Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SHM Book Club #005 - Why People Believe in Weird Things by Michael Shermer

Month of March saw the SHM Book Club reading "Why People Believe Weird Things" by Michael Shermer, a book about all the weird things people believe in like UFO, ESP, Ghost, Witches, Pseudoscience, Pseudo-history, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time.

The book club was host by Doug, who kept us pretty distracted with a half finish jigsaw right in the middle of his living room. But luckily, we did managed to proceed to discuss about the book briefly before breaking for tea. 

The chapter on "How Thinking Goes Wrong: 25 Fallacies That Lead Us To Believe Weird Thing" is well worth reading.You can read all the 25 Fallacies here.

For those of you who missed the book club, you can still benefit from it by reading the book on your own, read the 25 fallacies, or watched the youtube clips below:

Just a recap of what was discussed
  • Why people believe in weird things instead of resorting to other explanation
  • Why some people want to believe in certain things
  • Probability, coincidences, statistics and the error of only counting the hits and not the misses

SHM Book Club will be having a joint meetup session with the Hungry Hundred Book Club for April's reading title "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Do login to Singapore Humanism Meetup Group to RSVP before all spots are taken up! Note: prior reading before each session is required.

The coordinator would like to thank Doug for hosting the March's book club, and the wonderful people who helped somewhat with his jigsaw puzzle: JF, Nel (Thanks for the photo for this blog entry!), Susan, Balach, Tawnya and Sher.

Book Recommendation from this meetup:
The Trouble With Testosterone by Robert M. Sapolski
The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

Some side topics discussed during the session:
Angler Fish Mating

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


If you've ever wonder what Cordy looks like, wonder no more! While browsing through my photo album looking for something, I just though, hey, let's see how I've changed thru the years! These are 7 years range of photos! I also have a physical collection of montage from age 7 onwards with all my passport photo! Those are so cool when you put them in sequence! But the montage below are in no particular sequence. Yes, this is me for the past 7 years. I'm thinking of doing one of my dad next! Stay tune!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kampung Lorong Buangkok

Welcome to the last 'kampung' a.k.a little Malay village in mainland Singapore - Kampung Lorong Buangkok! Beware! Chickens crossing!
 My 2nd photo outing with Lynn and gang + 2 colleagues :) Our little group is growing bigger! And on this faithful morning, we met at 8:30am at Serangon Bus Interchange to make our way to Kampung Lorong Buangkok. From the interchange, take bus 103, and get down just infront of the Church of St Vincent, opposite a Shell Petrol Station. Just cross the road towards the petrol station, go down the stairs, and cross the small 'river' and head towards the most 'ulu'(remote) looking road. And pretty soon you'll be greeted by brightly colored kampung houses. (note that some of the houses are actually available for filming at a rental cost of SGD600 per hour!)
 It's a mixture of malay and chinese houses, and apparently a lot of 'Ang Moh' can be seen wondering around taking photo, or even shooting a film in one of the houses! The place is oozing with calm, especially when the wind is blowing in your hair in the mid morning sunlight with birds, butterflies and even dragonflies flying all around you. The picture below shows one of my favorite houses there. I especially like the bowl of marble found on a table at the garden and how the light just catches everything so well. Also love the shot of the home-made swing at the bottom right corner. Kinda reminds me of my childhood :)
Here are some odds and ends we encounter along the way. I didn't manage to get much of an authentic shot cause most of the windows and doors of the houses were closed, and people kinda shy away, probably too sick of photographer including on their private home ground.Who could blame them?
And here are some friendly folks of the kampung. I actually like the pathetic looking cat in front of a lime green house a lot but I couldn't get a good shot of it. Not to mention all the not-so-friendly dogs found in the kampung.Yes, beware of dogs!
 The shot below is my lucky shot of the day! Majestic looking isn't it?
 And lastly, I was just fascinated by this lonely chair abandon among the bushes. I took like 10 shot of it without knowing what I'm gonna do with them. And when I came home, this is what you get :)  I guess it's just one of my yellow umbrella moments. I love it!
Kampung Lorong Buangkok
Serangon Bus Interchange
Ang Moh

Saturday, March 26, 2011

CNY 2011 - Happy Year of the Rabbit!

Yes I know it's almost 2 month since Chinese New Year 2011. Still, better late then never! Some paper craft I made during this CNY of the rabbit :) They were given away to my colleague's two daughter, and one to my colleague who was my guide at the Botanical Garden.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Singapore Humanism Meetup Book Club #004 - On The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

In conjunction with Darwin's Day falling on February 12, Singapore Humanism Meetup book club meetup #004 selected The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin as our reading on 26-Feb-2011 Saturday. But for the first time, members were not restricted to just one book. An alternative title  Darwin: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) was also recommended for a more layman approach to understanding Darwin and his theory of evolution. The end result? A wide array of books made an appearance at the book club! (refer picture above)

Different variety of books on Darwin and evolution were read by a total of 7 members who turned up for the meetup: from different edition of The Origin of Species, to Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Corney, to a manga version of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation, The Decent of Man, and someone (we shall not disclose who) even dragged along his/her Biological Science text book! Talk about an enthusiastic turnout!

The session started out with the arrival of the members around 2pm, followed by an informal introduction. By 2:30pm, everyone has settled themselves down at the host's living room and the discussion started out with the host Eric giving a brief summary of The Origin of Species. Before you know it, everyone was jumping in on the discussion.

Just a recap of what was discussed

  • How natural selection is an individual process, and not a group or species process
  • The evolution of animals and what drives them to do so, from sea to land, and land to sea
  • Laws of variation and how every single one of us is different for a purpose
  • Why did it took so long for a book on evolution to be written
  • Does our genetic determine how we turn out in life
A brief tea break of cakes, cookies and tea were held around 4pm, and members continued on a more informal discussion till 6pm! That's a 4 hour meetup!

If you would like to join in the fun of the book club, do not hesitate to RSVP for our next meetup on 20-Mar-2011 Sunday, 2pm-4pm @ Westcoast where we would be reading Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer.This is a session with lots of ghost, witches, UFO, alien abduction etc! Do login to Singapore Humanist Meetup Group to RSVP before all spots are taken up! Note: prior reading before each session is required.

The coordinator would like to thank Eric, our host and his wife for making us cookies! Our co-host Aloysius, and the wonderful people who made this an enjoyable afternoon: Doug, Liyan (Thanks for the delicious Cranberry Orange Cake!), Momin and Koi Hin.

References and resources:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Living Without Religion

Hey all, sorry for being MIA for sometime now. Life hasn't been going that great for me recently, so bare with me a while as I try to get back my bearings. I'd just like to share this clip with you, something a friend shared on Facebook today. Someone told me recently that when trouble hits, we would naturally turn to God for comfort. I beg to differ then, and hope that I was right. Today, watching this clip, made me realize, that yes, I stand my ground. I don't need God to hope, to care, to love, to live. I think I'll pick myself up now and move forward :)  Enjoy the clip!