Monday, January 30, 2006

Chinese New Year

Do you get the feeling that Chinese New Year has turned into some sort of a meaningless gathering for relatives to drop by, run through the motions of asking after each other (sometimes with such lack of interest that it makes the entire exercise an oxymoron, if not an outright farce)?

I didn't notice it the previous year or so, but these few Chinese New Years, I've noticed the glaring hole amongst the polite conversation: cousins who say "Hi", and remain silent for the rest of the entire visit.

The silence made me uncomfortable, and I decided to put some of the shows that I downloaded from the Internet on to kill the discomfort (terrestrial television at this time of the year is so dull, it just exacberates the scary silence).

The laughter that results is a welcome relief, though I know that it is one of the worst kind of ice-breakers ever available. Anything that breaks the monotony would work fine. Plus, it gave me a chance to put my new computer through its paces.

But have we all drifted so far apart from each other that possibly, the only glue holding the entire visit up is my dear grandmother, who happens to be living with us.

I still remember being the second youngest along Father's side of the family (Brother is the youngest). I remember having sustained conversations with my aunts and uncles.

Come to think of it, all went downhill the year I got my very first computer...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Happy Chinese New Year

To everyone out there, I wish you a Happy Chinese New Year!

How do you intend to do your visit rounds? (That sounds so doctor-like.)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Talking about Sleep again...

Heeding Badaunt's admonishments to humbly associate my vulnerable physical body with adequate rest, I have come to a very logical conclusion that to wake up at 10 am among the bright sun would enable me to sleep at 1 am in the morning, and get 9 hours of sleep sandwiched in between.

"Absolute rubbish," my mother chided after listening to my reasoning.

She believes that the body should be resting through the crucial times of 11 pm to 2 am, because that is when the body is actively going through self-renewal. Miss that timing, and you will find yourself with less energy.

Both of them have valid points. The human body certainly can't go without sufficient sleep, and the quality of sleep impacts upon the important operations of our body during the day. The results of 1 am retirement are shocking. I have rarely appetite for breakfast, compared to in the past of forced sleep regimentation in camp where we have to be knocked out by 10.30 pm.

One of my collegues in my office told me something about reduced insulin production if we were to skip meals. So, now I try not to skip breakfast: my father is slightly diabetic, and that makes it down as a family history. I am at risk.

For my sake, my beloved mother has came out of her bedroom to urge me to retire. Finally, I shall take her advice after taking so long to understand her.

IPIP-NEO Personality test

I find the below report an rather accurate description about my personality. Perhaps it is due to the large number of questions that the test poses to remove the posibility of cheating?

This report compares pkchukiss from the country Singapore to other men of traditional college age. (The name used in this report is either a nickname chosen by the person taking the test, or, if a valid nickname was not chosen, a random nickname generated by the program.)

This report estimates the individual's level on each of the five broad personality domains of the Five-Factor Model. The description of each one of the five broad domains is followed by a more detailed description of personality according to the six subdomains that comprise each domain.

A note on terminology. Personality traits describe, relative to other people, the frequency or intensity of a person's feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. Possession of a trait is therefore a matter of degree. We might describe two individuals as extraverts, but still see one as more extraverted than the other. This report uses expressions such as "extravert" or "high in extraversion" to describe someone who is likely to be seen by others as relatively extraverted. The computer program that generates this report classifies you as low, average, or high in a trait according to whether your score is approximately in the lowest 30%, middle 40%, or highest 30% of scores obtained by people of your sex and roughly your age. Your numerical scores are reported and graphed as percentile estimates. For example, a score of "60" means that your level on that trait is estimated to be higher than 60% of persons of your sex and age.

Please keep in mind that "low," "average," and "high" scores on a personality test are neither absolutely good nor bad. A particular level on any trait will probably be neutral or irrelevant for a great many activites, be helpful for accomplishing some things, and detrimental for accomplishing other things. As with any personality inventory, scores and descriptions can only approximate an individual's actual personality. High and low score descriptions are usually accurate, but average scores close to the low or high boundaries might misclassify you as only average. On each set of six subdomain scales it is somewhat uncommon but certainly possible to score high in some of the subdomains and low in the others. In such cases more attention should be paid to the subdomain scores than to the broad domain score. Questions about the accuracy of your results are best resolved by showing your report to people who know you well.

