05 September 2016

Dinner Conversations: Yuan Tengfei 袁腾飞

And so... another dinner conversation, another topic. And somehow, due to the location of a monitor on the dining table (I can only assume it doubles up as a work table during non-meal times)... we started talking about movies, etc. and my buddy shows me this particular guy's videos on movies and his take - Yuan Teng Fei. He is what you get when you mix a history teacher with great story telling skills.

And it was just so cool! This is a guy, who takes a movie, typically a historical one (yes, he really was a history teacher before) and he starts analysing the movie. Comparing it to what actually happened historically, events and persons. He even goes into details on the costume and props, what is valid and what is not.

I mean, how many times have you watched movie / tv drama, historical one, and there is some vague thought at the back of your head about... hmm... I wonder if this really happened historically or they are just taking artistic license... or ... last time they wear clothes like this? For real? Or... this era got metal already? or this era got this kind of gun meh? So advanced ah?...

This guy.. answers ALL these questions. So for example the snippet that I watched was on Last Samurai. And we all know how Hollywood has absolutely no idea about what happened in Japan or China right? Script writer in Hollywood does not a good historian make.

So.. right from the start, he starts to relate about the movie, the context, the setting, then he moves on to talk about what's right, what's not, what stands out. He also makes relation to what was happening in other parts of the world, which affected whatever it was (plot, props, costumes, speech, etc) that is happening in movie.

So... I am going to have to find more time to watch more but for now, I think this is sheer awesomeness. I mean, if you watch this, you can start understanding history and it just makes for such a fun learning journey. Isn't this better than just nodding off in class, wondering what is so great about history and why we have to actually take it as a subject?

And in case you are wondering, the link is here: https://www.youtube.com/user/tengfeiofficial

Now, there are alot of political undertones in his story telling, and also, he goes hardcore historian in some videos (not all are based on the "movie approach" and he also goes on tours where he talks about the history of the place, oh how I wish I can go with him on a trip like this...

Go watch it! If you have the time. This guy is sheer awesomeness... if he was better looking, I would be in love (Yes, I know, I am shallow! hahahahaha)

01 September 2016

Game Review: Pokémon GO

Game: Pokemon Go
Started Playing: August 2016
Current Level: 21

Venusaur, Charizard, Blastoise, Pikachu, and many other Pokémon have been discovered on planet Earth! 
Now’s your chance to discover and capture the Pokémon all around you—so get your shoes on, step outside, and explore the world. You’ll join one of three teams and battle for the prestige and ownership of Gyms with your Pokémon at your side.

Haha... I had wondered if it was even necessary to put up a review on the game, cuz seriously, there are so many people playing this in Singapore, that it would seem like a redundant move on my end. 

But ah well, my work is done (for now) and it's still raining... and I don't need to be amy appointment till 7.. so... here we go!

It is a super smart game. Whoever thought of merging the idea of reality with these little pocket monsters really ought to win a Noble prize. Cuz seriously, considering that there are so many games out there, that you can think out of the box and come up with a game like this, that is pure genius. I firmly believe that this is just the first step. Moving forward, a lot of other game companies will be coming up with other games.. hopefully that are even more fun!

Anyhow, on to the game: 

The good: It is really an awesome tool for socalising. I am even considering becoming a matchmaker, pulling together different groups of friends to go hunting for pokemons. Haha... but alas, I have more female than male friends, so the gender mix of my social network doesn't seem to allow for me to be cupid!

Haha.. still it is really fun and it's good for me to go around catching pokemons while I am watiing for someone or just bored somewhere. The idea of walking to hatch eggs is also awesome, god knows the number of singaporeans who have bought fitbits, only to NOT WALK (yes, we need data to back up a fact that we already know, which is that we are a super sedentary bunch who don't walk, anything more than 5 minutes to a bus/mrt is a long walk)... where fitbit failed in the encouragement portion, pokemon go has succeeded. I have never seen such a record number of Singaporeans who are out walking!!

I for one, have always walked my dog hahaha (excuses I know), but now he/they (depends on whether Xena is bunking over), gets.. TWO walks a day. Actually, no, I am trying to toilet train them, but the pokemon gives me something else to play with while walking them. Haha. So they get two walks, and they have learned to sit on command, cuz I have to catch pokemons and their tugging at the leash keeps causing me to miss (and waste pokeballs).

Discussion topics which are fun, are about how to calculate CP, IV, and use of the different things. e.g. how to fully utlise your lucky egg? Ensure that you have at least 60-65 pokemons to evolve, it takes about 30 seconds each pokemon, then each evolution will give you 500 XP. So when you activate your lucky egg (which lasts 30 minutes) you will double your XP. So that gives you 1000XP. If you just keep evolving your pokemons, that would give you 60,000 XP. Errr.. my calculations are not the most trustwothy... but really... that would be best use of your Lucky Egg. 

