Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Wel, it was about time I abandoned this blog. I won't delete it, since there are actually a few posts I'd like to look back on, and I'm sure there are a few people who would too. Anyway, from now on, tune in to www.howsilly.wordpress.com for more of my insomnia-curing blabbering!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Well, I have a law interview in a few hours, and to be honest, I'm terrified.

Actually, it's quite surprising how easy it is to be afraid if you put your mind to it. Law is 15 tims oversuscribed, so doesn't that mean I have less than a one-in-fifteen chance of getting in? Suppose I don't, then where would I go? Even if I do, is it really what I want? How am I supposed to survive there? What if I don't impress the inteviewers? What if old habits really do die hard, and I say something really stupid? What if I look like a lost-in-translation Mongolian tribesman after styling my hair?

Obviously, paranoia rears its ugly head. And I still think I'm going to say something really silly. to mask the fact that No preparation was involved.

Well, I never thought I'd say this, but thank goodness for the army.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's been a long week! And it's nice to end it on a quiet note, without anyone from the outside world desecrating my sanctum of peace.

Actual work has begun, and while it does prove itself to be infintely more exciting han sitting in a classroom randomly clicking on notes about engines that the typical arts student would rather blow his brains out and mop them up later than attempt to comprehend, the stretches of boredom have enabled me to solve many a sudoku puzzle, discover the truths of the universe and watch the grass grow like an indifferent mother watches her child grow into a slave of the education system.

To the disappointment of several sadistic trainees, however, a hard yank on the back of the mechanic jumpsuit does not produce a wedgie of cosmic proportions. Also, almost dying at the hands of an idiot and a landrover is less enticing and more stupid than it sounds.


In our fast-moving world, the emphasis is on effeciency and convenience. How quickly you can get to point A to point B, how fast you can cook the 3-minute maggi noodle, how clear-cut your masters thesis is, how fast you derive the maximum enjoyment out of that music album or scream and rip it to shreds. As a result, there isn't much room left for traditional values.

This isn't the case of a perfectly good traditional systems and regimes being substituted in favour of more ruthless, unfeeling policies, however ; Not all the time, anyway. Even though Avril Lavigne topping record charts and the Backstreet Boys reforming may have signs of the world ending, the demise(or relative silence) of other hemorrhage-inducing artists does show that even in our forsaken age there is still some sort of natural balance.

Even if old ministers who honestly look more like prunes, raisins, and other varieties of dried fruits may wax lyrical about the importance of paying homage to the past, the fact is that, well, what's past is past, and someitmes there isn't any lesson to be gleaned from it that hasn't already been endlessly preached by other relics of the past, for example, above-mentioned ministers themselves. You'd almost wonder if they were underscoring their own importance by tlking about the importance of the past.

Like they said in Meet the Robinsons ; Keep Moving Forward. Because if you're not moving forward, you're either in stasis or backpedaling, both of which are a lot less fun. It doesn't matter that the road forward is one riddled with disasters, nasty potholes and fattening fast food chains, at some point things have to look up.

....Right? Right?

Friday, April 06, 2007

The higher up we rise, the less we see of the ground below us.

Even at the dawn of civilisation, people worked together with nature, living off the land, just only fulfilling their needs. Trees were ample shelter, despite tales of the Thor not being particularly fond of trees. Soil was a perfectly good resting surface, and the stars were arguably the most beautiful things ever to exist before the advent of the computer. And maybe it still is.

One would be hard-pressed to argue against the fact that human civilisation has come a long way, the exception being the couch potato who'd seen one too many episodes of The Jetsons in a row. At the same time, however, one barely goes a single day without looking up at large clouds of smog that block the sky, electrical appliances that rendered the Gods of Thunder unemployed and subsequently working as those ancient toilet cleaners you always see around from your employment day to your retirement day. In fact, pollution has become such a problem it's almost as if the Earth has been deemed by its wilful masters to be irrelevant by now.

I guess people just don't get the idea. Just like a sergeant/warrant/(rank here) is a sad lonely soul without chao recruits or fucking trainees to scream at, us humans are really nothing without the world around us. If electricity was cut off from the entire world due to a thermomechanic alternating current through the epicenter of the universe, we'd be deader than an eskimo in a desert, without a dessert.

