Friday, October 26, 2007

engineering consent.

immunology quiz was a terror. it felt as though it was the actual exams already. and the count-down timer edward wrote on the resource room white board is starting to freak me out. 21 days to my first paper and i barely touched the lectures other than immunology.

welcome to year 4.

just this afternoon i peeked at this girl using the resource room computer and surfing a very familiar website. and i realized it was the university of washington school of medicine website.

she was finding subjects to do subject-matching!

well that certainly brought back a huge flood of memories of a year ago. where i was fretting over my insane 6-module-workload and exams, visa applications, MOE things, air tickets, accomm stuff. and i thought about everything i went through for the sake of my exchange, and everything i gave up for. somehow on hindsight now, it seemed like things could have been very different if i had stayed. or they may have been exactly the way they turned out to be.

it's common knowledge that things we do have repercussions. things we say too (today's incident involving my gd girlfriend and another friend of ours is a good example of that). my exchange has taught me so many things, and given me memories which i'd treasure for life, and opened my narrow-minded mind to so many cultures and places and perspectives. but there's always the sacrifices we make. the times i lost with my loved ones. the things i could have done as WSC's vice-president. the worrying that my family went through would be greatly reduced.

shoulda, woulda, coulda. why does "on hindsight" make it so much more difficult to move on?

anyway, i keep lamenting about how much fun i had in US studying. and for old time's sake i like to read through the things i've learnt or the work that i did over at UW. (: here is an example.


Qn: Discuss the origins of and the key figures behind the philosophy of "engineering consent". What is the underlying view of the public in this philosophy, and what are the best arguments for and against engineering consent in a democracy?

The key figures behind the philosophy of "engineering consent" are Sigmund Freud, Walter Lippmann and Edward L. Bernays. The origins of this philosophy came mainly from Freud's psychoanalysis of the human mind and the human condition. Lippmann and Bernays then concluded that the public opinion is not rational (as though in previous decades) and cannot be swayed using facts or reasoned arguments. hence the public can only be reached through its emotions, where images, symbols, stories that are relatable to the public and are able to stir up emotions. With these techniques, public opinion can then be engineered according to those who are able to come up with images that reach out to the public most effectively.

Engineering consent of the public restores order in a chaotic society. This is one advantage. It also puts the power in a selected group of people that have the knowledge and ability to engineer consent in a way that is "best" for the society, rather than let the power run in the hands of the middle class, who are irrational and uninformed, and hence incapable of making wise decisions. This is the argument put forth by democratic realists.

However, from a democracy standpoint, the philosophy of engineering consent is no longer democracy, because the power and rights are no longer in the hands of the masses, but the elite few who hold the power to sway public opinion.


you know i wouldn't rule out going to grad school after my bond ends and study communications or political science or something. i did get the best grade for this class on media, society and political identity, better than all of my other subjects i took. even in singapore. haha.

now it's back to the science. which i love learning it, but certainly not the memorizing part.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

the one where i fell in love with grand canyon.

can hardly believe it's approaching november soon, and my summer trip was back in june! and with november comes exams. and after exams is youth conference. and after conference is christmas! after a long string of not-so-good events, i'm looking forward to christmas and turning my focus back onto the Lord and remembering what it means to celebrate the birth of Jesus and what christmas means to me this year. (:

ok so here goes. another day rises in las vegas and we headed out to eat some yummy buffet lunch at the Bellagio. very posh hotel with a great buffet lunch to boot.

here are some samples. i had like 5 or 6 rounds. the most i've ever eaten in a buffet. normally 2 rounds of mains and 1 round of dessert and i surrender. but the food was too good here. plus we sat there and chatted and lazed for almost 4 hours. (:

ohmygosh i must say something about their desserts sections. it's really something. huge variety and every one of it is good! ok i'm not that crazy to try everything.

