Sigh

Decided to get some of the backlog of grievances out of the way or they’d just fester in my drafts folder.

This guy is full of shit.
I wish the main news body in Singapore did not publish drivel like this. Sure, the forum page is for random people of the public to air their opinions. But some opinions are definitely worse than others. It’s like there’s no filter at all.

Here is a subset of my complaints:
1. It’s entirely inspired by his aunt’s husband passing away and the fact that he perceives her to be “all alone” with “nobody to take care of her”, as if she can’t take care of herself, and that it is a given that she regrets not having children now. There are so many assumptions involved with this I was horrified at his convoluted and highly illogical, myopic thought process, so incapable is he of empathizing with other people and why they make the decisions they do. He is so sure that his point of view is the only legitimate one and that anyone else who consciously decides the contrary will regret their choice. I’m not even going to expound further on the obvious egotism of having children so that you will not be lonely in your old age.

2. He says

If we all thought more deeply about the things that are truly important to us, that give our lives meaning, I am sure the vast majority of us would come to the same conclusion: that family ranks above anything else.

What research has he done to substantiate this claim? I certainly don’t think that family ranks above anything else. If anything my family has been most key in highlighting the kind of personality dysfunctions I want to avoid, and how futile approaching them is if I ever have any problems. There is very little kindredness in my family; they’re nice, normal (in a pinch) people but if I wanted to have a real conversation with someone they’d be the last people I’d go to.

Further, even if family ranks above anything else for you that doesn’t necessarily have to mean a family that you have created, it could be the family that you were born with. But I don’t even know why I bother.

3.

And my grandparents must have been so proud and happy in the knowledge that, even as they were leaving this world and their material possessions behind, they would live on through us, for we are their legacy.

I think this idea of a “legacy” has got to go. How can he possibly accuse the childfree of being egocentric if one of his reasons for procreating is to leave a legacy of his own and have his bloodline/whatever-the-hell-he-thinks-imperative-for-him-to-leave-behind continued? How self-involved does he have to be to presume on behalf of the deceased?

4.

I get the impression that people from generations past appeared to place the family and community above the self, whereas the opposite is generally true for the younger generations of Singaporeans.

Again, another anecdotal statement based on his community of friends, who are probably all in the same generation as him (i.e. not the younger generation) and who feel a kind of moral superiority in their wise old age that allows them to criticize members of the “younger generation” for not being community-centred enough. People give back to the community in all kinds of ways. His decision to do good, civic-minded deeds does not allow him to expect others to do so, and to execute their good deeds with the same conspicuousness that he does.

Even if the younger generation is not family or community-centred, why should he expect them to be? The world they grew up in is vastly different from the world he grew up in. If they are not community-minded, it probably points to how little they feel they have personally benefited from the notions of family and community that he so prizes, and hence how little they feel indebted to it. How can he go so far as to accuse them of being ingrates without saying how they have explicitly benefited from either institution and proceeded to show their ingratitude?

5.

So if my grandparents, despite their relative poverty, felt comfortable having as many kids as they did, why are we so cautious when it comes to parenthood today?

He obviously knows nothing about the history of contraception. Does he really think every single one of the 5+ odd kids that families used to have in the 40s and 50s were planned for and greatly anticipated? I suppose actual historical phenomena such as the Post War Baby Boom means nothing to him, seeing that he’s just plucking random ideas out of his head and cobbling them together in a poor facsimile of a reasoned exposition.

6.

Having children will necessarily entail sacrifice, that much is certain, but even if I am poorer – in terms of time, freedom and money – my life will surely be richer for it.

This is an assumption of the grossest proportions, and nobody should feel entitled to prescribe child-rearing for someone else.

People like this make me ashamed to be Singaporean. Unfortunately there isn’t any intelligent discourse in the comments section of the Straits Times that doesn’t quickly descend into anarchy, unlike knetz sites that allow upvoting and downvoting of comments so you CAN see the general picture of what the majority thinks.

Dear Straits Times, please stop publishing drivel in your forum page.

In related news, we have been reading “Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed” and it has been mostly fantastic, especially the essay elucidating how “maternal instinct” is by and large a social construct misappropriated as ‘instinct’. Sure, people may feel it, but that doesn’t imply that it has had primal roots. More on that another day.

