gambitch - now available in blue
Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

The tenth leg of TAR4 has been absolutely, you guessed it, amazing. You would never realize how far apart the teams were initially, with Reichen and Chip leaving Sepilok more than two hours ahead of Jon and Al. Two hours! Would you believe that they were actually this far ahead? And then there's David and Jeff, and Kelly and Jon who left, like, four hours after Reichen and Chip! And they all end up bunching up again at the airport, taking the same flight out from Kota Kinabalu to Singapore en route to Seoul.

Then of course there's the trip to Seoul once the teams entered Singapore. Clever ol' goatee boys David and Jeff decided to try the smart thing and find an earlier flight out, and lo and behold, they do! Except a minor mistake happened during the booking, but the staff at Singapore Airlines seemed to have fixed that pretty neatly for them, and for Jon and Al who ran into them at the counter. Good service, this, by Singapore Airlines.

The Seoul leg was all right overall. Teams had to find their way to this frozen lake or something like that near the North Korean border, and one of the taxis actually strayed into the DMZ. Nothing particularly dangerous though, just twenty tanks or so lined up along the street and the taxi driver realizing his mistake quickly enough to turn back. It might have been scarier for the teams than it seemed on the telly, but how dangerous was it about to get if it was just a taxi that strayed? And it was a taxi with ordinary tourists who weren't even carrying much money! It's not as if Colin Powell was in the taxi! But as it happened, the taxi turned back quietly and got to the lake thing quickly enough.

Then of course there was the Detour. Strong Hands was okay enough, just putting your fist through three stacks of wooden boards after learning some taekwondo. Strong Stomach was different. I mean, eating live baby octopuses! I'd rather break those boards than eat a baby octopus with its tentacles still squirming around and the eyeballs and everything strewn across the plate! Doesn't quite matter that I never learnt any taekwondo or any other funky Oriental martial arts before. Anything but eating live creatures! Clearly David and Jeff felt the same, and I say good for them.

So now the teams are, in order, Kelly and Jon, Reichen and Chip, Jon and Al, and David and Jeff. Of the four, only the "gay guys" have used their Fast Forward, so now would really be a good time for the goatee boys to play their cards hard and use up the Fast Forward in the next leg. Of course, the clowns could be thinking the same too. Either would be good, but that depends on what they do on this leg. It's quite possible that the teams would move further south away from Seoul, because they still have three legs of the race to go, and if the pattern in TAR4 so far is anything to go by, people do stay in one area for pretty long.

But next week, one last team will get squeezed off. Who is it going to be? David and Jeff are going to be tough to break, and Jon and Al look pretty smart to avoid the kind of silly mistake the twins made last season. That leaves Reichen and Chip and Kelly and Jon. Now that Kelly and Jon have finally pulled to the front, they might just ride on this and stay in the final three, but you can't write off Reichen and Chip either. They're all combative, they're all tough, nobody looks particularly weak, and it's going to be a great eleventh leg. Too close to call, and that's always good!

gambitch [ 12:56 AM]

Friday, August 01, 2003

Veron turned in a masterful display against Juventus. Great play, wonderful distribution.

Could have done with a goal, but I'm not complaining!

Now Sir Alex should be pretty determined to keep his man.

gambitch [ 7:15 PM]

I might have mentioned before that I once thought about installing a hit counter to see how many people would visit this website, but the results would probably have been nothing short of totally disappointing. In a way, it shouldn't really matter. In a way, it's not even something people should have to think about. But most people write blogs for an audience. I don't think I'll have the luxury of having much of an audience, because to tell the truth, I'm a person without friends.

Sometimes I look at other people's blogs and I see people leave loads of comments after every blog entry. I look at those figures and my eyes go green, because people talk there. Mostly friends, to be sure, but that's exactly the point. People comment on what one another have to say because they are friends, and they are close enough to at the very least bother responding.

Me? I'm shut off. Walled away from everyone else.

I remember this Taiwanese movie that had a monologue. I don't recall everything, but this line stood out: "Society decided it had rejected me, and I in turn rejected it." If really nobody out there is about to show me any level of care and concern, why should I be the idiot and offer any amount of care at all? It just doesn't make any sense to be nice if nobody starts being nice to you, if they've all decided you're not worth being nice to, if they've all decided they're quite happy to leave you alone to rot underneath a forgotten tree. If that's what they think, then fine, they don't deserve anything.