2 satisfied girls. please ignore the tummy.

the sidewalk beside the bellagio fountain. where they shot ocean's 13 and probably 11. ahhh ge*orge cloo*ney.

sights around the vegas strip. just roaming around after a huge meal. yes there's nothing much to do in vegas if you're not a gambler or horny person. just eat and walk and shop.

and go watch cirque du soleil! (: we managed to get tix to watch mystere, one of the 4 cirque shows playing in vegas. the others are ka, zumanity and O. i wanted to watch ka and O, but our schedules clashed. hope they come back to singapore soon. when that happens, please go watch it! mystere is actually the original production and it was jaw-dropping good. i really never seen anything like it. it was visually stunning and the original music was so good. the lights, visual effects and performances and sets and props and costumes just all came together. and this is the only picture i managed to sneak.

after the show we walked somemore.

and i saw the bellagio fountain again. 3rd time. this time at night. so beautiful.

how lucky is ian. haha. me ian and linda posing in a shaky slow synchro flash photo.

the gambling table at mgm grand. this is probably for blackjack.

the next day we got up at a wayyy too unhumanly hour to catch our bus to grand canyon. we joined a one-day tour thing and reporting time was 5.45am. and ian and his friend very cleverly overslept. they rushed down to the meeting place in a cab and thankfully got on the bus in the end. boys.

on the way to the grand canyon! it took us about 4 hours to get there. we passed the nevada/arizona state line. and here is a beautiful huge lake in the middle of nowhere.

crossing hoover dam. yayyy transformers!! (: and hoover dam is really as magnificent as what you see in movies like transformers and the old superman movies.

part of the dam structure blends into the surroundings.

a brunch stopover somewhere in arizona. the middle of nowhere.

good morning arizona!

on the road.

and after a stopover for lunch just outside the grand canyon nat'l park, and a Imax movie on grand canyon... ... we're here!

i still get chills when i see my photos and imagine myself perched at the edge of the cliffs. the feeling of sitting on a bus for 4 hours and then getting off to see this beautiful sight, it's so amazing. i almost want to just linger there till dusk (because that's when the canyon gets SO beautiful) and go stay in one of the little inns overlooking the canyon, and waking up early to catch the sunrise.

and you can this renewed sense of awe of God's creations and just how wonderful He is. i remember being kinda speechless and just thinking to myself how wonderful and lucky i was here seeing these. and witnessing the canvas of God's work over the years. literally.

me and ian. he, being the gentleman, stood on the outside. but i amazed myself by being not afraid of heights. whereas linda was so terrified, but we managed to get her to conquer her fears. haha. (:

so i'm now the one protecting her!

just how amazing this is. i thought this was much more beautiful than niagara falls. it's definitely more spectacular in terms of size and depth and age.

more photos will come soon. right now i'm battling immunology and watching episodes of heroes, grey's anatomy, brothers and sisters, private practice, pushing daisies, big shots and some reruns of the west wing, sex and the city.

and i so need to study. reading my sister's facebook note on tokyo didn't help. ahh i wanna travel!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

the song that told her story.

on the drive home today, i was switching between radio stations while i weave through heavy traffic on PIE. at 440pm.

and these days, when i'm on the road alone, i tend to listen to lyrics of songs more closely than usual.

and today i chanced upon a song that tells my story. and i was amazed at how it relates to me.

and yes. it's a sad, melodramatic, slow chinese ballad composed and sung by a singer i used to like. and now when the song comes up on my itunes, i'd think of things i'm not supposed to be thinking about.

如果你还爱我 - 光良



难道早已注定 不能真正拥有你
我知道 你不敢对我坦白
我已经感到 你不再属于我

如果你还爱我 你不会对我如此的冷漠
又怎会让我在 漫漫长夜独自徘徊
如果你还爱我 你不会对我如此的冷漠
我只能含着眼泪 默默的离开

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

emo is the new black.

the title has little to do with what is to come.

you know it's kind of depressing trying to work out at SIA sports club's gym. beautiful the scenery may be, but every minute (or even less than that), an aeroplane whizzes past the blue sky dotted with white puffy clouds. and you know that plane is leaving for somewhere other than singapore, carrying a load of passengers, travelers, business people.

and as i try to work my fats away on the ski machine or cycle my thighs to great shape, i wish i was on the plane.

