Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Diotallevi II

Yesterday was the greatest rain in Singapore of the century, and it has driven even me to nuts, as someone who loved the rain. It seems that folks in these parts gets driven mad by anything if it stays on for long enough.

I loved the rain at nights, for its rarity, and because the sounds of falling waters droned me to sleep. In ths storm on Monday night the rain never stopped its assault; the lights from town and Woodlands rose from the horizon like a huge beast, oppressing the nightly darkness with a pale brown glow which disturbed me so much that I shut up the curtains.

Okay a few of those folks here in office really like to breathe out heavily through their noses whenever they pass my cubicle, but let's not get too distracted.

Jin Peng and the others who's rallied to the Astronomy Fellowship Camp from Monday to today are in for some disappointment; the rain for two nights would make any stars rebelliously appearing an impossibility. The astronomy rating for the camp is gone, though if they get together in a shelter they can find in Ubin, I hope it does well for the fellowship. Only I may never know because I couldn't be with them.

It was a long and dismal trip back home, and my poor bag's taken quite a lot of it, as well as some of my drawings for coursework. All had some kind of damage, especially for the icefloe scene. Also, I lost my umbrella cover.

After I got home and smashed the computer a bit, then met with Charmaine and Colin online to discuss the script. They took it up where I failed; to find the bones we have to pick. It was a long day with a lot of rain out there which I guess was why I took such a long time to react to the academic downpour and the critical questions since my trembling fingers threaten to make any response relative gibberish. But I won't discuss them here because it's still faculty secret.

I start to wonder why I had used the name Diotallevi and Leodhas. The name Diotallevi has started to feature in all of my ideas that had something about self-referencing narratives, and I chose the name Leodhas after an island in the Scottish Hebrides, better known as Lewis. I start to wonder if I can choose the name Casaubon, or possibly Watson, so that people can say to him, "Elementary, my dear Casaubon" or so on. Maybe I can use the name Nechtan, a name much easier to pronounce than Leodhas, and Saraband instead of Emillia.

The names are my least concern, though. Oh yeah, I hear you snicker.

For today I might get my hands upon other jobs, such as character development. And development especially for the character Ratt, who is a rat. I've been drawing the pudgy guy (don't confuse it with the Pudgy Guy). I found out that my pencils are effectively stuffed in the warm dry airtight conditions of my pencil case (why do we call it a pencil case?) so I have to go out today at lunchtime (which is now) and buy myself now a working pencil.

I'm quite tired of the old Ratt design way back from 2004, so I might use a new one. I liked the way Banksy rats are drawn, because they remind me of the rats of Chris Baker, whom Redwall readers might identify as Fangorn. I bet you're snickering more loudly this time.

Also I'm beginning to imagine Ratt dressed in a habit and wielding a blackthorn staff in the most suave and lethal manner like a warrior monk. Don't fall off the chair now! I could take that further and name the abbey Schaulin, but anyway that's not going into the actual film.

Lastly I have to confess that I've in a rather dark mood, starting to lash out at people, and all the stuff you usually hear from blogs like mine so I won't repeat them.

If anything has helped to alleviate it, it was the clear skies near Changi Business Park this morning, which was why I took a picture of it with the rail leading in to Changi Airport.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Casimir Sphere

Click to enlarge!
This image was yesterday's incoming picture from APOD, with a tongue-in-cheek commentary that deftly brought out the wonders of the universe from the most common things:

This tiny ball provides evidence that the universe will expand forever. Measuring slightly over one tenth of a millimeter, the ball moves toward a smooth plate in response to energy fluctuations in the vacuum of empty space. The attraction is known as the Casimir Effect, named for its discoverer, who, 50 years ago, was trying to understand why fluids like mayonnaise move so slowly. Today, evidence is accumulating that most of the energy density in the universe is in an unknown form dubbed dark energy. The form and genesis of dark energy is almost completely unknown, but postulated as related to vacuum fluctuations similar to the Casimir Effect but generated somehow by space itself. This vast and mysterious dark energy appears to gravitationally repel all matter and hence will likely cause the universe to expand forever. Understanding vacuum fluctuations is on the forefront of research not only to better understand our universe but also for stopping micro-mechanical machine parts from sticking together.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Guide for the Perplexed

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What Charmaine posted a few weeks back got me pacing around the rooms, which has developed into a weird habit whenever I think, scheme, or listen to music. Were I to be put to the streets outside my house, I may find myself in Woodlands before nightfall. I paced while sinking deep into happy limerence, then it went away.

My job attachment at IBM is a blessing in disguise. It may have taken away the good chunk of December, and sentenced me to my cubicle at daytime, but it has left my day far from temptation and close to a book, the one by the philosopher and theologian, Keith Ward.

I had unshelved it the first time I saw it, and in the first time in a long while that I had a trip to the Christianity shelf on the second storey of the library at Jurong. I didn't visit there very frequently at all, maybe for the same reasons that Charmaine had cited. I didn't think I was perplexed anyway, until I borrowed it and realised how perplexing it was.

Ward took some time off to poke at modern and popular perceptions, maybe by those "teenaged evangelists who wear their faith like gaudy street fashion". But instead of offering opinions by the chapterload, he presented other people's misguided views. (Maybe the ideas were all misguided in one way or another, by any extent. If you get tired easily while thinking, you'd say that they're all relatively misguided)

Folks interested in theology, watch out now for Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Augustine, and maybe the Iliad, because I wish for the coming of an age in which people talk about God and know what they're really talking about.

