Friday, 14 December 2007

'L' Is For The Way You Laugh At Me

I'm basking in the post-exam rarefaction of doing things I know I had time to do either way but couldn't get started simply cos... Being in school and having lessons and all that; well the inertia is upped multiple times. Of lotsa social catching up to do, reading, doing nothing; of getting results back, the inevitable onslaught of social comparison and discovering that I'm in an unenviable position, but it's still not so bad. How bad could it be anyway? There could be an infinitively huge number of ways I could superficially justify why smelling C twice in first term isn't that bad but that's not quite the thing. In the bigger scheme of things this is way too inconsequential to bother me.

Been running as much as I can in between the incessant raining. And age is indeed catching up with my 2.4km timing. :[

Watched (of all things) Magorium's Magical Emporium with Angie, Mikaela and Leonard (the funniest thing has to be Angie's reaction to the squid woman); went to Derek's with Nat to get trashed at foosball by Derek; and soccer at the Kallang Cage for the first time. That's the last week in a nutshell.

In 4 days or so I'll be going to Klang, just a little off Kuala Lumpur, with Richard and my social science friends. It's just freakin' Malaysia but it's quite significant for me cos I'm not much of a traveler (for reasons that have always been made questionable by my traveler friends; and it seems like in SMU people travel alot!) and I've never traveled without the folks before. It's one of those little things I've always wanted to do if I could only get past the initial reluctances, somewhat like craving to be in the driver's seat of my own car blasting music I wanna hear.

I'm finally done with Prozac Nation, and while I've been telling my friends that I don't think it's fantastic cos it's full of emotional rhetoric and there isn't really any epiphany to draw from the whole reading experience, the ending really took me by surprise. Elizabeth Wurtzel states in her epilogue that if the reader ever found the book agitating for reasons I've just mentioned, then it has served its purpose because depression is a narcissistic ailment and the reader is experiencing the frustration of having to deal with a depressive here of sorts.

And I cannot discredit some of the book's philosophy also, albeit full of negativity but talks of things such as 'love is a victim of circumstances' which have been good resultant conversation fodder in the light of other more trivial pointless philosophy of late, such as the ladder theory. It's been awhile since I've engaged myself in anything really edgy and deep, though Yinyin may have a case with her definitions of perversive behaviour, but I'm enjoying the mental vacuum for now. Need a new book to get started on.

But anyhooser:

Scenario 3: A girl says any of the following to you:

• "You're like a brother to me"
• "You're like a big teddy bear".
• "I feel like I can talk to you about anything"
• "You're so nice"
• "Can you help me with my homework"

Ladder Theory Explanation: You are on the friends ladder. So Sorry.

These and many other funnies and debatable truths at Ladder Theory. I was having random thoughts when I was thinking about how structured and unstructured the whole idea of the development of love can be at the same time, and its subsequent unpredictability. And here's just a random salute to the bystander nice guy whom the girl in the sour relationship counts on to pour out her sorrow, cos he's doomed to her friends ladder.

The development of love can be as intriguing as it is close to our hearts as humans I suppose. No matter how much you try and disqualify it as puerile idle talk amongst the silliness of youth, it will continue to baffle even the greatest minds and perhaps act as the perfect down-to-earther for anybody. We can always count on the frivolity of love to add a touch of personality to even the most estranged of protagonists and antagonists in movies.

Pity the poor egg. It only gets laid once.

Today's Listenables:
Forty Foot Echo - Hollow

Thursday, 22 November 2007

NUS Hall-Life - A Layman's Ethnography

This is a replacement for the post about my NUS stayover that got deleted by accident.

During the study break, I decided to head down to NUS and bunk in with Khairul on the pretext of studying for my finals. Of course, that I did, though I must say there were many other things I did that made it a lot less productive than I'd thought, but it's okay. So far, it's all been hearsay pertaining to this whole thing about hall-life and school culture and what SMU ain't got amongst other things, so I decided - to hell with the speculation; let's do this.

So I lugged my heavier-than-usual bag to that continent of a school (yes NUS and NTU seriously are continents on the map of Singapore) and was welcomed by the rain. There was quite a bit of hassle before I finally met Khairul up and settled in, but I shan't elaborate on that.

Firstly, over the course of days there, a clear distinction must be made between an NUS hall student and an NUS non-hall student. They're really very different people and if any SMU student wishes to say that NUS is more happening than SMU, well becareful which comparison is being made.

Hall-life is, of course, very happening. We're talking about a culture that exists on a few grounds. There is a tradition that is at least rich enough for this to be self-sustaining, unlike SMU I suppose.

When we talk about SMU's culture and tradition and lack thereof, I think it can be likened to Benedict Anderson's concept of nations being merely imagined communities; socially constructed and ultimately imagined and thus easily dissolved. SMU still has some way to go.

Also, the people in hall already want to partake in the activities offered. Either way, they're either genuinely enthusiastic or have no choice and thus want to make the most out of it. So there'll always be a demand for things to do and a supply of things to do.

There is a very high degree of social capital amongst those who stay in hall, not least because they almost see each other everyday. Staying in blocks and playing for blocks leads to a lot of bonding opportunities and hence everyone is very close-knit. When I was at Clementi with Sab, I found that she was always buying stuff back even though it entailed taking initiative and calling many people just to take their orders, and SMSing and then waiting for the replies if they couldn't be reached. Sab explained that this is a somewhat obligatory practice as it is commonplace to bring food back if you make a trip out of campus.

But even before hall-life even really kicks in, the notoriously raunchy NUS hall orientation camps have a huge part to play. It is no surprise when you realise that these camps are sponsored by SDU - to quite an extent, these activities are intended the way they are in spite of the numerous complaints from students and parents of students, etc alike.

Digressively, there are a couple of reasons for this. To curb the ageing population of Singapore, I guess this is about attacking the problem at the root - the academic elites who will eventually be career-minded people who will slacken off in the family-building area. Also, perhaps there's some degree of eugenics involved as they (whoever they are) wish for these academic elites to come together.

Anyway, in the end, any degree of awkwardness or insensitivity is eliminated as you'll find that there's nothing to feel bad about doing anything with anybody since you've already done whatever with whoever during orientation camp in the craziest of ways possible. So another 1-up for cohesion here.

I didn't really get to experience the vibrance of hall-life in full force as I bunked in with Khairul during the study break when everyone's more or less mugging. The difference is that most people mug in their rooms, so you don't get that shitty feeling of seeing so many people around in school studying their asses off like in SMU. But really, that doesn't mean that it's any less muggerish in NUS - the reverse could seriously be true (that SMU ain't as bad as NUS), especially when you start to factor in the non-hall NUS students.

You lose sense of time staying in hall. I seriously had no idea if I was eating lunch or dinner during my stay at NUS, as everyone wakes up as and when they like and do things irregardless of time. Supper is a really common activity and there are many cases to cater to this need of students. I met Jiamao at the Sheares Hall canteen during one such supper.

Everyone dresses in PJs and slacks so there's an abundance of girls in FBT shorts haha. Sab says all you have to do is put on a pair of proper shorts and people will start asking, "eh, going out ah?" I felt somewhat out of place with my berms and slippers even; fashion in hall was understandably that much unimportant and non-existent (which I honestly like. In SMU, fashion is a major part of culture).

I'm not sure if I left out any other facets of observation during my stay at NUS, but on the whole, while there were many expected things, there were also interesting things to learn and it was fascinating seeing the differences between a hall kind of university vis-a-vis SMU. I think it'd be really swell to bunk in during a more bustling part of the term, though I'm not factoring in the awkwardness of being a stranger in a place of extremely high social capital.

If there's really one thing I'd pinpoint about everything, it'd be that there is a lot more happiness to gain from having a good social life than getting good grades. SMU students falter in their attempts to be content because their pursuits inherently do not causate with happiness. To achieve that, we're all better off making time to form genuine social bonds.

If it weren't for marriage, men and women would have to fight with total strangers.

Today's Listenables:
Fall Out Boy - The Carpal Tunnel Of Love


[22/7/2010 0147h caveat]

Given my awareness that a sizeable number of people happen to read this post, I think it is necessary for me to state that my view on hall life or communal hostel living isn't as rosy now as it was back then.

Actually, that's mincing my words regarding how opposed my present views are in relation to those here.

However, the thoughts of this post were true to me at the time of writing, and I will not alter them.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Of School Culture And The Like

School can get unbelievably busy at times. That might sound like an extreme understatement to make for a LOT of other SMU people out there because everyone is seriously stressing themselves out. Maybe I might have less to do, but that doesn't explain I'm fretting alot less than my classmates. I guess I'm really an anomaly of sorts. Though I'm indeed busier than before, it's not like I'm spending 40 hours in the library mugging my ass off.

Which brings me to the recent development of events about SMU's culture which has come under question and under fire, culminating in the very timely release of a SMU documentary reflecting what we've become and why, done by a year 1 by the name of Joshua Nair. It is an impressive piece of work.

In a nutshell, in my opinion it reflects both sides of the picture - those who have lost hope in SMU's culture and those who haven't - and touches on a brief bit of SMU history before semi-concluding about why things are the way they are now, while at the same time giving the viewer space to reflect as well.

