Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lethargy

Came back around 10pm, bathed, ate dinner and by then, too tired to do anything, thus slept around 11.30pm without even reading today's newspapers.

Tomorrow have to wake up early again as usual, around 520 am, travelling time everyday is a bit crazy, spend slightly more than 3 hrs commuting everyday.

Not my grouse, feel contented to have a job which sustains my life on this earth. Some work equally hard or much harder than me. Not uncommon to see tired executives going home from work everyday tired and lifeless, and the first thing after they head home is their comfortable bed.

Is this a typical executive's worklife in Singapore? Are Singaporeans working too much?

Singapore government is targeting to boost up the birth rate of our country, one way to do so may be to relook at work life balance in our country.

Have more time off work, have more fun and the babies will come.

Hope one day to break out of this mundane, salaried lifestyle and be finanically free!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bus experiences

Believing I could ‘catch’ some nap on my morning bus journey to work, I was irked by the loud music emanating from the MP3 headset, which belonged to the passenger behind me.

Music, when tuned to such a volume to frayed nerves all around is no longer music, it is simply noise.

It was even more amazing that the passenger playing the ‘music’ was sound asleep while those around him could not do so due to the loud music blasting from his music set. What an irony!

Bus journeys in Singapore are generally pleasant experiences with the improved design of buses for comfort and aesthetics. The quality of experiences on buses for one, however hinges on the interaction with of other passengers too.

Refusal to move to the rear of buses, the hoarding of one full seat, blasts of loud music, loud talks and other nuisances are becoming common hallmarks of a bad bus experience here.

Of late, I have spotted another nuisance enacted in the queue-up lanes in bus interchanges, for lanes with long queues.

The bus arrives, the queue advances and as you are close to entering the bus, you realize the people in front of you suddenly halt.

Then you realize that the people at the very front of the queue have refused to board the bus, which has, by then reaches 90% of it seating capacity.

Their refusal to board has ceased the flow of the orderly boarding of the bus from the queue in the lane. You find yourself having to contend with the uncomfortable scene of easing yourself forward, brushing past these stationary bodies to board the bus. While doing so, you cringe at the thought of the bus driver not having seen your intent to board and move off the bus.

As you are grappling with the discomfit to board the bus in this manner, you realize that the small crowd of boarders who have refused to join the queue in the lane at the onset (thus gathering on the side of the bus to board the bus after the queue), has suddenly surged forward to board the bus after the momentum of the queue has halted.

We still have some way to go towards a gracious society!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Singapore Night Scenery


One of the best places to enjoy Singapore’s night scenery is Raffles Place and the Esplanade area.

With the gentle breezes and the breathtaking scenery, this area makes for an ideal place to relax on a mundane day.

Terrorism

Terrorism rears its ugly head again…… this time in China.

A terrorist group has claimed responsibilities for the serial bomb attacks in China in the recent weeks in the lead up to the China’s Olympics.

The same terrorist group also threatened to derail China Olympics by carrying out more bombings and other terrorist acts during Olympics.

Terrorists have also targeted Turkey lately and it seems that terrorism is really an ineluctable part of modern century.

Life is precious; I do not understand why some human beings take pleasure in slaying off innocent and valuable life for their distorted beliefs.

Toilet doors

Toilets should not have doors.

The handles of toilet doors contain thousands of bacteria invisible and harmful to human. It is ironical that men wash their hands only to open the toilet door right after to exit.

It is disgusting what kind of bacteria may be on one’s hand if one opens the toilet door right after another who does not bother to wash his hand after doing his business (either big or small one).

It is heartening to witness modern toilets in Singapore are designed without a door.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Night Festival at the Museum


In conjunction with the Singapore Arts Festival, our national museums have indeed gone ‘hip’, holding an event called the ‘Night Festival’ at the main National Museum, the Singapore Arts Museum, the Philatelic Musuem and the Peranakan Musuem.

On two consecutive weekends in July, (18 -19 July and 25-26 July), there were free admissions to the museums, and there was a raft of stunning and interesting arts displays all around the museum. The museums were also transformed into masterpieces of arts during the light installation event yesterday.

My girlfriend and I went to the National Museum on its open house yesterday. Our National Museum, unlike those in our countries, was not boring. Though there are fixed displays, there is always a roving exhibition at the basement of the museum.

The other time I went to the museum (read my post on 10 Feb 08), the roving exhibition was on Greek exhibitions, this time around, it was on electrical arts.

We gamely don the head set in an exhibit at the roving exhibition, which captured the brainwaves emanating from two persons and project the waves as a series of tones and pictures on a projector screen. It was our first time using our brain waves to form images and sound. The officer in-charge explained to us that if both minds are in sync with each other, the picture formed would be tranquil and the tone emanating from the machine would be of a smooth and uniform pitch. Initially, it was quite hard to get our minds in sync as both of our minds were drifting in different thoughts. It was not as easy as it sound here in my writing, but eventually we managed to synchronise our thoughts on one common item and we have a nice image and sound flowing for few minutes!

Kudos to the organizers of the night festival at the main museum for organizing fringe events around the museum too. I cannot describe in details here all the interesting happenings occurring in and around the museum yesterday: there was an open screening of movies, exhibits by ‘Reform’ where two interesting Caucasians dressed up as traffic policemen ‘arresting’ people who have jay-walked or littered and led them through a reform via the singing of interesting pledge and on the correct use of the pedestrian crossing.

The game stalls featured games of the yesteryears, and it drew throngs of crowds. We gamely tried the ‘bola’ game and had whale of a time, knocking down tins with balls, chasing the balls, etc….it was like a return back to childhood time.

There was a stall offering for free caricatures for interested Singaporeans and the queue for such free caricatures was without a doubt very long; the crowd for the stall could be better managed as there were some queue jumpers.

Overall, it has been an exciting and interesting night! I encourage Singaporeans to visit such places of interests (if hampered by the high admission charges, could visit them on their open houses) as they definitely offer something different from the maddening rows of shopping centres omnipresent in our little island.

Virtual living

Time really flies when I am in the internet.

The internet is really the world. I cannot imagine the modern world without internet now.

With the internet, there is really a myriad things that could be done: listen music, MSNing, watching videos on the Youtube, blogging, chatting, reading, finding topics of interest, watching shows and a host of other activities.

I have decided to curtail my time on the internet for I am living in the real world and not in the virtual online world.

The internet really changes the face of interaction of the world. Yes, it did improve and multiplies the channels of interaction of people with a larger mass of others in ultra quick time but sad to say, most of these interactions become more and more faceless.

People seems to be more versed in online interactions judging from the ever-increasing raft of funny words and abbreviations such as ‘TTUY’ that made their ways into the formal lexicon. The word ‘netizen’ has also been coined to describe the people living off the net.

Living on the net is virtually living.

A guaranteed 7% return on your investment?

Singapore is facing off the samba players from Brazil soccer team tomorrow night at the National Stadium.

Singapore pools’ odds for Singapore to win is 14 while the odds against Singapore is 1.07.

It has been taken almost as a gospel truth that our National team would be tamed by the Brazilian titans. Irregardless of the scoreline, punters betting on Singapore to lose would seem almost certain to win.