So if I turn bad and nasty and everything, there's a reason for that. If you've decided you're going to leave me for dead, then fine, I'll play along and die along. That's what you seem to want anyway.

Bloody bastards.

Don't blame me.

And don't try to come up with your whole truckload of crap like "Oh, he was such a fine guy. What a pity he changed." Screw that rubbish. Anybody who so much as even thinks about saying something like that should go take a skinny-dip in a royally stinking cesspool. The cheek! The almost unbelievable hypocrisy of saying something like that, after you've decided in the first place that you're going to reject me, to discard me like you discard a broken toy that you didn't care enough to try and keep. Don't even give me that.

If you really think it a pity for a nice young lad to metamorph into a bloody monster trapped in a human body, if you really don't enjoy the thought of that happening, then you jolly well would have come in before something that untoward even happened. You would have come and shown your little ounce of care and concern. You wouldn't have held the attitude of "who is he?" and turned your nose on someone who you thought doesn't matter, who you thought has absolutely nothing to do with your life.

Then again, you'd probably have been into social work.

Don't even try to explain it all away. Don't even bloody frigging hell try.

Because I don't matter. You were convinced, and you've decided to stay convinced. You didn't resist, you didn't reject that thought, you didn't turn me around. If you said I never tried, well, how about you?

Don't give me your care and concern now. You didn't need to wait for a trigger. You didn't need to wait for the match to be lit or for the fire to start burning before you decided you want to put out the fire. You wanted this fire to happen. You were waiting for it. And then you were going to look from a distance and give me one of those cold smirks that are usually reserved for me to use. Or that cold smirk isn't even going to come at all.

You just weren't going to watch, were you? Have nothing to do with it all, take it none of it even happened, are you? Well that's cool with me. If it doesn't make a bloody difference to you, why should it to me?

I am scarred.

And hurt.

And part of me wants to be angry.

Part of me wants some sort of revenge.

How long before that part takes over and spills some blood all over everyone's hands?

How long before that part starts spreading the hurt?

And how long, how long, before the awakening, the regret, and the self-blame?

gambitch [ 7:12 PM]

fire in your hands
your eyes cold as ice
with a dark sparkling shine
reserved for the blackest of gems
you came here to kill
die me a bloodless death

if looks could take a life
then focus your sight upon your victim
slit your field of sight in two
and see through
the upper rim of your sunglass
face your target with the utterest disdain
for to kill him is to you a worthless insult

bastardize the verse i say
give it the greatest humiliation
for what is verse
but a collection of words packaged
in a way to justify
a beauty that is artificially claimed
that exists only because people say so?

the greatest humiliation to verse
is to use it in the ugliest way possible
disregard your notions of beauty
and insist on doing everything the wrong way
because no man-made institution
deserves any immunity
from the sledgehammers of destruction

back away
before the hurricane approaches
for when it comes it will leave none unscathed
he is angry
and in his anger he shall be blind
and none shall survive his wrath
all will be ripped apart
all will be torn to pieces

snapped and beyond salvation
his rage his fury his unmoderated obstinacy
for he has been shattered
and bought by the mephistopheles
signed on the bloodied dotted line
the faustian pact of betrayal
the betrayal of that which he once stood for
that which he once unconditionally defended
that which he shall now totally and irrevocably
wreck destroy eliminate obliterate

and when all is said and over and done
when the fire stops raging
when the earth no longer trembles below your feet
and the winds stop blowing and carrying the settling dust
all that is left
all that remains will be rubble and ruin
and somewhere buried deep below
the twisted and mutilated shell of a body
lost in the search for its heart and soul

gambitch [ 3:43 AM]

I was at a dinner function tonight with another prominent politician and a number of corporate leaders. Yes, one of those nice, spiffy events where you rub shoulders with some of society's elite. It's always very nice to get opportunities like this, and really, I have only myself to thank for being in an organization where we get such opportunities that most other people don't easily get.

Unfortunately, the day has been a little poor in terms of giving away name cards - I only managed to give 5 out! Then again, I'm lucky. My veep only gave two out.

