30 April 2008

I was at HMV earlier this evening. I picked up 'Sunshine', 'Ran' and Portishead 'Third'. I was also at Fat Boy's* and I picked up a Warhammer 40,000 novel, 'Relentless'. I also got one for Wei Yi.

I was then at Spinelli's for two hours, writing my diary.

*Paradigm Infinitium
Drat! Borders closed at 11:00 pm tonight. I was only able to browse for less than an hour. I managed to procure a copy of 'The Future of the Brain: The Promise and Perils of Tomorrow's Neuroscience' by Steven Rose. I had been looking for that volume for a few months now.

I have a ritual of browsing for three hours weekly for the last decade.
Woo! It's almost time.
"Nor is the people's judgment always true. the most may err as grossly as the few."

Quote from John Dryden
I think I shall wander down to Borders this evening.
"Resentment is one of the few emotions that never lets you down, but it's useless. In fact, it's worse than useless, it's harmful, and we all suffer from it at some time in our lives."

Quote from Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony A.M. Daniels)

29 April 2008

Pulau Ubin III

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Pulau Ubin II

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Pulau Ubin I

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What is the world turning to? Why are people so easily brainwashed these days? Religion, political causes and who knows what else? Earlier today, Kuoby was bemoaning the fact that many had been brainwashed by the Chinese government and were now attacking protesters.
From what I see, religious extremism is on the rise and this will affect the religious harmony of our tiny nation state. I think there will be clashes between factions eventually and the government will have to utilise the sedition act and the religious harmony act to protect the integrity and social cohesion of our nation. Seditious religious fanatics anyone?

I finally watched what was supposedly one of the best films of 2005, 'Syriana'. The layered plot about the machinations of the oil interests and government made for compelling watching. The disjointed nature of the film contributed to a deliberate disorientating experience. The dialogue strangely enough consisted only of people 'speaking quietly' throughout, pretty much devoid of emotion. A strange effect.

Regarding the targeted Predator UAV attack on a member of the royalty, if the CIA were really that competent, there would not have been such rogue leaders of nations and organisations running loose.
Dreary day. Heh. Lots to do. Administrative mostly.
"Anyone who imagines that terrestrial concerns account for Muslim terrorism must answer questions of the following sort: Where are the Tibetan Buddhist suicide bombers? The Tibetans have suffered an occupation far more brutal, and far more cynical, than any that Britain, the United States, or Israel have ever imposed upon the Muslim world. Where are the throngs of Tibetans ready to perpetrate suicidal atrocities against Chinese noncombatants? They do not exist. What is the difference that makes the difference? The difference lies in the specific tenets of Islam. This is not to say that Buddhism could not help inspire suicidal violence. It can, and it has (Japan, World War II). But this concedes absolutely nothing to the apologists for Islam. As a Buddhist, one has to work extremely hard to justify such barbarism. One need not work nearly so hard as a Muslim. The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam contains specific notions of martyrdom and jihad that fully explain the character of Muslim violence."

Quote from Sam Harris

28 April 2008

I just left feedback asking if the library can consider extending the opening hours of their reference library.

I doubt if the librarians will act on this request but I can hope.
I am so tired. I slept late last night and I was at Pulau Ubin most of yesterday. I will see about putting up some photos later.
"People who deny responsibility for their own actions use a language that portrays them as passive victims of circumstance."

Quote from Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony A.M. Daniels)

27 April 2008

26 April 2008

Chelsea 2 Man U 1

YESYESYES! Manure can still lose the title yet! Let's hope so. I hope manure end up with nothing this year.

And the manure sore losers were whining. And petulant as well.
Erasure erased

I wonder what had happened to Erasure, the quintessential purveyors of synthpop of the eighties. In the late eighties, Erasure’s output was prodigious and the quality of their synthpop offerings superb with albums such as ‘The Circus’, ‘The Innocents’ and ‘Wild’ being the signature albums of a period of glorious pop music.

