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Saturday, August 28, 2004

The Evolution and De-evolution of Human Beings: An excerpt from The Water Babies

This entry looks really long but it would not take 3 minutes of your time.

Taken from chapter 6 of The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, this excerpt tells of the evolution/ de-evolution of the species of Doasyoulikes (human beings of course) into ape-like creatures. A novel theory of evolution…

And on the title-page was written, "The History of the great and famous nation of the Doasyoulikes, who came away from the country of Hardwork, because they wanted to play on the Jews' harp all day long."

In the first picture they saw these Doasyoulikes living in the land of Readymade, at the foot of the Happy-go-lucky Mountains, where flapdoodle grows wild; and if you want to know what that is, you must read Peter Simple.

They lived very much such a life as those jolly old Greeks in Sicily, whom you may see painted on the ancient vases, and really there seemed to be great excuses for them, for they had no need to work.

Instead of houses they lived in the beautiful caves of tufa, and bathed in the warm springs three times a day; and, as for clothes, it was so warm there that the gentlemen walked about in little beside a cocked hat and a pair of straps, or some light summer tackle of that kind; and the ladies all gathered gossamer in autumn (when they were not too lazy) to make their winter dresses.

They were very fond of music, but it was too much trouble to learn the piano or the violin; and as for dancing, that would have been too great an exertion. So they sat on ant-hills all day long, and played on the Jews' harp; and, if the ants bit them, why they just got up and went to the next ant-hill, till they were bitten there likewise.

And they sat under the flapdoodle-trees, and let the flapdoodle drop into their mouths; and under the vines, and squeezed the grape-juice down their throats; and, if any little pigs ran about ready roasted, crying, "Come and eat me," as was their fashion in that country, they waited till the pigs ran against their mouths, and then took a bite, and were content, just as so many oysters would have been.

They needed no weapons, for no enemies ever came near their land; and no tools, for everything was readymade to their hand; and the stern old fairy Necessity never came near them to hunt them up, and make them use their wits, or die.

And so on, and so on, and so on, till there were never such comfortable, easy-going, happy-go-lucky people in the world.

"Well, that is a jolly life," said Tom.

"You think so?" said the fairy. "Do you see that great peaked mountain there behind," said the fairy, "with smoke coming out of its top?"


"And do you see all those ashes, and slag, and cinders lying about?"


"Then turn over the next five hundred years, and you will see what happens next."

And behold the mountain had blown up like a barrel of gunpowder, and then boiled over like a kettle; whereby one-third of the Doasyoulikes were blown into the air, and another third were smothered in ashes; so that there was only one-third left.

"You see," said the fairy, "what comes of living on a burning mountain."

"Oh, why did you not warn them?" said little Ellie.

"I did warn them all that I could. I let the smoke come out of the mountain; and wherever there is smoke there is fire. And I laid the ashes and cinders all about; and wherever there are cinders, cinders may be again. But they did not like to face facts, my dears, as very few people do; and so they invented a cock-and-bull story, which, I am sure, I never told them, that the smoke was the breath of a giant, whom some gods or other had buried under the mountain; and that the cinders were what the dwarfs roasted the little pigs whole with; and other nonsense of that kind. And, when folks are in that humour, I cannot teach them, save by the good old birch-rod."

And then she turned over the next five hundred years: and there were the remnant of the Doasyoulikes, doing as they liked, as before. They were too lazy to move away from the mountain; so they said, If it has blown up once, that is all the more reason that it should not blow up again. And they were few in number: but they only said, The more the merrier, but the fewer the better fare. However, that was not quite true; for all the flapdoodle-trees were killed by the volcano, and they had eaten all the roast pigs, who, of course, could not be expected to have little ones. So they had to live very hard, on nuts and roots which they scratched out of the ground with sticks. Some of them talked of sowing corn, as their ancestors used to do, before they came into the land of Readymade; but they had forgotten how to make ploughs (they had forgotten even how to make Jews' harps by this time), and had eaten all the seed-corn which they brought out of the land of Hardwork years since; and of course it was too much trouble to go away and find more. So they lived miserably on roots and nuts, and all the weakly little children had great stomachs, and then died.

"Why," said Tom, "they are growing no better than savages."

