Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Smalltalk Post

1. "Do you want to make some money in your spare time?" "No, but I really need you to help me wire my inheritance to Nigeria..."

1a. 'Tis the season to go into hiding! Greetings to Silvio Ionescu and the Wanjialing coal mine management.

2. "I have a feeling that the automated postmaster bounced back my application email because it wasn't polite enough." It is plausible in a way. I tried again with an email with proper layout and more politeness, and that one got through despite the mailbox being full.

3. The receptionist at Tan Chin Tuan wing didn't so much as glance at me when I enquired. Maybe she had been bored out by all those previous scholarship-diggers. Maybe she was just playing solitaire at the time.

4. Reading Roald Dahl's collection of ghost stories. So far, they have been variously sad, interesting, touching or inspiring... Maybe only Roald Dahl himself gets creeped out by all of them. I now owe a plurality of my cultural input to Damien.

5. Read that Ikeda's Russian skating coaches are casting hexes on Kim Yuna during the Winter Olympics... But Yuna has a rosary sewn into her costume and crosses herself n times over during warm-up, as a habit. In your faces, Day/Night Watch!

6. Astrigue overnight ops this Saturday, organised jointly by the HCI and RJC Astronomy Clubs and held at the school field. The time is from Saturday 7pm to Sunday 7am. I have messaged everyone I know who is still in Singapore AND may not be in guard duty in the weekend AND may be interested, unless of course I haven't messaged you and you are.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Life gets philosophical at every turn

A. So you just stay at home, go to school, and go to work? Get a life, man!
Q. What is a life?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hekla Corporation

A. Thanks for telling me about your company, but the truth is that I have never used or seen any pen being used which is under your brand, Hekla. I myself swear by Stabilos and Pilots and Faber-Castell.
B. Faber-Castell! Are you kidding? The dweebs are wot this brand is for! Real men, rich men use Hekla ballpoint and fountain pens.
A. Real men?
B. Are you a weakling?
A. No? Uh- I mean
B. You're not going to say yes! I know because you are really strong at heart.
A. Thanks...
B. You just look and behave like a dweeb, that's all. Do you want to change your image?
A. Alright, yes. How'd you put it?
B. Buy a Hekla Fountain today.
A. Then?
B. There's so many things you could do with a Hekla Fountain! Put it to paper and it will write. Put it in your pocket and people will think you have class. Spin it around with your fingers at office time and people will think you are totally cool! Murder someone with it and nobody will ever find out!
A. Wait, what?
B. Do you know that Hekla Corporation has made the Fortune 500 list for six years in a row?
A. No.
B. Do you even read Fortune?
A. No?
B. You should start reading soon! But don't worry, I can be a good big brother to you and pay for your first subscription. In any case, Hekla has consistently stayed in the two hundreds range for the years 2004 to 2009! And with a annual rvenue of thirty two thousand six hundred and sixteen MILLION dollars! That's a lot of money! Think you can beat that?
A. I can't follow what you have just said. I thought you were just after selling pens.
B. I told you all those so that you'll know that Hekla is a very successful and reliable company, with well-branded and high-quality products very much in demand in the public. I can tell you now that there's not only me working here.
A. Who else is?
B. Everyone from our little gang! Jorg, Harun and Casey!
A. So I won't feel alone here?
B. No one is alone in Hekla!

A. It'll do much good if I could just try the pen out.
B. By all means.
A. How?
B. Just make a sign over this dotted line here.
A. This pen isn't good.
B. Isn't good? Are you sure?
A. It's new and the ink's run out.
B. Don't worry, you'll have a lot more pens. Here's another one.
A. Okay.
B. All done? That's a nice sign. I don't think you'll have much problem with using Hekla pens anymore, you've got tonnes of it now.
A. Sorry?
B. You're the proud owner of three batches of Hekla ballpoints, fresh from the factory! There'll never be too little ink when you have too many pens!

A. I have to go.
B. What do you mean? Where are you going?
A. Go as in - toilet...
B. Oh, I thought you were leaving the deal behind.
A. Oh, oh no I wasn't.
B. You won't want to miss it. Wait, why are you bringing your bag along? Do you bring your bags to the toilet?
A. Of course not! Just... just being absent, ahaha.
B. Let me go with you.

B. Let me show you a sample of this batch. As you can see here, there are five hundred pens in each batch, the batches being of different models. You can sell them at prices you can refer to at the counter downstairs. We hold exclusive distributorship rights on the manufacturer so you can be assured that no one gets to use it except through you; not even from stationery stores!
A. What about refills?
B. When your customers ask for refills, just come back and buy a batch of inner tube refills. Again, five hundred a batch.

B. Wait, that's not all! There's more to this. Pens are not the only focus for Hekla Corporation. As you might be familiar with the term, our company is diversifying. Want to know more?
A. What's there?
B. Let me bring you around the booths... Here's the diamond shop, under the brand of Faye and Lim. The demand for diamonds have risen so much recently that we have decided to expand into this area. We import quality diamonds from countries like Namibia, South Africa, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Especially for the latter two, our investments in the diamond mining industry has contributed greatly to the ongoing struggle against their weak and corrupt governments. You would have thought we're just out for money. That's not true! We and Faye and Lim are also out to support justice in the world!
A. How many branches does Faye and Lim have in Singapore?
B. One is open at West Coast Plaza, the other is opening soon at Eu Tong Sen Street.
A. It's just budding.
B. But I can tell that it will be great! Here, let's go through the others, shall we?

