Sunday, July 31, 2005


I typed out an entry for this blog two days ago, and it disappeared when IE malfunctioned, as it does. So, a tad smarter now, I am typing this entry on Word first.

As with that entry which has evaporated into the ether, I will comment on potential buys from www.play.com

First of all, Lee Ryan’s album. He’s from the disbanded Blue, and the only one with a good voice in that band. A milder version of M Carey, in that he does vocal gymnastics, but to a more manageable degree. It’s £8.99, quite a reasonable price but I guess it’s prolly cheaper in Singapore.

The other album, Nickel Creek’s This Side, is one that I have eyeing for ages. I first listened to their first album at Borders Charing Cross Road, and fell in love with their style immediately. Right mix of bluegrassey instruments and characterful voices. Gave Jonny a copy of their first album, and he loves them too. Will always remember Jonny and his sister dancing at Northey Island to the tunes of Nickel Creek. This Side is more expensive, at £10.99, but I’m not entirely sure whether I will be able to get it back in Singapore, given that it’s not exactly a very big band.

Looked at the Top 50, and can’t really find anything else I like.

Now, what else should I do on this Saturday evening?

Friday, July 29, 2005

Blogshares statistics

YAY. Just managed the financial strength to do a leveraged buyout of my own stock. At great expense (250,000$) of course but it's worth it I think. These are my top stocks as it currently stands.

Top Stock:
1) Ba ba bo bo bar 174 K$

Other Main Stocks
2) Bonsaimanu 68 K$
3) Chuan's 51 K$

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

NDP Song

New song, new videos, available on the NDP website.

Now, I think I recognise Tauffik. But who on earth is the female singer?

She looks skinnier... than me!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Great 2005 Fev-Hurt

I like the term. Thanks, Wows. :)

Will write about it when I am calmer, and I don't have a thesis to finish.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Singapore Material

More recommended reading about Singapore and Singaporeans:

a) http://www.colingoh.com/paved_with_good_intentions.htm

PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS: How living in New York has illuminated for us the difference between the Singaporean Dream and the Singaporean Plan

Key issues:
i) Singapore education
ii) Stayer-quitter debate
iii) Singapore Dream vs. Singapore Plan
iv) Life in NY vs life in Singapore

b) http://www.colingoh.com/should_i_stay_or_should_i_go.htm


Rejoinder to Fernandez's editorial in the ST.

c) http://www.singaporebookofrecords.com/

Singapore Book of Records


including the world's largest shopping bag!!!!!


Self inflicted

Once again, I am sick, and it's my own fault.

And the fault of wolf dates, or gou qi zi.

A few years ago, I got myself very very fever-ish after cooking a small pot of thick wolf date soup.

Obviously, not learning my lesson, I have had wolf dates in my dishes over the past few days, and yesterday's was the tipping point. So now, I am fever-ish and coughey.

BUT... cucumber will come to the rescue. It's liang2, and perfect to counterbalance the lua4 of the wolf dates, and hopefully, the yin will cancel out the yang, and I will be able to jump around in joy.

Food for today: only liang2 foods. And since the only liang2 food I know of is cucumber, the food for today may well be just cucumbers.

I hate being sick.

And cucumbers here aren't that nice either.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Guinness and ...

Yesterday, the blur Spanish bartender at Kudos once again did not know what Guinness and Black is.

Jonny and I: Two Guinness and Black please.
Bartender: (whilst pointing to the Guinness tap) Guinness and Black?
Jonny and I: Yea.

Bartender then promptly filled two whole pints almost entirely with Guinness. GRRR. Did he think we meant Guinness is Black!?!

Ok. So, running a search for Guinness and Black on google, as perhaps it's not that common after all. Ted said it's not an American drink. Presumably, it doesn't exist on the continent either.

One of the results was lovely. It not only had Guinness and Black, which they called Black and Black, but loads of others as well.

Black and Black: Guinness and blackcurrant. A lot of women have taken to adding blackcurrant to their drinks, and our black beer is no exception. They find the taste of the blackcurrant makes Guinness not just something they like to be seen with, but something they enjoy drinking, too.

Black Velvet: Guinness mixed fifty-fifth with champagne. This famous drink was invented in 1861 at Brooks's Club in London. Prince Albert had died, everyone was in mourning, and the story goes that the steward at the club, overcome with the emotion of the occasion, ordered that even the champagne should be put into mourning, and proceeded to mix it with Guinness. The taste was so delicious, Black Velvet became extremely popular.

Midnight: Guinness with a dash of port. Believed to originate from the Royal Flying Corps.It seems that after dinner, some of the officers took to drinking Guinness instead of port. The Guinness decanter was passed anti-clockwise round the table, while the port, as usual, was passed round clockwise. Once, the two decanters happened to meet at the head of the table (Guinness at twelve o'clock!). The officer in that position absent-mindedly poured both drinks into his glass, and found the result quite enjoyable.

Guinness and Mild: This is one of the oldest and most popular of the Guinness mixes. The strong, dry taste of the Guinness is balanced by the smooth taste of the mild.

For more, see http://www.guinntiques.com/blacklist/

Midnight absolutely sounds yummy!

Wine memories

Today while running around helping Jonny choose a bottle of wine for his brother-in-law, I was thinking of trying to remember the wines that I have had. Given that I have drunk quite a few bottles, those that I remember would probably be the more memorable ones.

I think the first wine I tried was a champagne, at Nong’s wedding. I didn’t like it, and have never really warmed up to it. It’s gas-sy and a tad too dry, and not quite sweet enough. Of course, there’s always the demi cru champagnes, but those are quite hard to come by, and are in any case, similar tasting to martini asti and maybe the sparkling Aussie wines.

