Friday, December 26, 2014

The Interview (2014 movie) Review

A hyped up movie which was threaten to not be released by some hackers and thus generated a lot more hyped up publicity for the movie than it otherwise would have had.

Anyway, I enjoyed the way they treated the movie. It does more to spark interest common folks to see documentaries about North Korea and want to understand what's happening there than those documentaries might have.

It does make a nice fantasy about what might happen and bring a happy ending to the world. Of course as a Buddhist, I wouldn't approve of the killings that has happened in the movie, but the way they showed it, it might have been the minimal amount of deaths possible to resolve the North Korean situation.

The movie is another way of showing just how much more powerful words are compared to action. Of course too, words without actions are just useless words, the final act of making North Korea a true democratic country is the "best" result almost everyone in the world wants.

Given that someone has thought of a creative way to topple the North Korean totalitarian regime with minimal deaths, what about other situations in the world? What about the Islamic State? What about other countries with leaders who are almost totalitarian? Or corrupt leaders? Corrupted parties? (hint: Malaysia). Maybe all the others does not matter so much because none of them has nuclear power. So perhaps the fact that this movie exist and comes out first instead of movies about the others shows a sense of practicality of people's (or just some people in the USA) mentality. Without Nukes (or Oil), you're not (that) important.

And I should rate the movie as 18-Sex, Gore, Violence, Political. Don't ask me where I watch it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On the path to enlightenment

Hey old friend,

Dear online diary with no privacy,

I just watched you're the apple of my eye. It brought some tears as I smile and recall my story.

It was one of the big major event or process in my emotional life for the last 4 (has it been so long ago?) years. Yet it's nothing I could not bear with a smile on my face.

It's nothing I could not bear because I had been through worse. I can't believe I would ever say this but I am grateful to has experienced depression about 10 years ago. Doesn't mean that I would wish to experience it again nor wish it upon anyone. It's because of the experience that I am able to understand suffering, to bear through 2 period of unemployment in less than a year without much worry, to be able to generate compassion for all those who are unenlightened, for they are liable to experience these suffering that I had been through.

That makes me want to attain stream winner and help others to do the same as soon as possible. Along this path, should I meet someone whom I had deep kammic connection with in my past life, and that the worldly condition allows us to meet regularly, May I have the strength to choose the greater happiness and not cause undue suffering to others. Remembering the suffering I had been through, my I have Great Compassion that keeps me firmly on the swift path towards enlightenment to benefit all sentient beings. Just like the Buddha who had left his wife out of love for her and all beings to search for the end of suffering, which he did helped his wife to attain it, so may this be an inspiration for me.

At the same time recalling how hard it is for two lovers to come together, I sincerely wish all my close couple friends, all those whom I know, all those in the world, to have mostly happiness in being together and have minimal suffering from their attachments.

Sometimes I used to cry why me? Why did I had to be so deep in the Dhamma that I wish to be a celibate? Tonight I do not think so any more, it's no longer a chain binding me. I am glad to have the aspiration to be celibate to practice well. I am blessed.

At some point on the way to enlightenment, as you to see suffering as just suffering, not "my suffering", then there is no more anger towards suffering, aversion to suffering is gone and there one experiences the impersonality of suffering. One can then bear whatever suffering on the path to enlightenment. These suffering are worth the suffering, because it is the suffering to end all suffering.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Devilitors, human eaters: A short story

Author: Ng Xin Zhao                                                                             Word count: 7238, about 19 pages

Part 1

The next life was as a human in born and raised in captivity. The oppressors? Aliens which landed on Earth in 1789, three years before the character you control was born and given the name HT1992334, more like a tag than a name. The year now is 1820. The twenty eight year old is facing enemies of the highest technological capabilities. Languages are still not translated, so these Aliens Overlords still do not understand the natives they had imprisoned. They didn't know that humans have feelings, emotions and are self aware, thinking beings.

Human society all over the world is in captivity. Those who roam free are free game for hunting for the Aliens. Many choose to surrender, only to be put into concentration camps to breed and die as food for the Aliens. A small resistance crops out amongst the humans living in the wild from time to time, but each time they showed themselves, they get eliminated. From their dying cries, the name of humanity for these Aliens Overlord is spread: The Devilitor.  

The Devilitors looks nothing like a devil, but it is hard to say, because there is no general consensus on what a devil looks like. Sufficient to say that Devilitors do not have horns on their head, or tails, are not red and do not have a humanoid human face. Rather, they have no heads. Their face is on their body, green in colour, and they have eyes all around their cube-ish body, making it six pairs of eyes on each face. They move around with appendages protruding out of each of the eight place where the vertices of their cube-shaped body should be. They have one hole to be used as a mouth on their face, and another hole on the opposite end for wastes to pour out. 

No human has seen how they mate before, and they have no obvious organs that can be identified as sexual organs. It seems that they have a sense of civilized sense of being polite, which is basically a handshake with four of their arms/legs. Their appendages all look and function the same, to move them around and to pick up stuffs. The appendages ends in a flexible, shape shifting, malleable organ which can change into feet, hands, or anything they can imagine really. Most common shape the humans had seen is a cage. They can harden the organ so that humans who tried to bite the cage would hurt their teeth instead of the Aliens. 

They talk in a shill high voice, almost inaudible to the human ears, but just within range, making humans cover their ears when they hear the Devilitors speaking. It appears that their hearing range is out of what the humans can produce, so to them, humans appear to not able to talk. Neither did the Devilitors took any interest in trying to understand human communication. They only saw humans as a primitive native species, on the verge of starting the process of destroying their planet by industrial pollution yet they do not have any technology to defend against the invasion of the Devilitors. 

Most humans were fed until they became so fat that it is hard to discern their arms and legs. From birth, the humans were separated from their parents put into a cage just big enough for them to reasonably grow fat to fit into, and food and water is constantly provided in a special area within reach. The entire culture, knowledge and education of humans were unable to be passed on because the babies were forcefully separated from their parents. Amongst these babies, the healthier ones were used as breeders, the less healthy ones were to be given a lot of food in the shortest time so that when they reach 30 years old, they would be ready to be cooked for food. Humans droppings were cleaned by the robots of the Devilitors and the sick and dying were not looked after, merely identified and tossed away to avoid the disease spreading to the other meats.

The Devilitors had learned to keep the humans not born in captivity far apart from each other, in the dark, and for those with a tendency to work together to escape or hatch a plan, they immersed those humans in water for a minute every other minute. It was hell. 

For the breeders, the females were exposed to thirty males for three days before she is taken out to see that the nine months pregnancy will not result in abortion. Immediately after the birth of a child, the baby is taken away, the milk of the female is sucked as she cried and wailed for her child, and then she is put back to expose with the males who raped her for another three days, and the cycle repeats. After a while, the Devilitors even bind the hands, feet, and put in a tongue stopper to prevent suicide. Apparently there were breeders who tried to kill themselves elsewhere. The suicide prevention measures became standard across the planet. As not much males are needed for breeding, most males which were born were immediately classified as food. 

Only a small subset of humans are kept and used as experimental subjects, where the Devilitors tests out genetic engineering, viruses, bacteria, all sorts of diseases and nanotechnology on humans. The humans in there lived a more hellish life compared to the humans meant to be food. Some were mutilated beyond recognition. Some has so many disease on them at the same time, the label for them run for pages long. 