The advent of rubbish like grunge in the music scene of the early nineties did little to diminish their continued commitment to glittering pop gems such as those littering two fabulous albums, ‘Chorus’* and ‘I say I say I say’. Erasure moody self-titled album in 1995 proved to be their magnum opus and from there, Erasure was not to achieve those heights again. Following a hiatus of three years, Erasure released a mediocre album ‘Cowboy’, this was then followed three years later by the dreadful ‘Loveboat’. It took another three years for Erasure to release an album of horrid covers, ‘Other People’s Songs’ and another three for another self-indulgent horror show in a country and western mode, ‘Union Street’.

Erasure had reached a pinnacle in the early nineties and had stumbled, releasing lacklustre albums that missed the playful, melodic touch that Vince Clarke had infused into the earlier classics, instead, featuring self-indulgent ‘over singing’. What had happened to the splendid song writing of yesteryear? The soaring choruses? The euphoric anthems? The melodic love songs?

It was as if there was a complete erasure of the Erasure of old. Finally in 2007, came ‘Light at the End of the World’, whilst a decent effort with several mid-tempo gems, the album lacked the signature tunes that had characterised Erasure. This is hopefully, a signal of a return to form for Erasure.

I miss the Erasure of old.

* Interestingly enough, one of the singles, ‘Love to hate you’ was covered by the cantopop band Grasshoppers.
"To speak plainly and truthfully about the state of our world — to say, for instance, that the Bible and the Koran both contain mountains of life-destroying gibberish — is antithetical to tolerance as moderates currently conceive it. But we can no longer afford the luxury of such political correctness. We must finally recognize the price we are paying to maintain the iconography of our ignorance."

Quote from Sam Harris

25 April 2008

"I have never understood the liberal assumption that if there were justice in the world, there would be fewer rather than more prisoners."

Quote from Theodore Dalrymple (Anthony A.M. Daniels)

24 April 2008

Playground at Clover Way

Mao Mao

We found the silly cat rolling on my sister's bed one night. What a delightful little thing!
Last night, I was browsing at Borders. Instead of books, I ended up with four boxes of cereal and a bar of chocolate from Marks and Spencer's.

The potato chips at Marks and Spencer's are turning weird. Heh. I suppose they have gone healthy.

There were a few volumes at Borders that were of interest to me but I think I can wait.
"How many more architects and mechanical engineers must hit the wall at 400 miles an hour before we admit to ourselves that jihadist violence is not merely a matter of education, poverty, or politics? The truth, astonishingly enough, is that in the year 2006 a person can have sufficient intellectual and material resources to build a nuclear bomb and still believe that he will get 72 virgins in Paradise. Western secularists, liberals, and moderates have been very slow to understand this. The cause of their confusion is simple: They don't know what it is like to really believe in God."

Quote from Sam Harris

23 April 2008

22 April 2008

I started reading 'Dead Man's Handle' by Peter O'Donnell last night. It is the last Modesty Blaise novel. There is a further volume, 'Cobra Trap', which is a collection of short stories.

I wish Tarantino would do a Modesty Blaise film. He had indicated interest previously.

21 April 2008

I finished a 57-planet game of Sins of a Solar Empire yesterday. I will cease playing this excellent game for now and start playing others. I have a huge pile of interesting games waiting. I have stopped playing the engrossing and addictive Frontlines: Fuel of War for now.

I also started and finished a Modesty Blaise novel, 'The Night of Morningstar'. Great read. Pulp fiction at its best.

20 April 2008

Fat Cat at the Parliament House

This fat feline was spotted outside the Parliament. The resident feline?

Tubby and contented!

19 April 2008

State of Progress: Mobile Weapon: Battle Stations

Trader Oggg
Ship: Kraftwerk (Destroyer)
Level: 69 (Exp: 38,835,948/40,718,400)
Craft: 35Gunnery: 0
Navigation: 276
Stats Points: 0
HP: 19736/19737
Capacity: 5900/7500
Speed: 50 (+276)
Armor: 15 (11.5%)
I spotted the woman with the deep, manly voice last night. I guess it had been years since I last saw her.
The purported victim has not learned. Several years ago, he was almost the victim of an attempted murder-cum-suicide. Yet, he continued provoking others. A few days ago, I saw that another person was visibly agitated after being provoked by him. Scary.