Would like to write more when I'm in the right mood.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Seice Ruairidh - Roddy's Drum

Seice Ruairidh bheir i fuaim
Seice Ruairidh bheir i srann
Seice Ruairidh bheir i fuaim
Nuair a bhailear i gu teann

Nuair bhailear i bheir i fuaim aisd'
'S gluaisidh gach duine bhios ann
An fhuaim a bheir seice Ruairidh
Bheir i nuas an taigh mun ceann

M'eudail air do shùilean donna
Air do shùilean 's air do bhodhaig
M'eudail air do shùilean donna
'S air do bhodhaig bhòidhich

Pòsaidh mi dha-rìreadh
Pòsaidh mi dha-rìreadh
Pòsaidh mi an gille donn
Ma tha e 'g ràdh an fhìrinn

Roddy's drum makes a noise/Roddy's drum makes a whirring/Roddy's drum makes a noise/When it's struck smartly
When it makes a noise/Everyone present moves/The noise Roddy's drum makes/Will bring the house down
I love your brown eyes/Your eyes and your shape/I love your brown eyes/And your comely shape
I will marry for sure/I will marry for sure/I will marry the brown-haired lad/If he is telling the truth

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mother's Delight

In the randomnitudes of Tuesday night my inner hare heard the call of kin.

And it arrived, packed up in a song I've known since childhood. Mother's Delight by Altan seemed almost like a friend, almost human. At times four human friends, talking to me in different tongues. It was a medley of four reels that had been picked up by the band from everywhere. The eponymous Mother's Delight occupied the leading space, and an unnamed reel rolled on peacefully where it let off.

But the most illustrious in the medley would be Ormond Sound and Mike Hoban's Reel that shoved up the stage zealously two minutes into the music; These two reels seemed to say different things to me at different times, since on their own they are without words, only the raw emotions of flute, fiddle, bodhrán and guitar chorusing. Three years ago it manifested my anger towards my peers when I was unable to conform. Three months ago it was a musical embodiment of a girl I admired from afar.

The breeziness of the nameless reel stops, whereupon the accusing voices of flute and fiddle speak out in unison in quick and tireless syllables. The guitarist keeps his head low, taking it all in and plucks at the strings dilligently, and tension builds up in an increasingly accentuated and breathless staccato. The rhythm for the bodhrán does not seem to change, but it's become obvious to the ear and takes on the stance of an attentive spectator.

Ormond sound leaves the scene as abruptly as it entered: the flute and fiddle duo retreats from the center of the stage, and the guitarist promptly reasserts his dominance with full, forceful chords that strum earthy colours into an unearthy augment. Although the bodhrán has become indistinguishable from the rest of the music, it had in fact gone wild and blended perfectly, maybe possessing each of the other instruments. The wooden taps could be heard in the flute, the fiddle, the guitar, shoving all three down the catwalk.

In the inevitable end, as things are wont to happen in energetic Irish medleys, the other characters on stage fall away into silence without warning, leaving the bemused flautist to clean up the mess.

Yes, I've been reading the Pilgrimage, and I'm very much at home with it. The things they brand rituals may be what I've been doing for a very long time. I am sceptical about magic and its getting-tied-up-with Catholicism, though I wouldn't bring myself to ignore the dang brilliance in the RAM exercises, with their frank plainness and realism.

People who search for a higher reality are not being unrealistic. It's different from running away from reality, and more akin to hurling oneself bodily into it from an outside vantage point.

It's getting late.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Orbiting Thoughts

What shall I say... I've been living at home like a wretch. Mom likes to make a joke out of my chinese name 闽, which said that whenever within the premises of the 门 I don't get to be anything else than a 虫. As witty talk goes, it didn't much help. What helped was that I realised what was intangibly bricking me up at home, and broke out sometime.

A few days after dragging boots through Hillview I went out for a walk around my Hazel Park neighbourhood... and walked all the way to the Holy Bus Stop across the road from Courts. The bus stop which I stare at whenever I pass it. I used to feel like dying out of despair when someone wasn't there and dying out of embarrassment when she was. Since April I've stopped feeling the former; I'm not sure that it's the correct direction, but there I go.

Before my brain starts purring again I'd make a list of upcoming breakouts from mental prison.
Thursday: Yingshi's goodbye lunch, lecture at NTU by Hooft
Friday: 11am with Sean and Weiyi at Sean's house; going there on foot
Saturday and Sunday: Probably ruthless scheming.
Sunday afternoon: LIGHT programme 1245 hours at St. Mike's room wherever that is
Next week till Wednesday: Attatchment at ECE Department
Wednesday and Thursday: CCA Leaders workshop
Friday to Sunday: Flybynight with Yee Chien, Regina, Xiangjun
The Last Four Days of November: Nyeh hyeh hyeh hyeh hyeh
December: Attatchment to IBM

It is ironic that I often need the computer to really do stuff.

Another list of things in my brain
It's started purring reluctantly.

Number One: The Chalet
I feel obliged to blog the chalet as number one.
Arrived at Costa Sands in the first day wtih Lin Xi and Zhang Xiang where Jun Yan and Geok Han were waiting. Li Rao and Zhang Hao came later, and seven of us proceeded at night to haunt the Pasir Ris neighbourhood on bike.