"And look how ugly they are all getting," said Ellie.

"Yes; when people live on poor vegetables instead of roast beef and plum-pudding, their jaws grow large, and their lips grow coarse, like the poor Paddies who eat potatoes."

And she turned over the next five hundred years. And there they were all living up in trees, and making nests to keep off the rain. And underneath the trees lions were prowling about.

"Why," said Ellie, "the lions seem to have eaten a good many of them, for there are very few left now."

"Yes," said the fairy; "you see it was only the strongest and most active ones who could climb the trees, and so escape."

"But what great, hulking, broad-shouldered chaps they are," said Tom; "they are a rough lot as ever I saw."

"Yes, they are getting very strong now; for the ladies will not marry any but the very strongest and fiercest gentlemen, who can help them up the trees out of the lions' way."
And she turned over the next five hundred years. And in that they were fewer still, and stronger, and fiercer; but their feet had changed shape very oddly, for they laid hold of the branches with their great toes, as if they had been thumbs, just as a Hindoo tailor uses his toes to thread his needle.

The children were very much surprised, and asked the fairy whether that was her doing.

"Yes, and no," she said, smiling. "It was only those who could use their feet as well as their hands who could get a good living: or, indeed, get married; so that they got the best of everything, and starved out all the rest; and those who are left keep up a regular breed of toe-thumb-men, as a breed of short-horns, or are skye-terriers, or fancy pigeons is kept up."

"But there is a hairy one among them," said Ellie.

"Ah!" said the fairy, "that will be a great man in his time, and chief of all the tribe."

And, when she turned over the next five hundred years, it was true.

For this hairy chief had had hairy children, and they hairier children still; and every one wished to marry hairy husbands, and have hairy children too; for the climate was growing so damp that none but the hairy ones could live: all the rest coughed and sneezed, and had sore throats, and went into consumptions, before they could grow up to be men and women.
Then the fairy turned over the next five hundred years. And they were fewer still.

"Why, there is one on the ground picking up roots," said Ellie, "and he cannot walk upright."
No more he could; for in the same way that the shape of their feet had altered, the shape of their backs had altered also.

"Why," cried Tom, "I declare they are all apes."

"Something fearfully like it, poor foolish creatures," said the fairy. "They are grown so stupid now, that they can hardly think: for none of them have used their wits for many hundred years. They have almost forgotten, too, how to talk. For each stupid child forgot some of the words it heard from its stupid parents, and had not wits enough to make fresh words for itself. Beside, they are grown so fierce and suspicious and brutal that they keep out of each other's way, and mope and sulk in the dark forests, never hearing each other's voice, till they have forgotten almost what speech is like. I am afraid they will all be apes very soon, and all by doing only what they liked."

And in the next five hundred years they were all dead and gone, by bad food and wild beasts and hunters; all except one tremendous old fellow with jaws like a jack, who stood full seven feet high; and M. Du Chaillu came up to him, and shot him, as he stood roaring and thumping his breast. And he remembered that his ancestors had once been men, and tried to say, "Am I not a man and a brother?" but had forgotten how to use his tongue; and then he had tried to call for a doctor, but he had forgotten the word for one. So all he said was "Ubboboo!" and died.

And that was the end of the great and jolly nation of the Doasyoulikes. And, when Tom and Ellie came to the end of the book, they looked very sad and solemn; and they had good reason so to do, for they really fancied that the men were apes, and never thought, in their simplicity, of asking whether the creatures had hippopotamus majors in their brains or not; in which case, as you have been told already, they could not possibly have been apes, though they were more apish than the apes of all aperies.

"But could you not have saved them from becoming apes?" said little Ellie, at last.

"At first, my dear; if only they would have behaved like men, and set to work to do what they did not like. But the longer they waited, and behaved like the dumb beasts, who only do what they like, the stupider and clumsier they grew; till at last they were past all cure, for they had thrown their own wits away. It is such things as this that help to make me so ugly, that I know not when I shall grow fair."

"And where are they all now?" asked Ellie.

"Exactly where they ought to be, my dear."

