Simply Jean was invited to the bloggers’ event, but oh man, did I felt out of place or what? It was a glam event, with glam limousine rides… with an unglam me! Almost all the other female bloggers were dressed to the nines except me. In fact, Sabrina asked if I was going backpacking when she saw me at the Fairmont, where we were all waited to be picked up by the limo.

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And when I mentioned limo, I wasn’t referring to the Limocabs by Comfort or other taxi companies. It was a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG LIMO! So, we were all packed into the limousine and I didn’t want to take out my big fat camera at the lobby of the hotel because I thought it would be rather… uncool. Yes, I was already unglam – the last thing I want is to be uncool at the same time.

Well, the ride was great and we had gawking commuters at every junction. In fact, passerbys were flashing away with their compacts whenever the limo stopped for the traffic light. It was fun while the ride lasted but it was definitely unforgettable. =)

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We arrived at the Scarlet Hotel shortly after, which didn’t seem too long when you are enjoying yourself in the limo. I met some familiar faces, including Pris, I.Z. Reloaded, and Willy, amongst the many familiar faces. Food was great even though it’s just local fare. It’s strange how local fare automatically tastes better whenever it’s served in a posh place. Then again, it can either be psychological or they just had better cooks.

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The moment of indulging my senses finally came when Philips introduced their new LED TV (Ed: I think it’s called the Philips Flat TV with Perfect Pixel HD Engine and Ambilight Spectra 2… quite a mouthful). Yes, LED TV, not LCD TV. Well, it could jolly well be a technical term and be an LED LCD TV, but mine, did it blow my mind off. The colours were so vibrant, I felt I was inside the movie when they played Ironman on it. Black on the TV looked very dark and put the LCD TV next to it to shame. In addition, it came with ambient lights at the back of the TV that somehow seemed to enhance the TV experience. In fact, I am not even sure if “TV experience” is appropriate for it now because it does seem to have gone beyond that.

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I would have loved to stay a little longer to appreciate the fine details of the Philips LED TV, but we were quickly broken up into groups where we got to be introduced to the many products of Philips. First stop was the BTM630 Micro Hi-Fi System… which I don’t really have any words for it. It apparently connects to Bluetooth devices using A2DP and is able to play music streamed from such devices. What was amazing (even though I know that it is possible technically) was the demonstration on using it as a replacement for your mobile phone’s loud speaker. I wasn’t quite sure where the microphone is, but communication was definitely possible via the audio system.  Now, everyone home can have a teleconferencing kit.

And oh, apparently it rips your CD music into your thumbdrive as well.

During this session, we were also introduced the Philips Advanced Acoustics In-ear Headphone (Ed: Model SHE9850, yeah, women rulez). What is special about it is that it reminds me of my ear-plugs – those that I squeeze into a tiny ball and pop it into my ear for it to expand and fill up the cavities. Well, not that you should be doing that to your ears, but the earphones Philips showed us was just that – a soft squeezable material replacing the standard foam/silicon rubber to give you effective passive noise cancellation.

I didn’t want to do the squeeze on the earphone and try it because I think I will look double unglam then. Yes, one shot of unglamness is enough for one day.

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We were then ushered to the next room where the TV was on display again. This time, a Nintendo Wii was hooked to the television and we have Sabrina’s sister (sorry, what’s her name?) trying out Guitar Hero. Unfortunately, the mock guitar was almost non-responsive and there wasn’t so much spark from it. It would have been good if that worked, but well, at least we could still enjoy the TV while the rest tried it out.

Me? I am bad at fingering.

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Following which, everyone was ushered to the ground floor where we waited in anticipation for the limo ride again. 

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Tadah! The limo!

Ok, of course, this is not our limo… but the next one is. =)

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Now, when the limo stopped, we got a fair bit of horning from the other cars because they were unable to overtake it. It really isn’t the limo’s fault because if you look carefully, there is another car parked indiscriminately on the other side of the road. Mind you, this was a double yellow lined road, which basically means the car isn’t supposed to be there. I have the photos with the car plate number in my albums, but I think… I’ll just be nice.

In the car, we tried out the headphones that were quite obviously made by Creative, Apple and Philips. Well, it’s actually a guess, because we were subjected to a blind test. Well, if the tester doesn’t know the brands of the players and the earphones, then it would be a double blind test, but that’s not the point here. The point is that I wasn’t able to figure out the quality of 2 of the earphones because while the same song is played, one of it was played too loudly. Well… I was hoping for a replay, but it was too late as the limo had gone 1 round and returned to the hotel.

