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Monday, September 2, 2013

Of Harris, Morality, and Cute ol' Ariely

Yo bloggie wassup.

Waiting for my next paper to start. This is the first time I don't get to go NYEHEHE at the General Paper students because now that we are doing the FULL paper we actually have five hours of exams today instead of the usual 2 hours 45 minutes. So yea. Karma hits and we have to slog it out a few hours more while the GP people strut off to their beds/ cinemas/ shopping malls/ computers. Oh wait, I'm in front of a computer too.

Why am I not studying for my next paper? Because I can't. It's not something one can mug for. Well actually the main reason is that my brain is tired. Seriously, morality is the most confusing thing out there.

Basically, I spent an entire hour watching and re-watching Sam Harris's "Science can answer moral questions". Fascinating talk, really. Even though I think his argument that moral values are reducible to facts about well-being is seriously flawed (his idea of good moral values are only those that lead to better well-being for conscious beings), and he hasn't addressed the most important is-ought problem (which has drained many philosophers' brain juice for centuries so I don't expect him to give an answer to that), his idea of a moral landscape with different peaks, and his argument that there ARE right and wrong answers in morality provided much food for thought.

"Notice that the fact that the concept of health is open, genuinely open for revision, does not make it vacuous. The distinction between a healthy person and a dead one is about as clear and consequential as any we make in science."

If that is the case, does this mean that morality can be in a state of constant change? If FUNDAMENTAL moral values do not hold constant over time, then are these values a product of innate moral sense or of culture?

"Now, why wouldn't this (moral landscape with multiple peaks) undermine an objective morality? Well think of how we talk about food: I would never be tempted to argue to you that there must be one right food to eat.There is clearly a range of materials that constitute healthy food. But there's nevertheless a clear distinction between food and poison. The fact that there are many right answers to the question, "What is food?" does not tempt us to say that there are no truths to be known about human nutrition. Many people worry that a universal morality would require moral precepts that admit of no exceptions."

Many people, myself included, are so obsessed with the idea of doing the "right thing" and they become so rigid in applying these "right" values to their lives that it clouds their rational judgment. The thing that makes moral decisions so frustrating is that for every decision, there are so many things to take into account. For example, well-being, intention etc. So being lazy/ irrational people who avoid making complex decisions (Dan Ariely) (HAVE I MENTIONED HOW FUNNY DAN ARIELY IS I'LL TALK ABOUT HIM NEXT TIME IF I REMEMBER), we often fall into the trap of using just a few key values as our ultimate guidelines to life. Being aware that multiple moral truths can coexist, or be given different levels of priorities under different circumstances would help us make better moral judgments. However, the problem of how do we decide what is right and wrong is still unresolved.

"We simply must converge on the answers we give to the most important questions in human life. And to do that, we have to admit that these questions have answers."

This is the most important point of the entire talk. If we do not admit that there are right and wrong answers in morality, we will not even attempt to search for these answers, and everyone can just go about doing whatever the crap they want. We're gonna see conflicts in morality, for example, those who are tolerant towards others' values would have to tolerate intolerance too (i.e. we're just gonna stand by and watch as Hitler number 2 goes about annihilating an entire race), which totally doesn't make sense.

For now, Mr Harris's idea of morality being related to facts about the well-being of conscious beings seems to be the most appealing and most intuitively right. Nevertheless, we should continue to seek proof for our normative beliefs.

Until then, these questions will continue to annoy stimulate our brains.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lost and Found

Recently I've been bumping into quite a number of "long lost friends".

Not that they are actually lost.

Or that I lost contact with them.

Its just that we sort of lost the enthusiasm to keep up a very close relationship through the years.

Oh and another special case is one in which I completely lost my memories about our friendship.

Its amazing what time can do to BFFs.

And enemies too, for that matter.

Those bubbly girls in braids who are my constant companions during recess are now hot babes whom I might not recognise if not for the annual ritual of wishing them happy birthday on Facebook.

One fine day I found myself practising courtesy in front of the most irritating boy in primary school.

And I introduced myself to one of my oldest friends (The time kind of old not the age kind of old geddit). The way one does as if saying hi to a stranger.

Gosh either this is normal or I suck at retaining friends.

At times like this I feel like I should take the initiative to revive friendships with my past BFFs (are we still BFFs? Like, once a BFF always a BFF?).

