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1-10 August 2002

10 AugStar Trek
10 AugStamp/Stomp
10 AugCrush 3
10 AugCrush 2
10 AugCrush 1
9 AugRain or Shine, the Parade Must Go On
9 AugNational Day, part II
9 AugNational Day
7 AugA New Look
6 AugLate Post
4 AugNick Hornby, you're the man

Star Trek

10 August 2002 10:25 PM SGT

Added some Star Trek stuff.

Stamp/Stomp

10 August 2002 9:40 PM SGT

Heh, when I was checking what I wrote just now, I thought that stamp should be stomp, but it turns out that my usage of stamp in those cases was more correct (again, from Dictionary.com):

Usage Note: Stomp and stamp are interchangeable in the sense "to trample" or "to tread on violently": "stomped (or stamped) to death; stomping (or stamping) horses." Only stamp is used with "out" to mean "to eliminate": "stamp out a fire; stamp out poverty." Stamp is also standard in the sense "to strike the ground with the foot, as in anger or frustration," [to bring the foot down quickly] as in "He stamped his foot and began to cry." In an earlier survey the use of stomp in this example was rejected by a large majority of the Usage Panel.

Now are we clear, class?

Crush 3

10 August 2002 9:25 PM SGT

Haha there aren't really any more for a day, but ever notice how a word's spelling or look, I can't really say, begins to look strange or even irksome when the word is repeated many times? & not just repeated side by side like this this this this but in different locations? I wonder if anyone has done a study on this. Credits to Dictionary.com, by the way, for the definitions below.

Crush 2

10 August 2002 9:20 PM SGT

crush
n. 5. Informal.
a. A usually temporary infatuation.
b. One who is the object of such an infatuation.

Has everyone also received emails from sites like Crushlink or SomeoneLikesYou about how someone supposedly has a secret crush on you, then you're lured to this site where you have to register with them and (I didn't know this part until I read the articles) plead for clues regarding this anonymous person by giving out email addresses. The catch is that these email addresses are then spammed with the "you have a crush" emails. It's a particularly evil kind of spam technique that seems to have come up recently.

YEAH I guess it could be that there are some genuine cases of crushes out there, but the tool used to express affection is pretty lame by anyone's standards. Read the Salon article (The Bot Who Loved Me) and this investigative forum entry here. Much more background on this phenomenon and the geeks' quest to find the spammer. Personally I'd want to sue the money-grubbing idiot.

Crush 1

10 August 2002 9:10 PM SGT

crush
n. 1. The act of crushing; extreme pressure.

Last night I felt hungry and ventured out to my nearest 7-11's. It was about half past midnight, and of course it was mostly quiet and quite creepy. I passed a coffeshop on my return trip and there was this cockroach that scurried past me, but not so fast that I couldn't CRUSH it. But I passed - certainly unusual behaviour for me. I detest cockroaches - they're ugly, dirty & I wouldn't want to think about what could happen to you if you shared food with them. It used to be that whenever I returned from some late-night outing I would stamp on any cockroaches I could see at my void deck, and after a while I didn't see any more. Perhaps they (a) migrated to another block with no cockroach-stamping maniacs, (b) died out (unlikely), (c) got exterminated by some professionals the authorities called in. I don't know; I don't think I ever will.

Anyway back to the non-crush. Maybe it was because some late-nighters were sitting at a table nearby, talking about god-knows-what, and I was afraid that they'd think I'm weird. Sometimes I'm just too self-conscious. Or maybe it was because I didn't want to miss and have the ugly thing crawl over my foot (I was wearing slippers). Anyway they are real pests, and definitely I won't let that critter off the next time I have midnight hunger pangs.

Rain or Shine, the Parade Must Go On

9 August 2002 5:30 PM SGT

It's drizzling here; I wonder how it is at Kallang. Heh heh my "mental" rain dance worked somewhat. Another downpour to drench the parade's participants & spectators to demonstrate how stubborn garang & stupid brave Singaporeans can be?

