Friday, February 23, 2007

Wurk Wurk

During the days before WarCraft became MMORPG, you played God, built a fortress, built an economy, raised an army and basically then crush the opposition, the enemy. The most basic unit then was the peon, the peon who automatically collects gold from the mine, chops the trees for wood, construct the buildings and repair stuff. When you clicked on these peons, they had this range of very cute auto replies "yes master?", "wurk wurk".

Peons were very important even though they were infinitely less sexy than an ogre mage or a death knight which had replies like "who u wanna kill?". These wurk wurks collected the stuff that made it possible for God to achieve his final objective of territorial domination. If you played LAN multiplayer WarCraft then, one strategy to strangle your opponent was simply to ghost some mages near the enemy's gold-mine and cast some tornadoes or hexes around the area where the endless stream of peons enter and exit from. The peons died fairly quickly. They did not really have much life-points. So, kill the peons, gain a strategic advantage in resource building. No one can wurk wurk. And you win the game.


In the time before the British came to SEA, wars between different kingdoms, for example the Thai and the Burmese, were interesting conflicts. Forget for a moment the romanticised image of thunderous charging elephant armies and wild carnage. Whenever an army succeeded in conquering a city, they sacked it. They took the treasures (an example is the famous Emerald Buddha residing now in Bangkok) and then they took the people. In those pre nation-state days, there was no point really in holding on to land. Boundaries were non existent. Forest and jungles lay between jewel cities. Land was abundant. But people were not. Each conflict, whatever the lofty justifications, was an exercise in mass kidnapping. Exodus wars.


Came into Changi last week amidst the glow of the Budget. It was quaint, flipping through an actual copy of the Straits Times. Speed reading through a book of Hallmark cards labeled Hope and Inspiring. Info-graphics, numbers, choice quotes in an almost surreal holographic presentation. The paper glowed. The poor are saved. No more leaping on the MRT tracks. The paper was heavy with happiness. Heavy with glow. Walking towards immigration, a huge embracing sign "workcome home" beckons. Workcome to Singapore.

Two percent GST increase. To save the poor. It almost makes sense now.

Two percent corporate tax cut. Its an actual tax cut in a climate of a major consumption tax increase and hand-outs to the deserving poor. Two percent. Corporate tax. You see rising transport costs, rising cost of living and there is a God-given two percent corporate tax cut. Happiness.

Corporate tax decrease Goods Services Tax increase the Deserving Poor are Saved.

Workcome to Singapore. wurk wurk.


In the taxi, the driver is not very happy. In Hokkien, hor li kway tui, gia doe deng kway. Gives you a drumstick but takes back a chicken. Followed by that same old same old chuckle. Anger? Resignation? Frustration? lies dormant. Or is this hollow chuckle just dormant lies? This same old chuckle, hapless happiness perhaps.


Recently received a snail mail that was not from a bank. It was an aerogramme. A piece of paper that you can write something on, fold it into an envelope and send to wherever in the world. When having pen-pals was in. The aerogramme contained CNY greetings and this line "... remember water pump we build down hill? It broken now. :-) but ok, we know to make pump ok next month. Now we pump water with leg haha ..." This aerogramme glowed too. Made it much lighter than a gramme.


When you play WoW or DOTA now, peons no longer feature. They did away with this unit. Re-ordered the game economy. Made it faster and more real. No more wurk wurk. In DOTA and WoW just jazz up your heroes. Hurl the sacrifice troops. Keep the heroes alive and all will be fine. You win.


It was a relatively quiet CNY this time round. Same questions about wurk wurk from the retired parents. The inevitable slant towards Singapore, but even then, the anger, once expressed with countless classical Chinese analogies, seemed to have become slightly more empty, more hollow. Anger remains but despair has perhaps set in. Helplessness probably.


Happy Belated New Year and hope all of you will fare well in the coming year.

Quote of the Day --

"The chief's possessions were few: an arrangement of artfully woven floor mats, a couple of spears, a tall blowgun leaning in the corner ... and, incredibly, hanging at eye level on the otherwise bare wall, a trio of framed pictures, the official government photograph of President Suharto, the standard lithograph of a thorn-crowned and teary Jesus, and, in the elevated place of honor in between, a black and white glossy of a smirking Jack Nicholson ... 'My God, this damn photo is actually signed ..." -- Stephen Wright, Going Native


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear xenoboy.
New Year to you & your family, too.

As usual, very insightful & thought provoking. Please don't ever stop writing.

I'm filled with such utter despair for the future of the working poor citizens in this country called Singapore. I'm so disgusted with the 2 pecentage points increase in gst. I don't care about all this elite mumbo jumbo about the 2 percent being good for the economy, bottom line, its always the working poor who pay the ultimate price of being squeezed when they don't have much to begin with. It will be interesting to see the real suicide statistics for Singapore.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'm filled with such utter despair"

Just apply for PR with other countries dude. The only welfare is for the PAP and their running dogs.

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats why I say, always play undead....

dun need to think so much


8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arent most singaporeans like undead now? complain abit but at the end still lan lan suck thumb?

the Stark in Winterfell

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One night I was playing dota, two kids were quarreling. Their same team heroes were standing at the fountain literally side by side and they were quarreling. They left the three of the team to fight the battle.

As the other team plundered, pillaged, killed and owned.


2:00 PM  
Blogger Kitana said...

Okay, totally irrelevant comment here, but...

