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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Print noview

Hey kiddies,

Is someone accusing you of blogging about something offensive? Is that someone also printing your blog? And is that person using his/her print-out of your blog as evidence of his/her accusation against you?

Well, you can stop that (at least for the second question)!

If you can edit your blog's template, and if you aren't afraid of looking at geeky code, then follow these steps:
  1. Go to your blog's settings page to edit your template. In Blogger, it's the big "Template" tab when you're looking at your blog's settings.
  2. In the template code, look for </head>.
  3. In the line above </head>, insert this little snippet of code: <style type="text/css" media="print"> body {display:none;} </style>
  4. Save your template.
  5. Republish your blog (if the saving doesn't automatically republish).
Ta-da! Now if you (or anyone else) prints your blog, all you'll get is a big empty page!

Of course, that someone could still print your blog, e.g. with a print screen, or saving your blog. But if that someone is technically saavy enough to do any of that, then you really should have kept your blog under tighter wraps.

If you cannot edit your blog's template:
  • If you're using a free account at LiveJournal, then just set all of your blog entries to private. Now no one but you can read (and print) your blog.
  • If you're using some other blogging tool, sorry, I can't help you there.
Ok, kiddies. Now go back to your books and do mama and papa proud.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Say hello to ROKR

Motorola ROKR E1
For some reason, I have a hankering to buy the new Motorola ROKR E1, even though I know that it is the worst mistake that I could make. Yes, it is the first handphone with Apple's iTunes software, so I can play my songs on it (though I already have Pod!). Yes, it has Bluetooth so I can sync my contacts wirelessly and SMS from Onomatopeia. Yes, it can record video, so I can catch more spur-of-the-moment events.

While most reviews have decried its un-iPod-like interface, I actually don't care about that seeming omission. As Apple labels it, this is an iTunes phone. In other words, one should expect to play songs from one's iTunes library in an easy-to-use manner, which does not necessarily mean with a iPod-like scrollwheel. Besides, where would one fit a scrollwheel on a handphone? (Though I wouldn't be surprised if Apple's engineers are working on that answer right now.)

But here are a few reasons not to get it:
  • it is the first version of an iTunes phone, and in the realm of computers and electronics, one should rarely buy the first version of anything
  • it can only contain 100 songs on each memory card
  • it has a candy-bar form factor, which I don't like, preferring something where the microphone is nearer to my mouth, like a clamshell or slide form factor
  • SEZ works just fine
  • I lack Vitamin M a.k.a. money
Therefore, I shall just admire the ROKR from afar while waiting slowly and agonizingly for my current subscription to run out (two-thirds of a year more!).

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

M.C. day

I'm at home now. My body is slightly warm, there's a dull pain in my lower abdomen and back, and I've been totally concussed since last night.

It all started at dinner. I was eating as usual when I suddenly lost my appetite. Just couldn't put another spoonful of food into my mouth. And I had only eaten half of my normal amount. I also felt tired, so thinking that it was the late nights catching up with me, I went to nap for an hour. Then I got up, bathed, and went back to bed.

And then I had this familiar feeling in my stomach. You know, the type where there's only one solution: run to the toilet and face the bowl. Puked out twice. Flushed the toilet, washed my mouth, and went to sleep. About an hour later, it was back to the toilet. Puked twice again, this time spewing more stuff. Flushed, washed up, went back to bed.

Then throughout the night, I couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep. My usual position is to lie on my front, but given my stomachache, it was too uncomfortable. Lying on either side didn't help again. I piled two pillows and it felt better, but that didn't last long. Lay the pillows at an angle, e.g. like a hospital bed that thas been raised slightly. Still no good. I basically tossed and turned for hours.

Finally, I got up, thinking that a sitting position would help to relieve the pain. Instead, that familiar queasiness returned and I puked for the third time. My abdomen now was aching, less from whatever was causing the vomitting, but more from the muscles exerting themselves to puke.

Went back to bed to sleep. It was another round of trying to find the best position. Then my alarm rang: 6:30am. I got up as I normally would on a workday, washed up, changed, shaved, then went to eat breakfast. I took one bite of the sandwich and couldn't eat anything else again. My abdomen was aching, my skin felt hot, my whole body felt lethargic. At first, I thought that I could go to work, and if I didn't feel better, I'd take the rest of the day off and see a doctor. Now, I knew that I wouldn't even be able to step out of the door.