National Day, part II

9 August 2002 5:30 PM SGT

Some families make it an annual tradition to queue up for tickets to see the National Day Parade, TV or otherwise. I think this year I'll begin a new tradition - NOT to watch the parade. It's pretty difficult because it's all anyone can put on their TV sets for 6-7+ this evening, & what with the nubile young pop sensation Sun Yanzi singing the latest patriotic song.

NEWater

I had watched the scene a few times on television, and certainly read of it since no expense of publicity was given to it. But yesterday I was present at a NEWater ceremony, stunt, whatever you want to call it. It involves some big shot, in my case the DPM Tony Tan, also Minister of Defence, & the military's top brass, enjoying some refreshments with the rest of us at the canteen as part of the National Day celebrations. Normally this would be a pretty droll affair, as everyone would just have their helping of cakes, doughnuts & Yeo's packet drinks while waiting for the guest-of-honours to leave so that we could. It was more of boredom of standing around than looking forward to work.

Anyway some of us had somehow gotten into a "great" position - just in front of them, & we all raised our little 350ml bottles of NEWater & went cheers. Behold the holy NEWater, our source of salvation from external enemies, the symbol of our final attainment of full independence. Some of the military men were almost drinking it with gusto. What's more we have these phenomena:

PM taste test certifies NEWater potable: I find all the hullabaloo about whether it tasted like normal tap water or mineral water or whatever pretty ridiculous. If the filtration and purification process is carried out properly then it's as good as worrying about the quality of normal treated water. It's not like the human senses can distinguish it from, say, water laced with a bit of poison, so whoever believes his taste buds to be more sensitive than chemical apparatus is just misguided. That said, I appreciate that all the information anyone could want about the process of making NEWater has been provided to the public through the media.

FM demands Malaysia compete with NEWater's price: It is a great accomplishment, the product of technological advances available at a cost unbelievable years before, I'm sure. But it's still water! Now we are in negotiations with Malaysia regarding future untreated water deals, and how much current prices should be raised (3 sen per thousand gallons I believe), our foreign minister Dr. Jayakumar is proclaiming that the new price agreed upon cannot be higher than the cost of producing the equivalent amount of NEWater, or we'll be at the losing end. That might be the right thing to discuss with your board of directors before a potential takeover, but this came across as obnoxious to me. It's like saying that Malaysia is compelled to sell us water, so with this NEWater as our bargaining chip, they had better roll over their backs and acquiesce to this price. No wonder Dr. Mahathir was moved enough to declare that his country would not be cowed, that they didn't need the income, that if Singapore thought its holy water so great they can terminate the water pact now. This is one time when I find some agreement with him.

National Day

9 August 2002 12:25 AM SGT

Oh it's National Day - the 37th anniversary of our little red-dot nation Singapore's independence. Let's sing the patriotic songs - oldies/goldies as well as the MTV-era hip new ones, say the pledge, watch the fireworks, sip some NEWater...

Why am I not more excited? Haha maybe the working life reduces a person to a snivelling holiday-greedy cad. But I think it's primarily because of my experiences serving in the SAF for this long, and my insights into what actually you mean (or don't) when you serve NS or sing the anthem, & do all that nationalistic stuff.

New content today:

A New Look

7 August 2002 13:40 PM SGT

I am taking advantage of a lull in work to start redesigning this page. It's simple not necessarily because I'm a simple person but because I don't have sophisticated skills, hahaha.

What's new for now:

Late Post

6 August 2002 2:25 AM SGT

Damn it's late.

I have good reasons actually, for posting something now instead of sleeping like any sensible fellow. Today was a pretty nice day; I had dinner with Eugene & Wilson at Plaza Singapura (affectionately known to pple of my generation as P.S.) & we had a nice long chat.