I had no idea the peace you get in the wee hours until the bowels of the sleeping town was emptied of traffic. We went into Loyang and probed deep into the inaccessible realms until we reached the airport's back gate. There was a narrow pavement demarcating the border between the world of the ghastly nightime forest and that of dreary street lamplights. There was this place where no tall trees or buildings obstructed the Winter Hexagon to our left. There was the Changi Women's Prison, and a truly amazing residential area.

Number Two: Freedom
I don't feel angry at the people who tell me overtly or otherwise that they don't want to talk about religion. I feel sad.

One of my friends felt that it's restrictive and another steers off it like the plague, and possibly for the same reason. Why are you so afraid?

The word dogma makes me squirm inside. It is now close to a sacre, bundled up with blind faith, roteness, the stubbornness of old people, the fallability of ancient received wisdom.

If we try to understand dogma rather than fashionably stomping upon it I believe it will cease to become the "dogma" we hear often of. A dogma revealed, not blindly adhered to, is an attitude; like the respect for the animals who give you meat by not eating them with milk.

It's 1:50 AM, I'm not feeling open and tolerant now and if you sneer at this I might find a pretty big stick and consequently clobber.

Number Three: Death has made cowards of us all
That was what I read on a passage passing off as an advertisement by a Hospice Organisation.

If we know to live life, would we still need to be afraid about death?

I'll stop writing because brain is dying down.
Lord help me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is Nothing Sacred

Nothing Sacred: The Truth About Judaism
by Douglas Rushkoff

I picked the book off the Religion shelf on the third floor of Jurong Regional Library, a place which has by now achieved an iconic significance. Did so with a dire determination to never leave the library until the book had been finished, because withering away in front of Wikipedia screens seems to me now a hell of boredom.

The Religion shelf and the Philosophy shelf are separated by a pillar, creating a void through which the book spines of the constituent literature confronted each other like trench soldiers. I wished they were closer together.

But before I waste precious space rambling about shelves, and before I get lured away again to waste precious time on YouTube watching the antics of Ryan Stiles and associate comedians, I must tell you that I am very impressed after reading this book: Impressed by the tenacity and character of the people, their sense of reality and justice, and their philosophy of living religion.

Rushkoff attributes the versatility, in the "evolution" of Judaism, to the Jewish spirit of open inquiry and discussion among all Jews. Religion to the Jews is not a closed book, it was an open one, and one with quite a lot of blank pages for every thinking person to fill in. This spirit of knowledge of inquiry permeates much of a truly Jewish life, even in praying, reading, discussing the scripture and eating with seemingly whimsical and arbitrary habits.***

However, Rushkoff comes worryingly close to dismissing religiousity from the Jewish religion, and at times favours the entrepreneural, creative Jew over the religious and faithful Jew. He seems to discard being religious as an unfortunate adjective untrue to Judaism, which should be expanded to become an idea, a way of life.

Many of the problems that Rushkoff deems pertinent to the preservation to the Jewish idea actually are also pertinent to Christianity. The onslaught of fundamentalism and New Age marketing appeal threatens to turn a complete religiousity into blind faith, or a façade behind which a mystic fetishism rules; Judaism is not the only religion here threatened by such things.

I'm wondering whether we, the Christians, could take a leaf off the Jewish book by reinvigorating our inquisitive, philosophical spirit that ferried the church across the Dark Ages, this enthusiasm and realism that is inevitably present in every real religion.

(On Rushkoff's Site)
(On this one's better must read
(Something I think is equally important)

*** Jews are not allowed, say, to eat milk with meat, as it was a sign of respect to the animal sacrificed to not "cook the lamb in its mother's milk". If this is to be branded as superficial, it's only because the practicioners don't understand why they're doing this.

Ministry of Defence
Owing to my newfound and refreshing joy in going out I wasn't about to end the day by taking the bus straight home. For those who take service 176 regularly, you may have noticed some seriously breathtaking scenery towards the west; beautiful especially around 4pm. It was a large space, marked thinly with a few trees against a distant backdrop of a forest.

I dropped off there and walked into the field, for it was a thing I had wanted to do for around one year without realising it. Walked quite a bit into it, then realised that I have to take off my earphones in order to really immerse myself into anything. Along a line of trees that were almost befeft of leaves, sparrows receded and expanded territories amid vehement warcries. Further to the south, it was the mynahs that lubbed the ground.

The landscape rolled generally, but it seemed to conform to a flatness that chopped up slopes into terraces. Otherwise it was adulterated only by a network of drains that laced the grassland. There was a sign at the far end, right up the slope, which I went up to see for the sake of seeing.

The sign said various stuff that generally mean "No Trespassing", which was expected. But on the other side, things were much more interesting:

After reaching the outer premises of the Ministry of Defence, as it turned out to be when a service 177 bus whirred by ten mintues later, I diverted my course due north, down the slopes and towards the road running across the ministry. First the ground got a bit wet, and squished cheerfully under my feet; later it got quite intimidating, and I resigned to walking the bit of dry concrete along the drain, one foot on each edge.

It was lifting to witness the liveliness below the grass blades, where you'd find cicadas and communities of juvenile grasshoppers. Occasionally something would dash away from somewhere in front of me, though all I'd notice would be the rustling and a swinging leaf.

