2013-05-11

Razing Children

So every time I see parents interacting with their little kids the way my parents interacted with me when I was a little kid, I feel sad. But hey, it's not like I wanna risk telling them to try being more reasonable. People tend to get mad when you present them with opinions challenging their previously unquestioned beliefs. Go on, yell away... let's see how that relationship turns out...

Someone banters back about they provide their parents with concessionary behaviours, to fit their parents' expectations that their kids should grow up a certain way.
You're still worried about the parents? Parents do this to themselves. I'm worried about the kids!!!
"seeing ur mom for moms day?"
"nope"
"she's not the sentimental sort?"
"i'm not the sentimental sort."

I just spent a whole year with my mum. I like to think that I did more work then and am doing less now. She ain't seeing me for a while.

Mother's day? Teachers week? WORLD... please, celebrate something I actually care about... :(

Rukun Whatever

It's just language to me.

1, 2, 3, and 5 are subject to definition of their verb and noun. 4 is subsumed by 3.
"1. Belief in God
2. Loyalty to king and country
3. Supremacy of the constitution
4. Rule of law
5. Courtesy and morality"
DAP joining BN? Anything is possible if you put enough effort into it, and persuade enough people. I always joke about converting to Islam, laying claim to full-fledged Malayness, and founding UMNO-C, but frankly my dear, I don't give a damn...

In the broader scheme of things: companies, like countries, are tribes. If you don't have constitutional documents and processes, it's all emo to me, baby...

Run

Finally had time to go for run. The newly paved street in front of my block has improved. Might become a great routine.

Exercise makes the mind strong. People who say humans are not made of circuitry, don't know the first thing about chemistry.

I guess it took three months or so to wrap this current job into a routine, despite the continuing lack of a shop. Hmm.

I exercise my body because it's a chemical pleasure. I'm not looking forward to the day when this doesn't work anymore.

Time to shop for housekeeping supplies.

Every time there's a discussion about age, it seems I still don't actually believe that adults are special.

Who says women are hard to figure? I understand women. They're like music. Unfortunately, I don't make much time for music these days...

Call me a lab-tech, but conventional cupping protocol seems to be quite unsanitary. I partake of the culture, being aware of this.

Slow day on social media. Caught up to August 2010 on Sprudge.

RIGHT. Time to cook up another field of study, that's outside coffee (work) or mathematical (life)... maybe I need to buy that synth.

Breakfast. Laundry detergent. Coffee. Excel. Looks like my day is planned. Maybe, I need a book also...

... actually, back to Sprudge.

So today, a barista pointed out that Richard Hall was at Artisan TTDI. Some of you may know of him as Moby. #iCouldNotTell
Need to dial down my forecasting processes. More thought required on immediate data.

2013-05-10

Another Friday in the Life

Waiting out the jam again. Driving down quiet, familiar streets, of past jobs, and of relationships that never seem to end. The life of a mercenary is lovingly simple. A lot of the time, you get paid to wait. To wait, for targets to mature, to wait, for other vendors to deliver their goods and services, to wait, for everyone to feel okay.

While waiting, you get to wonder what the next job will be like... what the next body will feel like... how the next minds will behave.

Joking with the boss about only having time to date machines. It's still interesting to work/live with people who don't/can't casually delete their feelings. It must be crippling to not conjure up beauty in the mind, by rearranging cognitive processes. But I suppose that drives the economy. Non-contractual loyalty is a really pissant concept. If you can't sign on it, don't expect it.

I'm beginning to think that my social life and memory management in general would benefit from less focus. Hmm.
Whoops, turns out that's a hardcore porn page. *unlike* See, what I don't understand is why people PAY for porn, when it's for free on FB!

It's a social ill. An middle-school educated bartender who makes RM1-2k/month shouldn't have to pay RM400/month for porn on his mobile... it's just not good for human development, if you think about the scale on which this sort of shit happens. (2009: a colleague of mine on pre-paid mobile Internet).

TIL via Krugman: Keynes likes benevolent governments. This is what i get for stopping economics classes at the 100-level in college, since I figured I'd always be able to read it "later".
Complaining about open-sourced gun templates for 3D printers? It's not like the plans were hard to get in the first place, assuming you already had the budget to make tenable production-grade weaponry. Just wait till 3D printers at consumer price ranges support sintering. Oh boy, oh boy... (not too far away, apparently).

