Monday, August 29, 2005

Sheer arrogance or plain rudeness?

Apparently the "blogebrities" and their mindlessadoring legions have spoken. If you post something, then you waive all rights to any perceived "privacy" you think you have. God forbid that you insist that they simply send an email to ask for permission first. No. Tomorrow.sg is now the be all and end all of blog congregators, and whatever they want ovverides your personal decisions.

It's so easy to twist every argument to fit your cause, isn't it? They say: if you don't password protect your entries, then it's everybody's game. What if I don't Livejournal or WordPress? What if I'm a diehard Blogger user without password protection? They say: too fucking bad. I didn't realise the blogging community had turned into a nazi regime overnight.

Think about this. X starts a blog for friends and family, and distributes the URL only to say, 10 people. One fine day, some bored blogger is searching for some keywords, and comes across X's site, or a friend of X who has linked X (with X's permission). Said bored blogger then submits X's blog to Tomorrow, and suddenly, X has all these weirdos reading X's blog. Now how can this be X's fault?

Yes, of course the arguments can go both ways. And knowing that it can, what does Tomorrow.sg decide to do? Hmmm...ask for permissions (which would surely be the courteous thing to do), or simply link it because they're now damn big fuck? Further proof that years of the Courtesy Lion has done nothing for most Singaporeans again I suppose.

So now, regular folks have to either (a) force themselves to switch to a blogging tool that allows for password protection, or (b) put up a 'Tomorrow-not-free' logo. One even has to wonder now how feasible (b) is, since some of the editors at Tomorrow.sg have already made it very clear that as long as something is not password protected, then too fucking bad for you.

GG, Tomorrow.sg

Monday, August 15, 2005

You should be checking out this blog...

...instead of most of the drivel some local sites churn out.

Blackfive is an ex-soldier who served in the first Gulf War (amongst others), and is currently working as an IT administrator. Blackfive is unabashedly pro-Bush, pro-Iraq war. I say give the man a beer. In this overly political correct state of affairs where everybody seems to jump on the "Bush is stupid/Iraq War sucks" bandwagon, it's really refreshing to see someone who can see the other side of the whole Iraq War. That they are trying their darndest to eliminate these crazy nuts who keep trying to disrupt our way of life by killing innocent people. The way of freedom and liberty.

To quote and paraphrase Blackfive: "When was the last time you looked up in the sky, saw a plane, and thought to yourself..."I sure hope some Mexican isn't hijacking that plane!"

I'll admit he is slightly annoying in the sense that I sometimes get the feeling that he's abit overwhelmed by all the blogging fame, but I think for the most part he's just trying to get a message across.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Aliens are putting mind control powder in the water supply!

Here's a real tinfoil hat moment for you. In today's Business Times, there was an article whereby the CEO and Chairman of JTC held a press conference saying that they were not satisfied with Presidential elect hopeful Andrew Kuan's performance as CFO during his tenure from 2001 to 2004. This comes after the Presidential Elections Committee ("PEC") had asked JTC for their assessment of Mr Kuan's eligibility to run for President. In another separate announcement, Hyflux also noted their disappointment in hiring Mr Kuan, saying that they were not happy that he had "made use of them" for his "personal ambitions". Mr Kuan left Hyflux after working there for about 3 months. So far, so good right? PEC asks former employers of Mr Kuan for feedback, and such feedback is duly given, notwithstanding the fact that all of it so far seems to be negative.

Now let's look a bit behind this. JTC is a government controlled entity. Here is where I have to stretch it a bit (hence the tinfoil reference). Temasek Holdings has previously invested in Hyflux, although to the best of my knowledge that investment as already been divested. I'm sure they're still on very good terms though. Not to mention that one of their directors is an MD at Temasek. And we all know who pulls the strings at Temasek.