So stuff like that makes lunch fun (and we start plotting different location for lunch), where the nesting grounds are supposed to be. 

The Not So Good: Well, there isn't many. If anything, it is the fact that there don't allow the use of IV calculators, so that you know which of your pokemons have higher potential, so you dump those that are not strong, and build on the strong ones, so you can go to the gyms and "hoot the shit" out of the others.

So for people like me, who can't calulate, it's very tiring le. Then I have to keep going online to check which are the powerful pokemons, and which of their attacks is better.. so many things... to the point where I hit Paralysis of Analysis. Analyse until I can't decide which of my pokemons to dump. But I need to dump, else I can't catch more. HAHAHAHA... 

So I am still upset that they are banning IV calculators that sync up with the app (yah, I get that the servers are struggling with all these 3rd party apps that are pulling/pushing data)... cuz that means I have to make decisions. And I have to think. And when I game, I don't want to think so much! Hahaha... so there... 

In Summary, still an awesome game. Definitely great as a time waster (although I shouldn't waste so much of my time!) ... go download it and play. Can't go wrong. At most you will get bored and delete it. But still, you can entertain kids to at least go walk around, instead of just huddling over their phones in a fixed location. :) 

Performance Review: 林志炫 ONEtake Concert 2016 World Tour

Date: 26 August 2016
Time: 8:30 pm
Location: Suntec Expo Hall Level 6
Kaki: 5 others
Rating: 3.5 stars
Language: Chinese

Known as the King of divine voices, his voice is known around the world that is touched by heaven... Veteran taiwanese singer Terry Lin will enchant us with his lovely singing in August 26, 2016 in Singapore! 

Terry Lin will feature his One take world tour concert in Singapore - will orchestrate a premiere group of top musicians, concert master producers, sound and lighting engineers to showcase an extraordinary musical feast to all! 

From his hit song "单身情歌", "离人", "输了你赢了世界又如何", "浮誇" to "煙花易冷", you will definitely be blown away by these popular and classic chinese songs. These songs will bring you to the top of the world! 

Crafted with passion and with his amazing voice, Terry Lin One take world tour will certainly bring fans an unforgettable and heart-warming night!

Woo hoo.. it has been a long time since I have been to a performance (that and it's been a long time since I blogged...) The agreement I have with myself is, what's past is past. Let's blog moving forward!!

Anyhow, Terry Lin, the guy who is the teacher and mentor on many a singing competition, really popular nowadays, and a man who has been famous since his days with  優客李林 (Ukelele).  Well, since I am a sucker for sentimental chinese songs, of course I jumped at the chance to go for the concert. 

The 3.5 star rating was based on this. 

Terry's voice is very good and his vocal range is really amazine. His ability as a performer, is.. moderate. Well, I had already managed  my own expectations prior to the concert. The serious type, I wasn't really expecting him to do a song and dance, and frankly, if he had done that, I would have thought it really weird. 

Well, the 1.5 points that he lost was really due to the fact that while he had his rehearsed jokes and one or two witty moments, he was more focused on the delivery of the song in a pitch perfect tone and I think he has this flaw that many really talented people have... which is 自我陶醉... they sort of get so immersed within their own song and the enjoyment of it, that the audience is sort of left out. Of course, the bulk of it, he manages to draw you in on the song as well, but there were some hits and misses.

He also took on a rather experimental approach towards the choice of songs and delivery, so there were some that came out well, and some, not as well. 

The Good: His performance on Jay Chou's 烟花易冷 was so awesome, I felt that he did a better job than Jay Chou in bringing out the emotions of the song. Of course, if I'm not wrong, he had already performed this on some singing competition, so well and good. :) It was a definite plus and I am still irritated that I didn't record it down in some video form or something, so that I can listen to it again. Yes, it was that good. I also wish for his sake that he would be able to lay his hands on more of such songs, if he releases a new album, where he goes 古风... His hit songs are all really awesome as well - 离人。输了妳赢了世界又如何, etc

The Not So Good: I think he likes Jazz. I like Jazz too. But his jazzy songs were more of a miss. Maybe it is because he is not too strong a performer, so the feel of the beat and the jazz and the blues of the jazz just didn't come through. It was pretty painful watching, as something just felt off about the performance on these areas. He had mentioend 

He also had a performance to show off his voice, something like the diva song from 5th Element, but without the funky bits.... imagine that from a guy! Of course, truly impressive. but as there were no lyrics, and his was not like some italian opera or what not, it was just vocals... so... I started to get a little bored and tuned out again... 

So in summary, it was really great listening to such a gifted singer, but of course, if we are talking about entertainment value, he would lose out to other performers. One phrase that my friend made, which would quite aptly sum up the concert, "actually, his concert is abit like listening to the radio right?" his voice is good (although the concert venue is not that great in terms of acoustics) to the point where he is not the sort that needs any sort of technical assistance to make his voice sound better (or to adjust pitch), but yet, there wasn't any difference as his is not the sort where the presence and "live" nature of a concert value adds to his performance. 