But then I realise that I have math homework to do.

And that I'm sort of socially awkward.

P.S. I really hope I'd accidentally bump into more long lost friends. Makes it so much easier to start a conversation.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Why I can't babysit kids

Coz I'm allergic to them.

A few days ago my mum volunteered to help our neighbors babysit their two kids (a two year old boy and a six year old girl) because they had to bring their other two kids for some checkup or something.

Now, I'm not one of the


type. My usual greeting would be

"Yo." Then stare at the kid.

Which is probably why the three year old kid living opposite me thinks I'm a freak and every time I say YO he just goes HMPH and struts away.

Anyway, a miracle happened and the two kids did not view me as a freak. They actually LIKED me. Like, they SMILED at me and the girl started following me around. Well, they smiled more at my mum and sis at first but who cares. I was so happy that I've finally gained acceptance amongst the below-age-12 society when I realized.....


What the girl did:





Basically they mean: everybody eat/ sleep/ don't sleep/ laugh, good or no good?

Then if I don't laugh she will force me to laugh.

What the boy did:

He pulled my hair. Which I didn't mind coz it might be a sign that he liked my hair color.

He pulled my nose. Didn't mind too coz can help make my nose narrower and taller.

He pulled my eyes. To open them up. When I was trying to sleep. Coz the girl was forcing me to sleep. Guess whether I minded.

Basically he just pulled lots of body parts.

Sis and I decided that we were a lot worse than the two of them when we were young and wondered how our parents managed to not kick us out.

Actually they weren't so bad. In fact they were among the more well-behaved kids we've met. And they were SUPER DUPER CUTE. Can go become baby model. Very enjoyable to have baby models around the house to cuddle every now and then.

But to have to become their toy everyday? NO THANKEW. Finally understand why some long term babysitters can charge ex prices.

Mum says the motherly instinct will suddenly pop up in women around their mid-20s.

Still got quite some time to go.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Project Work. The Pain and Pleasure of it.

I whined a lot about Project Work (PW), didn't I?

Actually I can't remember if I whined about it on you, bloggie, and I'm so lazy I couldn't be bothered to check, so yea, lets assume I did.

Guess what? I'm very syok now. Guess why I syok? No need to guess also you know right...PW IS OVAAAAAA!!!!

I expected to float towards the stratosphere and burst from joy like a balloon would (if the balloon floated up and reaches the stratosphere. Actually I don't know I might have gotten the layers wrong. But ANYWAY). However, much as I'd hate to admit it, I feel a teeny weeny leeeny meeeny BIT of 依依不舍。Means I really wanted it to be over but I kinda felt like I don't want it to be over for a split second do you know what I mean? Only a split second though. A bit more than that maybe.

I think I should do a timeline of it here. (Everything based on my memory which is kinda faulty)

March: Release of question paper and got to know who my groupmates are. We were supposed to work in groups of 5 on one of the main topics: Eureka Moment or Waste Not, Want Not. Completely in the couldn't-be-bothered-with-it mood.

April: Deadline for submission of Preliminary Idea. I chose Eureka Moment and wrote something about a helmet that prevents heads from lolling to the side when sleeping on public transport so as to prevent irreversible embarrassment and irreparable emotional trauma. Looks something like this:

If you ignore the fact that it looks like a toilet suction pump it is actually quite cute.

May: Everybody in the group came to a consensus that we'll do Waste Not, Want Not instead and focus on the issue of binge-drinking among youths which results in wastage of health and productivity because people not only get liver cirrhosis and all the other sicknesses which brings to our minds vomit-inducing images. Like these.

Oral cancer
Liver cirrhosis
Told you it is vomit inducing why still look?

Yup we included some ewwwy images like the above in our written report. Hope the examiner doesn't faint and forgot to give us a grade.

June to September: A few reports here and there and the 5 of us turning up looking and feeling like zombies for our meetings coz we didn't even understand why we had to be there. Very little productive work done.

Post-September: So exams were over and the teachers were all "Nyahaha now that exams are over you lazy bums have NO MORE EXCUSES to not start on your project so you are going to dedicate your entire life from now until the deadline to PW!!" Something like that. Just that they said it in a kinder, more concerned-for-the-students'-development way I imagined the witch laughter part.

What to do? Do work loh. Surprisingly, after the promotional exams we progressed at quite an impressive speed. My teacher was impressed too...sort of.

