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If You’re Gonna be Dumb… February 26, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough
when you get knocked down you gotta get back up
i ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer but i know enough to know,
if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

I drenched my brain in rot-gut whiskey
’til all my pain was chicken-fried
and i had dudes with badges frisk me
teach me how to swallow pride
i took advice no fool would take
i got some habits that i can’t shake
i ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer but i know enough to know,
if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough
when you get knocked down, you gotta get back up
that’s the way it is in life and love
if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.

I’ve been up and down and down and out
i’ve been left and right and wrong
yeah, i’ve walked the walked and run my mouth
i’ve been on the short end for too long
but if they give me medals for honky tonk wars
hell, i’d put mine in my chest of drawers
with my IRS bills and divorce papers and all that stuff
if you’re gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.


I am Singaporean XIX – Strongmen with Fragile Egos. February 25, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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I just read that FEER’s petition to move the defamation lawsuit against them was thrown out by the Singaporean courts.

So in terms of the defamation score, it’s PAP n (where n is a reasonably large number), the World 0.

Sometimes, i find it quite ironic how a strongman who has built up Singapore from scratch actually has such a fragile ego. I mean, look. For every thing which happens even to have a whiff of something with relation to the words nepotism or anything about the judiciary and a link to politics constitutes a possible defamatory lawsuit. I bet that if some politician or some internal security department yuppie looked at sammyboy’s, there’d be another wave of arrests under the ISA.

So what’s with the fragile ego? Are the statements truly defamatory?

I shall attempt to discuss these views briefly in this post, and all readers should take note that this is not, repeat NOT an attempt to influence the public peace.

Well, what is, then, ‘truly defamatory’? It seems from FEER’s case that the defamatory statements were inferred from the article itself. So, it is a problem of interpretation. I learned that in all text analysis, interpretation consists of observation, potential meanings, and evaluation. Firstly, one has to observe what’s in the text and deduce various potential meanings, and then evaluate it.

In the case of the Defamation Lawsuit, one would have to observe what was said, deduce the meanings of words used/terminology, and from there, evaluate the statement as being defamatory or not. The problematic part of this is that no interpretation is fully correct, nor is any interpretation totally wrong. So, we are down to just a lot of guesswork. The groundings of a defamatory lawsuit, in this manner, comes onto shaky ground, as long as no direct attacks were made, since we can’t read minds. The question now is, thus: is it even correct to base a defamatory lawsuit on guesswork and implied meanings? See the entry on Justice for a clarification of judicial language. If justice is a positivist science, why and how can it be based on implied meanings?

I have nothing against slapping people who directly attack someone with a defamation lawsuit. But the defamation lawsuit has been used in cases where you have multiple definitions and meanings. Is this what the defamation lawsuit is all about? Do we have, then, to watch our words every time we open our mouth because someone may be listening?

I mean, sure, perhaps our Strongmen have fragile egos because they know that they are in the public eye, and they can’t afford to lose face, because they fear that then, their public image will go down and they may lose the next GE. But is this necessarily true? The PAP seems to be using a form of prophylaxis here…whereby they take measures to counter the perceived threat, even if the threat may not be there. Perhaps that is a reason why political films (i mean, films concerning the other political parties especially Mr. SDP’s party) are forbidden, because the other political parties may be (and i stress on the word may) poisoning the minds of our poor countrymen. Singapore Rebel got banned…i mean, the producer got an appointment with the police for tea and biscuits, and FEER got sued mainly for writing an article about Mr. SDP.

So is this fragile ego thing actually insecurity on their side? I mean, everyone in power is always worried of losing it the next turn. It’s natural – if you have something good, you would be worried of losing it, unless it was for something better. Our Gahmen, which can only go higher by perhaps dominating the world, or maybe ASEAN for starters, probably don’t have that ‘something better.’ Thus, all the more the fear about losing the power they have, which is, in my humble opinion, quite absolute.

