One Rong View

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Me to me

Idea! Idea!
Fred and I should start our own Sudbury school when we are ready for Fredlets and Ronglings.

Know what... it's a great idea for post grad work too.

Sudbury Valley School
Sudbury Education Resource Network
Aaron Swartz

Friday, April 28, 2006

Scared What?

I believe very strongly in democracy. Because I believe in the people's capacity to do good , I believe in education and critical thinking, I believe that people should be allowed to and even be made to think for themselves and choose their leaders on their own terms.

Democracy means empowering the people. NOT to capitalize on their kia si-ness to scared-this scared-that. NOT to scared-this scared-that liao, then sian, apathy... vote also like that, then become no need to care because anything just complain to the gahmen.

It fucking pisses me off when PRO-DEMOCRACY people, for their own political benefit, perpatuate the ideas of "the people don't dare to not vote for xyz for the fear of negative repercussions," "the people don't dare to speak freely," "the people are oppressed."

I wonder if these so called democracy advocates even realize that they themselves are the ones who are effectively participating in the fear mongering that they so indignantly claim should be eradicated. Do they realize that they are undermining the true voice of the electorate when they fog things up with this phoney atmosphere of fear by claiming that they themselves are severely crippled by this "fear." Rather than actually acting as the "beacon of light" I know cliche, but too lazy to think of better expression. and lead the people towards their supposesd vision of democracy, they dull our judgments with noise, with their politicised personal issues. What a scam!

I was discussing this with Fred.
In the supposedly-advocates-of-democracy's defence, Fred brought up an intereting point with an appropriate quote, "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."

What pisses me off even more is when supposedly-advocates-of-democracy quote the western media incessantly and adopt various foreign NGOs/non-profits as backers for PERSONAL political agendas. Question: Do you guys hate your own country that much that you have to say, "Hey, ang mohs, help me say shit about my own people." ?

It's one thing to work with foreign entities to promote good. It's quite another to incite crap like we-meaning-Singapore-suck-ass sentiments.

Which brings me to this honestly awesome-rific statement by Ms Sylvia Lim, Chairperson of the WP. She challenged the PAP, "What message are you sending to people?....think of yourself, whether you're upgraded or not. Vote for the PAP for your self interest, that's the message. And is this the message and the value we want for Singapore?"

What a pleasent departure from the the-people-are-scared-shitless shinanigans. Yay for empowering the electorate with thoughtfulness. Yay for not insulting our intelligence. Yay for national interest. You go girl!

Here's a great site to explore.

Monday, April 24, 2006

My Food Spoke

Hee hee. You reach for some ketchup and it tries to chat you up. The whole bunch of them. And they're funny too.

I was very impressed by my ketchup's humour. Who knew they had in them? I mean, consider the fact that they are just packets of condiment.

That's my personal favourite. Below are the different ones I found in the bag. I hope they have more because next time I go there again, I want to see what else they'd have to say.

And this one probably speaks best to my good friend, the food monster.

Short Story part 2

Alone, she read. Alone, she thought. Alone, she wondered the malls of Orchard road. For all the reading and thinking she did, she didn't know she needn't be alone. Alone had accepted her the way she was.

She let it amuse her, let it consume her. It was destined to become her muse. Alone grew comfortable, it was convenient and safe. She strayed, she did. She's a social creature after all. Mostly, she came back to it because she knew, only alone she could rely on, to see as best as she could with untainted eyes.

Together they thought they'd try. They'd ask dad if they could go away to do something that mattered a lot to them. The day he said yes, they cried. Oh gosh, how they had agonised. They thought for sure, well almost for sure he wouldn't agree.

She took a dive and surfaced more alone then she had ever been before. She climbed onto a boat named after an artist in History books. It was not quite right but it was quite a ride.

Away, there were a lot of people alone. Away, it was ok to be alone. She was alone but she really wasn't alone any more.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Short Story part 1

There was a little girl who loved to climb the giant chiku tree in her grandparents' front yard. She loved to go into the drain in front of the house after a rainy day to watch tadpoles swim. She loved to run around the back yard, chasing chickens to observe their fluttering wings. She loved to play make belief with her little brother. Some days they were traders, some days they were performers, other days they were just plain old explorers of the new frontiers.

At nursery school, kindergaten, and primary school, she played with boys. Something about their rowdiness appealed to her. She had a My Little Poney. It was pink, it was sweet and it was cute, the way toys for girls should be. It had its fair share of make overs and tea parties. But just like He-Man, Optimus Prime and GI-Joe, its heart was really set on destroying the evil bad guys. It flew among heros as equals.

The boys stuck their tongues out at the girls. So did she. The boys played catching and threw chalkboard dusters at one another. So did she. The boys fought. So did she. They got into trouble. So did she. The teachers told her she was naughty as a boy.

In secondary school, she gave a boy a box of chocolates. She thought he might be her best friend because he wrote her letters in English class. She never heard from him again.

Her mum started saying she needed to be more lady-like. Her aunt said she needed to be more feminine. She thought she was fine the way she was.