"Wow you guys have done quite a lot lately I'm impressed."

"Thank you wahahhaa we rock yay!!"

"But that's because you all did very very very little before that so of course you have a lot to do."


Whatever, I prefer the idea of us being efficient workers.

However a number of pictures serve to dispel my wonderful belief and remind me of how often our attention had strayed.

Drowning in work...NOT
The library needs less bo liao kids.
Snowing. I wish.
This is what you will be predicted to look like if you are drunk so drink responsibly and DO NOT GET DRUNK.
Even though you will feel like this.

Wow I am so dedicated to my topic I'm still advocating responsible drinking now lol. 

Wrapping the whole thing up was the Oral Presentation (OP), the most terrifying component of all. People fear it more than death. Really. I have statistics to back it up. Which is why they should totally scrape this part. MORE THAN DEATH. IMAGINE THAT. Imagine it now. Got the image? Good.

The presentation part wasn't so bad. As long as the script is in your head, you can just walk in and regurgitate and then hurray you are done with it. The torturous part is the dreaded Question and Answer.

How do you expect us to Generate Ideas and Analyse and Evaluate them in our brains, plus process them, plus structure them, plus weave them in between the lines of grammatically perfect and articulate English, in 5 minutes FOR 5 MINUTES?

Except for a few geniuses (there was a guy in another group in the same room as I was who, unlike the rest of us, did not give an answer in reply to his given question. He gave a SPEECH. Perfect English and articulation and expression and body language and all. Siao.), the remaining general population have to struggle to stop their legs from jellyfying plus keep sensible words coming out of their mouth.

It helped that we had a lot of time to practice and prepare the questions beforehand, and we were allowed to stone for a while to plan out our answers (which doesn't make sense because in real life that would never happen or if it did happen it would just be plain awkward or weird). Yea I have to admit that it is worth choosing life over not having to go through speaking in front people who will judge me (literally), and yea, I am a somewhat better speaker than I was a month before. So while there is still reason to keep the oral component around, perhaps it would be better to lower the percentage of marks it takes up. Gonna make it so much less stressful for the glossophobics out there don't you think?

The post-September period, with all the frantic deadlines for our written report and all the preparation for OP, was the time when we really bonded as a group. Which is the best thing that came out of PW, I suppose. Like, I'm not going to care about PW tens years down the road, or even next year, but I'll definitely treasure all the memories with them and be glad that PW had brought us closer.

I think the letter one of my groupmates wrote to me sums it up all very nicely. Gonna cut out a few personal parts though but yea you guys can read the rest.

Hi Wan Ting,

Finally, 10 months of PW ended officially. It definitely was not the best times in my JC life so far, but it definitely was not the worst. At the start of the year, I really did not feel good about this group and as the days and months passed by, I was a little disappointed at everything because something told me it was going to be a really tough road ahead and I could not see where our group/our project was going. Our conversations revolved around PW and PW alone and we always seem so dead and listless in our meetings and discussions. And I get really annoyed at myself for having to always send spam smses to remind yall to do your work. But through it all, Im really glad things turned out fine towards the end and I really do not think there could have been a better place where I would face similar challenges and experiences than being in this group.

I learnt a lot.
A lot more than what books and classrooms could teach me.

The work that u submit all the time has always been of the quality I wanted. On top of that you were very outgoing and I found it very easy to talk to u. I needed someone I could count on when things got really tough. And Im thankful to have u in the group.

You continue to impress me with the quality of work you hand in all the time. Sometimes, I would not know what to do without you in the group. I would always have a lot of questions about the project and thank god you have most of the answers all the time. These 10 months have been really demanding for me, to juggle badminton, balance my social life as well as PW. I never fail to forget the times when we stayed back to do PW after school for hours, till late at night and go through the WR again and again with me.

You were there to shoulder this huge burden with me,
and I appreciate it.

You always seem to have a good impression of everyone. You taught me about 以和为贵. And I would always remember the insatiable appetite that you have all the time and still never get fat. Im really glad that I got to know you a lot better through PW and crazy as it sounds, I wouldn't mind having to do this all over again. PW drives u up the wall, reveals the ugly side of your character, continues to come at you again and again and again, but through it all,

It was definitely well worth it.
It was my pleasure to be your group mate

I was like awww and very syok coz he said nice stuff about me (head in the clouds wheeeee). But the main point I'm trying to drive here is that even though most of us may think that PW is useless and overseas unis won't even take it into account, it is still worth it to put in effort because,

1. It is your responsibility as part of a team. Even though it wouldn't affect you, others might need it to enter local universities. Everybody is in it together and doing your part of the groupwork doesn't take up that much time such that you cease to function properly, to be honest.

