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All the about Pkchukiss's life in the Singapore Armed Forces

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Permethrin: the insect killer

Humans don't really care about the finer details about all the things they use. As long as it works as advertised, they would be content with just the basic knowledge required to operate those technological goddesses.

With that in mind, here is an introduction to the insect killer, Permethrin, and how it affects to military personnels.

We all know that staying inside the forest for days at a time can be a disturbing experience. Campers curse about it, while soldiers lying with their faces in the grasses are resigned to their destiny. Those blood suckers really know how to annoy, taking extreme pleasure in drinking human blood, and imparting a torturous itch reflex after it is done with its business, which makes us wonder whether those pests have been unloading their wastes at the same time as they enjoy the scrumptious snack.

More fortunate soldiers (read: behind the front lines) have the pleasure of relieving themselves of the consuming desire to scratch the itch, while others (those with their faces in the grass, having to stay motionless continuously to maintain stealth) would have to expend already scarce willpower to resist the burning urge to move. Their fingers start to tremble with the effort. Soon, the body follows in harmonic motion, which sets the surrounding grass into motion, which then shows the uninitiated enemy observer the location of their potential ambushers.

To solve the problem, armies have been ordering soldiers to roll down their sleeves whenever entering an area with trees and grass patches. That usually stops most mosquitoes. But there exist an unusual breed of the elite, capable of extreme piercing and penetration, which the thick nylon and cotton cloths fail to block. Not surprising, these commandos also harbour the same ability to create bigger bumps, and itchier itches. Sometimes, it gets so bad that the itch feels painful to the touch.

Such is the suffering of soldiers having to operate in these mosquito infested forests.

As if that were not enough, to break the camel's back, many species of mosquitoes harbour vectors and parasites, which they present to its host in gratitude for the involuntary donation. Dengue, Malaria are just some of the many diseases people have come down with, days after their encounter with the pests. Many survive, while some succumb to the disease. All the prep talks by training officers about how "men don't die so easily" seems to have taken a new meaning altogether.

When all seems dark and gloomy, the policy makers from their cushy offices have come to the rescue!

Introducing.. Permethrin!

Picture of Pynosect-PCO bottle

A revolutionary insect killer in a bottle, it promises to kill insects on contact!

First, you pour a little bit of the solution into many parts of water. Make sure you have those gloves on!
You should see the entire solution turn chalky. Dump one piece of your uniform inside it and soak it. Do the same with the other pieces.

The manufacturer promises that insects coming into contact with the treated uniform will drop dead and fall off.

I can't verify this claim since I've still been bitten by those monstrosities after treating my uniform, yet I have seen buzzing mosquitoes drop dead in front of me after I have sprayed them with a pure mixture of water and Permethrin, which makes me extremely suspicious about the killing mechanisms: does the chemical simply chokes the insect to death, or does it kill by overloading the mosquito's desire to feed?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Coming Soon to a blog near you: A series of Unfortunate Events

My pieces of luggage still laid strewn chaotically around my room, and Mother has been nagging me to clean up the act.

Did I think I was in an action film? I doubt so. After assuring Mother that this mess was not an act, I was given a deadline to clear them out. My brother would have sniggered had he heard that.

I didn't resist the commands of the lady who gave birth to me, so I picked up the pieces, starting with all the dirty laundry I accumulated from the trip to the-country-that-must-not-be-named. I was really thankful that I had the sense to at least dunk them into ziplock bags, because the moment I opened the flap, I was treated to a cacophony of my own smells, totally corrupted by days of stewing in human sweat and pherohormones. Oh the joy the bacteria must had.

That task done, I decided to cluster the remaining pieces of luggage together in one corner of the room. As they like to say, presentation is everything, so I am sure that dressing up the room would help it look less dilapidated. Needless to say, I was only just being lazy. Playing dress up to my room is definitely a tough job, though not something unfamiliar, since I had to do it many times previously in camp.