After all, it’s not as if they can’t afford a defamation lawsuit! And even if our Strongmen tend to be relatively indifferent to humour and parody, their subordinates are not…

So we have an administrative system which tends to be over-sensitive, maybe allergic to any criticism of them, whilst not being that much sensitive to the people’s needs and wants. Too bad for us, i suppose, because most of us are thick-skinned…our egos are not so fragile as theirs. Heh. Even if our egos were fragile at first, we’ve been conditioned to make them harder – only the elite are allowed to have fragile egos. It shows they are sensitive people.

I mean, selectively sensitive!

I am Singaporean XVIII – THEY are Out There. February 21, 2007

Posted by The Truth in I am Singaporean, Vol. I.

There is a problem with humanity, namely, the dichotomy of Us and Them. It’s everywhere…from cliques in school to Uncle Bush and his holy war against ‘Muslim terrorists.’

But i am not a great philosopher (because as of now i am still studying the subject) so i will reduce the breadth of this particular argument to the Singaporean scene. Now, i will attempt to bring the question of Us/Them through various aspects of society – maybe you will gain some insight into what is wrong…

  1. The Individual. Of course, man is ego-centric…when it comes down to the most animalistic of moments (i.e. kill or be killed), man will kill. The I always takes precedence over the Them – sometimes, the I takes precedence over the Us. My instructor in the Army used to use the term ‘me, myself, and fucking i’ – indeed, much military training is meant to assimilate the I into an Us. Almost everyone is selfish at times (myself included) and some people are religious because they don’t want to go to Hell. Well and good.
  2. The Family. The family is a very tightly-knit unit – thus, the phenomenon of the Outsider is always most prominent here. But i do not perceive it to be a social ill – after all, the family is the core of all society. If not for this Us/Them dichotomy, there wouldn’t be families anymore…and even i can’t imagine a world without one. This is more so in Asian societies – Asian families tend to be close-knit and, as a result, closed off to Them. Can be shown by some parents, who cannot imagine their children living overseas after their graduation. They offer all sorts of incentives, like buying a car, or things like that, just so their children will come back and settle with a Singaporean girl. Similarly, many parents cannot understand why their children want to stay overseas (although an overseas education is deemed to be of utmost importance.) – after all, our children are part of Us…they cannot live in Their culture!
  3. Politics. I think the Us/Them dichotomy becomes a lot more nuanced but a lot more problematic on this niveau. The impression i get from the politicians sometimes is that they want to convince us that there is actually a greater Us, but then again, a lot of their policies seem to run against it. There is a lack of transparency, and even discrimination – the blogosphere is perceived to be a problem area requiring a ‘clean-up’ (with a clean-up crew of anonymous PAP agents, what else!) there is always this perception of taking from the people to give to themselved – So are we actually Us, or are we just the Servants in a Master-Servant relationship? Is the concept of ‘Us’ just a lie?
  4. Politics once again. What of the defamation lawsuits? Silencing is a very good method of polarising a society into Us and Them…That is probably the clearest sign of ‘Either you are with Us, or you are with Them (and deserve to go into jail, accordingly.) I can only wonder what a Grand Coalition in Parliament will look like.
  5. Society in general, especially the élite/peasant divide…we have élite JCs, élite secondary schools, élite this, élite that. And, this élitism does show! Scoffing at ‘neighbourhood-school types’, Science students scoffing at Arts students, My-Dad-is-Richer-than-Yours, and so on. I don’t know, but i think the Us/Them mentality is very strong in the minds of the élite…i mean, ‘get out of my elite, uncaring face’ wasn’t that long ago right?
  6. International Relations. Until a world government can form, it was postulated by Locke that nations will still act in a state of nature to each other – that is, the individual state comes first. Us/Them is obvious, very obvious – but everyone does it anyway, and there’s nothing much we can do about it.

Of this, i think the 3rd point i discussed is most disturbing. So is our existence justified only by our service to our country? And what do our politicians do? I would really like to know, but i don’t want to become part of Them. No, i’d rather remain with Us. Us, not Them.

Wir beide! February 19, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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immer werden wir so bleiben, jung und fein und schön, wir beide
stehen auf die guten Zeiten, Jahr für Jahr…

Dystopia CNY February 19, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Okay, so there’s nothing to be happy about.

I thought that finishing all my Klausuren would give me a chance to take a breather from all the mad studying (ever since i came back from London, i’ve been spending every Friday and Saturday there – yes i am a closet mugger. So shoot me.)