3 or 4 years at the Bukit Timah campus has given rise to a culture that definitely rang of being different. The old campus had a very open structure that gave everyone space to think, share, connect and reflect, and was set away from the hectic pace of the city. A culture then grew that truly prided itself in being different from NUS and NTU and was one that eventually flourished with innovation, vibrancy and energy. With that culture in place, the school then relocated to it's current city campus where it nestles with its cold, clinical structure. Each faculty building is set apart from each other if not for a stoic underpass that joins Dhoby Ghaut to City Hall. The structure of the underpass is such that everyone just flows along, with as much discouragement for communication as possible. Unless you really had something to do there, nobody in their right mind would really just start standing around in the underpass and hold a decent conversation. Of course, there are other places such as Frujch and the Big Steps to do so, but the underpass forms the physical heart of the school and this is eventually manifested in the soul of its students. We then become cold and calculated and everyone just moves along to their next practical destination, and when we're done most of us would just wanna go home and stay away from school as much as possible (the irony is that you can't! Haha). And for most people, finally being able to find a bench or room somewhere would dictate that you'd plonk into your seat and whip out your laptop to do more work.

We speed from class to class day after day and lasting friendships are hard to come by unless a special effort is made. That doesn't sound like an issue in itself, you might say, because it is afterall the onus of the individual to decide if he wants to make friends, but the flipside is that the school system simply does not encourage an enriching social life amongst other things other than giving students the perpetual impression that studying and grades is the only thing that matters in SMU.

You can say, "alright, I'm gonna get to know some new friends in school." Then you go to class, but you find that unless you already have friends there, it's hard to just sit beside someone on the pretext of making friends, cos they'll usually already have their own friends they're sitting with and the ones sitting alone are often foreign students (what this implies, I'll leave it to you to think). Then perhaps you'd think, "okay it can't be that bad, maybe I'll make more friends when I get to do project work with people, since I'll get to hang out with them more often in pressure-cooker fashion." But still this doesn't always work, especially when most people are rushing from class to class just so as to return to our original social lives. Once the project meetings are over, it's not common to hear that your groupmates have other commitments and "gotta go", leaving your dinner plans void once again if you haven't got many friends.

So these coupled with the fact that alot of people do not really bother unless they're told (the school is primarily made up of Singaporean Business students anyway) create the atmosphere and subsequently the culture that is seemingly prevalent right now.

Perhaps a bunch of competitive dragon year girls coming in also paints a bleaker picture.

While I have personally been unaffected by the stress because I refuse to be embroiled in it on more grounds than one which I will mention later, a vicious cycle of anxiety has been created by the individual himself/herself and I don't really see how this will break unless either the system makes a change or the majority is able to take a step back and realise that all this GPA-chasing isn't the real deal. I am unaffected because my very reasons for coming to SMU to study psychology stems from a different one from most of the other business or accounting people (I cannot discredit those who know they want to study business or accountancy because they like it, but the truth is most of them choose these disciplines because of superficial or material reasons or that they have no idea what they want to do). I study psychology here because I know I want to study it and the value I see in this is more than just a good grade. And the inherent difference is that I could very well flunk my grades but I wouldn't feel a thing because that's not what I'm interested in. I am happy enough to be able to study psychology in a school that puts more emphasis in presentations than examinations.

There was this guy who said he can't believe he spends 40hrs in the library every week (and disillusioned as he is, he still continues to do it!) simply because he has a personal agenda to meet and he just can't bear to let up in the 'effort' (that is an illusion in itself that undoubtedly has been created by everyone else like him) by trying to be different, and compromise on his own goals. Heck, I hardly even spend a minute in the library a week. Perhaps many others feel turdy because they simply chose the 'wrong' school.

Which brings me to my next point. Many people come to SMU with a set of expectations and when those expectations aren't met, then there is anxiety that contributes to the vicious cycle of unhappiness. Many people are told that university life is slack and that it's fun and you can still have a social life, so people establish expectations that include a generous amount of social life. But considering the aspect of social life expectation simply cannot be met because the student can't get himself or herself to let up on the academic rat race doesn't help at all and eventually people start to question what the school has promised. The video even has one person who goes on to declare that she feels cheated. Why? Because nobody expected SMU to be like NUS and NTU and most people join SMU because they didn't wanna be an NUS/NTU kinda student. And the biggest irony is perhaps that this has been brought on by each and every stressed out student who couldn't see that stress is only as much as you'd allow it to affect yourself.

To sum things up, for most of the unhappy people at SMU, the lack of social enrichment due to the school structure and system together with the stress from all angles make school a shitty place to be. The tagline that SMU is different then becomes blurred, and people start saying they might as well have went to NUS or NTU. 3 or 4 years in the old campus with the culture somewhat established, and a total change of environment and barely 3 years on, SMU is still a young university. Give it time; we're only just beginning to shape (or reshape if you will) our culture. The video couldn't have put it any better in the ending: do you dare to be different?

It's study break tomorrow onwards and I've got plans in bits and pieces. I'm crashing Khairul's hostel at NUS on tuesday. Liz has started the ball rolling on considering ZoukOut '07 (I've never been to one and this year will be the last? That's quite some imperative). There's a trip down to Klang on the 17th of December with the Social Science people so I've gotta update my passport.

LTB has FINALLY come to a close much to my relief. I've had my management communications individual oral presentation which was pretty alright though I thought could've been better, and a couple of other presentations and reports along the way. I think something just isn't clicking for me with sociology because I haven't been doing too well although I thought I'd do alright. Leonard's also done with his LTB championing the removal of discrimination against gays, something I'd wanted to talk about too and have been researching about myself for my psychology essay, but I'll have to leave that to another time.

Met Sab on friday and brought her down to SMU to catch a gig, and then we ended up going to Starbucks to talk all the way til 2am. Despite what every skeptical SMU student thinks, every outsider really believes SMU is different. Even the Indian taxi driver ("SMU is a weli goot school!" *thumbs up)

And yes Arsenal is the greatest joy to watch at the moment. Seriously contemplating a conversion of faith here haha.

Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.

Today's Listenables:
Fall Out Boy - I'm Like A Lawyer With The Way I'm Always Trying To Get You Off Me And You

Saturday, 27 October 2007

It's been over 2 weeks since I kept in touch with the anonymous masses who surprisingly make the hit counter on this site jump, and of course friends who actually still bother dropping by.

CCA's been a problem because of a couple of things. It's a little weird why I still haven't been able to give soccer a shot yet, and alot of it has to do with there not being an opportunity to enter it somewhat. It doesn't really help that I don't know any of the year 1s who are in there now, and they joined way before school started. Post-trials, it's been very quiet.

Then there's Samba Masala. I love the music and the people are great and all that, but there's very obvious commitment problems. And with the introduction of next year's exchange program to Helsinki, it's hard to not show interest in going when the rest are really hoping everyone can go. Like, sincerely. And amidst all the complications leading up to me being abit in too deep now, quitting is gonna be a problem.

377A has been kept after the petitions because of the landslide victory (about 16k vs 8k). I voted to repeal, but it isn't really the result that matters. The fact that such a consideration has been made does show progress already and it's about time cos Singapore's very late amongst developed countries to tackle the issue.

There have been lots of opportunities for me to do my homosexuality research and discussions, both formally in the form of reports and informally in the form of small deep talk with people. It's been cool cos it's really interesting to be able to convert all that trivial conversation of sorts into something I can formally work on in school for research and such. On my psychology research paper, I'm working not so much on whether being gay is a nature or nurture problem, but rather on the social and psychological repercussions of repression of sexuality.

Mid terms seem well so far, with my stats notching a respectable 22/30 considering I totally didn't study, and 81% for psychology which is 5% above the mean, also with minimal mugging done. I wonder if I could have a personal aim of attempting to listen in class hard enough to resort to not needing to study for my social science related papers. Awaiting sociology now.
In a flash, mid term break is over (like over a week ago already) and 1 week holidays don't mean a thing cos I need more than just a week to actually be able to switch into a 'the holiday mood's sinking in feeling', even IF I choose to believe it's a holiday unlike almost every other SMU student. I had so much trouble finding supper buddies that I even resorted to going down on my own.

Talked to Chris quite some time ago. The fast-paced, no fixed class culture of SMU is such that you hardly get opportunities to form very strong bonds with anyone, and all this is in the light of SMU's networking, corporate objective - to mirror the working world and all of it's practical glory. Let's say you're someone who thinks you can go to school and then perhaps meet some girls and find a girlfriend or something, it's not even that simple. Even after all the group meetings (where you unarguably spend more personal time with people unlike normal classes), people still very much have their own personal lives established prior to SMU to go to; or at least they'd rather be there.

The whole structure of Singapore's educational upper class is such that most guys will end up dating girls 2 years younger than them. I don't really have an objective opinion about that other than the fact that the whole NS thing does have its impact on the sociological structure of those within the academic upper class, which does make me wonder what happens if there wasn't any of this.

My LTB project is in Seventeen magazine's October issue. And also, I'm active on Facebook now because of Scrabulous. Open for challenges now! Alright Dudley's birthday in an hour or so. Ciao.

Love your enemies! It really gets them confused!