2. Even if only one person appreciates your effort, it is well worth it and provides immense indescribable satisfaction. Even if they don't express it aloud, people do recognize others' efforts. They have eyes plus the other 4 senses. Do you want to leave a group with feelings of resentment still in place, or would you rather hear them say "We had a good time, didn't we?"

Really like even though I'm pretty sure he wrote a letter to every other groupmate I'm still touched coz it means that he values our group and the friendship we shared.

Kay I think I've done a fair bit of typing after a long break so I'm just going to end with a non-warped pretty picture of ours. Tata and I sincerely wish you, my few blog-readers, a very good time working with your team, present or future, wherever you are and whatever you are doing or will be doing. 

One guy spoiled the picture hmph. But ah well, the rest of us looks good.

P.S. This guy is intellectually funny go watch him. And I put it here coz my idea was about embarrassing moments in public transports. His video is more about the painful parts but no matter just watch it.

P.P.S Don't use this as reference for PW. 

P.P.P.S My dear groupmates, if you ever read this post which you probably won't please don't sue me for putting the pictures up all of them were pretty good looking except for one we are friends right? Right? RIGHT?

Friday, September 28, 2012


This is my first time.

Liking a guy.

And he is out of my league.

Like out until the next universe that kind of out.

This is the guy who sucessfully electrocuted me and every other girl out there.

I've never been obsessed with any famous figures or neighbourhood hunks. If I see a cute guy I'll just be like "Oh he's cute I wanna take a picture with him and show off to my girlfriends and make them jealous haha."

But Top?

He just needs to raise a SINGLE EYEBROW and I just......

Actually I dunno I just what coz my mind just goes Top...Top...Top...like a zombie. Seriously there's one scene in one of his MVs, it was too much for me to handle and I ended up choking on my Maggie.

On second thought I don't think I'm incurable. Evidence here:

1. I didn't buy tickets to go watch Big Bang concert.
Coz sold out in 10 minutes liao mah plus you got money meh chan wan ting?

2. I didn't go airport see them when they arrive.
You got lesson mah...and you no money to buy an MC.

3. I'm not going to stalk them around the stadium and the hotel they are staying at.
You got curfew mah...plus you got no money to buy dinner outside.

And you are going to airport to camp on Sunday so you can see them off right right right???? HAH.

Fine, my dear alter ego I know you know me very well no need to keep pointing out the fact that I am broke.

See? Money cannot buy happiness, but it sure can buy you a whole lot of stuff that makes people happy.

Like buying the chance to see the guy you fancy.

Ah well now there's nothing left for me to do but to continue this unrequited love through the computer screem while working my kidneys consuming artificial flavourings and waxed noodles.

P.S. Top is the only guy whose eyebrows I wouldn't dare to pluck.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Match point

What do teachers do for lessons after exams?
Make students watch movies that are "intellectually stimulating".

So today we watched Match Point. Exactly my type of movie. Hot guy (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) plus hot girl (Scarlett Johansson). Turns out it has a few "stimulating" moments in it. Our teacher attempted to shield such scenes from us but of course fail lah. LOL he was like "You should close your eyes for this part. Don't worry I'll narrate the events for you guys."

Of course, everyone continued to focus their gaze on the screen where the leads were passionately embracing each other while our teacher began his narration.

"Right now they are both enjoying a cup of tea..."

Anyway, lesson was only an hour long so we haven't completed the movie yet. If you've read the synopsis of the movie, or watched it, you'd know that it is about this guy Chris who chose the easy way to ka-ching and prestige: bagging a rich girl (Chloe). Same for Nola, a struggling American actress, who dates the rich girl's brother (Tom) since he offers a way out of poor-dom. Both of them are like each other but obviously money is way more attractive to them since Nola was like "People have passions but its over Chris" and Chris goes on to marry Chloe.