It was a little hard to take photos in the car… cos’ for some reason, I forgot to bring the fat flash along for the fat camera. Oh well…

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The last stop was for the hair products that Philips is carrying. I tried giving my hair some curls in the past, but it didn’t seem to work well. Philips now have a Curling Iron that has digital temperature control – which probably beats all my analogue ones hands down. The only pity was that… I did’n’t get to try it, but Sabrina did. Can you spot the curls in her hair? She looks sexier, doesn’t she? Heh heh…

All good things have to come to an end and while everyone else left for the Fairmont in the limo again, I stayed behind for another private event – the private listening of the new Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy! And oh, it was also I.Z. Reloaded’s birthday! Happy Belated Birthday again!

The Philips event was quite an eye-opener for me, especially on the earphones. I never thought that such a earphone could have been manufactured, but well, technology does advance pretty fast nowadays. Yeah, it might be a small thing, but if the sound is good, people will go heads over heels over it. Now… where is the sample set… =P

COE crashed!

Singapore November 19th, 2008

Well, I was probably amongst the first non-dealers who got hold of the news. My phone probably started ringing non-stop from my dealers who had been working on sweetening the deal for me. What was more frustrating was… I had this tinge to actually bid for my own COE today, just that it slipped my mind amidst my unbelievably packed schedule for the past couple of weeks. If staying in hospital was holiday, then life after discharge was almost a living hell.

Work in the day… work in the evening… work at night. Bah! I am almost going down… from a graceful swam to a sinking submarine.

Life had literally took a sharp turn downwards since about a month ago, when I ended up holding more than 7 jobs at one time. Now, really, I mean 7 different roles, but then again, it doesn’t make much of a difference anyway.

Today is a rarity for me to blog because the COE @ $2 is something really close to my heart… and my pocket. You see, because of this slip, I would be spending another $13,000 on a piece of paper for nothing. Sigh. That’s the reality of life in Singapore. Nonetheless, since I didn’t get my COE, I might as well do some speculation on what could have caused the fall.

Firstly, a lot of dealers (particularly parallel importers?) could be holding back their cars because the Singapore dollar has fallen against the Yen. By doing so, they may be able to sell these residual cars with the new imports, which will probably go at about $4,000 extra due to the exchange rate. So, if they have 10 old imports, these can probably sell for an extra $40,000 in all? I am not sure; just pure speculation. Now, because of this holding back, the number of bids would thus be lesser and hence the $2 COE.

Secondly, a lot of loan applications could probably be under processing due to the large number of defaults. Banks may be more careful of who they lend money to now and perhaps more stringent checks may be done. Damn, my bank knows every single detail of my credit history. I wonder what else they store there.

Thirdly… well, it is a recession now, isn’t it? Then again, everyone’s still going on holiday, buying cool stuffs, flying here and there, and all. In fact, I see more Ferraris and Lamborghinis on the streets then I ever did. Maybe… just maybe, someone just bought those at 50% the original owners who were desperate enough to get some cash out.

Anyway, I am still figuring out… Honda Fit or Honda Airwave?

COE crashes to $2

The other categories all ended much lower too

By Christopher Tan, Senior Correspondent

WHAT is thought to be impossible in an open bidding system has happened: COE has crashed.

At the close of the latest tender on Wednesday, COE premium for cars up to 1,600cc – the mainstay of car buyers – closed at an unprecedented $2.

Motor traders were shocked. All said the market was soft, but no one expected the price to crash.

The number of bids submitted exceeded the COE supply of 1,851 by only one.

The other categories all ended much lower as well.

COE for cars above 1,600cc closed at $4,889 – almost half the previous value. The Open COE, which can be used for any vehicle type, ended at $6,889 – down from $10,490 before.

COE for commercial vehicles finished at $6,189, from $8,889; and motorbike COE dipped to $1,012, from $1,509 previously.

It is the first time that a COE premium for cars has fallen to rock-bottom. The last time car COE came this close was in December 1997, when the premium for big cars plunged to $50.

Observers, however, pointed out that that was during a closed bidding system, when bidders could not see what the prevailing bids in a tender were. In a way, they were bidding blind, they said.