Today's Listenables:
The Juliana Theory - Shotgun Serenade

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

It's term break and I'm lucky enough to have ended all my papers already, so I've been mostly focused on projects, a little bit of Samba and getting myself back in order for a bit. I keep getting fucked each time I have a 0830h lesson and there are two nicely spread out ones in the week so I get screwed up quite a little.

I'm liking my attachment to the school compound. I mean like seriously there's soccer at Ice Cold B's, the ultimate budget chillout places in Mr Tea and Frujch (with live bands even) and foosball tables all around so I'm not complaining.

I haven't watched Resident Evil 3 and I don't suppose I ever would. But I've always had an opinion that zombies based on curses, witchcraft and the like are more intriguing than zombies based on some chemical freak accident. I aired that view at the expense of being ridiculed by my friends, but why not? Zombies that rise from the dead because they have been summoned by something mysterious and evil are cooler than chemical zombies!

I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.

Today's Listenables:

Nickelback - Rockstar

Thursday, 27 September 2007

The Pain Of Being Unburdened

All the talking with friends new and old have generated lotsa interesting topics of discussion but it's a pity I won't ever get to put them all here. Amongst them, you have girl-favourite topics like 'friends and potentials' and how you define them and stuff, but that's so yesterday and I'm lazy to go the whole hog all over again.

An interesting topic that was raised though was on the unbearable lightness of being. As it were, humans are an emotional species that live to be burdened and it is such that you as a human will continue to revisit those moments of unhappiness, sometimes even consciously in doing so, or so this theory attempts to say. This is because having nothing to worry about and to be unburdened makes life weightless and this weightlessness makes life insignificant in some ways, making it unbearable.

Which ties in with some concepts that Fight Club raised. If you are God's middle children - the ones likely to be forgotten - would you prefer hell or nothing? It is easy to choose an answer that goes "anything is better than hell" because of your pre-conceived Christian notions of hell but if you consider that nothing means that God has 'forgotten' you (in this case God never forgets since he is all knowing, so he has chosen to forget, or perhaps forsake), would you rather die to be addressed and punished or live a life where your God has been oblivious to you?

I might revise this post because I am too tired to type coherently now.

If it weren't for marriage, men and women would have to fight with total strangers.

Today's Listenables:
Further Seems Forever - New Year's Project

There are a couple of markers that indicate how free I am, one of which is my intensity of Scrabble playing, and another being able to blog. School has been absolutely crazy, not to mention sub-editing work always being a niggling pain at the back.

Anyhow, LTB is this module which stands for Leadership and Teambuilding that we've gotta do as a compulsory first year mod. It entails designing a community service project and then executing it. We're working with Seventeen magazine and Children At Risk Empowerment, and it's a really jumpy project cos it's real time stuff we're dealing with here.

Things have been going smooth my way (I say this because things seem to not be going smooth for anybody else) other than for two... hiccups. One was when I was conversing with this damn elite RJC girl and I'd meant to say "neighbourhood JCs FTW" after I said I was from NYJC and I think I kinda said it in a rather subdued manner, so I suppose she thought I was being self conscious and afterward went on to do her mock "aiya its seriously okay" thing. And for some gay reason I got affected by it cos in a pygmalion effect way of looking at it, I suddenly felt that I seemed inferior (i.e. in manner of behavior) to her.

The other moment was on tuesday when serious crunch time culminated into my stats homework not being done yet and sociology midterms being on wednesday, for which I haven't studied, and I had to tend to CARE and later go for samba til very very late. For once I really felt I needed to deal with something badly but the circumstances simply couldn't let me, and it's like... I was being impeded from doing the things I wanted/needed to do, ironically because the things I want to do and I'm actually doing are stopping me from doing those other things I need to do.

Enough of school and shite. I've always wanted to talk about other stuff on my posts but I don't ever seem to be able to do so in recent times.

It's bad luck to be superstitious.

Today's Listenables:
Sick Puppies - My World

Monday, 10 September 2007

Let's Go

I'd meant to update for the longest time but lately school's been really busy and I've been getting a little addicted to Wordbiz, which is basically online Scrabble. I think I can safely say that I spent at least 10hrs playing Wordbiz over the weekend, whether I'm at home or with my laptop in school, which kinda sucks.

On school, It's 4th week already and work's been piling up. Creeps up and then strikes like a silent hammer. Stats really sucks. I think over the course of post-JC and NS I developed a very unmathematical mind such that I'm a little resistant to stats knowledge now; it's like I'm worse off now than I was in JC.

Psychology and sociology classes have been really good so far, except that the lessons all seem a bit too vague. I'm afraid the silent hammer strike might occur for the exams.

LTB is the really irritating module where we have to design a community service project and carry it out. It's not the hours per se that we have to put in that really screws things up - it's just that shit pops up all over the place and quite unexpectedly too. I'm just thankful I've got pretty swell groupmates that make this such a less painful process. I've heard stories from friends about their groups which paint such bleak pictures.

On girls, 1988 basically is a population boom and with the guys all in green and shipped off to a foreign island, you have a lot of the other half - girls. For some reason I find that 1988 girls tend to be somewhat uptight (some post-NS guys have this trait too), competitive and naive. Considering the extremely high cut-off grades that SMU can afford now to impose on its entry, you get a lot of girls who have straight As but have no idea what they wanna do in life; i.e. basically just theory people. Whenever I engage in initial conversation with any of them, I have to put in some conscious effort to give them the benefit of the doubt. Unsurprisingly, many have complained about the SMU pedagogy (involving more emphasis on class participation and projects), which I am really fine with since exams have always been a huge threat to me. If you don't like it, harshly speaking you have chosen the wrong school.

As for the ladies from my 1986 batch, I've seen some around - Chris, Jayne, Michelle and Elizabeth - but they've all seemed to have moved on with their own studies and social circles for 2 years since we were shipped off to some foreign island.

As for the guys, it's on one hand just like one great big reunion and on the other, finding out how interconnected and small Singapore is.

Pre-uni fun lasted while it could which, I think, ended with the freshman bash over a week ago. I had to bunk in at Jianming's at 4am and then go for management comms lesson at 0830h. Others slept around the steps outside school I've heard. Richard didn't even make it to class haha.

Off to stats class wheeee.

Vacation begins when dad says, "I know a short cut!"

Today's Listenables:
Soul Asylum - Runaway Train

Monday, 20 August 2007

The Post-Hoc Evaluation

Commenced school to an all-time low with statistics class under Prof. Lin Ting Kwong, which was quite horrendous. I had trouble staying awake so I ended up playing Wordbiz (online Scrabble) with Yinyin.

People have been asking stuff like, "do you dread school starting?" Seriously mannnn... I am not happy or sad or angry about it, I'm just at acceptance with things, because school will start whether you like it or not, as if dreading it will help anything at all.

The past week's been the usual extended high I've been having for quite awhile, peaking with Zouk on wednesday and then crashing at Jianming's hostel. We were dancing for like 6 hours, which was really the shit. Good company makes all the difference. It was probably my best clubbing experience so far. 6am back at hostel and waking at 1pm to find that you're already in town kinda rocks too. Haha. I'll be repeating this for the freshmen bash on thursday.

Convocation was really really bleah. And even though I might've pissed some people off for pulling out rather last minute from the performance thing I don't regret it at all. I had my 30 seconds of fame for leading the pirates cheer from FTB. "I don't need that," I said when the MC passed the mic. Godly!

I've had my fair share of people doubting my reasons when I've stated that religion is why Kee and I have separated as a couple. I can understand how hard is it to fathom something like that for the layman, but to really understand why, you'd have to look into our personalities, perspectives and aims, goals and purposes in life. To us, love didn't simply mean going out all the time and calling each other every other night. Love can be defined by very tangible means but if that's the way you do yours then well the lack of superficiality in ours made things all the more difficult.

Considering that christianity doesn't take into consideration any other form of faith other than that of Jesus Christ, my pantheistic inclinations, even though encompassing of the prevalence of God itself, wouldn't have been acceptable. And I know very clearly that there are so many implications and complications if we continued to be together. I'd have been a hindrance to her growth in her faith, of which I know has benefited her alot and I certainly do not believe she should be denied the freedom to believe in what provides her spiritual well-being best. She would also feel very much compelled to try and convert me to becoming a christian, because I was more than just a friend. Those are just two of a myriad of other problems.

And consider this. I know christians would love to punctuate their sentences with praises to the Lord. What would that make of our conversations? I'd probably go on about my quantum mechanics ideologies and why I think Bon Jovi still sounds the same after all these years while she'd wanna tell me about how Christ brings joy into our lives. While I'd love to affirm that with her just because I care for what she thinks, I'd be lying to myself about what I don't believe in. And at the end of the day you just realise all those conversations may eventually just not mean anything anymore to either of us, given the persons we are and the priorities of our conversations.

We both also feel that the priorities of life should all go hand in hand with each other. You can't just put your faith, your career or your relationship, just to name a few, at the apex of what's most important in your life - instead, they have to go hand in hand. Only then would life be worth any of those things at all.

It may be hard for some to see it this way, but I've loved her too much to keep her with me, especially in a relationship which would entail so many potential issues in future. Some will try and say that if our love was really strong enough we'd be able to overcome this. Well screw them then, they just don't get it past the shallowness and probably won't anyway.

