Wherein I am in pain

The last few days have been a world of pain.

I went for that little surgery of mine (tonsillitis, as far as my insurer is concerned), and now the upper palate of my mouth has been brought slightly further forward to the front of my mouth, and a wire has been sewn into the bottom of my tongue. The doctor had told me there would be no speech impediment involved, but I find myself worrying about the loss in tongue-flexibility. At worst, it’s going to be a permanent lisp–oh the stereotype.

On a liquid diet so far, because chewing anything makes me see spots and small swallows is about all I can manage. If nothing else, my lovehandles are slowly receding–if I can keep up the diet another month I’ll be able to see a six-pack. At least, until I revert to fried eggs and spam for dinner again.

Just a note for the future–the insides of your nose are sensitive enough to detect the fluoride they put into our tap water.

Daddy bought my hospital bed number in 4D and won a couple hundred bucks. He should have gone with my roommate–his bed number was the top prize. Figures–he had a heart-bypass.

Nanotech Breasts

Saw this online today:


It intrigued me. I do try to keep up with Sciencish stuff, and consider myself to be pretty well-informed. I hadn’t heard of the wonders of nanotech being applied to bust enhancement, though. Were carbon nanotubes being used to sculpt breasts now?

So I clicked the link. It led to the website of some slimming agency with a couple of pretty generic weight-loss/bigger-breast programmes. I looked around for anything to do with nanotech, and to my disappointment found this little piece of nonsense:


Arguably, it is nanotech they’re using in the sense that the “particles” are in their “nano serum” probably are in the nano scale, but frankly it’s just nonsense science-terms being thrown into a marketing proof to make it sound more convincing. That said, I’m impressed someone in their marketing department actually bothered to make the rough calculations that ~2000 times smaller than skin pores is about 25nm, which is about right for “nanotechnology”.

Other than that, though, none of their technology is anywhere near what is commonly understood to be “nanotechnology”. In fact, considering nanotech is the domain of the very small, it almost seems incongruous to see it mentioned in an ad for gigantic bosoms.

I hate to stereotype, but I guess if you’re the kind of woman who goes for bust enhancement you’re probably in the marketing segment that’s likely to fall for this kind of claptrap anyway…

Helping out the library

I recently joined the National Library Board’s “Friends of the Library” programme as a volunteer. So far, I’ve gone for the orientation briefing and helped out with one story-telling session/lesson.

Things I have learned:

  1. Kids love volunteering with the library. Some of the Secondary school kids I volunteered with last Saturday informed me that they have to perform a compulsory 30 hours of community service a year. The library is a great place to volunteer for them as it is relatively easy, clean and effortless compared to old folks’ homes or flag days. Plus air conditioning and free food almost every single session.
  2. Other than the kids who need to fulfill a quota, adults really love volunteering with the library. There are over 15,000 volunteers according to the Volunteer Programme IC, of whom evidently there are several hundreds who perform over 15 hours of service a year. Top contributor last year did several hundreds of hours of service (to be fair, she is retired).
  3. Because of the glut of volunteers, library volunteer sessions tend to be very easy. I spent last Saturday with seven – eight other volunteers helping out with a story-telling session/lesson for the 10,000 Fathers Read! programme. From the attendance sheet, I think there were supposed to be more, but some didn’t show up. Still, there were more than enough of us to go round–only about three people were really required. Still, given that it’s a volunteer-thing and that there’s no gurantee that the people you ask for will show up, I guess the redundancy is a good thing.
  4. Our public library is very well-funded. The National Library Board gets a cool $180 million a year from our Budget. Which is why there are so many programmes about to encourage literacy and reading, and also the fancy new buildings and shiny new machines. (to my surprise, in terms of percentage, we spend relatively little on our library–only about 0.1% of GDP compared to South Korea which spends 0.31%, and the UK which spends 0.2%).
  5. Given its budget and size, library volunteers are frankly unnecessary–but I’ve think one of the reasons for the existence of the programme is to draw Singaporeans to become more involved with the NLB and help provide some kind of informal personal outreach. Hell, they’ve got me blogging about it so that’s got to be worth something.

