Quadruple Amputee After Giving Birth - "A Sanford mother says she will never be able to hold her newborn because an Orlando hospital performed a life-altering surgery and, she claims, the hospital refuses to explain why they left her as a multiple amputee... Claudia Mejia gave birth eight and a half months ago at Orlando Regional South Seminole. She was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando where her arms and legs were amputated. She was told she had streptococcus, a flesh eating bacteria, and toxic shock syndrome, but no further explanation was given."
"The end of all hope is the birth of all freedom"


Seen: 'nature abhors a vacuum. so does my dog.'

At one time, I swore that half my ICQ list was invisible at any point of time. With MSN the proportion is probably at a third now; the sole saving grace is that there's no visible list.

It is good to be resigned to fate because if you try to fight it, you just end up more miserable than you would have been if you had accepted it - just look at Greek mythology.

The webcam on some laptops can be flipped around to face the direction the user is facing. This is good for taking spyshots (the light indicating it's on notwithstanding). Unfortunately my laptop's webcam cannot do that.

'Problematic' is a very problematic word.

"If a Western scholar is interested mainly in Western subjects, he's ethnocentric.
If a Western scholar is interested mainly in non-Western subjects, he's Orientalist.
If a non-Western scholar is interested mainly in Western subjects, he's been captured by the dominant Anglo-Saxon paradigm."

It seems more girls than guys are attached. Just as with how men report having sex with more women than the number of men women report having sex with, you can imagine how this goes.

Weird YR join request: "Hi, My name is *** and looking for the information on the best girls schools in Singapore."

According to California Girl, Black Women are big and fierce, which is diametrically opposed to the ideal of a woman (the same way Asian Men are the opposite of an ideal man). Furthermore, they only want Black Men (a comparison can be made with Asian Men here). I postulated that there should be extensive literature on their marginalisation, since this was double marginalisation (they're both Black and Women).

Data entry in Barclays can pay $3.8k. Wth.

Since bladder size is the same in both sexes, frequent toilet visits cannot be due to differential physical endowments and other causes must be found.

Someone was saying before slavery her guy friends were okay with Malays, but on coming out they all hated them. Indeed, NS is a social distillery for ethnic cohesion.

It's amazing how unfriendly poor people can be. I thought it was just Singapore, but the richer people are more receptive and less suspicious.

Race and religion only become flashpoints when they are exploited for political purposes, so maybe we should censor politicians and not normal people.

Some scholars advocate a critical approach to the Sunna and Hadith. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing, but if one critically examines them, there is no reason why one should not do the same for the main revealed text, and one must be prepared not to make a priori assumptions about it. Appealing to Faith sometimes and Reason at others is most inconsistent.

Seen: 'The Fountain. A magazine of critical, scientific and spiritual thought.' It's time to play: "Which of these words doesn't belong?"


I once heard an American complaint about how in France, the male toilets were always located before the female toilets, the urinals were located near the doors and the doors were left open, so women walking to the toilet would see men urinating.

(I swear this was in my July France travelogue, but I can't find it for some reason)

Monday, October 15, 2007

u r wt u wr Foreign Edition (Cambodia):

- 'What tan lines?' (worn by a member of our group)
- 'I *lips* country boys' (worn by a member of our group)
- 'Sexy'
- 'Sexy girl'
- '®ape' (worn by a male)
Gracenote autotagging is fun, but sometimes screws up really badly.

The worst example I've seen so far: tagging China's National Anthem as "Star Spangled Banner - heartfelt, patriotic National Anthem (Vocal)".

Strangely enough though this only happened when I didn't remove the existing id3 tag. When I did, it worked fine.

I don't trust it much for Classical tracks, though.
"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome." - Isaac Asimov


The Female of the Species

WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other's tale—
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

--- Rudyard Kipling
"For the skeptic there remains only one consolation: if there should be such a thing as superhuman law it is administered with subhuman inefficiency." - Eric Ambler


Pinchas Zukerman, the volatile violinist

"Take, for instance, his stance on the period-instrument movement, which seeks to make music sound as close as possible to what the composer would have heard in his time, right down to use of gut-string violins and valveless horns.