It has been hard because there wasn't really a breakup due to anyone's fault, there was no decline in love, and there is no anger to leverage any of this on. Simply put, breaking up not because there's no love left will be hard, and the love was brimming. As the years went by and our love grew, the barrier of religion just grew bigger between us, ominous yet surreptitious, until it became too huge to put aside anymore.

But we're really still friends, and perhaps more than just good friends because how do you just put aside all those things you know about each other, and all that spiritual and emotional connection you've had? Transcending the status was hard but we've helped each other through it and it's been alright.

I suppose in the bigger, more neutral, bystander perspective scheme of things, I'd just be a tool for a test on her faith, a little fork in the long road of her life, and she'd just be an example of what happens when you, as a christian, date a non-christian. Haha.

If each day was 48hrs, we'd all be younger

Today's Listenables:
Within Temptation - Ice Queen

Sunday, 12 August 2007

The cumulative consecutive late nights kill me each time I'm out trying to do something and last night at Wala Wala I was like freakin' falling asleep even though The Unexpected were totally blazing hit after hit. Got home at 0230h and this morning went to play for The Horizons, Nicholas' sunday soccer team. Totally sucked cos my reaction and concentration was rock bottom, and shit happens when you play court soccer week in and out and suddenly play field soccer. It's like... So much space zomg so you end up running and running quite headlessly.

But the game soured into the second half and just after I subbed myself out the two sides started fighting. Like totally brawling man wtf. For me I've somewhat left such experiences behind in secondary school already, both in the sense of myself succumbing to such acts of idiocy as well as observing such puerile acts of childish mindlessness, and here were two teams with an average age of 24 I think, trying to sort pride issues out over sissy kicks, pushes and g4y trash talk. SERIOUSLY MAN.

Anyway, the game ended 3-2 in our favour prematurely, cos the fight got a little out of hand and the ref had to call it off before 90 minutes.

Nicholas asked if I wanted to continue playing for his team. I didn't reject the offer though I don't think I'll take it up eventually, because I know that my commitment level to these kinds of things is usually quite low.

The stayingouttillateeveryday has ensued for the rest of the week since wednesday - which was ended off with a very amusing and thoroughly enjoyable foosball session with Jianming and Yinyin at the hostel (where I duly pwned them; funny surprise was Yinyin's 7-0 KO of Jianming) - with StarringSMU coming to a very lousy close, and yesterday's Wala Wala trip.

StarringSMU got crappier and crappier and I totally skived the NDP display I was supposed to be a part of (which was also supposed to be the whole idea of and reason for StarringSMU itself). Instead, I went for the frisbee tryouts which was quite fun and later met Sabrina to meet up the rest of the couchsurfing people, only to be totally snuffed out by the insane crowd.

For the uninitiated, the idea of couchsurfing is about providing a 'couch' (a symbol for lodging) for people - some on budget travel, others who want to meet people - and in the process make new friends and share experiences and culture. Check out

Wala Wala is host to EIC and The Unexpected, two top live pub performance bands in the business. For all live band fans, you've got to catch one or both of them in action, and for those who aren't fans yet, you just might be after!

Been playing lotsa Scrabble too, so I've resolved to get a Scrabble set to put at home.
So many things, so little time...

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Today's Listenables:
Bon Jovi - Born To Be My Baby

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

I've been going to school every frickin' day since FTB ended. If it's not some official school activity, then it's using school as one of the coolest and most inexpensive places you can just head to in town to sit around. I can't see why people find this disturbing - the rationale is simple: anywhere else and you'd have to pay $5+ for chill out space; campus is totally free and if you even want board games, Mr Tea has drinks at less than $2 and are much nicer than many other places! And I haven't mentioned the selection range.

So as it were, I kickstarted this week by meeting Kee. I think we're good now, and it's really much better off this way for the both of us. I'm still having my fair share of friends who can't seem to comprehend why this is so, and I must admit that my very rational approach to this matter sounds more than cold considering the 3-year relationship we've been through, but it's not like we're not talking anymore. We've kinda transcended the boyfriend-girlfriend part into something else, and perhaps we were just meant to be that way. And it's not like its awkward when we hang out or anything. The laughs and great company - it's all still there, minus the romance.

So we watched The Simpsons, and I won't bother talking about the movie other than stating that I enjoyed it. I'm here to blog, not to report. Hah! Okay lousy I know.

So Kee and I talked about stuff, and well you lose some and gain some when stuff like this happens. There were things I wouldn't have said in the past that I'd tell her about now. But that's quite duh la.

Yinyin and Jianming moved into hostel on tuesday so I went over to check out the bunking area and it's pretty decent I'd say. For either $1.7k for a double room (shared with someone else) or $2.2k for a single room, you get lodging near school and in town which really rocks. Next time I have overnighters to pull, I'll bunk in with them.

Had fun showing Yinyin, who's a Malaysian, around town and playing Scrabble. Jianming joined us a little later and they accompanied me for the Samba Masala audition/interview, which went pretty well. Thankfully I was allocated an earlier timing, as the event snowballed and got pushed back quite late.

After that, Leonard and Jacq joined us to have supper and goof around Clarke Quay taking crap photos. It can be mildly therapeutic but guys like me have enough of it really quickly haha.

Today, wednesday, there was StarringSMU which is turning out to be a very frickin' lame CSP. We had to do this amazing race thingie (which is really blowing a hole in my wallet for transport alone) and eventually got pissed at the locations we had to go to so we did like 2 or 3 stations and then headed back to Cathay to bum while waiting for the cut-off timing to come.

I then met Qinhong and we played more Scrabble. Got a little too engrossed in the game that I missed the ending off for the day, and then he and I went to some GSR to practice some dance moves. I think I'm getting the whole handstand freeze business, though I'm still barely there yet.

Just so you should know, I've been shortlisted for the 'talent' thing during Convocation to do breakdancing and juggling, cos bloody Joel sabo-ed me. Gah.

So it's basically 1-2ams home each day recently. Tomorrow I'm skipping the StarringSMU NDP thing to go for frisbee. There's floorball, handball, softball and many other things coming up, but I'm kinda liking it this way for the time being. It's the people I'm meeting who're making this a very interesting time.

On the other hand, you have different fingers.

Today's Listenables:
Within Temptation - Final Destination

Saturday, 4 August 2007

I know there's a lot I should be addressing but I haven't. Stuff that has been untouched since up to 3 months ago - the science of religion, the 'break up', the the the... - I just haven't found the time and energy to do so. I've been incredibly busy with many things varsity-related - orientation, community service, getting to know people, trying out CCAs, even thinking of forming a philosophy club - and time has truly flown.

I shall attempt to run through some recents.

Community service through StarringSMU kickstarted the meeting new people process after my summer term class ended and it was really the start of everything that would define the people I meet and the things I do with them nowadays. Last year, SMU was involved in the smiles campaign that saw collages of smiling people lining up MRTs and buses, so this year we are doing 'kisses for the nation'. Lazy to elaborate, and not that it really matters anyway. Then we did car washing to fund-raise, and we're gonna be involved in the NDP display by moving red and white umbrellas (that will form the national flag).

Then there was The Fourth Estate - Social Science Camp, which was quite fun because of the fantastic company of social science people. But after learning about other camps like Asoc and Bondue, I guess SocSC camp was actually pretty tame in comparison. But oh well.

A very recently, I had my Freshman Teambuilding Camp, which was just basically orientation camp. It didn't quite turn out that fantastically but I wasn't expecting much anyway so it was alright. The thing is that we had to undergo activities that assumed that your team was really well-bonded; anything less and you would'nt have been able to comfortably complete or win at the activities. So there were quite a number of instances where the failure to complete the activities caused the mood to nosedive. But of course there were some activities we excelled at, like rafting, which really put us on a high.

And yesterday, I went for the Samba Masala tryouts, which was really fun.

Today, we were at Kopitiam and we had this extremely engaging discussion regarding the value of sex and the definition of love and chemistry, which kinda led us to wondering if we could establish a philosophy club.

All in all, I made a lot of new friends and everything kinda gave me the time and space to keep my mind off things, whether I needed that or not.

That's the past 1-2 months truncated, with lotsa details, significant or not, left out.

I don't find it hard to meet expenses. They're everywhere.

Today's Listenables:
Trivium - A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation

Thursday, 26 July 2007

The Simpsons out today. Been really busy! Social Science Camp, StarringSMU community service and whatnot.

I'm not really a fan of lyric-posting for blog updates but what the heck.

If you'll be my star
I'll be your sky
You can hide underneath me and come out at night
When I turn jet black and you show off your light
I live to let you shine
I live to let you shine

But you can skyrocket away from me
And never come back if you find another galaxy
Far from here with more room to fly
Just leave me your stardust to remember you by

If you'll be my boat
I'll be your sea
A depth of pure blue just to probe curiosity
Ebbing and flowing and pushed by a breeze
I live to make you free
I live to make you free

But you can set sail to the west if you want to
And past the horizon till I can't even see you
Far from here where the beaches are wide
Just leave me your wake to remember you by

If you be my star
I'll be your sky
You can hide underneath me and come out at night
When I turn jet black and you show off your light
I live to let you shine
I live to let you shine

But you can skyrocket away from me
And never come back if you find another galaxy
Far from here with more room to fly
Just leave me your stardust to remember you by
Stardust to remember you by

Boats and Birds
Gregory and the Hawk

If at first you do succeed, try not to look astonished.

