Three Musketeers Named Frank

So the first one said “I’ll be Frank here”, and the second one said “I can take it”, and the last one said “that’s my line…”

As of now, this is the third time I’m replaying this:

and on that note (no pun) I’ve also got to say that Znaider’s rendition of Brahms’ Violin Concerto was worth the listen. I’ll put the youtube links for that and Albéniz’s Pavana Capricho for four hands at the end of this post.

I’ll be tackling these little brain-attacks in reverse chronological order:


How Much One Can Do

Looking at the relatively dark night sky from the corridor got me thinking. In more eloquence than my own,

“It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience.” – Carl Sagan

That being said, how much can we do? And, begging the question, how much are we worth? Five years ago, in roughly the “same” spot, I called a classmate to inquire on said classmate’s wellbeing. That took about 15 minutes. Fifteen years ago, I stood in the “same” spot taking a photograph with my sister, who was in her secondary school uniform. That took probably less than 5.

Think about the last conversation you had – how long did that take? What effect did it have? The last few one-to-one conversations I had, face-to-face or online, each consumed upwards of one to a few hours. There is a limit to the number of people an individual can effectively love, care, and eventually mourn for.

Let’s say a GP does a consultation in say 10 minutes. Working from 8.30am to 5.30pm with an hour’s lunch in between nets the impressive total of 48 patients a day. Or about 270 a week, rounded up. Apart from the fact that most of the healing is done via natural immunity, apart from anti-biotics, -fungals and -virals, that is approximately the size of a year’s worth of the NUS medical cohort. That is certainly noble, but not nearly enough to be ideal.

I just had a discussion over dinner over the stock market, inflation, and environmentalism – how the stock market keeps going up, causing inflation, and how either the goods and services become inflated or the actual amount increases, which debilitates the environment. A single individual shareholder is subject to being buffeted by the waves of stock trading done by funds, companies and governments, just as a single worker is subject to inflation (whether or not he/she dabbles in the stock market) and a single activist is as good as mute.

Someone said that everyone thinks each is the protagonist of their (our?) live – this may be somewhat true for a select few, but a brief look at the night sky would convince anyone sane enough to think otherwise.


Author of the Rulebook

If there were to be a question it would we us, humans.

I added a rule to my rulebook tonight – no voluntary viewing of videos/photos of people dying or getting dismembered. This came after my mom told me about a video of a man in Cambodia (?) getting hit by a train. Sometime in the last few weeks, I chanced upon a thread on TeamLiquid regarding a case in US with the police firing ~10 shots into a guy armed and attacking a colleague with a pipe, with attached video. Somewhere along the thread there was another youtube video of a policeman getting shot to death by (no joke) a hunting rifle over a (again, no joke) speeding ticket (the murderer, a veteran, was sentenced to death).

So the culmination of these stomach turning events (and a few others unlisted here) led me to change my personal rulebook.

This brought me back to the past times where I edited my rulebook. Not to kill insects unless they were going to reproduce in my house. Not to eat meat (and then failing). Not to hurt others (humans, and probably failing as well). The author of my rulebook is whimsical to say the least, and to make matters worse I probably know him better than anyone else. How do you criticise someone like that?

Here I would bring up the near-universal example of the Ten Commandments, shameless copypasta-ed here:

1 I am the Lord thy God. I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have strange gods before me. I am the Lord thy God and thou shalt not have other gods before me.
2 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Thou shalt not make for thyself any graven image.
3 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
4 Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Honor thy Father and Mother. Remember the Lord’s Day to keep it holy.
5 Honor thy Father and Mother. Thou shalt not kill. Honor thy Father and Mother.
6 Thou shalt not murder. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not kill.
7 Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8 Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not steal.
9 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10 Thou shalt not covet. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods. Thou shalt not covet.


Treading over proverbial lava flows, I would agree with 4 through 10 wholeheartedly, while remaining a respectful distance from 1 through 3. On that note, among those that do believe 1 through 3, would there be any of the other commandments you would not agree with? Can the rulebook of our lives be written by anyone other than our self-determinedly, self-important (selves) egos?

On that note, dear readers, when did you last edit your rulebook, and why so?


Free Lunches

As of today, I have the proud accomplishment of possessing a few offers of free lunch(es) which are in exchange for simple favours. Oddly enough, or not for those who already have read thus far, this set me thinking.

It was said somewhere that “research” was done where friends asked for favours which were either agreed to or not (no contention here i assume), but when money was involved most friends declined outright. Perhaps this is because friendship and money do not (blend) mix.

Attentive readers may draw the connection between the aforementioned limitation on any individual’s close circle of friends and the fact that time, concern, care and other intangibles with which friendships are forged cannot be substituted with money. Furthermore, introduction of money compromises said stability of friendship.

Surely food has to be bought with using money.

That being said, the world of “free lunches” (and sometimes, free rides, movies, candy, etc.) is not just limited to those between friends. The contribution of sheer time and effort has been made as a favour to communities, from charitable movements to free programmes like Unix and to online forums and articles.

This article would be the epitome, I would daresay, of sheer time, effort, research and talent, rendered at a grand total of $0 to the Starcraft: Brood War community on TeamLiquid (and it’s only part 1). However, the only “free lunch” the author gained was (widespread) recognition, thanks, and a star next to his name that can be seen whenever he replies to any thread.

Sometimes, I would also like to think my blog worthy of holding such an image of altruism, hosting juvenile short stories and poetry for all to view.

Now, we graft, rather awkwardly, the idea of “free lunches” into the world in which money is present. Technically, there is no “free lunch” – any favour done implies the expectation of some money generation or political leverage. Conversely, for every intangible deleterious decision made, there is a real, monetary loss, and possibly a loss or compromise in goods, service, or business.

My friend supplied me with a simple example – a company which was configured to process a type of goods suddenly saw their raw materials dwindle, but still had contracts to fulfil. Annulling said contracts would allow said company to cut its losses – yet this was not done, to save the company’s reputation.

Since this author has a thing for Starcraft, the consequences of match-fixing in professional Brood War has lead to the massive disbanding of teams and shutting down of one of two TV channels featuring Brood War, MBCGame, as well as it’s individual league, MSL. For those who are wondering just how the heck the heck a video game could be so important to anyone, refer to the first and last two links of this paragraph.

The world that does not accept money is a strange one. On one hand, the items that are traded, including time, (emotional and mental) energy, sex (this would have come up sooner or later), could all be equated with money in the world which deals with money i.e. the rest of the world. On the other, the uniqueness of the currency (or currencies) traded allows it to have a very odd and differing impacts when isolated to the no-money world as opposed to the no-money-no-talk world.

After digressing steadily on a tangent, perhaps everyone should take heart and take note, that the existence of “free lunches” is simply the manifestation of the oft-uttered phrase “Don’t take this for granted.”



About jfkwt

A little person on a little island in a little planet

Posted on February 24, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. With regards to free lunches, one way of looking at it would be Alan Fiske’s Relational Models Theory. Friends operate on the basis of (imperfect) Communal Sharing, in which what’s mine is yours as well. Normal peers instead practise Equality Matching, in which you have to pay for something gained with another thing of equal value. Misjudging or crossing relationship types can lead to unpleasant feelings, hence the free lunches among friends rather than monetary transactions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: