Monday, December 23, 2013

Matt Corby - Lonely Boy (The Black Keys Cover)

I feel this way now. But yet I push on.

Scuba Diving at Raja Ampat - West Papua Nov 2013

Pardon me for the lack of updates - I just got back a week long trip to West Papua. I was on a Live-on-Board - a small cruise ship outfitted for scuba diving.

There were about 15 divers onboard; we dived at Raja Ampat, which means four kings in Indonesian. It refers to the four currents that flow into that area - bringing with them nutrients, planketon, food that enables the sea creatures to feast on a seemingly infinite supply.

However, the number of sharks are dwindling due to overfishing. And there are not so many big creatures either - like tuna and the manta rays.

I had the immense fortune of swimming upclose to a Manta Ray twice - that was my highlight.

I also swam with dolphins but it was a brief but close encounter.

I'm off to Amsterdam/London/Budapest

Pardon me for not blogging much. I've got an active social scene in Singapore which doesn't give me much time to think a lot.

The year is coming to an end and I want to celebrate it by doing something different.

Going to Amsterdam/ London / Budapest in Winter is not a great idea - but hey, its still a big trip to Europe and I get to do different kinds of things from my usual routines.

The trip to Raja Ampat for scuba diving ... didn't really grab me. Sure, I swam with a giant Manta Ray, and with dolphins but that was brief.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

One more time

Occasionally I like to write poetry... I don't really know much about the mechanics of poetry. I wouldn't be able to compose a sonnet to save my own skin nor write a haiku ... but I like rhythm and the right word and poetry isn't poetry to me unless it makes you feel something.

A bit of background - so I met this girl awhile back, and we connected - I went back to Melbourne and all of a sudden she just dropped out. No messages. Nada. Totally cold. Its been over five months already but it seems more like 5 days since we last met or sometimes 5 years. The memory of her still remains fresh within me. Her smile especially. So here we go...

"Let me see you one more time
To touch you and feel the divine
I don't care if you aren't mine
I want to be with you if only for a brief moment in time."
YMC Singapore Dec 5th 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

The night sky tonight

The night sky tonight full and bright

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Morality Police - Underboob controversy

Meanwhile in Singapore, at a shopping mall + convention centre - Singapore police were mustered to arrest a cosplay participant - see above.

Apparently a 50+ year old female church goer - probably from "The Rock: Life Creation church" - was appalled by this young girl's costume and requested police support.

Since Singapore has one of the lowest crime rates in the world - and probably because police have nothing better to do with their time - they came to apprehend the said villan.

Wah lau, c'mon seriously. I can't believe this actually happened. I hope the police arrested the complainer for causing a public nuisance and for wasting the police time.

Singapore - the poverty line

There has been some debate over whether Singapore should have a minimum wage or whether it should have a poverty line or threshold.

Personally I find it very sad when you have civil servants and politicians who are being paid some of the highest salaries in the world debating over the pros and cons on what level of poverty a person needs to be before they get some form of assistance. Its a bit like having wolves having a discussion over where sheep and cattle should graze. How can someone who is being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year  empathize or understand the problems of someone who survives on less than ten thousand a year?

The problem about the Singapore system is that control of government and the civil service is held solely by the elites - you can get in only via a narrow criteria, ie paper academic qualifications. It is usually inherent in our human nature to protect and further our own selves, our families, our peer group, our self interests, our class and social status; and also to see the world from their perspective.

I'm sure a Swan will be puzzled when the chicken is spending all day tending to her eggs when it could be out gracefully flying - and vice versa.

Now if the govt body was held by a mixture of groups, that might work out. But when one group monopolizes control however...

I'm not saying that wolves and swans can't empathize with sheep and chickens. But that is often rare.

And perhaps that is what Singapore's leadership needs - people with a greater sense of empathy and care.

The Singapore people are remarkably tolerant and they have been grateful to all the PAP has done for them. However, it seems the Govt has lost its way in its pursuit of the worship of the GDP God. All this sacrifice that the people of Singapore have to go through - the sort of everyday shit that normal ordinary people have to endure is getting too much.

And I'm not sure whether the men and women in white fully appreciate this.

Chickens and swans

Do not make friends with chickens who tell you you can't fly when you know you are a swan.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My garden Melbourne Spring 2013.

To commemorate the 100 anniversary of World War One next year - 2014. I've planted over a million Flander Field poppy seeds in my garden. Most of them refused to germinate. And the ones that have -are  more of an orange vermillion color than red.

In Flanders Field

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt-Col. John McCrae, M.D., 1915
November 30, 1872 ­ January 28, 1918

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The bad son

Not much to report that is interesting really.

My mum in Singapore called me up a week ago angry that the electricity bill has been cut to our Singapore flat.

The bills are normally "giroed" (automatically deducted) from my old joint bank account. There is usually a lot of cash sitting there from our dividends and we should have no problems paying for it.

Unfortunately after I told my mum about where the dividends were going she decided to get them paid into her own personal bank account.

Then she decided to withdraw any remaining cash from the old joint bank account to feed her gambling addiction.

When questioned about it - she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Yes".

Any cash that I transferred into the account to help the bills was taken by her to gamble.

I gave up and let the account run dry.

And now the electricity has been cut and she wants me to top it up.

I feel like telling her to go 1234 herself. But she's my mum..

I am also too tired to care.

And she of course refuses to admit she has a problem.

On the surface she seems like such a kind gentle well mannered person. So I think everyone assume that whatever is going wrong must be my fault. I'm the bad son.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Bullying : this too will pass

I found the story about the bullied girl who took her own life very sad and troubling. Her mother is now going to spend the rest of her life grieving - so to that extent I feel a bit of anger towards the girl for being so foolish as to succumb to depression and to kill herself.

Having said that - suicide is something I have thought about off and on - esp. when I get very depressed over a turn of events - and when the people who are close to me like my mother who is addicted to gambling hurt me deeply.

Some of the things that have helped me so far overcome bullying and depression is:

1. Prayer and my Christian faith in a God who loves me unconditionally.

2. Humor. You need to laugh things off. Disconnect. Watch a movie or something.

3. Disconnect. If you think too much over the problems - you will fall into despair and you will drown. So go for a walk. Switch off the computer. Stop reading all the horrible news and gossip. Get some physical exercise - if you can't run, walk. Exercise will make you feel happy.

When I was in primary and secondary school I was bullied a lot. I was mocked at, laughed at, physically attacked. I didn't have any friends in Primary school except for one asshole who made him his friend so that he could have someone to pick on. When I was in the boarding school I was mocked at mercilessly, ostracized. The pain of loneliness was excruciating - and made worse because as a damaged person I was unable to interact well with other people. If you get bullied, you tend to get emotionally damaged - I become withdrawn, shy, etc.. and that is very hard to overcome.

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away." Philip K. Dick

My Bible believing parents used to advice me to just ignore the problem/ bullies and it will all go away. Or go tell your teacher etc.. I found that sometimes the teachers used to sympathize with the bullies - esp if they were the popular kids in class.

And this whole notion of burying your head under the sand doesn't seem to help either. In fact sometimes it causes the bullies to try and push you further over the edge.

Sometimes it is practically impossible to ignore the bullying. As Philip Dick wrote - reality is something which you can't ignore even if you try to stop believing in it.

The power that bullies have over their victims varies - depending upon the environment. It is often worse if the bullies are very popular - hello Hitler, Stalin - and everyone seems to like them including the damn teachers/system.

Philip Dick also wrote: " today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, (by various) groups. . . . What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind."

People will say you are clumsy, hopeless, stupid, ugly, lazy, a whore, a moron, a thief, a liar, a loser. And if they say it often enough you may even start believing it.

Bullying starts off within a realm of the mind. First it begins with words. Then with actions. Then it gains mob support or some form of authority, the good people shut up or follow along, and then it becomes really horrible.

Sometimes if it becomes too much you just gotta get away from the situation. Sometimes the opposition is just too strong! Everyone faces a Dunkirk someday. Change school. Take a holiday. Move to another city or country. Stop using fucking Facebook or change your account and privacy settings. Delete shit comments that people make about you. Do something radical that does not involve suicide.

But if you are stuck and can't get out. Then looks like you have to endure it. Do not let their taunts get to you - if possible laugh or mock at them back. Try and find friends who are supportive and do not treat you like shit. Stay away from fake-friends who do (treat you like shit). And know this - one day, you will get out of the situation somehow and you will be in a better place. Read the stories of people who experienced hardship but eventually pulled through to motivate you. But you won't experience this if you are dead.

The enemy wants to tear us down. They want to humiliate us. They want to destroy us. But we are not going to let them win. Its often a mind game. Don't let them get to you. Don't let them win.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Orange Butter Cake recipe

I've tried this recipe out for a long time now and it really works.

