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Saturday, November 19, 2005
The Unfounded Fear of Extras

Extras, which is short for 'extra duties', is an informal punishment many full-time national servicemen (NSFs) dread and fear. Almost everyone has to perform duties once in a while. It is only when one is being punished that he receives more than his normal share of duties, hence the term extra duties.

Most army personnel are afraid of getting extras. Extras are such a good disincentive that they are used by officers quite often as a motivational tool. In reality, many people do not realize that extras are actually not as scary as they sound.

There are two kinds of people in an army unit - those who get some duties and those who get an insane amount of duties. For the former, getting some extras isn't that bad because there is always the knowledge that there are people (in the second category) who are not being punished but are doing as many duties as you are. So really, there isn't anything to complain about.

For the latter who is already saturated with duties, getting extras is like trying to pour water into a glass that's full. There are only so many days in a month and you are not allowed to perform two duty roles concurrently. This is, in fact, the best situation you can be in because you can screw up as badly as you want, and all they can give you is more extra duties that cannot be fulfilled. By the time you ORD, you'll just have this huge debt of unfulfilled extras which is instantly erased upon ORD (since it is an informal punishment system after all).

Another thing people tend to forget is the Law of Conservation of Duties. The total amount of duties is constant; you can change the assignment of duties to different people but not create new duties. Hence the effect of everybody getting a hundred extras each is the same as nobody getting any extras at all. This idea was used by many in my university; if everybody agrees to slack and not study for an exam, then nobody will get a score that's far below the average (since the average is so low).

Moreover, if you don't mind being an asshole, you can even use extras to reduce the number of duties you have to perform. An implication of the Conservation Law is that the more extras other people get, the less duty you get!

So there you have it, love extras and you'll love NS. Whoohoo! I love guard duty!!

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
10:37 AM


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Wednesday, November 02, 2005
All pictures up

The Korea trip photos from the SLR is finally available. Same link.

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
11:44 PM


hey! just got to see your Korean trip photos. is that Qiuli from TKGS?
By Blogger gooofygal, at 8:18 AM  

dunno which secondary school she's from
By Anonymous Yiheng, at 8:27 PM  

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Treasures and Junk

I used to collect a lot of stuff when I was young. I would start a collection of virtually anything that came into my possession. That doesn't happen much now because I have discovered that my cupboard, large as it seems, has only finite capacity. And since I am such a sentimental person, I don't have the habit of throwing things away as every object holds sentimental value. Unfortunately, my cupboard has reached its limits and I have to perform the real-life equivalent of defragmentation on it.

And that's when I rediscovered these treasures... and junk.

Previously, I wrote that the first camera I learnt how to use was the Nikon SLR. Actually, that's incorrect. This Shanghai TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) is the first camera I learnt how to use. I used those wide rolls of black and white film with this camera back in 1990.

The camera is no longer working; the shutter has been stuck for a long time. But you can still focus and see images with its viewfinder.

This keychain has buttons that produce various electronic sounds when pressed. It was quite popular for a short while back then. My friends used to pretend the keychain is the ghost detector thing the Ghostbusters use.

This is about 85% of my bus ticket collection, amassed over about 7 years. I estimate there to be at least 2000 tickets (if only these are stacks of dollar notes instead). There are quite a number of complimentary tickets from broken down buses and also tickets from the days when bus fare was 30 cents for children. But since the ink fades with time, I'm throwing them away today.

These are the older and rarer bus tickets that I have. Some of them are older than I am. I found most of these in old books that my parents own. They used to use bus tickets as bookmarks. They collect only stamps so they let me have these bus tickets. Sometimes I wish they collect dollar notes too. Even though I have quite a large collection of dollar notes, I don't even own a single note from the orchid series because they were no longer in use when I started using money.

I probably got this plastic T-rex from buying Vitagen in the tuckshop. It was my exam lucky charm. I put it on my desk for all my PSLE papers. After primary school, I used a "Golden Eagle" brand steel ruler instead as it has more sentimental value, is more useful and shinier.

This is supposedly the gun of the robot-plane things (Valkyries?) from Macross, at least that's what someone told me.

Star Wars fans should recognize this toy from the Eighties.

Various cards and stickers given to me by friends who lost interest. From top left in clockwise order, Dragonball cards (mostly from Huixiong), Sailormoon cards, Mexico '86 stickers, the Real Ghostbusters stickers, Italia '90 stickers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stickers, Batman: The Animated Series sticker.

Bottle caps were really popular among boys in primary school. You play it the same way as erasers, i.e. get your piece on top of the opponent's. Therefore, bent bottle caps are generally more popular as they are easier to flip. But I just collect them for fun. I think I will only keep a few nice ones and discard the rest.

These gliders were also a popular toy in primary school. I still have all my gliders. This "Shrike" glider is my favourite as it is pretty stable in the air and I like the colour of the bird.

-- permalink --
Yiheng made
10:00 PM


woa!! thats cool man.. i have never seen such old bus ticktets in my twenty years of life...
By Anonymous guitar, at 11:14 PM  

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