It's no secret that the Powers That Be are fully behind our incumbent President Nathan. The only other 2 contenders are Ooi Boon Ewe, a former bankrupt who was formerly denied an Eligibility Certificate in 1999, and a mystery fourth person, whom the media has since dismissed as "not serious" (I wonder who it is...Steven Lim?). It would seem that Mr Kuan is probably the most "qualified" challenger, and yet it seems now, his capabilities and indeed, even his moral fibre, is being called into question, but the inquisitors are somehow closely linked to those who support the current head of state.

Now that's what I call a conspiracy theory.

PS Dear CID, ISD, FBI, Interpol, Kempeitai, Gestapo, etc, surely you can see the humour in this...right? Right?

PPS Finicky Feline, if I mysteriously disappear, please let the world know my fate. *sob*

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Reflections

It's always nice, to catch up with someone after not seeing them for a while. It's even nicer, when things are (almost) like they were, with little noticeable change. We all need old friends in our lives, like we need old shoes. The slightly musty, slightly stale, but extremely comfortable pair that fits snugly even if you've not worn it for a while. I would say the mark of a good friendship is one where, even after a period of no contact, or a little misunderstanding, you eventually hang out again, as if you had just met the day before.

***

In other news, egos are still soaring high in the "blogosphere". They say people are jealous. They say people gloat over their perceived misfortunes. It's quite pitiful seeing how high they've placed themselves on their cyber-pedestals.

Friday, July 29, 2005

It's so sad...

...to see that while we have bloggers who are working their asses off helping the impoverished, there are still those out there with an overinflated sense of self-worth

...to realise that twats like Rio Ferdinand and Peter Kenyon earn more money in a day than 95% of the world's population will earn in a lifetime

...to see that while the relevant authorities have no problem screening craptastic things like America's Next Top Model where women flaunt their bodies on terrestrial TV, well-written and thought-provoking shows like Six Feet Under don't even make the local HBO cut because of scenes where men kiss

...when people write in to complain about DJs blaming them for being irresponsible and corrupting young minds, but then let their children play games like Grand Theft Auto and watch shows like America's Next Top Model

...when those same self-righteous people who make no effort to supervise what their children do turn around and blame video games/movies/rap music for leading their children astray. Baby Jesus says:"If you're not going to be responsible for your own children, DON'T FUCKING HAVE THEM!"

...when people moan about London police killing the wrong man, then also moan that the police do nothing if their relatives are then killed in subsequent terrorist attacks. Make up your minds, please. In this day when suicide bombers are the norm, civil liberties and security are mutually exclusive.

Just a quickie...

All comments have been noted and appreciated, good, bad and/or stupid. Remember, you cannot hate something that you don't actually feel anything for. It's probably more like disgust. And I seriously fail to see how just because the writer of Popagandhi was at the "illustrious" Blogger's Conference, I have to take a "chill pill"? My respect for her writings are mutually exclusive from whatever she chooses to endorse. That she chooses to affiliate herself with a certain local website has absolutely no bearing on my appreciation of her posts (bar her Mac-biased posts =P)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Before your heads get too big...

As you probably already know, Singapore's first ever blogging "conference" was held at some club DXO thingy on Saturday (Why? Maybe because they wanted to be thought of as "hip and happening"? More on this later) The next day, the Straits Times ran an article on it calling it a big "YAWN", and went on to feature the "sexiest" blogger, "hunkiest" blogger, yadda yadda yadda. The backlash was almost inevitable. "Famous" and not-so-"famous" bloggers slammed the article, saying that they were not there to trump things up to for the media, that they were trying not to be too conspicuous by not having a banner, yadda yadda yadda. Today's Digital Life runs a longer (and slightly less disparaging) feature on blogging and the recent blogging "confererence". I wonder what some of the local bloggers will have to say about it. (Oh apparently some people have already read and written about it)