Champagnes and other sparklies that I remember:

a) Moet Et Chandon Brut Imperial ***** *
b) Jacob's Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir ***** *** (My favourite sparkly)
c) Martini Asti Spumante *****
d) Buck’s Fizz ** (I think Jingliu got it to try. *Shudders*)

The first wine that I tried in the UK was a Bulgarian of Sainsburian brand. Yucks!
And the second, a chenin blanc, again of Sainsburys. Again, yucks! No wonder I’ve never gotten another bottle of wine that has been ‘carefully selected’ by that esteemed supermarket.


a) Canepa Gerwurztraminer ***** **** (My all time favourite: lychee flavoured, and not too sweet or too dry. Sadly, unavailable in the UK anymore, as far as I can tell.)
b) Villa Maria Chardonnay ***** **** (Zhongwen got this for a dinner at Elm Road. One of the truly vanilla flavoured chardonnays, i.e. not just an undetectable hint. Yumzy!)
c) Sainsbury’s Chenin Blanc * (Put me off both Sainsbury’s and chenin blancs)
d) Marks and Spencer Honey Tree Gewurtraminer ***** **


a) Santo Winery Nama Dessert Wine ***** **** (Last glass in long wine tasting session at the winery. Liquid raisin. Bliss.
This wine derives from sun dried grapes from the Santorinian vineyards, with the dark red Maurotragano, Voudomato, and Mandilaria varieties predominant which are fermented together, in accordance with modern - winemaking theories and practices. This wine was made for use at the Holy Communion, but is also used as a dessert wine served at 8oC, accompanied by nuts, chocolate or cool pastries.
b) Sainsbury’s Bulgarian Red *** (Not particularly yummy, though still drinkable lar.)
c) Brown Brothers Tarrango ***** **** (My favourite red for dinner. Almost a rose in texture.)


a) Ernest and Julio Gallo White Grenache ***** * (Strawberry-ish)

mmmhz. And now the two bottles I chose from Oddbins. They are £7.49 each, but 2 for £10, so quite a good bargain.

The first is Xanadu Secession Shiraz Cabernet 2002, which according to the Aussie Sunday Mail:

The 2002 Secession Shiraz Cabernet is a pretty wine in the glass with its striking red/purple hues looking through an intricate stained-glass window. Berry fruits and floral notes create a pleasant aroma, not unlike nudging your nose into a big posy of peppery violets. With 60 per cent Shiraz, 40 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, the wine exhibits a moderately intense palate with warm, spicy overtones. It is best accompanied with pasta dishes or lamb.

The second, also from Xanadu, is their 2004 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, which is:

A bright and zesty fruit blend that provides excellent current drinking. Nothing terriby complex but you get great value for your dollar from this ready-to-drink wine.

mmmh. The red sounds more exciting, no? :p

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Leaps of faith

The first leap of faith

It also demands too great a leap of faith from the reader, to make the link between a belief or position, and an outcome.’

Not most readers, I’m afraid, once you pummel them with a 5,000 word length essay with tonnes of bombast, especially if they are not experts in the field. :p I was aware of the necessary leap of faith though, but had little choice, given the word and time constraint, and my own sad lack of knowledge in sociological and postmodernist theory. So forgive me lar. :p

Once again, however, I must say, the Postmodernist (with a capital P no less), has replied to my replies to his comments, with more thought-provoking comments, and interesting references. Amongst them is: Granovetter, MS (1973). The strength of weak ties, American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 78, no. 6, and available for free on www.jstor.org

Essentially, Granovetter, a mathematical sociologist (what on earth is a mathematical sociologist???) recommended the analysis of social networks as a tool to link micro and macro aspects of sociological theory. In this article, he stated that intuitively the strength of interpersonal ties should be probably a linear function of the amount of time, the emotional intensity, intimacy and reciprocal services that characterise the tie. A given tie may be strong, weak or absent, and while most network models deal with strong ties, an analysis of weak ties ‘lends itself to discussion of relations between groups and to analysis of social segments of social structure not easily defined in terms of primary groups’. He argued that weak ties e.g. the connections between colleagues, acquaintances etc., are more important for personal advancement, such as getting good jobs, than the strong ties of family and friendship. For more, read the article yourself. :p

The other name he mentioned in the email was Michel Callon. I don’t know who he is, and a search on wikipedia and jstor leads little clues. Swetswise is little better, with only one paper co-written by Callon. So, all I know is that he is French (postmodernists tend to be French or American anyway), and that he is a professor of sociology (again no surprise).

The second leap of faith

Just a few days ago, I got a tad aggressive with Mr. Jonny. He wanted to talk about religion, and I reacted rather badly at Wagamama.

Really religion is hardly the best of topics to talk about with me, especially if one is an active practitioner of a faith. And if one has something bad to say about other religions / denominations.

I get VERY annoyed if an X-tian tells me that another X-tian of a different denomination, or culture is not an X-tian because he practises the religion differently and do not adhere to tenets A, B and C, which are essential to the very core of the X-tian religion, and which are the MYSTICAL TRUTH and the UNIVERSAL LAW and the GOD’S WORD and the ABSOLUTE.

I would also get very annoyed if an X-tian tells me that the bombs in London (or anywhere else for that matter), because the bombers were Y-tians, and are therefore deluded. That the Y-tian faith should accept responsibility for the actions of the few bombers.

Basically, I can get very annoyed when religions are spoken of as not only necessary and superior to other religions and non-religions.

So there.

Sighz. Religionists seldom appreciate that religion is contestable and is indeed contested. Universal laws, God’s word and the like are words and beliefs, over which people across and within religions do struggle over their meaning, interpretations, importance, practice, manifestation, etc. These lie at the centre of any religion, or rather any given practice of religion, and it should be obvious that the centre of practice depends on what the practitioners regards as its essence.

Take Buddhism for example. A religion that Western-ers tend to take as enlightened and caring, obvious, accepting, tolerant, unstained by bloodshed (as compared to the Judeo-Islamic faiths), and holding uncontested universal laws. I was rather put off when an ang moh Buddhist said that he regarded Thai Buddhism as non-Buddhist, in a ‘I think Thai Buddhism is pooty’ kinda tone. If Buddhism is tolerant, and if that ang moh believes that tolerance and mutual respect lies at the essence of Buddhist, surely that ang moh is either not one, or a deficient member of the faith, according to (probably) his own definition and interpretation then.

