Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Sentimental Bitch

These are most of the people who breathe colour into my life right now.

I'll be on a flight to Cambodia tomorrow for 10 days, and I'm gonna fuckin' miss Manchester United Vs Chelsea which is the worsest thing ever right now even though I'm a fan of neither.

Wear short sleeves to support your right to bare arms.

Audio Candy:
I Am Ghost - Beyond The Hourglass


Jose: "As much as I hate doing it, complaining about the army is like a guilty pleasure."
Leon: "At least we're complaining about something. Girls complain all the time about nothing."
Jose: "Maybe... The average NSF is somewhat made to go through everything so that when we're out, we've kinda seen a lot of it already."
Leon: "I just went out with this girl. And she's quite different and unlike the rest because she's worked quite a bit before. I might even say she's more mature than me."
Jose: "Hmm. What do you think we'd be like if we hadn't been through all that NS shit?"
Leon: "We'd be like girls."

I thought this was quite amusing because of it's unintended double entendre.

I've been following some of the famous Lord Coplestone Vs Bertrand Russell debates back in the earlier part of last century. Bertrand Russell was once asked what he would say if, after death, he found himself confronted by God, and he replied, "I shall say to Him, 'Why did you make the evidence of your existence so insufficient?"

On first glance, I can't quite believe he made a comment like that. Since it can be considered a given that great philosophers say things only when they are certain of the impact their words will make, I'd expect that he should've been aware of the repercussions to his comment, especially since it is a very atheist, non-christian thing to say. Not that that's wrong, since he's always been a strong advocate of atheism, but it does seem somewhat shallow of him if he hasn't considered how inadequate that comment will be to many eagerly listening people out there.

Unless he is trying to make a deeper point, that he probably doesn't really care anyway since, to him, it is precisely the scientific proofs we need to declare something believable. It almost sounds like he'd fancy a debate with God Himself, and it would all be kickstarted with that question to God.

If evidence for God was so readily available, there'd be no room for faith. It's dichotomous, kinda like how the more symbolic a present or gift is, the less practical value it'd have.

Every now and then I visit the street soccer court just downstairs past lights-off hours (they switch off the lamps so that people stop playing because it's quite noisy and disruptive to sleep for those in the proximity), and I've been just freely practicing some sequences and moves from a wide range of things I've been exposed to, including Capoeira, tricking and breakdance. It's pitch-black dark, there's nobody around, and there's a whole lot of space. I'd just bust my guts jumping around, trying flips and sweating it out until I can't move anymore; then I'd just lie down, plug in and zone out to my music and stare at the overhead blanket of night sky, thinking of everything and nothing all the same. And I really love the solitude-on-standby. It's nice to have found a new mode of getting away.

Who's General Failure and why's he reading my disk?

Audio Candy:
Avenged Sevenfold - I Won't See You Tonight Part 1

Saturday, 17 May 2008

When Everything Feels Like The Movies

It is fascinating how it paradoxically takes a great deal of reflection and detachment from oneself in order to experience or understand oneself in one's full tangible entirety. By associative means, we find the meanings and values to things that matter to us. We patronise movies and songs when we chance upon symbolic meanings in them, embracing undertones and calling them our own. Blogs play on this, as friends excitedly scramble to read what others have to say of a common activity in order to relive experiences in the words of others. How often have we had that immense sensation of deja vu, of intimacy, with a form of art that we can identify with when it strikes a chord with some personal experience of our own? Few or not, when the frequencies of our lives match with that of a poetic verse, a grand painting or a punchline in a song, the amplitude of recognizable emotion reverberates ten-fold with a fond understanding of ourselves captured in the canvas of an artpiece.

Likewise, we are equally fond of defining ourselves, or others, by the things within one's personal sphere. Profile sites pay due homage to lists of hobbies, favourite music and books, because they offer both an expression of the self as well as a mask - neither hidden in personality nor concrete in accuracy, with a tinge of cheekiness when the subversive nature of such proclamations are understood and can be harnessed to greater, deeper meaning, like when someone wishes to demonstrate his sarcasm by writing an ironic description of himself rather than stating bluntly that he is sarcastic. People indulge in forming ideals - of their significant other, of their goals and passions, of a multitude of other frivolous things - and hold them dear because we think, and perhaps know, that these define us for who we are. Sooner or later, we become defined by the company we associate with and, with his reciprocation well-understood, we deem it valid to judge others by their friends, amongst other things in one's personal realm.

