June 2008

Hello… Everyone… I Need Help With Something… Finding Football Hotspots….

Hello everyone. I need help with something. If you are a parent with kids or a football crazy dude/gal then you might be the one to help me.

Ok. So what sort of help do I need?

I need answers to two questions.

1. Do any of you know of football training schools for kids?

The school can be public, private, semi-government funded. I need to know if anyone knows of such schools, where I can possibly get the details and if you know anyone training at such schools.

2. Do you know of any place where kids regularly gather to play football?

Ok. In Singapore, this seems like a rather stupid question because we can find kids playing football almost anywhere. Do you know of any place which is the focal point for football in your HDB estate? An example of such a possible place could be the street soccer court on the hill at Telok Blangah.

Really need some help here. So if you do have any information, please do share. Thanks. Also, if you do leave a comment, may I also email you further. Thanks.

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Why You Should Not Talk To The Police

Via metafilter, discovered these two videos which really taught me a lot about the Fifth Amendment and the Miranda warning.

Learned of this project called “The Innocence Project“.

The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects.

I wonder…. How many people have been falsely convicted in Singapore. Do these individuals have any sort of recourse to right the wrongs done against them? Do we have such rights as stated in the video?

Anyway, back to the videos. I was wondering about what we write on our blogs as well as the information we sprinkle all across the different online services and whether we will ever see a case where the stuff we put online is used as evidence against us.

I’m not talking about a racist writing a seditious blog post. I’m talking about twittering an innocuous message at 10.15am saying that you are at Raffles MRT waiting for a friend and that is used as evidence that you were around the vicinity of a certain crime.

Or you write a Wall Post talking about how much you hate someone and then something happens to that someone. Motive?

I wonder….

We don’t exactly put everything online. And when we do, it isn’t always the truth – there are times when there are embellishments to the story we tell. What is truth anyway? Is it what actually happened or the way we remembered what happened?

Hmmm… Just saying that our online bread crumbs might lead people down the wrong path about who we really are.

I wonder if one day it can be used against us in court.

On Singapore
Tangled Web We Weave
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Only North Korea and China Have National Day Celebrations Like Ours? Nonsense.

A reader left a comment (quoted below) after my last post about not canceling our National Day Parade. I disagree with the people who say that only authoritarian and semi-authoritarian states have parades like ours. His comment:

Just a bit of trivia. The only other countries that have “National Day Celebrations” like ours is North Korea and China.

No other democratic, first-world country does it.

xizor2000:
What is the point of a flypast and all that military display? Are we a communist nation like… North Korea?

Two links to help you realize that maybe we shouldn’t be so hung up on our Parade and use it as a marker of how undemocratic, not first-world our country is.

America’s National Independence Day Parade

France’s – Bastille Day Military parade

I have never actually seen any of those parades. What I know is from what I’ve read and the photos I’ve seen. To be honest, they don’t look much difference. There is parade and there is military display – two things that seem to be held against Singapore.

Of course we can always argue about how a certain political party seems to take center-stage and I think there might be fair criticisms against that. If you tell me the marker is that in each of these countries mentioned, the ruling party and leaders take center-stage in the National Day celebrations then I would be willing to concede that it could be a hallmark of authoritarian and semi-authoritarian states.

Yet, I wonder. I do not think it would be too presumptuous to say that the government, leaders and the monarchy of other countries, even the democratic ones, do get certain amount of spotlight during their respective nation’s National Day and its celebrations.

To a certain extent, it is really same difference.

On Singapore

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Huh? We Absolutely Should Not Cancel Our National Day Parade.

I read this post by xizor2000 about canceling NDP and I cannot help but think it is way off the mark. We should not cancel nor ever considering canceling our National Day Parade.

In fact, I was saying, just do away with the NDP entirely. What is the point of a flypast and all that military display? Are we a communist nation like… North Korea?

Firstly, celebrating National Day with parades, even military ones are not unique to authoritarian or semi-authoritarian states.

I understand the grievances that xizor2000 posted on his blog. I share many of them. But canceling NDP will not make those problems go away.

Maybe it seems there is nothing to celebrate but I think that’s not true. Each year, there are many things about Singapore worth celebrating and we as a nation should celebrate.

