New Job, No Time

September 30, 2005

Have taken up a job as a helper at a children’s carnival. I must have been crazy to do it. So sleepy. Want… eat… brains…

Update after the weekend when it’s all over… or I collapse from exhaustion and blog from hospital.

Some are Simply Shy

September 23, 2005

Because I am sometimes a little shy myself and I suspect many of my friends are as well (or at least are extremely good at hiding their extrovertedness), here’s a link about shyness. It might be a good idea to read up before planning any parties, so you know who not to invite (Oh come on, the REALLY shy people don’t want to go to parties).

The article ends off saying shy people are still capable of great deeds. I say shy people are also capable of some strange ideas when they’re alone in their rooms in their underwear holding pencils. Here’s some disturbing images of Marion and Luigi, drawn rather realistically. Those of you who were fans (as I was, being shy and preferring video games to human interaction) will be both shocked and amused (check out the racoon suit) that you could possibly have thought Mario was cute.

Sorry, nothing for you extroverts. But then extroverts shouldn’t be reading blogs.

Logical Unintelligence

September 21, 2005

I receive a philosophical quote daily courtesy of The Philosophers’ Magazine Online (and so should you!), most of them being intelligent one-liners from famous philosophers about the nature of the universe, humans, science, God or some other lofty ideal. Today’s was a little bit different:

I would not live forever because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.

Miss Alabama
–Responding to a question in the 1994 Miss USA contest

This seemed like a laughable little piece that made no sense at all, compounded by the fact that it issued from a Miss Something from a Beauty Pageant from the United States of America, which is popular culture translates to Bimbo (a misconception, I’m sure, but I’ve watched enough teen-chick flicks to know you can’t argue with MTV stereotyping).

I think the guilt form not having started on my Philosophy of Language paper got me thinking about this. So I dug a little bit deeper, and found the original question:

“If you could live forever, would you and why?”

Google the answer and you’ll find mostly joke sites, mostly celebrating the stupidity of celebrities (such as this, this or this). The ridicule of this poor former Miss Alabama moved me to pity her somewhat, and my curiousity in her was much piqued. So I dug a bit deeper than before, and turned out a picture (courtesy of McNeeleyOnline.com):

Ms Amie Beth Dickinson, it turns out, suffered from protruding upper and lower teeth until she managed to get rid of them wearing braces. And then she went on to win Miss Shelby County in 1992 before being crowned Miss Alabama in 1994. Her parents must have been very happy with their investment in those braces – they funded a scholarship (ostensibly for other pageanteers) and named it after her. Ms Dickinson is now (as far as I can discern) a sex counsellor and inspirational speaker (it sounded ok in my head) who operates in the region of Taylor University. She has authored at least one book, entitled Who Moved the Line?: America’s Character Crisis, which I am unable to comment on, not being able to find any sample pages. An amusing article in the South Alabame Post describes her talking to children about sex.

My curiosity satisfied about the woman who had muttered the curious phrase 11 years ago at a beauty pageant, I then suffered the need to examine the statement more closely. After all, it was featured largely in philosophical sites as well as joke sites, a strange affair. So I drew a logic chain diagram.

If we were supposed to live forever we would live forever. We cannot live forever
We are not supposed to live forever.
Living forever is something we should not do. I would not do things I should not do.
I would not live forever.

Admittedly, the argument is a little unsightly, what with the misuse of the word “would”. But I think it’s easy to get the grasp of it, don’t you? Okay, let’s examine the sub-arguements… they all seem valid… and the premises… they all seem true, except for the rather ambiguous “I would not do things I should not do”, which is rather subjective, of course, because there are the obvious deviants out there. So that would appear to be the weakest point in this argument to attack.

Oh, but then here’s a tricky issue. We can’t really use that as our weakest point of attack in issues regarding morality, can we? Because laws are there to prevent you from doing the things you aren’t supposed to do, so if viewed from a strictly moralistic (or legal, given weak moral grounding) viewpoint, the argument seems sound.