"Yes!" said the fairy, solemnly, half to herself, as she closed the wonderful book. "Folks say now that I can make beasts into men, by circumstance, and selection, and competition, and so forth. Well, perhaps they are right; and perhaps, again, they are wrong. That is one of the seven things which I am forbidden to tell, till the coming of the Cocqcigrues; and, at all events, it is no concern of theirs. Whatever their ancestors were, men they are; and I advise them to behave as such, and act accordingly. But let them recollect this, that there are two sides to every question, and a downhill as well as an uphill road; and, if I can turn beasts into men, I can, by the same laws of circumstance, and selection, and competition, turn men into beasts… …

How many of you have actually read till this line? This is the book I’m currently reading now. For a summary of this novel, please click here.

Written in the 19th century and intended as a fairy tale for children, I personally feel that a child reading The Water Babies is akin to a child reading the original version of Alice in Wonderland (another book which I have planned to read when I have the time.)

A pleasant and stimulating read for all adults, do let me know if any of you wants to borrow the book from me. Alternatively, there are hypertext versions available online.

Disclaimer: This entry is an excuse for not writing a review on Fahrenheit 911 which I caught on Wednesday. There are already tons of reviews available online and I really could not do a good one as I was half suffocating from the stench of athletes’ foot, shit, fish and other disgusting odour in the cinema; and half enduring my knee-ache and backache caused by Lido’s sucky seats. All I could say about the movie is that Moore made a complete asshole outta Bush.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Writer's Block

Me = Tanarexia.

If you have read last Friday's Life! section, you would have known that Tanarexia is a new form of body dysmorphic disorder, where the "sufferer" has an excessive tanning behaviour or the obsessive want to tan. I used to suffer from the former. Now, I am experiencing the latter.

I do not know what is the matter with me today, but I cannot write adequately. I am always wandering away into some exclamation or other. Fortunately I have nothing particular to say.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

I’m Crazy Over Burberry But Not That Crazy

My Da4 jie3 finally claimed her Black spongy Esprit handphone pouch from me after 2 years because she got herself a K700i. She feels that her chichi K700i needs more protection than my unstylish 7250i. She left a note for me saying that she would e getting me a new one. So I lived without a pouch for a day, constantly fearing that my handphone would be scratched with my clumsy nature.

That night, I got home and found a Burberry-look-alike pouch on my table. People who know me know my affinity to those nova plaid checks. Be it the bold and elegant tanned ones or the all-so-sweet pink ones. However, a fake Burberry handphone pouch? It isn’t half as spongy as the Esprit one, doesn’t cushion the phone half as much but cost just as much.

I found it really amusing that my sister should think that I’m so crazy over Burberry. She probably deemed that I could never afford even the smallest $600++ tote bag and thought that I would be contented to settle for the Burberry-inspired pouch.

None of my friends has seen me with that pouch yet but I’m very sure all of them would chortle at my craziness over Burberry to resort to buying a look-alike. I would have a lot of explaining to do when I see them the next time.

I may sound like I’m appalled or ungrateful but in actual fact, I thought my sis was really cute and I can’t complain when she actually made the effort to get something which she thought I might like instead of just buying any peach, pink or purple pouch off the shelf.

She won’t be reading this. But I hope she knows that I’m thankful to her. It’s just a small gesture and a small little ugly pouch. But it has spurred me to write an entry out of it.

Since we are on the topic of Burberry, I shall adorn my entry with Burberry pictures. Feast for my eyes… coz I would never be able to afford any or to spend ridiculous amount on just a small bag.

Bearbear Posted by Hello

Burberry Scarf. Hmm.. goes well with my blog layout. Posted by Hello

Some people think Burberry clothing line is tacky.. I think it's elegant. Was not able to save some of the trenchcoat and shawl pictures. Those are really classy. Posted by Hello

Sweeto...... Posted by Hello

Will add more pictures when i have the time.... Gotta rush to meet Evan now... After going solo for the past few weeks, I'm finally meeting a friend!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Hello Everyone! I’m Boh Liao.

I decided to take a break from reading my textbook, so I switched on the TV and the computer.

I watched Ronald Susilo battle the 1.92m, left-handed German guy. He won!!!!! Singapore has hope!

