Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Zen and the Art of Having Your Hair Cut

"Please wait for a while. I almost finish." The old man said as I entered that little barbershop, chosen with no particular reason except that I felt annoyed that my hair growing too long and that I just happened to pass the place.

So I sat and watched as the barber deftly shaved his customer's sideburns in one quick movement with his straight razor.

"Okay, that will be $10. Thank you."

"Okay, you next."

"Okay, so how you like your hair cut?"

(A brief instruction of cutting very short here and there was given.)

"Not a busy day today, huh?" I made a wonderfully stupid remark highlighting the most obvious thing of the barbershop having no other customers except me.

"Monday always like this." He answered while his fingers did not stop playing with a comb & clipper blades.

"Just finish work?"

"Yeah." Not in the mood of being asked more about work (after work hours, I didn't even want to think about it. No, thank you), I attempted to steer back the conversation.

"Mondays are always this quiet? So that's why only 1 barber ya?" another stupid remark.

The old barber was polite enough to ignore my point.

Some silent moment as I was too embarrassed to talk. I chose to divert my attention to the radio program. It's Warna 94.2FM & there was a talk about a family matter. Basically about managing expectation between the newly married. For example: the husband should not expect that his wife can cook like his mother. And some clich├ęs about how a marriage is like a ship sailing across the ocean. Expect a few storms occasionally. Be prepared. Address the problems together; don't expect them to resolve by themselves.

It was a grim, but a solemn talk.

"You married?" the old man suddenly cut short my concentration.

"..." (still trying to hear the radio talk.)

"Trust me, young man. Not easy to share your life with someone else."

Was he making a general remark about that? Or was he discerning & able to notice my anti-social tendency?

"..." (I nodded expressing "Go on. I'm willing to hear more. However, don't expect any argument from me. At least, not till you finish cutting my hair.)

"Somemore, very expensive. High cost of living." he replaced a razor blade with a new one, getting ready to shave me.

"Imagine. This little place cost me $3,850 per month. Not including electricity." he sounded upset & tired.

"But I am happy. Make a honest living. And in the end of the day, can go home and see my family."

(My mind wondered about those 167 foreign workers who were locked out by the landlord till very late at night)

"Yes. Tough living, but glad my family support me." he added. At this point, he had finished shaving me. Using his scissor, he then continued with a little trimming.

"I don't have to work, you see. Yet if no work, what I do at home?"

(If I don't have to work & for some reason, I'm constrained at home, I'll use that time for reading, reading and more reading. When was the last time I did a book review, by the way? Currently, very slow progress with Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.)

"Okay, that will be $10. Thank you." the old man smiled.

I left the place with still a lingering question. Why didn't the barber prefer staying at home spending the time with his family?

The more, the better. Isn't it?

Nah. Perhaps not. Perhaps, it's the quality time that matters & not how long it is. The whole day seeing your family & bickering with them is, without doubt, pointless compared to merely seeing your loved ones in the end of the day & spend loving time together. No matter how short it is.

PS. The title is inspired by "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M. Pirsig.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The boycott list is not even updated?!

I can't say about the rest of the companies listed at his/her boycott list. What I know for sure is that SembCorp Logistics is no longer a Singapore company ever since it's acquired by Australian transport giant, Toll Holdings in May 2006.

Try to do your homework better next time, boycotter! Trust me, many bloggers are petty enough, merciless and unforgiving--and they may use this 'little' mistake to further ridicule your post. Well, I know I am. Heh.

PS. But seriously, what's the big idea with '(link)', '(link)' after the company's name without even URLs given?!

Flickr: Life at Hougang

Came across about the flickr photo collection, themed "Life at Hougang" at yahoo.com.sg starting page. Beautiful collection from talented photographers. I still have much to learn. =)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Uhm, I beg your pardon. Is it "Blogger's Treat" or "Blogger's Threat"?

I have no idea actually what "Blogger's Treat" is about.

What I am more curious is how allegations were made between the parties. It started by the series host, Sabrina in her 22/05 post "No Episode 4 of Blogger's Treat? Ask Podfire!". Michael Cheng from Podfire not-so-soon rebutted on 25/05 in his article, "Podfire: An exercise is dealing with unreasonable people", which very quickly countered in the same day by the producer of Blogger's Treat, Aaron Koh in "Podfire: Setting the records straight".

Altogether they made tedious readings. No, I won't dare to attempt to summarize why they're quarelling. Readers will have to judge themselves (if they bother to do so, that is) who is right and who is wrong.

Regardless of the outcome, I have a feeling that this is actually a win-win situation. For Podfire's Michael Cheng, more will get to know about Podfire. A similar situation will surely happen to Sabrina & Aaron Koh.

Even a bad publicity--well, as long as none is arrested by the police like the recent racist blogger--is still a publicity. People will be torn to support either party & if that's the goal of this whole hoo-ha, they have achieved it.

Congratz!! So any of you has a minute to explain what "Blogger's Treat" is about?

