Saturday, May 31, 2003

emily and i, along with paul bob and eric, trekked down -or eric drove us down rather- to our agent's office this afternoon and picked up the nice shiny new keys to our nice shiny new apartments. =) the lease begins sunday, june 1st, but we already have our keys...emily and i dropped by our apartment and let ourselves in! for the first time! and literally for the second time ever we looked around, explored where we were really going to put all the crap that we own [ok, on second thought there ISN'T as much storage space as i thought there would be; that might prove to be an issue. hmm.], and just got ourselves really really psyched about moving in on sunday morning. or beginning to move in, since furniture doesn't 'move in' until next week sometime.

it's such a lovely lovely apartment. for those of you who read this blog but who may never SEE this paragon of an apartment, here's a brief rundown: we're on 55th street, which is a nice major road, in a two-towered apartment complex that is apparently designed by I.M Pei. you will hear it referred to as the 'toaster oven buildings' but really, it's not that bad from the inside. we're on the seventh floor, which is a good deal higher than anything else in the surroundings, and we can even see downtown. today i realised i could see Sears Tower from my living room window, and probably from my bedroom window too, if i tried. =) the entire north wall of the apartment is window, and probably, if we're lucky, there'll be a bseball game at comisky park and the Sox will score a home run and we'll be able to see the fireworks exploding over Comisky. [i refuse to call it US Cellular Field. EWWWWWW.] we're in a two-bed-two-bath apartment -very ideal for two girls- and i'm in the room with the attached bath. em's is across the hall from her room. i love my room -- it's nice and rectangular and the shades are coming off those windows so i have an unobstructed view. if the light wakes me, the light wakes me. i mean, it already happens here -- i have a room that faces pretty much due east, and when spring was just beginning and the trees outside my window were still leafless, the sun would wake me up, full in the face, at like six am. -bitch and moan- but yeah, the apartment is so great. there's so much light! that's one of the most important things to me -- light. lots and LOTS of light. i love it when the apartment is bright. =)

and of course we have our own kitchen with a new fridge -which has a functioning freezer, something neither of us has right now. imagine the luxury of being able to have ice cream in the house and not have to eat the entire pint because there's nowhere to store it...-laughing- sometime i'll find somewhere to stick up pictures of my new apartment and the whole process of furnishing it -i foresee a lot of 'oh god i hit my thumb/toe with the hammer' shrieking- after i scrounge website space from someone, and you guys can see it for yourselves. =)

can you tell i'm really excited about this whole -i have my own apartment and my own space- thing? -grinning from ear to ear-

P/S the next time i talk to shereen, she'll be a married woman. wow. -even bigger smile-

Friday, May 30, 2003

ok. spending waay waay too much time at computer considering it's almost the start of tenth week and i have So Much Work To Do. -makes face- but there are some important things to say...


Dan and Shereen's wedding is tomorrow morning at 1030, but considering the time difference between where they are and where i am -sob- it's in approximately fourteen hours that Shereen is going to float down the aisle at Wesley in her beautiful gown [which i have yet to see -sigh- damn this stupid quarter system that is stopping me from being there! believe me, if it weren't the end of ninth week, if it were say end of tenth week or perhaps the end of sixth week, i would be home for it] and pledge to share the rest of her life with Dan. i really wish i could be there.

i can't believe time has zoomed by so fast. i remember meeting Dan in the RGS staffroom on the first day of work -that was two whole years ago? where does time go? =) i remember dan talking about buying The Ring, i remember shereen being all excited about the proposal -- i've watched them struggle through the massive massive preparations required to actually HAVE a wedding these days, it's terrifying how stressful it seems to be. i have a whole bunch of things i want to say to them, but it just won't come out of my retarded brain because i'm losing my command of english, so i'm just going to say -- i know you guys will have a great wedding and a wonderful wonderful marriage. i know that you'll be very very happy because the two of you belong together and to each other. take care of each other. =) -big hugs- love you guys. will see you real soon! =)

***** end of Dan and Shereen Wedding Announcement -grins- *****

am also reminded by gail [i like how you call it 'professional hangover' -laugh- very appropriate] that i have Stopped Writing Completely. now i know i've bitched about this before, but it's really starting to bother me now that i literally haven't written anything worth reading in almost a year. it's as if the poetry-centre in my brain has been somehow blocked, so stuff can't get in or out of it, and writing is literally like pulling eye-teeth -or wisdom teeth without novocaine as the case may be. i'm not sure what it is. my theory is that i need excess intellectual and emotional energy to be able to write -oh the heady heady days of J1 when i didn't have do to my work, and there were so many external inspirations- and here at the U of C i just don't have that excess anymore. i don't have the buzzing feeling in my brain of words trying to get out in This Particular Order, to say precisely just this one thing, and it hurts me to know that it might never come back. that i might be too old and jaded and cynical to ever be able to do things like write poetry when i'm supposed to be finishing a GP exam. =) [yeah, well, what can i say -- the poem at the top of the page was written in five minutes in the middle of a GP exam. who knows when inspiration will strike right? now imagine trying to sneak a piece of paper out of a GP prelim...]

my other theory is that the U of C has just turned me into a broken shell of a human being. -grins- no, seriously -- while i can write ten, fifteen page analytical, argumentative papers and get decent grades for them, i can't do a single piece of creative writing anymore. if i write for leisure more often than not it turns out to be prose -wince- while there's nothing WRONG with prose per se, i don't WANT to be writing it. i miss the intensity of poetry. perhaps the ability to write papers and understand linear regression models will be more useful in the long run -IE when i start work- but damn i miss being able to WRITE.

***** end of poetry-writing rant *****

You treat me like I'm a princess
I'm not used to liking that
You ask how my day was...

You are the bearer of unconditional things
You held your breath and the door for me
Thanks for your patience

brief update on the status of my brother's shoulder: he's fine, he appears to be out of the hospital, he can use his arm albeit stiffly to type me icq msgs and he will be thrust into the world of physiotherapy come monday. poor kiddo. that's what you get for being the goalie and diving to make saves =) like the keepers for AC Milan and Juve during the penalty shootout for the Champions League final.

i hate it when it goes to penalties. penalties are so hit-and-miss. penalties are so stressful for me, and i don't handle stress when i can't run around screaming very well. then again, last minute goals -the Champions League final a few years ago between Bayern Munich and Man U comes to mind: i'm sitting on my couch at like three in the morning trying desperately not to scream and yell and wake up the entire slumbering household, but oh the intense stress of wanting my team to come through...and the joy and relief as they pull one last win out of their hats! and the still being unable to scream because mommy is asleep in the next room...let's say i almost choked myself stuffing my face into the couch pillows- are not much better than penalties. and my boys -Man U- have a nasty habit of pulling last minute victories in a will-they-won't-they manner. they're bad for my heart. how did i get here?? oh. ben's a goalie now. =)

oh man, it is so past my bedtime.

Quoting from Navy News online [it's online! but no pictures! and the font size is so small! i want paper copy. -sulk-], with reference to Navy Day -our 35th anniversary:

Addressing members of the Navy, CNV RADM Lui Tuck Yew, paid a stirring tribute to all the men and women who have served in the RSN: "An occasion such as this is almost like a family reunion. Our hearts, our hopes, our aims are one. To me what unites the Navy family, is a common desire for excellence and for our Navy to excel. Together, we can set high goals and lofty ideas and work as one in common pursuit of a shared destiny."

and to quote a certain RADM Kwek Siew Jin -grins- :

Joining the Navy is not just doing a job - it's a way of life that involves the whole family in every way.

i miss my Navy family. =)

-clutching head and moaning- my brain hurts from all the information i just attempted to stuff into it in the space of less than three hours. -grins- econ 203 followed closely by econometrics was probably not the most brilliant idea i've had all year, but hey, i thought it would be fun at the time...=p and frankly i did have fun this morning, when my head wasn't aching from trying to keep up with my -two hundred word per minute in heavily accented english- 'metrics teacher who was babbling merrily away about autocorrelation and selection bias...-whimper- i didn't even know some of these words existed until i took metrics -- heteroscedasticity anyone? who on earth knew that existed? before, of course, the advent of statistics and econometrics classes for everyone who's an econ major...haiyah! econometrics is now officially over for me -- no more new material since the next class is review during reading period...thank god for small mercies. =)

speaking of economics: we're doing money right now in econ 203. for people unfamiliar with chicago's classes, econ 203 = macro II. much funness - we've been working on money and international economics -IE exchange rates and that sort of fun stuff- which i really loved doing back in the day with mr R. i had a flashback today in class to one lecture when mr R was telling us about fixed vs floating exchange rates, and how if you are in a floating exchange rate system your monetary policy can be used to control either exchange rates or prices/interest rates, but not BOTH, and i remember thinking at the time -well that's not very helpful...- i still think that now -grins- i hate having to make decisions. perhaps going into central banking would have been totally the wrong career path for me -sticks out her tongue at MAS, who didn't want her anyway- anyways, i was sitting in class and realised all over again that the entire system of money -currency- is based entirely on faith. we were talking abt attacks on overvalued currencies a la George Soros and the sterling back in 1992, and to a certain extent to asian economic crisis back in 1997, and it just hit me that if enough people believed that a currency is worth X US dollars, it'll BE worth X USD no matter what the country's central bank tries to convince you of. i mean, sure they can maintain a given exchange rate for a certain amount of time, but sooner or later they're going to run out of international reserves to throw at the market, and come on, no one central bank can hold enough reserves to hold its own against a world market that's turning against it. -shudder- seriously, monetary policy and exchange rate policy is all about the credibility of the central bank, isn't it -- it's slightly terrifying that so much hinges on how trustworthy we find our central bankers to be...-mind involuntarily turns to our own central bank and a certain DPM Lee- money is so cool [in more ways than one]. i'm looking forward to taking a bunch of classes on international economics and international finance my third year...i can't believe my second year of college is almost over. wow. i'm almost halfway to graduating!