I managed to catch the whole match which had Susilo battling China’s world Number One Lin Dan on TV mobile yesterday. That was the first time I’ve ever watched a badminton game so intensely. I was really impressed by his performance and decided to follow up his matches to find out if Singapore has any hopes of attaining a medal in this Olympic. Also, although he isn’t exactly a good looker, he is pretty good to look at. Oh well, maybe his side view. Oh well, maybe not at all. I can’t find any photographs of him looking good!

People are really interested in Fiona Xie’s boobs! Everyday, there would be somebody wrongly directed to my blog when he searches for her voluminous boobs. Only to be disappointed by the lack of pictures of her bosom buddies.

I did a search on Fiona Xie. (I suspect I have too much time on my hands!!!)There are just too few pictures of her and her twin assets. Even the photo gallery on Mediacorp is outdated. Let’s trace her transformation from an un-pretty and irritating genie to a much prettier but still as irritating, this time a human.

This was how she looked back then:

Posted by Hello

Taken in 2001, this picture does answer some of your queries on whether her boobs have bloomed only recently. She seemed well-endowed ever since she started off.

Posted by Hello

A studio shot with makeover effect. And so, she looks prettier here.

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Same studio shot. Notice her eyes back then.

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Without the studio makeover effect. Not only is she un-pretty, she has a bad dress sense as well. I reckon she just emerged from some A-go-go party.

This is how she looks like now:

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She did her eyelids and her dress sense miraculously improved too. In fact, from the 3 episodes of the 9pm show I’ve caught, I think she dresses really well.

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And finally, a really gorgeous picture of her! Nice eyes, nice face, nice makeup, nice gown and nice hair. Her hair is styled so nicely, it looks like the kind of hair I would cut if I should ever cut my hair...

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Which looks just like Yuna’s hairstyle. However, I figured that if I ever cut this style, I would have to buy a bottle of gel or wax every month and blow my hair for 2 hours everyday and so decided against it.

Oh, how can I forget Fiona Xie’s most recent photo? This will be a treat for all guys.

Posted by Hello

Babelicious Fiona had to wear 2 bikini tops to support her overflowing breasts. This was taken from a shoot for a new drama serial.

And after I’ve typed all these, I realized how boh liao I can get. Oh well, at least I’m adorning my blog with pretty pictures. Displaying pictures of pretty girls on your blog is an advantage, it misleads people into thinking the pretty girl in the picture might be the author of the blog.

I think I had better get back to my books or I would never be able to complete my assignments in time.

Friday, August 13, 2004

My Say on Singapore Idols

People who know me well enough know that I’m someone who doesn’t really watch television programs. I would not specially stay at home to catch a show on tv even if I was dying to watch it.

Singapore Idols proved otherwise. I nearly contemplated postponing my tuition just to catch part 2 of the audition round on Tuesday night. It is by far the best reality show I’ve enjoyed after Amazing Race 3. It is the best local comedy ever produced by Mediacorp. It is pure entertainment.

Without Singapore Idols, I would never have discovered Singapore’s pool of extreme talent. The show was a caricature of guts where the contestants were all immensely talented in mortifying themselves.

Few months ago when I saw the ad for the Singapore Idols auditions at Suntec City, I thought to myself that this Singapore version would never emulate the American one in terms of entertainment. I thought that no way are conservative and reserved Singaporeans going to humiliate themselves on national tv. At that time, I certainly did not expect thick-skinned people who can’t sing for nuts to grace the tv. This talented pool of Singaporeans proved me wrong.

The trailers alone were enough for me to look forward to the debut of Singapore Idols. Each time I catch the trailers featuring the motley crew, I would be tickled. Too bad I missed the first 20minutes for each of the 2 episodes. Missing those minutes caused me to miss catching Mr Shangahi who “falsettoed through the Beatles’ Yesterday” as quoted by Lionel Seah, Mr Lemon Tree doing a William Hung, Mr Underpants… uh… stripping to his yellow underpants and Mr Banana Man doing his banana stint. Such characters would possibly remain unearthed deep in the soil if not for Singapore Idols. I was really amazed yet gratified that Singaporeans aren’t the boring lot I’ve always perceived them to be.

