Monday, December 19, 2011

Democracy.. again

I can't sleep. So I might as well update, since I don't have the mood to do anything at the moment. And as always, I do not organise thoughts well, so this post will as usual not be well articulated.

This festive season, I ponder upon the meaning of democracy.

You see, in the most ideal sense, democracy is the best policy out there. A collective society, harnessing the wisdom of the society as a whole (note, where the majority of the people have enough sense that the 'noise', i.e. the deviants and the clueless do not hold enough sway) point to the direction it wishes to go. In the past, conquest was probably of the greatest interest (I am no historian btw, this is a speculation).

Today, I sincerely believe we do not understand democracy (neither do I, for that matter).

Point one. (This is a pretty far fetched argument, but I think there is an underlying link somewhere.) We live in the information age. There is simply too much to think about, to pay attention to. You have the current advances in technology, oh that's iPhone 79, Android, Star Wars, epidemic, homosexuals, that new game in store, that hot chick right there, your work, boycotting bread, politics. So how many people do actually pay attention to politics (and policies for that matter). I have written before that politics in Malaysia is all about idolatry. Its about the leaders of both the government and the opposition. Its NOT about the policies they bring, and its NOT about the direction they want to go, which is missing the point completely.

What do I think democracy is? Well, it is easy to say 'a collective sense of direction for the country' or even 'people power to decide what's best for the country'. Put it in simpler terms, I think its all about us as a society trying to solve our problems. Which is why I believe there are different parties in the first place. The religious party might think the prominent problems are that the people are not God fearing enough. The Green thinks more about sustainability etc. (That was a general analogy btw, I don't think its accurate).

And when we look at Malaysia, we see only one problem. Read the comments in RPK's post, read the comments in TMI. In fact just read the comments anywhere on the Internet that mentions vaguely about our government/politics. The generic answer will be 'Whatever the problem is, remove the current government first. They are responsible for yada yada'.

It appears that a point has reached where people simply stop paying attention to anything any longer. They have implanted firmly the anti-establishment message in their head. And they won't listen to anything else.

Point two, directly following point one. How many people actually think of progress? We throw the words around, yet they hold no meaning. And as always, we like to say 'remove the government first. They are corrupt. They impede progress'. So what exactly is this progress that we are always talking about?

Good pay, good looking prime ministers, holy men acting holy, sustainability, everyone hand in hand dancing and singing and happy? That so does not sound like reality to me.

What happened to working more towards mutual understanding and accepting each other? Do we have that?  Unfortunately I think no. At this stage, in my honest opinion progress for our country is to forge greater ties with ourselves. Despite all the problems revolving around economy, diseases, food etc. that threatens our very life, our greatest hurdle is still social living. In collective living, different view points are guaranteed. How we deal with it reflects the level of maturity of a society, which I believe ties in strongly with 'progress'. Progress to me is not as simple as building skyscrapers and eliminating poverty. It is how we think of each other and how we resolve differences, and how we solve problems together. We might not work well together today, but say in a month we worked together slightly better. Now that's progress to me. Everything else comes naturally after that. I firmly believe so.

So to summarise what I think: We have a distorted view on 'progress' (point two), we do not understand 'governance' (point one).

Note: I know I made a mistake in thoughts somewhere, but I think the points are supported to some extent. I am half asleep now

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Old stuff

I recently rediscovered Avril Lavigne. The Canadian who was my high school imaginary sweetheart, with her powerful voice and some lovely songs now entertains me again. I am happy, despite exams breathing down my neck.

And Avril Lavigne >> Taylor Swift. My friends are avid fans of Taylor Swift. I think Lavigne wins hands down. At least I can relate to Avril Lavigne's songs (old songs anyway, like FREAK OUT) more, Taylor Swift is alwayssssss about some sweet love.

There's something I don't quite understand about exams. I don't think exams are useful. I don't think exams are a fair assessment of what I have learned. After all, learning which equation to put to which problem doesn't sound very helpful when you're asked to design a real bad ass reactor, for real.

And yet, I somehow find myself stressing out each and every time there's exams. I can't seem to shake off that grip exam has on me, I must do well in this exam because the grades are important. I know its not, I tell people its not, but my ego is there to tell me I must do better than the others, because there is that satisfaction I can answer exam questions better than them! HA!

No, ask me any time and I'll tell you exams are a waste of time. Somehow formal education has put itself in a bind, I guess. Without any assessment, who is to say whether the whole time spent on educating you has not been a waste of time? And yet the only form of assessment that we have is so unbelievably standardised that it fails its purpose. Ironic.

Chances are, I won't be an engineer a good portion of my life, despite spending 4 years on it (5% of my life, assuming 80 years lifespan). I roughly know which path I want to take, but whether I will do it is unknown to me. I do not like dabbling in the future, except when dealing with issues about safety and risk.