We humans are a complicated lot as we opt for the merry-go-rounds to get to the point. And it is this folly that contributes to making us all the more human for it. Great artists understand this as well as its utility in the parodic nature of art, and revel and bask in the skilful manipulation of emotions to excite or soothe the senses. And as for the rest of us, we continue to seek external symbols to call our own in order to become the persons we hope to be.

"All art is at once surface and symbol.
Those who go beneath the surface do so at their own peril.
Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors."

"Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life."

- Oscar Wilde

Audio Candy:
Drew Sidora - 'Til The Dawn

Friday, 16 May 2008

Game Tester

This is off JobsDB.com and Kelly Services.


Thursday, 15 May 2008

Will The Future Blame Us?

Angie and I managed a really last minute meet up with Rahul Sagar on Tuesday, and the talk with him really made the light at the end of the tunnel shine so much brighter. Things pertaining to the future can indeed get pretty muddled for social science students because of all the typical sentiments associated with it, especially it's practical viability and prospects. But as always, Rahul was able to put things in such clear perspective.

He's leaving on Friday for Princeton. It is such an honour to have been taught by him because he represents a lot of what we aspire to be but lose along the way as the rat race devours us. Add to that the fact that he, realistically, shouldn't have even been here in the first place, and I guess all of us feel all the more lucky.

So the game plan now seems a whole lot less vague. Try and up the GPA so that applying to further my studies for a Masters wouldn't be such a bitch, probably in an anglo-inclined country like England, America, Australia or Canada. Get as much overseas exposure as possible through internships, and explore and gain experience. Come back to Singapore not having been from so-and-so university, but having done this from that country. It feels great to know that I don't just have to slime down into the corporate drain like how it seems to always inevitably be, because being a budding social scientist means the prospects of going into the media, publishing and academics side of things, which has always fascinated and called out to me so much more, are wide open and there for the taking.

Time is passing in a whirlwind of a spin, spiralling by neither slow nor straight. While I've asked for a lot of this, I'm finding that I have terribly little time to do what's come to be newly important. Then again, remorse and regrets are shallow emotions.

Some authors should be paid by the quantity NOT written.

Audio Candy:
Radiohead - Pyramid Song

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

The One Who Knows Best

Happy Mother's Day!
I pretty much had Angie to thank for for making me not feel bad about not doing anything for this year's mother's day.
I had to make an unpleasant exit to Rachel's birthday party earlier because of, thankfully, a false alarm. I received quite a fair bit of concern from everyone so I'm really grateful for that.

This is one song that never fails to evoke such haunting emotion each time it comes on that I honestly can't finish it sometimes, having to skip the track midway through.

Corrinne May - Fly Away
"When will you be home?" she asks
as we watch the planes take off
We both know we have no clear answer
to where my dreams may lead
She's watched me as I crawled and stumbled
As a child, she was my world
And now to let me go, I know she bleeds
and yet she says to me

You can fly so high
Keep your gaze upon the sky
I'll be praying every step along the way
Even though it breaks my heart
to know we'll be so far apart
I love you too much to make you stay
Baby fly away

Autumn leaves fell into spring time and
Silver-painted hair
Daddy called one evening saying
"We need you. Please come back"
When I saw her laying in her bed
Fragile as a child
Pale just like an angel taking flight
I held her as I cried

You can fly so high
Keep your gaze upon the sky
I'll be praying every step along the way
Even though it breaks my heart
to know we'll be so far apart
I love you too much to make you stay
Baby fly away

It's such a simple 4-verse song but it spells a message of a scenario, so clear, that we'd all have to face one day.

Memory is like an orgasm. It's a lot better if you don't have to fake it.

Audio Candy:
Self Against City - Ready And Willing

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The Malaysia II Canvas Spillover

Stepped on local soil last night at slightly past 11pm after a blast of a time in Kuala Lumpur and Genting. Thanks to some efficient uploading courtesy of the ladies who all brought cameras, I can present, in brief...