John A. Johnson wrote descriptions of the five domains and thirty subdomains. These descriptions are based on an extensive reading of the scientific literature on personality measurement.


Extraversion is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy being with people, are full of energy, and often experience positive emotions. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented, individuals who are likely to say "Yes!" or "Let's go!" to opportunities for excitement. In groups they like to talk, assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves.

Introverts lack the exuberance, energy, and activity levels of extraverts. They tend to be quiet, low-key, deliberate, and disengaged from the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression; the introvert simply needs less stimulation than an extravert and prefers to be alone. The independence and reserve of the introvert is sometimes mistaken as unfriendliness or arrogance. In reality, an introvert who scores high on the agreeableness dimension will not seek others out but will be quite pleasant when approached.

Domain/Facet........... Score
..Activity Level...........58

Your score on Extraversion is high, indicating you are sociable, outgoing, energetic, and lively. You prefer to be around people much of the time.

Extraversion Facets

• Friendliness. Friendly people genuinely like other people and openly demonstrate positive feelings toward others. They make friends quickly and it is easy for them to form close, intimate relationships. Low scorers on Friendliness are not necessarily cold and hostile, but they do not reach out to others and are perceived as distant and reserved. Your level of friendliness is average.

• Gregariousness. Gregarious people find the company of others pleasantly stimulating and rewarding. They enjoy the excitement of crowds. Low scorers tend to feel overwhelmed by, and therefore actively avoid, large crowds. They do not necessarily dislike being with people sometimes, but their need for privacy and time to themselves is much greater than for individuals who score high on this scale. Your level of gregariousness is high.

• Assertiveness. High scorers Assertiveness like to speak out, take charge, and direct the activities of others. They tend to be leaders in groups. Low scorers tend not to talk much and let others control the activities of groups. Your level of assertiveness is average.

• Activity Level. Active individuals lead fast-paced, busy lives. They move about quickly, energetically, and vigorously, and they are involved in many activities. People who score low on this scale follow a slower and more leisurely, relaxed pace. Your activity level is average.

• Excitement-Seeking. High scorers on this scale are easily bored without high levels of stimulation. They love bright lights and hustle and bustle. They are likely to take risks and seek thrills. Low scorers are overwhelmed by noise and commotion and are adverse to thrill-seeking. Your level of excitement-seeking is high.

• Cheerfulness. This scale measures positive mood and feelings, not negative emotions (which are a part of the Neuroticism domain). Persons who score high on this scale typically experience a range of positive feelings, including happiness, enthusiasm, optimism, and joy. Low scorers are not as prone to such energetic, high spirits. Your level of positive emotions is high.


Agreeableness reflects individual differences in concern with cooperation and social harmony. Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are therefore considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others'. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature. They believe people are basically honest, decent, and trustworthy.

Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others' well-being, and therefore are unlikely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others' motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative.

Agreeableness is obviously advantageous for attaining and maintaining popularity. Agreeable people are better liked than disagreeable people. On the other hand, agreeableness is not useful in situations that require tough or absolute objective decisions. Disagreeable people can make excellent scientists, critics, or soldiers.

Domain/Facet........... Score

Your high level of Agreeableness indicates a strong interest in others' needs and well-being. You are pleasant, sympathetic, and cooperative.

Agreeableness Facets

• Trust. A person with high trust assumes that most people are fair, honest, and have good intentions. Persons low in trust see others as selfish, devious, and potentially dangerous. Your level of trust is high.