On another topic, I recently blew quite a bit of money buying books to read. This is acceptable money spending, except I hide in a game here and there to tell myself ITS ALRIGHT! ;)

Currently reading 'Life's X factor' by none other than my department head, Professor Neil Broom. I found Dawkins to be horribly boring except Greatest Show on Earth (before I read Prof. Broom. I haven't even completed the book yet). I finished Selfish Gene somehow, and Extended Phenotype helped me sleep many nights away. So reading Prof. Broom is a refreshing activity, since the book is dedicated to point out what he thinks is wrong with all these biologists out there who denounce the existence of God, behind the shield of 'natural selection'.

This topic interests me greatly. How on earth did evolution, natural selection etc. manage to drag the existence of God into question? I suppose largely its because mainstream religions like to portray a God that breathes down our neck and checking whether we've been naughty or not. And now we find that we are evolved(ing) creatures, and that our existence is not directly attributable to the Mighty One. And we argue.

Honestly? The fact that existence exists sounds to me as though there already is a manner of creation at hand. You cannot have something without creation, or its just a logical difficulty. In fact, I believe in a God, but not a mainstream God. I do not side with anthropocentric views, but there is certainly a cool guy out there who made things possible.

Back to revision. Update again when I feel bored enough. There's so much thoughts that I haven't been able to jot down, its such a waste, really.

Because in the future (oops) I will look back and maybe laugh at myself a bit (Yes I do it now too. I think I was an idiot. Probably still am) when I read back about myself. Its a great way to reassess how one has changed, particularly the self.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I am a firm believer in having a purpose. In anything significant that we do, of course there are lee-ways for such a statement. After all, we sometimes like to space out and stay in the other zone.

Back to my point. I am a firm believer in having a purpose. Sometimes, I feel as though our generation are a disillusioned bunch. We don't question anything, because everything has been laid out nicely for us.

The education system is in solid grounds now, thus nobody ever challenges it. Because challenging it requires us to put forth a better alternative. No one as of yet has seem to come forward with a better idea.

And because of that, students 'follow the path', simply because it is safe. And our future generations will follow this style as well, improving the path as they go. There are no major problems with that, my problem is that people do not think of why they do things anymore.

How many of you are studying because you want to? Most of us feel compelled to pursue education because it will put us in an advantage in searching for a better paying job, which will mean more money and a more comfortable life. How many of us actually believes in pursuing academic excellence because of what it offers in essence, i.e. knowledge?

To begin with, question the reasons behind every significant action of yours. People I know, in fact almost everybody I know have a generic purpose in things they do. I join this activity because it will look good in my CV. I do this because I want to meet more people (which is actually a good thing I suppose). And most of all, I work because I must feed myself. The last point is my point of contention, I don't believe we work solely for the purpose of feeding ourselves. Society cannot persist on a community of people wanting to feed themselves. It will degenerate eventually with greed, corruption and anarchy. It is symbolic of civilization that we know prudence; know what is enough and know the purpose in pursuing further.

I must admit I was mainstream once. I was living a completely comfortable life, everything accounted for from birth. Food, shelter you name it. Just one thing I was not provided in that totally dependent life. Purpose.

Not that I have found a purpose though, its not solid as of yet. But I just wish to highlight the fact that, we live our lives not for an awesome CV, not for employment and certainly more than genetic requirements. Because we have intelligence, we must transcend the genetic purpose.

PS: No longer do we have those questions about dreams as we did during childhood. What do you want to be when you grow up?

........Doctor. To save lives. Ok maybe even the children are generic now as well

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Eating alone is lonely

Anyone ever felt eating alone is just about the saddest thing to do? Everytime I find myself with food and no friends around, some form of solitude creeps up in me. The food is not enjoyable, because somehow company during eating is an integral part of the daily ritual. For that reason, I really dislike eating alone. Its too lonely.

I'm struggling to finish Bertie, too many things to do. My university decision-makers are complete assholes, because they took an automated gun out and riddled my timetable with holes. Some holes look as though they have been done in with a bazooka. I mean, 3 hour gaps between lectures? TWO of them in one day? It turned a 3 1-hour-lecture day into a 9 hour day. I shouldn't be whining like this, but I must scream out somewhere that there is an imbecile at large. Oh why is that? Because the 1-hour gaps are unproductive, 2-hour gaps are slightly less unproductive, and 3-hour gaps are lesser unproductive. And they are all unproductive. Complete waste of time.

Why is that so? First, it takes 15 minutes to find a spot to settle down. Then it takes up to half an hour to get the rhythm of productivity, by which time you pack up and go to the next lecture. Or else you can continue the productivity for an extra hour, and find that you cannot finish your assignment. And the next time you sit down, you take an extra 15 minutes to recall what you have done and get back on track. That's one hour to get the rhythm going.

No, I don't think I'm slow. Its to do with the mood. I'm not one to switch modes immediately. Heck, I take at least half an hour to fall asleep at nights.

Ooh, I have not updated for ages and suddenly I come back here whining. I am ashamed of myself.