Cast and Scene

With Angie in the cable car on the way up to Genting, cheesily blasting and singing to The Fray's Over My Head.

With Mikaela in the cable car. Looking up and spotting Genting above the clouds felt like we were on a stairway to heaven.

With Rachel at the resident Starbucks. That ain't my drink (it was for posing purposes), but it was awesome having hot capuccino in the cool Genting atmosphere.

With our super host Yinz, without whom any of this would probably have been inconceivable, on the Ferris Wheel ride in Genting's theme park.

With Jacq and the dudes Richard and Isaac, queueing up for the toboggan ride. Hahar interestingly this is the only photo I can find so far that is some properly taken photo of me with the guys (though it still does leave much to be desired). So yeh to kill two birds with one stone, Jacq comes in here too (sorry girl! Hahar).

[May 11, 01:12 edit]
Jacq is upset as she thinks she isn't worthy of an individual picture so here goes! I do not discriminate against people who can't read ONDE ONDE signs! Us on the Ferris Wheel. :]

And yes the much talked-about 'only group shot'. :]

Countless enjoyable moments happened during the trip, if I'm not already stating the obvious. Offhand, for those who are fondly in the know, I can recollect... The sunglasses camwhoring (and how Malaysian men need some if they wanna pull off the ogling more discreetly), the pillow fights in the hotel room, the wonderfully freezing temperature, the Starbucks that became a favourite retreat for more reasons than one, the theme park rides and who liked and didn't like what, Isaac/Bosco's endless facial expressions and his cockster fright at the Haunted House, card games and cup noodles, "DO IT!" (and other quotable trademarks), Rachel's explosive brutally honest moments and shopping sprees, the focus group, the neverending sleeping-position gripe the ladies have (and along those lines, other relevant gripes e.g. toilet habits), the good-looking Malaysian dude and our endless Malaysian fashion peeve, how FOS is serious business in Malaysia (and my purchase of the ubiquitous brown striped sweater), Speed Racer (power!), Kakashi (crap), the porridge eating competition, our attempt to get Jacq interested in fellow litterbug-hater Ahmad, and looking at Yinz's dog's balls.

And I guess these are still only the beginning of memories for a lifetime.

I dunno how the rest are settling back in in the aftermath of all that excitement but I suppose I'm good now that I woke early for a much-needed dose of saturday soccer and I'm in town armed with books to read. Malaysia is a swell place with great company but takeaways I'd definitely have are that I've come to appreciate Singapore's transport system and the orderliness of other basic infrastructures a whole lot more. Not to mention our local ladies too. Hahar.

When someone annoys you it takes 42 muscles in your face to frown, but it only takes 4 muscles to extend your arm and bitch-slap the asshole.

Audio Candy:
Gasoline Heart - Local Dude Has Guitar

Sunday, 4 May 2008


This oppressive summer heat is killing me. So much for the summer rain.

I finished The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the ending was nothing short of exquisite. Part of the tragedy resides in its somewhat unromantic, inexplicable end, offering no sentiment nor explanation, but instead presented in the cold, hard third person narrative of his own death, preceded in fact by his sudden desire to turn over a new leaf which may be harder for some to swallow.

A couple of blocks nearby are undergoing en bloc I think. The markings made on them look quite artistic in a cartoonish, quirky, kok kinda way.

It is time to pack and leave in the middle of everything once again. Til the 9th, good bye.

If you are not the lead sled dog, the world looks pretty much the same every day.

Audio Candy:
The Used - Paralyzed

Cosmic Truths

As always, reliably, time cures even the sickest of souls, and although I am fully anticipative, I can surprise myself with my own strength and will; and the pointer shifts to the cross without a moment's hesitation and the window vanishes into oblivion with a click laden with conviction.

Watched 10-man Manchester United trash West Ham 4-1. It was painful watching West Ham labourously struggle against a team with fewer players. Ronaldo is just insane, getting his goal tally to 40 in this game. He's a true blue fox in the box without even having to be a permanent fixture as a boxed striker. I swear he probably got so tired scoring with his left foot, right foot, back heel, head etc that he tried to use his dick to score the 2nd goal.

