Tuesday, 29 April 2008

This was the bored-during-econs random doodle.

And this I just did earlier today, to kickstart a summer of pencil drawings and hard-line sketches. Too bad that's the largest size I can manage to upload on blogger.

Sorry to all tank junkies out there (read: Richard. Hahar), but I have no idea what tank model this is. It's an old lighter that doesn't work anymore actually.

Rachel had these to say of my presence in school today:
1) You came all the way to school just to gym?
2) Draw that (the tank) for what?

It kinda sums up what I get from alotta people anyway. School gym's free, it's actually a lot better than most other gyms, and you get to meet people you know there. And it's location is pretty convenient - both in terms of being not too far and it being situated in town.

I don't think I need a reason to draw other than personal passion and interest, as much as people don't need a practical reason to bake, or shop, or read, or pursue any other seemingly pointless activity.

The results are coming in little by little:

Creative Thinking: B-
Political Science: B+

Political science is the best result so far. It's somewhat miraculous I think, though I have no idea what the breakdown is yet due to technical problems, because I've always been doing shittily for my quizzes, often can't grasp the concept of the readings as easily as others can (though I guess I got a hang of it towards the end), and messed up the mid terms with that 4/10 result. I felt it was quite downhill like the way it was for me last term with sociology, which I eventually got a C+ for.

But I did have faith in my term paper - Is Democracy a Universal Value? - and felt confident of sorts after the finals. So maybe it was because of those. I really thought political science was gonna be a goner.

I guess maybe I deserved the B+ grade for BGS the way I treated the final paper (my 45min stunt). But I had much higher hopes for this one.

B- for creative thinking is totally bullshit. If I made it big some day with my creative ability, that'd be the best present to jack Goh Ban Eng with. I don't need a crappy creative thinking class to tell me that someone supposedly important thinks I'm not creative enough. I suppose there's quite a bit of irony in it though, the way we were preaching about creativity only being acceptable within the context of the situation with our group presentation, when we weren't being creative within the criteria set by her.

Make no mistake, this is not another mediocre-grade complaint. I don't have to get over the mediocrity because I'm not bothered by it to begin with. As Farhan put it perfectly, "why is everyone complaining about their freaking grades? ZOMG. If you're dumb, suck it up! Do better next time."

My surfing foray found this snippet of interesting news that the diet of a pregnant mother can determine the gender of the unborn child. Briefly, the higher the energy level of the intake (i.e. the better the diet), the more likely the child will be a boy. What fascinated me was the evolutionary interpretation of the results. This, the scientists say, is in line with the theory of evolution as a 'natural mechanism' for gender selection because, "for most species, the number of offspring a male can father exceeds the number of offspring a female can give birth to. But this is so only if conditions are favorable - poor quality male specimens may fail to breed at all, whereas females reproduce more consistently."

This means that if times are good, resources are plentiful and conditions are favourable, it would evolutionarily be wiser to invest in the production of a son because he would, along the way, produce more children than a daughter would, in line with aiding the survival of his species. If times are bad, males are of less use than females along the same logic of thought.

And if this is true, we're fucking it up because females in developed societies are increasingly consuming poorer diets (it's bad not because there are more females born, but because it tips the natural balance), and this is evidential and consistent with "a very gradual shift in favour of girls over the last four decades in the sex ratio of newborns, according to the researchers."

Always remember that you're unique, just like everyone else.

Audio Candy:
I Am Ghost - Lover's Requiem

Saturday, 26 April 2008

The Ball Is Round

Went for the Project Bonalai vaccinations yesterday, and then headed down to the printer to attempt to seal the deal. Things on the design end have been a bitch. When shit happens, it happens in streaks.

But looking on the brighter side of things, I eventually ended up at the Athirah prata place for dinner and they were showing the Mosconi Cup for 2007 in Vegas. Briefly, the Mosconi cup is an annual America Vs Europe pool tournament and, prior to 2007, Europe had only ever won once in a 13 year-old competition dominated by the US.

Over nasi goreng ikan bilis and kambing soup, I watched a couple of rounds of the usual stuff - unadulterated precision and immaculate placement - elements of the professional pool game. But just as I was done with my dinner, the singles game came on between Shane "the king of safety" van Boening of Team US and Tony "blink and you'll miss" Drago of Team Europe. Of course, being the noob I am, I never knew who they were until I was deep in the throes of the match which turned out to be sensational.

So I ended up staying another half an hour or more as I watched the two players bring 9-ball pool waaay up another notch. Tony Drago is nicknamed 'The Tornado' for the incredible speed and accuracy with which he wastes his opponents, and Shane van Boening is the master of intelligent play and safety shots (a safety is when you hide the cue ball so that the opponent doesn't have a clear shot). I later learnt from the commentary that the biggest criticism of young van Boening's game is his lack of aggression in play. Which made sense - if your strength is in defence, you can only be a reactive player. And Tony Drago tore him apart especially in 2 of the rounds, where he cleared the table in only a little over a minute. And they'd replay his entire round in quick motion just to show how fast he plays.

Drago won the game 6-2 in spectacular fashion, and that singles match was the turning point, as Team Europe caught up to eventually win the 2007 Mosconi Cup for only the 2nd time in 13 years.