It may be fun to float in the air and levitate around the clouds, but when you lose sight of the ground, and everyone else there is but mere insects, present only to pay tribute to your very countenance, you stop being a member of the world. It's almost unnatural that the more you distance yourself, the more powerful you become.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I would say something really clever and wise yet funny right now, but the shock of having a landrover almost hit my head still rattles me.


They (who I have no idea really is) say that freedom is the ultimate form of restraint. I'm not really sure how true this is, since said person probably never lived in a communist nation before. But give a person enough freedom, and he'll probably choose to restrain himself in some way.

This happens because of the power of the society. By giving the people freedom, society gains power. As a result, society gets to choose who they wish to make their champion whom they rally behind, or who whose wool to kiwi to make them the black sheep of the herd. People for the most part are largely the same, but everyone has a certain kink in them that makes them their own little special snowflake. Some people like to be alone, where people don't interrupt their thoughts, some people feel an unhealthy urge to prove their worth that it becomes irksome, and some people oil their own body and walk around in tights in a bout of self-delusion. As a result, people who use their freedom by not keeping these kinks in check find themselves battered and alienated by society. It's almost like politics - The most honest people lose out.

As a result, the people who used to freedom to exercise restraint remain relevant in society, and the resulting social hierachy becomes a sort of twisted order in its own way. And order is the result of restraint. If you leave people to their own devices, eventually they'll create their own order. Even in a land of chaos, chaos is the order of the day - It's only called chaos because rich people are upset they can't own the country.

As someone who doesn't have a problem with restraint or freedom, it makes me wonder why the one time I really need to stop shackling myself the restraint always overwhelms the freedom.

Greater than the rest of the world? Perhaps so.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Seeing as how mecha (mechanic, not big Japanese robots as I'd like) training has been rather boring so far, I have taken up a new hobby : Foresight and Portent!

To demonstrate my overwhelming talent as a protege, allow me to show you some of my latest insights :

I will be doing guard duty next week.

Within the next five years, there will be an earthquake in Taiwan, since, well, there pretty much always is.

I will probably not care.

I can even quote myself from the future!

"ZZZZZZZ" - Lying under a 5-tonner or a landrover in a few months.

"I can count the number of Hanson fans in the world on my fingers now!" - After losing both my hands in an self-inflicted accident.

So, well, nope, I really haven't been doing much.

And the mind pays the price.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

You know how you can be doing something and rephrasing it in your mind thinking "wow, what a great blog post this would make!" and then you sit down in front of the computer and just can't put it out, for some reason?

Yeah, I'm having that now.

Suffice to say that if I had to sum up two days at mechanic training in one word, it would be "yawn".

Two weeks from now, it would be "shit".

Two months from now, it would be "almost".

Three months from now, it would be "Charged".

Seriously, putting me in charge of anything remotely technological is a mistake. Ecspecially a vehicle that carries people around.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

As it turns out, I have been posted to a unit I know next to nothing about! But then again, cleulessness is part of the fun, and when people tell you that OETI stands for Only Eat, Talk, Idle, I don't really think I'm in a position to complain, ecspecially since other people get stay-in units with -gasp- actual physical training.

On a darker note, it seems I'll be having to work with vehicles, probably big ones. As someone who's had multiple bad experiences with vehicles, it's not exactly something I relish. Lazing around seems to be the activity of choice anyway. Unless, of course, the army has secretly been hoarding Gundams and transformerbots and are looking for unfit people to pilot them.


At some point in every person's life, he finds himself on the warrior's path, being faced with the unthinkable. And it is at this point where he finds himself faced with painful choices to make, forced to tiptoe along the line that separates what is technically, or morally, right or wrong. Cliched as it may be, we live in grey world, where around every corner there could await an unspeakable act of injustice or violence that threatens to twist your life. And it is the choices made, when faced with the unthinkable, when one wrong move could mean that your world became so dark, and so compromised, that every hope of happiness or solace would be gone. To put things into perspective, some people turn to crime as a way of getting back at the world that has been so cruel to them, while others with similar origins struggle to live their lives with nobility and grace, eventually working their way up the rungs of life.