Haven’t done this in a while

I’ve decided to compile all the ridiculous things I see on fb into posts. They’ve been appearing more regularly these days and I think I will die of cantankerousness if I can’t get it off my chest. WTF ARE THESE EVEN

stupidness

What century are we in exactly? Which wife says “I’m not taking care of a grown man?” What kind of stupid assumption is that? Why does the poster assume it’s the “husband” who comes home tired and hungry and not the wife? What if cooking is not one of the wife’s interests? And even if it were, why should she have to cook for him? That’s totally f***ed up. Seriously whisper? NOBODY in this day and age needs to reinforce ridiculous female stereotypes as the person who stays home and takes care of her husband. If you want to talk about partnerships, you just have to change all the genders in your totally f***ed up statement and then we’ll be saying something new.  Where do you get off telling people to act like your ideal of a wife? Please cut out this bullshit.

 

Screenshot 2016-02-17 00.06.35

Nothing intrinsically wrong with this, apart from the fact that she thinks that her dad loving his wife is a “gift” and not the status quo.  “How true.”? Seriously? Is this what we have descended to? People. Stop having children if you don’t love each other. You are not rabbits. I FULLY EXPECT my dad to love my mum, his loving her is not a “gift”, or some kind of unexpected blessing for me. If he doesn’t, he’s obviously doing parenting wrong, marriage wrong, probably his whole life wrong. I would judge him. Don’t make it sound like he’s doing anything so great just by loving his wife. Good god.

Screenshot 2016-02-17 00.07.40

I wasn’t really offended by this one but I just thought it impossibly ludicrous; as if we do not have enough gender stereotypes, here is this guy saying that ALL women are concerned about the weather. Like any other woman. Like no men. w.t.f.

Screenshot 2016-02-17 10.54.47

I’m highlighting the responses of the odd ordered comments. The even ordered commenter is obviously trying to steer the conversation away from anything quite so derogatory.  This is the state of sexism in Singapore (be sure that his opinions are not just limited to him. And of course, the poster is male). In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have blurred the OP’s face and name. Dennis Teo, get your shit together. Not all women in Singapore are high maintenance. Not all “scientist women” dislike shopping. Not all women bitch about other people. There are plenty of people of your own gender who are high maintenance and love shopping and love bitching about other people. Who are you to take the moral high ground, and who are you that you have the ability to pick and choose your partner like they are chattel?  Such sweeping statements do absolutely nothing toward advancing reasonable online discourse.

So. Angry. I’m not even sure I am achieving catharsis. I need to give each one of them a good slap for populating my feed with nonsensical, sexist statements before I feel even remotely better.

In other news, I’m finally using the box blur filter in photoshop :P There will be more to come, because apparently people can’t help saying stupid and screwed up things on facebook.

How to parent a child who is studying overseas

I’m making this guide as a child who is studying overseas :P probably because a lot of my fellow international student children are not as thick skinned as me to ask for stuff. Also, this is for all the parents who wished they had children who communicated in precise terms how they could best help them or parent them. I’m here to communicate what your children crave/want while they are overseas. This is no rocket science but sometimes Singaporean parents can be really obtuse/socially inept and need things spelled out for them in black and white (Newsflash: If you’ve never thought about whether you are socially inept, you are probably socially inept).

1. Send stuff from home for their birthdays. Not useless stuff like clothes or bags or whatever, which they can get cheaper anywhere else (but Singapore), real things, like pineapple tarts, Bee Cheng Hiang bak kwa, spice packs, things from Singapore that they would REALLY LIKE but cannot have. Order flowers from a local florist or chocolates or AMAZON GIFT CARDS or something. Most any other country has a far more advanced online shopping system than Singapore and you can exploit that to get your children things they really need or want.

2. Send stuff for Chinese New Year – ang pows, chinese new year snacks, anything really, because there is no festive spirit in countries that are not Singapore and Hong Kong and that’s when they’ll be feeling the most homesick. Do NOT on any account skype them with all your chinese new year goodies in the background stuffing your face gleefully with food that they cannot find overseas. Even an ang moh foodie has famously said “Culinarily, they [Singaporeans] are among the most homesick people I have ever met.” Don’t make it any worse than it has to be.