Soon after the $50 result, the system was changed to an open-bidding platform. In this system, bidders could see the value of bids being submitted, and thus could base their decision on the prevailing demand.

The other time when the market witnessed a COE crash was in early 2007, when premium for commercial vehicles hit $1 for six consecutive tenders.

This was because many commercial vehicle sellers could not get their supply of new models that would meet a new emission standard the Government pushed through.

Sales of new commercial vehicles almost ground to a halt, resulting in the COE crashes.

The latest crash may not benefit everyone though. Car owners planning to sell their vehicles will have to stomach much lower resale values. Used car dealers, already jittery over a high inventory, will not be willing to take in more cars.

This will create a viscious circle, as folks who cannot sell their existing cars won’t be looking for a new one any time soon.

Source: Straits Times Interactive, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_304229.html

Article extracted on 19th November 2008

Happy Birthday to me!!!

Personal November 13th, 2008

Woohoo! Another year has passed and I have grown older. Again. Haha… Yes, I am finally 21, again. =P

Life this year had been more difficult than usual, with many things happening everyday. I just hope that things will be smoother for the years to come. =) In the blogosphere, this probably means more endorsements, more ads (*gasp*!), more activities like… driving up to Malaysia, going to places of interests in Singapore, more bloggers outings… and of course, writing about it after all of it. =P

Anyway… HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! =)

Euthanasia… Hmm….

Perspectives November 6th, 2008

Euthanasia is a topic that brings about much debate, and when our minister brought it up into the open, I knew that it was just a can of worms waiting to burst open and spilling it everywhere – including the ceiling with a ceiling fan that helps to increase the splatter width.

Now, even the Archbishop of the Catholic churches have came out to condemn euthanasia, citing that it’s suicide and hence immoral.

As a doctor-to-be in the not-too-near future, I am torn in between. Perhaps I had been struck by this topic when I was in secondary school education – that euthanasia may be a solution for suffering patients; and I sort of grew up with that thinking. The argument back then was that a doctor’s role was to alleviate pain from a patient, and if death does that, then it should not be ruled out as a viable option.

Then again, as an impressionable teenager, I believed everything that was told to me, and death didn’t seem like a bad thing back then; of course, until I witness the passing of my friends from road accidents.

Even then, putting someone, or something to sleep for good is a really tough choice. I had a critically ill kitten once and although I knew it was suffering, I begged the vet to try different medications on him. Eventually, I was told that my kitten will not be able to make it, but yet, I let it die a natural death. There was no euthanasia administered to it because… I didn’t know if it was prepared to die.

Of course, legalizing euthanasia will come with its own set of problem as well. There’s of course, fear that there will be misuse by the doctors and worst of all, some smart guy might think that euthanasia is a good way of controlling the ageing population! God forbids if that ever happens!

I thought it was a little strange that the minister were to bring this topic up in such times of financial crisis. However, if historical data were anything to go by, then it would seem that there’s a chance that euthanasia would be legalised viz-a-viz the legalization for the compensation to kidney donors.

So, will this soon be a quick solution to our ageing population? I am not sure, but I am not expecting anything to change drastically anytime soon.

I would have been writing about something on euthanasia, but since it’s just going to be less than 24 hours before we know who will rule America, I thought I would just give my count here.

I think Obama will win. Definitely, without a doubt. Uh-uh. Not even a single doubt, not even a single speck of dust on a black board.

I mean, it’s so obvious, isn’t it?

Just a trivia, the Democrats are typically economically driven while the Republicans tend to look inwards. George Bush is a Republican and concentrates a lot on how to get rid of weapons of mass destruction and bring about world peace; although there are people thinking that it’s because of the oil.

The Democrats tend to look at economic activities, and at a down turn like now, it’s probably a good choice to look at a Democrat instead of a Republican because there is a chance that the Republican will just incur more debts in beefing up their military.

Well, Obama is a Democrat while McCain is a Republican, so who do you think will win? No doubt, the people of the United States deserve a change.

Anyway, on a separate note, I saw MM Lee this afternoon. He seems to be quite well and able and was apparently here at Raffles City for some event. Well, I had to go off first, and so didn’t get to see much of him. A pity I didn’t get his car number, else it will be a good time to buy 4D. =)

Yup, that’s about all from me. I guess it’s just a bimbotic moment that I decided to write this post. =P