Category Archives: blog

Life as a working parent

When you’re not worrying about work, you’re worrying about your kids, their health, education, upbringing…

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Bluetooth push advert

At the bus stop opposite Ion, waiting for the bus to bring me home, I noticed an advertising billboard promoting a certain skin whitening product with a bluetooth icon at the top, with a message telling me to switch on my bluetooth to receive a special offer.

Out of curiosity, I switched on the bluetooth radio on my phone and within seconds received 2 messages from that billboard. A picture which I can show the cashier to get a free gift with my next purchase, and a video evangelising the benefits of the skin whitening product.

It is a busy bus stop, one of those selected to trial the new service that forecasts when the next bus would arrive. Thousands of passengers would have passed by this stop on the bus of on foot. When a bus stops at this stop to pick up passengers, if it had a few passengers who had their bluetooth switched on, would they be within range of the advertisement and find the messages pushed to them? They might not otherwise have noticed the advertisement at the bus stop if it had not found its way onto their phones. It’s an interesting way to increase the reach of the ad.

Now my bluetooth is usually switched off to conserve the battery life on my devices, but maybe I should start switching on my bluetooth for a few days to see if such push technologies are more widespread than I thought.

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Gemmell on demonoid!

I’m amazed to find a torrent for what seems like the entire David Gemmell collection. Yes, is amazing. Long live demonoid.

I’ll be perfectly happy supporting those who create legendary intellectual property, such as this guy who is regarded by some as the best fantasy writer, or Rumiko Takahashi, who created the Maison Ikkoku series I’m still drooling over. But most of the earlier books by Gemmell are not in circulation locally. And it is always useful to keep a softcopy even after I get a hardcopy.

And now back to finishing Fall Of Kings from Sunny Bookstore.

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Going through MI… again!

This is the 3rd time that I’m going through Maison Ikkoku, as well as the 4th time. My first time was when I was in uni, the second about a month back and I’ve started on the 3rd time with Sunshine. Today I bought the manga to start on the 4th round. Obsession? Sure looks like it.

During my 2nd round, I would stay up late at night watching the anime on my PDA, never mind that I had to work the next day. I would take the bus to work so that I had time to catch an extra episode. Some time during the 96 episodes I realised from reviews by other fans that certain scenes from the manga had been left out of the anime, which led me to uncover the online manga scans so I could see for myself. Other fans who were more obsessed (and more importantly, more talented) reviewed their favourite episodes and compiled their own performance of the various theme songs from the anime. I’m glad to know I’m not the only person who thinks this is one of the best romance stories ever.

Looking back at how I started on the first round, it was when Kyoko started playing tennis and Godai’s rival appeared to spice things up. That was when Godai started fighting back and started growing up and became more likeable. If I had started watching while he was a total loser in episode one, I doubt I would have continued watching this spineless, unmotivated and lecherous young man going crazy over a woman much better than he is. The proverbal toad lusting after swan flesh, and with no better chance of success. But he grows up with each challenge that he had to face, and I found myself wishing him success. And along the way, Kyoko’s attitude towards him changed from being merely courteous and cordial to being genuinely enjoying his company.

Sunshine is a fan of Hong Kong drama, and certain Korean dramas capture her attention quite well too. She had never been an anime fan, but this is one of the few anime that she enjoys watching. We have reached episode 40 now. If she can last this long, it must be pretty good.

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Tiger and wolf strategy

Back when I was a secondary school student, there was a popular computer game, rtk2, which taught me about a turbulent period in China’s long history, and about getting other people to do your dirty work for you.

The game is based on a Chinese classic, Romance Of The Three Kingdoms, when warring nations eventually consolidated under the rule of 3 major powers, leading to the period known as the 3 kingdom period. I think. Anyway there are a few strategies that you can employ to undermine your opponent’s strength. Whichever way you do it, it is important that the instigator not let the target ruler know about this ploy, or incur great hostility. So you must do it subtlely,or be prepared for open warfare.

One strategy that I remember is the tiger and wolf strategy, whereby you encourage a strong and ambitious general in your enemy’s kingdom to stage a mutiny. The general is the wolf, and he is encouraged not to remain under his master, who is the tiger. The enemy ruler will be driven out and will be vulnerable when separated from his subordinates. You can follow up and run him into the ground, or you can make a move on the general who is still consolidating his power as the new ruler. Sometimes the other generals who are still loyal to the disposed ruler will follow him around, which means that loyalties will likely be split after the coup.

I never like this strategy in the game, because I lose a good general whom I would otherwise have like to hired under my employ. But when he becomes an enemy ruler, there is only death, I think. Never did I expect to see this ploy in office. And I can’t say I like it in real life either.

To do this in your office, talk to an ambitious executive about his incompetent boss, encourage him to bypass the boss and even to rally his subordinates against him, under the flag of the said ambitious executive, of course. When a person is hungry enough, the shadow of the scent of power will drive him to figure out the rest of the strategy and take it upon himself to upstage that boss whom he already dislike intensely. Promise him nothing, just hint that he can do a better job than his boss, and let him know how a mutiny can be staged. It is up to him to make him happen, and there is no trail leading back to yourself.

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Settling down in shit management

4 months into my new job as a QA manager, I think I am finally settling down and looking at life beyond the current shithole. For a start, I find myself tempted to start up a new blog (again). As usual, I will commit to regular updates, even if it is one post a week. I will even spin short stories on it and build up experience with writing fiction, on the long path to literary stardom. As usual big plans are made which (will) fizzle out when the demands of real life catch up with the desire to make dreams come true.

From experience, I start writing when I’m bored with my work. More importantly, when I can spare the brain cells to dream. Isn’t it a waste of life not to dream? Oh yes it is, isn’t it? Isn’t it pathetic to give so much of yourself to your job that you lose the ability to dream? I’m not so sure what the right answer would be when people I know are fearing for their job. At least mine is quite secure for the next 3 years.

Perhaps it will finally be a good time to write. If I don’t get bogged down in my own pile of shit this time.

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Why do people dress up in capes

At a local store’s checkout counter, a plump little boy spent his time deforming bars of chocolates with his elbow while waiting for his parents paying for their purchase in the next aisle.

The couple in front of me glared at him, but in typical singaporean fashion, we tend to keep quiet instead of confronting such people. And so they continue to misbehave because they have no disincentive to stop them, and probably no incentive to change their ways and become better people. But i’m not that typical and i asked him what he was doing, is he going to pay for the damages he did. He tried to ignore me, continue flipping the chocolate bars in a less destructive manner, and later went off to hide behind the next aisle where his dad was still making payment.

I think i had been quite mild. After a long day at work, the frustration of seeing such uncivil behaviour was almost enough to make me shake him until he cried and begged for his parents but i didn’t. Maybe that would help him understand that such behaviour should not be continued and if shocked enough, he will remember for a long time. But i was not sure if i would end up scaring the other customers around me.

Sometimes i can almost understand why people would dress up in a cape, wear their underwear outside and play the role of a vigilante.

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