Sunday, 30 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

Gloria Lee

Happy Halloween! Despite some of its perceived links to devil worship, the commercial appeal of Halloween is overwhelming. The recent furore over Night Safari's cancellation of this year's themed event notwithstanding, Halloween is getting to be pretty big in Singapore. Understandably so as well - in our landlocked island, who can resist a chance to do something different for a change? But from my point of view, if Halloween allows you a chance to bond and have fun with friends, then that is reason enough to celebrate the event.

In previous years, I had fun on the Halloween Party Bus, where buses were chartered to bring party-goers around different nightspots in Singapore. Everyone was in costume, but still ooh-ing and ahh-ing over everyone else's costumes which ranged from impressive originality to rented regalia. The entire night, everyone was smiling and snapping away with their cameras, requesting photo opportunities with random people. Friendliness was overbrimming and there were no strangers. With alcohol flowing through our veins, armed with cameras and sparklers and beside friends, it made for a night to remember. Nights, if you count the three years I attended.

This year, I wanted to attend the Halloween event at the Universal Studios Singapore, but the few I asked either thought the tickets were too expensive, or they didn't want to "pay to scare themselves". Pity, since there have been rave reviews, like the one I read here. Plus, the recent intermittent heavy rain had me reluctant to be more persuasive. Maybe next year! Hope you enjoyed your Halloween!

P/S: Btw, that's me above, trying on a latex mask when I wandered into Carrefour with Fysh the other day. It looks freakily real - rather like a zombified Marilyn Monroe don't you think?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Burglary gone wrong

In a nutshell, "A man's girlfriend unexpectedly came home just before another woman was due to visit, so he called police to report his new acquaintance as a burglar."

When I read the news article, I couldn't stop laughing.

I wonder how he justified it to the girl later..perhaps something along the tune of the cheesy pickup line "you must be a thief 'cos you stole my heart"? Epic, really.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

How to write a 10,000 word essay in university

As I was in the middle of churning out a 10,000 word essay, a friend had this piece of advice to give:

You must stretch the point. 
I teach you, write like this: This is a cat. A cat is not a dog. 
It has 4 legs. Not 2 legs, 6 legs or 8 legs.
Or e.g. Studies have shown that 49% dun like the new blah blah.That means to say 51% are responsive to blah blah.

When I disbelievingly questioned whether he did that during his time in university, his reply was:

"Yah. comments came back that i had critical analytical skills lor."

Erm, right.

Monday, 24 October 2011

All My Days

I finally watched the movie Real Steel over the weekend. Great movie, but it was the opening song (which I later found out to be All My Days by Alexi Murdoch) that caught my attention right at the start. The beautiful accompanying videography in the movie helped.

This goes straight to the top of the list of songs I want to learn how to play if I pick up the guitar again.

Thursday, 20 October 2011


Ever since the news broke that the iPhone 4S would be released instead of the iPhone 5, I was devastated. Ok fine, not really. More like annoyed and a little disappointed. But ever since I saw these video of one of the new key features of the iPhone 4S - the digital personal assistant Siri, I've been mightily impressed, and I've been raving about it to anyone who'll listen.

In this other video, the following exchanges tickled me no end:

Guy: I need to hide a body.
Siri: What kind of place are you looking for? *Shows list: swamps/dumps/mines/metal foundries/reservoirs.

Guy: Will you marry me?
Siri: My End User Licensing Agreement does not cover marriage. My apologies.

Guy: Do you like it when I push your Home button?
Siri: I'd rather not say.

Impressed much? I was too, until a friend showed me this one about how a hapless Japanese user could not get Siri to understand him at all. His patience in answering Siri is commendable - others would probably have been hurling expletives from the third repeat.

It looks like there are some security issues as well. Apparently, Siri doesn't work all the time too.

Meanwhile, here's another video. This one's a parody of Siri by Mr. Brown. It's side-splittingly hilarious at some parts! A phone with a personality. What more could you ask for? That is - until you get one, then you'll wish for a phone that will just shut up when you talk to yourself through it.

And if you think about it, talking to a 'digital personal assistant' is rather like talking to yourself in the mirror. The conversation in the cartoon at the top seems a perfectly feasible one for Siri and an iPhone 4S owner, don't you think so?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sharks' Fins & Weddings

Yesterday, I attended a friend's wedding dinner. Instead of starting to wax lyrical over how touching the wedding was, or how perfect the couple was, I want to mention the fact that they didn't serve shark's fin at their wedding. No biggie, since activism a la "Say No to Sharks' Fin" is no longer a rare sight in Singapore, right?

