Tuesday, 23 December 2008

feeling a bit sad

It's almost Christmas and I probably should write about something a bit happier, but I suddenly feel a bit sad about business and work. I'll use my favourite analogy again: the body
the body works amazingly well with so many different parts and organs because there is a high level of division of labour, each organ is only good at doing one thing and nothing else. in fact this is not amazing, sometimes it is even detrimental since if the kidneys fail, or the heart fails, or the brain fails, or the stomach fails, then the whole body collapses since no other organ is able to replace them. big companies are better at this in this sense, people in a department can be replaced - they might not do a good job but the company will still function. however, the amazing thing is how all the organs work together.
there is absolutely no selfish interest for each organ, the kidney wouldn't boast its performance by pretending that it cleans the blood more than it did and thereby gaining more oxygen or whatever currency the body works in; the eyes wouldn't claim to be able to see further and clearer than they can so that the brain interprets signals from the eyes more than it deserves, likewise the ears wouldn't compete with the eyes and try to get a bigger share of sensory input to the brain. what the sensory organs do is that they give the best and accurate information they have to the brain so that the most well-informed decision can be made about what to do in any situation.
big companies are different: there is a single currency which is pure money, departments often compete with each other so that each makes sure that their department has the biggest share of fund possible. this problem occurs most acutely when two or more departments are having similar functions, or have similar goals. of course, the goal, or the justification of each department's existence, is generating money for the company. therefore, each department, to some degree, compete, and sometimes they do what the eyes and ears in our body do not do, namely they have to present information that are not entirely true, or they give part of the full picture, in order that they do not lose out in the competition. this necessarily leads to misjudgement and misinformation when the company as a whole needs to make any decision.
what I feel people do not understand thorughly is that giving out wrong information does not just hurt a company, but what it tends to do is that it makes a department look very good short term, but in the end, there wijll be no substance to support the expansion, and therefore the department suffers more than it deserves at a later date. and this is sad.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

an imprisonned man

Hannah stared at the brick wall, as if it was a mirror on which she could find out how she looked before leaving. she turned, there was another wall, she turned again, and yet there was another, and she turned once more, and there was yet another... gradually, she began to realise that there was no mirror in front of her, she could not see the present reflection, but a film was unfolding about her past.
There was James, sat beside him was a beautiful young woman. they looked at each other lovingly, they whispered even though no one else was in the room, he hugged her tightly as if they have not met for centuries, they took off each other's clothes as if the young woman was Hannah. the next thing that Hannah saw, she was standing on the edge of a boat, there was a hand reaching out from the murky water to desperately trying to hold on to anything. she let out a cry and hit it with so much force that the boat shook, and the bucket of miserable fish they caught earlier toppled into the sea. some of the fish sank, the rest danced away with so much joy that made Hannah smile.
the guard came and found her staring at the blank wall, he led her to the gate, and all of a sudden found the quiet and always-thinking prisoner intensely intriguing. he did not know what she had done to land in prison, nor could he have guessed at all given such a quiet, seemingly well-mannered woman.
"Do you ... regret?" he asked hesitantly as if some evil might come out of her to strike on his question. she spotted a rather pretty beatle in front of her foot, almost out of instinct, she held her leg high and hammered the beatle. that, was the biggest negative answer the guard has ever seen.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

sheep and lemonade

In the middle of the desert, in the middle of the day
there was a wealthy shepherd, with his sheep and his lemonade
the lemonade was too hot, but the sheep thought not
the sheep were busy, and the shepherd was dizzy
a gust of wind came, and everything was lost.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008


There are so many things that are worth writing about these days, and they are all pretty hard core stuff. so I have chosen a quick and silly one instead while doing my ... pasta:)

tomato, tomato! I think you're a hero!
you save my pasta from being dull and horrible.
rumble, rumble! my tummy bellows,
I cannot wait to put some pasta on the stove.
- yan

Sunday, 2 November 2008

software cracks

recently, I've noticed that a few cracks for assistive software for the blind have appreared. these include screenreaders for computer, as well as screenreaders for the phone.
a lot of comments are posted with the cracks, they all roughly amount to saying thanks to the author who makes it possible for their blind friends to gain access to a normal computer or phone. to put it in context, the most popular screenreader Jaws by freedom scientific, is about 3 times more expensive than the pc I'm using, the screenreader for phone, is generally the same price as the phone (or, since most phones come free nowadays with a contract, the screenreader is 250 gbp roughly for reference).
this means that a normal person just wouldn't be able to afford these things unless the government, or some charities, or the company he works for is willing to pay for the software (and of course, one needs a "good reason" to apply for these funding.
I join those who prais the people who provide the cracks, because it's grossly wrong that the software providers deliberately cash on government and charity funding.
the opensource comunity has started doing something about it which deserve a big applaude as well, noticeably NVDA which is now very usable and can decently replace something that costs three times the price of a computer.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

toasty (my inspiration at lunch)

"would you like your usual cheese and ham toasty today?"

