Thursday, June 11, 2009

Promotional Stand-Up Comedy Video

Gary's a friend of mine who's now practising to be a stand-up comic. Kudos to him. Here's the promotional video - some of his stuff ain't bad.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


The mark of true responsibility isn't what you can do when you have absolute control over everything in your life - it's what you do when you don't have any control.

It is drying the tears of your loved one when she tells you she loves someone else. It is the kindness in letting go. It is the dignity of doing what needs to be done. It is the million tiny acts to acknowledge that your love isn't at an end, even if your time together is.

It's moving on and staying still at the same time.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Sunday saw us evaluating a number of juniors. In particular, Chris had his work cut out for him. I couldn't quite believe it myself - he was put through the paces of an evaluation that would possibly have tested a Scholar, and he acquited himself reasonably well. Well done.

I'm also quite astounded that Greg is relying more and more on the seniors to evaluate and teach. I suppose that is a natural evolution of things but it's heartening to see that there are -enough- seniors in attendance to teach things (and teach them somewhat correctly I might add).

There is one thing I do want to say to the juniors in the class though.

If I could go back and do everything again, I wouldn't go back to practice my guards, cutting and positioning. I would go back and re-master my footwork.

Abrazare may be the foundation of swordsmanship, but footwork is the foundation of everything. Footwork is responsible for stability, measure, timing and power generation - just about everything important for swordsmanship.

Too often these days, I notice an acressare that comes just a little bit late robbing a cover of its stability and power, or a stance that's insufficiently deep, robbing an intial attack of inches, or a turn not executed from the hips.

Work on the feet. The feet are important. Everything starts from the contact with the ground.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Josie and the DBS Credit Card Boycott

I've been chewing over the morality of the DBS Card Boycott for a while.

I think this video will probably do a better job of summarising my thoughts than anything else.

The mistake that many (including myself) make is treating big organisations like DBS as individual organisms. I especially have that problem because I've had the seperate legal entity doctrine drilled into me since 3rd year of law school.

This is a fiction. The operational reality is that a company is defined by its people. Furthermore, the higher up you go, the greater the influence this person has on thoughts and philosophy of the company.

In many senses, an organisation (or subset of an organisation) takes on the identity of its leader. Think Bill Gates, and the Evil Microsoft Empire. On a more local note, think TSMP. I'm willing to wager that all of the senior management of the company have cell group and prayer meetings at lunch time, and those who don't never make it to senior management.

Let's add another thought into the equation - the role of large organisations in society, and what it really means when a consumer buys a product. It's fairly undeniable that large organisations exert a large footprint in society. In many ways, the consumer's choice of which large organisation to support reflects on which message they want to support too.

Let's take an example - when I support Gloria Jean coffee, I would be supporting the fact that Gloria Jean Coffee uses my dollars to support some dubious Christian practices. That's a clear cut example. A less clear cut example would be the support of Apple over IBM - for the longest time, the choice of using Mac's was intimately connected to the objection over Microsoft's OS dominance.

Putting these thoughts together, I think it's pretty legitimate for someone to boycott DBS Credit Cards based on Josie's actions. Rejecting the product would be a pretty good way of saying that (1) you don't condone DBS putting Josie in a leadership position where she can influence the "personality" of DBS marketing and (2) you don't condone Josie's individual actions, and want to stick it where it hurts - her job performance review.

Think of what I've written, and then think of that Argentinian Transexual applying for a bank loan in a department run by Josie. Think of the reaction that she would be getting, and think whether you want to condone such a message.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

The Authoritarians - AWARE Edition

To those who have been following the AWARE saga, please read this netbook by Professor Bob Altemeyer, called "The Authoritarians". It's pretty good describing some of the behaviour that went on during the AWARE EGM by the New Guard.

Pretty chilling, if you ask me.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Humble Suggestions involving the AWARE EOGM and the presence of Rajah and Tann

Rajah and Tann has apparently been engaged as the legal advisors for the AWARE EOGM on May 2 to ensure compliance with law and the constitution of AWARE.