I've started on writing about my misadventures (is it the right word?). It is a series of unfortunate events (which luckily still pales in comparison to the film/story with the same name) that happened to me while I was in the-country-that-must-remain-unamed. Inside that post, you will find fairy tale stories about how a camera decided to declare independance (not unlike the-country-that-must-not-be-named), of sore eyes and broken backs, of lost disembarkation cards, road near-misses.

Starring myself, a platoon of homesick scouts, battalion HQ, the kind police of the-country-that-must-not-be-named, taxi drivers, and hotel staff whom-insist-on-communicating-to-me-in-English-when-I-could-speak-Chinese-natively.

Coming Soon.

Headhunters take note: (Yet another IQ test)

After taking that IQ test, I have been egged on by Tickle to take their advanced IQ test, which essentially picks my brain apart, dissects the choices I make, and churns out a very descriptive description (verbose would have been a better word, but for want of a pun) of my personality and thinking style. Here is a small excerpt:

Your IQ score is 117. This means that you are smarter than 87.0% of all other Super IQ test takers.

This number is the result of a scientifically-tested formula based on how many questions you answered correctly on the Tickle Super IQ Test.

But there's more to intelligence than a single number, a single score, or a single label. Tickle uses 8 distinguishable dimensions of intelligence in the Super IQ Test. By analyzing your individual scores on those 8 scales, we are able to look beyond the raw IQ score into how you process information, and which intellectual strengths you're best at.

Your test results indicate that the way you process information makes you a Concrete Thinker.

You have unusually strong verbal and numerical skills. This dynamic combination gives you an exceptional aptitude for solving equations and then communicating those solutions to others in lay terms. Your intelligence is grounded and based on a very clear interpretation of what is happening around you. Because you are so realistic, most things are crystal clear to you, while others may get confused by this or that.

Your objective is to make things real and clear. People count on you to find and give the sober, cold-hard facts. You learn most easily when things are explained in numbers and words and so you enjoy the education you get through books and lectures. Unlike others, you do not have to experience something first-hand to understand it, nor do you have a lot of interest in how things work mechanically. On the other hand, if you find the information in your books or lectures too abstract, you might tend toward first-hand experience as you'll get nothing but the facts that way.

Here's an example of your Concrete Thinker thinking skills at work in a real-life situation:

You are at a travel agency with a friend contemplating the several different types of vacations you two could take together. The agent gives you the pros and cons of each vacation (including the prices), along with the options you have within each package. All the details, facts, and figures confuse your friend, who asks the agent to just recommend the best one so you two can be done with it and get out of there. But you are able to take out a pen and a piece of paper and write down all of the relevant information. The comparison sheet you create helps you both figure out which is the best choice, and you prevents your friend from feeling overly confused. Thank goodness you think the way you do!

Head-hunters gather your weapons: grab this rare talent before your prey is seized by others!

I accept employment for a mere pittance at SGD$10, 000 per month.

(Do I see my head swelling, or is that just my ego?)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Tickle me IQ test

The argument for (and against) IQ tests continues to blow hot and cold right over my head as I took

I have always seen myself as an average kid, and people have treated me as such. So I got a shock when I saw this:

You scored 135 on Tickle's IQ test. This means that based on your answers, your IQ score is between 125 and 135. Most people's IQs are between 70 and 130.

In fact, 95% of all people have IQs within that range. 68% of people score between 80 and 120. The following chart below, shows these percentages and where your IQ score is on that scale.

There's more to intelligence than a single number, a single score or a single label. Tickle uses four distinguishable Intelligence Scales in the Ultimate IQ Test. By analyzing your individual scores on those four scales, we are able to look beyond the raw IQ score into how you process information and thereby determine your Intellectual Type.

You have a strong ability to process visual-spatial and mathematical information. These skills combined with your strengths in logic are what make you a Visual Mathematician.

You're able to understand patterns visually and in numbers. That means your mind can create a mental picture for any problem. In addition to that skill, you possess an intelligence that allows you to apply math to that picture, too. That helps you manipulate multiple parts of the picture (or problem) to come up with a solution.