"I hate that toasty..."

"hmm? what would you like instead?"

"I'll have a ham and cheese toasty."

"aren't they the same?"

"one is cheese and ham, one is ham and cheese."

"I'll do you one of each, and if you can tell the difference you don't have to pay."

"if I can't?"

"you pay for both."


"which is which?"

"both are cheese and ham, I don't want either of them."

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Where's justice?

If I hate someone, I would make them suffer, I won't kill them. I didn't come up with that, Jesus has a much more elaborate account of how to go about doing it with eternal suffering as opposed to killing the soul.
a clergyman today has been sentenced to 3.5 years in jail, because he keeps photos of children being raped, tortured, being naked etc. 57,000 of them, over the course of 30 years. he buys them, he downloads them, he looks for them, he creates them. if it was not the case that there are people of this kind, those thousands of children probably wouldnt have suffered.
yesterday, a woman was sentenced for 15 years in jail because she drowned her daughter, because she could not accept her disability. I don't know why she cannot accept the daughter's disability, but clearly the mum is not getting the right support, she has some huge psychological bariers.
where's justice then? we know that suffering is much worse than death, the ClergyMonkey directly inflicts an inmeasurable amount of suffering, whereas the mother killed a life. furthermore, both of them have huge psychological problems, the mother's problem with the child helps us understand why she committed such a crime in such a way that we can make sense of the crime. the monkey on the other hand, is just an evil.
our society, while perfectly understands that suffering is much worse than death, is not sending out the right signal to the criminals.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

going to toilet, and a couple of other things

I can't help I have to share this with you. I have started reading an audio book, which is called "predictably irational." the topic is a mix of psychology and economy. well I will write about the book at another time.
I was listening to the book on my phone through my headphones, so that I was quite free to get on with whatever I needed to do after work. when I went to the toilet, I came across one of the most peculiar experiences... the book was telling me about some scientific experiment, I was concentrating solely on the theory and outcome of the experiment and all of a sudden I heard my pee went into the toilet bowl. there was an irony to what my ears were hearing, almost to the point of being funny. it was, as it were, the sounds just did not make sense.
now I know, we can tell jokes not just by language, it can be by pictures, by video, and also by sound!

the other things:
I want to write about atheism, my reply to the claim that atheism is just another faith.

also, my views on right and wrong in the context of social norms.
until then

Friday, 29 August 2008

religious art

there is a woden sculpture of a green frong being cruicified, with its green tongue sticking out and one of his hands holding an egg and the other holding a cup, which is currently being hated by the pope. a lot of people are trying to remove it from the art gallary as well because they say it's offensive to christianity which sees the cross as symbol of love etc.
indeed, most if not all artworks on religion that we come across are to do with beauty, mercy, greatness, love...... of god, these artists create such art possibly because they do not have words to describe their strong feelings about what they believe. if this is true, the lack of artworks such as those that depict nastiness of religion, or those that mock religion, suggests that people who criticise religion do not have as strong feelings towards religion (in an opposite way) as those who love their god.
interestingly, it is far from the truth that people do not have strong feelings towards religion in a negative way. so what do these people do when they want to express their repultion to religion? they certainly don't tend to do it through artworks such as painting, but they write, they argue.
so on one hand, people who say possitive things about god/religion do it through traditional artworks (including singing, painting etc); on the other, people who say negative things about god/religion tend to do it through text. I believe that this is not an accidental difference of expression, but rather it tells us what religions actually are.
in a blunt sentence, I would say that religions are pretty, nice, beautiful illogical bullshit that a lot of people have to depend on.