I find it ironic that we accuse our leaders of just making decisions based solely on hard, cold, logical reasoning that are usually economically motivated and then one of the reasons we give for canceling the NDP is founded on economic considerations.

Of course, people asking for the NDP to be canceled might be pointing out the hypocrisy in wasting resources for a parade at a time when the government is asking us not to waste. I think if that is the intention, then there might be some merit.

However, do note consuming resources is different from wasting resources. NDP consumes resources but is it necessarily wasting resources? I believe that question is still open to debate and not an open-shut-chopped-stamped-signed-sealed-with-model-answer question.

Of course the cynic will always wonder what good a National Day Parade does. To be honest, I don’t think it does any lasting good for the rest of the year after the parade. Our hearts may be stirred by the proceedings of the day but once the we get back to the daily grind, a lot of the goodwill is lost as we fight for survival or the quest to make sure it is our foot stomping on another person’s face.

Yet without it, what it means is we don’t even have one day, one pivotal event on the calendar to stop and think what it means to be Singaporean and yes, feel Singaporean. We don’t even have that once chance to generate goodwill in some of us that hopefully last through the year.

I agree it is pretty pathetic to accord one day so much power to make things slightly better. And National Day shouldn’t be such a day. It should be part of many days. No. It should be the bookends to a year filled with many such days. A day when we celebrate the progress made in the past year, and look forward to greater heights as a society the next year. An Annual General Meeting for the citizens and Auditing of the nation’s conscience and consciousness.

The National Day Parade isn’t the complete solution as we try to make Singapore a better place and develop our identity as a nation. Yet, while it is not a sufficient condition, it is to me, a necessary one.

Note: If you have reached the end, you will probably come to a certain little thought – National Day and National Day Parade are two different things. We can cancel the National Day Parade and still keep our National Day – just find different ways to celebrate it. I agree. I think that is a viable direction we could, or possibly should, head towards. There might be more meaningful ways to celebrate our National Day.

When I wrote this post, I wrote it from the Singaporean view that in most of our consciousness, the National Day Parade has been indelibly linked with National Day. Canceling one seems like canceling the other.

On Singapore

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Videos Of Frank Zappa, Christopher Hitchens & Richard Dawkins

The videos and related Digg links that introduced me to Frank Zappa, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins around the time when I started working.

Frank Zappa

Frank Zappa on Crossfire 1986

Frank Zappa Destroys Robert Novak on the Issue of Censorship (1986)

Richard Dawkins

First video of Dawkins at work (now removed):

Atheist Richard Dawkins Owns Evangelical Christian Ted Haggard

Atheist Richard Dawkins Destroys Students from Jerry Falwell’s University

Christopher Hitchens



DEBATE: Christopher Hitchens vs. Al Sharpton: God is Not Great

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George Carlin On Religion / Christianity

This routine of George Carlin actually crystallized a lot of my thoughts about God and gave more to think about.

When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time!

But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!

But I want you to know something, this is sincere, I want you to know, when it comes to believing in God, I really tried. I really, really tried. I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up.

Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say “this guy”, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.

No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.

So rather than be just another mindless religious robot, mindlessly and aimlessly and blindly believing that all of this is in the hands of some spooky incompetent father figure who doesn’t give a shit, I decided to look around for something else to worship. Something I could really count on.

And immediately, I thought of the sun. Happened like that. Overnight I became a sun-worshipper. Well, not overnight, you can’t see the sun at night. But first thing the next morning, I became a sun-worshipper. Several reasons. First of all, I can see the sun, okay? Unlike some other gods I could mention, I can actually see the sun. I’m big on that. If I can see something, I don’t know, it kind of helps the credibility along, you know? So everyday I can see the sun, as it gives me everything I need; heat, light, food, flowers in the park, reflections on the lake, an occasional skin cancer, but hey. At least there are no crucifixions, and we’re not setting people on fire simply because they don’t agree with us.

Sun worship is fairly simple. There’s no mystery, no miracles, no pageantry, no one asks for money, there are no songs to learn, and we don’t have a special building where we all gather once a week to compare clothing. And the best thing about the sun, it never tells me I’m unworthy. Doesn’t tell me I’m a bad person who needs to be saved. Hasn’t said an unkind word. Treats me fine. So, I worship the sun. But, I don’t pray to the sun. Know why? I wouldn’t presume on our friendship. It’s not polite.

