Friday, January 30, 2009

Play Lexulous with me!

And help me figure out the rules of this strange new eight-letter-on-a-rack, T = 2 points game.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I know racism's supposed to be dead in the age of Obama, but...

... I've been watching stuff on Apple Trailers.

1) In "Dragonball Evolution", both the hero Goku and the villain are played by white men.

2) In "Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li", the main character is played by a Eurasian who doesn't even really look Chinese.

3) "Push" is set in Hong Kong, but none of its main characters are Asian.

Somehow East Asian culture has become really popular, whereas East Asian bodies... less so. Sigh.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How annoying.

Which philosopher are you?
Your Result: Aristotle

Truth does not exist in some transcendent realm. We get to truth by applying reason to the physical world. The world follows logic and commonsense. Science if done properly is not to far from philosophy.

--This quiz was made by S. A-Lerer.

Sartre/Camus (late existentialists)


Early Wittgenstein / Positivists

W.v.O. Quine / Late Wittgenstein

Plato (strict rationalists)

Immanuel Kant

Which philosopher are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

I mean, seriously. He's the least cool philosopher, ever. Even Kant has the benefit of being so uncool he's cool.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Watching the Obama Inauguration now

Am I the only one who's bugged by the fact that everyone's talking about how he's the first guy in world history to go from the slave-class to the elected head of the country?

Because India was way ahead of 'em. Elected an untouchable as their tenth President way back in 1997.

From Wikipedia:

Narayanan is regarded as an independent and assertive President who set several precedents and enlarged the scope of the highest constitutional office. He described himself as a "working President" who worked "within the four corners of the Constitution"; something midway between an "executive President" who has direct power and a "rubber-stamp President" who endorses government decisions without question or deliberation.[2] He used his discretionary powers as a President and deviated from convention and precedent in many situations, including - but not limited to — the appointment of the Prime Minister in a hung Parliament, in dismissing a state government and imposing President's rule there at the suggestion of the Union Cabinet, and during the Kargil conflict. He presided over the golden jubilee celebrations of Indian independence and in the country's general election of 1998 became the first Indian President to vote when in office, setting another new precedent.

12:40 am: Barack H. Obama. Heh.

12:49: Wah lau. That homophobic Pastor Rick Warren just won't shut up. He's going through the entire Paternoster now. Oh good; now he's stopped.

KNN! "He effectively becomes the pastor of the nation"???? (I'm watching BBC btw.)

12:50: Aretha!!! What's with that hat???? And what language are you singing in???? Tongues?

1:02: Oops. Oath gaffe, Mr President-Elec- oh man, you're President now. Is Bush's tongue-slippage infectious? UPDATE: turns out the Chief Justice made the slip-up instead.

1:07: "The time has come to set aside childish things." I like it. Is this going to be the catchphrase of your inauguration?

1:10: "remaking America".... hee hee. This sounds like a Singapore policy.

You know, I'm getting a little scared of this man. I'm not sure if I want another American century; let Asia have its turn.

1:16: "Know that your people will judge you by what you build, not what you destroy." Very clever. Non-violent and constructive.

1:24: Inauguration poet Elizabeth Alexander!!!!

1:28: Okayeee... weird spoken word intonation combined with stark language and platitudes. I guess I like it, but I come awful close to not.

1:29: My god. The benediction guy is ancient.

1:33: "When yella can be okay fella? When the red man can get ahead, man???" (Oh, I see. He's a former civil rights leader.)

1:41: The post-speech dissection process reminds me of my old practical criticism papers. I think we're finished here. G'nite everybody!

1:47: HAHAHAHAAHHAAHAHA Dick Cheney's in a wheelchair. Let the bugger stay there and get bedsores.

14:31 the next day: Holy smokes. The USA had a part Native American president????

From Wikipedia, once again:

Chester Alan Arthur was the son of Irish born preacher William Arthur and Vermont born Malvina Stone Arthur. Malvina's grandfather, Uriah Stone, fought for the Continental Army during the American Revolution and named his son, Malvina's father, George Washington Stone. Malvina's mother was part Native American.[1]

During the 1880 U.S presidential election a New York attorney, Arthur P. Hinman, was hired to explore rumors of Arthur's foreign birth. Hinman alleged that Arthur was born in Ireland and did not come to the United States until he was fourteen years old. When that story failed to take root Hinman came forth with a new story that Arthur was born in Canada. This claim also fell on deaf ears.[5]

[o]n July 2, 1881, President Garfield was shot in the back by Charles J. Guiteau, who shouted: "I am a Stalwart of the Stalwarts... Arthur is president now!"[9] Arthur's shock at the assassination was augmented by his mortification at Guiteau's claim of political kinship. (Madmen and Geniuses, Barzman, 1974) Garfield initially survived the shooting, but due to a combination of infections and the poor medical care of the time, he gradually deteriorated and died on September 19.