B. You know, those are so far not the best ways you can reel in money with... Do you know what is the best way?
A. Sell more?
B. Get your friends in. Let them work under you. Sell your pens for you.
A. But will they?
B. They'll be selling their own. And making fat wads on their own. But of course, you being their boss, you'll earn much more. How many people do you think you can convince?
A. I don't know... nine? Ten people?
B. You only need three.
A. That's a relief!
B. Only three people under you and you can break even under a month. Isn't that great?
A. It is.

B. So you think you're good to start? Let's go. Grab your phone and call your friends now!
A. Now? I need more time to decide.
B. Whaddya mean you need more time to decide? You don't need time to decide! You agreed with me that this is a good deal! The time to make the decision is now!
A. I- I-
B. I understand. Sometimes, it's better to just do it and not worry about the negative trifles.
A. I was thinking that my family would object.
B. To you making big money? Why would they? Public opinion for us has always been negative, but that can be changed. Don't tell your parents first. We'll teach you how to tell them that you've joined, and in time they'll accept you just the way you are. Time for you to be independent, right or wrong?

A. So now, what if I decided that I can't commit, and decides not to join? You'd have wasted your breath, wouldn't you?
B. There is no such thing as "you can't commit". The schedule here is absolutely flexible. You can come as you please in your spare time. Although of course you have to work hard for the first six months.
A. But the form I'll not sign, I'm sure of that. Please do let me off if I just buy a few of your Hekla Fountains.
B. But you've already signed it.
A. No!
B. Here's the form.
A. That's not my sign!
B. Well, you made it.
A. I was testing the pen! I thought it was scrap paper! I never saw anything else written on it!
B. It says here that you agree unconditionally to all the terms and conditions of Hekla Corporation as an INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTOR. This also means you must have read it as well, hm? Good to be home, isn't it?

A. What have I done?
B. It shouldn't come as too much a surprise that you've sold your soul to the Devil.
A. So the Devil is behind all this?
B. Oh, yes, of course! I did say stationery isn't our main source for revenue. How else do we get our annual 32,616 million? The divil in you, his greed is our fortune!
A. If the gang is working here, where are they? So they've sold their souls too?
B. Jorg is a director but for some reason we haven't seen him in awhile... Harun was due to meet me today, but he postponed the meeting to next week. If he joins then he will be your downline and subordinate in Hell!
A. How about Casey?
B. He hasn't returned our calls at all, but with your help we'll have no problem roping him in. You're his best friend!
A. So this is all a giant scam you're making! This is immoral!
B. Hey, don't be so high and mighty yourself. You said it was a good deal. Face it, you're just as greedy as the others.
The world is dominated by a minority: ten percent controlling ninety percent of the world's wealth, the other ninety percent controlling just ten. Would that ten percent have achieved it without greed-- the drive to succeed? Which group would you rather belong to?
A. I hain't sold my soul to no supernatural entity!
B. Now, If you would just bow down and worship me...
A. No, you bow down and go fuck yourself.
B. Come on, hey, that's not very civil.
A. I'm leaving!
B. Don't you want to earn more money?
A. (leaves)
B. We're holding your mother captive!

C. That, of all the lies, didn't work.
B. I'm sorry, m'lud.
C. The last one was totally lame.
B. He was leaving... I thought just maybe that would instill some fear and make him return.
C. You didn't get the money, either.
B. What? I-
C. You didn't make him do the transaction over the counter thing.
B. It was a careless mistake! I swear! I swear it was carelessness and not some lacking in greed-
C. Drive for success, DRIVE FOR SUCCESS! How many self-help sessions must you go through to know not to mention the g-word even when you mean it? Exercise some power over yourself next time!
B. (shuddering) What's my punishment, m'lud?
C. Three corrective sessions in the auditorium, no complaints. Hm?
B. I'll take it, m'lud, whatever makes me a better and more effective individual. But now, what of that rogue customer?
C. Rogue customer? That friend of yours? The girls at our financial insurance wing will take care of him. He can reject your friendship now, but can he stand up to their feminine wiles? If you'll excuse me, I'll be there to watch him when he tries to hack his way out of Jurong East...

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Hagia Sophia

Hagia Sophia [detail] / acrylic on canvas / 2 March 2010
(view whole painting)

The Wisdom of God cries aloud,
The Lord created me when his purpose first unfolded,
before the oldest of his works.
From everlasting I was firmly set,
from the beginning, before earth came into being.
The deep was not, when I was born,
there were no springs to gush with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
before the hills, I came to birth;
before he made the earth, the countryside,
or the first grains of the world's dust.

When he fixed the heavens firm, I was there,
when he drew a ring on the surface of the deep,
when he thickened the clouds above,
when he fixed fast the springs of the deep,
when he assigned the sea its boundaries
and the waters will not invade the shore --
when he laid down the foundations of the earth,
I was by his side, a master craftsman,
delighting him day after day,
ever at play in his presence,
at play everywhere in his world,
delighting to be with the sons of men.

-- Proverbs 8:22-31