Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Bono, the king of Ireland." + Burn after reading

A follow up to Tina Fey's parody of Sarah Palin last week on SNL and this time, an interview between Sarah Palin and Katie Couric. The interview did take place between the two ladies in real life and she made a lot of guffaws then, esp her take on foreign policy. Good stuff. Tina Fey's really good as usual and Amy Poehler's brilliant as well with her deadpan looks.

Also a movie I want to catch - a dark comedy about the CIA , with George Clooney and Brad Pitt (love this combination, ala Ocean's series). Burn after reading. Opening here next week.

The beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?

Woke up this morning feeling fine, went for a morning run out to get my errands done. Promised myself yesterday tt I will try to get out some and not get cooped up at home replying to emails and getting buried in my mugging/cranky/grouchy mode.

Morning was going great, felt great to be out and about and seeing kids running around after they were done with Children's Day celebrations - till I got an sms rant from A about the increase in electricity charges - saw that on Yahoo Singpore before I turned in last night, but I did not realise that it would be more than 20%! And it comes into effect tomorrow! Personally, I think that the reasons cited - "increase in fuel charges" and "The EMA feels there is more room for Singaporeans to conserve and use less energy." are sophist justifications as Singaporeans are bracing up to face a bearish end of 2008. With unemployment rates and the economy looking forboding to say the least and the recent transportation hike, I really do find it difficult to justify a 20% increase in electricity charges, with notice given the day before it is implemented.

Also read online abt the passing of former Worker's party Sec Gen JB Jeyaretnam this morning as well. Though I'll admit to not being well versed in local politics,and I do not condone JBJ's brimstone political stance as well, I do think that given the current standing of how daily expenditure of the neccessities keep increasing based on weak justifications from the incumbent, perhaps a stronger opposition presence is neccessary to play the role of check and balance in the current political climate. We are used to the usual daily bemoanings and debates about life in Spore but surely this latest electricity hike warrants a closer inspection of the rate of inflation which we are experiencing here as homeowners?

Suddenly I feel a sense of irony when I compare the news on Electricity hike + Passing of a prominent opposition party member + Financial turmoil as American lawmakers reject bailout with the daily horoscope I received in my Yahoo inbox this morning: "You can feel restrictions easing up and your good energy returning -- it's a good time to coast for a bit until you see the most obvious course of action approaching. Things are just about to pick up!" - Yea... right.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Have a Dream - ABBA

Been refreshing my ABBA songs lately coz I'm attending ABBA Mania this Sunday! *woots*

Love this song, it's lovely, beautiful and hopeful and I need a dose of that! It also sets the setting for the dreamy boat scene in Mama Mia the movie. :)

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream
I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream
I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream
I'll cross the stream - I have a dream

Wake me up when Sept ends

After a week of endless mugging, which left me feeling slightly demoralised as the more I learn, the more I realise my inadequacies. Brain saturated with information left me with a bad case of information overload. But I was glad it was a week of self imposed exile well spent, though there's the niggling feeling at the back of my mind that I could have done more. I also had a crash course on the GP over the weekend from friends, though I passed on the F1 parties - somehow F1 and mugging mode dun really mesh well. Thanks for the invites though. :)

And before I know it, it's the end of September. It's been an eventful month, with crazy stuff happening in the beginning of the month, mid Autumn, school, work stuff, and then the crazy mugging sessions which are still on going. Think for myself it's been a a month of self doubt and uncertainty as well, grappling and coming to terms with certain issues. Some of them I will need some counsel from friends and family - will break the news to them soon and get their take and hopefully support and advice as well.

One thing I like about this time of the year - new seasons of old favs come back, in the form of Gossip Girl, Heroes and House. No spoilers here, but I will say that Gossip Girl satiates my appetite for fashion and music (they have a fantastic soundtrack!), Heroes satiates my appetite for my inner comic superhero and the tension between good and evil - and making difficult choices. House's brilliance and uncanny insight into human nature, not just the human condition, might need some getting used to, but good stuff there.

