Haters are going to hate Alvin Wang

Posted on 23 April 2012

Alvin Wang did nothing wrong, as the truth is economical and he shouldn’t settle for second best.

By Belmont Lay

Alvin Wang started a personal appeal website to up his chances to get into NUS. What's your excuse again?

The question everyone seems to have an opinion about on this fine and glorious Monday morning: Did Alvin Wang, the guy who wanted to appeal into NUS Computer Science using his funky website, willfully misrepresent himself?

(Read here and here for some accounts of bloggers jumping up and down, banging on about it.)

Basically, as the story goes, Alvin didn’t get rejected by NUS. He REJECTED NUS.

Because he got into a course that he did not want.

So, he is appealing to get into the course he wants.

Understood, so far?

Lesson #1: The truth is economical

Well, if we were seated in the court of law and Alvin was testifying against perjury, then yes. He would have made a mess.

But this case involves the court of public opinion and a freaking website on the Internet, where he has to reach out to as many people as possible but the problem is that everyone online has the attention span of a three-year-old.

Because if Alvin willfully misrepresented himself, then the entire advertising industry is a lie. (In fact, all women have cellulite and the only way to get rid of it is to amputate both limbs. True story.)

If you had two seconds to get someone’s attention to a cause, what would you do? Or, in other words, what would Jesus do?

Write a thesis? Fill your call-to-action statement with a lot of commas, hyphens and open and closed inverted commas fitted with sub-statements using the passive voice?

You would, of course, come up with something that would zap straight into people’s brain and shake it up!

You and me, and everyone in this world with a CV is a walking billboard of deceit. We advertise our finer points to our employers. Period. The end.

We very frequently fail to tell people our shortcomings. Like how you tend to oversleep or get too tired after lunch to function reasonably without being an annoyance to everyone in the office.

You cut to the chase, get straight to the point and make yourself stand out.

What’s wrong with that?

Putting things in perspective

And an adjacent finer point: If you feel indignant enough to pick on Alvin’s ass, I do hope you remember the DBS High-Notes 5 debacle from 2008.

Because I don’t remember you jumping up and down feeling as indignant back then when banks were being economical with their risk assessment of structured “investment” products and having some fun with money belonging to retirees.

If you’re jumping up and down about Alvin’s motives now, you ought to be jumping higher then. Because that shit was simply more real and it affected people MORE NEGATIVELY.

Or to quote a lady whose savings was in jeopardy: ‘We felt swindled. We were told this was a low-risk investment,’ she said.

Look, collective indignation isn’t a fixed commodity.

But it should be used sparingly.

And to critics who say that Alvin wasted a lot of people’s time:

Lesson #2: Why settle for second best?

The next point is fairly straightforward.

Why do Singaporeans feel a need to settle for second best?

The mantra as of today is: “Can get into university but cannot get into a course of your dreams? Take it anyway!”

This line of thinking is a malaise that is eating us at the core.

Look around you. Tell me you don’t see it?

“Oh we cannot have a First World Parliament? Let’s just settle for a PAP majority then!”

“Oh MRT is broken? Let’s buy a car… and drive straight into an Orchard Road flood as water gets up to here whenever it pours!”

If Adam Smith’s baker were to work on the logic that people don’t mind settling for less, then bread would really taste like shit.

There is simply just no motivation to be good, let alone BETTER, at being a bread-maker, computer programmer, artist and yes, even a banker or policymaker.

And don’t tell me that you can face your current wife/ girlfriend and say that the reason you are together with her now is because you got spurned by a hotter girl? She is, in essence, second best?

If that’s the case, you really deserve to be slapped.

If that isn’t, then you intuitively know what I mean when I say you don’t just settle for second best.

You work hard and long to get what you want. (Always remember: What constitutes as “best” is subjective. Everyone places their own value as to what’s “best” FOR THEMSELVES.)

And by working long and hard to get what you want, you become a better person who will benefit other people.

This is what makes people awesome and what makes society even more awesome.

Check out what I mean when I say you should not settle for second best:

The end.

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  • battobasu

    Some more minus point for him:

    His work is based on a microsoft demo called firefly and a us company by the name teehanlax has came up with the same thing earlier than his.

    • Terence Lee

      nothing wrong with that. 

      • battobasu

        Care to enlight the readers why is there nothing wrong with that?

        • Belmont

          Because Apple stole from everybody, including Creative, and became the biggest company in the world.

          We at New Nation steal from everybody and newnationise it and found ourselves 1219 fans.

          Therefore, your argument is invalid.

          • battobasu

            So, I take it that I would be vaild if I reproduced every single works you have produced and have the luxury of whether to credit to the work to you or claimed it as my original work. As a add bonus, 1219 (less or more) haters/fans :)

            At least I feel more at ease when I inform every content holders and creators of my intention to reproduce their works and my intention to claim their work as mine, whether I get their approval or not.

          • Terence Lee

            even the most innovative companies in the world, ie Google, Apple, Microsoft, copied from one another. i think true innovators understand that execution matters more than ideas.

    • Alvin Wang

      I’m not here to start an argument, but just for the record, the idea of the game as well as the use of Microsoft Surface were both requirements given to me by the school. But I wouldn’t assume you knew that, so there’s no blame on you. Take care and God bless :) Thank you Belmont for this encouraging article and Terence for your support. 😀

    • Alvin Wang

      Also for the record, I havent seen their adaptation of their game, and just a fun fact, Teehan + Lax did dream up something called “Element” for Cydia -http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/iphone-needs-a-new-home/, which happens to become what we all know now as the iOS Notification Center. :)

      I came to know this company only because I came across Teehan’s personal story, where his wife became paralyzed and he had to move and renovate his house so that it would be wheelchair-friendly, he started a blog about it – http://www.204beech.com/, but they had to go through a whole lot of shit, because about a total of about three people, decided that he shouldn’t rebuild a wheelchair  friendly home, because they felt that the old house that the land was on, which Teehan had already purchased, should be perserved.

      I do believe I owe everyone an apology if I have misled them with my omission, but before you hurt someone, or think about saying something about someone, just touch your heart, and ask yourself, if it is the kind of world you want to live in. :)

  • battobasu

    Anyway, why don’t we contact Teehan+Lax: http://www.teehanlax.com/blog/hippos-gameplay-video/ and introduce alvin to him. I bet that they would be impressed and so know, he would be out of singapore (not a place that is too kind to the creative industry) soon for a better place.