So Nola should marry Tom and the two couples enjoy the rest of their lives being part of the British upper class right? But NOOOO Tom finds some hotter/ better chick whom his mother approves of and dumps Nola. Then of course Chris go find Nola lah if not cannot continue the script. Chloe bugs Chris to have children. Wah ang moh very direct leh. Chloe just asked Chris to "make her pregnant" with a straight face leh. If me I think I'll go sit a few rounds of merry-go-round first.

And that was were we stopped.

As usual, I tried to practice my script writing skills by predicting the movie outcome. It went something like this: Chris and Nola have an affair. Nola gets pregnant. Since Chris is the selfish kind he sure won't give up his career so he's likely to: 1. Ask Nola abort the baby. 2. Secretly raise his mistress and illegitimate child. The movie would end somewhere along the lines of Nola becoming a super successful actress after the abortion while the rich British family goes bankrupt and Chris ends up begging on the streets. Either that or Nola and the kid fight with Chloe for inheritance after Chris takes over the family properties and is lying on his deathbed. Note that in both cases Chris receives some form of punishment for two-timing. We need some SENSE OF JUSTICE here kay?

End up you know what's the ending? I googled the synopsis and you know how the storyline is like?


Where is the justice I ask you? WHERE?

Basically right, Woody Allen, the director is arguing that "there is neither God, nor punishment, nor love to provide redemption."

What this movie is trying to bring across is that life is unfair. Like in the beginning of the movie there was a quote about if given the choice to be good or lucky, he'll choose to be lucky. And it seems so, even in real life. There are so many instances where those who have sinned lived on well without remorse, while the good suffer and die being wronged. I can only hope that all of us receive our fair share of reward and punishment in the afterlife.

Lucky Chris got away. He didn't even suffer from guilt as he felt that his actions were justified and necessary. Its weird. He seemed so in love with Nola during the first half of the movie. I guess his true love is money, while Nola was merely a temporary infatuation.

Oh yea, and Tom blessed Chloe's baby with luck and not goodness. I just hope the kid will make good use of his luck and not follow the footsteps of his father.

Moral of the story? Ladies, love a guy who loves you more than anything else. If you are a guy, doesn't matter if you love money or your girl more. Just make your decision and stick to it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tauhuey flows in my blood...

...for now. Like I've been eating tauhuey almost everyday during the exam period. Very effective way of destressing. But highly addictive. Especially if there's a beancurd (beancurd is the tauhuey if you dunno) stall within walking/ bus-ing distance then very hard to resist temptation. Anyway everyday eat also never mind since the original flavor ones cost $1.50 while other flavors like almond and whatnot are slightly more expensive ($2-$2.50). Visited like 10 stalls already all standard price one la, which means the market structure is...kay I shall not go into econs.

Therefore, the best way to gauge whether you are broke is to see whether you can afford tauhuey.

Today I was at the bus interchange like quite late at night already (means there's hope to get discount for food since the shops likely wanna clear stock). And there was this beancurd shop. Suddenly pop up in front of me. The tauhueys and their crystal clear complexion were aligned neatly in their full glory, beckoning to famished passerbys like me through the very transparent plastic containers through the very transparent refrigerator doors. There I stood, mesmerized by the pure snow-like beauty.

Until the auntie interrupted me.

"Xiao mei what you want?"

Uh, very obvious. The I-wanna-eat-every-single-tauhuey-in-your-refrigerator look is written all over my forehead lo. However, I knew damn well that my wallet was stuffed with zero notes and a few pitiful coins, judging from the faint jingling it made when I shook. So I told her:

"Wait ar."

Slowly and steadily, I dug out every single ten and five cent coin. One by one. It wasn't easy with all the junk like rubberbands stuffed into the coin compartment but at long last I managed to raise a total sum of......$1.20.

Putting on my most innocent, sad face, I managed to utter "Can you please give a student discount of $0.30? I'm giving you ALL the money I have on me right now and I really really REALLY wanna eat tauhuey tonight. Pleeeeaaaassseee...........?"

Then you know how she answered?

"Of course cannot lah!! Profits must give boss one kay!!"

Kay lorh kay lorh. Anyway what was I hoping? My most innocent face also look like gangster I tell you. And yea its not the worker's fault but I was just heart broken so allow me to whine a little.

No matter. PROMOS HAS ENDED!! Any form of freedom tastes better than the most delicious tauhuey in the world.

P.S. I'm gonna write tauhuey reviews. Once I have money. Anybody wanna sponsor me lol? ;)