Saturday, January 31, 2009

Agus Noro, the leader of Indonesian Kamasutra 'sex cult': busted!

I guess that may be a reason why yoga is banned in Indonesia? Because it has something to do with Hindu & so is this Kamasutra thing? No way, that is so farfetched!

An Indonesian cult head accused of leading his followers in wild orgies and giving sermons in his underpants was arrested Thursday and faces charges of "lewd acts" and insulting religion, police said.

Agus Noro, the head of the Satria Piningit Weteng Buwono sect, turned himself in early in the morning after a three-day hunt, Jakarta police spokesman Zulkarnain told AFP.

Noro, who is called Agus Imam Solihin or "leader of the faithful" by followers, is alleged to have had sex with his disciples and instructed them to have group sex while he watched in the sect's mansion outside Jakarta.

"We're investigating him based on a report made by a female follower named Kartiningsih on January 26. She complained that Noro had asked her to massage him and touch his genitals," Zulkarnain said.

"She was also made to have sex with him, while her husband and followers watched," he added.

"Lewd acts" and insulting religion carry jail terms of up to nine years and seven years respectively, Zulkarnain said.

"If our investigations prove that he carried out lewd acts, we'll name him a suspect and hand him over to the court," Zulkarnain said.

"He has about 40 followers, all adults. At the beginning, Noro told them to pray and carry out religious recitations. After several months, he told them he was God and that they didn't have to do that any more," Zulkarnain said.

Noro gave religious sermons wearing only his underpants and told his disciples they would be taught "Kamasutra" sex techniques to use in the afterlife, former follower Eko was quoted as saying by news website Okezone.

"We just obeyed like we'd been hypnotised," Eko said.

Police described the sex guru, believed to be in his 40s, as looking "cool... just like youngsters nowadays," with dyed brown hair and fair skin, the website reported.

From Yahoo! News, "Indonesian 'sex cult' leader arrested".

Gay penguins become dads; yes, they're so gay!

Gay penguins become dads and turn out to be best parents in the zoo. It's a fact. And an interesting one at that.

A gay couple of male penguins has attempted to steal eggs from straight penguin couples, at the Polar Land zoo in north-east China. In an effort to hide their crime, the couple even placed stones at the feet of parenting penguins before leaving with their eggs.

"One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs," explains a zookeeper. "Despite this being a biological impossibility for this couple, the natural desire is still there."

But their behavior has been noticed by the other penguins, and they have been ostracised from their group. Now pressure from animal rights groups and zoo visitors has forced keepers to give the pair some eggs of their own.

“It wasn’t fair to stop them becoming parents and keep them apart from all the other birds just because of the way nature has made them,” said one visitor.

The happy couple have become doting dads after being given eggs laid by an inexperienced first-time mother.

“We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they’ve turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,” said a keeper.

“It’s very encouraging and if this works out well we will try to arrange for them to become real parents themselves with artificial insemination.”

Wildlife experts at the park say the three-year-old male birds are still driven by an urge to be dads.

“Despite the fact they can’t have eggs naturally, it does not take away their biological drive to be a parent,” said one.

From ProudParenting.com, "Gay penguins become dads and turn out to be best parents in the zoo".

Also read dailymail.co.uk, "Gay penguins expelled from zoo colony for stealing eggs are given their own to look after following animal rights protest":
A pair of gay penguins thrown out of their zoo colony for repeatedly stealing eggs have been given some of their own to look after following a protest by animal rights groups.

Last month the birds were segregated after they were caught placing stones at the feet of parents before waddling away with their eggs.

But angry visitors to Polar Land in Harbin, northern China, complained it wasn't fair to stop the couple from becoming surrogate fathers and urged zoo bosses to give them a chance.

In response, zookeepers gave the pair two eggs laid by an inexperienced first-time mother.

'We decided to give them two eggs from another couple whose hatching ability had been poor and they've turned out to be the best parents in the whole zoo,' said one of the keepers.

'It's very encouraging and if this works out well we will try to arrange for them to become real parents themselves with artificial insemination.'

Wildlife experts at the park explain that despite being gay the three-year-old male birds are still driven by an urge to be fathers. Glad it's quite a happy ending for the happy couples.

'One of the responsibilities of being a male adult is looking after the eggs.

Despite the fact that they can't have eggs naturally, it does not take away their biological drive to be a parent,' said one.

One campaigner who did not want to be named welcomed the move and said: 'It wasn't fair to stop them becoming parents and keep them apart from all the other birds just because of the way nature has made them.'

Last month zookeepers said the couple were removed from the group not because of discrimination, but so as not to disturb the colony during hatching time.

Linda Lee's open letter to the God of Wealth

Learn the art of sending an open letter to the God of Wealth from a comical Linda Lee. Her style in composing the letter is hilarious. I wonder if she blogs. Heh.

Studies show...Vegetarians have better sex???

This time PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) really over-did their advertisement. Considered too hot & racy (Relative, I'd say, just view the video here), the ad has been banned by NBC. The PETA advertisement clip was supposed to air during the Super Bowl Sunday.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Association of Bloggers (Singapore) -- And soon there were none?!

Just like the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Soldiers", there were 10 fearless, relatively-unknown bloggers who initiated the infamous Association of Bloggers (Singapore) or ABS. A protem committee was formed. By the way, the word 'protem' or 'pro tempore' actually means 'for the time being'. (Oh yes, this new knowledge, at the very least, I have to credit to ABS.)