But as the semester came to a close, i noticed one thing…there are so many people i’m not going to see again. Close friends and not-so-close friends, people who i don’t even know, and people i should have gotten to know better.

And you will read this unbelievingly and say ‘but it’s Chinese New Year! Come on! Cheer up! It’s your new year!’ Well, go away. I’m not in the mood to celebrate or throw fluffy stuff around or go for reunion dinners (come to think of it i ate myself – reunion was clubbing thereafter…yeah until 5 am and i think i puked my guts out. No, seriously…but it was one hell of a night.)

Petrisberg is so quiet. It’s eerie.

I was reading how everyone else was writing their blog entries in Chinese, wishing everyone 新年快乐。。。恭喜发财。。。no inclination to go and spread the good cheer man. Sorry, haojun, franzi, and lot, but i was feeling rather crabby when i wished y’all happy new year. I think i am secretly jealous. Yes, jealous!

Why? Guys cannot be jealous ah?

At least some other people have someone to be with for CNY, and here i am, mashing away at my keyboard (i just finished my philosophy notes), wishing i had a beer when i don’t.

I am Singaporean XVII – The Playground. February 6, 2007

Posted by The Truth in I am Singaporean, Vol. I.

NB: I first saw the word ‘playground’ regarding the PAP spy operation on intelligent singaporean. All names are purely fictional. Have fun!

Once upon a time, there was a playground. It was a pretty normal playground, those playgrounds you can almost everywhere, with senior citizens doing tai chi in the morning, people jogging, and kids playing on swings. Of course, this playground, until some time ago, was used exclusively by the citizens. Going to the playground was not so much an outing for the children who belonged to the richer families, because they were indoctrinated from the start that the playground was not a nice place to be, because they could fall down and scratch themselves. And after all, who wanted to hang out with the ordinary people, when they had things to do like rule over their action figures and expensive dolls?

In the playground, there was freedom. Everyone knew everyone else, and it was okay for a little boy to play with a little girl and build sandcastles and play on the swings. Everyone was happy, and one day, they saw a rich kid walk past the playground, looking at them with distaste in his eyes.

‘Eh! Play with us la!’

The rich kid looked at them, all covered in sand, sweat, but smiling and happy, and snorted at them. ‘i have more important things to do, like rule my little country at home. You all will never know what it is to be like me.’ And he walked off, leaving the children at the playground staring at his receding figure.

This incident, of course, caused the playground to be closed off to the rich kids. All the children at the playground were very unhappy and were talking about how to keep the rich kids off the playground because they were so nasty. One of the children remarked that if they ever let the rich kids into the playground, they would become little more than the citizens of the rich kids’ country. They said many unkind things about the rich kids, criticising almost every aspect of their existence, especially their arrogance and their refusal to even talk and mix with them, the children of the playground.

The rich kid knew that this was happening, and, looking around him, he discovered that all his friends were rich kids. He knew that he would have to get to know some ordinary people and not just the social elite, because he had to know what others were saying about him and his friends. Everytime he and his friends met at his exclusive playground (with all sorts of amenities – think gold slides, and all) they sat around, discussing their new methods of ruling their little countries of dolls and action figures. One of them said that she heard daddy discussing taxes and she heard that one can earn more money from tax raises, so she raised the taxes of her doll-house.

Even if she didn’t get any real money, she felt really smart indeed. Her smartness led our rich kid, Lee, to declare that amongst all the rich kids’ little kingdoms, there should be a tax raise, even if he did not know what taxes were.

Of course, the ordinary kids shunned the rich kids’ playground, even if it was open, and Lee despaired of knowing anything new about what the ‘bad’ children were talking about them. So, one day, Lee approached his servant, an exceedingly normal man whose name Lee didn’t even know. He was so non-descript that you could pass him on the street without even registering his presence.

‘Ey! I need your help.’

‘Yes, Master Lee?’

‘I want you to go to the playground frequented by the normal children and find out what they are talking about. If they say nasty things i want you to correct them.’

‘Yes, sir.’