American commentators are also really different from British commentators. As always, people talk about the subtle, dry wit of the British, which can be evidenced from EPL match commentaries, and compare that to the slapstick and more direct wit of the Americans, as can especially be observed in WWE matches. During the van Boening-Drago game, one commentator said, "he looks happier than Paris Hilton in a room full of cameras," when the camera caught a pleased Tony Drago after drawing first blood in the opening round. When there was fantastic placement of the cue ball after a rather tight shot, another remarked, "he couldn't have put it there any better with his hand!"

Played soccer today back at the good ol' Hougang street soccer courts, and this time around there was a malay team present. They were quite decent, but after awhile things got overheated as Sanchin and one of the guys from the malay team threatened to come to blows. It was really unnecessary on their part, as they kept accusing us of rough play when it was really obvious they were much dirtier in their play, and when Sanchin pointed it out to them they were incensed. Furthermore, in one particular round, we'd knocked them out already; in petulance, they wanted to form another team (with their excess players) and immediately re-enter to play again. Sanchin stood his ground because we'd earlier criticised another team for fielding 2 teams when the rest of us had equally many players but only fielded 1 team. But because of his valiance, the malay team was most displeased and later sought to seek revenge by playing in the most fucked up manner ever (complete with dives and taunts - unbelievable stuff), and gave him quite a bit of shit whenever he got the ball or challenged for it.

But we kept our cool, didn't retaliate and eventually knocked them out again anyway. Kids.

Now that everyone's done with their papers we can bring on the soccer matches again - both in playing and watching. Heading down to Leon's later to catch the early EPL telecast. Woot, sweet summer.

Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.

Audio Candy:
The Color Fred - If I Surrender

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Unforeseen Foreseeing

This is gonna be a boring, random, egocentric post that may become characteristic of future postings now that days may become less objective.

Joined Jasper for some random midweek, mid-day footballing at Braddell Heights CC today, which was cut short by the rain. But it was a welcome reinitiation after about a month's layoff from the sport; I was badly out of shape though it was good to feel the ball at my feet again.

My usual soccer kaki consists of people mainly from NTU, so I'll have to wait til the end of this week before we can get together again. Actually, it's not just the waiting til the end of this week that's different. When we were JC mates and all that, we usually didn't care so much for the books. But they're in NTU engineering now and alot of them have changed to be much more studious by virtue of the nature of the faculty they're in, especially when there's a truckload of academically kickass foreign students in the competing pack.

There are always plenty of drawbacks in general terms of not following the crowd, or of not going the way your background is expected of you. Yeh I know this is stating the obvious, but I wanna be whiney, once in awhile at least. For one, soccer sessions for me are compromised this way. The interesting girls all have a 'cool religion' (hahar okay exaggeration I know). Clubbing is a way of life. Okay too many exaggerations and sweeping statements, shall stop.

If I could live long enough, I'd revisit my entire lifetime at least once, and if I could for longer enough, I'd do everything the other way to see what it could've been. And I guess I'm saying this only because I know that won't happen.

There's an upcoming documentary titled God is Green. It's somewhat of a call out to religious leaders to join in the global green environmental fray, because our governments and big corporations don't seem to be making things happen. The tagline in the advertisement that got me was that most, if not all, religious leaders should set their differences aside for once and come together to do it for Earth's sake, if not for God's sake.

I, or we in fact, have been at our lobo-est best the past few days, peaking with our arcade-going ventures and chilling out at the Coffee Beans and Starbuckses around town. I had lunch at the Allson Hotel coffeeshop yesterday with the guys and then we went to see Yinz and Daren off at Novena.

The rest went on for the C'est La Vie Butterfactory party but I resolved not to go for a couple of reasons so I headed home early. It's been good in terms of paying off my member-of-the-family dues because, now that I don't have school, the folks don't see any reason for me to be absent from home. Think of the usual 'you think home is a hotel ah?' sentiment. It's kinda gay for a 22 year-old to have to deal with this but that's just the way it has always been for me.

So since I'm home, and missing Mambo tonight, and I'm semi-done with the overdue forms I'm supposed to fill up for the Cambodia community service trip and realising I have a heap of stuff to sort out, this is a reminder-to-myself-cum-you-may-feel-like-this-is-pointless-and-you're-wasting-your-time-reading-this-shit-and-you're-probably-right list of upcoming endeavours:

25/4/08 (fri)
OCIP vaccination at Tan Tock Seng

28/4/08 (mon) - 30/4/08 (wed)
First Aid Course (wtf? Just found out about this.)

29/4/08 (tue)
Political Science Rahul Sagar Party

2/5/08 (fri)
Project Bonalai meeting

4/5/08 (sun) - 9/5/08 (fri)
KL and Genting trip

15/5/08 (thu)
Project Bonalai meeting

19/5/08 (mon)
Project Bonalai meeting

21/5/08 (wed) - 30/5/08 (fri)
Project Bonalai!

2/6/08 (mon) - 3/6/08 (tue)
Social Science sub-committee and facilitators' retreat

23/6/08 (mon) - 25/6/08 (wed) or 30/6/08 (mon) - 2/7/08 (wed)
Mock Camp 1

7/7/08 (mon) - 9/7/08 (wed)
Local SMU Matriculation

10/7/08 (thu) - 11/7/08 (fri)
Mock Camp 2

20/7/08 (sun) - 23/7/08 (wed)
Social Science Camp

25/7/08 (fri)
OCS Briefing

Okay I realise this is a rather damaging schedule for a disorganised and whimsical person like myself, where there is significant inertia accompanying many of the things I do. On top of these commitments, I'd like to work, draw, read and pick up on Spanish where I last left off, and do anything else or meet anyone else in between that might seem interesting. All in a bid to pursue the things I'd like to do when I envision myself being the kinda of person I wish I was, and hopefully prove the first paragraph of this post that the upcoming days may be less objective wrong.