Anyway before that I went to Music Plaza & bought the CD with the Examination Pieces for Grade 5. The Syllabus is good for 2003-04 so I guess that gives me two years to be good enough to take the exam. I have a graphic of the CD cover taken from ABRSM Publishing although the image isn't that clear:Grade 5 Exam Pieces CD Cover

Oh yes I also visited quite a few blogs done by Singaporeans (through the SG Blogs portal) & I'm very impressed. Sigh this little blog of mine desperately needs a makeover. Wallpaper, logo, headings, graphics, maybe even scripting (put that down for the long term).

More on everything here soon. Right now I am just too tired, & I'll become a zombie in the morning if I don't sleep now.

Nick Hornby, you're the man

4 August 2002 12:41 AM SGT

My God, it's a new entry!

Relax I'm not dead or ill or anything, although I sort of wished somebody would be concerned enough, haha. Yes I know - wishful thinking. [Update: Eugene asked; thanks!] I just had the writer's block, I guess; most of the time one is content with going with the flow, letting events happen to you as they normally do instead of taking active notice. & I was kind of tired.

Anyway I finished another book by Nick Hornby yesterday, About a Boy. This book is very popular among National Library book-borrowers it seems - out of 25 copies there were only 3 available, and fortunately I managed to get one. It tells the tale of Will, a good-for-nothing in this 30s who's living off royalty payments for a Christmas song his father wrote ages ago, who is content to spend his life watching TV, shopping, chasing women or just idling around. It's when he hatches a new scheme to get hitched with single mothers that he meets Marcus, a precocious 12-year-old who has had to grow up pretty fast in a single parent family, a depressed mother and kids who won't stop bullying him at school. I loved these two paragraphs; it's in Hornby's trademark sardonic style:

This wasn't right. He was only a kid. He'd been thinking that more and more recently, as he got older and older. He didn't know why. Maybe it was because, when he really was only a kid, he wasn't capable of recognizing it - you had to be a certain age before you realized that you were actually quite young. Or maybe when he was little there was nothing to worry about - five or six years ago his mum never spent half the day shivering under a coat watching stupid cartoons, and even if she had he might not have thought it was anything out of the ordinary.

But something was going to have to give. He was having a shit time at school and a shit time at home, and as home and school was all there was to it, just about, that he was having a shit time all the time, apart from when he was asleep. Someone was going to have to do something about it, because he couldn't do anything about it himself, and he couldn't see who else there was, apart from the woman under the coat.

- About a Boy, by Nick Hornby, 1998. Page 48 of the Victor Gollancz hardcover edition

Anyway these two, Will and Marcus, come to rely on each other in ways they never expected, and eventually they are changed in innumerable ways. The film version, starring Hugh Grant as Will Freeman, is being shown at a film festival here in Singapore, and will be released more widely on August 22 - I'm really looking forward to it.

In fact, I was introduced to Hornby's works through a film, or more accurately, good ratings for High Fidelity, adapted from his first novel into a film with John Cusack as the lead. See, movie tie-ins do work. Since then I've read High Fidelity (an idler who can't seem to settle down into a long-term relationship & is wild about records, hence his habit of doing Top Ten lists of everything, and how he changes for the better or so), and How to Be Good (from the female perspective for once, about a GP (in Singapore lingo) who is frustrated at her husband's negativity, gets into an affair & then demands a divorce, but her husband experiences a kind of religious conversion & becomes determined to do good, & which is ironic since the wife is always going on about how she basically is a good person & wants to do good & yet coming against her idealistic new husband she seems realistic but cruel.) So as you can see, when I really like an author's style or his way of looking at things like marital relationships (Hornby in How to be Good) or technology biting back at you (Crichton, say) I try to pursue it by reading all the available works of the fellow. & when I do finish his corpora, well, I'll start all over again, haha.

Oh I have also found two good repositories of information of Nick Hornby - reviews, interviews etc.: at Penguin UK and Guardian Books. But please, read the books first ;-)

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