"I disagree with everything they do," Zukerman says emphatically. "From the minute I heard that in 1972 to today (I said), 'What the (expletive) is that? These are professional musicians?'" He calls the movement a fad and contends that digital recording has falsely represented the sound of period ensembles. "If you hear them in public - which I have - one is amazed at how bad it sounds and out of tune."

The string instruments that period groups play are dubbed "cigar boxes." Conductors such as Christopher Hogwood and Roger Norrington, pioneers in the field, are dismissed as no-talents who have ruined classical music. "They don't know how to conduct. They certainly don't know how to play. And who's going to say that?"

Well, Pinchas Zukerman is."

And to think I'm going to watch him in 2 weeks. Hurr hurr.


From a review of something I'm going to listen to:

"Some interesting flavors greet the ears in the first concerto on this disc, the "Grosso Mogul" (D major, RV 208), which is not about a wicked ski slope but a reference to the Grand Mughal in India... Of course, some malicious tongue once quipped that Vivaldi wrote the same concerto 500 times, and you can listen to a lot of the Vivaldi concerti before hearing something that really makes you sit up and listen. At the same time, any of his concerti are unlikely to be anything less than pleasant listening."

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The secret to using a hair kiap (butterfly clip): twisting.

Bunny: i tink a normal hairtie is nice la
lets you keep the option of swiping ppl's faces with your ponytail

dont bunch la
i like the loose ponytail look on u

very funny meh
its the least of all evils

LDPVTP: and what do you mean, you want to hold your hair up

like, up, chignon style?
may i never have to see that sight
Cambodia Trip
Day 6 (28/9) - Palace
(Part 2)

Cambodia must be the first place I've been in that doesn't use coins - there's even a 100 Rial note (2.5 American cents). Maybe it's to stop people melting down the coins for metal.

I am not a Southeast Asia person. This is because I am Orientalist and Ethnocentric, and not because it's hot, humid, dirty and there're few of the ancient ruins and great museums I dig.

After the museum we went for lunch.

For some reason, no cafes or restaurants seemed to serve Khmer breakfasts. This put me in mind of Crete, where English breakfasts were much more common than Greek breakfasts. Perhaps people feel conservative early in the morning.

I had no idea what the difference between "Coca Cola" and "Coca Can" was. Meanwhile, someone asked for 7-up and they said they only had Sprite. Gah.

There were lots of kids coming up to us at lunch to sell us pirated Lonely Planets for US$2. Makes you wonder how much profit the company earns.

I had a milkshake which was good in a low class sort of way (kind of like a Ramly burger), since although it was nice and rich, I could taste the artificial off-vanilla flavouring. So I gave it my "bagus!" endorsement. Unfortunately, the cup promotes war. How insensitive, given the country's recent past!

Someone pointed out how the roof looks like the sea, and the treetops like trees on a desert island.

People kun-ing under the soporific effects of the climate (and perhaps the night of conviviality)

All KO-ing. I don't know why Weilong looks so stunned.

Then it started raining.

Kids in the rain. Notice the topless girl encouraging child sex prostitution.

Please, Sir, can I have some more?
Food screwups seemed to be part of local culture and thus something we couldn't interrogate or problematise. The far table of 7 (with all the sleeping people) got only 2 dishes of the 4 the other tables got, so they ended up drinking lots of soup. We ended up giving them some of our food - here we see a mystery hand scraping Fish Amok sauce. Here would be a vaguely appropriate time to note that Cambodian food is all sweet (including the Chinese-style vegetable stir-fries).

By the end of the day, my total of Ang Moh men with Local women had risen to 8 for the whole trip; I went past one room in the hotel and I saw a Cambodian woman inside, and an Ang Moh man going in.

[Someone: *** said her neighbours in phnom penh were two ang moh men who brought cambodian women back every night]

Disturbed at the kids swarming around us, Clement bought US$5 of rat meat satay for them. I told him it was lucky we were leaving or we'd have half the kids in Phnom Penh around our lunch table within the hour. Meanwhile I had a stick of rat meat satay. It was very oily, oozing with oil and with many pieces of fat, and it was sweet like all Khmer food, marinated in some red sweet and sour sauce.

