I’ve said this often, and even mentioned it a few times to shocked foreigners, but if Singapore had the four seasons (the climate, not the singing group), it’d be the perfect place to live if you’re a multi-millionaire. But that’s another story hur hur.
Summer would make sense. Right now, it’s just a sticky, cloying, year-long affair. Winter would be so nice. People would have compelling reasons to dress better. Seasonal food would have new meaning. Fireplaces with leopard skin rugs would make sense. Sorry PETA.
And Spring would feel like Spring. Last weekend’s Spring Wave Music Festival, held at Gardens By The Bay, felt more like Summer SweatFest 2013. But that didn’t stop 5,000 Mandopop fans from having loads of fun chugging refreshingly cold Tiger Beer in the heat. (Yes, the very winsome Tiger Beer associates swanning about the concert venue enhanced the experience for many thirsty fans). After all, it was Spring Wave Music Festival’s first venture out of Taiwan and I think Singaporean fans gave it a very warm welcome. The Spring Wave Music Festival is a huge annual event in Taiwan, so here’s to a growing line-up in Singapore every year.
Fact: Gardens By The Bay is an awesome and sprawling concert venue. It’s a lot more spacious compared to Fort Canning, and the backdrop of Marina Bay Sands adds magic to the night scene. And nobody complains about the NEW WASHROOMS that don’t look like swamps. If only the music came with a breeze on such balmy nights.
I have to thank presenting sponsors @TigerBeerSG for inviting me to the 7-hour long sun-and-sweat festival, which included some very notable Mandopop acts like Jam Hsiao,A-Yue, Joanna Wang, Cheer Chen and my favourite Asian rocker, Wu Bai.
I’ve seen Wu Bai in concert a couple of times, and I can honestly say the man doesn’t lose it. After so many years on the road with Chine Blue, selling millions of albums, he’s still strangely and deeply relevant. That devil-may-care attitude cuts across everything he does. Perhaps even more so these days, when manufactured pop dominates everything on radio.
That long hair, trapped-in-the-’90s rock star swagger doesn’t hurt either. A man for all seasons, indeed.
I’d like to say a few words about ‘fire’.
Not the fire you barbecue with. Not the fire you see licking the woks of pad thai street stalls on Khao San road in Bangkok. But that fire in your belly. That thing people sometimes call ‘passion’.
(there’s a joke here about the Passion Card supermarket cashiers always ask me for, but that’s another post)
Whatever you’re passionate about, if it’s not harmful, damaging to society, or illegal, it should be worth cultivating. Music, engineering, fine arts, sciences, whatever. Do what makes you feel whole.
Having that fire in you can only result in a few things. You feel highly accountable for it, responsible, for what you do with your passion. You understand it like a lover, you struggle with it like a lover, and yet you want more.
Inevitably, you become an expert in your field of passion, because you seek continuously to master it. And sometimes you get competitive about it, defensive, even.
It’s all good and natural. Friendly rivalry, or a bit of self-cleansing doubt, never hurt anyone or any business.
BUT, THE DAY your passion is threatened, THE DAY you lose faith in your environment to make a change with your ability, your colleagues or your company, that’s THE DAY you have to seriously question your surroundings.
Whether they deny you your expertise, clip your wings or slash valuable resources, or it’s some cruel combination of all three, it’s time to flip the script. And do what you do best, but somewhere else.
That’s just how it is. You don’t deny what you excel in. You don’t deny your God-given abilities. You don’t deny you.
Because that fire in you makes you think better and work smarter than anyone else. All in the name of improvement. It keeps you alive, purposefully.
Without that burn, that ache to fly, what are you living for, exactly?
Don’t let anyone douse the flames of something you care about. Never quench that fire. Never lose that feeling.
The same thing always happens when it comes to paying with credit cards. They ask me if I’m paying with this card, that card, or half a dozen other options, well, because you know, there are a lot of banks in Singapore. Then they rattle off a list of promotions; This card gives me 10 per cent off, that card gets me vouchers, and the other card lands me a one-year complimentary membership. You get the point.
