Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Local NSmen would find this extremely... nostalgic. Enjoy!

Hotel BMTC
*sung to the tune of Hotel California*

Down Seletar Expressway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell from the cookhouse,
Rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a fluorescent light
Nee Soon Medical Centre
I had to stop for the night

There they stood in the doorway, my OC
And PC as well
I was thinking to myself
This can't be Heaven, this has to be Hell

And they opened the tonner, and they showed me the way
There were sergeants down that corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel BMTC
Such a garang place (such a garang place),
Such a garang face
Kena confine at the Hotel BMTC
All throughout the year (all throughout the year),
You can find me here

His mind was certainly twisted,
He had a sadistic bent
He had a lot of other PTIs he calls "friends"
Going round the parade square
Sweet summer sweat
Route march to remember,
Route march to forget

So I called up the OO,
I said "Sir, I want to die"
But he said, "We haven't had a suicide here since 1999."
And still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say

Welcome to the Hotel BMTC
Plenty of canteen breaks at BMTC
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Get your alibis

Lizards on the ceiling, houseflies in your eyes
We are all just prisoners here of the Army's device
And in the Specialists' Chambers, they gathered for the feast
They stabbed it with their plastic knives
But they just can't cut the beef

Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find a passage back to the place I was before
"Relac ah, brudder," said the RP, "until you ORD...
"You can book out anytime you like
But you can never leave!"

BMTC: Basic Military Training Center
Seletar Expressway: the road near Nee Soon BMTC Camp
Nee Soon Medical Center: Where we go to when we report sick
OC: Officer, Commanding. In charge of a company
PC: Platoon Commander
tonner: 3 tonner truck
garang: brave, courageous, often to the point of foolishness
kena: get
PTI: Physcal Training Instructor (people have DIED at their sadistic hands; this is no joke!)
route march: cross country march, with rifle, backpack, and all
OO: Orderly Officer
Faibee-Axe: 5BX, acronym for the 5 Basic eXercises
Canteen breaks: When we actually get to relax in between training
RP: Regimental police; the poorer, lousier cousins of the elite provost(BTW, I'm provost)
ORD: Operationally Ready Date; the day when we end our two plus years of military service.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

A common perception and stereotype of Asians(unfortunately true) is that we value, no, crave stability and wealth above all else. How else would anyone explain the reluctance of ASEAN nations to impress on the military junta of Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi?

Nobody wants to rock the boat. Even more pertinently, nobody wants to be seen rocking the boat. There's a very strong tendency in Asian societies to just shut up and get on with business. It's reflected in our homes, our schools, and the workplace.

It'll take a coordinated effort by the international community to achieve anything. If anything else, it should be a damn lot easier than the US trying to get the UN's support for attacking Iraq. But somehow, I'm not optimistic.

Oh, to be sure, regional leaders believe that constructive engagement is the way to go. By opening up Myanmar's economy, they'll also be able to achieve democracy after a while. But as we've seen in China, liberalization of the economy does not imply liberalisation of politics. There's a certain bleed over effect, but it's often overrated.

But then again, most Asians don't really care who's in power, as long as there is food on the table, and money to be made. What is freedom if it only means the freedom to starve?

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Just got about a ton of reviews for the latest chapter of Seekers in Shadow. Thanks for all the support!

Work on the next chapter has been pretty slow, not least because of the Battle of New Samarkand in the local merecenary campaign. This was well and truly a battle of epic proportions, with about 20 players participating. I needed to both play and act as referee to ensure that the newbies for some of the games don't mess up the rules. So I've been doing that for the past 4 days. And I'm just about dead on my feet!

Because of several mismatches with veteran players on the DNS side going up against relative green players on the ANS, I was forced to build a one-off Word of Blake unit so that another veteran could go in and help the attacking force. So I went ahead and built two Level IIs with mostly stock C3i mechs, which I named "Household Appliances"!