You have many skills that are critical to success and problem-solving. Your talents help you understand the "big picture," which is partly why people may turn to you for direction — especially in the workplace. You flourish in environments where tasks are clearly defined, and you are a whiz at improving processes and making things more efficient. Your ability to detect patterns and your skills in math and logic, make it natural for you to come up with ideas and theories that simplify processes for everyone.

Outside of work, Visual Mathematicians tend to do well at strategic activities like chess. It must be that ability to recognize patterns — both as they are and how they develop. Regardless of how you put your mind to use, you've got a great set of talents. You will be able to envision a clear path and calculate the risks, and more importantly, the rewards, of anything you take on.

Great Jobs For You:

Because of the way you process information, these are just some of the many careers in which you could excel:

  • Physicists

  • Chess player

  • City planner

  • Astronomer

  • Physicists

  • Mathematician

  • Researcher

Some of Your Greatest Talents:

You've got tons of strengths. It wouldn't surprise us if you:

  • Can give practical application to abstract thought

  • Can predict patterns

  • Are resourceful & practical

  • Envision the "big picture"

Your Mathematical Percentile

You scored in the 100th percentile on the mathematical intelligence scale.This means that you scored higher than 90% - 100% of people who took the test and that 0% - 10% scored higher than you did. The scale above illustrates this visually.

Your mathematical intelligence score represents your combined ability to reason and calculate. You scored relatively high, which means you're probably the one your friends look to when splitting the lunch bill or calculating your waitresses' tip. You may or may not be known as a math whiz, but number crunching might come a little easier to you than it does others.

Your Visual-Spatial Percentile

You scored in the 100th percentile on the visual-spatial intelligence scale.

This means that you scored higher than 90% - 100% of people who took the test and that 0% - 10% scored higher than you did. The scale above illustrates this visually.

The visual-spatial component of intelligence measures your ability to extract a visual pattern and from that envision what should come next in a sequence. Your score was relatively high, which could mean that you're the one navigating the map when you're on an outing with friends. You have, in some capacity, an ability to think in pictures. Maybe this strength comes out in subtle ways, like how you play chess or form metaphors.

Your Linguistic Percentile

You scored in the 90th percentile on the linguistic intelligence scale.

This means that you scored higher than 80% - 90% of people who took the test and that 10% - 20% scored higher than you did. The scale above illustrates this visually.

Linguistic abilities include reading, writing and communicating with words. Tickle's test measures knowledge of vocabulary, ease in completing word analogies and the ability to think critically about a statement based on its semantic structure. Your score was relatively high, which could mean you know your way around a bookstore and maybe like to bandy about the occasional 25-cent word to impress friends.

Your Logical Percentile

You scored in the 100th percentile on the logical intelligence scale.

This means that you scored higher than 90% - 100% of people who took the test and that 0% - 10% scored higher than you did. The scale above illustrates this visually.

Tickle's logical intelligence questions assess your ability to think things through. The questions determine the extent to which you use reasoning and logic to determine the best solution to a problem. Your logic score was relatively high, which could mean that when the car breaks down, your friends look to you to help figure out not only what's wrong, but how to fix it and how you're going to get to the next gas station.

What factors helped determine my score?

If your score isn't as high as you thought it would be, remember that there are plenty of external factors that can affect your performance on the test. If you were tired, hungry or distracted, you might have scored lower than you expected because you were less able to concentrate.

Your level of formal education and your familiarity with taking these kinds of tests also influence how well you do. That's part of the reason IQ tests aren't a perfect measure of your intelligence. Your score would probably be quite different if the IQ test was designed to take into account your musical, artistic, emotional and social skills.

On their own, IQ scores can't predict someone's ultimate success or definitive potential for success. Many of the qualities that lead to great achievements are learned through culture, experience and schooling - not solely from doing well on an IQ test.

What your IQ test can help explain, however, is how your brain works best. By looking at the kinds of questions you answered correctly and the kinds of questions you answered incorrectly, we can tell you more about your intelligence type — the type that explains the kind of information that makes sense to your brain.