17 April 2008

Sins of a Solar Empire: Screen Captures

Orbital hangers can house two squadrons of either fighters or bombers. Some orbits have enough space for up to eight hangers.

Trader Emergency Coalition (TEC) Kol Battleships.
Sins of a Solar Empire: Screen Captures

Sova Carrier of the Trader Emergency Coalition retrieving a bomber squadron.

A Purge Vessel from the Advent. This vessel is optimised for planetary bombardment.
I just got back from a 4 km run. Heh. This time, I did not go off at full-tilt, I moderated my pace and kept it constant.
Horse Poo

Another exchange with Kuoby. In this case, one-sided:

Kuoby says (11:18 AM):
how are you asshole?

Kuoby says (11:18 AM):

Kuoby says (11:18 AM):
how are you horse poo?

Kuoby says (11:18 AM):
wrong window
I will be at the Ubi area today for the first time in some years. I will be visiting the Singapore Civil Defence Force headquarters for a seminar.

I have memories of Ubi. I recall taking bus 90 from Toa Payoh interchange daily then. These were long dreary trips on the Pan Island Expressway (PIE).

How swiftly time flies. Has it been seven years since those daily commutes?
I had not expected much from the hypocrite. He didn't surprise me either. His hypocrisy had been consistent throughout the years. Human behaviour can be interesting to observe at times.

Anyway, I'll be onto other things, enough with this observation business. Galactic Civilisations II beckons. Heh.

16 April 2008

Sins of a Solar Empire: Screen Captures

Destroying planetary structures such as the trade port, orbital broadcast centres and metal extractors.

Bombarding a planet with Battleships.
It's been a long day. Phew!
My father wants me to assist him in withdrawing money from an account which he opened in a fine winter day in Toronto thirty-one years ago!

This will be interesting.
Sins of a Solar Empire is as engrossing as Frontlines: Fuel of War. I spent almost four hours on it last night before realising that it was almost eleven!
I am distracted. I shall switch off my machine and get on with work. Heh.

15 April 2008


I did a little test and I found that someone I know is an utter hypocrite. A few friends may have the impression that he is a blunt and truthful person but in reality, he is not. Heh.

It is pretty much as I expected. Oh well. It is a clear illustration of this person's principles.

Anyway, who cares.
A Fortune-Teller

A man with a turban and a huge beard came into the office just now. He shook my hand and handed me a note which I read. It turned out that he was offering his fortune-telling services! I guess he couldn't foretell the bit where I showed him the door.
They have to yell out your Name

I just saw this little bit on DuneMUD just now.

[01:37] Magiz: i like going into starbucks and when they ask whats my name so they can write it on the cup , i give them something weird

[01:37] Magiz: sprinkles

[01:37] Magiz: or dillydingdong

[01:38] Magiz: then when your coffee is ready they have to yell out your name:)
Lonely Planet roasted in a lonely Hell

'Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism' by Thomas Kohnstamm has essentially brought forth an age old question of economics in this industry. How do travel writers, especially those who write guidebooks, afford the restaurants and hotels reviewed in the guides? If they had not stayed at the reviewed hotel or eaten at that dining establishment, then, their reviews would be based on hearsay of others or on simply upon what the writers had read.

The upcoming book from Kohnstamm, a writer who has written for Lonely Planet, has reportedly spoken of fabrication and not having been to the places that he had reviewed.

Lonely Planet, now owned by the BBC, has defended itself with charges of misrepresentations and that the articles were essentially accurate. Another defence offered was that the guides that Kohnstamm has contributed to were no longer in print! That is a business defence. The reality, from how I see it is that Lonely Planet has branded itself as essentially having a personal and insider's view of a nation and their defence has unwittingly revealed quite a bit of their operating practices and has validated that Lonely Planet is not exactly what it has branded itself to be.

As for Kohnstamm's kiss and tell account, he will have his self-interest at hand but as explained earlier, Lonely Planet's defence is revealing. I should think that Kohnstamm's account will be rather fun to read.

Your Pathetic Life

Kuoby says (11:22 AM):
met the family nearby for dimsum

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:22 AM):

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:22 AM):
How was lunch?