i miss travelling. i want to go to hokkaido/tokyo/kyoto/osaka (in negotiations with the folks at home) slated for dec or may (while not compromising on youth conference). i want to go on my grad trip with melody. our adventures in south america, caribbean and north america. i want to spend my holidays while working as a teacher to travel and see the world.


this guy just killed his ex-gf and all her friends at her house in wisconsin, USA, and critically wounding one. and then he got shot by police after a massive manhunt. but seriously, i'm sure such things happen in other places as well, wherever guns and insane/unstable people run amok. the US just gets much more publicity in the news. and at the forefront of technology, they will get the most criticism from global watchers about their public policies.

everything is a double-edged sword. from gun laws to the media.

speaking of which, president bu*sh just vetoed a children's health insurance bill. do the republi*cans really want everyone else to hate them? or rather, the repub*lican white house. wouldn't they want to exit the white house with more favorable evaluations after all the things they messed up? (ie. the iraq war and some insane senator and thousands of wrong decisions and the very very late action on bu*sh part to push for climate change to be on his agenda) i'm pretty sure according to gallup/USA today/CNN etc. their job approval ratings should be going down and down and he may surely be falling into a lame-duck presidency very soon.

let's hope for a democratic president to be announced in nov'08. obam*a/cli*nton yayyy. let's see who gets the nomination first. so exciting.

this is all west wing's fault.


pray for myanmar, would you?


i think i'm the weirdest person on earth. my coping-with-a-breakup mechanism is to watch lots and lots of tv and dvds. now that fall is here and the tv seasons have started up, i'm hooked on wayyy too many shows.

brothers and sisters
grey's anatomy
private practice
studio 60 on the sunset strip
pushing daisies

and still awaiting lost to start in feb'08. but it reminds me of the times we used to watch it together.

you know how there's no escaping the memories. everywhere i turn, go, everything (almost) i do, i'm reminded of the good, the bad, the ugly. i wonder when will it all fade. yet i can't bring myself to chuck everything away in the conventional ex-box. there are too many things anyway.


Leaving/Corrinne May

There's a comfort in this darkness
A familiar road
although i know that you are no good for me
you're a false alibi
you hypnotize and you keep tempting me
to throw away eternity

time to wake-up and shake-up
you've kept me right under your spell for too long
your promise is empty
go dig your claws in somebody else
'cause it won't be me

*i'm leaving
leaving this path behind
don't need your sympathy
i'm leaving
don't try to change my mind

it's a new day
a new way
change is never easy enough
but i'm not giving up
i'm growing and i'm sowing
seeds of life beyond this shell
i'm going to be free
breakout from this cell

shake my faith
you're never going to break me
take my strength
you're never going to make me
turn my back away from the truth
i won't play your games
i'm nobody's fool

i'm leaving
leaving this path behind
don't need your sympathy
i'm leaving
don't try to change my mind

i'm leaving this path behind

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


"Can you really forgive if you can't forget?"
- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

recently, i got into thinking about forgiveness. this lofty idea that seems to roll off your tongue, "i forgive you". but what does it really mean to forgive a person? a wrongdoing? a mistake?

sometimes we just want to forget and hope that that takes care of the forgiveness part as well. throw it into the back of our minds and lock it up and throw away the key.

sometimes we unknowingly bear grudges. our heart turns and twists with every mention of the "thing" and when that moment passes, everything returns to normal.

sometimes that very "thing" that we chose to avoid or forget just creeps into our thoughts when our minds drift. and it invades your head and does the things that viruses do. tear your heart and mind apart.

i struggle with the idea of forgiveness a lot. i have given up on the idea of forgetness. because that is just impossible.

i just rewatched an episode of House season 3. this guy has a heart attack everytime the girl he loves is around him physically. and because (he thought) the girl is engaged to his brother, and in order to cure him, the doctors shocked his brain so that the memories of his family, job, friends are all erased, along with his secret love for the girl. and that was the only way to stop the heart attacks that would have killed him.

amnesia, blunt force trauma to the head, alzheimer's disease and the above scenario - the only methods to forget. for real.

so if we can't forget, how can we ever forgive a person? that's the question asked by popular culture. and the cliche phrase of "forgive and forget".

is cutting out that person/thing from your life the answer? that constitutes forgetness, and i wouldn't think it works.