I remember taking an IQ test conducted by the Ministry of Education back in primary school. It was a nationwide exercise to sniff out high IQ students to join the special elite programs created then. I don't recall them revealing my IQ results to me, though. My conspiracy theory goes that they were too afraid to recruit me into those programs for fear that I would find the program too unchallenging.

Ah, the big ego strikes. (I wish.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Writing trouble

I had wanted to post Day 2 of my trip in Taiwan, but after several drafts, a few cups of Milo (I don't do coffee), a few IM messages later, I decided that I hadn't written about the right stuff yet. Or was I not made of the right stuff to write that? I am confused.

So, I hope that the best decision was to freeze that until I could get myself together. It is a monumental task for me these days, since I have been trying to get some real maintenance run done before going back to camp a few days from now, yet I get distracted by the television. Yes, the old disease from my childhood days is back with a terrible vengeance! And this has no attribution to the quality of the shows: in fact, in my opinion, there has never been more junk shows then I had ever encountered since the industry consolidated at the start of the year.

You will agree with me when you look at the newspaper listings, and find celebrity game shows ¡ยช featuring celebrities playing pointless games filling in the prime time slots. If this is MediaCorp's idea of a reality show, I guess they need a reality check themselves. While the government has been encouraging innovation and promoting creativity, I certainly think these herrings were not what those scholars had in mind when they were drafting their grand designs inside their cosy ivory towers. They were thinking about "The Amazing Exam" (after "The Amazing Race"), "The Scholar" (after "The Bachelor"), "Extreme Exams" (after "Extreme Makeover").

I digress. I have been receiving e-mail messages from Dear Readers demanding for the photos I took in Taiwan. I assure you, it is all safe inside the camera. But I can't say the same for the camera itself, since it is currently riding in an unknown location in a cab somewhere in Taipei. Guess we would all have to wait for the camera to come back to Singapore before we can get something out of it, eh?

All the while that I was wallowing, I noticed that Dear Government has decided to throw the book at three bloggers. Their crime: Sedition. The trio have been posting racist comments on their blogs, and Dear Government thinks that they have gone out of line. Thus the book. My guess is that it will be a rather heavy tome, since this is the first time it has been thrown at anybody. Ladies and gentlemen, please be on the lookout for the dust gathered on the surface. The fall out might be reach quite far.

Perhaps I might raise a suggestion to Dear Government? Find out the cause for those heartfelt comments by the trio would you? I am sure that you won't be so far detached from the rest of the world to know that those people were merely the more vocal racists.

P.S. I am not me. Again. This is not my usual writing style. Oh goodness, somebody help me. I am writing like an eccentric. (Or maybe I am weird)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Blog in the newspapers

While I was away from Singapore, the weekly Digital Life supplement of the local newspaper, The Straits Times, decided to talk about my blog.

Not that it did much to draw more traffic to this blog, but I noticed more and more visitors from government agencies.

Am I under close scrutiny?

Digital Life, 16 August 2005 (Section: People, Netizens)

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The First Day Back Home

First day back in the country after a brief period away, and I am noticing significant, yet at the same time gently subtle changes to the places.

The airport itself has a new layout after a considerable amount of hacking and regeneration. Not only has it been a surprise to me, it is also a resounding knock on my head towards this country's needs to constantly innovate and rebuild herself in a bid to progress amidst the constant storm of change. The strange thing about it is that the characters involved in this are always everybody, yet we find ourselves powerless to halt the call to change.

Hitting the tarmac at 9 am here meant an unearthly take-off time of 5 am. That meant compulsory reporting to the airport by 3 am, and the distance from the capital to the airport further pushed my reville time to an unearthly 1 am. The hotel staff commiserated with the poor (intentional?) scheduling of the flight, but that was all they could do to alleviate my weariness. Again, being the packet IC didn't help matters. And I still had my lost disembarkation card to further stir the plot. Thankfully, dealing with stuff one at a time helped tremendously, so I managed to get off to snoozing on the plane by take off.

I reached home to discover another trip waiting for me this weekend. It turned out that my cousin in Malaysia was getting married on Sunday, and had invited me to her wedding. A pleasant surprise, although I didn't expect to be leaving the country again so soon after arrival. I consider this a blessing, since a few of my platoon mates are playing the part of busy jet-setters, leaving for Thailand only 3 days after touch down.

