Saturday, August 30, 2008

Another Accident During Breakfast

I survived an explosion. 

Yes, right here in Singapore. You may think it is such a safe country, but no one is safe from unexpected turns of events. 

Impermanence of life, so Buddha taught...


The aftermath was absolutely gory, with remains of an organic being strewn all over the place. 

My ears were still ringing from the deafening blast hours later; my heart still beating fast from the horrible experience. 

I am safe though, don't worry. Unharmed. Unscathed. 

(yeah i am making you scroll)

I did not lie. Egg is organic, isn't it? *

I will learn from the experience, and will not meddle lightly with weapons of cookery from now on. 

The poached egg gadget bought from Daiso is such a bitch to use. Or it could just be me. 

Likely the latter. 

*Disclaimer: I did not char the top of the oven. Not ME! But there's a lesson to be learnt. Do not cook cup noodle in microwave. You are supposed to pour hot water in. If you have to microwave it, remove the paper/aluminium foil lid too, please...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Baldy that was me

That was long ago yeah?

Posted by ShoZu

The Malaysian that ...

An awesome photo

Saw this photo on my favourite retiree's blog

Someone went...

'Ah i know, this is... this is...' 

I thought she recognised the blog i was reading. 

Then she came up with an impeccable follow-up. 

'What's that towers called again?'

So much for being a Malaysian. Haha. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

An Accident During Breakfast

Screenshot from Midwest Teen Sex Show, an online sex education show with a twist. 

What can happen when you eat a sandwich in front of your computer? 

No i didn't spill my drink on the keyboard. Imagine something more unlikely. 

You know what? I took one bite at my home-made sandwich, and the still runny egg yolk shot forth in a huge squirt, and landed squarely on my keyboard, running the entire length of that sleek white and aluminium darling of mine. Thank goodness it missed everything else. 

My heart skipped a beat. I remained stunned for some time, not knowing what to do. 

I never expect to be able to shoot that thick, viscous, proteinaceous fluid from between my mouth!

Luckily i had a silicone cover over my keyboard. Otherwise i guess i will be spending the rest of the day taking my keyboard apart and scrubbing it. 

I continued to devour my sandwich before i cleaned up the mess. 

Yellow c**shot on my keyboard. Eww...

Time to go back to read, and see more. I do hope my joke this time has been less subtle. 

Saturday, August 23, 2008

To Hell With Olympic Spirit

*15 days to Finals! Am so glad it's finally coming...

**It's 7.14 am now, almost an hour since i woke up. No i am no early bird, i just could not go back to sleep. For the past 2 weeks that i had not been waking up, i was woken up anyway, either by Rags knocking on the door to check if Nesa was awake, or by Nesa leaving his alarm on while showering. 

The regular disturbance did not come today, but i woke up anyway, unconsciously bracing for the faint-but-still-too-loud knock or the frenzied alarm. I always suspect there is a build-in precision clock somewhere in the human brains. 

Do you know it's the second last day of Olympic Games already? I didn't, and was quite taken aback by my ignorance when i sought out the schedule. 

By the way, what's the spirit of the Olympic? (I always have some misgivings towards this)

I always wonder why virtually everyone praises the spirit of the Olympic, in every speeches that is remotely related to Olympic Games. I vaguely remember i learnt something about it when i was in primary or secondary school, but whatever that was taught obviously did not make too much of an impact since i could not recall it well. 

So i did some googling and here are what i have found. 

By blending sport with culture and education, Olympism promotes a way of life based on:

  • The balanced development of the body, will and mind
  • The joy found in effort
  • The educational value of being a good role model
  • Respect for universal ethics including tolerance, generosity, unity, friendship, non-discrimination and respect for others.

But i beg to differ.

Olympic Games do not celebrate the balanced development of the body, will and mind. Tell me which of the athletes have a balanced development of all those? All the athletes who qualify for Olympic Games probably have lived all their lives training for the sports, and would have sacrificed the life that we commoners enjoy. 

What they have instead, is actually overly developed body, overly toughened will, and overly simple mind. 


If life revolves entirely around winning game (mind you one cannot reach the Olympic Games if he/she does not breathe, eat, and sh*t thinking about that particular sports), i would have severe reservation on how developed, or rather balance, that mind can be. 