i'm also reminded that i am indeed at the university of chicago, which is a strong believer in free markets -markets WILL clear, prices are NOT sticky =p- and 'compete until you die' philosophy, and i'm starting to find that i'm coming down on the side of the Chicago school. now i clearly don't know enough empirically about whether in reality markets do clear and if prices are sticky -and i suspect that of course there is some truth to the notion that labour markets don't adjust as fast as we claim they do AND that wages are sticky downwards [i blame the unions. except that in singapore we don't have that strong a set of unions, so what can we blame sticky prices on?]- but i think i would like to believe in an efficient market system. perhaps it all has to do with signals being inefficient because of interference from non-economic factors. if we let our markets do their job perhaps the world would be a better place...

and then again perhaps it might not. i mean, i can definitely see the need for a government type institution to fill in gaps in social providence that we as human beings not purely economic rational actors see. like public goods; like cheap healthcare; like education; like welfare to keep the problem of poverty at bay. some things can't be solved from a purely rational point of view. but for all other things, i think we should believe in open markets, the fewer the restrictions the better, and the restrictions that exist had better have strong strong justifications. trade restrictions in particular just bother the hell out of me.

it's almost the end of ninth week. where does time go? and why is the weather shitty again? [it's rainy and cold. i swear if it gets cold enough to drop snow i'm going to cry.] those are two questions that i think are totally unanswerable.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

screaming orgasm

An unexpected bonus for just about every guy on the planet.

He’s plowing you and you’re yelling for more.

Talk dirty, talk cheap, scream his name, scream complete gibberish. No matter.

You are the Mariah Carey of the bedroom and he loves every fucking syllable that spews from your luscious mouth.

Maybe you’re the "Mary the Librarian" type by day.

But by night, honey, watch out.

The vocal chords let loose with everything your heart and mind have been thinking about all day long.

What Cocktail Are You?

More Great Quizzes from Quiz Diva

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

The Matrix as Plato's cave from The Republic? it makes sense, in a 'paying homage' kind of way: the people plugged into the Matrix see only shadows of reality; the ones who escape, are 'enlightened' are the ones who must go back into the 'cave' and force the rest to see that shadows are not reality. but their minds cannot be forced, they must be led...

these two movies are somehow in a completely new genre -- they're the first attempt at the intellectual action movie, and while i HATED the first movie when i first saw it -because the lines were SO BAD and corny, i couldn't stop laughing long enough to appreciate the shiver-down-your-spine horror of the concept, plus i hadn't read Plato- when i saw it again this quarter before Reloaded opened in theatres downtown, i was suitably impressed. not just by the cool action but also by the cool ideas that backed the action. i for one can't wait til this fall when the last one opens. i'm So There on opening day.

time for me to get on with work, after spending lots of the evening dithering around at 'metrics, then ordering from Victoria's Secret with janice -sheepish-, and yakking with lots of cool people online...=) the internet is, as rachel says, a huge timefuck. =)

-clutches head and moans- why oh why can't it be the weekend again? in particular i would like it to be last friday afternoon, post-Civ discussion section, so i'd be totally free for the weekend ahead. and what a glorious weekend it was.

memorial day was the best of the lot, i think. the creeping awareness that the day after memorial day is of course TODAY, tuesday of NINTH week, nonewithstanding, waking up late with the sun high in the sky -there are enough leaves on the big trees outside my windows to keep me partially shaded from the glaring rising six am sun- and then staying in bed to read a novel instead of getting up to work must have been one of the highlights of the week. when i finally hauled ass out of bed and to the memorial day bbq in the backyard, half the day has passed soundlessly by. i only got out of bed when hanyann came into my room. =)

the BBQ was also amazing =) the food was all right, it was a dining hall BBQ after all, but the weather was absolutely perfect. perched on the top of the stone steps overlooking the BJ backyard, which is now covered in bright, lovely green grass and the trees in leaves and flowers, with the sun shining down on my skin -bared to the sun in a strappy top for once!- and the breeze keeping me cool as i dangled my feet over the high wall, i was supremely content for the first time in a while. something about bright sunshine and warmth without stifling heat or humidity makes me very blissfully happy. i sat there for a really long time, consuming my lunch and vast quantities of fluids -iced tea! lemonade!- while watching a pickup game of Ultimate Frisbee...the only thing that could've made it better was if the teams had gone skins vs shirts, and my favourite eye-candy had been on the skins team. -amused at self- ok, i know what you're going to say, all of you, don't say it out loud...

also got to hang out and chat with ruimin, here on a brief visit from MIT =) -waves- which was much funness. for some reason i'd forgotten he's also from rosyth and therefore i have known of ruimin most of my life without really having talked to him before. how weird is that? perhaps i will have a chance to remedy that this summer, when i descend on boston in an attempt to escape stifling chicago heat and humidity in early august, and visit sheryl at Havard at the same time. i miss harvard, it's in a beautiful city and it's On The Coast, where there is Saltwater. very important. SEA. not giant lake.

my brother's dislocated his shoulder for the second time playing soccer down in sydney, and this time he was sent to the hospital for it. it looks like his shoulder's just going to be randomly popping out from now on. =( i'm not dreadfully worried, but it really must be kind of nasty for him...

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh,
but not all of your laughter,
and weep,
but not all of your tears.

-- Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

quick post before taking off to Memorial Day BBQ: life may sometimes feel really really shitty, but there are real gems to light up the darkness. i quote from Adr's blog:

...and an honourable mention goes to jeanette, who said (cut and paste directly from icq): "no nice girls in the offing? =( what a waste, adrian, you're a real treasure, you know? it's hard to pinpoint exactly why. i think it's because you'd make a great, sensitive, caring, supportive but not overly possessive and smothering boyfriend."

i can't believe i said that -- not that it isn't true, but that i typed it out and sent it. -grins- ok, to all the girls out there reading this, now's the time to attack my tagboard -since adrian's is out of commission =p-- and let our boy know what a wonderful human being he is! -wink-

your post made me smile, adrian. thanks, i need all the good humour i can get these days.

Monday, May 26, 2003

i was walking back from jan's apartment at almost midnight tonight, and while strolling down 55th street in the dark, walking past Jimmy's -which has a jazz band in it tonight! i was tempted to stop by and listen to them but had no desire to be wandering back home alone at two am, in the dark, possibly a little under the influence- and down University, and realised that my feet know the way home through Hyde Park. i was literally on autopilot as i walked through, thinking about other things prompted by a riotous evening with the girls eating pizza and watching The Bachelor on tv [cable is your friend]. walking past the quiet, dark houses and realising that people do really LIVE in hyde park, all year round, and that it feels like home, exactly like walking home to my place in singapore after it's dark and the houses are all was such a great feeling, it made me feel so content to be here. the streets are absolutely quiet this time of the night; there are few if any cars on the road, and on most streets all the lights in all the houses are out, just like they would be at home at midnight, and i love walking at night -- it's so quiet that there's room for me to be and to think and be alone for a little while. i love the coming home, i never want to actually ARRIVE home because it's the coming home that i love. if the road outside my front gate back in singapore could be infinitely long, i think i would actually sometimes be happier -- because i'd be making headway, sort of, toward being Home, but at the same time, there's all this safe time between now and then that would allow me to think and be and be happy.

rachel and co were talking about their various proms and dances tonight, and while i sat there listening and feeling slightly left out because we don't have dances like that back home, i was remembering Prom back in 2000. i remember going prom dress shopping with first eun and then my mother, who insisted i try on the gowns even though i was adamant on buying a skirt and top; i remember loving the gown in the weird shade of shimmery green-blue that would be insane to match, and then buying gorgeous shoes to go with --of course at that point in time i couldn't handle wearing stilettos =) so i wound up with an insane heel instead. good thing tung is still a good deal taller than me. i remember gail and jan taking him shopping for his prom outfit to match the gown i'd already bought, and how they shopped for hours and wound up buying the first shirt he'd spotted -laugh- and who could forget getting to prom and having all the guys sit at one table, leaving all the girls to get along as best they could at the other table -giggle- oh that was so long ago! but sometimes it feels so fresh in my memory...

i've been moody and temperamental all weekend -apologies, janice, i will attempt NOT to collapse on your shoulder and be a stupid ninny- and it's awfully draining on my emotional energy reserves. why i make life so difficult for myself i haven't the faintest idea.