To make me feel like turd, keep me devoid of decent social exchange for a few days or so. I wither without social expression and a nice round of idea exchanging.

Every mother generally hopes that her daughter will snag a better husband than she managed to do, but she's certain that her boy will never get as great a wife as his father did.

Audio Candy:
So They Say - Wake Me Up

Monday, 21 April 2008


Richard and I are sitting in Mr Tea and he's been busying himself with some Rubik cubing and me with a book and then getting on the net with my laptop, and sporadically eavesdropping on a group of 3 girls frantically talking about really funny and weird guys-don't-and-won't-get-it stuff. Like how being tall is cool, how 'big hair' is nice and yet unattainable, if wearing spectacles allows you to not put make up on etc.

So I was prompted to dig up an old comic strip that I cut out from the papers quite some time ago:

(When guys hang out) (When girls hang out)

I guess it can be likened to girls saying that the stuff guys spout, like cars and technology and Rubik's cube and soccer, are equally inane. I might argue that stuff like that require a greater degree of more useful knowledge and ability (see On Female Mediocrity), but I guess, who am I to make a normative judgement and say what's more important in this world?

It kinda reminds me of the other day when Angie and I were at Takashimaya and I asked her if Jimmy Choo was like some local brand and she went, "omg, bimbo moment!" Of course, to me that totally didn't constitute to being anywhere near 'foolish, stupid or inept' (see bimbo) in the sense of the word because it doesn't strike me being as important as, say, knowing the difference between a speedometer and an odometer, or some other bit of knowledge as being more 'worth knowing' in my personal opinion. Like when some girls push on pull doors, don't know who Kim Jong Il is, or are unaware after a year that SMU has a Social Science faculty, those are what I'd consider to be real bimbo moments.

But I guess we live in a world that has been historically institutionalised by the male gender anyway. If the world was inherently matriarchal, perhaps being pretty with dainty nails, fussing over hair and makeup and knowing your Manolo Blahniks from your Charles & Keiths are what really matters, vis-a-vis understanding the offside rule. Hahar.

Welsh men only marry Welsh women because sheep can't cook.

Audio Candy:
Taylor Swift - Teardrops On My Guitar

Sunday, 20 April 2008

The Post-Exam Beginning

School's out, the holidays are in, and already the post-exam activities are starting to pile up such that I'm having trouble keeping track of them. Not that I'm particularly adept at keeping track of most matters in a non-last-minute kinda way, but it's still wreaking havoc on my schedule nonetheless.

Like waking up at 12pm today to SMSes telling me that I have to be in school for OCIP meetings at 1030h tomorrow.

Anyhooser, the laptop problem's now solved so I've got a computer to use, and I've been spending a huge part of my time the past few days sorting out my data, which has amounted to quite a fsckin' great deal of effort to anyone who might observe me. It's not an especially important endeavour but it's just a personal hang-up if I don't deal with it, so in a 'the best way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it' kinda way, I've been facing the screen in loserish fashion for quite a bit.

The story behind the laptop is this. To make things simpler, the laptops in question shall be dubbed Quasimodo and Immortal II (courtesy of Angie). I've been using Quasimodo since late J1, which was back in 2003. About 3 months or so in January, Quasimodo died for the first time. What ensued were 4 attempts to revive him, and each time he died again. Along the way, the technician upgraded his hardware because hardware glitches were suspected, and I switched to using Immortal II as a makeshift computer, which was actually my dad's but he doesn't use it either because it had slowed down quite a bit and its system was so unstable it couldn't do much else other than simple surfing and MSN, or he's got another laptop provided by his office, or both. To survive the 3 months, I subsisted off whatever minimal things I could do with Immortal II and pimped off the computers in the library, so for once the library became a regular haunt of mine. After the 4th death of Quasimodo, we decided enough was enough so the technician transferred the goodies and upgrades from Quasimodo to Immortal II and, in the process, Immortal II got pimped into Immortal II Hyper.

So yeh that's the story. Quasimodo is somewhat comatosed now in a bag next to me, while Immortal II Hyper sits pristine and pretty on my table. Angie thinks that I'm heartless and that Immortal II Hyper sucks and doesn't deserve to exist because he killed Quasimodo. I think we shouldn't anthropomorphize and humanise computers and other relevant technological apparatus. :] Getting emotionally connected to stuff that can die on you either so easily or so suddenly is like creating little potential suicides.

Saturday marked the end of the exams with the 2hr BGS paper at 9am. My aim was seriously to finish the paper as fast as I could, and that I did, rounding off my last bit of work by the 45th minute. We can't leave until an hour passes, so I waited til 10am, handed in my paper, and then joined a bunch of random people - Eleanor, Peihua and Clara - who were all early-submission champions, for some neither-here-nor-there meal at Raffles City's Mos Burger.

Eleanor is really funny in a kok way. Let's just say that she never knew social science exists as a faculty in SMU; the rest is up to your imagination.

