Category Archives: Emotional Thoughts

Household Computer vs National Transportation System

I swear this piece will be about how I feel about Singapore’s transport system. Eventually.

But first, let me talk about my family’s old computer.

I remembered it being a Pentium PC, with less than 2gb of ram. The year was before 2002 I think. At that time, I was still sharing the computer with the rest of my family, namely my dad and my sis. But I had always been the one doing the installation, maintenance and troubleshooting.

Then came a time when I got into designing and music composing. Softwares I was running included Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Propellerhead Reason and so on. And sometimes I would have all these memory intensive softwares be opened all at the same time, something I now know is not a very clever thing to do, because I could not get things to move very fast. A simple Gaussian Blur on the photoshop would have allowed me to go kitchen, poured myself a cup of water, searched for some snacks, be back at the computer terminal, and the progress bar would only have moved halfway to its end. Not very efficient eh?

So, I decided to look at upgrading the computer. And of course that meant talking to the family’s financial controller, i.e. my dad.

But my dad, of course, didn’t use such intensive softwares. At most he only used Microsoft word and, don’t gasp, Internet explorer. So it was very hard for him to see any valid reasons to warrant the expensive upgrade. Yes, it was very hard to get him to part with his money. He’d rather invest the money in stock, even tho he had always been losing money as if he used the money to buy 4D.

In the end, he resorted to making me install those cleanup softwares or space warning softwares, which obviously didn’t solve the root of the problem.

Ok, so before my angst towards my stingy father becomes the subject of this post, let me turn back to what I really wanted to talk about. Singapore’s transportation system.

Let me be clear on this, I’m no expert. It’s just transportation systems are what interest me the most in terms of local news issues.

So, let me first tell you about today. After a stressful and unproductive day at work, I decided I needed to do some books browsing, so I headed down to Kinokuniya at Orchard Road. After a good spending spree and a relatively satisfying dinner later, I needed to head home. Now I live at Bukit Panjang, and I have three buses that brings me home.

Three. 171, 190 and 700A.

At 9pm, the bus stop I was at was overflowing with people. A 190 bus was at the bus stop already but was so filled I decided not to even try to squeeze onto it despite being very tired. I decided to wait for the next one.

I took a look at the bus arrival board. The next 171 was coming in 12 min, 700A in 10, and 190 in 6. The next three buses after that? 171 25min, 700A 29min, 190 15min.

When I actually saw 29min, I got a shock, not of my life, but bad enough to have me do a double take. It did show 29.

As I wondered about the number I just saw and thinking about the effective frequency of this bus service, 190 arrived, and it was still packed even though it’s running at such a relatively high frequency compared to 700A. I squeezed onto it and had to mentally prepare myself for the long arduous journey ahead half-filled with accent-speaking foreigners.

Even though I had myself mentally prepared, I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. A very bad traffic jam along PIE. So, now I had to balance myself precariously as if on the edge of a cliff to prevent myself from falling onto the women standing around me or having my hands accidentally touching someone’s butt, thus mistaking me as a pervert.

And it was then that I totally felt that statement that kept being quoted: Singapore’s transportation system is on the brink of bursting.

What our government has done has been to provide more alternatives. Theoretically, this will work. More alternatives means more means to bring people to their destinations. But practically, these alternatives will not be able to catch up with the rapid increase in population! Downtown line was announced 2 years ago and will only be fully operational in 2018; Thomson line was announced last year but will only be fully operational in 2020. These will not and cannot happen faster due to the extensive construction needed (duh!).

So what else is there to do? Expressways are getting lane expansion, but they are only getting them when problem arises, such as the BKE/PIE intersection. These lane expansions also take time lots of time into researching the construction feasibility, the planning, and finally the construction. This doesn’t happen fast enough and most probably by the time the construction is completed, the amount of cars on the road will have increased beyond what the lane expansion is catered for.

What the government has been doing is akin to increasing the ram on the computer. Increase the amount of ram and more data gets prepared to be cached. And having more means of traveling from one point to another is like have 2 pieces of ram instead of 1.

What is equally important is also the processor! Having a faster and more efficient processor means being able to process more data more efficiently. With a slow processor, more matter how much ram you have, you are going to face a problem of not getting that much amount of data to clear out before the next batch comes into the ram.

This translates into increasing the frequency of the transportation system. The 29 minutes, as you can most probably tell, is beyond my threshold of tolerance for the phrase “effective frequency”. If we translate this frequency into audio terms, it will be so low pitched I doubt we can even hear it.

29 minutes! For two buses of the same service to arrive? At a time when the bus stops are overflowing with people? Sorry, this processor speed is not even enough for me to even open Adobe Photoshop to just crop out my friend’s face from my photo!