• Morality. High scorers on this scale see no need for pretense or manipulation when dealing with others and are therefore candid, frank, and sincere. Low scorers believe that a certain amount of deception in social relationships is necessary. People find it relatively easy to relate to the straightforward high-scorers on this scale. They generally find it more difficult to relate to the unstraightforward low-scorers on this scale. It should be made clear that low scorers are not unprincipled or immoral; they are simply more guarded and less willing to openly reveal the whole truth. Your level of morality is average.

• Altruism. Altruistic people find helping other people genuinely rewarding. Consequently, they are generally willing to assist those who are in need. Altruistic people find that doing things for others is a form of self-fulfillment rather than self-sacrifice. Low scorers on this scale do not particularly like helping those in need. Requests for help feel like an imposition rather than an opportunity for self-fulfillment. Your level of altruism is high.

• Cooperation. Individuals who score high on this scale dislike confrontations. They are perfectly willing to compromise or to deny their own needs in order to get along with others. Those who score low on this scale are more likely to intimidate others to get their way. Your level of compliance is high.

• Modesty. High scorers on this scale do not like to claim that they are better than other people. In some cases this attitude may derive from low self-confidence or self-esteem. Nonetheless, some people with high self-esteem find immodesty unseemly. Those who are willing to describe themselves as superior tend to be seen as disagreeably arrogant by other people. Your level of modesty is average.

• Sympathy. People who score high on this scale are tenderhearted and compassionate. They feel the pain of others vicariously and are easily moved to pity. Low scorers are not affected strongly by human suffering. They pride themselves on making objective judgments based on reason. They are more concerned with truth and impartial justice than with mercy. Your level of tender-mindedness is average.


Conscientiousness concerns the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. Impulses are not inherently bad; occasionally time constraints require a snap decision, and acting on our first impulse can be an effective response. Also, in times of play rather than work, acting spontaneously and impulsively can be fun. Impulsive individuals can be seen by others as colorful, fun-to-be-with, and zany.

Nonetheless, acting on impulse can lead to trouble in a number of ways. Some impulses are antisocial. Uncontrolled antisocial acts not only harm other members of society, but also can result in retribution toward the perpetrator of such impulsive acts. Another problem with impulsive acts is that they often produce immediate rewards but undesirable, long-term consequences. Examples include excessive socializing that leads to being fired from one's job, hurling an insult that causes the breakup of an important relationship, or using pleasure-inducing drugs that eventually destroy one's health.

Impulsive behavior, even when not seriously destructive, diminishes a person's effectiveness in significant ways. Acting impulsively disallows contemplating alternative courses of action, some of which would have been wiser than the impulsive choice. Impulsivity also sidetracks people during projects that require organized sequences of steps or stages. Accomplishments of an impulsive person are therefore small, scattered, and inconsistent.

A hallmark of intelligence, what potentially separates human beings from earlier life forms, is the ability to think about future consequences before acting on an impulse. Intelligent activity involves contemplation of long-range goals, organizing and planning routes to these goals, and persisting toward one's goals in the face of short-lived impulses to the contrary. The idea that intelligence involves impulse control is nicely captured by the term prudence, an alternative label for the Conscientiousness domain. Prudent means both wise and cautious. Persons who score high on the Conscientiousness scale are, in fact, perceived by others as intelligent.

The benefits of high conscientiousness are obvious. Conscientious individuals avoid trouble and achieve high levels of success through purposeful planning and persistence. They are also positively regarded by others as intelligent and reliable. On the negative side, they can be compulsive perfectionists and workaholics. Furthermore, extremely conscientious individuals might be regarded as stuffy and boring. Unconscientious people may be criticized for their unreliability, lack of ambition, and failure to stay within the lines, but they will experience many short-lived pleasures and they will never be called stuffy.

Domain/Facet........... Score

Your score on Conscientiousness is high. This means you set clear goals and pursue them with determination. People regard you as reliable and hard-working.

Conscientiousness Facets

• Self-Efficacy. Self-Efficacy describes confidence in one's ability to accomplish things. High scorers believe they have the intelligence (common sense), drive, and self-control necessary for achieving success. Low scorers do not feel effective, and may have a sense that they are not in control of their lives. Your level of self-efficacy is high.