Headed back to school to meet Angie and Isaac, and we whiled the time away by going to the arcade and playing our trademarked Time Crisis II and other random games. Isaac had to join his girlfriend for a bit, so Angie and I ended up catching The Forbidden Kingdom which stars Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Liu Yi Fei.

The movie marks the first time the two martial arts maestros Jet Li and Jackie Chan have starred together. Richard said he heard or read somewhere that the cameras were having trouble keeping up with their fight scenes and stunt sequences.

On first impression, I thought it was gonna be some rather serious Chinese-style show, but it turned out to be really funny and somewhat crappy, but not in a bad way. Some of the dialogue and scenes, though serious at times, were really laden with downright spastic and slapstick content. And the funnier thing is that it might not have been intentional hahar. It was, on the whole, not too bad though. Stuff that homes should have on standby so that visitors can watch on occasions like Chinese New Year.

What really sucked was whenever the Chinese actors and actresses had English dialogue. What's more painful than that is when Jet Li and Jackie Chan both engage in English dialogue coversation.

Liu Yi Fei is quite alluring in a 耐看 kinda way. Her prettiness just grows on you.

We then headed down to the airport to send Yitwen off, forming the biggest fanclub in the house that day. Dude's headed down to Dubai for 3 weeks at least for his business study mission trip. After which we had quite a neat impromptu BBQ-cum-steamboat dinner at Rachel's place.

There was more running around today - meeting Chinhong at Seng Kang, getting my laptop sponge casing at Ang Mo Kio, then meeting Mikaela and Isaac to get the KL trip tickets - and there'll be more running around tomorrow.

Failure is not an option; it comes bundled with the software.

Audio Candy:
Tenacious D Vs Sum 41 - Things I Want

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Class Part Is Out, Class Party Is In!

I recall awhile back when Yitwen and I were having this conversation that surrounded the central rhetoric of the cutthroat nature of life and studies in general in SMU. Forget back-stabbing - of the front-stabbing in a class I will refrain from disclosing, I remember his resigned exclamation, "damn real world man... Bring it on." Not that he's a particularly self-centred GPA-slut, but he was quite driven to that height of angered sentiment like most others would and hence perpetuate that good ol' vicious cycle of self-centred, heartless reciprocity.

I guess when friendship means nothing to people in the pursuit of grades (which, to me, is quite the school-version parallel to money/status/etc in the real world), then they've really got nothing to lose.

I've seen some of this myself. Some people are seriously willing to cut off ties in a bid to up their GPAs. And that's just the passive bit and isn't quite the worst yet. Further down this road of social decadence, some either exploit their friends, like hooking up long-lost 'buddies' just because it is known that those friends have taken a similar module before and have the exam answers, or they find means to kill off competition by sabotaging their friends' presentations or work, or withholding help and assistance when their friends need it. Shit happens, and then many don't know who to trust anymore.

Merits, and consequently grades and exams, are a necessary evil, but they matter as long as the purpose and goodwill of their rationale is kept intact. When people start resorting to unscrupulous ways - and you can be damned sure people will given the opportunity - just to stay ahead in fear and cowardice, it can be a really detestable aberration of matters.

That's why I've never bothered to rationalise with the idea of the importance of grades. In fact, I spend more time rationalising why it is better when grades don't matter, and that stuff seems to make greater sense. To me, at least, based on the things I've seen and my subsequent understanding from personal experience, grades are far too plastic and inherently material and obsessable in nature. Grades are the kinds of things that breed theoretical prowess but an inability to apply, the desperate desire for tried-and-tested answers without wanting to really know why, especially when subjected to a largely spoon-fed society like ours. So we get all these multiple-A students who tell me they don't know who Kim Jong Il is.

The major problem with this viewpoint is that I cannot vouch for those who think grades don't matter and know nuts about stuff also. And I'm sure there are a host of other valid counterarguments. And of course, to rationalise that grades don't matter just because you're too lazy to study is plain stupid. But I have digressed too far; I didn't initially want to write about grades anyway.

So the other day, I met Ah Seah, a great colleague I had in the army, who's in SMU too. We were both headed off to our own respective destinations away from school. I might be opening a can of worms here, but sometimes I think it's bad enough if you're from a neighbourhood JC and then you come to SMU, but Ah Seah was, worse, from a polytechnic, and he's trying to slug it out all the same in good ol' wonderful LKC School of Business. So we revisited the social capital of SMU (or lack thereof) in that brief amount of catching up time before we went our ways. From the way he puts it, I know it really hasn't been easy for him.

Last Tuesday, we held a committee meeting to plan for Prof Rahul Sagar's farewell party, titled Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, and codenamed Operation Baguette (for his favourite obsession with French political quirks). It's gonna be very political-science-themed, so we can expect the democratic doughnuts, freedom fries, communist cheese and red, white and blue balloons, and the response thus far has been pretty decent. Last term, my management communications classmates took it on ourselves to come up with a party for Prof Aileen Bong at Früjch as well.

Some of the profs have been organising pot-luck-style class parties this term to commemorate those last-class days as the term came to a close. However, these aren't quite essentially the same. There's some intrinsic social value of the initiative of doing stuff like this coming from the students themselves, and it's really kinda more of that we need. I'm not saying that we should then go on a party-organising frenzy as if it would make school a warmer and friendlier place overnight. But I guess we've gotta do things from the heart.

