30 April 2006

Opposite Week

This entry is in response to The Negative Man's Opposite Week challenge. In summary, I'm supposed to write something supporting the party which I don't intend to vote for.

The situation now is that my vote tends towards the opposition. Not that I've already decided who I'm voting for, but PAP has to offer more if they want my vote. There are several factors for my choice, including lift upgrading (contrary to most Singaporeans, the issue of lift upgrading pushes the favour away from PAP because I find the use of such tactics disgusting; I'd even go as far as to call it a disguised form of money politics), the need for an opposition voice and how public services are rendered (e.g. I believe public transport service should not be privatised and operated with profit in mind).

Okay, so what's good with the PAP that I can give credit for? Locally (within the Kovan district of the Aljunied constituency where I live), I must say that Cynthia Phua is doing a pretty good job running the place. I applaud her swift actions in converting a former HDB office building to a community centre but with a much fresher look, in an effort to generate crowds to the area (activity declined alarmingly after the bus interchange there closed). I think her efforts are quite successful, because the crowds came back (though I cannot confirm if it is entirely due to that action).

Now, George Yeo... I don't know how he is faring as a Foreign Minister, since I have little knowledge about such foreign affairs stuff, but I think chances are low that someone in the WP team could match up to him. Personally, I still preferred Jayakumar, with his practically unreadable poker face, but George Yeo is fine.

The PAP team as a whole, there is absolutely no denial that they are a capable bunch. There is no doubt that they can deliver what they promise. They have both the resources and the track record to run the constituency effectively. Also, counting in their favour is WP's manifesto. There are several things I disagree with, such as the abolishment of the ethnic quota in HDB home ownership, the Internal Security Act and grassroot organisations.

That's how PAP fared in my opinion. As you can see, I am less concerned with materialistic matters and more into idealistic principles. That may be a result of my pretty well-off parents and my believe in the scientific method.

29 April 2006

The James Gomez Saga

Top of the election news is James Gomez's blunder at the Election Department, and PAP took no chances to lambaste the opposition on this issue. Admittedly, WP and James Gomez himself took far too long (in the election perspective) before he clarified matters. He said it was a mistake on his part due to the hectic schedule and asked for forgiveness.

Well, that was frank and honest, but the fact that he took so long before coming out, and the fact that he made a mistake, will count against him when I decide between his team and George Yeo's team. Nonetheless, to those PAP hypocrites who wasted no time to criticise him and the WP, I'd ask them to check themselves first, like CPF and Temasek Holdings. (I don't know what the PM thinks, but the CEO of Temasek should've been fired long ago, given the huge losses it incurred recently. And mind you they're Singaporean's money.)

On a side note, I can now firmly declare that Channel NewsAsia is one-sided. I'd say that at least 80% of the news on the election is about PAP. And it's quite amazing that they'd dedicate ten minutes of precious news time to report this single incident over and over again. The entire Channel NewsAsia election converage team is not even comparable to individuals such as Mr Wang Says So and Yawning Bread.

First World Country? Government? Opposition?

It seems like the First World thingy started by Lee Kuan Yew has caught on fire. Opposition parties fired back, and MM retaliated (lousily, in my opinion, for a man of his standard), then his son mocked the opposition for letting MM pick the theme of this election. That's a succinct summary of the First World developments in this election.

Now, "First World" is a categorisation on a country by the World Bank based on the level of industrialisation of that country. There are many criteria to fulfill... let's not go into it... but just take it that the World Bank's accurate in their judgement. So First World is a label on the country and not the government or opposition party. The World Bank doesn't walk around the globe and say which government is First World or not. There is no standard or formal definition for a First World government/opposition. So how do we define it? What does MM mean when he says "First World"?

Now, if we assume the straightforward definition, that a First World government is the government of a First World country, then we can say that the PAP (plus a miserably few opposition members) is a First World government. But arguing in that line of logic, shouldn't we define too a First World opposition as the opposition party of a First World country? Well, in that case, WP, SDA and SDP are all First World opposition parties! Hmm... MM's logic will KO if we assume this definition. Let's explore others.

