konichiwa ~

lookie look! little blinking gaim men weren't the only things waiting for me when i got home! thank you em ~ it was the perfect day brightener and it couldn't have come at a better time ^.^ it's now snuggly sitting on my bulletin board, whee ~
*biggest huggles* miss you em :(


came back home from lectures to find my little gaim man blinking at me. *click click* went the mouse and up popped 4 urls. sinking feeling from first hearing about my friend's case started coming back. intuition proved itself right this time..

i debated whether i should be venting here or not for a while. by posting, i'm adding to the media circus this whole incident is turning out to be. i don't wanna do that. doesn't help that i don't like being one of the masses. i see a trend and i tend to avoid it. bandwagons tend to break down a lot and the ride is only as good as it lasts.

it's no longer about the intial event that sparked the mexican wave of commotion anymore. maybe i'm taking this wrong.. i'm not in my friend's situation so it'd be horribly presumptuous of me to say i know what he's going through. (here comes the but!) but as an outsider to this incident, one removed from the singapore blogosphere, i'm begininng to find the whole reaction much akin to a headless chicken race. the disclaimers, the <.strike> tags being used to maintain a post's original condition, the inaccuracy of the new reports of original event.. the telephone game comes to mind. sure, there are people putting a lot of effort to turn this into a learning experience, to analyze both sides of the story, to be a source of information to interested people but one can't help get the feeling that my friend is being used as a scapegoat to champion the cause and future of bloggers associated with singapore.

but to bite my tongue and not post....
well, this started out as my personal vent-space. to chronicle the itty bitty bits of everyday commoness for my sake. to not post would defeat the purpose of this blog and get me mad at the fact that i can't post what i want in my own blog... and that would get me wanting to vent about not being able to vent anyway. bah!

*shrug* i'm obviously not the only one concerned about my friend and what the future will bring, as blatantly documented by the numerous sites reflecting their own opinions on the matter. dishing out "leave him alone, let the hoo-haa die down" yet disregarding my own medicine to blog about the very matter anyway.. i'm a walking hypocrite. arghhhh :( what do you do...
i used to say that i'd be scared to be my patient, but i think i'd be scared if i was my own doctor.

*knock knock*

excuse me mister neighbor,
could i have a bit of your time
for i'd like to tell you,
you have a very horrible whine.

i can hear you through the common wall,
the one that shakes each night
from all that stomping you've been doing
with your gf when you fight.

excuse me mister neighbor,
i don't mean to be rude
when i bang against my bedroom wall,
i'm sorry i'm such a prude.

i can handle your banshee wailings,
i can handle your gf whining,
i can handle the door's constant slamming
but PUH-LEEZ, can you stop the stomping!

it's slowly driving me insane
like the lubdub of the tell-tale heart
except there's plenty of differences
my conscience is clear for a start.

both your tempers must be very short
or else there'd be less banging
let me clarify, i mean kitchen cupboards
just so nothing's left hanging o.0

i think by now, you should understand
what i'm trying to say
if you like being an elephant,
please save it for safari day

i hope you have the gift of empathy
so you'll know how it feels
to have your ceiling fixtures shudder
like when baby dumbo kneels.

if you are so unfortunate
to still not understand
i would gladly show you
by hiring a marching band.

i think by now that i'm truly rambling
so i better let you go.
i think i've taken too much of your time
but you'll still see me as friend, not foe.


pop goes the weas... toad

i'm still very disconcerted by what's happened to my blogger friend... everything's been whizzin' around my head, very much like the golden snitch of harry potter fame. it's even making the same noise. *bangs head*

seems like i'm not the only one with something to say about my friend's predicament. in light of this, i should draw up a disclaimer and auto-tag it as a signature to each post. or maybe i should rummage around online for things to make posts private... which may mean tackling wordpress. or maybe i should do both. gah! but why should i self-censor my posts in anticipation that someone won't like what they read? and i don't want to install wordpress! i hate conforming to the norm, to the masses. yes, i use hate. it's an incredibly strong word but the feeling gravitates towards that than to disdain, reluctance, loathe or dispise. it's a mishmash of all that. but then it brings up the irony of being unique. "you're unique, just like everyone else" is the cliched phrase that always comes to mind. it bugs me, only because it rings so true. bah, i'm rambling.. blame the snitch. shhhhhhhh!

on a lighter and completely random note, this is what my mailbox linked me to. the toads haven't been having it easy lately either..


how safe are you?

blogging... that's what you with with a blog, isn't it?