Tasted some really dark roasted coffees. Roast meat. Now a hint of this would be a fantastic complement to a lighter fruitier blend.

Gila-gila Lebuhraya

So I'm driving home at midnight, and there's a lady standing on the line between the first and second lane of the highway. She appears to be Chinese, with glasses, a bob, in a pink dress, with her arms crossed. She does not respond as I drive slowly past her saying in Mandarin, "it's very dangerous, where you're standing."

A vehicle is parked in the emergency lane - an MPV, if I'm not mistaken - and a bloke is illuminated in the passenger's seat. I do not notice if he was moving, or not. This is on the highway from MidValley to Cheras, at the exit to/from Bandar Tun Razak.

I dial the situation in to emergency services. I hope the woman is ok. Later, I wonder if the man had died, and if she had a death wish. By the time I am done talking to emergency services, I am past the toll booth near Hulu Langat, and I wish I had stopped to help her.

2013-05-09

Jokers

Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, we've kicked out the dictators, or new ministers are embezzling money, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan." But when I say that fraud is happening, well then everyone loses their minds!
And the clincher.
Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!
Here's the plan. Grab breakfast. Truck to KL. Refresh my understanding of local people. Read a lot of Sprudge.

Discovered the ability to save to a personal library in Google Books. Yay.

Packing up for the day. At least, from KL. Will probably continue reading back home.
Customer service with low-skill customers basically means you can't expose any mistakes to them. They get very confused.
A practiced reader allows all external senses to be ignored while reading progresses. Otherwise, full study of the text is impossible.
When you're young, the world is like a wardrobe. Your life is like a suitcase, you must figure out what to leave behind.

Every time I meet a new kitchen device, my mental immune system imagines how badly I could be tortured with it. Sucks to be me.

Anyone assuming that an ad service uses anything less than every keystroke and pixel to generate viewer metadata, is a fucking retard.

2013-05-08

Today's Rumpus: GST; Political Rallies

In Today's Episode of Drama Malaysia:

1) We have a political rally which has submitted a notification of event to the police. However, on assemblies: Act 736, IV.9.2.a requires at least 10 days notification, except for gazetted locations of assembly. Where's the list of these places? As of January, it seems there were none. It eventually turned out that despite bringing traffic on one side of the LDP to a literal standstill for hours, the event was a great success for freedoms of assembly in Malaysia. One chap turned up dressed like Batman. In a stadium full of people, we need a "where's Batman," photo to play with like, you know, "where's Wally."

2) Plenty of noise and confusion, and politicisation of the Goods & Services Tax in Malaysia. This seems to be a good place to start learning about it.
All I have to say is, designate May 13 as a public holiday "Hari Pendamaian Malaysia" #mywant #apacinamahu #apakitamahu



In more personal reflections:
1) GST is now as politicised as race; good job clowns!
2) recently reminded that favour-givers are used to ppl expecting their favours.

Since Tim Wendelboe started international shipping services, I joked that we should group but from his company, and ended up starting a new Facebook group for that (https://www.facebook.com/groups/120689151468017/) after some folks responded positvely. Made a new coffee friend, whom it turns out is seeing another friend who's reviewed our business case. Flushing out the Haskell chaff from my brain with 145 pages (times about a dozen posts per page) of Sprudge.com. Oh, so THAT's how they built the Loring Merlin...also, it turns out that a great place to get machine schematics is... public patent filings!

2013-05-07

Improving Development in Malaysia

Just created a Quant Research group on FB... perchance worth the effort ;) (https://www.facebook.com/groups/641535625862722/) Coders! We need more scientists. Please do more science! It just takes a little statistics. Don't just be bus-drivers for data.

Spent the afternoon chatting with a local artist who's interested in networking the gigging scene and its audiences. People have tried to do it before, but the technology ecosystem is more supportive now.



Well, that's the first time I've been called to discuss software development, then asked if I want to have sex with the counterparties.

