Archive for June, 2008

June 28, 2008

WTF is wrong with these people?!

The original thread originated from SGCafe. Here’s the background info:

TOKYO (Reuters) – A man who said he was tired of life went on a stabbing rampage on Sunday in a crowded Tokyo shopping street, killing seven people and wounding a dozen others.

The man drove a rental truck into a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime and then walked down the street knifing passers-by in Akihabara district, known for its discount electronics and maid cafes.

Original Reuters article here. Other news articles here, and here. (Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Images of the aftermath: (Left) Suspect Tomohiro Kato being transported from a police station in Tokyo on June 10, 2008. (Right) The hearse of Mai Muto, who was killed by stabber Tomohiro Kato at Tokyo’s Akihabara on June 8, leaves her funeral in Tokyo on June 12, 2008.

Tomohiro Kato, center, suspected of Sunday's deadly stabbing rampage, sits inside a car as he is transferred from a police station in Tokyo Tuesday, June 10, 2008.

Photos

courtesy of Getty Images/AP

Quoting SDF-2 from SGCafe:

“The lecturer told to the press that in the past, the public treated otakus as fans whom were obessed with ACG culture and failed to connect with the society. With the recurring of such crimes recently, it will create a moral panic in the society and thus otakus will be feared.

The mis-representation of otakus by the media had created a ruckus in the online community. Some otakus got angry by saying whenever such crimes happened, the public will lashed their anger at ACG culture.”

Now, I am as upset over the senseless killing as anyone else, but it is 1 thing to trial 1 person for his wrongdoing, it is another to judge a group of people by the actions of any individual. That is inane, if not downright xenophobic.

The (mis)conception of otakus being violent antisocial freaks came about because it’s vague and based on little more than hearsay and wild ideas. Please explain to me how having a more obsessive passion for animation, comics, games figurines or the internet make you more dangerous than any other human being? Do I get a level up in violence quotient over the average hood or robber or any other bad sort? That will be nice, because this Maple Story boss is giving me the fits and I need just a bit more dps to finish it off. it just does not compute, to quote Star Trek.

The most common argument against otakus is their disassociation from society at large, which dehumanizes them. The premise, i.e. they presume, that an obsession for otaku-stuff (simplifying the large body of otaku-passions into 1 phrase) leads to disassociation with other humans and we then become inhuman monsters who will terrorize them and their kids. They assume, “oh this guy plays with his Barbie dolls, he has lost touch with humanity”. Riiiight. Just because someone is not like you does not directly relate to the fact that he/she is not a human being, with equal rights to living his own life, will you nil you. Deviant lifestyles do not always equate to destructive lifestyles.

i argue that the anger and backlash came about because we are DIFFERENT. Not just different; obviously different in obvious ways, that can be pointed out and giggled at in some dark ota-phobic corner with like-minded ota-phobes. More importantly, we are safe to despise. It’s like nerds before the turn of the millennium; like the blacks in the 60s. It’s SAFE to despise us, to soothe their teeny-weeny epeens of their own importance, rather than own up to their own deficiencies. It’s safe because they do not worry about being confronted with angry otakus with sticks. I dare anyone to look down upon motorcycle gangs. Fear them? yes. Look down? Only behind my double barred door and with a shotgun in hand maybe.

Have you heard all that news about creativity and innovation? Creativity can be simplified into having a different viewpoint when approaching a situation while innovation is about creating useful differences that will benefit users. People love to “talk” about creativity and innovation like it’s the second coming of Jesus but when it comes to the “doing”, they balk.

They twiddle their fingers.
They complain of the changes they have to embrace.
They rage at those who embrace it.

Guess what? You can’t have the innovation without the differences. If it weren’t for some village twit who did not fit in and wanted to see what was beyond the next hill, we would all still be farming our little patches of dirt now.

People don’t seem to realize that differences are a good thing to have, especially passions. Being passionate about something means I am willing to go the extra mile to achieve it. If it were food, i would be a chef, a gourmet, or a food critic. If it were golf, i would be Tiger, Bagger Vance or a sports journalist. But if it were anime, i would immediately be an otaku. I mean, wtf? If everyone were to be like everyone else, ESPN will be out of business, because the standard of play will suck. Life will be boring, because everyone will be the same and there’s no point doing anything because the level will be just like anywhere else. In other words, why bother to live if it’s gonna be the same-old, same-old everyday for every week of every month for the remaining years of your pathetic existence?

