Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Library photography

[Due to the inherently large quantity of colour information on each photograph, the file sizes are large even though the quality is not magnificent. While waiting, you can think of that patience-related cliché.]

I’m sure the theme of libraries has been done before, again and again. But this is my attempt.

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Clichéd Irony

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Yesterday, I saw an utterly remarkable scene. It was twilight, just after sunset, the western horizon faintly aglow with fading memories of the sun. The air was wonderfully clear, not a trace of water droplets even in the upper atmosphere. The western sky was coloured a magnificent shade of dark blue. Ultramarine. Deep, luxurious and very rare.

And, hanging about 15 degrees above the western horizon was a thin sliver of a crescent moon, about to follow the sun’s plop into the horizon.

I was in the tram heading out of the city centre, and the view was magnificent:
Silhouette of the city skyline, backlit by the orange-smeared horizon.
Above the buildings and the narrow span of orangey goodness, the sky is a rich, dark blue, slowly fading to darkness upwards.
Above the skyline, about several building-heights above the sprawl of high rise offices, was the moon, a gleaming silver arc reminding us of the Soviet Union’s sickle, dismembered and chrome plated.
Not quite surprisingly, I did not have my camera with me, and I was short of time anyway.

Today, the sky was cloudy. I made my way towards the top of the western stairwell of the Psychology Building anyway, having to climb 12 flights of stairs because the lifts had decided to fuck makelove themselves.

After 20 minutes of a boring sunset, and I made my way down, pissed off.

I then went to the Rowden White Library, where the above photographs were shot. It’s a recreation library, which would explain the non-academic journals and novels.

When the library closed at 6pm, I was shooed out of the facility. I made my way up the western stairwell again, just to see if the moon had appeared from behind the blinding daylight and clouds. It had, but the foreground of floodlit tennis courts was extremely uninspiring.

On returning, the lifts cooperated so I did not have to trek my way down 10 flights of stairs.

They refer to this sort of blog entries as eat-shit-sleep posts.
I did this. Then I did that. After that, I went on to do this other thing. At that moment, she called up, hehehe. And then I went for dinner with Boris. Japanese food so nice ^.^
You get the idea. At least I have photos.


I'll stop writing in Chinese for the time being

English translation and more below.






For the time being, I’ll be less diligent in my Chinese writing. At the moment, the most important aspect of my education is to vastly improve my vocabulary and be familiar with the grammar and sentence structures. To this end, I will be reading and looking up the dictionary; writing is of no help now.

I feel I’ve made decent progress over the past weeks. When I started I had trouble recognising simple characters like … I’ll not embarrass myself by publishing that sample list here. I can now read news articles, although not to absolute comprehension.


On a separate note, I’ve unexpectedly got 2 very interesting questions on my hands, one geometry, the other higher arithmetic.

The higher arithmetic one is particularly fascinating (because it can be written succinctly):

a raised to the power of b is congruent to 1 modulo (a-1) for all a and b that are natural numbers

It’s a generalised statement on one of the key arguments used in solving the JFE8555 problem. Previously, it had never been rigorously proven in solving that problem, although the numerical examples gave (me) ample confidence in the equation.

It’s a two parameter problem, so proof by induction is not likely to work. It’s going to be difficult.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

3-in-1 film review: Autumn Sonata, Animal Farm, Bulletproof Monk, and suggestions on ways to find a good film.

Some films are better than others. Autumn Sonata, a 1978 Swedish film, is among the better ones.

I was surprised to see Lena Nyman’s name in the credits. Lena had starred in the fantastic 1960s series of two films, I am Curious (Yellow) & I am Curious (Blue). Surprise turned to disappointment when I realised she played the minor role of the mentally retarded woman with not much screen time. Vivid portrayal though.

Enough about Nyman in a Liv Ullman and Ulgrid Bergman film. Liv Ullman plays Eva, the daughter of Charlotte (acted by Ulgrid Bergman). Both women were excellent actresses, and their expressions conveyed plenty. This was helped by the camerawork, with an emphasis on the actresses’ faces when they speak emotionally strained.

