Thursday, October 30, 2008

Hotel Re!


By writing this post, the hotel gives me a complimentary stay of 1 day. See the photo of ClearChannel advertisement for "Hotel Re!" above? Kinda plain, don't you think? Still it manages to pique my curiosity & makes me visit their website, hotelre.com.sg & boy, am I impressed!.

In particular, the part about "Re!Lax". Apparently the hotel provides a massage service. Although I'm not sure whether the rate is reasonable (head, foot, shoulder massage at $25 for 40 minutes & body massage at $50 for 60 minutes are considered inexpensive? I don't know), I like the fact that the hotel does offer the service.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another good reason to retire in Indonesia...

Rupiah tumbles to 7-year low.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Grave Joy (Rip-off/Inspired from Yusuf ibn Harun al-Ramadi's Slave Boy)

Well, I did follow his rhymes & the no of syllables of his each line. Just for a fun of it. Heh.

Grave Joy

They hit the bed
to sail through the night’s darkness
out of fatigue and smear
of their booty.

They dreamt of the Fight
and their murdered spawn.


Which is admittedly a rip-off from Yusuf ibn Harun al-Ramadi's poem, Slave Boy.

Slave Boy

They shaved his head
to clothe him in ugliness
out of jealousy and fear
of his beauty.

They erased the night
and left him in dawn.


A much better poem (and not to mention, original). =) I like the brevity of the sentences. Yeah, almost like a haiku.

Join OKTO Community | OK TO be me because...

Seriously those who think the new TV channel OKTO is just for children, they're mistaken. Take a look at the screenshot of OKTO Community website below. So far there have been 6 individuals rated for-sure-not-children in the OKTO Community.


They have all put up their photos with the reason of why it's OK TO be them. Kind of a non sequitur, I'd say. Especially the one with "OK TO be me because life's too short to think of things immaterial!" Heh.

So I wonder if I were to join the community & if I come up with an equally illogical reason of why it's OK TO be me, what would it be? "OK TO be me because...it's not OK TO be you."? Nah, still a bit logical. How about "OK TO be me because...I am working even during Saturdays and Sundays."? That sucks. And bitter. How about "OK TO be me because...I said so." There's still a logic there. Hmmm, it's not easy of being irrelevant. Oh well...

PS. You too can join the community by submitting your photo to oktolive@mediacorp.com.sg (it's a simple photo of you holding a piece of paper with a written "OK TO be me because put-your-reason-here).

3 Books, uhm Graphic Novels, throughout the long weekend...

I was elated to finally come across in the library The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo & Fables Vol.9: Sons of Empire. (I borrowed Identity Crisis just for fun of re-reading it again.) Click the link of the titles below the cover photos for more review from Amazon.com.

The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo


Fables Vol.9: Sons of Empire


Identity Crisis

Photos from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport -- Part 4: Random Shots

Titled random shots because I don't really bother to categorize them. The last of the series. Only four photos anyway: HSBC's ad (and words of wisdom at that) of "Success is nothing if you can't enjoy it", passengers scurried away from some trigger-happy photographer, two tourists causing one handicraft salesman scratching his head (tough coustomers? or just language barrier?), and lastly one of the two money changers inside the airport (somehow they had different exchange rate for Singapore dollars).




Photos from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport -- Part 3: Beauties (mostly) & the Lounges

There are surprisingly quite a number of lounges in the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport like Emerald Sky Lounge, Esplanade Lounge, Garuda Indonesia Executive Lounge, Mutiara Lounge, Premier Lounge, and Pura Indah First & Business Class Lounge.

Yes, I was that bored that I took the pictures & perhaps, at the same time practised shooting candid photos. Indonesians are such a nice people; they didn't form a mob & bashed me for capturing their images without permission (A polite grin & nod did not count as a permission, for sure.)











Sunday, October 26, 2008

Photos from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport -- Part 2: Free Internet Access (Finally!!)


Yes, finally!! (Click to enlarge the above photo, and you'll see what the site I was visiting. Heh.) Although I noticed there were only 2 of such Free Internet Access computers in the airport (It's at Terminal 1, by the way), it's still nice to know that the airport is trying to improve its services.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

TV's Worst Actors...

Somehow I'm not surprised to see David Hasselhoff from "Baywatch" in the list of TV's Worst Actors. Heh. But, seriously even Matthew Fox from "Lost"?!?!

Year End Movie Guide: "Yes Man" & "The Spirit"

From the 12 movies listed in Year End Movie Guide, I'm only interested in "Yes Man" & "The Spirit".