Still, if what you wanted was to just relax, listen to a really good singer (not performance), close your eyes and just listen to the music, can consider. If you are looking for an entertaining fun night, he may not be your guy. :) 

31 August 2016

My 10-day Vippasanna Meditation "Retreat" at Dhamma Vikāsa, Lyu-Guei (六龜), Kaohsiung (高雄), Taiwan

And so, a couple of weeks ago, I concluded my 5th 10-day Vippasanna retreat, or in mandarin, it is referred to as 内观, roughly translated to - looking within. Maybe in another entry, I can talk about what goes on during the ten days, the schedule, so that for those who have never been, you would know what to expect.

So, intead of talking about the benefits of meditation, which I shall leave for another day, it's too long a dialogue and frankly, as it really differs from person to person, it's a topic that will really take another entry (or more!) and that would just be a quick dip in the vast ocean that it is, this shall be a Vipassanna Centre Show and Tell session!

So, the aim that I have set for mself is to at least try and attempt a 10-day course every one/two years. And thus far... the centres I have been to:

1. St John's Island, Singapore
2. Dhamma Pokhara Vipassana Meditation Centre, Nepal
3. Dhamma Malaya Vipassana Meditation Centre, Kuantan, Malaysia
4. Dhamma Sīmanta, Lamphun, Chiang Mai, Thailand
5. Dhamma Malaya Vipassana Meditation Centre, Kuantan, Malaysia (as a Server)
6. Dhamma Vikāsa, Lyu-Guei (六龜),  Kaohsiung (高雄), Taiwan

Instead, this shall be an entry to share about the facilities for Lyu-Guei, my most recent meditation. :) So for those who have never been there, what you see and know, then you can pack better and know what to expect.

While the centre is still a work in progress, it is located amongst mountains and when it is completed, I would imagine the place would be a lot bigger, with more routes for slow walks between meditation sessions. 

This a view of the rooms. It's two to a room, and old students (aka, students who have completed a ten-day course once) tend to be given priority to have a room to themselves (if there are enough space), while new students if there aren't enough rooms, would have to share two to a room. 

There are pebbled pathways so the sound of gravel crunching amidst the silence is a giveaway, especially if you are out gallivanting (when you should be meditating hahaha). 

As with most of the centres, the room is a simple affair, typically consisting of a shelf, windows, and a bed frame. In this case, as you can see in the photo below, one bed frame is higher, and the other lower. You can't quite see the instructions, but if you are asked to share, the old student is asked to take the lower bed. I can't quite remember why, but it has to do with doing with as minimal fuss and comfort, so that you can fully focus on meditation instead of creature comforts. 

Since I had the room to myself, I slept on the higher bunk HAHAHAH... Anyhow, compared to other centres, the biggest difference for the room would be that their mattresses, instead of the typical ones you can buy from the market (in Asia at least), you can see that it is a folded and standing up, is their mattress is sort of like a combination of bamboo on one side and mattress on the other. Now I wasn't quite sure which side I was supposed to sleep on, but as I went during Summer (so hot!!), I slept on the bamboo side, in the vain hope that it would be cooler. I never did flip it around to sleep on the other side so I can't comment whether that line of thinking actually worked. But I assume it did. 

It also came with one small pillow, a duvet and a thick blanket (which I assume would come in handy during autumn/winter). In this case, a packet of tissue, a torchlight (which wasn't working hahah) and hangers with clips, as well as slippers (from previous meditators I am sure, but it was all still in pretty good shape, not the gross leftover type.)

So bedsheets, pillow cases (and a small towel to put inside the pillow, again, I assume it's to catch any random liquid like SALIVA! wahahaha... if you drool when sleeping), small towel and a blanket casing are provided separately. You can get it when you first report on Day 0. 
Next up, and something I am sure females are perennially interested in... the toilet! Basic and clean (well, I cleaned it up real well before I left!), the flush works decently well, and yes ladies, there is hot water! Woo hoo!! but frankly, since it was summer, I showered with cold water... ermmm.. at a ridiculous rate of about 4 times a day. I was meeelllltttiiinnng. I know, really bad for the skin, but I really couldn't take it.

The facilities here also includes, garbage bags, toilet and tissues are provided (awesome!!) and also, laundry detergent powder and a simple cake of soap. I have really sensitive skin, so I had my own laundry liquid and toiletries. But for those who travel light, it's provided for. I am sure they can throw in a shampoo if you didn't bring that along as well. Bathroom slippers are thrown in, and two rags, which you can use for cleaning of the room or bathroom.

Moving on to meal times... which is the most look foward to moment (especially since you only get two meals a day hahahha). The instructions for Lyu-Guei were to bring along your own meal cutlery. Now, I brought along a mug, a pair chopsticks, chinese soup spoon and a bowl. Insufficient, I had to borrow more cutleries from the Course Manager.

