Tuesday, 26 October 2010


I was reading an article about the passing of Octopus Paul (http://sg.yfittopostblog.com/2010/10/26/r-i-p-paul-the-psychic-octopus/) when I saw these gem comments about Octopus Paul's death:


What a waste!!! I was thinking of asking the Sentosa aquarium to borrow it to predict the results of our coming General Elections!!!

DarkMax, in reply to entebbe:

Now that would be a gigantic waste of a talent such as Paul

Monday, 25 October 2010

My Brain Just Imploded

"Now I am going to make a statement here. I don't know whether it fits into the category of other people's statements or not. But whether it fits into their category or whether it doesn't, it obviously fits into some category. So in that respect it is no different from their statements. However, let me try making my statement.

There is a beginning. There is a not yet beginning to be a beginning. There is a not yet beginning to be a not yet beginning to be a beginning. There is being. There is nonbeing. There is a not yet beginning to be nonbeing. There is a not yet beginning to be a not yet beginning to be nonbeing. Suddenly there is nonbeing. But I do not know, when it comes to nonbeing, which is really being and which is nonbeing. Now I have just said something. But I don't know whether what I have said has really said something or whether it hasn't said something."

- Chuang Tzu

What the f....

Sunday, 24 October 2010

It's interesting to me to discover that there are some stable personality traits that can be found among first born / single childs, and find that I'm also demonstrating some predictably consistent characteristics.

For instance, first born / single children are:
1) more socially maladjusted
2) less responsible
3) more individualistic
4) more self-centered
5) more likely to be perfectionist
6) more likely to mature faster
7) have higher achievement motivation
8) less agreeable
9) less open to new ideas

Time for some self-psychoanalysis!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Travelin' Soldier

Two days past eighteen
He was waiting for the bus in his army greens
Sat down in a booth in a cafe there
Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair
He's a little shy so she gives him a smile
And he said would you mind sittin' down for a while
And talking to me, I'm feeling a little low
She said I'm off in an hour and I know where we can go

So they went down and they sat on the pier
He said I bet you got a boyfriend but I don't care
I got no one to send a letter to
Would you mind if I sent one back here to you

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldier's coming home

So the letters came from an army camp
In California then Vietnam
And he told her of his heart
It might be love and all of the things he was so scared of
He said when it's getting kinda rough over here
I think of that day sittin' down at the pier
And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile
Don't worry but I won't be able to write for awhile

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldier's coming home

One Friday night at a football game
The Lord's prayer said and the Anthem sang
A man said folks would you bow your heads
For a list of local Vietnam dead
Crying all alone under the stands
Was a piccolo player in the marching band
And one name read and nobody really cared
But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair

I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter says
A soldier's coming
I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter says
A soldier's coming home

War. Dying for country. Protecting loved ones. Coming home. I can never wrap my head enough around these issues.

I almost died reading the comments from soldiers and girlfriends of soldiers alike about this song.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

When my realist, healthily self deprecating and laidback as fuck Chinese Philosophy professor (who is Dutch) asserts with conviction for the first time about the value of choice and freedom, it just somehow makes me overwhelmingly optimistic that there is hope yet in a dreamy, 'justice' kind of way. And I guess that's when you know somebody means business with what he/she is saying.

As the class discussed and debated the merits of liberty against social stability, an issue that really hits home for our tiny city state, I finally heard my professor give his opinion for the first time (aside from his usual politically correct and well balanced responses that say a lot but say little about what he feels). When push comes to shove, he'd rather trade in social stability and have the freedom to choose the life he leads than be closed off to alternatives and options.

Against the assertion brought up by some students that sometimes we're better off when we're ignorant, he said, "I guess that's where I'm really like a philosopher, because to me the unexamined life is not worth living."

Lends credence to the wisdom that often the ones who say the least say the most.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


Cartesian Humility And Wisdom

"After all, it is possible I may be mistaken; and it is but a little copper and glass, perhaps, that I take for gold and diamonds. I know how very liable we are to delusion in what relates to ourselves, and also how much the judgments of our friends are to be suspected when given in our favour. But I shall endevour in this discourse to describe the paths I have followed, and to delineate my life as in a picture, in order that each one may be able to judge of them for himself, and that in the general opinion entertained of them, as gathered from current report, I myself may have a new help towards instruction to be added to those I have been in the habit of employing.

My present design, then, is not to teach the method which each ought to follow for the right conduct of his reason, but solely to describe the way in which I have endeavoured to conduct my own. They who set themselves to give precepts must of course regard themselves as possessed of greater skill than those to whom they presecribe; and if they err in the slightest particular, they subject themselves to censure. But as this tract is put forth merely as a history, or, if you will, as a tale, in which, amid some examples worthy of imitation, there will be found, perhaps, as many more which it were advisable not to follow, I hope it will prove useful to some without being hurtful to any, and that my openness will find some favour with all."

- René Descartes, Discourse on Method Part One

At a point in history when most philosophers were quite often elitist, moralistic and self-righteous, Descartes came as refreshingly humble.

This next quote where he describes his decision to alter his desires rather than change the world conveys profound wisdom that, in certain circumstances, would be a good/useful maxim to emulate, perhaps at least in the general search for happiness:

"My third maxim was ... in general to accustom myself to the persuasion that, except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power; so that when we have done our best in respect of things external to us, all wherein we fail of succes is to be held, as regards us, absolutely impossible: and this single principle seemed to me sufficient to prevent my desiring for the future anything which I could not obtain, and thus render me content."

