Saturday, February 28, 2009

To you, before you say another word or write another line

To those who think that they are "one of us" because they live in HDB apartments (the heartlands - coined by them, not us) and pepper their speech with "lahs" and "mehs".
To those who write newspaper columns seemingly proclaiming ostentatiously that to be blinded by materialism is almost vulgar and that "[S]uffering and deprivation is good for the soul".

let me share a verse from the great Jarvis Cocker...

But still you'll never get it right,
Cos when you're laid in bed at night,
Watching 'roaches climb the wall,
If you call your Dad he could stop it all.

Don't be silly. You think if I speak with an American/Australian/English/insert your nationality here accent, live in a duplex, have two kids and tend to my lawn on weekends, have a bbq in my backyard during summer evenings, make me an American/Australian/English/insert your nationality here? By the way, does your/my country have an identity anyway?
You are not being hypocritical by writing about your decision to be frugal and to lead an austere lifestyle. But it does not tell me anything about your ability to choose an alternative. Tell me why is it that when I fall through my safety net, I really fall through. But through your safety net, you land on a wad of cash?

Friday, February 27, 2009


“They say people can think for themselves? Do you honestly believe that the chap who can’t pass primary six knows the consequence of his choice when he answers a question viscerally, on language, culture and religion? But we knew the consequences. We would starve, we would have race riots. We would disintegrate.” - Lee Kuan Yew, The Man & His Ideas, 1997

I am revisiting this quote.

Having read the first 3 chapters of Tim Harford's latest book (I read Undercover Economist as well, econs-lite makes for a good read in my humble opinion), got me to reconsider the quote above.

We are individuals, making individual choices. The government, as a State actor, makes decisions that affect many individuals. While it might be correct to say that a lowly educated person is unable to "viscerally" know the consequence of his choice. But I am pretty sure it can be proven that his choice was at the very least, rational. It may not well thought out. It may not even be the correct choice in the short, medium and even long run, but it probably wasn't a random response. There must have been a thought process.

And guess what? We love to witness such thought process. We can't become thought police but we definitely like the idea of a person verbalising his/her thought process and how s/he arrives at an answer or decision. And the producers of "reality tv" knows that. So do the producers of game shows like "Don't forget the lyrics", "Who wants to be a millionaire?" and "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?". The contestants are encouraged to talk through the process which they have done before coming up with an answer or making a choice. Usually this process would be out of sight, hidden in the brain. The audience love knowing the whys and hows, which is also why reality programmes like "Big brother" and "Survivor" have private one-on-one sessions for the contestants to air their thoughts.

Coming back to the lowly educated person making "un-visceral" choices, well, that is the burden one has to bear in a democracy. Because every person counts in a democratic State, right?

But has it struck you to notice how meritocracy might encourage highly educated individuals to make collective decisions? And the assumption is that the decisions these highly educated individuals make are "vicerally" superior to the decisions any body below them make?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In celebration of mediocrity 6

If you're so good at being not good and get recognition for that, is it still an achievement? Would that be a paradox? A conundrum ? Catch-22? Will they remove the recognition the moment you earn it?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

In celebration of mediocrity 5

I wonder how many of you have tasted After Eight thin mints before?

This is what you have to achieve by this weekend.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

In celebration of mediocrity 4

The author sounds delicious....

Love the details, click to read more.

Friday, February 20, 2009

In celebration of mediocrity 3

You gotta click to read the fine print.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In celebration of mediocrity 2

A Dummies' Guide to using the stapler.

In celebration of mediocrity 1

I am starting a new series (please see title).

I promise you, the images that you see in this series will be 13.37% original.

(and will be altered only with PowerPoint)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I bet you didn't know this

Singapore Constitution Part XIII
General Provisions
Minorities and special position of Malays
Section 152:

Minorities and special position of Malays
(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Government constantly to care for the interests of the racial and religious minorities in Singapore.
(2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.

Interesting fact!

I think the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore should be taught in schools. Along with social studies (are there still such lessons?), civics and moral education and wherever may be appropriate.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

My best investments to date?

Was checking out ebay for the prices of Audrey Kawasaki prints.
Apparently the prints that I bought have gone up between 100% to 300%.
If only I can say the same for the @#$%^&* funds that I have bought.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

MIchael Phelps & Kellogs

You might have heard about the saga of Kellog's dropping Michael Phelps after he was photographed with a bong. A bong is slang for a the glass/plastic pipe used to smoke marijuana, and the various substances.

Phelps isn't Mr Model Citizen. He was caught for DUI in 2004. Apparently Kellog's don't mind him being a potential danger to other road users. But see red over his dabbles with marijuana. Didn't I read somewhere that marijuana is less addictive than alcohol? Probably there were less deaths caused directly and indirectly by marijuana than by alcohol?

