Monday, April 25, 2005

I had one whole rabbit for dinner!

Ok. I’ve got to admit that I’m still a bit drunk while typing this. Since I can’t do any revision, I might as well crap something here.

It’s an amazing feat that we managed to get a table at Holly Bush for 3 hours tonight! Of course it’s through a prior reservation; else I doubt we’ll be able to get a place for the 6 of us. I mean, Holly Bush is always crowded every time we go there. And we’ll always get disappointed after discovering there’s not even standing space in the pub. So we were utterly glad that we got a nice cosy spot and a big table for 3 hours, eating dinner, drinking beer and nice talking.

I had a pint of London Pride and some chips for aperitif. London Pride is a kind of ale, somewhat stronger than lager and stout. Maybe this is the reason why I’m still a bit high now. After which was dinner in which I tried something new. I mean every time I go to London pubs, fish and chips is almost always on the menus. Since Holly Bush had an entirely different pub menu from other typical pubs (no fish and chips at all), I decided to excite my taste buds a little.

And guess what? I had one whole rabbit for dinner! Initially I was actually contemplating whether to have the rabbit. It sounds cruel to eat a rabbit in the first place. Especially so when the menu says coldly “Rabbit in mustard with sautéed potatoes,” it sounds even more inhuman to eat the rabbit. But Neil says just do whatever you want. Yah then I thought well, I only live once and how often do I get to eat a rabbit. I mean I ate exotic food before, like dogs, scorpions, snakes, worms, but never tame cute harmless little rabbits. And so I ordered the rabbit while other people had more normal food like lamb shanks and smoked salmon. And mind you, that rabbit wasn’t cheap. I could probably go to Four Seasons twice or even thrice with what I paid for tonight.

Luckily, the rabbit was fantastic and mouth-savouring. The meat was tenderer and softer than that of chicken. It was a bit spongy too, maybe from all the hopping around. It turned out that the rabbit on my plate was quite big; nevertheless I still finished everything, with just the bones left (rabbit bones are actually quite soft and flexible). I felt like I’m some cold-blooded eagle or wild animal savouring rabbits like what I usually see on documentary shows. I kept telling myself to stop imagining how a rabbit looks like, so that I can enjoy myself better. We had a bottle of red wine to go with our food as well, making it easier for me to forget that I was eating a rabbit. I couldn’t even be bothered to decide whether rabbit meat was red meat or white meat.

Then we sat for about an hour longer; I had another half a pint of Stella, which is a lager much lighter and fizzier than ale. Then was more talking and chatting. All of us simply love Holly Bush, the best pub I’ve been to in the whole of London, comparable to Trout Inn in Oxford. Nice location on the top of the hill in the old Hampstead Village. Charles Dickens and Keats probably were regular customers. Don’t think Sigmund Freud was though, most probably our old friend Freud would be too busy immersing himself with his sexual theories at Maresfield Gardens and too lazy to walk up the hill. Oh yah did I mention this before? Neil met Anna Freud before in person and had a conversation with her at Freud’s place. I thought it’s kind of cool to have a friend who talked to Freud before, anyway.

Yah that’s about all I want to crap about for now. I’m surprised that I’m still a bit tipsy after finishing typing this entry. I don’t think I can revise for my German Oral Exam on Wednesday. The only thing I can do now is probably sleep. Bis bald und auf wiedersehen!

(24-04-2005 0016 hrs)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Right or wrong?

One recurrent issue in Psychology that I haven’t managed to understand is why psychodynamic theories are still discussed even though they do not hold up to scientific scrutiny in these days. If psychodynamic therapies do not work effectively, why should people still revise psychodynamic theories to develop new theories based on psychoanalysis? Sure I agree with Sigmund Freud’s 1909 distinction between consciousness and unconsciousness. However Freud said the following to distinguish his theory from static theories, “We explain it dynamically, from the conflict of opposing mental forces, and recognise it as the outcome of an active struggling on the part of the two psychic groupings against each other.” (Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Standard Edition, XI, pp. 9-55 at pp.25-26) But how plausible is this?