Now let's talk about the joy found in effort

Well, if u plant a mango seed and you savour the fruits you reap, yeah that is the joy found in effort. But in Olympic Games? Come on... For every one fellow who weeps in joy for winning the coveted gold medal, there are hundreds, if not thousands who languish in misery for effort that never paid off. It's not as bad for someone who obviously sucks in the sports, he/she at least would have gotten the cue not to try too hard and should instead work on other vocations, and make more babies to torture them with his/her unfulfilled dream. Imagine those fellas who have talent, and are groomed into machines sportsmen with a realistic chance to make it to the top, BUT NEVER MAKE IT. 

Imagine a life of frustration, disappointment, and anguish. 

And chances are these people have deviated so far from the route that social norm dictates that everyone else take, most notably the lack of proper schooling. (Think general, don't get too engrossed in the few who make it to the top in both education, and sports. Those are outliers.)

Are you guilty of playing up the hype of the sports, cheering them on, and indirectly cause these people to forgo a normal life? 

Yes, they probably have an extraordinary life. As long as it lasts. Which is rather short actually. We are looking at the youngest cohort of retirees in every country. Wondering what to do with the rest of their lives, outside the limelight. 

Thank you, my supporter. My ass.

Now, the education value of being a good role model


I wonder if it's just me who is having some difficulty trying to associate Olympic Games and the role model thingy. 

There was this celebrated loser who was trailing miles behind everyone else in the marathon, but persisted in making to the line anyway. Good role model eh? But sometimes in life, in your finite life, it's ok to call it quits before you try too hard for too long for too little reasons. Do they teach you that in Olympic? No. They cheer you on for the narrow moral triumph, and neglect the importance of thinking for yourself. 

Would i persist to the line if it was me? Yes i would, but that's sports. It has absolutely no bearing on day-to-day life. If you forget to tell that disclaimer to kids, who all grow up in a poisonous environment that discourages too much thinking/questioning (think religion, and Malaysia, or Singapore in that matter), you will end up with stubborn fools who soldier on despite all obvious contraindications. 

I am sure my mum would have killed me if i were him. (Source: The Star)

That damned word is faith. (And faith by default does not tolerate intellectual probing, the less brain you use the better it is, since you only need to praise... Oh that reminds me of the small nifty gadget that mum switches on during auspicious days, that chants Buddhist prayers non stop. In spite of a brain, that gadget must be going to the heavens! Rejoice!)

Respect for universal ethics including yadda yadda yadda.... 

I say...

no tolerance because if you are tolerant there is no need to see if you are 0.01 second faster than someone else in swimming, and do that once every 4 years for that matter. 

no generosity because conferring recognition to only the top 3, while disappointing thousands of aspiring gold medallist who worked their behind off, is in no way being generous. If that does not convince you, see how many countries that have poured in millions in nurturing sports, and sadism*, but produced absolutely no medal. Hey Malaysia, you don't snigger. You are not much better off. 

*I say sadism too, because these sportsmen work so hard to be in the top 3, but if you make it easier to get a medal, like giving a 4th or 5th iron or titanium medal, i tell you for sure they will be all up in arms protesting. It's only meaningful to them because if they win, it's at the expense of everyone else losing. No win-win situation. Oh whip me hard... 

No unity because you don't see sprinters holding hand and run to the line together. They try hard to go ahead of the others. The only unity i see, is a group of people who otherwise have no business of gathering in one place in so huge a number, united in sweating, breathing in humanly odours, and screaming their lungs off. Such a display of unity must have done humanity many good...

No friendship... Well with headlines like this (Read: Beijing Provides 100,000 Condoms for the Athletes), I guess there must be some new amorous friendships abound in Beijing.

No non-discrimination. Because if you can't help seeing poorer countries with less resources doing really badly in the medal tally! You don't have to exclude to discriminate. You can include, and still discriminate. And the whole point of gold medal is to discriminate the best from the rest! What non-discrimination bullshit. 

And absolutely no respect for others. You see how the photographers never take photos of the losers? Hey those poor chaps flew thousands of miles to that great polluted city too ok?