The best possible place for a human to be born is in the labs of the brain scientists of the Devilitors. Half of the humans born there had their skulls cut open and brain analyzed while they are still conscious and alive. The other half is trained to do simple things that the Devilitors can do, or the simple native human sport that the Devilitors like to see: caged fight. There is a small subgroup of humans assigned to this Devilitor named Fresssssiecal, who's research project is to investigate if humans is intelligent enough to learn Devilitor's speech. 

For this purpose, Fresssssiecal decided to surgically replace the human babies' ears so that the Devilitors speech would not hurt their ears. Then she put the babies in one of her hands in a cage to bring about her, to be mixed inside the Devilitors culture and speech. The character that the game gives the user control of is one of these babies. Subject no. DS 0000003 short name, DS 3. 

As DS 3 look around and hear the speech of the Devilitors, he learned some basic speech. It was hard, but within three years, the vocal cord of DS 3 had grown to adjust itself to produce the shrill high pitch frequency of the Devilitors. This accomplishment made Fresssssiecal's day. She/He or It then published a paper on their internet and got the whole Devilitors community excited for the possibility of having additional human entertainment or finally able to understand if the humans were intelligent species, and not just a violent and delicious one. 

In the game, the user is able to control what limited response DS 3 can produce with the goal of convincing Fresssssiecal that humans were intelligent. For the ease of the user, all communications were translated to english, and the elongation of pronunciation is taken away too. 

Fresiecal flashed a picture of a naked human on the screen. She asked DS 3 what was on the picture. There was three choices: humans, point at yourself, or point at Fresiecal. The user choose to point at yourself. Fresiecal noted in her research journal: the subject seems to know and able to identify its own species. Then the user input the command to point at Fresiecal, and say human. Now Fresiecal's interests piqued up, she said a sentence where only some of the words is understood by DS3, "Now you little boy, you _____ mean to ____ me that you _____ other human ____ as I ____ my ______ people?" 

The option for the user are: "Yes", "No", "Nod head", "Show love by smiling". The user selected "Yes." , followed immediately by "Show love by smiling", then inputted him own input of being sad and having the head looking down.

Fresiecal's expression changed from curious to horrified. It seems that she is finally realizing that humans maybe sentient beings with feelings and self awareness too. She knew this is a hypothesis by decades of observation on humans. However, many experts believed that human's behaviour in zoos are evidences of their brutishness. They hunt and kill other animals there or else flee from others and huddle together with their own species only instead of interacting harmoniously with all other animals. Now this is proof of humans being just like them, the Cubiods. Those thoughts of Fresiecal appeared as a cinematic in the game.

The user is now given a limited time to input a something that would convince Fresiecal to take further action with DS 3. The user inputted, "say: I want all humans to be set free from the cages, we are civilized beings, treat us as you would treat your kind." 

The input was analyzed and several words were not able to be expressed because the DS 3 has not yet learned how to speak it yet, so the message came out like broken English:  I, all humans to be, from the cages, we are, us as you would your. 

Fresiecal was genuinely surprised by now, and interested. She reported in her journal, "_____ seems ______ on _____. Needs further _____, will continue to teach the ____ DS 3 more words so that a full ______ can be _____ of. For now I'm _____ that he is _____ that he _____ to be ____ from the cage. I shall _____ to see if he runs when I ____ my cage ____, if not then I shall _____ that ______."

The cage bar was lowered, the user has now full control of DS 3's movement. From the missing message he understood from Fresiecal, he commanded DS 3 to sit down. Fresiecal seems impressed. 

"I shall take the _____ with me as a ___ to ___ it ____ to my ______, they would _______ words for DS 3 to ____ if he is with me all the ____."

DS 3 was offered to step onto Fresiecal's top face. The user moved DS 3 to sit on the top. Then Fresiecal continued about her activities testing other humans before going back her home. The user is now given the opportunity to poke and destroy the top eyes of Fresiecal, but he refuses. 

The user was smiling, satisfied that the game had became so much more interesting and difficult at the same time.

Part 2

It's been another five years, by now, DS 3 had almost full access to the language of the Devilitors.

Yet, Fresiecal noticed that the hardest time for DS 3 was still the meal time with her family. The Devilitors consume their meals which consists of a lot of variety of food. From vegetables, fruits native to Earth, and even strange plants introduced and bio-engineered to Earth's condition to animals like chicken, cows, and humans. In fact humans are one of the main dishes at almost every meal. This is due to the delicious taste of humans, kinda like veal, a bit like red beef. After cooking it turns gray. Just describing the taste to DS 3 is enough to make him want to vomit. As Fresiecal did not want her head to be filled with human filth, she decided to test his mathematical and thinking skills.

"Hey, let's play a short game here. I'll need you to answer simple maths on how many of you humans that we keep for consumption. Humans are killed each day for the consumption of the Cubiods. I'll give you some facts, there are about one million of us on Earth much less than your kind, but almost 80% of us eat a human per day. You can assume that the average human population of 1000 breeders would produce 1000 babies every nine months. How many breeders do we need?"

The user has to input the answer to the correct order of magnitude within five minutes. Sick as the calculation is, the user came out with the answer. 

"216000 breeders."

"Very good, DS 3. Here have some... oh that would be forced cannibalism, but do you want some?" 

DS 3, controlled by the user put both hands to his mouth. 

"I'll take that as a No." Fresiecal said. "Ok now, as a follow up question, how many humans do we keep on any given day to ensure constant supply of food? Assuming we eat you guys when you turn 30 years old. That's the optimal fatness and tenderness, too old and you guys can't be bitten off easily."

The user did some quick maths again. 

"About 9 billion."

"Good, now have some vegetables. This should not be offensive to you. Now, it was not an easy job to make that number grow from your mere one billion figure just 30 years ago. For some time, we had shortage of human meat and the prices shot up. It was considered a delicacy back then, too expensive for the poorer of us folks to afford."

"I guess that is partly what drives the desire up for human flesh." Fresiecal was putting another mouthful of human limbs into her mouth and chew it with the sharp teeth within it. "It's the image that it is rare, a delicacy and sweet, a style of being luxurious you can think."

The user inputted his question:

"Do all 20% of you guys don't eat humans because they are poor?"

"Oh no, we operate on the basis of communism. Goods are equally distributed to us. This is one of the latest changes in our monetary concepts. At first while building up Earth for changing the landscape to suit our needs, we operate on capitalism to distribute goods where they are needed the most. Now that we had settled down on Earth, there is nothing much to do anymore. Everyone is equal in this new utopia that we had created, so we share human food with all. The next step after this is to export humans to other planets in the world. However, our current supply of humans is still growing to produce more surpluses so that we can export them. Research is still being done to decide if we should do it while you guys are dead or growing on the spaceship."

"Why then do some of you do not eat humans meat?"

"Oh, it is for the same reason some of you humans do not eat animals. Out of compassion they say. Mind you, my work with you had influenced these bunch of non-humans eaters to rise up. Some of them even promoted themselves beyond not eating humans, but also not eating all animals. A few crazy people restricted themselves to just fruits, believing that plants have feelings and life too. Stupid people aren't they? Missing out on the joys of life. But I suppose from your point of view, they must look like a savior for your kind."

"You Cubiods care about us humans?"

"Hey, don't you know by now? If the general population of Cubiods had seen how humans are killed for them to eat, they would be non-human eaters too. It is just unfortunate that your impact is still so small. Mainly because most of the Cubiods have not had humans pet yet."

"You have me as a pet and you still eat humans."

"Oh, don't worry, I would never eat you, you're almost part of my family now. What I eat is other humans, those who are so fat, that they would die if no robots feed them, or if they get fed, they would explode of overeating."