Hanging out at the cafe. Watching the rain fall. Again. Taking a cool nap in the little car. Temporarily stepping away from conscious mediocrity. Ye that fuck, why do you not discuss it? Ye that vote, why not discuss that? I'm in an intellectual vacuum again.

Dinner. Then dregs of work.

Mentally drained. Why am I drained? It was such a non-day. Maybe it's the weekend inside my head.

Racey Malaysian News?

From a FB discussion on why race is emphasised so much, even in foreign news coverage of Malaysia.

The ontology of race is a non-trivial mechanism in the dominant party's narrative. TLDR: BN uses race to divide and conquer.

We shouldn't confuse our normative and descriptive categories.

Race as a descriptive category is necessarily applied to the ongoing Malaysian political situation, in order to obtain an accurate model of this situation, because the ontology of race is the social construct that dominates decision making by the humans in this situation.

Race as a normative category is not necessary for politics in general, and as some have observed, in order to actively counteract the narrative of divisive racial politics, folks attacking BN would want to come up with alternative categories that shape the rhetoric of their offensive campaigns.

(Such as speciesism: insert link to "parti-carebear". :P)

Is it ethical for journalists to propagate BN's paradigms?

I guess it depends on where you're using the language. If you're trying to do "just a news report," on the politics of Malaysia, then it makes sense to talk about the decisions that Malaysian voters make in terms of the concepts that Malaysian voters think in, which for better or for worse have been designed by BN. So that justifies the use of Malaysian-BN language by journalists. (Correction: someone pointed out that it is the British who earlier applied these political devices in Malaysia; indeed!)

If you're trying to impute or create new economic insights about Malaysian politics, then you're in the business of research, or "investigative / feature writing,".. i.e. paradigm shifting.. forming hypothetical language constructs, and testing their usefulness. Whether you call that art, or science, or activism... a worthwhile pursuit, but perhaps not for the average journo.

And about whether it's a lazy rehashing - it doesn't matter if it's accurate. Accuracy and effort may be uncorrelated. As to whether it's accurate or not, then you have to get into the details of the model... and then we're moving across the gradient from "reporting the news," i.e. uncovering a story that no one else was fast enough to get to yet, to "digging below the surface," i.e. uncovering a story that no one else was smart enough to get to yet.

So in this line of thought, certain Economist & NYT articles were more the first kind of journalism, and a certain Malaysian Insider article was more the second kind. Makes sense, since the point of the former articles was "via the wire," rehashing, whereas the latter article was an editorial.

“The limits of my language means the limits of my world.”



Utusan Malaysia's headline the next day: "Apa lagi Cina mahu?" / "What else do Chinese want?"

Well, mostly, I just want to be left alone by shit stirrers.

2013-05-06

Tsunami of Racial Politics

As observed by various parties, those familiar with Malaysia's history of curated racial polarisation might note that it was rather antagonistic of Najib Tun Razak to blame his coalition's losses during the 13th Malaysian General Election on a "Chinese Tsunami."

Meanwhile, Anwar Ibrahim is calling for a rally to reject the initial results of this election. Some say that protests against the results belong in court, whereas rallying in a public location causes Anwar's coalition to run the risk of being framed for riots. Riots, particularly racially polarised riots, being a common device (read:bugbear) in Barisan Nasional's political rhetoric.

Other pundits have waded in.



In other news, today I learnt what it feels like to drive a car with a bulging tire. After fixing the car, I'm back at the TTDI coffee shop... and it seems like business as usual for everyone.

Wahai askarsiber dan penyelidik2 sekalian (dari SB, parti-parti, dll)... do not add me as a dumb fake FB user. Pls Just call for a chat.

Believing in "democracy," without asking why, what, or how, is just belief in cowmunism by another name. Stay in the fields. Munch away.

Rally at the KJ Stadium tonight? If you have common sense, watch it live, and stay off the streets. This is still old Malaysia. For now. KJ rally: got the dates wrong, but you get the point. Stay at home. Unless you have nothing to lose. :)

Just stole the font from Niall Ferguson's blog. Have been looking for something that looks like this, for a while.

Rain in Taman Tun. My favourite weather. Don't associate it with gloom!! But it is shit for nervous driving.