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste
It all revolves around you

i want to go back to the time when this felt real to me...

Sunday, May 25, 2003

these are the loneliest hours, i think -- the hours that lie between the late late night and early early morning, when you're literally all alone and there is no sound of human activity to keep your frenzied mind occupied. i watched The Hours at Doc tonight with janice, and we came back here after the movie depressed and morose and seriously in need of something to make the world a happier place to live in. those of you who have seen the movie will understand what i mean by the mood the movie put us in: the terror of settling for second best and realising too late that second-best is too confining, too terrifyingly predictable and boring to handle any longer, and yet being unable to break away, being unable to leave; the fear of knowing that life in its fullness is too much to bear, too much to handle; the idea that a love so strong and true and powerful can still be insufficient reason to stay on this earth. to know that you can love someone faithfully for years and years and years and still, ultimately, be unable to live with that person - how do you tell the person you're with that 'there's someone else i cannot live without, and yet will never be able to live with'? how do you find a person who can understand, and forgive, and accept that there will forever be a part of you that belongs 110% to another human being that he will never be able to touch or reclaim?

i think Virginia Woolf -at least as she was portrayed in the movie- affects me the most: that she could write a letter to her husband telling him that the hours, the time they had together were the happiest she had ever been, that the love they shared made her happier than she thought possible -- and yet that was not enough, and she chose death over life with her husband, a life that would forever be circumscribed and broke my heart that i understood, to the limit of my ability to understand without having been there myself, why she chose to drown herself...because her life was out of her control, because her life was not the life she wanted to lead and her life had no escape. death was her last choice, her last statement against the confinement of the gilded cage, and the confinement, the torture of the irreconcilable nature of her inner and outer lives.

and what Richard said to Clarissa right before he jumped out the window made me start sobbing right in the middle of Doc: he reminded her of the first morning he had called her Mrs Dalloway, when he thought she was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, and she was only eighteen and he was only nineteen and they had life in front of them -- and then he told her that he loved her, that he had always loved her, and then he fell out the heart has been broken many times tonight. i'm not sure why i keep doing this to myself. clarissa earlier in the movie also talked to her daughter julie about the happiest moment of her life, and knowing what happiness is -- and you know what happiness is? there really isn't a beginning to happiness. i think happiness is standing on the cusp of something and knowing that there lies ahead of you the potential for so much joy that you can't begin to hold it all in your soul. happiness is knowing that you are going to be happy. happiness is being able to see the potential for more happiness - it's such a hard thing to express, though i can feel inside my body the idea pulsing with life and begging for the words to spill out of my fingertips.

i think part of my problem is that i find myself putting parts of myself into their characters, and knowing that i might react as they reacted makes me scared out of my mind. i don't focus on the relationships they find themselves in -i'm sure there are some points of view that will talk about how they're making a choice between the relationship and life/death- but rather on the inner focus that the women themselves have found themselves contemplating. sometimes, it's a pure and selfish choice: you choose yourself over another human being, and if that choice compells you to do something like wade into a river with rocks in your coat, or fall off your window ledge in front of the woman who has loved you for years, then you still have to go ahead and do it. there's nothing for it. i really don't think this movie was tackling the question of happiness, except in an oblique sort of way: the real question really is -- how do you want your life to be? what can you bear and what can you resign yourself to accept? what sort of restrictions are you going to allow the world to insert on you? and where do you find your inspiration to carry on living?

how do you fight being lonely in the wee hours of the morning/night, when all you want is someone to be with you, to hug you and reassure you that this world isn't as sad and hopeless and terrifying as it seems, that you are strong and that you can make it through this alone? how? i don't know. all i know is that sometimes --all too often-- the right thing to do feels like the worst, most painful thing to do, and yet somehow it has to be done.

i'm jumping on the bandwagon too: Bold for those i've read, italics for those i'm working on/abandoned halfway/posses in virgin condition...

BBC Voters' Top 10 Novels of the Century:

1984, George Orwell
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Animal Farm, George Orwell
Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
The BFG, Roald Dahl
Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
Bleak House, Charles Dickens
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
Catch 22, Joseph Heller
The Catcher In The Rye, JD Salinger

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas

Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
Dune, Frank Herbert
Emma, Jane Austen

Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
The Godfather, Mario Puzo
Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell
Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling

His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, Douglas Adams
The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien

Holes, Louis Sachar
I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte
Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer

Katherine, Anya Seton
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, CS Lewis
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
Lord Of The Flies, William Golding

The Lord Of The Rings, JRR Tolkien
Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
Magician, Raymond E Feist
The Magus, John Fowles
Matilda, Roald Dahl
Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
Middlemarch, George Eliot

Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie
Mort, Terry Pratchett
Night Watch, Terry Pratchett

Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
On The Road, Jack Kerouac
One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Perfume, Patrick Suskind
Persuasion, Jane Austen
The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
Pride And Prejudice, Jane Austen
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret History, Donna Tartt
The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
The Stand, Stephen King
The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
Tess Of The D'urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
The Twits, Roald Dahl
Ulysses, James Joyce
Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
War And Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Wind In The Willows, Kenneth Grahame

Winnie-the-Pooh, AA Milne
The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

forty i've read, and a bunch that i own and will get around to reading at some point in my lifetime. meanwhile, the tackling of Queen Noor's biography continues --

P/S: i've been reading lots of blogs today and for all the girls out there bitching about (a) being female (b) being single/men being stupid pieces of shit and (c) being budding alcoholics -- amen. i miss you all. gail, sabby, janice, all of you. =) farpavillions, babe -- i know what you mean about the brain being the sexiest organ. *ahem* sometimes, however, it takes a little more motivation than a sexy brain to make it to class in the mornings...-wanders off to dream about cute-but-dorky-looking stat instructor-

oh, wandering down memory lane while reading friends' blogs is simulataneously touching and painful, because while it feels so good to find out what's going on in their lives, and to walk through the remembered hallways of old schools and of hawker centres in the mind with them, it's a painful reminder that that's all behind us now, and that i'm far away from home and the people and places that i love. i've just discovered that my old A01A classmates are producing blogs like nobody's business: tung has one, and now i find adrian has one -waving madly at adr-, and reading adrian's blog reminded me of the warm days three years ago when we would wander around RJ/Ghim Moh eating good food and talking nonsense in the afternoons...and lots of other things. those really were the days, and it's making me feel so nostalgic that i want to cry. this is bad; crying jag = bad, especially when (a) you've been on one this week already, and (b) you have work to do.

it's funny how in the last week i've come to feel like i've reconnected with so many people. i'm particularly pleased about finding out about adr's blog and tung's blog; i also spoke to alvin briefly -re: Yale Bombing, looked scary, esp since he is still there- and just checked my email to see that ryan's sent one out, albeit a mass mail, but still it's nice to know he's alive. =p i haven't seen or talked to a lot of you people in ages, and it is really great to be reminded of the friendship we all share. [ok, now i'm getting maudlin, so i'm going to leave it at that. just let it be said that i miss you guys and being with you guys. =)]

so many things to say: i've discovered that this blog has evolved from what it originally was -- a forum for me to vent my inner rants to the world, like the superlong post on the Aims of Government like two whole months ago. simon once commented that my posts were really long and he didn't read them all the way through --well what can i say, i'm a wordy wordy person. but now it feels like i'm having a conversation with old friends, and it's such a lovely, addictive feeling...i never really thought about the connection potential of the blog before, although i feel it constantly, esp since Shereen started keeping one and i kept up with how her wedding prep was going through it, when i didn't see her online. =) [yay shereen! you're almost there!] i've also just read eun's post about leaving her apartment for a new one in the new year, and am sitting here thinking to myself that yes, i will miss living here in Mathews house for the little things: the sunday morning extended brunches over Dave's New York Times, the sound of the law sch fountain through my bay windows, the marching downstairs at midnight to hang out in friends' rooms and chill til bedtime -- i will miss being with all of them, and i'm afraid that when we don't live together, we'll stop hanging out together. but i guess it's time to leave this one to fate.