"Is that not being inconsistent?"

"Oh interesting, you know the word and how to use it. Inconsistent. Hmmm.... I suppose I had to say so. However, the general consensus now is that despite all the test we run on you, you are just one sample, we cannot conclude yet that humans possesses the same capacity as a Cubiod to feel love and the same capacity to have your intelligence to help you to create technologies that we have. I guess I should know better, yet it is very hard to not follow the crowd. I forget sometimes that you are on my head and your kind had to die for each humans I eat. I guess I'm sorry." Fresiecal took another bite on the human on her plate.

"You said you are sorry, yet you kept on eating."

"Why not? This one is already dead. Besides, I told you, I'm not ready to become one of those non-human eaters yet. The taste is so good, you'll have to try to know why. So I suppose you'll never know why because you'll never eat your kind."

DS 3 and indeed the user is very disturbed by this attitude of Fresiecal. 

"Hey, don't just blame me, before we came, you humans eat animals too, some clearly intelligent ones like pigs which are more intelligent than dogs you guys regularly eat them. Even cows which help you in your farms and give you milk you do not spare them. Blame it on your parents and ancestors. If they can eat meat, then there's no reason for us Cubiods to give up human meat."

After the meal, Fresiecal brought DS 3 to a human fighting tournament. It was like the ancient Romes, or modern day boxing ring. With monitors showing the bare handed fight up close and full of gore. The main rule for the fight is to the death. And secondary rule, never needed to be applied before was that whichever winner who refuses to kill the loser will be killed, and the loser gets to go another round. Within one night, about ten humans will get killed. 

DS 3 looked away when he saw the brutishness of these humans, using their hands to grab the opponent's genitals or to poke the opponents eyes or other soft spot, often, biting comes into play. Like common animals, the humans bite each other's extremities off. Ears, nose, and even genitals are not spared, male or female. 

The stage on which they fight on is so stained in blood that without cleaning the stage, one might thought that it is painted black, with a pinch of red. 

DS 3 also heard many remarks from the wild crowd. 

"Ya, get him, go you human skum. Fight like the wild animal you are!"

"Stupid researchers have no idea what they are talking about, I mean just look at this, can creatures which has genuine intelligence and feelings be so brutish? Haha, don't make me laugh. If you ask me, that Fresiecal was scamming all of us, trying to get us to be non-humans eaters. Ah, I bet you my house that she is one herself."

Fresiecal was tempted to just go up to the person and eat a human dish right in front of him, but she held her cool. There was no point talking here, she does not even act consistently based on her findings, why should she expect anyone else to?

"Would you believe it? Now they sell human skin wallets! Some ignorant people didn't know that we phased out money three years ago already."

"I think it's used to store other things, my dear, like human pets themselves. Why it almost completely fit them right in."

"Be careful not to squeeze too tightly, those humans are fragile, you don't want their ugly red blood to spoil your beautiful green skin."

DS 3 whispered to Fresiecal, "I do not think that such Cubiods who lack basic empathy can ever become a non-human eater. Maybe I should be grateful that you are at least neutral towards it. However, why did you bring us here?"

"Tonight is going to be the first time in history that a human is going hand to hand with a Cubiod." Fresiecal told DS 3.

"How is that possible? Cubiods are at least three meters on each side, certainly much bigger and heavier than any human. It would be an unfair match." DS 3 protested.

"Not if you see that." Fresiecal pointed towards the human on the ring. He was ripped with muscles, scars all over his body, but no recent wound. He must be about two meters tall with hands so big that they could crush any humans if he gets to wrap his hands around them. 

"They say he was the undefeated champion for three months straight and no other humans can withstand him in battle. So the rules changed, today, he is going to battle a Cubiod, bare hands to bare hands."

DS 3's interest build up. Part of him hoped that the human would win, possibly giving the rest of the pet and captive humans a tiny hope that they can escape this life of slavery. Another part of him knew that even if this one wins, they will kill him. No other humans can repeat the feat again and it would be very hard if not impossible to assemble an army of those. 

As the battle is about to begin, the user gained temporary control of the human fighting in the ring. The battle is to the death, bare handed, and there are no other rules. 

The user strike out hard, hard and desperate. He jumped up directly towards the Cubiod, aiming his fingers towards the eyes of the front face. Plump. With that sound and a shriek so horrible that even the deafen ears of the human fighter can still hear it, the Cubiod was blinded on one side. He tried to use his six arms to cover the place where his eyes were, however, by this time, the human had jumped clear of the Cubiod's reach. The eyes were still on his hands. 

The user then repeated this formula for two other faces, each time getting easier from the last because more and more side of the Cubiod is being blinded. The scare tactics of showing the Cubiod his previous eyes worked too. Not one minute later, the Cubiod has slumped onto the floor, with his arms thrashing about in a fury of rage. 

Graphic as it is, the user steel himself, aimed and threw the eyes of the Cubiod directly into his mouth. They entered. The Cubiod froze for a dreadful second realizing what is now inside his jaw. No one thought that they could see a Cubiod more in rage than just now, but they were obviously wrong. This time, the Cubiod jumped about in a random manner, no longer caring where his human opponent is or if the Cubiod is hurting others. He became an animal ensnared. 

It was not too long later that the Cubiod wandered off the ring and starting to seriously hurt other Cubiods inside the audience area. The user lost control of the human fighter who then escaped during the chaos. 

Back in the body of DS 3, he can feel that Fresiecal was standing up and leaving. 

"It seems that it is not only that humans are brutish, but Cubiods ourselves are capable of animalistic acts. This is fascinating, or at least it would be if it had not involved danger to us and possibly making that Cubiod blind in three sides." Fresiecal's upper eyes looked at DS 3. "Maybe it is not too hard to argue for a case for non-human diet for Cubiods. We can imagine if some advanced alien race would come and conquer Cubiod colonies. Certainly the parallel argument would get through to them."

"I certainly do hope so." That was all DS 3 could manage as he wondered what would become of the human fighter that bested a Cubiod. He briefly considered if it was worth raising an army of those fighters. Then he concluded that it would take too many human lives to produce just one great fighter. Besides, if that kind of desperation is needed to win. There is no real freedom in the end, our humanity would be lost.

Part 3

"Fine fine, we will visit the place you have been suggesting all these while." Fresiecal finally gave in to DS 3's request. 

They entered the human slaughter farm. The workers there all gave Fresiecal a strange look. She was curious why until she realized that they might have never seen a fit human like DS 3 before. To them, only fat humans are permitted to exist. She made a point to pet DS 3, making it clear to them that this is not food nor escaped human, but her legal pet. 

One worker approached Fresiecal. "What brings you here, scientist?"

"I've a scientific curiosity on what else do we Cubiods do to these humans other than having them as pet and scientific studies. More importantly, my pet told me that I should see this for myself."

The worker gave a strange look to DS 3 and then to Fresiecal. "Fine, but don't interfere in our work. We are behind schedule as it is."

"Could you show me where to go then?"

"No time, sorry, but you can start from the cages." 

Fresiecal walked to the direction that was pointed to her. The cage that contained the humans were disgusting, many of them have feces and dried urine on them. The food was constantly fed into the humans. Some of them who were full had cones stuck into their mouth and food stuff inside it. Fresiecal was horrified. She grabbed the nearest worker nearby and asked, "Why do you guys need to force feed these humans like these?"