Well i must admit that in spite of all the badmouthing that i do on Olympic Games, i cannot make a clear-cut case that this huge waste of money totally lacks merit. But we must take a pinch of salt and think for ourselves, what is the cost for every little grain of national pride we feel, and does it mean as much as the media trumpets it to be. 

And before you get bored of my tirades, do you know what the Olympic Rings mean? 

Deep indeed. Heh. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Engrish, Armpit Hair and Apple

Just some random stuffs today.

I stumbled across some Engrish last few days. 


I can't understand why these established chain of restaurants, while minting money, can't be bothered to vet their Engrish properly. Mind you these places are almost impeccable in their other aspects of services which make these flaws all the more glaring. 

It's like seeing a gorgeous lady perfect in all respects, but does not shave arm pit hair. 

From where i plucked this photo from, this girl supposedly keep the armpit hair for revenge. I don't want to imagine what revenge it is. Eww

It is just heart-wrenching to see*. 

*This does not, in any way, represent my personal view on armpit hair ok? I am just stating the cultural norm, heh. 

While we are at it, check this funny korean prank. 

There's also this photo that Almighty dug up recently. It's about me!

Just as sweet, no?

Well, CJ is short for Chuen Jye which is supposed to be pronounced as Jun Jie. 

So if you eat an apple a day but worry that it will keep me away, buy this brand of apple. Then you will have both!

Ok i am being lame. 

Now i shall go back to cursing someone's soft palate that simply vibrates too much. 

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In Defense of Lee Chong Wei

The guy who broke 27 million hearts. Note the inconvenient protuberance. Don't tell me you never notice that. Bulls**t

I am feeling mightily depressed. I guess there are a lot of people out there who feel the same like me, both in Malaysia, and Singapore. 

Been feeling lousy ever since watching the Olympic gold medal match between Lee Chong Wei and Lin Dan. 

It could have been so much better played out. He should have put up a better fight. 

I suppose there are a lot of enraged Malaysians ready to lash out at Lee CW now, having dashed the dream of a first Olympic gold medal, and derailed a much anticipated public holiday too. 

But i gotta put across my 2 cents in his defence. 

True, Lee Chong Wei was not playing his usual games. He simply could not. 

His face during the match was that of a cowered opponent, not his usual expressionless poker face. I guess it was only normal to be intimidated, after all he was playing a Chinese opponent in a Chinese gymnasium, filled with Chinese spectators that thundered out a deafening 'Lin Dan Jia You!' non stop for the entire match. The resulting din permitted little intrusion of cheer for him, as far as i could tell from the live telecast. 

Got this from either BBC or Official Olympics sportsmen profile. They could have easily given him a more complimenting picture.

He must have felt like he was battling an entire army, one billion strong, all by himself. 

The irony is he is a chinese too, but we humans are very fixated on artificial stuffs, such as borders of nations. 

But that's not all. 

He had to shoulder the unenviable monumental task of gaining the country's first ever Olympic gold medal, which unfortunately translates very well into risk disappointing 27 million people should he fail. 

I almost forgot he campaigned for Ling Hee Leong's bid to enter the parliament not so long ago. Tsk tsk tsk. Stick to sports la. 

It's plain sad that the nation has no realistic hope of winning any medals in other sports. In a sense, he was made to pay for the inadequacies of the country's sports development programme. The burden would not have been so heavy if he did not have to be treated as the sole beacon of hope, the sole torch bearer who could bring us glory.

So much for the millions we poured into developing sports (or trying to build some sports hall in London for dubious reasons.) 

All in all, the odds were completely against him. 

Yes he definitely could have played better, but the circumstances could have been a lot better too. Don't give the poor chap a hard time. He must be the most depressed person in the entire Malaysia now. 

Now if you would excuse me, i have my own depression from empathizing too much with that fellow Penangite to nurse now. Good nite. 

Oh ya, we got a silver medal, if you have forgotten about that somehow. 

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Distress Call Transcript

I came across this distress call transcript a few days back while killing time on the MRT with my phone, surfing on BBC

Fortunately, few of us will ever have to make such a call, or will be at the receiving end of such distress calls, but i gather the essence of humanity so starkly portrayed in the conversation will make reading it a worthwhile experience. 

I am really impressed by the professionalism of the operator.