So really bring these along.
1. Pair of chopsticks and soup spoon (or fork and spoon if you prefer that)
2. Plate (enough to put rice and 2-3 other food options) - abit like those when you buy economical rice.
3. Bowl, for soup. They always have soup. :)
4. If you really want to add this in, it would be to bring along another small plate for the fruit. But you can just squeeze that in on the side (or just hold it if it's an apple or banana) of the main plate. So it's not a deal breaker.
5. Mug - for coffee/tea. They don't have much in the form of coffee.. just instant granules, and no creamer. Somehow, I survived... bad coffee is still better than no coffee. They don't have red tea, but they did have pu-er (chinese tea). so ... tea drinkers...

And finally, they have another separate building where you can do laundry, powder and laundry boards. (Well, I don't know how to use those, so I just washed my clothes in my toilet and that was it)
Within the same area, there are also 6-7 hair dryers, so for those who have long hair, it beats lugging along your own hair dryer or air drying it, which takes a long time!

Finally, they have this very very cool machine, which was the first time I had ever seen anything like it, called a dehydrator. At least that's what is says on the machine. Now, I can't seem to find a photo (darn I should have taken a pic!) but it looks like a very small and slim washing machine, but all it does is, you put your wet clothes in and instead of having wring them dry, which really takes a lot of energy, it will will then spin dry your washed clothes for you. Voila! Just like that... it's a maching that only has the spin dry function! It was awesome as I had injured my right wrist just before meditation and I was really considering just drip drying my clothes as my wrist wasn't really up to wringing dry the clothes. Washing them was stressful enough on the wrist.

So hahaha.. for now, that's what I think is useful for sharing... I will add more if I think of anymore! :) Or leave me a comment (or just ask me la, if you know me) if you have more questions! :) I would be glad to answer them. 

19 August 2016

Game Review: Twenty

Game: Twenty
Started Playing: July 2016
Current Level: TWENTY x 15

Twenty is a colorful arcade/puzzle game that starts at 5, looks easy until 10, gets fiendish at 15 and challenges you to get to 20. Anyone can learn it, but you'll have to concentrate to make it all the way.

Wahaha! for those who follow this blog, you must have been expecting me to write a game of Pokemon Go! right? And so... I have been addicted to this game, titled Twenty...WAHAHA... yes, it's another game...  (but yes, I am also playing pokemon Go).

So anyhow, this is a weirdly addictive game, where the aim is the match tiles of the same number, so e.g. if you match 4 & 4, the tile then becomes a 5. You then look for another 5, merge the two tiles, then it becomes 6. So this goes on till you have 19 and 19, which you merge to reach the end goal of 20.

As soon as you get to tiles where you hit 15, it gets a little more complicated in that tiles can now start being linked together. So you have to move them in the block. You can see the little black bar betwen the tiles in the photos, that's the link.

Then the next challenge is to see how many 20s you can get. It is the simplest, most brainless (and yet, not as brainless as you think) game that one can play. And yet, here I am.. playing it day in and out, whenever I have some free moments on my hand. My top score is 15!! any challengers? HAHAHA...

And the one up it has over candy crush.. there are no lives. yes!!! You can just keep playing, and if you die (as in the tiles have stacked up to the point where it reaches the top, sort of like tetris), you just start again. There are no hidden terms or conditions that requires you to fork out cash or irritate your friends.

Anyhow, after some fair amount of time spent on this, I have devised this strategy! Wahaha.. for once, I have a strategy... so this is what I do...

As you can see from this image above, tips are as follows: 
1. I have got three key columns. So what I do is to constantly stack and merge tiles based on these three columns. I have to say, I started with two columns, one on the extreme right and left, but that turned out a little far, and it just takes a bit more time to move the tile from right to left, so having the interim centre column works for me. 

2. Unless it is to free up tiles that are like totally linked together (and it requires a lot of manouvering so as to even reach and free up the tiles), always move a tile only to merge it with another tile. Don't make pointless moves as that wastes precious time and your tiles are just going to stack up more. 

3. And depending on which side you prefer, have the bigger numbers (e.g. 15 and above) stacked on the left or right side of the column. Then it's much easier to move things around to get your twenty when you are very close to it. 

4. Oh, and also, always break up the links first chance you get, or it will get into one big convulated link, where you move them as one big block! that makes it very difficult to free anything up. Which pretty much means you are reaching the end of the game. Haha..

5. And last but not least... it sounds a bit of a cheater bug, but sometimes, if you really need to blink, or just to rest your hands, cuz all that small movement can still result in a build up of lactic acid and also tears (haha, cuz if you are like me, you may tend to forget to blink frqeuently enough)... then hit the Pause button. As you can see... you are still able to see your tiles. Take some time to at least plot out the next 3-5 moves, so that when hit that continue play button, you know what to do to immediately continue the game and you don't lose the  momentum. Of course, this also works if you are stuck. You can use this time to strategise a little to see how you can move what and where. 