Stop class participating just for the marks, start doing it because you've really got something of value to contribute. Study because you know you want it, because the knowledge you gain would make you a better, wiser person. And don't lose sight of yourself and your friends in the pursuit of other material gains. This could ultimately be yet another long-winded rhetoric; a new round in the same fight, but it could all be worth it insofar as it articulates for the better.

The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television.

Audio Candy:
The Get Up Kids - I'll Catch You

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The More I Step Into The Sun, The More I Step Out Of The Light

I think it's really intriguing how an idea, a concept, a thought, an answer, or any revelatory or epiphanic conjecture can suddenly materialise in our heads, only after which we figure out the building blocks that led us to that thought. It's like reverse mathematics, when you get the answer and then figure out what the equation or formula was. Our minds can seem really separate and independent of ourselves this way.

In many instances, from finding out from taking intro classes for subjects that really matter to seeing the other side from behind your own fence, there's just so much I do not know.

Edwin brought the laptop back while I was away during the weekend, so I got home last night and spent quite a bit of time tweaking with the settings and stuff. Then exhaustion really hit and I went to sleep and ended up waking up late today. So that leaves me about an hour left before the paper at 1330h to totally sort out my mess of political science.

But I'm not too worried because sometimes nothing is sweeter than confidence in the ability of your strength in a subject you enjoy.

Liberation is imminent!

In science as in love, too much concentration on technique can often lead to impotence.

Audio Candy:
Petey Pablo - Show Me The Money

Monday, 14 April 2008

Come Down And Waste Away With Me Part II

I've had about 2-3hrs of sleep as I type this (max 4hrs over 2 days, conservative estimate).

As I reread yesterday's entry, I guess I'm in a comparatively much more coherent mental state. Some stuff didn't make sense hahar. 2-3hrs of sleep can be heaven-sent in relative terms. And the shower facility at SIS seriously kicks ass. SIS really has all the goodies.

Last night's Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal game was t3h b0mb. As much as I hate to say it, time and again, Manchester United are the one class act now that nobody can come even half-close to, and nobody has for quite a long while. But I'm looking forward to what Arsenal's youngsters can deliver in the coming seasons.

In other extremely relevant news (especially because this is my blog), Newcastle drew with Portsmouth. Bleh.

In less important news, I just finished my economics paper. Do not try 2 days of minimal sleep before an exam. Mikaela's struggling with 1 day right now as I type. On the bright side - 1 down, 3 to go!

Like most endeavors, life is seriously over-advertised and under-funded.

Audio Candy:
Paramore - Crushcrushcrush

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Come Down And Waste Away With Me

I'm into the 2nd day of my crazy pre-exam school stay. I kickstarted it with Mikaela and Angie with The Other Boleyn Girl at Plaza Singapura at 2345h last night, which ended at around 2am, and then we wasted away over books and notes at the Subway benches.

How the adulterous nature of King Henry led to England's breakaway from the Catholic Church and the eventual rise of Queen Elizabeth's reign for 45 years in a very much male-dominated country. Great show for those who love movies pertaining to the intricacies of love, power plays, history and politics.

It's evening now of day 2, where Mikaela and I are gonna watch Arsenal Vs Manchester United later and then thon another night. Econs' at 9am tomorrow.

This sounds somewhat relevant so I'll mention it. We had this old folks' event at Commonwealth we had to attend strategically at around 1+pm in order to snag some important fella who would greatly finance/facilitate our Cambodia OCIP trip. So I just kinda got back to school.

I have no idea what kinda mental state I'll be in tomorrow morning.

Marriage is a romance in which the hero dies in the first chapter.

Audio Candy:
Good Charlotte - Dance Floor Anthem

Thursday, 10 April 2008

The Distinction Between Reality And TV

Because I live in a cave now that I don't have a computer at home, I'm forced to seek other sources of entertainment. Newspapers serve to fill time, but they don't quite satisfy the entertainment aspect of things, so I started expending DVDs that I haven't watched yet. Dreamgirls is a pretty good movie. But after 2 days my DVD supply ran out, so last night I ended up watching some Channel 8 drama rerun, titled The Vagrant, which was irritatingly inane, and then I watched America's Next Top Model (some previous cycle), which did serve to entertain within really shallow means, of which I'd admit I lapped up but I'm not proud to do so.

Angie just pointed out what I couldn't put a finger to, so I'll add that it's quite perverse. Kinda like one of those things you despise doing, but you end up enjoying anyway and then hate yourself for liking the thing you despised. But whatever.

I found Sarah VonderHaar quite attractive in a Posh Spice kinda way.

It was interesting; the contestants were given their first photoshoot and they had to portray a political statement, such as anti-fur, pro-choice, vegan, anti-death penalty, pro-gun, etc, whether they agreed with it or not. And the results were quite fascinating; apparently how inspired you are to assert a statement depends a lot on your own ideologies and, to the trained eye, it is very clear when captured in a still frame. Nigel Barker, the photographer, put it quite well: "In a movie you have 100s of lines to bring your message across. In a photograph you have just that one moment." Never knew so much could go into a picture.

When did reality
Become TV?
Whatever happened to
Gameshows, sitcoms
Or the radio or
Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana?