At the end of my journey I was attracted to a patch of forest that stood out. On a closer look there was a path, leading to another sign. The sign warned of a possible occurrence of a terrible pissed-off canine. There was another path leading along the barbed-wire fence, so I went in, out of a spirit of genuine curiosity and stupidity, or possibly the empirical evidence that there were no dogs around.

It turned out to be both a curious and stupid venture, because when you stopped the mosquitoes swarmed around you. The way out seemed to be nowhere, even if I knew somewhere along the fence it would, and should be clear. The path was sandwiched precariously between a forested slope and the fence, and at times I had to hold on to the fence for support. When I finally got out, the swarm followed for a short distance, as if reluctant to let go of such a scrumptious gift.

Felt quite stupid for a while, and left the place I now call Hillview Park, for dusk was coming and I needed dinner.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Infinite Boredom

Scribbled down in an academic briefing this January in my Orientation booklet, before everything else happened:

Two figures walked in the plain of Infinite Boredom.
After a while one of them said:
"Are we there yet?"
"There's nowhere to go."
"Then where are we going?"

They walked for another ten miles before he continued.
"Shall we talk?"
"Look. We're talking, aren't we?"
"I mean, talk about something."

Two miles of dust passed beneath their steps.
"There's nothing to talk about."

Three miles.
"I need rest."
"You can't rest. In fact you can't do anything."
"What can you do when you can't rest?"

Four miles, and twenty since the last sand dune.
"We're walking, aren't we?"
"No, we're not."
"Look, this is killing me."

A weak gale blew past after three days.
"You're already dead."
"Then this is Hell."

Long long pause.
"When will this end?"
"Till Kingdom Come."
"And when's that?"

The sun hung still in the sky, a lifeless disc.

Life in Hell, or rather, a sub-life on the plain of Infinite Boredom, is like an eternal lecture. You can't do anything, there is nothing to talk about, if at all there is. And you can't rest.

Three years later one of the figures tapped the other on the shoulder.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Friends and Kin

Blogging from China this time, because they called on Thursday and it was urgent. I could remember that something on the Project Work booklet said that we weren't allowed to go out from such to such, but by the time it came to me, I was one foot into the plane.

I've been called back to attend my great-grandmother's funeral, who had passed away peacefully at an age of one hundred. My great-grandmother had seen a life more illustrious than I had ever imagined; friends and kin came in from distant corners everywhere to the village on Friday. Wenfang has't changed much, thankfully, except for a random misbegotten house that now blocks the view of the church tower from the road coming in from north-west.

I'd have to be frank here, to say that I did not experience as much emotion as Zhengyou did, in my great-grandmother's funeral. The older folk in Wenfang did, as the people who were mostly around during her final years or decades. The emotional element, however, must have been diluted by the fanfare that tailed the ceremony; it was more of a celebration of her life than a mourning for her passing, for gran has touched the lives of many.

The five of us in my immediate family visited once a year in winter, and a stand-around the my great-grandmother's bed was a must-have upon each homecoming. The folks spoke almost monolingual Fuqingese, which made me and my sister sort of left-out. Sometimes, though, Dad would offer a translation, while she talked directly to her great-grandchildren.

The last words I remember coming from my great-grandmother, as she held my hands, was along the lines of "Keep praying." They were valuable words, which I intend to bring to my own grave. Maybe it was why to me, it was as if she had never died; as if she had, like we say, attained everlasting life.

That was the first thing I thought after gramps uncovered her face. She looked as if peacefully asleep, although quite distressingly still. The wake-table was lined with flowers and flashing lights. The head of the table pointed towards the door into the room, and on the other end towards a cloth painting of the Virgin Mary and Christ. The painting was in a western style, and so was the village church. It made me wonder why the idea of Chinese Catholic art never caught on in these parts.

There was no priest present for the ceremony, only a choir, singing hymns like only a Fuqingese could. Smacks of home.

Today we sent Great Gran on her journey via the crematorium. It was crazy the way they did it; five or six brass bands, two or three carriages, and even a stunt troupe called in (did they?) to top it off. The extended family became more extended than I used to think: relatives I've never met, cousins I never knew I had and cousins who'd grown so much in the past year I could hardly recognise them anymore.

The crematorium was deathly white inside, which worried me a bit. And it also worried me the way the personell handled their client irreverently; they must have been through the same process countless times for years! They cried the loudest as Great Gran inched her way into the (wotsname) cremator. And ninety minutes later, Grandpa and the others were out, with a black umbrella and a red box with the ashes.

They buried the ashes in the coffin, shovelling mud and dust to plaintive beats of the musicians. Whereafter we paid a last visit to the wake house and had a full lunch with the same music band cheering everyone up.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


This Monday the Twenty-third of October in the Year of Our Lord 2006, back from a CS session I have failed to write the third day of creation in.

The Demiurge writes Diotallevi as a man and a dolphin

Naming things
As humans do to the creation... they say that things were named as soon they were created. But are they really named as what we think they're named? I thought naming things were essentially a very human way to go. Alright then, I name my first man Diotallevi.

Ok so they say, with "they" being the faceless editors of Wikipedia, that they've found out that dolphins use names too. I would say that isn't very unlikely, and I'd like to put faith in what they say too, and dolphins are a quite cute sort of whale. Now what am I saying.

