February 2009


I just discovered LOOKBOOK.nu and I’m pretty much loving it.

What is LOOKBOOK.nu?

LOOKBOOK.nu is an international social experiment in style. It was inspired by street fashion blogs like the Sartorialist as well as “What are you wearing today?” forum threads across the internet. Basically, people upload photos of their looks and browse others. It can be a medium for people to show off the art of their style to the world, to enhance or reinvent their image through feedback, or even to promote their stuff if they are designers / boutique owners. Of course, one can gain inspiration by original styles from every corner of the globe displayed in the website. There are also community activities where people can vote up stuff they like, which determines which outfits show up on the front page. When people hype your looks, you gain “karma” which builds your reputation as a stylist. At least on the website.

nice look

Unfortunately for some, LOOKBOOK.nu is an by-invite-only community. If you want to post photos of yourself, i.e. exhibitionist of some sort, you need to join as a member and you can only do that by signing up with your email on the website first. Then you have to wait. And wait. If you are lucky, you will be notified when invites become available in the future.

I suppose it’s some sort of QC. Want to show off and post your photos also cannot anyhow.

There are quite a number of Singaporean members though. I spent a long time pondering why they have so much time and money on their hands.

People do not wait till they are old and start to slow down.

They only learn how to slow down by the time they are old.

Well, I’ve been tagged on Facebook, so I figured I might as well post it here as well. In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve not been posting often these days. Something simple for you guys to read in the meanwhile, so here it goes…

 

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I’m ambidextrous – I write and play volleyball mainly with my left hand but can do most other things with both. For eg, I can play badminton, pool and bowling efficiently, and use everyday devices designed to be only ergonomic for right-handed people such as scissors with my right hand.

2. I’ve lepidopteraphobia – I scream like a little girl (which, believe me, is extraordinarily rare) or shudder uncontrollably at the sheer sight of a fluttering butterfly or moth.

3. I love animals but am psychologically unable to keep a decent pet. My ideal pet would be a snake or a lizard because it is cute and I only have to feed it once or twice per week. The bad thing is that I cannot take it out for a walk.

4. I am not scared of death but is terrified at the thought of losing a loved one. Which is also partly the reason why I cannot have a pet.

5. I have an immense fear of contracting chickenpox. That is why I finally went for the Varicella vaccine last year.

6. My cheeky cousin, some seven years my senior, used to call me Suzuki when we were younger because he had problem pronouncing my full name (in Hanyu pinyin) and thought it sounded like the motor brand. A cheeky colleague is now calling me that.

7. I don’t like to talk when I’m travelling, especially if I’m on a new route, at a foreign place or on the plane because I prefer to admire the scenery. This may strike people as quiet or unfriendly when they don’t know me as well, but it’s a choice I usually prefer to make.

8. I will die without my mp3 player when travelling.  

9. I used to lie very often as a kid until my mum caught me at one when I was in Primary Four. I was so remorseful that I promised myself never to lie again. I don’t think that I have broken that very promise since then.

10. I used to be never seen without a watch but now I do not wear any.

11. I have a psychological need to drink at least a cup of tea every morning.

12. My favourite sight is big tall towering trees with strong wide trunks, thick canopy, and ferns and epiphytes colonising the base of every tree branch. Sometimes I keep looking up the trees and almost trip on the pavement.

13. I’m sensitive to the calls of birds, forest sounds and all other sounds of Nature.   

14. My dream vacation will be to the wild safari of Africa or the unconquered rainforests of the Amazon basin. But I will also need a decent hotel with air-conditioning, cable TV, a clean bathroom, hot water and proper sanitary facilities to go back to rest every night.

15. My favourite comic book is Doraemon. I still watch the cartoon on Channel 8 every Saturday at 930am just before I go for my yoga lessons.

16. I hope that one day, very near in the future, I can perform the Kapotasana.

    

17. I used to like having dreams at night during sleep because my exotic dreams brought me to places I had never been, places that did not exist, or things that I could not have accomplished. Now I hate having such dreams because they remind me of what I cannot have for the moment.

18. I dreamt of having a wedding where breakdancers led the way into the ballroom during the opening dish of the night which often under normal circumstances has silly-looking service staff (or sometimes even the chef himself) waltzing in with the big plates of the usual cold dishes perched precariously in one hand. And flower girls and ring boys threw bling-bling diamonds carelessly and delightfully into the crowd from their tiny baskets in my dream.