Me? I like my credit card payments to be fuss-free, and so I opted for the Citibank Quick Pay Tag. I like to wave it, pay it, and go. Like, literally leave the restaurant, movie theatre or whatever. No waiting, no receipt signing. The best thing is, the Citibank Quick Pay Tag is so tiny that you can stick it to the back of your phone (that blinking thing that’s with you 24 hours a day, making you smile and laugh when you scroll through it), and wave your phone for easy payment.
But I know you’re busy, so here’re THREE THINGS you really need to know about the Citibank Quick Pay Tag:
1. There are 11,000 retail payment points – including Starbucks, Burger King, Andersen’s Of Denmark – and a whole bunch of e-Coupons and rebates at major participating outlets.
2. Are you concerned that anyone can just take your phone to pay for stuff? (Assuming they can pry your phone off your cold dead fingers first). You can log onto Citibank Online or Citi Mobile to switch the account off. If you’re old school on security, you can call the Citibank hotline at 6225 5225
3. If you’re already a Citibank Visa Credit Card holder, you can easily sign up for a Quick Pay Tag, and earn a $5 credit. Check out http://www.citibank.com.sg/quickpaytag for more details.
[THIS POST WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY CITIBANK QUICK PAY TAG]
Here’s something I’m liking at the moment, Birdy’s ‘Skinny Love’ (a Bon Iver cover)
When I heard the news that they found horse meat in the meatballs sold in some European IKEA stores, my reaction was, unfortunately, not one of disgust.
I was like, “Hey calm down guys, do I drench the horse meat balls in cranberry sauce too?” Is my curiosity somehow indicative of my wanting morals as a foodie? Is this the rock bottom for gluttony?
Don’t get me wrong. I like horses (kind of). I fell asleep watching The Horse Whisperer not because the horses weren’t emoting enough. I just don’t understand what the horse meat fuss is all about. Horse meat eating is called hippophagy. I know, ‘hippo’ just adds to the confusion.
I mean, we eat cows, birds, lambs, so why the earth-shattering, first-world shock that some of us may have accidentally consumed horse meat in those meat balls? How’s that possible, when we spend every other day piling trans-fat, refined sugars and gluten in our faces? Horse meat eating was actually a widely accepted practice in the 19th century, and it still is, in places like France, Sweden and Belgium. Studies also report that horse meat has less calories and fat than, say, beef. But enough about meat, I’m getting hungry.
We need to address our attitudes towards food. Let’s not take the high-road just because we watched War Horse and Black beauty. We’re also not calling for everyone to eat overly clean, rabbit foods. Why turn eating into a chore? You should be eating well, staying fit and having the time of your life. Work out and sweat it out. The flush of endorphins will beat any meat, any day.
(an edited version of this piece first appeared in the April 2013 issue of Lifestyle magazine)
So after seeing pictures of the phone on my Instagram, quite a few people have asked me what is it like, using the new BlackBerry Z10. They know I’m kind of a smartphone slut whose fingers have gone everywhere on the iPhone, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note2, and the BlackBerry Z10.
So, without further ado, and sparing you the geek’s basket of unsexy jargon, here goes.
What I Like:
Solid typing function – I loved the old BB phones for their Qwerty keypads. And the touchscreen keypad here beats those of the iPhone’s and Android models. It’s fast, fluid and pretty precise, thanks to a predictive text feature that uses a heat map to detect how each person types. You’re in luck if you have fat fingers, because the keypad will adjust to how you type. (Imagine comfy Birkenstocks, but for your fingers)
Fast Operating System & Good Battery – It’s got 2GB of ram, so it’s pretty fluid. Nothing lags and everything is very swipey (a new word I invented for this review which you totally get, right?). Battery life is also very decent despite a full day of fooling around with it without charging. The screen’s very sexy too!
Good Grip – The sexy casing is made of plastic composite, so it’s not as slip-easy as the iPhone or the Samsung S3. The eye-candy casing grip is light yet secure.