Trees and branches at 23/05/08 7:17 PM

I realize indeed
the importance of timing
as I point & shoot.

PS. The yellowish colour at the right is not a special effect. It's from the nearby lamp post. Just thought it will make an interesting photo should it be taken exactly from the below of the tree with the branches spreading all over the picture.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"The HelloKitty Challenge!" -- and how things can go wrong.

Very amused reading a blogger, Daphne Maia starting a contest, "The HelloKitty Challenge" and how another blogger, Uray taking up the challenge. Mischief in the making, some may say disapprovingly. Well, it is.

I have no idea how much influence Daphne might have in the blogosphere, but ripples of effect have surely been created. The landlady would experience some feeling of hope when all of sudden, she received many calls inquiring about the room. The delight soon decayed to despair as nobody turned up to view the room on the appointed date.

But, that's exactly what the contest is all about, you'd say.

True. And it achieves its goal, I must admit. However, things can go wrong not only for the landlady, but also for the contest starter, Daphne.

Think about it. Someone (who harbours any ill-feeling to her or whose sense of justice eclipses his/her sense of humour) might sabo her by sms-ing the blog post URL to the landlady.

That will cause awkwardness. And not just that, more things can go wrong, but I'd rather not blog about it. A clue: the landlady also has the blogger's contact no, doesn't she?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Censor Hips | What Films Act Really Says...

Yesterday it was reported that censors investigate screening of film. Titled "the 45-minute One Nation Under Lee", the show was produced by activist and artist Seelan Palay — was shown at the Peninsula Excelsior Hotel last Sat 17/05.

Although on a day before (Fri 16/05), the Board of Film Censors had notified the event's organisers that it would be an offence to screen a film not submitted to the board for approval, under Section 21(1) of the Films Act, the organisers, who included Singapore Democratic Party member Chee Siok Chin, went ahead.

Some drama ensued: the board officers turned up at the screening venue on the day of screening. They gained entry only after the police were called in. By then, the film had ended.

What amused me is this part:

(Ms. Chee Sok Chin, an SDP member, also one of the organizers) told Today over the phone that tickets were sold at $20 each only to "family and friends".

"They said we couldn't screen it, but by the same principle, wedding videos must also go through MDA," she argued.

According to the video footage, when this analogy was put to a board officer, the latter's response was: "This is not the same as a wedding dinner."

In a statement to Today, the board said: "As no film of that title has been submitted to the board for classification, and the board has not issued any certificate approving the exhibition of any film of that title, the board launched an investigation."

On why the organisers proceeded with the screening despite the warning from authorities, Ms Chee said: "People already paid money for the tickets."

She added that about "80 to 100" people attended.

Man, that's lame.

Firstly the film in question is exactly what Films Act defines as a "party political film":

Quoted from Films Act, part of Section 2(1):
"party political film" means a film —

(a) which is an advertisement made by or on behalf of any political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body; or

(b) which is made by any person and directed towards any political end in Singapore;

And if the organizers did bother to do their homework, they'll learn further at Section 2(2):

For the purposes of this Act, a film is directed towards a political end in Singapore if the film —

(a) contains wholly or partly any matter which is intended or likely to affect voting in any election or national referendum in Singapore; or

(b) contains wholly or partly either partisan or biased references to or comments on any political matter, including but not limited to any of the following:

(i) an election or a national referendum in Singapore;

(ii) a candidate or group of candidates in an election;

(iii) an issue submitted or otherwise before electors in an election or a national referendum in Singapore;

(iv) the Government or a previous Government or the opposition to the Government or previous Government;

(v) a Member of Parliament;

(vi) a current policy of the Government or an issue of public controversy in Singapore; or

(vii) a political party in Singapore or any body whose objects relate wholly or mainly to politics in Singapore, or any branch of such party or body.

Secondly, how can you compare that film with a wedding video?! Read on what Section 40(1) lists as exemptions:

This Act shall not apply to —

(a) any film sponsored by the Government;

(b) any film, not being an obscene film or a party political film or any feature, commercial, documentary or overseas television serial film, which is made by an individual and is not intended for distribution or public exhibition; and

(c) any film reproduced from local television programmes and is not intended for distribution or public exhibition.

A wedding video is what Section 40(1) b covers. Surely it's not an obscene film (but if the wedding pics are too bold like those of Melody Chen & Randall Tan, that's okay) nor a party political film (C'mon, don't even think to inject politics into your wedding! That's madness!).

If the organizers were trying to find a loophole in Films Act, they had failed. They only showed that they did a poor job in doing their due diligence. Some may snigger & point out that the organizers are lazy & did not even try to study the Films Act.

But if it is organizers' intention to get the publicity, they had achieved their goal. They had shown that they had no respect for the authorities (who earlier had warned them not to show the film) because, what, they were not willing to reimburse the "80 to 100" people who had paid for the screening?!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Page Rank: from 0 to 10 and mine is...wth...minus 1?! | So is DK's?

