Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Childhood Memories: This is how I learnt about telephones when I was young

Sesame Street - Yip Yip Martians and the telephone:

This is how I learnt about telephones when I was young. Education on television, especially with Sesame Street and Electric City, was so fun and entertaining, right? Yip...yip...yip...yip...yip...yip.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Channel U's tele-movie "The Promise" 《 向日葵的约定》

Channel U is showing a new telemovie called The Promise 《 向日葵的约定》 on 27 Dec 2009 at 9.30pm and I am hoping to encourage more readers to view the movie because I thought it will be a good showcase of acting and songs. The story is about how two young lovers are trying to realize a romance of innocence and purity (the girl is suffering from a aliment which renders her to be child-like whilst the boy is quite lost with his own directions in life). How will all these work out in the end? Stay tuned tonight.

I came to know of it when XiaoHan started advertising her song composition of 《受保護》 on Facebook and wanted the readers to write in to collect the song from Funkie Monkies Productions instead of ripping the song off from the Internet directly.

For those who are interested in the song, here's the youtube video preview (it's not the complete song version) and if you are further interested in the song, please either click on XiaoHan's blog or within the youtube video itself and follow the instructions there to write in to get the song.

I have already gotten my copy of the complete song version from Funkie Monkies through email but I refuse to upload the entire song up here because I think they are collating data for those appreciative of the song and I don't want to spoil their deliberate efforts here. I also want to support the song because the song is completed locally by a local singer and a local songwriter. Long live music by Singaporeans! ^__^

Without further ado, let's hear the shortened version before you decide whether to apply to grab the song from the original producers.

Song Recommendation for Dec 2009



乖 聽我說


分離不苦 這不算苦

我不是個孩子 無須再 受保護



乖 聽我說


分離不苦 這不算苦

不要反覆 不要反顧


分離不苦 這不算苦
無須再 受保護

無須再 受保護

Friday, December 25, 2009

Movie Review: Avatar (2009), Tycoons: A Business Simulation Facebook Application

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers out there. I didn't really celebrate this year's Christmas because I wasn't in any mood to do so in any elaborate manner.

It seems the predominant mood amongst most of my circle of friends. Perhaps New Year Eve will be different. Meanwhile, I am just slacking away at home, gaming, napping and treating my parents to a small dinner. Hope all of you are spending the time the best way you deem appropriate. ^__^

Movie Review: Avatar (2009)

This is indeed the one movie you should be watching because the graphics are superbly done and the storyline is riveting, particularly so because of its theme of materialistic greed versus the genuine connection of humanity to nature.

The story revolves around how a US Marine soldier, Jack Sully, who was crippled from waist downwards took over a special assignment from his deceased brother - to enter a new world of Pandora using a state-of-the-art avatar (a genetically modified being created from both the genes of his brother and a native species of Pandora). Although the soldier made a double pact with both the scientific faction as well as the military faction of the entire Pandora expeditionary team, he began to realize how the native species, Na'vi, were incredulously human-like, but with a much deeper appreciation and connection to the natural world of Pandora.

Pulled in so many different directions, and with the time ticking on an all-out battle between the bow-wielding Na'vi and the machine-gun-toting ex-Marines mercenaries from the expeditionary team, Jack must choose his side and be prepared to lay his life down to determine the future of Pandora.

As the viewer, be prepared to be awed by the bewildering variety of flora and fauna on Pandora and be shell-shocked by the stunning battle scenes as both groups clashed fiercely and heroically over the fate of the entire planet. I would not hesitate to give this movie a 5 stars out of a possible 5 because it's been so long since so much effort is being put into weaving graphics, action, acting together and pace them into a heart-pounding and yet heart-rending movie. Don't miss it.

Tycoons: A Business Simulation Facebook Application

I am spending quite some time online playing a new facebook application game called Tycoons. It's another of those business simulation games but I thought it has been able to capture my attention for quite a few days so far because there is actually a good deal of realism within the game. It's highly recommended for any blog reader who is hoping for a feel of what business trading is all about and how business people plan for their investments and returns over commodities such as power, aluminium, oil, clothings, cars, housing and many more.

I am only a few days into the game and am still struggling with trying to hit the level necessary for the building for a national bank and a nuclear power plant. The learning curve is high but with careful use of the game reward points, I think it will be providing a nice platform for some learning on financial management for those trying to develop some business acumen.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Movie Review: Storm Warriors (2009)

Well, the main actors still look so handsome and charismatic but I really hated the storyline of this movie - too much was left unsaid and it could leave viewers pretty confused about why such and such happened. There was too little acting and too much display of computer enhanced graphics that I was a little disappointed because in the original comic book series, the battle between Wind and Cloud was a lot better and much more emotional than the movie could depict.