It takes more than ten years to build a better traffic infrastructure, but what are you planning to do from now till then? The bus arrival board is definitely not working. I don’t need another software to keep telling me my CPU is overloading when it doesn’t do anything else! We need to have our public transportation companies increase the frequencies to solve these short term problems, as, you know, we say in Singlish: ”dong3 for a while”.

It is already ridiculous enough for someone to compare the computer system to a country’s traffic system. What is more ridiculous is that this comparison actually made sense to me as I got stuck on PIE on a bus having to keep avoiding being accused as a pervert.

photo credit: TIB1218R via photopin cc

不屬於”不雅語言“的字句所能造成的傷害,真的比不起畢業生的一個字。

八月六日,星期六下午,三點中左右。

我悠閒地逛著我家附近的漫畫店時,店裡正播放著本地某個頂尖流行音樂電台的節目。節目中兩位主持 人,一男一女,正討論著最近“某所大學”的畢業生在畢業致辭中無意煞出不雅字眼的話題。我本身認為這話題已變成了媒體放縱性的煽動報道,所以本來也不多加 留意。但在這電台的某女主持人問某男主持人他是否是畢業於這所大學時,男主持人很快的回答:“沒有沒有沒有!”並大笑他要在此“劃清界限”,澄清自己是 “另一所大學的”。

單純的四個字“劃清界限”突然像把鋒利的刀鋒刺進心裡。身為這“某所大學”的畢業生,我突然覺得這某男性主持人的選詞用字不止不切當,甚至覺得他在暗示著畢業於這所大學的畢業生在行為舉止上都屬不恰當的。他彷彿就覺得若自己畢業於這所大學會是一種恥辱。

身為一個“頂尖流行音樂電台”的DJ,你不是更加應該注意自己的選詞用字嗎?很諷刺的,追根究底這話題本身就是在討論著這畢業生本身的選詞用字,而站在反方 的你不就表示你也有選詞用字不恰當的時候嗎?若真的要比較,一位畢業生的致辭本只有畢業堂中的出席者會聽到,你是一個“頂尖流行音樂電台”的DJ,你的言論是全國人民所可能聽到的,你將能製造很大的言論傷害。

“劃清界限”這四個字,雖不是任何不雅的字眼,但比起這某所大學的畢業生所說的話,你的四個字卻造成更多的傷害。

photo credit: bricolage.108 via photopin cc

後●青春期的我 -- 等待著看《五月天DNA創造演唱會》的心情

雖然我沒有變態到手淫在寫著夢想的紙上,但此刻的心情還蠻像九把刀「後●青春期的詩」小說中森弘的一樣。

很不耐煩地等待著看今晚五月天演唱會的我,感覺上就好像森弘等待著收集到他那張麥可喬丹的親筆簽名球員卡。

我的青春期是很節儉地渡過的。雖然偶爾會買一買偶像的專輯,但對我這個人來說,演唱會是一種奢侈,一種多餘的享受。很慚愧地,我現在只能坦言說那只是一個藉口,當初有機會免費看周華健演唱會時,我還不是立刻飛奔而赴嗎?

如今自己開始賺錢了,突然想去做有很多青春時沒錢做的事。這十年沈澱的青春叛逆期,此時亢奮地要浮現了。

16歲的我,唯一的叛逆,是擁有著夢想。我不敢說自己早成熟,更不敢講自己是像陳國星那樣“想成为一个可以改变世界的那种人”,我只是知道我長大後要做我能做 的事,而且是自己做得很開心的事。有了這樣子的目標,我勇敢地為自己刻下了一個座右銘:“絕對不要回頭,絕對不要後悔”。

這個座右銘,也從那一刻,成為我這一生的負擔。

聽著五月天的「放肆」,我還發現自己還沒有真正放肆過。嗯⋯⋯有啦,就在父親要我上初院時,我為了要去理工學院讀傳播系,跟父親吵了一架(當然,他吵贏 了)。就那麼一次而已。但確實的,我沒有渡過放肆的青春期。「放肆」中的歌詞—“就放肆爱放肆追 放肆去闯 放肆是我的信 再不去闯 梦想永远只会是一个梦想”—好像阿信在罵我。為甚麼會有這種感覺呢?可能潛意識中,我在後悔吧,只是我不想認罷了。

12個小時後,我將會 在新加坡室内体育馆內,很開心的、很瘋狂的放肆一下。這十年來自己不在乎沒看演唱會的假裝,將在今晚得到解脫。就像森弘一直說“是真的没在收集了啦,以前 买的那些也放在纸箱里,好几年我连打开都没打开过咧”,但看到夢想中的球員卡,眼睛還是立刻亮起來的。