samedi 29 décembre 2007


I know it's hard dear;
I can only manage a brief sojourn
amongst these seas of stars
My mind is remembering, wandering
softly pondering --
between these two travails
Be not disquieted dear;
my stay may be short
but my absence will be shorter:
How does the respite
press us through the toil!
The race must be finished--

And then I shall return with you

lundi 19 novembre 2007


Rewatching one of the scenes from I Not Stupid suddenly made me realise that the Terry's parents weren't just overbearing parents... they were an analogy to Singapore's government lol. (Like see this scene.) I don't think I noticed it before. Jack Neo takes two swipes in one scene:

Mom: Where's the angbao (red packet) you got for your birthday, ah?
Girl: That's my money! Why must I give it to you every time?
Mom: I will help you save! Invest ah! Don't worry! I'll give it back to you when you're old enough!
Girl: When will you give it back to us?
Boy: I know! When I'm an old man!
Mom: You think you very funny izzit? Stop talking nonsense!

I just realised it was a reference to CPF.

vendredi 24 août 2007

qui défend les dents

l'extraction pourquoi?
l'extraction nique sa ....

Okay, let's not go down that road.

I just had my wisdom teeth taken out this morning, general anaesthesia and all. My sister did too, but she had an easier time, as being younger, her roots are less developed. Also, yay for state medical subsidies!

Waking up from general anaesthesia can be a funny thing. Knowing from eye surgery last year, I was prepared and self-conscious of the things you say in your half-conscious, half-drugged state. Anaesthesia is an interesting self-study of consciousness and feeling. I am not sure if I started feeling the dull discomfort while asleep, but as I woke up I was only half-aware of the discomfort. It wasn't like, "boom! Wake up! Owww!" At first, you don't realise you've woken up, but I guess because my eyes weren't blindfolded like they were the last time, you realise it quicker. It's funny, because it was like the discomfort had always been there -- meaning it seems to have been gradually present in my sleep. Yet the procedure seems to have taken place in 2 seconds. A curious thing, anyway.

It's also funny how effective ibuprofen can be ... I didn't think it would eliminate 98% of the discomfort. Some of the discomfort is coming back now though, and it's not six hours yet! Well, time for Cossacks and Tropico to try to get myself distracted (and there is the rest of the summer assignment to finish).

dimanche 5 août 2007

mon pere et son fils

il me faut rendre ca en chatspeak car je le veux. car, c'est un sujet grave, et c'est justement a cause de ca qu'il faut le traiter avec le coeur, avec la passion. Je n'ai pas le temps pour inclure les accents, et en jouant avec mes camarades de clan j'ai acquis l'habitude de les remplacer avec les equivalents phonetiques. il faut beaucoup de choses. ce sera un peu comme un courant de conscience, comme les experiences de Daryl. Devoir frapper les accents, vous voyez, cela empechent la force a moi, la force du texte...


Il n'y avait pas longtemps que mon pere a decouvert mon blogue.

il me faut admettre, que mon pere, il me manque. Pour le contexte, mes parents se sont divorcees il y a longtemps. Six, sept annees. C'etait la plus cruelle etat d'affaires, mon pere a echapper car il lui fallait payer le plus minimum de soutien de famille. Mais malgres ca, toutes ces annees durant, il y avait un petit sentiment d'amour qui restait pour lui.

Tu vois mon pere, je l'admettrai. Et je crois que ma mere et ma soeur l'admettent aussi, un conflit entre le fait que t'es notre pere et ce que t'as fait. Mais tu merite pas mon respect. pas maintenant, pour etre sur. t'es detestable, et seulement un peu aimable.

Mais si tu fais l'effort de lire ca, peut-etre je te respecterai plus. Et si tu prends l'effort pour apprendre la langue de cette affiche, tu demontras que tu travailleras pour gagner mon respect. si tu utilise babelfish, je serai amuser, mais ca va pas aller le mieux.

Une raison pour rendre ca en francais, c'est pour deguiser ca de mon pere, avant qu'il soit pret. pourquoi doit-il pouvoir lire les pensees intimes de son fils, quelqu'un qu'il a abandonner, sans bonne raison?