Changing the definition a bit, if we define a First World government is one that brings a country to the First World standard, then of course, PAP is a First World government. Then we should also define an opposition that brings a country to the First World standard as a First World opposition too. That sounds flawed: how does an opposition (which by definition controls less than half of the parliament) steer a country in the first place? (Imagine the front passenger in a car helping the driver to turn the steering wheel!) If it does not control the parliament, it does not control the country, so it cannot "bring" the country at all. (Okay, maybe it can nudge it here and there once in a while, by we definitely cannot say "bring".) So by this definition, there is no such thing as a First World opposition. MM KO².

Or maybe the previous definition for a First World opposition is wrong; perhaps we should define it based on the contribution by the opposition that leads to a First World country. Okay, now we're on to something solid... indeed the contributions of the opposition to Singapore being a First World country is minimal. But let's put it into proportions. Of so many generations of parliament, the opposition took up, on average, about... what... a rough estimate: 1% of the seats? Probably less, considering that there is a long period of opposition drought before Jeyaretnam blasted himself into parliament. So the question is, did the opposition contribute their 1% to Singapore being First World? Well, frankly, I don't know, since I'm not born in the founding era and history textbooks never seem to talk about opposition anyway. I seek input here, but I believe it won't be hard to achieve 1%.

But we can also look at another alternative definition. A First World government/opposition is one that acts like how other First World government/opposition act. That is to say, their conduct, their rules, their laws and stuff like that. Very needless to say, the government failed in its job. But opposition? I don't deem them pass either, since which freaking opposition in other First World countries hold such miserable minority? Of course, you can argue that that's because of a non-First World government. But nonetheless, by that definition, the opposition are still not First World either.

So in many ways, MM is not making himself clear here. Yeah, I know... I don't have to understand what he means. I've just gotta keep quiet and sit down, and the government will run my life for me.

The Post of Mystery and Unknown

The time has come for the question...

28 April 2006

The Story of Neo and Smith

When The Matrix Revolutions ended, many of the people were mystified about how Agent Smith died. The most popular theory out there (which I also subscribed to until recently) is that when Smith copies himself onto Neo, he exposes his code to the machines, who had Neo plugged into their circuits. Consequentially, they are able to programme an "anti-virus" that specifically targets all copies of Smith in the Matrix and hence delete him.

However, I came across another theory which I liked more. This theory builds on the fact that, as the Oracle said, Smith is the opposite of Neo, created to "balance the equations" that were tilted when the One was created. That is to say, Smith is the anti-Neo. So when Smith copies himself onto Neo, their minds meet... their codes combine, and just like a proton colliding with an antiproton, they annihilate.

So why wouldn't they annihilate each other when they exchanged blows? That is because physical contact is nothing; their bodies are just shells in which their minds are held in. This is clear from the fact that Neo has a different appearance in the Matrix and out of it, as well as Smith being able to copy himself onto different bodies.

And why wouldn't they annihilate when Neo kills Smith by tunnelling into him at the end of the first movie? That is maybe due to the fact that Smith at that time has yet to be "unplugged". He, still under the control of the Matrix, is not fully himself and not a complete anti-Neo.

And lastly, matter-antimatter annihilation is usually instantaneous. Why does it take so long for Neo and Smith to annihilate? Well, the most satisfactory answer I can think of is that Neo is made up of many Neoons, and Smith, many Smithons, the antiparticle of Neoons. Since we know that in real life the number of particles is usually in the order of Avogadro's number, I would say it is going to take a while for all the Neoons to meet the Smithons.

Well, what do you think?

27 April 2006

The Battle for Aljunied

Defending team
George Yeo Yong-Boon
Cynthia Phua
Yeo Guat Kwang
Lim Hwee Hua
Zainul Abidin Mohd Rasheed

Challenging team
Sylvia Lim Swee Lian
Tan Wui-Hua
James Gomez
Goh Meng Seng
Mohd Rahizan bin Yaacob

Information is taken from PAPpy's website and WaPpy's website.

