Monthly Archives: September 2005

The Myth

Watched the Jackie Chan movie last night after work. Must be getting old, or overworked. Found the 9pm show to be pretty late.

It was different from his usual city-based action flicks in that all the action took place in ancient tombs, temples or out on the battlefield. He’s still wowing fans with his monkey-like climbing abilities, but there is a lot less of the super-fast fighting scenes now. And Jackie Chan had 2 female co-stars instead of 1. So greedy. Or just practical? One’s from Korea, the other from India. Everybody is going towards India now, even Jackie Chan’s movies. Citybank Visa’s latest advertisement shows Richard Gere in India, probably to win over the growing Indian market. But Jackie Chan raiding an Indian temple, dueling with Indian pugilists and helped by a Bollywood starlet? He returns to China eventually and fights a Taichi master who did not give him the chance to use his usual props in street battles. So the India trip was just an arc from the main story.

Not everyone can create a legend successfully. Miyazaki‘s Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke were highly acclaimed but just did not strike a cord with me. Not the way LOTR and the Matrix did. Or maybe those films just raised the barrier so high that all films will always pale against them.

This reminds me of something my secondary school Chinese teacher said, “Shen Hua (Myth) is Shen jing ping ren jiang de Hua. (The nonsense spouted by mad people.)”

Oh, nice barge though. I also want to live in a house with a rooftop that can scroll back at the flick of a button.

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Smokers’ toilet

There is a toilet with a window view which is frequented by smokers. I get pissed off when I see the window open with the warm wind blowing in. I think the smokers like to open the window and let the smoke escape so that they don’t choke in their own fumes.

Now I have nothing against smokers, as long as they don’t force me to breathe in their waste product. Some are very fine people in all other aspects, but like to adopt open air corners as their own smoking point. This is fine as long as they choose some ulu spot where non-smokers keep away from. I mean, if you are in the toilet, you have to put up with the stench of my bodily waste, but if you’re out of the toilet, you shouldn’t have to smell it. So why should I smell cigarette fumes when I did not choose to go near a designated smoker’s corner? Why should I have to endure smokers who gather along bridges, at bus stops, who walk in front of me, who smoke in toilets?

Those who do not want to breathe in their own waste will open the window and start smoking, and neglect to close it back. Sure, the higher air-con bills are not your problem because your company pays the rental, so it is something cannot care less about. That’s very nice of you. I don’t like to pee in a warm toilet and come out sticky with perspiration, but I guess you cannot care less also.

Have the decency to go congregate on roof tops or multi-storey carparks to smoke please.

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This is the 3rd time that the circus is touring Singapore, the show that they are putting up this time is called Quidam. Deciding not to be a country bumpkin anymore, I tried taking my family to watch the circus. Not everyone was willing to go, but no matter, I bring whoever is willing.

The acrobatics were breathtaking, the feats of strength and balance stunning, and the clowns were hilarious. They even pressed a brave local girl into joining in the mime on stage (sound effects provided by their live band) and she gamely played along. Another girl and three guys were later pressed into another mime. I think the participation made the evening very much unforgetable for them. Especially the first girl whose hair was totally messed up at the end of the show. What a sweet temper. I think those clowns were experts at judging from a look whether the person could play along well with them.


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World Of Warcraft

I had an hour or so to spare, so I wandered around Sim Lim Square. There, I came across a shop selling WoW at WCG price! Just what I had been looking for! The fellow selling me the game wanted to give me a poster of the Orc, but since he also had the Night Elf poster, guess which I chose?

Installing the 4CD game took 45min, so pathetically slow. Blizzard tends to bring everything down to the lowest common denominator so that those with lower-end game machines can still enjoy their games. And what good games they make too! Even when designed for lower-end machines, they still rock. It takes a lot more than flashy graphics to make a good game, and Blizzard has got most of it right. Their games can be very very addictive. But installing the patch (1.7.1) was an obstacle to overcome. 230+ MB to be downloaded took me 3 hours over my maxonline connection. Blizzard says that a 56K modem is all you need to play this online-only game, but how are you going to download 230MB over a 56K link? I’m glad I’m a little above the minimum requirement.