But that is not surprising. What is remarkable are the portrait-like scenes of the mother while her daughter plays one of Chopin’s preludes, a very plain expression, but with alternating undertones of happiness, disappointment and pleasure. Or the scene where Eva reads the contents of a letter aloud to the camera, her eyes piercing the viewer.

It is important to watch this film with the original Swedish audio and read the subtitles, rather than settling for an English dub. After all, the actresses have all the correct intonations in the voice, which in this film, counts a lot more than mere meaning of the spoken words.

Watching Autumn Sonata was definitely 90 minutes well spent.


One of George Orwell’s famous novels is Animal Farm, a satirical novel on Soviet totalitarianism. The 1999 film interpretation of Animal Farm cannot be viewed with the same eye that read the novel; in fact, the film interpretation is a severely diluted version of the original.

The story is narrated by Jesse, a farm dog whose litter of puppies were taken away from her. It turns out they were being groomed to become the private military of Napoleon, who seized power with the help of this Guard. The dog that played Jesse, and voice actress Julia Ormond seemed to fit their roles very well.

Most of the film remains faithful to the book, but there were some inevitable truncations.

The most disturbing part though, was the ending. The timeline in this film continues further than that found in the book, although not much elaboration is given. But the happy ending is not at all impressive. It is a mere return to the status quo, albeit a better status quo than under the previous rulers.

By providing a happy, all-is-well kind of ending, the film seems to shut down any further thought in the viewer’s mind after watching the film. The book ended on a depressing note that was left hanging, a question burning in the reader’s mind. This, is nothing.

I didn’t mind the film, but I think a re-read of the original text would have much more thought provoking and enlightening.


And, now that we have discussed the better films, let’s talk about the horrible one.

Bulletproof Monk (2003) is stuffed full of unimaginative clichés- prophesies, unlimited power, clash of cultures, street-smart daughter of a convicted Russian gang leader who happens to know the differences between Shaolin and Tibetan monks. And of course, a Nazi villain.

The movie concludes on a happy note, with the villain perishing and all. But the way in which it was executed leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The fight scenes are insubstantial, making the victory seem inconsequential.

A good waste of an idle hour or two, if mindless entertainment is your pleasure. Beyond that, Bulletproof Monk is best left untouched.

ps.- To date, this film reaped US$37 million worldwide, in comparison to its production budget of US$52 million. That's how bad it is. [source]


The rate of production of movies worldwide far exceeds the ability of any normal person to watch them all. And to watch lots of bad films just to find the occasional brilliant film is preposterous.

However, there are some filtration methods one can employ to find these rare films. A good film will generally make it across language barriers, receive positive remarks, its popularity persist for years past its release, and transcend technological barriers as the years go by.

If you find a dubbed or subtitled foreign language film in a mainstream movie source, chances is that it was good enough to warrant the effort to introduce it to foreign markets. Similarly, when looking for good English films, it will make sense to search for films that have been released successfully in non-English markets.

Films that can boast being nominated or awarded film prizes must have been markedly different from the rest to deserve that. Still, it must be noted that not all prizes are equal- some prizes are more equal than others. Also, some people prefer the stuff of Cannes than MTV.

A film that does not fade away despite its age should not be overlooked. Especially so if someone takes the time and money to release it on newer media formats, such as a 1950s film on DVD.

Autumn Sonata is one good example. It is old (28 years), yet available at a public library. It was nominated for the Academy Award’s Best Actress in Leading Role and Best Original Screenplay and also won various awards worlwide. It is Swedish, but also released with English subtitles and an optional dubbed soundtrack. It was transferred to DVD format.


Sunday, May 28, 2006

I was bored, so I spoofed my own CV...

Employment objectives:
To achieve suitable employment in an environment that pays good money and provides Lotus Elises as company cars.

Education achievements:
Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) at the [detail omitted], 2003 –2005
Graduated with Second Class Honours, Division A despite being a sloppy last minute rusher.

Experiences that taught me much:
[detail omitted] Restaurant, St Kilda, 2006
Waiting tables at a busy restaurant opened my eyes to some of the most irresponsible people in society. “What, no tips? Idiot!” is the kind of reaction they tend to provoke in the waiting community.

