Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Any (Dream) Job Will Do!!

With the current bleak economy situation, who can fill their stomachs with merely idealism? Although I must admit I fully agree with this article by Mr Wang Say So, "Learn from the Regrets of the Flatulence Analyst"--in which the blogger urges the fresh graduates to think twice about following the advice from the Manpower Minister Mr. Gan Kim Yong to “take up any job that is available”--I have to admit also that if I were one of the fresh graduates & I am still unemployed just because I have not clinched that dream job, I'll have to swallow my pride & indeed eventually to take up any job that is available.

The thing is that I may not know that the job I "anyhow take because I'm so desperate" will turn out to be a dream job too. A job that I might be very much enjoying despite the initial humiliation derived from the realization that the job is taken only because I'm desperate--and not to mention that I might even and very likely have to settle for lower pay. A job that I can excel & develop myself.

Of course it may turn out to be a bad dream job as well.

But hey, if that's the case, I could always choose any other job that is available & repeat the cycle.

If it turns out to be a dream job, good for me!

If not, start again hunting for the next job that is available! (I begin to sound like a broken record...)

And who knows by then (after so many cycles of persistently securing those jobs one after another), the economy does recover & I'll be able to apply the job that I'm truly aiming for.

All the best for the fresh graduates out there! Don't give up. Oh, and you might want to read this article, "Any job will do" from guardian.co.uk about how Helienne Lindvall has taken on all kinds of jobs in order to pursue her musical ambitions.

PS. Okay, so perhaps I'm somewhat influenced by the song, "Any Dream Will Do". Check out the Lee Mead full official "Any Dream Will Do" video in YouTube here.

PPS. By the way, there's nothing wrong with lower pay. At least according to this Straits Times article, "Why settle for lower pay?":

Career consultants and placement agencies say those who are over-qualified for their new jobs and have to take a pay cut often do well in their new careers and are promoted more quickly.

Lower pay is better than no pay at all. And it really is just a matter of adjusting your lifestyle if you have to endure that 'lower pay'.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jobs availiable [sic] at Sentosa IR

Jobs availiable [sic?] at Sentosa IR. Meaning what? It's liable to have jobs available at Sentosa Integrated Resorts? Heh.

The screenshot above is from Straits Times, "Jobs availiable at Sentosa IR".

Perhaps to err--especially a typo--is truly human. To make fun of the mistake is 'blogistic'. Whatever...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Look cute for the camera, don't they?

The one at the left (two from the left) and the one at the utmost right are very much the cutest & endearing. Heh.

PS. The photo is taken from "look cute for teh camera".

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Miss USA Runner-Up Carrie Prejean's Gay Marriage Controversy

I guess everyone is entitled to his/her own belief and opinion.

Take a look at Miss California's answer to a question about legalizing same-sex marriage in YouTube, "Miss USA Runner-Up Carrie Prejean's Gay Marriage Controversy".

If there is a YouTube moment from Sunday's show, it may be Miss California's answer to a question about legalizing same-sex marriage. The tall blonde stumbled some before giving an answer that appeared to please the pageant audience.

'We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage,' Carrie Prejean said. 'And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offence to anybody out there, but that's how I was raised.' Some in the audience cheered, others booed.

The pageant had enjoyed a scandal-free year until earlier this month, when Miss Universe 2008 Dayana Mendoza was skewered for a blog posting from a trip to Guantanamo Bay. The entry described having 'aloooot of fun' at a base that houses the notorious military prison; it was later deleted from the pageant's Web site.

The contest, which is owned by NBC and reality TV mogul Donald Trump, was hosted by 'Access Hollywood' co-anchor Billy Bush and Nadine Velazquez of the NBC sitcom 'My Name is Earl.'

This year's judges included 'Saturday Night Live' cast member Kenan Thompson, 'Dancing with the Stars' winner Kelly Monaco and gossip blogger Perez Hilton.

From Straits Times "Breaking Story" for "Miss USA 2009 crowned".

By the way, the newly crowned Miss USA 2009 is Miss North Carolina USA Kristen Dalton.

Quoted from Straits Times, "Miss USA 2009 crowned":
Miss North Carolina USA Kristen Dalton was crowned Miss USA 2009 on Sunday, beating out 50 other beauty queens in the live pageant televised from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

The 21-year-old aspiring motivational speaker edged out first runner-up Miss California USA Carrie Prejean and second runner-up Miss Arizona USA Alicia-Monique Blanco.

Contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia competed in the pageant, aired live on NBC. Contestants were judged by their performance in swimsuit and evening gown modelling contests and their responses to a question asked onstage; unlike the rival Miss America pageant, Miss USA contestants do not perform a talent.

The top 15 contestants worked the stage in white string bikinis designed by pop star Jessica Simpson's swimwear line. Rocker Kevin Rudolf performed his song 'Let it Rock,' followed by The Veronicas, who performed their single 'Untouched' as the top 10 beauties showed off their choice of glittering evening gowns.

Ms Dalton's title comes with a year's use of a New York apartment, a public relations team, a two-year scholarship at the New York Film Academy and an undisclosed salary.

She also will go to the Bahamas in August to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, where American beauties haven't been lucky in recent years. Both Miss USA 2008 Crystle Stewart and her predecessor, Rachel Smith, fell on stage during the evening gown competition, becoming accidental YouTube stars.

Asked about the tumble during the show on Sunday, Ms Stewart said it was a lesson in bouncing back from defeat.

'I think it was a true test of my character,' said the 27-year-old Texan, who worked to raise awareness for breast cancer as she travelled the globe promoting the beauty contest.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind | Picture a day for 39 years

Besides the no-comment-yet-from-me Talking Point show featuring the newly appointed President of AWARE, Ms. Josie Lau yesterday, anyone watched The Simpsons? The episode, according to Wikipedia, is titled "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind". I find it mind-boggling.

Of course it's also very entertaining. Kind of in Homer-like poignant way. For example the part when Homer's life flashes before his eyes when he falls from the bridge (no thanks to his guardian angels!). I love the part when he drinks a can of beer after another & as he throws it behind, the cans form a pyramid, a Taj Mahal & (not really sure about it, but the bridge looks like Brooklyn Bridge) New York City?! Lol.

And in the end, it turns out to be a YouTube episode. Grin. By the way, this is the YouTube video about Homer's "Picture a day for 39 years". It's titled, "Simpsons Homers life in about a minute". The music accompanying it is actually "Everyday" by Carly Comando. Enchanting. Check out also its YouTube video here.

No wonder at the 2008 Primetime Emmy Awards, the episode won the award for Outstanding Animated Program (for Programming Less Than One Hour). Heh. Perhaps I really like this show because it somewhat reminds me to The Game. Ah. Gotta rewatch it! :)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wildstorm: Planetary (What a fancy group indeed: "Archaeologists of the Impossible"...)

Ah yes, Wildstorms Planetary. This graphic novel (or must I admit it that it's just a comics?) is truly captivating. It's a pity that it's only having 27 issues & even that final issue has not been published.

The artworks of the covers is diversely refreshing. The above two covers are chosen because they're just showing a hot & cold contrast. Actual crime-scene like & a promise of mystery. They're taken from this comicvine.com, "Planetary". You do have to check out the other covers!

Check out what Wikipedia says about Planetary here. And this "Planetary Comic Appreciation Page", I just have to express how appreciative I'm when I visit its "Mysteries" link.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Have you ever felt so tired you go to be early at night & abruptly wake up to return a miss call & find out you cannot recognize to whom you talk?

I have. And it's such a lousy feeling. =(

Reference: some kind of embarrassing experience on 08 April 2009 night. Not sure about the date, to think about it. Yay! Memory block works!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Handsome Suit -- Look matters...Not

Finally managed to watch the Japanese comedy movie, "Handsome Suit" (The official website is in plural: "Handsome Suits". Another site--which is in English--can be viewed in Encore Films "Handsome Suit"). Hilarious. Mostly a comedy with a little moral question: if you can choose to be handsome, will you be one even if it costs you your identity?

Heck, for some people, identity is over-rated (Understandably...from one who prefers to blog anonymously. Hur hur). But to opt to be handsome just because one doesn't realize how happy he is just the way he is, is truly a shallow thinking.

Then again, he won't realize how happy he is just the way he is, not till he is transformed.

Kind of like a Zen story, if you ask me. Read about it once, but couldn't find a reference to it in the Net yet. A monk who just moves to another temple (say it 'B') from his previous temple ('A') was asked what he thinks about temple 'B'. He answered truthfully that the temple he came from, temple 'A', is a much better place than 'B'. The person who asks the monk is as expected furious & shouts a question of why the monk still goes to temple 'B' then. His reply is if he doesn't go to temple 'B',he will never realize how temple 'A' is a much better temple.