A weblog, web log or simply a blog, is a web application which contains periodic time-stamped posts on a common webpage.

the full definition's at the wikipedia page, but basically.. no matter what the contents may contain.. a blog is a personal website from what i gathered by googling blogging definition. now, this personal website is an online diary of sorts and usually contains posts arranged in chronological order. subject content can range from personal thoughts and musings to " updated headlines and news articles of other sites that are of interest to the user" according to the dictionary.com definition.

an old friend of mine had to take shut down his blog because he couldn't maintain it anymore. it wasn't because of money either. someone threatened to sue him for defamation. he stated on his blog that this was his personal blog showcasing his own opinion, mind you. now this is what confuzzles me... a blog's a collection of thoughts and things that are of interest to the author. it's my personal rant-space. one would assume that readers are smart enough to distinguish fact from opinion and when in doubt, there are always other resources to turn to for clarification. obviously, one reader couldn't and took it too seriously. or maybe he just had too much time and money and doesn't know how to google.

why should someone need to shut down his private plot of cyberspace where he chronicles his everyday musings, activities and shares tidbits that might be of interest to his friends? since when did one sue someone else for stating their opinion?? that kinda reeks of immaturity really... to not be able to take in the good with the bad. if that's the case, why aren't more people suing rival fansites online for digging out the latest piece of embarrasing gossip for their favorite teenybopper? why aren't china and japan suing each other for defamation? gawd, even kids have it down pat better than that!

kid: eeeew, you've got cooooties!
kid2: do not!
kid: do too! jimmy's got the coooooties, jimmy's got the coooties ~
kid2: i'm telling!!

now THAT is defamation.

according to a link to the communications law center provided by the state library of nsw, defamation can be proven if 3 things are fulfilled.
  • the material must have been published, which in this context means that it has been communicated to someone other than the aggrieved person.
  • the person aggrieved by the publication must have been identified by that publication.
  • the material published must be defamatory. In terms of a legal test material is defamatory if it does one of four things - expose a person to ridicule; lower their reputation in the eyes of members of the community; cause people to shun; or avoid them or injure their professional reputation.
now, with my friend's case.. i'm not sure what the offending piece of material was but making a haphazard guess, i'd say it had to do with a certain bond-breaking blogstorm recently. making the assumption that this was the issue in question (be it the actual issue or not is irrelevant. this is an assumption made for the sake of providing an example! gawd, need..to..cover...butt..)

anyway.. ok. let's pretend we're gonna sue my friend for defamation.
well, he's published his material in the form of his weblog.
he's also identified the person aggrieved by the publication. (Identification need not be by naming the person. It can arise from the inclusion of a number of characteristics that enable a person to be identified. Where a group of people have been collectively defamed, provided the group is limited in size, each member of that group may be a potential plaintiff. from the communications law center).
that leaves the last criteria to fulfill ~ defamation proper.

  • his material did not expose a person to ridicule. he certainly did not post with that purpose in mind; he posted to share his feelings and possibly get some validation or maybe a dose of reality from friends to steer him back on track.
  • his material did not lower their reputation in the eyes of members of the community. first of all, what community are u talking about... the general public or the student community? as far as the general public is concerned, i'd like to see the reader give me the statistics of what percent of the singapore population lowered their opinions of the Organization. as for the student community, i'd like to see the stats on whose opinions were affected. now, do these people constitute "the community"? if yes, you've just upset a lot of people by excluding them from their own segment of society.
  • his material did not cause people to shun or avoid the reader and/or Organization. the broken policy was about furthering oneself by leaving the country. a lot of factors go into play and to base such a huge decision on a stranger's blog... put it this way. the people offered the chance have plenty of opinions and thinking capabilities of their own, whether skewed or otherwise. they don't need someone else's opinion in their blog to sway them.
  • his material did not injure their professional reputation. this doesn't even stand... first of all, where's the professionalism to start with and secondly, what reputation? go ask anyone who's "served" with the Organization, be it as staff or client. give me a satisfied work force and client base as the status quo and i'll shut up.

reputation is a subjective thing and really, if you speak of reputations... who has heard of the reader and/or the Organization if one isn't from singapore? who knows where singapore is? go ask the average american kid. my friends knew i was moving to singapore at the end of eigth grade. it was the land of michael fay. "i don't want to see you on tv spraying mickey mouse on cars!" and "have fun in china! will miss you!" were some of the things i got in my yearbook that year. does that say anything about the general public outside of singapore knowing anything about the reputation of that particular reader who wants to sue my friend??