The movie, "Yes Man" is based on the true story and a 2005 biography 'Yes Man' by British humorist Danny Wallace. (Source: Wikipedia on "Yes Man")

Take a look at the synopsis of the book:

"I, Danny Wallace, being of sound mind and body, do hereby write this manifesto for my life. I swear I will be more open to opportunity. I swear I will live my life taking every available chance. I will say Yes to every favour, request, suggestion and invitation. I will swear to say yes where once I would say no.'

Danny Wallace had been staying in. Far too much. Having been dumped by his girlfriend, he really wasn't doing the young, free and single thing very well. Instead, he was avoiding people. Texting them instead of calling them. Calling them instead of meeting them. That is until that one fateful date when a mystery man on a late-night bus told him to 'Say Yes more'. These three simple words changed Danny's life forever.

"Yes Man" is the story of what happened when Danny decided to say yes to everything, in order to make his life more interesting. And boy, did it get more interesting.

I bet it will be a hilarious one. Moreover, it's starred by Jim Carrey! Heh.

From Wikipedia about the film, "The Spirit":
The Spirit (also known as Will Eisner's The Spirit) is an upcoming 2008 American film adaptation based on the newspaper strip of the same name created by Will Eisner.

Enough said. Though I have not read Will Eisner's The Spirit (partially because of the style of the drawing is not much to my liking), I'd be very curious to see how the movie will be with Frank Miller as its writer-director.

"He's just my type"


See the photo above? Haha. Singapore Red Cross Society is indeed getting more creative with the latest ad showing a smiling, lithe, gorgeous bride hand in hand with a smiling, short, old groom in what likely to be a church or a chapel.

Friday, October 24, 2008

To Do every girls & boys in Singapore

Ha! As per the photo above, I wonder whether that text is still shown in the 'interactive' art display of "To Do" in the Cathay. Actually it's origanally written "To Do every girls in Singapore", but someone (or some bi?) added "& boys" to the text.

"To Do" is actually quite an interesting exercise of creativity where everybody can paste a note with whatever content he wants as long as the placement of the note & the colouring still form the large, pink text of "To Do".

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SHAO FOOK ENGINEERING -- They are hiring!!

Pardon my skepticism, but I find it hard to believe that in this current financial situation, there is still a company hiring for quite a lot of workers. The TODAY article, "They are hiring" mentioned that Shao Fook Engineering "hope to hire about 100 workers to add to the current 200".

Anyway, give it a try if you're really interested to. More details about the company: here.

Photos from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport -- Part 1: Jatayu




Referring to my earlier post, and assuming the statue is indeed that of Jatayu. The photos above were taken during my last visit to Jakarta to attend the 100th day remembrance prayer since the funeral of my father.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Gravitation -- a video game which makes you...cry?!

Bleah. When was I last playing a video game?!

I read the article, "When has a video game ever made you cry?" about one game titled "Gravitation", which captioned by Jason Rohrer, the creator of the game as "a video game about mania, melancholia, and the creative process".

It must be interesting to see how the game which takes only about 10 minutes to play can somehow evoke that kind of emotion.

So tempted to play. No, I'm not. Yes, you are. No, I am not. Yes, you are. Well, let's just see later...

Monday, October 20, 2008

(Slightly) Burnt After Watching "Burn After Reading"


Despite rated NC16 for its coarse language (which the usage I find just so fitting to the plot), the movie "Burn After Reading" is quite an entertainment due to how the main characters are intertwined. So close, so unbelievable that you know for sure that this show is a pure fiction (no way the Real Life will offer such a situation) & yet, that makes it purely entertaining.

PS. You will hate the character played by Brad Pitt, though.
PPS. No time to watch but curious about how the story ends? Check out then the plot at Wikipedia here. Spoiler Alert, as usual.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

MAS investigates allegations of mis-selling of Lehman products

How long the investigation is going to be remains to be seen. Till then I do pity those elderly who had misguided to putting their live savings into such a screwed-up investment product.

It has been confirmed (on 17/10, actually) that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is "probing allegations of misconduct in the sale of financial products linked to collapsed US investment bank Lehman Brothers and other institutions."

Also reported that it will focus on cases of mis-selling products to "vulnerable" customers, meaning the elderly and those who are not well-educated.

Full story at ChannelNewsAsia.com article here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Prepare to lose jobs...everywhere

In the face of global recession, Malaysia Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam in the article, "Prepare to lose jobs in Singapore" must be delusional to say that Malaysia would have excess job vacancies as work presently being done by foreigners could be offered to locals instead. Let's just admit it, those jobs given to foreigners are those which at the first place are shunned by locals. And this happens, naturally, everywhere.