I've been quite convinced that God names things in quite a different way than the rest of us. Does he use a language? His own language as doctrinally suggested, or a greater thing of a metalanguage that English can only vaguely name as a "language"? In any case it's rather questionable that reason is an omnipotent -- aargh.

I've got now a bright spark that might lead this inquiry astray. What if the first man Diotallevi was a dolphin? What if dolphins were the master race in Penthia instead of us humans? What if now I can't decide whether Diotallevi is a human or dolphin? Could he be an uncertain both?

Quantum uncertainty
Anyway, before I decide whether Diotallevi is a man or a dolphin, I could continue writing his existence as if it doesn't matter whether Diotallevi is a man or a dolphin, and then decide in a later time. Before his species is revealed, he is both. In other words, if I write that he is a man, then he was always a man; if I write that he's a dolphin then he was a dolphin all his life. This has an uncanny similarity to Schroedinger's Cat. If it is observed that the cat is dead it is dead; if it is observed that it is alive, it is alive; if it is not observed, then it is both dead and alive in a ghostly superposition of states. So they say.

Capricity and Benevolence
I'm sorry, but I think this creation's a bit of a botch-up.
And he saw that it was a botch-up
And I think we all should be glad that we live in a universe created with logic and not pure capricity like mine. Alright, maybe Douglas Adams didn't think so, but that's his problem.

Would it be that God really can do anything he wants, and he chose not to do certain things, like writing us into men-dolphins or women-dolphinelles? Well I certainly could as I just did, but I could have chosen not to do so. I could have chosen not to do so as a matter of benevolence.

A precondition for benevolence towards creation is a complete understanding towards creation, which I lack. I am not at all convinced even that two passages can describe the entitety of things in my present universe. There wasn't any familiarity between me and gnathostomes, for example, or chanterelles. I just had to write a gnathostome or a chanterelle for them to flourish on Penthia, without me having to tell the story of each gnathostome or chanterelle in individual. Note that the life stories of every living thing on Earth can theoretically be written in any number of days by a potent enough writer (not necessarily human), that which I am not.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Secondum Mobile

In the beginning there was Aristotle
Who taught that things at rest stayed at rest
And that things that move come to a rest
And soon everything was at rest
And God saw that it was Boring.

This Friday the Twentieth of October in the Year of Our Lord 2006, in a clammy computer lab which is marginally better than the hazy hell outside.

This is the second day of creation, which you might have noticed took around three days to come. I can write now that the second day is when stars form and galaxies form, which will initiate hot debates in its future philosophers. Apologetics would explain that I willed the universe continuously, deists would insist that my word on the second day is merely an observation that rules set on the first day was not violated, and relativists would speculate that it happened only as a case of conventional knowledge, what with me hearing the “stars and galaxies forming” cliché from so many instances of cosmological literature now.

If I would bring some revelation to the folks on created Earth it would become the shock of their lives.

Flow of time
This is an important point for my creation thought experiment, because it showed that any theoretical creator has the freedom to not experience a similar temporal procession to his creature. This is assuming the creator treats creation as a novel, or better, a diary.

The creator could
Summarise a billion or two boring years into one paragraph
Hop back to a previous chapter to amend a fault
Finish the whole affair in his own free time
i.e. create the universe in an arbitrary amount of time

Differences between God and the Demiurge
God is benevolent, but the Demiurge has a capacity for irresponsibility.
God can not run out of patience. How could you write all 6 billion lives on this planet alone? Plus everyone that has lived down in history? And wildlife? And possibly aliens?
According to Catholic thought, God chooses to act with logos, or rationality. (We people don’t like the idea of a capricious God) The Demiurge would choose to be purely random a lot of times.

Consciousness, command and free will
This is also important when I deal with my folks. For absolutely any character I write into my universe, they would in some way inherit my consciousness, to a small extent. Let’s bring in the character Diotallevi, who has not been created on the second day but envisioned for a future time. When Diotallevi says to you “Hello world!” I would also be saying Hello World to you, because my actual fingers typed those letters. If I inserted a personality to Diotallevi, as well as a personal world view, they would all stem from a perspective I already know of. Diotallevi would inherit a part of my consciousness.

Of course, if Diotallevi does whatever I write him to do, it would incur some stuff for and against the dodginess of free will in humans. I don’t know if Diotallevi inheriting my consciousness (assuming that I do have free will) would help him being a free person even if under my command, but I leave this question open.

This Saturday the Twenty-First of October in the Year of Our Lord 2006, after a long day.

The Demiurge writes a Subcontinent
Many of us literary creators would create worlds in the form of planets and star systems, and many others would create them in lands, in groups of nations. For me I follow the latter.

Here I go.
I write a subcontinent Penthia, situated upon a planet that its inhabitants has not bothered to name yet; If need comes we may refer to it as the Penthian planet. Penthia juts out of a great desert landmass to the south, and is surrounded on three sides by ocean.

To keep geology and paleontology enthusiasts (including myself) happy I would gladly write every single detail of aesthenospheric activity below the tectonic plates from the primordial planet in the primordial star system to the right now, whenever that is.

This makes me think of Aristotle's causality theory.
Why plate tectonics?
1. Material cause: stuff in the aesthenosphere
2. Formal cause: the temperate, inhabited subcontinent Penthia
3. Efficient cause: convection of magma and occasional earthquakes
4. Final cause: the interaction between inhabitants and Demiurge <--> Demiurge and God

The Demiurge writes living sub*creation
*Notice the sub- prefix before "creation". This is important.