Anyway, "Handsome Suit" is not at all confusing. It's entertaining & easy to watch. Check out the Youtube movie trailer of "Handsome Suit" here as well as its catchy ending song, "My Revolution": here.

Polar bear attacks -- videos of attack in 2007, 2008, 2009

Thanks to YouTube, I've noticed that there are 3 videos on polar bear attacks. What I learn so far from the little information about the attack is that all the 3 victims are female (Yeah, yeah...polar bears are cuddly, but don't any of you watch LOST?!).

Anyway here are the videos of Polar bear attacks:
1) In year 2007 (with description of "a stupid woman gets too close to a polar bear cage and it grabs her"), the video clip titled, "Polar bear attack".

2) In year 2008 ("When a tourist ventures too close to a polar bear cage at the zoo in Anchorage, Alaska, disaster follows as the bear plunges his canines directly deep into her leg"), the video clip titled, "Untamed and Uncut - Polar Bear Zoo Attack".

3) And the most recent one this year ("The 32-year-old women jumped over bars at Berlin Zoo during the bears' feeding time. Despite six zookeepers' efforts to distract the four predators kept in the enclosure, the woman was bitten several times on her arms and legs"), the video clip titled, "Woman Attacked by Polar Bear after Jumping into Tank at Berlin Zoo".

Image from CNN, "Polar bear attacks woman at Berlin Zoo".
(I imagine her left clenched fist was ready to strike down the innocent bear. Heh.)

From Straits Times, "Mauled by polar bear":
A woman who jumped into a polar bear enclosure at the Berlin Zoo during feeding time has survived an attack by one of the bears.

The woman had climbed a fence and jumped into a water-filled moat surrounding the animals at about 10.30am local time on Friday, police said in a statement.

One of the bears dived into the water and mauled the woman, causing serious injuries to her legs and arms, police said.

At one point, the woman fell back into the water and was grabbed by a bear before eventually being hoisted to safety by zoo keepers. 'They saved her life,' Berlin police officer Goerg Gebhard told CNN on Sunday.

The woman was taken to a hospital, where she is undergoing treatment, the CNN report said.

Police did not say why the woman jumped into the enclosure.

'The woman proved herself to be careless,' a police spokesman said afterwards, according to The Daily Telegraph. 'Logic tells us that polar bears will do this type of thing in this situation.'

Logic apparently does not apply when the animal is such a cuddly one. Hur hur.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Time to go to work at Venezuela, Argentina or India, huh?

Woe are employees in Singapore. Guess that's what happens everytime one compares one's salary increase (if any) to another's. There will always be unhappiness.

Employees in Singapore will see some of the lowest pay rises this year compared to their counterparts in other countries.

A survey of 53 jurisdictions by London-based research company ECA International has placed Singapore in the bottom 10 of the salary rise rankings.

Singapore was in joint 43rd spot, along with France and Hong Kong. Salaries in these three places are expected to increase by two per cent this year.

Japan was the lowest-ranked, with half of the companies in the economy planning to freeze salaries.

A quarter of the world's companies and 40 per cent of those in the US plan to freeze salaries this year. But there are bright spots in other parts of the world.

Employees in Venezuela, Argentina and India can look forward to the most robust double-digit pay increases.

Globally, average salaries are likely to rise 4.7 per cent this year, down from a 6.2 per cent increase in 2008.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Survey shows Singapore in bottom 10 of salary rise rankings".

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Redux (coz earlier I forgot to upload the photos): When you lack of sleep...

...you'll do the 'unusual' things such as taking photos from the window of a running bus. It's not easy & I could only manage to get 3 decent shots! Here are the pictures:

Friday, April 03, 2009

SPH vs. Al-Amin Education Centre (A defamation case over an HFMD article)

Personally I don't find it a defamation about SPH reporting about HFMD case in one of their articles & featured Al-Amin Education Centre as the suspected place. Sheesh. We never heard about Cutie Kidz Playhouse, Tumbelina Educare Centre and Sweetlands Childcare and Development Centre suing the Ministry of Health for their press release about HFMD, didn't we?!

Some contradicting news mentioned about whether Al-Amin Education Center notified parents about the HFMD case. In the Straits Times article, the managing director "conceded when quizzed by SPH's lawyer Andrew Yeo, that between mid-April and late-May, the centre reported at least 20 new cases to the Health Ministry but did not notify parents in writing."