The story revolves around how Godless, a Japanese warlord, who "somehow" captured the Chinese Emperor and was trying to force the latter to reveal the location of the Dragon Tomb (where the first Emperor of China was buried) to find a relic (which was actually a spine) to gain invincible hold over the entire of China. Wind and Cloud, despite their initial efforts, could not defeat Godless and had to escape while many Chinese pugilists sacrificed their lives to cover their retreat.

Nameless, a supposedly great master, was so seriously injured that he decided to teach Cloud more skills to help to defeat Godless, which eventually laid the foundations of Cloud's mighty swordplay "Ba". On the other hand, Wind decided to take a shortcut by learning the Demonic skills from another great master. This had a terrible price though as Wind could end up as a demon so the former forced Cloud to promise to kill him if he could not recover from his demon state before he entered the training.

Upon accomplishing their skills, both Wind and Cloud went to the Dragon Tomb and managed to defeat Godless in a spectacular display of combat prowess but Wind became more maniacal and actually took the relic and headed off on his own. The Chinese Emperor pleaded with Cloud to recover the relic as Cloud was the only one capable of stopping Wind.

The final scene was how Wind and Cloud slugged it out and eventually, Cloud managed to slice Wind on the source of his demonic madness (an opening on his forehead) and as both of them, along with Dream (Wind's longtime penpal and lover-to-be), plunged from an extremely high mountain cliff, Cloud pushed the other two up while he plummeted even faster into the abyss. The movie ended abruptly there and I thought the ending could have been much better.

All in all, if you are watching for a storyline that made sense, don't watch this movie. If you are already a fan of the comic book series and are looking for the improvements made in making the kungfu display, go ahead and indulge in the fighting scenes, especially the one where Cloud intelligently used his new swordplay to trap the overly-arrogant Godless at the Dragon Tomb.

I would give the movie a mere 2.5 out of 5 as after so much trouble in getting the two main leads to act together again, I would expect a better story development. The fight scenes were over-emphasized at a huge cost to plot layout. I hope Bodyguards and Assassins and Avatar will be much better movies.

Game Review: Dragon Age Origins (2009)

After one week of playing, I finally completed the game and I must say it really provided quite some entertainment in role-playing and satisfaction in making good decisions which led to good outcomes. Of course, I made some bad decisions too which resulted in lost companions, incomplete quests and missing out on items which could have made my gameplay life a little bit better.

Oh well, at least I had fun watching how my Human Noble Warrior fared as he ventured through so many different quest areas to explore, solve quests, move the main storyline and tried his best at shopping for the ideal items to send gifts to his companions. The right gifts would even open up personal quests, which would affect the approval ratings of the companions about the main character one is role-playing in. For myself, I used Alistair (a Templar Warrior), Leliana (a Bardic Rogue), and Morrigan (a Shapeshifter Mage).

The other thing I loved about this game is that the very dialogue options you choose can really determine how the game turns out to be. Answer curtly and you may well have a huge fight ahead of you immediately. Answer intelligently and you may be able to pick the characters and vendors for more information that could lead to better rewards and even new areas of explorations.

It also pays well to read up on those scraps of paper, books and scrolls that the main character and his party of three other companions pick up during their travels. Some will open up new quests, some will provide history on the background of the game universe (which will also earn valuable experience points), while others may provide clues to unhidden quests and procedures in the game. This is one game which will surely penalize those players who only know how to kill anything that moves without doing their reading up on those books and scrolls (all conveniently located inside the journal that the main character carries).

My recommendations for those who intend to start up on this 5-star role-playing game are:

1) Buy the PC version - it allows one to pause in the middle of the chaotic battles to issue specific commands to individual companions, especially when to drink health poultices.

2) Complete the tombstones quest to get the full set of Juggernaut armor, which gives high resistances to various elemental attacks. This set of armor prevented my main warrior character from dying a single time throughout the entire game.

3) Develop a love for cold spells because almost everything in the game has a lower resistance to cold and freezing the enemy monsters give valuable time to reorganize your adventuring party, especially when they are caught out in the open.

4) Be nice to your companions - buy them appropriate gifts and don't be stingy in giving them out to develop their approval ratings for your main character. The personal quests that can be unlocked out of each of the companions are worth the trouble and some major plot developments hinge on whether they will actually comply with your decisions or walk right out from your party - forever.