I shall skip the origin of life and the primordial soup bit because they can be boring to write. The folks down there can figure them out themselves. But by the time sentient beings come to Penthia, they will witness biodidersity in their faces.

Or should I create everything by formality?
There's a bad thing to trying to create your own universe. You can't write everything in, and neither can the readers fill everything in with their imaginations. It all has to be left for God-like precision in the creating, the dedication, and the devotion.

That's a point why the Gnostic Demiurge can not stand: because what we see are more detailed than what the Demiurge can bear to write. It also addresses the fact that the world is not perfect while the Creator is. A perfect eyeball, for example. Heck yeah, any Demiurge can bother to write a perfect eyeball, but only God can make the eyeball special by writing also how the eyeball is different, lovingly documenting its every defects and imperfections. Remember now how many eyeballs exist on Earth alone, and how many species we have on Earth that possesses eyeballs.

But still this argument has holes that any reader can fall quite unsubtly into, and I leave it open to readers.

Let the Penthian planet (man this sounds dodgy) fill with plants. And algae. And let them be perfect plants because man how'd you expect me to write in every angiosperm and gymnosperm and conifer and monocotyledon and those three kingdoms of algae critters all in a day's time? I got limited time you know.

And let it fill up with fungi, every species of lichen and mold and ergot (oh maybe not ergots) and cup fungi and truffles and all that confounding basidiomycota including muschrooms and toadstools (paraphyletic construct, sorry) and chanterelles and boletes sorry what else can I write about these fantastic creatures.

Ok so maybe not let it be filled up with fungi because you know how horrible that would be. Let the ecosystem sort it out then.

And let it fill with animal life, which is the most fantastic of all, sorry for being chauvinistic against the plants and fungi and prokaryotes. All ye crustaceans and orynchopods, ye sponges and ye echinoderms, ye rotifers and other phyla I have not bothered to write, sorry about that. Go to Penthian oceans and prosper.

And all ye hyperotretians and fishes, frogs and salamanders, lizards and dinosaurs and other icky creatures, multiply into what has been written for you (sorry but you'd have to imagine that bit because for a fact I have not written biotic fertility into Penthia. Whoops, now I have.) and make timid people scream.

And all ye birds, ye cranes and storks, you cardinals, pidgeons, hesperyornithines. You mallards, peacocks, penguins, to the meek and multitudinous sparrows, fly with all your might so as to make future humans feel jealous. Enjoy flying!

And all you mammals, the antelopes; the blaauwboks, the springboks, the bonteboks and the whateverboks (man do I love the Afrikaans language) that arc through the aethers in flight. The shrews, the moles and the rats that cling close to ground. The prowling predators, and the herds of aurochs and elephants and bisons. Go to the grasslands and experience hardship as good strong creatures rightfully should.

And after all that, I wrote a human.
Ok, if making a human from the dust has any significance, I'd try it. But then, every other instance of creation has to be from dust, because like the human they are corporeal.

Breathing sentience is a tricky bit. I can't breathe sentience as well, ignorant as I am with the situations of the first human. I could write words into his mouth, but it takes skill to write yourself into a character.

Then again, it would take time to show if humans are sentient.
The next day (the solar day, mind) when he woke up, he asked for a wife.

(Click for the Third Day)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Universe Created this Tuesday

The first thing Tak did, he wrote himself
The second thing Tak did, he wrote the rules
The third thing Tak did, he wrote the universe

Tuesday the Seventeenth of October, in the Year of our Lord 2006
Confessions of an Apprentice Creator, the Demiurge, also the author of these passages

Preamble (Apocryphal)
I confess as an apprentice, my sin of reliving the creation by being creator to a universe of fantasy, of ruling over my denizens, impoverished of a real existence. I stress (to the folks that inhabit my passages), that even when they live by my word, I live under His, and that whatever I write down, God has meant me to write them.

Hallelujah praise the Lord may he forgive me.

Let me explain what I'm up to. You as the reader is experiencing with me a very special thing, the creation of a universe in terms of narration by an ordinary human being. It's been done before through numerous fantasy authors, and more notably in Gaarder's
Sophie's World
where the characters in the story have recently realised that they were characters in a story.

Also, these passages, if God allow they be continued, would serve as a philosophical tool to explore the higher-order realities through exploring the lower-order realities. You could see that happen in Abbott's
, which, by intruding a three-dimensional character into the setting of a Victorian two-dimensional universe, sets us (the readers) off pondering about how four spatial dimensions would be experienced by ourselves.

And you'd notice that in writing these passages I have a heightened awareness of God looking over my shoulder. This could mean two things: that this way of attaining sublimated consciousness really works, or that I'm harbouring a guilt complex. After all, this is sort of playing God, and so far nothing good has come out of it.

Which is why I beg you, my reader, to tell me when I should stop.

The first thing Demiurge did, he wrote himself.
This universe is by an imperfect deity. Certainly, he’s all-powerful and all-knowing as far as them poor souls may perceive, (or maybe not, because a bit of my own is written into every person in this small world) though not entirely benevolent himself.

I don’t want to reveal more about me so as to leave something about me for my folks to philosophise about.

