Sunday, August 28, 2005

And so it begins

I'm done with procrastinating. I'm starting in earnest tomorrow, and nobody, least of all me, is going to distract me from that. I've got too much to gain and too much to lose to trifle with time. And much to do too, although too much may be an overstatement. I can do this, and I will.

In the meantime, I'm not going to be blogging. I'm not going to be online during the day. I'm gonna focus solely on what I need to do. The list seems endless, but I'll get through it. Macbeth, King Lear, Othello, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night's Dream, Much Ado About Nothing...The God of Small Things, Boey Kim Cheng, Thomas Hardy...Dracula, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Hyde, The Bloody Chamber, The Turn of the Screw, MR James...Pride and Prejudice, The Handmaid's Tale, Things Fall Apart, The Heart of Darkness...Foundations of Econs, PPD, Production and Cost, Market Structures, The Labour Market, Welfare Economics, Money and Banking, Economic Growth and Development, National Income Accounting, Keynesian Theory of Inflation and Unemployment, Monetary Mechanism, International Trade, Balance of Payments, Foreign Exchange, The Role of the Government...Functions, Trigo, Integration and Differentiation, IM, DE, Complex Numbers, Stats, Curve goes on, but it ends. And it will end too. 14 days.

Till the end of Nov though, here's what's gonna keep me going. Things I want to do after the As:

Sophie's World
The Betrand Russel Basic Philosphy Series
The Odyssey
The Virgin Suicides
Random chick fluff books

Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue
Taufik's Me and Mrs. Jones
Missy Higgin's Scar
Coldplay's Trouble
Sarah McLachlen's Angel
Edit: Add to the list Tommy Emmanuel's I've Always Thought of You on acoustic guitar.

Lindy Hop
Cooking (in time for Christmas)
Baking (ditto)
Roller blading

The knack of procrastinating
10 pounds

Hmm. The "lose" section I can afford to do before I get to the As. In the meantime, have a nice day. And good night.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

3 Days Left of Real School

I remember watching the 0304 batch leave around this time. It doesn't seem to have been so long ago.

Anyway. Random TJ moments:

In the girls' bathroom
2 girls holding organic chem notes stroll in, obviously mugging for a test of some sort.

Science Student 1: "How do you tell the difference between brown bread and white bread?"

Long, expectant silence - during which I assumed the other girl was trying to remember the molecular structure of the aforementioned loaves.

Science Student 2: "I think...white bread is...white, so brown bread should be...brown."

Oh. Intelligent.

Classmate on a class-fund evading fellow classmate

"People become billionaires through entrepreneurship and innovation (aside: She definitely listened to PM Lee's speech); he's gonna become a billionaire through defaulting on payments."

I'm gonna miss everybody.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I just had to blog this. Talking to mp10-er about our combined desire for oxbridge:

azz-o: i know you want it as bad as i do so we have to. havetohavetohaveto.

me: if there was something we could get by sheer willpower babe, this would be it.

azz-o (in an apparent flash of insight): i pray for you you pray for me and we'll get TWO religions rooting for us, yeay!

The Week in Retrospect (According to my Desktop Calander)

Sunday, 14 August 2005
St. Pat's Alumni Concert @ VCH.
Genuinely entertaining, but also slightly disconcerting to have to smile at boys whose faces you used to crush on in yearbooks.

Monday, 15 August 2005
Return Library Books
(Amended to Renew Library Books when I realised I hadn't read them yet.)

Tuesday, 16 August 2005
Lit GOST Test. When Houston and I become the last ones still writing (waaaay after time is up), Mr. Rajesh goes: "Let's see who get's higher. " Oh the joy of competition.

Wednesday, 17 August 2005
Maths Lecture Test. Do-able.
Warwick Uni Talk on Warwick (duh) and How to Write a Personal Statement. Concretized its position on my ucas form.

Thursday, 18 August 2005
Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

Friday, 19 August 2005
Girls Napfa 5 items. A for situps, B for sitandreach, C for pullups, D for shuttle run, F for broad jump.

Saturday, 20 August 2005
Complete Cambridge Form. An Agonizing Five Hour Chore.