I say MAKE UP YOUR FUCKING MIND. If you don't want to expose yourself to the media, if you don't really secretly crave all this attention you're undoubtedly going to get from the press, then don't make such a big hoo-haa about a "blogging conference" then later complain that the media were covering the event and they did so in a manner that wasn't what you envisioned. Because I'm fucking sick and tired of all the fucking idiots who on the one hand, want to be "mysterious" and "secretive" and what not, then on the other hand post photoshopped photos of the their various body parts and appendages, with a hint of face showing, just to be "mysterious". Because you know what's worse than a media whore? A media whore who doesn't want to admit it and is a fucking hypocrite about it. Self-denial is sad shit, and there's no bigger proof of it than this following quote from a "famous" blogger: "Now our bloggers seem like real people with real lives and interesting hobbies - not some reluctant reticent introverted geeks that the Sunday Times would have you to believe." I say, wake up and smell the coffee, the sooner you embrace your geekiness, the sooner you will begin to see beyond your false idolatry and all that jazz.

"Blogging idols", "autographs", "endorsements"?? When did blogging become the new IRC? What is all this talk of a hierarchical structure, whereby you have "old time" bloggers and what not? When did blogging make the jump from underground chic to mass-market hype? The answer seems painfully obvious to me. Because I think I went through it once. When this whole blogging thing was still new. Singaporeans have too little to interest them in their daily lives. Suddenly up pops this new "activity" that basically anyone with a computer and decent grammatical skills can partake in, plus the added lure of "mysterious" men and women with blurred photos and supposedly fantastical sex lives, who can resist? Unfortunately, this new-found fame has led to the "famous" bloggers becoming too self-absorbed for their own good, and the influx of consistently boring, stupid and badly written blogs isn't helping the cause. Sure I don't expect everybody to be as eloquent as Popagandhi or Riceandsoup, or for everyone to be as unassuming as Delightt, but you know you have hit absolute rock bottom, when the most redeeming quality about most blogs is the fact that they're an excuse for photoshopped you-know-whats.

Let's face it, anyone who hide behind an online moniker and creates a web page of sort detailing his or her thoughts has already crossed a threshold of geekdom way beyond most normal people (I am actually discounting the fact that there are people doing it solely for narcisstic reasons). Trying to make your boring 9-5 life sound more exciting than it really is only serves to stroke your own e-penis (or e-breasts for the ladies), because then people start trying to be more exciting than the last blog they read, consciously or subconsciously, and then when everybody meets up, you get this whole bunch of geeks who realise that everyone is just as normal as everyone else. Then maybe they try to stroke each other's e-parts by becoming "friends" never mind that the only contact you have with these people is the fact that you've "read their blogs" for the last few months and "shared a couple of drinks at a pub together".

So what was the whole point of this rant? Nothing in particular really. Very few people know of the existence of this site, because I don't go around linking to every which blog out there, or making inane comments for the sole purpose of leaving a URL there. The people who do read it, are the people I know, I care about, and realise that blogging is not about readership, or fame, or even badly photoshopped body parts. But hey, whatever floats your boat mate.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Very Expensive Nuts

Is "peanuts" a word you would use to describe $600,000, regardless of what context it is? Peanuts? Fuck you man, maybe if your peanuts were grown by naked virgins on the steps of heaven, maybe.

I could work for 10 years, and I still wouldn't earn $600,000 in salary. So when you ever feel like saying that a $600,000 salary is peanuts again, you better fucking think twice what the AVERAGE Singaporean is earning.

Fucking wanker(ess?)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Fruits of Charity

When I was still a practicing lawyer, part of my duties was to gather information on the senior management of a company that was planning to get listed on the SGX. I often looked in awe at how much these CEOs and CFOs were paid, often anywhere from $200k to $500k a year, with car and entertainment expenditures aplenty. Of course, these were also companies that were raking in turnovers of millions of dollars, and the pay was probably pittance compared to the amount of revenue these senior management brought in.