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:22 AM):
The dimsum?

Chuang Shyue Chou says (11:22 AM):

Kuoby says (11:22 AM):
good. in fact. great.

Kuoby says (11:22 AM):
better than your fracking pathetic life
One of my duties is that of chasing people for money, however difficult and awkward. Suddenly, I have a list of six people whom I have to contact for payment. Ugh. Not easy.
Longer operating hours at the library

I wish the library would have longer opening hours during weekends. The library closes at 9:00 pm on Saturday nights. Given that I work half day on Saturdays, by the time I make it down there, I can only spend a few hours at the reference library before it closes. Oh well. I guess that is why I buy books generally rather than visit the library.

Surely, that is not too much to ask for from our well-paid civil servants working at the library?

I think if I were to make a request or suggestion, the librarians will not seriously consider.

14 April 2008

A History of Language

I picked up 'A History of Language' by Steven Roger Fischer at Borders on Saturday afternoon. Seven dollars.

This volume looks promising. It should be a lot more accessible than 'Empires of the Word'.

13 April 2008

Sins of a Solar Empire

Sins of a Solar Empire: Screen Captures

Advent Purge vessel.

Pirate fleet on the attack.

There are regular pirate attacks on one's empire in this game but one can bribe the pirates to attack one's opponents. Likewise, one's opponents can bribe it too. It becomes a bidding war!

These are images from my first game where my systems were overrun.

Street Kings

'Street Kings' is apparently based on a James Ellroy novel, 'The Night Watchman'. I was surprised when I saw his name in the writing credits last night. I have heard of this well-known writer of crime fiction previously but I must admit that I am unfamiliar with his work. 'LA Confidential' was apparently based on a book of his as well.The depiction of the LA underworld in the Street Kings and the extent of corruption in the LAPD were of interest as well. Heh.

12 April 2008

Marina Bay

Loose Lips sink Ships

There are quite a number of loony tunes on the Facebook Singapore Network.

For instance, there is a person on the Facebook Singapore network wall who appears eager to relate his experiences and work with ACME Weapons Company*. No names will be mentioned in this entry of course. His beliefs are his own. He appears to have quite a mouth and to be quite unable to control himself despite his work with an arms manufacturer.

I suspect it will only be a matter of time before he describes something sensitive. He has made mention of NAMMO and ATK Bushmaster 30mm ammunition. He has a photo of himself posing with the turret of the Bionix II some time ago.

From his own mouth in a recent post on the forums:

"I'm a weapon systems platform designer. I design things that kill people, more accurately, more destructively and more precisely. I am working for my passion. But my passion is not killing. And I get more money for not killing more people than is necessary."

I would think that if one is in such a sensitive position, one shouldn't be announcing nor advertising on a public forum.

From my impression of him, he has a pent-up need to announce to the world of his accomplishments and he is clearly dissatisfied.

A scary aspect of this is that this weapons designer subscribes to American evangelical apocalyptic visions of the end and he believes that from current events in the Middle East, the end is here. Imagine this set of beliefs in a weapons designer. A rather unholy mixture of volatile beliefs and skillsets, I should say. Hopefully, the policy and decision-makers are not of this mindset.

In another thread, he has also expressed that mankind should not stop the global warming, after all, one should embrace the end of the world!

Anyway, I have known quite a few religious fanatics in Singapore now and sadly, I don't think his beliefs are uncommon at all.

Lastly, the direction of debates and talk in the Facebook Singapore Network forum is something that I have little interest in. I will be a lot less active in future after contributing over a thousand posts.

* The name of the company is disguised. Heh.
** This entry was first written in December last year and was expanded at length much later.

09 April 2008

I ran earlier this evening. Wow. 10:00. Slow. It was difficult. I had been lazy and the weather hadn't been kind either.

I swam 26 laps in a small pool on Monday and that was equivalent to at most 3-4 laps in an Olympic-sized pool. I lifted dumbbells on Tuesday. Well, some progress at least.
Sins of a Solar Empire: Screen Captures

Destruction of an enemy cruiser.

An attack on a planetary structure by bombers from a battle cruiser.