• Orderliness. Persons with high scores on orderliness are well-organized. They like to live according to routines and schedules. They keep lists and make plans. Low scorers tend to be disorganized and scattered. Your level of orderliness is average.

• Dutifulness. This scale reflects the strength of a person's sense of duty and obligation. Those who score high on this scale have a strong sense of moral obligation. Low scorers find contracts, rules, and regulations overly confining. They are likely to be seen as unreliable or even irresponsible. Your level of dutifulness is high.

• Achievement-Striving. Individuals who score high on this scale strive hard to achieve excellence. Their drive to be recognized as successful keeps them on track toward their lofty goals. They often have a strong sense of direction in life, but extremely high scores may be too single-minded and obsessed with their work. Low scorers are content to get by with a minimal amount of work, and might be seen by others as lazy. Your level of achievement striving is high.

• Self-Discipline. Self-discipline-what many people call will-power-refers to the ability to persist at difficult or unpleasant tasks until they are completed. People who possess high self-discipline are able to overcome reluctance to begin tasks and stay on track despite distractions. Those with low self-discipline procrastinate and show poor follow-through, often failing to complete tasks-even tasks they want very much to complete. Your level of self-discipline is high.

• Cautiousness. Cautiousness describes the disposition to think through possibilities before acting. High scorers on the Cautiousness scale take their time when making decisions. Low scorers often say or do first thing that comes to mind without deliberating alternatives and the probable consequences of those alternatives. Your level of cautiousness is average.


Freud originally used the term neurosis to describe a condition marked by mental distress, emotional suffering, and an inability to cope effectively with the normal demands of life. He suggested that everyone shows some signs of neurosis, but that we differ in our degree of suffering and our specific symptoms of distress. Today neuroticism refers to the tendency to experience negative feelings. Those who score high on Neuroticism may experience primarily one specific negative feeling such as anxiety, anger, or depression, but are likely to experience several of these emotions. People high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive. They respond emotionally to events that would not affect most people, and their reactions tend to be more intense than normal. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish a neurotic's ability to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress.

At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings; frequency of positive emotions is a component of the Extraversion domain.

Domain/Facet........... Score


Your score on Neuroticism is high, indicating that you are easily upset, even by what most people consider the normal demands of living. People consider you to be sensitive and emotional.

Neuroticism Facets

• Anxiety. The "fight-or-flight" system of the brain of anxious individuals is too easily and too often engaged. Therefore, people who are high in anxiety often feel like something dangerous is about to happen. They may be afraid of specific situations or be just generally fearful. They feel tense, jittery, and nervous. Persons low in Anxiety are generally calm and fearless. Your level of anxiety is high.

• Anger. Persons who score high in Anger feel enraged when things do not go their way. They are sensitive about being treated fairly and feel resentful and bitter when they feel they are being cheated. This scale measures the tendency to feel angry; whether or not the person expresses annoyance and hostility depends on the individual's level on Agreeableness. Low scorers do not get angry often or easily. Your level of anger is average.

• Depression. This scale measures the tendency to feel sad, dejected, and discouraged. High scorers lack energy and have difficult initiating activities. Low scorers tend to be free from these depressive feelings. Your level of depression is average.

• Self-Consciousness. Self-conscious individuals are sensitive about what others think of them. Their concern about rejection and ridicule cause them to feel shy and uncomfortable abound others. They are easily embarrassed and often feel ashamed. Their fears that others will criticize or make fun of them are exaggerated and unrealistic, but their awkwardness and discomfort may make these fears a self-fulfilling prophecy. Low scorers, in contrast, do not suffer from the mistaken impression that everyone is watching and judging them. They do not feel nervous in social situations. Your level or self-consciousness is average.

• Immoderation. Immoderate individuals feel strong cravings and urges that they have difficulty resisting. They tend to be oriented toward short-term pleasures and rewards rather than long- term consequences. Low scorers do not experience strong, irresistible cravings and consequently do not find themselves tempted to overindulge. Your level of immoderation is high.

