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27 August 2011 – “Debate” finals at the moot court, with some weird style of half debate half mooting on some wtf motion on Singapore punching above its own weight. Hc wins – I insist it’s due to a good balance of yin and yang against an all boys team. Also, the first time I’m wearing my UNFAITHFUL debate t shirt. Heh, how apt.
As promised, this is yet again another ‘a year ago today’ post. These posts are particularly more worth it since they reveal more, more honest things and with usually more unflattering insights — since everything happens with less worry about immediate backlash. Events/emotions tend to fade from the minds of people easily (although that said, I did receive an angry email from person concerned in the previous year ago today post. I didn’t even remember the damn year ago post appearing). Hrm but even then, I should be comfortably out of debate after June
Above all, such posts have a cool ass TIME TRAVEL element – of suddenly reappearing and reminding me (and maybe even others) that such and such happened on this day last year, and these are my true thoughts:
I think the main question to consider here is whether or not I had an internal conflict at such a debate/dooting/whateveryoucallit final. Well, obviously no. I only had two emotions that day – worry before the finals, and plain joy after the finals. My memory might be tinted but I hardly recall having such feelings for even when I was actually competing. I don’t normally have a very strong drive to win, but this time I really just wanted the team to win. And I was damn happy when they did. One of them was made for this weird competition style, and just has been going on a roll for the entire tournament.
But back to the topic of inner conflict: In the first place, the other side was not really from my school. Maybe they’re under the same flag/brandname. But no, they don’t share common experiences/heritage/school building defects with my past six years. Okay fine, even if they were in the same school/family as I was, it’s not like I knew the people on the other side at the finals. And the abstract notion of school ties is insufficient to outweigh personal ties. Admittedly, i’ll feel a bit more of a pinch if it were rohan and avery. And even if it were up against the two of them, it’s not like I sacrificed a lot of sleep thinking about the cases for them right -_-
More fundamentally, I strongly believe that the notion of loyalty to any organization for loyalty sake is quite flawed. Perhaps its more valid if it was for the sake of a noble cause you believe in. But it’s quite laughable that one should be loyal to an institution allocated based on school scores to spend a couple of years at. You can be loyal to yourself, and to the people you care about – but for an organization? Organizations don’t feel pain or joy.People do. And the notion of loyalty to organization becomes obviously wrong when it comes at the expense of people. An organization doesn’t need any defending. I might be biased though.
And if you really want to play 飲水思源, then I must say that I am still giving back. In fact, my actions better fulfill that principle than if I were to help the other side.
It is at this point that the better question would be: whether I was doing this in spite of it being frowned upon, or precisely because it would be frowned upon. That, I do not know the answer. But I also think it’s a pointless question. The bottom line is that I’m satisfied where I am now, and that’s all that matters. Simply put, I wouldn’t otherwise have all these experiences
if I weren’t bribed by awfully chocolate and other free foods if I said no.
Looking at things, I guess I won’t be invited to the usual christmas party at a comfy holland v area house anymore, but hrm, at least I finally got an idea of what to write for my application essay. It’ll be completely shameless to do so, but it’s probably the best I can do at being special/deviant. It might work for those schools that don’t have a lot of rah rah school spirit (and a famed basketball team) It’ll also have to be written with more moral conflict and internal turmoil — not to mention Elements of Personal Growth. I could work on that.
I’m tired. I’m glad the past two tournaments have finally come to an end, leaving the rest of the year a lot more free. I just want to go chill somewhere and eat nonsense now.
If any of my principles have offended your inferior and stupid principles, just assume that I’m different after a year. People, together with their beliefs, could change a lot in a year! It’ll be unfair to judge me for the sins of the past :]
It was the last day of Last Meetings (with the exception of gremlin). All I can say is – after meeting around 15 people today, I feel contented, a bit tired, and very full.
My afternoon involved moving very smoothly down from nuslaw to hwach to tea party and another two stops further down for dinner. (Okay, my day started out elsewhere, and my day ended by backtracking slightly also – but those don’t fit into my narrative of moving smoothly, so let’s ignore that.)
Each episode today actually felt quite normal and ordinary. Almost anti-climatic. But put it all together and it merges into something more colorful.
