Today’s one of the rare days that I get to wake up a little later amidst the chirping of the birds in the backyard. For some strange reasons unbeknownst to me, I decided to log into my dusty Plurk account and poke around profiles of friends whom I have made eons ago. This brings back memories – mostly good, but some were sad.

I came across Andrew Peter‘s profile and decided to take a look at his blog. Andrew’s a pretty dear friend whom I got to know during my Social Media hay days (or at least what felt like hay days). Those were the days that we’d get to meet during some events or another (and at the then Geek Terminal in Raffles Place). However, news got to me one day that he wasn’t going to pull through from his illness and then… he just went away. On one hand, I was shocked; but on the other hand, I am at peace that he was no longer suffering and is called back to be with the Lord.

Geek Terminal was another favourite hang-out place for a while. I remember knowing about the place through‘s inaugural event (or was it the second one?) which effectively got me connected to the rest of the blogosphere at that time. Geek Terminal was a cafe/restaurant on the outside but had a nice, Β conducive atmosphere and facility for business meetings, events and all things social media. That was the place to be for a while. In fact, Geek Terminal showcased quite a number of new products before they were launched – and it was the place to be for some of the latest updates in GadgetLand.

And there is Tech65. Tech65 was the team to be with (and it still probably is). They somehow manage to score themselves some of the latest cool gadgets that any geek could land his or her hands on. They had regular recordings at Geek Terminal and honestly, I very much wanted to be part of their team for a while; but my geekness level was probably not there yet – at least not good enough to make good reviews. That said, I would have spent weeks after weeks oogling at their nifty gadgets and dying to get my hands on one.

What I did manage to get myself involved in was with The Digital Movement. It was a group of like-minded young entrepreneurs and social medialists (if there’s such a word) coming together to promote a community of all things digital and happening. I used to live blog at their events and was some times introduced as the “tech girl”, even though there were far more people who deserved that title than I do. Being with TDM was fun, and we were always excited to come together and just talk about all things tech. Andrew Peters was part of the group as well and those were really good days. I’m not sure what’s happened to the group today (with the domain name being owned by someone else), but I really enjoyed those days together.

Inevitably, that would remind me of those days that I spent at Starbucks with Alice, DK, Ridzuan, Tian Hong and occasionally, Miccheng andΒ Edmund. Ah… Edmund is such a dear friend who appeared out of thin air one day and offered to help with the music video that I was doing in memory of library@orchard (for some strange reasons, I can’t find that post anymore). But yeah, I had totally no idea how to do a music video and just conjured whatever that came to my mind and I was just so grateful that everyone who were present, Alice, Edmund, Ridzuan, Tian Hong, Xiuhui and Yip Leng were so patient with me.

Lastly, because we can’t have everything in the world, there’d always be people whom I have never got to meet: Valerie, Orangeous (a.k.a. Christopher) and a couple more Plurk friends. Then again, that’s probably because I’m usually just quietly reading their blogs and plurks and I can only imagine how awkward the silence would be even if we did meet up.

So, to end off this 1st part of (hopefully) a series of walk down memory lane, let’s just sit back and enjoy this tribute to library@orchard.

I was fortunate enough to be contacted recently to hope on the Coke Bus on Day 5 of the Journey of the Youth Olympic Flame (JYOF). The only thing was that I had to be at the Singapore Discovery Centre at 8:25am.. but nothing beats being there much earlier as a torch bearer πŸ˜›

Having met Tiffany at the bus park in a rush through the traffic jams and all, I was quickly… “transformed” into a motivator with the distinctive red colored T-shirt and a cap! I remembered that the cap was made from recycled materials… but I can’t remember if the T-shirt was too. In either case, I went… “NO WAY!!!”, since the last thing I remembered that was being made from recycled plastics were supposed to be hard water tumblers!