I’ve often thought people treat God rather rudely, don’t you? Asking trillions and trillions of prayers every day. Asking and pleading and begging for favors. Do this, gimme that, I need a new car, I want a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday His day off. It’s not nice. And it’s no way to treat a friend.

But people do pray, and they pray for a lot of different things, you know, your sister needs an operation on her crotch, your brother was arrested for defecating in a mall. But most of all, you’d really like to fuck that hot little redhead down at the convenience store. You know, the one with the eyepatch and the clubfoot? Can you pray for that? I think you’d have to. And I say, fine. Pray for anything you want. Pray for anything, but what about the Divine Plan?

Remember that? The Divine Plan. Long time ago, God made a Divine Plan. Gave it a lot of thought, decided it was a good plan, put it into practice. And for billions and billions of years, the Divine Plan has been doing just fine. Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?

And here’s something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren’t answered. What do you say? “Well, it’s God’s will.” “Thy Will Be Done.” Fine, but if it’s God’s will, and He’s going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn’t you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It’s all very confusing.

So to get around a lot of this, I decided to worship the sun. But, as I said, I don’t pray to the sun. You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he’s a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn’t fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.

For years I asked God to do something about my noisy neighbor with the barking dog, Joe Pesci straightened that cocksucker out with one visit. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple baseball bat.

So I’ve been praying to Joe for about a year now. And I noticed something. I noticed that all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answered at about the same 50% rate. Half the time I get what I want, half the time I don’t. Same as God, 50-50. Same as the four-leaf clover and the horseshoe, the wishing well and the rabbit’s foot, same as the Mojo Man, same as the Voodoo Lady who tells you your fortune by squeezing the goat’s testicles, it’s all the same: 50-50. So just pick your superstition, sit back, make a wish, and enjoy yourself.

And for those of you who look to The Bible for moral lessons and literary qualities, I might suggest a couple of other stories for you. You might want to look at the Three Little Pigs, that’s a good one. Has a nice happy ending, I’m sure you’ll like that. Then there’s Little Red Riding Hood, although it does have that X-rated part where the Big Bad Wolf actually eats the grandmother. Which I didn’t care for, by the way. And finally, I’ve always drawn a great deal of moral comfort from Humpty Dumpty. The part I like the best? “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.” That’s because there is no Humpty Dumpty, and there is no God. None, not one, no God, never was.

In fact, I’m gonna put it this way. If there is a God, may he strike this audience dead! See? Nothing happened. Nothing happened? Everybody’s okay? All right, tell you what, I’ll raise the stakes a little bit. If there is a God, may he strike me dead. See? Nothing happened, oh, wait, I’ve got a little cramp in my leg. And my balls hurt. Plus, I’m blind. I’m blind, oh, now I’m okay again, must have been Joe Pesci, huh? God Bless Joe Pesci. Thank you all very much. Joe Bless You!

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George Carlin On Abortion

The longer you listen to this abortion debate, the more you hear the phrase “sanctity of life,” “sanctity of life.” You believe in it? Personally, I think it’s a bunch of shit. I mean, life is sacred? Who said so? God? Hey, if you read history, you realize that God is one of the leading causes of death.

How come when it’s with us, it’s an ‘abortion’, and when it’s with chickens it’s an ‘omelet’?

Why is it that most of the people who are against abortion are people you wouldn’t want to fuck in the first place?

And my favorite:

If you think a fetus is more important than a woman, try getting a fetus wash the shit stains out of your underwear!

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Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits

“I think it is the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”

George Carlin is apparently dead. I’m sad that I never got to see him perform live. One of his claims to fame was the seven dirty words – Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits.

He was supposed to receive this year’s Mark Twain Prize, a lifetime achievement award presented to an outstanding comedian.

He did something that none of my English teachers ever did – taught me the concept of unnecessary words and actually made me love the English language. I love how he is so spot-on with the hypocrisies that fill this world.

Discovered him first through his books, then random quotes online. Only when YouTube and video sharing sites took off did I manage to follow more of his stuff after I started working.