June 26, 2008

Hellsing Ultimate: Sieg Heil!

This blog post has also been copied into a @Hongfire discussion thread.

Sieg Heil! This is how a person recording the speech will have experienced it….

Date: Eve of Operation Sealion II
Event: Address by Major (Sturmbannführer) Max Montana to men and officers of Letztes Bataillon, #666 SS Waffen
Venue: Millenium flagship Hindenburg II (aka Deus Ex Machina)

Transcript of speech. Many thanks to Aone’s translation notes which I have shamelessly copied most of, and paraphrased the rest to better reflect the mood.

———————————————————————————–

Comrades, i love war. Comrades, I love war. Comrades, I really love war!

I love extermination battles. I love blitzes. I love slugfests. I love defensive battles. I love siege battles. I love breakthrough battles. I love rearguard battles. I love cleanup battles. I love evacuation battles.

In the prairies, in the streets, in the trenches, in the fields, in the tundra, in the desert, on the sea, in the air, in the mud, in the bog. I love all and every
act of war taken in this world.

I love the salvo of infantry lines in battle, blowing the enemy up in 1 thunderous roar! Watching the enemy getting thrown high up into the air and blown into bits by gunfire makes my heart dance.

I love it when the Tiger, the tank soldiers use, destroys the enemy tanks with its 88mm. I felt wonderful when I mowed down the enemy with my MG (machine gun), as they jumped out of the burning tank screaming!

I love it when the foot soldiers mount their bayonets in the same direction and trample the enemy line of battle. I even felt touched when new recruits in their panic, stab the already-dead enemy soldier over and over.

I just love hanging the defeatist runaway soldiers from the street lights! With a wave of my hand, the screaming hostages killed one after another with the Schmeisser, making a metallic sound that is just wonderful! The ecstasy when the poor resistance movements stand up to fight with their assorted pistols and then the Dora’s 4.8 high explosive shell blows them and their city to smithereens!

I love it when the Ruskis (Russians) armored division messes with me. It’s very sad to see the towns you were supposed to protect get breached and its women and children raped and killed. I love being crushed by the amount of resources the English and Americans have. It is an utter shame to be chased by Jabos and run, scrambling on the ground like insects.

Comrades, I seek war. I seek a war that is not unlike hell on earth.

Comrades, those that follow me, the Battalion Comrades. What do you seek?

Do you seek further war?
Do you seek a shit-like war with no mercy?
Do you seek an all-out war that rages like the Sturm-Krieg and kills the crows of three thousand worlds?

*men and officers of the Battalion*
Krieg! Krieg! Krieg! Krieg! Krieg! Krieg! Krieg! Krieg! Krieg!

Fine, then Krieg it is!

We are a fist that we’ve clenched with all our might, about to strike down! But an ordinary war will not satisfy us anymore after we have endured for half a century in this darkness.

A full-scale war! An all out full-scale war!

We are barely one battalion, less than a thousand troops remaining. But i believe you all to be veteran soldiers who each are a match for a thousand. In that case, you and I make a total strength of one million and one.

Let us wake those bastards that forced us into oblivion and are now fast asleep. We will grab them by the hair and drag them down. Force their eyes open and remind them.

We will remind them of the taste of fear!
We will remind them of the sound of our march!
We will remind them that there are things between heaven and earth that they cannot possibly understand. I will burn down the earth with a Kampfgruppe of a thousand vampires.

That’s right. That’s the light of Europe that we have all been waiting for. I have brought you all back as promised.

To that nostalgic battlefield.
To that nostalgic war!

*men and officers of the Battalion*
*cheering*

And so the Seelowe (Sealion) has finally crossed the sea and climbs onto land.

This is a message to all Millennium Battalion personnel. This is an order from the battalion commander!

Now comrades, let’s raise hell.