And now let the much anticipated gaming begin once again.

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webhosting – again

Frustrated at my company’s Internet applications failing yet again, I sent an email to my boss on how professional webhosting companies can provide more reliable service for a fraction of what our own guys will cost. The response from him? Interesting, any guarantees?

Oh yes, their SLA is high enough to satisfy ours. Their data centre is just as secure as ours, with disaster recovery, which we are still struggling with. For the price of half a man-day a month, we can get a dedicated server to host our lighter weight applications, whereas our own guys will charge in multiple man-days. With a dedicated server, we can install the necessary software packages to run our applications. I can already think of ways to test out the feasibility of this idea, migrating the less critical systems over first. There are ways to overcome our backend linkages with our internal systems. Data centres are a commodity these days, it is frustrating to be bound by our own inefficiencies and incompetencies.

While compiling a summary for the boss, I kept an eye out for a cheapo plan to host my own site. After all I do not expect to be making money from this, and so I should keep the cost low. The minimum requirement to fulfill my needs.
$70 a year for my own domain name, 50MB of disk space and 5GB monthly traffic limit, multiple email accounts and subdomains should be more than enough for personal use. Only with gmail’s 2.6GB (and growing) email space downloadable via POP3, the tiny email space available on this kind of hosting seems pathetic. Well you do get your own email address at your own domain name for people to send to. You can set it up to forward to gmail for storage, and send out from your domain name.

Mambo looked good as a portal tool, until I found drupal, with all the necessary features already bundled in without needing to go for extensions. But I suppose it is a question of whether to take the bare minimum and add extensions as you need, or take a tool with more built-in features so you need not spend time looking for extensions.


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Night cycling

It was such a relief to be cycling again after a few months of busyness.

I never feel more alive than when I’m on my bike, feeling the strain in my body and pedaling towards my destination on my own power. I found myself laughing while coasting down a gentle slope, my cares left far behind. I passed an old army camp that I thought was disused, but the roads remain free of fallen leaves and the lights of the top level bunks were on. I finally cycled on the new road that connects Queensway to North Buona Vista Road. I made it to my new flat and found a bunch of young men training with a punching bag at the communal area. My new apartment remains mostly empty and very peaceful.

I’m easy to please, just give me a few hours to ride by myself on quiet roads where traffic is light. It releases stress and loosens my muscles. No need for therapy or massage to recover from the demands of work. No need for cars, gym or club memberships, or condos. My material needs are simple, but my need for personal space is huge considering I live in a city. Perhaps I will be easier to please if I migrate to a more laid-back country with more roads and shorter working hours.

I must make it a point to go ride around more often in future. I will probably live longer and life will feel like it is more worth living.

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We went hunting for home appliances at Jalan Besar and ended up at Mustafa, where we heard the prices are cheap. Call us suah-koo, but we have never been here before and did not realise how much merchandise they can pack into so little space and still get them sold.

Several interlinked buildings where you can walk from the basement of one building and find yourself across the street, then take the escalator to the top floor and walk over another road to a third building before realising that we were on a bridge. Ok, the space is not so little. They must have started from one building and bought over others near it when they expanded. It was like a colony of mushrooms expanding from a core and occupying the spaces beside them. They sell all things from toiletries to gold to cars to airplane tickets. I have never seen toiletries and jewellery being sold so close to each other, and I have never seen a supermarket above a store selling clothes.

They have more variety of kachiam-puteh than I have ever seen in other supermarkets. Hardly surprising considering they are run by Indians. There is a Sony digicam booth just outside one of the buildings, curiously staffed entirely by Chinese guys. No Indians as far as I can see, no girls either. There is no food court or eatery inside the buildings, but no lack of prata shops along the streets outside. Not a place to hang out, but a place to get bargains. And they are open 24 hours a day. Maybe I will make another trip if I have a sudden craving for kachiam-puteh in the middle of the night.

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