However in the other article from Channel NewsAsia, it's stated that "...Al-Amin Education had sent a letter dated April 1 to parents informing them of three HFMD cases in the centre, following a Ministry of Education (MOE) advisory to pre-schools about stepping up hygiene standards to prevent HFMD."

So was the letter sent or not sent? That may be the question which answer will determine the outcome of the trial.

On a separate note, I disagree Al-Amin Education Center thinking that a notice board will suffice. How many of us ever stops to read any memo/circular in a notice board?!

A two-day defamation trial in the High Court brought by a Tampines kindergarten against Singapore Press Holdings ended on Thursday.

The case has been adjourned for three weeks for lawyers on both sides to submit closing arguments. Justice Lee Seiu Kin said after the submissions, he will give his decision 'in due course'.

The case is centred on a May 23, 2008 report in The Straits Times on a 13-month-old baby boy who fell seriously ill from hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

In the article, written by vetern health journalist Salma Khalik, the infant's mother said she suspected her son caught the bug from his older cousin, who goes to Al-Amin Education Centre.

Madam Jamaiedah Mustafa was also upset that parents were not notified that HFMD was going around.

Al-Amin sued SPH over the article, alleging that the article was defamatory as it suggested that the centre was negligent in its management of HFMD cases and was to blame for the infant's condition.

In its defence, SPH says the article did not defame the kindergarten.

Even if it had, the newspaper publisher said it was justified as the centre had not sent updates to parents on the number of HFMD cases. SPH is also relying on the defence of qualified privilege; it had a duty to convey information on the HFMD situation, which is an issue of public health.

The hearing into the case began on Wednesday. Al-Amin called two witnesses for its defense. Its managing director, Mr Syed Alwi Syed Ibrahim Altahir, alleged that the article was a tactic to boost circulation by naming the kindergarten and 'creating drama that we tried to avoid the press'. He claimed that parents were not kept in the dark about the HFMD situation.

However, he conceded when quizzed by SPH's lawyer Andrew Yeo, that between mid-April and late-May, the centre reported at least 20 new cases to the Health Ministry but did not notify parents in writing.

From Straits Times, "SPH Defamation Suit: Case adjourned for 3 weeks".

A childcare centre is suing newspaper company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) for alleged defamation.

Al-Amin Education is claiming that a Straits Times article last year had implied its Tampines branch was responsible for a 13-month-old boy and his five-year-old cousin contracting hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

The plaintiff further claims that the article last May had alleged it was negligent in maintaining hygiene standards to control the disease and did not take any reasonable steps to update parents about the HFMD situation in the centre.

SPH is disputing the claim. Its lawyer Andrew Yeo from Allen & Gledhill said Wednesday in his opening statement that the words used in the article were not defamatory in nature. He added that the May 23 article was published on an occasion of qualified privilege, as it had conveyed information on an issue of public health and there was public interest.

Taking the stand first in a hearing scheduled for two days was Al-Amin Education director Syed Alwi Al-Tahir, who said the centre has two channels to inform parents of its HMFD situation: through its notice board and circulars.

Mr Syed Alwi said teachers would place circulars in the children’s communication books, which parents are supposed to check for any information from the centre.

The court heard that Al-Amin Education had sent a letter dated April 1 to parents informing them of three HFMD cases in the centre, following a Ministry of Education (MOE) advisory to pre-schools about stepping up hygiene standards to prevent HFMD.

Al-Amin Education, which also runs a centre at Pasir Ris, subsequently updated MOE and the Ministry of Health of fresh cases in April and May.

But since no written notice was given to parents about these cases, SPH will also rely on the defence of justification, said Mr Yeo.

Mr Syed Alwi stressed that the centre closed voluntarily from April 8 to 10, which parents would have known. “It’s a partnership (with parents). You can’t put the whole burden on the school,” he said.

The reporter who wrote the article, Salma Khalik, also testified on Wednesday. She said her article “blames nobody” and that it was “just a factual representation on what happened”. The article was “triggered” by a press release sent a day earlier by MOH on updates of the HFMD situation in Singapore, she said.

Al-Amin Education took issue, however, with how the article mentioned that the centre could not be contacted for comment, suggesting that it “tried to avoid the press intentionally”, according to its lawyer Anthony Netto from Bernard & Rada Law Corporation.