Sunday, 21 August 2005
A surprisingly enjoyable Homily, by Father Luke no less. According to him, church groups are like fruit cakes. Because fruit cakes are rich with butter and eggs and milk (aside: as are all cakes) and church groups are rich too, with faith and dedication etc. Also, fruit cakes contain a variety of flavours from raisins, sultanas and cherries; likewise, church groups contain a variety of flavours from the different types of people there are. Thirdly (yes, I know, no such word) fruit cakes contain intoxicating ingredients, such as liquor, brandy or sherry. Church groups contain intoxicating ingredients too - people with addictive characters and personalities (although sometimes they may be intoxicated.) But most importantly, church groups are like fruitcakes because both are full of nuts. No more free fruit cake from the canteen aunties for you, Father.
I have NO LIFE. And I can't even blame the exams for it. Fellow examinees (like Libby) are evidence enough for that.

And it's not like I'm studying much either. I'm still stuck on Day 3 of my study schedule and it's DAY ELEVEN.

Ok that's it. I'm a lost cause. Excuse me while I go bury my head in the sand.

Edit: Upon intense contemplation, I realise that Libby has an unfair advantage. With the number of siblings she has, something has got to be going on at some point of time. I...have 3 dogs. Whose primary aim in life is mostly to keep their tails and paws out of the way, and fight for the coolest and quietest places in the house to sleep. Sometimes that includes fighting for prime space under the desk in my room, upon which I suffer bitten toes and scratched legs, but more often than not they (albeit reluctantly) retreat to the kitchen, whereupon all 3 lie on their backs, legs splayed, dignity disregarded. I want a pet giraffe.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I find it relatively amusing that my one and only breakdown in school was brought about by a stupid napfa test that has no bearing on anything else but my self esteem. Which isn't even really affected. *shrugz* Complicated.

There seems to be so much to do, so much demanded, so much expected, and so much needed. And saying yes to one thing is to say no to another - an answer which is questioned, and used to make me feel guilty, and hopefully to change my mind. But I can't, don't you see? There are too many variables in life to say yes to everything and hope it all goes well. Things just don't. There does not have to be a reason for failure. Or a reason for success. But as long as I have some form of control, I need to, and will use it. Selfish? Maybe. But flip the coin kiddo - aren't you being selfish by demanding things from me? How about sacrifice on your part too. I'm stretched so thin I can hardly see myself. Everybody has legitimate reasons for their demands. How can I say yes to all?

I need this, don't you see. The ability to work for this dream is the only thing I have been able to depend on, at least in a non-spiritual context. And I keep giving up that ability for things which, though perhaps equally important - argh I don't know where this argument is going. Except that I can't do it anymore.

Don't worry. I'll be fine.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Courtesy of

"Val, you're a Chihuahua

No bones about it, you're an energetic, devoted Chihuahua. For your breed, size definitely doesn't matter. After all, sometimes the best things (diamonds, car keys, Godiva truffles) come in small packages. Honest and straightforward, you're never afraid to speak up for what you believe in, especially if it's a cause near and dear to your heart. Having such a passionate personality can come with a few drawbacks, though. You can be moody at times, and people often find it hard to live up to your high standards. But once you make a friend, it's for life. Saucy and intense, your energy and unfailing loyalty make you a great companion. Woof!"

Brillianto. Not only yappy and annoyingly hyper, my canine alter-ego is vertically challenged too. Life is so unfair. *sulks*

Anyway, I'm blogging from the Hub. In College. Instead of following my jam-packed study schedule (which is currently being ruined anyway, by the plethora of tests and written assignments we are getting.) I'm actually supposed to be doing an Econs article - but, evidently, talking to myself (since nobody seems to tag) is more entertaining.

It's Week 8 people. 2 weeks left of actual lessons (since study break starts in week 10), 2 weeks of pure mugging at home, and it's the prelims. And after that, about 6 weeks to the A levels. It's enough to make anyone religious. I really am seriously contemplating going for morning Masses - and no, it's not just because of the upcoming exams. I've been reading stuff, as those of you who know, know. And the more I read, the more I'm convinced (although, technically, I was supposed to be convinced long ago - but we shan't be delusional about the state of catechetics in Singapore Churches shall we? I loved my catechism classes - and my catechists did try very hard to impart knowledge - but there is still so much more) that I'm in the right place. That the Church really is the true church set up by Christ; that every Mass we do take of His Body and Blood; that purgatory does exist; that Mother Mary and the Saints are interceding for us; that the Traditions and Teachings of the Church were handed down from the Apostles; that the body of intellectual debate and apologetics that I would never have expected have existed since the very first century; that the powers of hell will never prevail in a Church instituted by God Himself. And when you're convinced, first emotionally, then intellectually, then even more powerfully emotionally again - you want to be part of it all, all the time, every day. It's one of the factors that induced that message I sent out (so, you see, I was not suicidal).