Cool Camera – This is THE camera phone for camwhores. While you need to click on the trigger for other phones, you can tap anywhere on the screen for a self-portrait on the BB. Very convenient, without awkward stretching of the fingers.
Time-Shift Feature – This lets you take multiple pictures with one click of the camera trigger. It’s great for fussy people who cannot stand closed-eyed candid shots and weird expressions. Very nice.
What Could Be Better:
BlackBerry World – This is their version of App Store. It’s rather, erm, sparse at the moment. Sure, 70,000 apps sound like a lot, but compared to the 700,000 available for Apple and Android, it’s a very strict diet. Even if nobody needs another poorly developed photo editor, we’re greedy like that.
Maps – Okay, this needs work. Work in terms of details, accuracy, and generally, lots more points of reference. (I couldn’t find my favourite supper place so that’s how I know)
Voice Control – While it has good voice control for businessy stuff – searches, appoinments and texts, it lacks the soul of, say, Siri. Not that I talk to Siri a lot, but she has a lot more random answers for me. I’m not lonely, I swear.
Verdict: It’s very sleek, sexy, but still very business. While it won’t send Android or iOS fans rushing to renew their contracts, it definitely returns some bragging rights to BB faithfuls. It’s their most relevant phone in a while.
“It’s not a journey, every journey ends but we go on…”
What’s not a journey? And who’s ‘we’?
“The world turns and we turn with it…”
Dude, we don’t have a choice there.
“Plans disappear, dreams take over…”
Is your script writer dreaming too? Are you on Xanax, Brad?
“But wherever I go, there you are…”
Okay you’re making eye contact. Who are you talking to?
Is Angie behind the camera?
“My luck, my fate, my fortune…”
Are you reading off a thesaurus?
I like going to tech shows, because you totally get to hang around the coolest consumer gadgets not yet seen in the market. Everything is so shiny and leap years beyond what you’re using – cameras, Smart TVs, laptops, washing machines, Tabs, you name it. And nobody stares when you fondle these beauties with the intensity of a serial molester without, well, looking like a serial molester.
So I spent a couple of days in Jakarta at the Samsung Forum at Hotel Mulia, where the major electronics player announced its upcoming launches for the Southeast Asian region. I went around the booths, asking the staff pesky questions and getting them answered just to post this blog! Here’re a few highlights!
THE CLEAR WINNER
This is the sexy beast that everyone couldn’t stop talking about. An 85-inch Ultra High Definition TV (UDTV) called the 85S9 that is an art installation in itself. (No photoshopping was done on the TV or the child okay) It’s designed like an easel that you can stare at forever, hence the term ‘Timeless Gallery’. They put on a cooking show and I could feel myself salivating at slow-panning shots of the ingredients. What’s really cool about this TV is how it includes the ‘One Connect’ feature that eliminates all the fugly clutter at the back of the TV. No worries, they’re working on future-proofing UHTV content standards so everyone can see every pore on every celebrity on these scarily true-to-life TVs. The downside? It’s 85-inches, and pretty expensive.
VERY SMART TVs
If you’re as lazy as I am, you’d love this one. How about telling the Smart TVs what to do? Like, “Hi TV, Channel 21”, or “Hi TV, Volume 15”, or even recording your favourite shows with commands such as “The Walking Dead, Season 1, Episodes 1 to 10”? (This technology is made for the Australian market, but they’re working on Asian versions) Samsung’s newly redesigned Smart Hub intelligently organizes your favourite and most-sought-after content into panels including, Apps, Photos, Videos, Music and Social. Thanks to motion and voice controls, you can even use your hands and voice to control the content that appears. Those screen-flipping scenes from Minority Report just got real.
THE ‘ANTI-TANGLE’ WASHING MACHINE
I’m one person who has no idea what happens in the washing machine. The washing machine is a black hole that I throw dirty clothes into, only to have it spit out clean versions later. But I do know traditional washers stretch the fabrics of good shirts, and it pisses me off, because I’m too lazy to hand-wash them. Samsung showed off a new Wobble Technology that prevents fabric damage without compromising wash performance (thanks to special fins and drum rollers that create multi-direction washing flows). Basically, it creates powerful ‘3-D’ currents to clean your clothes without spinning them to death.
