I’m Off to Brunei

To anyone who knows me, or any regular readers out there, I’m off to Brunei for the next two weeks or so. Will be back on the 8th of May.

Until then, you can either a) visit my friend’s sites, or b) go through my archives.

You might want to re-read my favourite posts too (which can be found on the right of this page). They have been edited (tightened the language a little, added a little here and there), and I think they deserve re-readings.

And if you haven’t checked out any of the downloads, now’s as good a time as ever. The downloads can also be found on the right of this page.

Until then,

I'm Off to Brunei

To anyone who knows me, or any regular readers out there, I’m off to Brunei for the next two weeks or so. Will be back on the 8th of May.

Until then, you can either a) visit my friend’s sites, or b) go through my archives.

You might want to re-read my favourite posts too (which can be found on the right of this page). They have been edited (tightened the language a little, added a little here and there), and I think they deserve re-readings.

And if you haven’t checked out any of the downloads, now’s as good a time as ever. The downloads can also be found on the right of this page.

Until then,

The Eternal Sunset

“How beautiful it all is!” she said, smiling with delight at the sight of the setting sun.

“It is, isn’t it?” he replied, giving her hand a little squeeze.

“Oh look,” she said, pointing to the bird that landed in the water in front of them, “it’s fishing.”

“It’s marvelous, honey. Marvelous.”

“Oh how I wish this moment would never end!”

Her smile gone, she gave out a wistful sigh and pulled her hand gently away from his. She then cupped her hands, as if in prayer, looking forlornly at the setting sun.

He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close.

“But, honey, if it never ended,” he said, “it wouldn’t be as beautiful as it is. Everything’s got to end sometime.”

She looked at him and smiled. She felt the truth in that statement, but continued wishing the moment would never end nonetheless.

“Do you think He will forgive us?”

“I don’t know, honey. I don’t know.”

“We tried. We tried… so hard.”

“Yes we did, honey. We did.”

The sound of the waves softly caressing the sand, the red sun setting in the champaign-coloured sky — it was all so beautiful, so perfect, quite unlike the rest of their lives.

Then they drew their last breaths, and eternalised their sunset.

An Ode to the Ellipsis…

Oh ellipsis, ellipsis…
How beautiful you are!
Three little dots that
Stretches so far!

A pause…
A continuation…
A censor…
An omission…

You do it all,
My beautiful Ellipsis.
You sometimes even
Replace the f…ing asterisk!

Three simple dots can lead the imagination
to places words can never reach.
You make lessons possible
for children that adults can never teach.

Children want to know what f…ing means,
And so they ask their parents.
Yet parents when asked,
Turn away in fear…

But add a little context in a newspaper story,
Omit some letters with you,
And the meaning of f…ing
becomes quite clear…

You can be used to signal a beginning,
As in Once upon a time…
Or used as a signal to an end,
As in And so he shot the mime…

Whatever you do, dear, dear ellipsis,
You make life so much easier…
For writers all over the world,
Ellipsis you are a dear life-saver…

The Living of a Cluttered Life

I’m thinking of re-organising my room — throwing unwanted things out, putting things where they belong (clothes in the wardrobe, not the bed), re-arranging furniture, shredding my por — that sort of thing.

Since enlisting into the army, I’ve neglected keeping my spaces tidy. Perhaps it’s just coincidence, but my outer spaces seem to reflect the inner spaces of my mind.

I’m hoping that sorting out my external clutter would help sort out the internal one as well… Oh! How I long for the straight-forward, organised life…

People and Relationships

Like knowing where a book goes on my bookshelf, I want to know where people go in my life.

Relationships are terribly confusing, especially for the numerous so-called friends I’ve met in the army. (So-called because I normally wouldn’t use the term “friends” that loosely, but after the advent of friendster, I’ve relaxed my rules a little bit.)

People whom I thought were my good friends while sharing the same room in the army, were the very same people I met three months later whose names I could not recall.

Girls whom I have met over the years seem to have disappeared into oblivion; and everytime I consider contacting them in the hope of reviving the friendship, I ask myself if perhaps I’m seeking more than a friendship.

I tell myself, “no way, she’s not my type”, but realise that being in the army makes me more desperate than normal, and in no state of mind to think objectively — and in this case, platonically — about any male-female relationship.

Consumerism and Studying Overseas

Besides the army, studying overseas has also been at the back of my mind in everything I have done. All decisions that I make are now based on the premise that by February next year, I’ll be in Perth.

Decision Filters

All purchasing decisions or choices that I make have to go through two filters, namely the “army filter”, and the “study filter”.

