SINGAPORE - Since this is a column about peculiar beliefs, I will start with mine. I believe that if I shake my mouse, my computer will go faster (something to do with "waking up" the electrons in the chips, is my scientific opinion).
I believe that fashion trends happen by accident. Designers and magazines take credit after the fact. I believe people on the MRT sense when I am staring at them, because they always look up and there is a horrible, tense moment of eye contact. There is always one more pair of clean socks in the drawer, if you search hard enough. Jeans should be washed no more than twice a year.
Immigration officers don't care what's in your passport - they flip pages because it makes you nervous and making you nervous is what their real game is. Customs officials get suspicious when you don't buy anything from the duty-free shop. After all, prices there are guaranteed to be lower than in the city.
There is a 100 per cent chance that if I am in an aisle seat, the person in the window seat will have a weak bladder. When the stewardess comes around with the reading material, I take everything because I think I am an insatiable reader. I will do one crossword puzzle, take the pile to my hotel, look at it for five seconds, then throw it all away.
I believe that rewards cards - the ones that earn an ink stamp each time you buy something - make men look girly. I think that searching for a piece of cardboard so a teenager behind a counter can award one point through the authority of a mermaid logo is not what a man should be doing.
"No card," I say to them in a confident voice, hoping others in the line can see how the last truly free man lives.
I can't prove any of these beliefs, prejudices, superstitions, whatever you want to call them, even if I wanted to. But I've had them forever and they define me as much as anything else in my head.
There is something stupid notions have in common, I find. They are comforting, and they are hard to prove or disprove. For example, it would take a very odd person to test the truth of my belief that only unsavoury people say things such as "the former" and "the latter" (What's wrong with repeating the names of the two things? Why are you assuming I was paying attention anyway? What are you trying to hide?).
Likewise, I don't think anyone sane would bother checking out my theory that as long as I am asleep when the plane takes off, and therefore unaware of the danger I am in, the plane is less likely to go into a tailspin and kill everyone on board.
That is the beauty of what I call great dumb ideas - they are comforting, they sort of make sense, and best of all, are very hard to prove one way or the other.