Wednesday, August 31, 2005

IT Skills

From NUS' Masters in Public Policy online prospectus:

PP5104: Empirical Analysis for Public Policy

This course is an introduction to statistical methods. Topics covered include descriptive statistics, sampling, inference and bivariate and multiple regression analysis. Emphasis is on the application of these statistical techniques to public policy issues. Students will be introduced to the use of the computer.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

British Accents and Slang

Wonderful compilation by the BBC.

Includes 1,200 conversations captured all over the British Isles.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Leaving-Do Drinks 110905

The drinks will be at the Trafalgar Square Pitcher and Piano (which is opposite Kudos) in the evening, from 7.30 to 9.30 pm.

In the early afternoon, I'll be with Jonny at his birthday picnic at Russell Square Gardens.

Then, at 4 to 7 pm, we plan to watch the lovely Ms. Julie Paid at Molly Moggs. Please feel free to join us at this cabaret thingy. :)


Wheee! Had a wonderful time in Cambridge. A wonderful guide, friendly locals, a glimpse possibly of Deborah Youdell in the distance, lovely pastries ... mmmh. I quite like the place. Maybe a Masters there some time in the future? I can dream right? :p

Sunday, August 28, 2005

World Values Survey

The World Values Surveys were designed to provide a comprehensive measurement of all major areas of human concern, from religion to politics to economic and social life and two dimensions dominate the picture: (1) Traditional/ Secular-rational and (2) Survival/Self-expression values. These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-national variance in a factor analysis of ten indicators-and each of these dimensions is strongly correlated with scores of other important orientations.

The Traditional/Secular-rational values dimension reflects the contrast between societies in which religion is very important and those in which it is not. A wide range of other orientations are closely linked with this dimension. Societies near the traditional pole emphasize the importance of parent-child ties and deference to authority, along with absolute standards and traditional family values, and reject divorce, abortion, euthanasia, and suicide. These societies have high levels of national pride, and a nationalistic outlook. Societies with secular-rational values have the opposite preferences on all of these topics.

The second major dimension of cross-cultural variation is linked with the transition from industrial society to post-industrial societies-which brings a polarization between Survival and Self-expression values. The unprecedented wealth that has accumulated in advanced societies during the past generation means that an increasing share of the population has grown up taking survival for granted. Thus, priorities have shifted from an overwhelming emphasis on economic and physical security toward an increasing emphasis on subjective well-being, self-expression and quality of life. Inglehart and Baker (2000) find evidence that orientations have shifted from Traditional toward Secular-rational values, in almost all industrial societies. But modernization, is not linear-when a society has completed industrialization and starts becoming a knowledge society, it moves in a new direction, from Survival values toward increasing emphasis on Self-expression values.

A central component of this emerging dimension involves the polarization between Materialist and Postmaterialist values, reflecting a cultural shift that is emerging among generations who have grown up taking survival for granted. Self-expression values give high priority to environmental protection, tolerance of diversity and rising demands for participation in decision making in economic and political life. These values also reflect mass polarization over tolerance of outgroups, including foreigners, gays and lesbians and gender equality. The shift from survival values to self-expression values also includes a shift in child-rearing values, from emphasis on hard work toward emphasis on imagination and tolerance as important values to teach a child. And it goes with a rising sense of subjective well-being that is conducive to an atmosphere of tolerance, trust and political moderation. Finally, societies that rank high on self-expression values also tend to rank high on interpersonal trust. This produces a culture of trust and tolerance, in which people place a relatively high value on individual freedom and self-expression, and have activist political orientations. These are precisely the attributes that the political culture literature defines as crucial to democracy.

For more, http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/ .

I heard that Singapore is included in the study, but cannot find Singapore in the report leh.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Don't eat the apples ...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

West India Quay

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Some folks dream of the wonders they'll do....


Watched three different productions.

The Jason Donovan one in Singapore was:

Songs: 9.5 / 10
Set: 8 / 10
Plot: 8 / 10
Ensemble: 9.5 / 10
X-factor: 9.5 / 10
Total: 44.5 / 50 or 89%

The Osmond telly one was:

Songs: 9.5 / 10
Set: 7 / 10
Plot: 8 / 10
Ensemble: 9 / 10
X-factor: 8 / 10
Total: 41.5 / 50 or 83%

The Stephen Gately one was ...