[detail omitted] Bangsar, Malaysia, 2006
Editing and proofreading an English translation of a Chinese language screenplay under a very tight schedule provided me with the experience of working and delivering under pressure despite the fact that my predecessor did a horrible job. One should always leave translation work to bad readers but ok writers, not excellent readers but bad writers.

Bachelor of Engineering final year project, 2005
Project title: [detail omitted]. I didn’t know how I got a high distinction for this. I mean, I know, but the way it came about was amazing.

Engineering department of a large water filtration and purification equipment company, Malaysia, 2003
An engineering internship gave me much valuable insight to working life in a corporate environment. It sucks.

Strengths and skills I am proud to possess:
Fast and self-motivated learner
Besides my education in engineering, I have acquired the following skills and knowledge on my own effort: English writing and editing skills, non-classical physics, pure mathematics, cosmology, digital photography and manipulation. I am currently working on my Chinese reading and writing skills.

1337 driving skills
Without the benefit of a racing school, I have learned to heel-and toe, double clutch and even shift gears without dipping the clutch. I also drive with left-foot braking in cars with automatic gearboxes while reserving the left foot for the clutch in manual cars. I’ve driven 65 different cars over the past 5 years.

Excellent English writing skills
Proven ability to edit and improve narrative, academic and technical articles. I am able to convey complicated concepts, such as the efficiency of an automotive engine, to non-expert readers. Also able to act and pretend like I can write very well despite obvious limitations.

Able to converse in English, 2 dialects of Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and Malay/ Indonesian. Able to curse richly and imaginatively in English, 3 dialects of Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien).

Interests and hobbies:
Automotive engines
Martial arts


So, who are you?

Forgive my temporary flash of narcissism, but I am curious about the people who read this blog.

So, who are you? Drop a note in the comments section.

Any quick remark will do, like:
Hi I am Carl Friedrich Gauss, and I am a professor at the University of Göttingen. I find your inconsistent Chinese posts useful for my learning of a new language.

Or something completely irrelevant like
What's brown and sticky?
A stick.

To the comments box!


Friday, May 26, 2006

More sunset photographs

St Kilda (again).

A Peach Flavoured Sunset

Click here for large size image
Click here for Deviant Art entry


A wide angle converter would have been useful here. The Raynox HD6600PRO-55 immediately comes to mind.


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Thursday, May 25, 2006

An interesting difference between the human eye and a still camera

Warning: Slipshod handwaving arguments ahead. Rigorous people proceed with care.

There are many comparisons that draw attention to the similarities between the human eye and a still camera. Today, I will point out one interesting but rarely, if ever, mentioned difference.

In the human eye, the signal strength can be assumed to be approximately proportional to the quantity of light falling on the retinal cells.


Where the signal strength coming out of the eye is a function of light intensity falling on the retina, aperture of the pupil, retina sensitivity, efficiency and other eye-related parameters.

In a still camera, there is one more parameter that dramatically changes the form of the equation- the exposure time.

Here, the fact that light intensity that falls on the sensor can vary with time is highlighted, hence it is not a constant but denoted by a time-dependent function I(t). Aperture, sensor sensitivity (ISO), light transmission efficiency and other camera-related parameters are assumed to be fixed for each exposure.

And, the signal strength is the time integral of the function. Which sort of makes sense, since doubling the exposure time in the presence of a constant light source results in photographs twice as bright.

It is exactly this time integral that allows double exposures to be made, where the film is exposed to two different scenes to create an overlapping image.

If the exposures were made 24 hours apart, then the integral can be taken to be starting from 0 and ending 24 hours later, with I(t) being zero for a large proportion of the time (since the film was not exposed to light between exposures).

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006


No English translation provided (yet); it's too mundane to bother with the translating now. This is merely a sentence structuring exercise.




老板愣了一会儿,我就详细得再问:“是英国的那个Newcastle,或则New South Wales的那个?New South Wales 的那Newcastle是个工业区。”



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Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Aren't my post titles getting more and more exciting? Updates! How exciting it that?

The past 2 days were quite interesting.

Sunday dinner was spent with David, Diana, Jean and Mun Yi. Discussion seemed to circulate around the one issue: will you extend your stay in Australia after graduating?