It is perhaps a sign that it is truly 'for the time being'. Out of 9 protem committee members (excluding the President), 3 have since left: Mr. Endoh (Vice President - Operations), Xtralicious (Events Director) and Nicole Wong (IT Officer).

And then there were six (excluding the President).

So what are their reasons of leaving? The three of them quoted almost similar reasons of being busier with more other important things namely studies, families and projects.

Here's Mr. Endoh's reasons quoted from his blog:

Before anyone jump to conclusions that the criticism is too strong, it is a decision made based on internal issues rather than the initial. Hope that will clear up some potential speculations. That’s to say, speculations are totally anticipated.

...

What’s more? I have recently undertaken a new advertising and PR project for a automobile importer and nobody can actually deny that the time and attention will be better spent there. With the current economical climate, it is encouraging to see that clients are opening up themselves to unconventional methods not commonly seen in the industry. Especially so, for big ticket items.

This serves as an additional reason for stepping away. 24 hours a day is only what I’ve got, afterall.


And this one is from Xtralicious:
What is my reason for stepping down? Is it the backlash from some bloggers? Is it due to misunderstandings? Is it the heat that got to me?

I can say with confidence that it is not. I had already said so earlier on - I will step down after I had done what I should do as this is a protem committee after all. And so I am doing so to spend more time with my family and new work projects.


And from Nicole:
I take my leave from protem committee of ABS. Hence forth, I shall be concentrating on my studies, the bloody assignments, and tech65.

The work load has ballooned to an all time high, and hence, it would be more prudent of me to concentrate on it.


Good for them. They should not ever have their priority mixed up. Still it's a pity that their timing is, well, badly timed.

If the protem committee members are quitting so soon (never mind the ominous word of 'protem'), how would other bloggers be convinced to join?

I won't. And this unfortunate lack of commitment from the founders of the organizations would make it as my sixth reason of not joining the Association of Bloggers (Singapore).



Update on 31/01: DK (Vice President - Membership) & DaintyFlair (Treasurer) both resigned from the committee. Unlike the earlier 3 quitters, they didn't give any excuse about being busy with other projects. There's a nice echo, though, that both DK & DaintyFlair quoted "It’s been a great learning experience over the past few months" & "It has been a great experience and I have learnt a lot throughout the whole journey respectively.

Oh yes, I'm sure being founders of a redundant organization which founders are soon quitting IS a great experience.

And then there were four (excluding the President).

If Paddy Tan indeed threw in the towel too (Not verified, but thanks for the info, deadpris), I would revise the earlier sentence to be "And then there were three (excluding the President)".

Members are quitting is usual. Founders doing so in such rush manner isn't. Even more unusual is the fact that the President of the Association of Bloggers (Singapore) has not yet announced any replacement.

Surely there are still many ill-informed bloggers out there who are willing to take the jobs?

If worst comes to worst, they are still able to quit & I'm sure a decent amount of traffic would have been generated by that pathetic "I hereby resign" announcement.



Update on 31/01 (after the earlier update la): Paddy Tan (Marketing Director) has indeed left!

In his post, Paddy has revealed--and hinted--more of why he gave up:
Ultimately, the focus now is on the companies. Whatever decision I make, will affect the livelihood of the colleagues. Thus the departure of ABS is a right decision to be made when I dont see it going the way it ought to be with the original vision and direction going differently. Internal conflict? Nope, more like disagreements. I will let time be the judge whether if that was a good decision to leave or not.


And apparently these 'disagreements' were enough to make Paddy quit? Sad. Let me quote more from the same post of his:
I prefer the my CEO style, where everyone are involve in the process and explain clearly the objective and goals. No top down decision made by a few (yes, dont pin it to just ECL just becos you try to manipulate the sentence here) and manage by the lot. This is just not me. This irritates the hell out of me when others (yes more than 1 person, read again) just simply block you out thinking they (3rd hint, it is not 1 person again) know better. Always be open to ideas and analyze it. Nobody knows everything, that is what a committee is for.


And then there were three (excluding the President).

I have this sudden thought that if all the committee members eventually come to their senses & quit, would the organization's name changed from "Association of Bloggers (Singapore)" to "Association of Blogger (Singapore)" which consists of a sole President cum a member? Heh.



Update on 01/02: Yes, I just learnt that Paced (Events Officer) has come to her sense & left the Association of Bloggers (Singapore)!

In her blog, she's quoted to give an excuse of 'others being able to do a better job than her'. Hmm...another hint of a series of internal strife in the organization?

After much deliberation, I'm leaving the Association of Bloggers (Singapore). I'm really glad to have been a part of the protem committee but I know for sure that there are others out there will do a better job than me. It was an experience through this journey and I thank everyone who was working with me.


And then there were TWO (excluding the President).

I believe Paced when she said it's not hard to say goodbye. Especially not to ABS. Well done, Paced. Well done!



Update on 03/02: in TODAY article, "8 drop outof Bloggers Association" it is reported that "eight founding members have stepped down, leaving president Jayne Goh and secretary Wilfrid Wong at the helm". That means it's confirmed then that Xin Yun (Marketing Officer) has resigned.

