Pass-less

May 28, 2007

Could kick myself. Forgot my employee pass. Now afraid to even leave the building in case I’m locked out like some chump and have to wait for someone with a pass to let me in.

Twenty years older, and when you forget to bring your homework it still feels the same.

They just don’t write lyrics set to ancient greek philosophical dialogs anymore.

In case you’re wondering, it’s loosely based on Aristophane’s explanation of Love in Plato’s Symposium. Which I think is a much nicer legacy from the ancient greeks than 300.

The movie’s pretty good, too.

I’d like to read this book–Tribulations of a Chinaman in China by Jules Verne–but I can’t find an English version. My french isn’t good enough that I can understand anything beyond the first few sentences.

Why I want to read it? Because the Wikipedia article says the hero “rejects seppuku”, and I want to know if this was Jules Verne’s idea of China. The first recorded sighting of a seppuku by the West was only around 10 years ago, so the practice was probably making the rounds in a These-Chineseses-Are-Crazy fad, and I suppose Mr Verne might have just been trying to add some spice to an otherwise bland comedic farce.

(In case there are any non-Asian readers of this blog, I would just like to say that the Chinese do NOT commit seppuku.)

Woke up in a huff and forgot to put on hair gel and belt.

I feel naked.

It’s one of my favourite songs, only I heard it first in French, so I looked for an English version. I discovered it came in various languages, including German, sung by one Marlene Dietrich, a famous 60s singer. Here’s a YouTube video of her performance in German:

And the much more hilarious version where she performs it in English. I snorted at every painful phrase and half-expected her to take up a gun to fire on her pink-backdrop-worshipping audience.

I think it’s a cultural stereotype from watching too many movies with evil Germans. A german accent singing about flowers sounds improbably funny.Of course, considering that Ms Dietrich first sang this song as a frontline performer (she was a prominent anti-Nazi) during WW2, I guess singing it in a cutesy grass-snorting-hippy-manner wouldn’t have been very respectful.

In case you’re interested, here’s the original singer (I think he’s playing a ukelele):

As a less funny note, just to (un/re)confirm the existence of my cultural stereotypes, here’s a clip where Ms Dietrich, as Frau Bertholt, educates her friend on the non-complicity of the majority of Germans for the deeds of the Nazis.

New Scientist, about how American and Singaporean elderly react differently to visual stimulation, but for younger folk:

Importantly, they found no significant difference in the response of this particular visual processing region among young people in the US and Singapore. This, the team says, supports the idea that, over the course of decades, culture shapes how the brain perceives images.

Oh dear.