So there... waiting for challengers!!!

17 August 2016

Alien Rabbit - To Office and Back Again

And so... Alien has been banished from home and is on the hunt for "THE RING TO RULE THEM ALL"  Having a cuppa in office before hunting for more... Alien is also available on rent to accompany you on your Pokemon Go adventures. Tis said that Alien's best friend is Pikachu... you may start bidding now...

Rio 2016 Olympics and our Single Gold Model

And so... Singapore has finally brought back the Gold medal. ONE gold medal to be specific. It was an awesome Nation bonding moment. I even set my alarm clock to wake up early Saturday morning so as to watch the swim and I am not the only one.


We are all incredibly proud of you and I am already looking forward to the swimming legacy that you would potentially leave behind. Singaporean or not, any athelete or successful individual who has made it such that they are the best in the world is someone worthy of celebration. What more someone who is so close to heart?

This journey has just started and already my friends and I are talking about heading down for Tokyo 2020 as there is finally something to cheer for. Keep at it.

And just as soon as we have a nation that bonded together when Schooling won, barely hours later, I start to see signs of a nation divided. We have cries that the ruling party, PAP, is trying to take credit for schooling's win, and the fact that they have provided near to no support and in fact, were potentially a derailer as Schooling was due for NS.

Suddenly, there are cries about folks abusing the success of Schooling and seeking to capitalize on it. Whether it's the PAP or businesses. There are also cries that there are other Singaporean Olympians who have suffered and given up so much for their sport and yet, received little support from the Singapore government. With the money being spent on Foreign Talents.

I feel this strong need to also throw in my two cents worth on this.

On abuse of Schooling's success: 
Let's be frank here. In the world of business, any opportunity is to be pounced at. Especially when the economy has slowed down to this extent. So the fact that there is large scale promotions, etc, what is there really to complain about? Some are offering promotions, some are offering bundle package... what is the deal about it?

I actually see it the same as Christmas promotion or National Day sale. Nobody is complaining about the fact that we are abusing Santa's name in vain or that national day should be so much more about patriotism instead of sales. It really doesn't matter. A promotion, is just a reason to get consumers to spend more. Some of the retailers may truly be doing this in celebration and perhaps they are earning little or just recovering cost by offering the discounts. We don't know this. But a celebration is a celebration. If you like the product, buy it. If you don't, don't buy it. What's the point of getting upset over it?

However, there is a line that should be drawn when it comes to image rights, etc. It is the same for any celebrity, sporting or otherwise. the image rights, endorsement deals, these are what funds their careers. Singapore is already extremely lacking in this due to our small market. I would say, make sure there is no copyright or image infringements, for all the celebrations and really, I hope he makes it so big, he too gets the big deals from Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Speedo, whatever it is.

The best way to pay back your parents for their unwavering support is to continue being a success and to ensure that they no longer need to worry about anything financially and can fly to any sporting meet in comfort and style. At least, that's what I think.

On PAP capitalizing on Schooling's success: 
Another case in point. PAP is responsible for many things, including the Singapore Sports Council. So yes, and also for MINDEF for finally agreeing to the deferment for Schooling's NS. Politicians are paid a lot. We get that. Are all of them in because they are deeply patriotic about Singapore? We will never be able to answer this question, only the members serving at the parliament will know.

Sometimes I think we are all a very confused lot. And I have to admit I grapple with this myself. How many of us, who work in the stat board, or private companies, doesn't matter, find ourselves being absolutely loyal to the organisation that we work for? I would say, there will always be this part of us that will always be loyal only to ourselves and our own needs. This is not a judgement (or maybe it is) but it is only human to be so.

MP or not, Ruling Party or not, emotions are always high when it comes to politics. But whoever it is that stepped up to serve, they can love our country and do our best, but the toughest job of being a leader, is not the ability to say yes, as it's always easy to say yes, but having the ability to say No. So there will be times when they make decisions that are not popular, the important thing is intention. LKY had made so many unpopular decisions that it could be said that it was a love-hate relationship at times. But look at how far we have progressed. The intention to grow the country in the best way we know how, that is what makes the difference. So are there selfish decisions? Of course there are.
The people up there are human beings too. In this whole ecosystem that we call earth, one can never predict what will happen. The smarter and wiser you are, the more you can see past the mist and to the goal or outcome at the end.

But I digress. So... there have been FB posts, some in really poor taste, and some selfies taken. All well and good. Let's just put it this way, I have other commoner friends who have also taken selfies and group shots with Schooling. Everyone likes to hang around a winner and champion. When you have the opporunity to and it (suppposedly) makes for good publicity, woudl you or would you not take the photo, share in the success, congratulate this young man, and post the photo, hoping for more "likes" in FB?

Nobody has a magic ball where they can gaze into the future. If they could, they would be able to invest in the talents that count and maybe we can even win two gold medals one day (in different spotrs too!)