Sunday, 17 August 2008


I promised to write about my views and experiences of how blind people go into the "normal" society after being sheltered in institutions such as special schools, so here it is. forgive my possibly politically incorrect use of "normal", but I do think that special schools are pretty abnormal.
a special school is typically a tiny school (the two I went to had about 100 students). Everything one needs to do and one wants to do is heavily supported, for example, all the books are translated into Braille for us, every single teaching activity has been understandably adapted to blind people's needs, the microwaves talk (at least the majority), tesco trips are organised and there is almost always a one to one "shopping support" from the members of school staff, staff are on site to give lessons on how to get from school to town, or where ever one needs to go, the list goes on and on.
so the first chalenge for someone going into university, or going into the society to find a job, is that all of a sudden, the person is unable to find the kind of support he is so used to, or it takes an awful long time for that kind of support to come and the person just sits there and wait. another chalenge, perhaps is even bigger, is that all of a sudden, the person finds himself in a strange society in which people have eyes that can see(!) and "shockingly", those people who can see probably have never interacted with a blind person before.
the blind person goes from having absolutely all the confidence he has with his surrounding, friends, ways of doing things to have totally lost his confidence on just about everything, because he doesn't know how a normal person sees him, he finds himself unable to join a lot of the activities or even basic discussions that people around him do and talk about. on top of that, the normal people do tell the blind person directly or indirectly that they are seeing him differently to the rest, by having a tendency to approach the blind person extremely carefully (always appologising even no fault was commited, unsure about whether to help or not ending up watching the blind person embarasing himself (of course the blind person knows that), always feel uneasy about using the words that have something to do with sight/watch/see ending up having lots of interuptions to an otherwise normal conversation etc ).
I think it's fair to say that I coped with the change very well, I actually loved my university years much more than being in the special college. one of my advantages is that I am never a big fan of going out/clubbing etc, so I don't feel left out at all when everyone is doing just that. in fact when people did occasionally asked me to go I have to find the most stupid excuse not to go...
what the blind has to realise is that it's up to themselves to turn things round, to build up confidence. one has to realise that being blind is a disability, is not normal, and being blind does need help, and it's okay to ask for help and it's okay to accept help. people offer help not because they think that you can't do something, but most of the time it's because they want to make it easier and quicker for you to do something. there are times when you need to refuse help so that you can learn to be independent, and that will be when you have lots of time and when you are not slowing everyone else down.
when I have lots of time, even when I'm totally lost in the street, I don't tend to ask anyone for help. I tend to just try to find my way back to where I came from, and figure out what I did wrong. it can be scary sometimes, but you will never end up not being able to go home and starved to death! I have been lost numourous times, sometimes I find my way back, and sometimes I really needed help in the end.
a word on waiting for support: never rely on official support, they are absolutely useless. my friends, girlfriend, sister etc are my best mobility teachers. you have to make a big effort remembering where you have been, ask questions as well.
I will write a bit more about socialising next time, but I'm probably not the best person to talk about it because I am not very keen on socialising.

Saturday, 16 August 2008


There was an Old Man with a flute,--
A "sarpint" ran into his boot!
But he played day and night, till the "sarpint" took flight,
And avoided that Man with a flute.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

a couple of funny things in the news today

1. while everyone is worrying so much about eatting junk food, calories etc, the greatest olympian of all time has 12,000 colories a day with:
eggs, bakon, sausage, omlet, pancake with sugar for breakfast.
1/2 kg pasta, lots of ham and egg sanwiches for lunch
a big pizza, more pasta, and a high colory drink for dinner..

2. I love this one. Napal is choosing their living Goddess, she has to be calm, serious, patient, can't walk on the floor - always be carried and has carers and lots of things.
some human right lawyers are trying to stop this from happening, because it infringes her human right! well isn't it obvious? she's seen as a Goddess, not a bloody human! come on and wake up, there are many many more urgent human right cases/issues to take care of.

lastly, this isn't funny really. a-level results in UK have been released. 97% passed, 25% got aS. researchers have shown that the A's this year is equvalent to about a C a couple of years back, while students are claiming that they are working sooooo hard. I leave you to work out what it means (that is, you probably can't work it out if you only have A's for this year a-level)

I am an average student, getting the results that most students get throughout my school life including university. I took the a-level 6 years ago, and ever since I have been criticising how the exam papaers are set up, how wrong it is that the questions are repeated, coursework can simply be plagerised, the marking system makes it extremely easy to score A's. I admitedly didn't do much revising, apart from for chemistry. all I was caring about was whether I could perform well in the school concert at the end of the school year. what I'd say probably is: drink a bit less, drug a bit less and shag a bit less and at least, do not damage your memory and concentration skills so that you can memorise answers from past papers!

Friday, 8 August 2008

when did I

I was thinking about what it means to like something, or what makes me like something. so the simplest model i have is this: if in my past, every time I do a certain action, or come across a certain object, I get some pleasure out of it, I become liking that thing or liking to do that action.
At home when I was very young, I was always the one who would volunteer to pick up dead cockroaches that sister killed. I would put a piece of toilet paper on it, and pick it up and throw it in to the toilet. I cannot remember when I stopped doing this, but all I know is that now, I am actually very afraid of touching insects - dead or alive. I don't even like touching plants, just in case something is crawling on it.
so surely there must have been a time when touching insects or similar things gave me constant horror, which makes me so afraid of them now. but I cannot find anywhere in my memory what that was...
I don't know whether I need to refine my model or I really am missing something in my history...