Still reading? I really should get back to that econs article. Just 2 more things: I really really really really miss my councillors (of course, they could always remedy that by, say, a birthday surprise. Or an after-prelim treat. Or something). And council day, was, aside from known regrettable factors, brilliant. It wasn't the games (which I wasn't there for), or the food (I only had a slice of pizza and one drumstick), or even the mass dance (although I do like that). Again, as always, it was the people. Predominantly my darling 27th of course, but also the 26th - I kinda miss having seniors around, and the 29th, who are, occasionally, quite adorable. As for the 28th, not having been there at ALL is chastise-able. So there. Count yourselves chastised.

Argh one period's almost over. I just love econs.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It's time to officially proclaim the start of my intensive study schedule. Any earlier, I would burn out, any later, I would burn, period.

I've got 5 library books to cover by Sunday, 2 new novels for lit s, 3 econs s essays, 2 (3?) lit s essays, and a suitably outstanding personal statement due by the end of this month.

I'm tired of the politics involved in large groups, and frankly if friends are so easily forgotten or even given up on, then maybe the so called friendship isn't quite worth it. I'll just have to accept the fact that yes, although the disintegration of a close-knit group in any circumstance (and there are several circumstances) is sad, it's happened - and I'll just have to get over it. I refuse to spend time making up to people who don't actually need me around; and you know what, I realise I don't really need big groups either. I'm so much happier with people who are comfortable with just meeting up for lunch, one on one or maybe two or three; who don't need to talk to me everyday to feel like we're close; who can, even after months of not meeting or even msging, still call each other best friends, because we know that true feeling and yes even love is not determined by what we say, sometimes not even what we do, but what we know. I'm not going to make the effort, because I'm tired enough already, and because it's already backfired on me. I'll miss you, of course. But I would miss you soon enough anyway, and I've gotten over missing other people. I truly believe that real friendship is intimate, and that it, unfortunately, is confined to a select few. Perhaps not always the few that I would have selected, based on my own flawed judgement, but the few all the same - and the few I thank God everyday for.

I still love all my councillors though. Even when they DON'T reply spur of the moment, national day inspired, emo-filled sms-es. Hmph.

There are 33 days left to the Prelims. That statement is supposed to inspire slight panic and conscious movement towards my open econs notebook. Supposed to. There are 792 hours left to the Prelims. Ah. That did it. Alritey then.

I'll be back. Bach. Bahk.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

*My Ox Duke*
By 18th Century Poet John Dyer
'Twas on a summer morn, in Stainsford mead
New mown and tedded, while the weary swains,
Louting beneath an oak, their toils relieved;
And some with wanton tale the nymphs beguiled,
And some with song, and some with kisses rude;
Their scythes hung o'er their heads: when my brown ox,
Old labourer Duke, in awkward haste I saw
Run stumbling through the field to reach the shade
Of an old open barn, whose gloomy floor
The lash of sounding flails had long forgot.
In vain his eager haste: sudden old Duke Stopped:
a soft ridge of snow-white little pigs
Along the sacred threshold sleeping lay.
Burnt in the beam, and stung with swarming flies,
He stood tormented on the shadow's edge:
What should he do? What sweet forbearance held His heavy foot from trampling on the weak, To gain his wishes? Hither, hither all, Ye vain, ye proud!
see, humble heaven attends; The fly-teased brute with gentle pity stays,
And shields the sleeping young. O gracious Lord!
Aid of the feeble, cheerer of distress,
In his low labyrinth each small reptile's guide! God of unnumbered worlds! Almighty power! Assuage our pride. Be meek, thou child of man: Who gives thee life, gives every worm to live, Thy kindred of the dust. - Long waiting stood
The good old labourer, in the burning beam,
And breathed upon them, nosed them, touched them soft,
With lovely fear to hurt their tender sides;
Again soft touched them; gently moved his head
From one to one; again, with touches soft,
He breathed them o'er, till gruntling waked and stared
The merry little young, their tails upcurled,
And gambolled off with scattered flight.
Then sprung The honest ox, rejoiced, into the shade.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Catechism on War