More specifically, recently, Jonny and I went to a rather facile and surface-skimming lecture on the SG supported Komeito pro-war stance. Two universal laws seemed to be at conflict here, to this non-SG member (So please do correct me if I’m wrong or misguided): a) Pacifism: military action is not to condoned as an option. And b) situations should be weighed to achieve the greater good. The greater good, is of course open to interpretation. Which is the greater good: further tyranny by the Saddam government, in which the whole world seemed to believe in pre-war, but have conveniently forgotten since then, or an American invasion and an American tyranny and an Iraqi self-imposed suicide bombing series. If Komeito hadn’t supported the war with reservations (which it did), it would have implicitly supported dear Mr. Saddam Hussein. While Hussein’s reign was probably bleak, at least the battles, which proved to be easily won and at little costs of life, gave the long-suffering Iraqis a glimpse of hope and opportunity. Now, I am not justifying the war, just suggesting or stating an alternative perspective of the situation. It’s not like Komeito sent in troops and sarin gas armed cultists to do the work. All they did was say only, or not say only.

Ok. I’m aware that I’m rambling. Another time then.

Oh. The leap of faith here? mmmh. "I'm an X-tian. He practises differently from me. Therefore, he is not an X-tian." or "I'm an X-tian. He is a Y-tian. Any problems in the world, are Y-tian, for X-tianity holds the universe truth."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cheap night out

Well, well. I have recently finished my draft for Education and Development in Asia. A rather painful experience, given the word limit, time constraint and topic I set myself. I’m not too happy about it, as I am aware that I might have only touched the surface. As a LSE postmodernist commented, I have hardly tackled the definition and the structure of ‘elitism’. Ah well.

Having submitted the draft to Ms. Sab yesterday afternoon, it was great to have the time and the opportunity to have a cheap meal at Wagamama (i.e. with the Time Out 2-4-1 voucher) and to watch a new musical for free. It was my first time to Wagamama ever, and apparently, it used to be one of Jonny’s favourite haunt. We both had rice dishes, mmh, the names of which have since left my sieve-like brain. It was tres yummy tho, and the texture of the rice was great (unlike the rice I cooked this afternoon using the rice cooker which traces its ancestry to Eugenian possession). Wagamama sells some souvenir shirts as well, the colours and patterns of which are actually quite nice. Unfortunately, Wagamama discriminates against guys, and has products only for babies of up to 12 years old, and gals! Erhem!

The musical was quite good, though it didn’t seem so in the first half. Motown songs are way before my time. Mmmh. It doesn’t look like ‘Dancing in the Streets’ has been reviewed yet. Mmmh. Well, in the second half, most of the people in the theatre were up and dancing. Except the poor blur and yawny Chinese aunties who prolly were only there because they got free tickets. It ended on a lovely high note, with a rendition of ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’, a song brought to my attention by the Julia Roberts and Susan S movie, ‘Stepmom’.

Having danced enough and worked off excess energy, there was no need to go Bar Code.

So really a cheap night out lor! :p

And what shall I do now? Maybe try to load some pictures onto this website. And clean up the mess that is this blog.

Wish me luck! :p

Thursday, July 14, 2005

TNP Slappers

Really want to smack the TNP reporters, who are really getting out of hand.

s'pore HIV/AIDS advocacy group refutes tabloid's allegations

Action for AIDS clarifies that only one volunteer got infected after becoming a volunteer and not five as the paper reported; and none of the counsellors have met patients who later become their partners.

Action for AIDS (AfA) has hit out hard at allegations by Singapore tabloid The New Paper on Sunday citing unnamed sources that up to five of the 65 volunteers in the MSM (men who have sex with men) outreach programme have contracted HIV in the last two years.

The paper remarked: “(T)hese volunteers themselves have contracted HIV, begging the question: Why didn’t they practise what they preached?”

A second source said that many of the volunteers are good-looking men under 30 years old and they see the MSM outreach programme as another avenue for them to meet other gay men. The unnamed source added: “I know of many counsellors who have met patients and in the follow-up have become partners.”

Roger Winder, co-ordinator of the MSM outreach programme, said that of the 65 volunteers currently with the programme, 15 are young men in their 20s, seven are women and the rest are older men.

He added that although one was likely to have become infected by his boyfriend after becoming a volunteer, the others started volunteering some time after they found out they were HIV-positive.Winder, who is the coordinator for both the MSM and Anonymous HIV Testing and Counselling clinic, told Fridae in an interview that they know one of the sources who had approached the paper. When asked about the sources’ motives, he suggested that one of them could be unhappy with the organisation and some of the people involved; and is trying to undermine their efforts.

Winder however, commended the paper on publishing the interview with a volunteer who became infected despite his involvement in the MSM outreach programme. In the interview with the paper, he conceded that although he is acutely aware of the need to practise safe sex, he had unprotected sex with his committed partner after they had both tested negative. It turned out that his partner became infected after having sex with another person before they started their relationship.

He emphasised that AfA does not require their volunteers to undergo HIV testing before or after recruitment, or at any other juncture of their involvement with the organisation although they would be asked to leave the organisation if they have been found to repeatedly engage in risky behaviour.

A statement issued on 13 July 2005 also stated that AfA welcomes HIV-positive persons as volunteers and supporters as they believe that they are in the best position to advise others on the infection.

Statement from Action for AIDS issued on 13 July 2005
Action for AIDS would like to clarify the following issues in relation to the article, ‘They preach safety, They practise UNSAFE SEX, Now 5 Aids volunteers are HIV-positive’ by Ng Wan Ching in The New Paper on Sunday, 10 July 2005.

TNP Claim: Five volunteers from the MSM Outreach Programme tested positive at the anonymous test clinic in the past two years.