Whoa... Sylvia Lim siah! Tua tao leh! The best you can ask for in WP after Low Thia Khiang. Okie, this is gonna be a real fight!

An Ode to Paddy Chew

Below is a link to a great poem on Paddy Chew, the first Singaporean with AIDS to come forward. It's very touching, and a great tribute to this person who dared to step forth and speak for all AIDs victims. Please take a minute and read it.

Link.

26 April 2006

Chee Soon Juan - Maligned, Mad or Malicious?

(I'm assuming political discussion by individuals are allowed. Let me know if that's incorrect.)

I don't really know him, since my (proper) political awareness began only a couple of years back. The first time he came to my awareness was during the 2001 by-elections, when he accused Goh Chok Tong and Lee Kuan Yew of loaning some $18 billion to Indonesia. That, and his infamous act of breathing down Goh Chok Tong's neck with a loudhailer. (I'm not sure what the exact accusation was, but he was sued and lost and had to pay until he peng san. But according to him, when he asked, "where is the money?", Goh Chok Tong pointed to his own pocket. Hmm...)

After that, half the news about him was all just him getting sued and fined. The other half is him trying to do things like talking in Speakers' Corner without a permit, holding mini-rallies with his sister, and telling foreigners to boycott Singapore goods (I was like "What the...!!!" when I heard that, and lost much respect I had for him then).

I do agree with some of his ideas, such as more transparency in state-run organisations (like Temasek Holdings and the CPF board), more freedom of speech and press (something I feel strongly about too), and the removal of death penalty for drug trafficking.

(On the matter of drug trafficking, I believe that death sentence is far too harsh for a crime that does not inflict direct harm on the society or someone else. I mean, I'm perfectly fine with someone getting a life sentence for smuggling 15 g of heroin, but death sentence... I see it as a very special power of the state, and it should not be applied, for the lack of a better word, too casually. (For those who think that a life sentence is nowhere better than a death sentence, let me just say that I support euthanasia.) This is not to say that I oppose the death sentence, however. I do strongly agree that murderers and kidnappers and terrorists serve the society better when they're dead. In fact, I think people who drinks and drives and kills someone in the process should also be hanged/electrocuted/shot/guillotined/tickled to death. It is just that drug trafficking is not a danger enough to require the death sentence.)

But things must be done in the proper way - by debating in the parliament or feedback through the various channels if he cannot get into parliament - and not protesting and defying the laws. Breaking the laws wouldn't bring him anywhere, and it wouldn't buy him much respect in a place where many people respect the law. He is certainly not putting himself in good light by telling other nations to boycott Singapore goods. The laws may not be reasonable as other *ahem* First World countries, but it is at least not a communist-styled censorship. There are proper avenues for change; it's just that the door is damn bloody small.

More importantly, the ideas he expound must be in agreement with the majority of the population. I mean, if 90% of Singaporeans agree to let Lee Hsien Loong become a dictator, I suppose, no matter how much I dislike it, I will have to let it be. This is because, in principle, the parliament serves the people, and if that's what the people wants, that's what they get. It should not be serving one particular individual's interests, even if those interests are accepted in other democratic institutions. More so, it should not be serving what one thinks is best for the people. If he really wants to push for his agenda, he should get the approval of the people first. If people don't like freedom of press, if people like to listen to PAP-is-wonderful kind of news, then he shouldn't blame the government for not giving way. He can get the ally from other countries for all he wants, but it is the citizens of Singapore who matters. In fact, a Straits Times poll a few months back showed that a significant majority of Singaporeans support the death sentence on drug trafficking (I think it's more than 80%). Well, I disagree with them, but because this is a democracy, I suppose I just have to accept it.

Anyway, for those interested, I recommend reading Wikipedia's entry on Chee Soon Juan. Wikipedia is probably most neutral (though not very complete) on this matter that you can find out there. Also, you may want to look at things from his point of view by watching Singapore Rebel, the banned political film by Martyn See on Chee Soon Juan. I initially wanted to link it here, but it turns out that I'm not brave enough. You can find the video by doing a search in Google Video. And do him (and yourself and the freedom of speech/press) a little favour by listening to his most recent podcast (available on SDP's website). I don't care what the government says about podcasts; you're smart enough to make up your own damn mind.