A few considerations:
Future implications of Australian work experience
Opportunities for us, Chinese Malaysian (or was it Malaysian Chinese? I can’t see the syntax difference) Australian graduates. Aren’t you glad I dropped in that bracketed comment to separate Chinese Malaysia Australian?
Political stability
Purchasing power

And there are also the implicit ones:
How does the individual value each one of the previous attributes?
What does the individual want?

Someone (David, I think) did mention, why return home now? Stay here and rob them first before you go home. How much did you pay for your education?

Precisely my thoughts.


The early part of Monday afternoon was spent watching a concert with a colleague in the Music Faculty. Colleague makes us sound professional when we merely wait tables. The pianist was Judy Pang, who won scholarships (best student, I think) every year during her education at the Shanghai Music Conservatory. And then more scholarships in the University of Melbourne.

Drifted around the city for a while before settling for a latte at Starbucks. I learned that the Chinese education system (in China) is quite a shocker to our pampered Malaysian buttocks. Imagine a school day from 6.30am to 6.30pm for upper secondary, and 6.30am to 4pm for primary school. And, 6.30am to 9pm for upper secondary in some schools.

Our 7.30 to 1.10 lifestyle came as an equal surprise.

Two Lattes

Click here for large size image

Tell me, does the saturation adjustment, multi-channel noise addition, ISO400 sensitivity, layering help the image look like an old photgraph, or just the shitty product of a camera-phone?

I was supposed to do some outdoor portraits for the Head Chef and his family, but intermittent rain and the unforgiving cold put a lid on that plan. He called me to have dinner at his house instead, where I had my third coffee of the day.

So it’s instant coffee at home, latte at Starbucks, and Ipoh white coffee at the Head Chef’s place.

Time to sleep.

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Sunday, May 21, 2006


Autumn, Fall, whatever...

Shot through a circular polarising filter

Flight of a Jetliner

It was just past sunset, and light from below the horizon illuminated the contrails in a brilliant burst of yellow

City Skyline

That tall building that is still under construction is going to be the tallest building in Melbourne. And the tallest residential building in the world. That is one penthouse to own.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Dimensional Analysis and unit conversion methods

Dimensional analysis

One of the tools I found in my secondary school years was dimensional analysis, although I did not know its name back then. The technique is so powerful yet simple, in hindsight, I’m surprised it was not taught in school.

The basic premise of dimensional analysis lies in the fact that units cannot be magically converted from a metre to a Volt. Units (be it metre, Volt, Francs, mole, Ampere, or Lumens) can be treated as algebriac variables and manipulated along with the numbers. Consider the much memorised equation, the equation relating displacement s, acceleration a, initial velocity u and time elapsed t.

Commonly, it is expressed as such:

If we were to consider the units of each variable, using SI units:

The time units [seconds] cancel each other completely, and the entire equation is expressed in metres, which is a good sign:

If upon writing out an equation, and performing a quick dimensional analysis it does not balance, say, Joules equal to seconds, then there is a missing term somewhere in the equation. Either that, or you need to improve on your dimensional analysis skills.

Here is an example question just to illustrate dimensional analysis:
500ml of water is heated in an insulated beaker using an electric heater rated at 1kW. How long does it take to raise the water temperature by 7 Kelvins?

Given that the specific volume of water is 1 ml/g, the specific heat capacity of water is 4183 J/, surface tension of 72.8 dynes/cm.

The challenge is figuring out which terms are required in the calculation, and how to use these equations in the calculation.

So we need to find out the duration, measured in seconds (usually). We start with the first dimension, time, and fill in variables (either by division or multiplication) such that unwanted dimensions cancel each other, and wanted dimensions are preserved. Evidently, we must do it such that time = time, not time = energy nor time = money.

Note that we do not even have to consider the surface tension, since the units do not come into the picture.

Simple isn’t it?

Unit conversion

Several days ago, a friend (final year mechanical engineering student, for your information) asked me how to convert from rpm (revs/minute) to rad/s (radians per second). I was appalled.

Say we have an engine, from a Honda Civic Tyre R, incidentally. It rotates at 8000 rpm. What’s the angular speed in radians/second?

Another example: the density of water is 998.2 kg per cubic metre. What’s the density in pounds per cubic foot?