On a somewhat related note, the guy doing the story-telling and giving tips was Roger Jenkins, a professional story-teller (I wonder how you end up with that job) who was really good, considering he managed to get a bunch of kids all excited and happy with nothing other than his voice. I don’t think he even had any props other than a tasteless star-adorned vest. Although I kept thinking “Leeroy” thoughout the session and imagining him telling some kind of fantasy story involving some idiot charging in at impossible enemies. He didn’t, but I was somewhat surprised that his stories featured quite some amount of violence (to an anthropomorphic chicken). I guess I’m just a wuss.

Bizarrely, he chose to end the tips on story-telling session with a story about “baby snake” and “baby frog” who become friends and teach each other how to slide and hop, respectively, but are torn apart by their parents who insist that they are mortal enemies (a little one-sided towards the snake’s side, I should think). Then he started talking about how important it was as parents to teach our kids to love rather than to hate, and to look beyond superficial differences so that we could all get together, muslims and jews, blacks and whites, indians and chinese. I almost thought he’d go for “Israeli and Palestinian”…

Whoa. Pushing the envelope for cultural relativism and racial harmony at a kids’ story-telling session? Heavy. The predominantly-upper-middle-class parents looked a bit stupified. I wanted to laugh, but I figured it would be a little bit rude, especially since it was a pretty good way to teach valuable life lessons to little kids. Also probably would have made future volunteering a bit difficult.

In any case, I’m actually considering a career with the library, which explains the volunteering. As far as I can tell, it seems like a pretty nice organisation, though I’m a little uncertain if I could fit into the backdrop of female motherly-figure-types.

Organic Growth

We’re removing the upper-age limit for organ donors, it seems. Now, even those over the age of 60 can expect their bodies to be recycled upon death. Why the Ministry of Health thought this was necessary eludes me. Surely elderly organs are not particularly suitable for transplants? Or perhaps there just aren’t enough young people in Singapore dying in ways that can allow for body-part-reuse?

In any case, I had no idea that we were recycled quite so… efficiently.

From Channel NewsAsia:

The amendments approved by Parliament in March this year is expected to increase the number of organ donors by about 10.
This would mean some 70 patients could potentially benefit from the move.

That’s an average of seven organs per donor? That seemed like a lot, until a wikipedia search for common transplantable organs and tissues:

  • Bone
  • Bone marrow
  • Corneal
  • Face
  • Hand
  • Heart
  • Heart-lung
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Pancreas
  • Penis
  • Skin
  • Spleen
  • Uterus

So it turns out that we’re only transplanting at less than 50% efficiency here and we’re not even taking into account things like Islets of Langerhans. So uncharacteristic of our little technocracy.

Dr Albert Winsemius

Goodness gracious me. I had no idea that the reason we have that Raffles statue still standing, even after our neighbours pulled down their respective colonial masters’, is due to the advice of one Dr Albert Winsemius, whom it seems we owe much of our current financial sucess to.


One of his earliest pieces of advice was not to remove the statue of Stamford Raffles as it was a symbol of public acceptance of the British heritage and could alleviate concerns that investors have toward a new socialist government. With his help, Singapore attracted big oil companies like Shell and Esso to establish refineries here.

And I always thought it was a symbol of the uneasy legitimacy the chinese leadership here have forged for ownership of the island.

Homely :: homey

Quite a lot of people I know tend to describe themselves as being lazy bums who prefer to stay at home rather than going out, and I have heard the term “homely” being used to this purpose far too often.

Save yourself some embarrassment!

# homeliness – dowdiness: having a drab or dowdy quality; lacking stylishness or elegance
# homeliness – an appearance that is not attractive or beautiful; “fine clothes could not conceal the girl’s homeliness”

Oh! And a happy new year to one and all too.

Perhaps “homey” would be a better word to use, even if it isn’ quite proper.

Just so you know. Because I use the word homely correctly for myself, and I really hate it when others cheapen the word.