ADDED: It seems that the podcast has been taken off after the Elections Department issued the order. The transcript is still available on their website though. And if you're really interested in listening to Chee's voice, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

25 April 2006

No Politics; Commercial Break!

Here's another (funny) commercial break:

An exceptionally creative use of music/song in this commercial:



Here's one that's fairly well done:



And, well, here's a quirky one:



Finally, this one is... hmm... a bit funny and strange. If only it were effective...

24 April 2006

PAP's Lawsuit Against SDP

(I'm assuming political discussion by individuals are allowed. Let me know if that's incorrect.)

"Singapore doesn't have a First World opposition; neither has it a First World Government." I was itching to say this, but I thought I'd better let someone more professional say it. So finally, Low Thia Khiang has voiced it out. Hooray!

Now to the main topic, I never agreed with PAP's defamation lawsuits. I'm not referring to the content; I questioning the method. The media is in their control, they can rebut easily. People are not stupid: they can compare SDP's words and PAP's accounts, and do the evaluation by themselves. In my opinion, if someone sues another person for defamation/slander/etc., that's because the suer has something to hide (*ahem* Durai *ahem*). But that's just my opinion, and we know that PAP have a long history of suing people, so I suppose they're just carrying on the tradition.

And I thought it was a bit extreme to lasso the publisher in too. Why bring the publisher in? Isn't the publisher in charge of printing and not the writing of the content? Sure, they do some editing too, but that's just spelling/grammatical corrections only. Okay, yeah, I know, a publisher should also judge if an article is printable or not, so in a way they are partially responsible too, but... isn't it too much? How would a publisher know if something is printable or not? The OBs are so grey! Who would dare to print for an opposition party in the future? Well, at least MM and PM has dropped the lawsuit against the publisher after the publisher apologised.

This is not to say that I support Chee's recent actions of defiance; quite the opposite I think he's getting a bit too much and out of touch with the public. I'll speak more about this in a later post.

ADDED 250406 0945: It seems that MM has countered Low's accusation that PAP's government is not First World. But wierd thing is, he justified himself only by saying that if PAP is not First World, then how can Singapore be First World. Personally, I don't see the link. Plus, he did not attempt to respond to Low's arguments on why PAP is not First World.

Microsoft, Apple and iPod

You must've have watched the Microsoft iPod Repackaging video clip by now; if not, watch it below!



And here's another nice little advertisement for the new Intel Mac:



And while we're at it, why not watch about the latest, smallest MP3 player in Apple's iPod line?



If that's still not enough for you, you can head down to watch a collection of Apple Switch ads. If you have not seen it before, do yourself a favour and watch the famous original Ellen Feiss switch ad (the first in the page).

23 April 2006

A Brief Political Comment

(I'm assuming political discussion by individuals are allowed. Let me know if that's incorrect.)

I was very surprised when I heard Worker's Party chairman (or is it chairwoman?) Sylvia Lim saying that they're "still in a building up process" and that "there is a still a long road ahead" to being a First World opposition party, in response to MM's words of building a First World opposition. It's not that I expected them to snap back at Lee Kuan Yew for his comments (that's something I would do, if I had the guts), but I'd never thought that they'd admit they are yet to be of standard.

Humble, cooperative... that's a rather different profile from the Jeyaretnam-style I used to associate WP (at least partially) with. Certainly, they have gained much of my respect, but as they said, they're still a distance behind PAP. But they're doing good in closing up that distance.

This is something I'd certainly be keeping watch of, since WP will be contesting against PAP in my constituency.

The Post of Mystery and Unknown

There's this chance, up north. Will it work? Unlikely...

Blogging on Politics during Election Period

I've checked on some of the government websites (MICA and MDA) but I could not find anything related to blogging about political stuff during this period (maybe I didn't look hard enough). So sniffing around other websites, I found that, despite what some mainstream newspaper wrote, political blogging is still allowed, as long as they do not promote a particular political line. (See articles in Yawning Bread and Tomorrow.sg.)

