Thursday, July 31, 2008

Whither Takeshima?

A US government body, the Board on Geographic Names (BGN), made another about-face on Takeshima. Only a few days ago, the board changed the status of the islets from a South Korean territory to a disputed one. Now, facing a fierce protest from South Korea, it reverted to its earlier position. I’m more than 100% sure that the board will not change it again unless the Japanese government strongly protests. And any protest on the part of the government is not forthcoming. Down the road, the South (and North too) Koreans would say, “Hey, look. Even the US government recognizes and accepts our claim. To which country it belongs is clear and this is a settled matter.” The official position of the US government has been that it does not involve in this issue as it is a bilateral between Japan and South Korea.

Two or three days ago, I had a dream of “my wife and kid.” As far as I remember, it was my first dream of my “own” family. I don’t recognize the woman, who “played” the part, and whether the baby was a boy or girl. The only thing I’m certain of is that the baby was not growing up as he/she should have, and my “wife” and I were very concerned. She was almost apologizing to me as she thought the problem with the baby was her own creation. Of course I was not blaming her. We were together.

Heat Again Here, and "Liancourt"/"Lian Court"

Give me more breeze please!! AIYAAAH!! AIGO!! How many times do I have to take a shower to wash off the sweat? My body is becoming itchy now. How can I withstand this condition having no choice but to look at the PC screen, a big heat source, without a fan or air-conditioning? Certainly time to buy a floor fan, at least. It’s quite tough at nights when there is no wind coming in and this living room is not facing south from which direction wind usually comes.

South Korea continues to object to set up an international tribunal to settle the border dispute over the islets, “Takeshima” in the Japan Sea. Oops, they call it the East Sea. The resolution of this dispute by an international tribunal was proposed by Japan in 1954 and again in 1962. The English name of Takeshima is well… “Liancourt Rocks” after the name of the French general who found the rocks. Here in Singapore, “Lian Court” is almost exclusively a Japanese territory.

Finally, some breeze… And it stopped.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Heat! Heat!! Heat!!! Oppressive!!!! Relatively cool days for a week or so, and now the heat is BACK! Night-time heat is really unbearable.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How Unipolar Sufferers Think and Feel




Sunday, July 27, 2008

Leontyne Price

Watching and listening to the Verdi Requiem (I did so again for the third time tonight…), my eye turned to the soprano, Leontyne Price (born in 1927). As an African-American opera singer of the segregated era, she must have done double or more to prove herself in the classical music scene. Price is the first black superstar at the Met, renowned for her interpretation of Verdi and Puccini.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Microsoft (Japan) Drops One Way for Another to Write "Computer"


Today (Friday), I went over to the ICA for a stay extension as there had been no answer on my EP application. At the enquiry counter, my information was checked and I was told that I needed to go to the Ministry of Manpower for my request. It seems the ICA shares information with MOM and certainly knows my status, but I was rounded to Havelock. At MOM, I was given a two-week extension. I may have to visit MOM again before I get any answer from the ICA.

I brought home a DVD of Verdi’ s “Messa Da Requiem” (Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Alla Scala, conducted by Herbert von Karajan). In this 1967 recording, Luciano Pavarotti is shaven, and his hairstyle is, as the Japanese would say, divided “seven-to-three.”

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Violence Is... Violence No Matter Who Commits It

A Communist victory in Vietnam, [the fourteen moderate scholars whose statement was published by the Freedom House Public Affairs Institute] argue, would “gravely jeopardize the possibilities for a political equilibrium in Asia, seriously damage our credibility, deeply affect the morale – and the policies of our Asian allies and the neutrals.” By a “political equilibrium,” they do not, of course, refer to the status quo as of 1945-1946 or as outlined by international agreements at Geneva in 1954. They do not explain why the credibility of the United States is more important than the credibility of the indigenous elements in Vietnam who have dedicated themselves to a war of national liberation. Nor do they explain why the morale of the military dictatorships of Thailand and Taiwan must be preserved…

The crucial assumption in the program of the moderate scholars is that we must not encourage “those elements committed to the thesis that violence is the best means of effecting change.” It is important to recognize that it is not violence as such to which the moderate scholars object. On the contrary, they approve our violence in Vietnam, which, as they are well aware, enormously exceeds that of the Vietnamese enemy… We must conclude that when these scholars deplore the use of violence to effect change, it is not the violence but rather steps toward social change that they find truly disturbing. Social change that departs from the course we plot is not to be tolerated. The threat to order is too great. (pp. 17-18, “Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship, 1969” in “Chomsky on Anarchism”)

Bloody pee turned out to be a bloody ass! Hahahaha!!