We then went to the Palace, with the Silver Pagoda.


No ??? sign.
If anyone can figure out what this sign is telling viewers is forbidden in the palace compound, please tell me. Some possibilities I considered but ruled out: women (this is a patriarchal planet after all), white women (they only want white men since they can stimulate the economy through patronising local women), sunglasses, shawls

Various palace buildings

We had an annoying time getting to the Silver Pagoda (famous for having silver tiles), chiefly because it was not labelled as such on the complex map (but as "The Temple of the Emerald Buddha"). Maybe the authorities wanted tourists to wander around the complex, taking in the sites and of course buying drinks from the concessionaires to rehydrate themselves.

Silver Pagoda

Unfortunately, no photos were allowed in the Silver Pagoda. I believe this was to prevent photographic documentation of their dirty little secret: scotch tape was used to stick the tiles together (or had been used for this purpose in the recent past, leaving marks).


A King on a horse

Presumably Elephant Place was the square outside

Hagiography of one of their kings: "His Majesty the King Jayavarman VII. 'The King was suffering from the diseases of his subjects more than his because it is the pain of a people which makes the pain of the King, and not his own one.'"
For once the French is shorter than the English, but I think this is because they're more fluent in it and anyway it says less.
[Tim the Great: lit
it's public suffering that causes the suffering of the King and not his own suffering]

Someone said near the palace he'd seen them selling rat-shaped and rat-sized pieces of meat grilling above a charcoal grill. He thought they might be guinea pigs but I pointed out this was not Latin America. Hurr hurr.

Some of us then returned to the hotel because we were old farts and not interested in roaming the market to buy more "Same Same. But Different" (wth - I don't get it) T-shirts.

The doggie kept running into our room

I was a bit hungry before we left for the airport at about 6, so I went out looking for rat meat again.

I didn't find it, but I did find a pushcart stall selling Chinese-style fried dough things:

A mini-youtiao, a fried pao with spring roll filling and egg inside, a three-sided shape with sesame seeds (the inside was a bit like a cornbread muffin) and a fried minced rat meat roll.


Baiting the doggie

We then left for the airport.

Cambodian pseudo-tuktuks

At the immigration area there was a sign: "Nothing to pay here". So much for the local culture of corruption, hurr hurr.

While passing through airport security, I was subject to a faintly embarrasing episode. While I was going through the metal detector, it beeped. I didn't know what was up - till I remembered I'd taken some condoms from the restaurant toilet the previous day for kicks and had left them in my pocket. On my removing them, the security person gave me a knowing look (not that there's anything to know). Hurr hurr.

Cunning Linguist playing with the condom packet

This was supposed to be Creme Brulee but under the skin it was like custard.

At the gate after they tore our boarding passes they gave us the long end back rather than the short.


[On a game with weird hand actions] My colleague was asking me: 'Are you a girl? You don't know how to do'

[On anything that doesn't kill you making you stronger] My great grandmother used to say that... 'Why you fall down you make so much noise?'... [When I pointed out that she complained when she fell down, she retorted:] 'Young people fall down good. Old people fall down can die!'

[On being told we'd get our food in 10 minutes after half an hour] Wah, I can smell garlic. [Student 2: That means they're just starting to cook.]

The dualities... Post-colonialist discourse. Multi-levels of normative discourse embedded into- [Student 2: Bullshit]
Cambodia Trip
Day 6 (28/9) - Museum
(Part 1)

Since the night before had been our last night, we engaged in a night of raucous conviviality (and got cheated by the bar, as we always did, since it seemed to be in the culture to cheat tourists and we had no choice but to accept this to avoid being spoiled brats).

Sign on hotel room wall. It took me a while to figure out that it meant that you were allowed to smoke and burn things in the room.

The others were going to go back to the same place for breakfast, but I decided to scour the streets in search of rat meat. I'd actually intended to eat street food on previous occasions, but the most the others had tried was balut (so I had been told), and I had also been advised to wait till the last day so I would get typhoid only after returning to Singapore. So I woke up earlier and walked around.