And then there were ONE (excluding the President).

Unlike the earlier 7 members who gave any kind of excuses in their blog, Xin Yun has not yet done so. Except her latest post showcasing two wonderful shots of a sunrise & a sunset in Bangkok, she just gave a cryptic remark of:

I’m glad to have such clear view of sunrise and sunsets during my trip. Perhaps in a way, it’s a sign.


A sign? Of what, Xin Yun? That has something to do with your leaving the Association of Bloggers (Singapore)?

Back to the TODAY article, the President of a 1-member organization shared her thought about why the committee members were fleeing out of her sight:
“There are quite a lot of disagreements as well, on the way the association is run and on my conduct.”


Hey, if that's the case, should it not be better if the President herself resigns & let the members vote for the new one? After all 8 heads are definitely better than one.

TODAY article also has this strange thing to say:
The eight who stepped down will still be considered as ordinary members, said Ms Goh. But one former member, who declined to be named, said those who dropped out were not consulted on this.

Ms Goh, by the way is the President of the ABS who blogs under the nick, "eastcoastlife". (I'll only put an URL to her nick after she too wakes up & resigns.)

Interesting to note from the above quote is how those 8 who stepped down don't really fancy themselves to be associated to ABS anymore--not even as "ordinary members". The President, being delusional, has her own view. Will she then chase the 8 for $60 yearly subscription--assuming they mistakenly had paid the entrance fee of $50?



Update on 04/02: Wilfrid Wong (Secretary) has...not left! He has spoken up in an interview in Straits Times (good to read someone else' opinion beside the President's) & also re-emphasized his points in his blog, albeit not officially as the Secretary for the Association of Bloggers (Singapore).

Okay, I'm impressed. So at least there's one member (out of...how many, one?!) who demonstrates a logical thinking & reasonable state of mind.

I won't be surprised (in fact, I'm looking forward to) if Wilfrid would once take over the leadership in the otherwise doomed organization.

C'mon, you won't leave with a tail between your legs, will you, Wilfrid?



Update on 05/02: I just checked the temporary, official website for the Association of Bloggers (Singapore) & learnt that there would be two office-bearers joining the organization as the treasurer & a committee member. Strange that their identities are not revealed.

I do hope that these nameless, secretive office-bearers do blog as well. That--to state the obvious--should always be the first & foremost requirement for any Bloggers' association. (And if they stay anonymous, I'd like to extend a special membership of CRAB for them. Oh wait, they could be the two among 300 "prominent" anonymous bloggers I already approached. The problem with working together with anonymous bloggers is that I may not be aware if they're office-bearers. Heh.)

And then there were (dammit) three (excluding the President).



Other ABS-related posts:
- 5 Top Reasons of Not Joining Association of Bloggers (Singapore)
- Association of Bloggers (Singapore): Beware of the Thirty... | Find out what's missed out from The New Paper!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Red Cliff -- How the movie differs from the chronicles of the Three Kingdoms & the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Here are substantial differences between the movie, "Red Cliff" and the historical chronicles of the Three Kingdoms:

* The Battle of the Red Cliffs did not actually occur at the Red Cliffs. In fact, Cao Cao's battleships were burnt down at Wulin.

* It should be noted that the primary cause for Cao Cao's withdrawal in history is still an open topic in the academia. In fact, more professional historians are biased towards the theory that the epidemic that plagued Cao Cao's naval camp was the primary cause and not the fire attack itself.

* Kong Rong was sentenced to execution by Cao Cao after he spoke ill of the latter before an emissary from Sun Quan, whereas in the movie he was executed for openly challenging Cao Cao and denouncing him as a traitor with the intention of usurping the throne before the Emperor Xian.

* Lady Gan of Liu Bei's two wives survived the Battle of Changban unlike in the movie where she was killed by enemy soldiers amidst the chaos. In addition, Liu Bei had numerous sons, and the son portrayed in the story was not his only "remaining bloodline" (though he was the most conspicuous and significant in the novel because he was Bei's first non-adopted son). In reality, his two daughters were captured in the battle.

* Zhou Yu and his generals did not visit Liu Bei's camp. In fact, Liu Bei attended Zhou Yu's camp, and according to the fictional account in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhou Yu attempted to have Liu Bei assassinated.

* Cai Mao and Zhang Yun had surrendered to Cao Cao before the Battle of Changban along with their lord Liu Cong but in the movie they did so after the battle and even decided to serve Cao Cao.

* Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang did not become enemies in the future as Zhou Yu had replied towards the end of the film. However, in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhou Yu was jealous of Zhuge Liang's intelligence during the planning before the Battle of Red Cliffs. Zhou Yu knew that Zhuge Liang would become a formidable foe in the future and attempted to kill Zhuge several times.

* Sun Shangxiang had not met Liu Bei before their marriage, which was a politically-arranged marriage to strengthen ties between Liu Bei and Sun Quan. In the movie, Sun Shangxiang met Liu Bei at the banquet to celebrate the victory.

* The battle scene in which the army led by Zhang Fei used reflective shields were not mentioned either in novelization or factual history. It was also far too impracticable because glass mirrors had not been invented yet at that time and copper was too expensive to be largely deployed.

* Jiang Gan was not killed on Cao Cao's orders. In the movie, he was poisoned on Cao Cao's orders after he made the blunder which fooled Cao Cao into killing Cai Mao and Zhang Yun.

* Sun Shangxiang did not participate in the battle at all in history. In the movie, she fought alongside her comrades and even disguised herself and infiltrated Cao Cao's camp to act as a spy.

* Xiao Qiao was not present in the battle at all. In the movie, she accompanied her husband Zhou Yu to the main camp and provided him with moral support. Towards the end of the movie, she even ventured into Cao Cao's camp to persuade Cao Cao to give up his ambitions. When Cao Cao refused, she attempted suicide but was stopped by Cao Cao. Later, she distracted Cao Cao by having a conversation with him on the art of tea, in order to buy time for the allied forces to launch their attacks.

* Sun Quan did not participate at all personally in the Battle of Red Cliffs. In the movie, he joined in the battle and fought alongside his men together with Zhou Yu and Sun Shangxiang.

* Liu Bei's forces did not launch any offensive on Cao Cao's camp during the Battle of Red Cliffs as in the movie. In fact, they set up ambushes on Cao Cao's retreat journey, hoping to capture him alive along the way.

* The main battle was fought in this order: Huang Gai feigned surrender and launched the fire attack on Cao Cao's navy, the forces of Eastern Wu launched their main assault on Cao Cao's forces, Cao Cao retreated and fell into ambushes set up earlier by Eastern Wu forces along the retreat journey.

* Cao Cao did not stay behind and fight the enemy after his defeat, as in the final scenes in the movie. He fled after his defeat and managed to make his way back to his territory despite falling into several ambushes along the way.


And the difference between the movie and the novel, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms":

* Zhang Fei and a few soldiers met Cao Cao's troops at a bridge where Zhang Fei bellowed at the enemy, striking fear into them such that they did not dare to advance. In the movie, Zhang Fei led an army of 1000 to engage the enemy head on.

* Guan Yu only arrived to reinforce Liu Bei's retreating army after Zhao Yun had rescued Liu Shan. He did not stay behind to hold off the enemy forces alone like in the movie.

* Zhuge Liang met Sun Quan personally and discussed about the alliance with him in a private conversation unlike in the movie where the duo met during an assembly of all the subjects of Wu.

* Zhou Yu was training his troops at Chaisang prior to the Battle of the Red Cliffs and not at the Red Cliffs.

* Zhuge Liang first met Zhou Yu at the latter's residence through Lu Su's introduction, unlike in the movie where they met at the military training grounds.

* Cao Cao had never met Xiao Qiao before in his entire life. However, in the movie he gazed with lust at a drawing of her, mentioning that he had "never forgotten her" since he had first seen her with her father Qiao Xuan and that he intended to claim her for himself after defeating the warlords.

* The battle scene in the movie with the Eight Trigrams Formation was a fictional one. The forces of Sun Quan and Liu Bei did not fight side-by-side with each other in any battle.

* Zhou Yu led Jiang Gan on a tour of his camp to show the prowess of his army and held a Heroes' Banquet after. He passed his sword to Taishi Ci, ordering him to kill anyone who spoke of military affairs with the sword, as a plan to shut Jiang Gan out. Later that night, Zhou Yu pretended to vomit and mumble in his sleep to incur Jiang Gan's suspicions. Jiang Gan crept to Zhou Yu's desk secretly and discovered the fake letter by Cai Mao and Zhang Yun. He stole the letter and secretly made his way back to Cao Cao's camp. In the movie however, the letter was first revealed to be hidden inside the scabbard of Zhou Yu's sword and fell out when Zhou was performing swordplay. Zhou hid the letter in his sleeve and Jiang Gan stole it from him during his sleep after eavesdropping on a conversation and overhearing something about Cai Mao and Zhang Yun planning to betray Cao Cao.

* Huang Gai suggested the Self-Torture Ruse to Zhou Yu in which he was flogged on Zhou's orders for apparently showing disrespect. This convinced Cao Cao further to believe that his surrender was indeed true with the help of Kan Ze's tongue. In the movie, this section had been omitted but Huang Gai did propose the Self-Torture Ruse to Zhou Yu, who did not heed his suggestion.

The above two excerpts are copied from Wikipedia, "Substantial differences between the movie, the novel and the chronicles".

Wonderful, Wikipedia! It really saves the trouble from rereading the chapters. For those who are interested to find out themselves, you may want to read the following Red-Cliff-related chapters from Luo Guanzhong's version of Romance of Three Kingdoms:

- Chapter 42. Screaming Zhang Fei Triumphs At Long Slope Bridge; Defeated Liu Bei Marches To Hanjin.

- Chapter 43. Zhuge Liang Disputes With The Southern Scholars; Lu Su Denounces The Majority Opinion.

- Chapter 44. Zhuge Liang Stirs Zhou Yu To Actions; Sun Quan Decides To Attack Cao Cao.

- Chapter 45. At The Three Gorges, Cao Cao Loses Soldiers; In The Gathering Of Heroes, Jiang Gan Is Trapped.

- Chapter 46. Using Strategy, Zhuge Liang Borrows Arrows; Joining A Ruse, Huang Gai Accepts Punishment.

- Chapter 47. Kan Ze Presents A Treacherous Letter; Pang Tong Suggests Chaining The Ships.