The Ingriedients below make one 2 pound cake.

125g Butter
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cupOrange Juice
2 eggs
3/4 cup Caster Sugar
1.5 cups Self Raising Flour
Orange Zest - from 2 Oranges
One Pinch of Salt
One Drop of Vanilla Essence

Put the Waxing/Baking Paper into the tin. Lightly butter the insides of paper/tin by using the wrapping paper of the butter.
Turn on and Preheat the Oven to 180C.

Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature - otherwise they don't gel so well. This applies esp to the butter. If the butter is stone cold - a problem in Melbourne's colder months - it will take forever for it to be mixed in with sugar.

Step 1.Make sure Butter is at room temp - soft to the touch; if not microwave it for 5 seconds. Cream the Butter and the Sugar ONLY. Stir them around til the Sugar is fully mixed in with the butter and you get that lovely yellow texture look. Don't stir for too long (like 30 minutes) to avoid the butter changing back to oil. Throw in a pinch of salt too.

Step 2.Add Eggs and Stir that in well. Turn on and Preheat the Oven to 180C.

Step 3.Add half a cup of Milk now. Stir well. You can also add in a small teardrop of vanilla essence. Or if you want you can do this when you pour the flour in.

Step 4 Sift the SR Flour and add it in. Once you have added the flour don't stir it around too much. Do this manually by hand and not by machine. As you stir it - add in the *half cup of orange juice (OJ) and the orange zest (taken from 2 Oranges). I like to add in chopped sliced mandarin skin.
Do not mix the milk and the orange juice simultaneously because the OJ makes the milk curdle.

Note on Orange Zest - do yourself a favor and get a nice hand held Orange Zester that can really scrub away at the orange skin. I bought mine from Kmart - a Swiss made one that cost $10. Its fantastic! The trick is to remove the orange part of the skin without getting the white stuff, which like the seed, makes it bitter.

I also like to throw in one Mandarin skin as well but I make sure I remove as much of the white part of the skin as possible. Remove all seeds - they make it bitter.)

(Note on OJ - I don't like adding the milk together with the OJ on account of the juice causing the milk to curdle. So I like to add the OJ and rind last as I'm stiring the flour in.

Step 5: Pour the cake mix into the baking tins. Then place them into the oven.

Step 6: Wait 40 minutes. Open the Oven door and use a small skewer (like a satay stick) to poke into the cake's interior. Examine the skewer - if wet soggy lumps of unbaked cake mix cling to it then close the oven door and bake it for another few minutes. If its done, the skewer should pull out fairly cleanly.

Step 7: Once its done - take the cake out of the oven and take out the cake from the tin immediately to prevent residual baking. And let it cool. Warning. If your cake did not bake properly - it will disintegrate as you dump it out of the tin. That's why you need to use that wooden skewer to test it.

If you don't have Orange Juice or Oranges - I guess you can use Orange Marmalade. Perhaps 4? tablespoons of OM should be ok (I'm really not sure). You should need to be careful adding that sort of stuff as the more liquid/sugar you put inside - the wetter the cake will be etc..)

Generally I prefer to double up on this recipe because butter is usually sold in 250g blocks - its also easier to measure half cups rather than quarter cups. But you will get two 2 pound cakes out of this. So you need two separate cake tins.

So if you use a 250g block. You need

Two baking tins
250g butter
1.5 cups Sugar
4 eggs
0.5 cups Milk
0.5 cups Orange Juice
2 tablespoons Orange Zest (or the zest from two Oranges)
3 cups Self Raising Flour, Sifted
1 small teaspoon Vanilla and salt

Note: Make sure you do not add extra flour.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Ashley Madison in Singapore - whats wrong with a little fun on the side?

Once again the Singapore Govt goes all nuts against a "socially deviant" site. How predictable. Anything to take the public's mind off other troubling matters - like how the new casinos are destroying families or how there is a shortage of affordable properties for couples wanting to get married. Yawn, what soft targets are they going after next? Are they going to start banning all contact between the sexes until they turn 22?

Bashing away at a website is probably a bit more easier than torturing locking up social conscious lawyers and social workers I guess; anyone remember the Marxist Conspiracy in the 1980s? But I find it sad that while the Singapore Govt profess to be all about strong marriages and traditional families - it's business policies and relatively slack labor laws make it easy for businesses to exploit workers and in effect damage marriages.

In Singapore, bosses frequently have no compunction about calling up their staff to work on weekdays and even on their honeymoon - frequently without overtime. That's absolutely ridiculous. Maybe giving the boss all the power she needs without any checks and balances to achieve profit levels at any cost is not a great idea - hello Ms. Saw of SMRT fame. To me it seems very short shortsighted - the boss is of course very happy because he or she is able to achieve massive profit growth by burning out the lives of their staff and  walks off with a fat bonus at the end of the year. This is of course not unique to Singapore - in Australia, the CEO of a major bank which lost over a hundred million dollars got sacked and walked off with a golden slip of $14 million dollars. I wish I could get fired like that. But at least in Australia they have universal hospital cover and people can still afford their own homes without selling their souls to the bank.

If you're going to have a system where they treat workers as cogs in the machine with little rights - you're definitely going to be damaging relationships and marriages and families. Marry that with a worker migration policy designed to lower wages and a foreigner friendly property investment policy - which is cruel to have in a small country with a tight land mass - and you're just going to be make it too hard for many Singaporeans to start or raise their own families.You don't have to be a scholar or highly paid government official to figure that out.

Getting into hysterics over deviant websites will of course please the prudes and the ignorant - but I think that most Singaporeans are smart enough to realize that this is just plain posturing.

Got better things to do with their time meh?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Beauty Myth

I have mixed feelings watching this. I sympathize with her because when I was in primary school and high school I was bullied sometimes mercilessly. I accepted it because my church going bible believing parents also bullied me and treated me like shit sometimes.

Some of my strongest memories from  that period were the ones where I was abused, yelled at, beaten and made to feel like a sack of shit.

But I watch this video where this rather fat lady wants to let everyone know that she is a swimsuit model and that she is beautiful and I have mixed feelings about it.

In our "visual" society - beauty is often ranked equally with one's self-worth. That shouldn't be the way. But it often is. I confess that I'm guilty of often judging people by how they look.

Polite Society wants everyone to feel that they are beautiful and that you should accept who you are. For fat people - the Spin goes - there is more of me to love.

I'm not sure about that. I think part of this desire to want to be "beautiful" stems from a desire to be accepted and loved - therefore she seems to be saying "I represent the average woman, I am beautiful."

Beauty to me - well physical beauty - has certain rules. Beauty first off is in the eye of the beholder. But there are certain aesthetically qualities about beauty that is commonly accepted.

A certain level of fitness is commendable.

A certain level of discipline with regard to eating junk food is also commendable.

And people's idea of what's beautiful has usually a set range.

But what I really want to ask her is - "Why are you doing this? Are you trying to compare yourself to Kate Upton or some popular swimsuit model?"

There are certain standards for judging beauty just as there are certain standards for judging intelligent or health. 

Some people might find that repulsive. But hey, so does flunking math. Will you laugh derisively at a pretty lady or a handsome man who can't calculate the amount of cash he needs to buy his lunch and catch a bus back home? I bet you would.

That woman saying that she is beautiful seems a bit like me coming out and saying, "I'm a great math genius." (I'm not).

Maybe the approach should be to accept who you really are - "I'm OK but I'm absolutely shit in accounting."

or "I'm OK! But I'm naturally clumsy. But I'm doing part time ballet classes to improve my posture and sense of grace."

or "I'm OK! But I sometimes shy, withdrawn, insecure but thats me and I'm finding ways to deal with it."

or "I'm fat. But I am exercising to become lean and fit." - which I was at one point in time.

or "I'm not attractive, or beautiful in the conventional sense but that's OK. That's me. I have other gifts. My self-esteem is not related to how people see me or how I look."

Everyone seems to want to find something in their life in boost their own level of self-esteem.

I'm beautiful. I'm smart. I'm rich. I'm cool.

Maybe a better way than trying to tag ourselves to something elusive - is to simply say - I'm OK. I'm OK because I'm a human being. I have a soul. I have life. I might be fat, not great at math, clumsy, socially awkward, unpopular, but that's who I am. And if there is something I can do about it - I will try it. I don't care whether you accept me or not because my self-worth is not dependent on the popular view. I am who I am. Don't mock me. That's rude.

But I think her problem is to equate physical attraction with personal self-esteem. Not all of us are clever, not all of us are agile, quick, smart etc... we all have different gifts.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Democracy in Singapore: Representational Mismatch

A huge problem facing Singapore now is the problem of housing.