Once, a Catholic school girl she had met at a camp fire said she was cute. She was flattered but let it pass. Maybe that's why her mum and her aunt kept telling her to wear dresses. She learned that the Catholic school girl had carved her name in her flesh. Maybe her mum and aunt were right.

The boys she wanted to play with left her alone now. They had been called to something that she could never be part of. It was strange, she didn't know what to do. She was lonely but she managed to get by. Even sat beside a boy once, alone. She never liked horror films. She never did it again.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Trash the planet, we can always move to a different one tomorrow

We've all heard it before.
It's all over the place right now.
I think it's worth repeating.

Everyday should be Earth Day.

Thought I'd take this opportunity to reaffirm my beliefs. (Phew, it's not just me going crazy... scientists all over the world have proof!) And of course, to celebrate with minimal ecological impact by blogging.

It's a complicated issue, it's huge too. Doesn't help that it's a human problem... you know you can always count on us human beings to screw things up for ourselves.

There really isn't a quick and easy solution, unless you're George W. Bush, then you'd be able to pray to God, nuke the problem and say, "Mission accomplished."

Meanwhile us mere mortals can only rely on ourselves, and oh yah, secular science.

The Worldwatch Institute is probably not an unfamiliar source of information to most people who have taken economics, science or social studies in school. Here's an easy list of baby steps to an awesome-er home planet.
Link to 10 ways to actually do something cool for our planet

Besides, in retrospect, Captain Planet was kinda lame. I think 6 billion people with good information can definitely do the job better. If we try.

Can't have an Earth day without a fun quiz, can we?
Link to quiz

You like good wine? You drink water? You breathe air? Then this might interest you. Although this series of shorts is about particular local communities, it's pretty clear that what happens locally has implications beyond their own boundaries. Also, populations all over the world have similar problems. Even if you don't care... I think Lionel, JM, YH, HJ, YJ, my di di and my mother care. Also, got movie to watch, just watch lah.
Link to clips

Friday, April 14, 2006

Dialogue with Lee Kuan Yew

This is relevant to me. Thoughts about it...
Link to video

Lets cut to the chase. The dialogue with Mr Lee Kuan Yew was at best, a lame excuse of a reinforcement of how the PAP has an overwhelmingly strong mandate and doesn't seem to show any signs of, well, "letting go." Now, before you quote me out of context, I need you to NOT do that and please read the entire entry.

The picture that I had in my head after I sat through the aprox 50 min programme was a letter to the authorities by the bunch of 20-somethings mostly journalists that goes something like this:

Dear PAP,

We are the panel of youths who had the fine opportunity to have a face to face dialogue with the honourable, most respectable Minister Mentor Lee. Although it was an immensely cool chance for us to ask some hard hitting questions about issues that our demographic might care about, MM Lee totally shut us down with his exceedingly cogent answers. It was very ungracious and inconsiderate of him to be so overly well-spoken. He made us look very bad on national television. We are a well educated bunch, may we add, and being showed up is generally frowned upon in our circles.

We are currently unable to match MM Lee's level of thought and oratory prowess. It was uncool of MM Lee to highlight our inadequacies, therefore, we would appriciate it if MM Lee could maybe be less articulate and more congenial and obliging instead in future.

In other words, we want our political leaders to be easy to confront, who won't stand up to the challenges of open debate, and most importantly, to tolarate attacks on them no matter how unfounded the attacks may be. After all, it is the government's job to make the lives of its citizens as easy and as comfortable as possible. That includes political opponents. Actually, make that especially political opponents. They are very delicate and the PAP should know better than to be so tough on them. They are citizens too, you know.

Also, the very fact that we are writing this letter proves that we are working too hard to achive the good life that is rightly ours. A truly great government should have already anticipated this in advance.

the future of Spore.

Does something look wrong here, or is it just me? I am pretty sure it's not that hard to see the irony and absurdity in this.

I am Singaporean, born and raised. Went to public school for over a decade like most of the island dwellers I know. My family lives in an HDB flat. I am 24, a media professional.

Guess I fall into the demographic that the panel supposedly represents. Although there is one
important issue on which I seriously agree with them, they hardly count as an accurate representation of my views on politics in Singapore. So, world, please do not for even a split sec think that those guys echo my sentiments.

A little on where I stand. I can't say I'm a PAP supporter. Never voted for them, never campaigned for them. Certainly don't agree with them on everything. I'm not pro-"opposition" either, cos as of today, their agendas do not resonate with me. You can call me an independent I guess, an intellectual. Not in the academic, I'm-so-smart-you-can't-even-fathom sense, but rather in a more acessible/practical/down to earth, I-think-about-stuff-just-like-you kind of way. Which isn't unlike a lot of my peers.

So, what gets to me most is how the panel squandered a perfectly good opportunity to ask the tough questions. Not one of them brought up anything that resulted in a fresh perspective on important issues. Not one brought up any new and relevent issues that the current govt may have overlooked. No light was shed on issues close to the 20-something Sporean's heart.

Thanks guys, thanks a whole lot for nothing.

Lets talk about the one issue that I felt was addressed somewhat meaningfully. The gerrymandering of GRCs. This is the only issue on which I agree with the panel.