3. If they send you messages or pictures or updates on whatsapp, BE RELEVANT when responding. Don’t just ignore the 50 pictures they spammed with a totally inane, off-topic response like “went out for a movie today”. You ought to show some base level of interest in their lives overseas, whether it is marvelling at their shitty home cooking or admiring the scenery only found in temperate countries while simultaneously being turned off by your child’s douchebaggy sharing of Too Many Travel Photos. They’re allowed to be socially inept. They’re children! You’re not.

4. Know when their exams are and encourage them! Say you’ll take them out for a meal to celebrate when they are back or something. Many singaporean children study really hard to gain their parents approval (usually not easily gotten if gotten at all) and it can be tough when you’re not around to care about how their academics are going.

5. Arm them with recipes of your home cooked food (if you are a good cook). Be tech savvy. Start a google drive account to share recipes, family photos, etc.

6. Update them on things back home, particularly family/church gossip or news specific to your country. I really don’t understand why this one is so difficult. Is it just my parents/Z’s parents who are this uncommunicative? I just found out this week that my cousin had another baby girl who is now THREE MONTHS OLD. And I found out by seeing a photo on facebook.

7. IF THEY WRITE LETTERS TO UPDATE YOU, REPLY THEM!!!! I cannot believe this has to be said. When I write letters to XXX she reads them and says, “very interesting!” and then files it away (or tosses it, I don’t know) and proceeds to ignore any of the questions I’ve asked her in the letter to SHOW SOME MODICUM OF INTEREST IN HER LIFE. If you haven’t learnt to be entertaining in how you describe your day to day experiences, read a self-help book, or just read writings by entertaining people! It might rub off on you. Or help you to cultivate your sense of humor or interestingness. I think you generally have to be a -not boring- person yourself to be able to see the interesting things happening in your life or perceive “boring things” as “interesting things”. But instead of just writing yourself off as someone who “doesn’t say much” (which I’m sorry, is a big fat excuse), you should at least TRY to share openly about your life, like you would do around the dinner table, which obviously we can’t do now because we’re not in the same freaking country.

I don’t know, it seems like our parents are perfectly happy to abide by “out of sight, out of mind”; they’ll only talk to us if we are in listening distance. I find it plain weird. Even my foster mom from Ithaca gave me a call on my birthday to wish me happy birthday and sent me a nice email full of interesting gobbets about her week.

Bottom-line: Your twenty year old child IS STILL YOUR CHILD. You don’t get a break just because they’re 9000 miles away!

Updates

Just read this essay without reading the title. Try it! It’s hilarious.

I love the shouts and murmurs section of the New Yorker. Still waiting on my first copy :/ and the accompanying tote bag! Am so sad that I just narrowly missed getting the printed food issue.

School is going ok, first round of midterms are over, thank God. I didn’t do so well on one but did ok on another. Big picture here, is that I learn stuff. And I learnt a LOT of stuff before the midterms, so that’s a plus. Also, found out what else I should pick up (proof skill wise), which is also good. The idea is to keep improving right, until one is less limited.

We almost never have time to go for happy hour anymore, due to the midterms and homework. That and the fact that I go crazy every time we do groceries and wind up buying a ton of stuff that I have to use up. Just yesterday I finally finished 2 of the 3 bell peppers I bought about 3-4 weeks ago in a pasta that also used up leftovers from my dinner at Famous Dave’s last Saturday. I never thought it would happen, but our pantry is FULL. There are 4 bags of pepperidge farm cookies (when they were on sale at $2 or $2.50 each), 6 boxes of Hello Panda, 3 bottles of soda, 1 bag of Wang Wang biscuits, 1/2 bag of Japanese short grain rice (which we are in the middle of using), 20 cans of milo, 1 bottle of calpis, 1 gallon of arizona tea, various cans of tuna, boxes of jello, boxes of matcha pudding mix, a package of egg noodles, basically anything that’s on sale, I’ll buy it. Especially if it lasts forever. I’m beginning to see how Chris managed to stock up her larder to its current war-suitable standards.

We have finally got the styrofoam out of the trunk of the car (that has been travelling around with us for more than a month and taking up ALL of the space in the trunk) because we’d been waiting for a time/reason to drive down to Renton to the styrofoam recycling plant.

For winter break, just for a hoot, we have decided to go to Alaska to try to catch the northern lights. Absolutely worst time to go, weather-wise. I’m not very good at saying ‘no’. So I just said ‘yes’ to this (obviously it wasn’t mine/ze’s idea) and am now part of this bizarre death wish to trek around in Alaska in the dead of winter. Jim Schoenfeldt would get a kick out of this. He’s always told me that the fishing up in Alaska is great, you can catch enough fish to last a whole year, etc.