The 7% return seems almost certain but if one is to put in the minimum bet of $5, his winning would be only a minute $0.35.

Unless one is to really believe tomorrow’s match as a sure-win for Brazil and treat the match as an excellent investment opportunity, one could invest in few thousands to reap more of the 7%. E.g investing in $10,000 to yield $700 and the maturity period is just one day away at this time of writing.

But the idea seems silly for who knows anything could happen J

Char Siew

Lovers of Char Siew, Bak Kwa and BBQ stuffs beware!

A recent health article has reported of the alleged carcinogenic nature of these BBQ stuff.

It was discovered that certain amino acids of proteins found in meat would mutate to a carcinogenic form under immense temperature and conditions akin to the BBQ process.

Thus one should not partake the darker portions of such BBQ food when indulging in these delicacies.

Ailens

Recently there was a news report by Daily Telegraph that ignited the interest in extra-terrestrial life once again among human beings.
In an interview with Kerrang! Radio in Birmingham, England, this week, an ex-NASA astronaut, Dr. Edgar Mitchell, a 77-year-old former National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut who walked on the moon for nine hours in the Apollo 14 mission Feb. 9, 1971, alleged that he is convinced that life exists elsewhere in the universe and earthly governments have tried to hide the existence of aliens.
Further, Mitchell claimed that “earth has been visited by aliens and the UFO phenomenon is real -- though it's been covered up by governments for the last 60 years or so."
NASA officials have not backed the former American astronaut's beliefs.
The existence of aliens is still a myth though there are many quarters pro-offering different theories of aliens. One such interesting myth claimed that the earth is hollow and aliens actually live inside our earth!
Reference: http://www.thewatcherfiles.com/russia-aliens4.html
Some camps even went further to suggest that the great grand pyramids of Egypt were built by aliens:
http://www.outerworlds.com/likeness/aliens/aliens.html
Further theories of these creatures abound in the internet but one universal belief that was widely held is that the technology used by aliens far surpass that of humans.
I watched the local news reporting on the Mitchell’s claim and there was a video showed in the same reporting on the notable Roswell UFO Incident that featured the grisly finds of the bodies of aliens from a crashed flying object found on earth.
Alas, if the incident was true, at least aliens are still able to die, they are not that invincible (as movies make them out to be)….. thus if ‘Independence Day’ do really comes, man should not be that fearful…. I hope.
Believers of aliens’ existence find no hostile intents of these extra-terrestrial beings though.

Of David and the Renaissance man


My second visit to the National Museum, I met David again. No, David is not my friend, it is a stature, symbolising strength and human beauty. David is familiar to me for I have already seen him back during my primary school times, and only vaguely remembered that he was one of the two masterpieces from Michelangelo, Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet and engineer.

Seeing him in ‘person’ for the second time this year, I felt an affinity to him and I felt that I must do justice to him by knowing more about him:

David was actually a young Israeli King, and the stature portrayed his form before his battle with Goliath, a Philistine warrior. The stature symbolized the defence of civic liberties

Turning back to its sculptor, Michelangelo, modern man should take a leaf from this man who is commonly known as a Renaissance man. A Renaissance man is a Polymath, a man who excels in multiple fields. I would definitely aspire to be a Renaissance man as it means trying all aspects of life and living life to the fullest.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Singapore Food Festival


Eating is Singaporean's forte at the Taiwan food fest in Bugis Junction


July is a colourful month for Singaporeans as it is a month where the Singapore Arts Festival and the Singapore Food Festival are held cocurrently.


Singaporeans are already fortunate to be living on this island where they are able to experience cuisines from the different worlds, this month, they are able to whet their appetities on other foreign delicacies.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Going Green

The use of recycled bags during shopping has not rubbed off on Singaporeans despites the host of measures implemented by the authorities; the aggressive advertising and publicity blitz to exhort Singaporeans to use these bags and the designation of BYOBDs (‘Bring Your Own Bag Days’) are just some mentions.

Plastic bags are still given freely to shoppers (save on BYOBDS) and shoppers are still lapping up these bags to contain their peripherals. It is sobering to note only a small fraction of shoppers bring their own recycled bags.

The charging of an additional nominal fee for plastic bags on BYOBDs is not enough to encourage Singaporeans to switch to a ‘plastic-less’ shopping as it is deemed not significant an amount to them (as compared to the inconvenience of bringing their own bags).

Recyclable bags were given out in dozens to Singaporeans during the launch of BYOBDs to the extent many Singaporeans may have more than one such bag in their home. It is a shuddering thought to note most of these bags are not utilized or even thrown by some; what a waste of natural resources to produce these bags and what an increased amount of pollution inadvertently caused to our environment by the incineration of these bags once thrown.

Singapore is going and promoting ‘green’, the latest campaign on this island is the conservation of energy as evidenced from the slew of campaigns and initiatives of this green theme fronting the island: BYOBDs, ‘10% Energy Challenge’, ‘Recycling bins’ etc.

‘Going Green’ makes economic sense in this era; international businesses would take into consideration the environmental standards of a nation before doing businesses there. Even for the coming Beijing’s Olympics, the city’s authorities have spent significant time and effort to spruce up the game venues before the actual day as its environmental standard comes under heavy scrutiny and doubts by countries worldwide.

Another related string of campaigns: the anti-littering campaigns, which have been the campaigns of Singapore since two to three decades ago. These campaigns are still ongoing as the government has not been able to wean Singaporeans into the thinking of a socially gracious self. It is still not able to effectively stem the swill islandwide even to this date with such campaigns and education.

The authorities would need to change the deeply-embedded attitudes of Singaporeans towards green issues before success in green campaigns can be witnessed. It is hard to change one’s attitudes and we may still have a long way to go before reaching the same civic-consciousness standards as the Japanese or Swiss.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Moving forward

Clearing up my old ‘barang barang’ is an edifying experience, at least for me. During the clearing, one would see the paraphernalia and items of yester-years, and that would send me down into memory lanes as I recalled the many memories of the yester-years.

Memories that were sweet and bitter, memories that taught me to be stronger and better, to be a better man……….

I feel a sense of nostalgia welling inside me as I revisited my past through the feeling and seeing these old goodies again… and they beckon me on to move forward in life to an even better future.

Life is made up of memories…..memories would never die, though they may fade. The world is too caught up with material needs, and neglects the spiritual aspect of their lives.

Time will soon pass and one would realise in life what is the most important in life…..but some would never will.

In our daily lives, one may see people ‘covering their backsides’, are insatiably greedy, self-fish, arrogant, playing office politics, hypocritical………… it is sad but this is the harsh reality of life.

We cannot change the world, but we can control our minds, our thoughts and shape our future.

Brazil vs Singapore

The Brazil soccer team is coming to Singapore to get acclimatised to the tropics and warm up for the Olympics.

Singapore is fielding a team of S-League Players for a friendly match with the soccer titans. The result of this friendly should be quite obvious, however it would be more laudable if our country fields our National team to pit against the soccer giants for it is such a rare chance that Singapore, a country which has spent time and money grooming its young lions for that seeming elusive ‘2010 dream’ pits itself and faces off with the samba kings.