- Chapter 48. Banquet On The Great River, Cao Cao Sings A Song; Battle On Water, Northerners Fight With Chained Ships.

- Chapter 49. On Seven-Star Altar, Zhuge Liang Sacrifices To The Winds; At Three Gorges, Zhou Yu Liberates The Fire.

- Chapter 50. Zhuge Liang Foresees The Huarong Valley Episode; Guan Yu Lifts His Saber To Release Cao Cao.

Update on 29/01:
1. I just realized Pang Tong was not identified in Wikipedia article for Red Cliff. In the novel, it's he who suggested to chain or secure the ships together as to create more stability so that Cao Cao's men won't suffer from motion sickness. In the movie, it's Cai Mao (Cao Cao's general) who suggested the securing method (not using a chain).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

"...will prevent you from tackling sexual questions in a realistic manner. "

I was reading (just for fun, I swear!!) my horoscope for the day. Here's what it's said:

The romantic side to your character will be highlighted by the sweetness of the present lunar climate and will prevent you from tackling sexual questions in a realistic manner. You'll need romantic outbursts so as to feel satisfied.


The part about "...will prevent you from tackling sexual questions in a realistic manner" actually amuses me. So far the only question that may seem 'sexual' in nature was the one about the difference between a lover and a boyfriend. (Which by the way I have since ignored it & my colleague did not do any follow-up.)

Somehow "tackling sexual questions in a realistic manner" reminds me to the movie, "Zack and Miri Make a Porno". There are lots of sexual questions answered in a realistic manner. In a very realistic manner.

For example (Quoted from IMDB):
Miriam Linky: Nobody wants to see us fuck, Zack!

Zack: EVERYBODY wants to see ANYBODY fuck. I hate Rosie O'Donell, but if somebody said "I got a tape of Rosie O'Donell getting fucked stupid" I'd be like "Why the fuck aren't we watching that right now?"


Okay, that may not sound literally a question. This one might be a better example:
Brandon: I thought you recognized me from my work, but you're not my demographic so I'm not offended.

Zack: Well, who's your demographic?

Brandon: Do you like pussy?

Zack: Yeah.

Brandon: Then not you.

(Brandon is by the way a gay & a star in a gay porn. I don't mean to poke fun at gays nor do I have a thing against gays. I just believe the above is truly a realistic way in tackling a sexual question. Or not. Heh.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Thai Coca Cola

Remember the previous shot of Arabic Coca Cola? Now I manage to hold (no, I've not drunk it yet) a can of Coca Cola made in Thailand. Here's the photo. Again, I like how the logo looks like in the local lingo. Heh.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Library Confidential: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library Library - Puts the Shh! in Shocking

I must admit I picked up the book, "Library Confidential: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library Library - Puts the Shh! in Shocking" (Yes, I agree it's such a long title) because of its title. No, not because of the wordy title. The words "Library Confidential" reminds me to the movie, "L.A. Confidential".

Then I checked out its blurb section & I was thoroughly amused.

Here how it's written:

Product Description
The public library is a haven of calm, source of information, home to the student, the geek and the aging librarian. Or so you might think. Don Borchert's ten years as assistant librarian have taught him that a library is more than just a place to borrow books, it's also a place where people hide from the law, fall in love, fight, deal drugs, introduce their children to reading, look up porn and pursue their dreams. Borchett's hilarious memoir delves behind the bookshelves as he discovers the weird, dangerous and downright dirty world of a public library and the fearless civil servants who patrol its aisles.

And when I read about what it's said on the Author, I decided it's about time I try to read a non-fiction:
Don Borchert has been an assistant librarian in the Californian Public Library system for 10 years. He previously worked as a cook, a fine china salesman, a Christmas tree chopper and a sod farm worker. This is his first book.

And I was not disappointed! The book was very much engaging eventhough it's not a work of fiction. Perhaps it's due to the way the Author wrote or there's just something intriguing about someone who had been working all kind of jobs & eventually settled down as an assistant librarian for 10 years!

The title of the book, "Library Confidential: Oddballs, Geeks and Gangstas in the Public Library Library" & its witty caption, "Puts the Shh! in Shocking" has sufficiently described what the book is all about. After reading it, I assure you'll never have the same view about a library. I know I'm feeling more respectful towards librarians & their assistants.

And no, the book is not completely humorous per se. There's one memorably touching love story included.

It's between two disabled adults, Michael and Rebekah. They got to know one another in a free class given for disabled adults. Michael helped Rebekah in the class and they later moved in together.

They had difficulty to live on their own & had a habit of returning videos late to the library. (One of the librarians out of pity always waived the fines.)

One day Michael said goodbye to the library staff as he & Rebekah would move away to start a new life. But just as he left, he gave the librarian, who always waived the fines for him, a hug and told her they weren't really going there and then walked out looking incredibly sad.

My guess is that they were to return to the institution where disabled adults are taken care. Which means they would have to forgo their 'freedom' & privilege of living together.

All in all, it's a good book (you'll appreciate the excitement of being part of the Library workforce) & it truly changes my stand that a non-fiction book usually tends to be boring.

Give this book a try & see if you disagree with that.

LOST Season 5 Premiere Recap, "Because You Left" & 2 Alternate Endings for LOST Season 4 Finale

This buddytv.com site has a wonderful write-up on the summary of the premiere episode of LOST season 5 titled, "Because You Left". As I attempted to find the trailer for LOST season 5, I came across this YouTube clip showing two alternate endings for LOST season 4 finale. Instead of the actual man lying in the coffin to be Locke, it's shown as Sawyer in one ending & Desmond in another. Heh.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Is this home, truly?

One may sing that truly this is home,
Where he knows he must be,
Where his dreams wait for him...
You know very well how the song goes!

Sometimes I agree with him,
Though my dreams might not await
--not sure what they are, anyway--
I know for sure I must be here.

Many who do know their dreams,
dream of making it big here,
dream of even coming here to work,
some make it happen; some fail.

Many are foreigners in this foreign land,
Singapore is their home too...
Let us nurture our dreams & succeed!
Together we work--why can't it be?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

5 Top Reasons of Not Joining Association of Bloggers (Singapore)

The latest news has one relatively unknown blogger starting an organization called "Association of Bloggers (Singapore)". My first reaction is that it's a way too early for April Fool's Day joke. But perhaps, they are serious!

So I think myself why I'm reluctant to join the Association of Bloggers (Singapore)--or heck, let me just abbreviate it as ABS, okay? I can think of 5 reasons--do share yours as well in the comment section. Here they're:

1. The ABS president reveals that the association is a legal entity. I don't think they'll welcome with open arms anonymous bloggers like Yours Truly without me saying goodbye to my secret identity. As the president of "Clandestine Regime of Anonymous Bloggers" or--curse you Abbreviation!--CRAB, I appeal anonymous bloggers to stay true to their anonymity & not to join ABS.

2. Even if ABS do welcome us anonymous bloggers, I would think twice--no, thrice--to be apart from my hard-earned money just to be a member. Please la, nowadays it's a difficult time for almost everybody, even a senior civil servant's got scolded for publicising his family's costly vacation holiday! It's said that there's an entrance fee of $50, yearly subscription of $60 for ordinary membership & $100 for corporate membership. No, thank you!

3. I dislike the ABS president's reasoning that the Singapore blogosphere was controlled by foreign bloggers based in Singapore. To quote Homer Simpson, "D'oh!". Really, there's no such thing as Singapore blogosphere or in that sense, [put-a-country name] blogosphere! In reality, 'blogosphere' is not constrained by any country. It's global just like the Internet. Argh, just check out the definition of 'blogosphere', will you?!

4. I too frown upon the ABS president's lame argument that Singaporean bloggers are not united. Hallo?! We are not supposed to be united! The flaming, the discord & the arguments--or some may call them as Blog Wars--are what bringing colours (Red is the colour of the blood shed in any wars) & excitement to Blogosphere.

5. The ABS president has a knack of stating the obvious about how the association's members "should be able to speak up and stand up for justice". Be assured that you don't have to join ABS to exercise that right. You can do that as a blogger not affiliated to any organization. Like me.

So please join "Clandestine Regime of Anonymous Bloggers" or CRAB, the registration doesn't cost you a cent. You won't be given any proof of membership either! Just be true to the motto of our secretive organization, "It's the content that matters, not who writes it!".

Those who are about to blog anonymously, I salute you. (Funny, it sounds kind of similar with "Morituri te salutant". Heh.)



Other ABS-related posts:
- Association of Bloggers (Singapore) -- And soon there were none?! (Updated continually)
- Association of Bloggers (Singapore): Beware of the Thirty... | Find out what's missed out from The New Paper!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Watch 1-hour show of "The Little Nyonya's Big Reunion" on Lunar New Year Day!

The hard-core fans of the TV series, "The Little Nyonya" may want to take note of date & the timing (26/01, 7 pm on Channel 8). Or if you're positive that you'll miss it, you may want to check out the sneak peeks of the program (there're 4 of them so far) in this Facebook site dedicated for "The Little Nyonya". But knowing MediaCorp's style, I won't be surprised the telecast would have a repeat broadcast.

The reunion show is hosted by Dasmond Kah whose blog also has a lot of photos of the program. Take a look at his posts: here & here. Dasmond's camera is very powerful one. Heh.

Good news for fans of MediaCorp's television blockbuster "The Little Nyonya" – stars of the production will gather once more for a big reunion on Lunar New Year's Day.

The one-hour show will go back in time to every memorable moment during the filming of the drama serial and the actors will explain the outcome and fate of the characters that they played.

Besides never-before-seen footage, viewers can also check out the Peranakan dishes that were featured in the show.

The reunion will be telecast on Lunar New Year's Day, January 26, at 7pm on Channel 8.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Stars from "The Little Nyonya" gather for big reunion".

Friday, January 16, 2009

Who else thinks Chun Li looks like a guy in this Street Fighter IV poster?


Ignore this post, if you don't even know who Chun Li is. Oh man, it sure brings memory to the arcade game, Street Fighter II. I do miss those days.

My favourite Street Fighter character is Ken (I can use Ryu as well). But Ryu's ending is hardly appealing--he wonders for the next challenge--whereas Ken's would have him marrying his girlfriend Eliza. (And to think one of my exes has almost a similar name. Not quite a coincidence, I guess. Or perhaps it is. Heh.)

PS. the above image is from this post at kotaku.com.
PPS. check out also the official Street Fighter website here & more info about the plot & characters in Wikipedia entry on Street Fighter IV.