I'm quite ambivalent about an age defined by reality TV. Along the lines of this age of reality TV, we have the advent of blogs and personality sites as well, amongst other things. Personally, I think that celebrities shouldn't be born out of the reality TV, American-Idol-esque production concept because we get to see them in such a flawed light. This in turn really blurs the traditional distinction between mundane reality and plastic superstardom. It's kinda like how you shouldn't know the past of someone you respect, like a teacher or a pastor. Once you're privy to that knowledge, the ones you look up to, admire and/or respect can become far too ordinary.

I guess I kinda had something like that going when I was in the army. After seeing the depths of loserism some people can succumb to, it does make one wonder what kinda people some of the conventionally-revered persons in society have been before they got there. Especially officers, since they're the ones who often have the resource to become important people in future.

You get to see the worst in potential celebrities as they slug it out backstage on reality TV or when judges spew out all their faults as if they were little kids. Increasingly, celebrities are appearing on personality profile sites like Facebook and Myspace, bringing them far down to earth that they're practically touchable. And on the other hand, normal people are garnering increasing celebrity status through media such as blogs. People also get recognition through talkshows that increasingly wish to propel stories of ordinary people into the public media sphere, such as Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Springer.

I don't really know what's worse. That superstars now are becoming too ordinary, or that the plastic nature of superstardom is invading our normal lives. But if you're talking about the sanctity of being grounded in reality, then the pervasiveness of the celebrity status into the realm of the ordinary does sound like the greater evil, along with it's creeping voyeurism of the public overriding the private.

Discretion is being able to raise your eyebrow instead of your voice.

Audio Candy:
Bowling For Soup - 1985

The Best Time To Relax Is When You Don't Have Time For It

I guess I would've woken up to it sooner or later. But you came along and ironed me out.

Really random crap post.

I'm really dying from this study break not because I'm mugging myself to death but because everyone else is. So the supply of people I can usually count on to do stuff with is at an all-time low that I'm starting to inflate the value of doing non-study stuff (ok econs got a little to me there but nothing wrong with a sense of irony in such crappy times). In SMU, you really can't count on anyone (or most people, if I were to give some huge benefit of doubt) to take the status quo a little less seriously.

Is there really so much to study that it has to expand to maximise every remaining bit of time in one's life? I hardly spend more than 4hrs a day max studying and I've already finished economics.

So I'm starting to count on non-SMU people for my non-academic endeavours, beginning with Ivan tonight for some long-overdue supper. Too bad it's hard to find people who share my principle of the best time to relax being when you don't have time for it.

Saipong couldn't have put it more astutely when he said that SMU openhouses shouldn't be anywhere else but the library, cos that's seriously where all the action is.

Steph asked me to teach her regression the other day, so I just told her that she'd be better off learning it from a turtle or any other inanimate object. Because at least a turtle won't tell her anything, while I'd probably teach her the wrong thing, and 0 > -1 so she should seek help for regression from a turtle instead.

The last 3 great No. 7s of Manchester United have all had 7 letters in their names: Cantona, Beckham and Ronaldo.

If anyone wishes so much as to 'go a little crazy' (so-called only because SMU people would see not studying during study break as a crazy thing to do) and have a good time doing something else other than mug - like supper, catching a movie, hanging out, whatever - during these 2 weeks of study break and exams, I'm as much as completely available.

If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.

Audio Candy:
Dance Hall Crashers - Cricket

Tuesday, 8 April 2008


And I realised I had stared far too long when an abrupt, electric snap of chemistry signalled that our eyes met for more than just a brief moment, and I found myself desperately scrambling to look away. But I do not regret the awkwardness. There was an honest air of curiosity about the way she looked, with a fleeting delicateness and fragility amidst her relatively tall physique that was contributed nonetheless by her almost pale fair skin and a voice that had a somewhat shaky undertone to it, although she tries to hide all of this with an upright stature that spoke of an ironic confidence. She is not without flaw, but which makes her all the more immaculate and at once suddenly alluring. I am then reminded of how we can never truly suppress what resides within with what we hold dear as truths; things we'd like to think we are made of, all within that brief flurry of frivolous captivation.

Because I totally have no computer so work with anymore now (other than the ones in the school library with absolutely horrid internet connectivity), I have reverted to more traditional forms of entertainment, such as watching TV and reading. Actually, ‘reverted’ doesn’t give credit where it’s due. I kinda think that if you can get off the computer in this day and age and read a proper book, it’s really quite a wonderful form of trascendence, rising above past the glut of cyberspace over-reliance.

And I ended up conversing more with people the past few nights via SMS without the convenience of MSN. It’s kinda like road safety perhaps. Because of the high amount of traffic rules and road regulations, people take safety for granted and drive more recklessly as a result. The name of the paradox escapes me now, but it’s the idea that the more insured we are, the more likely we’ll end up in an accident.

I also started reading, to my detriment, The Picture of Dorian Gray that Angie gave me a few months back. Seriously not the best of times to get hooked on a novel - albeit a short one - but it is such a brilliant book that I cannot help but stay engrossed. I’ll give my take when I’m done.

Sometimes I even find myself puzzling, so I don’t blame my friends for being bemused with the things I do. I detest institutions, knowingly or not, and am clear of myself to this end of self-awareness. And always on hindsight I am proven right this way. My natural tendency to refuse to study where studying should be – in GSRs, libraries, at home – and instead mugging out in the open where noise and distraction is abound is one. My personal need for a great deal of egocentricity in a world of social dictates is but another. I’d dance my heart out on a tightrope in living out my whims a day before my exams, and it wouldn’t skip a beat. But this life-sized paradox is the way I see life as I think it should be, and am quite amused by the disapproving bewilderment I am confronted with on occasion.