So here's the battle report so far, courtesy of Phelan, the CO of the Warriors of Woe. For the record, I was the player for the Word of Blake militia. Poor Marcus, unable to field his full force for the next phase without taking some very serious risks!


Even now, battles rage across the surface of New Samarkand. It has been more than a week since our forces landed, only to meet resistance in the form of mercenary units, some of which have affiliations to Steiner, Liao and the Word of Blake. There have been frequent attacks against our supply lines, though so far no side seems to have an edge.

Here is the summarized report you have requested of me. As information filters in, I’ll do my best to keep you updated.

For our Prince, and for the Federated Commonwealth.

Warriors of Woe vs Darsis Death Dealers
Our first battle was raged in the heavy forests, at the start of dawn, with our own Warriors having to battle those of House Liao. It was a hard fought battle, as both Methos’ and D’Alia’s Devastators were lost to engine hits. Yvonne’s Annihilator was cored, and two more of our Mechs lost their arms. We managed to drive off the attack, however, and the Death Dealers have lost their overall commander to a well placed headshot.

Note: Both sides don't seem to be able to field a strong force for the next phase of the mission. Missing arms and legs galore!

Double H vs Kodiak Guards
The next battle took place between two elite forces, those of the Kuritan-affiliated Double H and the mercenary Kodiak Guards. It was a severe blow to the attacking force to learn that the Kodiak Guards wiped out most of Double H’s forces, but the damage inflicted by our side was devastating on the Guards. Luckily, Double H’s CO, Shimure Hanis, was not at the scene of the massacre.

Note: The 1/2 pilot Shimure Hanis pilots a Turkina with a clan large pulse laser and targeting computer loadout. Say cheese!

Solar Blade vs Pryde’s Marauders
This battle again took place in the forested region, with Pryde’s Marauders coming hard at the green Solar Blade. Our side suffered the loss of a Rakshasa, Sirocco and No-Daichi, but the commanding officer of Solar Blade wisely retreated against the much better armed Pryde’s Marauders. The defender’s victory cost us what ground we had initially won.

Note: Solar Blade is not green, actually newborn pink, while Pryde's Marauders are a veteran unit in defensive positions during the battle. An utter mismatch.

Lion Azure vs Hegemonia
Treachery. The ComStar affiliated Hegemonia had defected to the other side. There are rumours about Hegemonia actually being a ROM unit from WoB, but so far, we’ve had no confirmation. However, when they attacked the Kuritan mercs of the Lion Azure, they were treated to a nasty surprise. Apparently the Kuritans deployed Arrow IV to their advantage, taking out several Mechs within a few minutes. Hegemonia withdrew from the field a while after. Another victory for the attackers, and with minimal casualties to our side.

Note: Four mechs from Hegemonia got vaporised in one turn when they got around a pre designated artillery point. Spectacular!

Die Blaukavalieren vs Command Assault Recon
The Blue Cavaliers were surprised from the rear by the Lyran-affiliated Command Assault Recon in the fifth battle on New Samarkand. Though the Cavaliers retreated off the field with the loss of an Awesome and a Grasshopper, battleroms show that they inflicted sufficient damage on Command Assault Recon before withdrawing. Hinata lance, especially, caused lots of problem for the Lyrans. I believe we can count three Lyran pilots dead.

Note: The commander of the Command Assault Recon is a slow learner. Advice goes into one ear, and goes out the other ear. But he's young.

Argent Phalanx vs Word of Blake Militia
This was unexpected. A Word of Blake militia unit caught Argent Phalanx on maneuvers, and attacked with ferocity equal to that of any fanatic. Argent Phalanx lost a Black Knight and a Hauptmann to headshots, but they eventually forced the Blakists off the battlefield. Several other Mechs were badly damaged in the skirmish, though I have had reports that Argent Phalanx captured one of the Blakist pilots. There have been conflicting stories as to who (or what,) was piloting that Mech.

Note: Argent Phalanx also had a Devastator with two engine hits and a torso with very little internal structure left, as well as a near crippled Penetrator. All in all, a pyrrhic victory.