Two episodes are particularly notable. First, finally meeting the hermit craw after a damn long time. I was actually planning to rush from nuslaw around 2 and then rush back to nuslaw to meet him at 330, and then kill time by myself from 4 to 6 on the laptop I brought out (but never needed to use today). See, I’m such a good friend! But by chance, someone held me up, and I ran into him right when I was leaving.
It’s funny how i’ve seen him at nuslaw multiple times over the past few years wearing the same thing as he was wearing today. Admittedly, the same could be said about myself.
The second episode, now that I think about it, isn’t worth mentioning to other people. they won’t be able to appreciate it. the only person who could is probably the Me from five years ago (or more), who would surely give me a High Five.
I shall now attempt to stay up late till the sun rises, since I can afford to (and am in fact obliged to) mess up my sleep hours. And in the meantime, I will try to finish my bottle of Baileys. i’m really not sure how much of it is left. hopefully less than half…
At the end of the day, right when I dug out all my coins, even the five cents, to have enough for a double scoop ice cream – i just HAD TO drop the fifty cents and helplessly watch it roll under the ice cream counter/tank/freezer. As a result, I only had money for a single scoop and there is now fifty cents under the ice cream counter at venezia at guthrie house.
Perhaps in an ambivalent way, it was a good thing. I feel stuffed already, and too much sugar is never good. But maybe that’s just a sour grapes mentality.
I thought these things only happen on TV.
One More Night – Stars
Bizarre HR: Candidates Without Facebook “Suspicious”
By: Rebecca Lewis, Global
Global – Human resources professionals are becoming increasingly wary of candidates who aren’t on Facebook, because it makes them look ‘abnormal’.
With the social networking site becoming such in integral part of modern society, HR departments are doing double takes at job candidates who don’t appear to have a Facebook profile, Forbes reported.
The biggest concern from employers is that a lack of a Facebook page – or other social networking sites – could mean the applicant’s online account contains so much inappropriate content that it had to be deleted.
While there could be many reasons a person does not have or want a Facebook page – whether it’s too addictive or they crave privacy – owning one is a sign of having a healthy social network, psychologist Christopher Moeller told Forbes.
Other psychologists, and German magazine Der Taggspiegel, go as far to point out accused theater shooter James Holmes and Norwegian mass murder Anders Behring Breivik, both do not have Facebook profiles, implying keeping yourself away from online social interaction could be a sign of dysfunctional, or even dangerous, ways.
Advice columnist for Slate.com, Emily Yoffee, wrote young people also shouldn’t date anyone who isn’t on Facebook for the same reasons.
“If you’re of a certain age… and that person doesn’t have a Facebook page, you may be getting a false name. It could be some kind of red flag,” she said.
Ahahaha, like I give a damn.
It’s funny how abnormal social interaction (no human faces, no direct contact, everything solely over text form instead of actual conversation and meeting – the hell is that even interaction?) is now regarded as “normal” social interaction.
The counter-argument is of course that facebook is supposed to supplement rather than supplant actual social interaction — whether this is really the case in practice, I’m not so sure.
And to be fair, “normal” is ultimately defined by the majority — even if it’s a stupid definition.
I should have done this years ago, but I finally threw out all ten of my old debate books today. I haven’t touched them since the end of 2007, but just left them at one of the upper shelves to serve some, i dunno, archival purpose or something. Wow, five years ago — I think quite a handful of people whom I know were just sec one then.
Flipping quickly through some of the pages, I could actually recall what happened at each page — who we were against, who spoke in what position, where it took place, and even a crisp layout of the old debate room with its furniture (until the Boys Brigade had girls and decided they needed a new room. I’m not sure what the link is).
I didn’t remember any of the content discussed (handwriting too illegible), but honestly who cares about that? The episodes over the four years came back to me. Watching seniors compete, sparring overly aggro girls, going for that completely useless supplementary programme. Then there were all these times of competitions, being coachless and training juniors.
Oh and of course, all the illegal trainings from a then NSF lucas, which actually formed the foundation of my debating. Those were actually useful. They took place at all sorts of places – one was at ITE simei, another at a library, another at a void deck, and inevitably some damn faraway secondary school. It’s probably some open secret by now, and after so many years and other more controversial things, honestly who cares? In fact, it probably explains other things.