Some of the world's greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.

Audio Candy:
The Hush Sound - Wine Red

Really Random. Okay, Pointedly About Horoscopes.

I broke my lead pencil while scribbling Econs stuff. How hardcore is that?

I had this a really long time ago but I thought it's way too funny not to share. So yeh find out why you suck.

The Newcastle resurgence continues as King Keegan leads them on to a 3-0 trashing of Reading. Woot!!

Marriage is bliss. Ignorance is bliss. Ergo…

Audio Candy:
Metallica - Enter Sandman

Sunday, 6 April 2008


We had our last BGS session on Friday by rounding up the 2nd half of the class presentations. And our usually somewhat slack prof showed us what he's made of when he attacked the statistical flaws of one of the groups' presentations. He then said that in statistics, especially when it's at our 'intro to stats' kinda level, either you forget everything from here on, or you continue and progress, because in particular for statistics, too little knowledge can be very dangerous.

Friday marked the last day of Früjch, which was accompanied by Starry Nite. EIC came down for a polished, vintage performance and Richard's band wrapped things up for the night. Pretty decent fun. But I thought the Indian band with their grunge metal music kinda stole the show, peaking with Metallica's Enter Sandman, especially when their extremely exuberant, charismatic and crazy frontman did his antics to work the crowd.

Justin and his friend Mike didn't win over any fans with their drunken displays though and had to be pulled off by some people I'd presume to be security. But they were really funny and added quite a bit of unexpected colour to the event.

Prata that night at the prata place near school, then supper again on Saturday night at Rachel's recommendation of 85 Bedok for bak chor mee. Before that, Angie and I tried to mug at the airport, but after coming up with a host of excuses not to, we ended up exploring T3. I saw this auntie carrying some flat box, so I was like, "ok cool, doughnuts." Then I saw the label and realised it read "PIE KIA". Genius.

Then we went to Simpang Bedok to catch the Arsenal vs Liverpool game, which ended 1-1 so goodbye to Arsenal's hopes of Premiership victory more or less.

Along the way, we passed by a company utility van which had the company name, SIR, on it, which had one of the stupidest slogans I've ever seen just under it: "we don't know the meaning of 'no'". Angie was like saying that we should then ask them, "so, do you know the meaning of 'no'?" Let's see what crap they'd hafta come up with.

Kok: "I'm Chang. Beer Chang." (referring to the Beer Chang Thai tshirt he's wearing)
(turns around and crashes into chair.)

Some random frisbeeing and Xboxing at Rachel's place til 1+am, then home.

Sometimes, to preserve our personal status quos, we do things differently with different people. We bite our tongues with some on issues, ideas, topics and stuff we'd otherwise spill our guts out with others.

I've been having a decent amount of sleep but somehow it just never seems enough.

Virtue is its own reward, but then so is sin.

Audio Candy:
Velvet Revolver - Set Me Free

Thursday, 3 April 2008

The First To The Final

This week is the last run of lessons before school's out for the study break next week and subsequent final exams. Econs has been fading and has duly faded away into oblivion as our AskDrMoney prof Larry Haverkamp (yeh he's an economics journalist for The Newpaper) rushed through yet another 376.2 chapters again and abruptly wrapped things up, much to our bewilderment. But nothing new there.

Tuesday also marked the end of the political science intro class under Rahul Sagar. Things wouldn't be so darn sentimental if he wasn't moving away to teach in Princeton, but alas, yes he's leaving SMU. Apparently, Princeton made the top graduate from Harvard an offer he couldn't possibly resist, and who can blame the dude? He'd be really underemployed if he stayed. I'm not particularly proud of thinking that way (in a "we're only second-rate and we're not good enough for him" manner), but that's the reality of the situation I guess.

So we're planning on throwing a party for him after the finals are over. Things are still in the email planning phase (read: LOTS OF SPAM), but we're thinking of baguettes, for his favourite obsession with French political quirks, and whiteboard markers, cos he never has them when he needs them. But yeh he'd be one teacher I'd do this anytime for. I'd love to be able to meet him for a talk about majors and future prospects not only pertaining to political science but social sciences in general as well. I'm particularly curious about what going into academics will entail.

That leaves BGS for tomorrow, where the remainder of the class that hasn't presented last week will be presenting tomorrow. I could've started studying since last Sunday but there's still that pesky BGS report to deal with that keeps gnawing at the back of my mind. The most of this week has surrounded meeting up and working on the report, so hopefully we'll be done by tomorrow so we can bury it dead for once.

Starry Nite, that final-day-of-school pre-exam rock concert, will be on tomorrow too. Richard's performing with his band, Lost in Slumber, this time around. I was slacking around big time in school today with Jacq and Mikaela and I inevitably eavesdropped a little on their conversation as they recalled and talked about the last Starry Nite, which was the exact same kinda time and day last term as tomorrow.

I'm quite amazed at the detail of recollection the both of them managed to come up with. From what people wore to what happened - Früjch, the broken bag, the heels, the CCA room, etc - they were retelling the story of Starry Nite part I in such vibrant colours that a lot of it came flashing back to me as well.