The lesson gleaned from this face-off with the Kings of soccer would be invaluable for our national players.

The venue for this match? National Stadium again! It seems umpteen times that ‘last matches’ have been played at National Stadium before it closes. So is this last match with Brazil really the last one for the Stadium?

I suggest the authorities make this match the last at National Stadium, for it is symbolises Singapore must really improve its standard of some of its sports if it were to become a truly regional and global sports hub. Reliance on foreign talent to boost up our standings in the sports arena is not really Singaporean. Personally, I find it really Singaporean in seeing our very own Remy Ong’s accomplishments in the bowling arena.

Changi Airport Terminal 3

Basement shops in Changi Airport Terminal 3 are facing a slump in their takings, recent news have reported. The slump, is in part, due to the non-prominent locations of the shops, causing shoppers to overlook them when patronising the terminal.

Terminal 3, in my opinion, is yet another excellent passenger terminal after its predecessors Terminal 1 and 2, but I am somewhat disappointed that the viewing gallery is not as close to the giant planes as Singaporeans have anticipated.

There seems to be a ‘barrier’ without the proximity to the aeroplanes afforded to those inside the viewing gallery. The atmosphere is almost gone, the ‘tactile feeling’ has ‘eluded’ us.

Cold

It has been raining incessantly for the past two days, the mercury has been heading south and it appears that December has come!

The unusually cold weather (July is supposed to be a hot month) provides Singaporeans with a brief respite from the hot and humid climate that makes our shirts stick to our bodies like a second skin whenever we go out.

It is definitely comfortable to sleep in such cold weather, Singaporeans with air-cons in their homes do not need to turn them on, it is almost similar to sleeping in air-conditioned rooms these days.

With many Singaporeans gripped by high electricity costs last month, evidenced by the influx of letters to the forum pages of newspapers, lesser reliance on air conditioners this week of the month may hopefully translate to more savings for their electricity bills for July.

Cyber asset wills

In this digital age, an increasing number of people are becoming netizens who would have owned a sizeable amount of asset on the internet : email accounts, facebook accounts, forum accounts, Youtube account, instant messaging accounts, friendster accounts, blogs, accounts for online applications and groups, and many more.

Crafting a will to distribute one’s physical assets when he passes on is common but less common is the crafting of a will to distribute these cyber assets.
These cyber assets need to be properly managed and it would be best if one could craft his own cyber asset wills so that his loved ones will better know how to manage these assets, and be relieved that these are managed according to the deceased’s preference should the worst occurs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Art with nature

Art and nature are both beautiful; it would thus be splendid if we can marry both art and nature to form a grand masterpiece.

Lately, I have watched some documentaries about tree artists who chain-saw trees into art form resembling a myriad things like animals, human and common items.

Another form of art married with nature is sand painting. Below is one sand painting which I find especially beautiful:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4akNUE_lyfc&feature=related

Cosmic drawings

Cosmic drawings are drawings which portray the cosmics: stars, human and add a modicum of fantasy to me. On looking at such drawings, I feel surreal, relaxed and away from the harsh reality of everyday life. An example of such drawing as follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nwIa4vyZUA&feature=related

Money not enough

With the rising cost of living and high inflation, money may not be enough for some Singaporeans already. I myself feel the pinch already, everything is so expensive. I tried to curtail my expenditures but it is never enough. I only have myself to thank that I have at least not gone for that many holidays, do not own a car and do not smoke, activities that make money go away even faster!

$1,000,000 bounty on Mas Selamat

If you have information leading to the arrest for Singapore’s most wanted man, Mas Selamat; two businessmen in Singapore are offering a million Singapore dollarsyou’re your information leading to his arrest.

As Singaporeans celebrate National Day by displaying the Singapore’s flags and posters for the million dollars bounty are believed to be circulated to the public soon, I hope Singaporeans would not take national security for granted.

MRT departure timings

Last Saturday, after a late night out, I made my way towards the MRT station to take a train home. It was only 11.30 pm, an hour still considered early for a Saturday night, thus it was to my incredulous shock that I saw the entrance of the station already three-quarter shut and a notice at the control station read that the last train towards west has departed at 11.25pm.

I was shocked and so were many who had also made their way to the station to take the trains home. Some of them were overheard saying they would contemplate taking a taxi home, others including I headed towards the bus interchange to take the last bus home.

It was regrettable that the MRT service ended so early on a Saturday night. On such night, there are bound to be still throngs of people who need the service back home after work or enjoyment.
A part of the crowd who had missed the last train service home may also hire taxis, thus taxi drivers, beside bus drivers would be smiling too.

An early off work time also spells an early rest for the MRT staff who had worked hard.

Fengshui

Finally, I have completed my affairs with the little book on Fengshui. Having understood the fundamentals of the subject, I was bemused to note that many of my colleagues’ offices would have suffered from bad fengshui if one is to strictly go by the fundamentals of the book.

Based on his kua number (see earlier post on this), every individual has his personal auspicious direction. The book exhorts all to live, eat, work and breath facing this direction.

Align your cooker, toaster to your kua direction so that the food will be cooked with the energy favorite for you. Negotiate an important deal, present and sleep towards your kua direction and soon one would be seamlessly climbing to the top of his career ladder.

The north corner of every household is the universal career direction. The element corresponding to this direction is metal. Water is favorite for metal and thus a combination of metal and water items placed at this corner of the household is said to boost the career luck of the resident.

Such items include fish tanks with one fish inside, a box of coins, TV and metallic electrical equipment, a turtle in a water tank ……….and the list runs the gamout of your creativity to combine metal and water to bring out your career luck.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Diaries and Blogs

I still remember the days when I started writing diaries. Those were the days during my National Service when each day proved to be very ‘memorable’. Writing on chunks of paper in my bunk when everyone was asleep; in the thick of jungles under the dim moonlight while waiting for ‘enemies’ and whenever I was free, I would then transfer the writing scrawled on these paper sheets to proper notebooks which served as my diaries……….writing diaries provided me with a catharsis especially during those days.

Those were the days when I witnessed the dark side of some people and how the lexicon for some is confined to the ‘F…’ and Hokkien swear words. I have written in my diaries each and every day of my National Service experience from the initial recruitment date to the much-awaited ORD (Operationally Ready Date).

Few years after ORD, I went through the entries in my diaries and recalled some of the happy memories however most of the entries were not. I believe we shall not let the past take us hostage, one shall move on in life. Keeping these volumes of diaries would be forever be a sad reminder for me, and a mark for my life. Vowing to move on, I destroyed all the six to seven volumes of diaries, which I have painstakingly written, collated over two and a half years, in a matter of less than five minutes.

I have since moved on and would aim to move on, to bigger things in life.

Information Technology has changed the manner people wrote diaries since the appearance of blogs. Blogs allow one to write their online diaries with ease of edition and share their writing and thoughts with hundreds, if not, thousands of people around the world.

That is what I did; the purpose of this blog is to share on some interesting experiences, thoughts and insights I have in everyday life with readers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Durians

I was passing by the ground level of a multi-storeyed carpark, when an uncle standing next to a van beckoned to me in Hokkien, “Yan dao, ai mai (Handsome lad, do you want?”