Replace “live forever” with “live longer than I should” and you get a pretty conundrum for life-extension. Of course, astute readers will have spotted it’s a circular argument, but then you have to keep in mind it’s almost logically sound (I have doubts, but I’m too lazy to explore them).

It’s the same argument that’s being used for religous argumentation these days, which frustrates aetheists no end, I’m sure. It’s obvious something’s wrong with the argument here, but its flaws can be well concealed in the hands of a good speaker. Logic, that handmaiden of Science can turn out to be a two-faced bitch after all.

Oh, and in case you want to know some better arguments against living forever look at the Immortality Institute.

Advent Children is Out!!!!!!!

September 19, 2005

(runs around excitedly)

Last Saturday I went for the first session of the Kids-Up Reading Programme, a South-West CDC project in which volunteers try to “cultivate the love of reading” in kids from lower-income families. Note the inverted commas denoting sarcasm.

My ward is a little girl named Siti. Siti is two-and-a-half years old and is Malay (as is evident from the name). Social engineering conspired to pair the volunteers up wth kids of different races – the sole Malay volunteer found herself with an ostensibly Hokkien family, and her face fell from inside her tudung as she approached their Chinese-dialect mumblings. Thankfully Siti’s parents are fluent in English, though it turns out that she herself isn’t. Siti can say a few words in English, such as “Hello!” and “Bye bye!” (though never in the course of the session did she utter these courtesies to me) and “Uuuuuummmmm!”, an almost-English sound meaning roughly “Get that ugly mean old man away from me!”.

Ugly and mean I can handle, but Siti’s referrence to my age was a sensitive matter.

I must teach her that racism is a very sensitive issue in Singapore, and ageism should be as well. In any case, I spent over a half hour trying to play peekaboo with that ice-bit*h, only to be rebuffed by her coldness and desperation to run away from me. A little boy a few metres away sucking on a cup in a bored expression held more interest for her than my antics (ageist!).

Never have I been so repulsive to women. Her mother was most amused.

I tried everything, from the cutesy Alex voice (and we all know how cute that is, don’t we!!!???) to making cute little faces (EVEN cuter!!!) and went as far as to *gasp*sing*gasp*. They had given us a little stack of notes with stuff we could do to “cultivate the love of reading”, which included little games and *gasp*singing*gasp* and *vomit*dancing*vomit*, which I will only attempt when Siti tries to break up with me – that and getting on my knees and crying.

Never have I been so dsperate to win a woman over. Her mother was most amused.

I go for official training in two weeks and then will commence the full sessions. How any kind of training can make me more attractive to a female twenty-one years my junior is beyond me, but I’m willing to do almost anything – and given my sexual deviancies that’s saying quite a lot.


Speaking of ageism…

I take a particular bus to my parents’ place whenever the urge to be fillial strikes me (usually coinciding with the urge to beg for money and the urge to fill my stomache with free food). It just so happens that said bus winds a long route past some entertainment complexes that for some reason have the elderly as their mani customer-base. That means that there are usually many elderly people on the bus.

I never take a seat when I board – it’s useless since by the second stop you end up having to give it up to some hobbling old person or have your heart rot from immorality and guilt. I never used to mind, until one day I got on and realized I was the only person below the age of 30 on the bus. Sure, there was the odd youngish-looking forty-plus, but largely the entire bus was crowded with senior citizens. It was a sad site. There weren’t even enough seats to give up.

And it got me to thinking about the aging population in Singapore (I know, I know, it’s old news but this isn’t ground-break centre). A quick check with the Department of Statistics revealed that we had 8.0% of the population above the age of 65 in 2004, up from 6.4% in 1994 and expected to rise even more in future, taking into consideration our declining birth rates (one of the lowest in the world, ranking in at 211/226 countries!). By 2025 we might hit 13.2%. That’s not hot news, they’ve been warning us about the aging population and how the young of tomorrow (that’s me) will have to support more dependants in future.