Songs: 9.5 / 10
Set: 5 / 10
Plot: 8 / 10
Ensemble: 5 / 10
X-factor: 5 / 10
Total: 32.5 / 50 or 65%

Seasons of Love


mmh. Watched this twice, once with Tim and Jas, and the first time with Chin2.

Was a tad embarrassed when I found out the subject matter.

Among my favourite musicals though.

Songs: 9 / 10
Set: 7 / 10
Plot: 9 / 10
Ensemble: 9 / 10
X-factor: 9 / 10
Total: 43 / 50 or 86%


Watched this in New York, Summer 2005.

Songs: 7 / 10
Set: 6.5 / 10
Plot: 7.5 / 10
Ensemble: 7 / 10
X-factor: 7 / 10
Total: 35 / 50 or 70%

Springtime for Hitler and Germany

Yesterday, with Jonny.

Indeed, a rip-roaring, gut busting good time.

The Producers features...

an ultra camp Hitler ...

an extraordinarily (sexually) active group of granny investors ...

a very very very very gay set of directors ...

a fantastically crazy Swedish blonde ...


Songs: 7 / 10
Set: 9 / 10
Plot: 9.5 / 10
Ensemble: 9 / 10
X-factor: 8.5 / 10

Total: 43 / 50 or 86%

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Thai trekking ...

Wheeee... Thanks, Thomas, for these pix from the Chiang Mai trekking trip. :)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Education, education, education....

Would be a useful addition to the Education and Development in Asia essay. Maybe I will do an update five years from now? Remind me hor.

First-class education for everyone
Polytechnics, ITEs to be improved, to develop every talent

By Sue-Ann Chia Aug 22, 2005 The Straits Times

AFTER beefing up university education, the Government is now turning to improving the other tertiary institutions: polytechnics and institutes of technical education (ITEs).

After all, the education system here aims to give everyone, not just an elite few, a first-class education, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

To do this requires good polys and ITEs, and the Government will commit the resources to transform these institutions, he pledged at the National Day Rally last night.

'We must have an education system which offers first-class education to all and not just an elite few at the top...

'We want to develop every talent, not just those who are academically inclined. And we want to prevent the problem of low skills and low incomes from going on into the next generation...

'That's why Singapore works. It's not just because we have a few stars but a strong Singapore team.'

Education is important to give Singaporeans the skills and training for a new economy. It also helps Singaporeans from poor backgrounds break out of poverty, said Mr Lee.

Singapore wants many different models and paths to success. As part of that effort, more avenues will be created for students to cross over from ITE to poly to university.

Even if people flunk out of school, they should get many second chances to make a comeback.

'We are aiming for a mountain range, not a pinnacle. We want many routes up, many ways to succeed.'

He added: 'If you are a teh tarik man, you must be a good teh tarik man, pour the tea and turn around. Not so easy.'

In Chinese, the saying hang hang chu zhuang yuan sums it up: In every profession, there are outstanding and world-class people.

On polytechnics and ITEs, Mr Lee took pains to stress that they already provide a good education. Their graduates are in great demand and are paid well. The institutions are also well-regarded internationally.

The five polytechnics here take in the biggest segment - about 40 per cent - of each cohort.

PM Lee thinks polys can make it easier for some of these students to get a degree.

This process has already started, with local universities taking in more poly graduates this year.

But polytechnics can go one step further.

This can be done by linking polys here with foreign universities to run degree programmes in niche areas. These can be in applied disciplines which local universities now do not offer, but for which there is demand.

He cited some examples. Polytechnics can link up with Digipen Institute in the United States for degrees in interactive media.

They can also tie up with institutions offering degree courses in resort management such as those in Las Vegas and Hawaii, and those in the US and Europe offering courses in culinary arts, childcare and nursing.

Mr Yeo Li Pheow, director of Temasek Polytechnic's business school, welcomed the ideas: 'PM's speech opens up new doors and avenues for polys to explore.'

Currently, Temasek is working with the University of Nevada, which will open a campus here next year, to see how the poly's graduates can go on to do a hospitality degree.

Turning to the ITEs, Mr Lee noted that their brand of education is unique in the world, but they need to go to the next level.

One way is the plan to consolidate the 10 existing ITEs into three main campuses to give students better facilities and more choice of courses.

Students with financial problems will also be helped.