Go seek out his works.

George Carlin, I’ll miss you.

I hope he gets to Heaven, assuming there is a God and a Heaven. He was so angry only because he probably actually cared.

Updated: If we keep saying he should go to heaven, he might be pissed enough to come back and kick our asses. That’s a thought.

Updated: New York Times has written an article about him.

“I don’t have pet peeves,” he said, correcting the interviewer. And with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he added, “I have major, psychotic hatreds.”

“Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”

Updated: You know you are getting older when your heroes start dying.

Updated: Buzzfeed has a list of links about George Carlin and his death.

Updated: This was not written by George Carlin.

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker and Tits

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The Desire To Quit And Just Travel The World

Via tomorrow.sg, I found this video of a guy Matt who has been traveling around the world and videotaping himself dancing at notable locations in those countries.

I love videos like this that remind us of all the common threads that bind us as humans and how dance and music is so linked with what it means to be human.

Matt’s website is here. His wikipedia entry is here.

Matt is a 31-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he’d saved to wander around Asia until it ran out.
One of my greatest regret about my university life is that I didn’t travel overseas enough. In fact, I only traveled once. It was a combination of mismanagement of finances to thinking I didn’t have enough to travel to where I wanted to go and not doing something about that.

Wanting something is really different from desiring something. I wanted to travel. Not desire. I think that is slowing changing.

Anyway, last week learned of this book “Honeymoon with my Brother” through a tweet by Guy Kawasaki.

What do you do when your fiancée dumps you so close to the wedding that the flowers, food, and guests are already en-route?

“You should go ahead and have it,” counseled my brother Kurt. “Your friends will be there. The wine will be there. Why let everything go to waste?”

So I did. I had a full wedding weekend with a golf tournament on Friday, a rehearsal dinner on Saturday, and even a mock wedding ceremony on Sunday. Of the 150 invited guests, 75 turned up — my entire side of the aisle. They only thing missing was the bride.

I then decided to take Kurt on my pre-paid Costa Rican honeymoon. We canceled the champagne and roses, and promised not to carry each other over any thresholds. My head was a cyclone, as you can imagine. I was depressed, angry, confused, suspicious, and even a little bit relieved.

But during the trip, a strange thing happened. I realized having my life turn upside-down might not be such a bad thing after all. Kurt and I did something we hadn’t done in decades — talk, at length, about lives, frustrations, and fears. It felt meaningful and rewarding to re-bond with a brother I barely knew.

So, Kurt and I decided to continue the honeymoon. We quit our jobs, sold our homes, gave away our clothes, threw our cell phones into the trash, and continued to honeymoon for two years and 53 countries!

I don’t think humans were ever meant to be static creatures. Modern work has domesticated us. We were meant to be out there, moving, traveling, wandering. I think something dies inside when we just go through the daily cycle of traveling to work and then traveling home.

That’s one reason why I loathe settling down – getting that HDB, that car, that dog….

We were not meant to live like that. Working just to pay off that flat, those wheels, those bills.

Like my sister would say, we are in cages, it is just that ours look nicer.

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My GF Does Not Allow Me To Talk To Her When I Play DOTA

This was overheard at a dinner last night.

Guy: My gf does not allow me to talk to her when I play DOTA.

Everyone: Why?

Guy: She said I don’t concentrate.

Everyone: Is she right?

Guy: Of course not. I’m definitely concentrating on my game.

Overheard

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I Once Loaned A Friend $2000 For A Computer

I once loaned a friend $2000 to buy a computer. It was in university and she called me asking if I could help her with the amount because she wanted to collect her laptop. Being a close friend, I acquiesced to the request. A short while later, we had a major argument and she offered to return the money.

I refused.

I refused because I feared the return of the money was a way for her to delineate where our friendship would never be the same again if not totally ended.

When I passed her the money, it was not as a gift. I expected that one day when I really needed $2000, she would be able to help me by providing that sum. Yet it wasn’t really a loan because I had hoped the money would be with her as indefinitely as possible – it was my childish way of hoping that no matter what happened with our friendship, I would still have a tenuous place in her life.