Can they make the difference in improving the sporting support that Singapore has given our young talents? Of course they can! And I am hopeful that now that they have seen the success that one individual can bring us, and seen the real tangile benefits of grooming long term, exposure and financial support that one can give a talent and to have him/her excel at world stage, that they would finally get their act together.

We all want success and are fearful of failure. Before Schooling, there may have been years where money was pumped into a high potential athelete only to have the poor person not succeed due to injury or a lack of mental strength. There had been no previous success that they can reference back to even look at the years of support required just to get one winner. Well, now they do and that will make all the difference.

Of the Sporting Support in Singapore
Sporting support in Singapore is one of the worst. Maybe not as bad as some other countries, but it is definitely down there. It is a fact that for fear of failure, they would rather invest in foreign talent as they have a higher potential for success. This is what happens when wining the medals become the end point. And yet, the real end point is, how a sporting success can hep unite the country. Why do we want to win on the world stage? Is it to show that we can do it? Or to show that we can afford it?

If it is the former, a lot more questions now need to be asked. Is the current structure good enough? Are we too partial towards selected sports and neglecting others?

I have friends in the sporting scene (yah yah, you think, I say, who confirm type of information) and politics and old uncles who want to hold onto power, without looking at the progress of the sports are all in place. Budgets that don't allow for our sporting talents to be exposed to the world stage, so they can see their gaps and areas for improvement.

Frankly, if the foreign talent is already here, I would say, support. No matter what, they are flying the Singapore flag and regardless, they have made the tough decision to become Singaporeans, even if it may have been for their own selfish reasons, we shouldn't judge. Singapore had made the decisions to invite them over as foreign talents, they did not seek and ask to come over. Even if it is the wrong decision, it is us Singaporeans and the committee who decided on it, who has to bear the brunt of this wrong decision.

Importing of foreign talent is one that is common to many countries, not just Singapore. Does it bring with it the same issues, of course it does. In the great US, with her many sporting talent, having one or two foreign talent doesn't spark much of debate. In small Singapore, with our very limited sporting talent, having one or two foreign talent becomes another reason why we should not vote for PAP (at least according to the FB posts I have been reading). Same same, but different.

It is a rather sore point and a decision that needs to be reconsidered considering we are already in the 2nd generation of TT players who have been imported. (yah yah, have to name the sport la, all of us 心知肚明,no point hiding it).

Many of those who don't really follow olypimcs, their first question is, who? We won gold medal? Real Singaporean or imported one? When the answer is real Singaporean... beams of smiles all round. "Wah, very good ah! We also can win ah..."  And I wonder, what the response would have been if the answer was "imported" one... maybe a dismissive smile and the response, "oh, good la, we didn't waste money."

Review review review. What's this about crowd funding so the athelete can go Olympics? Anyone who can qualify ought to be sent and exposure provided... we are a REALLY RICH country. We don't take it for granted of course, but really, just to provide a bit more support to our sporting community, local sporting talents can't be one that makes that big a dent in the national budget. AND... with the success of Schooling, makes it much easier to justify.

HAVING SAID ALL THAT... to all who want to succeed in anything, and the path towards becoming one of world's best, are not characters who would be that easily deterred. The will to win, the path to success, is one that only he/she can take. If there is support, the path is easier. If there is no support, I am sure they will not give up that easily. There are many atheletes who have given up a lot before they achieved sporting success. If one does not get the support, then find another way to move up. I realise it is not easy, but if the Schoolings had spent their time whining and complaining about the lack of support for their son, and decided that since no support when all we want is to win glory for Singapore, then sorry son, let's give up. Then he would not have won the gold medal. 路是要自己走出来的。 Sometimes, you have to get started on the path yourself, it is a lonely journey, but a necessary one.

Of Irresponsible Press Coverage
Finally, for the other swimmer, Quah Zheng Wen, I think the media reporter from TODAY ought to be shot (not literally of course). The manner in which the article was written, you have just crushed a sporting talent and in the dumbest, most immature way possible. Always think and rethink, and the editor who let that through, how do you sleep at night? There is this quote, "The pen is mightier than a sword".

A young man, who is absolutely crushed after training years and years, morning and night, giving up so much in the process, performed badly at that one chance he had for glory, Not the last chance, but a very potential and good chance, to not have performed well and delivered (there's a lot to be said for sporting psychology). And you are upset that he didn't want to talk.

Dude, the guy is there to perform, and he is understandably upset to the point where he needed some time to himself to recover. And you decide to lay it on thick.

You go and train day and night, and then fail to live up to your own expectations, at this young age, and you tell me you can handle it for sure and immediately recover.

Give Quah some space. He needs to grow up, become more mature, so that he can continue to compete on the world stage. I am hoping he can get past all these and continue to work at it. But that is another story... I am sure he will get past this. Winners will show these losers how things are done. Maybe it will even spur him on...