Nevertheless, I hopped onto the Coke Bus, which is really a modded Hippo Bus with totally awesome speakers at the upper deck blasting away music. What surprised me was how everyone on the bus – mostly students from Nanyang Polytechnic, got into the celebratory mood the moment the bus left the bus park. However, I guess everyone got really high when the bus was on the highway… since it isn’t really often that we get to be on the expressway without a roof over us!

Being the high state that we were in, we waved to practically everyone whom we met along the way… the motorists (some of whom looked aghast!), the pedestrians, the commuters on the bus… they probably thought that all of us were high on cocaine (although I kinda suspected that most of us were high on caffine… hahaha…) !

The first stop was at NTU, where 13 specially selected students (of whom, 1 is a fellow volunteer I know) were supposed to bear the torch till out of the campus, from where, the… rest of the non-NTU students take over. What surprised me was the number of people who turned up to support the torch bearers (and we are not talking about just students) as they did their friends, family and everyone else in Singapore proud… (not to mention being the jealous envy of many who didn’t get to be a torch bearer πŸ˜› )

While I thought that it was going to be a nice and cool day… I got tricked by the earlier morning mild drizzling that paid a 2 seconds visit and was fried like my favourite “Oo Jian” (fried oyster with omelete.. yum yum) by the time afternoon came… for the second time after being mildly sunburnt a couple of days back. Not to mention that by now, I am shredding so much skin, it puts the snake in the Safari zoo to shame.

Of course, the endless supply of Coca-Cola probably played a part in keeping my spirits high (I had no less than 10 bottles) to the point where… the pain of the sunburns came almost when I have just reached home. Have you ever felt like your arms were so hot they can probably fry and egg on it? Yeah… mine was like that… πŸ™ Red.. and almost medium well πŸ˜›

Nevertheless, I have done a music video with the theme song that was played throughout on the bus, and would like to dedicate this to the sportsmen and sportswomen of the Youth Olympic Games, for their passion of the sports. To all youths participating in the games, you are already champions because you dare to excel and believe in yourself.

Hope you guys will like it! πŸ™‚

Special thanks to Tiffany from Coca-Cola Singapore and Edel Mooney from Fulford Public Relations

Orchard Road Floods

Singapore June 16th, 2010

It was almost unimaginable, but… who would have thought that Orchard Road would flood?

Flood at the junction of Scotts Road and Orchard Road. Photo credit to Vin Go.

Flood at the junction of Scotts Road and Orchard Road. Photo credit to Vin Go.

Heavy rains in Singapore started since yesterday, but it was only this morning that the flood gates were, well, literally opened. Searches for the term “Orchard Road Flood” would have gained you many more photographs. Fresh in the minds of almost every Singaporean would have been the “freak” flood that happened last year in December at Bukit Timah – resulting in millions worth of cars being sent for repairs or scrapped and tens of students, if not hundreds, being stranded at bus stops. Well, it seems like the freakiness happened again – just that it spread all over Paterson Road, Scotts Road, Orchard Road, (Upper?) Thomson Road and their vicinity.

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As a child, I remember my dad sitting in front of the television with his eyes glued to the screen, watching what I vividly recall, 20-odd people chasing after a ball – with my dad giving the occasional euphoria when a ball enters a net. Of course, I couldn’t understand why he didn’t always seem excited whenever a ball goes into a net, but all I remembered was my dad’s appointments with the television gave me the license to stay up late into the night.

Needless to say, I grew up not enjoying what I subsequently learnt was football – or soccer, depending on which part of the world you are at. Alas, when I was in varsity, the football craze came about and there was nothing much I could do except to join in the late nights with my friends. Gee… even my female counterparts got glued to the telly, which I suspected was the works of their boyfriends.