There was another friend who I covered for whenever we went out. We weren’t exactly dating and she paid lip-service to the concept of going Dutch by always saying, “I’ll pay you back later”. Of course, later never happened.

I had a bitter fallout with this second friend and in the aftermath of the fallout, I asked for a certain amount of money she had promised to return.

It was a most ungentlemanly thing to do. Here is the thing – each time I paid ‘first’, I knew then at that moment the money was gone. And I did it willingly because I considered her a friend, I understood her financial situation and I enjoyed her company. In my bitterness, I behaved poorly.

I always look back at that moment and reflect on why I reacted that way. And I realized this – there is a subconscious tabulation that goes on in a lot of us. The better ones among us have risen beyond such petty considerations but for me, and I think it would not be presumptuous to say for most of us as well, we are constantly struggling with the tallying that indicates if we are losing out in any relationship.

When a particular relationship ends or if we think it is going to end, we want to ensure we don’t leave it any poorer than we started.

No one wants to be made to look like a chum. It doesn’t matter if someone did it intentionally or accidentally, we always tend to assume the worse that we have been played like a fiddle.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this – like what my parents always advised, never lend what you cannot give. I know some people will say that the value of the amount is important. I disagree. When does the value become too big? When it hits the thousands? When it hits the hundreds? Each of us have different comfort levels to how much we are willing to lend which to me is the same as how much we are willing to give.

So whatever the amount, the same principle applies – never lend what you cannot give.

That however is just one side of the equation. As friends, we must learn never to accept what we cannot return, even if it is a gift. Accept gifts graciously, and always be mindful that as a friend, we should reciprocate. No one should ever dictate how we reciprocate but as friends we need to be aware that not all gifts are equal and not everyone has the same expectations of a friendship.

If we cannot meet those expectations, we should graciously decline no matter how much the giver insists.

The thing is I think sympathy for the lady in the recent kerfuffle changed when the issue of money was brought up because what was happening suddenly fitted into the worldview a lot of us, especially the males and me included, have about women.

We have become so cynical that we immediately assume the worse of the lady and also the guy.

That worldview is that all women are cock-teasing, attention-seeking, emotional-manipulators that try to squeeze money, energy and time out of us guys and string us along when they know they can milk us.

The other worldview reflected was that while all guys may be horny bastards who think only with their dicks, there is the certain (?naive) hope that it was possible for a guy to help a girl just because he wanted to (and felt it was the right chivalrous thing to do) and not because he expected any reciprocation in love or lust and that a girl could be free to treat a guy how she wants, no matter how it might seem like signals, without her having to restrain herself and tell herself that she got to treat guys differently – Ladies want the freedom while leaving the onus of handling her actions totally to the guys.

Neither of these worldviews can be said to be wrong. Each of us are defined very much by our own experiences and that has shaped our worldview.

The truth is that there are individuals who exist on the extremes of both worldviews. There are guys who are horny bastards who will take advantage of girls whenever they can. There are girls who are cock-teasing, gold-digging sluts who know how to use their sexuality to manipulate guys. There are girls who are totally clueless about what might be appropriate and gender-specific behavior. There are guys who are totally inept with women that if Jessica Alba stripped in front of them, they will wonder if there is a hidden camera meant to play a joke or who will blush and quickly grab a towel to cover her up to protect her dignity.

Most of us just fall somewhere in between.

Sadly, when we were born, our birth certificates didn’t come with a play-by-play walk-through on how to circumnavigate the quagmire that is human relationships.

We are all trying to make sense of the rules. Unfortunately, we all play by different rules. It is hard to figure out who is playing with which rule and a lot of times, our judgment is clouded by our hope of what rules other people are playing by.

It is also a human weakness to look for the people who have given us the most attention in our times of need when everyone else seems to forsake us even when we cannot reciprocate their level of attention and kindness. People get led on not because two people go out as friends but because one asks another to do more than what should be asked for when there is an imbalance in feelings.

Are we taking advantage of these givers or are these givers using us to validate their own place in the world?

There are no winners or losers, only victims in this tragic comedy we call life.

In the end, when the dust settles and the mob rides away to the next town and another spectacle, what really remains is just two people who have been hurt and are still grappling with their place in the world.

Musing about Life

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Water Found On Mars !!!!!!!!

