Friday, November 26, 2004

The Ad-Min Service -- Dancing With Dumbos

I am Xenoboy. I am the Political Savant.

I made a mistake last weekend. I am still recovering from the mistake. I attended a Singaporean student get-together in London. My instincts told me that I should have been smoking a joint at home. I ignored my instincts and made a mistake.

The gathering comprised some scholars. The majority from Hwa Chong and Raffles. The majority are majoring in PPE. POLITICS, PHILOSOPHY AND ECONOMICS.

I am the Political Savant. So I asked them about politics.

So what do they think about politics in Singapore. Their dream is to go back and make a difference in the Singapore Civil Service. (They took the money and the prestige anyway) I said "Define difference." They replied that they have to be in the Administrative Service. The elite echelon to make a difference. I asked "what if you do not make it to the elite". They replied that they than have to re-consider moving into the private sector when they have paid their bonds.

I asked "define difference". They talked about how nice the fucked-up laksa tasted.

I asked "what is the administrative service". They said, that it was the track which ensured that you can succeed in the civil service. Than you can make a difference because you are up there at the top. The corridors of power which can make and break policy.

I asked "define difference". The chicken rice would have been perfect if the chilli had more zing.

I think : Differ(a)nce -- to differ or to defer. Differ(a)nce and the Administrative Service. Brilliant Derrida.

I do not look like Tan Wah Piow. But I feel like him. Rendered transparent.

I cornered a female. I asked her, so what does politics mean in Singapore? She said that politics in Singapore is "inextricably" tied up with economics. To make a difference, the Ministry of Trade and Industry would be ideal as it blends economics with politics. I see.

One of these people will end up at the top echelons of the Singapore Civil Service. I can see it. The Civil Service and the Administrative Service. There is a Lacanian moment. Administering minimum service. Admin Service. It was a whispering mantra poppping up at the gathering like a ghost.

What is politics? when Lee Kuan Yew smoked and spoke for hours to an enraptured audience caught in the fire of a demagogue. What is politics? When he consolidated the accrued power and built the system which blended the political with governance. Civil servants and Admin servants.

It is politics that made the system and it requires politics to break it.

I am Xenoboy. I am the Political Savant.

Quote of the Day

"I will speak, therefore, of the letter a, this initial letter which it has apparently been necessary to insinuate, here and there, into the writing of the word difference? and to do so in the course of a writing on writing, and also of a writing within writing whose different trajectories thereby find themselves, at certain very determined points, intersecting with a kind of gross spelling mistake, a lapse in the discipline and law which regulate writing and keep it seemly ... Doubtless. But, from this point of view, that the difference marked in the differ( )nce between the e and the a eludes both vision and hearing perhaps happily suggests that here we must be permitted to refer to an order which no longer belongs to sensibility. But neither can it belong to intelligibility, to the ideality which is not fortuitously affiliated with the objectivity of theorein or understanding. Here, therefore, we must let ourselves refer to an order that resists the opposition, one of the founding oppositions of philosophy, between the sensible and the intelligible."

Derrida -- Differance


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude you have a righteous rage going! And I'm still wearing my Che Guevara tee. Everytime I read your post I feel as if Rammstein is raging in the backgrd. Looking forward to more updates. Argghhhhh

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post and a good read. You may sound like a prick but well ... will grant you some intelligence. cheers


10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

xenoboy, u r 1 sad delusional crack. You are not writing a political blog. You are writing fiction which you conjured with your (at least) rather fertile imagination. I appreciate your effort in making up stories to discredit the PSC scholars, but even if they weren't stories, i wouldn't be surprised either because those people you speak of must have been dreaming (of being a scholar) as much as you did. You are not a savant. You are a servant to ur delusions.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Mock Turtle said...

Anonymous, are you kidding? Anyone who has ever met even half a scholar knows his account is spot on.