Eventually, I succumbed to the evil side my peers and decided to watch the game seriously for once. Seriously – because instead of watching 22 people or so, running after a ball, I decided to learn more about the sport. Frankly, I didn’t get to retain much of what I learnt. “Off-side”, “throw-in” and “penalties” are probably all that I can remember now, and frankly, I can’t really remember what an “off-side” is, although I am sure I know what a “sunny-side up” is πŸ™‚

However, as recent as a couple of years back, my dad lost interest in watching football. I remembered calling up Starhub to purchase what would have been the remaining few telecasts of the matches ‘live’, before I headed off out of the town for a short trip – amidst all the late nights that my friends would have engaged. I figured that it’d have been better for me to spend some late nights elsewhere shopping πŸ™‚

Just as I thought this would have been a good idea, I found out to my dismay that… English is no longer the language of the world – at least not during football season. What in fact is, is the language of football! Pubs, night markets and even 24-hour convenience stores all seemed to have that little telly broadcasting ‘live’ matches of the omniscient sport.

*palm faced*

Fast-forwarding to today… soccer – which I clearly remember was quite affordable in the last decade, somehow became a multi-billion dollar industry. Well, perhaps it had always been this way, but I guess it was only when news broke between Singtel, Starhub and Fifa + World Cup that I was introduced to the capitalism behind it. The thought of consumers having to fork out potentially up to a hundred bucks for ‘live’ matches almost irks me… although the reality today is that it’s probably going to be a lot more cheaper.

What people will not be looking forward to – I suspect, are the late nights that are going to happen during ‘live’ matches: people – probably ah beks, gathering at coffee shops with glasses of Tiger beer and peanut shells spread all over the table, people who have probably never eaten McDonald’s burgers for their entire lives glueing their eyes on the LCD TV inside 24-hours McDonald’s restaurants, or perhaps pubs filled to the brim with yuppies who drive flashy BMWs. Of course, I am just generalizing. There is however, one thing that I can’t refute… and that is the pseudo-sense of euphoria that you get whenever the entire neighbourhood screams in ecstasy when their favourite team scores a goal.

“And it’s a gooooooooooooooooooooal !!!! What a beautiful pass that was….. !” Oh yeah… going to be hearing that soon πŸ™‚

Just barely after I recovered from an overseas conference, another conference came knocking. This time, it’s to Shanghai, China – where it’s Great Firewall of China can be seen by the whole world without the need of a satellite image. Packing the luggage was a simple repetition of what I did for the Taiwan trip. However, this time round, I decided to be a little more kiasu. I decided to bring my heavy trench coat along just in case a freak cold front happens at Shanghai again. Of course, my physics revision thought me that since it’s winter, the sea releases more heat for every degree drop in temperature and if the wind blows landwards, I should be getting some nice warm sea breeze. Of course, I am not taking any chance and the coat comes with me.

The luggage ended up being just a little over 10kg, while my day pack was just a little under that. Heh. I think I get enough training every day from all the carrying around. Anyway, I digress.

My trip to Shanghai is on Singapore Airlines and I somehow wonder if I will meet anyone familiar on board. Hmm.. oh well.

12:50pm: Argh! I am late. Got hijacked by my land lady to have her mmmmmm.. nice Chicken Rice. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the car was out of petrol and I had to top it up at the nearby petrol kiosk. The rain didn’t help much at all, but I am glad I got to my parents’ place at just 20 minutes to 2pm.

3:25pm: Got to the airport on time. Heh. I did an e-check-in earlier and decided to join WY and LS for lunch. I took the duck of my duck rice and passed the rice to LS – who had a rather small portion of rice for her mixed rice. Well, I guess food is either expensive at airport, or cheap but little in serving. We were contemplating Popeye’s, but I think LS preferred the foodcourt, WY, being the least fussy amongst us, went along with whatever choice we made πŸ˜›

One thing I dislike about traveling to a conference is the need to carry in my poster on board. Today, I decided to just check it in – and it got through! Yay! No more fumbling of poster holders in the cabin! Woohoo!