From this I gather that I am allow to still blog as per normal... comment on politics as before, until I receive an email saying that I need to register with MDA (and political sites registered with MDA are not allowed to broadcast any political content during the election period). Therefore, do expect to see some of my comments on the political scene and election campaigns and various events during this period.

Now, if anyone knows that the above statement is wrong, that political blogging is completely banned, please let me know by dropping a comment. Meanwhile, I will continue to speak as usual.

22 April 2006

Free Will (Part I)

(This entry is entitled "Part I" because I suspect I will be speaking more on this, especially when the comments come in and exams over. If that turns out to be false, then this "Part I" will be the one and only part.)

I know during the exams is probably the worst time to be embroiled in a philosophical question, but somehow you just can't stop one from silently creeping into your thoughts. I forgot from where did this philosophical question of mine inspire from, but it has certainly taken quite a good amount of my time (which could otherwise be better/worse spent in mugging for the exams).

Do we have free will?

The age-old question that dates back at least to the Greeks, molded by science throughout its course in history. Forget what the ancient people thought; today's scientific ideas were not known to them. I pondered over this, using current scientific philosophies and logical reasoning, without basing in on any religious ideas (hopefully).

A quick review: prior to the 20th century, all physics laws are deterministic. That is to say, it can give an absolutely precise prediction of the future given the appropriate equations and necessary data. For example, based on Kepler's and Newton's Laws, we can predict to amazing accuracy the paths of the interstellar objects in the years to come. So if we have a theory which can describe the world, we can, in principle, know what's going to happen in the future with absolute certainty. This is the philosophy famous scientists like Descarte and Laplace expound.

Then comes the quantum revolution at the turn of the 20th century, which replaces absolute precision with a smear of probability. Philosophy was turned upside-down and inside-out. The world became riddled with nonsensical ideas such as Schrödinger's Cat. Yet precisely because reality became a probability that proponents of free will push for the idea that free will exists in this region of undeterminism.

And in the mid-20th century came the chaos theory. In essence, a chaos system is one in which its equations of motion cannot be solved. It was encountered long ago; I know that Newton was troubled by a three-body gravitation problem which turns out to be a chaos system. This is different from quantum mechanics in that the theory is completely deterministic, but it is extremely sensitive to initial conditions. A slight difference in initial condition will result in a completely different path. This is also known as the butterfly effect. (Click here for a gif animation of a chaos system, and this is a very good introduction to chaos.)

So where does this free will reside in? Or more appropriately, in the onslaught of science, where does free will seek refuge in? Certainly not in the deterministic theories of the classical era. How about the quantum world? But quantum mechanics describe everything in probabilities, so does that mean that everytime we make a choice, it is actually not our free will that is choosing, but just that the dice happen to fall that way? Or is free will the dice? If free will is a function of probability, then we don't really have control over our "free" will. If a quantum mechanical system manifests our free will, does that mean that a radioactive nucleus, which is also subjected to the laws of quantum mechanics during decay, has free will too?

Or is it chaos that free will hides in? But chaotic systems are wholly deterministic. It is just that because it is so complex and sensitive to the inputs, it is almost impossible to predict the outcome (since there is always an error when making a measurement, however small it is). And if you call this free will, doesn't free will then become a "pseudo-free will"? In that it appears that we have free will, but the truth is, it is deterministic ultimately. (Put it in another way: if we have all the data in the world, and the correct equations, and an infinite amount of computing power, then we can predict with absolute certainty what your choices will be, what you will be doing in ten years time, and how many stomach aches you're going to get before you die.)

In any ways I can think of, in any direction of science, it seems that free will doesn't exist, or is just something that we cannot control (and hence a contradiction in itself). I personally don't like this idea at all, that I'm not in control of my life, but as it turns out so often in history, nature doesn't care what we like or not.

Perhaps The Merovingian was right after all.

21 April 2006

Addicted to Spam

Yes, I am. Nearly every morning I eat a plate of fried bee hoon or noodles from the Yong Tau Foo stall in Science canteen together with a slice of Spam.