Just received an sms from a friend facing problems asking to meet on Wed for breakfast and a tete a tete session. Realise tt I might have been so wrapped up with stuff in my life tt I might have seemed unavailable for my friends. Feel bad - I am guilty of being one of those so wrapped up in our daily lives that we forget to stop and see if there are ppl ard us who need us.

I'm currently reading this fab book "Eat Pray Love" which received accolades from many women, including Toni Collete and Hilary Clinton, was featured on Oprah and there are talks of a Julia Roberts movie - am taking my time to savour this book, partly because I'm stuck at the food descriptions by the protagonist/author in Italy! Think BFF C made an apt and great read (so far)!

I like this quote about being alone after a failed relationship(s):
"When I get lonely these days, I think: So be lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience."

Another quote from Eat Pray Love, which kinda encapsulates the author's quinxotic writing style, which makes me break into smiles in between the sad bits.

Chapter (Bead): 27
Context: Liz and Sophie are at the Pizzeria da Michele in Naples eating their margherita pizza with double mozzarella.

"I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with this pizza..."

Now I really need to check out this Pizzeria de Michele!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Tampopo Deli Lie/Liar. Tsk tsk.

Been crazy busy lately with lotsa stuff happening at different fronts no time to really sit and blog but I just had to share this experience with you.

Tampopo Deli @ Liang Court was featured in Urban two weeks back, which was interesting as C and myself checked out the place the week before, upon recommendations from P and T who worked in the area. The time we dropped by it was late so their famous cream puffs were sold out. Was in the area again the Sat after the Urban article came out which explicitly stated that reservations for the cream puffs are taken. Therefore I placed a call that morning before I went down, only to be told that reservations are NOT taken and that we had to go down to try our luck.

Playing by the rules, I went down to the deli and was informed that the cream puffs were sold out. I was kinda bummed out but well, they are just cream puffs and I was trying my luck. Just as I was about to leave though, I remembered the reservations bit mentioned in the Urban article and did an about turn to inform them of potential other customers like myself and also to clarify about the reservations bit.

It was then when things got interesting.

Me: Excuse me, I read in the newspapers that customers are able to reserve and if this wasn't the case you might want to inform your customers as well as the newspaper that this isn't so.

Staff (a Japanese lady): Oh, we do not read the newspapers. We do not take reservations for the cream puffs. We make and sell as and when.

Me (curiosity piqued): Oh, so you make several batches a day? When is your next batch coming out? I'll be around the area anyway, I can come down later.

Staff: Oh I'm not sure, I do not think there will be anymore today. Our oven can bake up to 18 at one go.

Me: Oh, can I leave my number here for that batch then?

Staff: No you can't. (Looks at the room beside the counter where the bakers are - a female baker came out to see what was going on.)

Baker: Yes may I help you?

Me: Yes I was wondering if you can tell me when the next batch of cream puffs will be ready.

Baker: Oh there will not be anymore cream puffs today.

Me: You mean you have stopped making them for the day?

Baker: Oh no, we have a reservation for 100 cream puffs so we do not have any cream puffs today.

Me(gave the staff a quizzical look): But I thought you guys do not take reservations?

Staff(interjecting quickly): That reservation came in 3 weeks ago, we still take reservations then.

*But I did not mention when the newspaper article in Urban was published.*

Baker (sensing something was amiss from the look I was giving them): We do take reservations from Mon-Fri. Just not over the weekends.

Me: So we call beforehand to place our reservations?

Baker: No, you come down and make your reservation and then maybe you walk around and come back later to collect.

Me: I see.

Baker: Maybe you can come down tomorrow to make your reservation?

Me: This is not necessary, I won't be coming down at all.