5) Save your game often - sometimes, you may accidentally click on something that you will regret, be it a dialogue option, a vial of glass, or a door, especially when your adventuring party are not ready to face the consequences.

That's all for the blog post now. Sorry to keep my readers waiting. I wish I could update more about music and artistes for those enthusiastic about news as such, but there simply isn't much happening right now to garner a blog post. I will try my best to look for these meanwhile.

Have a good weekend ahead! ^__^

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Mayan Aztecs and their amazing calendars

(Warning: Some of the paintings and illustrations contain explicit images of violence, torture and death and thus may be unsuitable for viewing for young children who may be reading this entry.)

I am not selling any idea that the world will end in the year 2012. I am just saying we have a lot to learn about these mysterious, ancient and yet incredibly advanced civilizations. If only the colonial explorers studied together with these civilizations instead of eliminating them, we could have preserved so much important history and knowledge that may actually help mankind evolve better than we are doing now.

We really need more peace instead of war amongst ourselves.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Sand Drawing of World War II by Kseniya Simonova

Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who just won Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent." She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.

And I thought it was a beautiful story told...enough said.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

歌曲介绍: 《昇F大調行版》 by 伍思凯



这就是音乐的魔力,而此小品尽展无疑... ...

昇F大調行版 詞曲:鄭華娟 編曲:伍思凱
你是誰 能不問我就知道我傷悲
你是誰 能為我拭心上淚
你是誰 能夠為我等待為我憔悴
你是誰 陪我哭泣陪我醉

夢的血液 孤單的身體
飄浮在這人海裏 如果月亮隨風搖曳

多少苦我都經歷 愛不能變言語
多少恨只能忘記 當真心被拋棄

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Movie Review: Ninja Assassin (2009) M18 Rating

Alright, I just returned from the movie "Ninja Assassin" and I thought it really had some superb action scenes - definitely too gory for most of the under-18-year-olds because blood was copious and bodies were dismembered in horrifyingly sudden ways, but it was jaw-dropping and vicious. I think it really gives a very realistic view of how deadly martial combat is and a moment's hesitation would bring death so quickly and those ninjas did not hesitate at all, which is probably why they are so good in their job.

The plot follows how Raizo was brought up from a child in a top-secret mountain stronghold to be one of the deadly assassins in the Ozunu Clan (aka The Black Sand Clan) and during the course of the very brutal training, befriended a fellow female student who taught him about the value of a beating heart and a freedom beyond the strict regime of Ozunu. Raizo, eventually, betrayed the clan and allied himself with a forensic researcher from an intelligence agency. They were trailed by the rest of the assassins and a number of bloody fights ensued.

The final scene culminated when Raizo carried a homing beacon inside him for a large group of international special forces operatives to track him all the way back to the mountain stronghold of Ozunu. Both groups went all out with bullets, shurikens, swords and rocket launchers against each other while Raizo fought his nemesis in his class before taking on the Ozunu teacher himself.

I thought the last fight was a bit over the top because the movie did not explain how Raizo could still summon enough strength to fight his ninja sensei when he was slashed and cut and torn to nearly oblivion by his sensei who had an amazing skill to semi-teleport in and out of the fight. I suppose that was to address that ninjas had developed superhuman strength, endurance and speed to withstand that kind of injuries and pain to begin with.

All in all, I would want to give a A for the action scenes because of their realism, but falling short of an A+ because the lighting in the movie was too dark to justify all the efforts put in by Rain and the stuntmen. Those somersaults in mid-fight were real but it was too dark for those not accustomed to fighting scenes to see properly. It was a real pity because I thought they really practiced supremely hard for the movie.

The plot would only garner a C+ because the movie did not address how Rain could have escaped the Ozunu Clan's assassinations for so long and who passed Raizo the message to save that forensic researcher from harm. I also find it difficult to see how Raizo could quickly defy his ninja sensei after finishing his first assassination attempt in the male toilet with very little account of his character development or inner thoughts. I also could not understand how come a large group of international special forces operatives could be deployed when it was described in the movie that the Ozunu Clan was regularly hired by many governments in the world for assassination jobs at the price of 100 pounds of gold per head. I thought the governments would gain more if they kept the Ozunu Clan instead of eradicating it.