I started a 6hr Scrabble marathon back on the good ol' ISC server when I got home and, over 20-30 games, lost only twice and got my rating all the way up from 700+ to almost 1000. It stands at 929 as of now. It's about time to put myself where I wouldn't be considered underrated.

In one psychology experiment, a man had electrodes wired to his brain and mild currents were discharged to certain areas to trigger movement from him. Interestingly, it seemed that his awareness was entirely post hoc, i.e. he would commit an action and then justify it. For example, when an electrical wave was passed that caused him to bend down, he would say that he was actually bending down so that he could pick up his shoe, not because he felt stupid doing what he did but because he earnestly believed that it was an action he had wanted to do.

This somewhat implies that do we our everyday actions, and then reactively attempt to justify why we do what we do. This means that free will itself (not just awareness) could all simply be a big farce - that we aren't exactly the master of ourselves and our actions. This Plato's Cave, Brain-in-the-Vat derivative is consistent of sorts with the fact that we do have reaction time lags - there is a split second difference between our thinking and movement so they aren't exactly in sync.

This seems to support the scientific school of thought that everything is predestined, and has its roots in the dynamics of quantum physics, along the lines of creationist and Big Bang theory and how its incidence is too coincidental (or minimally probable) to be an accidental occurrence, i.e. there was some form of predestiny assigned to everything by some kind of 'higher power'.

If that 'higher power' were personified, for example, to be a Christian God, then it terribly contradicts with the goodwill virtues of Christianity's idea of free will presented to all persons (the rhetoric that you have a choice to be saved - you will be saved if you want to be saved, blah blah). If we consider this 'higher power' to be a neutral force, then things could be a whole lot less complicated.

When I was at Borders the other day, I recalled a couple of books I'd read halfway the last time I was there (which was Chinese New Year's Eve) so I found them and continued where I left off. Astromony and physics and other collateral subjects have always fascinated me immensely.

It is said that the 'word of God' is in the cosmos. When you consider the story (or theory) of the birth of the Universe and Earth and life as we know it, the indirect work of whatever engineers everything can suddenly seem so clear. The less coincidental, more intended Big Bang aside, we can see how it can be most enticing to think of whoever or whatever made life possible as a man of God-like status by retelling the story of life.

It has been theorized that another heavenly body collided into Earth, causing shattered debris to form the moon which acts as a very important stabilising factor that ensures that the Earth spins at a specific angle. This specific angle enables the Earth to have a consistent climate and environmental stability. When these vital factors are sustainable and a balance is in place, atoms and molecules can then form complex compounds that begin to gain the ability to replicate. Some continue reproducing while others have errors in the copying process. A competition for survival then ensues, as organisms devise and submit blueprints for what they perceive as the ultimate survival plan, program, or machine.

I can almost picture someone, if I were to personify this 'higher power' as a manly person, peering at Earth and thinking, "yes, this is the one," and ordering a asteroid to be flung at it so that a moon can be created to create the motions of the oceans that would breathe life into a barren piece of huge cosmo rock. And maybe he has tried to do that to Mars, but the plan failed for some reason, and all we have on that planet is a small patch of ice.

The uncovering of the many natural mechanisms that are in place that allow things to happen the way they have is like having the secret of anything at all that matters whispered proudly into our keen yet naive ears.

Yes, it is indeed enticing to personify and anthropomorphize simply because we humans are a sentimental lot.

In about 14 hours I will be on a coach to Kuala Lumpur til next Friday, so tschuss for now!

What does this all mean? If it can come to this, then my heart, deadened by the mind, has no part to play, and perhaps we can justifiably say that untrustworthy emotions are the purest of illusions.

Philosophy is a game with objectives and no rules. Mathematics is a game with rules and no objectives.

Audio Candy:
Pensive - Live Fast

Thursday, 1 May 2008

R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement, Or Random Emo Moments)

And even now, weak as it sounds, I'm still reeling each time I ponder about how everything has turned out, each blow that has turned on itself, and wonder pointlessly whether I could or should have done anything differently. Points in two cases tell me it's no one-off coincidence.