Dr Law Song Seng, ITE chief executive officer, said the institutes have mapped out a five-year plan to be a global leader in technical education and push students to be competitive.

'ITEs are a place where students are able to do well and succeed in life if they work hard.'

Sunday, August 21, 2005


This report examines the drive for school markets in England using the framework of Lakatos’ Methodology of Scientific Research Programme (MSRP). It argues that instead of being truly competitive agents of neo-classical economic theory, schools may actually possess monopoly power, which is pernicious for social justice reasons. This reality of monopoly power threatens the viability of school choice arguments. However, countervailing power has also emerged, and it may be a force that could possibly counter monopoly power. This concept is examined, and a simple typology of countervailing power is developed as a tool to identify and to facilitate the exploration and understanding of its manifestation in the English school market. In summing up, this paper suggests that at first glance, countervailing power is insufficient to mitigate against monopoly power. Also, recommendations for further work with regards to the use of MSRP as an analytical framework, and to the efficacy of countervailing power are offered.

Mari kita

Tangentially related to Singapore Ink's comments today on dying for one's country, if one is suddenly inclined to be patriotic, and wants to stand up and holler out one's national anthem, along with lyrics (if horror of horrors, one has forgotten them) and backing mp3, then, http://www.national-anthems.net/countries/index.php?id=SN is prolly the place to go.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Borough Market

Thursday, August 18, 2005

How's your gaydar?

Okcupid has yet another quiz for ya, to test how good or bad one is at identifying gays and lesbians. www.okcupid.com/gaydar They randomly select gay and straight people from their network I guess.

It is probably also a test of stereotypes.

My first try was 80 percent success, with better success at guessing boys than girls.

How about you?

Please post your results in the Comments. Thankie.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Perth ...

... the movie.

New Singaporean movie, starring Lim Kay Tong as Harry Lee.


For more details:


Mr Brown also reviews the movie at www.mrbrown.com

I wanna wanna watch.

And Rice Rhapsody oso. :p

Updates galore ...

So what have I done today?
  • Gone to THT
  • Pay rent
  • Done up the CV
  • Completed most of the evaluation form
  • Tried to get tickets for Nickel Creek

Later today, I will

  • Read through the Education and Development in Asia essay, and hopefully get someone else to read it as well
  • Get the white fungus from Chinatown
  • Meet Jonny at Borders

I doubt I will

  • Go to the gym
  • Do any typing for Jonny today

Later in the week, I will

  • Go to Borough Market
  • Think about the leaving-do. It's prolly going to be two or three of them, in different venues, and for different people who do not necessarily get along.
  • Finish the evaluation form and send it off
  • Hand in the Education and Development in Asia essay
  • Do up Jonny's website

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Plans for the week

I have finished the CV thingyamabob.

There's still the evaluation form to do. Sighz. I need a tad of help. Any suggestions for the following questions?:

Are there aspects of the education and/or university systems in your country of study that you believe Singapore could learn/or that Singapore should take note? How would you suggest these changes be implemented so as to benefit Singapore?

Please state 2 observations (not related to the education and university systems) you have made in your country of study that you believe Singapore could learn/or that Singapore should take note. How would you suggest these changes be implemented so as to benefit Singapore?

I have a couple of ideas for the first one, including space for growth, as opposed to work, work and more work throughout the entire educational experience.

For the latter, mmmh, a more accepting (and liberal) attitude? Or a dumping of conservatism in exchange for pragmatism, e.g. with respect to Nation and Snowball. Come on, banning them just drives the problem underground.

Independence of thought? Singaporeans could be less sheep-y. Sheepiness can't be good for creativity, can it?

Wah lao. I think the implementation bit is not easy lor.

So... things to do tomorrow and over this week:
  • Pay rent
  • Go to the gym
  • Terrence Higgins Trust
  • Think about the evaluation questions
  • Check the Education and Development in Asia essay
  • Type out Jonny's website thing
  • Go to get tickets for Nickel Creek
  • Get white fungus from Chinatown

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Neither Senior nor Responsible enough

As for Mr Andrew Kuan, the former Group Chief Financial Officer of JTC, the Committee assessed the seniority and responsibility of that position as being not comparable to those mentioned in the Constitution and he therefore could not have the experience and ability in administering and managing financial affairs as to effectively discharge the functions and duties of the office of President.