adrian: murakami is the best. i LOVED Norwegian Wood when i first read it; it's one of my more treasured books on my shelf here at college. Leon gave me a copy earlier this year, and it currently lives, well-thumbed, here in my room. it fascinated me with its unique...tone is the best word i can come up with, the feeling the book emanates that is so different from the rest of the stuff living on my shelf. one day i'll get around to reading the rest of Murakami, like Dance, Dance, Dance. =)

all right, i've procrastinated long enough; it's time for me to head outside and do some reading in the sunshine...

ok, something messed up the html code on the last post: here it is again...

oh, wandering down memory lane while reading friends' blogs is simulataneously touching and painful, because while it feels so good to find out what's going on in their lives, and to walk through the remembered hallways of old schools and of hawker centres in the mind with them, it's a painful reminder that that's all behind us now, and that i'm far away from home and the people and places that i love. i've just discovered that my old A01A classmates are producing blogs like nobody's business: tung has one, and now i find

Friday, May 23, 2003

i know i'm posting an inordinate amount today -- blame it on the fact that i don't want to be doing my korean civ reading. bleah. although the book is sort of interesting -- i'm reading Think No Evil in case you missed it the first time -- about Korean perceptions of evil. the tenuous claim that the Korean equivalent of evil is what's happening in Korea because of globalisation is a claim that i tend to want to reject out of hand though. it's going to take some convincing arguments to make me believe or at least accept what the author is claiming at this point. however, i am also on like page twenty, so i'm not going to make any statements i can't take back at a later stage. =)

just returned from a post-dinner drink at our local bar, Jimmy's -my inaugural trip there, in the company of one Paul Staniland and one David Berger, which was lots of fun- and found a msg from cheetung about how he has succumbed and now has a blog of his own. i leave you to read his opening post; it expresses his shame at succumbing to the blogging community far better than i ever could. [by the way, 'tung, it amuses me that i can hear your voice in my head as i'm reading your blog; we really do write stream-of-consciousness style] i like the whole blogging craze; it helps me keep in touch with people i rarely see or get to talk to for extended periods of time, like 'tung, and kevin, and vincent, and's all good, lets me keep a handle on what's going on with them so that when we next meet we're not quite total strangers. i like my friends, and i'd like to keep them as my friends -- blogging, like evan says, is one relatively efffort-free way to sort of stay in touch beyond the occasional hello on various instant message programs.

it's also my grandpa's birthday today -happy birthday gong gong!- as i found out when my dad called me this morning and informed me that i had been expected to call them...i must have either missed the email or had the email mom sent me totally slip my mind -more likely the former than the latter, i think- but oh well, they called while i was drying my hair this morning [thankfully it's a thursday and i was up] and i got to talk to much of my crazy family -grins- i discovered i can still hold a semi-coherent conversation in mandarin as long as it revolves around food and schoolwork; and i had a nice chat with my aunt and my parents re: a certain retarded article in The New Paper with the accompanying photo. my aunt contends i look 'pretty' in that picture; i'm more of the opinion that i look like a stunned rabbit/duck cross - but that's what family is for, i guess, to tell you you look great when you're clearly staggering around on your last legs. =)

and now it is time for me to return to my Korean Civ reading...we're getting our papers back tomorrow, and if i'm one of the rare Cs in this class i think perhaps i might cry. but deep inside, i'll know i deserved it.

I am a cool 12 years old Jealous???
My Inner Age

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The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to Purgatory!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)High
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Moderate
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)Low
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low

Take the Dante's Inferno Hell Test

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Loving you less than life, a little less
Than bitter-sweet upon a broken wall
Or brush-wood smoke in autumn, I confess
I cannot swear I love you not at all.
For there is about you in this light --
A yellow darkness, sinister of rain--
Which sturdily recalls my stubborn sight
To dwell on you, and dwell on you again.
And I am made aware of many a week
I shall consume, remembering in what way
Your brown hair grows about your brow and cheek,
And what divine absurdities you say:
Till all the world, and I, and surely you,
Will know I love you, whether or not I do.
-- Edna St Vincent Millay

i am currently enraged at the piece-of-shit newspaper back home called The New Paper which is the equivalent of a slightly retarded wannabe tabloid that would last approximately ten seconds in a place that had a real journalism industry. my old friend Kevin gave me a head's up yesterday, informing me that my picture had appeared in the New Paper alongside an article on the fundraising we'd done for the Courage Fund while we were over here in the states. so far, no issues, i was a little embarrassed because it's the New Paper, for god's sake, but still...well, go read the article for yourself at Kevin's blog where he has faithfully reproduced it verbatim for your reading pleasure. not only is it one of the most terribly written pieces of writing i have ever seen, it is also factually inaccurate -- and this is where i go up in flames: we are so NOT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT CHICAGO. we are the University of Chicago, home of the best economics department in the country, home to one of the best undergraduate programs in the country and these moronic reporters can't get it right because They Can't Be Bothered To Check The Notes We Wrote Down For Them. oh dear god, i think i'm angry enough to have a coronary, right here right now.

-takes a deep breath and attempts to calm down-

it annoys the hell out of me that people back home are obsessed with the Ivys and know NOTHING about anything other than their names. i honestly refuse to believe that you're going to get a better education at an Ivy than at the U of C in economics, or in general; and yet back home when i say i go to the University of Chicago, unless i am in a crowd that includes some of the real brains in our country, everyone is like 'oh, UIC?' or give me a blank stare. i want to give them the finger in return. it is SO frustrating. i have to bite back the urge to reply 'no, i go to the University of Chicago, only the best undergraduate economics program in the country, in a school ten times any school your lousy ass will ever be able to get into' and smile and nod. grrrrrrrrrr.

-takes another deep breath-

damn, lost all the good mood i'd built up over the course of the evening. H's brother Han and his friend Justin arrived in Chicago today, stopping by on their return route from DC to Denver to drop some stuff off for H's appartment [he's lending her his leather couch and his bed. i want an older brother to stop by and give me things too!], and we all went out to dinner. i always have fun with H and Han, and i like Justin, so i had a good time at dinner, despite the fact that at that point in time i had neither finished my problem sets nor done the reading for tomorrow. ah well, such is life. =)

i had another rant all planned out for tonight but the whole New Paper incident just blew it out of my head. rest assured that we are taking action IE sending the reporter snippy emails about how some stupid people are incompetent and should not be allowed to publish their writings; and sending profoundly enraged letters to the editor in chief demanding a correction be run. if it were left to me i would also demand that said reporter be either punished or sent to write articles about monkeys being eaten by snakes in darkest africa. oh i think i remember what i wanted to say:

i read Evan's blog earlier tonight, and her description of watching the sunset from a board room in Shenton Way made me so homesick i almost started crying. when i stop to think about it, i can see the picture in my head of the sun slowly sinking in a fiery mass, staining the sky a range of reds and oranges faded to a bruised purply-blue over the Singapore River, with wisps of clouds and the light warm breeze blowing off the water, the smell of salt in the air. it just made me realise that i haven't seen that picture in so long, or the picture in my head of sitting at my desk back home with my feet on the desk, staring out the window at the deepening dusk over the tall, old trees that line Simon Road outside the old army camp, and listening to the birds coming back for the night and waiting for darkness to fall -as if i were holding my breath waiting for the sun to fall below the horizon, and the night to begin.

it's past time for me to come home. i barely remember what my room is like anymore -- i remember isolated pictures, like waking up and rolling over to find shafts of sunlight lighting up my sunshine-yellow walls; my bedside table on which is perched a teddybear named Vanyel [my she'enedra has Tylendel], a bunch of other stuffed toys including a loved-to-pieces teddy whose name i no longer remember, and my room bedside phone!; my bathroom with the happy yellow-duckie tiles on the walls. i want to be back there again, right now...