5:25pm: Found out that I forgot to pass LS the ticket stub to be mailed back to Japan! Argh! Needless to say, I had to go through the procedures of getting out of the restricted area if I wanted to go out, which will almost certainly mean that I miss my flight! Thank goodness there was a postal-on-wheels in the transit area and I got my stub sent to Japan. Hopefully it gets there in 1 piece πŸ˜›

It’s been a while since I was last on an SQ flight. Ah… brings back memories. The seats do seem more crammed than China Airlines’ and Qantas for some strange reason. I always thought that SQ had one of the more comfortable seating arrangements… but perhaps I “thought” wrongly. The familiar chattering of the cabin crew makes the entire cabin livelier, although some people might start to mistake it for a fish market.

Then again, perhaps my ears were a little sensitive today.

7:30pm: Saw my Prof on the same flight! I kinda thought he would be on this flight and if I have chosen the front seats, I would have been seated just 1 seat in front of him! Anyway, he was rushing through his grant application while I was rushing through my exam revision. Time flies when you are having fun regardless if you are having fun or not and my exams are just barely a month away! Oh dear!

And oh, you know what? Remember that SQ used to have one of the better KrisWorld Entertainment System on board? Well, their Video-On-Demand just became a pseudo-VOD! It seems that despite you going through their Interactive menu, the system still brings you back to the movie that is playing half way! Oh, what a bummer.

10:30pm: The plane finally landed after a 5 hour flight. I spent the remaining hours on flight doing my revision since there wasn’t much of a movie to talk about. I chatted with a cabin crew who would have been my junior. Heh. She was supposed to be on stand-by and had been called up to do a turn. Apparently, she had been doing so many turns that if she did a couple more, it would have been turn-turn-turn-turn (ok, old internal joke here). The small talk was quite nice and I ended up being almost the last one to leave the plane. That chat really made the flight pleasant.

11:30pm: The airport is a pretty new one and there’s no special clearance for diplomats. Oh well, at least the clearance was fast! I got my luggage without much of a hassle. There was apparently a diplomat channel *after* the immigration clearance, but no way am I going to go through that. I saw my Prof and quickly got out of the restricted area. There was someone waiting for him and I got a lift to the hotel too. Along the way, my Prof asked if I could speak Mandarin and he was surprised when I said I could πŸ˜›

The trip to the airport took a little over 40 minutes along what seemed like a newly built expressway with lots of speed cameras built into it. In fact, the speed cameras kept flashing and I wondered if the taxi driver actually bothered with it. Apparently, it’s very hard to get a taxi from the airport and according to my Prof, the queue could take up to an hour to clear and if you are unlucky, you’d end up being one of the last few to leave the airport. Also, there are apparently taxi drivers/touts who would promise you cheaper fares to the city centre, but that’s allegedly a sham. After hearing this, I was quite pretty glad that I met my Prof on the same flight.

1:30pm: Shanghai turned out to be rather warm. It actually is! I got to the nearby 24-hour convenience store with nothing more than just my polo shirt, jeans and the school jacket! The winds were a little too much though, but nothing that a school jacket can’t handle πŸ˜‰

I got a couple of flavours of cup noodles and a row of Yakult-like stuff. I didn’t get the original Yakult because I remembered not liking terrible. After I got all my stuff and made myself more satisfied from pacifying my tummy, I got on to investigating how I could make the network work for me. As with Murphy’s Law, the brand new RJ-45 Cat 5e cable from Challenger turned out to be a fluke. It didn’t work at all and I spent the next 15 minutes trying to figure out if my Mac was having some problem. Shame on Challenger! They should have at least tested the connectivity of their cable!

To add to that, the mobile router didn’t work as well! Argh! Seems like I have to get some other ways of getting the wireless up. The Mac can probably run wired, but the iPhone is giving a little headache. Damn. I will just have to make do with the wired connection for now.