as a blogger, how safe do you feel about blogging now..
as a reader, do you feel empowered to slap lawsuits left right and center now..


even cds and stomachaches can't help much

dear mister burglar,

(well, you might have been a miss but we've decided no girl'll smash down a doorframe just because she can't dismantle the deadbolt with the screwdriver.)

what you did was very wrong. shame on you. santa won't be happy.

you broke into L's house, you smashed the glass in the door, you took her laptop and her brand new digicam her dad just got her. it was still gift wrapped for goodness sakes. that laptop's got all her med notes from first year til now. i hope you're happy. the police are after you and think you're a drug addict. you ransacked every cupboard in every room of her house. what were u expecting to uncover in the kitchen? it took L and her mom the whole day to clean up the mess you made.

you must be either really brave or just plain dumb to have broken in through the front door when there was a bigger pane of glass to break in the secluded back yard. to leave her tv, the stereo system and her discmans behind ~ you must be real cocky to take the most expensive things or just plain dumb. you also left her textbooks behind. the whole collection would've been worth more than her digicam that you took ~ you must've left your student years behind a long time ago to not know how much textbooks are worth.

if you have a heart, at least return L's notes. burn them on a cd if you want to keep the laptop. she's got exams in 8 weeks and has nothing now, thanks to you. you must be proud. to make a young girl barely 20 feel unsafe in her own home, uncertain of her academic future and emotionally unstable.

your conscience.

i don't know what to say... i'm just venting at how little one can do, at why it happened to L.. or why it had to happen at all in the first place. the police came and put their grubby hands all over everything so by the time the other team came to take fingerprints, there were no viable surfaces to take any from. the fact that L was supposed to be home that day but got held back by her tutor is a huge case of what if. what if she had been home? would they still have broken in? what if they still broke in while she was in the house? what would've happened then?

i find it disconcerting that everyone.. from the police to the carpenter installing the new door.. assumed that the burglars were most likey drug addicts who snitched the laptop and camera to pawn off for a few cones or something similar. if it's common knowledge, why hasn't been something been set up to help these people so that they don't turn to drugs? the only drugs and alcohol rehab specialist house shut down years ago due to lack of funding! the university spends millions on useless computer programs and roundabouts that are only one centimeter off the ground. the city's building snazzy new cafes and hotels to attract people into newcastle. yet, they're shutting down hospitals and rehab centers, shunting all these people who need the help to a weekly drug and alcohol clinic run by 5 staff who all have other roles at the mater wards.

what to do? what can be done? all that i can do is to help L get her life back to normalcy as she'd like it to be. *sigh* i gave her a cd of notes and stomachache to make her feel better for starters ^.^ the world can wait for it's turn to be fixed. besides, there are far more capable people around to do that.


someone needs a spanking and it's not me

breathe in and out.. deeep breaths amy, deeep breaths.
i told myself i wouldn't write about the protests going on in china and japan, but i don't listen to myself much it seems. was watching the abc news and it was the last straw. premature apologies for any ranting and incoherent speech. i don't have that naruwan button on my page for nothing. read at your own risk. and that of your blood pressure's. and yes, don't get me started on politics, especially issues concerning taiwan. this is when mean amy comes out to play..

politics have always been a touchy subject, especially when discussed among people who hold strong opinions about what they believe in and what they support.

to see the crowds protesting on mainland china tho.. i've got one question for each and every single protestor out there. if they all give me the same answer, or even similar answers and values, i'll shut up. i'd bet my big toe that the answer will be no. my question? do you know the reason for you physically being there and protesting?

the japanese have had a rough past in terms of foreign relations. they've been discriminated against in the states for "stealing the average american's jobs" in the past. they've been called various unflattering names. people make chinkie eyes at them (for being asian in general i guess). the taiwanese from my grandpa's generation hate them for making life hell during their occupation of taiwan years ago. you could say their occupation of taiwan was akin to hitler's reign in germany. we had the torture camps, the secret science labs with humans as the lab rats... yet, all this dark history is seldom talked about.

instead, the younger generations in japan are oblivious to it all because they weren't taught about their history in school. you see young japanese tourists crying at the war memorial in singapore as the tour guide explains the history and significance. it's a shock and it's not their fault that they don't know about it. if one doesn't leave the country, where do you expect them to learn from? the internet? ahhuh.. you can argue that point but it's a wobbly one considering how free-for-all the cyberworld is compared to the real world.