• Vulnerability. High scorers on Vulnerability experience panic, confusion, and helplessness when under pressure or stress. Low scorers feel more poised, confident, and clear-thinking when stressed. Your level of vulnerability is average.

Openness to Experience

Openness to Experience describes a dimension of cognitive style that distinguishes imaginative, creative people from down-to-earth, conventional people. Open people are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. They tend to be, compared to closed people, more aware of their feelings. They tend to think and act in individualistic and nonconforming ways. Intellectuals typically score high on Openness to Experience; consequently, this factor has also been called Culture or Intellect. Nonetheless, Intellect is probably best regarded as one aspect of openness to experience. Scores on Openness to Experience are only modestly related to years of education and scores on standard intelligent tests.

Another characteristic of the open cognitive style is a facility for thinking in symbols and abstractions far removed from concrete experience. Depending on the individual's specific intellectual abilities, this symbolic cognition may take the form of mathematical, logical, or geometric thinking, artistic and metaphorical use of language, music composition or performance, or one of the many visual or performing arts. People with low scores on openness to experience tend to have narrow, common interests. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion, regarding these endeavors as abstruse or of no practical use. Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty; they are conservative and resistant to change.

Openness is often presented as healthier or more mature by psychologists, who are often themselves open to experience. However, open and closed styles of thinking are useful in different environments. The intellectual style of the open person may serve a professor well, but research has shown that closed thinking is related to superior job performance in police work, sales, and a number of service occupations.

Domain/Facet........... Score
..Artistic Interests.......43

Your score on Openness to Experience is high, indicating you enjoy novelty, variety, and change. You are curious, imaginative, and creative.

Openness Facets

• Imagination. To imaginative individuals, the real world is often too plain and ordinary. High scorers on this scale use fantasy as a way of creating a richer, more interesting world. Low scorers are on this scale are more oriented to facts than fantasy. Your level of imagination is average.

• Artistic Interests. High scorers on this scale love beauty, both in art and in nature. They become easily involved and absorbed in artistic and natural events. They are not necessarily artistically trained nor talented, although many will be. The defining features of this scale are interest in, and appreciation of natural and artificial beauty. Low scorers lack aesthetic sensitivity and interest in the arts. Your level of artistic interests is average.

• Emotionality. Persons high on Emotionality have good access to and awareness of their own feelings. Low scorers are less aware of their feelings and tend not to express their emotions openly. Your level of emotionality is average.

• Adventurousness. High scorers on adventurousness are eager to try new activities, travel to foreign lands, and experience different things. They find familiarity and routine boring, and will take a new route home just because it is different. Low scorers tend to feel uncomfortable with change and prefer familiar routines. Your level of adventurousness is average.

• Intellect. Intellect and artistic interests are the two most important, central aspects of openness to experience. High scorers on Intellect love to play with ideas. They are open-minded to new and unusual ideas, and like to debate intellectual issues. They enjoy riddles, puzzles, and brain teasers. Low scorers on Intellect prefer dealing with either people or things rather than ideas. They regard intellectual exercises as a waste of time. Intellect should not be equated with intelligence. Intellect is an intellectual style, not an intellectual ability, although high scorers on Intellect score slightly higher than low-Intellect individuals on standardized intelligence tests. Your level of intellect is high.

• Liberalism. Psychological liberalism refers to a readiness to challenge authority, convention, and traditional values. In its most extreme form, psychological liberalism can even represent outright hostility toward rules, sympathy for law-breakers, and love of ambiguity, chaos, and disorder. Psychological conservatives prefer the security and stability brought by conformity to tradition. Psychological liberalism and conservatism are not identical to political affiliation, but certainly incline individuals toward certain political parties. Your level of liberalism is high.

Note: The report sent to your computer screen upon the completion of the IPIP-NEO is only a temporary web page. When you exit your web browser you will not be able to return to this URL to re-access your report. No copies of the report are sent to anyone. If you want a permanent copy of the report, you must save the web page to your hard drive or a diskette, and/or print the report while you are still viewing it in your web browser. If you choose to save your report, naming it with an .htm extension (example: Myreport.htm) as you save it may help you to read it into a web browser later.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Don't play Dare with things beyond your control

The weather played Dare with me today, and it won.