The second thing Demiurge did, he wrote the rules.
Pratchett writ the rules too, for his universe. It’s kind of funny he never really pretended to be the Creator of his universe like I just did. Pratchett's universe has a lower c - the speed of light. Well in my case I’ll just leave the universe to figure itself out, but hopefully it might produce a universe coherent with my imagination, with a planet, living beings and everything, otherwise I’ll get bored silly.

The speed of light is 15,365,579 metres per second. There are five fundamental forces. Force 1 and 2 are dual and acts in logarithmic scales of 10^-27 m and 10^19m respectively, force 3 and 4 are attractive and repulsive respectively and both acts in scales of 1m. Force five goes around in circles.

This is getting boring.

The third thing Demiurge did, he wrote the Universe.
Sorry, folks, for not bothering about your Physics.
At least, I put light in so that you won’t panic when you people reach for the switch and the light wouldn’t turn on.
Therefore, let there be light.
And there was light.

Er, let there be sound?
And longtitudinal waves populate the lit space, and strangely enough this primordial utterance consist of a fiddle and flute and a bodhrán. Maybe that's because I like Irish music.

When I get round to it, I might throw in Breton and Scottish music as well. And some classical pieces. Stravinsky?

The universe gets born from a point, and I have happily adopted Father Lemaître's Cosmic Big Bang Theory to apply to my own universe. Right now everything is in a primordial soup, although I hardly have anything in favour of soups in a cosmic context. The exciting bits always come later.

But first I shall finish my dinner, take a shower, sleep a bit, come back from school tomorrow after a billion years or two to see if any habitable planet comes in. Hey, maybe I could even make do with less than seven days!

(Click for the Second Day)

Monday, October 09, 2006


Baudolino visits his dying father at their old home, and tries to console him in the last moments of his life:

"Father," Baudolino said to him, "if you really want to die, make your peace with the Lord and you will enter Paradise, which is like the palace of Prester John. The Lord God will be seated on a great throne at the top of a tower, and above the back of the throne there will be two golden apples, and in each of them two great carbuncles that shine all night long. The arms of the throne will be of emerald. The seven steps to the throne will be of onyx, crystal, jasper, amethyst, sardonyx, cornelian, and chrysolite. Columns of fine gold will be all around. And above the throne, flying angels will sing sweet songs...."

"And there will be some devils who will kick my behind out of there, because in a place like that a man stinking of cowshit is someone they don't want around them. Just shut up..."

Then, all of a sudden, he opened his eyes wide, tried to sit erect, as Baudolino held him. "Dear Lord, now I'm dying, because I can really see Paradise. Oh, how beautiful it is...."

"What do you see, Father?" Baudolino was now sobbing.

"It's just like our stable, only all cleaned up, and Rosina is there, too.... And there's that sainted mother of yours, wicked bitch, now you'll tell me where you put the pitchfork for the muck...."

Gagliaudo belched, dropped the bowl, and remained wide-eyed, staring at the celestial stable.

Baudolino gently ran a hand over his face, because, by now what the old man had to see he saw even with his eyes closed...

Sunday, October 08, 2006


"At that precise moment, Master Niketas," Baudolino said, "I realised that, by saving the life of my lord, I had paid my debt. But for this very reason I was no longer free to love Beatrice. And thus I realised I loved her no more. It was like a healed wound, the sight of her aroused welcome memories but no yearning, I felt that I could remain at her side without suffering, or leave her without feeling sorrow. Perhaps I had finally become a man, and all youthful ardor was spent. I felt no displeasure, only a slight melancholy. I felt like a dove that had billed and cooed without restraint, but now the season of love was over. It was time to move, to go beyond the sea."

"You were no longer a dove, you'd become a swallow."
"Or a crane."

-- in Baudolino by Umberto Eco (2000)

Thursday, October 05, 2006


The Stagfish
Andy Paul Chen
Acrylic and ink on paper

Firstly, a greeting to all my schoolmates, and my compatriots from other schools. Happy art thou who hath endured the Promos. Good job to my friends who have done well (though we don't know yet), and to those who have not, please don't be disheartened too.

I'm not sure where this will lead, photographing and publishing a Promotional exam paper with its title. But it's my favourite this year. Don't be deceived by it's colours, though; I'll probably score dismally in concept because instead of adhering on my chosen themes of Transitions and Symbiosm, I dabbled in abstract patterns and formalism of colour and light. Though one can vaguely see the transition from fish to deer and the symbiosm in this curious gathering of organic and mathematical shapes, I forgot to mention it in my prep. Bah.

I got the ideas from: Civic arms of Zarasai municipality in Lithuania, Franz Marc, Konungadöttrarna (The King's Daughters) music video by Gjallarhorn, stained glass, Penrose tiling, colour theory, cloisonnism and Heraldry.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

La Ziguezon


M'en va t'à la fontaine
Pour y pêcher du poisson
La Ziguezon zin zon (bis)
La fontaine est profonde
Je m'suis coulé au fond
La ziguezon zin zon

Fille en haut, fille en bas
Fille, fille, fille, femme
Femme, femme, femme aussi!
Pis la bottine - tine - tine
Pis le rigolet ha! ha!
Son p'tit porte-clé tout rouillé, tout rouillé
Son p'tit porte-clé tout rouillé gaiement (bis)

La fontaine est profonde
Je m'suis coulé au fond
La Ziguezon zin zon (bis)
Par icitte il y passe
Trois cavaliers barons
La Ziguezon zin zon