Today it was revealed in court that the CEO of the National Kidney Foundation earned about $600k a year. My dad was pretty riled by it, and while I was similarly disgusted, I was also surprised that people didn't suspect anything earlier. Come one, the biggest question is already on the fact that the NKF, supposedly a charity, is run like a corporation, and has a CEO???

What happened to the days when charitable organisations were run by people who truly wanted to help the less fortunate, and were willing to work for next to nothing, taking just enough to pay for minor administrative expenses? Maybe I'm just naive, but I don't think people work for charities expecting massive 10 month bonuses and gold plated taps. There is something fundamentally wrong when money that is donated by members of the public meant to aid the needy is instead siphoned off to pay huge salaries to staff. Aren't charity workers supposed to work on a shoestring budget, taking only what is absolutely necessary for their own personal survival?

Perhaps the time really is right for the judiciary in Singapore to incorporate Sarbanes Oxley into our system, and apply it not only to companies, but also to organisations that rely on public donations. After all, if listed companies are subject to such stringent checks and measures, one boggles at why huge charities and churches are not subject to the same accountability measures. At the very least the people who donate wads of cash should have the right to know exactly how these dollars and cents are spent. At least I would want to know. Maybe most Singaporeans just don't care. Their aim is just to donate the money and then proudly brag about how they "give to charity" or "give to God".

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure nobody expects him to live like a pauper, but the line has to be drawn somewhere to limit the amount of money that can be paid to people working in charitable organisations. I mean I don't think Mother Teresa was shopping in Gucci and Prada, was she?

Monday, July 11, 2005

Prophetic Poetry

I'm often amazed at our ability to relate to certain songs, almost as if they were written with us in mind.

"And it's okay if you have go away
Oh just remember the telephone works both ways
And if I never ever hear them ring
If nothing else I'll think the bells inside
Have finally found you someone else and that's okay
Cause I'll remember everything you sang"

You ever get the feeling that you're trapped in a bad dream, and every time you think you've woken up, it's just the beginning of the bad dream over and over again?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Brothers in arms

As i watched the news on the telly last night, all the fear, the confusion, the sense of helplessness I felt on September 11, 2001 all came rushing back. Granted, the severity of the attacks were, in terms of death toll at least, nowhere near that of 9/11, but that does make it any less of a horrific event. It probably hit me harder, having spent 3 years of my life in the UK. Though I studied outside of London, I had been there on many occasions, and it is certainly not implausible that I might have stayed on and worked there, and be on one of those trains yesterday.
A group called the "Secret Organisation Group of al-Qaeda of Jihad Organisation in Europe" has claimed responsibility. Full marks for originality then, I don't suppose they'd have gone very far without being "secret"? I can only imagine the nightmare at a terrorist convention when the host introducing the groups has to keep reciting these unfortunately long names with bad grammar. I mean what the fuck is an "organisation group"?
It's amazing how resilient the British are sometimes. It almost seems as thought life is back to normal for most Londoners. Even on BBC interviews, some of those who were slightly injured still managed to muster up a dash of Brit humour. And I think there's no greater "FUCK YOU" sign back at the terrorists than the images of the Londoners hanging out at pub going "Did you hear about the blasts today?" "Yeah terrible innit?" "Another pint for you mate?" I mean seriously you fools, did you not think that the IRA have already conditioned the Londoners to bomb blasts?
I feel deeply saddened for all victims today, and especially for the families of those who died. They committed no wrong, no crime, and they were just going about on their normal business, when some bloody fucks decided that they should target innocent civilians. That really gets me upset, because if I was beginning to have any doubts about Bush and Blair's invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, they were all wiped away by this senseless act of violence. There were some children whose parents did not come back, and some people who would become widows or widowers. And nothing will ever change that. Know now that YOUR inhumanity has forever changed the lives of many Londoners in the most cruel way imaginable. But the rest of us in the free world WILL hunt you down and we WILL make sure you never get a chance to inflict this pain on more people.
So to all you terrorists out there, FUCK YOU.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

An Open Letter

Dear Katze,

I do not lie when I tell you that you are special to me, although in a very much different way than what you might be thinking now. Perhaps you don't realise just how much of a shining beacon you are to me at some of my darkest moments in the last couple of months. I am truly grateful that you have been around to listen to my woes, or to laugh at the silly things I say, because you are one of the last surviving threads of my sanity and normality. You have helped me to cope with an otherwise difficult situation that you know that I have put myself in.