I trained my attention to what his finger was pointing inside the van: Durians. “Very cheap” he continued his sales pitch but I politely declined his offer.

Back home, there wads an article reported in today’s Sunday Times on how some Singaporeans don army camouflages and venture deep into the forests in search of free durians. Some went solo, others organize outings with novices to share their interests and others treat such ‘expeditions’ as exercises or hobbies. Their laborious results bear fruits for some as they lugged out durians by the basketloads (80 of them) and eat all of them? Or was the uncle one of such ‘durian warriors’?


With durians selling cheaply at many locations scattered around Singapore, I wondered why some Singaporeans disregarded a more valuable aspect: safety and took the hassle to venture into the jungles for the kings of fruits.

The marvels of IT

As promised, I have uploaded another spectacular video that I took of yesterday’s dazzling fire works at the third and final instalment of the National Education show for the National Day Parade 2008: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-efG51X6Xg


As I uploaded the video I have taken onto the video-sharing website, I was intrigued that under the search enquiry “National Day Parade 2008”, some dozens of videos have appeared on the site, offering snippets of what is to come on the actual day.

Some of these items were taken by amateurs like me on the firework displays in the many rehearsals of the grand parade. Others might be taken by the participants on the some programme items during their rehearsal.

IT is thus marvellous, information can be disseminated to thousands within a short span of time. The element of surprise on what amazing items that NDP 08 would give to viewers might be slightly diluted by the sneak previews into these items afforded by the videos. However the feeling of actually seeing and experiencing the parade on the big day would be second to none, and that would include the watching of the firework display on that day outside the stadium.

With the proliferation of information at lightning speed made possible by internet, some secrets cannot be secrets after some time. Like what I have mentioned earlier, some of these NDP items shown in the videos on Youtube might not be secrets anymore to Singaporeans who have not caught the rehearsals or previews once they view the videos before the actual day. The proliferation and dissemination of images, videos by handphones and the internet during the Myanmar’s crackdown on its saffron-robed monks was also another supporting case of this power of IT.

However, I believe it is nice to share good things with others, the many video clips of the stunning firework displays shot from different angles by different Singaporeans and posted on Youtube could have at least alleviate the anguish of those Singaporeans who are not lucky enough to be chosen for the nation’s grandest parade for many years in a row.

And that includes me.

Spectacular Night (Preview of NDP 2008)

Tonight (19 Jul 08), as I was going to meet my dear dear around 4pm, I saw the whole MRT being flooded with primary school students. Then I realised that tonight would be the National Education show for primary 5 students.

After visiting the esplanade and dining at Carl's Junior, the time was already 7.15pm, time flies past when one is with his or her loved one. At this time of every National Day Parade, there would be firework display soon, (around 7.30pm to 7.40pm), thus I brought my honey to the area outside of Marina Square and joined the around 60 to 100 people sitting on the staircases to watch the spectacular fireworks.

It rained slightly and then to moderate and many of the people fled, but it was romantic for Honey Angel and I in out own little world sheltered from the rain in her umbrella. We managed to see some fireworks display (just some fraction of the real thing to happen later) during one of the performances in the parade. As the rain grew heavier, we decided to leave and went to the area outside of Esplanade.

There the rain started to peter out and thus we waited again at the area, determined to catch the grand fireworks.

Many including us did not know where would the fireworks show up later thus the crowd was quite spread out, with each part of the crowd hoping that the fireworks would appear right in front of them later. Of course, my Honey Angel and I shared the same sentiments too.

It was great to come and see the fireworks tonight for National Day preview and National Day itself, the whole area of Esplanade and Marina Square would be jammed with throngs of crowd, any possible areas to view the grand fireworks would be sardine-packed with eager and enthusiatic Singaporeans longing to catch the dazzling fireworks.

Singaporeans love fireworks and on all grand occasions like the New Year, the Chinese New Year and the National Day, fireworks are the mainstay in all these events.

Oh okay, I am talking too much liao on this topic..... when the fireworks really appeared, Honey Angel and I was struck amazed for the fireworks main display was just right in front of us.

The crowd cheered, screamed, went exhilarated, some went berserk... the fireworks exploded in the sky in many dazzling formations, in a myriad ways, beautifully and magically. Words cannot capture the essence of magic of fireworks, only picture tells a thousands words, and in this age, video tells the whole story!

I have captured this magical moment (the fireworks) I spend with my dear angel on video. Would like to share with all readers the magical firework display (you would be one of the Singaporeans to catch this preview of fireworks for NDP 08, though it is not on the actual day).

Here is the link (just one part of the few videos of the dazzling videos of the fireworks I shot, would upload the rest if I have time):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hg6r4uvy-YE


Enjoy!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Urban Monkey

On my walk around in my neighbourhood today, I saw residents and maids climbing trees to pluck the coveted rambutans hiding among the branches of the rambutan trees in my estate. Once the rambutans were in their hands, they devoured the fruits and blantantly threw the husks onto the ground.

Rambutans are not that expensive, why should the residents and maids resort to stealing the town council’s fruits and put themselves to danger climbing the trees, to the scrutiny of the public and become social disgraces?

The answer is simply greed of these folks.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Plastic soup

During lunch yesterday, I witnessed a disturbing sight at my favorite food stall, which I frequent. I witnessed how the stall owners topped up their soup in one of the metal receptacles at their counter. The stall assistant scooped out ladle by ladle of the boiling hot and cooked soup from the stewing large metal pot into a big PLASTIC container and proceeded to pour the hot soup from the container into the metal receptacle at the counter.

Some plastic containers are able to withstand high temperatures but not for some (I have discussed about this in my earlier post on Plastic Identification Code some months back). Thus it would be shuddering if the plastic containers used as a temporary hold for the boiling soup is of substandard quality: we would be eating more than what we pay for and these things are definitely what we do not want to eat.

Leadership

Leadership is both born and nurtured. People often say leaders are born, but who on earth is not born? (just a joke).

In the past, I was clearly not a leader. I was shy, socially apprehensive, very pessimistic, super quiet and have very low level of self-esteem; I was a follower. That was in the past, somehow luckily over the years, enrichment and motivation books start to mould me into a more confident man who is more proactive in life, vocal and socially adapt. I have broken out from my cocoon, which has enveloped me throughout the majority of my youth. Though late, I am still lucky to have broken out from this cocoon for some never would. I have enjoyed life more and have made full use of life now.

My turning point in life from my previous clone came about when I happen to pick up one of the many dozens of books bought by my father from China during his business trips. These books, all in Chinese were gathering dust inside our cupboard when one day out of boredom and having exhausted all the books which I could lay hands on, I began to ransack the cupboard for anything readable. It was then that I pick up the book titled ‘Success of life’ by Andrew Carnegie, which attracted and intrigued me immensely from the cover, though we should not really judge a book by its cover as the proverb says.

As I read, I could not stop reading the book! Life’s valuable lessons and morals start to hit me hard and I feel that I could really do much better about the previous state that I was. The first lesson that Andrew Carnegie taught to readers is the most important trait that all of us must have in life and that is Self-Confidence. Without Self-Confidence, one is ‘practically dead’ and would not be able to accomplish much in life, so said the author. Here, I cannot really portray the kind of impetus that the book has given to me in a matter of few sentences or even paragraphs, but the book is so compelling and so enriching that it changed the outlook of my life completely.