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

i've decided that the hours between dinner and ten pm are just a dead zone for me. i can't work hard during those times which really blows because i don't function well past midnight either, which means i have effective about three hours' worth of worktime everyday -- sometime in the afternoon plus two hours before bedtime. no wonder i don't finish my readings. but well, here i am, killing time before i hit Kai's movie at Doc, and maybe just maybe stop by swing for a little bit and dance a little. the advanced class is apparently at ten pm tonight, maybe i'll squeeze in a dance with my boys before coming back to work my ass off on problem sets.

before the depressing shit: i just watched American Idol -it's the final this week- and all i have to say about one Clay Aiken is that he is just the most amazing pop-tenor i have ever heard. he is also one guy who understands the limitations of his own voice and works so beautifully within them he makes me want to cry. in fact, the first song he did tonight came damn close to making me cry -- the bite marks on my knuckles will convince you of that. the only reason i didn't ACTUALLY cry is that it would have made me miss some of that beautiful beautiful voice, and i would sooner cut my hand off than do that. beautiful male voices are so rare in this messed up world -esp beautiful and reasonably goodlooking tenors- that it would be a total waste not to appreciate them while they're in front of you.

other than one clay aiken, though, it's been a crappy prior twentyfour hours. a three hour crying jag on monday night is Not A Good Idea, let me tell you, especially not when combined with alcohol in any form. for some reason i couldn't keep my shit together last night, wound up crying in my room, crying on rachel's shoulder, crying in my room some more, and then horror of horrors crying at the Pub. dear god, i haven't cried in public since the beginning of J3 when i wound up leaking tears in Yoshinoya on a weekday afternoon after work with eun --remember eun? i don't know if i ever thanked you enough for being there and helping me stay sane through those crazy times. yeah, yesterday was a bad evil day. but right now i'm sort of feeling numb/angry about everything and everyone, which though not the most healthy emotion in the world, is at least better than the unstable wreck i was last night. janice, you're an angel for trying to keep my spirits up -you succeeded, believe me, this afternoon, thanks babe- i'm really glad you're here.

i hate it when i feel like my life is out of control. when the work piles up and i can't find the motivation to work; when i feel crappy whenever i'm alone; when i feel like i need the sun to be out before i can feel even remotely happy and it rains for a week. i hate it when i stare into space and blank out on unhappy things, instead of chirpy -what shall i do this weekend- things. i hate feeling so last-chance-ish and...i don't even know what the words for the way i feel are. out-of-control. yes, i know, i'm an anal control freak, we established this last night on the phone, but i can't help it, i need to feel like i know what i'm doing. and right now, it's very hard to hang on to that belief that i know what i'm doing with my life.

on the upside classes are still going fairly well for me, though korean civ is putting an inordinate amount of unnecessary stress on my life because i really should be doing the reading and i know i should be doing the reading but i keep putting it off because i don't WANT to do it. i'd much rather be working on a problem set for econ or 'metrics -ok i'm sad, so sue me- instead. 'metrics is a lot less painful than i expected it to be, though that's not saying much because i expected it to be very very painful, so moderately painful isn't too bad by comparison. on the other hand [spoken like a true economist; mr R would be proud] i have a BITCH of a problem set for econ to tackle -- or more accurately i have one HUGE problem in my econ problem set that will give me nightmares and probably keep me up all night after i get home.

time to get productive. i'm reading a book titled Think No Evil right now and it's apparently about the lack of a conception of 'evil' in korean society. the notion of a dichotomy between good and evil doesn't seem to exist in korean society, or so the author would like to argue. i'll see if that argument works out; in the meantime it's sort of interesting to think about how sometimes what's missing/omitted/unnecessary in a language is so revealling of the society that created it. and how sometimes language has the ability to shape how society grows/functions.

i'll leave you with one of my favourite songs in the world --

'i love the time and in between
the calm inside me
in this space where i can breathe
i believe there is a distance i have wandered
to touch upon the years of
reaching out and reaching in
holding out holding in

i believe this is heaven for no one else but me
and i'll defend it 'long as i can be
left here to linger in silence
if i choose to
would you try to understand'

--Sarah McLachlan

Monday, May 19, 2003

just back from a weekend of shopping up in Evanston and Skokie, involving a trip to Ikea, Marshall Field's, Linens 'n' Things, and various other places, netting my home furnishings for the coming two years here in hyde park. whew. fourteen hours of shopping really takes the strength out of your legs and back, let me tell you -- my back is now killing me, and my brain can't even think straight at this point in time. but i'm back, we made it, we got all the stuff we needed to get this weekend, and it's done. yay! thank god for deliveries, or we would never have made it.

also got to watch The Matrix Reloaded and Xmen 2 on saturday night: i LOVED Matrix and not just because keanu reeves is So Hot in black leather especially when he's moving. mmmmmmmmmm. i loved the coat they put on him: floor length in black with the mandarin collar and buttons. it was beautiful. but he's a beautiful man. =) i also realised, watching the movie, that he reminds me of a certain friend of mine - i really should tell him this, i think it would make his day...-laugh- but other than the -keanu reeves is a beautiful man in black leather who can kick anyone's ass- vibe, there was also a sense of the real, dependent relationship he had with Trinity...i was thinking after the movie that i had just seen something that managed to simultaneously be a romance, an action-movie, a sci-fi thriller and vaguely thought-provoking all at the same time, and i had really loved it. i can't wait for the third to come out this fall: i am so going the moment it opens this time...the character and relationship development just made me so much happier.

and then came Xmen. now i can honestly say that i like Cyclops so much better after the second movie than i did after the first, just because the first movie i was sort of annoyed at how he interacted with Jean Grey, his girlfriend --he seemed to be treating her like his cute redheaded psychic sidekick instead of her being a real person you know? and then in this movie their relationship became so much more clear and deep -i almost wanna say i like the tortured Cyclops who wants to die because he thinks she's gone, and he's in enough pain to let Wolf attempt to comfort him, just because Wolverine is as affected as he is, or close enough. [ok, i'm incoherent, forgive me, i'm exhausted =p] it felt like i'd watched two great romances unfold, without being hit over the head by it Too Much [in the case of Neo and Trinity, well...let's just say extended sex scenes not my style in action movies, but ok in this movie i guess it's sort of understandable, though not as effective as his stunt at the end] and thoroughly enjoyed the journey along the way. ooh, and Rouge and Iceman/Bobby. i wanna see more of them in the next movie, i love Rogue. she's so cool. and Bobby too. =)

ending this before the rambling becomes annoying -- oh yes, alex is now in Italy, while i am slogging away here at the cold cold U of C...enjoy yourselves, alex amos ying and charles...=p

Saturday, May 17, 2003

"the West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do." - Samuel P. Huntington

just before i dash off to go furniture shopping at Ikea and other fun places: read Where Is Raed for yet another perspective on war and imperialism. been thinking about that lately, with the whole korean civ situation and with Cumings being fond of throwing historians at us and saying 'well, think about this for a little while'.

let's think about what the 'clash of civilisations' really means: are we talking about an inability to get along, or is it something more fundamental to human nature like greed or fear or jealousy that makes 'civilisations' unable to stomach the existence of alternative ways of life that are just as valid as their own. and face it, what we define as civilised comes from where we come from anyway.

taking off for the weekend --

disclaimer ** disclaimer ** disclaimer: i'm fairly drunk at this point in time, so please forgive any (a) typos -i can spell, i promise, (b) sentimental ramblings you really didn't want to know about and (c) anything offensive that you know i wouldn't otherwise post here. =) i'm not quite sure what yet.

had a great time with the all-new-all-female SAMSU com at amanda's place bao-ing wanton for tomorrow's Summer Breeze extravaganza. i'm still trying to figure out who's going to be tarik-ing the teh -grins- and janice is short of bodypaint artists, but by god, we have several hundred wanton waiting to be deep fried and consumed. it was so much fun to hang out with Amanda, Sheryl, Jan, Ruoxi [Lao Ban] and Peishan, slinging insults at each other -it's pick-on-fill in the blank- day!- wrapping wanton, and drinking entirely too much alcohol. at one point janice proposed we play 'Truth or Shot' in an attempt to get peishan to spill the beans about her life, but it was rapidly decided that peishan would probably pick shot every time 'cos she can drink us all under the table, despite her tiny tiny size. it's really sad. i mean, to get anything out of her we'd probably have to play Truth or No Shot. =) we really should video these sessions so we can watch them in our old age and laugh at how strange and silly and happy we used to be.

it's been a long week, but finally the weekend is here, and i get to go shopping at ikea for my furniture -my nice new full-size bed, preferably with the bedframe being the absolute highlight, and also the armchair that i finally decided i would bite the bullet and get, and all the other cool things...=) heehee. and then emily and i are going to hit Matrix Reloaded and Xmen 2 one after the other tomorrow evening, it's going to be awesome.

alex is also leaving for his Europe Extravaganza tomorrow. -sigh- have fun, teddybear. talk to you soon. =)

Friday, May 16, 2003

we did lots of cool stuff in econ 203 today -- and it made me remember why i was so fascinated with econ back in RJ. i mean, a lot of what we've been doing over the last three quarters has been cool in its own way but it's so easy to lose track of the big picture when you're focusing in on learning the math to deal with the micro stuff. the math methods take over your life and you just forget that you're doing the math to prove something, or show something, or even just to explore something. my 203 prof, Mauro Alem, has been really great about putting what we're learning in class back in that 'what is the problem we are trying to understand' perspective, and it's really been inspiring me to pay attention and ask questions in class and that kind of thing. we've moved on to money now =) and it's all coming back to me, why money fascinated me -and most of 1A i suspect- back when mr R was teaching it to us, because it seems so counterintuitive, the way economists think about money. and yet, the model makes perfect sense within its internal logic and its set of rules, and then when you play with the rules and the assumptions all kinds of cool things happen to money and real output, it's a totally absorbing thought experiment. i was just thinking in class today that if i were ever to go into economic research, say in grad school, it would absolutely have to be something in the macro department -i'm just not really configured to care about the individual markets, i think, i like playing with the big picture and seeing how the markets interact and influence each other. at the same time it gives me a big headache because the feedback loops move in all directions and sometimes backwards through time [the power of expectations and anticipated inflation and so forth].

