try ngee-ing the alphabet.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


The first, crazy, exhaustive week of exams are finally over, and I bet half of you out there expect cries of "yay!!" or sighs of relief, but Nooo I still have history to study for and all this China history is really getting into my system.

Well, everything but the exam facts are getting into my system >.<

So I was reading about the effects of the Cultural Revolution and Michael Lynch reported in his book that the greatest loss the CR brought about was the destruction of human nature. He quoted a fellow PRC Chinese poet, and he said that, as of that point of time, "we had no culture". One thing that irks me (and amuses me, in a tragic sort of way) is how we as history students can just read history out of a page, speed-read over the casualty numbers of 30 million, and then close the book and move on to something else without really experiencing the impact of it all. It's actually quite inhuman sometimes; especially when one has to give a balanced argument when trying to make sense of why Mao launched the CR, and hence offer some sort of justification for his actions. I don't get it. Don't those historians (or exam-paper setters) understand that some arguments just cannot be balanced? Reducing the tragedy into a concise section of another book on the shelf is an inevitable loss (in some sense), but justifying mass-murder based on intentions (esp. political intentions, which are usually kinda crappy) is simply not doing justice. Can you imagine the 30 million people turning in their graves as we summarise their plight into one of the factors in our two-page essays? Sounds freaky, doesn't it.

Haha still don't get it? I'm hinting at the eternal abolishment of history exams!!

Okay the second thing that led me wandering away from my alleged studying for exams was about culture. This is the picture in my head: politics <--> culture <--> human nature. I'm not sure what the arrows mean exactly (except that they're closely related), but here's the equation that got stuck in my head when I read about the destruction of Chinese culture to create a new one. The Marxist-Leninist view on culture is this: that culture i.e. arts, literature is the direct expression of the social and political state of the country at that time. I was going "hmmm" over this for quite a bit, because besides it being labelled Marxist, this view is partially true, depending on the country. Well, I think culture in Singapore is very much political - by this I'm referring to bah-chor mee stall culture (haha) and our petty complaints about the government. At this point, another image appears in my head: human nature --> politics --> sentiments evoked --> emergence of culture. Maybe that's how politics is part of culture. But I'm sure there's more to it than this. Maybe culture comes about in two ways: by the embracing of beauty and diversity on this planet (through many ways, like dance, writing, drama, music), and by expressing grief and societal ugliness (if i might add) in various ways as well. It's all about expressing human ideals and imperfections, through the channelling of energies and passions (positive or negative) into the creative sector. maybe that's why the Chinese poet described the CR as a time when they lost their culture. I bet they had much to express inside them, but there were no avenues of expression. Hmm loss of culture = no avenues of expression? Probably. Oh yeah, and in some ways, political structures do limit expression; but some art forms get away with it better than others. Take for instance, music and art. The message commonly perceived by the masses when they look or listen to art and music always consist of ambiguity, which is always good cos then you can't pin anything against the artist. Whereas literature and drama tend to get into trouble with the authorities - I'm not saying that there's no ambiguity in literature, but somehow, the message conveyed through it is more, how do u say, obvious. (U may not agree with me though: I see potential flaws in that statement already) But then again, taking into consideration the politicizing of culture in our age, I guess we can't make do without political bodies too. What a peculiar situation. Haha.

Oh well, so much for history, culture and exams. Now this is the link I see in my head:

studying --> I NEED A BREAK.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Mahler represents the epitome of art music. Here is why.
  • He is unrestricted by human resources. His gargantuan orchestras and choruses are delicately and purposefully used (rather than spamming winds, brass and other odd instruments to create more noise as many others are fond of doing).
  • He is unrestricted by the usual audience's attention span. (It is debatable whether this is actually a good thing to do)
  • He wrote what he thought. Each symphony is a philosophical work, a treatise on a subject and exposes his struggles and emotions in life with extreme vividness.
  • His music is not limited by 'properness'. Raw emotion hits you hardest. Why sacrifice the effectiveness of music because of tradition?
  • A conductor himself, he knew that other conductors would have a hell of a time reading his scores so he helped them by adding footnotes.
  • He constructed many of his symphonies from themes and ideas in his orchestral songs and this reworking of material puts all his creative resources to the greatest possible purpose in his symphonies. The symphonies are like summaries of everything he thought and everything he had written.
  • Basically he had something to say and he knew how to say it.
As a purist, it is hard to reconcile the fact that sung texts are used in symphonic works. After all, why add a literary or textual dimension to music if it is possible to say the same things without the words?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

categorizing......90% complete

Some people have requested a post here to brighten up the general lethargy of the holidays. And the previous emo-ating posts x.x So, here you go.