Then I realised that I’ve actually known quite a number of my friends at least five years already – like the angstburger, who was angsting on our bus ride back at the end of sec four, and into the start of the first year, but only for awhile.
Ah, those were good times. I think I was really quite serious about debate back in secondary school. It probably consumed me then. No major exams, no girls to distract me, no gremlin to ponn training to go spend the afternoon eating nonsense. I also think that debate gave me a lot of what I have today – some ability to argue, boosted history lit and econs grades, presentation skills, the ability to own MUN floors (trivial though), a record to get overseas monies for schooling, and even this blog. Most importantly (and at the same time dangerously), it gave me the willingness to look at things from a different angle and really question certain things. On the flip side, here’s ten reasons why debate is unhealthy.
But I think I’ve had enough, I don’t want to be consumed anymore and I’ve gained what I needed already. It’s not as though I really needed the ten notebooks worth of space. I just wanted to throw it all away. After all, what better way to say “to hell with this” than to throw away all the debate books?
It’s time to move on.
Things which don’t make sense:
1. The very premise of turning this super secret agent into a factory worker: Britain has at its hands its former legendary most skilled agent, and what do they do with him? Give him the memories of a factory worker at a conveyor belt. Especially since they were going to reprogram him to be his old agent self again anyway, why not brainwash him to be back on their side instead of a useless nobody?
2. The plan to wipe out the colony: The pseudo-political justification given in the movie was that Britain was running out of living space (LEBENSTRAUM) and hence needed to wipe out the colony (Euphemism for Australia) in order to move more citizens there. Now this only works if it is at the expense of an “othering” – which wasn’t the case in the movie. There is free movement of labour between the two countries. The citizens look the same. The citizens of the colony work in Britain anyway. It’s not like they are Slavs, as per WW2.
3. The consequences of Rekall: Rekall isn’t just about administering dreams or hallucinations, as per Inception. They create memories, which then become a part of the person’s character/personality/beliefs. Isn’t it a bit dangerous to program someone with the memories and belief that he was an anti-government secret agent?
4. The presence of human soldiers: What exactly is the purpose of human soldiers in an invasion if the freaking android soldiers are so damn smart already???
5. Inconsistent accents: The British Chancellor didn’t have a British accent. The Australian rebel leader (unfortunately) didn’t have an Australian accent. Most of the characters sound plain American.
Things which merely amuse me:
1. Colin Farrell: much like In Bruges, he does this “i’m confused, in danger, panicking” look very well – although he was more sian, and more Irish in In Bruges.
2. Two chicks who look the same: I often had to look very carefully to see which chick is which, especially at the very last scene, I couldn’t tell whether there was a face change or not. I guess 1) the British accent served to tell the two apart. 2) It made the point that the protagonist didn’t choose his life based on which chick was hotter. Gremlin and I agree that one is hotter, while the other is prettier. (Cough kinsey scale cough)
3. Crazy murderous wife: The Chancellor wants you alive, but your wife would risk her job and position to shoot to kill. And she will continue to chase you with a sub-machine gun even after being reprimanded by the Chancellor.
4. Political conspiracy theory: Rebel groups don’t do bombings. Governments do – so that they can have funding/authority to increase military spending (or tap phones and invade oil rich countries). Hrm, makes you wonder why bombings only happen once so often in real life.
5. The entire Australia is Chinatown: I’m not sure if the director/producer was trying to be snarky. There is no more China to survive the world apocalypse. But it seemed that the Chinese population have merely moved to occupy The Colony and turn the entire landscape into a Chinatown-esque place. There are posters with Chinese words everywhere. The bartender is Chinese, and even a black woman wears an oriental outfit. Not an unforeseeable future.
6. OBAMA ON A BANK NOTE. Not bad.
7. The ‘what the fuck is real’ dilemma: This is my favourite scene in the movie. Right when you’re surrounded, your best friend from work appears to ‘negotiate’ with you. Tells you that you’re still in a dream, and the only way to wake up is to shoot the rebel girl – and then goes on to really really fuck with your mind and try to gain/play on your trust.