I have the edgy, muffled sensation in my head telling me I had a dream with it's cheekily planted remnants of something that was there - a setting, some people, a vague notion of what might've happened - but as always I'm always one to rarely recall or know what I dream about. I think on average I am aware of 1 dream per 1 or 2 months. It's not that I don't dream - REM research has found that people on average have up to 7 dreams a night - it's just that my sleep's probably usually deep enough that what's from my subconscious stays hidden. And when it doesn't stay hidden, and a little information overflows and trickles out, the frustrating feeling of any attempt to recollect, mostly out of curiosity, the great unfolding of these little suddenly created mental storybooks (that seem to be as quickly eradicated into my conscious oblivion) can be likened to seeing the tail of a very big and fast monster slip past a corner. By the time you rush to that bend to see what it was, it's gone. All I have left is that fleeting notion of knowing something was there, and I attempt to rebuild a story based on what I think the monster would've looked like from an imagination founded on past experiences.

And even more queerly, as time passes and I do not exercise any thought to anchor the sight of the 'tail' down, I begin to rapidly forget the colour and shape of it; then the dream becomes yet another one that got away, like ghosts that revel and dance under the steal of darkness and dreadedly shun the accusatory glare of daylight.

Under psychology we learn that dreams are important as a form of reorganising of mental data - of stuff we talk about and see in the day, and those secondary judgments that our subconscious mind makes from peripheral experiences that we haven't consciously come to terms with yet. It's kinda like a library. In the day, books are taken off the shelves, their information required for many purposes. And then they're either placed back in the wrong shelves or left all over the place. After the library closes (and the dreaming starts), the books need to arranged back properly so that the next day's referencing and reading activities can go on as efficiently as possible. A person has REM (rapid eye movement) when he or she dreams, so it has been found that when a person's dreaming gets interrupted, the incidence of REM will increase the next time around. Whenever a person continually gets his or her access to dreaming denied, he or she will end up being forgetful or incoherent in thought when awake.

Since it's 1330 on a lazy Labour Day, let me write about some friend's dreams I have starred in. I might get some plots totally wrong but hey I'm the star; balls to the accuracy of unreality!

Jacq's Dream
I'm not sure what this dream was about, but I appeared in it as a big, old, sage-like talking tree, like in Lord of the Rings.

Sab's Superhero Dream
Apparently Sab was some superhero, and she was fighting terrorists and there were other supervillains and superheroes. And I happened to pledge allegiance to the dark side by being Grasshopperman. Basically, other than being green, I could 'teleport' long distances by turning into a grasshopper. I also ended up crawling under her skin.

Wendy's Psychology Class Gathering Dream
Wendy was having a NTU psychology class gathering when I appeared out of nowhere and pulled her with me and we starting running after a bus because it had something inside which I wanted to show her. When we caught the bus and got in, there were fishes inside, and I told her to look at them. Then the fishes died.

Til now nothing quite keeps me occupied in a fit of daydreaming as thinking about soccer. Sometimes, I can seriously spend up to 30mins straight just imagining moves, juggling sequences and dribbling patterns, and trying to conjure up some of my own in my head.

Soccer can be like chess sometimes. There are certain positions you and your opponent players can be in, and you'll find that they can never get the ball off you without committing a foul. And there are certain situations that occur which enable the team to get into an inspired, in-the-zone moment, and everyone will start playing like Arsenal or Real Madrid. It takes creativity and footballing genius to get into these situations, and arrange your opponents into positions that can be easily taken out.

And sometimes, I can achieve a state which I term 'mental vacuum'. It's a state of being totally awake and yet totally not consciously thinking about anything. And sometimes, in a sickening way, I can get stuck in it, 'refusing' to snap out of it (though refusing isn't quite the right word to use since it, in the sense of the word, is an activity that requires conscious effort), and on hindsight it can feel like I'm dead while alive for those few moments.

And then you reappear suddenly just as I've convinced myself that I'm through with these thoughts that only serve to poison when they linger, and honestly I might be taking it more affectedly than I guess I should. It sickens me of sorts that maybe I'm choosing to let it be this way, because I can't bear to let go or some other excuse along those silly lines. But then again, it's also different because now it's like I have whatever it is in my hands, at once observable and manipulable - a blasphemous marriage of the actor and spectator - and before long that smirk spreads itself across my lips once again.

If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.

Audio Candy:
Melee - Built To Last