The 999 call from massacre house

Two drug dealers have been convicted of shooting dead three men at a house in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire. Moments after the massacre one of the men's girlfriends, Claire Evans, who had herself been stabbed, rang 999. The following are edited extracts of the transcript of that call.

The murders took place in this house
The Cowells lived in the commuter town of Bishop's Stortford

Operator: Ambulance, emergency.

Miss Evans: I need an ambulance.

Operator: Where do you want the ambulance to come to?

Miss Evans: Plaw Hatch Close, Bishop's Stortford.

Operator: Plaw Hatch Close?

Miss Evans: Yeah, please. I've been stabbed loads. Can you hurry up.

Operator: You've been stabbed. OK.

Miss Evans: Please hurry... I think the people are still here.

Operator: The people are still there are they? OK.

Miss Evans: Please hurry.

Operator: Right, well we've got the police as well as the ambulance on the way to you OK? So try not to panic.

Miss Evans: I've got my daughter here as well.

Operator: All right my love, all right. Now where have you been stabbed?

Miss Evans: Everywhere, in my head, my back, everywhere.

Operator: And the attackers are still there?

Miss Evans: I think they've gone. I'm not sure.

Operator: Right, OK. Is there any serious bleeding my love?

Miss Evans: Yeah, I'm covered... it's everywhere, it's pouring, I don't know if I'm going to live.

Operator: Come on now stay positive. You've got a little girl there, OK? Stay positive my love. OK, try and be calm, we've got the police and the ambulance on the way to you now. How old is your little girl?

Miss Evans: Three.

Operator: Right, is she there, can she see what's happened?

Miss Evans: Yeah, she can see it, I can't move... It really hurts...

Operator: Are you in a house or a flat?

Miss Evans: In a house.

Operator: Who lives there with you then?

Miss Evans: It's my boyfriend's parents' house.

Operator: Right, and are they there?

Miss Evans: Yeah, they're downstairs, I think. I think I heard guns as well I think.

Operator: You heard guns as well?

Miss Evans: Yeah, downstairs.

Operator: And you think you've heard some shots downstairs?

Miss Evans: Yes [voice in the background, inaudible].

Operator: Who's that with you?

Miss Evans: It's my boyfriend's cousin [Ian Jennings].

Operator: OK. Can I talk to him, can I talk to him my love?

Mr Jennings: Hello.

Operator: Hello, this is the ambulance service... This lady has been stabbed, yeah?

Mr Jennings: Pardon?

Operator: The lady you're with now has been stabbed, is that right?

Mr Jennings: Yeah, the lady's been stabbed, yes.

Operator: She said she heard some gunshots as well.

Mr Jennings: Yeah.

Operator: Is there anybody in the house injured?

Mr Jennings: Five people that are injured. She's been stabbed in the back and everything. Oh, God... Did they take all the gear? Did you see?

Miss Evans: No idea. Ian, where's Matt?

Mr Jennings: Dead mate, so is that Tony.

Operator: Right, OK my love now they're nearly with you now OK?

Mr Jennings: I think my mum's lying down there.

Operator: Are you all right?

Miss Evans: No, I think he just told me my boyfriend's dead... Please hurry up.

Operator: Right, what did you just say to me?

Miss Evans: I think he just said my boyfriend's dead.

Shooting victims Keith Cowell, 52, and his son Matthew, 17
Matthew Cowell (right) and his father lay dead downstairs

Operator: Listen, listen to me my love. The ambulance is almost with you, OK?

Mr Jennings: She can't talk.

Operator: Try and stay calm. I know it's very very difficult and I know you must be in a lot of pain... How's the little girl, is she all right?

Miss Evans: She's shaking.

Operator: Yeah, I'm sure she is.

Miss Evans: All this blood is pouring out of me.

Operator: Well, I'll stay on the phone my love, I won't let you go until they get to you.

Miss Evans: I think my boyfriend's gone.

Operator: Now where is your boyfriend, downstairs?

Miss Evans: He must be downstairs and I think that his dad's gone and all.

Operator: You think that your boyfriend and his dad are both dead?

Miss Evans: Yeah... This pain's getting really, really bad, really, really bad.

Operator: Right, OK.