———————————————————————————–

Here’s a reward for lasting to the end of the article (i know, it’s long). AMV dedicated to the Millennium, not done by me but a favorite nonetheless.

June 23, 2008

Left, Left, Left Right Left

No, this is not a variant of the Konami Code.

In a rare fit of nostalgia, I actually recalled my army life (damn, the nightmares are back). There were only 3 things I enjoyed about my army life.

  1. My service with maintenance section/company. Whoever was involved in CMW, I think we all can laugh at those nights when we fix vehicles until the mechanics fall asleep under the tonners with spanners in hand.
  2. ORD.
  3. Army songs.

I have forgotten a lot of the songs or march tunes over the years. I barely can recall more than a line here or there beyond the most basic “left-right-left-right-[Company]-[Platoon]-Warriors” cheer. I actually went to search out songs and boy was I surprised by the sheer amount of material there is online. Then again, I shouldn’t be.

There are more than a million men under arms with the various branches of the military. At least 3 generations of native Singaporeans have already gone through that period of life thanks to the National Service Act passed in 1967. That makes for fertile ground to develop something truly Singaporean, not the drivel that the government is trying to force down the people’s collective throats.

Army Daze the movie featured 1 real marching song. Real as in we really did sing this song for route marches.

SGCafe has a nice active thread collecting marching songs and anthems. You can find the thread here. I am quite convinced that there are a lot more songs out there, so anyone reading this, please help me out by adding more songs to the repertoire.

As with previous posts, I always try to add some multimedia to spice things up a bit. This is another “marching” song I could find on youtube. Enjoy~.

June 15, 2008

What’s so great about Code Geass?

If you watch anime, you probably will not just know Code Geass, you will love or hate it to the core of your being.

I fall into the “L-O-V-E” camp. Here’s a brief recap of the first season (also known as R1).

———–==SPOILERS==———–

The story begins at the end of the Brittannian conquest of Japan. 2 young boys, childhood friends, are each harboring deep thoughts. Suzaku, the son of the last Japanese prime minster, and Lelouch, an abandoned Brittannian prince, are contemplating their future within the new world order. it is at this point that Lelouch declares:

“I will destroy Brittannia!”

Fast forward to the present.

Lelouch Lamperouge is the charismatic, proud genius, a man so great he is a giant among men. On top of that, in a twist of fate he obtains the power to compel any person who he makes eye contact with to follow 1 order, regardless of the victim’s original intent. With those 2 powers, he gathers an army to oppose the powerful Brittannian Empire. It is ironic, for the Emperor is none other than Lelouch’s father. After scoring several victories over the occupational forces, each time removing rivals as well as consolidating his own influence, Lelouch is on track to achieve his goal of a Japan independent of Brittannia’s, and his father’s, influence so that Nunnally can enjoy a peaceful life outside of Brittannian intrigue.

Then along came the greatest irregularity into his plans, the Princess Euphmeria. Her idealism and association with Suzaku, who has signed on with the Brittannian army, has led her to declare the formation of an autonomous region within Japan, a state for the japanese. This declaration has not only fueled pro-Brittannian sentiment, but also robbed Lelouch’s rebellion of much of his impetus. It appears that a rosy ending is in sight for both Japanese and Brittannian alike.

But in the most ironic of twists, Lelouch’s power became his curse in the final hour, when he accidentally twisted Princess Euphmeria’s will, creating the 1 incident that drove the biggest wedge between both peoples, and nailing the final nail on the coffin of peace…

———–==END SPOILERS==———–

Code Geass is great not just due to mecha action, nor is it great because of the loads of sexual innuendos and fanservice (hell there’s enough material to make a Parody Harem trailer. Sure, it’s all those things, but It is truly great because it is a powerful tragedy. Lelouch is not a stereotypical shallow character. His genius, drive and power are highly alluring, and he presents a very human face on the struggle for independence. His cruelty and strive to reach his ends by any means necessary, repel and attract both at the same time. It is a joy to see how he struggles on his bramble-strewn path towards his ideals, yet you can’t help but sadistically wonder what capricious twist of fate will befall him.