The Arthur Administration enacted the first general Federal immigration law. Arthur approved a measure in 1882 excluding paupers, criminals, and the mentally ill. Congress also suspended Chinese immigration for ten years with the Chinese Exclusion Act, later making the restriction permanent.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm hosting ROJAK 13!

ROJAK 13: Interiors is happening on January 23rd, Friday 8pm at the National Museum (2nd level Concourse)

We have a wonderful lineup for the evening. The ROJAKers are:

1. Lin Weidong, Photography
2. Alecia Neo, Photography
3. Gilles Massot, Art
4. Maxine Chionh, Art
5. Donna Ong, Art
6. Mark Wee, Architecture & Interiors
7. Hans Tan, Industrial/Product Design
8. Larry Peh, Commercial/Industrial Design
9. Raihan Halim, Film
10. Benjamin Tan, Film

Rojak 13 is held in conjunction with Come-in, an exhibition of the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (ifa) and presented by National Museum of Singapore and Goethe Institut Singapore.
See you all soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yi-Sheng has just discovered Guy Maddin.

Here's the Heart of the World:

And Sissy Boy Slap Party:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Two Singaporeans defending Burmese workers arrested

by Nem Davies
Monday, 12 January 2009 20:34

New Delhi (Mizzima) -Two Singaporean activists were arrested after staging a protest on Monday against the government's rejection of the extension of work permits to Burmese nationals.

Seelan Palay and Chong Kai Xiong, who were demonstrating outside the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) office in Singapore, to highlight the plight of Burmese workers, were arrested around 1:00 pm by the Singapore Police.

"Both (activists) held placards of, 'Stop new treatment of Burmese activists'," Ho Choon Hiong, an independent documentary filmmaker, who witnessed the event, told Mizzima over the telephone.

The duo, wearing red T-shirts, distributed leaflets and flyers during the demonstration.

He said, the two demonstrators marched to the MOM office in order to talk to the officials on the plight of the Burmese workers.

"What I understand from these activists is, Singapore turned down the renewal of work permits to those who took part in the Burmese opposition movements," he added.

The Burmese in Singapore, occasionally held demonstrations against the Burmese Embassy in the country, to show their solidarity with the people of Burma. Several activities including demonstrations were held in May, over the junta's referendum polling and in the aftermath of the killer Cyclone Nargis.

Recently, sources said, two Burmese persons - Moe Kyaw Thu and Win Kyaw - who had actively participated in demonstrations, were turned down when their work permits came up for renewal, on the basis of a police record.

Both have reportedly stayed in Singapore for over 10 years and their permits are due to expire in the end of January, 2009.

"My stay permit will expire on Jan 27 and I have to leave Singapore before it expires," Moe Kyaw Thu, who has appealed four times to the Singaporean authorities to renew his work permit, told Mizzima.

"I sent my last appeal letter this morning to both the Singapore Prime Minister and President and requested them to consider renewing my permit on humanitarian grounds," Moe Kyaw Thu added.

According to Burmese workers in Singapore, the city-state hosts more than 60,000 Burmese, who fill up as general workers, technical skilled labourers and some as students.

The Singapore government in 2008, has rejected at least five people, who have police records of being involved in demonstrations against the Burmese military junta, from renewing their permits.

Via Mizzima. (Thanks, Richard Streitmatter-Tran!)

Monday, January 12, 2009

ICH lerne Deutsch mit Petra von Kant!

Homework assignment: write an e-mail describing a house and a room. Make an appointment about when you will next meet the addressee.

From Ming Wong.

Liebe Karin,

Wie geht’s, mein Liebling? Kennst du wo bin ich? Jetzt lebe ich nicht in Deutschland - ich wohne in Singapur, in einem Hochhaus in Punggol.