THE GALAXY NOTE 8
If you’re pretty conscious about how many trees we’re killing every day, but can’t do without your to-do lists, weekly plans and meeting notes, then the Galaxy Note 8 is quite the ultimate life planner. The new Dual View feature also lets compulsive multi-taskers work with split screens to optimize the use of apps, for eg, you can use the browser to launch S Note on one screen, while resizing and dragging content on the other. Love e-books? The new Reading Mode also turns your Note 8 into the perfect e-reader.
To check out Samsung’s slew of new releases, click on http://www.samsungapacforum.com/ for more details
So I was at dinner and this girl at the next table was complaining and bitching non-stop to a guy she has clearly friend-zoned.
She was in her late-20s, with a bit of an overbite and fake lashes so thick and stiff you could place a champagne flute.
The guy, slightly older, looked like he repaired motherboards for a living. (Hunch)
I know he had been friend-zoned because he looked interested in the gibberish she was saying. And she clearly needs a post-break-up, ego-trip, hence this eager dude who was eating every word she’s saying while his food went cold.
She spoke like they were underwater: Loud, unfiltered and animated, oblivious to everyone else in the restaurant who didn’t need to know how she waited for him while he ‘went through different girls to find himself’. (Brilliant plan by the way)
I’m not a professional eavesdropper, but she was very loud and bitter and now I know why psychiatrists appear like such unfeeling bastards. No one needs to know or hear about so much self-created turmoil. This was how the conversation went:
She: “I don’t think he has ever loved me.”
He: “Uh-huh. Maybe he did.” (Very supportive)
She: “I don’t think he did. How can he leave me if he loved me?”
He: “Uh-huh.” (Less supportive)
She: “I don’t think he has loved me before.”
He: “Yeah, maybe he didn’t.” (NOT REALLY STANDING FIRM HUH?)
She: “Do you think he dislikes me now. Do you think he hates me now?”
I wanted so badly to say, “Excuse me Miss, I’ve been here for two minutes and already I don’t like you that much.”
“Dating is just awkward moments that one person wants more than the other. It’s just that constant strangeness.” – Jason Schwartzman
I don’t know if any else noticed, but dating is passé. It’s official. No one dates anymore. No one is making an entire evening or night exclusive to one other person. Nobody is asking anyone out, or at least doing it properly over the phone.
Everyone’s ‘dropping by’, ‘swinging by’, ‘popping in’ or ‘saying ‘hi’ on the way over’, with friends. Everyone’s texting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, asking others out in the most casual of manners.
Is courtship dead? Is everyone that fearful of investing time with someone else? Are we going to be known as the generation that’s most terrified of one-on-one commitment?
Just the other day a friend asked me to help ‘define’ the relationship she was in with this guy she was ‘kind of’ seeing. Obviously, she needed some ‘DOES HE or DOESN’T HE LIKE ME’ answers, and because I have an appendage similar to the guy in question, I was by default her mystery solver.
Of course, I felt no pressure of being used to read into the mind of some dude I have never met.
Facebook and Google have allowed us to find out about anyone even before the first date. Resumes, photos, past-relationships. Technology has coldly removed that element of surprise, the joy (or gamble, if you will) of discovery of another person. Nobody is that interesting for that long anymore.
The whole dinner-and-movie thing takes at least five hours (even longer of you’re watching Les Misérables), and honestly, who has the time anymore?
Long story short, if someone you like is investing the effort for you, return the favour, and let it grow.
Happy Valentine’s by the way. Please avoid the cheese of taking your loved one to a fancy restaurant filled with fine silver and the sad sounds of violins, while hugging a giant bouquet of flowers and a human-sized soft-toy, and then paying for everything by slipping the waiter your credit card.
It’s a cop out.
(The edited version of this piece first appeared in the February issue of LIFESTYLE magazine)