While I’m not the smartest person in the world, I’m smart enough to keep my mouth shut on matters that I’m not an expert on. World politics falls into that category.

Given what has happened over the weekend, however, I feel the need to comment before thousands of US infantrymen start collecting souvenirs from downtown Baghdad this week.

As short as I can state it, this is my position on the whole Iraq situation. The Bush administration has a misguided and hypocritical foreign policy.

First of all, where the hell did the problem with Iraq come from? One minute the US is fighting in Afghanistan and the next Iraq starts popping up in every White House briefing. I can understand the US is now antsy about every nation/group/individual that has ever said anything bad about them, but why Iraq first?

It’s hard not to think that the Bush adminstration just wanted to pull a fast one on its coalition partners.

“Uh, hey, thanks for all your help with Afghanistan… say, you know since you’re out here anyways, it’s just a short ride to Iraq… let’s blow some shit up there too… come on, it’ll be fun…”

Why is Iraq such an important target now? What exactly is Iraq doing that is imminently threatening the US or its allies? The UN inspection teams have found little or nothing in terms of weapons of mass destruction. Sure it was a token act, but Iraq even destroyed a few of their missiles. You can’t tell me the US is worried about those ancient Scud missiles. On a good day, Iraq would need a decent tail wind and a lot of luck to even hope to land one of those things in an empty field outside of Jerusalem. Maybe I didn’t check my mail, but what hard proof does the US have that Iraq supported al-Qaeda? It’s the freaking Middle East, the one thing everyone has in common there is that they all hate the US. That’s support by default in my books. I’m not saying that Saddam Hussein is totally innocent, but in that region, you can take your pick of ruthless dictators.

Again, my question is, why Iraq first? Bush mentioned two other countries in his “axis of evil” speech: Iran and North Korea. As far as I’m concerned Iraq and Iran are about equal in their hatred for the US. I could be wrong, but isn’t it a known fact that Iran supports Hezbollah, a violent terrorist organization? This has been floating around for years. Yet, the US has decided to go after Iraq first. And recent reports have stated Iran is also developing a nuclear weapons program, yet hear almost nothing from Ari Fleisher about Iran.

Now let’s talk North Korea. It’s crazy when reporters ask the White House about why it’s about to invade Iraq and why it only uses “diplomatic” talks with North Korea. The official White House response is that President Bush believes that diplomacy is still a viable option with North Korea, while diplomacy has failed with Iraq. What a bunch of crap. So, the White House line is, we’ve given Iraq three diplomatic cards to play with and they’ve used them all, and North Korea still has some to give.

Am I the only one to think if the US wanted to get their hands dirty, it might start with North Korea? On Jan. 13th, a government run North Korean newspaper stated that North Korean would not hesitate to “turn the citadel of imperialists into a sea of fire” if the Americans invaded. That citadel they refer to is South Korea, where millions of people live and more importantly for the US, where thousands of US military personnel are stationed. So, why go after Iraq, when even the US thinks North Korea already has a few nuclear weapons?

Why is diplomacy still the preferred course for North Korea when they’ve demonstrated they can fly missiles over Japan? I’m not a rocket scientist, but if the US believes that North Korea already has a few nukes and it’s clear that they can launch missile as far as Japan, that’s not a good combination of facts. I understand for the US, Japan isn’t that important, but do they realize that Alaska is the next most important target after that?

Despite all the signs from North Korea, the Bush administraton has dismissed these threats. From what I’ve read, they’ve given no real reason. It seems like a faulty foreign policy to me. Kid gloves for those who have nukes and hardball for those who don’t have them.

Why has the Bush administration led us to where the world is now? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Before I end this, I would like to make a few more points. Do I think Saddam Hussein is a saint? No, of couse not. He is a dictator. He has killed his own people and made the Kurds to suffer. Would a regime change be good for the people of Iraq? Most likely yes. But how many countries could you say the same thing about? Too many. North Korea. Iran. China. Half a dozen African countries. Why are those countries not in the sights of US interests?

Another point is that, yes, any country deserves to defend itself, and I believe the war on terrorism should continue, but I can’t see the Iraq situation being about terrorism. If the US is hell-bent on destroying every single person and organization that has anti-US intentions, why don’t they start from within? Timothy McVeigh killed hundreds of people with his bomb, but he was doing it because he felt sympathy towards the milita groups that were anti-government. To this day, in Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho dozens of militia groups exist. Their main intent is to overthrow the US government and are not afraid to use violence to attain their goal. Aren’t these people terrorists? Yet, I don’t see the Bush administration lining up the National Guard and going in and taking those people out.