Miss Evans: I think they've just pulled up, can you send them upstairs.

Operator: Have they just turned up?

Miss Evans: Yeah.

Operator: All right, well, are you going to go now or do you want me to stay until they come up to you?

Miss Evans: No, they're here, thank you very much.

Operator: You're more than welcome my love, I hope this is all all right for you.

Miss Evans: Thank you.

Operator: All right, take care now.

Miss Evans: Bye. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Recalcitrant Patient

*Names and identities changed in this article. Coming next: The nuances of keeping clean, and cleaning...

'Morning Mr Liew', greets the consultant running the morning rounds. 

Mr Liew turned over to look at us quizzically, his head still nesting in the comfort of pillow. Peering at us intensely through fatigued eyelids that refused to hold up, he nodded at us once, and went back in search of deep slumber. 

Out of luck. The registrar goes on to pat at his shoulder repeatedly, much to his dismay. 

'Afebrile, vitals stable. Sats 99% at room air. Input and output...' I mumble as i read the clinical chart, while the MO(medical officer) scribbles at the case notes. 

I glance about the bed in the meantime, sizing up the patient in the clinical sense. Mr Liew is a new patient that was admitted while i was away so i have no knowledge of his diagnosis at all. 

A middle age chinese man, unkempt and unshaven, his appearance tells a tale of someone who did not have the favours of life shining upon him. His coarse features have a certain air of rebelliousness. Wearing a double chin and a sizeable beer belly, he probably was not too scrupulous about his health. Grinning at us with a display of yellow-stained teeth, he must have smoked like a chimney. I wonder what his problem is. 

The consultant goes to the end of bed and begins pulling the carefully tucked-in blanket out. 

Mr Liew shifts his weight around lazily as the blanket is being pulled away. I notice something moving in the pocket of his patient shirt. 

Through the thin yellow fabric, i can make out the rectangular shape of the object. Unable to tell what it is on first look, i turned my attention to his left foot, which is much more relevant than whatever that nestles in his pocket. 

He has had a transmetatarsal amputation (think chopping all toes and half of the foot transversely) of his left foot, exposing an array of cross-sectional bones and tendons buried within flesh. 

Being a patient of my team of doctors, this can only mean he has peripheral arterial disease, a condition where arteries in the peripheries (especially lower limbs) get clogged up with cholesterol or narrowed, causing the toes and feet to die off. 

The typical patient is an elderly man/woman with poorly controlled diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and smokes too. However Mr Liew is only 40 years old. 

Listening to the conversation between the consultant and patient, i am shocked to discover that Mr Liew had an episode of cardiac arrest during his current hospital stay too. 

40 years old. That's really too young to have so many health issues. 

'When can i go home?' The patient asks impatiently, and rather animatedly as we inspect the condition of the amputated foot. The consultant has a hard time trying to convince him that he is not well enough to go home. 

Holding a sterile dressing towel in one hand, i lift whatever is left of his left foot up with another hand. As i lift his left foot high up to slide in the dressing towel, the mysterious rectangular object in his pocket slides out. I feel the same surprise that punters winning jackpot must have felt, minus the thrill. 

It's a box of cigarette, complete with a pictorial warning of a gangrenous foot. How fitting! 

I can literally see dark clouds hovering over the consultant's eyebrows. I can almost make out the sound of thunder as he chastises the patient for smoking. I steal a look at the sky outside, thank goodness it is a clear day with plenty of sunshine. 

Mr Liew looks at us defiantly, and shrugs his shoulders. I swear all of us look really defeated at that moment. Sometimes all the advances in modern medicine seem so futile. 

Why smoke again? When it has caused you to lose half of your foot? When it has made your heart stop once? 

I have no answer to that, and I hate to admit that i see traces of my friends in Mr Liew, friends that i care about. 

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Life and How To Survive It

* In the 50 odd years of nationhood, Malaysia has only had one person charged with sodomy. And make it twice while you are at it! Oh do you know what's Malaysia's top export now? Fish! Fishy politicians! 

Jenson from Medical Dharma Circle shared on our Yahoogroup this convocation address to NTU graduating class of 2008 by Adrian Tan, a litigation lawyer from a leading law firm in Singapore. I really like the speech, finding it to be exceedingly insightful. 