To climb on my moral high horse, I can't fathom why the staff needed to lie to begin with? To increase the exclusivity of the cream puffs? And she looked so embarrassed when her lie crumbled before her and when I gave her that look. And what's the point of making reservations when you have to go down to make them? And lying about the newspaper? I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt there but seriously?! *gets off her moral high horse* On a more serious note though, as a customer, I think that being lied to is worse than telling me you've ran out of cream puffs for the day - combine the two and you have a killer combination for a bad reputation.

No matter the light and fluffy cream puffs, I left Tampopo Deli with a bad taste in my mouth.

Moral of the story: What's worse than the act of lying? A bad liar.

Monday, September 22, 2008

SNL Palin vs Clinton - you go Tina Fey!

Came across references about the debut of the latest season for SNL last week - trying to get hold of this skit partly because I love Tina Fey since I saw her on 30 Rock. Been trying to get the entire skit on Youtube, unsuccessfully though. Managed to get it from NBC. Tina Fey's really brilliant, with her sharp wit, quick comebacks, and self deprecating humor. The resemblance to Palin was astounding too, which made the skit such a hit! From her acceptance speech today at the Emmys today (which she brought home 3 statues and lost her purse), am glad we are rooting for the same presidential candidate too! :)

more about "SNL: Palin/Clinton Parody", posted with vodpod

Btw, the pop ups for Youtube these days are getting on my nerves! Grrr.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Omg the 70s and 80s are back!

Was in the kitchen preping dinner when I heard this song. Curiosity piqued, I went to check it out: what was a song from the 70s/80s doing on the telly during prime time? This song totally brings me back to the days we call retro, though retro's a pretty tricky term these days, with my students telling me that Britney's earlier songs from the 90s are also "retro". ;)

Love the song, not so the ad, even if it's Gucci by Gucci. ;)

P.s: Who would have known that they originally wanted to title the song "Pain in the Ass"?!

Heart Of Glass by Blondie
Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind
Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind

In between
What I find is pleasing and I'm feeling fine
Love is so confusing there's no peace of mind
If I fear I'm losing you it's just no good
You teasing like you do

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out had a heart of glass
Seemed like the real thing, only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind

Once I had a love and it was divine
Soon found out I was losing my mind
It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind

Lost inside
Adorable illusion and I cannot hide
I'm the one you're using, please don't push me aside
We coulda made it cruising, yeah

Yeah, riding high on love's true bluish light

Once I had a love and it was a gas
Soon turned out to be a pain in the ass
Seemed like the real thing only to find
Mucho mistrust, love's gone behind

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Something's coming.

Been feeling under the weather, been bothered with a flu which refuses to go away; it just gets better or worse. Which also affects my mood. Lotsa stuff going on in work and other areas. It's good to keep myself busy, but at the same time I just feel so tired and bleah. I hate feeling this way!! C thinks I need to get some vits - think I just need a good long rest. K told mi last week that I am moving too fast for my health. It's nice for you to offer to accompany me to the doc's, but I think I can make my flu-ish way to the doc's if things come to that state. But thanks - appreciate the kind thoughts and generous offers!

Wrote a post earlier this week, but I guess I wasn't sure if I am in a good state to make judgements therefore I did not post it. Maybe some stuff aren't meant to be posted now. Been bogged with emails from students all week because of the test tomorrow. I just want to provide them the support they need as well as help them with the questions which come up in the course of their revision. I've been trying my best to reply them, though I'm really feeling tired. L came down to sch to pass to me my present as she will not be around till Nov. I will miss her so. First thing which she exclaimed when she saw me was how much I've shrunk. The recent bout of stuff tt's been happening does not help at all. We talked, even though we have not seen each other since last Dec. It was amazing how in tune we are with each other. She also talked me thru my decision and also gave me some much needed encouragement and insight. She was there at the right place at the right time. Thanks babe. *hugz*

Saw the HTC Touch Pro, seems pretty interesting! Something like the Sidekick in the States and so often seen in GG, but more polished in appearance and functionalities. Now the iPhone just seems... less attractive. Steve Jobs' introduction of Apple's latest offerings seem to be the same old, not sure how much the iPod Nano with the accelerometer's going to make a difference for small screens, even with the modified dimensions for the new iPod Nanos.