Prime examples of democractic cowsmanship include posters to the effect: "don't complain about X if you voted Y." Posters like this are an example of why BN ought to win. Absolutely flamey rhetoric. Flamenco and ditz. Gravel and spit... so much for intelligent citizens...

Social media is too quiet!

[M.Action] -> [IO Document] -> IO [Document] #winterOfTheMind #brainFreeze #monday

Malaysian activists: you know this country is run more like Russia than like the USA right? (US) vanishing rights (RU) vanishing bodies. Caveat: not necessarily true; it's just that the rate of vanishing bodies per capita is said to be higher in RU. But what would I know.

Just introduced a bunch of people who have complementary resources, and at least one common interest. Teams are like bubbles. They're fun. Some are small, some are big. Some last, some don't. Best of all, you can make 'em, quite cheaply.

Absolutely the last FB post for today: so, did BN con you with fake ballots, or did PR con you with fake-fake ballots?

Got this push done. After days of slow prodding, this is huge.

I Wish for Smarter Campaigns in Malaysian Politics

Well, the approach PR and BN (I'll just talk about both together) have taken in the past is really old fashioned... it's really populist in many places, and that's just weak and reactionary.

When you do proper psy-ops whether it's for business or war, you really want to have your target audience cornered... your arguments have to be that good. In order to get that to happen, you need to anticipate every strategic move that your competition is making (come on, is it that hard to figure out how they're going to slander each of your main facemen/women?) and then to spin it appropriately, or if you can't, to move the unspinnable slander out of the limelight. This is just one example.

In general, the idea is that human beings like to pride themselves on "choice" - but your job as a mover of crowds is to provide them with an experience (technically, a sequence of information) that facilitates their "choice" to arrive at your intended destination. You have to be at least 3-steps ahead, so that when you present the audience with Situation 1, you know their options, and then you place Situation 2 after that, so that they arrive where you want them to in Situation 2... the layering just increases depending on how smartass your audience is, but everybody, ultimately, has limits on how smart they think they are, before they decide that they are either

a) confused (you didn't execute this well) or

b) decided (you executed this well if they're decided the way you wanted them to be decided).

Ah, the study of rhetoric.

Come on guys - your campaigns should last years, not just have two or three acts that go into motion a year before elections... also, I'm expecting Obama-esque stats-ops too, next time.

Message I sent to one kid who was calling for a greater focus on PR quantitative strategies: "I can't comment on your post... but STATA?! Dafuq, you can do everything you need and more in Excel, or on a desktop calculator for that matter... lol. Have fun leading the PR data charge with OKM; expect BN to put a little effort into this too. Also, your post focused on quantitative strategies... you have to admit, for the non-quant nerds, there's plenty of non-quant communications strat that could be done much better too. Keep it up. Your beliefs matter to your work. Abaci? Chinchillas calculators might work too. Have fun anyway. Don't imbalance the quant and non-quant components of strategy, since the latter ultimately determines the former if you have a mass of non-quantitatively literate voters."

I think it's important for each coalition / party to have a single-point of contact for data liberation (to the extent that each institution is willing to open up its data). This will make it easier to route researchers to the right sources for data and collaboration. This is a very basic fact of building research ecosystems. I must mention this to the relevant people if and when I next meet them.

How to Fight the Mob

MOB OUTSIDE. YELLING. ROARING. THROWING SHIT. OMG.... it's just fucking Liverpool vs. Everton... -_-


For first-timers who are getting scared by the initial results:
Do not fear. Fear is boring.

1. They announce BN wins first, and delay announcing PR wins. Meaning that you should expect to see more PR wins nearer to the end of the evening.

2. Even if the party you dislike wins, you know why they won. It won't be the first time they've won this way, and it won't be the last time you'll get to try and make them lose.

3. Win, or lose, R&R and proceed with what must next be done...


It's true. It's funny. It's not democratic. But, that's life. Laugh, and persevere.

On reaching Malay audiences: In 2007 I remember attending a PR "blogger" panel at the Chinese Assembly Hall, and all the bloggers were English language bloggers... and in response to questions about how serious they were at blogging in Malay to get a popular audience, the response was simply "someone's doing that too." Well now, not that I have to take sides or anything, but if someone's serious about what they want, they should be challenged to approach it with maximal strategic efficiency.