Oh, my uncle got leukemia. He stays in the Netherlands, so it’s hard for any of us to go see him. My mum and my other uncle got their stem cells tested to see if there’s a match though, for when the first one needs a bone marrow transplant. He’s in the very poor risk category apparently, and my mum has been freaking out about it for a month. She’s the kind of person who doesn’t let things go. I don’t see what she can possibly do to make it better, and you know how uneducated people always try to give old home remedies as advice (to freaking cure cancer)? She’s been telling my cousin to give him supplements and beetroot juice because those are good for him. As if he doesn’t have an entire panel of dietitians in the hospital figuring out what he should eat and what meds go with the chemo.

She worries so much that people worry more about her than about my uncle, who is positively transcendent about this whole thing. He even recorded a message on whatsapp telling her not to worry, but when she’s gotten it into her head to worry, nothing is going to change that. It’s annoying as hell and there’s no talking to people like that. She gets offended when I’m cavalier, she gets offended when I don’t ask enough, she gets offended when I’m not concerned enough, etc. etc. And not being all cut up about it and stressed like her is also offensive. Gah.

Dorian

I posted this recently on fb as a protest against singapore’s national library pulping these children’s books that feature gay families. One of them was a picture book about a penguin who had two fathers. And they pulped it. Seriously.

One of my friends commented that she’s “not sure” she can agree with Wilde. Well yes, in the real world, people disagree, and coexist with all their different opinions, instead of shutting down other people’s opinions by pulping their books. It’s utterly ridiculous!

One of the biggest regrets I have from being a Christian is coming into contact/having to be friends with/having to be civil to this large pool of bigots and totally unthinking people. My father asked me what I thought of the pink dot movement and he said it was worrying because he thinks the “end days” are coming and that the human race is sinking into depravity. Oh. My. God.

So what if the “end days” are coming? In the first place, one is not to speculate when Christ returns; it is a futile endeavour. In the second place, it should not modify your behaviour in the slightest. What, does the idea of impending armageddon inspire you to be more homophobic than usual? Give me a break. It’s like half (or the whole) of their brains are not functioning properly (if at all). What kind of half-assed argument is that? I hope they repeal the law. Just so that the line is clearly drawn between church and state. And so christians here stop being so entitled they feel like everything in their scripture should be legislated in the public sphere.

And supposedly christians believe that the God of christians gave us free will. It is really ANNOYING when christians do NOTHING to protect this free will but instead force their beliefs on other people to help them become better people. Only in singapore do you see people being so patronizing without even being aware of it.

Gobble

While designing our wedding dinner invitations, we discovered that the command to remove page numbers from a TeX document was “\pagenumbering{gobble}”
How adorable is that??

We played cards over the weekend (Bang, 6 little pigs, Citadels) and everybody was late as usual. I am really quite amazed that they think their time is worth more than mine – which is basically the implication of being late, isn’t it? It is perfectly OK to make me and liangze wait for more than 1 hour (that’s how late they are) and to waltz in as and when they please. They are the only people I meet (as a group) who are always late (not just 5 minutes late, like 1-2 hrs late) and I am thinking of filtering them out. I’m pretty inflexible about this. All the friends I keep are people who know how to respect other people’s time, and it’s totally necessary because I don’t have a lot of time to waste waiting around for people – every second I spend is usually beneficial if not to me than to someone else. Especially now we only have 2 months left here – we have to design our invitations, do a lot of wedding planning stuff, finish D&SY’s prezi, apply for our visa, book our plane tickets, find our accomms, settle the banking stuff. It’s fortunate that we never applied for phone lines here to cancel – we’ve always been using prepaid plans because we don’t really like to go out with people all that often nor want to be bothered by incessant calls/texts. My ideal is if people come to my house so I don’t actually have to leave it. I don’t mind cooking for them. But I hate leaving the house unnecessarily.

I guess the moral of the story is to not make friends with people who have nothing going on in their lives that their time is basically fluid and they assume the same of other people. The best case scenario is to make friends with people who are as busy as you. People who need google calendar to keep track of their appointments and make it to them on time.

