30 May 2005

Books i have finished last week

I have not been posting recently even though it is the holidays. I have promised myself that I will catch on my readings. So here is some review on the books that I have read in the last few weeks.

The New Spring by Robert Jordan

Quite boring. The whole book is like a prologue. It just fleets from one character to the next, with only 2-3 chapters focusing on each character. So there is no substantial development of the plot. As usual, most Wheel of Time fans will complain that Jordan has lost the plot. But I really hope that he get his act together and finish the series in the next few books. Seriously, it is already in book 10 and there is no end in sight.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

This is similar to Da Vinci's Code, or rather Da Vinci's Code is similar to this book. Similar plot devices, plot twists, and even the characters are the same. Could be a good thing if you liked Da Vinci's Code but you can sort of guess the 'bad' guy of the story. The interesting thing about Brown is how he uses history to create fiction.

Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom

Interesting thesis about how brands should utilise the five senses to capture customers. A lot of fascinating case studies, especially on Singapore Airlines, Apple, Disney and other Brands. (Aside: did you know that Kelloggs have patented the *crunch* sound of their cereal!) But you can gather all this information from the first few chapters of the book. The rest of it (I feel) is filler.

Why Globalisation Works? by Martin Wolf

I have been eager to read this book for some time. The Economist (My preferred magazine) have been raving about this book so I decided to I have to read this. I am cutrrently in the first few chapters of the book and I have to say, it really is a fantastic book on economic globalisation. I am a believer in the benefits of International Trade and further economic integration (no surprise there since my economics education based on a classical liberal perspective). Wolf is really a true-blue liberal and he presents his arguments in a clear and structured way.

One interesting quote he has is about the neo- type of people. It is by Mario Vagos Llosa: basically he says that there is no such thing as a neo-*. "Neo" just connotes someone who is half inside and outside of something.
"To say 'neoliberal' is the same as saying 'semiliberal' or 'pseudoliberal'. it is pure nonsense. Either one is in favour of liberty or against it, but one cannot be semi-infavour or psuedo-in-favour of liberty, just as one cannot be 'semipregnant', 'semiliving
, or 'semidead'." Hilarious!!

**more updates when I finish the book.

26 May 2005

Hilarious Star Wars Spoof

In these few weeks of star wars frenzy, there are many clips floating around spoofing the movie. Here is another one. It is definitely more political and I still have not really formed a position on organic food. But who cares when there is Darth Tadar and Cuke Skywalker. Very clever and well done.

18 May 2005


I went jogging last night. I finally did it after mentioning that I was going to go jogging. The last time I jogged was in Dec 2004 so as expected, I am paying for it now. My legs are heavy and sore and my body is aching all over.

17 May 2005

The Tyranny of TV Mobile and the Singapore Buses

Yesterday I took the bus home after dinner and I was grateful that, for once, I was able to have a peaceful bus ride. Even though I did not have my MP3 player, I was at least able to sit there and stone without the stupid TV in the bus blasting some stupid program that nobody is watching.

I have come to realise that I am utterly dependent on my MP3 player when I am in the bus. Singapore buses have a stupid TV that is installed at the front and the middle of the bus. According to TV Mobile's marketing, the TV are there so people can catch their favourite shows when they are on the bus (harlow American idol and survivor). BUT what they don't tell you is that among these gems of TV programs (it is of course debatable whether you think American Idol is a gem in the first place, but anyway .. ), there is a lot of CRAP that is being shown during the day. And the worst thing about it is that the same programs are repeated everyday AT THE SAME TIME.

So if you are taking the bus everyday at roughly the same time (which is everyone), then you would assualted by the same CRAPPY shows everyday. For example, I take the bus at 5.30 pm everyday, I will always have to go through the same episodes each week. The same program about how three kids go to a different country to study ... WOW ingenious!! And in this week's episode, the girl in Germany cooks for her friends and they go on a picnic BUT (boo-hoo) it is bloody raining so they eat in the hostel. And the girl in China shows you an eatery that sells Singaporean food and (lo and behold) they have a copy of the Singapore Chinese newspapers. And the Italian guy in Singapore discovers how to -wait for it - take public transport. (Frankly I am amazed that he did not comment on the TVs in the bus).

Yes, all this fabulous information gleaned because my MP3 player ran out of juice.

So I ask this question: if we have to pay for the public good to be supplied by someone (ie government). Should we have to pay SBS or TV mobile so they do not assualt us with this nonsense and crap on our daily bus rides?