He was telling us not to work, get hated and learn to love. And the best part is that they all make sense! 

Go read it, give it a few minutes.

(speech lifted from Mr Wang Says So blog)

Life and How to Survive It

I must say thank you to the faculty and staff of the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information for inviting me to give your convocation address. It’s a wonderful honour and a privilege for me to speak here for ten minutes without fear of contradiction, defamation or retaliation. I say this as a Singaporean and more so as a husband.

My wife is a wonderful person and perfect in every way except one. She is the editor of a magazine. She corrects people for a living. She has honed her expert skills over a quarter of a century, mostly by practising at home during conversations between her and me.

On the other hand, I am a litigator. Essentially, I spend my day telling people how wrong they are. I make my living being disagreeable.

Nevertheless, there is perfect harmony in our matrimonial home. That is because when an editor and a litigator have an argument, the one who triumphs is always the wife.

And so I want to start by giving one piece of advice to the men: when you’ve already won her heart, you don’t need to win every argument.

Marriage is considered one milestone of life. Some of you may already be married. Some of you may never be married. Some of you will be married. Some of you will enjoy the experience so much, you will be married many, many times. Good for you.

The next big milestone in your life is today: your graduation. The end of education. You’re done learning.

You’ve probably been told the big lie that “Learning is a lifelong process” and that therefore you will continue studying and taking masters’ degrees and doctorates and professorships and so on. You know the sort of people who tell you that? Teachers. Don’t you think there is some measure of conflict of interest? They are in the business of learning, after all. Where would they be without you? They need you to be repeat customers.

The good news is that they’re wrong.

The bad news is that you don’t need further education because your entire life is over. It is gone. That may come as a shock to some of you. You’re in your teens or early twenties. People may tell you that you will live to be 70, 80, 90 years old. That is your life expectancy.

I love that term: life expectancy. We all understand the term to mean the average life span of a group of people. But I’m here to talk about a bigger idea, which is what you expect from your life.

You may be very happy to know that Singapore is currently ranked as the country with the third highest life expectancy. We are behind Andorra and Japan, and tied with San Marino. It seems quite clear why people in those countries, and ours, live so long. We share one thing in common: our football teams are all hopeless. There’s very little danger of any of our citizens having their pulses raised by watching us play in the World Cup. Spectators are more likely to be lulled into a gentle and restful nap.

Singaporeans have a life expectancy of 81.8 years. Singapore men live to an average of 79.21 years, while Singapore women live more than five years longer, probably to take into account the additional time they need to spend in the bathroom.

So here you are, in your twenties, thinking that you’ll have another 40 years to go. Four decades in which to live long and prosper.

Bad news. Read the papers. There are people dropping dead when they’re 50, 40, 30 years old. Or quite possibly just after finishing their convocation. They would be very disappointed that they didn’t meet their life expectancy.

I’m here to tell you this. Forget about your life expectancy.

After all, it’s calculated based on an average. And you never, ever want to expect being average.

Revisit those expectations. You might be looking forward to working, falling in love, marrying, raising a family. You are told that, as graduates, you should expect to find a job paying so much, where your hours are so much, where your responsibilities are so much.

That is what is expected of you. And if you live up to it, it will be an awful waste.

If you expect that, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don’t need years of education by the best minds in Singapore to prepare you to be average.

What you should prepare for is mess. Life’s a mess. You are not entitled to expect anything from it. Life is not fair. Everything does not balance out in the end. Life happens, and you have no control over it. Good and bad things happen to you day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Your degree is a poor armour against fate.

Don’t expect anything. Erase all life expectancies. Just live. Your life is over as of today. At this point in time, you have grown as tall as you will ever be, you are physically the fittest you will ever be in your entire life and you are probably looking the best that you will ever look. This is as good as it gets. It is all downhill from here. Or up. No one knows.

What does this mean for you? It is good that your life is over.

Since your life is over, you are free. Let me tell you the many wonderful things that you can do when you are free.

The most important is this: do not work.

Work is anything that you are compelled to do. By its very nature, it is undesirable.