In my search for the greatest influence of my life, these words from my father stood out from the rest, and it is these words that I know I can live by and hold my life up to, and it has served me well : That I am my own influence, because only I, not my family or my friends, know truly what I want and what would make me happy.

Ironically, with those very same words, my father was influencing me as well.

Well. It looks like I can forget about getting into NTU communications now.


In an unexpected turn of events, yours truly has been called down for an actual interview. Apart from the hassle that is my first meaningful action of my unit life being asking for leave, I am absolutely terrified, believe it or not. I'm not very akin to people trying to probe my mind through the orifice known as my anus, and it's probably even more uncomfortable when we do it in groups. I don't even think they look at the application forms past the name, just call everyone in and chiong.


Coming soon : The end of my university hopes, and the start of my mechanical life!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm sure many of you have noticed this before, but people like to ask redundant questions. Some of the questions you heard before are "can you hear me?" , "Do you speak English?" and "Are you still alive?" In case you haven't yet realised, the common trend lies in the fact that if the answer to any of these questions was "no", then the guy wouldn't have been able to answer anyway. The problem then arises when the asking party decides to go by the "silence means yes" rule, and for some reason the chao recruit, er, answering party is then at fault for believing that the sergean- I mean, asking party was spouting random nonsense like the other 90% of the time. It isn't immediately obvious, but people ask stupid questions all the time.

I mean, why are there even surveys asking people for their ideal salary? To make them feel worse about their lives?

And then, there are questions that people ask without really wanting to know the answer. Temptation is the ultimate weapon, and to follow that, curiosity kills the cat. Curiosity doesn't care if the cat has nine lives. Just ask the guy who complied when his wife asked him to "Just give me(her) the truth. I promise I(she) won't get angry."

You'd realise that the people most likely to ask questions like these are girls. Girls will at some point of time ask their boyfriends about their past relationships, first with an adoring glint in their eye. At this point, it would benefit the guy to keep the conversation as short as possible, because that little glint, when stoked with stories, will turn into an inferno. People can be silly like that sometimes.

This is also why ignorance is bliss.

Ah, yes. Rhetorical questions. Questions not meant to be answered. While it does come with a certain amount of required wit to come up with one, it does cheat the natural balance of nature. Just like rules are made to be broken, questions are made to be answered, the loophole being if you're setting an exam paper. And even then there'll be some smartass who will answer it anyway. The strange thing is, when the guy who can't tell it's a rhetorical question gets called an idiot for not recognising it as such, the asker is in fact the idiot for asking a question that didn't want an answer.

People are such idiots sometimes. Me included.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Humans are typically creatures of comfort. To go through one's entire life in cruise control, doing everything at a speed of choice, would be the idle ideal of most people. See, most of the time, comfort equals control, and people like being in control. This isn't to say that the average generic person is a control freak ; Rather, he is one by necessity, because the alternative is not being in control, which basically means you're helpless.

It's actually rather apparent ; While it's widely acknowledged as a necessary evil, nobody likes trying things for the first time that he or she or it does not think he has a natural aptitude for. Ask me to live in a bunk with eleven other guys for seven weeks, and handle weapons of mass destruction along the way without injuring any of them, no matter how much I feel like it, and I'll grumble, grouch and whine about it till your ears decide to elope to a faraway land.

Nobody likes venturing outside their comfort zone. So what happens when they're forced to do so? Some people go after it with a vengeance, some curl up in a corner and refuse to do anything, some reach out for help. Yet, some people, in rather oxymoronic fashion, are comfortable outside their comfort zone. While the ability to adapt quickly may be all fine and dandy, the sad fact of life is that people learn to adapt, and in the long run, everyone's pretty much the same damn grain of sand. Most uni grads end up doing stuff outside their field, not by choice. But they just go on with their lives and get used to it.

On a side note, scholarship forms are a bitch.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's over.

It's amazing, but I have absolute nothing to say about the army. I could regale all three of my blog readers with stories of how I miraculously avoided having my asshole decimated by some rather fruity recruits in a neighbouring bunk, how we have a 25-year-old with all the maturity and intelligence of a five-year-old and about half as much common sense, or how I didn't know we were shooting live rounds at the range till the end of the day, but the army has to be looked at as a holistic experience, rather than a string of isolated incidents.