And no, for the confused, I'm not the president.

gambitch [ 12:53 AM]

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Just got Shino's latest album collection, featuring a selection of about two dozen songs from her past four years. Very nice, actually.

Shino made her name initially as a rock singer, with a pretty strong dose of heavy rock. Well, not quite as heavy as you'd get from out-and-out heavy metal performers, but loud and strong enough for me to have quite an impression. It probably comes as a surprise, then, that she could also sing very expressive, soft ballads pretty well. But in a way that has come to be expected. Looking at A*Mei one could also say the same thing. The Taiwanese native made her mark with a very powerful voice, but went on to do lots of expressive ballads too, and became famous for both.

I won't go through a full review of Shino's collection, since most people don't really care anyway. I'd just go so far as to suggest giving the album a listen. It's pretty affordable, actually - two CDs and a DVD at little over the typical market price of a CD. Not a bad deal at all!

Below, though, is a translation for one song that slipped through the selection. It's one of my favourite songs from Shino, and showcases the cross between ballads and rock - the two seemingly divergent styles that Shino mixes so effortlessly into a neat blend.

Melody: Hsu Hsiang-yu
Lyrics: Zo . Shino
Singer: Shino Lin
recorded in Track 4 of her 2nd album "She Knows"

Fearing that I've flown for too long
Can't stand on Earth anymore
The sea looks up at the sky
Dreaming a dream for several centuries

You embraced me for one second
But have become the shackle of my lifetime

Waiting for you to come and find me
A heart still moved by you
The story still quietly waiting
Deep in my memory

Eternity is too excessive a request
Staying with you can only be temporary
Just this lifetime is already enough...

Kokoro no oku-wo
Waiting for you to turn back
And warm my hand...
Donna-ni tsunakutemo
I'd rather enjoy this moment
And never say anything...
Shinjite iru-yo
Kono ai ubaenai...

You were once
A song from the angels above
So why did you bring me
To plunge deep within the darkness

My heart is already lost
At the point where past and future meet

Saying "I don't really care"
But constantly turning to look back
The further I walk away
The more the footsteps feel helpless

Eternity is too excessive a request
Staying with you can only be temporary
Just this lifetime is already enough...

Kokoro no oku-wo
Waiting for you to turn back
And warm my hand...
Donna-ni tsunakutemo
I'd rather enjoy this moment
And never say anything...
Shinjite iru-yo
Kono ai ubaenai...

gambitch [ 9:41 PM]

A review on what went on in the previous leg of The Amazing Race 4.

Absolutely unbelievable stuff! Kelly and Jon started dead last, close to half an hour behind David and Jeff, lost their way at the first Route Marker, missed out on the Fast Forward picked up by a misdirected pair in the form of Reichen and Chip, and still managed to catch Millie and Chuck at the Roadblock! In the midst of all this, Jon and Al stayed steadily in second, and would perhaps have come first again if the gay guys hadn't picked up the Fast Forward.

Millie and Chuck were eliminated. They had it coming. Their nerves were frazzling after a bad previous leg, and apparently the severe lack of sleep did them in as they lost an hour driving in the wrong direction in the middle of nowhere. Kelly and Jon were very lucky that the virgins made such a bad mistake. And after all this, it appears that the couple, who have been dating for 12 years, might finally be breaking up. Of course, viewers will be tempted to ask "Will they finally make out first before breaking up?". but that's something left for the couple to decide, and we don't really have to find out.

As the legs progress on, Reichen and Chip are increasingly becoming forgotten as a married gay couple, and have become "just another cutthroat, aggressive competing team". Which I think is a good thing, because the whole point about the gay movement is trying to tell the whole world that homosexuals are like everyone else, and aren't really like lepers. No disrespect intended to people who suffer from leprosy (apparently it's curable now anyway, isn't it?), but the point basically is gays are not so outwardly different that they warrant "special attention" from society. Of course, conservative governments, people and church groups are free to themselves reject homosexuality, but forcing other people to adopt the same belief as you do on this issue may be just a little too much.