When I read that HDB flats are costing upwards of $700,000, seriously wtf.

And the only one to blame for this is the PAP - (the People's Action Party) - the ruling party who has governed Singapore 100% since the 1960s.

90% of Singaporeans live in HDB (Government Housing) apartments. Sidenote: Unlike most Western nations where public housing is considered the absolute pits - in Singapore, it actually is pretty good. And all praise to the PAP for setting up a good system there.

But back to the angst - the PAP which has controlled the Govt since the 1960s - is directly responsible for land and public property development and to a slightly indirect extent, private property development as well.

Back in 2003 - Singapore actually had a property surplus. There were apparently 80,000 units unoccupied. Now we have a huge shortage - largely due to the Govt's liberal immigration policies.

I think Singaporeans have a right to be pretty angry about this huge blunder - esp when the PAP keeps on harping about how it needs to pay the world's highest salaries to its top civil servants and political leaders. I mean, you pay top dollar and how did this shortage happen?

The problem is due to the huge disconnect that we have with our political leaders and the rest of the public. Now, wait having said that - this is a huge problem with most democracies.

The political leaders do not represent their constituents. In Australia, most of the politicians are ex-lawyers, union officials, for example.

In Singapore, they are all elites, really successful smart people. Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, Accountants, Army officers etc..

How are they suppose to represent the needs of the majority of the people?

If I may use a crude analogy - how do you expect a Shark to understand the problems of a reef fish? Why would a greyhound understand the problems of a mouse?

Doctors, lawyers, accountants, all of them being paid really really high salaries which effectively cocoon them from the tribulations of the masses. When the price of food hikes up by 100%, or the cost of bread rose by $1 - heck, if I'm being paid $10k a month, that wouldn't trouble me much. But for someone on $1k income, that is dreadful news.

The problem with Singapore is the lack of proper representation - esp when the Govt continually redraws electoral boundaries for some "funny" reason - maybe fengshui whatever.

But its also how the Govt draws its political candidates from.

I'm not sure whether the govt is aware of the class divide - Doctors and a normal sales person do tend to think a bit differently.

I'm not advocating anything radical. Just highlighting the need for a wider representation. Maybe what Singapore needs is for a lower house of Parliament to represent a wider group of its citizens. I can hear you laughing about this - but seriously you think the high flying Minister who is earning a million dollars or more a year can really appreciate the problems of a salesgirl earning $1k a month?

We need more people in Govt that can empathize with its citizens.

I'll add a personal story to this. My father was a brilliant man. Hardworking, dedicated, clever, smart, intuitive - but sadly lacking in some empathy. He had a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Manchester Uni which he completed in record time.

I was different. I wasn't smart - let me rephrase that, I was not technically as clever as he was. 

Trying to get him to help me with my Math problems in Primary School was like trying to get a Bear to teach a fish how to wrestle.

I still retain frightening memories from my dad's math tuition lessons - that was over 30+ years ago.

He just couldn't understand how I couldn't do simple math sums. Shouting at me to help me understand didn't help either. I needed someone to help me grasp the problems conceptually. He couldn't help. It was like a Swan trying to teach a dog how to fly.

The problem when you get a brilliant successful person as a leader - he might not be able to relate to the problems of ordinary people or devise workable solutions for them.

Let me end this with a joke:

So there was a bartender and two guys at a bar - the New Asia Bar at the Swisshotel. 70th floor.

This dude tells the other two - "D'you know the air is so thick up here that I can walk out into the open air and not fall?"

The other patron said, "I'd like to see that."

So he walks out the window, stands, and walks back in again. "Try it!" he tells the other patron.

The other patron is amazed and walks out the window and falls immediately to his death.

The bartender, glumly tells the surviving patron. "Superman, you ought to stop that party trick."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Simple home recipes: Steam Brown Rice +Sweet Potato +Salmon

I usually eat at home alone. And its hard to prepare something healthy for yourself. I'm trying to avoid eating packet noodles or any ready to eat meals. Once you spend some time working out at the gym, the idea of consuming crap just hits home.

I try and make simple easy to cook meals for myself. This is a simple easy to do meal for all you bachelor and bachlorettes. I made it today.


1. Steam Rice Cooker
2. Brown Rice
3. Carrot
4. Sweet Potato
5. Salmon Belly
6. Basil, Kalle or Rocket or some kind of leafy vegetable
7. Soya Sauce
8. Wasabi

I chose the Salmon Belly because it also happens to be the cheapest cut - $3 for 1kg - and its tasty and is rich with  good omega3 oils. Its bony but easy to remove when you eat it. If possible I try and avoid farmed fish because they've been swimming in their own crap for too long.

Summary: Basically steam the rice+carrot+sweet potato first - then add in the fresh raw salmon belly to cook for a minute before eating with fresh basil, kalle, rocket. Portion sizes are up to you.

So first - cut the carrot and sweet potato into the portion that you can eat. I had a large sweet potato +carrot that would have fed 3 people. So I just cut it into 3 portions - and put the 2 into the fridge and used the 1 for today's meal.

Scoop 1 cup of rice and add roughly about 2 cups of water into the rice cooker. This will feed one person. If you don't eat too much rice, add less. But 1 cup is plenty already.

When you cook the brown rice - also put in the cut portioned carrot and sweet potato in as well. When the rice is done - the carrot and sweet potato will be cooked too. As a rule of thumb the portion should fit in your hand.

When the rice is about to be done - put in the salmon belly inside. If you forgot and the rice is already done - never mind, just put in the salmon give it a stir. The idea is to simply use residual heat to cook the salmon.

I used fresh Atlantic Salmon - which is available in Melbourne where I reside.  It should not be cooked for a long time, 1 minute inside that hot steam rice cooker is OK. If its been frozen, you obviously need to thaw it out first.

If it bothers you to eat uncooked meat add a splash of water and turn on the cooker again to heat it up for another 5 minutes.

OK all done. Add in the fresh Basil and or Kalle (wash them first) etc... for the greens. I try and not cook my greens and eat them close to raw to get the best nutrition  - and also soya sauce and wasabi for taste. Bon appetit!

No cooking oil was used at all. Everything was cooked in the same rice cooker pot.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Star Wars Prequel, Darth Vader and Lee Kuan Yew

If you believe in democracy, you must believe in it unconditionally. If you believe that men should be free, then, they should have the right of free association, of free speech, of free publication. Then, no law should permit those democratic processes to be set at nought, and no excuse, whether of security, should allow a government to be deterred from doing what it knows to be right, and what it must know to be right Lee Kuan Yew, Legislative Assembly Debates, April 27, 1955

If it is not totalitarian to arrest a man and detain him, when you cannot charge him with any offence against any written law – if that is not what we have always cried out against in Fascist states – then what is it?… If we are to survive as a free democracy, then we must be prepared, in principle, to concede to our enemies – even those who do not subscribe to our views – as much constitutional rights as you concede yourself.
Opposition leader Lee Kuan Yew, Legislative Assembly Debates, Sept 21, 1955

Repression, Sir is a habit that grows. I am told it is like making love-it is always easier the second time! The first time there may be pangs of conscience, a sense of guilt. But once embarked on this course with constant repetition you get more and more brazen in the attack. All you have to do is to dissolve organizations and societies and banish and detain the key political workers in these societies. Then miraculously everything is tranquil on the surface. Then an intimidated press and the government-controlled radio together can regularly sing your praises, and slowly and steadily the people are made to forget the evil things that have already been done, or if these things are referred to again they’re conveniently distorted and distorted with impunity, because there will be no opposition to contradict.
Lee Kuan Yew as an opposition PAP member speaking to David Marshall, Singapore Legislative Assembly, Debates, 4 October, 1956

Quotes thanks to

 I'm a big Star Wars fan. Or rather I used to be. I simply loved Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and ROTJ. Loved them. I watched Star Wars then Empire... totally blown away. I remember re-reading my ESB comic book like a million times. And then ROTJ came and I started to feel a bit of thaw in my love affair with the saga. I think the Ewok chorale symphony finale was just too saccharine.

When the Phantom Menace came out - it was like Jesus Christ 2nd coming. I watched the brilliant short tome video clips and it looked like it was going to be unbelievably great.

I wouldn't say i hated it straight off. The feeling sort of sunk in after I watched it. Its a bit like hearing rumors when you were a kid that the Santa Claus wasn't real etc.. Then suddenly the logic of it all hits you on the head. And you can't go back. Wow, it had amazing billion trillion dollar special effects, Natalie Portman was in it, Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor too, but... wow it really... sucked.