Somehow, though, you just have to look at things that happen and curse under your breath.

Like how it almost never rains at Pulau Tekong, only to have it rain continously for two days at field camp. Lucky for me I didn't have to sleep in the disaster masquerading as a tent I built. I don't think tents are supposed to act as emergency water basins, right?

Or how the only other time it rained heavily was on POP day. How embarassing for the poor guys in the parade square. I mean, I don't want my parents coming to see their son as a speck in the crowd, or a stalk in a broccoli. Running and screaming randomly doesn't exactly help matters either.

I don't think I'll ever forget about BMT, even if it was like a holiday camp without any highly-vaunted trials by fire. Besides, I'll only get to be a caho recruit once in my life.

I wonder where I'll be posted to next.


On a somewhat unrelated note, I am still unable to reach a veritable conclusion at my A level results. As it turns out, I'm not the artsy-fartsy Terry-Pratchett-understudy I thought I was. Hmmm.


With every end comes a new beginning.

But with every new beginning, it means something has ended.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

It's amazing how time passes so quickly.

It just seems like yesterday that I was wondering how many pieces my exam papers would be in after the Cambridge markers were done tearing through them with their red pens of inevitable doom.

It also seems like just yesterday that I was still working at a bakery, contemplating baking as a permanent job.

It also seems like just yesterday when I had to sweep my fringe away from my face just so I wouldn't get spaghetti in my hair, and could wake up only after everyone else had eaten their lunch.

It makes me unsure if time really does pass that quickly, or that time is really an illusion. As time passes, more memories get packed into our brain. As a result, these memories start to occupy a smaller and smaller proportion of whatever part of our brain stores memories. And the more memories you have, the faster time seems to pass. It's only because our brain only remembers the most impactful memories, and as people we tend to have very little of them, that makes our lives seem really short. I mean, in no time we'll all be old and spotty and still clinging on to these few memories that we have. And it is these few memories that really end up defining our existence as we know it.

Life is meaningless, yes?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I have no idea what to say. It's not that my results are bad, they're just.......Silly.

It should've been better.

Almost there, never there.

Story of my life.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Field camp was kind of weird.

I mean, I built a tent which I didn't sleep in. 5 weeks in Tekong and it doesn't rain, and when it does it has to be during field camp.

And, well, we kind of reminded ourselves why we're PES C in the first place. When you hear more "IA IA!" than gunshots you know something's wrong.


Hmmm, A level results. I don't really have anything to say that anybody else hasn't, other than that signing on might actually be a viable option after I get it, right up there with suicide and getting myself imprisoned for free meals.

Hmmm, free meals.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I really don't have anything to say right now.

The scary part is, I'm seeing how this could be a good thing already. I've gotten in trouble more times than I can remember because I've had too much to say, or because my larynx went into overdrive and started working independantly of my brain, resulting in much suffering on my part. In fact, the same can be said of a lot of people. How often do you find someone talking when you really don't need them to?

This seems ecspecially true now, where the information explosion means that everyone has the ability to uncover any hidden secrets or truths. Which means that the number of people desperately scryeing for their claim to fame is only going to rise. With a simple click of a handphone, an incriminating picture of a couple in school uniforms or even worse, a couple in army uniforms, could be posted on the internet for all to see. With everyone looking to get some dirt on anyone, or anything, they can find, it's no wonder that Singapore is becoming less and less of a democracy - If nothing else, the human desire for reputation, or "street cred" as I would call it while wearing a huge red jumper, baggy jeans and a beanie, means that people are going to have to be extremely tight assed about what they do, at least in the open, what with a significant number of Singaporeans being into S-M. A new age is upon us - One that suppresses through the excess of freedom.

Another disturbing part of the trend is that you're never going to know who took that picture, other than his or her screename/username/sign-in name/pseudonym/flashing neon sign outside a cheap hotel. This makes it almost impossible to get back at the predators who prowl around looking for dirt. Which only increases the incentive for people to do so, since they really have nothing to lose, seeing as how the phrase "I'll sue the pants off you!" is a lot less intimidating when you're trying to sue someone by the name of Ah_lIaNxxz82 or 1337w4rl0cke. This isn't to say that people actually go around with the sole objective of looking for people to embarass over the internet, but that whatever you do, chances are someone will see it, and if it's bad, you will get screwed.