I gave up on that one-bite sandwich and went to my room. Messaged my colleagues to say that I wouldn't be at work. Then went to bed. Woke up again at 11am, when my mum brought me to see the doctor. He took my temperature, listened to my abdomen through his stethoscope, asked me a few questions, then said that it was probably a virus. He prescribed some medicine for vomitting, cramps and fever/pain.

Came home, slept till 1:30pm, then had porridge for lunch. And it's back to work tomorrow.

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Friday, September 16, 2005

Fashion show

Exactitude
I attended my very first fashion show today. It was nothing spectacular: no paparazzi, no famous models, no elite invitees. It was just... unremarkable.

A friend received an invitation to the show and she asked me if I wanted to go along. Since I had never been to such a show before, I thought, sure, why not? The Exactitude - GAS Fashion Show 2005 was organised by this urban fashion label, GAS, which I'd never heard of before until now, and featured designs by Raffles Design Institute, a fashion school which I had also never heard of before but which my friend planned to attend.

It was held at DXO, the same nightclub that Bloggers.SG was held. For a $15 ticket, we were entitled to one free drink, a goodie bag containing a GAS magazine and T-shirt, and a small pouch containing shampoo and orange hair dye. We went in at 8:15pm, 15 minutes before the event was scheduled to start. Inside the darkened club, I found myself amidst a sea of young people in trendy clothings. But that's how it is with these artistic people: they dress differently to express their own uniqueness. And where the dancefloor was stood a wooden T-shape catwalk.

My friend and I found an empty sofa and sat down to talk. 8:30pm came and went and there was still no sign of the fashion show. I was beginning to think that we were duped. Then at 9pm, the female host came forward to announce the show. To grunge music, models walked out, showing off the new line of clothing. There were about 20 models, half male, half female. Of the females, only one looked particularly attractive.

One thing I was reminded as I watched the show is that models rarely smile. Apparently, if they smile, then the onlookers' attentions are distracted from the clothes, which they should be focussing on. For me, I found the lack of smiles very cold and distant. Anyway, I didn't think the clothes were much to look at either. I'm just not into urban fashion, i.e. jackets, grunge outfits, etc.

The show went on for about half an hour, ending with the male models strutting out barechested and the female models in denim miniskirts and white tanktops. There were the usual thank-yous and souvenir presentations and photo-taking. And finally, MTV Asia VJ Utt took the stage to basically say that he was happy to be there and invited everyone to party on.

My friend and I then left the disco in search of dinner. We ended up just next door at this open air eating area, Makansutra Gluttons Bay. The average price for a meal is $4. I had two slices of roti prata and a bowl of curry chicken for that price. The roti prata was good, but the curry chicken seemed too mild and not as curry-tasty-like. While eating, I noticed that the fashion show host, who had also implored the attendees to party at DXO, was outside on her mobile phone, as if looking for someone to zip off somewhere else. Haha, party on!

So that's my first fashion show. Not that spectacular, none of the glitz that's seen on TV or movies. But then, what can you get for $15, right?

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Touching the nano

iPod nano
I had the chance to hold an iPod nano today and it is The Sweetness™.

It's so small and thin and sleek. The scrollwheel is responsive. And the screen, oh, the screen! Crisp, clear, colourful!

It's so small, it feels like a chocolate wafer that I could put in my mouth. It's so sturdy that I could drop it and the band will still play on. (Actually, a reviewer has already conducted an iPod nano stress test.)

Pictures don't do it justice. It's sweet! Unfortunately, it's also outside of my budget. Looking out for the next offer...

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Harmony and sedition

In my first year in university, I enrolled in a Philosophy course. It had a small, discussion-like setting with one professor and about 10-15 students. In one class, we talked about cultural values. Being a well travelled man, the professor told us about values that exist in the modern day outside of the United States but that Americans may find uncomfortable with.

Then he turned to me and asked me what Singapore's value was. I was stumped. Even though I had lived in Singapore all of my life, I didn't know at the tip of my tongue what was one value that defined the country.

So he answered it for me: "harmony".

Singapore, being an Asian country, strives for harmony with everything. As far as possible, Asians do not like to cause trouble generally. As a result, though, we appear as docile, obedient and mindless automatons, while the country appears autocratic, maybe even dictatorial.

The alternative is a society that embraces liberalism, like the United States. Unfortunately, that comes with its own set of problems, one of which is the constant conflict between groups of people who feel that they are treated unfairly. In Singapore, such groups would not make a ruckus, but work within the system, because they want to maintain harmonious relations with others.

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Two men were arrested under the Sedition Act for writing racist comments on an online forum and their blogs.