And, because I am a practical bastard, I started to consider what that meant. Twice as many old people means:

  1. You get seats on public transport only half the time you do now. Or all young people become selfish and we get to sit more often
  2. Television programmes will feature “golden oldies” shows twice as often as they now do. That’s not too bad – only those who watch afternoon television will be affected.
  3. More housing for the aged, as there are more people entering senior citizenry than those coming of age to buy housing. Less options and priority for the young people, especially potential singles such as me (those happily-marrieds always get the best candy)
  4. Tour agencies will organize more elderly-tourist trips, meaning package tours will be even more prevalent than they already are, and will feature exciting activities such as “A slow fifteen minute stroll around Paris” due to the rising needs of the population
  5. MacDonald’s service will slow to a crawl

Any ageist remarks are most regretted, please don’t sue me.

Excerpt from Shin Min Daily News:

  1. When you get old, sexual functions are bound to fail, and there is no point seeking a cure
  2. A few failures at sex after marriage make Chinese men to lose faith in themselves and give up trying
  3. Unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking will not affect sexual ability
  4. Sexual problems are best solved by keeping mum and trying to solve them yourself
  5. Sexual failure leading to shame, disappointment and low self-esteem
  6. Masturbation will lead to sexual problems
  7. Believing in commercial cures for sexual problems
  8. Too uch work and no play
  9. Use of virility drugs to maintain… well, virility
  10. Masturbation after marriage is wrong

All of the above are wrong!!! Researchers in Shanghai have done a survey of over a hundred men in China to find out their misconceptions about sex. Number 10 is interesting. In any case, is you do ind yourself facing problems in your sexual life, do consult a physician. Leaving parts of your body in disarray is not only a lazy thing to do (and very unfair to your wife, unless you believe number 10 applies to her as well), but can also lead to further complications later in life such as prostate cancer. Many commercial drugs that claim to solve your problems or better your performance are mere gimmicks – the ones that do induce some form of effect should not be consumed without medical consultation.

Of course, I post this here for the benefit of those of my friends who are in danger of ever trying to … better their performance. You know who you are.

I would have thought that the main problems chinese men had with sex was not paying enough (or bargaining before climax), being too fast (because Buddha is watching you) or trying to ejaculate male sperm (to make male babies, which is just freaky if you think about it).

I read too many trash papers.


In other news, my birthday is over! I am now 24 years of age. That banana called me up last night to pass me a present, which was very touching. See the chocolate confectioneries I got from her (the bag was labelled “chocolates and pralines” and since I do not know what pralines are I will use the general term of confectionary).

Photo0024

We sat around at a coffee shop and trolled for birthday wishes (we share the same day). I suppose we looked rather silly, two idiots at a coffee shop beside a table of old men and their beer-girls (I would have taken a picture, but I was afraid the beer-girls would stub their cigarettes on me), laughing like little children every time we got a new message. The banana and I get like that sometimes. Ignoring how sad and pathetic the experiement was, I can safely say that many of my friends do not love me – only 11 out of 23 replied.

More birthday celebrations coming up. Whee.

Demoted

September 13, 2005

Well, not so much demoted as that they realized there was no need to do summaries for English articles.

Oh, how my wicked chinese teachers would cackle and clap their hands in malicious glee if they knew I was doing chinese translations now! 真是罪有应得!报应! 报应! They would surely exclaim, remembering their exasperation at having to mark essays full of circles (I put circles whenever I forgot how to write a character) and the uhs and ahs when commanded to recite essays aloud in class (I ummed my way through words I couldn’t read).

In other news, I got a new set of headphones! Don’t I look happy in them? These are flimsy Seinheissers that are designed to be unique, ie. nobody buys the freaky things, but it means that they fit my ears almost perfectly. The only non-organic attachment to go into my ear and fit snugly without causing me pain or uncomfortable fullness, which some organic attachments have failed to do even!

Photo0023

Urine Power in Singapore

September 11, 2005

Singaporean Scientists discover a urine-powered battery!!! How’s that for putting Singapore on the world map?