Maybe gerrymandering is not the prefered term of the PAP for this matter, but it sure does look like what that is to me. Just being honest. MM Lee's elucidation was alright, I guess. Yes, I think I see why the PAP would want to do that to facilitate the continued top notchness of their governance. No, it's still not right because it's, dare I say, it's kind of unprincipled. There's got to be a better way.

To me, it's not so much a "level playing field" issue, rather, it's an inconsistancy of what the PAP has come to represent. What does white represent? I'm guessing gerrymandering is probably not what.

Point is, I'm sure it's extremely obvious that if the PAP continues with this bussiness, it's just going to breed distrust, no matter how good the intentions are. Why leave an eyesore of a hang nail for others to happily pick on? While I would love to offer a miracle solution, or lead an "opposition," championing the cause of non-crazy-boundary-shiftiness, I can only say politics is not my calling. Attention all aspiring political superstars, jump on this one and make my day. Go ahead, fix it and impress us 20-somethings. And when I say fix, I mean fix, not just yell at the problem.

Other things discussed during the dialogue are mainly:

-lack of presence of opposition party in parliment
-unlevel playing field
-PAP insecure
-high handedness when dealing with dissent

Start with the easy one. What's the first part of the word self-censoreship? Yup, it's self. Meaning it's this self's thingy's problem, not mine. If the govt plants chips in people to affect this self to create this censorship... that I have a problem with. In the mean time, impulsive compulsive self-censors, starting a self-censors anonymous might work. I think it might prove to be wildly lucrative too, judging by the statements of the panel.

About "oppositions." Any respectable political party needs a raison d'etre. And it better be a good one if they're planning on actually succeeding. Personally, I'd demand that the political party I support be relevent to me. Very simply put, it has to exist primarily for the benefit of me and the people I care about. It needs to help fulfill the expectations that I have in life to a certain extend.

Correct me if I'm wrong. The impression that I get is that the 20-somethings on TV would rather have a govt that makes compromises in order to allow a lesser bunch of people into parliment. Just cos.

Ok, to act as a check, you say.

Think about it, putting in place a lesser "opposition" by having a less rigorous selection process goes against the arguement of having an "opposition" to keep the PAP on their toes. If the "opposition" isn't even capable of claiming a majority vote over the PAP through it's own merit, what good will this "opposition" do? (god, I hate how loaded the word opposition is)

I'll let you in on a big secret. We as a people are the ones who have the civil responsibility to act as the govt police! By going on and on about this "opposition" thingy are we saying that as citizens, we aren't prepared to act on our right to make sure that our govt is working for us? Are we saying that we'll have this "opposition" exercise our rights for us, the way we'll have foreign maids do the work that we don't care about enough to do ourselves?

Having an alternative voice is another popular pitch for "opposition."

Rightly so! Thing is, I want not just any alternative. I want what any discriminating human being would want-- a good alternative. A girl has got to set her standards, yes?

I say, if the WP, SPP, SDP, etc. cannot face up to the PAP and win by means of the exceptional alternative policies they have to offer, they aren't going to be able to run a tight ship in the roaring ocean we call the REAL WORLD.

The day one of those acronyms impresses me with propositions that I cannot resist -- a solid alternative -- is the day it gets my vote.

Which brings me to my next Question: Is this "level playing field" wanting "opposition" going to ask the international community for a "level playing field" if Spore has a deficit at the end of the fiscal year? Or when, god forbid, some clown comes along and picks a big fight? You get the idea.

I don't claim to be a political expert. What I am is a citizen, more specifically, a member of an electorate trying to educate myself on the options I have so that I will be in a good position to make an informed decision on who's gonna run MY country.

Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.
The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties should strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty.

A significant number of the 20-somethings panel are practicing journalists, people who bring the news to the masses, people who are trained to ask the tough questions. I don't think they delivered the goods... but that's just me.

Ordinary people like you and me all over the world depend on professionals like that for information. Sure, spin is sexy. Occassionally, it's fun. But we're talking about important things here. Don't trade my future for sensational headlines. I'm telling you, it's not worth it.

Instead of hammering away on the same 5 questions that people have been using to light the election buzz fire since before we were born, we as 20-somethings should take full advantage of our opportunity to raise questions on issues that we truely care about, that matter, that address our vision and aspirations for ourselves and our contemporaries.

Make the politicains give information that will contribute to the electorate's decision making process. Here's a hint on what I might want the local politicians' views on, regardless of their political affiliation... long term sustainability of our environment both local and global, long term sustainability of our economic model, foreign investments. And those are just three very broad subjects full of meat to devour. I'm sure there's plenty plenty plenty more to explore for every journalist to have a good 6 page feature story that would actually serve to clarify instead of cloud things for the public.

Empower the people with insights and intelligent debate, not petty bickering and fluff.

Friday, April 07, 2006

For Susan Krause, who made it very clear, on the first day of class, that dude is an unexceptable way to address her. Thank you for opening my eyes and my mind to a whole new world of art.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

It's strangely comforting to know you're not the only one thinking these thoughts. Misery loves company I suppose. Share the sufferings. Grins.

I think I'm going to be ok.

Found at