Final Side Note - Sports Commentators
And... finally a thought on the importance of sports commentators. Having played badminton most of my schooling life, and the occassional game still nowadays, it was a given that I would watch Olympics badminton.

I almost feel like telling the broadcasters... the commentary provided can make or break a game. There are a couple of seasoned ones, I have no idea what their names are, but I can recognise their voices. Now, what you can talk about in any match of badminton -

1) Pace of the game
2) Mixing and control of the tempo of the game
3) Deftness of certain strokes
4) Agility
5) Speed
6) Power
7) Setting of certain scenarios (e.g. doing cross court lob, then you drop, so that you set the stage for a smash, etc)
8) History of the players, their past win-lose history...
9) Mental strength and willpower to overcome the deficit?

There is so much to talk about and all these are just ramblings off the top of my head (heck, I can be a commentator, with a Singlish accent!)

BUT.... BUT ... BUT!!!!

There is just this one female commentator, who made me mute the game (only to realise I cannot hear the sound of the game, which makes for very weird watching)... and so I lowered the volume, cuz her commentary consisted of

1) Nothing much of the game - focus was on the player's history, etc.
2) Comments on the score. HULLO! There is a big score board behind the players, not to mention that the TV typically has the scores on the screen already (it may be tough since she can't see it, but babe, it's there)
3) Comments on the number of shuttlecocks used... WAH LAU EH... you think we care? Do the viewers care? Do the players care? Does the umpire care? WHO CARES!!! - this really pissed me off (And nope, I have no idea why I am getting so agitated too)... but seriously, every time the player requests for a change, she would say, "this is the only the 3rd point and they have used up 4 shuttlecocks... and then "This is the 21st shuttlecock they are using, they are using a lot of them",

What about the game?
What about what's happening on the court?
What about the players?
Why do I care about you repeating the score, or the number of shuttlecocks used?
Some bio about the players is fine, especially during moments when the play is very standard or run of the mill, but ignoring the play to share bio is just nuts.
What is your job?

I mean, you can even say "look at that smash, that angle, XX had no hope of getting it" or "look at how he set this up... absolutely beautiful, or excellent reading of the game, he was there before the shuttlecock even left the opponent's racquet"- I would have been fine.

And then... this other commentator - male this time - hey, gotta be fair right?

This one.. there was this one very exciting match between china and korea, men's doubles. And in the first game, China experienced a crushing defeat considering that both teams are fairly highly ranked. And the commentator started talking about the fact that the older of the Chinese pair is 32/34 and should retire... etc etc... he is not what he was in his hey days... say until like that guy should hang his head in shame...

And then.. in the 2nd and 3rd game, this same guy, with his resilience, his refuasal to bow down to the younger players from Korea, led his team mate (who was not performing as well, although not as well is really a statement that can't be used, cuz these guys are all top notch) in a resurgence and they won the 2nd and 3rd game in a extremely closely fought match to move on to the next stage.

Now, in all honesty, there wasn't anything wrong with his commentary and I enjoyed watching the match totally. However, there was this one thing I noticed... he didn't say a thing, or acknowledge a thing about the fact that he was making a very wrong assessment about the player. I mean, seriously, the guy led the charge to overturn the game... and you can't even say anything about how his experience mattered? And that maybe his comment that he should retire was said too early or something along that line? This is just a minor peeve though.. just feeling wronged for the Chinese player.

Ah well... ok ok... this rant is over. I know, it's not easy, the female commentator though.. needs a lot more training before being allowed to provide commentary on matches that are shown on the world stage. Maybe practice on the smaller stage first... hear more how the seasoned pros do it... learn more about the game... listen to the translations by the Chinese Commentators (it is a very popular sport there and the Chinese commentary is up there in terms of standards too)...

Over and out...

P.S Team Singapore TT... I is very sad you didn't get the bronze! 

06 June 2016

Good looks help you succeed in life

Dinner with friends almost always result in that one intriguing conversation piece that stands out... and tonight, the topic of the night was... does looks affects one's success in life.

The theory and one which most people would agree to, is that good looking people get away with more things in life and that they are more inclined towards success as most would be more easy-going or helpful towards the good looking person.

Then the conversation steered towards whether good looks help with males more than females when it comes to the work environment.... we then arrived at this theory - and of course, please feel free to interject your own thoughts into the comments column. :) Open debate and discussion are very welcome.

Good looks for males are helpful and helps you out in life, but not as much as females. And males and females who are in the 6-8 point scale, it helps them the most in working life. Males who are in the 9-10 have to fight harder to be recognised at the workplace. Females who are in the 9-10 scales end up living in a bubble as their good looks do help them out a little too much in life, and they end up in positions where they may be out of their depth. Why so? Read on...

When you are a male and your looks are at a 9 to perfect 10:
You get a lot more stick from other males as due to your good looks and you may even be brushed off as just another himbo - pretty face without a brain by your fellow males. You are even be seen as competition if there are in partner hunting mode. They risk of you outshining them is just too high and your presence is not as tolerated.