This Could Have Been The Most Simplistic Toilet Signboard!

I don't think I ever encounter other signboard for toilets with simpler design than this one! (And trust me, I've been to many washrooms) Really, I can't resist not to take the photo. Heh.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Asian Hot Shots Berlin (13/01/09 - 18/01/09) - TEN Singapore films shown!

Learnt about this event from Holly Jean's post whose brother's short film will be featured there (No, I doubt his 6-minute artwork would be uploaded in his sister's blog). This film festival would be the 2nd one & takes place in the the cinemas Babylon Mitte and Z-inema.

It's very encouraging to know that Singaporeans do participate.

A) In the category of feature films, "Feature::Asia", one creation from Singapore:

1. Gone Shopping
Singapore 2008, Dir.: Li Lin Wee, 97 min

Clara, a ‘tai tai’ (wealthy lady of leisure) faces a mid life crisis and decides to runaway to the only place that has ever made any sense to her – the shopping centres. Here she encounters love and fulfilment, but has to make a choice. With a keen eye and consummate skill, this colourful satirical drama investigates the secret lives of shopping mall dwellers.

'Gone Shopping'


B) In the category of short films, "Short::Asia", there are 8:
1. My Blue Heaven
Singapore 2008, Dir.: Yee-wei Chai, 19 min

Ah Boy watches a porn videotape, and it got stuck. Bad news – his father is on the way home. This is the director’s love letter to his past.

2. 4 Dishes
Singapore 2008, Dir.: Leon Cheo, 7 min

What is it they say about a family which eats together? If Rembrandt were doing short films, they would probably look something like this powerful miniature.

3. The Girl in a Red Sarong
2007, Dir.: Jeremy Sing, 13 min

A national icon worn with grace suits every occasion and can even make for a living. This simple bit of truth captured on 8mm.

4. Stopdelete
2007, Dir.: Shaun Khoo, 3 min

Singapore, possibly, circa 3007: a girl reinvents the future on her typewriter three times over as the climate continues to change…

5. The Inner City
2008, Dir.: Liao Jiekai, 18 min

Three filmmakers on a journey, alien, observing, bound together by friendship and their profession – a deft and poetic film on the archaeology of light.

6. Reflections
Singapore 2007, Dir.: Ho Tzu-Nyen, 13 min

A parable about how man is a creature that perpetually cannot see beyond his own reflection.

7. Bedok Jetty
2008, Dir.: Junfeng Boo, 7 min

Suspended in a limbo of heartache, a boy returns to a space repeatedly to exorcise persistent memories of a failed relationship.

8. Love Me Yesterday
2008, Dir.: Wesley Leon Aroozoo, 6 min

Love Me Yesterday is the tragedy of the loss of unrequited love and the hope of returning back to the day when truth were still lies.

'Singapore Hotshots 1/2'


'Singapore Hotshots 2/2'


C) In the category of queer films, aptly named as "Queer::Asia", 1 curiously-titled submission:
1. Women Who Love Women: Conversations in Singapore
2007, Dir.: Lim Mayling, 65 min

Being different without being (treated) equal – that’s the reality homosexuals face in Singapore. In Lim Mayling’s bold and candid documentary, three young and out lesbians tell their stories and share their experience straight to the camera and unaffected. As anti-gay discrimination is still biting real in the first-world city-state, this film comes with a message.

'Women Who Love Women: Conversations in Singapore'


Well done, Singapore! Hope to see those artworks in the coming 21st Singapore International Film Festival. (Say, any special tickets or free passes for a blogger/reviewer? Heh.)

For more info about Asian Hot Shots Berlin, please check out this official website, "asianhotshotsfestival.com" & the latest news at this blog, "greenchilies.wordpress.com".

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Watch the 3-minute special, "The Little Nyonya: The Final Chapter"!

It will be shown at 9.55 pm on Channel 8 on January 11. That is tomorrow. It is gonna be interesting because the so-called final chapter would only take about 3 minutes. Brevity is the name of the game. And none would want to see it lengthen unnecessarily. Just say good bye & move on, you two!!

Star-crossed lovers Yue Niang and Chen Xi will meet again after their separation at the railway track.

Producers of the popular Chinese drama worked on the story just days after the finale of the series on January 5.

The script for the capsule was finalised on January 8 and filming was completed the following day.

The production of such a capsule is a first for Channel 8 and producers said it was due to overwhelming viewer response.

From Channel NewsAsia, ""The Little Nyonya: The Final Chapter" to air on Channel 8 this Sunday".

Related Post:
- The Little Nyonya -- Alternate Endings

Friday, January 09, 2009

New EZ-Link Card: No Deposit, but need MINIMUM balance for travel???

Today marks the start of the ez-link card replacement. I came across one notice board (the photo below; quite proud that I managed to time for one lady to walk across in the background. Heh) & I must admit that I was (and still am!) confused about the so-called parts of "No Deposit" & "Minimum Balance for Travel".


Are they not referring to the same thing? The new ez-link card does not require any deposit, however there will be minimum balance needed for travel (For MRT it will be $3 & for bus, the amount varies--although it's recommended to have minimum of $3). And no, they're not "Deposit". They are "Minimum Balance".

Arrgh. My brain cells experience spontaneous combustion.