James’ First Calvary vs Carlos’ Champions
Another attack into the forested region, this time by Carlos’ Champions. Our supply lines were guarded by another Davion unit, James’ First Calvary. Things did not go too well for us, with an early ejection by the pilot of a Nightstar. The Calvary held on as long as possible, but when they realized it would be impossible to win, they wisely accepted a withdrawal agreement from Carlos’ Champions. At least one other Mech, an assault-class Emperor, was lost.

Note: Both units are veteran level, and it was hotly contested until the Nightstar went down. From then on, it was all one sided.

Twilight Templars vs Plastic Miniatures
This evenly matched battle rages even as I am writing this. So far, neither unit has the advantage, though intel reports that the Templars have taken heavy damage to a single Marauder. Reinforcements are unavailable at this time, but the highest ranking officer on the attacking side believes that the Twilight Templars can hold the line.

Note: Play was halted due to player commitments. To be continued soon.

--end of report---

We still have confirmed reports about other merc units that are preparing to engage our forces. ComStar’s 666th Division is still nowhere to be found, but I’ve been told that Army X has been sent in to reinforce us. And some other Davion unit called the Panser Corps. They are still a few days away from planetfall, so this is all the information I have.

PS: Get well soon, that last battle really rattled you up.

One caveat I would add is that for all of the advantages the invading force(ANS) had in defence(we had to roll to decide defender/attacker before every match), the DNS players have been able to hold their own, and even grab a slight edge. Of course, if we had started out in defence, the win ratio would be even more in our favor.

Interested? Then hop on over here and get our campaign rules!

Monday, June 09, 2003

Here's a sad anecdotal account of the ills of Africa. Not everything could be blamed on colonialism, though certainly it had a part to play...

The most striking portion was the one on education and economic success. No wonder my own country's leaders recognized now that some of the most talented of our young should be encouraged to be businessmen, entrepeneurs. If everybody took up a government job, who'd drive the economy? Certainly not the public sector alone!

Friday, June 06, 2003

A nice quote I read on National Review Online.

The United Nations is not so much the united nations as the united governments or regimes, no better and no worse than those regimes on the whole. -Solzhenitsyn

NRO is one of the most brilliant and intellectually precise online magazine sites I have ever seen. Articles by Victor Davis-Hanson on morality, politics and war, Larry Kudlow on economics are like text from the hands of prophets. They say something will happen from a particular set of events, and lo and behold, it does.

Compare to the pap from Nation or Salon. The lack of intellectual rigor from the left disgusts me.

Oh well, back to writing. My readers are geting anxious. But there's this BIG battle going on in our local merc campaign, as over 15 mercenary units descend on New Samarkand for a duel to the death.

Thursday, June 05, 2003


Sorry for such a long hiatus, but I was busy with work, exams, and the lot. As a matter of fact, I have managed to get into my university's honors program in chemistry, despite taking what most people regarded as 'suicide' modules in quantum chemistry and analysis, as well as taking more modules than the minumum requirement.

Heh, a B+ for quantum chemistry ain't bad at all!

Meanwhile, my fiction is coming along just fine, except when my rhythm got broken a week ago when I had to research some stuff to help out in the next MW:DA novel. Since that's settled, I'm back to typing Seekers in Shadow, in between games of Btech.

Despite what many might think, I'm a keen observer of current events. The recent SARS outbreak and the Iraqi war were nice avenues for me to express my views, but I'd rather not here because they'll piss off a lot of people. And that's not really the point of this webpage either. Still a bit of politics here and there helps set the tone, especially as I go deeper into Seekers In Shadow and its sequel The Fallen Throne.

Hey, I can't help it. See which Founding Father of the USA I'm most like!

So there. And I'm right very often. Even my argumentation lecturer acknowledged that many of my points in the 'heat of battle' were often so damn obvious that they were practically indisputable.

But sometimes it's the damn obvious that everybody fails to see.

And I refuse to stop being a blowhard for it.