Well, it’s getting late and I need to do some more work, but that’s my view on things in the Middle East. I just wanted to get that out before the bombs started dropping.

If you have any differing views or could answer some of the questions I’ve posed, feel free to leave a comment.


So around the beginning of the new year, I got initiated into Rhonda’s high five salutation circle.

Rhonda, also a fellow SJC resident, would occasionally depart a dinner or a gathering by asking for a high five. I’m sure almost everyone is familar with the near universal salutation of slapping two palms together in an energetic fashion.

At first I thought what an odd thing to do for a 23 year old woman to be doing. Asking other 20-somethings for a salutation you did mostly as a kid. I immediately thought of that episode of Seinfeld where Puddy is the car salesman. Puddy relentlessly asks Jerry for a high five.

I went along with Rhonda’s high five requests, but I think I once said to her, “We’re in a nice restaurant, I don’t think people do high fives here.”

Before, the only people I saw doing high fives were between little kids and little kids and adults. The problem with adults doing high fives is that you can look like an idiot if you don’t do it right. You know when one person overcommits and the other doesn’t enough and it just looks like lame hand pushing. Even Rhonda will ask you to do it again if you mess it up.

While I thought the high fives were at first odd, I have changed my opinions after several months. I believe the high fives harken back to simpler and more innocent times as kids when we first learned how to high five. When we were carefree human beings naive about the world in front of us.

So while Rhonda may have her own reasons why she needs to slap the hands of people around her, I will feel a small reminder of my past whenever she asks me to high five.


Club Rubber has up new pics from their Hot For Teacher bash. If you can imagine it, there were a lot of women in short plaid skirts and leggings.

My sources tell me the site has been blocked from EA, so if you’re reading this from EAC or EAX, you’re probably out of luck. Sorry.


I’m tired and have been all week. I’d like a day where I can sleep in and do nothing. Actually, tomorrow comes pretty close. I have no classes and one lab.

Up until a few hours ago that lab was going to be cancelled because of the TA strike. Now the lab is back on. You might have heard or read about this, but the provincial government has legislated the TAs and other striking UBC workers back to work. I have an appointment to get my haircut at the same time as my lab. I’m going to skip my lab. That’s where my priorities lie… lol.

Anyways, the all the TAs I know are pretty pissed about this piece of legislation. All I’ve heard is grumbling and displeasure at the government, and rightly so. While the TA strike is an inconvenience, it has not shut down the campus nor has it prevented students from getting the work done. Yes, the marking is a little bit behind schedule, but the marks will eventually be parcelled out. I’m not sure if any student will be in jeopardy of losing their school year.

So, as we speak there are a group of students heading out to Victoria to protest the legislation. There’s also a big protest rally planned on campus for tomorrow. I get the feeling this one will be quite loud and boisterous.

I am so tired right now. Is it alright to take a nap at 9:35pm?

I talked to the girl with the humour Kryptonite again today. And again I was not funny. When she left, her friend said to me, “Wow, you’re boring when she’s around.”

Ouch. I can’t explain it. Not sure what to do. Maybe I should break out the “do you ever notice…” material.

Need sleep. Bye.


Despite all logic telling me that I should be doing the mountains of work I have to finish, I worked on my web site tonight.

The second installment of the erwintang.com interviews is up. This time around, we feature another SJC resident, Nic Clarke. Click here for the results. I don’t have time to make an index page for the interviews yet, so hang tight.

What else is going on…. hmmm… oh yeah… some of you may think I have a bit of a sense of humour. Perhaps, I’ve had the pleasure of making you laugh. Well, I’ve discovered my sense of humour Kryptonite. It comes in the form of a single girl. I cannot for the life of me be funny around this girl. I’m not sure why. I need to get to the bottom of this.


UPDATE: My mail is again working.

My first announcement is that the hard drive that holds all my mail is full. Unfortunately, that hard drive resides on a computer that I’ve never seen before. Until I can get the admin to free some crap up, I can’t receive mail at my regular address. So, if you sent me mail anytime from 6pm Sunday and on, I’d probably won’t get it. Please send any mail to me to this address until further notice.

My second announcement is that I have my pics up from the International Dinner. Have a look. I’ve put my Chinese New Year pics on the backburner for a bit. I’ll get them up sometime.