So no Presidential Election 2005 for Singapore.

Just as well that I didn't register.

Chinese Experience ...


Yummy and beautifully presented food at this restaurant opposite the Curzon Soho.

Had my second Szechuan beef soup this week there. It was incredible! The spiciest food I've ever tried in the UK!

Jonny tried the chicken in lotus basket dish. Also very yummy! And very pretty too!

Its website is: www.chineseexperience.com

Thanks, Zhongwen, for taking me there. :)

Jonny and I have both got a 10 percent discount card (usable only once) each, and I will pass mine to the first person who asks for it. :p

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Revenge of the Sarong Party Girl

The following are excerpts from Chapter 2, The Ang Moh Species: Myth and Reality of Aitchison and Chan's book, Revenge of the Sarong Party Girl, probably written in reaction to the SPG phenomenon.

Australian men are the most resourceful men in the world. This explains why they invented the word 'wanker', and have extremely smooth palms on their right hands. It also explains why they buy more soap than any other men in Singapore.

Many Englishmen believe they can attract Singaporean women simply by lifting their little fingers. What they don't realise is that when they lift their little fingers, many Singaporean women think they are having an erection. The British are also famous for having stiff upper lips. However, Singaporean girls wish that other parts of their bodies were equally as stiff.

Every Welshman thinks he is Tom Jones and is quite likely to break out singing immediately when he has reached a climax. He breaks out singing on many other occasions, too, such as when he washes his dog. (His dog, of course, will not be as hairy as him.)

Scotsmen, on the other hand, are more secretive and conceal their genitalia beneath a tartan skirt. Singaporean girls are often confused as to which clan a Scotsman actually belongs to. All she has to do is to lift up his kilt; if he has a quarter-pounder lurking beneath it, he is obviously a MacDonald.

A lot of people make very unfair jokes about the Irish. Actually, the Irish are very polite. For example, crowds of Irishmen can often be seen outside the brothels in Geylang. They are merely waiting for the red lights to turn green so that they can go in.

Americans are a very polite people. American men, for example, never accept dates with local girls without first asking 'How much?'

Frenchmen are supposed to be the world's best lovers. Well-dressed, passionate Frenchmen claim that they can give a girl the most memorable night of her life. In reality, the night will be memorable for his rudeness and insatiable desire to talk about himself. After a night with a Frenchman, a Singaporean girl fully understands why Mona Lisa has such a strange, bored smile.

There is no truth in the rumour that Dutchmen prefer lesbians, despite the fact that Holland contains many dykes. Dutchmen are so oversexed that some of their cheeses are full of holes.

The Polish are a very literal people. Polish expatriates are convinced that the Community Chest has something to do with the bust size of the average Singaporean woman. Some Poles even think that the Community Chest is a special nationwide breast-feeding facility.

According to rumour, Italians prefer to douse their girlfriends in garlic and olive oil, roll them in foour and make love to them on a bed of pizza. This comes as a pleasant change after the Australians, who prefer to squirt beer over their girlfriends and roll them in a bed of old laundry.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


You are the Justice card. Justice preserves the harmony of the world. Working with opposite forces, Justice does not seek to criticize or condemn but rather to accept. The idea behind the card justice is that opposite forces are complementary; you could not have good without evil or light without darkness. Justice's position is to make sure that if a thing is out of balance, the weight of its energy is realigned with its opposite force. This card is also a card of humour, for it is in pointing out contrary positions that humour is often found. The attitude that is found in the humourous person, being able to shift perspective and flow with an instinct, is important in the maintenance of good balance.

Quiz taken at: Quizilla

Things to do...

  • Collect photos from Jessops
  • Defrost the chicken
  • Meet up with Victor
  • Have a shower (I stink at the moment! :( )
  • Order the books and CDs from Amazon or Play.com
  • Enquire about joining the ULU gym

By the 15th:

  • Consider educational elitism in China for the Education and Development in Asia (EDA) essay.
  • Consider Zhongwen's suggestions for the EDA essay.
  • Return / renew the library books to SOAS, LSE and IOE
  • Develop Jonny's set of photographs

By the 20th:

  • Hand in EDA essay
  • Consider Ros' comments for the thesis

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Brighton Weekend

Heros, heroines, fun fairs, caberet acts, tent discos, street parties, fancy dogs....

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