Meine Wohnung liegt im elften Stock. Das ist kleine und ein bisschen warme, aber sie ist auch sehr hell. Jetzt das ist ein bisschen chaotisch – gestern nacht habe ich zehn Flaschen Gin getrunken.

Im Wohnzimmer, liegt die Flaschen auf dem Fußboden. Meine Bücher sind unter dem Tisch, mit meinen Schuhen. Im Badzimmer, gibt es meine Stehlampe – sie steht im Badewanne. In der Küche ist das Telefon hinter dem Kühlschrank, und neben dem Kühlschrank, auf der rechten Seite, ist mein CD-player im Herd.

Alles ist verrückt, meine Karin; alles ist verrückt. In meinem Schlafzimmer hangen viele Fotos von dir: am links, am rechts, in jedem Platz; an den Wände, auf meinem Nachttisch, auf meiner Kommode, an meinem Spiegel.

Du müsst nach Singapur fliegen. Treffen wir am Samstag, am siebzehnte Januar, um Viertel vor acht in Changi Flughafen? Wir können in der Garten Botanisch bummeln, in Orchard Road einkaufen, und in Sentosa schwimmen.

Ich werde wahnsinnig ohne dich. Kennst du nicht das ich leide so?

Bis Samstag, meine Blume!

Petra Von Kant,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Robot Nation

This image is very puzzling:

I thought the reason there were so many foreign workers in Singapore was because they were cheaper than robots. But perhaps this graph focusses on manufacturing rather than construction, and manufacturing jobs aren't as open to foreigners as construction ones are?

By the way, don't think of our foreign construction workers as unskilled. I was talking to some of them from Bangladesh and they've attended polytechnics in Dhaka and have to go for courses on how to paint buildings over here. My ancestors were coolies; these guys are smarter than them.

Via IEEE Spectrum.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

One of the best jokes ever.

Sent to me by Seelan. I don't know why the Malaysianness or the Sikhness of the characters makes it better, but it does.

> A Sikh man is walking along Jalan Bukit Bintang, in Kuala Lumpur one
> night and a very gorgeous girl catches his eye.
> He strikes up a conversation with her, and quickly discovers that she
> is one of those "exclusive" ladies-of-the-trade.
> "How much do you charge?", asks Gerdial Singh
> Mary replies, "It starts at 500 ringgit for a hand-job."
> Gerdial says, "500 ringgit for a hand-job? No hand-job is worth that kind of money!"
> With a saucy flick of her eyelashes, Mary says, "Do you see that Mary
> Restaurant on the corner?"
> "Yes."
> "Do you see the next Mary's about another block further down?"
> "Yes."
> "And beyond that, do you see the third Mary's, just by the side of the

> old Cathay cinema?"
> "Yes."
> "Well," says Mary, smiling invitingly, "I own those.
> And, I own them because I give a hand-job that's worth 500 ringgit."
> Gerdial then exclaims, "What the hell? You only live once. I'll give it a try."
> They retire to the nearby Marriott Hotel.
> A short time later, Mr Gerdial Singh is sitting on the bed realising
> that he just experienced the hand-job of a lifetime, worth every bit
> of 500 ringgit.
> He is so amazed, he says, "I suppose a blow-job is 1,000 ringgit?"
> Mary replies, "RM1,500."
> "I wouldn't pay that for a blow-job!"
> Mary then says, while signalling Gerdial to come closer to her.
> "Come closer to this window, big boy. Do you see that bank just
> across the junction to Jalan Sultan Ismail?
> I own that bank outright. And I own it because I give a blow-job
> that's worth every sen of 1,500 ringgit !"
> And poor Gerdial, basking in the afterglow of that terrific
> hand-job,decides to put off his intended new mobile phone and says,
> "Give it to me !!!"
> Ten minutes later, he is sitting on the bed more amazed than before.
> Mr Singh can scarcely believe it but he feels he truly got his money's worth.
> He decides to dip into what else he may have left with him for one
> more glorious and unforgettable experience.
> He then asks Mary,"How much for some pussy?"
> Mary replies, "Come over here to this other window, I want to show you something.
> Do you see how the whole city of Kuala Lumpur is laid out before us
> .....all those beautiful lights, banks .... corporate offices ...
> business houses ..... and big-&-small shops and places?"
> "Wowwww !!" Gerdial shouts out in awe, "You own the whole city ??"
> "No," Mary replies, "but I would if I had a pussy."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

This makes me happy.