Erm... not that spam. I mean the other (more commonly used) meaning of spam. C'mon, who else updates his blog everyday?

Anyway, for anyone who doesn't know how spam turned from meat to a hell lot of nonsense, it is a result of these guys:

20 April 2006

Here we go...

The news is finally out. The polling day is 060506 (Sat). Which is good in that exams would've ended by then. But it's bad, because the ongoing exams mean I'll be missing most of the election campaigns.

Aw, damn!

Never mind, for the sake of the country, I will sacrifice my computational science paper. On second thoughts, maybe not.

Some Exam Advice from Google Video

Well, for most in NUS, the exams are about to start, and for those in NTU, exams are drawing to a close. Regardless, here's some advice: don't start celebrating too early. Leave it till after your last paper.

19 April 2006

Music for Studying

I believe most people are now plunging their minds into the midst of words and equations, preparing for the inevitable. Well, here's something nice to soothe your mind while you work (or take a break): soothing music. Haha, yup, and I usually have some playing on my computer while I study. Just music, no words.

Sometimes, FM 92.4 may serve this purpose, but sometimes there are interruptions or no access to radio. So I listen to music downloaded from Cnet's music download centre, where an amazing collection of all genres of music are housed. They're mostly free to download (and those few that are not free can be streamed), but of course, the problem with this is the quality. Nonetheless, there are some very good artists, and below are a few I listen to often.

Cynthia Jordan
Her music is one of the first few I've downloaded, and remains to be my favourites. In fact, she has been up on the website's New Age chart for a long time. Highly recommended.

Timeless
Another chart-topper. Another of my favourites. Highly recommended. Note that one of the songs is a vocal one (it is labelled in its title).

David Caballero
This is a new one I've discovered. So far I find him pretty great. Be sure to listen to his Echoes from Rivendell. By itself, it is soothing enough, but true to its name, it does echo the scenery of Rivendell.

John Worsley
He's one of the later ones I've discovered, and his music is rather good. Try it!

John Rhyman
I find his style of music similar to John Worsley's. In another words, try his too!

Rick DeAguiar
His music are not bad. Not all are to my taste, but those that are, are good in my opinion.

And, one minor problem with these free downloaded music is that they do not have a standard volume. But there's an easy way to correct this, and it is by the use of a programme called MP3Gain which easily allows the adjustment of the volume of an MP3 by a few clicks.

So, sit back, enjoy, calm your mind.

18 April 2006

Homosexuality in Singapore

I've read a blog post from Mr Wang Says So on homosexuality in Singapore.

You know, I never understood why Singaporeans are not capable of accepting gays and lesbians in our society. Is our society not open enough? Not mature enough? Not gracious enough? Or maybe too "gracious" to have them in our society?

What is wrong? Homosexuals are still people. They don't create trouble; they don't create instability. The most one can complain is that they make him/her feel uncomfortable. Indeed, if someone I know of is gay, or even effeminate, I may feel slightly uncomfortable, but ultimately, this is a first impression. It will be what he does, that defines how I judge him. And if we expel someone from our society just because he/she makes us uncomfortable, then who would be left in our society but a few, intolerant, narrow-minded individuals?

The most oft quoted reason by politicians and law-makers is that homosexuality is unnatural. I wonder what they mean by this. Unnatural because it go against the evolution of the human being (for the propogation of our DNA or, for a more politically correct term, procreation)? In that case, shouldn't we execute those born with physical disability? Unnatural because people of the same gender should not have a sexual relationship? Who says so? Currently, as far as I know, there is no general consensus (from biological arguments) among the scientific community that homosexuality is unnatural. In fact, there is evidence to point that a person's sexual directions may be partially due to the genetic makeup of that person. So are we penalising them because of their "natural" behaviour? Or is it unnatural because it doesn't occur in nature, in other creatures? That's dead wrong, because I do know that many mammals do engage in homosexuality. I remember, for no particular reason, a vivid picture from an article in Times magazine eons ago, of two giraffes (the caption states that they are of the same sex) showing sexual affection to one another.

