Posted by: yannaungoak | October 11, 2009

Random Thoughts (Vol. 1)

The problem with my blog is that I spend too much time and effort writing each post, and about an order of magnitude more time procrastinating before actually writing the post. Often, I have nice ideas about things that I want to blog about, but I don’t just want to put a 3 sentence blurb on the blog, I feel like I should do a more substantial post with well developed ideas and stuff. The internet is way too overloaded with trivial shit already, so much so that we surrender our lives over unknowingly t o Google bots.

But I do want to have a place where I can have five minute blurbs about spontaneous ideas, or to link to cool things I find online. Maybe I should start a Twitter account. I have an account already, but I’ve never posted anything there. Or maybe I can consolidate random ideas in bullet point form and have them all in one post, as seen below:

  • Google bots rule our lives. I was talking to the web designer for our company website today and was surprised/disgusted at how much effort professional web designers have to put in to cater to the search engine’s bots so that your page gets ranked higer in a Google search. It’s amazing, everything from the wording you use on a page, the meta tags, the way the links on a page are structured, everything has to be designed to please the little buggers.
  • I hung out with my old internet buddy Ko Htoon tonight. I met him online about five years ago and have only seen him twice in real life. He’s an engineer from Myanmar who’s been living in Singapore for about ten years now. We had a few beers and talked about a whole bunch of things, from religion to marketing practices. He’s very well read and down to earth, something quite rare among the Burmese in Singapore. After the beer, food and interesting conversation, we went to watch a punk rock show with a few local bands, and this one guy from Australia:steve_towson
  • The show itself was pretty crappy. I know they have better bands in Singapore, just have to wait around for their gigs.
  • I really enjoy the little “hourly journal” comics from the lovely Kate Beaton’s website.kate_beaton_journal She’s a webcomic artist from Canada who’s famous for her historical themed comics with a witty and dry sense of humor. The hourly journal ones are just random snapshots of her (admittedly boring) life at each hour throughout the day, but there’s a certain warmth about them. I always thought that if I actually grew up in the West, I’d be very happy just living in my own little apartment with a 9 to 5 job, doing something enjoyable in my free time like drawing comics. The American dream may be some proto-spiritual quest for self-creation and fulfillment, but believe me, the Burmese dream is just a simple life, a steady job, and a decent house. Nothing more.
  • This guy has an interesting gallery of pictures he took during his trip to Singapore. Actually, I think most of the photos are taken at locales near where I live. See, I do live in a cool neighborhood (at least until the end of this month).
  • Ashley was complaining the other day about how much she had to pay for income taxes in the US. I told her it was stupid that in the US, the lowest tax bracket is 10%, which means students, lower skilled and entry level workers get taxed an unfairly high amount. In every other country I know of, the lowest tax bracket is 0%. I just think it’s blatantly obvious that someone making less than USD 15K per annum in a rich country just shouldn’t be taxed. But she replied that when you pay taxes, you feel like you have some “ownership” or “stake” in the government. It’s an interesting point. It’s funny how Americans really have a sense of “government of the people”, and not just “government as an entity that should make my life easier”, which I think is the view in most of the world. If you ask me, I couldn’t care less what role I play in the governing of the country, as long as whoever’s governing is doing a good job. I think its at the root of the discussion about what actually constitutes “politics”. David Brooks had a recent column about that question by contrasting Jeremy Bentham and David Hume. And I think someone like Hannah Arendt would actually support Ashley’s point, and say that utilitarians like me are succumbing to an “untenable ‘communistic fiction’ about the unity of society”.
  • Also, I never understood why conservatives in the US supported tax cuts for the wealthy even when the typical American will never live to see the day when she earns enough that she will be affected by a tax cut for the highest income bracket. Maybe its a hope thing. Americans are big on that.
  • Yay! Fringe S02E04 just finished downloading! Never mind my headache, Fringe is more important than headahces. Oh, and I hate how I don’t get stuff like Hulu, Pandora and Last.fm here. I need to get VPN or go through a proxy, but I haven’t found a decent service like that you can get for free.
  • And damn I’m hungry. Do late night meals cure headaches? Well, we’ll just have to find out, wouldn’t we? 🙂
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