The correct thing to do will be to shoot that friend. Because if what he says is true, it’s a dream anyway – and he isn’t going to die from that, I think. If what he says is untrue, you would have otherwise shot a chick for nothing.
The plain SMLJWTF award:
1. The three boobed hooker: Completely random, uncalled for, not cute at all, and plain disturbing. I thought that was a bad chernobyl joke. Really not cute at all.
Two or three saturdays ago, while killing time with someone, I came across this in a library book:
It reads: “Pascal is a narrow-sighted fuck. Very lousy cost-benefit analysis.
1) Probability of god existing is unknown.
2) Payoff for living a sinful life is neglected.”
Woah, we got a bad-ass radical atheist here. Breaking the law to vandalise books to make his point.
I think the cost-benefit analysis can be broken down into: (Probability x Degree of utility) / Cost. While the vandal is right to point out that the other two factors are neglected, that’s not the point of Pascal’s wager. Pascal’s wager acknowledges the high cost and low probability, but argues that the degree of utility (not going to hell), is so great that it is still worth it.
The vandal could have made three better attacks on Pascal’s wager:
1. Rewards today versus in the distant future: Some people may place a greater value on a small sum of benefit today, than a larger sum in the far distant future. Or definite vs uncertain benefits.
2. The assumption that the cost translates into benefits: Pascal needs to be really sure that the sinful life that he gives up is sufficient to translate into the benefits he seek. I mean if he gave up womanizing, but continued, i don’t know, telling lies or kicking kittens – and that landed him in hell, it wouldnt have been worth giving up his vices. There is an insufficiently clear guideline to show whether someone is going to heaven or hell. If Pascal gave up a huge chunk of his sinful pleasures and still went to hell, FML mann.
3. According to Pascal’s wager, we should believe in the flying spaghetti monster: Pascal’s framework functions where there are only two choices, the Christian God and the godless lifestyle. This is not the case in the real world. You’ve got this variety of religions – some of which equally willing to send you to hell for being an infidel. Essentially, if we extended Pascal’s logic, he makes a case for ANY religion.
I’ll draw the link here to why the prosperity gospel is increasingly popular as a form of Christianity, seeing how it fuels the massive growth of megachurches in Singapore. Earlier I pointed out that a cost benefit analysis can roughly be broken down into (Probability x Degree of utility) / Cost. The traditional form of Christianity has an uncertain probability (afterlife in the future) and a high cost (basically every fuckshit is a sin), but the utility of going to heaven (or rather avoiding hell) justifies it.
How does the prosperity gospel change this calculation: In all three aspects of the cost benefit analysis. The benefit is increased since it includes health, wealth, and doing well in school. The probability is increased manifold since it shifts benefits from the afterlife to the current life. The cost is decreased because of the Pauline notion that faith is sufficient to justify…. and giving money to the church, of course.
Now, I’m not judging whether this is true or not. But this is one explanation as to why the prosperity gospel is so popular: from the pragmatic Singaporean perspective, it makes sense. The rest is human psychology (which I’ll discuss further next time.)
Oh wait, there’s more: “Faith, my friends, is a reward in itself. Created by man, for man. Choose to believe (or not) not based on some fuzzy ideal of salvation.”
Whoops, guess it wasn’t a bad-ass radical atheist. It was a bad-ass radical Christian. the radical atheist would have just gone home to write a blog post rather than be so burnt with passion to vandalize a BRAND NEW LIBRARY BOOK FOR THE PUBLIC. Irresponsible wanker.
And much as I agree that there ought to be a lesser emphasis on salvation from hell, the fact of the matter is that sin and salvation form the bedrock of Christian advertising/promotion/soul-catching/fishing…okay I can’t find the politically correct word for this. It is used to get the foot through the door at least – even for the prosperity churches. I must say, they’ve done a better job at it though.
If I may add, I speculate that people with comfortable lifestyles (us) are more driven by the fear of hell than the reward of heaven. After all, we’re comfortable already. It is those who are living in a shit hole, that need to hope for a better tomorrow. And if you told like this soviet peasant that he might be going to hell to eat horse shit for his atheism, he’ll be like “meh, that’s not very different from life now, is it”
Hmm, I did consider writing a response to the vandal on the book, but I guess I didn’t have any pen or pencil.