Allow me to explain.

The purchase of any large-ticket items has to go through the “army filter” first, which says that all items bought, if it cannot be brought to and/or used in camp, will be little used since I’m out of camp so little of the time. Any item that is little used has what I call unrealised potential utility — it has the potential to be utilised or used, but the potential is not realised due to time and/or location restrictions.

The second is the “study filter”, which says that after my NS (National Service) liability is over, I’ll have between October this year and February next year to fully utilise whatever item I’m considering buying. That’s about four months of utility, short-term by most standards.

The “study filter” goes even further in that going overseas to study requires money, and that prudence of monetary issues is a prerequisite for a successful term overseas. Any item that manages to go through these two filters will be allowed a “purchase order”, but so far no item has made it, yet.

The issues of the short-term utility, as well as unrealised potential utility while in the army, do not just go into the realms of the purchase of products.

Relationships and the Fly Me to the Moon syndrome

I have to be wary of who I sing Fly Me to the Moon to.

Romantic relationships have to go through the two filters as well. When I get into a relationship, I won’t have much time nor money to spend on her. My time is taken mostly by National Service (at least until October), and money, by prudence exercised in view of my expensive overseas studies.

You might say that even before the army, even before I thought seriously about going overseas to study, I didn’t have a girlfriend (as I have mentioned before), and you may have a point.

But the army has changed me, made me more desparate, made me more willing to take risks to satisfy carnal desires.

I’m joking.

The army has changed me*: you might say made me more willing to take chances (this being almost entirely because everything in my camp is done “under the table” — bend it like Beckham? In my camp, it’s bend it like the rules)

As such, some issues that have bothered me in the past, like telling a girl she’s hot (or more tactfully, beautiful,) bother me less, sometimes not at all.

After October, when I’ve cleared my two years of active National Service liability, I’ll have time to spend on romance, right? Wrong!

Again, my prudence about money would require me to get a job and earn some extra cash in preparation for my studies. Of course, I’ll have weekends, and after work to spend with her. But what will we do when February comes along? Maintain a long distance relationship? The chances of a relationship like that surviving are lower than the Pacific Ocean’s seabed.

Besides, I want to keep my options open — who knows? I might just decide to get hitched to an Australian.

I think I had better go clear up some clutter now, and think about my future purchases… and romances.

Fly Me to the Moon
Lyrics by Bart Howard

Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars
In other words hold my hand
In other words darling kiss me
Fill my life with song
And let me sing forevermore
You are all I hope for
All I worship and adore
In other words please be true
In other words I love you

* It can be argued that even without the army, through normal maturity through the ages, I would nonetheless have changed into whatever — whoever — I am now.

Off to Sunday Mass

I wrote this poem while thinking about life after death. Where do we go after we die? Is there life after death in the first place? Is it a Paradise or Heaven that we go to or more of the same as here on Earth?

On and on I pondered, and realised that if there was life after death, and it was going to be more of the same, I didn’t need it.

There is also the theological problem of religious belief: Buddhists believe in reincarnation back into this material world (no beginning, no end). However the Christian faith, and likewise for the Islamic faith, believe in our going into Heaven or Hell.

I was born Catholic, but have dabbled in Buddhism for close to five years now. But when asked about life after death, I do not choose either faith’s theory on where we might go. Instead, I opt to choose what I’ve always thought about death, that upon our last breath, we will experience nothing, into a blackness that isn’t really black, because we will not sense the blackness either.

Off to Sunday Mass

Life after death, she says,
On and on forever;
No beginning, no end–
The thought! it made me shiver.

I thought it was a done deal,
A sentence I had served;
Living once is enough,
This I do not deserve!

They say better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all,
Well this I have done, and
Not yet recovered from that fall.

Sending me in once more,
Another life to live again?
No please! enough, enough!
Save me from life’s pain…

She tells me of places,
Certain designated spots,
Where I can choose death,
Or continue to be shot —

Shot by life’s painful arrows,
That are little soothed by its joys,
But what do you think I am?
One of God’s malleable toys?

The decision to live or die,
It is not easy to make.
A life that is once given
Requires courage to take.

If you give me not courage too,
The choice has no use;
I would carry on living
Even through the worst abuse.

As I was too scared to die,
I had bravely hung on,
Onto a life that seemed
In all matters all but long gone.

A broken man I was, by my
Last life’s last light,
Yet on and on I fought, till
I became too tired to fight;

On my death-bed I called
Out to a God I did not believe,
I scrambled the words,
Atheists my life decieved!

My final lie registered,
The world next I had slipped,
Thinking heaven or hell?
This must be it.