The anime’s greatness lies in its duality, either in character designs (Suzaku vs Lelouch), persona (Lelouch Lamperouge vs Zero), or morality (fight for independence vs pure terrorism), the list goes on. The biggest duality is also its biggest irony: the means that brought Lelouch up from a nobody to a famed/infamous leader of an independence movement and a position of power for him to achieve his greatest desire can also see him through a logical progression of steps to arrive at the madly logical betrayal of that self-same greatest desire… the destruction of the peace he so desperately strove for.

June 13, 2008

Web 2.0: The Machine is Us/ing Us

Today’s webfind comes from a funky professor of cultural anthropology, i.e. the study of human beings/kind/culture. Web 2.0 has always been bandied around in science fiction circles, either as utopian visions of human transcendence or dystopian nightmares of human slavery to the big evil interweb. With the development of XML, an internet markup language that emphasized function rather than form, a paradigm shift in how content is organized, presented and treated has occurred. This together with increased bandwidth and transmission speeds, has brought the internet to much of the world at a speed unheard of at the turn of the millenium. The fact that we can stream a video online at almost the same speed as watching it on TV has revolutionized the way we learn, play and work and will continue to evolve as humans think up new ways of utilizing and adapting the technology. You can learn how to cook, study from home in a virtual classroom, even learn how to make a bomb through watching step by step tutorials. And that is only the tip of the iceberg.

June 11, 2008

Good (Bad) Translations

Today’s net find is on translations so horrible, it’s good.

Taken from TV Tropes:
Whether it be due to Executive Meddling, bad translators, or just being a rush job, there are bad translations at times. Either the wording is funky, the grammar is off, or they just flubbed the line.

However, it proves so popular with the fans (either due to being unintentionally hilarious or Memetic Mutation) that not only do they not go back to correct it partway through the run, but reprints and sequels will keep the mistranslation in because the fans want it.

One of the most famous, if not the most famous would be “All Your Base are Belong to Us”. It even got its own song and music video.

Other examples include

  • Final Fantasy
  • Super Metroid (the Varia Suit was originally meant to be [i]Barrier[/i] Suit)
  • Fighting games (Super Annihilation Punch and VICTOLY! come to mind)

And then there’s Phoenix Drive,  a H-doujin based on Pheonix Wright. This vid is barely hints at the rofl-tastic words spouted within…

WARNING: This is NSFW. If you don’t know that that is, it means Not Safe For Work. Click on this link to get a screenshot “walkthrough” of the game.

Relevant Posts:

June 9, 2008

NED-さん休みの一日

6.18am. My eyes actually opened before the alarm rang. The reason became painfully obvious really quickly: i was running a temperature. So there you have it, NED is down for the count on a lovely Monday. Even the weather is lovely… grrrrr. Given the “free” time, i decided to get some writing down, so i finally updated this blog with a personal post.

Here’s a new anime that’s gone below the radar of most people. Candy Boy is a short web anime released by Anime International Company (AIC) in Nov 2007. The name of the anime is something of a misnomer. There are no boys in the anime, being about the lives of 2 very dissimilar twin sisters and the tension caused by the feelings of 1 freshman towards the younger of the twins. The title is taken from the single by Meilin, a Korean artist, whose cd is packaged with the DVD release. Meilin’s music also graces the anime at various points.

As of May 2008, AIC started a new run of 7 episodes, each 14 min long.

Candy Boy Wikipedia entry
Candy Boy Japanese Site Has links to nico douga for each episode as they are released. Extremely high quality.
Froth Bite homepage The only english fansub group that is working on this anime

June 8, 2008

开源节流: My Reply

This is a reply to realsingaporedollar’s blog post on personal finance in 开源节流.

Let’s look deeper into realsingaporedollar’s post. In it he takes a potshot at financial education books, describing them as being overly focused on developing returns on capital, i.e. investing your savings and loose cash to make it work for you. Those same books, he argues, ignores the returns on labor, i.e. your salary or how much money you make as you do work for others. To sum up his post,

“Earn more, so you can save more”

At this point you should be expecting me to blast realsingaporedollar for his one-sided criticisms on those financial “bibles”. Here’s some shocking news: He’s not wrong. Well, not totally.

