Thursday, March 30, 2006

Freud would have had a field day

Samplers from my Business Government and Society Class, Presentation day

From a group presenting on the externalities created by Clubs (particular reference to Zouk) in Singapore.
On the slide: Excessive consummation of alcohol leading to drunken driving or alcholism

I pointed out the typo, and explained that consummation may mean that you want to have sex with alchohol.
The sharp and witty reply from presenting female: "We're just showing you alcohol in a whole new perspective!"

Yes, dear. A very disturbing perspective. What you do with bottles of Tiger Beer in your personal time, I'd rather not conjecture...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Wake me up

When March ends.

Work, grades, bad health, mood swings, stupidity, no time, good times, bad times, confusion, deadlines, debates, die orredy.

Ever just wanted a month to end?

Just a week to go.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Twenty First Of March

A year ago was a day of perfection, one I promised myself I'd return to and write. Today, by no standards matches it, but pleasant beyond measure nonetheless. Two years ago, this blog became Blah! A year to this day, I finished a major chunk of my life. There were hailstorms to mark the event.
I just read the post a year ago. It was indeed a day of perfection, but many more have followed after. It's been a wonderful year, a very taxing year, but wonderful nonetheless. I've never had such extremes of emotion, of experience in my life. Not that it's been a very long life, but each passing year seems richer in wealth and experience.

I dissapeared for a while, I've been insanely busy. Week 10 and 11 aren't kind to you in SMU, and week 12 only marginally less so. But it matters little. Today is a day of remembrance, an important anniversary if you will.

What happened today? A few things. It was the last day of training at debating. I got mail, I now have The Visa Power(Now you go get it) in debit card form. I can, effectively, purchase things online. Not for a week though, cos I have to wait for my PIN to arrive. Aside from that, nothing of any great significance. But it matters little. Its a wonderful day, and may there be many more like it.

How do I end this very disconnected post? Same as last year, I guess.

Some things are right, some things will stay the same.
You better believe it.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Dorothy Chong

Dorothy Chong is the inter-varsity debating championships, held in NTU every year. As member of Debating society, I attended the same.
With that statement of the blindly obvious out of the way, let me just say that good things, and bad things happened over the course of the tournament.

Good thing: I broke into the quarterfinals
Bad thing: I lost in the quarterfinals, in a close match with the NUS A Team.
Good thing: My speaker scores in the tournament, which help my cause for going for the Asian Union Debating Championships being held in Manila, are pretty decent.
Bad thing: I messed up a whip speech, which I shan't reconcile myself with anytime soon.
Good thing: Nur Amira bte Abdul Karim redifined the meaning of "water cooler moments".
Bad thing: Amira's new mission is to get me drunk in Phillipenes.
Good thing: Food is cheap and subsidised in NTU, which is great after being in the middle of bleddy town.
Bad thing: Getting there means spending a pretty packet on cabs, I might as well have gone out and had a fancy dinner.

Birthday Wishes

It's dearly departed Douglas Adams' birthday today. Just thought I'd mention that.

Tired. Work piles up.
Don't want to do it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why I love Debating Society

Scene: Training, prep time for debate
Motion: This House would require consent of both parents in cases of InVitro Fertilization
Side: Opposition

Ashwin: "...we're talking about men who are incapable of producing impregnable sperm"
Yogi: "Ashwin, the word is sterile"
Ashwin: "Oh, yeah"
Three of us laugh uncontrollably for five minutes
Yogi:"Impregnable means something that cannot be penentrated, why would you want to penetrate a bloody sperm?"
Ensue more laughter

Bhavya:"And here's the line for the reply speech...There was once a time when the sun never set over the British Empire, now the son will never rise in the British Empire!"

Unending pointless laughter

Needless to say, we lost the debate.
I blame it on the adjudicators. They're all a bunch of men incapable of producing impregnable sperm.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Politics and Doublespeak

IBNLive : Minority tag has to go one day: Antulay

I have never come across a finer example of doublespeak in politics than this interview with the new "Minister of Minority Affairs", and new ministry created by the UPA government.

I'm not a "chaddiwallah", and am hardly a practicing hindu, yet I was one of the few who was extremely dissapointed when BJP-NDA lost the elections a year and a half ago(The only other person who comes to mind was PC, who showed a rare political leaning, or leaning of any kind). Politics in India is sadly a choice of the lesser of two evils, and even Narendra Modi pales in comparision in screwing over minorities than when it comes to the Congress Party. And I'm not even talking about 1984 here.