Then tonight, it is the turn of Mahler’s 2nd symphony by Klaus Tennstedt. I bought the CD in Boston on August 25, 1987. The volume level of this recording is quite low, I don’t know why.

Opera DVD Experience. Bloody Pee??

I listened to/watched Mahler’s 8th again.

So many years ago, I was among the Osaka audience for a concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Seiji Ozawa. The program was Mahler’s 3rd symphony. Ozawa taking a short rest on a chair after the 1st movement, prepared for him beside the podium, and a small action by his left hand making the whole choir to sit down (so cool!!) are things that one can see only at a concert hall. Watching opera DVDs is a different experience. For example, when a love story by Richard Wagner “Tristan und Isolde,” which Mishima Yukio adopted for his movie “Yukoku (憂国),” is performed by an elephant and a whale, like the one by the Met (conducted by James Levine), it almost totally destroyed the story.

I had a pee break after the Mahler’s 8th DVD and I think I found my urine had a wine-red color. Was my vision blurred? It is always a sequence of automatic actions, pee and flush (I pee sitting on the toilet), so I didn’t pay enough attention. That’s why I can only say “I think…” Well, I wait for the next pee occasion to see if anything is wrong. Was is bloody pee??

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Violent Description" by Slaughtering Equipment Manufacturer and My Visa "Error" Status


今月10日にビザ申請書類を郵便局で提出を済ませたが、MOMのサイトでチェックすると「Error: No record found」と出てきた。どういうこと?受理されているのかどうかタイヘン不安。

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mahler -- Romantic Trance

I got a DVD of the 1st and 8th symphonies of Gustav Mahler last night, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1st) and the London Philharmonic Orchestra (8th) conducted by the late Klaus Tennstedt.

Mahler – a journey of sweet sweet wallow. I found myself retaining the capacity to go into a profound romantic trance, just like in my high teen days.

GRC by-election constitutionality

Certainly, JBJ is very long winding. But this is understandable as each opportunity he obtained to speak in Parliament must have been so precious. He retains his sense of humor though as when he said, “… I am sorry [the then Senior Minister] has left the House as soon as I started to speak.” (August 19 1999)

One of his contentions is the constitutionality of the by-election rules for group representative constituencies (GRCs). The Constitution sets forth the any vacancy “shall be filled” after an MP resigned or lost his or her seat. What if a GRC lost one of its members? Should a by-election be held for the GRC? He thinks it should. Just such a case is in front of the people of this country as a member of the Jurong GRC passed away recently. No by-election is expected.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sinopoli, and Music and Psychiatriry, AND NOMO SHOCK LINGERS ON

Now listening to a CD of Beethoven’s “Klavierkonzerte Nrs. 1&2” (Martha Argerich, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Philharmonia Orchestra). How many years since Sinopoli passed away? This maestro was also a psychiatrist, right? Music and psychiatry… There are deep relations between them, like Yo Yo Ma studied music and psychology as a double-major at Harvard. Music composition can be very technical as Zappa pointed out, but then psychological effects music has on the mind (or the brain, assuming that the brain is the organ that is controlling the mind) cannot be underestimated. I believe Zappa knew it and that’s why he played to young audience to influence chemical interactions in their brains and he was probably laughing at them, realizing his aim was being achieved just as he intended.

Friday, July 18, 2008

First Chinese to Win Akutagawa Award

芥川賞を受賞した楊逸(Yang Yi)さんの会見。笑えたり、笑えなかったりする。以下は産経新聞(電子版)からの抜粋:
















Thursday, July 17, 2008






Monday, July 14, 2008

"Karei Naru Ichizoku" -- Novel and TV Drama


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Technocratic Intellegentsia Loves Mass Control, Journalistic Balancing

It has been pointed out that some of Lenin’s writings suggest that he conceived of the masses as a tabula rasa upon which the intelligentsia must imprint the particular choice of consciousness that foresighted leaders choose as the right one -- after all, the vanguard party is by definition the repository of all truths, the best interpreter of the interest of the masses… It is essentially no different in the West, as Chomsky stressed…
[This] set of beliefs corresponds very well to the demands of the technocratic intelligentsia: it offers them a very important social role. And in order to justify such practices, it is very useful to believe that human beings are empty organisms, malleable, controllable, easy to govern, and so on, with no essential need to struggle to find their own way and to determine their own fate… It is plausible that statist ideologies and administrations are attracted by this doctrine because it is so convenient for them, in eliminating any barrier to manipulation and control. (pp. 28-29, “Language and Politics”)

(This should be an apt description about any country's “technocratic intelligentsia.")