Taken from Catholic Answers,

2307 The fifth commandment forbids the intentional destruction of human life. Because of the evils and injustices that accompany all war, the Church insistently urges everyone to prayer and to action so that the divine Goodness may free us from the ancient bondage of war.

2308 All citizens and all governments are obliged to work for the avoidance of war.However, "as long as the danger of war persists and there is no international authority with the necessary competence and power, governments cannot be denied the right of lawful self-defense, once all peace efforts have failed" (Gaudium et Spes 79).

2309 The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
- the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting,

grave, and certain;
- all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
there must be serious prospects of success;
- the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.

The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition.These are the traditional elements enumerated in what is called the "just war" doctrine.The evaluation of these conditions for moral legitimacy belongs to the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good.

2310 Public authorities, in this case, have the right and duty to impose on citizens the obligations necessary for national defense.Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.

2311 Public authorities should make equitable provision for those who for reasons of conscience refuse to bear arms; these are nonetheless obliged to serve the human community in some other way.

2312 The Church and human reason both assert the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict. "The mere fact that war has regrettably broken out does not mean that everything becomes licit between the warring parties" (GS 79).

2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.

2314 "Every act of war directed to the indiscriminate destruction of whole cities or vast areas with their inhabitants is a crime against God and man, which merits firm and unequivocal condemnation" (GS 80).

A danger of modern warfare is that it provides the opportunity to those who possess modern scientific weapons—especially atomic, biological, or chemical weapons—to commit such crimes.

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations; it thwarts the development of peoples. Over-armament multiplies reasons for conflict and increases the danger of escalation.

2316 The production and the sale of arms affect the common good of nations and of the international community. Hence public authorities have the right and duty to regulate them. The short-term pursuit of private or collective interests cannot legitimate undertakings that promote violence and conflict among nations and compromise the international juridical order.

2317 Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war: "Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’" (GS 78; cf. Is. 2:4].

An interesting counter to the total pacificism advocated by Father Zabelka. Again, I'll comment later.

An extract from a speech by Father George Zabelka, at a Pax Christi Conference in August 1984, on the 40th Anniversary of the Hiroshima bombings

From the New Sunday Times, August 7 2005
"I worked with Martin Luther King Jr during the Civil Rights struggle in Flint, Michigan.

His example and his words of non-violent action, choosing love instead of hate, truth instead of lies, and non-violence instead of violence stirred me deeply.

This brought me face to face with pacifism - active nonviolent resistance to evil.

I recall his words after he was jailed in Montgomery, and this blew my mind.

He said: "Blood may flow in the streets of Montgomery before we gain our freedom, but it must be our blood that flows, and not that of the white man. We must not harm a single hair on the head of our white brothers."

I struggled. I argued. But yes, there it was in the Sermon on the Mount, very clear: "Love your enemies. Return good for evil."

I went through a crisis of faith. Either accept what Christ said, as unpassable and silly as it may seem, or deny him completely.


Ethical hairsplitting over the morality of various types of instruments and structures of mass slaughter is not what the world needs from the Church, although it is what the world has come to expect from the followers of Christ.

What the world needs is a grouping of Christians that will stand up and pay up with Jesus Christ.

What the world needs is Christians who, in language that the simplest soul can understand, will proclaim: the follower of Christ cannot participate in mass slaughter. He or she must love as Christ loved, live as Christ lived and, if necessary, die as Christ died, loving one's enemies.


As a Catholic chaplain I watched as the Boxcar, piloted by a good Irish Catholic, dropped the bomb on Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki, the centre of Catholicism in Japan.

I knew that St. Francis Xavier, centuries before, had brought the Catholic faith to Japan. I knew that schools, churches, and religious orders were annihilated. Yet I said nothing.

Thank God that today I'm able to speak out against war, all war. The prophets of the Old Testament spoke out against all false gods of gold, silver and metal.

