Monday, September 11, 2006


These days I feel dry of thought, but the show must go on; blogs must be updated, guns must be shot, and IMF meetings must be allowed to begin in earnest. There will be no cessation of terrors if this blog is allowed to stagnate.

So, I do blog. But it is fortunate that there are issues to talk about. For instance, the IMF/World Bank Meetings. I, for one, must agree with the Singapore Government's ban on outdoor protests. This has nothing to do with the legality or freedom of expression - that issue is moot in this light. But it is true that the Government cannot afford to play double standards towards its populace, either it abolishes the ban for good, which will never happen as long as the PAP rules over this nation (or probably not), or it does nothing and stands firm by the order and, perhaps, restrictiveness that has become a part of the rule of law in this here and now. And there are of course several safety issues that must be observed, for both the would-be demonstrators and the IMF delegates. But its a shame, really, for our image - this is amounting to an image disaster for Singapore, and all the careful preparations - the flowers, the Smiles campaign, the Biennale, are going to seem rather flat when taken in the same dose as the restrictions. I wonder what the delegates think.

School rules. I must applaud the disciplinary measures the Student Council is taking, especially with regards to truancy. It's been an enduring and distressing issue that is plaguing the school - this wanton, casual, wilful skipping of classes and leaving school early. Draconian measures should be taken, and they have been. Notwithstanding Alistairs demented briefing the Council's measures are a good step forward. However, the ban on cards is another thing entirely. It, simply put, is nonsensical in premise and I am quite sure it will not be enforced. I've seen councilors playing bridge; cardplaying is a harmless activity as long as it doesnt involve an exchange of banknotes I don't see why it should be considered a violation of the school rules to play it as a purely recreational activity. You can gamble with anything, not just cards - you could bet on soccer matches, board games, and coin tossing, but that doesnt mean we can ban all those things. The rationale for the banning of playing cards is bunk. Better to join the mass of card players than hope to quash the tradition. And I don't even know how to play.

I have finished reading Olympos, the sequel to Ilium, and while most of the book was wonderful, the end left me in the dark as to what actually took place. Plot threads have been resolved in strange fashions and Simmons likes to leave some threads hanging. It is perhaps pertinent to re-read it as a future juncture to ascertain what Simmons was writing about. The inclusion of myraid literary elements, including Keats, Homer, Proust and Shakespeare were exceedingly novel, especially when deliciously juxtaposed against the modern-day musings of one of the protagonists, Thomas Hockenberry, a Twentieth century Iliad academic who has been revived by far-future Gods to catalogue their reenactment of the Trojan war as reported by Homer in Iliad. What else is interesting is that Simmons has chosen to make one of his non-human characters the most enduringly human of all the characters; Mahnmut, the moravec. That character is handled with great deftness and care, emphasizing one of the themes of the novel - the power of creative genius to inspire only those who truly understand the essence of humanity. Simmons places great store on the creative genius, reinterpreting it in a science-fiction sense, that it has the sheer power to create metaphorical universes of beauty and complexity. But you have to read it to understand it.


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