Note that the conversion factor between metres and feet has to be cubed, since the units are cubic distances. After all, a cube of sides length 1 metre has volume 1 cubic metre, and this cube has sides of lengths 3.2808 feet sides, which gives a volume of 3.2808 ^3 = 35.3134 cubic ft.

You’re welcome.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stuff of (impermanant) dreams

That Lotus Elise is getting more attractive by the day. Or rather, I'm allowing myself to be more attached to that Lotus Elise.

In Europe of the 18th century, Immanuel Kant noted that a person is only truly free if he/she acts independently of desires, ego, social expectations and self interest. In the words of Sophie and Alberto Knox in Sophie's World (Gaarder, Jostein; London; 1995):
“So when you choose not to be mean – even if it’s against your own interests – you are then acting freely.”
“You’re not especially free or independent if you just do what you want, in any case.”
“One can become a slave to all kinds of things. One can even become a slave to one’s own egoism. Independence and freedom are exactly what are required to rise above one’s desire and wishes.”

By the way, to the uninitiated, this Lotus Elise is a metaphor for an attachment of mine. It is yellow in colour.

On the issue of cars, I saw a particularly interesting Audi yesterday afternoon while waiting for the tram. It was an RS4. It sounded absolutely magnificent even when puttering along. Even better, I think, than the Mercedes E55 AMG. Yes, I’ve heard that car too.

Now, if you’d excuse me, I need to work on my Chinese.

A mathematics or applied science post tomorrow. Promise.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Evening Sky(line)

That's St Paul's Cathedral on the right.

I worked the lunch and dinner shifts today. In the intervening hours between shifts, I went for a drink with Tony, the head chef.

On most days when I have double shifts, I tend to drink coffee with Tony. The first time, he paid for the drinks, so the second time around, I naturally bought them. A pattern emerged, and soon seemed quite natural to pay alternately.

We were waiting for the tram to take us into the city when we spotted Henny, a regular weekday lunch waitress. And yes, she’s Indonesian, hence the name. So Henny came along for coffee.

Conversation was awkward.
Imagine a situation where 2 multilingual people are talking in the language of their choice, say, Cantonese. They are then joined by another person who does not speak Cantonese, but operates well on another language they can work with, Swahili, maybe.

And so it is common courtesy to switch from Cantonese to Swahili so that no one is completely out of the loop, even though the first two may not be extremely well versed in Swahili.

Our situation was not quite as simple. Henny is good at Indonesian/Malay, ok with English, and not so good in Chinese. Tony, on the other hand, is good at Chinese, ok with Malay/Indonesian, and not so good in English. Yee Wei, on the third hand, is good at English, ok with Chinese, and not so good in Indonesian/Malay.

Represented in a grid, a matrix, a tensor:

Oh look, the tensor exhibits a diagonal trend!
Let’s try to represent this tensor in a more concise notation:

If you’re already thinking ‘what the fuck!’, worry not. I typed that exact phrase a moment ago before deleting it. Back to the matter at hand. Before going back to the matter at hand, I just want to say I feel empowered by symbols. Hence the triple-barred equality (congruence), inverted ‘A’ (for all) and rounded ‘E’ (that is/are an element of the set). Wait, another confession. I had actually thought of putting the Kronecker Delta into the definition, but that will spawn whole lot more complexity involving a third index, making the notation not concise at all.

That's Henny and Tony

In hindsight, it was amusing (the conversation, not the symbols). Complicated phrases and abstract concepts had to be parsed translated before full comprehension can be achieved all round.





There is nothing interesting to translate here. Just a half hearted effort to write something. Brain not working; off to bed!

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Monday, May 15, 2006

华文 or English?

Slipshod English translation below.







* 如果见到任何的语病或错误,请说一说。谢谢。


I’ve not been updating much lately- much of my attention has been focused on language development. My other interests such as mathematics, physics, photography and writing have been neglected as well.

Yesterday night before I fee asleep, I thought about this issue. Why am I making such a great effort to learn Chinese?

At the moment, my hope is to elevate my linguistic skills to another level, to be on par with my current English writing abilities. This is not to say my English writing is anything to boast about; I cannot depend on sentence crafting to earn a living. Still, it’s probably better than most people’s. The journey to my objective is long, and I might not make it to the end.