and the rest of the youngsters in the world, especially those in asia, namely those in China. how many of you adore jpop, swear by sanrio characters like hello kitty and pochacco, drool over the mini gadgets and gizmos concocted from japanese companies? yes, i'm talking to you too, the bubblegum pop girl at the Chinese busstop. yes you, the sign-wielding angry looking 20-something guy with the playstation at home. or what about you mister, the one who's dad is working for Sumitomo Bank as the general manager? GOODNESS people. you say you hate the japanese, you throw rotten eggs at their consulate, you chant slogans and war cries you hear other people chant... well if you're so vehemently against the japanese, get rid of that sony walkman. hell, go trash the factory that sony prolly has in china. practically everything's made there now. and while you're at it, go burn down the posters of SMAP and Noriko Sakai you have in your rooms, stomp on the cute tomy hidamari no tami nodding head dolls and tell me with a straight face you hate the japanese. that's what you're protesting about wasn't it? *cold stare*

Every source provides a different reason for the protests! rehearse your friggin protest agenda, geez. textbooks, a seat in the UN, oil, Taiwan...
  • ABC
    • the reporter: "Today we are here because the little Japanese distorted the history textbook."
    • a Chinese protestor: "First we are against Japan's intention to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. This is the first reason. Second, we are strongly against Japan occupying our Diaoyu Island, and we are calling for boycotts of Japanese goods."
  • Bloomberg.com
    • "Tensions between Japan and China have flared in recent weeks over claims that new textbooks don't accurately report atrocities committed by the Japanese when they occupied China before and during World War II, most notably the Nanjing massacre in 1937 where hundreds of thousands of civilians died."
    • "China is also angered by a territorial dispute over potentially resource-rich areas in the East China Sea and by Japan's joining the U.S. in designating Taiwan as a ``security concern'' within their defense umbrella"
  • BBC:
    • "Among them is Japan's approval of schoolbooks, which critics say play down Japanese wartime atrocities. They are also protesting against Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. On Wednesday, Japan further angered China by issuing drilling rights for oil and gas in a disputed area of the East China Sea."
  • NY Times:
    • "Many protesters said they were angry about a new version of a history textbook that they said whitewashed the darkest chapters of Japan's imperial conquest of China in the 1930's and 40's."
    • "Others said they had been motivated by a recent dispute between the countries over tiny islands in the East China Sea thought to be rich in oil and gas deposits. Still others cited reports that Japan was seeking a seat on the United Nations Security Council, which they said was intolerable unless Japan apologized more forthrightly for atrocities committed in China more than 60 years ago."
    • "People are taking part in this march because they aren't allowed to protest anything else," [a 23-year-old barber in central Shanghai] said.
if there was such a thing as Mother Earth of sorts.. i'd be the first one filling her shoes and yelling "shut up kids, stop fighting and go to your rooms. you're all grounded til the next ice age."

It's hard enough to get a Taiwanese liking the way the Chinese run the country and this isn't helping with that whole "let's kiss and make up thing". aren't you Chinese tho? why do you keep talking about them in 3rd person? well, no, i'm not Chinese. i don't live in the PRC, and neither do the 23 million Taiwanese citizens out there. you can tell me that my ancestors came from China if you trace back far enough but really, if you're gonna argue that.. then I'll tell you that my ancestor was an ameoba, the very same one you indirectly sprouted from. I'm Taiwanese and point your little mouse to the FAPA before you come accusing me of being pig-headed.

China's attitude comes across as the fat kid on the playground who used to get taunted. He doesn't anymore because he invites all the other kids to his house for free cakes and cookies. Now the fat kid's feeling smug and is starting to bully the little kids. He's getting away with it because all the other kids' mothers think he's a sweet harmless chap.. until this time, when he decides that he hasn't gotten enough attention and has old scores to settle anyway so he throws a tantrum.
goodness, grow up, own up.

one of the initial reasons was a japanese textbook omission of japanese-committed atrocities during their stint in China. the massacre is indeed atrocious but then again, so was the Tiananmen massacre. why did it take international outrage before China was forced to issue an official statement of sadness? what about the internal massacres that happened in China during the various dynasties?

dear Chinese officials, are you teaching the young'uns out there that it's not ok for your neighbor to chide your kid for running across their driveway but that it's ok for you to beat your kid up just because you felt like it? sounds to me that you don't care about your kid at all. all you care about is the pride. he's my kid, i can do whatever the hell i want. true, that's your kid.. but it sure doesn't reflect very well on your personal character.