The next leg will see the remaining four teams fly off to Korea, which is great, because I haven't seen Korea on TAR before. It shows that the producers do realize that they have been missing a few spots, and they do intend to cover the entire world as TAR continues. Any guesses for TAR5?

gambitch [ 9:03 PM]

Monday, July 28, 2003

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa apparently had a meeting with pro-democracy lawmakers earlier today, the first after a territory-wide fallout over the proposed Article 23 of Hong Kong's Basic Law. The representatives slammed Tung's conduct at the meeting and said he left them "very frustrated", while the man himself, seen by many as little more than a man working on Beijing's orders, described the session as a "very useful discussion".

Well, that has to depend on what really was on Tung's agenda, doesn't it? The former businessman was never really seen as a "people's leader". Indeed, his rise to become Hong Kong's first Chief Executive depended on Beijing giving its seal of approval, and so in that sense even his appointment was not really that democratic. From the start, it would be difficult to imagine a pro-Beijing non-party politician to really be motivated to push for greater democracy in the former British colony.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what the people of Hong Kong seem to want - relatively unfettered democracy being implemented in the territory, perhaps closer to what its distant cousin Taiwan is currently getting. Never mind that Taiwan's democracy also gets scant respect in terms of what is frequently referred to as "black gold politics". Never mind that trading of blows and even catfights happen frequently in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan. Better to be unruly and indisciplined and still having the full power of the ballot box, as well as the occasional shows of civil disobedience and mass demonstrations.

The pro-democracy advocates are probably going to continue baying for blood and calling for Tung to step down. No lesser alternative would be acceptable. But is that really all they are asking for, or is it possible that somewhere hidden in their agenda is the prospective breakaway of Hong Kong from the red motherland? The ground sentiment does not seem strong enough to push for this, but realistically, it is unlikely that Hong Kong will be allowed to democratize fully in the way the self-styled democracy visionaries want it to be as long as Beijing is still in charge. And the central government is not about to let go of Hong Kong - this is, to them, a matter of nationalistic as well as racial pride.

As if Taiwan isn't a bad enough problem for Hu Jintao's government. Hong Kong is a time bomb ticking away right in its own backyard...

gambitch [ 11:26 PM]

I've taken to another old computer game that was collecting dust in one of the drawers. Railroad Tycoon II its name is. In short, the game has the player as a guy who happens to have a wad of dollar notes and wants to start a railroad in a place of the player's choosing. Well, of course there are options for players to pick; I can't for example pick to start a railroad in India (the thought is fun, but oh, the crowds!). The player gets to plant stations, lay track, buy locomotives and cars to run from station to station, have fun in the stock market, even buy up industries that produce the goods to ship around.

It's been mostly fun, this game. I tried my hand at running a railroad in the British Isles, and I'm not doing too badly. A rail network from Norwich through Oxford to Birmingham and Gloucester, and northwards into Stoke, Sheffield and Leeds, 18 trains carrying passengers, mail, cattle, wool, coal and iron among other things, full control over all my company's stock, and lots of money to think about expansion. Not a bad result at all.

Somehow, though, I don't seem to be getting the fulfillment I have usually come to expect from playing these games. Don't get me wrong, I like these games, and challenging my own resource management skills in these sandboxes can be seen as excellent practice opportunities. But something just does not feel right. It's as if there's less pride and joy when the goals are met, as if because there's no-one else to share the happiness of watching my stocks rise in value before splitting (and stock splits are very happy things) the amount of happiness suddenly goes down sharply.

Are you still there?

gambitch [ 9:46 PM]

Shino is back!

gambitch [ 1:26 AM]

Not that I should be actively thinking about this; still...

(Note: The graphic doesn't turn up properly. I think it has something to do with Geocities.)

my method of suicide: hanging.

how would you commit suicide?

gambitch [ 1:17 AM]

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Curious, this.

Is it my suspicion, or do most Blogger users come from the same part of the world - and no, I don't mean America?

gambitch [ 8:54 PM]

Which Star of Heaven or Star of the Earth are you?

I feel like The Murderous Star of Heaven. Go figure.

gambitch [ 8:47 PM]

Info Grey
Your Heart is Grey

What Color is Your Heart?
brought to you by Quizilla

Editor's note: Blue isn't half bad either, actually.

gambitch [ 8:25 PM]

It is a little strange how taking the same test twice could give such different results.

You're Eponine, the love sick teenager.

Which Les Miserables character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Some things never change. Some that do, sometimes change back.

gambitch [ 8:04 PM]


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