"Those were the ones who refused to eat and would rather starve than be fat and killed. We had to do this for fast results."

"Wouldn't they suffer indigestion?"

"Oh, they would suffer more than that. As far as I can tell, their troat hurts after one such force feeding that rarely do you see them needing it again. But this one." the worker held up a human by the neck and balanced his fat body between two of the worker's arms "This one had been force feed for 30 times now, I'm starting to suspect that he is no longer voluntarily starving himself, but rather his throat hurts so much that it is no longer possible for him to eat naturally. I would ask them to have this one killed early now. Can't wait until two more years."

"Ya, imagine that we will have to have less humans around if only we can have them killed at an earlier age, perhaps around 18. That seems a good enough age to me." Another worker chimed in. 

"Don't worry about it, there are you scientist type finding out growth hormones aren't they? I heard that once these things go out, they'll be growing so fat so fast that we'll have to kill them in 10 years or else they'll burst from overeating." The first worker replied.

Fresiecal grew more and more sick at the jokes these Cubiods are making. DS 3 shivered all the time, both equal amount of anger and fear. 

"I dunno about that, I study only the behavior and psychology part of humans, not their biology or pharmacy." With that, Fresiecal walked on, following the second worker who had grabbed a human into the second room beyond.

"We don't let them see this place before they are of age, you see, humans are cowards. They see their companions being killed, they do not wish to eat and can go berserk within the cages. A few examples of these we can isolate and discipline, but a whole cage full of humans like these, we had to kill them all and serve some young human dishes."

"There are younger human dishes?"

"Oh yes, like those of age 10, they are some of the specialties. We don't provide much of them through, we want to keep it a secret delicacy, only known to the super rich. The global demand for human meat does not make child meat sustainable. Now they are plans to go galactic trade of human meat. I think once they introduced the growth hormones, there would be enough space in our factories to supply for that. Some of us are even asked to prepare to be transferred over to other planets with humans to start a farm there. I signed up already. They haven't came up with the list of planets though."

The worker put the human down on the dirty table, it seems full of organs here and there. 
"Anyway, first thing you want to do to prepare human meat is to get rid of the extremities. There's this machine" He pulled out a scary looking machine and put it around the human's legs and arm. The human was still conscious, obviously in fear and looking at DS 3 with human pleas. Neither of them knew human language but from the eyes from the human below, DS 3 knew that he did not want to go through whatever it is that the machine will do to him. 

"The machine will grab the fingernails of the human and pull them out." The worker then showed how it worked. The scream from the human was bloodcurdling. DS 3 felt sick to the bottom of his heart. 

Fresiecal has to close her eyes, all six sides of them and felt weak for a moment. 

"Oh, your first time? No wonder, I only got used to this after the hundred one I did it to. You see, if you have to do this thousands of times everyday, you can't afford to let the screams slow you down. I'm slowing it down for your sake, if you know what I mean."  The worker gave Fresiecal a wink.

Fresiecal tried very hard not to show disgust to the worker. After all she still needed him to give her the grand tour on what happens next. 

With blood still leaking out of the twenty places of the human where the nails used to be, the human is rolled over to the machine that slits their throat.

"Why didn't you guys kill them first before you take their nails out?" 

"Oh, it's just that it's easier and faster to have the human put their own hands and legs in rather than to have to do it for them when they are dead. Besides, the death struggle is nothing you want to handle."

The human was hanged upside down and moved along the conveyor. Fresiecal followed the human to the saw that was adjusted to the level of the neck of the humans. With one quick saw, blood sprayed out of the human's throat. They didn't care about whether the human was still alive or not, just that the struggle was terrible to watch. With hands flailing around and blood spraying from both the neck and the fingers, it was a terrible sight. There was a canvas below the human now. The room was filled with machines taking out canvas to be placed below the human that collects their blood. 

"What's with those canvas?"

"Oh, there's this crazy artist for the human right's groups. They want to capture the last struggle of humans and think that blood spraying on the white canvas would show it. Silly if you ask me. People buy those stuffs over human buffet meals. Cubiods should just accept the natural order of things. We are stronger, smarter, technologically more advanced than humans, thus we deserve to eat them. Besides, they do this to the native animals over here for thousands of years before we even arrived. There's no moral issue for them to be subjected to the same rules if you ask me."

Fresiecal was starting to doubt that moral justification of eating humans. This place is horrible. How can the Cubiods who pride themselves in civilized living can live with this? Ignorance that's how. The ignorance of not having visited the slaughter house before. She supposed that it was the same with humans. Ignorance and desensitization. 

The human was still struggling after three minutes. He must be drowning in his blood already, but because he was hung upside down, the blood goes out of his mouth instead of into his lungs. So in a sense he is still breathing, although each breath produces a despicable sound in DS 3's ears. Fresiecal only noticed it after DS 3 covered his ears and shouted for the human to make it stop. She glanced back at the fat human wobbling back and forth on the strap.

It was time for the deboning machine. The human was still alive when he entered it. "The deboning machine, we use sound waves to crush every single last one of the bones in the human, including his teeth. However the machine doesn't do nails, that's why we had to remove them first."

"How come they are still alive?"

"Oh, most died on the way there, but it is the rare few like this that made it to the machine. It must feel like hell inside there. You know I once put my arm inside by accident and it really felt that the machine is making my hand shape shift reflecting the waves it carries. For these humans, the bones are hard structure for them and it would dissolve into liquids that pour out of them inside the machine."

They saw the human finally exiting the machine from the other side. He looked pretty nastily dead. His face was of pure horror, with no more bone structure to support the body, the face was sunk in. The brains, tongue, eyes was the only support for the face. The lungs, heart and stomach was visible without the ribcage.

The fluid of the human was flushed out by heat. The remaining blood was collected away.

"Those are for the vampire project some scientist are working on. Genetic engineering the humans to their folklore legend seems like a great idea to diversify the human zoo. I can't wait to see what they had next. Have you seen the werewolf human? I heard that they had perfected the shape shifting part but just could not get how to synchronize the transformation with the moon." The worker was still following Fresiecal. 

The human then was cleaned, wrapped in neat packages and sent out to the supermarkets.

Fresiecal left the slaughter house, having more of her share of horror sights for life. 

"You know what DS 3? You're right. You can consider me as a non-human eater from now on, until the end of my life."

DS 3 could only hugged himself. "I don't think that's enough."

"What? You want to expose all these to the world? You want to go convince the public, our ruler to outlaw human meat?"

DS 3 walked towards Fresiecal's top eyes, looked into it with a dead serious face. "I cannot do anything else as my kind suffers like this everyday. As long as the demand has not reached out to the stars. I have a chance to stop this once and for all here."

Fresiecal looked back at DS 3. The human that she had grown to love and care for. It had become to the point that whatever he wishes, if she could not provide it for him, she would be unable to sleep well. 

Finally, she gave the acknowledgment. "I'll do whatever it takes then. I'll get you to a world wide council meeting on behalf of your species to ours. Come, we need to start preparing your arguments."

The user was horrified at the gameplay. The user choose not to act at all when the choice is up during the game to take over the job of the workers and prepare the humans for food. The user skipped the action and just let the game become a mini movie. It was the most disgusting thing the user had seen. And the user know that it's a thinly vealed metaphor for humans eating animals. It was still utterly disgusting. 

Part 4

"And that is the reason all Cubiods should be non-human eaters." DS 3 finished his presentation in front of the Grand Council of the Cubiods.

"Hmm...your presentation seems solid. Unfortunately, you overestimated our power." The High Councilor said. 