Perhaps there were moments that I mistook it as more. Beyond platonic, but falling just short of romantic. I'd say that's where it realistically lies. At least from me to you. It's a very special place that only one other person in my life has occupied thus far.

You tell me things that you're not supposed to tell other people. You show me things that you're not supposed to show other people. And for that I'm truly grateful, because a wonderful friendship is always a spiritually and emotionally satisfying experience.

Nothing has to change. I don't expect anything to change. I never did. I wasn't hoping for any answer from you because I wasn't asking any questions. But I did have to let you know because it would be wrong of me to not let you know how I felt. Because that's what friends do, right?

You are still a very special friend to me, and more than anything else, I really look forward to our usual gossiping and bitching and joking sessions in the afternoon. I will not treat you any differently. I will not surprise you with flowers and ask you to marry me. That's not what you want, and that's not what I want.

We are friends, and that's how it will always be. But let me apologies again, if I gave you the impression that I was expecting anything more than a usual snarky comment from you by writing that email to you.

Yours always,
wraith

Fickle Fate

"It's astonishing how much trouble one can get into if one works at it. And astonishing how much trouble one can get oneself out of, if one simply assumes that everything will, somehow or other, work out for the best." - Destruction

Sometimes I wish it were that simple. I am no stranger to trouble of course. I suspect my fate was pretty much sealed the day I punched out a classmate's tooth during a toilet scuffle when I was in Primary 1.

I don't think I purposely go looking for trouble. What does happen, I think, is that I sometimes tumble headlong into something without fully thinking of the consequences. More often than not, I'm left with a messy situation that needs to be fixed. It gets a bit more complicated if other people are involved. I can't exactly reload from the last save point, y'know?

Isn't it painfully wonderful how fickle the hand of fate is sometimes?

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Unregretfully yours

Is there such a thing as too much honesty? Can you ever cross the line whereby a lie (or the omission of a truth) actually does more good than the truth itself? But like all lies, it will always be followed by a million other lies.

We only have one life, and I've always felt it was important NOT to regret whatever it is you do. Unfortunately, that has led me to do or say things that, in hindsight, should not have been said or done. But hindsight is often 20/20.

I'm sorry if I weirded you out.

***

Neil Gaiman is in town, and I managed to catch him last night at a mini-trailer screening for Mirrormask, followed by a signing session. Managed to get my Mirrormask HC and two of my first print Sandman TPBs (which were a little worse for wear, seeing as how they're about 10+ years old) signed by the man himself, PLUS, I got a fairly nice picture taken with him. That part of my life is now complete.

***

Having just come back from Hong Kong, it feels like "Singapore exaggerated". Their food is tastier, their shopping is better, their fashion is trendier, their public transport system is more efficient, but on the flip side, their dirt and grime come in greater proportions, people are louder and noisier, and the crowds are just unbearable at times. Overall, I enjoyed it, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to taking a nicer holiday next year. Europe or Japan, I'm still flipping a coin.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

We are all fucking nobodies

FF's latest entry talks about honesty in writing. I'm just glad that she's resolving to be more honest when it comes to penning down her thoughts, because frankly, that's all we can really ask of ourselves, that we can be accountable to our thoughts and feelings.

Apaprently some joker said to her "With popularity, comes responsiblity". Besides the obvious fact that it's a fucking Spiderman rip-off, Mr Originality, what I really want to know is that sort of fucking "popularity" is he or she talking about? Just because you have a website with fanciful writings that a thousand people read a day, you're "popular"? Please get over yourself, and pick up your tremendous ego while you're at it. Any "popularity" a person may think he or she possesses simply by virtue of his or her blog readership is clearly deluded and is in serious need of a reality check.