I, of course, have my doubts about their role there. However, I'm willing to give Rajah and Tann the benefit of doubt at this point in time.

That being said, I would make a couple of very humble suggestions for those attending. Consider this my contribution to the cause.

Please note here that everything I say here should be verified and fact-checked - I'm no expert on the Societies Act, and I certainly haven't seen or read the Constitution of AWARE.

(1) The first thing attendees must clarify is this: Who is Rajah and Tann's client? Specifically, is Rajah and Tann's client AWARE, or the new Ex-Co, or members of the Ex-Co in their personal capacity?

The distinction here is absolutely important. If Rajah and Tann's client is AWARE, then they are bound to act in the best interests of the Society as a whole - which means that they can neither favour the current Ex-Co nor the existing members. If they do so, then it would be advisable to remind them of their professional duty here.

Things would be somewhat different if they are the Ex-Co's clients. In such an event, please be aware that Rajah and Tann is not obligated to act in anyone's best interests except the Ex-Co.

(2) The second thing is - those who are attending, please study the constitution of AWARE. My concern right now is that there might be some procedural defect in the calling and voting of this EOGM. One that I am especially concerned about is that some societies reserve the power to choose not to accept certain members - which the Ex-Co can exercise quite legitimately to swing the votes in their favour. Others may become members but may not be eligible to vote in this EOGM because they joined too late.

In this regard, I would advise some kind of verification process to clarify who are the members eligible to vote - I would certainly press that this be answered by the Ex-Co at least, and Rajah and Tann themselves if they come out in the open and state that their clients are AWARE.

Another concern I have is the use of a possible procedural defect to render the results of the vote void - the change of venue itself is a bad sign. I don't know what kind of notice provisions the Constitution of AWARE has, but it does seem awfully last minute. My advice here is to clarify and question whether this will eventually render the results of the meeting void, and if so, why was this action taken in the first place.

(3) Given that the crowd may be huge that day, my suspicion is that not everyone will be able to enter the hall. Fire codes, etc may be cited to limit the crowd. In that regard, I would encourage everyone to be patient. Furthermore, I would encourage the attendees to clarify what kind of criteria they would use to allow people into the meeting - first come, first served may be helpful, but again, it may be biased against people who wish to vote against the Ex-Co, given that there is a convention next door.

My suggestion here is to be patient and ask questions about the process and procedure for admittance into the hall. Oh, and make sure to arrive on time.

I would also encourage that AWARE be prepared to find a way for all attendees and voting members to listen to the discussions, even if the capacity is reached. If this is not done, I fear a spontaneous mob may form and more accusations of bad faith be slung about.

Good luck. I will not be present and I will be unable to vote even if I was present. As such, I wish AWARE all the best.

To my lawyer friends and classmates who are more, uh, aware of the issue than I am, please feel free to correct what I have written or dismiss these thoughts outright.

Update 1 If what I have access to is in fact the latest copy of the AWARE constitution, then please be aware that there does not seem to be an express provision for the removal of AWARE Ex-Co members duly elected. This may be a possible tripping point.

My suggestion - don't let this discourage you. A 2/3 majority overturns the rules of the Constitution, subject to the Registrar of Societies' consent. Get the votes, and worry about the acts later. I suspect this will end up in a nasty lawsuit regardless.

Update 2 The newspaper reports I've been reading seem to indicate that Rajah and Tann is acting as counsel for the EX-CO. I suggest a couple of courses of action IF R&T are in fact representing the Ex-Co (i) check whether the bill paid to Rajah and Tann is paid from AWARE funds (ii) if they are, check whether it is within the constitutional limit of $20,000 per month and (iii) question whether there is an issue in having the funds paid out from AWARE's coffers but only benefitting the Ex-Co.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Facts which I know about Star Trek and its casts

PLAGERISM ALERT!: My contest entry has been copied in its entirety in THIS ENTRY. Please be on notice that I am, in fact, the original author of this blog entry. Proof? There's a spelling mistake in my disclaimer, which was duplicated.