So, one day, while all the children were out at the playground, this unnamed man went to the playground to take a walk. And on this walk, he heard shocking things being said about Young Master Lee. One of the boys, Beng, was declaring loudly that if Lee was allowed onto the playground, it would mean the end of the happy fun days for them all. This non-descipt man approached Beng.

‘You are wrong, child. Lee is actually a very nice person. He wants to control you because he cares for you. Your well-being comes first,’ he said soothingly.

Beng looked at him with a cocked eyelid. ‘Are you one of Lee’s agents?! What is your name?!’

The non-descript man smiled and left mysteriously.

To be Continued….

No one is thinking anymore. [Deutsch] February 6, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Habt Ihr manchmal euch gefragt, wieso ich mich so gegen die Naturwissenschaften eingestellt habe?

Das frage ich mich auch ab und an. Warum? Habe ich doch nicht 3 naturwissenschaftlichen Fächer für das Abi gelernt? Hatte ich nicht als Kind davon geträumt, einer großartiger Naturwissenschaftler zu werden? War ich nie einmal für die Chemie begeistert?

Vielleicht war das einmal so. Jetzt bin ich anders als zuvor. Irgendwann war mir eingefallen, wie sich die Menschen in die Naturwissenschaften und das unendliche Streben nach Mehr geirrt haben. Wenn Ihr also die Naturwissenschaften studiert, so bitte ich Euch, zuerst durchzulesen, ehe Ihr mich angreift.

Bertrand Russell hat ein Buch namens ‘Power’ geschrieben. In diesem Buch geht er davon aus, dass alle menschlichen Handeln auf die Macht und die Sucht nach Macht zurückzuführen sei, vor allem in die Politik. Aber es ist hierbei nicht meine Absicht, mich mit der Politik auseinander zu setzen, es sei denn, ich werde versuchen, die von Russell identifizierten menschlichen Machtansprüche auf die Naturwissenschaft anzuwenden. Vielleicht werdet Ihr daraus einen kleinen Einblick darin gewinnen, woran ich glaube.

In der Antike war die Philosophie die einzige Wissenschaft, die man betreiben sollte. In der Philosophie war fast alles enthalten – Fragestellungen über die Existenz der Dinge (Metaphysik), über das richtige Handeln und das gute Leben (Ethik), und so weiter, und so fort. Ab dem 17.Jahrhundert und mit der Aufwertung des Empiricismus und des Rationalismus gab es eine Aufsplitterung der Gesamtwissenschaft, die bisher betrieben wurde, in eine Dichotomie der Natur- und Geisteswissenschaften. Infolge der Industriellen Revolution erhielt die Naturwissenschaften die Aufgabe, den menschlichen Fortschritt zu gewährleisten und die künftige Welt dadurch zu verbessern.

Welche Aufgaben hat also die Naturwissenschaft? Meines Erachtens lautet die Hauptaufgabe, den Menschen von der Natur und ihre Gesetzen zu emanzipieren und schließlich sie zu beherrschen. Dabei kommt eine schwierige Problematik ans Licht: sind wir also bereit, so etwas vernünftig zu betreiben? Manche würden zu dieser Frage bejahen – schließlich haben wir so viele Entdeckungen gemacht und es ist ja offentsichtlich, dass heute viel besser im Vergleich zu zuvor ist.

Meiner Meinung nach sind wir nicht bereit. Was mir aufgefallen ist, ist, dass die Machtsucht der Menschen fast außer Kontrolle geraten ist. Mit Hilfe der Naturwissenschaften haben wir Atomwaffen entwickelt, die die Welt hundertmal zerstören könnten. Die Regierungen der Welt nutzen die Naturwissenschaften aus, um neue Entwicklungen in der Kriegstechnologie zu erfinden. Diejenigen, die Macht haben, versuchen, ihren Einfluss bzw. ihre Machtreichweite zu verbreiten. Und wie? Durch neue Waffentechnik, neue Beobachtungs- und Spionierungsmethoden, usw.

Was würde passieren, wenn eines Tages eine Superwaffe erfunden würde? Ich würde sagen, man würde versuchen, die ganze Welt zu erobern. Warum aber ist das noch nicht passiert?