The cloudy effect is very artistic and has nothing to do with the fact that the hotel room was cool and I walked out into a hot, humid environment.

Cyclos, a form of transport unique to Phnom Penh

A market street

Eventually I settled on a baguette filled with rat meat pate, since it was portable and unique (we'd been told there was Chinese La Mian in the area also, and I also saw a place with what looked like beef pho).

I was quite sure I was cheated: I asked the price, and the woman said 1000 at first but later changed it to 2000, but what the heck.

Rat meat pate baguette. Besides what you see there was also spring onion.

Dog and tripod

After breakfast we headed out to the National Museum.

Building on the way to the museum

Museum building

Garuda. Koh Ker. 2nd quarter of 10th century.

I wasn't really in the mood to take pictures because it was hot and I was sleepy, tired and dehydrated (ie feeling under the weather - this is the main reason why I'm not a Southeast Asia person) and I went to sit down a few times so I wouldn't faint on a statue. However, since we got a special tour from a staff member, some others took pictures here and there.

Although we were privileged enough to be given a tour, we had more than 35 people in the group and the maximum size for an effective tour is 10 due to communication issues.

I found Khmer art in general aesthetically unpleasing. This was me being ethnocentric, just like how non-Britons who say British food is bad are being ethnocentric.

Interestingly, it's better to keep the sandstone (from which all the rock carvings were made) in a moist environment continually since if you aircondition the place it has to be dry 24/7 otherwise the dry/wet/dry/wet cycles will damage it. All you have to do is clean the dust and make sure no one touches the stuff.

We then got to peek in the workshop.

2 monkeys from the Ramayana fighting from Koh Ker.

Quite a bit of derestoration goes on, sometimes because restoration has been badly done and sometimes in a quest for authenticity.

Seated Buddha. Abhayamudia. Angor Borel.
This statue used to belong to a village, and it had modern layers of paint and recent restoration removed. History was not living but frozen at a certain time in the past.


Knick knacks on top of drawers

We were then let loose on the collection. Freed from a big group, I regained my enthusiasm for photographs. It didn't hurt that it was lunch time and half the staff seemed to have either run off or into corners to eat, and half of the remainder didn't care about photography.

Ganesha, 6-7th century.

Rama, no date.

2nd half of the 10th century: Seated Sinha, Yasha, Seated guardian with lion head. All from Banteay Srei.

Pediment from Banteay Srei

Seated statue, maybe of Jayavarman VII. Angkor Thom. Late 12th/Early 13th century.

Cannon with Chinese words on it. No information.

Pediment: Buddha calling the earth to witness. Angkor Thom. Late 12th-Early 13th century. And Stadir, Lokesvara. Early 13th century. Neak Pean, Angkor.

Guardian's Head. Gate, Angkor Thom. Late 12th-Early 13th century.

"Sit down, please! Let your friend compare about my facial expression and yours! Ask him, which one is the beautiful"
I vote for my friends anyday.

Standing Vishnu, Lakshmi (consort). Roluos. 12th-13th century.

Stele with 4 lokapala and Buddha. Angkor Thom. 13th century.

Pediment from Royal Palace. 19th century.

Besides the toilets, the museum window frames were also sponsored. Wth.

Ramakerti. 19th (?) century

Post-Angkorian Buddha representations. This was opened by the former Minister of Culture and Fine Arts. I have no idea.

Ganesha and friends, mostly from Angkorian times.

Standing Buddha. Wat Romlok. Beginning of 6th century.

Lokesvara. Sisophon. 6th century.

Vishnu. Prei Venay. 2nd half of 6th century.

Lintel, Kompong Thom. 7th century.

Some Buddhist saying in the pond in the courtyard which I suspected was meant to encourage you to donate money.

Above pond: Buddhist figure holding text of worship. Kompong Thom. 13th-14th century.

Vishnu body, 6th century. The sandstone strata are visible after erosion (presumably of the original polished surface).

Shiva, Ganesa, Shanda. Kompong Thom. 12th century.

Bas-relief with lokesvara. Banteay Mean Chey. 12th-13th century.
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