Previously a very quiet person, in my latter half of the university days, I started to initiate social interactions with groups of classmates. I did meet with initial rejections as here I was alone trying to strike up a conversation with a group that has fostered close ties within itself. Back in the university, though it was hard in my faculty to really make more close friends (as many of them still ‘click’ within their NS and JC alumni fraternity), I did really make some close friends that I still keep in touch and many other acquaintances.

After I took the first footstep towards having reached out more to people, I started to hone my leadership skills via reading and the real practical stuff of doing. Vision without action amounts to nothing. I have indeed developed a lot in my social capital during the past few years and I must really admit though I have improved from my past self, I still have lots to learn in leadership.

Reading is always my favorite hobby and it will always be. I urge all of you readers to start reading if you have not done so and reduce (not stop) watching TV and doing other less enriching activities.

I have just come across a statement in one of our local newspapers that reading is the greatest investment because one just spend tens of dollars to buy someone’s invaluable experience and knowledge that may be gathered over decades!

All leaders are learners and all learners need to act to be leaders in their personal life.

Toilet doors

A number of Singapore’s toilets still have doors at the entrance. It is a phenomenon that is of high concern as toilet doors contain thousands of micro-bateria. Toilets shall be built such that they have no entrance door.

A sense of proportion

As I entered the MRT station yesterday to take the train back home, I was surprised that out of the ten or so gantries at the station, only two were automated for passengers entering to take the train, the rest were programmed for passengers exiting from the station.

The ratio of entering gantries to exiting gantries is hence 1:4, but as I looked at the size of the exiting crowd and compared it with the entering passengers, the ratio should be at most 1:2. SMRT should really ensure that the number of entering and exiting gantries at MRT stations should really commensurate with the ratio of the number of passengers entering and leaving the station. Such ratio changes at different times of the day and instead of implementing a blanket-wide standard ratio that jams up crowds on one side.

Angel of my life

I am very happy to find my angel of my life.

She is pretty,capable and very good to me.

I love her a lot and she loves me even more.

I am very pleased to find my angel of my life.

I will treat her even better.

I love you, Angel !

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fengshui

I picked up a colourful pocket-sized book on Fengshui by one of the most popular Fengshui masters in Singapore.

Though personally I do not believe in Fengshui, there are so many interesting concepts in the book that I do not really know until now.

It is late now, and at the time of my writing, my eyes automatically close, thus I need to sleep soon but one of the key concept that the book espoused is that of each and everyone's special number: your Kua number.

For more informaton, one can check out the following websites:

http://www.circle-of-light.com/fengshui/fs-kua.html

I think the Fengshui in Singapore will keep changing due to the rapid changes happening in our landscape.

I will need to turn in now, enjoy your day!

Toy Story

In my childhood days, I have played with toys, toys that belong to the 90s, unlike the electronic gadgets like internet, portable playstations we see modern teens playing nowadays.

The toys that I like to play were toy figurines: small plastic toy men and cars less than the size of a palm. Assembling the toy men and cars, I would concoct storylines and these figurines would become my actors during the plays which I direct.

The electronic game that I played in my times included an educational game set called ‘Socrates’, an extremely ‘edutaining’ game console my father bought for me when I was in Primary 1, it cost $600, not a cheap amount in those times. Then there was Brick game a game, which made forays into Singapore in 1990 when I was still in Primary school. I could still remember the days after school examinations when the teachers allowed the class to bring toys to school to pass the time: the whole class was busily manipulating ‘bricks’. There was a host of such brick games, spanning from the original Brick Game to ‘Magic Cube’ and others whose names I could not remember now. Those games cost on average, $40 to $60 these days; more than 15 years down the road, one could find a modicum of these games at some shops selling for less than $5.

One game, which I have tried my hand on since young and sometimes now but which I have still failed to master is the Rubik cube. There were secret manuals offering solutions to decode the cube many years back. Nowadays, solutions offering players on the techniques to achieve one or all faces of the cube with the same colored tiles are aplenty on the internet. These solutions, however detract the actual fun from the game.

I am amazed at how some people quickly arrive at having one or more sides of the cube with the same colored tiles in a matter of few minutes while I am still trying to decode this game.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spam

My inbox has been repeatedly flooded with dozens of spam messages everyday despites setting the filter mechanism to the highest level and marking the messages as spam to be reported to the mail administrator.

With the evident subject titles of the emails, it is easy to detect these emails are spam messages, thus it is still shocking that some Singaporeans are still being hoodwinked by these mails and end up burning their pockets due their succumbing to the scams which unfold after responding to such mails.

Some Singaporeans may buy in to these mails due to ignorance, others by greed. But the sheer volume of such mails landing in inboxes of netizens suggest that the email spam business is still lucrative, all thanks to those who have been fooled by the spam messages.

MRT Extension

The Ministry of transport has yesterday unveiled the plan for Downtown Line 2, the MRT extension to be completed in 2015.

With the completion of the aforementioned MRT extension, many parts of Singapore would be connected via a seamless MRT network.

Many Singaporeans including I cheered the move. Though Singapore possesses a good network of roads, bus and MRT network; certain locations of the island are still not public-transport friendly. I have encountered in few occasions whereby I have waited for only 2 buses and transferred between them; an hour and twenty minutes passed in doing just so and I was still in the vicinity of the area of departure!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths and weaknesses are not forever.

Ability can often be trained and improved over time, turning weaknesses into strengths.

Similarly, lack of training over time will reduce one strength into weakness.

Everything in the world is in a constant flux, the only constant in life is change.

Website Recommendation

Have come to know of the following URL for watching for free great Hollywood movies:

http://www.davidmovie.com/

Monday, July 14, 2008

Website Recommendation

Come across this website which offers oodles of movies, games, music and drama absolutely free of charge!

One can even watch 'L' on this website:

http://www.crunchyroll.com/

stay tuned to this blog for more great sites.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Most Priceless asset

The most priceless asset everyone has is his brain.

The brain is where valuable ideas are spewed from, business ideas which can be worth millions of dollars and create jobs for hundreds of people, innovation ideas which can improve the life of the community and there is a continuum of great ideas that one can ever think of.

It is not nature or nurture that ultimately shapes the destiny of man, it is the choices he makes and these choices are no doubt spawned by the brain. No doubt, experience undergone by an individual would affect the choices he makes, the route he chooses to go in his life but it is ultimately the sheer mental power that he garners that makes the difference. The brain and one’s thought decides the destiny of one.

Hobbies

Hobbies are important in everyone’s life. Man spend most of their waking hours working, the rest of the hours catering to the needs of his loved one, leaving only a small fraction of his time free to pursue his hobbies.

Hobbies are critical as they allow us to understand more about ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses and through the pursuit of such hobbies, one learn the values of life and become stronger to take on the other undertakings of life.

I am talking about the constructive hobbies which include the like of reading, jogging, exercising, etc. One can only become better through the constant pursuit of constructive hobbies.