I know of many people who have truly enjoyed those two episodes but for those who constantly criticize the show and compare it with the American version, branding the local version flat and all please shut up. *stares at my second sis*

No doubt many Singaporeans were disappointed when Gurmit Singh was revealed as the host. This local funny man (who does not really appeal to me) could never match the charisma and pleasant disposition of Ryan Seacrest. However, he has proven that he too, can be the Big Brother who will lend his reassuring shoulders to cry on.

No doubt many Singaporeans have criticized the judges for being flat and unoriginal. What’s up with you people?

First you go “HUH? Who the heck are these people?” at the mention of names like Florence Lian, Douglas Oliveiro and Ken Lim.

Next, you claim that the Singapore judges are flat and boring, none matching the wit and sarcasm of Simon Cowell.

Finally you chastise them for being unoriginal and being a copy-cat, trying very hard to emulate the American judges by “diligently boning up on their 'How-To-Be-A-Simon-Cowell' manuals what with their suspiciously-rehearsed, smark-alecky barbs”. Dick Lee’s subtle sarcasm was his style in the 1st episode. However, after that his deMEANour emerged, becoming really sarcastic and rude, especially when he screamed at the not-bad-looking- guy to “Just get out!” That is his style! I don’t think he was trying to imitate anyone.

Singaporeans are a hard bunch to please.

So far, I’ve not noticed anyone who really has the star appeal and the idol look that is so sought after in this program. Those who could sing and those who had great voices, did not really possess the disposition of an idol. While those who had the looks, could not sing.

“Instead of looking forward to the nation's next singing sensation, viewers seem more eager to tune in to Singapore Idol to take digs at their fellow Singaporeans and look out for the next joker to fall flat on his face.”

I do agree with the above statement. Currently, those who enjoyed the two episodes were more interested in being entertained by sniggering at the losers. I’m afraid I’m one of them too. I wonder if I will continue to tune in to the show after all the losers have disappeared from the screen and there is nothing left to amuse myself anymore.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Strange things may be generally accounted for if their cause be fairly searched out.

I have wanted to blog about the happenings during the night cycling that took place between Friday night to Saturday morning. Met up with good old friends again, 13 of us… cycling through the night… with not a care in the world… save for the aching butt and muscles.

However, I slept too much and this affected my sentimental mood and writing propensity. I went home on Saturday morning and slept all the way till evening. And then I was finally available at home on a Saturday night to catch the Paris Hilton reality show for the first time while waiting for someone to call. The call never came. I felt a bit upset but I was too exhausted to feel upset and so I dragged myself to my bed. The freshly laundered sheets must have had some sleep inducing powers for I slumbered all the way till this morning. I awoke a very depressed person.

I believe that while I was sleeping, I was reminded about certain happenings in my life that weren’t exactly positive. And when I awoke, certain happenings in real life that weren’t exactly positive greeted me. I became even more disheartened.

I do not even know what’s stirring in my heart and my mind, but I am affecting everyone I love with unkind words. And then I felt lousy. I do not even understand myself… and the worst state to be in is to face another woeful individual in the mirror crying relentlessly, without an answer to my problems.

Or was there even a problem?

I don’t know. I really don’t know.

My heart is akin to some cryptic rune. My mind unable to unravel it’s underlying mystery.

Something is missing in my life. And I can’t decipher what it is.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Great Cook Out

On Saturday 31 July, we held our never-thought-it-would-materialize-but-finally-did Great Cook Out.

I’ve heard from many of my friends studying overseas that holding potluck dinners or getting together to cook once in a while is quite common. However, how many of us back here in Singapore would ever propose a get-together with friends where we whip up some dishes, prepare together, cook together, eat together and wash up together? It would be uniquely different from all other get-togethers where we gather at some posh café to sip Short black pretentiously or at some kopitiam to lim1 Kopi and keow1 ka1 and holler either like Ah Bengs and Ah Lians or gossipy uncles and aunties reminiscing about the past.

Don’t get me wrong. I love such chill out sessions. Be it at a posh café or our friendly neighbourhood kopitiam. However, a get-together cook out session in the homely setting truly brings out the domestic side of all of us that we never knew existed. The feeling is pleasantly different. It was memorable.

After rattling so much, I’ve decided again that photos would neatly sum up the day’s happenings. Once again, I shameless ripped photos off Tammy’s and Teok’s.