Today we are worshipping the gods of metal, the bomb. We are putting our trust in physical power, militarism, and nationalism. The bomb, not God, is our security and our strength.

The prophets of the Old Testament said simply: Do not put your trust in chariots and weapons, but put your trust in God. Their message was simple, and so is mine.

We must all do something for peace. We must stop this insanity of worshipping the gods of metal. We must take a stand against evil and idolatory. This is our destiny at the most critical time of human history.

But it's also the greatest opportunity ever offered to any group of people in the history of our world - to save our world from complete annihilation."

This, obviously, isn't the whole speech. It isn't even the whole of what was printed in the New Straits Times (which my dad brought back from KL). But he did bring up lots of points of interest. Like pacificism.

Unfortunately, i've got to go now. So i'll come back to this later. Ciaoz peeps.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I don't know how to start this, because I don't know how it will end. What I do know is that things have gotten messy in between, and maybe it's my fault. In fact, it probably is, because the choices I've made are all my own. So I suppose the resulting recriminations are just that. Resulting.

Is it gone forever? What I know is that it'll never be the same.

The last shot, then maybe I'll know if it is time, finally (and as I knew, inevitably), to draw away. Maybe I do have a problem. But maybe I don't. I'm going, but I don't know how I'll feel - which is probably the worst part of it all. I hate this.

And you know, the next time you want to make racist jokes, bear in mind who you're with. Stereotypes may be fine, especially around friends who take it all with a pinch of salt. But calling some races dirty, and shuddering at the mention of a mixed relationship, is never acceptable. Maybe you forgot who, or what I am. And to you, who didn't make the joke, but laughed abashedly, as if you were afraid that if you didn't laugh, you would be laughed at, now I know your true colours. Do you know why I left when I did? Because it wasn't funny anymore. And because it hurt.

Yesterday I attended a beautiful wedding in kl. My mum's flowergirl was getting married. She's Indian, like most of my mum's side of the family - and the groom was Japanese. Remember that the next time you want to make or participate in a racial slur. I'm a product of mixed marriages. If you think we are "tainted", to use your word, then maybe you should stop hanging out with me. Or at least stop pretending to be my friend. Don't give me rubbish about liking me for the person I am, not the race I am - my race is part of who I am, and if you can't accept that, then well, I'm sorry for you. I have gotten past the stage, thankfully, where being called a mongrel to my face results in me dissolving into tears. I will never cry in front of you, or because of you, because your words don't mean anything to me.

The thing about the truth is, it's hardly ever what you want it to be.
He left a card, a bar of soap and a scrubbing brush next to a note which said
"use these down to your bones"
And before I knew that I had shiny skin, it felt easy being clean like him
and I thought"this one knows better than I do"
A triangle trying to squeeze into a circle
He tried to cut me so I'd fit
And doesn't that sound familiar?
Doesn't that hit too close to home?
Doesn't that make you shiver; the way things could have gone?
And doesn't it feel peculiar when everyone wants a little more?
And so that I do remember to never go that far;
Could you leave me with a scar?
So the next one came with a bag of treats;
She smelt like sugar and spoke like the sea
And she told me, don't trust them, trust me
Then she pulled at my stitches one by one
Looking at my insides clicking her tongue
and then she said"this will all have to come undone"
A triangle trying to fit into a circle
She tried to cut me so I'd fit
And doesn't that sound familiar?
Doesn't that hit too close to home?
Doesn't that make you shiver, the way things could have gone?
And doesn't it feel peculiar, when everyone wants a little more?
And so that I do remember to never go that far
Could you leave me with a scar?
I think I realized just in time,
although my old self was so hard to find
You bathe me in your finest wine,
but I won't give you mine
'Cos I'm a little bit tired of feeling
like I'll be the bad fruit that nobody buys
Tell me, did you think that we'd all dream the same?
And doesn't that sound familiar?
Doesn't that hit too close to home?
Doesn't that make you shiver, the way things could have gone?
Doesn't that feel peculiar, when everyone wants a little more?
And so that I do remember to never go that far
Could you leave me with a scar?
I do. Have scars. But for some inane reason I keep forgetting to look at them. Thanks for nothing.