Today's Listenables:
Megan McCauley - Wonder

Monday, 16 July 2007


In 2hrs I guess we had a 2-year-long question that begged for resolve answered.

And it's the most bitter answer I'll ever have had to come to. I'll write more when I've gathered my thoughts and emotions a little more about what's just happened...

Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.

Today's Listenables:
Within Temptation - The Heart Of Everything

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Rollercoaster riding time. I've never been busier in a long while - I'm juggling drawings, sub-editing and school work (which is killer with tests and projects at every turn) - and I think I'm barely hanging on. I mugged as hell and got 16/30 for the first test/quiz, which was pretty discouraging but as said many times before, it's really up to the individual if he/she chooses to be screwed up by something, so I just sucked it up, tried working harder and got a more decent 45/60 for my mid-term paper (yes, freakin' mid-terms at the end of just the 2nd week!).

Had my second matriculation today, which turned out to be a very messed up affair because I was being good ol' me - forgetting to do and bring everything at the last moment. So I'll have to go back again either tomorrow or next monday to finish up. Nonetheless, I got a part of second-matric done today, which included sitting through a rather boring community service talk and getting bombarded by seniors getting us to join all the camps. It's gonna be an extremely busy period in the near future for me, before school starts somewhere around the 20th of August.

Things have become a little complicated between Kee and I for a bit. It's not the first time Christianity has been an issue for the both of us - her faith in it and vice versa for me.

Let's just say that when it comes to the scale of being Christian to being Atheist, I'm somewhere in between rather than at either end. I've come a long way since those naive years of realising a faith like Christianity existed I think. During those early years I resented religion - they made no sense to me and sounded plain ridiculous. I did not exclusively reserve such sentiment to any one faith in particular; I thought all religions were foolish.

Over the years though, I've come to understand that everything is alot more complicated than it seems. To attempt to talk about the reasons that sum up to my stand now would be too herculean a task to handle; I could end up typing for hours and this post would go on forever.
Personally, I do believe that there is a system of sorts, quite possibly spiritual, that governs our physical (non-spiritual) realm and hence I do not doubt the possibility of a creator - God if you will, if personification suits your liking. We are all elements of this system and however you like to see it, we are either co-creators or pawns with a part and purpose to play.

To doubt that tremendously backed fact that everything today is a miracle would be silly; in my own scientific way of looking at it - the Big Bang - if, within one second of the moment of creation, the rate of expansion of cosmic energy had been different by one part per quadrillion (15 zeros), we won't exist. Less, and expansion would be too fast for anything to form. More, and the universe would have collapsed in on itself. I'm sure there will be other interpretations of creation, and you will be entitled to your own beliefs.

I'm not anti-religion, or more specifically, not anti-Christ. If having a particular faith makes you a better person, whether or not you embrace the faith to make you stronger or that the faith has, in some way or other, made you 'see the light', by all means do seek religion.

Around here is perhaps where the problem arises. While I believe that every religion is right in it's own manner, i.e. they are all denominators by which people seek the 'truth' or spiritual well-being and move closer to God, I am perturbed by the insistence of Christianity to be the one true faith. And while it is easy to pinpoint atheists and agnostics as the other extreme end against religion, Christianity seems to take it that all non-believers are wrong. This is said in very simplistic terms, so I'm sure there will be some who will attempt to disqualify this statement. Depending on how strictly the Bible is followed, people enforce this belief to varying degrees.

In other words, just not accepting Christ as a part of my life doesn't mean I'm anti-Christ.

And this doesn't particularly go down well with me, because I strongly believe that to each his own, especially when it is clear that I'm not anti-God in any manner. I have my own ways; I just chose not to embrace the Christian belief of Jesus dying for our sins, leading a Christian way of life and seeing that it is most important to dedicate a lifetime to serving God - in fact it is counterintuitive to assume that I will be more orientated towards finding Spiritual well-being in doing so, because I would probably end up being more disorientated and further from it.

I once posted a joke that the kid in Pursuit of Happyness made - of the drowning guy who didn't wanna get help from passing boats and eventually died and asked God why He didn't save him, and God said, "I sent you 2 boats you dummy!" - there is a point beyond the seemingly innocent nature of the joke. Many people are so caught up with the idea of salvation and the laws of the Bible that they may sometimes overlook what's more important. Now, this is my own little humble personal opinion, but sometimes Christians are so caught up with the sentimentality of the whole thing (of serving God, of Jesus dying for our sins, of the law of the Bible), it almost becomes drama. But I do not doubt that this sentimentality probably works for them because it drives them to be closer to their Christian God, and closer to Spiritual well-being. But please, it is not assumeable that it will work for anyone else. It is like trying to align a rifle bullet with a bazooka and hoping it will shoot all the same.

Which leads me on to a more trivial issue (depending on how you look at it though - it is trivial to me but it may not be so for others). I've told Kee that I find the language of the Bible very haughty. Of course, you say, it is from the Lord Almighty and thus are commands and are rightly so. Everything is in black and white - sin or no sin. How do you judge what is really right or wrong sometimes? Is there no room for doing the wrong thing for the greater right?
I always like fighting a case for homosexuality, because it is a very scientific and religious conundrum. Do you blame or condemn people for simply being who they are? For many of them, the nature of their sexuality is often determined from their first sexual stirrings. It is easy for a heterosexual - especially a heterosexual christian - to say, "but it is wrong, because homosexuality is against nature and thus, unnatural and a blasphemious abhorration against God's will." Well, it would be most unnatural for a homosexual to engage in heterosexual intercourse. Just try and imagine the opposite scenario for yourself.

Ultimately, christian vs non-believer arguments will never reach resolve, unless one of the two is less knowledgeable or that either one or both parties are willing to take a leap of faith in the discussion and be the other person. In fact, the two are basically fighting in wrong directions, because they are assuming they know the right target points to hit when in fact the answers simply don't make sense. Until then, all answers thrown back at questions will hardly be satisfactory to either party. Likewise, any claim made by one side, any at all, will probably sound offensive to the other.

Just picture Christian reasonings. "But the Bible says so" and "because it is the work of Satan" barely makes sense to non-christians and yet they use it so often; it is almost ridiculous to the non-christian. The opposite can be said for atheistic views - to attempt to convince a christian, who is so grounded in his or her faith, that everything was created from a tiny speck that had all the energy in the universe and quite possibly more 'since the universe is still expanding', or that a person recovered from the brink of a fatal illness not because of prayer or God's work but because of fluke science and medicine, would really sound equally ridiculous.

Back to myself, can anyone actually ever perceive a christian Jose? It is just like imagining a rational, peace-loving George Bush or a murderous Mother Theresa, for lack of better examples. I believe I can put it on myself to accept things as they are, but then there are further potential complications.

I don't quite mean to be divulging very personal anecdotes but I think there is a bigger picture for everyone to see.

If you're not already sick from all that reading, do check out the following links. They are really good and insightful:
What the Bible says - and doesn't say - about Homosexuality
The Real Story on Gay Genes
The God Fuse - 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can - and MUST - Agree On

I've got quite a bit to comment about homosexuality as well.

Telepath wanted: you know where to apply.

Today's Listenables:
Puddle Of Mudd - Away From Me

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Just a week into school and I had my first test on friday. I have a group of jolly mates. Lessons started getting dry. We've got 2 more quizzes to go and 3 projects to hand in (which is semi-madness for a 5-week course). Jonathan's the gym-freak and heartless romantic, interesting fella. First week of school summarised there.

And I've been studying hard man. I've been going out just to get my reading done before I attend lessons and doing my assignments. Yesterday, Zhiquan, Leon and I talked about JC days and how stupid we were to not have worked harder and hence suffer so painfully as the final exams drew closer. Of opening up your notes to find blank space after blank space of undone examples and thus having virtually nothing to refer to and study.

SMUgging here I come, way before the actual school term starts.

What do you do when you miss someone you love? You decide to head downtown somewhere near where she resides for a bit, on the premise of getting some air and having some reading done, but also providing room for other 'partly due to' reasons like trying your luck for a bump. And then you have a drink by yourself just below where she says she is for awhile, and then going home because the phone's silent and so you think she's probably busy and don't wanna disturb her.

She may not know it, but Kee provides timely reminders of my propensity to be silly. :]

It is the nail that sticks out that gets hammered.

Today's Listenables:
Within Temptation - Bittersweet

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

First day of school yesterday!

Marketing is a very interesting subject. I don't say that because I can't find a better word to describe it or something. It is really interesting. Maybe it's my professor, whom I thought was good though he's from India and his accent might pose an issue. Maybe it's interesting so far because we were doing some case studies. Did you know that the symbolic image of Santa Claus in a red and white coat was created by Coca Cola in 1930? Or that companies like IBM actually hold official corporate meetings in the virtual world of Second Life?

Met some not so interesting people, formed a group with one fellow NSman Special-Termer called Irving and three SMU old-timers, of which 2 are ladies. The laojiao guy dispensed some interesting tips about SMU-first-day-must-dos, one of which is that when you go to class for the first time, spot the chiobu and immediately sit as close to her as possible, if not beside her. This is because usually the more good looking, charismatic and, thus, confident guys would try to sit near her too to get to know her, and they'd eventually make better groupmates for projects than the quiet loner ones sitting at the corners so you end up sitting near them too and can eventually establish better connections as early as possible.

