Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Future gamer?

Future gamer

Jordan was sitting with her grandfather when I saw her reach instinctively for the keyboard. I was quite impressed. And I managed to get this shot. :)

Monday, October 22, 2007

One last parting shot.

Isn't it funny how the government uses the idea of the moral majority when it wants to maintain the status quo and when it doesn't, it completely ignores said moral majority?

Just not too long ago, the moral majority were complaining that despite the petitions against something that they saw as wrong, the government went ahead and did it anyway. Funny how the wheels have turned innit?

By that logic...

"Neither side is going to persuade or convince the other of its position. We should live and let live, and let the situation evolve in tandem with the values of our society. Whilst homosexuals have a place in society and, in recent years, more social space, repealing Section 377A will be very contentious and may send a wrong signal that the government is encouraging and endorsing the homosexual lifestyle as part of our mainstream way of life."

This is the official government stand on why they cannot repeal a law that makes homosexual sex illegal.

So by that logic, the government (by not making the following illegal) are encouraging:

  1. Smoking.
  2. Alcoholism.
  3. Visits to your local prostitutes.
  4. Pre / Extra - marital sex.
  5. Teenage pregnancy.
  6. Gambling addiction.
The list does go on. Yay! I'ma gonna go out and drink/smoke/fornicate/gamble like it's 1999!*

And all because my government encourages me to do so by not making these things illegal.

*But not engage in homosexual activities because that's illegal...

Labels: ,

It's nice to know...

...that the moral bastions of Singapore truly think that it's a law that prevents people from becoming homosexual.

Because if we decide to repeal a law, we will just spiral into depravity.

Oh, the humanity!


I think it's especially indicative that the letter header states "we the majority". It's quite comforting that we're sailing in a ship of fools. Meanwhile, the argument from the other side really is a whole lot better that leads me to believe that homosexuals / homosexual sympathizers really are smarter than the average heterosexual / heterosexual sympathizer. Which leads me to think that meritocratically speaking, we really should be run by gay leaders. At least we'll get better arguments out of them.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

"There's wrong and there's wrong and there's this."

While Singaporeans go about their daily lives and spend their time worrying about how to make their next grand or so, there's an old lady that sells tissue paper at $1 for 3 packets that goes about picking scraps off the table to place in a plastic bag to take home.

There's no editorial here. Take it as you will.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm a skeptic. Not a cynic.

I preface my classes with the aforementioned statement. However, it has come to my attention (via one of my students...Deb, you know who you are) that I tend to be seen as a snarky cynic. I tried to dispute it but I realised that it was quite the impossible task. I am snarky. That's my persona as a teacher. But a cynic? Yes, I tend to be quite anti-establishment when I'm talking about things in class, but that's all part and parcel of being a thinking person in a Singaporean society. It calls for either cynicism or a form of insanity, and I would much prefer the former to the latter.

I've come to realise that the reason that I tend to be snarky as a teacher is simply this: I don't really have anything else but that. As a disciplinarian, I'm quite useless unless I really lose my temper, and that is rarely lost. I run a relatively long fuse (which leads to a HUGE powder keg but that's another thing altogether) and I don't like blowing up. So, no, getting angry rarely results in anything useful for me. What that sadly leaves me with is sarcasm. And I do that relatively well. The sarcasm also tends to come out only in very specific circumstances: Actually, only one kind of instance, and that happens a LOT here in Singapore.


I hate stupidity. I have little patience for stupidity. One might wonder why I went into teaching if I hated stupidity that much. I have this to say in my defense however. I really didn't think that students would be that stupid.

Before you scoff at the naivete, I'll clarify. The stupidity that I'm talking about really isn't the lack of knowledge on the part of the person. That's not stupidity, that's ignorance. And that, I've realised, students would have in spades. And that's fine. I really didn't know all that much as a student. (I really don't know as much as I wish I did now as an adult too) That's a problem that can easily be fixed.

The stupidity that I'm talking about is the kind of stupidity that drives people to do stupid things like organise fights just for the heck of it without considering (a) the consequences or (b) an escape route to vanish into obscurity so that the authorities do not catch you. The kind of stupidity that makes one think that he/she can leave work that's supposed to be done over 2 years to a week before the exams. The kind of stupidity that causes people to kill themselves over small matters. Or the kind of stupidity stop people from using their own judgment and instead trust entirely what's on a piece of paper. Or even, perhaps the kind of stupidity that allows us to continually swallow the lies that we know to be untrue.

It's that kind of stupidity that plain pisses me off. Unfortunately, it's the kind of stupidity that I live with everyday. But it's not limited to just schools. I live in a country that's rife with this kind of stupidity. It's so ingrained in us that we cease to see it anymore and we tend to gloss over it...all the while living with the little niggling bit of rationality in our minds that makes us feel a sense of unease when faced with it.

And that's what gets me snarky. I don't really like being snarky. It's not in my nature. (Although at times, it is cathartic) But there's so much that goes on around me that I've ceased to get angry anymore and I prefer to just snipe from a position that's far enough away that I don't really need to care that much anymore.