But looking around me,
I saw no St. Peter or God,
No winged angels with Halos,
And no Jesus Our Lord,

Instead I saw a wrinkled old woman,
Who looked at me and said,
Welcome to life after death.
At which I asked, Am I not dead?

The old woman looked
At me, with a curious eye,
And said, Do you not
Know? You cannot die.

Buddhism you took up, boy,
Do you not remember?
Buddha had accepted you,
Some time last December.

God, you had said to me,
Had no place in your heart,
A direct route to Heaven
You therefore did part.

In accepting Buddhism,
You accepted no end,
Life you will live again,
Our rules we will not bend.

Right upon hearing that,
Away I wished to run,
God! I screamed,
What have I done?

I awoke with a frightful start, and
Realised my white shirt dyed crimson.
A woman with tears in her eyes said,
Baby, you met with an accident.

A lovely face I had known so long,
But sadly never really saw,
Her face was awash with tears,
She looked to me so painfully raw.

From her face I could tell she
Thought I would soon die,
And to say I thought otherwise
Would have been a lie.

Yet seeing her so sad,
I said that I pained not;
It’s not as if, I told her,
In the head I was shot!

Sirens I then heard near,
And slowly I turned my head,
The ambulance had arrived! And soon
Enough to not declare me dead!

As I was being carried off
I looked at her and said,
Please girl, don’t cry,
This Sunday’s our date!

A beautiful Sunday morning,
It is soon to be dawn,
You can hear the children laughing,
And the birds singing their song.

My woman she looks stunning,
She’s wearing her favourite dress;
And off we go, where else?
But to Sunday Mass.

Welcome to life after death

Welcome to life after death.
You do know it’s life after death, don’t you?
Yes, yes, welcome.
Shall you like a cuppa tea?
Ah, coffee, no Englishman I see.

Shakespeare, you do know who he is?
once said all the world’s a stage —
not very true: a play’s got to end
sometime, but he knows it now.
He has quite a legacy, don’t you think?
Yours were footprints in the sand,
maybe you’ll do more this time?

Ah, there she comes! the lovely lady —
she’s yours for this life, but you’ve got to find her;
she could be placed anywhere, anywhere at all.
Maybe Asia, maybe Scandanavia — it doesn’t
Find her before she finds out who’s hers,
things will be simpler that way.

God’s taking a break this time, so
you’ll probably be an aethist, unless he decides
to come back for whatever reason — six lifetimes’
an awful long time to work, and he likes to take
a rest during number seven: it’s his favourite

So run along now, and go out and live your life.
Any reason you need to return here, just go
to any of the designated spots (we’ve marked it
out for you in your brain), and choose the option
called “death”. You’ll come back to this place,
where you can decide whether or not to continue,
or restart your life again.
Quite simple, yes?

Anger Management: Limited Options

I received a call from camp today. I was told some interview booklets that were supposed to have been submitted yesterday had not been submitted. I therefore have to return to camp either during the weekend, or Monday, on which I am on leave, to return them.

When I received the call and fully understood the news I flared up, and was on the verge of spewing the most obscene vulgarities I could muster. Thankfully, only one obscenity escaped my lips, and in a muted manner.

My tone though, was livid, and it showed throughout the conversation. Again, I must stress, that inside I was burning up. Much like a plugged volcano just itching to erupt, I was close to exploding. If I did explode it would have been a spectacularly nasty scene.

It was strange though, that being angry — using angry tones, spewing vulgarities, perhaps even throwing things if time and space permitted — seemed so right.

One method of tackling anger is that of rationalisation. Step outside of yourself, and think logically about why you are angry, and what benefits (if any) anger would bring about. But, it seems, I had more reasons to be angry than otherwise.

A display of anger allows me to:

  1. Show displeasure: This dude calls me up, and tells me bad news. I want to tell him that I am upset at the news.
  2. Minimise chances of event happening again: By showing displeasure, and by passing on the unpleasantness of the situation, I hope to make him associate calling me with regards this particular piece of news an unpleasant experience. We humans, as do most creatures, tend to try to minimise unpleasant experiences, thus he will not call me again unless absolutely necessary.
  3. Release inner tension: An outward display of anger means that less anger is directed inward, which can lead to stress or depression. Of course, too much outward expression of anger can have far reaching consequences, if the displays of anger are too extreme, so prudence must be taken.

It was due to the above-mentioned reasons that made being angry feel so right. But at the same time, I was thinking,

“It isn’t his fault that he’s calling me. I am in part, to blame too, as I had not confirmed the need to submit the booklets yesterday. He too is distressed over this incident (otherwise, why would he call?), so I really mustn’t be too hard on him.”