Meines Erachtens gibt es zu jeder Zeitperiode eine nicht zu überschreitende Grenze, die den menschlichen Fortschritt durch die Naturwissenschaften gewissermaßen einschränkt – sonst würde sich die Menschlichkeit zerstören. Diese Grenze ist die der Mündigkeit der Menschen. Um diese Grenze los zu werden müssten wir die Fähigkeit entwickeln, uns mit den Schätzen, die die Naturwissenschaft uns erfunden hat, vernünftig umzugehen.

Der Schlüssel dafür ist m.E. in den Geisteswissenschaften zu finden. Die Literaturwissenschaft, die Philosophie, und so fort – ich glaube, darin sei den Schlüssel zu finden. Dieser Wahn nach Mehr – mehr Technik, mehr Waffen, mehr Energie, wird kein Ende kennen und was nun übrig bleibt ist nur, denken zu lernen.

Seit dem 17. Jahrhundert wurde die Welt des Wissens von den Naturwissenschaften dominiert – keine reflektierte mehr, während jeder sich nach mehr technischer Entwicklung strebte. Warum sind heute die Geisteswissenschaften von so einem niederen Rang? Warum sind sie vernachlässigt? Warum bevorzugen die Machthaber die Naturwissenschaft mehr? Macht ist heute alles, was die Menschen brauchen. Mit Macht kann man dem Faustrecht nach gewinnen, egal, in welche Umstände man sich befindet. Inzwischen sind die Geisteswissenschaften längst zurückgeblieben: Denken wir heute an einem berühmten Schauspiel, so müsst dies vielleicht 200 Jahre früher geschrieben werden. Denken wir an Philosophie, so denkt man an Platon oder Plotin oder Aristoteles, vielleicht Kant, Hegel und so weiter. Kennt man aber ein Schauspiel oder ein literarisches Werk, der heute weltberühmt ist und voraussichtlich noch für die künftige Jahrhunderte immer noch so berühmt bleiben wird?

Ihr werdet sagen, Berühmtheit kommt nur, wenn wir in die Vergangenheit zurückblicken. Vielleicht ist das so. Aber wovon wäre vielleicht die Rede in 100 Jahren, wenn wir z.B. über das 20.Jahrhundert reden würden? Wir würden sagen, im 20.Jahrhundert wurde die Atombombe erfunden, der Eiserne Vorhang fiel über Osteuropa, und so weiter. Gab es aber einige Durchbrüche in dem Bereich des Denkens? Gab es Bücher von daher, die zu dieser Zeit noch gelesen werden?

Wir können nicht weiter entwickeln trotz der physischen und technischen Fähigkeit dazu. Wollt Ihr nun Fortschritt? Dann  haben wir wieder denken zu lernen, bevor wir überhaupt Fortschritt machen können.

Re-Organisation February 4, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Dear all,

I’ve reorganised Die neue Welle somewhat and have rearranged all the chapters of I am Singaporean into one seperate category. The story never comes to an end…happy reading!

Oh and if any PAP spies are reading this…welcome to the playground. I hope you don’t have a weapon called ‘defamation lawsuit.’

I am Singaporean XVI – PR = ‘Please Rectify’ February 4, 2007

Posted by The Truth in I am Singaporean, Vol. I.

So i read from Mr Wang lately that our Gahmen has been employing a sneaky, quiet ‘counter-insurgency’ against the extremist sinners who blog against them (i.e., online critics.) I quote,

Sources told The Straits Times the initiative is driven by two sub-committees of the PAP’s ‘new media’ committee chaired by Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen.

So now there’s a ‘new media’ committee? Hmm. I wonder if anyone knew of it before hand. So someone decided to play Deep Throat and spill the beans. I wonder if that guy still has a job tomorrow. Anyway, so now Gahmen is engaged in covert operations ah…

Well, okay, they’re not covert anymore.