Trekking to house number 32. Posted by Hello

Trekking happily under the slight drizzle. Posted by Hello

Our groceries... Posted by Hello

Awaiting the death sentence... by lethal injection. Posted by Hello

Injecting XO into the crabs. Animal activists will cringe. I, however, thought that was one of the greatest way to die. Caleb defended his cruelty by declaring that I would love to be in the shoes of those crabs. Posted by Hello

Guys donning the apron. Reversal of gender roles... Posted by Hello

We all had our tasks to do... ...

Tammy grating Chin Chow... Posted by Hello

Caleb chopping garlic... Posted by Hello

Weiquan dismembering crabs... Posted by Hello

Me frying prawns... Posted by Hello

Teoks poking at the chickens... Posted by Hello

Julie supervising Teoks poking at the chickens. Although Julie was in charge of many dishes, no one actually captured her in the act of doing her tasks. So I put this down. Posted by Hello

Caleb's zhao pai dish:
XO Crabs! Overwhelming with XO but nonetheless YUMMY! Posted by Hello

My zhao pai dish:
Butter Garlic Prawns! Caleb insulted the name of my dish when he requested for non-buttered prawns, cringing at the aroma of butter while the prawns frolicked in it. Tammy and Julie's mum loved them! Thank you auntie and Tammy for your support!! =) Posted by Hello

Teoks' zhao pai dish:
Ha4 Qiong2 Gai1. It tastes like salted fish. I love salted fish and so I love his chicken. Posted by Hello

Julie's zhao pai dish:
Sambal Stingray! It bears an uncanny resemblance to lasagne. Very very delicious. She did the chawanmushii too. No photos taken of it though.Posted by Hello

Tammy’s zhao pai dish:
Honey Glazed Chicken. Just like those honey glazed poultry you get during the festive seasons. No photos of it though.

Weiquan’s zhao pai dish:
Potato Salad. No photos of it too. Actually he just boiled the potato and Julie did the rest.. Haha. Ok, we give him credit for helping out in all our preparations.

And then later, we tried killing off one another so we could have more food. Posted by Hello

The Incomplete Menu... ... Posted by Hello

Still Incomplete... ... More dishes to come!! Posted by Hello

Food Spread!! Yong Dao Hu Soup... XO crabs... Butter garlic prawns... Sambal stingray... Curry puffs... Xiao Bai Cai with oyster sauce... Fried chicken (Ha4 Qiong2 Gai1)... Chawanmushii... Honey glazed chicken... Potato salad, Chin Chow drink. Posted by Hello

Unfinished food... ... which became our dinner and supper later. Posted by Hello

Crabby Art by Tammy Posted by Hello

After the sumptuous lunch, we played Pictionary. It is like Win, Lose or Draw. Really hilarious when you have people who can't draw and can't guess. And an observation made while playing the game: You do not need to be a good "drawer" or a good guesser, you just need to have people who are able to draw fast and guess fast in your team and you are on your way to winning. Posted by Hello

What's the BIG idea? Posted by Hello

Julie's wonderful of drawing of a resort. Posted by Hello

Caleb was trying to draw a cordless phone. While all the girls have already figured the answer out within 15seconds, Teoks finally screamed the right answer out at the eleventh hour.. or should I say, the 59th second? Posted by Hello

WQ doesn't know that the two pointed "horns" which elephants have are called tusks. He kept on exclaiming: "HORN HORN HORN!" I could not find another way of drawing tusks so for the next 50 seconds I outlined the tusks over and over again. Posted by Hello

And the girls won (red cube)!! Look at how far behind the boys in black were. Of course, after that game, Tammy realised that we had been playing the wrong way and so for the next game, we played it the right way. Posted by Hello

After all the wacky drawing and after Tammy took home her Pictionary, we were deciding between Tai Tee, Bridge and Scrabble. We decided to act intellectual and opted for Scrabble. Our game was inching towards the northeast direction at the beginning. Posted by Hello

Teoks emerged champion, only because he shamelessly used up precious space by constructing short, useless and non-expandable words when the rest of us had better words for those spaces he hogged. I came in with the least points all thanks to him! Posted by Hello

Parting shot Posted by Hello


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