 19. I can sleep more than 12 hours if I can afford to.

20. I’m very sensitive to smells and odours. Body odours and the salty smell of perspiration turn me off. I dig perfumes on men.

21. Although my favourite Science subject in school had always been Biology, I actually fared better in Chemistry and Physics.

22. I was a freaking 4.025kg newborn. People are always shocked to hear this when they see my actual size now.

23. I was that fat because I came to this world two weeks past my due date. I was supposed to be born a Leo.

24. I hate to sleep with any lights on at all.

25. Sigh. I still bite my nails.

Incidentally, Darwin Day falls on the coming week.

Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) – one of the few scientists’ names that even a layperson can easily roll off the tongue. Even though the layperson may not have the slightest idea what natural selection is all about. I must admit that I was one of these ignorant people almost a decade ago. Darwin’s theory of natural selection and evolution was first introduced to me in my second year in junior college in Biology classes. Due to the sensitivity of this topic, it was just mildly focused though. While I could then smoothly rattle off scientific terms like “natural selection”, “selective pressure”, my understanding and knowledge of the true theory was no more than the tip of an iceberg. It was some three years later in my third year in university when I took up a module on Evolution and the interest which has never stopped since then and further fuelled by Dawkins, first got sparked off. Once again, due to the conflicts between some religious beliefs and the science of evolution – the creation-evolution controversy – the class was a small group of about thirty students, and I believe, no firmly religious one among us all.

The Darwinian theory shed light on what had always seemed miraculous and perhaps a work of some Creator’s hand. We Chinese have 女娲 who made humans out of earth. Many religions have their own beliefs that humanity, life, the Earth and even the universe were created in their original form by a deity or deities. The actual truth – at least to people who firmly believe in Science, logics, and Darwin, like me – is simple and more realistic. The answer is the work of natural selection over long periods of time – millions of years. Suddenly everything made perfect sense to me – why we look the way we are, why we function the way we can, the development of marvellous organs like the eye and the heart with its valves working in perfect harmony. Things that look as if they were engineered and fine-tuned to exquisite precision, enough to draw awe even from today’s engineers – they all are works of Nature and nothing more. Unfortunately this theory has been misunderstood by many, many who could not be bothered to read more and understand further, and simply delivered a slap right to its face just because they had thought it as what it was not. Instead they chose the lazy way out of believing that everything that seems so perfect and works so fine, like humans and other animals, was put on the surface of our planet by some “stronger power” up above. Even when this Creationist theory makes no real sense.

This is one of the few reasons why I am a practioner of freethought/agnosticism (bordering on agnostic atheism). Of course being brought up by negligibly religious parents played an important part. When something doesn’t exist in your life all this while and you are still living your life perfectly well, its nonexistence doesn’t matter at all.

The theory of natural selection and evolution is one of the several reasons why people all around the globe celebrate the 12th of the second month annually and name it the Darwin Day to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of one of the most eminent scientists ever lived. The celebration of Darwin’s work and tributes to his life have been organised sporadically since his death at age 73. 2009 will mark an important year for Darwin Day celebrations as it will be the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth, and will also mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, a book which I’d tried to embark on years ago but failed miserably at that time when I was younger and less patient with scientific books. Perhaps it’s easier to succeed these days after going through the Dawkins books.  Today, events on Darwin Day are diverse. They have included dinner parties with special recipes for primordial soup and other inventive dishes, protests with school boards and other governmental bodies, workshops and symposia, distribution of information by people in ape costumes, lectures and debates, essay and art competitions, concerts, poetry readings, plays, artwork, comedy routines, reenactments of the Scopes Trial and of the debate between Thomas H. Huxley and Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, library displays, museum exhibits, travel and educational tours, recreations of the journey of the HMS Beagle, church sermons, movie nights, outreach, and nature hikes.

However none of these above-mentioned activities is going to take place in Singapore. In a country where religion continues to be a sensitive issue (though I see no wrong in this), Evolution continues to be excluded from the local educational curriculum. In a country where lecturers mention a mere word of Evolution and get childish hate mails from religious students, where the topic needs to be taught in a separate class, children of the society continue to be forbidden access to the truth behind the primates and more. When they say that ignorance is the stumbling block of local students of today, I wonder whose fault this is.