To some degree I like meeting guys much more than girls because they usually seem to assume that I am as busy as if not busier than they are and actively try not to be late/waste my time. Perhaps it’s a gentlemanly thing but all my guy friends are absolutely flawless in this regard.

The main problem with filtering them out is that I like playing cards with them. LZ doesn’t enjoy it as much because he’s the only guy, and he also feels like the weakest link so if there are team games (like 80 points or 6 little pigs) he gets stressed out about pulling his team behind lol. He also has pretty little stamina so doesn’t like playing for long stretches (unlike me – I can play for hours and hours). I think they’re really fun people though, when I’m not being pissed off at their tardiness.

Today we got the deed signings out of the way! LZ got his dad and his aunty to sign, mine was completed before XY left for Sydney because she signed it for me. One step closer to departure~ We treated them to a lunch at Pietrasanta, one of the places with the best burratas in Singapore. It wasn’t just for signing though, yesterday’s chch election results are out and his dad has been voted in as the senior pastor with a 99.2% majority across all 4 services – a practically unanimous decision. It’s a good thing we won’t be around for his first 4 year term lol to besmirch his name :P I still remember when I first told Daniel that LZ’s dad was a pastor. He had this O_O look and said “His dad is a pastor??” lol! As far as christians from his chch go I guess we are pretty unconventional. But as far as pastors go he’s also pretty unconventional. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

A note

Dear American middle schoolers: Stop googling your English homework answers and actually DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Do you know how many hits I have to my blog just because some lazy, illiterate teenager can’t be bothered to read the set text? Just yesterday one of the search terms was “the wednesday wars who couldn’t open the telegram” (<- also, bad google technique). The Wednesday Wars is a perfectly easy, short, meaningful book that you could probably finish reading in the time it takes for you to google answers to everything. It’s no wonder college students have such poor command of English today. I peer marked an essay once at Cornell that spelt the same word three different ways in a single essay. You don’t want to be that person.

***

I’ve finally reached page 50/1370 on Soompi in the You From Another Star thread (chronologically speaking, the first two episodes have just aired in the Soompi timeline that is page 50/1370) and there have been at least 10 posts recapping Do Min Joon’s gratuitous shower scene and at least 5 fans wondering how the OTP (One True Pairing – used to distinguish the couple that will end up together in a korean drama from the many red herrings along the way) will get a kiss scene if the alien, as explained in the drama, cannot exchange blood and saliva with human beings, and wondering what will happen to Do Min Joon if he kisses Cheon Song Yi. It’s hilarious. “Will he die? Will he turn into a normal human being? Maybe the bad effects are not on him but on the person he kisses and his saliva is poisonous to humans?” Everyone there is very concerned that they will not get a kiss scene haha.

And then they posted the article where the OTP appeared on a late night talkshow and the host asked KSH if he was expecting a kiss scene with JJH and he said “I requested the writers…” and covered his mouth and said “oops, was I being too honest?” !!!! haha it’s cute how he doesn’t bother acting cool about it at all even though at this point I think more people in Korea/the world at large would rather kiss him than her haha.

Reading Soompi/Drama Beans is great because I get to find out about various metas I never observed while watching the show. E.g. when CSY wonders why Min Joon doesn’t recognize her even though she’s the biggest star in Korea and wonders if he’s an alien or from North Korea lol. I watched Secretly, Greatly after You from another star, so didn’t get the North Korean reference at first (He acted as a North Korean spy in Secretly, Greatly).


This is what he looks like when he wins at mahjong lol. I wonder if Korean mahjong has different winning combinations from Shanghainese/Hong Kong mahjong.


I really like this white sweater, which he wears while asking Hwi Kyung to clean the drunk Song Yi out of his house hah and then smoothly hides the fact that he doesn’t have a cellphone and still uses a pager.

LZ has been picking up Korean script recently, he claims to understand the lyrics of the songs that they play as drama soundtracks since those are not subbed, but I think it’s cause he’s an even bigger/more serious fan than me. Not of Kim Soo Hyun of course, of whom he is still jealous, but maybe of someone else, or Korean dramas in general. He found this really funny quote about current day Korean script (Hangul) – when they switched over from using Chinese characters (Hanja):

Hangul was designed so that even a commoner could learn to read and write; the Haerye says “A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days.”

lol.
I suppose our latin alphabet is for even more intellectually challenged people.