From Bloomberg: "China opposes Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United Nation's Security Council and continues to criticize annual visits by Japanese prime ministers to a shrine honoring war criminals among the nation's honored heroes." At least they have the grace to pay their respects annually and the decency to swallow some pride and "atone" for what their ancestors and compatriots did. fat brat.

From the LA Times: "It didn't mention the protests, but said "frictions and problems of various kinds ... can only be settled in an orderly manner by abiding by the law and with a sober mind." So you say, Beijing. Surely, you must have had some part to play in allowing a public protest of that magnitude to happen for more than 5 minutes, judging from how you reacted to the Falun Gong gatherings previously? hypocrite.

Also from the LA Times and the BBC: "Shanghai's government blamed Japan for the violence, saying the demonstrations were prompted by "Japan's wrong attitudes and actions on a series of issues such as its history of aggression," the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing city government spokeswoman Jiao Yang." Japan's wrong attitude eh? What kind of attitude was that, Shanghai, when your government pointed missiles at Taiwan within 12 miles from Taiwanese borders as a "test"? pot calling the kettle black.

at least one japanese living in China has the grace to tell the ABC reporter: "Question: Is Japan purely to blame for this continuing animosity? YUMIKO HORI: That's a hard question to answer. I think primarily we [the Japanese] have the responsibility to acknowledge what has happened in the past, but I think there's other reasons why this kind of thing happens in China, not only because of Japan. I think they have their own problems here."

you know, contrary to what it may seem like, it's not the Chinese people (ie. general public) I don't like per se althougth a lot of them have grown up with the communistic propaganda ingrained. get rid of the old fogeys, the ones in the government i say. stop letting them "train" successors with the bribery, the brainwashing and let them use their own brains to figure out if they want to carry on the grand communistic designs. am i saying that China should be come a democracy or else they're archaic? no way. i'm not sure it's ready for democracy frankly. i'm not versed in politics at all and i'm sure there are some valid points to a communistic government or else it would've long since crumbled, but surely there must be a way of updating and upgrading to keep up with the times culturally as well as economically? no doubt the Chinese got the economic bit down pat with the new developments springing up like summer weeds in the past few years. what about working on that culture bit?

learn from those that show a bit more reason than you, beijing.. from the LA Times: "Thousands of people held peaceful protests Saturday in Hangzhou and Tianjin. In Beijing, hundreds of police blanketed Tiananmen Square in the heart of the capital to block a planned demonstration."
now go march yourself up to your room and do a bit of introspection. because mommy said so.

bitten by the doodle bug

sigh. supposed to be wrapping up the review tonight. instead, this was what i sacrificed my sleep for... *sigh* yes, that was me doodling the chook, not some poltergeist. (i love the website tho! neat concept and design!)

new personal deadline: sunday nite. must finish reviewing that guideline. grr!!
i think i also need to stop treating my blog as my personal post-it note program and grab a copy of that from D instead.

on a happy note tho..
  • even tho i didn't get to meet up with I, i got to yak on the phone with her
  • i got some opthalmology revision just by going thru the blasted guidelines
  • managed to come up with a 1cm stack of derm notecards
  • caught up with N sorta on msn.. until my comp went bonkers. he was gone when i rebooted bleahh
  • vacuumed my place
  • went thru about a quarter of a bottle of nutella in one nite. im talking about the big 750g bottles..*slurp*

off to sleep ~ need to get rid of panda syndrome.


Why I Miss the States - Reason #58

this is for you bert.. i figured it was too long to stick in as a comment on your site. sorry ozzie friends.. your aussienization attempts haven't been working too well hehe.

"Well, we have Coke, lemonade and lemon squash. What would you like?"

"OOoo! you have lemonade?! one lemonade please"

*looks puzzled at the fuss about lemonade but writes order down*

*Out comes 7-Up a few mins later*

"um 'cuse me, i asked for lemonade."

"This IS lemonade"

"no, that's 7-Up"

*puzzled look as she sets the drink down* We don't have 7-Up.