Heard this song on the televsion - reminded me of how much I used to love it.

想念你的歌 (張惠春)
那時候負氣 說走就走
所以埋怨我 沒打聽你的下落

躲起來邊哭邊說 I MISS YOU
還捨不得把 你封鎖

星光閃爍 如何擁有
雖然 有時候 會寂寞
牆上時鐘 停格
用悲傷 的脈搏寫成 想念你的歌

該怎麼才能 讓你懂呢
誰對誰錯已經模糊了 忘記了
我們都處理 得有點笨拙
畢竟從來沒有 像這一次如此愛過

常常只有一個念頭 I MISS YOU

Friday, September 5, 2008

This is so apt!


Someone you might not expect gives you the respect you know you deserve. It's a good time for you to take bold steps and assert yourself in places you may have been submissive in the past.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And hope returns

It's been a crazy week and I might take a break from everything to focus on my research and my work soon. It does seem like there's just dark clouds everywhere and not a silver lining in sight. Things have been rough for a couple of close friends I'm also trying to be there for them. To top it off, I've taken ill... again. Flu's gotten much worse since Tues night - the tummy ache and headaches are not helping as well. :( And my parents are out of town this week, so it's just gonna be mi and my bro. Thing about staying at home is how I tend to get domesticated and start cleaning up my place, cooking for myself, taking care of the groceries for my bro and myself. Which make being sick at this time kinda sucky. I just feel like staying at home all day to rest - with or without food. Ha.

However, my mum's been a real ball this time, she was thinking of not going away in case I get worse, but I insisted that she go anyways and that I can take care of myself *crosses fingers* Figured this will be a good exercise in independence since I might have to do tt this time next year. :) Realised some stuff this week as well which boosted my spirits- how T really thinks that I'm one of her closest friends, even though we've not talked much recently and how great some of my friends really are. Received smses asking if I've seen a doc yet and also how someone wants to take leave on my bday. Touching stuff really.

Which kinda makes the thought of leaving Spore tougher. Think this will be the last time I'd ever talk about plans for next year, coz as T says, saying things out might jinx it. Why leave things to chance? As I was on my way to sch yesterday morning, I keep asking myself this: where will I be next year? Will every day I spend in Spore from now on be the last of such days for some time? Makes me wistful and sad, and this is before I meet my grandparents to check on them tomorrow while my Mum's away. S once asked me why is leaving such an easy decision for me. It isn't. I struggle with it everyday. The inertia to stay is present, definitely. And I duno how I can leave if I do. I think I will leave it to the guy up there from now on, if I shld stay or go.

To end on a happy note: I received an email from a prolific US researcher in SNS who's going to put up my reference for the recent AMIC conference on her website - she also asked me to send her a copy of my paper for her personal reference! :) Yay! I almost did a tap dance ard my room when I saw that - for me, it's about the small victories now. :)

Singing in the Rain

Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly):

I'm singing in the rain
Just singing in the rain
What a glorious feelin'
I'm happy again
I'm laughing at clouds
So dark up above
The sun's in my heart
And I'm ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase
Everyone from the place
Come on with the rain
I've a smile on my face
I walk down the lane
With a happy refrain
Just singin',
Singin' in the rain

Dancin' in the rain
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I'm happy again!
I'm singin' and dancin' in the rain!

I'm dancin' and singin' in the rain...
Why am I smiling
And why do I sing?
Why does September
Seem sunny as spring?
Why do I get up
Each morning and start?
Happy and head up
With joy in my heart
Why is each new task
A trifle to do?
Because I am living
A life full of you.

