Saturday, May 28, 2005

Applications open through June 5 for fun on August 9

It is fitting, I suppose, that one must apply two months in advance to celebrate Singapore's National Day, August 9. You can apply to watch the National Day Parade (known popularly as NDP) in person, but there is also a consolation prize of getting a funpack and watching the ceremonies from an LED video screen in various places around the island.

It is also fitting that there is only one big event like this in a country of 4,000,000 people. Singaporeans love to compete for limited seats, whether it's school admission, bus seats, or NDP tickets. Wisconsin also has a population of about 4,000,000, and I figure there must be well over 100 Fourth of July parades in Wisconsin every year. When my sister was in a pom-pon squad, she and my parents went to several of these; there is definitely not a shortage. I guess there aren't very many marching bands in Singapore, so maybe that's the limiting factor.

It is also fitting that one can apply by SMS. That's two strikes against me. First off, I am not a Singapore citizen, so I am ineligible for fun on that count alone. But pre-paid mobile phone subscribers are also inelgible to apply by SMS. Imagine the chaos that would break loose if foreigners with pre-paid mobile phone plans showed up for National Day!

On Labour Day (May 1), I also had the privilege of paying $1 to be admitted to The Istana, the official residence of the President of Singapore. Citizens and permanent residents were admitted free. Surprisingly, they took everybody's word for it. Ah, Singaporean hospitality!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Good teachers are hard to find

I could not help but being struck by the similarities between Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and my organ teacher from long ago, Peter Sykes. Perhaps a pipe organ is as difficult to operate as a light saber. It has a lot more switches and stuff, that's for sure. Peter has the patience of a Jedi Knight, and the physical coordination, too.

But no, that's not the only thing that was bothering me. Mr. McGregor's bio confirmed it: I am older than Obi-Wan Kenobi. By two years! Mr. Lucas must have been planning this one for 28 years. Since Ewan McGregor was only six years old when the original Star Wars came out, that means that nearly everybody who can remember the wise Obi-Wan Kenobi is now older than him. I feel so ancient.

Roger Ebert captured an odd placelessness to the language used in the film: "The characters talk in what sounds like Basic English, without color, wit or verbal delight, as if they were channeling Berlitz," he writes. I remember being disturbed by use of the word elevator, since this was a clear signal that the characters were supposed to be speaking American English. It was disturbing since it was the only clue as to the place of their accent. Couldn't it have been a turbolift or something like that?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

How we're different

I was just looking at some other blogs with the NEXT BLOG button up at the top of the page. It occurred to me that Brian2Brian is not like the other blogs in the marketplace of ideas. How are we different?

  • Full and complete sentences. Usually, anyway.
  • We usually write in English.
  • No keyword spam. (Except, of course, for my fixation with teh halia, which I guess also violates the "usually write in English" feature.)
  • Neither Brian has ever listed his chores for the day.
  • We show our photos even though we're not celebrities. (But we're looking for work, and at least one of us would consider working as a celebrity.)
  • At least we know the other Brian will read what we're writing.
  • Only one Brian rambles aimlessly, so at least some entries are succinct.