At around 3pm, I took a look outside my window to see menacing dark clouds already gathered about 3km above the ground in the horizon — and I chose to laze around on my bed. (The merits of having afternoon naps are still debatable, but meanwhile, my past-time from camp still rules my roost).

Then as the inevitable 4 pm came about, I decided to take action, as what those motivation books have always drawled on and on about. The clouds came swiftly just as I reached the bus stop. It was a "Detour" — a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons.

First: Go home. The weather looks like it could diahrea for another 3 more days.
Second: Press on. As Napolean Hill mentioned in his book, "Think and Grow Rich", the sucessful always make their mind quick, and are slow to change them.

The bus arrived at this time, so I decide to go with Napolean, in the valiant hope that the weather would hold until I finished my swim.

No such luck. The moment the bus moved out of the bus stop, heavy droplets started pelting down mercilessly upon the roof of the bus (and my heart, which sank).

Well, so much so for procrastination.

I stayed on the bus all the way to the interchange to make the return trip without getting wet.

The moment I got on that bus, the rain started to slow, and eventually stopped when I reached my starting point.

Moral of the story? Don't play Dare with things beyond your control, because you really are not in control!

Technorati Tags: ,

Slimming Products

You know how it is that our television sets and newspapers are all inundated with fat advertisements advertising slimming products: Fiona Xie (a local artiste employed with the local television monopoly) cut-outs fronting stores selling slimming products.

Logic would have dictated that slimming products would have rendered fitness equipments obsolete the moment they were introduced: that is, if they had actually worked!

Often, the advertisements in the newspapers and commercials all come tagged with a minute line of text conspicuously hidden in the bottom left-hand corner. They usually read, "works only with a sensible diet and exercise regime".

Sensible diet? How do we define what is "sensible"? Drinking some nasty tasting formula mixed with water for meal-time? Perhaps they really meant that dieters should exercise regularly along with their products.

But doesn't that defeat the purpose of slimming products? They are supposed to be helping you slim down without effort on your part, are they not? (And I am going to strangulate myself if I use another rhetorical question for the rest of this post.)

In actual fact, it has already been proven that the most effective way to achieve a healthy body (including slimming down that spare tyre around your waist) is to get off your butt, and move it!

Slimming products are mere gimmicks: their functionality is totally latched upon your exercise regime, and have absolutely no effect upon your body. Short of the well-documented placebo effect, of course.

I'll just use plain water as my placebo, thank you very much. It works well, and contains actual benefits to the body!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Haro Singapore!: Remove Evil toxins through your feet

Link: Haro Singapore!: Evil toxins shit thru feet

(For visitors who have never ever visited Singapore: We have many portable markets called "pasar malam", where ordinary folk would set up stalls hawking various wares from CDs, t-shirts to fortune telling services and sure-strike lottery numbers. The stall holders are rarely regulated, making it a unique eco-economy on its own.)

Sausage from Haro Singapore! records the flakiness of the quackery behind a particular service that promises to "remove the toxins through the feet". The stall holders also put out brackish water as proof of their "effectiveness".

Our brave Sausage challenges their claims with an experiment.

Now, I really wonder, just how many Chemistry students have fallen for this scheme?

Technorati Tags: , ,

Monday, January 16, 2006

Pioneering Post

Like what they all (who are the "they"?) like to say, "You need to always plan for your future".

Which is a truth that nobody can deny: we don't want to be caught with our pants down when the future is upon us. Which brings us to the reason I have created a new blog. When I turn Operationally Ready in April (to all my friends overseas, this marks my end of active national service), the other blog won't seem really relevant, since my National Service would from that point onwards consist of annual in-camp trainings, which themselves are confined to one or two episodes of a few days' stint.

This is where the meat on the bone is. Chew on this.