Let's cut to the chase: the prequels were badly written. They had an abysmal plot, dialogue, direction, characters. Awful. There was very little tension in the scenes. When Anakin finally went over the top and killed Jules Winfield, and the entire Jedi kindergarten class - there was very little drama. Compare those scenes to the death of Obi-wan, or when Luke gets his handcut off by Vader who also let's him in on a little family secret.

The prequels have to be essentially a big classical tragedy - on the scale of Shakespeare's Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, and the classic Greek Tragedies - basically essentially good honorable people falling from grace and doing terrible things because of their essentially good or positive character. That is tragedy.

The prequels should have been about how the Senate was corrupt to its core, and how Civil Wars were flaring all over, genocides and religious terrorism were just proving too much for the Jedi to handle. Disorder is the law of the day.

Along comes Anakin, messanic, brass, bold, charismatic - he fixes everything - he becomes powerful - and eventually his love for his wife, peace and order prove to be his undoing.

That should have been the overdriving theme of Star Wars - and it was a story that should be told well. Lucas should have spent half of his multi-million dollar budget hiring better directors, writers, better writers, Neil Gaiman, etc.. to work on this. Instead because he's so egoistical and mega rich he took it upon his own hands to do it - and it was fucked. FUCKED. He absolutely forgot the effort that other collaborators - like his wife Marcia - had in making his original story great. If he had his way Greedo would have shot first. Han Solo would told Leia that he loved her too very much etc.. What's the point in becoming so rich - a movie tycoon - if it makes him the very person he is said to detest? He might have made billions of dollars from the Prequels but he basically shat on his own legacy. Seriously, wtf for?

Any how how does this have to do with LKY ?

LKY, Lucas - they seem the same. They both started out as idealists, dreaming of a better fairer world.

When I read LKY's early speeches - I believe he meant what he said. But then when he got into power - he changed his earlier positions. Its not being flaky. Its about power. And absolute power has a tendency to corrupt so the saying goes.

No doubt about it - LKY did a lot of good for Singapore. But to assume that he drew on a blank slate seems to be forgetting the effort that a lot of other people did as well Goh Chok Tong, Goh Keng Swee, etc.. even the good will of the Malaysian Govt back then who could have easily have placed a blockade or a high tax embargo on Singapore during its formative years.

LKY like Lucas had a lot of helping hands - how come we only remember one guy now? Its not helpful to our nation that we should be so driven to worship one leader.

Both of them had great ideas and were great creators. But then something happened and things started falling apart. Why?

Ego, pride, self-belief, a lack of humility....

Saturday, October 19, 2013

People living in a Glass House - the dude is so lucky.

What my professor told me

I remember what my History professor told me when I wanted to get admitted into his class. This was over a decade ago...

He asked me why I wanted to do History. I replied I want to get a degree so that I can get a graduate job. And I was pretty good in History in High School.

He looked at me grimly and said then you don't want to do History- Learning History will cause you to think for yourself, learning history will cause you to question, it will cause you to argue with your boss, learning History will get you fired from your work.

But I've always been so - out there. Not cool. Always asking the wrong questions. So I went ahead with the course. Maybe I should have done something else :)

History does one thing - it gives you a sense of perspective. It also causes you to want to think deeper about things. And that can be the problem. As they say, ignorance is bliss.

Friday, October 18, 2013

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL - Official International Trailer HD

I love Wes Anderson films. They're well made - they even have a hand-crafted feel about them due to the set stage design.

They've got great plot and stories - usually revolving around parenthood issues.

I get so excited about them that I feel like a kid in a candy store when I watch them.

I'll write more about it. But my room is freezing now at the moment. We've had a sudden change in weather - typical of Australian climate. My hands are positively frozen now.

The Grand Budapest Hotel Official Trailer #1 (2014) - Wes Anderson Movie HD


Monday, October 14, 2013

National Service in Singapore - an opinion on how to make it better

For visitors unfamiliar with Singapore, the nation has a conscription system whereby all able bodied young men are forced to do 2 years of National Service - mainly in the armed forces. This is not some kind of weekend retreat where you can pick and choose which dates are suitable for you to do. Its practically a straight out prison sentence. You get in (the army) and you don't get out until you complete the 2 years. (Previously it was 2.5 years)

The pay is pathetic. When I was doing my NS - my recruit pay was about $150 a month. I was living alone at the time because my father (+mother) was overseas working. I ran out of cash at one stage because my ATM card got crunched by the ATM machine and because banks close on Saturday afternoon I couldn't get to the bank in time to get a new one. What I found esp. annoying was the total lack of sympathy from the outside world - female bank staff, relatives advised me to just take a day off work and go to the bank and get a new one. When I explained that my base was at Tekong Island and it took me a couple of hours to get off - my reply was met with glazed stares. I might as well have been on Mars.

I survived on army hard-tack biscuits for my first CNY back home. No one bothered to ask me how I was doing. One of my neighbors frequently complained to me about the noise I was making on the weekend when I walked down the steps in my army boots.

Most NS men - unless they are Whitehorse (rich polly's son) clerks - are stuck at camp or training from Sunday evening to Saturday afternoon. We had less than 24 hours time off a week. On top of that, we also had weekend guard duty to perform or some kind of clerical BS to do. And then there were the summary punishments. God help you if you had a "siao on" (strict) commander. In one unit that I was in soldiers, including a full-time NCO, ended up in jail for 40 days for being late coming back from lunch - charged with being AWOL.

OK. But... it did some good. No doubt about that. All Singaporean men have that bonding experience. They've all been through that and they all have a shared experience and story to tell.

Personally, I found the first 3 months of army training damn challenging but also physically enlightening. For the first time in my life, I was pushed to the max physically and intensively - even pushed pass beyond for my physical endurance. And to my amazement, my body lifted its game and I got uber-fit for the first time in my life.

Before I joined the army, I was overweight. Afraid of heights. And suffered from insomnia. By Day 2, my insomnia was instantly cured. It seems exercising had a lot to do with it. We woke up at 6am. Ran 5km. Had breakfast. Did more training. Ran 3km... etc.. In one day, I easily did at least 100 situps and pushups - and ran about 10 km a day easily.

By day 10, I was cured of my fear of heights. I remember looking at the SOC course and wanting to go tell the corporal that I had to be excused from it because of my fear of heights and my inability to climb rope. By Day 30 I was running up and down the Jacob's Ladder with my helmet and rifle. Wow!

What also amazed me was to discover that I could run faster than most of the men in my platoon - despite being slightly still overweight compared to them. I managed a personal best of 7.30minutes for my 2.4km.

What a remarkable transformation! All thanks to the Army.

As humans we tell ourselves we can't do this, we can't do that. We make excuses. But the Army pushes you to excel. It demands it. And in this happy case, I realized fuck. I could and can.
And by the end of BMT, I had dropped from 80kg to a nice tight 68. I don't think I ever dropped to my optimal weight which would be 60 - 65kg but that had to do with the really bad diet we had back then - plenty of fried stuff. Too much sugar. etc..

So thanks to the army I now have a physical fitness benchmark that I can lean to. It doesn't take me that long to get up to physical coolness.

However.... 2 years is a fucking long time. A lot of people can do heaps of stuff in 2 years. Complete 2/3 of a degree. Learn a useful trade. etc.. For the lower income families - the conscription of their boy means a dreadful loss of income for the family - as the son is usually helping out in the family business or already working.

And for what? What are we defending for?

In the past, Singaporean men knew what they were fighting for - their home, their jobs, their family, their future.

The Govt has really thrown a spanner into the works by allowing a lot of foreigners into the country - at virtually all levels of business employment.

Suddenly NS men are faced with the frightful realization that while they are stuck in some mosquito infested swamp playing soldier - their girl friends are now furthering their education and quite likely dating someone else. God knows how many relationships went belly up because the girls got bored or lonely when their bfs are in the Army. Seriously girls? C'mon.

And then when they get out of the Army - they still face another two decades of reservist training - which if you miss - can land you in prison. This reservist liability will also affect your future earnings and employment. No private company is going to want to hire an employee who has to run off to play soldier somewhere for a couple of weeks. They would certainly prefer to hire a female or a foreigner who probably spent the 2 years further their educational skills to do the job instead.

I'm sure some PAP boffin will suggest that the 2 years is akin to backpacking around Europe or doing some charitable service like what the angmos do all the time. But hey, this isn't Australia, America, or a Western Democracy which has a lot of spare land, welfare systems to rely upon - this is Singapore and in Singapore if you don't cut it you can't survive. Its a rat race.

Meanwhile a lot of Singaporean families are migrating overseas to escape from this - their sons, even if they had left after 1 years old, will never be allowed to come back to live or work in Singapore. Meanwhile the Govt is actively trying to get total strangers - people with no cultural ties to our nation - foreigners to migrate to Singapore - the foreign men (who are pass the age) are NOT required to serve NS.