"You could broadcast this to the world, you've recorded it right?" DS 3 said.

"Yes, yes we have, but since I am not yet ready to make such a sacrifice myself, I know that there will be significant resistance to your idea if this is published world wide."

"Well, do you want to be a non-human eater?"

"Reluctant as I am, I do wish so. If only if there is a way....ah yes, of course there is one way all along. One dangerous way."

"Please tell me."

The High Counselor looked around the other counselors in the room. All of them gave him a sign with their hands that indicates approval. "We have a traditional law in dealing with other sentient species. Only as a representative of another species can you bargain with us. In the bargain, you can ask for anything, and we will set you to a similar task. If you succeed in that task, the whole Cubiod population all over the universe will have to honor the agreement set out here. For that reason, the task we ask of you will be many times more difficult than what you ask of us individually even if it is similar task."

"I hereby represent the human species to bargain with the Cubiod."

"Acknowledged, this event is now simultaneously broadcasted to all Cubiods on the planet. State your request."

"I request that all Cubiods stop eating humans, close down the human farm and start treating humans with the same respect as another sentient intelligent being."

"The reasons for doing so are being transmitted too. In the meantime, we shall collect suggestions for the task and the council shall select the most appropriate one."

"As they collect the task request, I should inform you of our technological capabilities." It was an old Cubiod in the council. His skin was sagged and wrinkle.

"We are capable of time travel. It is a natural result of faster than light travel. Paradoxes are resolved by having parallel universes created whenever we travel to the past. We have the capabilities to explore parallel universes."

"Everytime you travel faster than light, you are going to another universe instead of being in the same one?" DS 3 asked.

"Yes indeed, I can see now why you humans are intelligent. It has come to our attention that there is this future possible world where Cubiods did not conquer humans and humans developed their technology towards space travel."

"We can do that?"

"Yes, apparently. However, these humans have the same morality issue you just gave us a lecture about. They eat sentient beings which are less powerful than them despite knowing that these sentient beings have feelings and some are even moderately intelligent. Take for example, the pig that most human eat is more intelligent than the average dog, which humans keep as pets."

"The request has been finished, the council has decided." The voice of the High Councilor boomed. "The old Councilor here did not just share this story for fun. He know that the only task that is worthy of this bargain would be this all along."

DS 3 braced himself.

"We will send you to the human in this world, in the year 1970 according to your human calender reconning. If you can convince all humans to be vegetarian, you will have fulfilled the task, and we Cubiod will honor the bargain. There is no time limit for this task. And also there is no limitation of how many times you have to try. There are near infinite number of universes with slight variation for us to send you to. We will monitor your progress. You will fail the task if you die before it is completed, then the bargain is off. You can now accept or decline it, I should warn you that should you decline it, the bargain is off."

The user is then given the option to accept or to decline the task. The user selected to accept it.

DS 3 gladly accepted the task. Then the transport is readied and DS 3 is blasted off to the Earth in 1970 where humans has space age technology, but still practices barbaric mass killing of animals to eat them.

The user at this point tried various techniques to propagate veganism. It was a very hard fight as awareness of climate change has not even reached the mass public yet. The progress was too slow. The user then tried to poison the animals in captivity, releasing mad cow diseases, swine flu for the pigs and many other diseases. However, DS 3 had underestimated the human's capacity to restock farm animals so much faster than the disease can spread. Within a few years, the disease strategy was a dead end.

Education has produced a small number of ethical vegan which kept on fighting. However as DS 3 worked for decades after decades, the user felt that it might be better to just kill of all humans. That way a lot more animal's lives can be saved. The user initiated a human biological attack, releasing viruses after viruses to all humans, having it dormant within humans for a decade, before activating the mutagen within it. The virus became deadly within days, with fatalities rate reaching a hundred percent within a month. There was not enough time for the best scientist to find a cure. All humans except for DS 3 has been wiped out. DS 3 was smart enough to use his DNA as an template for the viruses so that he is immune to them all. 

The Cubiods then summoned DS 3 back and told him that that did not count as fulfilling the task. "If that counts as completing the task, it would be like killing all Cubiods to save humans. It is an unacceptable solution as we need both species to make a bargain. Try again."

DS 3 got sent back to another world in 1970 and this time, he focused on producing quality education and evangelical vegans. To avoid allegations of insanity, DS 3 has to hide his true origins. At about the year 2000, the game was over as DS 3 died of old age. 

The user saw a screen which came up:
Sorry you had failed in this game. The game is currently saved. The alternative ending of being successful will unlock only if there is 30% of real life vegans of all users of Ahhb. Current progress is 10%. You can help contribute by practicing vegetarian yourself, but do it only if you believe in the reasons behind it, not because you are pressurized to do it from others. Thank you. Your next life would begin tomorrow.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

One Dhamma Many Buddhist Traditions

Complied in memory of K. Sri Dhammananda (1919-2006), this book has two parts, first is recollections essays of people who had known him. Second is about the unity of many Buddhist traditions and various issues.

There's 35 essays in total, so I skipped around and marked a tick on the content page to keep track of which I had read before. The essays in the first part of the book really made me appreciate what can a monk do to propagate the Dhamma. It also outlined for me the history of the spread of English based Buddhism in Malaysia from before independence all the way to his death. It was around my father's generation and the generation before him that he was very much influential and helped the build the strong presence of Buddhism in Malaysia as it exist today. We get to see the founding of Buddhist Missionary Society, which has the parallel in Singapore called Singapore Buddhist Mission. And also Buddhist Gem Fellowship, parallel in Singapore is Buddhist Fellowship, both of them having youth groups in Singapore that I am in contact with.

The second part is really essential reading for anyone trapped in sectarian thinking. Monks, Nuns, Layperson from all traditions come together and affirm that there are more similarities between the traditions rather than differences. This really opens up a non-sectarian approach towards Buddhism, promoting harmony and peace amongst the traditions of Buddhism and it can unite Buddhist to rise up to the Modern Challenge of Buddhism meeting the modern age (or information age by now, Civ player would know). One of them is Buddhism and Science, which I am contributing in my other blog. Another is to appreciate what's culture in the various forms of Buddhism, and what's the common doctrine.

There are just too many articles to count there but I am amazed to see that I have been in contact with some of the authors via INCOVAR Dhamma Camp. It's quite a good book to balance one's view of the Dhamma, regardless of how deep you have learned in your particular tradition.

Friday, May 30, 2014


Pali text translation.
Vinaya. Mahavagga. Chapter one, parts of...

This is one of the books in the basket of discipline. Chapter one is quite long, talking about the events after the awakening of the Buddha.

After enlightenment, the Buddha went from tree to tree, staying cross legged for 7 days at each place, enjoying the bliss of liberation. In the first week, he contemplated on dependent origination. In the second week, a brahmin whose practice is to say hum asked the Buddha on what is a Brahmin, and got an answer that the Brahmin. Is not one who says hum, but one who cast out evil.

The third week, there was a great storm that lasted for a week. The serpent king came out of his meditation, coiled around the Buddha 7 times, and spread its hood over Buddha's head, determined to shelter him from cold and heat.

The fourth week, two merchants were advised by their deva relatives to offer barley gruel and honey ball to the Buddha, for their blessing and happiness for a long time. When they offered, the Buddha says that the Tathagatha does not receive with hands. The 4 deva kjngs, having known this, send bowls to the Buddha. The Buddha received bowls made of rock crystals from 4 directions from the 4 deva kings. Thus the Buddha received the food and partook it. The two merchants then took refuge in the Buddha and Dhamma and became the first lay followers of the Buddha.