Went to SMU today though I had no lessons cos I wanted to study my text (crazy huh), and ended up meeting Leon for dinner. And Leon said something funny.

Actually Irving yesterday mentioned about the locally-flavoured proverbial '2 years of not using your brains in the army'. I'm fucking sick of hearing this because it's quite nothing more than some stupid excuse most people like to use for zoning out during NS. I have to assume that such a statement is made out of a need to complain (cos if it isn't objectively so then it's sadder in my opinion), which leads me to think that if it really pained anyone to have their brains rot in the army, they could have easily done something to prevent it. Nobody stopped anyone from bringing books to camp to read during those admin times in bunk rather than do anything and everything else that was unproductive and then bitch about it.

I personally made it a point to capitalise on the learning freedom (with regards to mental stimulus in this sense because there wasn't anything else you needed to cram your mind with, although as a specialist and sea soldier I had a shitload of SOPs to familiarise myself with) to read up on things I won't bore you with and worked on some other stuff such as art during my free time. It just kinda pisses me off to hear someone else whine about how stupid the army has made him, simply because he let it.

Maybe being a 2SG platoon sergeant purely out of responsibility (with no extra pay) gave me work that enabled my mind to leverage on to prevent itself from idling too much, but I suppose I'll never know what a 'man' (as in soldier man, non-commander) really thinks of. This notorious 'man mentality' that people talk about.

So Leon was telling me about a stupid colleague (whom I had the pleasure of bumping into and immediately developing a disliking for) and I said that maybe he really has that 'man mentality'. Then Leon exclaimed, "please, he has ULTRAMAN MENTALITY!"


We both later wondered why nobody has ever thought of such a term and decided that if either one of us had thought of it during NS, it might've become a part of fond army lingo.

The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.

Today's Listenables:
Breaking Benjamin - The Diary Of Jane

Sunday, 17 June 2007

I am actually starting school next monday, but it sure doesn't quite feel anything like what I think I'm supposed to feel when I'm about to commence university. Maybe it's because it's just special term and supplementary stuff but that's probably a somewhat negated and diluted explanation too. Gone are my days of expressive avant-garde-esque fervour in the light of new (but anticipated) experiences.

To sum up over a month of attempted esoteric pursuits, I:

1) Learnt a meagre amount of Spanish (harder than I thought!)
2) Read Life of Pi and am halfway through Prozac Nation
3) Learnt about the scientific and philosophical relationships between (possibly spiritual) consciousness and quantum physics
4) Did and am still doing freelance sub-editing
5) Quite successfully set up my Bric Brac d'Art custom arts venture website
6) Joined two soccer tournaments

I've spruced up the Bric Brac d'Art site quite a bit and am pretty pleased with the outcome of the layout revamp. Honestly, I used to get pissed off seeing the site because it really lacked a definitive touch to it.

It's been an interesting week for the family because my mom found work and my dad had to take up the chores in a reversal of roles, which gave my brother and him more opportunities to be together. I thought that'd really do the both of them good.

The other day my dad and I suddenly started talking about shares and market investments. I think we've come a long way since those secondary school days where we just couldn't exchange a word that didn't spell trouble. I suppose his being unemployed and staying at home gave him time to sober up a little too.

One thing I didn't get to do was to pick up percussions. Since I'm gonna have some allowance anyway, I'm thinking of using the money I'm earning from sub-editing to get myself a small electronic percussion set. The capability of muting the system is a necessity.

Attack life, it's going to kill you anyway.

Today's Listenables:
Kill Hannah - Kennedy

Monday, 11 June 2007

In the dark, I grabbed my popcorn box and felt what I thought was a rubberband until it started wriggling like a madfuck that I realised it was a house lizard and threw it reflexively, making me feel quite gay thereafter. But it sure proves the adage that sometimes, the less you try to get something, the easier it comes to you.

The Lifestyle paper on Sunday had an unfuckinbelievable (UFB) article about the two girls with 16k friends from Friendster and Myspace. What was more UFB was the girl who said "who only has 1000 friends? [sic]". I'm not really questioning the possibility of their acquisition of 16000 'friends' and I think there has been more than enough commentary from the rest of the world pertaining to what's quite ostensibly wrong with the picture. But damn, for the Lifestyle section of our national paper! Is there such dire desperation for a frontpage angle?

One of the sisters even goes on to say that she once spent a whole week staying at home all day surfing Friendster. It is so mind-boggling that I am quite stumped by the incredulity of it all, and not by anything specific in particular. I suppose you could say they're Xiaxue's saving graces. Haha. Oh well as it goes, publicity, good or bad, still is publicity afterall.

Here's a little pointer to add to Friendster 101 that I somehow came up with while talking to Richard:

If you are at a girl's profile and there is a picture of her and her friend as her default picture and you do not know which one of them in the photo is her, chances are the better looking one is. *note: generic statement ahead* A girl would rather die than put up an unglam and, quite possibly, inferior photo of herself especially when she is in the company of other females in the same picture.

The folks are back, the crazy's been sobered up and everything's back to routine once again. It can be nice. I can't quite recall significantly what I've been up to this week, other than remembering the rather random meetups throughout the week with Nat, Richard, Ahmad, Dudley and Leon which summed up to be rather mediocre in terms of any specific developments in particular. There was a more interesting meet up involving Nat, Maxi and Cherene where I had my virgin trip to Minds Cafe and the game of Taboo (where Nat and I formed a very formidable partnership that saw us busting really insane words I can't quite put a finger to at the moment), but otherwise I guess I'm mostly waiting for school to start next monday, whether I'm consciously aware of it or not.

In the background of my daily routines I've been doing quite a fair bit of reading, mostly online. I saw a message posted on a forum thread in Funkygrad that pretty much hit the nail on the head:
"I looked through NUS's and NTU programs and I think both instuitions offer pretty adequate courses. But NTU's career aspect page on psychology seems rather narrow-minded. It's really more than just counseling individuals. This is the most loathed stereotype in the field of psychology. Much like how people think that mechanical engineering majors must know how to replace a connecting rod in a IC engine."

Other read ups:
Quantum physics and consciousness (I'd love to elaborate on this but another time)
Singapore as described in WikiTravel (every true blue red-dotter must read this!)Investments/stocks/etc (BLEAH.)
Movie analyses (namely Superman, The Skeleton Key and The Princess Blade)

And well... A little bit of 300 too but in a much less serious sense:

300 Will Transcend Pop Culture (taken from

“I haven’t seen 300 yet because I was banned from my cineplex. We had all lined up in front of the theater for about 30 minutes, and then they brought us in. I had to stand right beside these two fat, horse-faced lesbians eating each other’s tongues like they were making a political statement or something. So, like 30 minutes later, we end up shuffling in the theater and these fucking bitches start bitching about having to wait when the movie is about to start, mind you, it was 11 and it was a midnight showing. It turns out they were going to see that stupid Jim Carrey movie 23 and they were missing it. So, the ugliest of the two bitches just exclaims like no one’s there “This is the wrong fucking movie!” I just had to do what I did next. I shouted at the top of my lungs “This is SPARTA!!” and kicked her in the chest, causing her to fall down about 8 steps to the floor. Some were shocked, but about 80% of the theater started to cheer, and I was forcibly thrown out by 2 officers. Charges are going to be pressed against me apparently, but it was worth it.” (this is a very popular anecdote that is widely circulated on the internet now)

“My girlfriend entered the room 10 minutes after the movie was over and asked me where are we going to eat. THAT IS REALLY BAD LUCK! you know what happened. I basically went crazy smashing a chair to the wall and yelling TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL!!!. A small amount of saliva on the corner of my mouth and the mad-man look completed this gruesome scene to the point that she started to cry asking wheter she did something wrong.”

And this from Likoon and Mr Brown:

Officer, in a dignified manner: "NS men!! Enjoy your breakfast, for tonight, we dine in hell!!!!!!"
NS man with the typical Singaporean uncle accent: "Sir, you mean cookhouse ah?"


Youth is wasted on the young.- George Bernard Shaw

Today's Listenables:
Within Temptation - Forgiven

Saturday, 2 June 2007

Just came home from a soccer tournament organised by Melvin and Toa Payoh Methodist Church. I'm gonna cut a long story short. Melvin used to be some big time beng from Zhonghua Sec but I've been talking to him recently, unhampered by the fact that he stays very near me and he's really such a changed person now. A whole deal more mature. We were on the way home on the same bus and he was just ranting away at how much time he wasted in secondary school and that it was so stupid now that he has to waste money trying for SIM and is still struggling to find a place to further his tertiary education. Kept reiterating the virtues of studies and self discipline. Interesting.

Anyway, he's not a christian, but the church invites him to play for their soccer team cos he's good, and he had the task of organising a street soccer tournament and invited me. So I called the usual guys down. As expected due to who the organiser is, there were a great deal of his brother's ZHSS classmates who went down, and it was a total bunch of unholy guys playing street soccer under the name of a holy place. Those kids, though a year younger only, still looked terribly like little kids since those days back in secondary school when they were on a dead trip to cause all kinds of childish trouble. Fuckin' lost to them in the semis. Chester said he can't take it already and wants to eat zai (vegetarian) for a week to ease out the ill shit.