Seriously WTF? Hello PAP why are you chasing out the real children of Singapore and bringing in people who have no affinity to our country?

Currently the Govt threatens any dude who doesn't want to do NS with imprisonment - which apparently  lasts over three years or more. All the Jehovah Witness Christians and pacifist men end up there.

I think to make it fair and just. The Govt ought to provide positive incentives for Singaporean men to do their NS.

1. Do not make it compulsory. If they don't want to do it, don't force them to serve. And don't penalize people who don't want to do NS either. If the govt is so happy happy to let foreigners into the country to become citizens without the need to do NS I don't see the point of forcing our young men to do it if they don't want too. And whats the morality of chasing away our natural born sons only to kowtow and chase after foreigners to come and become citizens?

2. Provide clear benefits for people to do NS. This is something the PAP should definitely do. It has argued very strongly for providing huge monetary incentives for its MPs, Ministers, and top civil servants - Singapore has the highest paid political and civil servants in the world- exceedingly any 1st world nation. Consequently I think it is plain BS for the govt to argue that it should pay NS men low pay. Many of them will risk life and limb to defend the nation - and for what? A nice pat on the head? Maybe a cheap medal?

I think this policy is plain hypocritical. The Govt CANNOT argue that it should pay its politicians a top wage and then expect the people who are actually defending the nation to survive on rock-bottom salaries.

Look - it doesn't have to be hard cold cash. The Govt can offer a sizable grant for an HDB (Govt) flat - ie. $50k for risking life and limb - or a similar amount for generous education grants for local Universities. This grant is in-house, so the Govt doesn't have to actually cough up cash for it. Plus it provides a positive incentive for the men (and women) to serve - well, what works for the PAP politicians and top civil servants should also work for the soldier defending them.

3. Have a fairer less draconian army system of punishments. Well, this seems to be getting there. I remember hearing horror stories in the 1970s of a lot of NS men dying from physical training punishments. I think if you are charged for minor infractions in the Army, including being AWOL, - the charges should be automatically be dismissed once you leave the service or after a period of a few years.

4. Full health insurance and compensation for men injured during NS. During my time at NS, if a soldier got killed during training MINDEF would award the family (I think about $3000) which didn't even cover the funeral expenses - that is absolutely appalling. The amount awarded to soldiers who were badly maimed also didn't amount to much. I don't know how the Govt leaders can sleep easily at night knowing they have this sort of fucked up policy.

5. If they still feel its necessary to have a full scale conscript army without giving the men adequate financial compensation - then please shorten the duration of the NS. Check out what Germany is doing. And please don't imprison people who for religious or conscious reasons don't want to serve in the military - get them to do something else commensurate - like Coast Guard duty, working in the paramedics, hospitals, parks and gardens etc.. not happy? - then get them to serve a slightly longer sentence.

Singapore isn't exactly a dirt poor country - if it can afford to pay top dollar to get possibly the best air force in the region and to pay its top civil and political leaders the world's highest salaries - then surely this sort of incentive scheme can be done.

6. Total defence: I think the Govt should really realize that its policy of emphasizing Mandarin for Singaporean Chinese is not helpful in getting us integrated in the region. For all the effort we put into military, and it seems we spend a disproportionate chunk of our GDP on our military, Singaporeans should realize that we are not going to win if there is open hostilities with Indonesia or Malaysia. We aren't self-sufficient. We have a much smaller even tiny population. And most esp. we are highly dependent on trade and the goodwill of our neighbors for our own prosperity. One step in the right direction is to allow Chinese Singaporeans to learn Malay rather than Mandarin. The whole idea that the "Mother tongue" of Chinese ethnic people is Mandarin is absurd.

Its getting late I'm going to end it here - I just wish the Govt would realize that its not OK to fuck around with your own citizens and to treat them like kids. They don't like it anymore.



Motivation Music - Last of the Mohican's Soundtrack

Whenever I need some motivation in my running or gym work, I turn to the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack. Its Epic.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Be careful over your choice of close friends

In this era of facebooking friend - acquiring friends - is as easy as getting your hair wet in the rain.

But to be honest- most of my facebook friends are in reality - acquaintances. Now, that's a term that seems to be unused - probably due to political correctness. Everyone wants to be a friend. Being called an acquaintance seems to be so old fashion - like you're being left out of a special club.

But its true. Most of my so-called friends - now that I seriously think about them - are simply casual acquaintances I met at church, on holiday trips etc..

And the funny thing about some of them is that when I met them in public - they don't even greet me or look at me when I say hello.


Sure we have friends who are reasonable nice pleasant people who do give you the time of day and go out of their way to be nice.

But I think its important to sieve through them. I'm trying now to avoid certain friends. Not because they are unpleasant bad people. But because I look at them and hear the way they talk and think... and I wonder - do I seriously want to be like them?

This might seem like a selfish thought. Acquiring friends for self-improvement. But its not.

I've come to a stage in my life when I'm starting to learn to value my time.

My time is important. My interests are important to me. What I like. My dreams. My aspirations. The things I cherish. Why should I associate with people who think that its all shit? And worse, seek to devalue me as a human being? I hate being with people who find joy and pleasure in putting other people, including their friends down. Sure, once or twice is fine - but some fuckers just keep pressing that fucking button and won't stop.

One of the straws that broke the camel's back was this fat friend of mine who calls me up everytime he gets a day off to go eat. I got irritated at him because when I talked of being at a beach and breathing the ion enriched air he abruptly interrupted by saying air was air and breathing negative ions was just "fucking hippy crap". OK, so he doesn't like the beach. But did he have to shit our my conversation? I was trying to get the group to go to the beach for a change instead of pigging out at yumcha or playing xbox at home. No one was interested. They all preferred to stay at home and stuff their faces with pizza and chips.

It dawned on me then - they obviously don't enjoy the things I like and I didn't fancy living like them. We were clearly in the wrong basket.

If you ever have friends in your life that seek to belittle you, delight in humiliating you, - run away from them.

There are already so much goddamn obstacles in our lives - the last thing we need is for shit "friends".

At this stage in my life - I really need friends who are positive minded. We love to travel. Who are creative. Love writing. Love the written word. People who can see the bigger picture in life. People who are not obsessed with small minor inconsequential things. People who want to live a healthy lifestyle - and not survive on a diet of vitamin tablets and junk food. Friends who are deeply interested in finding out more about me.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of my church friends fall in the "shit friends" category. I see them. I don't enjoy their company. I dislike their narrow minded point of view. And worse they seem more like pharisees and hypocrites than anything approaching Christ-like.

The friends you choose will have an influence over your life. If your friends are into eating junk food, "couch potating", playing computer games, taking drugs or drinking - you're just going to end up doing what they are doing. Its practically inevitable.

Look at your friends and their lifestyles - this is what you are going to end up becoming.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vintage Shopping Brunswick

I like to buy vintage stuff. Sometimes you get really good quality stuff - stuff that was made years ago, decades even, and see look damn good and even brand new - and cheap!

Here in Melbourne - you can find plenty of vintage and retro shops and garage sales. Some of it run privately, others run by the Salvation Army, St. Vincents (Vinnies), etc..

I find it pleasant to browse through the shops - most of it is junk - and see what to buy.

Ideally you should have a clear idea in your head about - QUALITY. This takes awhile - plenty of self-education to acquire. And of course if you are a specific collector - a clear idea of what you want to get. Otherwise you could be wasting a lot of money and time.

For Quality - I try and watch vintage shows like Antiques Roadshow (BBC) to get an education on what is good. BBC had a good documentary on Chinese Porcelain which is having quite a meteoric rise since China's economy boomed. The old Chinese porcelain are selling for millions of dollars. I've heard a few stories of people buying what looked like an ordinary plate or Vase in a car boot sale for a few dollars which later auctioned for extraordinary sums of money.

And sometimes at this vintage markets you get to meet attractive looking girls. I met one today at Melbourne Vintage in Brunswick - Attractive looking girl. She was about my height. Very fair porcelain skin. Chinese - and from the way I heard her talk - an educated girl from Singapore or Malaysia.

Our eyes met. I smiled - she walked off not noticing it seems. A few minutes later, as she walked near my aisle, I made a passing remark about her vintage clothes shopping and she smiled and said something cordial and walked away.

I browsed through the vintage clothes thinking about what to ask her. I would like to blame the Summer heat. The acrid smell of a burnt fuse in that warehouse. Blank. But to be honest, I'm not a great talker. I'm naturally a shy person. Not outward going. And I prefer to be browsing through the library than hanging out at the playground. If I'm in the mood and hitting my stride, I can be all sunshine. Right now I'm more cloudy and grey - grey not gray.