Oh well, I should finish Bertie soon, because I have purchased Dawkin's The external phenotype. Now, don't start the fire about Dawkins being a complete bigot about religion. He's a downright atheist, and completely pro-evolution theory. Nothing wrong with evolution theory, I think. But I do not think that evolution theory is sufficient to justify the lack of existence of a divine being. Nor do I think it justifies the existence of a divine being. Divinity is a tricky problem, because the only tool we have is faith and logics. Logics is incapable of inferring the divine, simply because it is fundamentally flawed, riddled with epistemic problems. Faith is even trickier, simply because it does not offer argument and it is usually hard to differentiate between the blind, the zealots, the liars and the sages.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Bertie's book is good. Its light enough for heavy stuff, and is comprehensible for people in general (I guess. I can't take common sense for granted though).

Haven't been updating, simply because I can't find the mood to do anything. Instead, I am seeing a lot of conflict between people recently.

So, you see, its understandable when someone criticizes you, or wants to cast you away, obviously there is some problem. AND its perfectly understandable when you get on the defensive, because everyone feels they either did nothing wrong or always deserve a second chance.

I should like to think in history no one has ever been to war thinking they are on the wrong side.

See, we tiny creatures have so much social problems simply because we can't communicate properly.

I want to hold a pen and write proper stuff. But I can't seem to do it, because I can't seem to want to make myself do it. I wonder.... I am so lazy =/

About Japan, its heart rending. It affected me in the sense that my anime shows are being disrupted, but I'm not complaining. They have it tougher there. But somehow, on the Internet, you get to see people who says stuff like

"Haha Japan, remember Pearl Harbor? Its Karma!!!" or similar.

And to think, we are in an enlightened age?

Well yes, put it bluntly, some of us are in an enlightened age (I wonder where do I fit). Some. Most of us are in the other category. Emotion driven, and temperamental (temper and mental).

Back to Thomas Friedman's 'Lexus and Olive Tree'.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


about 2 weeks I'll be off to Auckland again. This year I have planned a few (really a few) stuff to do that will keep me occupied and still have time for studies and wasting (I hope).

Top and foremost is to continue my philosophy studies. If there is one thing I seriously realized from my trip overseas, it is that I cannot only focus on engineering studies alone. That would mean I am following along the path that has been well laid out (more on this). Hence, I took up philosophy as an interest, and to guide my life along, myself.

Second is a tentative plan to volunteer. I considered SPCA and Greenpeace, and some slight internal debate raged until I asked Aimee Lee and her reply was 'if the planet is not here the dogs won't be either'. Makes sense. But I proceeded to lecture her about 'saving the world'. Because its fun.

These few days will be silent contemplation while I finish off a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Talk about multitasking. I actually think a lot while I'm doing something that requires a small degree of thought and heaps of concentration. Weird eh? I'm like 'Ethics of humans should be like.. oh this piece goes here... now where was I? Oh space travel is currently...'

But enough about me. It is dangerous to share too much info about yourself on the net. Many people have been receiving death threats for ill treating a dog they didn't have because some guy had a tattoo and they didn't. Talk about common sense.

Now, the police said they don't know who tortured poor Sushi. Oh of course, the owner should not ill treat his pet, which he bought to love. I wonder why do people not become outraged at the cruel way we're slaughtering chickens or cows. Oh, they're not animals, they're food. My bad. Talk about common sense.

But really, a national outrage over dog abuse? Death threats? My goodness, there's even much hoo-haa over some child custody case that is so high profile. And of course, there is the ever entertaining side such as banning Valentine's day, fear of evangelism and conversion, sin polices etc. Really, talk about common sense.

And of  course, racism.
(Racism is only there because we are conscious about it. There is some weird psychological thing going on here, why do we discriminate when we are recognizably the same species? It is one thing I think I will find notes about. Philosophy dabbles with psychology much, you see.)

And the moral police in Malaysia is always the interesting group. Imposing one's will upon others tends to be a messy business, unless you are a mighty king who has the adoration and worships of your people. Otherwise, attempting to tell people what to do (or what not to do), especially people who thinks they are (or in fact, are in some sense) free people, will be difficult. Now, its not hard to see where they are coming from. Generally, religion requires us to control our desires and be one who is nice and fair. No problem there. Problem comes when different people try to pick apart word by word what the religious scriptures tell. A picture tells a thousand words, a thousand people looking at the same picture will be telling what... a million different words? Talk about common sense.

In the words of a friend, "I feel insulted they feel my faith in my religion is so easily swayed by something such as a party celebrating a special day of another religion".

And the more I read of philosophy, truly the more ignorant I feel. Yet at the same time it is fascinating.

And at the same time, I am no nearer to figuring out why are we still running education in the first place. Besides churning out workers. To help the country progress to... I don't know where.

I still feel strongly that the first step is to pick up the trash in your own home and make life easier before we consider ambitious goals. Easy to say, doesn't it? But nooo, we humans are complicated beings. We MUST complicate stuff because 'its not so easy'. Try calling your telco customer service and see what I mean.

(I just suddenly remembered the 100 storey project to flaunt our country's wealth. Talk about common sense).

So, this blog post ended up being another rant on multiple topics in one go. Talk about common sense.

But at least I realized throughout writing this post, that common sense doesn't seem so common after all.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

There is

an inexplicably frustrating feeling when you are not being heard.

I need to take a break from overthinking things. Its tiring, keeping the mind in overdrive constantly.