Personally, i think this references quite well to Chapter XIII of this series, the chapter on Thoughtcrime…so the Gahmen is not treating thoughtcrime as a crime (yet), but they are going the soft way, sending sneaky IT professionals who monitor our blogs and then try to put in ‘corrective statements’ to show us the error of our ways. (for the sake of brevity, i shall name them The Controllers.) So much for challenging people to step out and challenge the Gahmen! Everytime, when someone says something a bit sensitive to our politicians’ oh-so-fragile egos, they will challenge the perpetrator to prove their reasoning in the open ‘where they have nothing to hide’ before dismissing their reasons and then sending them to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

Thanks to the implementation of The Controllers, we now know that the Gahmen is not as open as we thought them to be. In fact, instead of engaging the public in the open ‘where they have nothing to hide,’ they are monitoring our blogs. And when we post something polemical, they will step in and try to moderate. Now, what’s a blogger like me to say?

I think that this is just a first step of thoughtcrime legalisation. First, the Gahmen employs these Controllers to moderate what we say, telling us that this and that is wrong. Then, seeing that this move has caused them to lose even more credibility amongst the online community, they will start implementing restrictions with Penal Code adjustments – after all, we 敬酒不喝喝罚酒…is THIS their battle plan?

Unfortunately, the Gahmen has done yet another brilliant move to destroy their credibility amongst the online community. So i think we can look forward to restrictions soon. Personally, i feel that this kind of intervention is one best avoided – for one, it shows how out-of-touch the politicians are with the majority of their subjects. (Maybe the Space Retreats were true…) I would say that it is an example of extreme nannying – remember when you said something wrong in front of your parents when you were young and you got slapped on the cheek? Maybe it’s not a very good analogy, because slapping hasn’t happened yet (no adjustment to the Penal Code) but it’s something to that effect. By trying to tell us where we are erring – is THAT how they want to encourage a ‘free and open society?’

Isn’t that just forcing their views on us, but in a softer, nicer way which says that ‘oh no, you are terribly mistaken. Let me enlighten you and show you The Absolute Truth…?’ That makes me kinda uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable, actually.

It’s also interesting who’s running the shindig – our Education Minister! Uncle Lui, i know you are ex-RSN…RADM so don’t play-play. Maybe you have served with the Navy for too long…in the Army, military doctrine is to be followed and it is strictly top-down. I am only a LTA…maybe i haven’t seen enough yet loh…but i think outside the SAF things are a little bit different. Top-down management, which the PAP has been running all along, is not going to be as effective as it was, what, 20 years ago?

Maybe he was thrust into the seat – ever heard of the word ‘arrow?’

It reflects an interesting aspect of what the Gahmen regards as PR – PR, as we understand it, refers to Public Relations – dealing with the public and keeping them happy. Perhaps the Gahmen decided that ‘Please Rectify’ would be a better term…so that instead of engaging the public on such issues, they just set their hearts on correcting our poor, misguided souls.

Aiyoh…we sound so pathetic. Need the Hand of God Lee to help us. I hope they recognise in time what kind of damage they have done to their credibility. The next time someone posts a pro-PAP comment/threat (i received a comment which i thought was a bit threatening,) i’ll just dismiss it as PAP propaganda. Why? Because i know that there are people who are monitoring my blog, posting non-obvious propaganda! People are now going to close off what little remained of their willingness to reply their comments which happened to be pro-Government, because everything can be put down to PAP propaganda. I think p65 will have a field day soon when someone starts a p65 conspiracy.

I wonder what’s next?

Maybe they will use subliminal programming when you visit the p65 blog…you know…open one of those pop-up windows which seem harmless, but which cannot be closed…and every 2 seconds there is a .01 second flash of one of our smiling politicians, or the Workers’ Party with a big cross on them, or the famous scene when Lao Lee broke down over the split with Malaya.

I also wonder what Lao Lee thinks about it. At least he was, and still is, feisty enough to defend his rationale in the public eye, where he has nothing to hide…and there is the Gahmen he has spent 41 years nurturing using such covert, espionage-esque tactics to infiltrate the Net.

Am i disappointed? You bet. I thought that there was a chance that something in the direction of a ‘free and open society’ would happen. And now i finally realise that those days are long gone. We left them back in 1965.

A Suitcase and a Shotgun. February 3, 2007

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen.
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Get ready to lock n’ load. Because the Klausuren are coming!

Of course, write first. Cannot right, then use shotgun.

I’m just an ordinary man, fighting the everyday world. Talk first, and fight later…