And I guess what really strikes is the distinct notion of change as things are different now from they were just a few months ago, and as Jacq was saying, it really felt as if it was all just yesterday. In a way of looking at it, it's as if as each Starry Nite comes and goes, each one will symbolise a particular moment or phase in time and will have its own story to tell.

I recall my own side of the story too, and it really makes me wonder how on earth things have unfolded this way, because it's quite inexplicable to say the least. In all honesty, it is so weird it is seriously puzzling. That was the first time, and the best time, and I guess I really had my hopes up but time and again they come hurtling down, only that each time it crashes lower and lower, til I'm reaching a point of resignation and apathy. I can only speculate, and I can only choose whether or not to wait.

The laptop's headed for the tech tomorrow as well, so it'll be a while without a computer for me for real this time. Hopefully this induces some degree of studying. 2+ more weeks to socially-accepted slacking.

If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.

Audio Candy:
Colbie Caillat - Bubbly

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

They Don't Live In Time Capsules

This is a post about stuff related directly and indirectly to 2 friends of mine, who have no relation whatsoever to each other (at least from what I know). This post is spontaneous, as with the thoughts that were conjured from thinking about these 2 people.

One was a JC schoolmate, a soccer team mate and a really all round good chum to me who left for Australia more than a year ago. We hadn't really been meeting up before he left anyway, so it's been a really long while since we last had something to share about, especially if you factor in the 2 years of army as well.

For me, he represents quite a bulk of the people I knew from a much different time compared to now. This sounds obvious, but when I somehow recall the laughs and stupid things we did fucking things up and stuff, it is so, so different it is seriously remote. There were stuff we talked about that I can't fathom myself talking about now (both in the sense of myself having outgrown talking about some of those things, as well as, when taking the audience into consideration, some things only those friends would understand and reciprocate), and there were things we were all doing that I thought would continue... Well, forever I guess. At least, I didn't think I would've stopped being who I was back then.

Yeh I know, it could've been anyone else from a past time who might've triggered these feelings, but that's just what I thought of in successive waves of memories when I saw him on Facebook and added him. Looking at his photos now, it's the seemingly unimportant yet tangible things that define how long it's been. I'm single, he's got a girlfriend now, I'm at SMU, he's studying in Australia, I'm like... I dunno. Playing soccer on and off, doing capoeira, studying in the faculty of social science, having new friends now who are hardly anything like the friends I had last time coming from a neighbourhood school-ish background. And he's having quite an illustrious 'career' as a church group leader. It is all quite fascinating in a pointless way.

The other, much sadder case, is my ex-neighbour. When I was in primary school, she and I used to wait for the school bus at the void deck near the lift. I think she was 1 or 2 years younger than me. We hardly talked - it was our moms who were the bridging factors as always, as they conversed heartily about anything from rising prices of toufu to how school exam papers are getting weirder (they still are when I look at my brother's homework) to their layman interpretations of government policies. I only briefly recall a few instances when I talked to her. There was once I was locked out after coming home from school cos my mom was late coming back, so I hung out at her place for a bit and played some gay toys with her. When we were a little older, like 12 or 13, we were both from Mavis Tutorial Centre, so there were times I spoke to her a little when I saw her around.

But I recall her as a really respectful girl. She'd always call me 'kor', as if her parents had ordered her to do that, or she might've just called me that cos she felt like it or something. And we'd say hi when we saw each other around the block. But then around the age of 16 or 17, I shifted out a couple of blocks away, and I haven't seen her ever since.

Today, my mom bumped into her parents for once in a long while, and found out about her and told me. Apparently, cos she's 1 or 2 years younger, she should be in university by now. She's a bright student. But because she is suffering from a mental disorder, which I would later find out to be obsessive compulsive disorder, she has been stuck in polytechnic for 5 years. Her folks are really sad. And I instantly felt sad upon hearing it because it is really shocking to realise how things have turned out this way.

I ponder quite a bit along the lines of disabled people and of people afflicted with chronic illnesses that severely disrupt their livelihoods every now and then, because it is something that is easy to brush aside simply because it doesn't affect you. It isn't particularly anything specific that I think of - rather, it's just an overarching view that life isn't fair. I see a young guy in a wheelchair struggling to board a bus. I see deaf and dumb people signalling to each other on the train. These people will never get to experience life the way that most of us know, appreciate and enjoy. And the hard fact of the matter is that some of these people, if I were to be sympathetic, hardly deserved any of this. Imagine you were born this way. I'll bring it down to shallower terms for most people to understand. Hell, you wouldn't be able to have a favourite sport. You have half your job prospects removed. Finding a girlfriend would be a real bitch. You might even die a virgin. And half the time you are expected to say positive things like, "it ain't so bad!" Just so that your loved ones, and maybe yourself, would be convinced that you're okay. I'm not saying afflicted people aren't okay. But there are just all these things.

While I know that if we all kept thinking in such a pessimistic manner, none of us would be moving through life the way we should. But this is the perfect challenge to my personal ideal of anything being as bad as you'd only allow it to be. If I were to be afflicted with a disability, would I be able to say so clearly this way anymore? I've always believed that my mind is stronger than my heart, not that I like it this way sometimes, but would this crumble everything that I am?

I would like to meet these 2 friends of mine someday again.

Life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while.

Audio Candy:
You Am I - Berlin Chair