When the lawyer asked Ms Salma why the article was published even though she could not contact the plaintiff, she said it would be “very irresponsible of us not to publish the information the next day because children’s lives were at stake”.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

From Channel NewsAsia, "Childcare centre Al-Amin takes issue with ST report".


Investigations into the death of the two-year old at the Cutie Kidz Playhouse, is still ongoing. Tissue samples are being analyzed to identify the species of virus responsible. From clinical symptoms, there is suspicion that the boy might have been infected with hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

HFMD is a common contagious childhood disease, which occurs all over the world. It is usually mild and self-limiting. It may spread in an environment where children gather. HFMD can be spread through direct contact with nasal discharge, saliva, faeces, and fluid from the rash of an infected person. It can also spread indirectly through contact with play equipment, bedlinen and other articles used by an infected individual.

On very rare occasions HFMD can cause complications affecting the brain and the heart. And in very severe cases, may also cause death. So far, in Singapore there has not been any reported confirmed case of HFMD related death.

HFMD will become a legally notifiable disease under the Infectious Diseases Act, with effect from 1 October 2000. This will establish a baseline level on the incidence of this disease in Singapore which will help in the epidemiological surveillance and control of this disease.

In the last few years, the number of HFMD reported voluntarily by medical practitioners, members of the public and childcare centres, have increased from 26 per week in 1998 to 27 per week in 1999 and 58 per week in 2000 (up to mid- Sep). We believe that the increase could be due to a greater awareness among childcare centre managers since MCDS held a seminar for all childcare centres in Singapore early this year.

To date, there are 9 clinically diagnosed cases, all from the Cutie Kidz Playhouse. We have also been notified of 24 suspected HFMD cases in two other childcare centres. The centres are Tumbelina Educare Centre and Sweetlands Childcare and Development Centre.

The Ministry of the Environment (ENV) and Ministry of Health (MOH) officials are now working with the Ministry of Community Development and Sports (MCDS) to confirm the suspected cases.

Meanwhile, Cutie Kidz Playhouse will remain closed for at least 10 days and the place cleaned and sterilized. This is to cover the virus' incubation period of 3-5 days and ensure that no viruses linger beyond the incubation period.

From Ministry of Health 13/09/2000 press release, "Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease At Cutie Kidz Playhouse".

More about Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease--quoted from Ministry of Health website:
Disease Characteristics
Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease (HFMD) is an illness caused by intestinal viruses, commonest being Coxsackie virus and Enterovirus 71. A person with HFMD usually presents with the following symptoms:

* Fever for 2-3 days Sore throat and runny nose
* Rash (flat or raised red spots, some with blisters) on palms of hands, soles of feet, or buttocks
* Mouth ulcers
* Poor appetite
* Vomiting and diarrhoea
* Tiredness and weakness ("feeling sick")

HFMD is usually mild and self-limiting. No specific treatment is available, however, treatment can be given to relieve the symptoms of the disease.

Parents are advised to consult a doctor early if their child has symptoms of HFMD.

They should also be alert to any change in their child's normal behaviour, eg irritation and sleepiness. Should they refuse to eat or drink, have persistent vomiting or drowsiness, parents should bring their child immediately to the A&E Departments of either NUH or KKH, whichever is closer to their home.

HFMD is endemic in Singapore. It became legally notifiable on 1 October 2000. The public may refer to the MOH Weekly Infectious Diseases Bulletin for the current situation of HFMD.

Children should be kept away from crowded public places (schools, preschools, play groups, markets, public transport etc.) if they show signs of infection. Family members are advised to follow good hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing, to limit the spread of the infection. Download HPB's educational clip here.

Transmission of enterovirus infections is increased by poor hygiene and overcrowded living conditions.

The Ministry of Health has alerted all hospitals and doctors in Singapore to look out for cases of this infection. These cases are to be notified to the Ministry of the Environment for epidemiological investigations.

Guidelines for proper specimen collection in suspected cases for virus isolation has also been issued to all hospitals and paediatricians.

Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Community Development and Sports have stepped up inspections on the health and hygiene standards of all childcare centres, nurseries and kindergartens.

Check out also Ministry of Health, "MOH weekly publication of statistics on local infectious disease situation".

These 2 Photos Cannot Be Explained

It was one hot afternoon when I entered the train. The empty train with mostly empty seats and barely a few passengers. And nobody was standing!! (If it was a very late evening, I'd have thought I was entering a ghost train.)