Singapore – the land of zero waste – where we use our urine for power, and then drink it. Just think – maybe all that urine could be used to power the NewWater plants and it would be an almost self-contained process! Or our toilets could be used to generate power for the home! Lights runnning low? Go take a poop!

No, I Don’t Sell Newspapers

September 7, 2005

Je ne suis pas un vendeur de journal!

I work as a “media tracker”. Errrm. Ever wonder why all those large companies always seem to be able to respond to petty complaints in the forums of tabloids (and sometimes big papers) almost immediately? Surely their PR departments have better things to do with their time than to troll the papers for complaints.

Well, it turns out they don’t. And I’m the reason why.

I begin to see now why my friends who used to work in PR tell me it’s an awful job. I guess it is, for those at the entry-level. The hours are long, you always get screamed at (though my employer, thankfully, has so far shown no signs of screaming) and the pay is pitiful. On the upside… I can’t think of an upside for me job scope.

I become very well-informed as to the inner mechanisms of the petty Singaporean?


My French Sucks, by Alex Huang

Aujourd’hui j’ai mon essai français. C’est difficile. Et je ne puis pas employer le passé. L’français est difficile, je veux ma mère! Je déteste ressembler à d’un petit garçon.

Mon français n’est pas bien.


I have, once again, fallen behind on my schoolwork. Evidently I have underlooked the fact that Arts modules require a lot of readings. Usually it’s a welcome change from the stiflingly routine science ten-year-series-exercises, but in this case there are just so many I feel a little overwhelmed.

Philosophy of language is turning out to be a nightmare, almost like Kant all over again. I have no idea what Bertrand Russell is talking about and I want to hit Kripke on the head and force him to take an epistomological or ontological stand instead of mucking about the muddy waters of linguistical analysis (it’s for social scientists! Philosophers should just stay out of it!).

I also haven’t started writing that Political Science essay. I am thinking of doing: “The dominance of the PAP in Singapore politics is largely due to the incompetency of the opposition. Discuss.” Daddy would be so upset. I am also saddled with a tutorial group consisting largely of year one students and year three/four slackers (I’m guessing, but I think I’d be right on) who are taking this module just to score credit and can’t be bothered if they do poorly for it. Good luck to those year ones, bwahahahaha, They’d better take initiative soon or nothing will get done, though it’s unlikely – at our first meeting they portrayed themselves as chauvinistic-submissive-girly-types.

That leaves Logic. It is so easy there must be something wrong. I don’t even feel like I’m learning anything. The tutorial questions seem more like linguistical feats (again) prancing about the meanings of words like “almost” “even though” and “stupid indian scholars who must show the world how intelligent they are in class by asking more questions that, had they really been intelligent, would have been painfully obvious the answer”.

I’m just hoping that things will settle down and my body can adjust to the shock of waking up so early every day so I can work on my grades. Yeouch.

Sweets and Shit

September 6, 2005

One of my most vivid memories of Paris was this marvellous pastry shop off near the Champs Elysee. They would have a website (yes, a pastry shop with a website) – Ladurée, the pastry shop that looked more glamourous and luxurious than the jewellery shops in Singapore.

And I’d gotten a chocolate macaroon (small, roud cakes crispy outside and soft and oozing with chocolate inside) but at the time had only enough sense in me to eat it and mumble about how good it was without finding out what it was called.

If you ever find yourself in Paris do visit this beautiful tea-salon and buy yourself a macaroon, if only to marvel at how magnificent the interior of the store is and to realize how important interior decor is to the french.


Whilst flushing, I broke the toilet handle. It was unfixable (especially since I was half-dressed and had toilet paper for tools) and now my roommate and I have a non-functioning toilet, meaning we have to go out to do our business. For my part, I”m trying to drink less water and consume less food.

Photo0022

Thankfully, said roommate, despite being antisocial and almost nonexistent to me, seemed nonchalant about the matter and expressed little irritation with me. He also said, to my great relief(haha), he would fix it today. Whee.