??? "um ok, i'll take whatever that is then"

took me about a month trying various ordering phrases to figure out that lemonade meant Sprite here. 7-Up doesn't exist in this country! lemon squash meant... real-lemonade-with-too-much-sugar-colored soda . as for real lemonade, it's non-existent here. even at juice bars *sigh* now, i just order coke. less fuss.


how would you like it?


the name says it all..
the person didn't last very long with that particular housemate eh.
reading that blog made me come up with a few scenarios... some are real, some are hypothetical, some happened to me, some were from friends like ZW and a few others who have shared horror housemate stories here and there ~ one thing i have to say tho... why is it so hard for someone to put themselves in the other person's shoes? all it takes is a bit of empathy. what's that you say?

how would you like it if your neighbor blasted music so loud that it shook the light fixtures in your room for the whole nite? that's annoying enough, let alone when you're trying to study for exams.

how would you like it if your neighbor gave you funny looks because they heard you wailing in despair much like a banshee would sound like at 11pm the night before?

how would you like it if you could hear your neighbor wailing like a banshee following what sounded like an argument with his girlfriend at 11pm tonight?

how would you like it if you could hear your neighbor's every step? you knew he first went to the bathroom but stopped by the kitchen sink because he ran his tap for 1 sec, and then ran for the phone without flushing and then know that his girlfriend walked in at that moment...

how would you like it if you, being someone who goes into anaphylaxis upon breathing in cigarette fumes, came home and your house smelled like ciggie smoke? your sheets, your carpet, your teddy bear, your friggin clothes...

how would you like it if you came home to a sink full of other people's dishes that have been there for so long that they've grown their own microecosystem and it's stuck to the sink anyway?

how would you like it if you woke up one morning to stagger to the bathroom half-asleep and dying to pee, to be confronted by a strange naked guy with nothing but a towel strategically wrapped and then proceed to walk into puddles of water on the bathroom floor he dripped behind?

how would you like it if you got out of the shower to use your towel and find it damp, knowing full well that the last time you showered at home was a week ago?

how would you like if your new housemate destroyed your new electrical appliances within the first 3 times of using them?

... i could go on and on but i'll spare you. if you can remember what you felt as you put urself in those situations above and remember that the next time you do something that just might irritate you if you were standing in the next room or about to come home to the same house.... and stop doing it, that would be a bit of empathy. as for the comment on the other person's blog:
"Sadly, I think I'd prefer to live with your flatmate rather than you. This site is an exercise in passive aggresive backstabbing. You're a truly horrible person"

the blogger didn't specify that the flatmate
didn't know about that blog. how can you assume the blogger was backstabbing? let's play his game and assume that the flatmate was oblivious to the blog's existence. how the hell is that backstabbing when 1) the flatmate remained totally anonymous except for the fact that we know she's female and 2) one of the purposes of online blogs is to be an avenue for venting, an especially appealing one due to the anonymity both the blogger and bloggee can have. i'd like to qualify garth's comment with an expression i said once, and only once, in 6th grade that made my friend's jaw drop with horrified glee... "go stick a stick up your butt." (hey gimme a break, i was 10 at the time... *devil tail swishes out*)



man dates. man-dates. mandates?

V sent over this article from the NY Times about The Man Date and well.. it's an interesting concept. you need to register to read the article, but it's free. for the lazy ones out there, here's a copy of the article. *click on the pic to enlarge it if you want to read it* (yes, im cheap. instead of hosting it and using up bandwidth, it's a jpg file on imageshack, hee)

Sooo.. does this ring true for the guys? No point directing the questions back at us girls. like the article says, girl dates are so common there's no need to concoct a specific name for them. we have shopping expeditions, visits to the museums, walks in the park, walks in the beach, exploring new cities, roadtrips.. and no, there's no squeamishness involved.

LOL, i love how the article ends with
A romantic date always trumps a man date.

now, does this give guys the excuse to get out of man dates now? if this rule is exercised, is the guy doing it out of the need to feel macho and manly to cause him to turn down his man date to go on his woman date or risk being labelled gay? or does the guy truly prefer to go on his woman date? hmm. assuming of course that the guy's heterosexual to begin with, that is. what if the woman date was with the annoying girl living down the hall from him who's been asking the guy out for the past year? does the guy still accept her invitation just so he can extricate himself from the man date with his childhood buddy? what would
you do? hmmmm...


a singapore sham

let me start by apologizing to the countless singaporean friends that might be offended by this post.. i'm sorry. i was just lucky to meet the people i have when i was there.
let the ranting begin..