<snip>

I was going to write a long treatise on my opinion about this case, but decided to retract it. Why add salt to the wound, or oil to the fire, or... ah, okay, enough analogies.

Tomorrow.sg has an entry about it (yeah, I contributed it, only because it had been about an hour after the news broke and the story still hadn't been tomorrow-ed) together with trackbacks to what other bloggers think, and a whole bunch of comments about sedition and freedom of speech and racism and what-have-yous.

To quote John Cage from "Ally McBeal", say it with me: "harmony".

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Tudung and madrasah

I had lunch with three young Muslim women yesterday. It was purely coincidental that we sat near one another. After we were done eating, we were just sitting there, chilling.

So I popped the question that I'd wanted to ask for a long time:

"Why is it that some Muslim women don't wear tudungs (headscarves)?"

(I prefaced my question with "Please don't be offended or embarrassed by what I'm going to ask you.")

They thought about it, then replied that it was a matter of personal choice and not something that is dictated by the Quran or Prophet Mohammed. If the family is open-minded about these things, then a tudung is not compulsory attire.

Their answer sounded very similar to one that I'd heard before. But back then, I'd heard it from a non-Muslim. Hearing the same explanation from a Muslim gives it some sort of authority.

They talked among themselves for a while, then one of them mentioned, without any prompting from anyone, that she wouldn't want to put her children in a madrasah (Muslim religious school).

Why? "Because they have to take about 14 subjects during the 'O' Levels."

(I am unable to verify if this number is correct.)

My reaction was: "Wow! 14 subjects???" At the 'O' Levels, the average number of subjects that a 16-year-old student takes is eight (English, second language, two Maths, two Sciences, two Humanities) (at least back in my day). If the other six subjects required in the madrasah are of the same level of difficulty, then that's a lot of time and effort expended on studies!

Again, I heard this from a Muslim directly. And now, I have a clearer understanding about the contemporary Singaporean (and young and female) Muslim's views on these two issues.

One more thing: Please don't ask me for their identities.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Blast from the past

Singapore Bus Service
Check it out! An honest-to-goodness blast from the past!

A Singapore Bus Service logo!

The service vehicle bearing the sign happened to pass next the company's transport, so I snapped a photo of it for keepsake. The logo looks so simple and cheesy, yet it's so old-school, it's almost nostalgic. Compare that to its new logo and name, SBS Transit. I don't remember when the old one was phased out.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Lizard in my room

A lizard crawled near my computer just now. Took two pictures with SEZ. Pity that the camera in the phone isn't the best.

Lizard in my room Lizard in my room

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"Jack and Sarah"

Jack and Sarah
Little ditty, about "Jack and Sarah",
Two blokes in Britain gonna find their way to love.
Jacky gonna raise a daughter,
Sarah's the nanny who's gonna fill his empty heart.

- adapted from John Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane"
I first watched this show way back when in Madison. I don't remember the exact month or year. It was just another afternoon, I was feeling bored, and started flipping channels. Finally, I settled on what is now Women's Entertainment, a cable channel for women. For some reason, though it started slowly, I continued watching it... and gradually found myself liking it.

So I was pleased when it was shown today in the afternoon. Since I was out, I recorded it and watched it when I returnede. It's a charming story about a British widower who has to juggle raising his baby daughter with his busy legal career. In the end, he finds an American former waitress to be his nanny. Though she has no idea what she's getting into, they eventually settle down well. Complication arises (which is quite forced in the story) and they go their separate ways, but his mother-in-law conspires to get them back together.

I think I like this show because it's less of an outright romance flick and more about two adults coping with their individual situations, each other, and a baby. He had just lost his wife at childbirth while she is the proverbial stranger in a strange land. It's cheesy, slow, and so-so plot, but for me, it's sufficiently engaging.

Besides, it has Samantha Mathis, Dame Judi Dench, and Sir Ian McKellen (as a street drunk!) in the same movie. Nice!

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"Phileine zegt sorry"

Phileine zegt sorry
"Phileine zegt sorry" ("Phileine says sorry") is one of the craziest foreign films I've ever seen. No, it's not because the acting is "out there" or the plot is bizarre... well, actually, the plot is kinda bizarre in a way.

To put it in one line, the movie is about a woman who gets her boyfriend into trouble and thus sours their relationship because she refuses to admit her wrong.

Phileine is a woman who thinks that people who apologise are weak, and she refuses to be weak. So she barges through life like a roaring thunderstorm with a devil-may-care attitude and lets others pick up the pieces. But she learns eventually that relationships are rarely that simple.