I like Xeno Boy's stuff. And I'd like to say to the 'why are you thumping your chest' 'why are you writing in such a weird way' 'why are you anonymous' 'why don't you make it clearer what you're saying' crowd:

Why don't you just take him for what he's worth and respond to the perspectives he's trying to put forward instead of beating about the bush with irrelevant nitpickery? So it's part fact, part exposition, part earnest, part ripping the piss. It's textured and interesting. Keep going, Xeno Boy.

8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Xeno Boy, why no more updates?

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To TT: To have any impact on 'politics', one has to speak clearly. This is not 'irrelevant'. How can one respond to "his" "perspectives" when his writings are mostly 'cut-and-pasted' rhetorical stuff from postmodern political theorists? If the Political Savant is not exposed to challenges, how can he hone his skills? Are we all supposed to agree and say, "Yes, yes, you are great. You are wise, you are 100% correct?" Then I would say, this is like "Birds of a feather flocking together" - not "dialogue" anymore.

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You cornered a female and then just asked her about politics??? Just like those PSC scholars - one of whom is an ex, doing (guess what) PPE, and used to make me want to throttle him because he was a fucked-up religious lefty. You are Xeno Boy and you're not as clever as you think you are.

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was the first Anonymous trying a touch of sarcasm?? Because Che Guevara was essentially a fascist and Rammstein is for 15-year-olds who want to say that they listen to 'German industrial'.

6:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how many anonymous are there? to the last anonymous. why is everyone anonymous?

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anonymous posting to T.T. : The following link explains this papal bull by Xenoboy, and the surgeon dissecting this post is none other than the cutesy Molly Meeks (I guess she does not think Xenoboy is that hard to read) *winko*.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the posting to "anonymous who posted to TT": I am that anonymous who posted to TT. I read that Molly's stuff, and it does make a bit of sense. Thanks for the link. See, if you bother to speak to people who don't seem to get what you say at first, they MIGHT listen (slowly). Don't be like the TT fella, who treats everybody who differs as enemies; so antagonistic. Hahaha

2:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, isn't this ironic?

Here we have a young man implying that the elite is dysfunctional and that he is some sort of revolutionary saviour.

And yet he writes in a deliberately erudite manner, attempting a rather poor pastiche of 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'.

If my dear Xeno Boy, you are indeed a revolutionary, attempting to capture the toiling masses - I suggest stepping off your egoistic platform and explaining your ideas in a less haughty manner.

-- A Malaysian Brother

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh and deconstructivism is a load of superfluous bullshit.

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Xenoboy's blog is a load of wishy-washy deconstructivist rubbish.

In line-dancing he sees political conformism.

In his own smoking of the 'erb he sees rebellion.

In instant messaging he sees 1984.

Actually, thinking about it, Xenoboy is more Oliver Stone than Jacques Derrida.

From Subramaniam a/l Govinda

6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hahaha, that's funny.

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xeno Boy, has it occured to you that scholars are the ones with brains, and can command high salaries anywhere they go? Am I supposed to respect them more if they choose to go to the US and earn US $10,000 a month minimum ( Like my not-smart cousin is doing), or if they lend their grey matter to Singapore?

You may be a political servant, but that's probably because you're not as smart as these people, and not very useful in the private sector. Is there really any prestige associated with being in politics? Everyone acts like a smartass and disses you inspite of your contributions.

What is a "difference"? To have the foresight to market a tiny nation as a tourist attraction. That's what Singapore needs, not another nay-sayer.

8:36 AM  
Blogger a.x+(1-a).y \in S; for all x, y \in S; a \in [0,1] said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:11 PM  
Blogger a.x+(1-a).y \in S; for all x, y \in S; a \in [0,1] said...

I would like to differ on all that scholar worship.
[I can't believe I put "some" in place of "that".... must have been late...]

We are not fit to be worshipped. =)
Alright, worship is a very bad word. Very bad word, and warrants a flame, or 2, or 7.

In any case, he is right in so far that he has declared that SOME scholars have no clear idea of what to do with their lives. So they mouth off the nice clichés that have so sickened everyone else.