Statistics Singapore conducts a study every 5 years called the Household Expenditure Survey (HES) and produces a report of their findings at the end of the study. The report does a complete breakdown of per-capita income organized along several categories, e.g. earning power, occupation, and residence type etc. Using data from HES 1998-2003 (the next report is not due till 2010), the most striking thing to note is that regardless which strata of society they fall in, all residents in Singapore derive most of their capital from their labor, i.e. they actually work to earn their money. You can download the full report here.

However, my biggest beef with his argument is not with the overarching argument, but that the article subtly implies that people do not earn sufficient money to set aside for their future. Let me quote the section on household income.

The average income as of 2003 is almost $5,000, which I feel is a very large sum. Even if I were to take the third quintile as the mean, that amounts to almost $3,500, which is still a comfortable sum in 2003.

Using the same study, we also have a breakdown on spending habits. These are the goods that the lowest quintile of society enjoy:-

  • 61% own an audio or video cd player

  • 17% have cable tv subscriptions

  • 42% have air conditioners

This does not sound like people that are living on the brink of poverty. Almost half of them own air conditioners, which is by any measure, a luxury good and not a living essential.

I had the good fortune to attend a financial seminar organized by Channelnewsasia in Mar 2008 with speakers from the many different fields of insurance, credit and life planning, including both industry experts as well as community non-profit leaders. The talk that had the most impact on me was that by Mr Kuo How Nam from Credit Counselling Singapore, a non-profit group that seeks to help Singaporeans recover from serious debt problems.

His message is simple: the 3 most common mistakes that people make with their money:

  1. They overspend and live beyond their means.

  2. They do not save, or worse, borrow trouble by liberally using credit cards..

  3. They fail to see beyond today.

All 3 problems lie with the “capital” side of the equation. Even if an average person stays with his present job and salary, so long as he diligently builds up his nest egg he should be able to save enough to be financially free. The question is whether he sets aside enough, and uses it sufficiently to prepare for that future.

Relevant links:

You can request this article from me by dropping a comment here. This printer-friendly article comes with graphs taken from HES 2003, all presented in an easy to read format for people who prefer to read on the go.

June 5, 2008

Not Safe for Work – 19 Men Jokes.

credit to Zich from SGCafe
1. When I was born, I got a choice – A big dick or a good memory. I’m unable to remember what I chose.
2. Your birth certificate is an apology letter from the condom factory.
3. A wife is a sex object. Every time you ask for sex, she objects.
4. Impotence: It’s nature’s way of saying ‘no hard feelings’.
5. There are only two four letter words that are offensive to men – ‘don’t’ and ‘stop’; unless they are used together.
6. Panties are not the best thing on earth, but next to the best thing on earth.
7. There are three stages to sex in a person’s life: Tri Weekly, Try Weekly, and Try Weakly.
8. Virginity can be cured.
9. Virginity is not dignity; it’s a lack of opportunity.
10. Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don’t have a good partner, you’d better have a good hand.
11. I tried phone sex once, but the holes in the dialer were too small.
12. Marriage is the only war where you get to sleep with the enemy.
13. Q: What’s an Australian kiss? A: The same thing as a French kiss; only down under.
14. A newly married couple were happy with the ‘whole thing’. He was happy with the Hole and she was py with the Thing!
15. Q: What are the three biggest tragedies in a man’s life?
A: Life sucks, job sucks and the wife doesn’t sucks
16. Q: What’s the difference between a bitch and a whore?
A: A whore sleeps with everyone at the party and a bitch sleeps with everyone except you.
17. Q: Why do men find it difficult to make eye contact?
A: Breasts don’t have eyes.
18. Of course you’ve heard about the Viagra computer virus; it turns your 3 1/2 inch floppy into a hard disk.
19. Despite the old saying, ‘Don’t take your troubles to bed’, many men still sleep with their wives!!!

June 5, 2008

Childhood Fears

Today’s web find of the day is Childhood fears, a collection of hair-raising photos to prick at your sense of fear. Consider yourself warned: This is not for the faint hearted. Just a side note: NONE of the photos were photoshop’ped… they are all real…

Childhood Fears