Tuesday, June 20, 2006


The human drive is a strange thing, teetering oftentimes on sheer contradiction and paradox out of its sheer mutability. I love and despise solitude; the former at times, the latter, not overmuch, and this love/hate is not merely as a product of circumstances, but an absolute enveloping feeling, a blanket that enfolds on my gasping senses and smothers me in the lone corridors of wherever I might dwell.

I am reminded of that terrible poem, Best Society, by Philip Larkin that we did last year, in the high tide of school, most especially of his attitudes to the state of solitude. In his words, solitude becomes harder to obtain as one ages,

And more desired - though all the same
More undesirable; for what
You are alone has, to achieve
The rank of fact, to be expressed
In terms of others, or it's just
A compensating make-believe.

Glancing through the archives of others I am struck by how much their discourse dwells on their interactions with others, while my own rarely does. I do not like - I am honest - the teenage fixation with themselves and with people, their never-subsiding interest in the doings of the couple around the corner, with the clique in the next class. Such things have never fascinated me, beyond an attempt, while conducting such discourse with others over lunch, to politely add a qualifier, a statement of my abrogation, amidst the continuing torrent of the other parties privy to such (over the table) discussions over last week's party or the featured and ill-perceived semi-platonic relationships of somebody else's problem.

I enjoy solitude. Sometimes I think I enjoy it too much, and parts of me yearn to connect, to establish axial links to the outside world. This is done primarily through the medium of MSN, especially during this holidays. But another part yearns to cut off links to all but a few special individuals who are beyond reserve, whom I have grown comfortable with over years of mutual understanding, individuals who share my interests and whom I can share the day's thoughts with, or such other activities that reside within my sphere of interest. I like to think that I, in my self-admitted reticience, mantain cordial but distant relations to everybody I know in school, surveying the social scene, insofar as I have an interest in it, with a certain detachment and calm endemic to those who know that they are not subsumed, like everyone else is, into the perceived "fray" of frenetic social happenings or latest scandals.

And yet sometimes, solitude grows heavy. It is a burden to carry solitude, despite the fact that solitude frees you from other types of social responsibilities. Solitude is heavy because it denies social pressure and leaves you oddly free of such things, and yet the corollary effects of embracing solitude are felt when one inevitably re-enters the frenetic world of the social. Human society is nothing else but the totality of individuals working as a collective whole, each human a cog in the vast artifice of humanity. Once you reenter the social world solitude works against you much as rust works against an old car, for me at least, feeble social responses try to initiate and leaves one awkward. Solitude is also like an addictive drug, I yearn for solitude much as a drowning person yearns for dry land. Perhaps not a good analogy, but so there.

There are times, however, that, sunk in narcotic solitude one yearns for the social world, in an odd reaction. One sickens of the reflective, shimmery curtains of safety and wants to be with companions, laughing and sharing jokes and imprecatory statements without a care in the world. I realize this probably only applies to me; gregarious people are, following from my bad analogy, swimmers and are perfectly in their element in the rough seas, perhaps even enjoying the pseudo-weightless sensation and the giddy ecstasy of social discourse. But I am not, by any means, a gregarious person, and the diatribe above is the product of introspection and Hyperion.

Moving to Hyperion, I have just finished the Hyperion Cantos series, and trying to search for antecedent mythological sources. My EE is that ship, prow up, in the high waters of a pirate bay. And the rocks are coming.


I just thought of a delightful pun. !nk is truly an !nkubus.

Friday, June 09, 2006


June finds me at a disadvantage. What with having to balance the twin plea(res)sures of homework/revision and the playing of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, which, upon perusal of Der Faschist's blog on Diablo II, I have little inhibitions admitting to.

So far, at least, most of the mundane homework has been dealt with. History IA practice is painfully underway. EE has been shamefully shoved into a corner very temporarily. Once I get more reference material, I'll start. The pressures of the CTs are but a distant dream, imperative though they may be. Revision will resume...soon. 16th June is my preferred date.

Oblivion is compelling, despite less-than-ideal computer specifications, combining an interesting multi-threaded storyline with a large portion of freeform gameplay. Although gameplay invariably gets dull after the thousandth dungeon-sweeping. Frequent sword-swinging may just render my mouse inoperable sometime.

But the dull weather beats on and rest evades me. If only the common tests were before June...but wait, they were.


Two thoughts have been gravitating in my mind recently.


I was rereading Foundation after a long long hiatus of non-Foundation-ness and Hari Seldon's character struck me with a new...familarity. Who else in the world of fiction, I thought, was an athletic, highly intelligent but naive provincial academic flanked by a younger but more discerning female sidekick cum guide who goes on a travelogue-ish romp through disparate locales in pursuit of an intractable academic problem that has applications beyond the mundane pursuit of knowledge, chased by forces who are not exactly what they seem?

Why, Robert Langdon, of course. It probably is a sort of literary formula 101 archetype, because it basically covers the three essentials of exciting fiction: danger, romance and hilarity.


I don't think Singapore produces little or no talent relative to its size. Its just that the system here works in such a way that the only way to get a stable job and a good life is to join the government. Or to make a career of opposing it. Or to leave. So the emigres and the government are the talent of Singapore, and as for the budding entrepreneurs of billionaire destiny and unconventional Warhol wannabes and Picasso potentials are few and far between, their kin having removed themselves to the time-consuming task of running the country. In other words, perhaps, the talents of Singapore mostly go the political path, rather than the economic or artistic path.