Jiahao's story - http://newpaper.asia1.com.sg/printfriendly/0,4139,86038,00.html
the article says it all. all i have to add would be a personal message to Jiahao ~ i'm sorry you had to go through the shit. i had no idea what you were going through at the time.. i would so much like to help, yet i don't know what there is that can be done now. this post is.. well, me venting for you >.< thank you CK for the link.

and there's D's story.
He missed the honors program at the National University of Singapore (NUS) by 0.01 CAP/GPA point. He's one of the top 3 local students in the math faculty, which was supporting his appeal to the Dean to get into the honors program. The Dean gave it a quick glance and denied the appeal. Why did he miss the cut-off in the first place, you ask? NUS and Ministry of Education (MOE) had a sudden change of mind. (Quite similar to my medical faculty actually.. that's a whole other story onto itself.) D suddenly had to take honors modules in semester 1 of his first year while MOE implemented a new rule for future teachers to not need their 6 modules of english previously required. MOE was blissfully unaware that this wasn't to be taken at face value, that the module did not teach these future teachers to speak english (did MOE conveniently forget that english is one of singapore's official languages? are they insinuating that everyone who's thus far graduated from high school has incorrigible english abilities and that they should try to rectify english standards before unleashing these new teaching graduates on the next generation? now really...) Instead, the module was about linguistics.. the phonetics and characteristics of various languages were analyzed. So, all those linguistic modules he had completed no longer technically counted, but were still used to calculate his CAP anyway. The cut-off for the honors program was also suddenly lowered from 3.8 to 3.5 for everyone else born after 1980, a change that didn't benefit D, who had completed all his honor modules sans the project by this time. Obviously, he didn't do well enough to get into NUS honors but UNSW and the University of Melbourne accepted his application for direct honors. MOE rejected his application to go there countless times despite D's offer to pay full tuition fees for the overseas course... despite his reasons as a human being to further his studies now before his dad retired or else be denied the chance once he needs to pay for his family's expenses... despite repeated explanations regarding the circumstances beyond his control that led to the deficient 0.01 CAP/GPA he needed to get into the honors program locally. If it wasn't for the financial burden of breaking his bond as a local scholar, D would've long said hasta la vista and vamoosed.
that's the sg govt for you, and that's why i don't intend to live here all my
- quoted from D

"That's 2 only 2 sob stories!" you say. That's just the tip of the iceberg dear. What would speak more than words would be the statistics showing the number of scholarship bonds broken every year. What would be even more interesting would be to interview each scholar and find out their reasons. The government encourages graduates to take up scholarships ~ to go off and soak up knowledge from all corners of the world before returning home to share their expertise. Maybe the scheme would work if the students were valued as people rather than intellectual property serving not to better themselves, but to better the country and propel it into the glossy covers of magazines like Time to be listed as "Best Asian Country" or something similar. The government also welcomes foreign talent... who can blame them with the brain drain happening? The math department at NUS advertizes foreign lecturers as if hinting that local ones aren't as good. I feel for those students priviledged enough to get one of these lecturers hailing from the foreign lands of the Chinese Republic to teach math with Mandarin-accented English that's so thick that students are better off doing self-study from their textbooks at times.

I know that I may be pushing the wrong buttons in some of you who're patriotic and I acknowledge that these are sweeping opinionated statements that I'm making. I'd love to know what can be done about these unsaid, unheard injustices and inequalities happening not only to scholars, but to people from other sectors of life. I don't know tho. All I know is that everything starts with baby steps. Can you really blame someone for not knowing what you think if you don't tell them? Now.. be fair *wink*

I'd love to be able to find facts and figures to prove my points but oh, how convinient is it that this sort of information was deemed to "not be in the interest of the nation," according to the media backlash against Reuters some years ago by none other than Lee Kuan Yew, current Ministor Mentor of Singapore, justifying the statement by saying they did not understand the special circumstances of the nation.

So pray tell, what may these special circumstances be? Could it be.. that his beloved city-state is running a democratic facade to cover up the communistic principles in the background? Having lived in Singapore for a short 5 years, I've seen enough during my first 6 months to wish I had some ability to leave the hell-hole.