Awesome twitter message announcing the discovery of water in the form of ice on Mars. The Phoenix Mars Mission site is here and the the press release about the discovery is here.

It seems strange that our generation doesn’t seem as excited (I’m guilty too of the lack of interest, but no MORE) about what our fellow human beings are trying to discover and learn from Mars as compared to the generation that witnessed the space race and man going to the moon (yes, i do believe it happened).

Mars … here we come!!!!

The cynic in me says – Mars … here we come!!!! to rape you just like we did with Earth…. Hope the last inhabitants left us some goodies….

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Ronaldo Was A Flop At Euro 2008

It would probably not be wrong to say that Ronaldo failed to shine at Euro 2008. If anything, with all the hype around him and his performance with Manchester United last season, this tournament was a dismal failure for him.

There is one reason why I think he didn’t perform as well as he did in Manchester United and why I think if Real Madrid wants to offer $100 million pounds for him, Manchester United should ask for more and then sell him.

Portugal and Real Madrid don’t have Rooney, Tevez and Park Ji Sung.

More specifically, they don’t have players who are willing to lose the limelight to Ronaldo, work for the team, take the attention of defenders away from Ronaldo and track back when Ronaldo forgets his defensive responsibilities.

Manchester United is a different team when Rooney doesn’t play.

My friend has a theory about this. There are players who are the base and there are players who are the multipliers. Ronaldo is a multiplier more than a base – he scores and create goals because of all the running by other players around him.

Rooney is a base.

Those who play DOTA would know what I mean. An item that does 1.5 times agility in damage would be near to useless if the hero is an intel hero. Rooney adds the agility. Ronaldo is the item.

One season doesn’t make a legend despite all the records that might have been broken. Ronaldo and his advisers would be remiss if they buy into the hype.

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Thanks To Ogilvy & Brian, I Learned Of Someone Cool – Yasmin Ahmad

I self-invited myself to an event organized by Ogilvy to showcase the latest short film commissioned by MCYS (i.e. Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports). Brian (who should never be hired as a door-bitch because he is just too welcoming) was gracious enough to let me attend the event.

I am glad I did.

We got to watch a selection from the body of work by director Yasmin Ahmad (who has a blog here) and I understand why she is an award-winning director.

Films aren’t just meant to saturate our senses with sights and sounds or impress us with special effects. Correction. Good and memorable films (which is different from blockbuster entertaining) don’t just saturate our senses with sights and sounds and impress us with special effects. Good and memorable films lead us on an emotional journey – they remind us what it means to be human and evoke strong emotions that help us cope, appreciate and understand our lives on earth.

I got all the good stuff from her work.

My favorite is this commercial ‘Tan Hon Ming in Love’.

I really like this kid – the innocent, authentic, unbridled expressions and responses were a joy to watch. It reminded me of what it was like to be young and untarnished by the expectations and ‘rules’ of society.

The final message was a powerful one phrased in a simple question.

The film that was commissioned is embedded below.

I really like this short film.

For one thing, it didn’t seem like the typical family campaign commercial. I haven’t seen all the commercials ever put out by my government but my impression has always been that the government likes to showcase only the idealized version of a family – 2 parents, 2.something siblings and 1 dog.

The film doesn’t have such a family. It just consists of a father and a daughter. The family seems incomplete and thus imperfect and the girl a little spoiled yet I think it captures the way we experience our family relations for most, if not all, of us.

For one thing, the way we experience our relationships with the members of our family isn’t a one-to-many thing. It is still very much a one-to-one thing. How I feel about my father is largely based on what happens between me and him and not how he has been an awesome husband to my mom or how he has also been a long-suffering dad to my sis (and me). When we talk about love in the family, it isn’t always a group-hug experience. In this film, the mother has been removed such that only one relationship is in focus and in this one relationship I am able to see a little of my relationship with my dad, a little of my relationship with my mom and ultimately the love that is in my family.

Yasmin Ahmad said that a lot of times when we like something, we find reasons to justify why we like it. That might be the case with this film however I feel that Yasmin choosing that flat to be the family’s home was an inspired choice which allowed us to easier frame our perspectives and hang our own emotions. I don’t think she chose the setting to target at any particular demographic or thug any particular heartstrings but I really like the flat chosen and I think my peers will too.