What I found really interesting was that the couple even went as far as to include a blatant disclaimer in the invitation card: "No sharks' fin soup will be served at this wedding". Save the sharks, you know. Curiously enough, neither the bride nor the groom were strong supporters of the sharks. The groom's sister insisted, so they indulged her. Some of their elders initially had concerns that the invited guests would scrimp on the angbao when they saw the disclaimer! After all, sharks' fin was once a mainstay of the traditional Chinese wedding - an expensive and delicious delicacy that no respectable menu would even think of leaving out.

Now, I've always liked sharks' fin soup. Served piping hot with extreme doses of vinegar and pepper results in the ultimate comfort food. Every time I had the good fortune to eat it, I relished every mouthful. Or so I thought. Until the day when I was served a lone chunk of sharks' fin. Then I went "Erm, okay you mean I thought I liked this?" Turns out I like the starchy soup way more than the bits of Sharks Fin inside. Well, at this particular wedding, they replaced the 'sharks fin' in the 'sharks fin soup' with abalone. But in my humble opinion, the abalone spoilt an otherwise yummy dish. Yes, I've been told I have weird food preferences for a Chinese. I find abalone and bird nest tasteless and gross respectively, and to this day I still don't understand why people are willing to pay top dollar, much less eat them.

Ah well, but that's a story for another day.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In memory of Steve Jobs

I learnt about the passing of Steve Jobs while scanning headline news on my iPhone barely five minutes after waking up that morning. I was literally still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes when what I read stunned me awake. Curiously, I felt a pang of keen loss - like it was someone I actually knew and held dear, instead of merely someone who helmed the company who invented the device through which (ironically but fittingly) allowed me to find out about his death. For a moment then, I even thought I was going to tear up. Perhaps it was the legacy he left behind, which is well-demonstrated in his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, which I also briefly mentioned here some time ago. "Stay hungry, stay foolish," he said. It was genuine and unpretentious.

In taking such a long time to blog about the passing of Steve Jobs, I've surprised even myself. I suppose I was trying to make sense of why I felt the way I did. Yes, I have an iMac, an iPhone, an iPod Touch and an iPod. In fact, I've been a user of Apple products for such a long time that my iPod doesn't even have colour. But so? I have had several laptops and desktops that run the Windows operating system as well. Honestly, I don't think I would feel anything if I were one day to read of Bill Gate's passing in the papers, for instance.

Then I went online and realized that I was one of legions of people who felt this way. This article in particular was an insightful read. Jobs will always be fondly remembered, at least by those in this generation.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Why only guys have to serve National Service

Sorry for the radio silence. Between 'Buaya Week' (which has just ended - I'll write about it when I have more time to breathe), being sick and a horrible deadline rush period, I was stretched right out.

Meanwhile, here's something for all you guys out there who have at one point or other complained of the unfairness of the system that calls only for Singaporean males to serve National Service. An excerpt from the discussion in a class I attended today which had the whole class laughing:-

Tutor: "Why do you think girls don't serve National Service?"

Classmate: "The birth rate in Singapore is already so low. If girls have to serve National Service, they will "waste" 2 years, which means 2 years of baby-making chances gone. Plus after they're done with army, they come back into society (pause) less feminine. (pause) Then who will want them?"

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Boys and their toys

Gloria Lee

Some time last week, Jaden's computer crashed after many years of abuse (given the way he uses his com, I was surprised it even managed to last so long). After tinkering with it over the weekend, he found that the problem was a faulty graphic card so things were back to normal. But he figured it was as good a time as any to get a new one. So he did. He bought all the parts and managed to fix everything up by 2a.m. on Tuesday. But for one thing - the new computer did not have a CD drive. J had originally wanted to salvage the CD drive from his old computer, but realized only at the last minute that said CD drive was much too old to be compatible with any computer model.

He then proceeded to do the most (il)logical thing anyone in his position could have done. At 3.30 in the morning, he went hunting for a new CD drive all the way to the Challenger store at Funan IT Mall (which is open 24 hours, god only knows why since the store was cold and empty when we got there). I don't know why he couldn't have waited a few more hours like any sane person would have.

That's J above holding his old computer while looking ridiculously happy. Sigh, boys and their toys.

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