Work kills. The Japanese have a term “Karoshi”, which means death from overwork. That’s the most dramatic form of how work can kill. But it can also kill you in more subtle ways. If you work, then day by day, bit by bit, your soul is chipped away, disintegrating until there’s nothing left. A rock has been ground into sand and dust.

There’s a common misconception that work is necessary. You will meet people working at miserable jobs. They tell you they are “making a living”. No, they’re not. They’re dying, frittering away their fast-extinguishing lives doing things which are, at best, meaningless and, at worst, harmful.

People will tell you that work ennobles you, that work lends you a certain dignity. Work makes you free. The slogan "Arbeit macht frei" was placed at the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps. Utter nonsense.

Do not waste the vast majority of your life doing something you hate so that you can spend the small remainder sliver of your life in modest comfort. You may never reach that end anyway.

Resist the temptation to get a job. Instead, play. Find something you enjoy doing. Do it. Over and over again. You will become good at it for two reasons: you like it, and you do it often. Soon, that will have value in itself.

I like arguing, and I love language. So, I became a litigator. I enjoy it and I would do it for free. If I didn’t do that, I would’ve been in some other type of work that still involved writing fiction – probably a sports journalist.

So what should you do? You will find your own niche. I don’t imagine you will need to look very hard. By this time in your life, you will have a very good idea of what you will want to do. In fact, I’ll go further and say the ideal situation would be that you will not be able to stop yourself pursuing your passions. By this time you should know what your obsessions are. If you enjoy showing off your knowledge and feeling superior, you might become a teacher.

Find that pursuit that will energise you, consume you, become an obsession. Each day, you must rise with a restless enthusiasm. If you don’t, you are working.

Most of you will end up in activities which involve communication. To those of you I have a second message: be wary of the truth. I’m not asking you to speak it, or write it, for there are times when it is dangerous or impossible to do those things. The truth has a great capacity to offend and injure, and you will find that the closer you are to someone, the more care you must take to disguise or even conceal the truth. Often, there is great virtue in being evasive, or equivocating. There is also great skill. Any child can blurt out the truth, without thought to the consequences. It takes great maturity to appreciate the value of silence.

In order to be wary of the truth, you must first know it. That requires great frankness to yourself. Never fool the person in the mirror.

I have told you that your life is over, that you should not work, and that you should avoid telling the truth. I now say this to you: be hated.

It’s not as easy as it sounds. Do you know anyone who hates you? Yet every great figure who has contributed to the human race has been hated, not just by one person, but often by a great many. That hatred is so strong it has caused those great figures to be shunned, abused, murdered and in one famous instance, nailed to a cross.

One does not have to be evil to be hated. In fact, it’s often the case that one is hated precisely because one is trying to do right by one’s own convictions. It is far too easy to be liked, one merely has to be accommodating and hold no strong convictions. Then one will gravitate towards the centre and settle into the average. That cannot be your role. There are a great many bad people in the world, and if you are not offending them, you must be bad yourself. Popularity is a sure sign that you are doing something wrong.

The other side of the coin is this: fall in love.

I didn’t say “be loved”. That requires too much compromise. If one changes one’s looks, personality and values, one can be loved by anyone.

Rather, I exhort you to love another human being. It may seem odd for me to tell you this. You may expect it to happen naturally, without deliberation. That is false. Modern society is anti-love. We’ve taken a microscope to everyone to bring out their flaws and shortcomings. It far easier to find a reason not to love someone, than otherwise. Rejection requires only one reason. Love requires complete acceptance. It is hard work – the only kind of work that I find palatable.

Loving someone has great benefits. There is admiration, learning, attraction and something which, for the want of a better word, we call happiness. In loving someone, we become inspired to better ourselves in every way. We learn the truth worthlessness of material things. We celebrate being human. Loving is good for the soul.

Loving someone is therefore very important, and it is also important to choose the right person. Despite popular culture, love doesn’t happen by chance, at first sight, across a crowded dance floor. It grows slowly, sinking roots first before branching and blossoming. It is not a silly weed, but a mighty tree that weathers every storm.

You will find, that when you have someone to love, that the face is less important than the brain, and the body is less important than the heart.

You will also find that it is no great tragedy if your love is not reciprocated. You are not doing it to be loved back. Its value is to inspire you.