we also had a little Keynesian/Monetarist showdown during class, splitting into the people who believe that markets are prefect or would be perfect if information flows were perfect; and people who believe that markets can be sticky -labour markets in particular- and governments should play a role in coordinating things in the markets to make them not stick so badly. =) i'm still unclear as to which side i'm leaning toward, probably because i think both sides have compelling arguments. i believe in small governments BUT i also believe that the govt's role in the economy is to be some kind of coordinator who establishes the borders of the playing field and then gets its grubby fingers OUT of the playing field and letting the markets get on with their business. i'm still pretty much what i was when i came here --a neo-classical economist [thanks to mr R's training, mr S didn't get to me nearly as much] partly because i'm not sure about how sticky labour markets are, and also because i believe in the power of the markets when they're allowed to do their thing, as it were. the Economist has some nice definitions of what the different schools of economics are, if you would like to refresh your memory after a long time away =) i'm not quite sure i believe completely in the power of money though. i like playing around with the money models.

i certainly remember what made keynesian economics so appealling back when i was learning economics in RJ for the A levels: it was the beautiful predictability of the models. because we took snapshots of the various markets and held all other things constant while changing one variable, we were perfectly capable of predicting precise relationships between action and reaction, cause and effect. it ignores the crazy backwards sideways upside down feedback loops that exist in a model that includes expectations. i remember being able to move one supply/demand curve in one market, and then being able to follow its effects through all the other markets by lining up the various supply/demand graphs and moving them around accordingly. i had beautiful diagrams back then. but i'm not so sure they'd hold water if i went back to them now and asked more questions of them...

one more quick economic aside, along the lines of a Comppol econ type question: Cumings mentioned in lecture today that the rapidly industrialising nations of E. Asia in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s all took the central state planning approach to economic development. Harvard economic historian Gerschenkron -who is already dead- argues that it seems to be the logical thing to do -if you're an economically backward nation trying to play catchup to the other industrialised nations in the world- to let your government serve as an accumulator of capital, and then have them direct those resources in the direction that is the most efficient way for the country to develop quickly and competitively. someone needs to defray the startup costs for new industries, and provide some form of protection for the baby industries to allow them to grow a little before having to compete with the meaner, leaner international companies that have been doing what these babies have been doing for longer and better. so the govt in less developed countries in a sense can kick their economies into high gear by providing some form of coordinating role -to be the very visible hand of the government instead of allowing the invisible hand of Adam Smith's description to do its thing. now my question is, that's all very well and good to kickstart the economy, so to speak, but how do you subsequently get the government to get its butt out of economic planning?

look at the massive moral hazard that comes with governments being too intimately linked with their economies: Korea has its chaebols, Japan has its banks which will not be allowed to die, Singapore has the GLCs which for some inexplicable reason are allowed to cannibalise everything in sight and are probably the most inefficient corporations in the entire do we get these governments to let go of their industrial babies and get on with doing more government-y things, like redistribution of income and welfare and healthcare and education. huh?

ok, yet another long rant-y post. i think perhaps the time has come to end this post, right here. =)

Thursday, May 15, 2003

two things in the last twelve hours: (1) i wanna be like Catherine Zeta-Jones when i grow up =) and (2) i am obsessed with guys who wear sweatshirts.

(a) i have just returned from watching Traffic [the movie not the actual] at Doc, and i am amazed all over again by Catherine Zeta-Jones. the woman is amazing. i think the first movie i ever saw her in was Entrapment with Sean Connery and she blew me away then -- and then Chicago knocked me off my feet and now in Traffic yet again. i mean, sure, in this one she's the wife of a drug lord who first finds out her entire lifestyle is funded by the addictions of preppy highschool kids, and then gets into the drug trade herself to save her son's life -- she did a great job of displaying her character's gutsiness and survival instincts and how she loves her children [her son and her unborn child, she's six months pregnant!] and her husband and yet wants to keep herself on top of was so cool to watch her, and i was thinking to myself -man, she looks so good, and she's so strong and cool: i wanna be like that when i grow up. [yes, i have regressed to childhood.]

i remember when Traffic came out it got a pretty mixed bag of reviews. of course, i never trust the Life! reviews - i think the reviewer for Life! just loves movies i hate and hates movies i love. if he/she/it slams a movie i'm pretty much guaranteed to love it. no, my tried and trusted reviewers of movies tend to be alex and adrian -for some reason movies they like tend to be movies i like, though in adrian's case you have to be careful with the genre of movie we're talking about. let's just say i laughed basically all the way through Sweet November: it's possible that adr's heart is even softer than mine. but i think we couldn't watch Traffic when it came to Singapore: we weren't old enough! this whole being twentyone thing is so awesome; now i can watch the good RA stuff at home. like if i'd been twentyone a few years ago, i could've watched American Beauty when it opened, instead of having mr R tell us he'd seen it and sort of liked it...=) anyways, back to the movie: i think one of the complaints a lot of people have with regard to the movie is that the various plot strands aren't tied in very tightly -the characters run past each other in Tijuana, they stop at the same traffic lights, they're all involved in the same court case and of course they're all plugged into the same underground, drug dealing network. but that's where it ends: they don't interact with each other; we're essentially following three different storylines played out in two and a half hours.

now i don't have a problem with that. in fact, i'd like to see more movies like that, that sort of show the connections between people and events, but don't bludgeon the audience over the head with said connections, you know? let people sort of realise what's going on on their own. movies that rely on classy acting and not on hackneyed plot devices or familiar lines to get through two hours. it lets me engage my brain while disengaging from the real world, which is what i'm looking for in a good movie: i liked 25th Hour, i liked Red Dragon [oh wait, those are BOTH Edward Norton movies; oh that boy is HOT] and i like Traffic for that reason. sure sometimes i go to the movies to completely escape this world -ANIME! Spirited Away is an awesome example of an animated movie that will make you forget that you're a human being, almost, esp if you see it in a dark theatre, and NOT the dubbed version [though in all fairness, this time it wasn't TOO butchered i'm sure] but the subbed version.

Traffic was amazing; i'm glad i hauled my lazy self over to Ida after dinner to watch it. i almost didn't; it's cold and rainy today, and i have work -IE a paper- to do. but i'm still glad i went, even if i did go alone. =) my brain is still processing what i've seen.

i'm also thinking about the idea of love, and what it means to love someone and to be in love with someone. what makes it a marriage kind of love? like i see a couple on tv and they're just so clearly a partnership it makes me jealous, in a visceral painful kind of way, for that kind of partnership. i want to be able to lie on someone's lap and let him hold me when i'm scared out of my mind, and find reassurance and comfort in that. but how do you know when the guy you're with is the guy that you are going to spend the rest of your life with? and what are the chances that you are going to find the one person who will understand you inside and out, know what to say in every situation to make you smile, who can be your partner in everything -and that he will want you back?

(2) this is so weird after the long rant on movies and love. but whatever. guys in sweatshirts. mmm-mm. =) i'm not sure what it IS about the sweatshirts, it just makes me look twice at guys i would otherwise basically ignore. it's funny. or guys in suits. guys in suits are waay cool. so that's really strange, 'cos you'd think well -- guys in suits, well she wants someone who's older and wiser and can look after her, 'cos suits emanate you know power and money income and that sort of idea -grins- esp guys who wear suits with CUFFLINKS -wink- i love cufflinks- but at the same time she wants sweatshirts? huh? i think maybe it's how they make guys look sort of goofy and more approachable. -laughing- like Dan wandering around the RGS staffroom wearing his maroon(?) University of Melbourne sweatshirt that made him look like a giant bear. -grins- yeah well that's what you get for having an office in Siberia. my desk was cold, and i was two steps from the front door. your cubbys were basically icy-hell-holes. but you had a computer!

maybe i am crazy. -grins- i am also almost at the end of my second year at college.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

i was wandering around on the net again, looking at my friends' ljs/blogs, and realised that while they all post at normal college student times - IE middle of the night/wee hours of the morning- my posts come at wildly erratic times, sometimes in the middle of the afternoon, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes for no rhyme or reason at ten am on a wednesday morning. i guess that just demonstrates how much time i spend goofing off at my desk instead of working. erm. =) yeah, the wonders of a permanent internet connection. i did, however, manage to complete my econ problem set that is due TOMORROW, so i am allowed to briefly feel like i have accomplished something.