I don’t think it would be presumptuous to say that for most in my generation and our parents, that flat was very much the setting for our early family experience. We were the generation that grew into prosperity on the back of the efforts of those before us. It is my generation that are the ones who are now at the age of getting married and starting a family and I think this film has the potential to speak to a lot of us.

It did for me.

The film reminded me of the most poignant memory I have of my parents and their love for me.

The first major purchase my parents got when we moved to our first home was an encyclopedia set. I can still remember sitting on the sparse living room floor with the salesperson showing the World Book set of encyclopedias. We had nothing and out of the so many things my parents could have bought for themselves or to make the house nicer, they chose instead to buy a World Book encyclopedia set. We think nothing of buying an item that costs a few thousand dollars now but I can only imagine the sacrifice that was made to ensure they could buy that set of books in the hope that my future would be better.

At that time, our home had next to nothing. Yet in its emptiness, the hope that filled the flat was tangible. We believed life was good and could be better.

Things have changed for a lot of us in my generation. The focus has shifted. Looking at this film, I believe it can be a good starting point, if not a valuable addition, to the conversation each of us have within ourselves as we grapple with our, for some of us strained, relationships with our parents and find the direction for the rest of our lives.

The informal Q&A session was a hoot. Yasmin Ahmad is definitely the sort of person you want at any party.

Her advice to be a good film-maker – don’t try to control everything, produce a good script and have excellent casting.

She also can be counted as a member of the unofficial Vivian Balakrishnan fan club which my sis and mom are part of. Cute and cool are words that have been used to describe him.

I also managed to meet mintea, rinaz (the one with the cute avatar) and juzzywuzzy. I especially enjoyed the jokes juzzywuzzy shared with Brian and me. Which is the smelliest creature in the sea?

Musing about Life
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My Comment To InsanePoly’s Post

My comment to this post was flagged as spam so I’m putting it here for me to remember. I have more to write about his post.

If the medical screening is done properly, we can intensify training because we know these dudes can handle it. I agree with you. Too much time is wasted only because there is two years to waste it. I think schedule can be cut to 1 to 1.5 years. I think training also can be harder. One thing I have lost after NS but at times can retrieve is the ability to dig down, suck it up and push past what I think are my limits. This was something that I got from a period of tough training. Sadly, that officer who was in-charge at that time is the kind that doesn’t get promoted to high up.

Anyway, a lot of time, screening is about money. More money, higher chance of downgrading. Or if you play sports, you confirm can get an easier life. Sad that the priorities of National Service can get muddled up so easily.

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Another Study That Supports The Homosexuality Is Due To Biology Stand

Via metafilter – there is an interesting study about how a homosexual’s brain represents that of the opposite sex.

Do check out the metafilter link for the comments and more links relevant to this discussion.

Do note also while reading this that there is a difference between causation and correlation.

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Guy Wants To Have Only 100 Things In His Life

I’ve been thinking about this issue for some time especially since I’m moving and faced with what seems like an insurmountable task to pack my stuff. Stuff. Why do I need so much of them?

This guy wants to whittle down his possessions to only 100 things. It is admirable. Moving gives me the chance to finally do something like that.

Related Time article here.

via:kottke

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WTF… Al Gore Has A Blog

This is probably old news considering the blog has entries as earlier as February 2007, but this is the first time I’m coming across ex-Vice-President Al Gore’s blog. WTF. This is awesome on so many levels.

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Do Not Watch “The Happening”

Spoilers ahead for the movie “The Happening” but if you have considered watching the movie, reading this review might save you from wasting money and time. Be warned – lots of spoilers.

via:kottke

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Our Very Own Radio DJs…

Boys and girls, be careful of the friends you make. Sometimes their coolness and awesomeness is so off the charts that they will introduce you things that totally suck you in and make you wonder how you ever worked at your desk without it.

Introducing my two DJs for today:

TheSkinnyFists @ muxtape
litford @ muxtape

muxtape is just so awesome when you find people with great taste in music. Don’t like what those DJs choose for the radio, well, now you have an alternative when sitting at your desk.

thanks litford - my ears are now yours.