"Democracy becomes a government of bullies tempered by editors. "

This quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson has been going on and on in my mind since I got started on the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society (AIMS) report., which included excerpts from the seminar on the Proposal for Internet Freedom. When I asked another blogger for his take, his response was a "no point, they are not interested in what we have to say, they have more or less made up their minds." Which was interesting and was reflected in the AIMS consultation paper as well, where focus groups revealed that ".... were also skeptical of the Government’s intention to gather feedback."

My colleagues have been throwing ideas and opinions via email these past few days and some of them have been very interesting. And the significance of the 'liberalisation' of the Hong Lim Speakers Corner has not been lost on us. Though stationing reporters there throughout the evening seemed to drive home the point that there's still a lack of uptake of people coming up to discuss issues in the public sphere. This is an attempt to open up more physical spaces for people to gather and discuss issues which matter to them, a concept which has been around since the time of Socrates and replicated successfully in places such as London's Hyde Park. I remembered being fascinated on my first trip to London and I saw picket fences and peaceful demonstrations outside places like Westminister Abbey. But will this work here?

While I think that it is laudable for AIMS to come up with this report, there were some portions which raised questions for me. While they are advocating community particpation and engagement, they seemed cautious as to how to approach it. There seems to be a tenacious situation where the government recognises the difficulty in regulating the internet yet hesitant in allowing the netizens free rein. There were interesting local and overseas case studies from S. Korea, Australia, US, China and the UK but still I did not see anything concrete in the steps AIMS was going to implement with regard to this.

Also, their hesitancy and cautiousness was displayed in the course of the report, when words like "radical" were used which protrayed new media in a negative light - this was something which my colleague highlighted and I totally agreed. This seems to run afoul of what they emphasised - keeping an open mind, when dealing with new media.

The report mainly goes through issues such as e-engagement, online political content, protection of minors and intermediary liabilities, which are pertinent issues as most bloggers here, the digital natives, still fall within the category of minor and might not be aware of the legal responsibilities which come with blogging.

After reading the Straits Times today, I think that the Bloggers 13 did raise some interesting points, but I think that advocating for free speech online might be too much of a leap in a country which has never had a reputation for free speech advocacy in real life. Why should that be any different online, even after acknowledging the affordances of the internet?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fairytale Dystopia

Been doing a lot of reflective thinking lately, where I want to go in life from here, the choices I have to make, the sacrifices I have to make and trying to reconcile myself to them. Suddenly I am thinking wat JW said a couple of months before - that he could see that I'm trying to mentally prep myself for what's to come. Who knows where I'll be and what I'll be doing at this time next year?

One issue in particular keeps coming to mind - one which is wistful and more than a little sad. I've been changing my choices and plans over and over again because of this - and yet... . Maybe wat G said is true - some things are meant to run its natural course, till it meets its natural death. Maybe this is what closure is. We are meant to make the same mistake over and over again, despite the advice from others and that little voice in our heads. Till one day when everything falls into place.

Watched Wall.E with C yesterday - while I was all enamored with the love story between the robots, she as discomfited by the not so subtle hints at consumerism and the damage that we are doing to the environment, which is partly fueled by affluence and industrialisation. Guess this shows the difference between us, ha. However, the more I think about it, the more this innocuous cartoon might well be one of the darkest cartoons I've ever watched, some sort of fairytale dystopia. Like C put it - "Imagine Nemo swimming in a polluted sea!" And I'm not sure I like that either. I smsed JW and G that us humans really do seem to have a knack for destruction and destroying everything we come into contact with. And JW agreed, even quoting Morpheus in The Matrix.

Been having this nagging tummyache since last week, but I'm still resisting going to the docs - maybe I shld let it run its natural course yea? Maybe it's stress or something.

I like listening to Christmas songs to cheer myself up - and with the dreary weather today, it reminds me a lot of Christmas in Spore! And I miss listening to Jewel - she has a v nice tone to her voice!