During the early 2000s recession, many countries suffered job loss.

And if such a global recession were to happen again (some might say, it has already been happening), we can expect history to press a replay button.

Prepare to lose jobs...everywhere.

Update on 18/10: Hate to say "I told you so", but the Straits Times article today titled, "Crisis brings job losses" has just confirmed that job losses is already globally widespread.

US Presidential Candidates Sighted at Marina Square

As shown in the photos belows, Democrat Barack Obama & Republican John McCain must be the latest celebrity endorsing a restaurant, Billy Bombers at Marina Square. Creative use of the posters eventhough McCain sure looks a bit grimacing. Heh.



Very costly to trust a financial adviser these days | $100,000 life savings gone | Retiree sues bank over losses

So what if the financial adviser is from one of the most trusted banks? Individual character varies & there are always people who care more about their interest than their customers'.

The following cases really make wonder if there should be a legal requirement for the banks to have the conversation between their so-called financial advisers and the potential victims recorded. In the worst case, any grievance aired against the banks, they in turn could use the recording as an evidence that they had done their explanation about the investment products & the risk involved properly.

From The Straits Times (16/10), "$100,000 life savings gone":

Case 1

One fateful decision was all it took to turn what should have been a comfortable retirement for Mr Ling Jun Zhi and his wife into a nightmare that threatens to destroy their golden years.

That decision was to trust a financial adviser and put their $100,000 of life savings into a structured product called Lehman Minibonds that was exposed to the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers bank.

A large part of their nest egg could now be gone, wiped out after a frenzy of incomprehensible financial market convulsions in New York somehow landed on the doorstep of the retired Bukit Timah shopkeeper.

Case 2
Investors have told The Straits Times similar stories of how they were convinced to invest.

'The relationship manager at DBS told me that my investment in High Notes 5 was guaranteed 100 per cent for five years,' said Mr Ang, a 68-year-old retiree.

'And from my understanding, that meant that if I remained invested for the entire five years, my principal would still exist.'

Mr Ang explained in Mandarin that he had invested $600,000 of his life savings in High Notes 5. He said he had thought the product was similar to a fixed deposit account.

All he had wanted to do was renew his fixed deposit at DBS, he said. Now, Mr Ang said, he faces the grim possibility of possibly losing the majority of his retirement funds.

Case 3
Another couple in their 50s, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while they do not feel like they were cheated by DBS, they felt somewhat misled and let down.

'DBS is like our national bank,' said the husband, who invested $100,000. 'How could they not tell us that we can lose all our investment just like that? I feel really disappointed but what can I do? My wife signed the papers.'

Case 4
Or take retiree Mr Tan, who invested $50,000 in High Notes 5.

He told The Straits Times that he has still not received or even seen the High Notes 5 prospectus from his DBS relationship manager.

'I never saw it, I just signed it based on my trust in DBS Bank as Singapore's bank,' said Mr Tan, who is in his 50s.

Case 5
Mrs Amy Loh invested $25,000 in High Notes 5, funds she had earmarked while between jobs. She told The Straits Times: 'What the relationship manager said was, 'Don't worry, this is very safe, even if one entity (out of a basket of eight reference entities) fails, you still have seven.''

She was referring to the fact that High Notes 5 included a basket of seven other stocks - called reference entities - apart from Lehman.

But many investors did not understand that High Notes 5 had a 'first-to-default' clause. If one of the reference entities defaulted or went bankrupt - as in the case of Lehman - the entire structure unwinds, triggering a credit event.


Read also TODAY's "Retiree sues bank over losses".

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This Childcare Head makes a headcount with a middle finger?!

Ha! That's the impression that I've got from reading "Childcare head denies showing middle finger". On one side of the story:

According to Shin Min Daily News, Madam Kuang had dropped her six-year-old son off at a kindergarten childcare centre on Sept 19. At that time, the childcare centre was preparing to bring their wards to the Jurong Bird Park for an excursion.

After entrusting her ward to the childcare centre, Madam Kuang, then proceeded to walk out of the building. On her way out, she happened to cast a glance at the excursion coach buses that were stopped outside the centre.

"When I lifted my head to look at the buses, I saw the head of the childcare centre placing three children on a seat meant for two people. I felt that something was amiss, so I shook my head.

"I didn't expect the head of the childcare centre to see me and to show me the middle finger," the 42-year-old waitress told Shin Min.

By the way, this is the same Mdm Kuang who with another parent once had lodged a complaint to Shin Min in April about a teacher in the childcare centre using corporal punishment. As expected, that teacher was then fired.