So...what have I been doing? Go figure.

Dissecting ame's mind

Lol! Even as we 'embark' on this oh-so-incredible 'journey of discovery' , I need to put a disclaimer too: I don't have much of an idea as to where this is going!
Hmm. Let's see...

The happy ame: Well, I don't really need to elaborate do I? The first few people who got to know me last year can profess that I used to laugh perpetually. I wonder up till today, why and how I could laugh with or without reason. I must have been mad! But the two years have thought me to sober down a bit, and I must say I miss those final chances of childhood. Or maybe behind laughter there was a mature philosophy - why worry when you can laugh? Haha but I doubt so. I doubt I was that wise. Am I wise now? I have noo idea...We're idiots, really. Idiots for maturity.

The emo ame: Observant people, do you notice the similarity between the pronunciations of those two words? 'emo'; 'ame'; 'ome'? Haha. This is a dangerous side of me - the tendency toward histronics is really strong sometimes. Maybe the overdoze of movies and media over-exposure has subconsciously invaded my brain! Beware - no one is spared. It's so familiar, isn't it? The deliberate focusing on a problem, the magnification of its size, and its overwhelming effect that renders you helpless. We've all been there before, no matter how unjustified it may be. It's like swimming in the sea - you really wanna get out of it, but it's so much easier to drown. Or maybe it's just them ole' hormones: did you know that the teenage hormone surge only settles when you're 18? Haha at least there's hope out of it. The sea of hormones. Hurhurhur.

The rational ame: I think my voice of reason is relative, to how reasonable you'd think reason should be. Mmm actually I don't have much to say here, but it DOES NOT imply I'm entirely irrational (argh I just knew you would think that!). I find reason quite unconscious sometimes, and it's hard to put it down in words/on paper.

The competitive ame: All of this part of my brain is probably fuelled by pride. It's obviously wrong, but it's hard to get rid of. This part of me makes me work hard, and it makes me climb higher and beyond myself. It makes me glad that I win, and sensitive to criticism when I don't. I used to cry when I lost at snakes-and-ladders - I have not lost this part of childhood, I guess I've just learnt to deal with it better. No angry stomping of small feet, but it's probably an achille's heel.

The dreamy ame: This is quite a broad category of thought, actually. It encompasses stoning, thought-wandering, having no idea what's going on but looking like I do anyway, and stuff like that. Take for example, English class. Just sit in my class for one hour and you'll realise who are the genuine thinkers, those who appear to be thinking, the scribes, the quiet listeners, the stoners. Well, half the time I try so hard to catch up in the note-taking that I hardly have time to think of the loopholes in arguments. So class just whizzes past me, and then I think of a question only 1 hour later. Haha so much for being slow, eh.
Absent-mindedness can kill. Seriously. I would know it x.x A few hours back I forgot what day it was! And a dozen other instances, especially regarding money - which is bad, because all you dishonest folks out there can go out and cheat me in broad daylight without being caught! Humph.

The crude, grose ame: I will NOT go into details here, it would be really grose x.x Well, with both parents in the medical field (and one in endoscopy), you don't expect civilised, dinner-table-appropriate conversations at the dinner-table! OK ok, no more details; no more details. haha.

And so we have embarked on the convoluted route into the parts of my mind that I'm conscious of. haha. Maybe there'll be a part two. Part two of Siddhartha-ish self-discovery.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

When truth is spoken, when darkness is brought into light, there we find resolution.

I have found my peace. I pray you'll find yours too. Be honest.

Friday, June 01, 2007

i hate the fact that i'm so bloody lazy.
i hate the fact that i cant control my emotions.
i hate the fact that i lie alot.
i hate the fact that i'm proud of the wrong things.
i hate the fact that i'm so indifferent.
i hate the fact that i love the world more than i love God.
i hate the fact that i can be so selfish.
i hate the fact that i can be so incredibly disrespectful to my parents.
i hate the fact that i can do horrible things and not feel guilty anymore.
i hate the fact that there are so many things wrong with me at once and i cant seem change them.


Psalm 6
LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?
Turn, O LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
No one remembers you when he is dead.
Who praises you from the grave?
I am worn out from groaning;
all night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.
My eyes grow weak with sorrow;

they fail because of all my foes.
Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my weeping.
The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies will be ashamed and dismayed;
they will turn back in sudden disgrace.


Deliver me Lord.


It is in my weakness that you are strong.