Well...I guess that kind of sums it up in a nice alliterative way: Just call me the Snarky Sniper.

Actually...no. Let's not.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

How exactly NOT to answer a question.

Our beloved leader, man of the people, father of our nation, question dodger.

How interesting that when you look at his rhetoric and really examine what he's saying, it's all towing the line and hammering the querier with the same thing over and over until they're blue in the face and then you claim a victory. Case in point:

THE forum had just ended when spirited literature major Michelle Chiang, 21, wanted to ask a final question on the arts.

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew paused briefly, decided to stay on to tackle her question - and a lively back-and-forth between her and the leader began to play out spontaneously.

Miss Chiang's burning question: 'Do you see a natural contradiction in censorship codes and Singapore's efforts to promote artistic expression?'

Mr Lee questioned his questioner, and the essence of their exchange, which moved from censorship to homosexuality, follows:

Mr Lee: 'What is the problem you see?'

Miss Chiang: 'For example, at the Singapore Arts Festival, there have been films that were censored to such an extent that the artists decided to withdraw their films from the festival.

So in this case, Singaporeans did not get exposed enough to artistic works, within Singapore.'

Mr Lee: I don't see that as a great deprivation.'

Miss Chiang: 'The thing is we can travel out of Singapore...'

Mr Lee: 'No, no, you don't have to travel out. They will come. You can see it on the Internet...'

Miss Chiang: 'Yes, but with regard to local artists' creations, there have been impediments because of the censorship code so there's a limit to what we can produce.'

Mr Lee: 'I just find it unbelievable that your artistic expression...is being suppressed because of the censorship code. It cannot be. What is it you want to say, do, draw, paint?'

Miss Chiang: 'OK, I'm not saying that pornography, for example, will help in artistic expression...Films relating to politics and explicit art are limited.'

Mr Lee: 'What is explicit art?'

Miss Chiang: 'As in maybe films that depict homosexual roles.'

Mr Lee: 'Surely you can find expression through many other areas...

The movement is towards a globalised world culture. But we have to retain certain values of our own...Eventually, if that becomes the mainstream, with homosexual acceptance in China, in Taiwan, in Hong Kong, it will come to us. But we will go at a speed which makes our people comfortable. At the moment, if you move in this direction, you're going to make a lot of people unhappy and it's not necessary. Let's treat this in an adult way... If you're born homosexual, then so be it, but must you parade it and must you go out of your way to antagonise, embarrass or defy people with more conventional views? I think it is not necessary.'

Notice that the question asked was not the question answered. Watch how he dodges and slides from point to point, all the while throwing the questioner off by going on the offensive and hijacking the thread and twisting it so that you end up talking about what he wants to talk about.

More interestingly enough was the question that popped into my head as I read the article. "Hasn't progress in many fronts occurred because people asked questions that made society uncomfortable?" Let's see...Women's rights, racial equality, independence, scientific revolutions. All these occurred because someone was willing, no, daring enough to bring the topics up in the general public and yell it from the rooftops no matter who was embarrassed by it. Perhaps that's what Singapore needs a good dose of.

But back to my point. If you take a look at the points raised by our dear EmperorMinister Mentor, you'll realise that he doesn't really address the idea of censorship and creativity and instead goes on an offensive to force the questioner to eventually ask a question that he has an official stand on. Which is a little worrying for our nation's future. This is indicative of the government we have. With every report on the news about Myanmar (and the associated corruption etc...) we seem to just quote from the government phrasebook of approved political stands. Yes, we do admonish Myanmar. No, it's not in our place to tell them what to do. Yes, we do have businesses in Myanmar. No, we are incorruptible so all the deals with have with Myanmar are above board and legal. Yes, we do treat corrupt government officials but there is the Hippocratic oath. (Which Singapore as a country NEVER took)

The same goes for questions about the CPF. Why can't we get higher returns? Well...We're investing in safe government bonds for you. Singapore Inc. will never fold and therefore, we can give you money. Bull frikkin' crap. I get higher returns on fixed deposits (which the CPF is) and said fixed D's guarantee me a higher return over a shorter period of time. That said, realise that if we're buying into a company, it means that the company profits as well. If we are buying into government bonds, then the government profits. Where is all the profit going to? If Singapore Inc. really is growing at that substantial rate, why are its investors getting such a low return? And where do the profits really go when all is said and done? What does happen if we the citizens actually take our money out of CPF and invest it ourselves? And don't you give me any of that crap that says that I'll blow it all and end up poor and destitute. Is the government's concern more about me or about the fact that suddenly, they've got a whole lot less money to invest in failing enterprises?

Hey. We pay you guys ludicrous amounts of money. We did NOT pay for robots with preprogrammed responses. If the PAPgovernment wants us to be a thinking nation, howsabout you lead the charge? Can the canned responses and actually answer our questions for a change? We've been fed the same crap for way too long and I think it's time that we got the answers to the questions that we asked, instead of the questions that you want to answer.

And let's do this straight, shall we?