Have a great Monday.


After many months of living at SJC, we had our very first genuine fire alarm go off today. These were a dime a dozen in undergrad, but quite rare now.

I can tell fire prevention technology has come a long way. In our decades old undergrad residences we had an clangy bell that would go off in the hallway. It was actually quite easy to ignore. SJC is about five years old and we have these individual alarms in each of our rooms that screech out this deafening banshee wail. It makes you not want to be in there.

So, when the damn thing went off, I was still in my PJs and hair unkempt. Damn, I thought, I don’t need this. I was going to ignore it, but over the screech of the alarm, I heard people outside the hall. Ah well, better go outside. So, I got dressed and made sure I didn’t look like a total idiot and went outside.

We were herded into the rear parking lot, apparently that’s the rally point during a fire. Anyways, no one was believing this was the real thing. Some one said, “If I see smoke and flames, I’m running back in there to get my computer.”

About a third or less of the College were in the parking lot. Some were dressed appropriately, some were not. One guy had a blanket around him and he wasn’t wearing shoes. Another guy had a 3.5″ diskette with him. I’m guessing that was holding some important files, but seriously, how much porn can you hold on 1.4 Mb?

Max comes out and he’s holding an empty laundry basket and an empty Tupperware container. People were saying that’s an odd set of things to take with you.

“He must really like those things.”

“Hey, if the place burns down and they give us food, he can save it for later.”

“I bet those hold his empty dreams… bittersweet dreams.”

“You people shut up, I was doing laundry.”

Since we were all in the back, we didn’t even get to see the fire trucks and the firemen. After about 10 more minutes of standing around, we get the all clear. On the way back in, I hear that someone was cooking with butter and it set off the alarm. Honest mistake I guess.

On the way back in, I found a ball hockey ball, so it was totally worth the inconvenience.

Sunday is completely over yet, but I get the feeling that’ll be the most exciting thing to happen to me today.


Tonight St. John’s College held their International Dinner. Residents were encouraged to dress up in traditional garb from different nations. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t your own home country. More women than men dressed up, but that was alright. There were a lot of kimonos, at least one sari, and a few other national costumes. Nic, who’s from New Zealand, wore his rugby clothes. Mark, who’s from Ontario, wore his Leafs jersey. People hassled him. He did not receive any pity from me.

I really like these SJC dinners. The food is great and I like the formality of the events. There’s usually an hour of chit-chat at the reception where people get liquored up on wine and eat tasty finger foods. Then there’s the actual dinner.

I took lots of photos from the event, but I swear, every photo I’m in, I think I closed my eyes. I’m going to develop them tomorrow. I still haven’t scanned in my photos from Chinese New Year. I feel shame.

Well, after the dinner I had finished about four glasses of wine. Plus, I had a huge meal. The food was awesome. I have a new respect for Thai beef.

The ball hockey team had a game right at 9:30pm. I thought was in the clear since I didn’t have my jersey to wear today. Well, someone handed me a shirt at the last minute and before long, I was stumbling off to Osborne.

When we got there, I saw that the other team had two girls playing! Whoa, I thought, we’re gonna lose to girls this time.

I was totally bagged before we even started. Heavy from food and drink, I could not help but dog it for first few minutes. Then I started noticing this asshole from the other team, #15. He was going around and doing stupid shit with his stick. He’d go and slap our sticks when the play was totally away. I can understand if two guys were getting into it and there was some stickwork involved, but this was out of nowhere. And this guy didn’t even know the rules. We had ball possession several times where we’re allowed to run the ball in or pass it after the ref blows the whistle. Also, they have to give us 6 feet of space. We’re given 5 seconds to move it after which the other team can check us. Well, one time I was going to start the play, and buddy here was standing almost next to me. For some reason the ref blows whistle when he shouldn’t have and #15 takes the ball from the circle. Everyone’s standing around looking at this idiot run towards the goal. The ref is yelling at him to bring it back and he turns around and goes, “What? You blew the whistle!”.

The ref goes over to him and explains the rules to him. Not a minute later, the play is ruled dead again and we get possession. The ref blows the whistle and Aseem is about to pass when #15 rushes him right away. The ref blows the play dead again and again, he goes over to #15 and reminds him about the rules. What a moron.