reading evan's blog also reminded me of lots more happy things about studying in RJ for the exams, and i keep asking myself why that doesn't happen here, why i can't have that feeling of solidarity and camarderie again...i think part of it is the very fact that these exams i keep having to take aren't as important as the A levels. they were perhaps the most terrible exams i'll ever have to take in my life -- two whole years' work in one exam, and just months to cram it all into my lazy-ass maybe we needed that desperation to make it work. -grins- i've found my own way to work here, sometimes at my desk alone in my room with music plugged in so i'm oblivious to the outside world...and sometimes in the silence of the law library, at a huge table up against the window facing 60th street, though that sometimes induces daydreaming, esp if the weather is lovely outside and all i want to do is go outside and lie down on the grass and sleep. and sometimes in the Reg. but it's all not as good as those crazy last few months of JC. i think we all secretly want to go back and be kids again, without responsibilities and with college and all its potential to look forward to.

oh, and H's brother came into town last night and took us out to dinner -he's on his way home from law school, gotta go study for the Bar exam back in Denver- at Giordano's downtown. it was loads of fun, though i've decided that Giordano's is overrated, unless their delivery pizzas are better than the ones in the restaurant. i'm a big fan of Gino's -patty-style sausage, what a great idea- and i like edwardo's here on campus -mmm fresh tomato sauce, juicy and yummy pizza-. think Giordano's is too dry. but that's beside the point. it was nice to see Han again -grins- and it was fun going out to dinner with him and with H. it's always a great time with the two of them. =)

now it's time for me to make it to class. hmm. statistics. also am going to look at buying a stereo system for my room later today. we'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

once in a while in our lives, we get to reconnect with someone from our pasts, and sometimes, just sometimes, it feels as though no time at all has passed us by. eun put me back in touch with evan this morning, and i spent some time reading evan's blog: she sounds so familiar, as though the last time i heard her voice was maybe last week, instead of a whole...god only knows, when's the last time i saw you, evan? 2001 sometime, maybe. the last time EUN was home, which was...erm...too long ago to remember. christmastime 2001. =) but it felt good to hear from you again...this week, for some reason, i've been thinking back on old times. i blame eun and xilei =P xilei for asking me where all the rosyth kids are, and then spending like an hour with me on ICQ trying to remember WHO the rosyth kids are [we remember 36 out of 52! we suck] and then trying to figure out where they are. that's the really hard part; we're scattered all over the world. and then Eun with her RJ canteen table thing. =)

reading evan's post about hems and fabrics and eun's posted poem also made me think about the choices i've made to be here at this point in time, and think about what i sacrificed to be here. i mean, it sounds like a small thing in comparison with what i've gained from making the decision to (a) take a PSC scholarship and (b) come to the University of Chicago, instead of staying at home and going to NUS Arts and Social Sciences faculty like most arts people. but evan's post reminded me that the NUS community builds very strong bonds, and bonds that are tied into the local community and singaporean society at large -- i mean, my parents are still very involved with their NUS/hostel friends from way back when they were in college, and i'll never have the kind of social network that they do because i didn't go to school where the bulk of singaporean graduates go to school -the National University of Singapore. [i am reminded of what a teacher-colleague of mine told me when we were talking about going to college: she said that 'that's where you'll meet your life partner, and if you miss the boat in college you'll probably have a really hard time later on'. when i informed her that i fully intended to get the hell out of singapore for college, she looked thoughtful for a moment, and then very sweetly said 'well, i hope everything works out for you' which made me incredibly depressed for the rest of the day. -grins-] even if the bonds we as singaporeans build with one another here at the U of C are as close knit as anything you'll find at NUS, there are still only a few of us compared with the hundreds, thousands who hang out on the NUS campus every day. most of the time i feel that it's not really a sacrifice that i chose to make [rather, it's something that never even occurred to me in my singleminded desire to leave singapore for my tertiary education; i was DETERMINED not to go to NUS at all costs] but after reading Evan's posts about hall life, i realised that i would never talk about 'hall life' or playing ball with other hostelites; i would never do the things my parents used to do, like play carrom at midnight, or run to the nearby hawker centre and eat supper at like one am, before sneaking back into the hostels...granted, i might do the equivalent of those things here with my friends here, but it's not the same thing as being at home and doing it with friends who will be right there with you every step of the way for the next fifty or sixty years. and that saddens me.

on quite another level: as a PSC scholar and a going-to-be-civil-servant, i have to realise that the majority of the Singaporean population ISN'T like the people who surround me here at the U of C. [and of course i'm talking about the singaporean population on campus as opposed to the general population; i am already aware that most of singapore is neither white nor american -grins-] we're a very select group: mostly scholars from some govt or stat board, coming from comfortable, english-speaking homes, overwhelmingly Rafflesian [that's just insane, the number of RGS girls on this campus is insane, not that i'm complaining since i'm one of them] - which is totally unlike the general population of singapore. college is a time for all the other privileged rafflesians who didn't go to sch out of the country to learn that no, not all of singapore is like them and to have their corners rubbed off and made smooth. we, on the other hand, wind up having our corners sharpened, and our lenses focused even more tightly on the little section of Singapore that has been carved off and transported to this faraway land. we don't have that learning experience of getting to know the whole -or at least some approximation of the whole- spectrum of singaporean society. it's terrifying, as a future civil servant, to think of the many many people like me who have gone before me and risen up the ranks in the service and become our PermSecs and our politicians even. i hope that if one day you do call me Madam PermSec [at this point i don't even know if i WANT that day to EVER come] i will not have forgotten that i and my friends are in no way representative of the population, and my work needs to be aware of that fact.

i guess this post sounds sort of melancholy, but i'm in that sort of a mood tonight. "Things fall apart/The centre cannot hold" -Yeats.

on the other hand i watched two excellent movies today: The Hunt for Red October --how can any movie that has (a) Sean Connery (b) Alex Baldwin when he was young and cute and (c) nuclear submarines in the plural possibly be bad?- and The Blues Brothers. This is the first time i'd ever seen either of those movies, and i loved them both. Blues Brothers is hilarious, and i LOVED the carchase scenes through the sort-of-familiar streets of Chicago, with what looks like the entire Chicago PD in hot pursuit AND crashing into a huge mess somewhere in the Loop on Wabash. -grins- and of course who could forget the invasion of the Daley centre -giggle- by all sorts of uniformed personnel [mmm uniforms]. i'll leave you with a quote from the movie:

It's 106 miles to Chicago. We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses. Hit it.

Monday, May 12, 2003

from Eun's blog, read this morning:

re: RJ canteen - nette, for me the most memorable moment has got to be when ying started saying something about how she could scoot across the bench without hands and proceeded to look like an inchworm in a rodeo, hopping with her butt across the bench posthaste. And I attempted to follow. And the worms were there! Nearly all 7 of us. I couldn't do it for the laughing fit that grabbed me and shook me and released all that pent-up stress from the Hist 6 paper which I had just screwed up. Or so I thought!

-shrieking with laughter-

oh dear god, i'd forgotten that ever happened!!!! -still giggling- i couldn't stop laughing at the sight of BOTH eun and ying scooting -or in eun's case, attempting to scoot- along a canteen bench like inchworms while the rest of the girls screamed with laughter and the boys looked on in utter horror, and then tried to pretend they didn't know us. heeheee. heeheeeee. -giggling some more-

i can still see the look of horror on some random guy's face as he caught sight of this spectacle. -giggle-

i've just read eunice's latest blog re: reconstructing the RJ canteen table for studying, right in her own bedroom. two things: EUN! you never told me about your Ikea wardrobe, you dork! -giggle- remind me to be Very Careful when Assembling my Ikea furniture next month; i have no desire to have an unuseable (a) dresser, (b) desk/desk chair or worse (c) bed. the bed is very important. it is perhaps the most important piece of furniture i am about to possess. it will be a FULL SIZE bed. no more crappy twin beds for me!