Singapore's No.1 Short Stories Blog

As on 13 July 08 (Sunday)

Licence to bully

I saw a disturbing scene at Carrefour today 12 July 08 around 1930 hrs at Suntec City. This man, who bought dozens of expensive wine bottles, obviously a very rich man, was with his family. At the cashier counter, while waiting for his groceries to be cleared, he tore a packet of pistachios and ate merrily, throwing the empty shells of the snacks on the receptionist’s counter in a nonchalant manner. It seemed that his family also thought his act was nothing unusual, continuing with him their conversation, oblivious to the stares the other shoppers has drawn towards them.

The man finally stopped munching his snacks when the turn came to process his groceries. The cashier called for an old lady cleaner to clear up the shells of the pistachios which were also layered with some saliva of the rich man.

Yes, this man could be rich, he could be the 77,000 odd millionaires in Singapore, but that should not give him a licence to act arrogant and bully the average Singaporean, especially the poor lady cleaner.

Affirmation

Everybody needs affirmation at certain points of their lives: for a job or deed well done, love, recognition, etc

It is important for parents to affirm the worth of their children during their growing up years. Simple words of encouragement would go a long way in the building of self-esteem of the children. With no affirmation given to children, they would most likely not be able to affirm others when they grow up.

Parents who devalue the worth of their children the moment they speak everyday, underestimate their worth, believe they are not capable of achieving a certain task are breeding unconfident kids who would mature into unconfident adults. Their words spoken to their children everyday, undervaluing their intrinsic worth and potential would be taken for truth by the children. These children soon grow up, not being able to fully develop their potential, believing that their potential was only what their parents have told them repeatedly.

Such parents may also be overprotective of their children, refusing them an opportunity to be exposed and to attempt new things on their own. These children hence grow up to become social misfits, unconfident adults who may be destined for only a mediocre future.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Creativity

Singaporeans are not known for creativity unlike their Japanese counterparts.

As large open spaces are stimulants for creativity, I believe that the dearth of creativity among Singaporeans, is in part, due to the small and highly populated nature of our island. Singapore is also bereft of scenic natural attractions that will provoke and spark that new seed of innovation and creativity in the minds of Singaporeans.

This could be the geographical reason for the lack of creativity of Singaporeans.

Faced with the tons of people congregating on the streets, the myriads of cars on our roads, and the throngs of people at the shopping centres, one is hardly inspired for new ideas; unless one opt to go for a retreat in one of our few places of nature and search for the next gem of an idea among the greenery, seabreeze, sun and sand.

Space is really stimulant for new ideas. This theory was behind the concept of large spacious buildings at Republic Polytechnic to spark ideas, grow creativity and inspire innovation among its students.

It is common to hear of company retreats held at offshore islands. The company’s employee and management need that break from the inexorable trend of city life to see things from another perspective, break new paradigms of thinking and invent new ideas.

And yes there are definitely other reasons why Singaporeans are not really creative, like the oft-cited reason of the very comfortable life that Singaporeans are attuned to that make them reluctant to explore change.

Our schools have, in recent years, geared up its curriculum to teach creativity and also hope that in the process, more entrepreneurs would also be generated and generate jobs and sustain prosperity for the nation.

Challenge

What a day! After witnessing the verbal spat between the old man and the TODAY vendor, I witnessed another display of antisocial behaviour two hours later. As I passed the library, I noticed a police sergeant armed with a video camera shooting scenes off a wall between the library’s main entrance and its ‘book drop’.

I inched forward and was flabbergasted to note the aforementioned wall was heavily vandalised. There was a note scribbled in paint containing a serious contempt and humiliation of a certain religion in our society. The perpetrators, in their sanity, chose the wall besides the library main entrance, where a video surveillance camera might be located for monitoring purpose as a challenge to the authority in my opinion.

These vandals should not be let off. Any attempt to undermine the social fabric Singapore has taken to build over decades must not be cordoned.

(In)Gratitude

As I walked towards the TODAY daily vendor who is an old man religiously distributing the dailies everyday (except Sunday) at the MRT station near my home, an equally old man walked towards the vendor and instead of taking his share of the dailies, he blatantly and in a blithe disregard for the public and the vendor, launched a verbal spat with the old man.

‘Its not yours, not your papers’ he rattled off quickly and equally quickly walked off, leaving the old vendor pretty confounded and astonished. Seeing the commotion and the display of the childish behaviour by the old man, I was quite surprised and somehow bemused.

It was easy to postulate that the old man has a grudge towards the vendor, and in my opinion, I believed the old aggressor might have, on yesterday, ‘jumped the queue’ in getting the dailies before being chastised by the vendor. The aggressor hence bored a grudge towards the vendor and decided to hatch today’s public display of his hatred to nurse his grudge towards the vendor.

It is sad to see an old man, whose time may just be tens of years away, who has weathered the decades and gathered experiences of life, so fixated with small grudges and it might be even sad if he really ‘jumped the queue’: a negative social behaviour.

Rain or shine, the TODAY vendors are always there at the MRT stations distributing our daily bread for the brain. Instead of displaying gratitude towards them by just doing our simple part to queue correctly and patiently and at times or even always thanking them, I have seen a modicum number of Singaporeans refusing to queue up and when told to do queue by the newspapers vendor, all foul language emanated from their mouths.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Crime and Youth

Though Singapore is considered one of the safest cities on earth, murders and other crimes occasionally do still hog the headlines of newspapers.

Just one or two days ago, it was reported that an Indian teenage lady aged 18 was murdered in a horrific manner near a PUB substation at Ang Mo Kio. The wall next to where she was found was splattered with red blood, which has since dried. The police has apprehended a suspect for interrogation swiftly. Two weeks ago, a NUS undergraduate was sexually assaulted near a construction worksite in the vicinity of the university. A week ago, opposition candidate Tan Lead Shake’s wife slaughtered his sister-in-law and injured his brother and mother.

In peaceful Singapore when such egregious crimes occur, these would inevidently become the top of the town. Capping such crimes would be the security lapses, which have been manifesting themselves this year: 1) the lapse which led to the walking out of a military camp by National Serviceman Dave Teo with a M16 rifle to cause carnage 2) the lapse which led to the escape of JI leader Mas Selamat 3) the lapse which led to the breaking free of 2 convicts during a court proceeding 4) the lapse at checkpoint which led to a man being able to exit from the country with his son’s passport. The island is abuzz with discussion about the recent lapses and explanations from the government for the lapses are aplenty and forthcoming.

The murder cases and the security lapses mentioned above are rare and in some cases, ‘isolated cases’ for Singapore. Singapore still possesses a credible security team to ensure the high quality of safety in Singapore is constantly upkept. There is however a regular dose of reporting about crimes committed by youth that are regular fixtures in the dailies.

The basic building blocks of societies are families; societal problems often arise from family problems. Children who are neglected, abused, not showered any love or attention by their parents during their upbringing would often stray and dabble into crimes. Teen crimes, teen gangs and the notorious ‘Dave Teo’ incident are hallmarks of such a thwarted family upbringing.

In Singapore, due to the cost of living, most families, especially the younger ones are dual-income. Spending a majority of their time in their work, both parents should still spend some quality time, never mind how small this amount would be, with their children, to inculcate in them correct values and rectitude. Maids shall never become the substitutes for parents.