On the fifth week, the Buddha was reflecting that the Dhamma he had realised is subtle, hard to realise and understand. To teach it would be tiring to him, bringing vexation. To be continued....

I have read the chapter in Sylvia Bay's book in between the lines, an analytical appreciation of the Buddha's life that described the period after Buddha enlightenment and before the first sermon. She contrasted the popular Theravada account of the period with what is said in the Sutta and Vinaya. The Theravada account has 7 weeks, of which a lot of events like staring at the Bodhi tree for a week, walking on a jeweled bridge, contemplating on Abhidhamma, and the three Mara daughters were not found in the Canon. Thus, this remind us to look beyond what we were told and to not attach to even the words of Dhamma, but to practice non attachment in daily life.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Poh Ming Tse- Bodhicitta M.U.S.I.C programme batch 2 graduation ceremony

On 28th May 2014, Wednesday, a new batch of MUSICians has been born out of the collaboration between PMT and Bodhicitta.

PMT is a quite an old temple in Singapore, but has gotten a new modern looking building in 2009. Since then, Poh Ming Tse has been nonsectarian, allowing any Buddhist groups to rent their place for an event or class. Many classes are held there from all three traditions. Due to it's dedicated and super good committee members, staff and patron, PMT is open enough to make a collaboration with Bodhicitta.

Bodhicitta is a music band formed in 1997, inspired by the Dhamma, since then over 100,000 albums they as produced has been circulated. Their music style is smoothing, and they are nonsectarian, they sing songs based on any of the three traditions. They were looking for young talented Buddhist musicians to train and keep Buddhist music alive and has been in talks with many temples before PMT.

In 2012, the temple and the music band has formed their collaboration and decided to train a selected group of students with interviews to train every week, starting 2013.

Now it's 2014 and the second batch of their first of three modules has just graduated from 10 weeks of weekly Wednesday training. M.U.S.I.C. captures the aim of the MUSICians group. Motivate and Unite the practice of the Dhamma. Smooth the mind, Inspire and Care.

Personally, I know a lot of the batch one and not so many of the batch 2 people. I usually go to these music events as a karaoke session, singing with them. You see I have a large collection of Buddhist songs totalling almost 24 hours of playtime and I played them over and over again during my uni days. I believe I have two of the Bodhicitta albums. So I am quite familiar with their songs. These are nice stress out sessions for me.

Now for the structure, the songs are in many languages, with the session conducted in English, with Chinese translation. The opening puja song was in Pali, then there are English songs, Tibetan Matra songs, Chinese songs were featured too.

The programme trains them in using their musical skills to conduct a Buddhist activity using songs. There are also vocal trainings for the students. After graduation, they have a commitment to fulfill a certain hours of song presentations in PMT and their own Buddhist society. The batch one had presented in concerts, conferences and weddings in addition to the current monthly Sunday service with songs and Dhamma talk in PMT.

The style of their Buddhist music is to use music to allow the Dhamma to sink into people's heart. Thus it is very suitable to bring beginners or your free thinker friends to come and join in their performances. Some songs can even be a guide to relaxation and meditation. Some can lift the spirits up and motivate the listeners. It's also a very suitable place for those who can't learn Buddhism well from sutta readings to learn the Dhamma from the lyrics, tone of the songs, presentation, and the mind of the Buddhist songs leaders. Or if you just like Music, this can be the door for you to enter into the Dhamma.

Here's to greater heights and wider reach of the MUSICians!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Golden age of superheroes movies

For the purpose of this article, only marvel and DC superheroes are considered to make it simple and to avoid having to list down every superhero movie during this age.

The golden age began since the release of x-men in 2000. Superhero movies received a welcome back party. Previously, there was only the superman movie series (1978-1987), and the batman series (1989-1997), each lasted 4 movies wherein the last in their series has been disappointing to many.

At that time, the box office mark of superhero movies are not expected to exceed half a billion USD. X-men did well but didn't broke that mark, not even for the next 5 movies (2000-2013) based on it. Following x-men was everybody's favourite, spider-man (2002-2007). The series was very well received and broke a lot of box office records for all three of its movies. The third spiderman became a bit disappointing, and even more so when Sony decided to reboot it barely 5 years after the last we saw of Spidey. The only other reboot that happened that soon was the hulk.

Released in 2003 with liberal imagination that Bruce banner's father is the main villain to the hulk, it was not as good as it's reboot. Anyway, hulk not getting a series on its own may have been because of the 2003 movie. Along with the avenger's version, we had seen enough of a different version of the hulk for now, thank you.

Another superhero series that is going to get rebooted is the fantastic four. At least it has been a long while since we saw those and they only lasted 2 movies (2005-2007). The upcoming 2015 movie would mark 8 years since we saw them last.

But all these reboot started with Batman Begins (2005). It was also 8 years since the bat nipple, and it was high time for Nolan to deliver the best Batman we have on the big screen so far. For the second installment in 2008, joker took the movie to great heights and it landed over the billion dollar mark and stopped at no. 3 globally. This was the first superhero movie to do so. It's a shame that heathe leager died and they can't have joker for the finale.

What's more shameful for DC is superman returns in 2006. This counts as the fifth installment of the earlier superman movies and it earned below the half billion dollar mark. Why is it shameful? It's because they missed the opportunity to reboot superman then. Man of Steel (2013) arrived 7 years later and now they had to use a different actor to play batman in it's sequel coming out in 2016. If this batman is not in the same continuity with Nolan's trilogy, then we have the shortest reboot yet (4 years). Say if they decided to plan coherently early on in the game, (but Warner brothers was busy with harry potter then) right when x-men came out, then superman return could had just been man of steel back in 2006, and they can have man of steel 2 somewhere before batman vs superman in 2012! Now that is a movie that could rival the Avengers. Well to be fair the dark knight rises did well too to earn slightly more than the dark knight and is about 2/3 of the avengers in earning terms.

In 2008, the year that marked the entry of superhero movie into the billion dollar club, also marked the coming of Iron man and the Incredible Hulk. Iron man became a very successful movie trilogy with maybe more on the way. The third in its series (2013) beat the dark knight rises in the box office. No doubt this is due to the avengers help, but it was amazing considering that he is a totally unknown superhero in the big screen before 2008, as compared to batman.

Marvel studios pushed on and linked their movies, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America, and generated so much hype that was part of the factors that made the Avengers the highest milestone so far in the golden age of superhero movies. My personal opinion is that it is unlikely that Captain America would receive much attention had it not been for the premise of a shared universe. It is set in world war 2 which most of the living people now did not personally experience. Now, in 2014, Thor the dark world and captain america winter soldier each earned more than its first movie, no doubt fuelled by the avengers hype.

And now for the biggest movie event in history, the Avengers (2012). The movie combines separate heroes with their own movies and pit them against a threat greater than what each of them is capable of defeating alone. Hulk, Iron man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and black widow. The box office response to this is tremendous. More than 1.5 billion dollars has been earned, putting it at the third place behind the two Cameron movies. To Marvel studios, this is the end of phase 1. Now we are nearing the end of phase 2, with only guardians of the galaxy (2014) left before Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

This upcoming movie is expected by everyone to earn more than its predecessor, possibly even beating Titanic's record. Thus, a lot of other superhero movies avoid getting a 2015 release year. Only ant man, marvel studios own movie and fantastic four, a reboot that need not suck in too much money are the notable scheduled superhero movies then. Even Warner brothers wised up and pushed batman vs superman back to 2016. (They initially wanted to release justice league in 2015!)