Or is it religion? But since when does a religious doctrine drive our society? Yes, we must have respect for others' religion (even this can be rather ambiguous; read Dilbert creator Scott Adam's blog post for more on this), but it should not control what we do, what we think, and how we treat others ("we" meaning the society as a whole). And how many times have religion been wrong in the past? Of course, this is no basis for arguing that their stand on homosexuality is wrong, but I've not heard of a convincing argument from them, either, that homosexuality is wrong.

In fact, this issue of homosexuality has been brought up recently when PAP introduced its first three candidates for the upcoming election. They have been asked on homosexuality, and a candidate who is a doctor (not the title, but the real you're-down-with-flu-now-cough-up-my-consultation-fee doctor) replied that he does "not think homosexuality is natural." (I took this quote from an article in Yawning Bread.) I was very disappointed with him. Is what a doctor learns different from what a scientist learns? Or is he just not keeping up with the news? Or is he saying this just so that he can go along with the majority opinion (assuming that's the case) and garner support? Or maybe it is just an opinion of his. Sure, that's fine, but from the way he structures his sentence,

I'm a doctor and I do not think that homosexuality is natural.


he is, consciously or unconsciously, implying that he is giving professional advice.

Life is difficult for everyone in Singapore, and more so for homosexuals. What did they do to deserve this? Can't we have equality, too, for them? Is Singapore too small? Are our hearts too small?

17 April 2006

Website Updated

I've brushed up the looks of my website... nothing spectecular, really. Just some content and interface changes. For anyone interested, I've linked my SP2171 project report on cosmological inflation there, as well as a couple of thoughts about the modules I've taken this semester.

16 April 2006

Animal Fun

Here's a little cute video clip we have here. Whoever's speaking is a qualified level 99 lecturer.



And some mice:



Don't you feel like them?

15 April 2006

Dialogue with Minister Mentor - Video

Here's the video clip of the one hour dialogue. I'm not embedding it here because it's really long and I don't think anyone who's really interested would want to watch it in such a small screen.

Dialogue with Minister Mentor

The Post of Mystery and Unknown

Applied the partition function last night. The best I can say is that things went pretty smoothly, except for the presence of an extra term.

14 April 2006

Dialogue with Minister Mentor - Update

Found who was the guy who "interviewed a hundred people and found that they were afraid of the PAP":

Most kena hammered by MM: Ken Kwek

Also, the one who interrupted others the most:

Most irritating participant: Lee Ching Wern

Of course she is going on the right track to becoming those foreign journalists who converge upon their targets like a swarm of fishes over fish feed.

12 April 2006

Dialogue with Minister Mentor

Just finished watching the forum with Lee Kuan Yew on Channelnewsasia. Had to rush back from school... stupid bus A2 came so late that I missed the first couple minutes of stuff.

Well, all I can say is that the participants got steamrollered by MM. Sure, they put really tough questions, but they had none of the capacity to fight on. Okay, I'm making them sound bad, but that's probably because MM refused to melt in their hands (lame pun intended). He could hold his ground firmly and smartly deflect questions meant to trap him or dig out ugly stuff.

Vivid was the memory of one guy, a journalist as I recall, who brought up that during a street poll he conducted for The Straits Times, he found out that many Singaporeans are afraid to speak against the PAP. It was rather amusing to see MM tear his arguments down bit by bit; in the end it turns out that he only interviewed about 40 people (the rest were done by other journalists on the same article), and only a portion of these 40 say that they have no comments (regarding the question of who will win the election). He should be lucky that this is a forum he speaking in; if he were to say something over the newspaper, it'd be likely that he'd go bankrupt.

That aside, I found that these group of people (the majority of which are women, though I'm not implying anything) are rather rude and impatient. Many keep interrupting each other, cutting into either other participants or MM halfway through, or turning the topic away abruptly. And when the floor is open for new questions (which is usually indicated by about one second of silence), sometimes two or three people suddenly started talking at once. It's typically the loudest (or the thickest skin one) that prevails. I was both pissed off and disappointed by many of them.