Et d'autres comme mes amis, peut-etre ils pensent que je ne suis pas raisonnable, quand ils lisent ca. Mais attendez, vous ne savez pas l'histoire entiere.


quelquefois, je pense a mon pere. et j'l'aimais! il y a longtemps. et peut-etre, j'l'aime encore. quelquefois je me rapelle de ses discussions dans la cuisine, au sujet de la science, de l'informatique. je deteste l'admettre, mais je dois une bonne portion de ma caractere a lui. des bonnes choses, des mauvaises choses.

mon pere etait toujours un peu antisocial, et il me l'a donner, mais il m'a aussi donner une soif pour connaissance.

j'ecris au hasard, mais ce sujet ca, c'est rempli avec l'emotion.

ce que je voulais dire c'etait mon pere m'a envoyer une lettre, apres ayant decouvert mon blogue. et quelle arrogance! mais, il m'a finalement contacter et j'ai la joie, mais, en meme temps, j'ai la haine.

"First of all, I am really sorry for, but not actually sorry at, the
situation into which I plunged you and your sister."

qu'est-ce que tu dis??! ca ne signifie rien.

mais s'il soit "desoler" en tout cas, on lui doit un petit sentiment de je ne sais quoi. ya beaucoup de sentiments contradictoires. qu'est-ce qu'on pense? qu'est-ce qu'on croit? ma mere ne le crois pas mais il faut que j'admette qu'il y ait un peu de veracitee dans la lettre.

il semble aussi tellement heureux (pas desoler) dans sa lettre. il crois que tout va bien? NON, c'est pas comme ca. mais c'est inutile de trainer sur un blogue, ouais?

il l'a ecrite la lettre il y a deux mois. je ne lui ai jamais repondu. s'il veut que je le croie, il faut plus. Une lettre? L'UNE? tu crois que tu peux convaincre tes enfants que t'as DESERTER avec une lettre? t'es fou, toi!

c'est pas la fin, absolument pas. c'est seulement le debut. mais chuis fatiguee, et on ne peut pas raconter l'histoire entiere en un jour.

samedi 21 avril 2007

lève-toi, monsieur soleil

At 5:26 am, the sun was witnessed to be reflecting above the tops of the trees. Not bad for April 21, especially considering that the lowest temperature last night was below freezing.

Last year I missed a lot of early mornings because I never realised the sun could rise that early until July of last year. Soon it might be good to resume early morning walks outside.

J'attends le tournoi ...

mardi 3 avril 2007


mais j'ai pas changé;
je suis resté le même étranger

le même chien:
qui tape
un peu trop à se ranger

Sometimes I think I am a mongrel when it comes to culture, acting like a dog when the powers that be (i.e. the government, media, the prevailing winds of Chance) toss us a cultural bone. I gratefully lap up the scraps. My ears will suddenly pipe up,

singapore -- I'm loving it

Heh, I remember doing this (albeit edited) as a prompt for a practice AP Lang and Comp exam. Zora Hurston may be referring to her own black culture and the work may be a bit dated (written during the Harlem Renaissance), but there are so many things that I identify with, especially when looking at your own culture with a critical eye.

Like when you are reading linguistic papers analysing your own dialect, Singlish, something that you thought that was reserved just to you and your countrymen, and your close friends, and when you come across the outsider view on it, and a neutral outsider view, not the type that has been stigmatising your culture for so long (the Southern whites / the Speak Good English Movement). Often this bridge is so unexpected, that you quickly lap it up, not knowing when your next dose of cross-culturalism will be.

I had known about the capers Brer Rabbit is apt to cut and what Squinch Owl says from the house top. But it was fitting like a tight chemise. I couldn't see it for wearing it. It was only when I was off in college, away from my native surroundings that I could see myself like somebody else and stand off and look at my garment. Then I had to have the spyglass of Anthropology to look through at that.

I identify with this paragraph so much. I am not sure if most of my American classmates did while doing this prompt. I knew exactly what Hurston meant (though I have yet to formally take any anthropology or linguistics course). Do my American friends know what it is like to be part of a neglected subculture? And not that cheesy sort of subculture, but the subculture that forms when other cultures meet or when migrants or ethnic groups form an enclave.