Nora Walker, the matriarch in the show Brothers and Sisters, said the key to moving on and forgiving is to let go. of course she had to let her deceased-cheating-husband-who-had-an-affair-for-20-years go and move on with her life. later in the season, she very nicely told "the other woman" to also let him go, of course after a exciting food fight, literally.

thinking about forgiveness ultimately makes me think of Jesus. Jesus who said when he was nailed to the cross.

"Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do"
- Luke 23:24

Jesus, a shining example of blamelessness (which is something i also struggled with all the time), big-hearted, forgiving. and if our aim is to be Christ-like, and because we were made in His image, the ability of forgiving should not be out of reach.

it's so amazing, God's love for us. He is so ready to forgive us of our sins and transgressions. a clean slate, each and every time. all we need to do is to ask of it in prayer, with all sincerity, honesty and earnest-y.

"For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You."
- Psalm 86:5

"I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father. "
- 1 John 2:12-13

again i'm reminded about the message preached during morning worship 2 weeks ago. and here it adds that our sins are forgiven for His name's sake.

"For Your name’s sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. " -Psalm 25:11

He has forgiven us, for His name's sake. and He will bless us, for His name's sake. what wonderful grace.

how great is His name. =)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

vegas, baby!

las vegas itself isn't all that interesting to me. but we made the most of it by indulging in shopping, snapping and eating. and loving the air-conditioned hotels.

our first touristy stop is the madame tussands wax museum, located in the Venetian. it was not too bad and some of them were SO real, it's quite scary.

it's captain jack sparrow! (:

i'm really quite short. and i stopped liking br*ad pitt after he dumped jen*nifer ani*ston. what's with guys who dump lovely girls? they're idiots.

a chapel like place with george clooney as the groom. that's the best thing if i was 20 years older and the person is real.

princess diana and me. she has a red hat, so do i.

press secretary? not the first lady 'cos i'll definitely not marry a republican. much less bush.

i forgot his name. but he's one of the founding fathers of USA.

outdoor shot of the Venetian, one of the nice hotels modeled after viennese architecture.

us outside the wax museum.

the strip traffic.

sights of las vegas hotels.

shopping complex lobby of caesar's palace. roman architecture, of course.

the shopping in vegas is fabulous. all the brands are there.

and they are all the size of vivocity. and that's just the shopping center part.

outside the shopping place. the sun is setting. (:

waiting for the bellagio musical fountain. it's very very beautiful and graceful. if you watched ocean's 13 it was also featured there.

the bellagio hotel lobby ceiling. looks like it's from the same artist as the ones who did the tacoma glass museum bridge.

the star-spangled banner.

parisian-design hotel, complete with the icon of paris.

the bellagio on the right, planet hollywood on the left.

new york-themed hotel, with the statue of liberty, manhattan architecture and skyline, and a roller-coaster.

the next day we explored the old las vegas, located in downtown las vegas.

seems very dreary. and ancient. not much hustle and bustle.

there are remnants of the old days, like dodgy casinos and all. i walk around and i can imagine how this place used to be the strip that they have now.

on the way back to the strip. nothing but desert land.

egyptian-themed hotel called the luxor. complete with the sphinx and pyramids. it's a hot hot day.

hence it's time for cold stone ice cream (my favorite!!) but it was so hot, it melted so fast. =(

hiding in the statue's shade.

a bar in MGM grand the hotel. my favorite tv show!!

and because MGM grand's logo is a roaring lion, they have a lion habitat in the casino. where 2 lions come every night from another place and entertain the crowds. they are really quite cute. (:

and they feast on red meat. and play with giant red balls. so cute.

till next time, everyone take care. while i go try to study.
p.s. the tv show studio 60 on the sunset strip is SO nice i feel like buying the dvds from amazon. somebody stop me from watching entourage. and get me episodes from grey's anatomy, house, heroes and brothers and sisters. argh.