Par icitte il y passe
Trois cavaliers barons
La Ziguezon zin zon (bis)
Que m'donneriez-vous belle
Si j'vous tirais du fond?
La Ziguezon zin zon


Que m'donneriez-vous belle
Si j'vous tirais du fond?
La Ziguezon zin zon (bis)
Tirez, tirez dit-elle
Après ça nous verrons
La Ziguezon zin zon


Tirez, tirez dit-elle
Après ça nous verrons
La Ziguezon zin zon (bis)
Quand la belle fut à terre
Se sauve à la maison
La Ziguezon zin zon


Quand la belle fut à terre
Se sauve à la maison
La Ziguezon zin zon (bis)
S'assoit à la fenêtre
Compose une chanson
La Ziguezon zin zon


S'assoit à la fenêtre
Compose une chanson
La Ziguezon zin zon (bis)
Mon petit coeur en gage
N'est pas pour un baron
La Ziguezon zin zon


Mon petit coeur en gage
N'est pas pour un baron
La Ziguezon zin zon (bis)
Mais pour un homme de guerre
Qui a du pouel' au menton
La Ziguezon zin zon


Sorry guys, can't think of anything else to write.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

An Apocalyptic Dream

It was late into the night, and I was looking out of some window, facing north. What should I see but the bright stars of Centaurus and Crux, shining over the suspiciously darkened skyline like diamonds on dark blue velvet. (Of course, under normal circumstances Centaurus would appear in the south instead of north, and you can't see stars, but this was a dream)

Gacrux and Delta Crucis faded first, then the rest of the stars. Clouds gathered overhead, and explosions were set off which seemed, initially, like very loud thunder. Whole sky is dark by now, and my attention is all but focused upon the spectacular fireballs.

Just then, a pillar of fire shot out from above and landed somewhere far to my right.

Switch to school scene, which is quite weird, seeing how fast it happened. I was at school, doing the usual stuff. Mugging, meeting random people, walking back and forth from bench to art room. I was just outside Admin block when a very loud voice said:

"An asteroid is bound to hit somewhere to the east of Singapore in five minutes. Er please make preparations to--"

What did we do? We should have been panicking, but admittedly it was quite pointless panicking, running around and beating people up and such, and the majority just sat around where they were and being confused. A passing teacher voiced my thought aloud. "Rather neat way to die, eh? In just a bunch of seconds the whole country would be like whoosh. Oblivion. There you are and there you aren't."

After a bunch of seconds nothing happened, and neither did anything occur within three minutes after the projected time of impact. The same loud voice now announced that there had been a miscalculation of the trajectory and the asteroid would probably impact in the afternoon at a different location.

Considering the technology and scientific integrity of the day, it was all quite weird the way the impending apocalypse was announced. Still, not as weird as the fact that the school subsequently called a half-day and everyone in school went off shopping.

The question:
If you're at school today and there is five minutes left to live for everyone, who will you find?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Him Who Mountain Crush Him No

Him who mountain crush him no
Him who sun him stop him no
Him who hammer him break him no
Him who fire him fear him no
Him who raise him head above him heart
Him diamond

- Translation of troll pictograms found carved on a basalt slab in the deepest level of the Anhk-Morpork treacle mines, in pig-treacle measures estimated at 500,000 years old.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006

She Was The Prize

A cute song from Gaelic Storm which my classmates from S6E will most probably identify with dearly, here to distract you while I write my Bintan Astronomy Camp Entry.

I've lived a long life, and now I'm looking back
It's the end of the road, the last stop on the track
And I smile as think of my true love once more...
The light of my life, the one I adore!

She...she was the prize!

The prettiest girl with the loveliest eyes
She...she was the prize!
Shiny black hair and those lovely... those lovely brown eyes

Well I met her one night at the Harvest Fair dance
I longed for a whisper, I hoped for a glance
Then she turned and she smiled and I melted away
And I knew I'd be with her 'til my dying day

We lay on the cliffs and we walked hand in hand
We threw stones in the waves, we drew hearts in the sand
When the warning clouds rolled in and blackened the sun
And when they roled out, my light, she was gone

I've shed all my tears and I've said my good-byes

Now I'll lay myself down where my pretty girl lies
When I awake I'll be on earth no more
I'll be dancing a jig with the girl I adore!

She...she was the prize!
The prettiest girl with the loveliest eyes
She...she was the prize!
Shiny black hair and those lovely... those lovely brown eyes

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Hallgrímur's Church
Was in need of some research today, as part of the Great Fictional World Project, so I took this picture of the really imposing impressive church building and sketched it out on the first page of my new Holbein sketchpaddy. The church itself didn't take too long, but I had the most fun trying to sketch out the flying clouds. Just see for yourself; this thing is like whoa.

At 74.5 metres, The Hallgrímskirkja is the tallest building in Iceland. The church is named after an Icelandic poet and clergyman, Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614 - 1674), who is best known in Iceland for his hymns.

It took 38 years to build the church; construction work began in 1948 and ended in 1986, the landmark tower being completed long before the church's actual completion. Situated in the city centre, it is visible throughout the city and has become one of Reykjavík's best known symbols.

The statue in front of the church represents Leif Eriksson, son of Erik the Red. It is somewhat older than the church itself, being a gift from the United States in occasion of the 1930 Althing Millennial Festival, commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Iceland's parliament.