An ANU professor wades in: "Even in the late Suharto years, the Indonesian press was never this bad,."

Some compiled results data, for people who know what to do with it.

2013-05-05

Technical Discussions on Ethics: Impossibru!

I enjoy discussing things at the highest level of technical precision that I am capable of at the time of the discussion. I enjoy detailed understanding, and this is the main thing that matters to me. This is strictly a personal preference.

In the run up to election, it's been quite amusing to try and engage folks in discussions on the ethics of good citizenship. But usually I sense that folks get somewhat agitated before they reach a non-trivial level of precision in their arguments about what counts as "the right thing to do," or "one of the equally right things to do."

For some reason, all the hemming and hawing brought the term virtue ethics to mind, even though most people arguing for a higher voter turnout this season are pressing buttons of consequentialism and deontology, I think, without thinking about it too carefully. (Whoops.)

In any event, it was fun to go back and skim readings on normative ethics in general, even though it's hardly possible to engage most folks in my ecosystem in a detailed dispassionate conversation about things.

It's been one of those months where I wish I had more options to derive comfort from conversations with people, but mostly, I have only been able to find enjoyment in the reception and delivery of other products and services.



Most arguments for voter turnout are in favour of a two-party equilibrium. Which means there's only one party that they can vote for until that happens. Of course, if democratic infrastructure was ensured, then campaigns should be about policy. But policy-oriented campaigning is correctly secondary in the situation where you have a veiled dictatorship. Because the dictatorship will always squish other voices via totalitarian behaviour.

From my point of view, and this is not a new view, it is the "right" thing to do, to try and unseat the dictatorship, but voting is the not the only way that can get us there. And that, is generally where I run out of interest in conversation from counterparties. No time to discuss the economics of pandering to fake democratic institutions, versus that of violent protest. No time to discuss anything else. Usually, I just zip it at that. But I wish there was more to be said. Maybe I am missing something...

To people who keep telling me to vote, I have said, I'm eating breakfast, and working on code - fixing things I know how to fix. I don't believe that voting (at least, this time) fixes the country. Feel free to disagree. Note, I don't disbelieve it either - but I've been really limited in my success to engage folks in arguments for choosing it (voting) as a medium of activism, over other mediums, such as violent war.

Gloves Off, Malaysia

Ceramahs are foreplay? Wait, I have a sex idea for an election poster...



CAMPAIGNING IS OVER. Thank heavens, there's one thing to be thankful for, already... -_-

Wondering if it's worth spending all day tomorrow at the KL office, or just hiding out in Hulu Langat.

Happy fighting, call me if there's a coup. I'm all up for coups. I'm just too lazy to do them nicely. So happy voting, those of you who do it the nice way. I just want efficient machinery. All this lovey-dovey save the country stuff is too much for me.

Old Government or new, I just want to get back to routine ASAP. Too much in the balance. Straight peace or war. No time for in-betweens.

I know, I know, this is blatant plagiarism... but I didn't have a pair of hot models at 2 am.

Here's the plan for the rest of the evening - get some food - add a monitor to my workstation, and take a shower.

Wake up, active participants in Malaysia's "democracy." Fly, fly, fly!

Time to hit the sack. Hurry up Malaysia, get through this adolescent phase, and then maybe we can have a proper chat.

At least the recent deluge of political ideology on social media has been more entertaining than live-tweeted football.

It is a strange life one lives. Many opportunity costs. Questionable benefits. Well, on with it...

Would have posted a pic showing that I didn't vote, but that's pointless now since (everyone and their mom, on social media, is posting that) the ink comes off. Both sides will complain later, in the aftermath to the polls. They're going to question the vote of every single person who posted pix of their "washed off" finger on Facebook. Wait for it...

Pardon me for underscoring the bleakness of this proposition: but if you have a problem with racist Malaysians, you're a hipster.

Going to try and get at least a little work done today. Probably a futile effort, but hey, at least I'm doing what I can.

Taking stock of my social network, and consolidating resources where they appear to provide returns - inside my head.

Expect fear, but do not fear it.