My RSS feeds have been bursting at its seams for some time already, and I found clearing the backlog of information after a period of total news blackout satisfying, yet overwhelming. We have too much information at our tips, that is for sure.

Creationists have been trying to mislead the world with yet another piece of totally unverifiable nonsense: Los Angeles Times

Have the Americans forgotten their drive to seperate Church from the matters of the state? Then we must worship the spaghetti monster, as Boing Boing recommends!

The creativity of the human mind knows no bounds: What's next after books, CD-ROMs and the Internet for the library? People for loan!

To the few of you mad volunteers bound for Thailand, good luck with your trip there, and have a good exercise with the combat engineers!

In the meantime, it is off to more civilian pursuits for me. Sleep. Play. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Day One: Arrival (14 August 2005)

Day One: Arrival (14 August 2005)

I couldn't sleep the night preceding the flight, whether that is due to my excitement at air travel, or the jitters filling my stomach with acid on a warm night. Studying physics hasn't been a sufficient relief: I don't really get comforted at the idea of a piece of aluminium floating in the air purely on Bernoulli's effect alone, and the fact remains that August is open season for typhoons. But I get over it... almost.

The icing on it all was when I was tasked to fuss over twenty people due to board the same plane, ensuring their punctuality on board the plane and taking care of all the mudane administrative stuff before the flight. So I laid on my bed, simultaneous thinking about nothing, while fiddling with the cell phone by my bedside every few minutes to check the time. There went most of the late evening of August 13, and a little of the morning of August 14.

At the airport, my mind was unusually numb and switched off, as I went through the task of passing out the boarding passes and immigration cards to the people under my charge (that's an egoistic way to put it, but you get the idea). Also thrown into the bundle are t-shirts, which we would wear to the battalion's activities during our stay in the-country-that-must-not-be-named. I took a lesson in FAQs when I had to field multiple repeat queries from 20 people: it pays to get everybody together before commencing upon one major verbose brief.

Anyway, the flight took off as planned, and we touched down in a city in the-country-that-must-not-be-named smack in the throes of the afternoon heat. Clearing the immigration building, I immediately reeled as memories of the same place ran head-on with this new experience, and went immediately for the air-conditioned coaches that would make the trip down south.

While I alternated between snoozing and watching the scenery, I took pictures of the destruction that the previous storm had laid upon the island. (I don't have them now, details will be revealed in later posts...) As the bus purred down the main road, I could see the roiling seas mixing around, framing a perfect picture of a veiled threat to the coast. I wish I could show you the pictures, but... never mind. (It still breaks my heart now just to think about it...)

We reached camp around 2 in the afternoon, upon which I left the bus with my luggage, and leaving my precious disembarkation card (for use when departing the country-that-must-not-be-named), and a copy of The Sunday Times in an envelope snugged into the netting on the seat in front of me. It was only the bus drove off that I realised my mistake. The matter reached S1, who boiled over and demanded my head served up on a chopping board. I can't say what happened to me, for it would breach confidentiality agreement, but I must say that it is a huge lesson I have learnt. For some time, I was paranoid that I would be a permanent resident here. I fretted that my parents would disagree with that arrangement.

Anyway, unpacking took up most of the day, and I hit the sack early, as the spring inside unwound. I had some driving to do the next day. On the wrong side of the road.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Long overdue meme...

Here's a long overdue meme K.C. cast to me while I was overseas. I sure hope that given my current state (I sure identify with plenty of jet-setting executives right now), I am able to carry out this sacred mission:


1. Gunny Sack
An endearment by my primary school mates, inspired when we won the fun race during one of the school's sports day. I was involved in hopping in that sack for the relay.

2. Pikapi
My nickname needs no explanation if you have watched Pokemon. Otherwise, please Google Pokemon! I embroided this on my jungle hat.

