Thursday, 29 September 2011

We all had our doubts

Edwin Ong

Edwin and Gwen popped by for a visit today. While they were in my room, his brother uploaded a Facebook photo of him in his kindergarten days. Unfortunately, the photo captured him during one of those class performances where all children (including boys) have to wear make up. The amazing photo caption read, "We all had our doubts about Edwin" - hilarious and apt one-liner about a guy whose mother once asked whether he was gay.

While it was so good to see the happy couple, I was embarrassed to have forgotten that today was his birthday - until after they left. So, happy birthday Edwin! Stay the same, young and innocent Edwin like you were in this video (watch from 4:04-5:47). Sorry, I couldn't resist. :D

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Google Gravity

If anyone here is down with the midweek blues, I have the perfect solution: Google Gravity - where as the name suggests, the elements of the Google home page are prone to gravity! You can drag them around with your mouse and let them free fall. The best part is, you can still use the search engine function, and hey, check out what happens to the search results! I even tried it on my iPhone - I was shaking my phone so crazily but it still worked. Hmm, come to think of it, dragging the elements around with my finger tips and randomly throwing them to hit the sides of the screens felt like a game of Angry Birds. Haha. And after reading this article, I've picked up a few more tricks.

Go ahead, try it out! It'll make you happy. I should know - my laptop recently crashed on me (again!), I just spent good money buying a wrong cable which I now have no use for, I have ugly bruises from cycling over the weekend, I've been bogged with freelance work, and I'm now also faced with a 10,000 word essay draft deadline (among others) at the end of this week. Trust me, you'll be hard pressed to find a better stress-reliever than throwing things around on a virtual screen. (:

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

iPhone 5

Seems like the iPhone 5 will be launched on Oct. 4. Which is next week. Analysts say it will probably be available for sale in the US by Friday the same week, and that it probably will have a larger screen and a better camera. What more can I say? I'm sold. I just wonder when it will hit stores in Singapore.

My iPhone 3Gs is on the verge of dying on me, there's still about 2 months for my handset contract to run out before I can even think of that upgrade. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my phone will survive the duration before I make the switch.  I'm also thinking about changing service providers because I've had really bad experiences with the current one (M1) I'm using.

Oh well, good things are worth waiting for, aren't they?

Monday, 26 September 2011

F1 anyone?

Ye Yiqin

Over the weekend, the F1 fever was at its height. Eevn my mom was watching it on the telly. Me, I'm sorry to say I was never really into it. Watching a car lap circuits gets kind of boring after like 2 minutes, no? Wait, make that 1 instead. Yeah, I guess you could argue it's no worse than watching 11 grown men chase one ball around a grass field for 90 minutes. But soccer is just different, you know? Ok, moving on. 

Anyway, a friend of mine is a diehard F1 fan. Since F1 put the Singapore leg on the race calendar, he has been faithfully attending every year. We were whatsapp-ing, so I asked whether he took any good photos. I a reply along the lines of "Of course, a ton of photos!" - because hey, he's a fan right? But his answer: he was too seasoned to get any kick out of taking photos. He was at the premier grandstand for all 3 days of the races and he only took one photo - of the safety car, which you see above.

But it does make sense too. I guess there's an opportunity cost between fully enjoying the race day atmosphere and snapping some shots for posterity. Which way would you go?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Dream Machine

J is a very deep sleeper, and it's almost impossible to wake him up once he falls asleep. There was once he took a nap on the bed while I was on the computer. The air-conditioning was at full blast, so I trotted over to make sure he had enough blanket. He suddenly said "Pong! I think it's your turn now."I froze for a moment, then started giggling uncontrollably. If you couldn't tell, he was playing mahjong in his dreams. I couldn't resist continuing the conversation - who wouldn't? It resulted in a very hilarious ten minute "dialogue", all captured on video.

In a random turn of conversation last night, J remembered that a Japanese firm had created a machine that would allow you to create your own dream. I googled and found a 2004 article on it. Read here. If you had the opportunity, would you pass up the chance to create your own dream? Think of all the possibilities!

Friday, 23 September 2011

"Photo essay": Mid-Autumn Festival 2011

It always takes me ages to upload my photos, because I always end up chomping at the bit waiting for the upload/download process to complete. But there you go - a rather belated and mini 'photo essay' (for want of a better term) of my Mid-Autumn Festival this year. Hope you had a good one with yummy mooncakes and good company as well.

P/S: This post made me realize that the layout of my blog makes my photos in landscape orientation look so tiny! When I have the time and/or when I'm feeling diligent, I really should do something about it. Meh.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

2 Things

I thought this was very meaningful, and should be something we all aspire to. But notice the sign is entirely in black and white, which complete ignores all the grey. For example, what if it doesn't make you happy, but doing it will make someone else happy? What then?

But if you want to keep things simple, it's truly a good rule of thumb to follow.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost

Found the English version of the "Bongcheon-Dong Ghost" webcomic to while away those midweek blues. Remember to watch with your speakers on, preferably in the middle of the night. Hur.

Read it here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Porn-No in Australia

For one of my group projects, we decided to do a comparative study of Singapore and Japan - with regard to state policies that regulate pornography. In the midst of a week of deadlines, just thought I'd take some time out to share some trivia we came across in our research: Australian customs officers can search travellers' electronics devices for porn upon entry to the country!