I managed to control myself somewhat and calmed down a bit. But I feared that, though this time I was able to control myself, what about next time?

Anger, like nuclear energy, can be used in a very constructive manner, as I have mentioned above.

But, like nuclear energy, if it gets out of hand, almost nothing can surpass it in its potential destructiveness.

The anger I felt was difficult to control, and could have gone either way: it could well have ended with me throwing my handphone on the floor.

I thought about alternative ways to handle the situation: what else could I have done besides being angry? Could I have done it any other way, while achieving the same goals I had listed above (on the expression of anger) achieves?

I deliberated over it, and came to no conclusion. What else is a man to do when faced with such a scenario? I have limited options, and thus I am angry.

Tammy NYP

I came across an article called “Tammy NYP“. It had nothing to do with Tammy or NYP. By the writer’s own admission,

Let’s see what this does to visitor counts…

it was an experiment to see if it could lure visitors to his site through the simple heading, “Tammy NYP.”

The result? According to him, it works,

Update, 1 day later: it works…

Just Who Is Tammy, Anyway?

The article has the author saying — (regarding the search terms “Tammy NYP”):

Obviously the hottest thing on da net, whatever it is…

(emphasis mine)

All I can say is, “you mean you don’t know??”

The Sex Scandal

In case you really don’t know, the reason why the search terms “Tammy NYP” is so hot is because it has to do with sex.

Tammy, a 17-year-old girl from NYP (Nanyang Polytechnic), had her handphone stolen, allegedly by a jealous fiend. It contained videos of her having sex with her boyfriend ala Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

But Tammy isn’t just any ordinary girl. She’s from Singapore: a seemingly ultra conservative country where just about anything to do with sex is taboo, which just makes it all the more novel and interesting! (I guess after this you’d have to think twice about using the term “conservative” to describe us now.)

To have a 17-year-old Singaporean cheerleader record her sexual exploits on a handphone, having that handphone stolen by a jealous schoolmate, and having the videos released on the Internet, and for that to happen in boring Singapore…

…that’s as likely as lightning hitting you 10 times in a row, each time on a different toe…

…it’s like porn being freely distributed in Iraq, for Christ’s sake! (And the Lord said, “Take this, all of you and watch it; this is her body which hath be given up for you. Do this, in memory of her.”)

Public Opinion of the Tammy Sex Video

This sex video created quite a stir (not as James Bond would have had it: shaken, not stirred), eliciting both damnation and compassion from the general public, as well as a not insignificant amount of lust and curiosity.

Every one in my camp was talking about it for a while, so much so it has become synonymous with the term “porn” — “yo, got Tammy on your PDA? Ooh, Japanese Tammy, nice.”

Okay, so I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea.

The hooha wasn’t limited to just Singapore. Like Avian Flu, it has spread throughout the region and beyond. Malaysians, especially, got as caught up with this saga as we Singaporeans did.

The Malaysian Spirit

Their entrepreneurial spirit, comparable to the Chinese (the current ruling champions of procuring money from all sorts of strange and sometimes — no, oftentimes — unethical ventures), made them do what they do so well: produce bootleg copies of the video compiled on VCD and DVD.

It makes me wonder: the videos (there are 4 separate videos in total, I’ve done my research) take up less than 10 megabytes of data — so what’s contained in the remaining 600+ megabyes of storage on the VCD? Or the whopping 4.2 gigabytes still available on the DVD? Special extras perhaps?

Sex Video: Special Extras

Imagine if these special extras included digital versions of the Bible, Koran or Buddhist scriptures — the juxtaposition in seeing “Tammy Sex Video.gp3” and “Bible Studies: Away From Temptation.pdf” would prove interesting to say the least.

Singaporean Tammy a Nobody in Germany?

So, he — the guy who wrote the article… I’m assuming he’s German from the “.de” extension of his site — doesn’t know who Tammy is.

I wonder if that’s true of all the Germans. But I guess it’s for the best (especially for Tammy’s sake) that they don’t know about her, lest they publish her photos in the newspaper: in the name of freedom of the press. If they — the Europeans — can do it to Muhammad, they can do it to her.

Fast Food Calories

I came across an article on the amount of calories certain foods of some popular fast food chains contained. It’s not the first, nor the most comprehensive, but it was quite enlightening anyway. You’ve probably come across something like this in some weight watcher’s magazine or school science textbook, but nonetheless, here’s the link:

Fast Food Nutritional Facts

Maybe it’d make you think twice before sinking your teeth into that Whopper.