I can tell you that a number of scholars have no idea of what the admin service does, but needless to say when our possible career paths are described (yes, we are bonded, so our paths are mapped out to an extent), we hear the phrase “… if you are good, you may be selected for the admin service”.

Let me say what the Administrative Service is… on second thought, visit I would sum it up as a data mining and extrapolation team. Spot trends and implement policies to meet them (and formulate the appropriate contingencies). It is an important organ in the public service.

But let me state that PSC scholars are not all clueless. Some of us have strong views on how we wish to serve the nation (i.e.: pay back our school fees… and all the subsidies from primary school onwards). Many wish to do, what I feel is most fitting: “be appointed to Professional Services relevant to their courses of study.” I personally feel that that is best and the admin service should only be considered after one serves a period in the capacity that one was trained for.

Also, note: Not all are smart. Some are just good at following procedure. I think that was how I got mine, but not how I intend to go about the rest of my academic life.

8:26 AM  
Blogger Re-minisce said...

some of you really ought to go to and check up the word "Savant". then look at "servent"

and xenoboy... while you were spot on about the scholars (I was once not-quite in your shoes, and attended a meet the oooh prime minister of singapore session in london). well. you can do better, methinks. perhaps with more thought and planning of your articles. and maybe by deciding a definite direction for each post. people like me, we can ramble, we're old, over the hill nutters without any pretence to political savantdom.

you on the other hand are the political savant...

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What was that about looking at a dictionary?

Haha... What a bunch of morans.

2:46 AM  
Blogger dON Lee said...

I would call for revolution but whats the point? Sheep... they've all become sheep... baaa~ Anyway Xeno boy, Great write, i really enjoyed reading ur piece...

4:35 AM  
Blogger SleekBlackMercedes said...

nice blog! :)

12:36 AM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

The scholars I came across are by no means the exception, rather, they are the majority. There may be good people among the ranks but I am not here to nit-pick. If I have to make "politically correct" statements everything I blast a group than I am not your man. I see, I react and I write.

For those who think this too cryptic, read Molly Meeks. She pretty much hit on 90% of the meanings embedded in the piece.

As for the comments on wishy washy deconstructivist bullshit and all the critics' who are veiled "constructivists", I am not interested to discuss the merits of intellectual trends here. If you fail to see how the world has shifted, continue to stay in the rabbit-hole.

For the persistent people who take offence at me being a Political Savant, I guess you hate Jose Mourinho too.

Engage me squarely and I will return. Engage me with the anger that I have perhaps hit too close, than do not waste bandwidth.

3:06 AM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...


I have updated. My "proposal" still stands.


3:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have finally updated! My, my...Molly's getting lots of proposals.

Molly thinks people have used the word "deconstructivist" as though it is something negative, which is very puzzling indeed. That's like implying someone is bad by saying he's from an opposition party.

So what's the 10% of meaning that Molly missed out on?

Molly the Political Servant hopes Xeno Boy the Political Savant would suggest an introductory book plus a bibliography of stimulating readings to her if you have the time. :)

9:52 AM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

Aptly put as usual Molly.

Deconstructivist, post-constructivist, post-modern, realist, idealist, anarchist, are worthless labels. The application of the ideas to understand and provoke an action, that will be more useful.

Bibliography? I noticed in your enjoyable blog that you have a "friend" who has very sharp insights. I recall in particular some posts which touch on the "silenced", the "nameless". I would like to share one book titled "The Ethics of Remembering" by Edith Wyschogrod a University of Chicago historian. Beyond its density lies fundamental ideas which I am inclined towards.

A formal proposal of a blog union. A ficcione of power, my dear Molly.


2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A blog union sounds very interesting, but this probably has to wait because Molly will be quite busy in the next few months. Plus Molly is not a fraction as well-read as you are, so Molly would end up sponging on you. Or Molly has to learn more. But is it going to be a marriage or a cohabitation?

Ficcione of power? Oh, this sounds so cool. But, oh, isn't that similar to the accusations that Molly is subversive despite Molly's unwavering attempts to justify governmental efforts? No, no... Molly is pro-establishment...

9:59 AM  

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