Mr Phelps might have gotten off easier if he had been caught taking party drugs like Special K.


Friday, February 06, 2009

Stole My Idea

Motor Racing: Three turns at F1 circuit along Marina Bay set to be named

Like, it's so 2007.

I already did that way back...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Darren Aronofsky

My first Darren Aronofsky movie was π.
That was in 1999 or early 2000. When I was in uni watching at the student cinema, paying cheap rates. The cinema was an actual lecture hall.

The last Darren Aronofsky movie was The Wrestler.
That was on 3 Feb 09. Which was exactly a year after I first met auntie up for a movie at Cathay. That was directed by Sarah Polley. Away From Her.

Go watch The Wrestler. But before you do that, maybe you want to find out more about Mickey Rourke. And find the parallel between Mickey Rourke and Robin Ramzinski - aka Randy "The Ram" Robinson.

And maybe you will smile, or better yet, laugh out loud, when Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine is played.

Where do we go? Where do we go now?

Doing my bit - I hope for only sweet things

Please help.


And make the way a better place.

Drivers can do this by signaling before changing lanes and being graceful and give way to drivers who wish to change lanes.

If it can happen in New York, it can happen here.

My math is irrefutable. I am statistically correct.

Singapore population density = 6,369/km2
New York population density = 10,482/km2

Easier to find somebody in Singapore than in New York.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

TNAR is RANT spelt backwards - don't look for a meaning here

I am starting to think that as I grow up and know more people, I get less time to myself.
I live by a schedule filled with things that I am suppose to do.
I work to pay off my taxes which wouldn't be as high if I were jobless.
My work is a little trickier because although I have worked off my bond, I am working off my moral obligation. It's this weird thing where if you agree to be promoted (in the unlikely event that you earned it), you need to stay with the same employer for another 2 years. Some logic. But I'm no bitch.
The weekends don't belong to myself much of the time. I don't really get to pick the stuff I want to do. Which was different last Sunday because I chose to go to the Bird Park and thoroughly enjoyed myself there with auntie.
If I really break down to the bare essentials of my life, I wonder what do I need. Surely I don't need my car. I've been happily getting by with public transport for the past 20 or so years of independent commuting. I probably won't need a pair of apc jeans and 2 other pairs of nudies. Definitely having almost 10 different pairs of sneakers comprising pumas (mostly), Onitsuka Tiger, adidas, new balance and nike is unnecessary when a single pair is all that makes the difference between the haves and have nots.
I will still need a laptop because I need to have my access to the internet. I said "need to have" but really what I meant was, "how else would I be able to tell you otherwise". But I don't need cable tv.
I don't need my Time magazine subscription which has been ongoing since I was 19. Maybe earlier. I stopped my Forbes subscription (because it reeks of Republican) and don't think I will continue with my Discovery magazine. Yup, very sure of that.
I cannot not want my job at the moment. Not that I want to. I don't need to. It's not like internet access. I can't anyway. Along with the job comes a whole string of needs. Like uniform, blah..values, blah....
I think life with the music I have is about 1,289,989, 348.923 times better than if I didn't. In comparison, it is only 1,638,558.34 times better because there is meepok dry.
Family I cannot do without. Friends, well, I better not put a figure to it because either they will feel insulted or meepok dry will be smug. The humble noodle has NEVER let me down. But I am sure I have disappointed many as well.
Colleagues! Gosh. I cannot do without them. Because the workplace is a harsh environment. Like the way the Americans described the jungles of Vietnam. You make it because of your colleagues. But if you are the boss, then good for you. You're like Ho Chi Minh or Eisenhower, making others below die for your cause. Or cause them to die. Whichever. So if you're a colleague, you're a brother-in-arms.



My day at work....

The circus boy is feeling melancholy.


I wonder if I meant "non-obligatory" instead of obligatory in my previous entry....

Anyway....was at Jurong Bird Park on Sunday. Some inital pics.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A little late for resolutions

Take more photos. Of anything. With transport, should be able to venture further.
Spend more time with family. Because I can't choose them. Especially when spending time with family at home means spending more time with Lulu!
Run/train consistently. Like going to ecp with auntie later today.
Do less "obligatory" stuff - learning to say "no".
Eat less suppers. No suppers would be difficult. Eat less in general.
Take medication regularly.
Drink less. Or not at all, if possible. Alcohol belongs to the "obligatory" stuff category.
Blog less. Which I have been able to. I think angsty and bitter people should continue blogging. I seldom feel that way these days. My blogs have been increasingly mundane.
Learn something this year. Like prawn fishing. Or power boating.