However, the year of 2016 is now full packed with sequels. Batman v Superman, The Amazing Spiderman 3, captain America 3, X-men apocalypse, and an unnamed marvel movie. This year alone we are treated to 4 of them, last year too (Iron Man 3, Thor 2, the Wolverine, Man of Steel). By comparison, 2015 would feel a little empty.

Although this means that we might have to wait a long time before spiderman or wolverine joins the avengers, I am glad that there are 3 studios that produces marvel character movies. It makes the presence of marvel so much more stronger on the silver screen and gives us many different forms of enjoyment.

As with all ages, the golden age of superhero movie will not last forever. The end of the golden age might come when the superhero movies saturate cinema so much that the overall sales for them drops down to below half a billion and keeps on going lower. It might also come if marvel decided to reboot its cinematic universe. Or simply that the studios are so engrossed with money that they sacrificed the art element in the movies.

Regardless of how it ends, the superhero genre are here to stay, like the romance, western, horror, sci-fi etc...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

X-men days of future past review

This is the best amongst the 3 superhero movie this year so far, the other 2 being captain america 2 and the amazing spiderman 2. Spoilers below.
X-men dofp just gives the right trailer yet still save the main course for us. There was bisharp travelling in time as in the comics, that was nice. Then they explained why it has to be wolverine who goes back to 1973.
The future sentinel is really deadly, convincing enough that they can even take out the future x-men + magneto. Blink's attack is really like playing portal. And there is the coupling of shadowcat with iceman. Good fan service.
Wolverine in 1973 has no adamantium. So when he meets up with young striker, he goes into shock at future pain. It was a nice reference to the origins movie. They (the producers) even hinted that quicksilver's father is the man he helped to break out. Magneto becomes lovingly predictable to become the bad guy again. But strangely enough, we don't mind. There is an amazing feeling of hopelessness of near or certain defeat at the climax, and a clever resolution to it that brings across the message of hope, the ultimate weapon of Charles, to the human population.
The most inspiring part of the movie is when Charles talks to himself. You are not afraid of others' pain, its yours that you fear. Face the pain, accept, see it because it would make you stronger. Our greatest gift is to bear all the pain and suffering of others and not break, and still have hope. Reminds me of the bodhisattva path. It's so awe inspiring! Its the compassion of the prof that ultimately changed raven's mind and saved the future.
I like how dangerous the young magneto can become too. Putting metals into sentinels to control them, lifting a stadium to cover the white house, effectively shutting out the police and outside help, and pulling the safe room from under the white house to above ground and rip it out. It's even funny that he managed to deal with wolverine the same way as in the first and third movie even when wolverine has no adamantium in him.
One of the fan screaming best part is when the future is saved and wolverine wakes up with 50 years of history to catch up and we see rogue (presumably a mutant again) with bobby, shadowcat with colossus, jean and Cyclops. All still alive.
End credit scene, which nowadays has about 70 or 80% of the audience sitting back for, is the hint of Sabah En nuh building the pyramids with his mutant power, and his 4 horsemen.
Apocalypse is coming! And we can have the full x-men again!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

What I do with my free time

Since I had quit gaming yet again and reduced the amount of shows I am following, I had a lot of free time to finally catch up on my long term plans. I had just made a list of what I did and it's amazing!

  • Science Fiction Novel- Editing "Problems, Try this!" I had the first draft for a long time now.
  • Physics and Buddhism blog entry.
  • Temple Explorers Singapore book writing.
  • Physics Textbook reading and learning.
  • Dhamma books reading and learning.
  • Science Fiction story books for inspiration, learning and style setting for my own story.
  • Physics and Buddhism books written by others so that I can be more informed of what has been explored on this subject.
  • Popular Physics books reading
  • Buddhist presentations for Medical Dhamma Circle.
  • Awaken Challenge organizing
  • Degree in Buddhism
  • Other Buddhist events and volunteering (this plus the degree takes up 6 or 7 days per week)
The readings and writing were mostly done in the train, smartphones or individual book. There are some more stuffs that can more comfortably be done on the computer. Like this blog. 

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Amazing Spiderman 2 review (Spoiler alert)

Hi guys, today I'm going to review a movie I've waited quite long to watch: The Amazing Spiderman 2 (ASM2). Let me said first that this is a positive review.

Granted that the reboot series comes quite fast after the Raimi series and thus has some disadvantage, either they had to portray the same story (like Uncle Ben's death and Goblin dropping Parker's girlfriend), or entirely avoid what has been shown on the last trilogy (like not having J. Jonah Jameson or Mary Jane on screen for two movies now).

After this movie, I feel like ASM 2 has earn the right to retell the same story we already know just to make the universe a bit more fair. The main reason I said that is because Norman Osborn died without having become the Green goblin first. It's obvious why the direction of the story had went this way, it's been told and done with. In this sense, it's clever for the writers to modify and yet stick to the comic books, that a goblin (Harry Osborn) killed Gwen Stacy. However, after the death of Gwen Stacy, it's about time to introduce Mary Jane on screen. Jameson got an email cameo now, but it's getting harder to avoid showing him as the series goes on. One most notable villain I want to see coming back is Doc Ock. He is simply indispensable in the Sinister Six team as well as having the tentacles on display in Oscorp secret lab helps a lot.

The plotting wise, it's very tight, with many subplots jumbled up together, jumping here and there. To me it's clear where and how it jumps, and it makes sense. Spiderman is about Peter Parker managing his normal life with crime fighting. In normal life, we tend not to focus on only one ongoing process at a time, but several of them. Peter has to deal with his strong feelings towards Gwen, his responsibility as Spiderman, his promise and knowledge that being close to Gwen would put her in danger, also his parent's mystery and Harry Osborn. Other than that, the film also juggles on how Max became Electro, how Harry hate Spiderman, and the backstory for Rhino.

It's a good jumble, mixed in just the right way for us to ride with Peter's complicated life. Now, let me go into a bit more detail about how the subplots make sense to each other. The subplot of Peter wanting to know more about his parents and Gwen Stacy leaving is that he felt that the people he loved keeps dumping him. He had lost his parents, so he doesn't want to lose Gwen too. This is why he feels so much empathy towards Harry, who just lost his father. Later, Harry had discovered the research that Peter's father had done on Spider and human hybrid (Spiders with Human DNA in it) and asked Peter for Spiderman's blood to cure his disease. Having seen what Dr. Conners had become because he rushed the testing phase, both Peter and Spiderman doesn't want to give the blood. Yet, Spiderman could not tell Harry that he is trying to find out more about Peter's father's research without revealing who he is, and also he had not yet discovered the secret train hideout yet. This lead to Harry hating Spiderman. Later, when Peter found out that the spiders hybrid contained his father's DNA, he didn't have the time nor the urgency to inform Harry about it.

First off, it is because of Richard Parker putting his DNA inside the spiders that Peter turns into Spiderman instead of some undesirable side effects, or being killed. So anyone else knowing about the research of Richard Parker and the truth would easily suspect that Peter Parker is Spiderman. Thus, Peter would still need more time to reverse engineer and make new Spiders that is suitable for Harry before being able to give Harry his cure.