And then there was this girl (an undergraduate) that had a chance to speak. Then suddenly she was rattling off like a tree filled with mynahs that I couldn't catch half of what she was trying to say. Oh please, slow down! Advice from secondary school and JC teachers in speech craft come in handy now!

Above all, the greatest surprise of them all, is when a guy in black shirt spoke. A caption was added in to show his name:

Yam Yu Jian
23
Undergraduate


I was like... WHAT THE!!!... and I missed entirely what he said. That's because Yam Yu Jian was my platoon commander during my days in 3rd Guards. He really looked different! No longer the round face and the "come, let's go" tone, I couldn't recognise him at all! Okay, his long hair also played a part too. In fact, this is the first time I've seen him since... like what... two years?

Throughout the entire forum he did not speak a lot (which mean he did not commit the moral crime of interrupting and butting in that many others did), but when he spoke, he did ask some sharp questions, and responded to MM's replies well. He is certainly not one of those who pummel MM with the typical "PAP has an unfair playing ground" question, as far as I recall. He seemed more... measured in his words and arguments.

Now, it has really set me thinking, because when he left my platoon, I did not have a good impression of him (no one did, I believe). But that's the past, and I shall not talk about it (though I'll be seeing him this June during reservist). All I've gotta say is that I now have a different opinion of him. Okay, maybe he is just wayang in front of the camera only, but I think I can only make an affirmed opinion when I next see him.

11 April 2006

Restaurant Menus

Taken from mrbrown.com.

Be warned: this may consume two hours of your time - 15 minutes reading and the rest laughing your lungs out.

http://www.rahoi.com/2006/03/may-i-take-your-order.php
http://community.livejournal.com/engrish/164141.html

My Toothpaste



Spring water from France, eh?

Wow!

How many drops?

P.S.: "... spring water freshness that lasts and lasts." That's a pretty wierd line...

10 April 2006

Time Out: Have a Commercial Break

Two pieces of great works of art to break down your exam stress.





Okay, now, that's all. Back to studying...

09 April 2006

The Post of Mystery and Unknown

The day beckons, yet time is drawing short. The exams are now like a chasm; the cliff edge looms nearer and nearer in each passing day. Would there be time left? Would there be? Just for one?

The End of SP2171!... ?

Yes! I can see it! Yes! Yes! I can see the light!

...

Finally... finally... my SP2171 report is done and almost due.

Okay, a huge time gobbler is killed. Now I can start my revision for the exams, huh?

Psst... there's still the presentation next week and the viva in between.

Aw, fu-

06 April 2006

Newton's Three Laws of Graduation

First Law
Second Law
Third Law

How true.

And if it applies to me, an undergraduate, then am I doing something wrong?

The Post of Mystery and Unknown

How busy it is lately for me... is it worth a try, nonetheless? Life's flying past me now; am I left behind?

05 April 2006

Funny Blog

http://parkingidiots.blogspot.com/

Gotta be one of the funniest blogs I've ever read in my life. Not just the photos; the comments too are witty.

All thanks to the creator, the contributors, and all the idiots out there.

04 April 2006

Accidental Smiley

I was doing some accursed tutorial this morning when I looked up and saw this smiley on my cup:



Hahaha... Another little thing that lifted my low spirits.

Here're the objects that formed this smiley:

03 April 2006

Funny Video Clip Brightened up my Day; May it do the Same to You

Feeling pretty down these few days.

But here's some temporary relief:



Enjoy...

01 April 2006

Petition to Separate Upgrading and Election

http://www.petitiononline.com/merlion1/petition.html

Someone has set this up. Self-explanatory for Singaporeans. At the time of the posting of this entry, it has 1119 signatures. If the petition reflects your thought, please go ahead and put your name down. Don't worry, the ISD don't have enough cells to hold a thousand people.

To be frank though, I doubt this petition will bother the PAP at all. In my opinion, petitions hold very little power in themselves, especially in Singapore. Secondly, despite what they say, I believe the PAP puts its party interests ahead of the concerns of the people. I may be wrong of course, but...

...

Okay, now I fear the ISD...

P.S.: No, this is NOT an April Fool's joke.