2:10am: Heh. I experienced first hand the effects of the Great Firewall of China. Facebook – banned. Twitter – banned. Google groups – banned. Plurk – banned. Oh wait, why in the world would they want to ban Plurk?!?! Thank goodness MSN is still alive πŸ™‚ Apparently many people have found various ways to jump over the Firewall, but most of them just end up falling flat on their faces. Now, the Firewall comes with barbed wire πŸ˜›

The only thing that is left to do is to get myself registered tomorrow. Let’s hope things go on well. Argh. Exams…

It’s been a long while since I last been overseas. Last Sunday, I had a chance to go overseas. Well, quite literally over the waters. I went to Sentosa.


In the last year that I hadn’t been there, many things have indeed changed – starting from the monorail station, to the stations on the sunny island that’s set in the… sea, to the landscape at Sentosa. I remembered going there frequently with a friend, and his friends for games of beach volleyball. However, he has since married and I guess that’s when the ball stops to.

Oh well…

Thankfully, I am going over to Sentosa for more fun things last Sunday! As everyone knows… the latest attraction at Sentosa is…

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Suddenly spikes in blog hits usually tell you something that you may not know at your side of the world – and that was what happened here at Simply Jean today. While half the world is trying to make sense of iPad, Maxi Pads and the likes, another storm, albeit not technological, is brewing at another part of the world.

A pregnant man. Or rather, another pregnant man. Again.

Quite obviously, this isn’t the first time that an event like this had happened. In the not too distant past, Thomas Beatie, became the headlines when he declared to the whole world that he was expecting because his wife allegedly could not conceive. Biologically female, and not having undergone hysterectomy, it is of little surprise that he is able to conceive; since all he needed was just a donor sperm.

Of course, there were public objections when Thomas and his wife broke the news on TV but many others seem to be more vocal about Scott Moore and his partner Thomas (not to be confused with the earlier Thomas Beatie) this time round, at least according to the number of comments objecting to their being.

However, the stories are a little different. While Thomas Beatie of the first couple, was the husband and the pregnant man; here, Thomas of Scott Moore, who is also the husband, is not the pregnant one. Instead, his lawfully married wife, Scott Moore, is the one who is expecting – which seems to be logical and conforming to expectations of society.

Only thing is, Scott Moore (male sounding name but female legally), born Jessica, spots short hair and a beard.

Almost within a week, news of this spread like wild-fire and ugly comments could be read everywhere. If such an event, that happened in California – where it is supposedly one of the most gay-friendly places in the world, could spread all the way to Singapore – more than 18 hours by flight on the other side of the world, it’s really got to be a huge thing there.

So, how would the reactions be like should such a thing happen in Singapore? Firstly, I’d think that it’s going to be a hush-hush event – seemingly upholding a long-held policy in many organizations – don’t ask, don’t tell. But, should any couple be even as adventurous to let the media get wind of it… well, we probably had a taste of it not too long ago.

Remember the AWARE incident? It was just a lot of talk, without any forms of manifestation, but it got Singaporeans into a frenzy. Bring in the churches and it nearly became a riot in the making. Inevitably, a pastor got a little carried away and was accused of getting the church to rally behind the father-mother-family model, which was seemingly harmless, but hinted that he was beginning to mix religion and secular activities.

In the midst of the gunfire, a Nominated Member of Parliament, Siew Kum Hong, was accused of taking sides (with the supposedly pro-lesbianism stand) and was subsequently not renewed for another term in Parliament; although this event purportedly did not contribute to his non-renewal.

On the contrary, Singaporeans are generally mindful of their own businesses, especially in times when people are more concerned with getting hold of the next condominium or government HDB flats at low affordable prices and hoping to sell it for a 200% profit. No double, news of pregnant men may disturb the tranquility for a while – perhaps getting a shot from pro- and anti-same genetic sex marriage camps (a female in Singapore can be considered legally male if she has met certain criteria in her transition), most people should probably get back to getting about their own businesses in no time.