Can we actually explain everything solely based on psychoanalysis, as Freud propounded? Definitely not. Freud’s theories are only based on the recollections of a relatively small number of emotionally disturbed adults whose experiences may not apply to most people. Yet we do not reject Freud’s theories simply because he was the first to proclaim that the vast majority of psychic experience lay below the level of conscious awareness.

Whatever it is, one thing for sure is that most of Freud’s theories have not been favoured by many contemporary psychologists. This is immediately evident from another recurrent debate between nature and nurture omnipresent in the whole field of Psychology. A good example will be the development of language. Is language an instinct, as proposed by Noam Chomsky and Steven Pinker? Or is language a “verbal behaviour”, as suggested by B. F. Skinner? Freud did not say much on language. And nobody is really able to give a definite answer, even up till today.

And this is what I like about the discipline of Psychology. For the most part of this vast field, there is simply no right or wrong. Is schizophrenia a biological disease or a mental illness or a social construction or something else? Do animals reason or not? Do human beings use cognitive maps to navigate? Is visual perception direct or indirect? Is cognition independent of language, according to Whorf? Do children and animals have theory of mind? Nobody can give definite answers to all these psychological questions (these questions happen to be my past exam questions as well).

So why do people still study something when there’s no right or wrong? Think about it and when you have arrived at the answer, maybe then, the money invested in your university education has not been wasted.

I’m still thinking.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Quick Update

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu shrouded in mist

Just a quick update, I've been bogged down with tremendous amounts of stuff lately. As such, I won't be updating on my Scandinavian experiences, at least not in the next few weeks. But I'm glad that life isn't revolved around Psychology papers and books as yet. We still go to pubs, more often than in the past in fact (thrice per week... I think alcohol has the same effect as caffeine on me now). We still go jogging in the Heath. We still eat out on weekends (ooohh... eating at Four Seasons every 3-4 weeks is really a great incentive to compel me to finish my work). And I still have time to walk to my favourite crepes stall to have my crepes with bananas in dark chocolate and coconut and rum...

So life isn't that bad yet. Especially whenever I picture Machu Picchu in my mind. Isn't Machu Picchu just gorgeous and magnificent? I still can't believe I am heading to Peru in a month's time.

Saturday, April 09, 2005















(2005-04-08 1949 hrs)

Thursday, April 07, 2005


离开伦敦的那一天,选择在 Stansted 机场过夜,为了省钱省时间省麻烦,还有为了找回曾经在樟宜机场过夜的回忆。


以为夜晚的 Stansted 会和樟宜一样恬静安谧,那晚才发现伦敦的机场是不分白天和黑夜的。

凌晨一点到机场,机场已经满座,可以躺人的椅子都已经有人在忘我地说梦话。可以躺人的地上,也都是在和周公下棋的人,好像被冲上沙滩的死鱼。就连登记柜台的行李 conveyor belt 也躺着人。






Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Summer of my dreams










Summer of my dreams
by Celtic Tenors

In the shade of this old tree, in the summer of my dreams,
By the tall grass, by the wild rose, where the trees dance and the wind blows,
As the days go oh so slowly, as the sun shines oh so holy on the good and gracious green,
In the summer of my dreams.

By the banks of this old stream, in the summer of my dreams,
By the deep pool where the fish wait for the old fool with the wrong bait,
There’s a field of purple clover, there’s a small cloud passing over, and then the rain comes washing clean,
In the summer of my dreams.

See the raindrops, on the grass now, just like diamonds lying there.
By the old road, where I pass now, there’s a twilight on the air.
And as the sun sets down before me, I see my true love waiting for me, standing by the back porch screen,
In the summer of my dreams.

In the shade of this old tree, in the summer of my dreams,
By the tall grass, by the wild rose, where the trees dance as the beans grow,
As the days go oh so slowly, as the sun shines oh so lowly, on the good and gracious green,
In the summer of my dreams,
In the summer of my dreams!