I sincerely doubt paying TV mobile will produce better programming since they source these shows from the local TV channels (haha... take that crappy TCS!!). So I think I shall stick to my Coldplay album on my MP3 player. At least I get to control the programming of it. :D

PS: I just remember that in the begining of 2005, TV Mobile was promoting a package where you pay THEM about $500 to install the fabulous TV in your own car. So now you can give up the right to peace and quiet and pay them to irritate and annoy you with lousy local productions. Gee whiz ... sign me up!! Anyway, I have not seen the promotion any more. I wonder why ...

6 May 2005

I finally installed Bluetooth on my laptop

I finally installed the bluetooth device on my laptop and can transfer the pictures that I took with my new phone (or rather relatively new phone - read previous entry about my new phone). Anyway these are some of the ridiculous but cute photoes that I took of my dogs.

--> Nicky (Male)

-->Cocoa (Female)

(She does not look particularly happy in this pix - wonder why??)

5 May 2005

I have changed my blog template

If you are a regular, you would have noticed that the designs have changed. I have also added my pretty flash bit that I created from that website (read previous entry) at the top of the website. Nice??

This was my previous design. So do you think that there is an improvement? Acutally I think that it is completely different in terms of the colour scheme. But I have retained the nice mouseovers with the chinese charaters. I like them a lot and changed the colours of the pix to suit the design colour scheme.

For those people who know me - which is basically all those who are reading this website (i doubt any stranger will stumble on this blog) - I did not create this design from scratch. I modified it :P Like the essays that I write, I take the original, embellish with my own personal style and voila! The new design. This is the original design from a website francey.org, which has a lot of nice template designs. I feel so guilty about "borrowing" the template and so I am crediting the designer Francey.

So this is almost the end of my blog design journey. One more thing to do - find a way to include the flash intro that I created, which will also have the cityscape flash at the top of this blog.

4 May 2005

My Flash Intros

I have been playing around with this flash intro builder from this website. I have come up with two flash intros

The first one is with the cityscape.

The second one is sort of with a revolving blueprint (don't ask me why it is revolving).

(Please bear with the loading speed. I have no idea why takes so long for some people. I am NOT a techie person at all :)

Anyway, the reason why it is so dark and greyish is because my new blog template is going to be this colour as well so i thought I choose this colour for the intro for some continuity. You should try the flash builder - it actually looks professional and it was eay to use as well. Although some of the images and graphics and sounds was a little amatuerish but then I am sure you can use your fantastic judgement.

I think i will be changing my new template design soon. Probably by tomorrow so watch this space.

Of course, I am actually assuming that I have a lot of readers. I remember chatting (MSN) with Dawn that blogging is like you screaming into the abyss, and waiting for an echo to return. The echo being the comments that someone makes. So far I hear very little echos.

3 May 2005

After the Exams - an important 3 months

It is the end of the exams and I am back to my normal life again. The exams were okay. Both Comtemporary Asian Diplomacy and SEA Economies should be fine. It is the SEA Politics that is the problem: it was difficult and the lecturer set really tricky questions. But oh well it is over and done. I have three months holiday till the next semester starts. Time to slack around and catch up on all the books, games and DVDS. (PS: I just got some more books from the Times Books Sale over the Weekend. They were also selling Harry Potter for only $7 - CHEAP! but I already have it.)

But I don't intend to waste my holidays ... at least not all of it :P I will be

1. changing my blog designs - i am getting tired of the design and the whole 'whiteness' of it. I am currently playing around with a template that I copied but I will be modifying it - A lot. So in a way it is not plagarism. haha

2. apply and reasearch for jobs - basically i will be graduating this nov and i will be unemployed so i better apply for something. I am looking at banks (investment and private) and governement (MAS, IE, MTI, MFA ...) and international organisations (primariyl the World Bank). I am really interested in the World Bank position though - it combines development work with economics and research. And you get to travel (hopefully) and get to work on issues that actually help the planet (presumably, unless Wolfowitz takes over the World Bank and it becomes a department under the US State Dept. but that is another story).

3. finally, plan for my scholarship application. This is also something that I am interested in - the EU Scholarship for a Masters in Economics and Law. This will be a masters in the economic analysis of law - hmmm .. i have no idea what that means too. The attractive thing about this scholarship is there is NO Bond (unlike the stinking scholarhips / servitude system in Singapore). And I get to visit one university per semester - that is I get to study at one university for each semester based on the subjects that I want to take (countries include Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, and UK). I am eyeing the Netherlands, Germany and UK.

So this three months are important. What I do in these three months will determine my future. SO as Stef would say "Gambette!!"