On another side of the story:
When questioned by Shin Min, the head of the childcare centre had said that she had not pointed her middle finger at Madam Kuang, but was using her fingers to make a headcount of the children on the bus.

"At first I thought there were only 58 children on the bus, but later I found out that there were 59. In order to let the bus driver know, I lifted up a finger to indicate that there was one extra child on the bus," she said.

She also added that as she was using all five fingers to make the headcount, a misunderstanding could have occurred.

"I called Madam Kuang to explain the situation after the incident, but she refused to accept the explanation," continued the childcare head.

According to Shin Min, the head had also explained that she had squeezed three children into a seat meant for two because there weren't enough seats available.

"I had asked the bus captain earlier and he said that it should not pose a problem as the children had small body sizes," she said.

Choose whose story to believe. But for sure, I dislike the Childcare Head who can't exercise her authority to insist the bus captain to provide sufficient seats. Three children sit on the seat for two?! How then the seat belt is properly utilised?!

Guide for Online Shopping

Not that I do online shopping a lot, but I may need to know the followings eventually.
- Online shopping woes persist
- Is e-shopping safe?
- Returns and refunds are possible
- Buy safely online
(Source: Asiaone.com)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In "some" cases, DBS will take responsibility...

Easier said than done.

How will it be possible to gain evidence of mis-selling?! How many of us do even remember the DBS staff who mis-sold the Lehman Brothers products?! And how to re-produce the 'verbal lies' concocted by these unscrupulous people who only care to sell the products without ensuring the consumers understand the risk?! (One way is of course, to bring a tape recorder & to record every word of the explanation. Yeah, as if that will work!)

From today's TODAY:

DBS Bank says it will take responsibility for some of the Lehman Brothers products sold through its network in Singapore and Hong Kong if there was mis-selling.

“In specific cases when evidence of mis-selling is established, DBS (Hong Kong) Limited and DBS Bank (Singapore) will take responsibility,” the bank said yesterday.


And yesterday in ChannelNewsAsia's "DBS to investigate claims of mis-selling of Lehman-related products":
DBS has said it would take responsibility if customers are able to give evidence of mis-selling in relation to products affected by the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

10 reasons why "Storm Rider: Clash of Evils" is such a disappointment...

Unless you really don't have any other movie to watch, do not ever consider to watch this Chinese animation movie, "Storm Rider: Clash of Evils". A truly disappointment.

I watched the show without any expectation. I didn't even read the comics before. I had zero knowledge about the plot--except for the previous movie (not animated), "The Storm Riders".

So I should have been able to enjoy this cartoon, or so I thought. Wrong.

The cartoon storyline, quoted from Wikipedia: The Sword Worship Villa, the world's top sword maker, witnessed the bloody execution of its people due to allegations of conspiring to start a rebellion. The young master of the villa, Ao Jue, is the only survivor of the execution. In order to complete the “Jue” Sword, forged by generations of his family, Ao Jue swears to attack Tin Ha Wui and battle with Wind & Cloud in order to obtain the blood of the Flame Kylin which can unleash the power of the sword. With Wind's blood containing the blood of the Flame Kylin, he becomes the prime target in Ao Jue's plan of completing the sword.

Anyway, here are my 10 reasons why the film is a flop:
1. Ao Jue is the arch villain, but how he becomes so strong considering his background as someone from the family of top sword maker is not explained.

2. There's no flashback or explanation why Duan Lang, who is one of the bad guys, hates the late leader of Tin Ha Wui, Hung Ba. Yeah, I've got to Wikipedia it afterwards before it makes any sense.

3. When Wind is portrayed to lose his humanity & becomes a demon, I realise that this is not the show that I'll enjoy. It's either a pure fighting show or a pure supernatural film. I can believe in any of them, but not the mixture.

4. An amnesiac Cloud is shown to be of a totally different character, and yet still a very formidable fighter. It will be more interesting if he were to lose his power too.

5. The supporting characters (ladies from both sides--good & bad) are not memorable. Too much focus on the main characters.

6. One character, Nameless, has one annoying ability to appear at a very convenient timing to save Cloud.

7. In one stage, Nameless is strongly convinced that Wind must be killed. Soon after, the amnesiac Cloud easily manages to convince Nameless not to kill Wind (which at that time is already defeated). The logic escapes me.

8. It is not clear whether the poisonous leech, courtesy of Duan Lang, still stays within Wind's body. Is that why he's shown meditating in the cave at the end?

9. Who is the Mysterious Healer from whom Duan Lang obtains the poisonous leech? An interesting character without any background story.

10. The show presents too many fights with unbelievable levels of destruction.