A 2.5 popcorn out of 5 popcorn. It was a little disappointing for me because it's been so long since a movie about ninjas was made but I hope the standards would improve even more with this movie as a modern benchmark.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ninja Assassin 2009 (NC18) Looking forward to watch it

This is one movie that I am just waiting to watch in a few days' time. The trailer looks cool but what appeals to me if all that mystery and magic behind those masked assassins. Reminds me of the days when I first watched American Ninja 1 and 2 - those movies looked really cheesy now but they were considered the pioneers for starting all the ninja fantasy in the movies and now after more than 30 years, we now have this...

Cool right? And just when you think most of the fighting in the trailer alone must have been done with computer graphics and lots of wires in the air...take a look at this video behind the scenes...

Wow...all those hard work put in by Rain and the team of stuntmen is enough motivation for me just pay that movie ticket. I know most of the movie reviews seem to say the movie plot is quite thin but for the sake of the action-junkie inside me, I think I will like this movie at least for the action and sincerity behind all those practices to make the scenes realistic. Will tell all you readers what I have witnessed in the movie as soon as I can.

Have a good week ahead meanwhile! ^__^

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Movie Review: 2012

I finally found time to watch this movie and get to blog about it. The story revolves around how a down-and-out author had to struggle to reconnect with his estranged family who is living separately when he encountered a seemingly-mad radio deejay who told him about the coming of the end of the world, showed him photos of the unfortunate politicians and scientists, who tried to tell the world the truth, were assassinated in freak accidents, and whispered about a map where spaceships were being built to escape the apocalyptic changes that were about to come.

The male lead, acted by John Cusack, began by recklessly pawning his watch to a pilot at an airfield and quickly drove to his family in a bid to prevent disaster from happening to his loved ones. What happens from there is a series of death-defying escape on a mini-airplane as the family raced to try and reach the secret base in China where a flotilla of special ships were designed to carry a selected few to safety. There are obviously problems to this plan - the plan is too small to make the trans-oceanic trip, the Chinese military might shoot them, and they would not be able to afford seats on those spaceships - ten billion eurodollars per seat.

How are they going to reach safety amidst the chaos of sinking continents, exploding volcanoes, gigantic earthquakes, and yet juggle with human selfishness, selfless courage and elitist attitudes of the rich and the powerful? I am not going to spoil the movie by telling too much - go watch and find out yourself.

What I can offer as feedback for this movie review are:

1) The male lead seems to be so lucky that he doesn't feel real to be able to escape those disasters unscathed.

2) Hijacking planes from airports seem really easy.

3) I loved the speech given by one of the actors who appealed to the world leaders onboard those spaceships to open the doors to save those who had no tickets.

4) The disaster scenes are by far the best I had ever seen but the movie's touching moments could not outdo those from Deep Impact and the movie's humorous scenes could not outdo Armageddon. Those two movies are what I considered to be really impressive disaster movies about the end of our world.

Armageddon Movie Trailer

Deep Impact Movie Trailer

5) I don't know if 2012 will be the end of our world but I do know we should be doing what we ought to be doing - living our lives the best ways that we can instead of procrastinating, complaining, lamenting or worrying.

End of review. Time to take my nap. Zzzz...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

RAZORTV's videos on the three upcoming local singers whom I am covering recently

I thought the impromptu performances and interviews from RazorTV's entertainment videos are really interesting to watch. Some seemed well-prepared whilst some just take it as it goes along. Come to think of it - it's really not easy to do so.

The album's songs seem to be catering to a niche market but it's still encouraging to see local young singers willing to take the leap and learn their way to realize their dreams.




The three singers on their dreams and time management

黄宏墨 (The album producer behind these three singers)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Singapore Children's Society Project Cabin Camp 2009 9 Nov to 11 Nov

I have just returned from the above-mentioned camp as a volunteer group leader and this blog post is all about all the interesting encounters that have happened during this camp. The objective of the camp is to enrich the values of the students using the core motto of the camp for this year "No Man Is An Island".

The camp started on 09 November 2009 (Monday) from Bukit Merah Student Hub Centre with a group of 10 staff, 9 volunteers and 64 Cabin Club students and the entire group traveled all the way to Pasir Ris Holiday Flats and Dormitories for the residential part of the camp.

I was in charge of one of the eight groups of students and was also in charge of a group of 14 students in the male dormitory whilst the rest of the campers were residing either inside the female dormitory or the holiday flats. It will be too cluttered to write everything inside this post so I will just highlight some of the major events and what I considered to be really memorable encounters during the camp itself.

Night Trail at Pasir Ris Park Mangrove Boardwalk:

This was one of the biggest event for Day One where students would have to traverse the Mangrove Boardwalk in pitch dark conditions to reach five different stations within the Boardwalk to perform certain activities to earn tokens for a subsequent camp event the following day.