4th day of my total freedom, cos the folks and bro are in China now, and I feel like I'm not utilising it well at all. I haven't done anything semi-extreme (note: semi, no sneaking outta the country shit, no whatever) and I've been going home earlier than when my dad's at home to scold me for coming home late. This doesn't quite make sense. Well. It doesn't help when everyone else isn't quite available.

I did bring the car out for a spin when Kee came over though. Haha (not funny to those who don't get it, but my dad still forbids me from driving without his guidance. G4y). And I've got a CD of the music I wanna hear when driving by myself.

I got my hair highlighted, 'cause I thought some strands were more important than others.

Today's Listenables:
Skillet - Rebirthing

Sunday, 27 May 2007

The Bric Brac d'Art site is up and running! check it. I've had no shortage of people wondering why it's '' and not '', so I'm gonna attempt to explain it in as layman a manner as possible catered for best understanding but not necessarily in the most accurate of methods. is a secondary domain. It is like registering an account under the domain and the address becomes and likewise, when you have an account under, your address becomes But well 3 cheers for being unique. 'com' is getting boring anyway.

Spent the most of the last 2 weeks working on the BBDA site, which has made me realise (or perhaps not so much of a realisation as compared to having made myself see more clearly) that this personal website of mine is quite a mess that has come all the way since my young webmaster days 7-odd years ago (yes, this site is more or less the same thing, just better evolved) and it is a compendium of messiness that has been identified and swept under the rug over and over again, more often than not inadequately dealt with. I've got alotta things I'm thinking this site can be cleaned up for now but it's just too herculean a task to bother about at this point of time, but I will attempt to make small chips at the big block of mess and see what comes along.

My dad had a fall last night which could jeopardise his China trip with my mom and brother. It wasn't a particularly horrific fall, but it was bad enough for ageing bones and he's got spinal nerve problems. That small jerk had a domino effect of repercussions that affected his neck and his hands and feet totally lost sensation for a good 5 minutes.

I ended up missing Legs and Paddles today which Kee and I signed up for cos I had to stay home.

His unemployment at the same time as mine has somewhat brought us a little closer together and we hadn't gotten on each others' nerves for quite a bit. I'm thankful for that.

I've been reading a book titled Shortcut to a Miracle. I must admit I'm slightly biased for it because it both reaffirms and expands on my view about the power of our consciousness, but the findings reported are quite revelatory. I'll write about it sometime soon.

Been travelling down to SMU to tap on their free electricity and wireless internet and work on my assignments. Magazine crunchtime just ended, which was pretty mad for a bit. Worked on a drawing for Winnie, Derek's friend, and her request proved to be quite an exasperating challenge. But that's $25 in the bag.

And yesterday I went for Jeremy's youth carnival to play for his 'SMU' street soccer team. Funny team, funny set ups, funny rules and circumstances, resulting in 1 win (6-2) and 2 losses (6-1 and 5-1) for the qualifiers. Crappy stuff. Won the juggling competition though which got me some male sport deodorant and shower bath thingie, which I guess can be always counted on as my personal trump card.

Friday marked the 3rd year Kee and I have been together. :]

A: Stop being such a pussy.
B: Yeah, well, you are what you eat.

Today's Listenables:
The Donnas - Everyone Is Wrong

Saturday, 19 May 2007

I've actually been dedicating a gargantuan amount of time towards the custom arts site and the drawings pertaining to the site, such that I've kinda forgotten about updating this.

Did some layout readjustments here, so I hope the site'll be more viewer-friendly now.
Finally decided on a name: Bric Brac d'Art. Basically an amalgamation of the French words bric-a-brac and objet d'art, signifying the combination of something small, frivolous and cute yet classy and elegant at the same time.

It's been about a week of basically sticking my ass to whatever exalted throne there is available and just drawing and site-designing and digital editing all the way. I go out once in awhile to find yet another exalted throne to plant my butt on and get more inspiration just to continue working on this, bringing along the huge sketchbook that Alvin gave me. *Arty-farty yuppie mode* :\

I think I'm actually quite fuckin' hardcore. If everyone put in the amount of effort and concentration I'm putting in now for this, I reckon the total output harnessed could quite possibly save a third world country or something... Anyway whatever.

The site has undergone some developments too, so you can check it out here: We're considering the domain name registration possibilities, but that's just one out of a myriad of potential concerns, such as marketing, site layout development, payment procedures etc.

The past week, I:

- Once slept at 4am and woke up at noon the next day and I was a total wreck the whole day. Will probably be the last time I will ever attempt to do something like that. It's not like in secondary school and JC anymore when I could just sleep anytime I wanted and get away with it I guess. Must be some age factor, though I'm just somewhat being dismissively hopeful in a totally whatsthefkingpointanyway manner.

- Went to Grapevine with Dick, Dud and Thiampeng, and we talked some of the funniest shit I ever had in awhile, regarding government and politics. I won't elaborate much cos it's not so much of a free-speech country I live in and I don't find the prospects of getting dragged away by intelligence cops very enticing at all. We were, to sum things up, just four rather noisily ignorant cocksters trying to comment on things like why Russia is developing nuclear tech in Myanmar and what are the repercussions of voting for opposition, as well as what would lead to people actually voting for opposition.

- Had a field soccer game at a totally fucked up, swamped out Yishun locale and lost 11-1. It was one of the dumbest, most uninspiring soccer matches I ever had in my life and I will forget this sooner than I know. But this does make me wanna have another go in future soon, something proper for once. Is it really such a pipe dream to have the opportunity to just play some decent football on a normal pitch in Singapore?

- My Creative Zen Vision M has died. The guys at Creative can't save it. The bloody device has failed on me and along with it, traumatically, goes all my photos and videos. I still have songs on my laptop so that isn't an issue, but all the pictures I've decided to invest in the player's storage are gone, stuff from family, army, prom and everything. All my soccer videos too. Sigh. But well, now's a good time to apply some self-philosophy so I can only be as upset as I can allow myself to be so wtf wheee. The bigger pain, though, is the warranty which is out for a good 2 months already. I'm trying to see how I can avert the costs of repair, which is a crazily whopping $350-odd (inclusive of $40 admin fees, wtf?) that I could use to get a new player altogether, and that can be waived if my warranty's still valid. I might forge or something.

Some people seem to read the Bible a lot as they get older. Maybe they think they're cramming for their finals.

Today's Listenables:
Stone Sour - Through The Glass

Sunday, 6 May 2007

A quick run-through of just about the first week of being a funemployee:

1) Finished Life Of Pi.
2) Watched Step Up and Tenacious D: The Pick Of Destiny.
3) Busted my legs (bones and muscles) from soccer on both weekends; today's and last.
4) Secured the freelance sub-editing job. May be securing more copy-writing assignments too, if things go well on Dody's end.
5) Roamed all over town with Kee every other day.
6) Watched Spiderman 3 at the cinema.
7) Charmain's lunch treat.
8) Washed all the fans in the house.
9) Working on more drawing assignments (here).
10) Working on the custom arts website (here). Just a raw framework, so don't expect much. Still deciding on a name.

Next read in line is Prozac Nation. I've had a quick browse through some Spanish language instructionals, one of which was Spanish For Dummies, and it seems like quite a decent language to pick up. For starters, its phonetics are fixed so you won't end up having words with multiple sounds, like in English. Only problem is that the average cost of these books are about $35. That to deal with next.

Spiderman 3 had some hot action sequences, but I thought the plot was pretty convenient for itself to unfold. Like Green Goblin teaming up with Spiderman. Huh? And Harry's bitch telling him right at the end about his dad. Eddie Brock looks like a wimp, and I suppose the portrayal of an evil Peter Parker requiring him to dress and look like an emo kid says something about perceptions lol.

There's a play titled '251' about Annabelle Chong. The number, for those who are unaware, is the number of men she had sex with in that famous coital marathon. To a certain extent, with the right marketing push (whether called for or uncalled for, official or unofficial), she could end up being the next Che Guevara. Poor dude became a victim of pop culture because they portrayed him as the famous rebel. A few plays have already portrayed Annabelle Chong as the liberal feminist due to her sexual stunt and it, depending on perception, may have been something silly turned into heroics by the media. Imagine silhouetted photos of Annabelle Chong on t-shirts.

Women shouldn't give men the silent treatment and be pissed that they aren't doing anything about it. Men love the silence.

Today's Listenables:
Skillet - Whispers In The Dark

Monday, 30 April 2007


It was only when I got out of bed and took my infant steps for the day that I realised I'd put myself through a battering for the soccer morning the day before. My glut-muscles (on my ass), groin muscles and muscles in all random areas of the body - right shoulder, left ab, lower back - ached with such an acute and annoying intensity that I felt it a chore just to do something as simple as walk.