Many a times, I have witnessed scores of teenagers loitering in void decks, practically doing nothing constructive and seeming to attempt to commit offences. They look belligerent and stares are prominent features of their anger-written faces.

Apart from the problem kids, today’s youth of the millennium are no longer the youth of yesterdays. Lapping up the ever-changing technology, they are far more complicated in thoughts and behavior. They remain an enigma to the government, which is trying to reconnect with them in the ways of the internet, example via social networking platform, Facebook and the P65 website (http://www.p65.sg/).

A new ‘youthscape’ of Singapore has emerged and bring with it a host of challenges to the society. These youth will continue to grow up into mature adults, form the majority of the population and change the face of Singapore.

Event + Response = Outcome

We face outcomes in the many courses of action we deal with each day. An outcome is made up of an event for which we may have no control and the response to which we have full control.

Optimizing the outcome of any endeavour entails thinking through the possible responses and choosing the best response to the event that we can have control. A lot of our societies, the misfortunate live bravely each day, choosing to live fruitfully despites being encumbered by their disabilities.

Social responsibility

Plastered on the notice boards of HDB flats are dozens of posters, which greet us everyday. Normally I give these posters a quick glance and it was sufficient for me to spot a few grammatical errors embedded within most of them.

Not that I am overly critical or overbearing on grammatical accuracy but I believe the creators of these posters should have a sense of responsibility: to ensure words and phrases used in their posters are grammatically sound. I believe some checks would also have been in place before the posters went for print, thus it may be unfathomable and unforgivable that grammatical errors still could exist despite the check.

The reasons for such a gap would be the poor mastery of English by the creators or a pure careless oversight, which persists despites checks.

These posters put up would be seen by hundreds of residents each day, creators of such posters should at least ensure the words and phrases in them are at least grammatically right; it’s a form of respect to the readers who at the very least spend their precious time reading the posters. It’s a form of social responsibility. The worst implications of such posters would be the misleading of students into accepting or learning the wrong phrases as they believe these posters put up for mass publicity are credible.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Of Cars and ERP

Yesterday’s news reported that the number of ERP gantries and existing ERP charges would be up in our island, this, would inevitably frays the nerves of motorists, especially those plying the affected routes frequently.

For motorists plying the routes in which the ERP gantries are added would now need to pay for the use of these roads. I understand the rationale of the government in installing the new gantries, which are, in a Senior Minister of State’s words, to ‘change the driving habits or patterns of Singaporean’, but policies which would hurt Singaporeans’ pockets would often be widely debated and even challenged.

In my opinion, I believe the increase in the number of ERP gantries and the charges of the existing gantries would do little change to those well-heeled Singaporeans as they could well afford the increased charges; the increases would in fact affect the middle class Singaporean motorists more as the impact on their pockets would be larger.

Well-heeled Singaporeans, especially those in the league of the ‘77,000 millionaires with a net worth of US $1 million excluding property worth’ may well be the more frequent users of roads, thus the ERP policies may only change the traveling pattern of motorists in the middle income bracket, who are likely the less-frequent users of roads.

In the long run, ERP may take some cars off the road at the cost of the less wealthy motorists who could not sustain the high cost of the system. Less cars on the roads may well increase the mileage of wealthy car owners and the pollution caused by cars may not change and might even increase for the worse.

Public transport has to be made more appealing in order to encourage more Singaporeans to switch to public transport. I have noticed the train, public buses getting more and more crowdy beyond the comfort level of passengers. This phenomenon, is in part due to the increasing population caused by the influx of foreigners. In the long run, it would most probably be the middle-income Singaporeans who could not sustain the high cost of the ERP system who would ultimately make the switch. Can you imagine a millionaire taking the public bus? The possibility is very remote as the impact of the increasing ERP charges do not amount much to his deep pockets.

An aspiring local car owner would have to contend with the following associated cost of owning a car besides the payment on the car itself: COE, car insurance, ERP fees, car maintenance and inspection fees and parking fees. The collective amount looks threatening to an owner in the middle-income bracket.

In the long run, owning a car and driving may well become the privilege of only the rich.

Blindspot

Blindspots are blind or else they would not earn their appellations. These blindspots could escape detection from one and at times more than two prudent men.

I have personally encountered creating a ‘typo’ error inadvertently in a document, a blindspot which evades detection from my repeated checks. These blindspots unfortunately and miraculously evade subsequent double and triple checking from other colleagues too and manifest themselves as errors.

The reason for not been able to detect blindspots arises from the fact that our minds are incredibily superior. Our minds process information at mind-boggling speeds. Our minds form images, decisions and judgments from connections already made in the past; that is in essence, our minds are already hard-wired. There is hence be a self-perpetuating mechanism which kicks-in at times when careless oversights are sighted. One such example would be “crless eror” when the mind accurately will deciper the phrase as “careless error”.

However blindspots should never be taken as excuses for creating genuine careless mistakes.

Left/right brain

Most of us are versed in using either the left or right hand as the master writing hand with a majority of the denizens on this planet being right-handed.

With right-handers, their main perception of the world is via their left-brains, the more logical part of the organ. The vice versa applies to the left-handed who are supposedly to have a flair for arts and creativity. I know of people equally versed in using the left and right hands as their writing hands; in my opinion, these would be very successful people in the future as they can be equally competent in both the logical and emotional aspects of life.

The type of writing hand one uses is just but one of the many indicators of the predisposition one have either to the arts or science, it can never be the sole indicator. Over time, one’s predisposition may change and be skewed to the other side as a result of experiences encountered in life or evolution over time.

I am always more skewed to the logical side but only recently did I discover that I have a creative flair and have the appreciation for the arts and music. This artistic side was ingrained in me earlier years of my life and it slowly, gradually and surely evolved as I grew up. I have since found a liking for all genres of music, have a flair for writing and appreciation of the finer things in life. I just hope that the cognitive side of me does not falter as I hone my other creative half.

Fengshui

I have recently read an interesting book about work and Fengshui. According to the author, everyone has his or her unique auspicious orientation (or direction) from one of the following eight: North, South, East, West, Northeast, Southeast, NorthWest and Southwest. Facing this auspicious direction, one would receive the luck or charm to excel in his or her undertaking.

Examples of leveraging on one’s auspicious orientation during work are in interviews, presentations and discussion with superiors for pay increments. One should either sit or stand in his charmed orientation during the aforementioned scenarios and he or she would be facilitated and boosted by the Fengshui luck emanating from the particular orientation that he receives. The above facilitation however does not detract the fact that one would still requires diligence and effort to spin a winning yarn.

One can give the above suggestion a try, it is no harm trying if one buys in to the above theory though one needs to be equipped with a compass first.

My 3310

The first handphone I owned was a modest and humble Nokia 3310 model, which was considered a dinosaur now amidst the myriads arrays of innovative and mind-boggling designs of modern hand phones.

Nokia 3310 has limited functions but I like its simplicity and reliability. Modern phones carry with them a host of functions like camera, 3G, video, wi-fi and the like and I found it is precisely due to the many diverse and complicated functions they carry that render them failing more frequently than the earlier generations of handphones; this will spawn demand for handphone service shops implicitly too.