Is it my ego? That may be the case.

There is another problem- language skills either improve, or slip away. Concentrating on Chinese will come at the expense of English. So, what now?

Difficult questions, these. I’ll go have my dinner now.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

The narcissistic Q&A meme

Yvy dumped this on me. Meme etiquette demands that I answer the questions, although it is not an explicit requirement to propagate it.

I AM: Learning the 7th Dan Taekwondo pattern.
I JUST NOW: Ate dinner at 11.30pm.
I SAID: I ate dinner at 11.30pm!
I WANT: To be properly multilingual. Ok, bi.
I WISH: To have a teleconverter and a wideangle converter.
I HATE: Not many things at all.
I MISS: My family, the bunch of cousins and the Malats.
I FEAR: Uncertainty.
I WONDER: If the universe is laughing at me.
I HEAR: Someone shouting, “Of course not! As if It can even be bothered with you.”
I REGRET: Not many things either.
I AM NOT: Bisexual. I had meant bilingual. BILINGUAL! (refer above)
I SING: Very, very rarely. The last time was with SY, TC and Shannon at The Curve, July 2004.
I CRY: Very rarely as well.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: As fast a number cruncher as I would like to be.
I MADE: Muffins this afternoon! Joking; I went for Karate this afternoon.
I WRITE: Crap most of the time.
I CONFUSE: the spelling of uncertainty quite frequently (I usually add a superfluous i)
I NEED: to improve my vocabulary.
I SHOULD: Start reading more, then.
I START: My ‘day’ at noon.
I FINISH: My ‘day’ at 5am.
I TAG : Shyan, since he had just established his very own page. Go, go do it.


Friday, May 12, 2006

A simple take-down technique

A simple take-down technique

11 May 06, Melbourne University Karate Club

Click here for large size image
Click here for Deviant Art entry



No English translation below; don’t bother scrolling.








余先生:一定是[ 她 ]的。男人不会用这种东西的啊。
余先生:[ 她 ]。
余先生:[ 她 ]人性很好的。也很有气质。




余先生:你有了[ 她 ]的电话号码吗?


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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Video of stuff (mushrooms) getting sliced rapidly

There was previous mention of playing with knives. At that time, I had also set up the camera for a video capture of mushrooms being decimated.

Finally, I got the thing properly sorted out. Below is a 21 second video fragment. Pardon the horrid quality, it's not my fault.

Melbourne sunset photographs

Sunset Over Melbourne's Port

Click here for large size image
Click here for Deviant Art entry


Click here for large size image


Click here for large size image

Why I Need a Wideangle Converter

There were more clouds and sky than 35mm could capture.

The Shame!

Spotted at a certain Malaysian restaurant in Melbourne.

I think I'm overdoing the '12x zoom on sunset' party trick. But really, I cannot help it.


Sunday, May 07, 2006

Deft- that's how I like to think of my knife handling

I quite like cooking. Or rather, some of the acrobatics that surround the main acts of cooking.

Cutting stuff is one aspect I've always found to be greatly entertaining. There is a certain perverted pleasure in wielding a well sharpened blade, slicing whatever that needs to be sliced with a practiced deftness.

Deftness. That's how I like to think of my knife handling anyway.

The first time my housemate noticed me sharpening my knife and then processing a cucumber into slices, he asked if I had worked as a kitchen hand before. No, I just like playing with knives. He laughed, "I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing!"

Pfft! The stigma attached to knives...
Don't play with that knife!
Put that down!
Always handle knives with care.
The risks are overrated.

The other interesting activity involved in cooking is tossing*. Only gas stoves are any fun; electric hot plates are for sissies. The game I play is to try stirring the food as little as possible. Instead, I give the frying pan a sharp tug backwards, the curved wall of the pan to rush towards the contents of the pan. At that moment, a little jink upwards will send them up into the air. Advance the pan a little to catching the rain of food. Repeat.

A few of these tosses is usually enough to mix up the ingredients with a decent homogeneity. They are also great fun to execute.

As one can probably tell, I had just cooked myself a dinner.