Finally, you will find that there is no half-measure when it comes to loving someone. You either don’t, or you do with every cell in your body, completely and utterly, without reservation or apology. It consumes you, and you are reborn, all the better for it.

Don’t work. Avoid telling the truth. Be hated. Love someone.

You’re going to have a busy life. Thank goodness there’s no life expectancy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Accidental Tacklessness

* Just received my exam notice today (actually i haven't checked my mailbox in days). 32 more days. CC was a bit jittery today, thinking about how the exam could go wrong. Shaken from the failure, we all now share the paranoia of being penalised for less than good reasons. Well, we can't do much about it apart from better preparing ourselves for the subjectivity of the exams. 

There was one other reason drawing me to KL last weekend. 

Even though seeing my old friend was the major motivation, i was also seriously craving for one hawker stall that i stumbled on sometime back and had been frequenting every time i had the chance since then. In my indecision of skipping school vs staying back to study for finals, it tipped me over in favour of skipping school. 

Stomach rules,     every - single - time. 

Yong Tau Fu! (picture lifted from here)

Anyway, we were supposed to meet up with 2 other friends in KL for supper, and I insisted that we were only going to have supper near Petaling Street opposite this Hai-O shop, savouring super-delectable yong tau fu, despite the lack of parking space around the area and the constant traffic jam that plagued the streets. No matter how much they protested, i remained adamant that we would not dine anywhere else. 

Reluctantly they gave in to my demand, and we arrived at Petaling Street. 

I got down the car, and immediately felt a little unease creeping up my chest. I couldn't find tables strewn over the five-foot path that i knew so well. There was also some signs of construction going on there. 

I was wondering if the stall had to relocate further down the street to make way for the construction when i saw similar plastic tables further down. I wasted no time to check out the place, but was a little flabbergasted to find that apart from the plastic tables the place bore little resemblance to what i remembered. 

I read the signboard of the shop which read 'So and so' claypot bee tai bak, stir-fried roasted pork ... 

'Ah... Just another eatery. No yong tau fu here...' 

Before i could finish reading the signboard, a middle age waiter approached us. 

'Eh uncle where has the yong tau fu stall further down the street gone to?' I asked immediately. 

He looked at me with an expression that on hindsight reeked of being pissed off, and told me flatly that there was never a yong tau fu stall there. 

His answer had taken me so aback that i did not know how to respond. 

I know it was now the 7th lunar month, and probably lots of ghosts prowl the streets now, but i clearly remembered i ate yong tau fu there for 3 times. And the cook wasn't particularly pale, long-haired, clad in white flowing robes or hovering above ground... 

Before i could scare myself more of having dined at a supposedly non-existent yong tau fu stall, he alluded, 'we sell yong tau fu here also.'

'We sold yong tau fu FIRST, since more than 20 years ago...' He just couldn't resist saying that.

Then i knew immediately he was lying about the non-existence of the other stall. 

I got a little bit pissed that he lied so blatantly. Why the need to go so low? Can't he just tell me the other stall was closed for the day, torn down, or something. The truth isn't going to damage his business at all, is it? 


Not knowing what to do, and where else to go, we sat down anyway for our supper. 

Then i looked at the signboard again, it said 'So and so' claypot bee tai bak, stir-fried roasted pork and YONG TAU FU... 

If only i had known they were rivals, i wouldn't have asked him so bluntly about his competitor's whereabout. 

The middle age guy was behaving rather aloof the entire night, while taking order, while serving, and while taking my payment. 

I just hoped he didn't spit in my yong tau fu. 

It didn't taste too bad la even if he did. Haha. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Back From KL

*Can someone enlighten me on why i can't sign in to using my home broadband, but can do so on my broadband-on-mobile account? (Hands up in air in frustration)

An excellent photo of Sunrise in KL, lifted from here

So my one day in KL became 2 full days. I had originally planned to come back on Monday, skipping only one day of school. But life always has a mind of its own, and loves to upset plans. 

The truth is - it's amazing how easy it was to throw hesitancy and guilt of skipping an extra day of school down the drain when i was having a good time there. 

Lesson: Guilt is not an absolute; how much it weighs really depends on the circumstances it lives in. 

More on KL tomorrow.