Like phones, a simple life can be a blessing at times too!

Music

I have discovered a favorite pastime not too recently by listening to the heavenly music from musical luminaries like Yanni, Kitaro and the like on Youtube.

Listening to the magical music and watching the performance is almost a heavenly experience, invigorating and enthralling my senses of sight and sound and soothing, relaxing my soul and spirit.

You should try too, if you have the time.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

060708

Today’s date is one of the many interesting calender dates that have come to the fore since the millennium marks the resetting of the last 2 digits of the year code to ‘00’.

080808: 8th of August is the date for Olympics and for some couples, it is a blessing to be married on this date though the fact that this day also falls in the Chinese lunar 7th month also scares off some couples on the prospect of being married on this day.

090909 is also a good date for marriage, as the word ‘9’ in Chinese has the same pronunciation as ‘long’, representing longevity.

The last such interesting date for this century would fall in 2013 on this date 111213.

Handphones

Handphones, with their diverse host of multimedia functions are more than communication devices in our daily lives, they have become part of our daily lives.

Thus it was with regrets that my handphone stalled this morning and attempts to remedy the situation proved futile!

Luckily I have a standby phone which I activated for use immediately by removing the SIM card from the stalled phone and inserting into the standby phone.

Imagine the slew of inconvenience to one when one’s handphone is stalled. There would be dozens of messages from friends, colleagues and your dear ones which you would not be able to receive and reply. Imagine the possible misunderstandings and miscommunications to your friends, colleagues and others for not having received and hence replied to the SMSes or calls to your phone.

Handphones may also contain our valuable personal data; thus one should not store too much confidential information in these gadgets, doing regular backup of files inside our phones would also help.

10 promises to my dog

It has been some years since I watched a movie and it is even rare to watch a great movie!

So when I went to catch the Japanese movie “10 promises to my dog” (with English subtitles) today, I thought it was just an ordinary movie about some cute animals called dogs, but surprisingly the show reduced an often unfeeling man like me into a cry-baby at the end of the show.

To start off, here are the 10 promises to the dog that the protagonist’s mother requested her daughter to observe before allowing here to keep it as her pet:


Please have patience when dealing with me.

Place your trust in me. Through good and bad times, I will always be by your side.

Never forget that I have a heart too… just like you.

Whenever I don’t listen to what you say, always remember that there is a reason.

Talk to me. I may not understand all your words but I understand your voice when it speaks to me. (In the film: Try to spend a lot of time with me)

Let’s not fight. Remember that I could hurt (bite) you but have chosen never to do so.

Even when I grow in age (and probably grow slow or weak), please be kind to me.

My life may not last as long as yours. Please make every second we spend together count.

You may have other friends, other activities. Please remember that for me, there’s only you.

When I leave this world, promise me you’ll be by my side. Remember all the times we shared and remember always that I love you.

Now the plot:

In the show, the dog first arrives as a young puppy and the owner enjoys his or her relationship growing up with the doggie, but soon as the owner grows into adulthood and immerses herself into the intricate webs of relationships and the demanding work demands, the time spent by her on her pet grows lesser and lesser, though the doggie still remain by her side, always there to give her a helping hand. At times in the movie, the owner would even feel infuriated at the doggie, venting her frustrations at the doggie.

As the doggie grows up and reaches its lifespan of ten years, the owner suddenly feel the remorse deep in her heart for not really spending time with her doggie and not having observed the 10 promises. Well, time and tide waits for no one, the owner realises and bemoans the fact that 10 years passes away so quickly, recollects the many happy memories she had spent with the doggie and regretted not having done even more for it….. having said all this, the owner eventually managed to observe promise No. 10 to her pet: “When I leave this world, promise me you’ll be by my side”

The show is indeed very touching. The 10 promises and the movie plot as outlined above does not only apply to the relationship of a dog and a dog-owner, it can also apply to the relationship between a parent and a child and lovers.

Treasure your loved ones today….. do not wait till its too late!

Friday, July 04, 2008

NDP 2008

National Day is around the corner; it is just slightly a month more to the nation's greatest parade: the National Day Parade.

Thousands of Singaporeans have swamped the online application portal for the NDP tickets the month before and hundreds more Singaporeans are sacrificing their weeks since months ago, rehearsing and honing their crafts as participants of the parade.

Singaporeans are especially exuberant, exhilarated on National Day, celebrating the nation's birthday as one people and one nation.

It is surprising that at this time this year, I have not heard of this year's National Day songs.

From my observation, the number of Singaporeans displaying the national flags outside their flats have waned with time. Now it is usually the efforts of the town councils and grassroots leaders who prop up the facade of the HDB blocks during National Days with diverse arrays of the Singapore flag bound in different designs.

Singaporeans are also fans of the stunning fireworks display on that magical night.

Fireworks, parades, celebrations, fun, laughter, holidays, joy aside, the overriding question is whether Singaporeans are really celebrating the country's birthday from the bottom of their hearts? Are they proud to be Singaporeans? Do they share in the identity of being Singaporeans and do they really love Singapore?

Alma mater

It has been some years since I left my alma mater, NUS; thus making a trip today to this institution where I spent a part of my precious youth years to pursue a degree was stimulating and exciting. It was to be exact, a homecoming!

Developments at NUS were swift as new features and extensions have sprouted up all over the campus, leaving me somehow baffled at the transformation. To a certain extent, as an alumnus of this great institution, once again stepping foot in the campus was a proud moment for me. I shared the pride of being an alumnus of this great institution and seeing the high quality teaching, nurturing, living and social environments NUS pro-offers to students, staff and alumni attests to the brand name that NUS stands for!

There are also dozens of retail shops like Old Chang Kee, Burger King, Mcdonalds, Star bucks and many more… not to forget the incredibly affordable priced great food served in the many spacious, modern and beautiful canteens at the different faculties. I have a yummy plate of black pepper chicken chop, topped off with fries and salad at an incredible great price of $2.20.

I believe I would come back to NUS again to catch back on the fond memories of my NUS years and to discover new perspectives of this institution! With Singapore bereft of places of interests, NUS could be one of the top places of interests for me too!

Online Portals

An increasing number of online government applications use the NRIC numbers of users as login IDs. The online portal will normally log the users out after a fixed number of unsuccessful login attempts and therein lies the flaw in the system. As the entire concept of the online portal is premised on the belief that NRIC numbers are supposed to be confidential, only to be known to the user, once the NRIC No. of a user is made known either inadvertently or not to a third party with malicious intents, the third party may deliberately keys in the password wrongly so as to log out the genuine user and renders him inconvenience in spending time and effort to reset his password from the portal administrator.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Managers vs Leaders

Much has been said in management literature on the differences between a manager and a leader, but in reality, a majority of managers I encounter are not leaders, worse, some do not even possess the basic knowledge and practice of management.

Ironically, some other people I met, who do not carry the formal offical ranks or titles of managers are real leaders. These leaders also double up as coach and mentors; they effective build people who build effective teams which translate into excellent organizations.

It is myopical to assume people having status like 'managers' and 'scholars' are leaders. The proof is in the pudding.

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