| January 2005 |

My Boring Life

Regular readers would’ve noticed that I write with uneven frequency. Often there are no updates for weeks, and then a flood of articles will suddenly appear within a short period of time.

For a fast talker who can think lightning-fast on his feet and win most debates — with or without logic — I have to take a lot of effort to put my thoughts down into words. English language has never been my forte; the fact that I come from a Chinese-speaking family doesn’t help either. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been like if I can forfeit half my oratorical skill to become a better writer, and the other half to become a better listener. But I digress.

If you’re not born talented, you can only hope to improve through sheer hard work. This is the approach I take in life, and I make use of every opportunity to improve myself. SG Watch becomes an avenue where I can practice to write better, and I take the effort to ensure that proper English is used as much as my limited mastery of the language allows. This is why I update SG Watch so infrequently as compared to those prolific bloggers.

Another reason for the lack of updates — which most people would think is the real reason and my poor writing skill is just another lame excuse — is that I lead a boring life. And unlike many bloggers, I don’t feel the need to announce to the whole world what I ate for breakfast (none actually, since I can never wake up in time for a quick bite before class) and what I did for the day, a mundane routine so boring that I myself want to break out of, lest to provoke any interest from others. It worries me sometimes that I could be stuck in a dead-end job for the next 40 years and become just another faceless person among six billion humans in the world.

You must be wondering, what’s the point of reading about the life of a boring guy who can’t write properly? The same feel-good factor that makes reality shows so popular: it is comforting to know there are bigger losers out there than yourself.

Or perhaps you’re a friend who accepts me for who I am.

28 January 2005 · My Life · Comments (0)

Evolutionary Dead End

A crazy idea popped into my mind following my discussion with Howe regarding Koi. Although Howe’s explanation on how domestic Koi are unable to spawn due to genetic deficiencies turned out to be inaccurate, it led me to think of a scientific argument for the legalisation of gay marriage.

One of the main arguments against gay marriage is that its legalisation will lead astray many young people, which in conservative lingo means turning them gay. How our genes and social environment determine our sexual preferences is debatable, but this argument implies that most people are inherently homosexual — which the conservatives will be loathe to agree — and all it takes is to legalise gay marriage before everyone starts coming out of the closet.

Granted, the legalisation of gay marriage is equivalent to the social acceptance of gays, and we can expect to lose some fringe members of our heterosexual-dominant society — for example, bisexuals — to the burgeoning gay community.

But if the status quo remains and the definition of marriage remains the union between a man and a woman, this will pressure many gays and lesbians to get married with a member from the opposite sex — whom they obviously don’t love — in order to conform to social norms. Not only will their heterosexual partners suffer from an unhappy marriage, their children will inherit their genes and have a high chance of turning gay too. This vicious cycle will continue until we accept homosexuals and legalise gay marriage.

By allowing gay marriages, genes that cause homosexual inclinations are effectively removed from the human gene pool. It is impossible for homosexuals to pass their genes to their offspring since they’re obviously not interested in mating with the opposite sex to have any children at all. Hence in theory, if we can get every gay and lesbian in the world to get married, there’ll be no more gay people for the conservatives to worry about by the next generation!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a gay basher. My support for the legalisation of gay marriage is based on the belief that everyone should enjoy the same rights and freedom, regardless of his religion, race or sexual preference. However, the harsh fact is that homosexuality is an evolutionary dead end.

It is perhaps ironic that the legalisation of gay marriage may in fact signal the demise of the gay movement. Soon there’ll be no one left to wave the rainbow flag.

13 January 2005 · Science · Comments (2)

Cold-Blooded Animals

Howe and I were chatting over lunch about pets, and it occurred to me that I’ve never met anyone who has had baby Koi hatched at home. The respective theories we put forward would soon reveal our academic inclinations: I gave a more social “big fish eat small fish” explanation, while Howe explained the phenomenon on a more scientific basis.

I explained that since there aren’t many hideouts such as rock crevices in an artificial aquatic environment for mother Koi to lay their eggs safely or for the small fry to hide, other adult Koi may gobble the exposed eggs or small fry up – just like what most fish do.

This is the tragic scenario frequently played out in my fish tank back home. Newly born guppies face almost certain death if we don’t provide some water plants for them to hide from the adult guppies. Often we would be overjoyed in the morning to discover twenty baby guppies have been born the night before, only to find most of them vanished by the afternoon. It happened so quickly that we sometimes wonder if we had miscounted the number of baby guppies earlier.

But Howe, who specialises in genetics and keeps many Koi at home, believed those colourful Koi we keep are unable to spawn naturally after being cross-bred so many times — perhaps even with other species of fish — to obtain the desired colours.

Later I did some research on the internet and it turned out my theory was correct. The popular belief is that Koi aren’t carnivorous, since owners usually feed their Koi with processed fish food and not other small fishes, unlike Arowana. However, Koi do eat their own eggs and small fry. Koi also get along well with goldfish or other tropical fish — as long as the other fish aren’t small enough to eat.

I guess fish are cold-blooded for a reason.

09 January 2005 · Science · Comments (0)

Return to the East

And so it’s been a hectic past two weeks, again. I seemed to be using the adjective hectic very frequently to describe my life nowadays. But this time, it was a hectic yet enjoyable two-week trip to western Canada.

We decided to make this a leisure trip having just finished a rather stressful academic semester. And of course, since our group consisted of a Singaporean, two Malaysians and a Taiwanese, a leisure trip translates to a gourmet tour with lots of shopping.

I should be able to get the photo section up and running shortly and photos from the trip will be posted — that is, after I sort out the 400 or so photos I took over the past two weeks.

Have a great year ahead!

06 January 2005 · Travel · Comments (0)

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