  • What was this I read in the papers about upgrading residential districts governed by the leading political party while the blocks just across the road remain in their dilapidated state because they belonged to another constituent?
  • Speaking of political parties.. have there been any of the "opposition parties" in control of the government since I've left or has the People's Action Party (PAP) been in control since 1965?
  • What's with the supposed freedom of speech? Dig up old newspapers regarding the hoo-haa about the Austin Powers movie. The censorship board prudently decided on behalf of the whole nation that they wouldn't be able to handle the word "shagged" in the movie title so they changed it to local slang instead. "Shioked" was eventually dropped due to the huge public outcry. It's a relief to realize that there are fewer sheep than there appears to be.
  • What is this about implementing novel educational ideas into secondary school cirriculum to keep up with the Jones? "Creative idea" projects gleaned from American systems are thrown into the already packed British-based syllabus. Wonderful idea in theory - the best of both worlds! Have they any idea what it feels like to be a student going THROUGH it all? How wise is it to identically transfer a sound idea into another context, environment, culture or society?
    • Take my current university as an example. They bought a software program "that all the American universities are using because it's so great and it can do this and that" ...spent a cool couple tens of thousands of dollars on it too. It was only after installation did they realize that the university hierarchies, course structures and names in Australia were different to their North American counterparts. Oops. Guess what the briliant solution was? Ah-huh.. the university restructured itself just so the software could be used. Took them over a year to reprint, re-announce, re-educate, re-organize everything.
  • Other personal gripes, mostly about the education system lol:
    • What's with all those essays in secondary school where we were supposed to creative, yet we were given a topic with specific points that needed to be covered to pass.. and a word limit?! Or how English assignments weren't given points because I didn't have the underlined words specified in the answer key on my assignment when I had used a synonym instead. As Abs would say.. What up?!?! I blame the British for this one..
    • What's with the sheep mentality? Kiasu-ism.. .and kiasi-ism, whilst being very much Singlish (yay for diversity!), is not something to be proud of as an identifying characteristic of a Singaporean. It's one thing being patriotic, it's another thing to be blindly patriotic.. to say that everything singaporean is good. That's like eating the moldy food your roommate just threw out from the take-out store you swear by because the food's from there.

I must admit, I'm probably stepping over the line with the last gripe because hey, it's not my place to go tell people how to live and think. Then again, it's also not your place to tell me what and how to think. "Stop dissing Singapore! If you hate it so much, don't come back!" you say.. I was the one who had a problem with the rest of the world so I dealt with it by getting out of there as fast as I could instead of sitting on my butt whinging. I could go on and on.. but I guess I'll leave you with this question...

How is it that a lot of my peers have more long-term planning skills, life experiences, intuition and logic at 20-odd years of age than the goons running universities and countries in their 40s and 50s?


music madness

been listening to vanessa mae and the bond girls ~ now i'm all psyched up to try learning a portable instrument. i still miss the singing but it's no fun singing alone. anyone in oz want to start an a capella group? *grin* had my share of the piano.. don't want a keyboard either. it's not like the real thing.. so that got me thinking.. something i can play in my dorm that's quiet. ahh.. something electric so i can put on a set of headphones and still play...

came up with electric flute but well... and anyway, flutes cost well over one grand so.. *strikes off list*
and then i saw it..

even tho i don't know how to play the violin yet.. (i can pluck at a guitar. i mean pluck, literally.)

it's cheaper than some of the traditional violins! this goes for $499.. tho now that i think about it, i'm not quite sure if that was in american or australian currency. but ashton's an ozzie brand.. hmmmm.



my booster shot of chinese roots

*beams* been kinda of lost lately and seeing your msn nick brought me back ^.^ thank you Jc, i needed that ~

ever had these moments? ones where all your troubles seem to fade away with those few magic words and everything seems to make sense all of the sudden? MMmmhmmm..

something i got from a temple in tw this time around had this.. sonnet? *blink* i guess you can call it a sonnet. it's not a haiku.. it's in the chinese version of the iambic pentameter but well, here're the first 2 lines:
yue chu guang huay si hai ming
qian tu something wei jian tai ping

lol, i realize that it may sound like gibberish.. (amy.. chinese...amy... chinese....*looks back and forth between the two* no matchie! i miss typing in chinese tho.. the whole thing's like pictionary to me, picking out words that look familiar and making them up along the way ~ ) even to those that know chinese but i just wanted to share that i'm not freaking out over academic stuff anymore and my brain's back from it's 6 month vacation to never-never land ^.^ at least for the day.

may i be so bold to hazard the statement that amy's back?
or is this just a confirmation that i've not only got restrictive lung disease and raynauds, but that i'm also schizoid...

apologies to those i've scared off ~