And then I realised that I was new myself, so it looked sensible for me to choose familiar ground. [...] I hurried back to Eatonville because I knew that the town was full of material and that I could get it without hurt, harm or danger.

vendredi 16 février 2007


You know that it's a real Maine winter (i.e. not a mild El Nino fakeout) when:

Taking a shower at the start of the day before going to school makes your hair freeze like icicles - after a whopping one minute of waiting for the bus. The girls were the first to complain about this, getting their hair frozen while walking from their cars in the parking lot into the school building, but then it started affecting me too.

Your mouth is made so cold while walking home from the bus stop that a glass of cold tap water feels lukewarm. The effect is rather like recovering from anaesthesia, or from a mild pufferfish dose.

The cold allows you to build up so much static electricity on average that you can get shocked by the metal tray at the school salad bar ... through a wet lettuce leaf. Ten seconds later, you get shocked again. Thinking about getting that memory upgrade for your computer? A no-no at this time of year.

The wind chills regularly dip below the equivalent of -25 degrees Celsuis. I don't even dare grab the railing while trying to gain my footing on the icy steps of my apartment: the metal is so painfully cold, I fear that I'll get my hand stuck to it.

Hello harsh winter ... in mid-February. February is traditionally when winter starts letting up and begins giving way to spring. Or at least that was what I was taught in first grade. I really think we'll be getting snowstorms in April this year.

Yesterday in fact (or two or three days ago, depending on POV), we received the mother of all snowstorms, the nor'easter. The local media called it one, but I guess it was because it was so huge - it affected almost the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to New Orleans, that a more general term was applied instead. What a macro system! Apparently snowstorms in the north can create temperature difference gradients that cause tornadoes in Louisiana.

When I woke up that morning, what a sight! It was like waking up in the middle of a ice hurricane. The snowstorm had been predicted in the news for a week beforehand. A large low-pressure anomaly accumulating ice and snow in the Midwest is probably hard to miss. But I had expected to go to school, but when I opened the window, oh boy, I should have taken a photo - the sky was overcast and the snow was blowing around in such a manner that the outdoors looked like a soup of snowflakes being stirred.

It looked fun to go out there and wait for the bus - it would have at least been interesting. I've never waited for the bus with the others with blowing snowflakes before, amidst a cloudy sky while the snow still reflects so much light it looks like it's glowing.

But there is a certain feeling of comfiness to be inside and warm whether a blizzard or monsoon rages outside - I know this from living in Singapore. Somehow, if the outside conditions are more uncomfortable than normal, we feel more comfy even though our inside conditions haven't changed. This is better yet, when the outside conditions aren't that bad either: it must be the precipation-storm aspect. For example, I would not feel more cozy being air-conditioned while looking at a dust-storm. You can dance in the rain, or play in the snow - this coziness perhaps not all counterintuitive at all. But yet we feel more comfortable when we haven't even experienced the storm (i.e. get soaked or get blizzarded).

I did not make very good use of my snow day. I ended up playing and slacking off when I should have been doing homework.

Now, it is Thursday night. Or Friday morning. I'm not writing with too much clarity. The workload is tremendous: each of the four periods tomorrow each have some sort of project due. History's Huey Long thing; French has the script due and two other assignments; physics the lab, and Calc the test corrections on top of general homework. And I'm writing this, only because I should get it over with. Friday evening signals the start of vacation week. I wait in earnest.

jeudi 4 janvier 2007


Sometimes it seems that when Latin is looked at a certain way, it sounds eccentric and eerily similar to various Indian languages. And there perhaps is good reason - Sanskrit, that other cousin of Latin besides Greek, had way too many similarities to Latin for philologists of the 18th century to overlook, giving rise to PIE theory.

Perhaps, it is all about perspective: today Sanskrit is rather dead (though more alive than Latin), but like Latin, it has given rise to a large family of vernacular languages with hundreds of millions of speakers: Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi. But unlike Latin (for me), it seems to have the same "sentiment" or "atmosphere" as Sanskrit, unlike what I feel for the vernacular Romance tongues of being very different from Latin, more lively and less dreary. Yet for many North Indian speakers, it's perhaps the opposite (so I guess): Sanskrit as a prestige language sounds very different and would have that same classical feel like I have for Latin, while Latin and modern Italian would not be felt to have any significant difference.