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Beautiful Pictures Of HDB Flats

This Flickr group has some beautiful pictures where HDB flats are the subject matter. The photographers have totally captured an important part of the Singaporean experience.

I really like these sort of pictures.

Didn’t put any of the pictures here because the rights were reserved. Do explore the group.

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Bugs That Eat Waste & Excrete Oil

Interesting article about work being done to create bugs that eat waste and excrete oil over at TimesOnline.

To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.

The interesting thing is that they aren’t trying to change the whole system, just what’s distributed though the system.

What is most remarkable about what they are doing is that instead of trying to reengineer the global economy – as is required, for example, for the use of hydrogen fuel – they are trying to make a product that is interchangeable with oil. The company claims that this “Oil 2.0” will not only be renewable but also carbon negative – meaning that the carbon it emits will be less than that sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made.

Now, they only need to figure out how to mass produce this stuff.

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The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

Thanks to this post by busycowboy I learned of this video – The Story of Stuff.

It is a great video and the site is filled with important information.

The blog is here.

Personally, I like the absence of her holier-than-though attitude which seems to be a defining trait in a lot of green activists.

You get the point. Everyone needs to find their own path; find the projects that we each can each do well and which excites us. There are so many options that we don’t even have to do something boring! And there are loads of organizations that can help provide direction on specific issues once we get started.

….

It is less important what we chose to do than how we do it. To make all these activities add up to more than a list of “teachnological tweakings at the margins,”as Maniates describes it, whatever we each do must be part of a larger effort. We’ve got to get toxics out of cosmetics and reform the health care system and build local community and stop incinerators not as ends in themselves but as part of strengthening an active democracy, as part of transforming the current system to be in the service of community health, ecological stability and social justice.

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Instead Of Just Renovating A House, Designer Creates An Amazing Scavenger Hunt

This is just so amazing. I’m sure the kids were inspired beyond measure. Article is here.

The apartment is quite attractive and perfectly functional in all the typical ways, and its added features remained largely unnoticed by its inhabitants for quite some time after they moved in, in May of 2006. Then one night four months later, Cavan Klinsky, who is now 11, had a friend over. The boy was lying on the floor in Cavan’s bedroom, staring at dozens of letters that had been cut into the radiator grille. They seemed random — FDYDQ, for example. But all of a sudden the friend leapt up with a shriek, Ms. Sherry said, having realized that they were actually a cipher (a Caesar Shift cipher, to be precise), and that Cavan’s name was the first word.

via:metafilter

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The iPhone Sucks – This Conversation Sounds Very Familiar….

Friend A: The iPhone sucks.

Friend B: Why?

Friend A: The touch-screen sucks.

Friend B: Why?

Friend A: When you are talking on the phone and you press your face against the screen, the call will disconnect.

Friend B: Have you used the iPhone before?

Friend A: No. But I’ve used other phones with touch-screens and this happens. So I’m pretty sure it will happen with the iPhone.

Friend B: But you have never used the iPhone? What if the iPhone has the ability to detect when it is your face pressed against the screen and not you trying to cut the call?

Friend A: Prove to me it has it.

Friend B: I can’t. I’ve never used the phone.

Friend A: So, it doesn’t have the ability.

Friend B: No. It might have. It might not have. The point is that none of us can be sure since both of us have never used the iPhone. So you cannot say the iPhone sucks because of that unless you have used the phone or it has been documented that this happens.

Friend A: Prove to me that it doesn’t happen.

Friend B: I’m not making any assertions. You are. You need to prove it happens.

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Sounds like a conversation between an atheist and an evangelist.

Evangelist: There is a God.

Atheist: You just can’t say there is a God. Prove it.

Evangelist: Prove to me there isn’t a God.

Atheist: What? Why? I’m not the one claiming the existence of someone no one can see, touch or hear.

Evangelist: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Atheist: True. True. So you can’t prove there is a God.

Evangelist: You can’t prove there is no God too.

Atheist: Yeah. Of course. But why should I?

Evangelist: Well, you need to if you say there is no God.

…….

I understand why people just go to war over such stuff. Killing is so much simpler then hoping that another human being has the capacity for rationale thought.

Whispering from the Cubicle

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