Second, the timing. Harry was very impatient, resorting to freeing Electro after getting kicked out of his company just to get to the spider serum instead of waiting for Peter Parker to help him. To be fair, Peter didn't know that he could help Osborn or how before the train, thus he didn't make a commitment to do so. Spiderman's promise to find another way is empty to Harry after his refusal to give the blood. Thus, by the time Peter had discovered the train, Harry was already at the point of being injected with the serum. So even if Peter had the sense to call Harry up (what would he say without revealing that he is Spiderman anyway?) he could not had stand a chance to persuade Harry to wait for a bit longer for more research as Harry is already seeing his salvation just minutes away.

Third, the reason Peter didn't call is not just the need to protect his identity, he might conceivably give it up to save Harry, but there's a stronger reason. He was reminded about Gwen Stacy. He picked up his phone (maybe he was going to call Harry then), and there was the message. Gwen Stacy is leaving for UK now. Having been through the pain of being left behind because his father had placed responsibility over parenthood, he temporarily forgotten the lesson of "With Great Power, comes Great Responsibility" and choose to follow his emotions for Gwen instead. He doesn't want the pain of being left behind to happen again, no matter what, he could have a love life and being Spiderman at the same time, right?

No, it was a fast paced series of events during the night that ended up with Gwen Stacy dying due to Harry's involvement. Peter had webbed Gwen's hand onto a police car, but that wasn't enough to stop her from helping him. It could be said that Gwen ran into her own death, but also, Gwen would not had the chance to do so had Peter not pick her up from the bridge and say he wants to move to England with her. Yet, if he hadn't done that, Peter stand little chance in his fight against Electro. So in the end, it can be said that Gwen saved Spiderman, and sacrificed herself (even when it was unintentional). In the end, Gwen died. Peter who had a last look at Captain Stacy in the Electro fight must had felt triple guilt. First off, he broke the promise and eventually led to Gwen's death. Second, the love of his life died because of him. (In retrospection, she died to saved him during the fight with Electro). Third, he had abandoned the calling of "With Great Responsibility comes Great Power". He went a different direction that his father didn't took. His father did the right thing in the end, at least Peter was still alive. Peter's choice had killed Gwen.

Due to these triple guilt, he could not forgive himself for 5 months, no Spiderman during those 5 months. Only when he found hope again, did he come back as Spiderman, fighting Rhino, whom we had seen in the first action sequence to the movie at the end. So it was a nice wrap.

I like that despite having 3 villains, Spiderman took them on one by one. It doesn't distract from the villain he was fighting at the time and there would be enough time for simultaneous attack on Spiderman later on in Sinister Six.

There's another thing I would like to touch on. Peter's relationship struggle with Gwen Stacy is complicated, and it can be compared with a person who wants to be a celibate having to struggle with his or her hormones. I would feel that Peter's suffering is greater. The girl actually faces death and danger, not just emotional complication.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weird people analysis 2

There are certain conventions of social interactions which nobody has taken a complete rulebook and taught us before. It also changes with different culture, nation, organisations, religion, as well as time. Those who do not follow the rule book are viewed as weirdos.

Above is my assumption about the definition of weirdos. Here is my theory of how and why weirdos come to be.

It can be that sometime people pay less attention in observing the unwritten social rulebook and thus doesn't know the rules. Therefore it is unsurprising that they would break the rules now and then. Sometimes they learn the rules from the stares of people around them, often they didn't even know which rule they broke because nobody told them.

There can be two possible reasons for the initial ignorance of the rule. First is that they might not have the intellectual capacity to understand the rules. In this case, the rest of the society should not unfairly discriminate against them, as they cannot help it, just like a physically disabled person.

The second reason is that they didn't think that social conformity is as important as whatever else they put their mental attention to. It's like playing a game, in the initial character design, one can choose various statistics and skills to put in their points. And they can choose which skill to increase as they level up with the relevant experience.

Take the example of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory comedy. He concentrated his attention to Physics and Geek culture so much so that even in his 30s, he still had very poor social skills that constantly annoy his friends. Sheldon only learns the social rules when he discovers that it makes his companions happier which in turn makes his life easier. Raj has better social skills in terms of friendship with males but worse in terms of female communication which explains why he is the only one without a girlfriend currently. Amy has almost the same social skills as Sheldon, but it is only due to the lack of opportunities to practise them. Right now, she has successfully integrated herself into the gang and has even better social skills than Sheldon.

So far it is a social archetype that scientists and geniuses tend to be socially awkward. However, it is not true in general. Most of the scientist I know does know and follow the social rules quite well. Of course, due to the archetype, there are quite a few people who are weirdos. These include people who knows the rules and yet break them anyway.

There are a few motivations for these group of people. First off, they might have forgotten some rules. Sometimes, when a new situation or a rarely met situation comes up. Things such as meeting your first crush at her wedding with another man and letting your emotions cloud your mind when you give the toast speech or going to so many countries that you forgot that in Singapore it is not acceptable to jaywalk. These are sort of acceptable and more understandable by the public.

The next one is temporary drop of cautions when a person gets drunk. A lot of social rules gets twisted when drunk people are involved. It is generally unwise to go to bed with a stranger you just meet at a bar, but because it is a bar, drunk people has a way of dropping their wisdom and guard. As shown in How I Met Your Mother, in U.S.A. it has become so common a practice that the world see this as their culture instead of a weird way to behave. The walk of shame shows the female half at least regretting that they had exposed themselves to sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, kidnapping, violence, getting their hearts broken, destroying other families, exposed to serial killers or rapists, and exposed to stalkers. This is true for the male half too. It should be noted that drinking alcohol is not the only way to be drunk, some people may go into their high mode by just eating too much. This is to direct attention away from the pain of overeating to the temporary joy of getting high.

The third possible reason is habit. Some may had learn about the rules later on in their lives but by then some actions had become a habit. Things like constant nodding of your head as a greeting to everyone you meet, talking to yourself out loud in public, moving your lips but not saying a thing.... Some people also has the habit of saying "actually" when there is actually no need to say that word. All these in a minor sense are quirks, add them together and it becomes weird.

Next is knowing the rules, yet don't have the need to keep to it. So there are some people who knows that they are weird, but could not be bothered to change their behaviour. This is because it might not have an effect on their life, or at least as far as they can see, they are ok with being the oddity. Super genius who do not need to worry about presentability to get hired are amongst these category.

Then there are those who live in their own world. As kids, we had the experience of playing using our imagination. For some people, the imaginary world becomes so important and wide that they keep on engaging in it even in adulthood. When climbing down the stairs in low speed, carrying something heavy, we might imagine that we are Iron man and use our free hands as repulsor blast to stabilise ourselves. Or coming down in high speed, we become Iceman, freezing a slide before us to slide down. When running up the stairs we become Azula from Avatar, the legend of Aang, using fist to spew out flame behind our backs as thrusters.

The other reasons of avoiding girls and wanting to becomes infamous had been covered in the first analysis.

All in all, anyone can be weird sometimes, so do be more compassionate and considerate the next time you meet one. So long!

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I've just learned from Big Bang theory that if you want to achieve something, you put a hundred percent of your energy into it.

The thing is, what if you're constrained from doing so? What if the only thing you want to achieve, to do in your life is not open to you until a certain time limit? What do you do then? Find another thing to do while waiting? Keep on engaging in things that contribute to your dream in almost all your free time? I was doing that for some time now. It's really tiring.

Tzu Chi has opened up a nice gradual path for me, but then my worldly ambitions seems to threaten to lengthen my stay here. Confusion, conflicts, contentment? Ah, suffering, I see you again. How wonderfully undesirable you are.