Through a brilliant political strategy of constantly differentiating and dividing minorities through providing them faux incentives and benefits, such as this new ministry, reservations in institutions, and a proposal to include reservation for Muslims inside the Indian army, the congress has ensured that the whole community stays backward, segregated; and in addition, the target of right-wing Hindu Fanatics, who are given more fodder policy by policy. These two points are covered quite eloquently by Karan Thapar in the linked interview.

On the topic of lesser evils, an NDA government is again preferable to a toothless UPA, which offers a budget with no significant reforms whatsoever, and a few extra subsidies to boot. To make matters worse, it comes with a policy such as the Rural Employment Garauntee Act, that pretty much threatens to bankrupt the exchequer, while making a whole lot of Babus and politicians very rich.
It also comes in tow with a rabid Left coalition, which insists on stalling every single measure of progress that has become inevitable in a globalised India.

Sadly, the BJP has gone into hiding, and is suffering from a lack of leadership. This bodes ill, as for the next 8 years at least, we may have a Congress lead government at the helm. That also, with a quasi-member of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty at the helm, with promise of her darling son taking over next term.
If ever there was an example of tainted-by-association, this is it.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Never Let Me Go

By Kazuo Ishiguro

The reason I picked up this book was not quite clear to me; it was by the guy who wrote the book for a film I like(Remains of the Day; I always thought Anthony Hopkins was quite great in that. And the role suited Emma Thompson- Sense and Sensibility messed up her image, I think), and the cover was attaractive. And its been one of the more thought provoking works I have read recently.

It starts off as a boarding school-like story. You always know there is Something different about the heroine,Kathy, and her friends, but it is never directly alluded to. Their lives are what you would imagine any boarders' to be, except for teeny tiny differences here and there. You know from the start that they are cloned human beings, created to donate organs for the 'normal' population. But the entire narrative is filled with such subtle emotions, such brilliant storytelling, that you can relate to them a lot. All the characters are delightful shades of grey, no good, no evil, just like the rest of us. As the book develops, you are shown how deep human prejudices run. How, in a world obsessed with scientific innovation, how little we think about the outcomes of our action- I mean, all this debate about cloning and stem cell research; and this is the first account I have read which considers what happens After. The confrontation of the protagonist with her former teacher is escpecially poignant. Of course, it is not a scientific book; it is all fiction. But the matter of fact way that he states how things are, really makes you sit up and think.

I found it to be an excellent book, not because of the story telling- which is good, but I've read better- but because, as I mentioned, it makes you sit up and think. It made me say to myself that yeah, I'd probably act against the heroines interests, too. I'd say that is as good a reason to go read this book as any: the fact that it'll take you out of your small lil world for just a teeny moment.

On Lists

On the subject of books, it is my new found goal to go through the 100-best list. Of course, the question is, which list to follow. As my friend pointed out, the Modern Library versions-both of them- seem very skewed and "cultist", to quote my friend. I think I'll stick to the Guardian's fiction list...came out a while back, but seems more comprehensive....
While on that, check out a good piece on endings.

Bush Aaya Re

Why does this not surprise me?

IITians welcoming US partnership, and JNU calling Arundhati Roy to aide in their spectacularly stupid protests.

Its what to be expected, I guess. As I candidly mentioned a couple of posts ago, things labelled Jawaharlal Nehru University don't exactly have progressive thinking written all over them. They usually have communist slogans written all over them, but that's another story.
Now, I'm no fan of Mr. Bush, and quite frankly wouldn't be endeared to live in his dear country under his benevolent rule. But trade with it? Sure! They're the biggest market in the world, and as a developing country, you've got to be stark raving mad to turn it down in terms of exports, or indeed as a source of foreign direct investment.
JNU's comarades in (h)arms, the CPIM has taken the opportunity to march out of parliament and protest the death of "India's Independant Foreign Policy", and kowtowing to the States. I love how trade beneficial to is kowtowing to pressure, when the alternative is supporting a crazy deranged Mullah and his fucked up country's desire for nuclear power. But lets leave that aside. The other objection to Mr. Bush visiting, by our glorious left and they nanna munna rahi's, JNU students is that he's an oil thief and vicious dictator. I didn't hear a peep out of them when Saudi Arabia's King(read vicious dictator interested in destroying streetside hindu temples) was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade. That's excusable. Where's the detriment to India in protesting that. There are bigger things to target.

So welcome, Mr. Bush. Sign a couple of nuclear deals, allow back export of Indian Mangos to US, open up a few new avenues, and then kindly leave. You're not very well liked, but that's not relavent now, is it? I think Microsoft is an overbearing monopoly, but I'm still banging this out on Windows. Because it's advantageous for me to.

So sit down and shut up, JNU. Once I'm rich and decadent enough, I'll raze your campus to the ground, for the fun of it. And pay my way out of it using the wonderful legal system of your creation.
The irony, the beautiful irony.