Boys, watch out!

Monday, 12 September 2011

A new type of war

Anyone who watched news reports from the 9/11 attacks on US soil will have those horrific images seared into their minds for life: hijacked planes crashing into buildings, said skyscrapers imploding, and people jumping out of skyscrapers in a desperate but useless bid to survive. Sounds like a movie packed with special effects, but watched like a horror movie because it was real life, not reel life. It is hard to forget devastation on such a scale. 'The 9/11 attacks' has become a household term in virtually every developed nation in the world. How could it not, after security measures that have since been normalized in the name of 'national security' have infringed on so many aspects of our lives? Just saying.

But despite the huge explosion of international media attention, so many facts about that day remained unclear. Until last week, on the verge of the anniversary of the event a decade later, when the Rutgers Law Review published information that had previously never been revealed to the public, in the format of the report "A New Type of War". An extract from the preface explains it is "an “audio monograph” of critical communications from the morning of 9/11, linked by narrative and graphics placing each audio clip in context. We believed that such a rendering would be the best way to enable the public to understand what happened on 9/11 – how the day was lived by those responding to the attacks."

Definitely worth a read if you're looking to understand more. And while we're on the topic, I have no idea what former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad wants to prove by once again insisting that the 9/11 attacks were staged by the US. This converges with his actions last year, where he (in)famously said in a press conference that "if they can make Avatar [the sci-fi movie], they can make anything". Seriously??


Friday, 9 September 2011

How employees use social media to hire or fire

We've all heard horror stories about how companies screen potential employees through Facebook or Twitter. I have a friend who thought he didn't get a job because the HR manager interviewing him started quizzing him about his clubbing activities (his Facebook profile was flooded with photos from his clubbing forays). Heck, even student organizations do it too. Seriously. And there you were thinking Facebook and Twitter were just tools to 'talk cock, sing song'.

So when I came across this cool infographic showing actual statistics of this phenomenon, I thought it'd be useful to share. Very interesting. 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Of life and the living

I just attended the funeral wake of a friend's mom, who passed away from cancer. Although he tried to maintain a stoic front, it was obvious he was shaken. Another friend whose mom had passed away not too long ago broke down as well. They all had so many regrets, 'if onlys' that it was painful to see. Whether they knew it or not, we shared their pain.

It is hard to know what to say to comfort them, because it is far too personal. The many words of condolences, however cliched, are sincere. But for a moment, get into their shoes. Imagine them, in a time of grief, having to hear the same awkwardly-uttered words over and over and over again. It becomes meaningless to them. Just mere noise in a time when they are trying to come to terms with what has happened. They have to put on a brave front, solicitously entertain visitors, make small talk, deal with the funeral arrangements etc. That is on top of trying to cope with such intense personal loss.

Case in point: before we left, our friend came by to remind us to take a red string with us. Trivia: That bundle of red string in the photo above is placed on all tables at traditional Chinese funeral wakes. Visitors take a string when they leave, and must lose it on their way home. For the superstitious, it's to prevent "wandering spirits" from following you home, and to ward off bad luck. Even though many of us do not believe in it, we still do it anyway.

I am truly sorry I haven't been able to do more for all my friends who have been in this position. I can only let them know that I will always be here if they should need anything from me, even if it is just company or a listening ear.

Life is really fragile, do cherish your loved ones while you still have the chance. Make "no regrets" your mantra going forward. You don't have to have the best. As long as you make the best out of what you have, you won't have regrets.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Of wedding invitations and luck
Over the weekend, I was helping a friend fold invitations for her wedding next month. Her wedding is to be held at Pan Pacific, and the hotel provided stock cards in a choice of red, charcoal and white. For the more superstitious, the colour red is supposed to bring luck, while black is usually taboo.

Black was hands down the nicest and most elegant, but red has always been the preferred colour for Chinese weddings. She knew if she sent out the charcoal coloured invitations to the older generation, she would get flak for it. She told us how one of her now-married friends was forced to re-print her entire batch of wedding invitations because her mother thought the colour inappropriate.

She eventually settled for a combination of red and black - red for the more traditional family members and family friends, and black for her friends. In this day and age, isn't it interesting we still have to accommodate these beliefs in order to make our elders happy? Black wedding invitations - would you go there?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

What your shoes say about you

I bought this pair of green sandals over the Hari Raya weekend. I love the colour and fit so much I've been wearing them to death. I have more shoes than my fingers can count (most girls do, don't judge!) but I usually can't be budged from my boring but comfortable staple of Havaianas flip flops and sandals. I like the idea and look of high heels, but wearing them gives me painful feet so they're rather neglected most of the time. Same goes for covered shoes. They make my feet hot and give me blisters. ):

According to this article which interprets what your shoes say about you, this is my lot:

Thongs and flat sandals: Like to feel the breeze on your toes? You’re a thongs girl, who loves to keep things natural. “The only make-up you need is sunscreen,” says Meghan, although she feels the transition from poolside to all-occasion wear can go too far. Thongs show you have a relaxed “resort” attitude, living at an easy pace but, she warns, “If you wear them to work with a suit, it can give the wrong impression. Flats are the ideal compromise, suggests Kelsey.

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