1. throw lightly or casually.
2. move or cause to move from side to side or back and forth.
3. (toss oneself/someone off, or toss off) (British vulgar slang) masturbate


You know those blog posts where the author simply puts up a bunch of song lyrics that she (it's almost always a she, except in this particular instance) found touching or relevant?

Yeah, I don't read them too; I simply scroll past indifferently.

Inner Radio
Vanilla Ninja, 2003

A girl, in this world
She's all alone, her friends they all turn
their backs at her
Walkin' down her hometown streets
With headphones playin' some oldskool beats
Her baggy pants, crazy hair
She's called a "freak" and that's not fair
The other day she pierced her nose
But anyway...

They don't understand
Thet she prefers it her own way
Different from the rest
Doesn't care what people say
Not dressing to impress
But tryin' to follow her own heart
You listen to its sound
Turn on your inner radio

So go, don't say "no"
To what you feel is right for you
And just like that girl in her world
Is feelin' free and happy
What you got to do is:
Break the rules, don`t waste your time
Get a tattoo
And remember that whatever you do
Just be yourself
'Cos anyway...


Inner radio

Inner radio

These lyrics have nothing to do with anything at all, except for the fact that I had just listened to this song a moment ago. Thank you for scrolling.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Lin Dynasty - chapter 27

This is a big project circulating around these days. It’s a colossal meme that requires each participant to write one chapter and append it to an existing storyline.

The full table of contents can be found here.

The previous few chapters:
Chapter 23 by Yvy
Chapter 24 by Luxferi
Chapter 25 by Robin
Chapter 26 by Cynical Idealist

In the previous chapter (26):
Luke Charmaine bent down, and gently helped Puki Galore up. She was bound by magic to protect the girl now.

Slowly but surely, both girls headed off into the sunrise, with Luke Charmaine supporting Puki all the way. They were going to pay a special someone a visit...someone who had the powers to restore Puki's waking state...

And that someone was none other than the ronin creature of darkness, the one who sought to turn to the light and leave this accursed land forever to take his place amongst the heroes of light - Yee Wei the Shutterbug!

Warning: contains one mildly disturbing paragraph. It's the one immediately after the image.

Chapter 27
By Tan Yee Wei

At his home, Yee Wei was preparing to sleep. A metallic clanging caught his attention- someone was at the door.

“Idiots! The sun is already up, for goodness sake. Don’t you people have to sleep? I, for one, have to sleep soon,” he grumbled crossly to himself as he marched to the heavy wooden door.


“I know this sounds like a horrible science fiction cliché, but I’ll have to remove Puki’s consciousness before her body dies. I’ve got a wicked set-up back there,” Yee Wei jinked his head in the general direction of one of the many rooms in the complex.

“Then, once the spirit is separated from the body, we can simply discard this tattered mess and put the spirit in another body.”


Charmaine expected to see shiny stainless steel casings, clear glass vessels, matt white aluminium struts and translucent plastic tubing. Equipment with green traces plotting graphs, beeping instruments, hissing air pipes, thrumming ventilators, drooping intra-venous drips. And most important of all, a sort of sinister probe to the head for extracting a backup of Puki’s spirit.

To her surprise, the room was devoid of anything like movie set props. Next to the dirty, lumpy bed on which Puki laid comatose was a heavy wooden desk to which was clamped a contraption that looked like a hand-cranked sausage machine. On the top was a large funnel, presumably to put things in. On one side was the exit chute, where a crystal salad bowl sat ready to accept the products.

An example of a sausage machine. This particular model is motorised.

Yee Wei picked up a glinting blade and gave Puki’s abdomen a casual elongated slice, cutting through her blouse, epidermis, dermis, fatty tissues and abdominal muscles. He reached into the bloody, gaping fissure, and lifted the stomach from within. Still connected to the rest of the body via the oesophagus, intestine, arteries, veins and nerves, it continued to grind and wriggle, mixing and atomising the food slurry within. He slashed all its connections and the organ came free with an occasional squirt of bodily fluids. It also stopped moving. This he dumped into the sausage machine’s funnel with a wet plop. Semi-processed food slurry glugged out of the oesophagus with the gurgling sound of water escaping from an upturned water bottle.

When the liver, kidneys and spleen were also in the sausage machine, he turned the crank repeatedly. It was a laborious task.

“So, this poor character is tied to that messy Lin scandal?” Yee Wei asked Charmaine.
“Yup, I was initially sent to kill her but fate dealt me an unexpected blow.”
“Happens all the time… You look familiar. Have I seen you somewhere?”
“I’m actually, no I was actually Luke who worked at The Bloodied Fang. The waiter who usually brings you your usual serving of Deep Fried Dandelions.”
“Ah, I see. Happens all the time, too. Anyway you look better female than male.”

As the ingredients were processed, the sloppy pile in the funnel slowly ebbed into the machine. Yee Wei continued to churn the handle, and various objects began to clatter and tinkle into the crystal bowl.

Charmaine looked on in surprise. “What the…” she sputtered when a particularly odd object dropped out of the sausage machine and jangled into the bowl.

“Interesting isn’t it? Once I did this on a cat, and it’s consciousness was embodied by a collection of objects that included among them a neutron star. A neutron star! Bloody hell, I was very nearly crushed into a soup of sub-atomic particles. Anyway, I’ll summon my brother to find us a suitable body for Puki. He’s well versed in the art of borrowing things without permission.”

Yee Wei then walked over to a small side table at one corner of the room. Strangely, Charmaine did not notice its existence earlier. On it was a red telephone.

He picked up the receiver, and spoke into it after a few seconds.


I’ll now pass the responsibility of Chapter 28 to my brother Yee Hou. Nonono, this is not cronyism; no one else I know would do it.

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Friday, May 05, 2006


I might have mentioned this already, but of late, I’ve taken to sculpting my Chinese language skills. Of course, it is much easier than picking up a completely new language- I’ve got the grammar, syntax in place since the late 80s. No doubt it’s a rather crude grammar and syntax handbook, but it’s definitely better than my non-existent French grammar.

My current programme involves a book from Beijing entitled 孔子说 which serves as a textbook. Judging from the lack of intricate complexity in language and the various illustrations, it is probably targeted at the lower primary age group. Such is my level of command of the language. I have arranged around this text several tasks comparable to the 生字, 抄书 and a spot of 听写, activities we I so disliked in primary school.

But then any sane primary student would dislike homework anyway.

I might also introduce 造句 into the soup to speed things up, since this would really make the mind work.

So that’s how I spend parts of my nights. By the way, I’ve retrograded back into a creature of the dark- I sleep from 6am to 1pm, take lunch at 6pm and dinner at midnight. It’s not as bad as it may sound; I’m merely 5 hours out of phase with most of Melbourne. And the best part is, I operate on the same cycle as the population of Ekaterinburg ( also Yekaterinburg, fifth largest city in Russia).

If a call comes in from Ekaterinburg, I’d be completely at ease. Assuming they speak English/ Cantonese/ Mandarin/ Malay or I speak Russian.

Hello Yee Wei.
Boris! How are you?
Good. I just had a heavy lunch. What have you been up to?
Ah. I just had my lunch too.

And so on.


Wednesday, May 03, 2006

An Ordinary Day by the Kitchen Sink

An Ordinary Day by the Kitchen Sink

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Sunlit Draining Rack

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

More photographs

Cutting Edge Design

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Click here for Deviant Art entry


Brighton Beach, Melbourne. It seemed that there was some sort of a marine festival going on. Throngs of yachtes were parading out in the water, lined up and billowing around a predetermined path.

The Enclosed Sea

Brighton Beach, Melbourne. It used to be that swimming in the sea was only allowed in this enclosed area. Now, the facility also serves to make eyes roll.

Sunset of the Armed Forces

I'd personally prefer the money used for 'defence' to be spent elsewhere.

Flowers and Feather

I'm still undecided if I like this shot. It is either engaging, or distracting.


Monday, May 01, 2006


The Matrix

Shot directly at the sun, this intensive darkening was achieved by using a pair of crossed polarizing filters to permit minimal passage of light. That black strip is the roof of a block of flats, with a television antenna just visible.
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ISO 80 | F/5.6 | 1/500s


A rare portrait of myself, in that stance again.
Click here for Deviant Art entry