Steve was our goalie for this game and he was getting some unlucky bounces. He’d make the initial save, but the ball would take a crazy bounce over his head or something and land on the goal line. The other team would just tap it in. There scored a few garbage goals like that. No biggie. Just a game. Then after one such goal, Steve said, “Ah… they’re getting a lot of garbage goals tonight…”, which was a fair assessment. Well, #15 heard this and said, “Well, you’re letting a lot of garbage in…”

Steve and I were like, “What the fuck are you talking about??!?!”. Garbage goals aren’t a reflection on how good or bad a team is, it’s just a statement of their luck. Some of their guys were actually pretty good.

As #15 and I were lining up for the faceoff, I asked him, “What the fuck is your problem? Where’d that come from?”

“Ask your ‘tender,” he said.

Now I’m usually a calm guy when it comes to hockey. We’ve been beat 15-3 and 16-1, and it’s no big deal, but I don’t like assholes. So we lined up again and as soon as the ref blew the whistle I cross-checked him in the chest. Apparently, I didn’t do it hard enough since he didn’t go down.

“What the fuck ref!” was his reply.

“Oops sorry,” I said.

“What, you want to fight?” he countered.

“Whatever buddy, keep playing…”, I suggested.

Meanwhile, Steve is witnessing this from our crease and he’s laughing his ass off. I turn around and start laughing too because the play is continuing on a blantant cross-check. There’s no way the ref missed it because I did on the faceoff. I guess he thought he deserved it.

Anyways, I’m keeping my eye on #15 now. I’d expect any guy to give it back to me, but strangely, he doesn’t. I’m not sure if I should be impressed or disappointed. Did he take the high road or is he a shit-disturber that shies away from the rough stuff? Let me point out that this guy had about 6″ inches on me, so it’s not like I was intimidating him.

The game goes on and I keep it clean, but Steve won’t stop heckling #15. It’s a shame Steve wasn’t playing out, ’cause I know he would have drilled that guy good.

So, the game ends and we lost of course, but the kicker is that Steve and I are dying to shake #15’s hand. It’s just a game is our philosophy. Anyways, we get to the end of the line, and #15 is nowhere to be seen.

Steve says, “Where’s your big tall guy? #15? Is he off crying somewhere? Let’s shake!”

One of their girls replied, “Oh I think he said he was hurt.”

Oh well. Part of me doesn’t think he was hurt. He seemed like the type to raise shit in the game and not be man enough to look you in the eye afterwards and shake. Though, if I indeed hurt him, well that might teach him to play with a little more honour next time.

When I got back I nearly threw up three times in half an hour, but I re-hydrated myself and here I am typing. Final assessment: fun game. I got to cross-check a guy that deserved it.

Whoops, I have class in about seven and a half hours, I gotta put this post and myself to bed.

Before I leave, I’d like to announce my next interview here on erwintang.com is mere days away, possibly on Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned!


For some reason, I’ve been listening to Elvis songs recently. I downloaded a whole bunch of his tracks tonight. The quality of the King’s music can vary wildly and I’m not talking about the mp3 themselves. Some of his live stuff was poorly recorded.

In any case, I think Elvis’ music certainly transcends the passage of time. Some of his work is just as good today as it was when it was first released. I must admit there is a certain undeniable appeal to his tunes. When I was younger, I used to lump Elvis into everything that was the 70s. To be truthful, I didn’t and still don’t think the 70s were that great of a decade.

However, while Elvis certainly had some of his most interesting years in the 70s (the banana-butter sandwiches… the jumpsuits), he also should be judged by his work from the previous decades as well. In that case, he had quite a prolific career.

So, here’s to the King. A man whose interest in jumpsuits and sequins these days would pale in comparison to baby dangling and false noses.

Elvis Presley – Suspicious Minds.mp3 – 3.2 Mb


As I grow older, that’s what waking up early feels more and more like… a kick in the groin.

By my count, I need to be up in about five and a half hours, which is two hours short of what is comfortable. I’m glad I stayed up this late to find out I don’t know how to do my assignment.

Happily, my life isn’t all school work right now. The lure of Ebay has brought me back in search of the Band of Brothers DVD set. Being poor, I don’t want to pay full price. While the North American sellers can save me perhaps $10-$15, I’m considering buying these “other” sets from Asia.

Here’s a listing for a BoB set from a guy in China. His feedback seems positive, except one guy that accused him of selling pirated discs.

I’d hate to plop down good money for a pirated set with crappy image quality. What do you think?