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Optional barter

I'll start from the beginning of the train of thoughts. when one visits a restaurant or hotel, one sits down, eats (or whatever one does in a hotel), then one pays, and then he leaves. with the "green programs" nowadays, guests can choose not to have full service. e.g., they can choose not to have their towel washed everyday, and a percentage of their bill will be donated to a charity that funds something green.
if the intention of the hotel's manager really is to be green, I think he hasn't gone far enough with the scheme. what he should do is to reduce the bill of the guest by a certain percentage, then behind the scene he donates the money to the charity. guests are always happier when they see their bill decreased, and therefore more money can be collected, and more water can be saved.
if this way of reducing guest's bill really works, why not go a step further for something like an optional barter system? so a guest can not only offer to have his towel unwashed, he can offer to bring his towels to the laundry in order that 1% of his bill is deducted, if he offers to fetch his food from room service himself, he can have the tray charge deducted, if he offers to change his bed, he can have 2% of his bill deducted, if he hoovers, well that's hard so an even bigger percentage.
now to have a proper barter system, guests can offer to help other guests' luggaeg, so that he can share the tips and have something off his bill, he can offer to be a waiter in his free time, he can offer to be the doorman etc.


Wednesday, 23 July 2008


If one reads too much of religious text, one runs into the danger of
thinking that the stories are true. this headline shows it, and it's
sad to know that it's the origin of big problems.
"Obama calls Israel a "miracle", vows staunch support"

Thursday, 12 June 2008


Music really touches me sometimes, and I really don't like it. it's too heavy.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Hong Kong/china patriotism

in the last ten years, Hong Kong has been subject to a huge "patriotic campaign" orchestrated by presumably the Chinese governemnt in order that Hong Kong's people hearts and minds are won. I do not know how successful the campaign has been on the whole, I can only say that from what I can see, the campaign has backfired.
the recent earthquake has generated huge response in Hong Kong, the patriots claim victory because in their eyes, if one loves one's country one would naturally donate, if one doesn't donate one does not love one's country. as a side note, obviously these patriots have forgotten how Hong Kong people reacted to the south east asia tsunami - there was only a handful of fundraising tv programs, no company offered "purchase and we will donate on your behalf" kind of programs, yet queues were constantly seen in banks where people donate.
going back to the patriotics, let me tell you how rediculous, extreme and wrong they are with an example, and perhaps you can understand why the patriotism campaign backfires.
a school girl of about 13 wrote in her blog that roughly says that people should donate some money to help the pandas in si cheuen as well because much of the rescue has been concentrated on people, and the pandas have been neglected. this is inocent enough. however, the patriotics decided that this is against the rescue effort, someone found out where the girl lives, which school she goes to, and "have a chat" with the headmaster. in the end, the headmaster gave the girl the most serious warning (which is a written warning which stays in her profile for the rest of her school life).
firstly, I cannot believe that such an incompatent, puppet headmaster is allowed to run a school. secondly, does this not say something about why all the big companies are offering purchase and we will donate on your behalf programs? perhaps they have received similar "chats" or pressure?

loving a country, or a person for that matter, does not mean that one has to agree stupidly with everything she says and wants to do. unless the so-called patriotics in Hong Kong realise that criticisms and alternative views can be both useful and helpful, they will not be welcome.

Monday, 2 June 2008

a cartoon I want to draw

if I could, I would draw a cartoon of the following scene, which has been living in my head for a while.

two people are having a big piece of nam bread in front of them enjoying their dinner. they are both very polite and have been tearing small pieces of the nam bread for themselves. the moment comes when there is only a small bit left. neither of them wants to take the last piece because it's considered to be a little rude. so they kept spliting the small piece - first the size of a cd, then a coaster, then a 2 pound coin, then a penny, then almost like a grain of rice......
all the while the two people are chatting away as if nothing has happened, but both are very uneasy.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

charity donations choices

I have a fix amount of money that I can donate to charity for a good cause, and several oppotunities have presented themselves:
the earthquake in china. I am a chinese, I feel that helping the chinese people affeced by the earthquake is more than just donating to charity. I have some sort of duty to help as much as I can.
Burma cyclone. the devestation is worse than that in china, or so it seems. they certainly need more help.
the third one is kind of a coleague. if he doesn't raise enough money, his daughter, who is 7 years old, will die of brain tumer. he needs quite an enormous sum of money because the operation has to be done in America. we are talking about tens of thousands of pounds I believe.

so I have 50 pounds I am happy to donate, but to which one? the first thing that comes to mind, cruel as it sounds, is that I dont want to donate to the poor girl who has a brain tumour. because 50 pounds presumably can help many more than one life in either Burma or China. but then the coleague is much more closely related to myself than anyone in burma and china that my 50 pounds will help. but then again, as I said, I have kind of a bond with the chinese people too, I really ought to help them. but then, my 50 pounds might mean the most in burma, where much more help relative to the other two is needed. I cannot decide how and what I can base my judgement on.