I feel like a relic. I actually preferred to play Warcraft when I was God and I could control my peons and move them around. I derived great pleasure (cheap thrill, actually) from clicking on all my subjects again and again when I was bored so that I could irritate them. Warcraft II was especially fun coz of the exploding sheep.

I however, suck so much at DOTA that I don't even bother playing it. Maybe I'm better as God than as puny hero. Bwahaha.

Wurk wurk. =)

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better than those few who tried to play GOD but still suck big time ;)

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is PAP, GOD?

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back to Singapore Inc!

I enjoy your posts as they appeal to something in us, that little splinter in the mind that Morpheus explains to Neo in the film "The Matrix" about something that is so very wrong with Singapore that we cannot quite put our finger to it.

I enjoy how you guide my finger to some of these issues. :-)

Above all, I too feel melancholic that our country is moving backwards for those aliented by globalisation. It is rewarding the young and the smart the elite and the entrepreneurs. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is allowing those who cannot keep up to die by the wayside, economic casualties of this global war on winning investments and capital to our little red dot.

May your thoughts continue to illuminate the blogosphere. :-)


Lunatic Fringe

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if anything, it's a vain attempt for the pappies to be god. lol

7:17 PM  
Blogger xenoboysg said...

1moresg -- dats why having peons is a good idea, bring them to third earth like battlestar galactica n start afresh, leave the bickerers to die; unlike dune, u cannot bring a harvester and start afresh ... or maybe what ur saying is an allegory for "political" bloggers lol

kitana -- if a peon has a god-complex, s/he will be termed a terrorist, fundamentalist or militant plus gay too, take ur pick lol but yea, i'm slightly better at classic wc than dota or wow. i think its age and motor skills coordination arghs

LF -- Thanks, if you put a finger to it, it may be chopped off, i think molly will say this lol

Anons -- thanks too

12:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ogre-Mages and Death Knights don't say "Who you wanna kill?"

That's what Troll Headhunters say.

12:59 AM  
Anonymous Ninja in White said...

Ninja in white has emigrated to Xenoboy !!!

Hey, you worthless piece of liberal trash. Maybe you can teach us Ninja-in-white some economics and governance by explaining how you will redistribute the wealth and income in Singapore.

Maybe let the gay communists in the blogosphere run the show, the poor will get 100%, everybody else will get 0. The problem is that perhaps need need to be a gay-commie to qualify to have the 'poor' label.

Nah. Of course you won't explain how you will run the show. After all, you don't make millions of dollars like the ministers.

That's why ministers prosper and poets should either be made to starve to death or create anti-establishment blogs in Singapore.

Get out of my elite uncaring ass !

6:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ill time when singaporean are worried for their job and 40's can't find a permanent jobs as most are contract, in the end become taxi driver supposed for retiree. So insecure and how to start a family with many children! Of course those drawing high have no such worries and they do not understand why, why ,why even got baby bonus,don want ah. Until the highly paid government can closed income gap, as they are supposed to be ' highly intelligence' and help singaporean earn more to meet family obligation

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey blog readers, here’s an article I wrote on WOW, mainly on the Burning Crusade – hope you’ll find it interesting:

Almost 8 million World of Warcraft players around the world have been waiting for the release of the extension pack named The Burning Crusade. The WOW community was very excited to enter the new territories imagined and created for them by the ingenious Blizzard team. This extension brought to light two new races with new starting areas and quests, new dungeons, jewel crafting: the newest trade profession, PVP arenas and new battlegrounds. The big majority of WOW fans were very impressed of Blizzard's work.

The newest two races mentioned above are the "draenei" and the "blood elves" and they are great to start playing with all over again and no doubt new players will find the way up to level 70 very exciting.

The new territories look fantastic and the quests you have to pass in order to level up are very interesting. Many players' reviews agree that blood elves are more popular than the draenei and this fact can be easily explained. The Horde was never given the chance to play a good looking character until now while most Alliance characters are looking good and are physically attractive. Horde's characters are all looking funny; after all they don't have anything human in their look, but they have great jokes and it is a real pleasure to play as a troll, undead, orc or tauren.

Another important aspect to mention is that Horde was finally given the chance to play as paladin with blood elves. Blizzard balanced the two new classes by allowing draenei to play as shamans. However chances for the two new classes to interact with their neighbors are low while they are leveling up. The new classes will probably experience trouble in finding trainers and even some quest givers. The new profession, jewel crafting can be really profitable, especially when combined with mining.

The flying mount was something new for WOW players, but many reviewers agreed that flying mounts are cheap indeed but very slow, even slower than a non epic mount. The epic flying mount is fast and crucial for some quests and territories but it's a bit expensive to some players. However, camping in the new territories can be a real pleasure because the player is now able to raise more gold in a shorter time span than before and also has great chances to loot precious items they needs or they can sell in auction houses.

Patches are regularly released in order to improve the balance and the quality of the game. In addition Blizzard performs weekly server maintenance so they can prevent game bugs, account break in or other problems related to the technical support of the game engine. Game masters are always online and they solve players' problems very fast and in a professional manner. The Burning Crusade can be considered a great new real-time game and also the valuable proof that WOW was and still is an unique PC game that fascinated millions of people around the globe.

Other interesting games you might want to check out include: Alexander PC game, Asherons Call - Dark Majesty, Atlantis Evolution, Army Men 2, Age of Sail II, Anarchy Online Notum Wars, Animaniacs Splat Ball and Age of Mythology


9:19 AM  

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