FACT: It is likely that only ONE volunteer got infected after becoming a volunteer – the one who was interviewed for the next (second) article. The other four are individuals who started volunteering some time AFTER they found out they were HIV-positive – and such volunteers are invaluable resources.AfA runs the anonymous HIV testing and counselling clinic at which it is claimed the five tested positive, therefore we would definitely know if more than one volunteer tested positive, and we can therefore categorically state that at most only one volunteer from the MSM Outreach programme tested positive after becoming a volunteer.We would also like to emphasise and clarify that AfA does not require our volunteers to undergo HIV testing before or after recruitment, or at any other juncture of their involvement with the organisation. Doing so will violate our principle of non-discrimination on the basis of HIV status, as well as the basic human rights of any individual, volunteer or otherwise.If any of our volunteers would like to have an HIV test, they are treated like any other client at the Anonymous test site.

TNP Claim: AfA does nothing to protect its volunteers.

FACT: New volunteers are screened and trained according the needs of the projects/programmes they are involved in. Such training often includes detailed information about sexual health and safer sex behaviour.Volunteers are encouraged to practice and are expected to maintain the highest standards of personal behaviour in this regard.Reminders and updates are sent out to MSM Outreach Programme and other programmes in relation to practising safer sex and other matters.

TNP Claim: (T)here is a possibility, no matter how remote, that these young male volunteers are coming forward because they see the MSM outreach programme as another avenue for them to meet other gay men.Volunteers are having unsafe sex because “they can’t resist the temptation” and that “when they pull down their zips, their brains also drop.”

FACT: Our volunteers have different reasons for sacrificing their time and energy to the cause but it has been evident thus far that their motives are honourable and decent.We are confident that our volunteers are selfless, hardworking, committed and responsible individuals who do their best to raise awareness of safer sex and who would protect themselves and others.However, volunteers are human beings, too, and are also susceptible to infection and to momentary lapses of judgment. If any of our volunteers test positive despite our efforts to discourage unsafe sexual practices, our response will not be to blame and chastise but to ensure to the best of our ability that they receive adequate support and information. And if they express a desire to continue offering their help, we will not turn them away.If any of our volunteers are found to repeatedly engage in risky behaviour, they will be asked to leave the organisation.

TNP Claim: ”Recently, many of the volunteers have been young, good-looking gay men below 30 years old. And they are 99 per cent gay men.”

FACT: Only 15 out of 65 volunteers in the programme are men in their 20s – and there are also seven women. We clearly state that volunteers do not have to be MSM or even male to help out.In general, AfA does not discriminate in recruiting, accepting or retaining volunteers. We are willing to accept and train anyone who is sincerely committed to helping us achieve our objectives, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or HIV status. We especially do not expect anyone to provide the last two categories of information.

TNP Claim: It is also claimed that volunteers who are supposed to be handling phone calls are spending excessive lengths of time on the phone and are, in fact, “getting to know the other person person on the other end of the line.”

FACT: MSM Outreach Programme volunteers do NOT man a hotline. In any case, many of us in AfA regularly deal with clients who feel great anxiety and often require significant amounts of time to deal with the issues that trouble them. To question the intentions of volunteers who spend more time with such clients is an affront to the dedication and concern required to handle such clients.Misconduct of this nature is almost unheard of among volunteers - there have certainly been no complaints received from clients or other volunteers. Volunteers, especially who handle clients, undergo a screening process and comprehensive training before they take on duties on their own. If there were complaints, we would investigate and act accordingly.

TNP Claim: The unnamed source states that “I know of many counsellors who have met patients and in the follow-up have become partners.”

FACT: There have been NO reports of MSM Outreach Programme volunteers becoming partners with clients.The insinuations reported in the article do great injustice to the incredibly selfless and committed volunteers who sacrifice their time and energy to help AfA runs its various programmes.Articles which contain such malicious allegations only make our already difficult battles even tougher, given the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and widespread unwillingness to deal with issues pertaining to sexuality.We are very proud of our volunteers and deeply disappointed that such allegations about them have been made in the media.AfA recognises the very important role that HIV-positive individuals can and should play in HIV prevention and education activities. This principle of "greater involvement of persons with HIV/AIDS” or GIPA is held as a best practice by WHO, UNAIDS and national AIDS programmes everywhere. AfA welcomes HIV-positive persons as volunteers and supporters as we believe that they are in the best position to advise others on the infection.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mother's Plea

This is Anthony, Anthony Fatayi-Williams, 26 years old, he's missing and we fear that he was in the bus explosion ... on Thursday. We don't know. We do know from the witnesses that he left the Northern line in Euston. We know he made a call to his office at Amec at 9.41 from the north-west one area [NW1] to say he could not make [it] by the Tube but he would find alternative means to work.

Since then he has not made any contact with any single person. Now New York, now Madrid, now London. There has been widespread slaughter of innocent people. There have been streams of tears, innocent tears. There have been rivers of blood, innocent blood. Death in the morning, people going to find their livelihood, death in the noontime on the highways and streets.

They are not warriors. Which cause has been served? Certainly not the cause of God, not the cause of Allah because God Almighty only gives life and is full of mercy. Anyone who has been misled, or is being misled to believe that by killing innocent people he or she is serving God should think again because it's not true.

Terrorism is not the way, terrorism is not the way. It doesn't beget peace. We can't deliver peace by terrorism, never can we deliver peace by killing people. Throughout history, those people who have changed the world have done so without violence, they have [won] people to their cause through peaceful protest. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, their discipline, their self-sacrifice, their conviction made people turn towards them, to follow them. What inspiration can senseless slaughter provide? Death and destruction of young people in their prime as well as old and helpless can never be the foundations for building society.

My son Anthony is my first son, my only son - 26 - my only son, the head of my family. [In] African society, we hold on to sons. He has dreams and hopes and I, his mother, must fight to protect them. This is now the fifth day, five days, five days on, and we are waiting to know what happened to him and I, his mother, I need to know what happened to Anthony. His young sisters need to know what happened, his uncles and aunties need to know what happened to Anthony, his father needs to know what happened to Anthony. Millions of my friends back home in Nigeria need to know what happened to Anthony. His friends surrounding me here, who have put this together, need to know what has happened to Anthony. I need to know, I want to protect him. I'm his mother, I will fight till I die to protect him. To protect his values and to protect his memory

Innocent blood will always cry to God Almighty for reparation. How much blood must be spilled? How many tears shall we cry? How many mothers' hearts must be maimed? My heart is maimed. I pray I will see my son, Anthony. Why? I need to know, Anthony needs to know, Anthony needs to know, so do many others unaccounted [for] innocent victims, they need to know.