Anyhow I worked up enough courage to try and hit on her again. I walked up, smiled - she gave a very warm nice smile back. Woohoo!!! I asked about her shopping - she showed off what she got. Vintage clothes. A blue dress that suited her skin color.

And then.... I jumped the gun and asked what she was doing later. Her face changed and she looked hesitant and said she was with her girlfriend. I asked whether she and her friend wanted coffee - and she replied with an annoyed tone - "We already had coffee thanks."

Exit stage left.

Fuck. Gosh I'm a dick. What I really should have asked were:

Let's see what you bought? Oh that looks cool - does that fit you? Let's see it. What else do you like to shop for? Do you often come vintage shopping. What is your name? Where are you from? Are you from Singapore? Oh which part etc.. Friendly casual banter.

ANYTHING BUT - wanna have coffee? Good grief. What was I thinking?

To be honest - just the thrill of talking to a hot chick stranger makes my brain sometimes go to mush. I need to be cooler and approach people I like a little less "in awe". Hmmm....

I think that why sometimes cocky arseholes are very effective in talking to beautiful strangers. Their arrogance+ boldness + FU approach make a positive disarming impression at the start.

In the end, I didn't buy any clothes- some of the waistcoats that I wanted had stains or had small tears. Besides I already owned similar ones - in better condition - already.

I bought a vintage plate for a $1 - it matches one of my current collection. It came home with me - the girl, unfortunately, did not.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Former chief of Protocol at the Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs charged with embezzling over $80,000 worth of Pineapple tarts

SINGAPORE: So far everyone is talking about the former chief of Protocol of the Ministry of F.All who is accused of cheating on something... his PSLE score or whatever.

But the real news is that the former chief of pineapple at the Ministry of Food Affairs, Chin Ho Ah, was charged with multiple counts of cheating, totaling over USD$50,000.00 (over SGD$80,000).

The chief  faces charges of cheating the MFA by submitting false expense claims. Allegedly he grossly inflated the quantity of pineapple tarts bought and used for official trips and visits.

He claimed more than 10,000 boxes of pineapple tarts but officially used about 2,000+ boxes. 

Alleged photo showing the defendant being wheeled in for arraignment.

Sidenote: For a change photographers were distracted from the Serene Wee Show. She was apparently very annoyed at being upstaged by such a human excuse for a charsiu pao. "Good Gucci!!! How can my photos in your SD cards share it with photos of that ... thing?? You shoot RAW too... yeeeew. I come all dress so nice for what? Singapore's moral decay is nigh!!", she was heard to exclaim.

Pineapple tarts cannot be accounted for

MFA Officials are baffled where all the pineapple tarts have disappeared to. A through search of the accused's home has come up inconclusive. All this hard work was actually making them feel a bit hungry. And they could have done with a couple of boxes. MFA officials promise not to leave no tart untouched in their zeal to uncover the matter. Investigations have moved the search to Geylang to find more tarts.

On other media matters, Madam Go, Patron of National Kidney Food, exasperatedly told off a Shitte Times reporter for pestering her with stupid questions regarding any familiarity with the defendant.

"No. I dunno who he is. What? He cheated SGD"$80,000!!!??? ONLY??? You wake up me at 11am to ask me this kinna cock question? "Aiyo $80k lah. I dun even let my hubby get out of bed for less than $100k. C'mon, its peanuts! Peanuts lah!!!"

M. Go hung up when informed it was pineapple tarts not peanuts.

This is in case you are wondering a satirical piece and bears no relation whatsoever on reality.

What a difference a day makes.

It’s wondrous how someone you met by random chance at a hotel lobby, can mean so much to you after a month.

It is dreadful that she can seem a stranger to you now. It is frighteningly amazing what a difference a day makes.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Pretty epic open letter from a poly-grad to (old man) PM

There is something quite hilarious when a Singaporean who irreverently dares to openly tell the Old Man to kindly get @#$!!!!

This is his opening -

Dear LKY,
October seems to be the month where your loved ones are taken away from you. Your father passed away 16 years ago while your wife went to hell more than three years ago this week. I hope that you finally realise the pain you have brought to others and that this pain of losing a loved one is finally something you get to experience on your own.

I'm not so sure about Chee Soon Juan though. Personally I think he's a bit of a jackass and an attention seeker.

Telekinetic girls wrecks havoc in a coffee shop -lol

The Beatles- Something

Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me
I don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don't need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me
I don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

You're asking me will my love grow
I don't know, I don't know
You stick around now, it may show
I don't know, I don't know

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me
I don't want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

I love this song. It has beautiful lyrics and we get to hear George Harrison sing as well. But it also has an element of realism in it - marked by the element of uncertainty even anxiety in the 3rd stanza. Most of the Beatles songs are gushy, exuberant stuff - but this one reflects the ambiguity that adults sometimes feel in a relationship.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Travel - being alone in a sea of strangers!stopandstare/c5j8

I've often read that people learn a lot about themselves when they travel. They also gain an experience, an appreciation of the world that is beyond compare.

Read the first two links I posted up. One of them is an advice to a young woman on the benefits of travel and why she should travel now. The other one is about a 70 year old man who has suffered two strokes and still gets to travel.

I've not traveled as much as some of my friends. Most of my trips have been mainly underwater scuba diving expeditions. I've been to the Maldives, Manado, Komodo, West Papua, Spratly Islands, Sipdan, Niue (South Pacific), several times. I wish I could say the joy of being in such beautiful pristine environments impacts me to the core of my being. But I look back at them and most of them feel stale - it was a momentary fleeting moment of wonder. I try and capture that in photos - and that works weakly.

Have I changed? Have I become a better person? Or someone who is addicted to a experiential, carefree lifestyle?

I would like to say I've become a more open person, more generous, more caring, less insular, less parochial - more adventurous - possibly a better person. And surely all that adventures would have a positive impact on my psyche - as opposed to not going and staying at home.

I am actually still a bit terrified of travel - I'm fearful of going to a foreign land and getting lost among people whom I cannot communicate with. My experience trying to learn Mandarin in Singapore schools was a very harrowing experience. It was hour upon hour of WTF. I just couldn't understand a language that didn't develop an alphabet and depended upon hieroglyphs. No one managed to explain to me that languages are like games, some have different rules.
But if I'm in the mood - "the fuck it let's do it kind of feeling" I get every now and then - I could walk through fire twice.

The other problem I have with traveling is - the desire to share a particularly poignant moment with someone special. I mean - hey, you go see something beautiful, spectacular and well, you want to share it with someone close to you. Most of the places I tend to like tends to verge on the romantic and gosh if I go to such areas without someone -it feels scathingly lonely.

But I try and do it to challenge myself. By nature I tend to be quiet, withdrawn, shy and I need to open up more. Meet more people. But often I find myself adrift in a sea of strangers, like a raft on a vast uncaring ocean.

You find yourself among people you do not know and they are all conversing with one another - and then suddenly you feel so alien. But I also get that feeling when I'm at a bar or restaurant or party by myself. At least if I am in a foreign place, I can somehow excuse my own social ineptitude by blaming the language barrier. haha

Latch - Disclosure ft. Sam Smith (Diogo Piçarra & Cláudio Martins Cover)

Love the piano intro

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Do women like being dominated during sex?

And the answer is -  like most things in life - some do, some don't. But the surprising thing for me is that a large number of women including intelligent smart women actually say YES. They enjoy being dominated during sex if they are in the mood for it.

Domination sex is primeval. It pulls us back to the past - its fantasy. It will allow you to explore a side of you that you considered dark, exciting.

The idea of domination/submission in sex would seem absolutely perverse to any feminist. Not too long ago I assumed that no woman would enjoy rough sex - the idea was anathema. I've been brought up to treat women kindly. To open doors for them. To treat them with gentleness and utmost respect. And yes women appreciate such gestures but they also (some) enjoyed being banged hard. "Seriously WTF?!"

After asking some close female friends they candidly admitted that they enjoyed the feeling of submission and being dominated in bed. No, they weren't abused as children or suffer from daddy complexes. They were pretty, normal, well adjusted women.

There seem to be a deep seated desire within some women for the man to be a man which allows her to come back to a feminine role in bed. Sex is a little more than the gentle romantic loving lovemaking with KennyG music in the background. Read the two links above. Some women want the man to take charge and to desire and ravish her like there is no tomorrow.

Usually these girls who are more comfortable about their sexuality and body. They are not ashamed about their sexuality nor do they think that sex is a sin or that their body is somehow inherently dirty or evil.

What does "being dominated during sex" mean? Its a Tango sex dance where the guy takes firm control of the lead.
(Domination sex/ rough sex is also going to illicit a lot of negative replies. I think some of the more dangerous and sinister ones borders and leads onto rape and abuse. Look, let's not go to the extremes. This is the 21st century - rape and abuse is wrong, evil. If you find yourself in an abusive relationship - ie one where your partner does not respect you, belittles, and physically and mentally torments you and also forces you without your consent to have sex - please get out of it.)