3. Gun
It sounds exactly like my surname, so there it goes...


1. Pikapi/Pkchukiss

2. MakePeace

3. (Censored)


1. My natural optimism

2. A sense for the dramatic, though it is severely dulled these days. Either I am losing it, or I am gripped by the tentacles of cynicism.

3. Responsibility. I dare say that nobody cares more about his own work than I do. Or has cynicism consumed me?


1. My need to be alone for stretches at a time

2. I can't tolerate irresponsible people

3. I hate overtly arrogant fools.

(I assume this is talking about my culture)

1. Food. We are very mad about food. Cornerstone to every important festival in our country is the very stuff we put inside our mouths.

2. Queues. We automatically go to the longest queue, because we think that the best stuff is where most people would be.

3. Rants. A product of the unrelenting pressures of life here, we rant a lot. Plus the lack of a true outlet causes mini holes to explode here and there...


1. Being ignored by my friends.

2. Being bored and deprived of entertainment.

3. The pain of losing loved ones.


1. My computer

2. Cash

3. Cell phone.


1. Nothing?

2. Underwear?

3. Shorts? I don't know.


1. Michael Jackson
I know he is an eccentric person, but that doesn't affect my admiration for his music. Some of my favourite songs are humanitarian in nature.

2. F.I.R.
The new-comer to the chinese music scene has managed to capture my attention with their innovative tracks.

3. (none)
Some may mention Jay Chou or David Tao as their favourite artiste, but I don't identify enough with their music to justify their listing...


1. Heal the world - Michael Jackson

2. A chinese song by F.I.R

3. Another piece by F.I.R


1. To be understood

2. To be able to build a happy life together with a partner

3. To understand

TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE (in no particular order):

1. We all die eventually.

2. My identity card puts me down as a male.

3. My identity card puts me down as a female.
(I am getting quite bored about this... I frankly don't like to indulge in such trivia about myself, it feels egoistic. But then again, I am slightly narcissistic.)


1. The ability to listen

2. The ability to understand

3. (none)


1. The Internet

2. Cycling/Swimming/Running

3. DotA
A custom map for WarCraft III played like a mini-RPG where players try to kill each other with one hero each.


1. Sleep
The jet lag is really annoying, but I prefer to wait for my normal bed time to sleep it off. No use wasting my up time tomorrow morning.

2. Eat

3. (none)


1. Journalist for an independent newspaper

2. Catalyst for political betterment

3. Multi-billionaire with at least 3 charities in my name...


1. The States
Experience life in the champion for democracy. I might plan a visit to the lesser affluent communities, which appear on television as majority asian and hispianic poverty pockets. Life isn't a bed roses for many people.

2. Japan
I am curious about the controversial WWII shrine that has gotten Japan's neighbouring countries' ire. Has the hurt gone so deep that 60 years down the road, resentment stil breeds in the place of forgiveness? I have also heard that the shopping is great there - if you have the money, that is.

3. Tasmania
To truly get away from it all, I would dump my cell phone at home, and get there just to swim all day in the famous reefs, and experience the life Down Under.


What good would answering this do?


1. Properly arrange my financial succession, and take care of my personal affairs.

2. Reflect on my life, and be proud that I have lead a meaningful life.

3. Be with my loved ones.


1. I commit most of the unspeakable private things a boy does.

2. The wall is the target of my anger: the shoe prints are testament to my wrath.

3. I love Pikachu.


1. I have absolutely no idea.


1. None
Crushes are a tad bit hard on the body. Certain parts of the anatomy might get crushed out of shape, or require extensive calcium replenishment to repair.


1. Desmond

2. Kester

3. (none)
I don't think Badaunt bothers herself with such aimless memes, since all the ones she has done so far are things worthy of discussion...

Back in Singapore...

After a 4 hour flight with a cowboy pilot, I find myself back in Singapore.

Technically, I lost myself instead.

I see people driving on the right side of their vehicles, and now on the left side of the road, just when I was accepting the rebellious as the norm, people start spewing forth Singlish, and taxi drivers show off their erractic city driving in their manual clutch releases.

And the weather. No typhoons here.

More when I get over this strange desire to sleep (I heard that it is called "jet-lag").

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