It's time to stop and think. We cannot live in fear because we are surrounded by hatred. Look around us today. Anthony is a Nigerian, born in London, worked in London, he is a world citizen. Here today we have Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, all of us united in love for Anthony. Hatred begets only hatred. It is time to stop this vicious cycle of killing. We must all stand together, for our common humanity. I need to know what happened to my Anthony. He's the love of my life. My first son, my first son, 26. "He tells me one day, 'Mummy I don't want to die, I don't want to die. I want to live, I want to take care of you, I will do great things for you, I will look after you, you will see what I will achieve for you. I will make you happy'. And he was making me happy. I am proud of him, I am still very proud of him but I need to now where he is, I need to know what happened to him. I grieve, I am sad, I am distraught, I am destroyed.

He didn't do anything to anybody, he loved everybody so much. If what I hear is true, even when he came out of the Underground he was directing people to take buses, to be sure that they were OK. Then he called his office at the same time to tell them he was running late. He was a multi-purpose person, trying to save people, trying to call his office, trying to meet his appointments. What did he then do to deserve [this]. Where is he, someone tell me, where is he?"


Friday, July 08, 2005


His statement yesterday

Mayor's Statement 7 July 2005

This was a cowardly attack, which has resulted in injury and loss of life. Our thoughts are with everyone who has been injured, or lost loved ones. I want to thank the emergency services for the way they have responded.

Following the al-Qaeda attacks on September 11th in America we conducted a series of exercises in London in order to be prepared for just such an attack. One of the exercises undertaken by the government, my office and the emergency and security services was based on the possibility of multiple explosions on the transport system during the Friday rush hour.

The plan that came out of that exercise is being executed today, with remarkable efficiency and courage, and I praise those staff who are involved.I'd like to thank Londoners for the calm way in which they have responded to this cowardly attack and echo the advice of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair - do everything possible to assist the police and take the advice of the police about getting home today.I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a terrorist attack. We did hope in the first few minutes after hearing about the events on the Underground that it might simply be a maintenance tragedy. That was not the case. I have been able to stay in touch through the very excellent communications that were established for the eventuality that I might be out of the city at the time of a terrorist attack and they have worked with remarkable effectiveness. I will be in continual contact until I am back in London.

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.

Top 10 NUS; Russell Square; Mood of London

Varsity's target: Break into 'top 10' in 20 years

Focus will be on high- level research, high international profile, leadership scheme

By Sandra Davie July 8, 2005 The Straits Times

THE National University of Singapore (NUS) yesterday mapped out how it will answer the call to rise and be among the world's top 10 universities.

Aiming to break into the top league in 20 years, it intends to focus on three areas: developing a high level of research, building a high international profile and boosting a special leadership programme.

NUS president Shih Choon Fong unveiled this game plan yesterday when he launched this year's commencement for about 8,000 graduands.

It comes one week after Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan challenged NUS to go beyond its 18th best university global ranking by the Times of London and be in the Top 10.
Said Professor Shih yesterday: 'NUS has the right ingredients to move forward into the top 10.'

He believes a key factor is raising NUS' profile across the world. It has begun its mission.

NUS will form an alliance with the world's top research universities. Eight have agreed and they include the Australian National University, and Yale University and University of California, Berkeley in the United States.

Once it is formed, NUS will set up a 'global university town' in Singapore where top academics and students from member universities will congregate to do research.

NUS is also likely to be home to a new institute that is planned among the 36 members of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, which Prof Shih heads.

To be called the Asia Pacific World Institute, it will gather the best academic minds to research scientific, social and economic issues of global importance.

Crucial to this build-up is ground-breaking research, said Prof Shih, who pinpointed several areas where NUS can make its mark.

One is multidisciplinary research such as that done at the NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering.

There, research is conducted by teams of engineers, mathematicians, computer experts, medical scientists as well as social scientists.

'Nobel Prize-winning discoveries of the future are more likely to be made in intersections of disciplines,' he said.

The game plan cannot be complete unless NUS produces outstanding graduates, a point raised by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew last Sunday at a dinner to mark the centennial of the NUS medical faculty.

To produce such graduates, NUS needs to attract able students. It plans to do so through its university scholars programme, which every year offers its most talented 180 students three options: do research, be an entrepreneur or focus on bicultural studies.

Those who pick the bicultural track, for example, can spend their first two years here and complete their course in an NUS partner university - Beijing University.

Students who want to make their mark in business can spend a year in NUS overseas colleges in Philadelphia and Silicon Valley in the US, Shanghai or Stockholm.

Prof Shih is confident that, 'with a dynamic Asia propelled by the rising economies of China and India, the Top 10 club will surely include Asian members within the next two decades.'
Another key strategy to get into the Top 10 would probably be to persuade the Times to retain their current measurements and weightings of factors for the rankings. :p
Russell Square is still cordoned off today, and it's rather quiet I must say. The park is closed. The IOE is deserted. mmmh. The main activity today seems to be in the area between SOAS and IOE, where Socialists are trying to recruit to their cause. *sighz*
And from James Meek, an article that expresses well the feeling of fellow London-ers:
'Savagely woken from a pleasant dream' Londoners woke yesterday still basking in the warm glow of their Olympic triumph. Then came the news they had dreaded - and half expected - since September 2001. James Meek walks through the streets of a suddenly pedestrian city
Friday July 8, 2005 The Guardian
All the shock was Wednesday's: London's Olympic day. All the horror belonged to Thursday: London's day of bombs. And the fact we were not surprised makes it no easier. No easier to know, now, that on that mild grey morning, among the millions moving through London's transport system, with their banal thoughts of delays and meetings and lunch and holidays and money, were a handful of people whose thoughts were not banal at all.