From another view, it's a really clever strategy by the government(or possibly an accidental one.) By allowing information to be shared so freely, and capitalizing on the natural human instinct to undermine others as well as the typical need for a reputation, they've turned the citizens into their sentries.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

After the past few entries that didn't really explain much, I finally found one that captures the essence of National Service.

Hurrah to post 500!
Chocolate onions. Cucumber sauce. Garlic Pudding.

Some objects are just not meant to make acquaintance with each other. Parsley may be great for a minty smell and to add colouring to whatever iron-chef-caliber dish you may be cooking, and ice cream may be a cooling treat on hot days, but parsley ice cream just does not cut it.

Similarly, there are certain words in the English Language that, when put together, create a new dimension of self-contradiction, unraveling on its own plane of oxymoronity, because while they may be signposts of outstanding nobility, regal declarations of the power of man to be able to make even the most unlikely of combinations work, deep down inside most sane people have the presence of mind to realise that in real life, such concepts are about as viable as Big Bird being the lead of the next internationally acclaimed porn flick. We know it when we see it. Rich beggars, while they do exist, are technically not one of these terms. At the end of the day, all of us are beggars ; If there was no need for engineering one day, all the architects and engineers would be beggars. All the actors and artistes you see on TV are in fact beggars - Beggars for attention and record sales so that at the end of the day, they may receive a shiny new trophy with a mock gramaphone plastered onto it.

Middleastern peace. Spotless leopards. And, having come into a certain degree of mind-numbing clarity, Army intelligence. If it were up to me, the two years would be spent on more meaningful activities, say, running into a wall repeatedly. Somehow activities like "reveille", which I'm quite sure 80% of army officers don't know the meaning of when they say it, "breakfast". which really should be mandatory and "lights out" seem a lot more enjoyable when instead of a specific time next to it, says "any bloody time I want". If my driving license plate says "IHTSAF" it does not mean I heart SAF, it means that my feelings towards the army portend to another word with the letters "h" and "t" in it, with an "a" and an "e" sprinkled somewhere.

Yep, I don't think me and army are going to fit very well together. If you thoughy Britney Spears looked hideous after shaving her head, I'm sure you can imagine how I feel about the army right now.

Okay, that had no relevance whatsoever.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's been a really boring week at camp. But then again, from the looks of things everything is going to be boring. When the entire week consists of eat-sleep-shoot-clean (okay that sounded dirty) there really isn't much stimulation my brain can look forward to. Heck, I don't even know if my brain is capable of looking forward anymore. If my brain had eyes they'd be forcefully plucked from their sockets, thrown into a kerosene-piccolo and lit up unmercifully by the fires of hell in the hands of a very happy Saddam Hussein.

Thank goodness for the people around. Even if these are people I wouldn't hesitate to ignore in a crowded room, packing drops of water into a freezer creates ice cubes, not droplets of frozen ice. This isn't to say the people in my bunk, or my platoon are a bad bunch. It's a personal boon to break down the walls and know what people are like under the stereotype that involuntarily clings to them like barnacles onto rocks. Obviously, there are the token morons, but hey, when life gives you lemons, you paint faces on them, conduct your own puppet show and have a good laugh.

Does hope inspire you to carry on fighting, or does the fighting bring out hope? Obviously you can't do one without the other. People who fight without hope eventually wither into the background with no definition of their existence, and people who hope without fighting remain stationary. I believe the term for such people are wishful thinkers.

To put it into perspective, the answer to the question "how much are you paid?" is going to be "not enough". People work in order to earn money, and the lack of money causes them to work. Is it really the money? Or is it the desire to feel like they're earning? Or the satisfaction they get for the fruits of their labour? Or the hope for a raise or a promotion? In the end, it's some sort of expectation that keeps people ambling down the corridor of life, and also expectation that make them trip and fall when they realise that they're not going to score a date with their ideals anytime soon. It's like going on a date being promised Jessica Alba and ending up with Fiona Xie. The ideal solution would just be earning enough to just get by and sticking with that, but it's been proven that humans are rather slimy creature.

It's official, the army has captured my mind.