The input-output situation is this: a child who initially does not have knowledge of a language constructs for himself knowledge of a language on the basis of a certain amount of data: the input is the data, the output – which of course is internally represented – is the knowledge of a language. It’s this relationship between the data available, and the knowledge of the language which results from the child’s mental activities, which constitutes the data of the study of learning – of how the transition takes place from the input data to the resulting knowledge.

When we analyze carefully the nature of the knowledge of language that a person has, once he has mastered the language, we discover that it simply does not have the properties which are implied by the stimulus-response concept of how learning takes place. The stimulus-response theory can only lead to a system of habits – a network of associations, or some structure of that sort. And it is quite impossible to formulate as a system of habits or as a network of associations the process which will account for the sound-meaning relation that all of us know intuitively when we’ve mastered English. Take a sentence such as “John kept the car in the garage.” If one thinks for a minute, it becomes clear that the sentence is ambiguous: it can mean either that John kept the car that happened to be in the garage and sold the other one, or that the place where John kept the car was in the garage.

On the other hand, if I form a question from that sentence, if I say, “What garage did John keep the car in?” it’s unambiguous. It can’t be referring any more to the car that was in the garage, and in fact from the sentence “John kept the car that was in the garage,” I can’t form that sort of question at all. You can’t say in English: “What garage did John keep the car that was in?” This kind of evidence relates to well-formedness of sentences, to the association of sound and meaning. Some sentences are ambiguous, some are unambiguous…

[The] creative aspect of language is quite incompatible with the idea that language is a habit-structure. Whatever a habit-structure is, it’s clear that you can’t innovate by habit, and the characteristic use of language, both by a speaker and by a hearer, is innovation. You’re constantly producing new sentences in your lifetime – that’s the normal use of language. When you read the newspapers or walk down the street you are constantly coming across new linguistic structures which you immediately understand, which have no feeling of lack of familiarity, but which are nevertheless not in any definable way similar to others that you’ve experienced before. So much for the notion of habit-structure. Of course there are elements of skill involved. (pp. 75-76, “Language and Politics”)

“Today” did it again, in its edition of July 12-13. There is a photo of J.B. Jeyaretnam at the inauguration of his new Reform Party. Right above the photo, as if obscuring it, is an article, “MM Lee’s challenge to foreign critics.” Some kind of (lop-sided) journalistic balancing, indeed.


10日の朝日(電子版)は、「お見せしたいのは五輪誘致 皇太子さま施設見学にのぼり」。皇太子が見学のために施設に登ったのかと思った。

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Back to This Giant: Noam Chomsky

Chomsky’s radical uncle… was a very interesting person who had a lot influence on his nephew in the late 30s and following years. Under his influence Chomsky had assimilated what is enduring in Freud’s work before he was 18 (although his uncle had not gone beyond the 4th grade in school, he knew Freud’s work so well that people started sending patients to him and he became a lay analyst). About the time of Pearl Harbor, that is, when Chomsky was 13 or 14, he would catch the train up to New York and he would “hang out” all night and participated in lively discussion and arguments, at his uncle’s kiosk or in his apartment nearby…

… As a child of practically the only Jewish family in a bitterly anti-Semitic Irish and German Catholic neighborhood, with open support for the Nazis until the United States entered the war, he was deeply impressed by the rise of Nazism and other horrors of the 1930s, which affected him very much, particularly the Spanish Civil War.

