Saturday, December 06, 2008

While we were growing up together, it never crossed my mind that I would regret not being there for your weddings. And now, I am in a strange land, and you, in a worlds stranger still.

Leaving is incomprehensibly violent.

Oh well, for what it's worth. I loved you then and I still love you - then.
It's 915 on a Friday night and I'm at home (* read the Institute of Asian Research). I'm at my desk and have read 96 pages of Corps and am bored out of my mind. So I'm going to engage in some mindless blogging:

Here is my desk:

Desk from the other point of view:

Partners in Crime:



Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ecclesiastes 1

Marry a virgin
Marry a not-a-vigin
Marry someone who sold their sex to God or men
Marry completely and give yourself whole-heartedly
To everything that wants you and everything you are

I have spent time with unspoiled birds
And genereous sunshine that taught me doing nothing
And I do recall that my very best friends are
The ones who left me empty and ready to be filled again

Your million sweetnesses are sometimes not enough
To keep me laughing at the floodtide of desire
This is how I walk when I have given up
Do you see how free the body moves
The bones inside the skin are loose
And I know if I could see you
That you'd be walking like this too
~ Diane cluck :: Yr Million Sweetnesses.

I want to be free to ----

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Life is perfect

Subject: Studying in Classrooms‏
From: UBC
Sent: December 2, 2008 9:46:59 AM
To: me

This is xxxxxxx, the administrator. I know that students like to study in classrooms. Last year the classrooms were kept locked because of the messes left in them and because people moved the furniture around in the rooms. I am prepared to experiment with keeping the classrooms open, but if we find that things are left in the classrooms or that their set-up is changed, I will follow last year's practice of locking them.


Faculty of Law, UBC
1822 East Mall
Vancouver, B.C.
V6T 1Z1

What about... bringing sleeping bags and staying for days in a row?

I had to plug my ears with music last night before falling asleep for 4 hours. It was good. And then I find this. I want my mother.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Here we go all over again.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Dear G,

Remember that essay I did for my 3rd year sociology class? The one of the evils of education in the developing world? Where I got a whole boxload of books from 'John' and exclaimed that he was my friend?

My whole thing about how the power to deem knowledge should not be pooled into particular ethnocentric and positivist institutions? And that local, popular knowledge should not be discredited or devalued on the hierarchy of knowledge? And that there is an inherent danger in replacing local knowledge structures with other ones (the western, 'legitimate' ones) -you know, Development as AIDS model?

Well, you'd laugh to know that that train of thought has made me - lazy.

I think I've always been lazy. I mean you know me. Lazy and fearful. I wonder if you've ever tried to tell me this.

It's kind of like my struggle with race - I fear coming to terms with this, as it might mean having subconsciously lost. I don't want to be taken over by these institutions. But then I forget, that if I don't plunge in, I won't even have the opportunity to climb out.

We are overcomers because we have overcome something.

Now I'm a little afraid about this. Because it means that my capacity to create and control is severely stunted. But I think, it's ok. Because now that I know. I have something to work with.

And I know you will hold my hand and walk with me.
Isn't this exciting?! Imagine! You and me! By the waterfalls of the Jaintia hills, wondering.

If you'll forgive the allusion, I tempted to open with "I've seen the future, and it works!" But the quote is apt: If Asia stays on course for the next three decades, China will be a massive version of Singapore - and India will be a massive version of Malaysia. I think I'd bet on that, but give me a few days to overcome jet lag before you propose terms. :-)

I had so many bloggable experiences in Singapore that I'll try to spread out the flow over the next month or two. For now, let me start with some observations on the people I met:

1. About 80% of the Singaporeans I met were in the Civil Service; the rest were academics and journalists. In terms of pure IQ, all of them would have been in the top half of my Ph.D. classes.

2. Even more impressive than IQs: The ubiquity of critical and creative thinking. Talking to Singapore's Civil Service is like giving an academic seminar where the audience actually pays attention. Multiple people actually asked me, "What is the ideal form of government?"

3. Scoff if you must, but Singaporean bureaucrats are less afraid to criticize their government than American bureaucrats are to criticize theirs. Neither group would be afraid of legal punishment; but the Americans would be more worried that saying the wrong thing would hurt their careers.

4. What's are Singapore's intellectual taboos? I'm still looking for one. The customs form says "DEATH PENALTY FOR DRUGS IN SINGAPORE," but when I advocated legalization, no one blinked.

5. Singaporeans often speak of their policies' "pragmatism." But their version of pragmatism is very different from ours. In the U.S., pragmatism primarily means going along with public opinion and openness to political compromise. In Singapore, in contrast, pragmatism primarily means judging policies based on their actual consequences, not their popularity. "Pragmatism" is virtually a synonym for "utilitarianism."

Example: In the American sense of the term, congestion prices for roads would not be "pragmatic" because lots of people would object. In the Singaporean sense of the term, congestion pricing for roads is "pragmatic" because it sharply reduces rush hour traffic jams. Get it?

~ Bryan Caplan

Finally!!! Someone who got it!