I'd played right out of my skin that day. So much so that, I realised, we'd demolished the inadequate, unnecessary obstacles of the AJC teams with an urgent ease so as to move on to the 'ultimate malay team' and 'ultimate chinese team', so coined by Zhiquan and quite possibly his other soccer friends. And amazingly, we did away with the both of them too, one after another, before failing to rise to the challenge of the 2nd UMT (they had enough people to form 2 teams), but considering the impossibility of this eventual occurrence (of the winning streak since my team was quite an oddly assembled one to begin with) it was ridiculous enough to find yourself up against one ultimate team after the other, without the familiar respite of another random mediocre team in between, and even more ridiculously so to have had them booted out by your own doing.

Without a bigger challenge, I can sometimes labour to a hard-earned victory over the random, more mediocre teams present and on some occasions, even lose to them. If only I was stronger-willed with more consistency in the desire for victory and stay more focused. Adrenaline is a powerful drug indeed. It wasn't til I got home that I found huge bruises on my shins and calves and a bleeding left toe, preceding the muscle aches.

It's Kee's liberation day as her final paper ended this morning in bittersweet fashion, i.e. crappy paper but whogivesadamncositsover nonetheless. Poor girl hadn't slept the whole night; I was amazed at her ability to even last our date! It's the start of our holiday together and I've got ideas swirling in my head. Nothing heavy for the day, just some light shopping and food; an easy-going prelude to more interesting propositions.

I'm getting reinitiated into narrative writing by reading Life Of Pi now. The amount of descriptives in the novel is colossal to say the least and I was having trouble deciphering and imagining Yann Martell's lengthy and tedious written portrayals, of the boat especially. For the most part since my JC days, I've been reading more stuff that's angled towards opinions, facts and pretty much unnarrative stuff. At the moment it's quite passive reading, but credit to the author definitely for those descriptions I can vividly capture, as the writing is indeed beautiful. Just a pity that most of it is wasted on me.

Expecting life to treat you well because you are a good person is like expecting an angry bull not to charge because you are a vegetarian.

Today's Listenables:
Waking Ashland - Hands On Deck

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Every week, I look eagerly forward to my weekend soccer games. It's like everyday, I just go through the day so that that weekend kickabout draws closer. Miss one session and I feel completely fucked up for the rest of the week to come.

Today was fantastic. Usually, the weather would be mercilessly scorching but it rained in the dead of the night so the sun wasn't blazing up the courts this morning. We had up to 8 teams, which is pretty insane for one street soccer court, but I felt good and my makeshift team that didn't really gel anyway made good for 5 games. Notched a couple of goals myself.
My love for soccer is pure and simple.

I left Love Airways on friday and I was given the 'farewell lunch' treatment at where Wei claims serves the best Thai food place in Singapore. For a 45min quick bite, $131 is quite a bomb, but the food was good. Just a bit too exotic (I couldn't picture anything on the menu when I was ordering) and not filling enough, but I'm not complaining!

Chinhong is taking over me in the admin role and in the whole of last week, half the time was spent handing over stuff and the other half... Well, just finding fillers to justify my time in the office, such as watching shows I'd meant to watch for the longest time but didn't on my laptop and finally checking out the Love Airways TV show (which really sucked la).

Sorted out some things with Wei and gave him some feedback, like what I didn't think the admin person should have to be responsible for and why I felt the pay, at $6/hr, wasn't justified. Some points taken, some not. If things work out, then I'll be offered a $400/mth freelance sub-editor role for the magazine, which would have various leverage factors for the company anyway, the main reason being that I'll still be kept in the loop, but the rest of which I'm too lazy to elaborate about.

Now that I'm off work, it's time for the month of important personal pursuits before school term begins and I'm back to being stifled by academics in the name of future survival's sake in the workforce.

1) Reading. Have kicked-started that off already with 2 books in hand - Life of Pi and Prozac Nation. Linda lent me Life of Pi and bought Prozac Nation for me, and I was quite pleasantly surprised at the gesture. Whenever I thanked her profusely for it (cos I'd probably not have spent such money on myself), she'd just say that it's like sharing a passion so she'd do it anytime. Have started reading Life of Pi already.

2) Watching good movies. I've a list of good movies to catch - some arthouse ones and some not, but not your mainstream flicks. On the list are An Inconvenient Truth, The Pursuit of Happyness, City of God, and Fight Club (Richard swears by this movie), just to name a few.

3) Possibly embarking on another run-to-nowhere attempt.

4) Picking up Spanish.

5) Picking up percussions (this one's only hopeful, depending on the capital).

6) Having a great time while the family's away in Macau from the 29th of May til the 4th of June.

7) Soccer tournament at Jeremy's church carnival on the 26th.

8) Legs and Paddles with Kee on the 27th.

9) Field games. Bring on the field games! It's been a long while since I could experience 20-yard shots, sprinting down flanks and providing/receiving inch-perfect through-balls.

10) Lotsa time with Kee. There's gonna be food-hunts, urban exploring and cycling trips among many others cos she's on holiday!

11) Journalistic pursuits, such as sub-editing for Love Airways. Linda is also trying to secure the writing connections for me with some magazines and there's remuneration for articles too. Dody the designer might have copy-writing assignments for me as well with his clients.

12) The custom arts online business venture. I've already started working on some free projects for friends to beef up a portfolio of sorts. When everything works out, this custom arts service will provide people with the opportunity to have art that is customised and/or personalised for themselves, such as photos, names, other text and jewellery. Kee and her sis will have a hand in the jewellery aspect and names too. If it all goes very well, then we will quite possibly consider venturing into getting prints onto apparel such as shoes, bags and shirts.

So it's not all fun and games, but if everything works out fine, it'll be one great month.

Having a sense of humour as a woman doesn't mean you tell jokes. It means you laugh at his jokes.

Today's Listenables:
Full Blown Rose - In The Light

Monday, 23 April 2007

Bang, Bang

Nat, Richard, Leon and I had a great time at Cartel's yesterday being the few supporting Newcastle against Chelsea in the most animated of manners. Especially Nat. Dude was fuckin' funny at times, like practically jumping up and cheering when Lampard blasted over the bar from between 5-10 yards out and when Nicky Butt calmly walked the ball away from the goal-line as Chelsea looked to prod one in desperately. Leon was basically the Man Utd guy so he was obviously against Chelsea too, so that made at least 3 of us. I know Richard likes watching Drogba play lol.

And Newcastle had quite a number of chances to knick the game away. We were contemplating celebrating in front of everybody if the score stayed 0-0.

Tomorrow should be the beginning of the end at Love Airways for me, unless the sub-editing job goes through. It's production deadline time again, and it was a pretty hectic but rather satisfyingly enjoyable day cos it's sardonically therapeutic when you get clutter, loads of it, and you get to class it all up and eliminate them one by one to find that you have a very neat, conclusible piece of paper with a summary of what little's left pending and what's already done at the end of the day.

Her boyfriend's a dick
He brings a gun to school
And he'd simply kick
My ass if he knew
The truth he lives on my block

- Teenage Dirtbag

I was walking home one day and Wheatus came on random shuffle on the player and during those kinda zoned out long, lonely walks, a hundred and one things actually spin around my head and my thought processes are simply unleashed and allowed to run wild.

Which brings about some level of zen to me like being in the eye of a hurricane. I think about everything and anything, from how I can actually attempt to map out the road I'm walking on in a 3D manner, politics of the world today compared to the past, to why I do things the way I do due to symbiotic or psychological reasons.

Anyway, I just happened to really pay attention to the lyrics and it led me into thinking about how much it'd actually suck to know that a classmate of yours brings firearms to school. It actually sounds bloody sickening to be honest.

That was two days before the Virginia Tech massacre.

Bowling for Columbine featured Chris Rock in a stand-up routine saying that he thought the solution for gun violence was making every bullet cost a bomb (that sounded wrong).
"I would blow your fucking head off, if I could afford it." And he has also said, "bullets should cost $1000. That way you can be damn sure there won't be any innocent bystanders."

Well, I'm sure there'd be plenty of homemade bullets to follow if this were to happen. Eric Thompson has some truth in his words when he says that while it is easy to believe stopping people from possessing firearms could've prevented such a tragedy, a person like Cho would have found other means to do so if he really wanted to kill. While it is true that perhaps 33 people may not have died that day if guns were not so readily available, it is counter-intuitive to assume that such ill-will is absent just because people don't have the immediate or convenient means to manifest them into a horrid reality.

Guns don't kill people. People do.

Anything can be a weapon if you know how to hold it.

Today's Listenables:
Something Corporate - Konstantine

Friday, 20 April 2007

Will the sheer behemothicness of MP3s pull it through to legality one day? Just as how handphones used to be banned in secondary schools during my time, their necessity or influence can't be overlooked anymore now and assuming that the law can cap the advent of traded music is either blatantly ignorant or purely puerile.

Things are pretty unstable at LA since Jace's left and it's been sometime since the golden era of Alf and the 2 Js. Yilin was the hyper one that came in and found familiar friction with Doc and then left cos she's smart and stubborn in her own ways and he couldn't exactly 'manipulate' her in the way he'd like it to be.

But Yilin was fun in that really frivilous, lian kinda way. She came in one morning and basically said, "that guy cheebai one leh!" Which just left me in a mixture of surprise and amusement all the same.

Linda: "I don't have any friends. Maybe only 4 or 5 la."
Me: "Linda. Are you my friend?"
Linda: "No, I haven't seen you naked yet."


He who is hesitant is... Umm......

Today's Listenables:
Submersed - Hollow