Be honest. Short of falling foul of stupid defamation lawsuits, you should NEVER be afraid to say what you really feel. If you're too fucking chicken shit to say something about someone because you're afraid to offend the person, then do everyone else a favour and burn your computer because the last thing we need is another politically-correct blogger who doesn't want to break the status quo.

Let's face it, in the grand scheme of things, we are nobody. The sooner we get over that fact, the better for everyone reading our blogs. Why do I blog? Because I have something to say. If nobody reads it, too bad for me, but life goes on. If some people start reading it and commenting on it, and I befriend some people who read it, well that's a great bonus, but certainly nothing to lose sleep over. Unfortunately some people have developed the notion that just because they have so many damn people reading their blogs, that they're above everyone else, looking down from their high fucking horse. They think they can dictate what everyone else should or should not be writing, that what they say is the gospel truth (also because their rabid fans will defend them to the point of irrationality"), that their blog is "better" than yours or mine. These are probably the same jokers who thought they were really cool because they had an operator level of 499 in some IRC channel, or because they were one of the top 5 posters (in terms of number of posts) in some forum.

You want to be somebody, you go out now and do something good. Adopt a dog, held rebuild the tsunami-hit areas, care for lepers. That is good. That is something that people will respect you for. Not how "cool" your life sounds in your blog. Not how many readers you have. Brad Pitt is somebody. George Bush is somebody. Fuck, even Adolf Hitler was somebody. You? You are nobody.

Best Movies You've Never Watched 1

The Boondock Saints

boondock

The Boondock Saints is about Connor and Murphy, 2 Irish brothers living in Boston, who decide that it is their "calling" to rid the world of evil men, and start down a path of bloodshed by taking out the criminals in their city. Hot on their heels is FBI Agent Paul Smecker, who secretly believes in their cause, but how ill he resolve the conflict between duty and his belief?

Filmed on a small budget and released in 1999, this movie never came to Singapore (as far as I can remember). In fact, it also got a very small release in the US, and was never a big hit. It has since become a cult favourite that is sought by film buffs wordlwide.

The brothers are played by relatively small name actors Sean Patrick Flanery (of "Powder" and "Young Indiana Jones" fame) and Norman Reedus, while one of my favourite actors, Willem Dafoe, takes on the role of the slightly queer Agent Smecker. Flanery and Reedus do a credbile job of churning out the Irish accent and playing the parts of the vigilantes that they are, and Dafoe is once againt brilliant as usual.

A word of caution: this film is not for the weak of stomach (Connor and Murphy are very good at what they do), and is very liberal with swearing and the use of Christian text which the brothers use when performing their executions. But if you can get over your self-righteousness, you will find a wonderful gem of a film that really deserves more credit than it got.

A sequel is currently in production and I can only hope that it carries on the fine tradition that the first movie started. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to obtian this film locally, however, it is easily available online. Drop me a message if you're having trouble obtaining this movie.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Beginnings 101

When is a first post not a first post?

Blogging is inherently paradoxical. Putting private (and not-so-private) thoughts into words, yet allowing the whole world to read it if they should so stumble on it. Right?

To some, the lure of fame is too good to pass up. Whether it's a spot on the telly, or writing for publications, or even endorsement deals, it is definitely causing blogging in Singapore to experience a baby-blogger boom like never before.

As with many other things that make the transition from niche to mainstream and bring in the masses, it loses its cool. It brings in the politics. People are used. People are snubbed. Welcome to cesspool of common-ness.

I blog because I give a damn about things. Because sometimes it is better to be heard by a few, than never to be heard at all. But I certainly do not blog for you.

I have something to say. But sometimes it is easier to say it when there are no expectations of you.

I am silent. I am shadow. But I am also here.

I am wraith.
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