Like many east Londoners, I went to bed last night astounded to find myself living within walking distance of the Olympic Games. Like many, I woke up not in the least surprised to find myself living within walking distance of a ruthlessly executed act of mass murder.

I take the 73 bus between Hackney and central London most days and, on Wednesday, for the first time ever, the driver made a news announcement over the PA. "For those who are interested," he said, "London has been chosen to host the 2012 Olympic Games." Nobody could quite believe it.

Next morning the same bus drew up at the stop outside my house, the doors opened, and for the second time ever, the driver made a news announcement. A different sort of announcement. It was easy to believe. But did it have to be so soon? As I walked towards Newington Green, on my way to central London, I passed a delivery van from London's Evening Standard newspaper travelling in the opposite direction. "Thursday's breaking news," proclaimed a poster stuck to the side. "Olympic Triumph Special Supplement."

I stood in a doorway for a moment to shelter from the rain and call my wife, who was working not far from Russell Square. As we spoke a man passed me, one hand pushing a baby in a buggy, the other hand pressing his mobile to his ear. "... I was just worried ..." I overheard him say.

Walking down Essex Road, which leads from the border of Hackney through Islington towards King's Cross and the western edge of the City, everybody was talking; sometimes to each other, mostly to their loved ones on their mobiles. The networks were strained but just about coping. You kept hearing snatches of conversation as the news spread and people confronted the sudden reduction of London to a pedestrian city. "... bus is blown up ..." "... really nasty ..." " ... I'm just waitin' ..." " ... they've all got bastard attitudes ... ".

Even those who weren't speaking on their mobiles were holding them in their hands, expecting them to ring, waiting for a signal, or just as talismans of the idea of order, of the idea that this last electronic totem of technology and civilisation would lead them through a rude intrusion of chaos.

Here, only 20 minutes' walk from the immense security cordon thrown around inner London, half the people you met were beginning to acquire the kind of set, dogged, suffering face you see in refugees, and half were going about their business. They were delivering mushrooms, they were drinking pints in the Green Man, they were looking in estate agents' windows at the Angel, Islington. A grand hearse led a funeral cortege away from WG Miller's the undertakers. Death, like life, went on.

It was only when you got to the shuttered gates of Angel tube station that the full sense of a capital in the grip of an emergency began to sink in. The Angel crossroads, leading to Clerkenwell, the City and King's Cross, was thick with pedestrians marching on unexpected journeys. It was the kind of weary crowd of clerks on foot that stimulated entrepreneurs into building the Underground railway, the world's first, 142 years ago. In the last century, in two great wars, the Underground protected the people of London from bombs. One ad for the tube in the first world war read: "It is bomb-proof down below. Underground for safety; plenty of bright trains, business as usual." In this century, in a war without clear aims, end or sides, it has become - as, for four years, we have more than half expected - a place where bombs go off.
For anyone who has lived in London for more than a few years, the tube map is more than a map on the wall. It burns itself into the brain, like the circuit diagram its design is based on. At news of any disruption, little stretches of it flash red, and almost without thinking, you try to chart a way round the obstruction. For the whole system to be sealed up without warning is to find the ground beneath your feet, paradoxically, to be not so solid as it was.

There was another transport network. Even before Madrid, there was a claustrophobic unease about the tube, and ever more Londoners were acquiring another mental transport map, the complex map of the city's bus routes. There was a certain pride in knowing how to hop from route to route to get where you wanted without ever going underground. There was a special, slightly chippy pride for us in Hackney, the only inner-London borough without a tube station of its own. And up on the surface, particularly in the light space of the upper deck of a red double decker bus, looking down on the traffic and bustle in the streets below, you felt safe.

In retrospect, a London bus was an obvious target, a symbol of the city and, coincidentally or otherwise, of 2012 - the No 30 goes to the heart of London from Hackney Wick, part of the future Olympics site. Terrorists have put bombs on buses in Israel and Moscow.

Yet deep down, I suppose, I never really believed a bus would be a target either honourable enough, or justifiable enough for a terrorist. It is still a poor person's means of transport. Looking at the pictures of that ripped apart vehicle I know the cold, cheap feel of those nasty orange poles for hanging on to, and the abrasive feel of the fabric of those nasty blue seats, and think of all the faces of tired hard-working people and student tourists and truanting teenagers looking down from the windows into the prosperous world of Bloomsbury, and just hoping to get on with something good.

London buses, particularly the buses between Hackney and the centre, are also filled with immigrants, and it is very possible that if a bomb exploded in any one of them, it would kill and maim at least one person from every continent and of every major faith. On any busy Hackney bus you'll hear a dozen different languages besides English: Albanian, Turkish, Polish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, French or Yoruba.
I liked to think one of the reasons the Olympics was coming to east London was that every member of every national Olympics committee knew someone who lived there. Sitting at a cafe in Hackney not far from the No 30 route a few days ago, just back from the religious strictness of Iran, I watched the different religions pass by: a young girl in a school playground version of the hijab - jeans, T-shirt and a black wimple - and a woman in another, a black chadoor which only showed her eyes; an Orthodox Jew from Stamford Hill, with his long black coat and black broad-brimmed hat; and all the secular post-Christians with their bare heads and hipster jeans. It seemed an idyll of live and let live.

On my way from home yesterday morning I popped into one of the local newsagents to buy batteries. He was talking sadly on the phone about the atrocities and as he served me I remembered going into the same shop, at about the same time, on the morning of September 11 2001. The newsagent is Asian and I remembered that while I was in there a white woman in her 50s had put her head round the door and said to him: "Don't worry, we know you didn't want this."