Being dominated during sex is basically allowing the male lover to take control of the lovemaking totally and willingly.* Its giving him the authority and you submit to it. You are there for his pleasure. This may mean he will push her boundaries and maybe even inflict some pain. (The reverse opposite may also transpire - ie. the guy is the submissive and the girl is dominant. If that's what you2 are into - that's OK2 - haha) You may think of pain as something awful and to be avoided. However we endure a fair bit of pain when we go running, rock climbing, exercising in the gym, or getting a deep tissue massage. Obviously we're not talking about the sort of pain that takes you to the hospital in an ambulance.

This would involve:

1. the man firmly initiating, leading and ordering the woman to do what he wants in the bedroom.
2. holding the woman down during sex.
3. the woman being roughly kissed, groped, face fucked.
4. slapping. face slapping, bum slapping
5. Passion and Spontaneity - which means the dude not randomly/frequently stopping, lying back, and asking questions like "are you ok?"**
6. the use of coarse or vulgar language like calling her a bitch, whore or getting her to say submissive things like "Please fuck me" etc..
7. indulging in fantasy - BDSM etc..
8. Honesty: she has to be upfront over what she doesn't like to do. If she says she hates it- don't do it.

9.  Important: the use of safe words or gestures to half proceedings, esp. to prevent injury. There is a clear need to go with the flow but a safety valve has to be in place. "Ow!!!", "STOP STOP", or special ones like "Rain".

*The key here is all this - its the indulgence of a fantasy:  the submission, the loss of control while pushing her boundaries, has to be done within safe limits - and the girl has the clear cut power to end the action if it goes beyond her comfort zone or health. Its the same thrill from a roller coaster ride, parachuting out of an airplane, watching a horror film. The girl will experience a certain loss of control, being uncomfortable etc.. but this has to be done within safe limits to prevent it from becoming abuse, or worse causing serious injury.

** The dominant (ie the male) should be careful that he is not going so far as to endanger her health, well-being, and personal safety. Having said that - if you frequently stop once the heat is on you're going to spoil the rhythm - but that requires you to actually have a certain amount of common sense and emotional connection with your partner for this and not cause actual harm. That's why the use of safe words or gestures is very important. If you don't know - please take your time to talk to your partner and work it out.

If she doesn't want it, don't do it. Don't force her to do what she doesn't want. That's dangerous.

A girl who allows herself to be dominated during sex - will want to do it with a lover who respects her (boundaries) and treats her with dignity outside the bedroom. This would enable her to allow herself to be vulnerable, soft, feminine, and to let go without fear - like bungee jumping. I mean one reason why people bungee jump is to experience that adrenalin rush - but no one (in her right mind) is going to jump if there was a serious danger of getting injured.

The key words here are paradoxically trust, respect. Moreover the couple should feel comfortable and know each other well - as well as their own limits. Domination/ Rough sex is a roller coaster ride. You ride that baby, you scream, and then you get off and walk out the gate feeling exhilarated and have a cup of hot tea.

The other issue is of course - do men like dominating women during sex? Personally I think the word dominating sounds ridiculous. Maybe a better word would be taking the lead during sex?

As a man, I might as well give my point of view on this. I enjoy the thrill of it. I enjoy playing the masculine role, being the active participant in the moment. Not that I want my girl to just lie back - passive like - like a lump of clay. No, no. I want her to also play an active role in it - but one that mainly follows my lead and my direction. Its a Tango dance. Trust is sexy. Trust in letting me take the reins. Trust in letting me drive her to oblivion. Power is sexy. I love how she submits and lets me take charge. And exerting my strength on her, gripping her tightly, and overwhelming her with my masculine desire is really a powerful aphrodisiac. Most of all I enjoy that she enjoys it and wants more.

This of course should not be a constant theme in all sexual relationships otherwise that would become predictable, boring, and just plain wrong and selfish. But it should be an area that you might want to explore from time to time.

If you are academically inclined and want to read up on it. Here are some references:

Bancroft, J. The endocrinology of sexual arousal. J Endocrinol, 186:411-427, 2005.
Chivers ML, G Rieger, E Latty and JM Bailey. A sex difference in the specificity of sexual arousal. Psychol Sci, 15:736-744, 2004.
Graham CA, SA Sanders, RR Milhausen and KR McBride. Turning on and turning off: A focus group study of the factors that affect women’s sexual arousal. Arch Sex Behav, 33:527-538, 2004.
Hald GM. Gender differences in pornography consumption among young heterosexual Danish adults. Arch Sex Behav, 35:577-585, 2006.
Hoffmann H, E Janssen and SL Turner. Classical conditioning of sexual arousal in women and men: Effects of varying awareness and biological relevance of the conditioned stimulus. Arch Sex Behav, 33:43-53, 2004.
Laan E, W Everaerd, R van Berlo and L Rijs. Mood and sexual arousal in women. Behav Res Ther, 33:441-443, 1995.
Leitenberg H and K Henning. Sexual fantasy. Psychol Bull, 117:469-496, 1995.
Rokach A. Content analysis of sexual fantasies of males and females. J Psychol, 124:427-436, 1990.
Strassberg DS and LK Lockerd. Force in women’s sexual fantasies. Arch Sex Behav, 27:403-414, 1998.
Variety staff. Nine 1/2 Weeks. January 1 1986.
Yost MR and EL Zurbriggen. Gender differences in the enactment of sociosexuality: An examination of implicit social motives, sexual fantasies, coercive sexual attitudes, and aggressive sexual behavior. J Sex Res, 43:163-173, 2006.
Youn G. Subjective sexual arousal in response to erotica: Effects of gender, guided fantasy, erotic stimulus, and duration of exposure. Arch Sex Behav, 35:87-97, 2006.

  • don’t push it to the point that she feels frightened or overly uncomfortable.
Neanderthal sex can add an exciting dimension to your sexual repertoire. It can set you apart from the yuppies and metrosexuals she is used to dating. It can also lead to sexual abuse, resentment and get you in a lot of trouble. Be prudent and use your head (the big head).
Bancroft, J. The endocrinology of sexual arousal. J Endocrinol, 186:411-427, 2005.
Chivers ML, G Rieger, E Latty and JM Bailey. A sex difference in the specificity of sexual arousal. Psychol Sci, 15:736-744, 2004.
Graham CA, SA Sanders, RR Milhausen and KR McBride. Turning on and turning off: A focus group study of the factors that affect women’s sexual arousal. Arch Sex Behav, 33:527-538, 2004.
Hald GM. Gender differences in pornography consumption among young heterosexual Danish adults. Arch Sex Behav, 35:577-585, 2006.
Hoffmann H, E Janssen and SL Turner. Classical conditioning of sexual arousal in women and men: Effects of varying awareness and biological relevance of the conditioned stimulus. Arch Sex Behav, 33:43-53, 2004.
Laan E, W Everaerd, R van Berlo and L Rijs. Mood and sexual arousal in women. Behav Res Ther, 33:441-443, 1995.
Leitenberg H and K Henning. Sexual fantasy. Psychol Bull, 117:469-496, 1995.
Rokach A. Content analysis of sexual fantasies of males and females. J Psychol, 124:427-436, 1990.
Strassberg DS and LK Lockerd. Force in women’s sexual fantasies. Arch Sex Behav, 27:403-414, 1998.
Variety staff. Nine 1/2 Weeks. January 1 1986.
Yost MR and EL Zurbriggen. Gender differences in the enactment of sociosexuality: An examination of implicit social motives, sexual fantasies, coercive sexual attitudes, and aggressive sexual behavior. J Sex Res, 43:163-173, 2006.
Youn G. Subjective sexual arousal in response to erotica: Effects of gender, guided fantasy, erotic stimulus, and duration of exposure. Arch Sex Behav, 35:87-97, 2006.
- See more at:
Neanderthal sex can add an exciting dimension to your sexual repertoire. It can set you apart from the yuppies and metrosexuals she is used to dating. It can also lead to sexual abuse, resentment and get you in a lot of trouble. Be prudent and use your head (the big head).
Bancroft, J. The endocrinology of sexual arousal. J Endocrinol, 186:411-427, 2005.
Chivers ML, G Rieger, E Latty and JM Bailey. A sex difference in the specificity of sexual arousal. Psychol Sci, 15:736-744, 2004.
Graham CA, SA Sanders, RR Milhausen and KR McBride. Turning on and turning off: A focus group study of the factors that affect women’s sexual arousal. Arch Sex Behav, 33:527-538, 2004.
Hald GM. Gender differences in pornography consumption among young heterosexual Danish adults. Arch Sex Behav, 35:577-585, 2006.
Hoffmann H, E Janssen and SL Turner. Classical conditioning of sexual arousal in women and men: Effects of varying awareness and biological relevance of the conditioned stimulus. Arch Sex Behav, 33:43-53, 2004.
Laan E, W Everaerd, R van Berlo and L Rijs. Mood and sexual arousal in women. Behav Res Ther, 33:441-443, 1995.
Leitenberg H and K Henning. Sexual fantasy. Psychol Bull, 117:469-496, 1995.
Rokach A. Content analysis of sexual fantasies of males and females. J Psychol, 124:427-436, 1990.
Strassberg DS and LK Lockerd. Force in women’s sexual fantasies. Arch Sex Behav, 27:403-414, 1998.
Variety staff. Nine 1/2 Weeks. January 1 1986.
Yost MR and EL Zurbriggen. Gender differences in the enactment of sociosexuality: An examination of implicit social motives, sexual fantasies, coercive sexual attitudes, and aggressive sexual behavior. J Sex Res, 43:163-173, 2006.
Youn G. Subjective sexual arousal in response to erotica: Effects of gender, guided fantasy, erotic stimulus, and duration of exposure. Arch Sex Behav, 35:87-97, 2006.
- See more at:

Saturday, October 05, 2013

What women/ men really want

 People are shallow. Generally. (Many) women will marry for wealth. (Many) men will marry for sex (sexual attraction).

But what people really need - because most people don't really know what they want - is ...

   Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement.

    They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever.

    Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colors seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon.

    You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.

    (Bob Marley.)

I think Marley's words ring true. I also think that only immature or insecure people marry for wealth or physical attraction alone. Having said that for many women in 3rd world countries - marrying for wealth - is often a ticket out of whatever horrible status they were originally in.

But for myself - I think the most important reason to get married is to be with someone who encourages and motivates you. Bound with that is a good dose of respect and love.

Speaking as a man, I would not abide a woman, not matter how beautiful, who shows me no respect and continually condescends to me.

No one is perfect - we are human beings and fallible creatures. If you can't tolerate someone's weaknesses - and seek to constantly put them down over it - I suggest you just walk out of that relationship. Its toxic.

Having said that I'm not suggesting that a someone should tolerate a partner who is a drug abuser, has an uncontrollable temper and is abusive. Please no.

My main reference would be my own parents. I look at my father - sure he was untidy, a bit unkempt, but he was a faithful, decent hardworking father who deserved a little more respect from his own wife. I shudder at how my mother chose to nag him to death over very trivial matters - losing her temper because he chose to wore a pair of pants that had some paint splatter. He did so much for her, he didn't boast about it - but it was clear to see.

Is the glass half full or half empty? For some people they don't even realize they are holding a glass of precious water until it is taken from them - and then its too late.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

4 Rules to Make Star Wars Great Again - or not

I disagree. I think his analysis, except for Rule3, is superficial. The problem with the Prequels was not location, set props or being too cute. The problem was it had bad plots, dialogue, and, worse, was poorly directed. SW3:ROTS had Anakin massacre the entire Jedi kindergarten and strangle his wife - but the scenes lacked tension.

And it lacked tension because the characters were so poorly written. Maybe it was the overemphasis on the special effects - but the characters for the prequels - were horribly written. Oh yes, they had great costumes and props. But they had crappy dialogues+plot and their action sequences seemed more designed to show off LucasArts latest 3d gizmo.

Character character character (development) - that is the most important plot device for any story. Unfortunately, the prequel characters seemed flat and insipid. Even hiring big name stars didn't help.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A healthy diet may have cured this women of multiple sclerosis

Watch the video - suspend your disbelief for awhile - and think about it. Go home - now think about what you are eating. Actually, the key is self-awareness. Be aware of what you are consuming. Too often we are just gobbling whatever that is placed in front of us - which is anything.

I used to suffer from severe irritable bowel syndrome, reflux and heartburn etc.. I saw the specialists and they prescribed for my medicine and artificial roughage.

Actually, there was no need to see any doctors - just one cursory look at my diet back then would have explained everything. I was eating way too much junk food - I was drinking far too much coffee and the amount of sugar, fried food etc.. I wasn't obese. But I wasn't healthy either.

Fast forward to today. OK, my diet isn't perfect. I love to eat Kransky sausages. I love eating (certain type of) biscuits.  But what I do is I've reduced my intake of them. I will occasionally have sausages. I will occasionally drink Coke. I still probably have too many biscuits a day. But I also try my best to eat less processed food - I try and eat brown rice which is 10 times more healthier than white rice (which has little nutrient value btw). I try and eat green vegetables as much as I can.

And guess what I've gone down a size. I've effectively lost 5kg.

The key to weight loss is not to follow some crazy kind of diet that you cannot maintain.

The key to proper weight loss is eating right.  Avoid processed food like KFC, McDonalds. Refrain from drinking soft drinks. And esp. do your utmost to eat fresh leafy vegetables, fresh fruit.

Think carefully about what you are eating - butter is natural and contains a lot of vitamins, margarine is not. Things like white bread, white rice have very little nutritional value.

OK. Back in reference to the paleo diet. I think its wrong to assume that our ancestors knew more than us. The reason why they had the paleo diet is because that was ALL they had. They didn't have access to soft drinks, processed food, and they usually had to work their ass off to get food - try killing a Wooly Mammoth or just trying to harvest nuts and berries - its hard work!

They didn't need to go to the gym or run on a treadmill - because exercise was their lifestyle.

Stupid Intelligent People

There are four types of people in any organization.

1. Stupid and Lazy.

2. Stupid and Eager

3. Clever and diligent

4. Intelligent and Lazy

The latter according to the article make the best leaders- because they want to find the most efficient and fastest way to do things. The clever and diligent types apparently do what they are told.

I'm sure you can find many other types of people. Dominant. Submissive. etc..

But the article did not mention another type. Intelligent and Stupid.

There are some people who are blessed with remarkable intelligence - technical skill, academic prowess, leadership skills, but yet, they do stupid things.

They do not seem able to grasp the larger picture or perhaps if they do - lack the moral willpower to do what is right.

Since the article discusses WW2 - we will stick to that historical sphere for examples.

During WW2, in 1944 and esp. during 1945, the Germans and the Japanese were being smashed by the Allied forces. Both nations were facing horrendous civilian and military casualties. Their cities were being bombed to catastrophic effect. They had no way of winning the war. And yet they fought on hoping to be able to settle it on their own unrealistic terms. Both nations were determined to fight the war to a stalemate and to at least regain some of their conquered territorial gains and rewards.

If you thought the Germans were pig headed - the Japanese were much worse. With their navy destroyed, their army resorting to arming grandmothers and teenage girls with bamboo spears, their cities being bombed to the ground by enemy bombers - their population facing starvation, and even after two atomic bombs - they were still clinging in hope of victory.

People who can't see the forest from the tree bark in front of them.

Why? Despite all their intelligence - they were obsessed over the "small" things like maintaining their monarchy, preserving their sovereignty - meanwhile forgetting the obvious - if they faced utter annihilation in battle, there is no more culture to preserve. What is the use of a nation without its people? What is the point of a family house without its original occupants?

Bringing this back to Singapore - and this point seems to be eluding our intelligent elite leaders - what is the point of maintaining a high GDP if Singaporeans are being alienated in their own land? To be sure foreign investment is absolutely important - but at what price? I'm afraid our leaders who have cocooned themselves being a barricade of the highest salaries in the world, surrounded by sycophants and intelligent but compliant advisors - don't understand the problems that ordinary citizens go through. And that is a serious problem for our nation. When leaders are unable to understand and empathize with the people - and seek to solve the problem through artificial means - ie mass immigration and foreign workers - you are going to have a sick nation.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Jesus & Mary Chain - The Hardest Walk (Alternate Version)

Best played loud. Very LOUD.

This song just has so much going for it. You can feel the energy, the sense of hurt, and that awesome guitar riff. Best played loud. damn loud.

I never thought that this day would ever come
When your words and your touch just struck me numb
Oh and it’s plain to see that it’s dead
The thing swims in blood and it’s cold stoney dead
It’s so hard not to feel ashamed
Of the loving living games we play
Each day

And I’m stuck in a shack
Down the back of the sea
Oh and I’m alive and I’m alone
Inside a sick sick dream
Oh is it me
Is it me that feels so weak
I cannot deceive but I find it hard to speak

The hardest walk you could ever take
Is the walk you take from a to b to c

I walk
Oh honey I talk
Don’t want you to need me
Don’t need you to want me
Don’t want you to need me
Don’t need you to want me

And I walk