Ouch. That hurts my ego badly I just have to take a screen-capture of the Page Rank result of my blog which is a miserable "minus 1".

That's it. This must be a Sign that I need to take a break from blogging. That...or something's not right with the Page Rank.

That's it. It's always easier to blame others, isn't it? There's nothing wrong with me (or my blog).

That's it. Still, I have to prove it. So let's experiment with another blog. DK's recent post stated his blog had achieved a Page Rank of 4. He's not a liar. If his Page Rank shows the result of 4, that means mine's truly minus 1.

And his Page Rank is...minus 1. Ergo, something's terribly wrong with the Page Rank. Not mine. (Although that may mean my Page Rank is even lower than minus 1. Oh well...)

This Aberdeen Advert Freaks Me Out...

See it yourself. The photo below was shot at the entrance of the MRT opening. (No, no. The advertisement. See the ad. Not the reluctant girls entering the door.)

"Like a true classic, we've stood the test of time" it says. Showing a reflection of a classic car in the rear view mirror, I just had to ponder at how beautiful the car was (Hey, I was still bedazzled after watching Speed Racer.) Before I started feeling something was amiss. The driver. Where's the driver of that classic car?!

Creepy (Yeah, I know I could be creepy if I were to pay too much attention to details).

Aberdeen Asset Management is, however, not the sponsor of this article.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Boo Speed Racer, Boo!

Speed Racer. I have a fond & vague memory--couldn't really recall what the show is about, other than cool cars & a catchy theme song--about the cartoon. That's enough to make me want to watch the movie version similarly titled "Speed Racer" by The Wachowski brothers (You know, the guys behind The Matrix movies.)

The show was highly entertaining with its dazzlingly rich special effects. Except for the racing parts when Speed replays the significant events of the past which, uhm, drives him to the finish line as the winner. C'mon, that is completely ridiculous (Oh yes, as if his car which can jump & climb the cliff is not. Heh).

Regardless of the future technology (maybe one day cars will be able jump & climb the cliff for whatever purpose), I'll still find it hard to believe that any race car driver--or any driver at all--can afford any of the racing/driving time to daydream.

You're really a demon on wheels, Speed!

Still the movie IS entertaining. The theme song of the movie is 'adapted' to the present taste, I guess, but it is as appealing as that of the animated one.

Take a look at these YouTube clips: the cartoon opening song of Speed Racer and "Go Speed Racer Go" Music Video by Ali Dee for the movie.

Notice some similarity between the clips? Nice, huh?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Ah, Sunday, But a Day

Trees & reflections,
freely boasting their…freedom.
Where’s my ax to grind?

PS. the title--just the title--is inspired from Robert Browning's "Ah, Love, But a Day".

Saturday, May 03, 2008

You have been nominated for omy Singapore Blog Awards 2008

Received an email from a blogger, Alvinology. (Excerpt below) I don't know who the blogger is, but I must say he's good. How does he figure out my email address? Have I finally come across another formidable Net hunter? Hmmm...

Anyway. Out of curiousity, I checked the registration form & found out that IF I were to agree to be nominated (apparently it's under "Most Insightful Blog"), I'd need to send in the URL of my 3 best entries.

No kidding.

Tell you what, Alvin-who-is-definitely-not-a-chipmunk, why don't you tell me what my 3 best entries are. And while you're cracking your head thinking about it, perhaps I would be able to use the time to solve the mystery of how you got to know my email address. (Of course it would be easier to just email him back & inquire about it, but still...)

Dear blogger,

You have been nominated by Alvinology to join the Singapore Blog Awards, because Alvinology thinks that your blog is loud and clear.

The Singapore Blog Awards, organised by Singapore's leading bilingual-friendly, news and interactive web portal, omy, seeks to give recognitions to outstanding blogs in Singapore.

The winners in the 7 award categories of Singapore Blog Awards will each win a laptop and a trophy designed by multi-disciplinary artist, Tan Swie Hian.

We have radio awards, song awards, TV awards, newspaper awards, why not a blog awards? Especially when Singapore is one of the most wired nations in the world with 7 out of 10 local netizens, having their own blogs. At the juncture of both east and west pop and Internet culture, whether it's blogspot, livejournal, pixnet or wretch, Singapore bloggers are familiar with them all.

Thus the birth of Singapore's first bilingual blog awards!

Please accept the nomination by completing the registration form.

We look forward to seeing your participation.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Still Nothing Quite as Interesting as Horses Sighted at...IMM

Obviously running out of idea for naming the post. Heh. To follow-up from the previous article, I emailed Singapore Turf Club about the whereabout of the rest "Horses in Motion". The response was immediate.

Visited IMM yesterday to take a photo of Horse no.6, named "Arts & Culture" & no.7 "Horse POW!er", but I found out that instead of no.6, it was no.10 "Panasonic Horse" featured. It was still quite a sight.