I first learned of this movie when I saw its trailer while watching "Sin City". From this trailer alone, I realised that this was going to be quite a fun movie -- and European too! -- so I looked forward to it eagerly. Days passed and there was no listing for it, until about two weeks ago. Woo-hoo!

I like watching European movies because they involve characters and situations not usually found in Hollywood or Asian films. Like a mother who says there are two kinds of fidelity: love (e.g. from a husband) and sex (e.g. from younger lovers). Or a Swedish woman named Crotch. Or a sex scene amid howling wind and rain (apparently, this is taken from a Chinese saying... huh?).

One thing that I didn't like had nothing to do with the story. Since this is a Dutch movie, there were English subtitles. Unfortunately, the bottom line of these subtitles was usually projected such that only the top half was visible. It wasn't until the last half hour that this was corrected. I'm not sure if this was the projector's fault, because there was no discernible movement of the film upwards to correct this, so maybe the subtitles were just placed too low for the first hour. Fortunately, I managed to follow along quite easily from the smattering of words that I could make out and the overall acting and storyline.

Now I'm looking forward to an Asian American film, "Saving Face". Looks promising.

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Flea market at Tanglin Mall

Tanglin Mall flea market
A friend had rented a space at Tanglin Mall to sell some old stuff, and she opened it up to her friends as well. So I joined in, knowing that my mum had a few things that she wanted to sell. Together, we lugged two bags of clothes and a few other items to by bus and arrived at about 5:30pm, half an hour after the flea market had opened.

The market, which is held every first and third Saturdays of the month, is located along the outere corridor surrounding the building. I did a little scouting and found that the area with the highest traffic was, as expected, near the entrance to the mall, though more people were coming out of the building rather than in. My friend's stall was located a short distance away, at the corner where the traffic junction is, so the position wasn't too bad. (Spaces were alloted by ballot.) Unlike the poor soul who was right at the end and had hardly any customers (from a brief glance).

I expected a number of Caucasians to pass by since the area is close to residences that are rented to or owned by Caucasians. As it turns out, there were more Filipinos, and some were whole families too! See, this is why good business people research their markets before selling.

Interesting thing we learned: to find out if a skirt/pants will fit your waist, button/zip it up, then wrap the waist around your neck. If it doesn't strangle you or is too saggy, there's a high chance that it'll fit your waist. Credit to the Filipinos for this little lesson. I haven't actually measured my neck-to-waist ratio, so I can't verify this little nugget of information yet.

I also saw three transvestites. Two were shopping together, one in white tank top and jeans, the other in a plunging halter-top and jeans. The third, dressed in a short tight dress (not black though), was most likely waiting for someone because she was on her phone quite a lot. At first glance, I would've thought them to be just other women, but after noticing their facial features and hearing the third one talk, there was no doubt in my mind.

And they were quite attractive too. What's that saying, about how transvestites are more beautiful than women? Probably because they overcompensate for their genetic masculinity.

The market lasted until 11pm, though we packed up at about 10pm. Altogether, we made more than enough to cover the rental of the space.

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New Orleans and human nature

It's amazing how human beings can become such primal animals after a major disaster due to their survival instincts kicking in. I'm talking about what's been happening in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

I must admit though that I have not been following the news before, during and just after Hurricane Katrina hit. I was sure that America would be like "Oh, guess what, we got hit by a hurricane, hmm, oh well, moving right along..." But I've just read a news article from the Anderson Indepent-Mail about the total breakdown of New Orleans. Emergency supplies are only just arriving but not reaching the people, people are suffocating and dying next to corpses, general looting, cops turning in their badges (!), emergency personnel held hostage... It's too painful to read, just too painful.

More stories courtesy of Google News: Mayor screams at the federal government for not providing aid quickly enough and President Bush pledges quick delivery of aid just before paying a visit to New Orleans.

I'm glad I'm not there now. And to think that I was in New Orleans for two-and-a-half days in 2002 (24 March, 25 March, 26 March). I can't believe that this bustling city that was more famous for flashers and drunken revelry has been reduced to a state of anarchy. What has happened to modern society that man just transforms into an animal during a critical time? Particularly so in democratic U.S. of A.

It's every man for himself and damn the consequences. Terrible, just terrible.

After law and order have been restored and the city has been rebuilt, I wonder if life will return to the same level of its Mardi Gras-inspired madness. Will the spectre of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath haunt the city in the near future? Only time will tell.

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