As he remembers it, the Jewish working-class culture in New York, “the most influential intellectual culture” during his early teens, was very unusual (and was not there to stay – a few years later it had died out):
It was highly intellectual, very poor; a lot of people had no jobs at all and others lived in slums and so on. But it was a rich and lively intellectual culture: Freud, Marx, the Budapest Strings Quartet, literature and so forth. (pp. 11-12, “Language and Politics”)

Bolivia Unveils Che's Original Diary and Hiroshima Shock

News about “The Bolivian Diary”: Reports say that the Bolivian government unveiled Che’s handwritten diary and several photographs for the first time and plans to publish the diary. What a coincidence!

Politics began their attention to me and I remember writing an essay on the dropping of the atom bomb for which the form master praised me. I questioned the morality of dropping the bomb on innocent civilians and asked whether mankind was unleashing a horror which could destroy all mankind. I asked whether the West had dropped the bomb on Japan because it was only Asians who would be the victims of the terrible tragedy… (pp. v-vi, “Make it Right for Singapore” by J.B. Jeyaretnam)

When on Aug. 15, 1945, [Chomsky] was shocked by the news of the Hiroshima bombing (“surely among the most unspeakable crimes in history,” he was to write twenty years later – a war crime that dwarfs Guernica), he literally could not talk to anybody at his summer camp and never understood anybody’s reaction. He just walked off by himself into the woods and stayed alone for a couple of hours. He felt completely isolated. (p. 9, “Language and Politics” by Noam Chomsky)

Monday, July 07, 2008

University Days and a Complete Human Being


Very early morning, I reached the last page of “The Bolivian Dairy.” To be a revolutionary, you don’t have to be a communist undertaking a world-wide, or at least in Latin America, revolution, though that’s what Che strived for (victory or death). A complete human being who was full of intelligence, took action and was ready to give his life for his ideal. He did give his life for that!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

His Last Moment With His Daughter, Celita

One day, thinking about his children, [Che] told us with a deep sense of affection and nostalgia of his last conversation with his daughter Celita. Just before leaving Cuba for good, he went to his house to see his children for the last time and to say goodbye to them. Naturally, he went disguised as Ramón, the middle-aged man with a businessman’s appearance who traveled around much of the world eluding the eye of the CIA. His disguise was so good that the sentries at the house did not recognize him, nor did his daughter. Che took her in his arms, and then sat her on his lap and caressed her hand. The little girl said to Aleida, his wife, who witnessed the scene:
“Mommy, this old man loves me.”
Che did not find it painful to relate this incident, although his voice revealed great tenderness. We understood what it meant to him to hear this statement by his beloved daughter, to whom he could not even say goodbye, as any other father would do in a similar situation.
He showed the same tenderness toward his guerrilla comrades, who reciprocated with a total and unlimited affection and admiration for him… (p. 387, “My Campaign with Che” by Inti Peredo contained in “The Bolivian Diary by Che Guevara”)

I wonder why this country didn’t adopt the pound as its currency unit. Why did it adopt the dollar (S$)? Considering the historical ties, it would’ve been more natural if the currency were called “Singapore pound (S₤).”

Day of Pro-Wrestling Videos



猪木Xデストロイヤーは「第13回ワールドリーグ戦」準決勝第1試合。(第2試合はジャイアント馬場Xアブドーラ・ザ・ブッチャー)アメリカでの放送を録画したもの。日本語の実況はほとんど聞き取れないが、実況は清水一郎アナウンサー、解説は芳の里、リポーターは徳光和夫。その後「うわさのチャンネル」で、徳光アナがデストロイヤーに4の字固めを決められて悶絶するのは、彼がプロレスアナだったことに由来する。1971年の映像を見て、「キラー・カーン(小沢正志)」「藤波辰巳(現辰爾)」「(フライング)ヤマハ・ブラザーズの山本小鉄」を見つけたコメンテーターは驚いている。試合宣言をする遠藤幸吉の風貌と服装を見て、「mob star」「ヤクザ」とも。レフェリーはユセフ・トルコでそのカウントも早さに「He wants to go home」。

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Free Japanese Fonts



Friday, July 04, 2008

Why Have You Guys Found Me Only Recently?

No time for a rest… Tuesday night, I went out alone and came back alone being a bit drunk and found an email for another urgent job with the deadline set to the Thursday morning. Restoring soberness, I started to bite the work. While still working on it, I got another urgent work… The first work required some tweaking of Power Point files. I really enjoyed those images and textboxes. But when the time is tight, they only impede my work. Anyway, I finished both works by tonight. Tough and rather satisfying.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Somebody, Living in a Different World