I am a creature who is very easily pleased.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Closer to home: our last kampung

Actually, I doubt it's the last. There's all these strange little pockets in Singapore - can anyone corroborate?

Incidentally, my little brother's left to do a week at Grameen Bank in Dhaka, Bangladesh. My immediate family will not be reunited in Singapore again for at least 2 1/2 years.

But of course, we haven't had a Chinese New Year together since 1996, so I imagine we'll survive. (Wait, I tell a lie. There was one year in 2006 we were all together, but that's been it.)

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Cambodian monks force nation's first rock opera off air

I've got an interest in censorship, and it amuses me that it's going haywire in countries other than Singapore and Malaysia. via AFP.

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodian monks have persuaded authorities to ban the country's first rock opera, which features actors dressed as clergy who break into song and dance, saying it insults Buddhism.

In a letter sent to the ministry of cults and religion, as well as to the media, the Supreme Sangha Council of Buddhist Monks also demanded an apology from the show's director, writer and actors.

"Where Elephants Weep", a modern take on a traditional Cambodian love story that merges pop and rock music with more traditional and historical Cambodian tunes, played in Phnom Penh from late November through early December.

It tells the story a Cambodian-American man who returns after the demise of the 1970s Khmer Rouge regime to reconnect with his roots. While he is a monk, he falls into a doomed love affair with a pop singer.


The show had a successful US preview last year and, after its run ends in Cambodia, it is expected to tour South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan before returning to the United States.

This actually resonates with past events in Singapore. In 1984, for example, the Singapore Buddhist Federation tried to ban a Chinese opera excerpt from "Forsaking Vows", in which a Buddhist monk and nun get down and dirty. I've also been told of theatremakers being advised, in the '80s, not to stage the musical "Nunsense", even though Catholic priests were cool with it, just because they didn't want to start a precedent for mocking religious figures through drama.

I'll probably be going to Cambodia in November to help out with the Flying Circus Project. I suppose this'll be an old joke by then. Helas!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

I could talk about important soulful matters right now, but I won't.

'Cos I'm tired and I've been wanting to embed this video for ages.

Girl shake that booty meat!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Why do I have friends who believe it's okay to say we should just bomb Africa?

Because it's messy?

As an addendum to saying that the Thai government should have gone Tiananmen on the airport protesters?

And who then get surprised when I get upset and say they're only saying what people on "South Park" say?

And who then say I should remember I live in a mansion and that that fact gets to a lot of people?

...confidential to the guys who actually said this to me: no-one's going to know it's you, of course I know it's a joke and I hurt your feelings as much as I hurt yours, but seriously man, I just don't understand how an educated person can feel that callous about human lives.

Gah!!! Can someone explain???

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Texts December 2008!

Last book recap of the year! And that's right, I didn't watch a single movie this month.

+Saul Williams’s “The Dead Emcee Scrolls”
+潘正镭's "天微明时我是诗人"
Madeleine Lee’s “Synaesthesia”
+Wordsworth Poetry Library’s “The Works of William Blake”

+Vítězslav Nezval’s “Valerie and Her Week of Wonders”
+Alan Bennett’s “The Uncommon Reader”
+Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s “The Coming Race”

+Jean-Paul Carrière and Peter Brook’s “The Mahabharata”
+August Wilson’s “Jitney”
+Beatrice Christian’s “Blue Murder”

Singapore Writers Centre’s “Writers Resource Kit, 2nd Edition”
Charles Firth’s “American Hoax”
+Karen Armstrong’s “A Short History of Myth”

Henry Carroll and Nigel Howlett’s “Fourteen Zebra”
+Takehiko Inoue’s “Vagabond”, Vol 1 and 2
+Naoki Urasawa’s “Monster”, Vols 4-6
+ Randall Munroe’s “xkcd”
+Gene Luen Yang’s “American Born Chinese”
+"The Art of Fallout 3"

Richel Xie’s “Simon Says”
+Migrant Voices’s “Let Me Off!”
Tan Kheng Hua and Janice Koh’s “Do Not Disturb – Late Checkout Please”

+NUS Museum and Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces’ “And The Difference Is: The Independence Project”
Singapore Art Museum’s “APAD Tradition, Innovation and Continuity”
+FOST Private Limited’s “Woman on Woman: Lace”
+Studio83’s “Anonymous: Photographs by Marcus Mok”