Read more in Straits Times, "New ez-link cards out Friday". Also do note that the replacement of the ez-link card would end on 30 Sept 2009. (Note to self: Remember this date!)

Update on 10/01/09: Nearly 40,000 new ez-link cards distributed on first day

Shoplette in the Ping.sg -- Do you notice what's wrong with this screenshot?!


The screenshot above is taken this morning about 9:15 AM. The article is "Shoplette in the News" & has only 2 "Reads"--one is by me (a_x).

However, the interesting part is that there have been 7 "Pongs" by 7 pingsters. Now if they are really of different people, we would have expected that there would be at least 7 "Reads". But these 7 "Pongs" apparently only leads to 1 "Read".

Go figure.

Screenshot of Ping.sg 9:30 AM


"Shoplette in the News" is at present (circa 9:30 AM) in the Most Popular in the last 24 hours with 8 Pongs and 2 Reads. Wow...I'm so envious with the miracle! Heh.

National Library Board: Pay up your library fines by April...or else!

Or else...have your borrowing privileges revoked!

Kudos for NLB for finally making it clear & state it firmly what will happen if those irresponsible borrowers continue to conveniently forget to pay their libray fines.

In the same news, it is also said that the libraries "will remove the 50-cent renewal fee per book to encourage library users to renew borrowed materials.

The current policy of allowing users to renew borrowed items only once remains unchanged."

I hope to read soon about how the reservation fee (currently of $1.55) is revised downwards. Heh. If only the reservation fee can be related with the duration of the book borrowed. That is to say, if you're confident you can finish reading the book within 1 week & return it immediately, the reservation fee partially could be reimbursed to your account. Now that may encourage people to read diligently & more productively.

Read Channel NewsAsia, "NLB members must pay outstanding fines by April to continue borrowing books".



Update on 01/04: the book borrowers are said to heed the new rule.

The first day of a new zero-tolerance policy on unpaid library fines passed smoothly, with few members caught unawares on Wednesday.

Those with outstanding fines or charges will no longer be allowed to borrow library materials until they paid up, starting from Wednesday.

Two months after the new policy was announced, library members appear to have heard the message loud and clear.

At Central Public Library, Bishan Public Library and Jurong Regional Library, only seven out of 35 users that The Straits Times spoke to did not know about the change in policy.

It's all part of efforts to combat a longstanding problem.

As of Jan 15, $6.5 million in fines and charges was owed to the library by about 700,000 members.

In February, reminder notices were sent out to all errant members. By mid-March, over $650,000 in outstanding fees and fines has been collected from them.

About half a million users still owe the library almost $6 million.

Users were previously allowed to chalk up fines and charges of $6 before their borrowing privileges were suspended.

To help keep arrears down, the $0.50 renewal fee for each borrowed item has also been scrapped.

From Straits Times, "Book borrowers heed new rule".

Thursday, January 08, 2009

When things are bad...I shop at TESCO


And I'm not alone. Can't resist not to shoot the above photo. In retrospect, I really put a big mark on my forehead that I'm not a local when I shop in Johor Bahru. Can't imagine I take photos of shoppers like at, say, NTUC FairPrice or Cold Storage here.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

What is the difference between "a lover" and "a boyfriend"?

Out of the blue, a colleague of mine raised this question. It's good that she did that through an email for I was stunned for quite some time. What, is she trying to be philosophical or something?

I too suspected that the email was sent wrongly. Oh well, to avoid further embarrassment on both side (especially on hers!), I adopt a wait-and-see approach. If that email is really meant for me, I shall allow her a chance to do necessary follow-up.

And meantime, I can continue pondering what the difference is between "a lover" and "a boyfriend". *roll eyes*

The Little Nyonya -- Alternate Endings

Hmm...if the Channel 8 TV series, "The Little Nyonya" is ever made into DVD, all the endings (inclusive of the 5 alternate ones) should be made as viewers' options. (Update: there is indeed DVD version of the show on sale started yesterday--but I've no idea whether the different endings would be offered.)

The actual end of the show is the little nyonya, Yueniang "abandons the love of her life (namely Chen Xi), leaving him to think she died in a fire. Then she goes off to marry a British lawyer". That's realism? Some do not think so.

It might lead to another article sharing about how the scriptwriter, Mr Ang Eng Tee mulled over various options for how the drama would have ended:

1) Chen Xi and Yueniang eventually get married and live happily ever after.

2) Chen Xi vanishes into thin air and returns many years later to be reunited with Yueniang. Throughout the years, the latter remains single.

3) Chen Xi marries someone else and they have a happy life. Yueniang also marries and has her own happy life.

4) Chen Xi thinks that Yueniang is dead but she still loves and cares for him secretly. He falls ill and almost dies. In the hospital, he sees Yueniang visiting him but he thinks that he is imagining things. She finally reveals she is still alive.

5) There is a fire and Yueniang is trapped. Chen Xi saves her and end up being together.

Vote your choice & view the poll result: here.

The scenario no.3 appeals to me most. Hey, I believe in a happy ending as well as the need to 'move on' if things just don't work out. The Poll result, however, shows that it's the least desirable option. Haha.

PS. Check out as well the Wikipedia article on "The Little Nyonya" which includes the criticisms on the show especially about the illogical storyline & loopholes.