After all, kaypoh* news do have very short shelf-lives compared to blunders made by prominent persons. Unless the pregnant man happens to involve a prominent figure, it will probably be whisked under the carpet before you can say “Majulah Singapura”.

Photo of Scott Moore and Thomas are copyrights of its respective owners. Obtained from website on 30 January 2010.

* kaypoh – colloquial for “nosey”

iPad, do you… ?

Technology January 30th, 2010

Before I could even complete my sentence, I was interrupted with a curt “no”. Well, it can’t be blamed that the latest iPhone-MacBook intermediate had a pretty unfortunate name of being called the iPad, resulting in many jokes coming out from it. In fact, there were so many jokes about it, I am just going to create some of my “variations” of iPad that I can probably envisage in the not-too-long term:

1. iPad Maxi – comes with additional firewall to ensure that your data remains safe in your iPad. You can leave your worries behind when you carry your iPad with you, without ever brooding over whether your data will be leaked.

2. iPad Overnight – need that extra boost to help you tide through the night? Get that iPad overnight that will ensure that you have enough power to last you through the night (12 hours for regular consumption, power may drain faster for larger consumption)

3. iPad Wings – ever wonder if your iPad will slip off? Worry no more with iPad Wings to give you that extra grip whenever you need it, wherever you go. Ultra grip means that you get your iPad in regular size with that extra hold that ensures that you’ll never have to worry giving it the slip!

4. iPad UltraSlim (thanks @Winterfirz) – the slimmer version of the same, fabulous iPad! Rumored to be launched soon after they have conducted enough Blue Test – a secret measurement of the reliability of the iPad. It’s so slim, you won’t even feel it when you bring it around in your bag (it’s been also rumored that it could be called the iPad-Air).

Yes, I can see the iPad being avoided like the plague by male punters. After all, they still have their iPhones to give them their 4D/Toto updates in Hokkien πŸ™‚

Well, actually it started some time last year… can’t really remember when though; although I vaguely remembered it was a whole morning wait to get into the Singapore Expo for some Volunteers’ Day πŸ˜›

However, such memories were jotted back into me when I had to go for a Service Excellence training at Singapore Polytechnic, School of Business, Level 2, MLT9. I was a little late because I couldn’t find the signs leading to the venue, and consequently, violated one of the attributes of service excellence – respect. Apparently, and quite rightfully so, being late is being disrepectful of the other person’s time – food for thought eh?

I got to know quite a number of people during the 4-hour lecture, which was so full of activities! There was barely a moment where I was doing nothing – it was either copying notes, or discussing with my partner on some role acting, or being involved in 1 group activity or another; kinda not what I was expecting for a training session.

Definitely not boring! The “trainer” was great and to some extend, fun-loving, but some of the committee members do look quite “no-nonsense” – so that sort of keep things in check. Surprisingly, I am looking forward to the next training, but definitely not liking how the varsity is making us go back for another weekend just so that they can confirm who is committed.

Erm, how “un-committed” can we be if we had been doing our e-learnings, going for trainings and accepted a position? Hmm…

I was going through my daily doses of tech information when I came across this. If you have dreamt of having bodily vital stats displayed like a Heads-Up Display (HUD) in front of you without a monitor (too much Transformers?) or still being able to work on a PC with your eyes closed, then this might be the future for you.

Apparently, a “semi-transparent array, including an LED” has been embedded into a contact lens. What this means is that displays, or computer images, can be sent wirelessly to the contact lens, which will then appear in your vision (and making you feel like a cyborg, which could really be a cool thing). This miniature device, which requires about 330 microwatts, can apparently be powered wirelessly from a nearby RF transmitter.

Of course, there is no mention of a power-surge protector.

The only thing that is missing from all these, besides connection from a GPS and perhaps your mobile phone, is a motorized pair of shoes that allows you to travel at 90km per hour (any faster and you might get a ticket for speeding violations in Singapore). And oh, a rocket-pack would be good too.

[via SlashGear]