It was an uneasy, backhanded sort of reassurance. The kind of "don't worry" that, if I were the newsagent, would make me worried. Now we are all very worried. Worried about our neighbour and worried that our neighbour is worrying about us. Our neighbour at home; our neighbour on the tube; our neighbour on the top deck of the No 30. Live and let live may have won us the Olympics but live and let live may not be enough. Londoners may have to learn to do the thing they hate more than anything else in the world: talking to strangers on the bus.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Bomb blasts

Woke up this morning to the sound of police sirens and a text from Robert to Jonny about bomb blasts. Switched on the radio (1st time it's been on for ages) and news came feeding in about bomb blasts in various parts of London, a couple of which are scarily close.

At Tavistock Square, a short walk from the IOE, a London bus, which looks like a Singapore owned Metroline one, has had its top blown off. BBC pictures: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/4659489.stm

The underground had also been targeted, and it seems like Russell Square tube station was hit.

Scroll down http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4659093.stm for a map of the bomb locations.

Tried calling / texting people to check whether they were alright. The network's been down tho, and very few texts / calls are getting in or out through my mobile.

BBC News has not been very great actually, especially as compared to Journal Hound.

Ken Livingstone sounds mad, and rightfully so. Crazy terrorist nutters. GRRRRRR

Ken's speech:

"Londoners have been subjected to a cowardly attack - I have no doubt this is a terrorist attack," he said.

"I would like to thank Londoners for the calm way they responded," said Mr Livingstone, who has been in the Far East helping the successful London Olympic bid.

"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful, this was against working-class Londoners, an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder.

"I have stayed in touch with Sir Ian thanks to the excellent communications we had in place in the event I was out of London during an atrocity like this.

"This is not an ideology or even a perverted faith," he continued. "This is just an attempt to kill innocent people.

And Mr Livingstone then addressed the terrorists directly, saying they would never beat the resolve of the British people.

"Ours is the greatest city in the world and we will not be divided by your cowardly attacks.

"I know you fear you may fail in your long-term objectives. In the coming weeks look at our airports, seaports and railway stations.

"People come to live in London so they can live the life they choose.

"They flee you because you tell them how to live and no matter how many people you kill, you will fail."

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

2012; The Independent & Aid

Looking at the vote tallies in the 4 rounds of voting, I think I can understand why someone on telly (Coe?) said that he would very much prefer London to be pit against Paris rather than Madrid in the last round. Rather doubt voters for Paris in the 3rd round would seriously consider London in the 4th round.

Vote Tally:

First round
London 22 Paris 21 Madrid 20 New York 19 Moscow 15 (eliminated)

Second round
Madrid 32 London 27 Paris 25 New York 16 (eliminated)

Third round
London 39 Paris 33 Madrid 31 (eliminated)

Fourth round
London 54 Paris 50 (eliminated)

Trafalgar Square had a lovely celebration as the victorious result came in. Loads of streamers, flags, even a five plane Olympic colours fly-past. woohoo!!! Very glad to have gone there for a peek. :p

2012. Gosh, I will be 30 by then. Old man liao. Or just mature man. :p


And now... the Independent newspaper. I quite like it, not least because it is of a printed format convenient enough to be read in the little boy's room. However, it has been rather annoying of late, with its crusades to do this, that and the other, e.g. the electoral reform, international aid to Africa, etc. It's not the crusades that irritate me. On the contrary, there are very strong cases for its chosen agenda. However, its presentations and perhaps interpretations of the facts and evidence leaves much to be desired. Take today's headlines for example:

Mozambique: The nation that proves aid works

After years of civil war, floods and Marxist misrule, Mozambique now has soaring growth, falling poverty and rising literacy. Its story should inspire the G8 leaders

Yes, it is true that Mozambique is doing very much better than many of the other African nations. It is most probably true that aid has helped Mozambique. However, it is by no means clear that it is aid, and not the absence of 'civil war, floods and Marxist misrule' in the present day that is the cause of Mozambique's success story.

Also, how can one nation show that aid works in all cases?

Surely, Mozambique: the nation that shows that aid can work would be more appropriate.

Or am I just being pedantic and am missing the point? :P

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Hello London; SOAS Library; IOC - NDP; Scholarship Article

"Hello London!"

Well, loads of Americans tend to stay at the hotel opposite the institute. And today, one of them opened the window and screamed her hello across the street.

mmmh. It can be quite interesting working or having classes opposite the Royal Hotel National. Sometimes there are really good views from 676 or 736, and sometimes they can be really really distracting. *blush* :p

Just came over here after perusing the books at SOAS. Had meant to just focus on the task at hand, i.e. the CE essay. However, got kinda distracted by the loads of books on Singapore there. Flipped through LKY's memoirs, a bit of Emily of Emerald Hill, and nearly borrowed a copy of the SPG comic book thingy. However, the librarian somehow decided that IOE people can only borrow three books instead of the four that I have been borrowing all along. She explained that if I run away with three books, the IOE will compensate SOAS for the three, but if I run away with four books, the fourth book will not be compensated for. (??????) Ah well. So I was a good boy and borrowed the book I was supposed to borrow and not the one I would borrowed just for laughs and leisure.


About to log off, but decided to take a peek at Singapore Ink. And there was an NYT article there regarding the IOC thingy back home that made me laugh. First, I will show the laughable bit, then reproduce the whole article.

Singapore has added its own particular flair to this process. On Saturday, with I.O.C. members beginning to arrive and bid cities jockeying for access, the country unfurled a fascinating distraction. What appeared to be a significant portion of the Singapore military paraded through the streets, with legions of soldiers, dozens of tanks driven by men in full camouflage, and trucks carrying missiles. The display ended with a flyover and a 21-gun salute.

The event was one of seven practice sessions for a National Day parade in August. While the rehearsal was taking over Singapore’s streets, New York’s bid leaders were forced to walk through a maze of underground malls to reach their scheduled news conference. They emerged from the crowded string of stores joking about the prospect of Manhattan needing to stage seven practice runs for all of its parades.

And then the full article is at the Comments link (trying this out to make the main text less text-ty):

A Frantic Finale for Cities Vying for 2012 Games

Ed Wray/Associated Press
Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain is in Singapore as part of London's bid to become the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games.