For females, there is definitely going to be a slight advantage with your good looks. However, female colleagues are generally not the ones in power (now that is another topic for debate, the management ceiling that females face, while I am not expressing an agreement to this stand, it is unfortunately a fact now, but a slowly changing position!). So the help may be limited...

Essentally, there is always this biased (or not!) opinion that you have an easier lot in life due to your good looks and others may not want to cut you some slack just because they may feel that you have had it easy all your life.

When you are a male and your looks are at a at 7-8:
Pleasant looking and above average, you can actually breathe easier when it comes to work. Good and pleasant looking males tend not to be seen so much as competition, and you can be the buddy or wingman of your fellow colleagues. And you will be cut a little more slack at work as your looks haven't always gotten you what you want or need in school or life, and you have had to work a little more on having a positive attitude and character to get what you want.

For females, you are at cruising speed, as overly good looking man may be seen as being too unapproachable. So when you are just above average and pleasant on the eye, it would be more comfortable for them as a colleague or team partner.

When you are a female and your looks are at a 9 to perfect 10:
You get random moments of bitchiness as you look too good. But what disadvantage you get from the fellow female is more than made up by the male population. Males tend to be very easy and particularly helpful to pretty females and the fact that you are a 9/10, only makes it even easier for you. And I swear, although there is the possiblity that this is sour grapes talking, but I hope not!

There was this lady I knew when I stayed in the university hostel (pretty enough that she works in the media and has won pageants, been on tv shows, etc)... and there was this once, she couldn't finish her assignment. She was just going around being stressed (aren't we all at that age?) and one smart guy, like the really smart type, said, "don't stress... I will help you." and that dude pretty much did her whole assigment for her, an essay, almost 20 pages long. I kid you not. I remember thinking, "Like that also can ah..." but yah, that was when realities in life hit me in the face. Nah, I am lying, realities in life had hit me a long time ago before that. For me, at that age, it was just... yah, that's life. Deal with it, no point whing about it. And nope, she wasn't such "good friends" with this guy after the assignment was handed in.

Having said that, there was this theory that we had... which is overly pretty females, move up the career ladder fast and they start living in this bubble that they are very competent and effective, which may or may not be the truth. The result is when they are promoted to their "Level of Incompetence"

Sidenote and I digress - This was a very interesting theory to me when I first heard about it from a friend - "Managers rise to their level of incompetence" - have a read, it's interesting.
The Peter principle is a concept in management theory formulated by Laurence J. Peter and published in 1969 in which the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the candidate's performance in their current role, rather than on abilities relevant to the intended role. Thus, employees only stop being promoted once they can no longer perform effectively, and "managers rise to the level of their incompetence."

So back to this... these ladies are then promoted to the level where they start to experience insecurities and are unable to perform to what is required. And then politics and power grappling start as a means to cover up for incompetence.

When you are a female and your looks are at a at 7-8:
Now, as with the males, 7-8s are cruise speed. Pleasant looking, you get more favours than not, but you have to work hard to move up the ladder, as with all other people, with a slight edge. Your work performance tends to be more solid (as you had to work for it) and while you can get away with some stuff in life, you don't get to take it for granted.

And so... your work life is a lot more balanced and you succeed in a healthier manner.

In Summary
Of course, there are smart and beautiful women, as there are smart and handsome men. This was just a dinner conversation and sharing of anecdotes in life, leading to conclusions that beautiful female bosses somehow come across as more insecure, and handsome male bosses somehow get more slack from the older management...  and those who are just above average good looking male/females are the ones that really have an easier path and succeed in life.

Comment if you want to! :) Join in the conversation... :D

11 December 2015

The occasional cry for help

"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
"If a scream is a silent scream, does it still count as a scream?"

I have come to a sudden realization (and of course it could my neurotic self or my hormones talking), that when I am really thinking of asking someone out for a drink at the last minute, or just to chill as the stress is really getting to me, the sad fact of the matter is that, I have no one to call. I have no one to just dial out to without the fear of getting rejected.

For someone who thinks she has quite a number of friends, I suddenly feel terribly alone. 

I am not a good friend. I am not a good daughter. I am not a good sibling. I am actually not very good at anything. I say the wrong things all the time. 

Sometimes I wonder why I am alone. At at times, I know why I am alone. This is because I am not good enough and not deserving enough for the people around me. 

Some would call this a cry for help. And maybe it is, maybe it is not. I recognise that all these thoughts are of my own doing. I recognise that if you don't love yourself, no one will love you. I recognise that no one owes another person a living or are required to put you first. I recognise that there are many happier things to celebrate about.

But damn... all these recognising sure doesn't help my current depressed state. Why do I feel so alone? And yet I know... these are emotions that many have... loneliness is but a common affliction of humans.

It is strange to be known so universally and yet to be so lonely.
Albert Einstein