second thing: i miss studying in the RJ canteen. i know this is going to sound like i have completely lost my mind to every Singaporean with the possible exception of Eun and maybe Ying, but -- i LOVED studying for the A levels back in the day. i used to work in the RJ canteen, at the very tables that Eun described, often if not always with Eun around, lounging around in an old Raffles tshirt of some kind, and the rattiest, most comfy shorts that existed in my wardrobe [esp if i had the car to send me to sch, then i was even RATTIER, like worse than the clothes i wear around in the dorm now] and sandals that were falling-off-my-feet comfortable. and i would sit on two canteen benches, and/or lean against one of the convenient pillars that supported the hall above our heads, and the fans would be on and the sun would be shining incredibly brightly. and i would attempt to do Econ MCQs, or math problems, or take history notes, and mostly wind up staring into the field or at the carpark for a while, daydreaming until my phone buzzed or eun kicked me under the table and demanded to know if i was being productive. and having people around me while studying, everyone working really hard and really focused on their work, but in a friendly way -not the i-am-going-to-kill-you-to-get-a-better-grade kind of way- and willing to help each other out. perhaps i have romanticised my memories of studying with people somewhat, or perhaps i studied with the best damn group of Rafflesians that ever existed [Evan, you ROCK!], but i loved working in that canteen with my huge mug of teh-o [auntie would make it when she saw me coming into the canteen with my huge-ass backpack and files exploding everywhere, and have it ready when i got to her counter, she's the best] or Heaven and Earth Green Tea canned by Coca-Cola. those were the days. =)

my favourite memory though has GOT to be studying for the LitS paper. of course, with our dumb luck, Lit S was the LAST A level paper to be offered in our year, so everyone else finished about a week before we did, and went off to party, my dumb then-boyfriend included. -grinning- so Ying and I are sitting -or more appropriately, lying- on our canteen benches reading and underlining and highlighting one really warm, muggy weekday afternoon while every other sane RJ J2 was off partying, in the absolute dead silence of the RJ canteen, and after a while i roll on my side and say to Ying: 'i think i want to kill myself right now.' and for some reason this strikes us BOTH as unbearably funny, and we can't stop laughing for five minutes straight. i think alex calls us at some point during the laughing fit and cannot make sense of what either of us is trying to say. i think i may remember that moment until i die. =)

but now i'm here at the U of C...and my favourite study spot is now hiding in a Reg cubicle, hidden from the sunlight, in the crappy lighting that makes everyone and everything look sick and the crazy either-too-hot-or-too-cold air situation. i'm definitely a RegRat. or a Lawbrary fan. i like the whole bright wall of windows and BIG TABLES deal, plus if i sit in the lobby instead of IN the library, i can play music or talk to Hanyann since we're usually there together. but no Crerar for me -- it's too creepily silent, i feel guilty for breathing in there. ok. the time for nostalgia is past. time to either work or sleep or goof off --

Sunday, May 11, 2003

i'm so moodswingy it's ridiculous -- i think i need some good oldfashioned retail therapy -grins- it's been a reasonably productive day though: i finished my first draft for the ten-page korean civ paper due on friday so that's out of the way, sort of...=) and i got Shereen her wedding present! online shopping rocks our world...i hope both she and dan enjoy it when they receive it, sometime in the next three weeks depending on the vagaries of USPS and SingPost...=p i also talked to mommy and daddy for a while -they're back in singapore! may baby, feel free to call them and pick up present anytime. -blink- do you even have my house number? -laugh- -which was nice, except they were having lunch at the hawker centre and i really really wanted to be having lunch at the hawker centre with them.

oh, and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY in advance to mommy =) i hope you get something cool at church, and daddy gives you a nice present for being such a good mommy =)

i think i need to go home for a while, it's been too long away from Singapore. despite the fact that sometimes i don't really like what's happening at home, i can't really deny the fact that i'm Singaporean and Singapore is my homeland, it's where i really feel like i belong and i know what's going on. it's time to head on back and recharge for a little while before facing another year at the U of C. not that i don't love it here, and don't feel like chicago is home, but it's not quite the same as the place where i was born and raised for almost twenty years before i even set eyes on this place. so i'm heading home for a month this summer, from the middle of june to the middle of july -- it should be awesome, since my best people are going to be home too: eun and ying and alex and cece and charles and maybe even feng, though perhaps not since he appears to be working here in the States for the summer, little brat. =) i've been away too long from the people who support me and make my life a better existence. =) it's time to hang out with them and just them for a while. definitely. i miss you guys. =p i also miss the food and the beach -- i want sun and sand and saltwater, none of this Great Lakes nonsense for me. i want to be able to smell the salt on the air and feel it in the water when i jump into it --anyone want to go to Sentosa with me again? this time we'll wear sunblock, i promise, no more major sunburn-peeling-session for jeanette this hurts!

for some reason in the last week i've sort of lost focus -- like what's going on with my life right now, i'm not sure i know anymore. i'm finding it hard to work particularly in East Asian Civ...i don't like the way Bruce Cumings lectures, and when the weather is nice and the reading isn't pressing i tend to slack off [ooh the law sch fountains just went off] and not do the reading and get really far behind. i'm pretty much lost when it comes to korean history right now, but i find i don't really care. i'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. on the other hand, 203 and 'metrics absorb me just as much as they have since the beginning of the quarter, so perhaps it's just a matter of my working better when there's more structure to the classes. now that we're returning to our regularly scheduled problem sets -oh god, stat problem sets need to die- i think we'll see a return to focus and hard work during the week. i've also been dancing a wee bit too much than is good for me i think =) i'll probably be cutting back to two or three classes for the rest of the quarter, i really need to work on getting some work done during the week. still think lindy is the coolest thing ever though, i must find some way to dance over the summer...

oh speaking of which, i received an email from Abby earlier tonight about a raid on Hothouse on friday night -last night- by the Chicago PD for some unclear, possibly politically motivated reason. it was immediately prior to a scheduled performance by a Cuban band. for those who don't know, HotHouse is a non-profit performing space for arts groups, and every monday night Yoko Noge and the Jazz Me Blues band performs there. we at the U of C swing dance society -the Chicago Swing Dance Society- are big fans of Yoko and HotHouse, and it's a Big Big Deal that they've been closed -told to cease and desist all operations, to quote the email- with a court hearing on the 30th of May. if this is in some way politically motivated and if it's coming out of the mayor's office, it's going to be a very trying and angry time for the swing dance community here in hyde park, and the northside, and indeed all of greater chicago. i want to hear clear and compelling reasons for the raid and closure of HotHouse, and i'm very sure that i'm not going to get those reasons. damn this.

it's been a mixed bag of a day...sort of productive and lonely at the same time, it's really quiet around here. i'm not sure what's going on with that. the weather isn't helping either: we're getting the really strange thunderstorm-sunshine combination that's either a result of springtime weather in general, or more probably as a result of the werid weather systems that are causing the tornados further south of us in the midwest. we aren't in tornado country, thankfully, because watching footage of people who are is just terrifying. this is really weird weather -- it's currently warmer than it's been all day, and it's almost midnight. grrrr.

speaking of almost midnight, it's almost time for me to be in bed. tomorrow is yet another day to be ploughed through and conquered =)

Saturday, May 10, 2003


i know it's not your birthday over here in the US, but it sure is where you are =) so i hope you guys are having a happy birthday. in alex's case, post-psychometric test is when your birthday starts, you get a few extra hours that EDB doesn't deserve to be able to steal from you =)

ok. i know cece is just waiting somewhere with a two-by-four to whack me on the head after i say this, but it has to be said: i officially take back everything i've ever said about The Matrix. i have just returned from seeing it on the big screen for the first time -at Doc, no less- and i can officially now say that i think it is an awesome movie. AND it's set in CHICAGO! mariangela and i were like 'wells and lake? state and balbo? we know where those intersections are!' and i guess the special effects are a little hard to fully appreciate on a small screen, off a very badly pirated copy of the movie..=) ok i CAN explain myself: when The Matrix first came out i refused to go and see it because (a) it was a keanu reeves movie and (b) the trailers just didn't appeal to me, the lines were SO bad. =) [i still think the lines are bad but at least i can now appreciate the special effects -grins-] but i wound up watching it at home on a pirated VCD just because we wanted to see how bad the lines were, and i spent a lot of it screaming with laughter...

but watching it again i realised that (a) this is such a U of C movie, for some bizzare reason -- i think it's the way Morpheus keeps asking seeminly obvious questions about what is real and what isn't real, and therefore sounding like one of our hum profs, or someone in the philosophy department acting cute- and (b) the lines really are bad, but if you ignore them the rest of the movie is really good. in a different way from XXX, where you have to ignore all the lines ever said, and then just sit back and enjoy the fast cars and the things blowing up, disengaging your brain. The Matrix requires at least minimal brainpower. =) maybe i've just learned to take life a lot less seriously than when i was fourteen or fifteen years old...=)

looking forward to seeing the sequel --Matrix Reloaded-- this coming weekend -not tomorrow but a week from tomorrow- during my shopping weekend with emily. who knows, we might even be able to catch Xmen2 as well!

read an article in the Straits Times online about Jennie Chua, who runs Raffles Hotel back home and is the incoming CEO of Raffles Holdings at 58. here's a sample of what she has to say: 'If I step back and others have gone ahead of me, do I say I've wasted five years? The answer is No. The result is the children I've brought up who are happy, polite and well-scrubbed. So what if at 50, I did not make CEO and it only happened later at 58. Does that make me less happy? I think not.' i think she's really awesome. she's outspoken and confident and charming, and she's down-to-earth and funny. she's great. =) there's a woman we can all look up to! more power to her! =)