And finally, a wonderful article posted on Singapore Angle: http://singaporeangle.blogspot.com/2005/07/singapores-scholarship-system-study-by.html

I love the blogosphere!

Monday, July 04, 2005


Central London on the 2nd of July was hectic, with both Live8 and Pride happening on the same day. Woke up early that morning to head for Hyde Park Corner and register as a steward at 8 am. Already, tonnes of people were milling around, and some had come to queue very very very early on to get a good view.

The dear Metropolitan police obviously decided that the public toilets in the area were a security risk (&^£$!%$£^!$£), and therefore should be closed down. This meant that anyone wanting a number 1 or a number 2 had to a) walk all the way to Harrods or Harvey Nichols or some cafe to use the loo, b) be thick-skinned and stride confidently into hotels including the Hilton and barge straight into the watercloset or c) pee into bottles / bushes / anything available. GRRRRRRR. I did the option (a) and promptly decided not to drink any more water that morning.

At 12 noon, Mr. Geldof made his opening speech, which I didn't hear, since I was on duty with the ethnicity people some 100 feet behind. However, when the ethnicity people and I did hear the announcement, and the people around me promptly boo-ed down Mr. Geldof. Clearly, he seems not to have as much support amongst the Black community as with the rock and rolling, pop loving white Brits. I am hardly a fervent supporter of Live8 myself (or with pop musicians making over generic sweeping postulations on the world, e.g. Chris Martin's "I think shareholders are the great evil of this modern world.") but with little or no support among those that Live8 is supposed to help, surely there must be something wrong.

'A concert? Why is this one special?' How Africa was unmoved by Live8
By Meera Selva in Nairobi
Published: 04 July 2005, the Independent

Live8 was not on the front pages of most of the newspapers and it was not broadcast live on local television. Africa woke up yesterday to a normal Sunday: people went to church, read the papers and ate lunch with their families. One thing they did not do was discuss the Live8 events around the world the day before.

"A concert?" asked Evans Konya, who was sitting in a park with his friends. "But aren't there concerts every Saturday? Why is this one special? I think I prefer to watch musicians at my local bar than at a stadium far away."

Across the continent, most of the people who were meant to feel the benefits of Live8 had not heard of the 10 concerts for Africa. Many national broadcasters did not air the concerts, so viewing was limited to those who had access to satellite channels, on a continent where people consider themselves lucky to own a radio.

The bars that did have televisions blaring in the background were tuned into CNN or Wimbledon; Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport in tennis skirts were a particular distraction among the men.

Only South Africa, the sole African country to hold its own Live8 concert, understood the significance of the event. There, more than 20,000 fans cheered as their beloved Nelson Mandela took the stage in Johannesburg to urge world leaders to "avoid a genocide of humanity".

Not that there is a lack of awareness of the issues. In Saturday's crisp winter sunshine, hundreds of people in Nairobi's city centre park sat on the grass and watched acrobats, singers and dancers perform at Kenya's "Make Poverty History" rally. They accepted the white wristbands being handed out by aid agencies and clapped as a brass band marched past carrying a banner accusing the World Trade Organisation of stealing their futures. Everyone had suggestions of possible solutions for Africa's problems. None of them involved pop music.

"What are the musicians going to do?" asked Queen Amene, who had come to the Nairobi rally with her work colleagues. "Will they send us their money? The politicians can hold meetings to decide to give us loans or help us clear our debts but concerts are for fun, not business. Even if it were here, I would not go; I have to look after my children."

Kenya sees itself as an African success story. It has managed to hold peaceful elections, build a significant tourist industry and maintain good relations with the West. And even though it still has the usual cluster of problems, from a rising incidence of HIV/Aids to famine in parts of the country, Kenya was deemed too successful to qualify for debt relief at the last meeting of G8 ministers.

Most Kenyans see that as something to be proud of. "We are not beggars so we don't need to be treated like that," Mr Konya said. "Some help with development will be useful but before rich countries send us money, they should take time to truly understand us. There is so much corruption here that funds from overseas often go straight into the pockets of politicians. We must find a way to give aid money directly to the small people. Will the people at this concert understand all that?"

Across the continent there was a feeling that pop music is for children but debt relief, aid and trade are matters for adults. Teenagers who may have wanted to watch the concerts were deterred because most of their favourite, African musicians were not given top billing, except in South Africa and Cornwall.

In Africa, people are obsessed with politics. Governments still have the power of life or death over most of its citizens, and war and famine never seem to be far away. In impoverished Burkina Faso, the media have been more concerned with reporting developments ahead of elections in October, although national television broadcast extracts from Live8 on the one o'clock news yesterday.

In Nigeria, West Africa's economic powerhouse, there was more talk of the cancellation of $20bn of the country's debt by the Paris club of donor countries before the G8 summit than of the Live8 concerts.

The two main publications in Kenya were filled with domestic politics. The Sunday Standard led with the headline "Why our MPs are the laziest on the continent," and the Sunday Nation had a story about splits in the opposition parties. The Live8 concert was buried at the bottom of the foreign pages, where all news about distant places and strange people often appears.

On a somewhat lighter note, the following are some pictures taken of Pride on Saturday. I think the Pride-goers prolly had more fun and pageantry and less stress than those attempting to get a good view of Bob Geldof et al. on stage. And Pride was free too! (Though Westminister Council was a bit anal in restricting entry to Leicester Square for the Drag Idol to just 2,000).

Just look at the happy faces: :p

http://www.eventamental.co.uk/Events/London05/Ken/pages/k153_jpg.htm Painted skin people.

http://www.eventamental.co.uk/Events/London05/Ken/pages/k206_jpg.htm Tourists

http://www.eventamental.co.uk/Events/London05/Ken/pages/k219_jpg.htm Tony Blair

http://www.eventamental.co.uk/Events/London05/Ken/pages/k054_jpg.htm Mother and son ;)

More pictures at both www.eventamental.co.uk and the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/image_galleries/gay_pride_gallery.shtml?1

And on a side note, I didn't see Terrence Higgins Trust anywhere. Where did those condoms I packed go to????

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