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The scientific way has been so successful that we are in danger of taking it to do more than it does do. To some extent, we have all come to think that the only knowledge worth having is arrived at in a scientific way. But what science does is tell you, in ever greater detail, how things work. It never tells you why they work like that. Why things work the way they do is a matter for religion. If you think there is no particular reason why, you are some sort of atheist. If you think there is a reason, you are (in the broadest possible sense of the term) a theist. The great weakness of our modern Western way of thinking is that we mistake how for why.

- Tom Griffith, Introduction to René Descartes.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


There are so many thoughts that swirl in my head that words simply cannot contain, or express. I struggle with this everyday.

Everyone has their fears of losing memories, experiences, the moment, life. Some write every detail of their lives down religiously. Every single information. Where they were at 12:45pm, what the weather was like, what they thought they felt at that exact moment, like a smiley footnote at the bottom of a blog indicating your mood for the day. Others take pictures. Of their lunch, of the funny looking car they rode in while exploring a new city, of themselves, as if some part of themselves would tragically disappear forever. Who would know or care? It doesn't matter. The fear is there, ominous to themselves. There is a consuming obsession with preserving the moment. For what? To avoid regret, or to have a taste of immortality?


This brings a Chuck Palahniuk concept to mind. "We do it every day. Kill the unborn to save the elderly. ... Every time we burn a gallon of gas or an acre of rain forest, aren’t we killing the future to preserve the present? The whole pyramid scheme of Social Security." Perhaps this is a parallel that is too cynical or dark to be drawn, but still.

For me, the lack of an effective medium allows my ideas to slip through the cracks. I'm not any different from everyone else. I fear losing the moment, and for me those are ideas, because ideas are pure and perfect. Some ideas last, but most don't. An idea at one point of time in your life is a unique idea in itself, and you either cement it or let it fade into oblivion. An effective capture is a snapshot of my state of existence at a point in time, like a contribution to my illusory immortality, or so my brain thinks whenever it happily rests knowing that moment was secured. Just like your lunch. Or the weather you experienced at 12:45pm. It's not easy to try and go back to a thought in its original form and retrieve all that power and force that faded away with it.

Memories can go right ahead and fade and get hazy, it doesn't matter to me; my brain can reconstruct them to be even more beautiful than they were. But ideas are my sacred haven and every time one slips through my grasp, a part of me I create dies away.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

'Manly' Women - Hot Or Not?

Why do some men find a woman who smokes a turn on, while other men are disgusted by the sight? Why do some men think that it's hot that a girl rides motorbikes, whereas others find it a little too weird for their liking? In short, why do some men think that females who engage in male activities are attractive, whereas some men think otherwise, preferring that women stick to more traditionally 'feminine' activities?

The answer might very well lie in the mating strategy of the male. Just ask the question: What would a male long term mating strategist want? What would a male short term mating strategist want? The answer appears soon enough.

Observing a girl engaging in all sorts of typically male habits or activities, such as smoking, watching football, drinking, swearing, or riding motorbikes, conjures up other male-related associations, and with every additional male-centric activity that she appears involved in, the easier it is for a male observer to think: well, she might think just like a guy does. And one very important male-centric kind of thought or behaviour is that sex is cheap and sex can come easy.

Man, wouldn't this simply drive males looking for short term mating - a one night stand, a fling, a casual relationship - crazy? Indeed it does, and their suspicions are confirmed by real life outcomes - women who display these traits tend to be more adventurous and, subsequently, more promiscuous.

And the reverse makes a lot of sense and is also true - men seeking a long term mate will find such behaviour in potential mates rather undesirable, and why not? Your prospects for keeping your partner will be rather bleak if she does indeed have the masculine signature of opportunistic mating.

Of course, not all girls who indulge in typically masculine activities are promiscuous. The point is that the more likely a girl is to exhibit masculine behaviour, the more likely she is to think like a man, and the more likely she is to adopt a masculine openness towards sex.

Also, of course none of this consciously happens in the brain of a male. A man either finds a woman roughing it out man-style interesting or not, very often without any rational thought-processing involved. But something underlies that instinctive attraction (or aversion), and it might just reside in what a woman's promiscuity, suggested by her male-ness, might mean to you.

P.S. The 'manliness' of the woman here must not be confused with her being just like a man. What probably works for short term mating men is that the woman is simply associated with male-like activities, but this doesn't mean she starts to become physically like a man. I'm pretty sure it doesn't quite cut it if she starts looking buffed or sporting a male voice. Then again, male short term maters have rather low requirements (i.e. they mind less) on the women they desire to bed, caring more about signals of easy sexual access.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Holy shit... How many people were at this fucking gig?

A more recent performance featuring Robert Trujillo in place of the legendary Cliff Burton. This has to be my funeral song, if I ever bothered with one.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Back In The Day

Sigh, call me backward, but I think Son of Citation Machine is going to chip away again at what it means to do good, honest research, part of which is knowing how to do your citations. Already with Scholar Google making it so much easier to get information from articles and journals without even really having to read anything, information is going to be a pretty darn cheap commodity.

It's hard to make such a complaint too, because I am part of a time where technology has made it exponentially easier compared to older generation academics to get an academic research paper done.

I really wonder what it was like when budding MA and PhD students had to embark on a mecca just to find some elusive book or article (sometimes even overseas!) and spend hours in the library getting the information and sources they needed, and then writing their entire thesis on pen and paper (or typewriter?). There would be unforgettable stories of how an unattainable book was acquired through some unlikely source, or by other means of cunning. Now, that's memorable. I think the process of getting there is just as important as the end-product itself.

It's a new information age where it's rather easy to do/achieve anything information-related. You can be relatively knowledgeable just staying on Wikipedia for hours. You can now own a blog without generating any of its content, through Tumblr. You can convince yourself that you're connected to good solid news by keeping away from the newspapers and reading twitter all day. In such times, information is vast indeed, but very, very cheap.

One wonders if this will undermine the respect that knowledge entails.