Disclaimer: I'm not responsible for the bad grammar mistake in the title. It's a requirement for participating in a competition to win STAR TREK TICKETS! I will gladly sully my grammer for STAR TREK TICKETS!

This is my somewhat shameless bid to win Star Trek premiere tickets.

Facts I know about Star Trek and its cast.

(1) Contrary to popular belief, Captain James T Kirk is not the first captain to appear in a TV series. The first captain was Captain Christopher Pike, played by Jeffery Hunter, then Sean Kenney. The studios switched to Captain James T Kirk because they felt that the series needed "more action". Mild Spoiler Warning: Ironically, in the new movie, the man that convinced a young Kirk to sign up with Starfleet is none other than Christopher Pike.

(2) The "T" in James T Kirk stands for "Tiberius".

(3) Mild Spoiler Warning: The latest Star Trek movie represents a soft "reboot" of the series, because it actually happens in another "timeline" from the original series. The villian of this series, played by Eric Bana, travels in time to take his revenge on a younger Kirk. That explains the reason why the trailer has Eric Bana saying "James T Kirk was a great man, but that was another life."

(4) Mild Spoiler Warning Cont'd: This also explains Leonard Nimoy's guest star appearance in this movie - he plays an older Spock from an alternate timeline.

(5) Speaking of Leonard Nimoy, he's written two autobiographies about his time as Spock, entitled respectively, "I am not Spock" and "I am Spock". Go figure.

(6) There are massive homages paid to Star Trek on the series "Heroes". For one, George Takei, who played Sulu in the original series, plays Hiro Nakamura's father in "Heroes". The homage was made even more obvious when George Takei is seen driving off in a car that bears the license plate "NCC-1701". "NCC-1701" is the starship designation of the original Enterprise.

(7) Of course, Zachary Quinto, who plays Sylar, is now the new movie's Spock.

(8) More facts about George Takei - he's homosexual, out of the closet, and one of the first few men to get his domestic partnership registered as an actual marriage in California before Proposition 8 kicked in. You would never have figured seeing this photo.

(9) Memory Alpha, the famous(?) wiki on all things Star Trek, is named after the planetoid containing the sum total of the knowledge and culture of all Federation members. I used this reference only once during the composition of this and that was to find out the episode Khan Noonien Singh first appeared.

(10) The original series of Star Trek featured the first interracial kiss shown on TV. The kiss was between William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols, playing Kirk and Uhura respectively. It was a big deal back then.


(11) The plot of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" was actually the continuation of an episode from the Original Series "Space Seed". In that episode, Kirk convinces Khan Noonien Singh to settle on a marginally inhabited planet, not knowing that the planet eventually becomes unstable. Khan loses his wife to that planet, and blames Kirk for her death - which is the motivation for his actions in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan".

(12) Speaking of grammar mistakes, "To boldly go where no man has gone before" is a grammatical mistake when the Original Series was first telecast, because it splits an infinitive. It's now grammatical correct because the rules on split infinitives have been changed.


I can probably get the list up to 50 or even 100 if I wanted to, but I think this would suffice. As can be seen I am a massive Star Trek geek (even though I missed "Voyager" and "Enterprise").

I want to watch this movie bad. As a lover of Trek, I am excited about this reinterpretation of Kirk and Spock - showing them as younger, less skilled but no less idealistic and courageous members of Starfleet. It's like watching Daniel Craig as James Bond - the fact that they are vulnerable and young does not detract from their heroism. Rather, it showcases how much more heroic they are.

I've always loved how Star Trek reflected the mood of the times. This is a prime example. We no longer want our heroes invincible. We want them flawed. We want them emotionally vulnerable. We want them human.

Most of all, we want them being heroes, because they remind us even ordinary men can be heroes.

Remember guys! Catch Star Trek in cinemas on May 7!