Although each of the groups, led by a volunteer group leader, was allowed to bring torch lights, the lighting conditions inside the Boardwalk were so bad that none of the torches could shine beyond 5 meters before the darkness enveloped each group. Hence, the Night Trail was of considerable challenge to students who had to overcome their individual fear of the dark and rely on the strength and courage of the group to complete the tasks at hand.

Special Encounter - Dark Presence in the Forest:

(Disclaimer: I am not advocating any idea of superstition or negating any form of religious beliefs here. I am merely stating what I have encountered during the camp.)

During the second station, where each group was supposed to visit a unmanned pavilion to search for some tokens in a treasure chest, my group, which was the last one, made quite a racket in the darkness, talking and discussing loudly about the search for the tokens when I noticed the surrounding darkness becoming "thicker" and "thicker".

Logically, darkness should only constitute the color of black, but the longer my group lingered at the station (they were really keen on finding every single token), the darkness surrounding the pavilion seemed to have increased its shade of black multiple times over in the space of a few minutes and the surrounding air became much colder.

Realizing something was amiss, I quickly warned my group to keep their volume down and exit the station as quickly as they could. As we were leaving the pavilion (I placed myself as the last person of the group), a deep chill ran down the entire length of my spine and I felt a huge dark presence standing right behind me. I remembered what my National Service platoon commander told me - resist the temptation to look back in the middle of the forest so I did exactly that - I walked quietly without a word as my entire group proceeded to the next station.

For what it seemed like an eternity, the dark presence followed right behind me, and I had to resist the urge to push my group to go faster lest I aroused the curiosity of the students who might look back at me. We prodded until the next station was nearly in sight and suddenly the dark presence just stopped following me and seemed to have turned back. The cold chill in my spine disappeared instantly as well.

When I reached home, I "googled" what I had encountered and realized that dark presences are part of paranormal activities and cross-checking with some of the more experienced ones revealed that a possibility of that particular dark presence was a manifestation of what they would call as a shadow giant - an ancient of the dark dimension that resides in extremely dark places. Reputed sizes of these shadow giants could reach up to several stories high. According to what I had estimated, that dark presence was at least 9 feet tall so it could have tallied with what the experienced ones had said.

Thankfully, that shadow giant seemed more intent on escorting the entire group out of its territory than on harming us. I was so worried that the students in my group might be harmed in any way while it was following us for that seemingly forever few minutes. I am going to stay away from that particular pavilion from now onwards.

Loss: Thankfully none.
Gain: +1 Luck, +1 Wisdom

Outdoor Fun at VivoCity:

The second major camp activity was on Day Two where the groups had to weave in and out of the many shops within VivoCity to try and compare prices of items. Simply put, they are supposed to find items starting with a set number of letters in the alphabet and to collate the prices of these items. The group with the lowest prices from all these items wins. The activity was enormously draining because groups had to run around the entire VivoCity to fulfill the task which was further interspersed with three game stations that they had to find using only clues.

Special Encounter - The Defiant Rebel

My group, in my opinion, was the most difficult group to lead in the entire camp. That was because the group was fractured into very different groups - half the group had such close friends who were allocated to other groups was always clinging onto their friends for most of the time, refusing to temporarily leave their cliques even for the camp. The other half consisted of loners who barely uttered more than twenty sentences in the forty-eight-hour camp, sleepy heads who would grab any possible time to return to the sleeping quarters to nap, and rebels who would want to defy any instructions because their philosophy of life was "rules are meant to be broken".

What I considered to the most obnoxious rebel happened to be in my group. During the Outdoor Fun activity at VivoCity, he was shouting and ordering another volunteer group leader around at one of the game stations in front of many groups and members of the public that I had to yell at him to shut up. Although I was given pre-camp advice that "everyone had some good in them", I did not seem to see what good was there in that blatantly rude behavior of that Obnoxious Rebel.

After lodging a seriously-worded complaint with the relevant staff member from the Singapore Children's Society, a meeting between that staff member, the Obnoxious Rebel and myself was convened later that afternoon where the student in error apologized for his behavior, citing the reason that all his friends had always been giving way to his antics. I explained that although some rules could be broken given the circumstances, not all rules and decorum are to be abandoned at the cost and embarrassment of so many innocent others. I also told him that his actions at VivoCity had put his fellow groups to shame, offended the other volunteer group leader, disgraced his authority over the other group's campers and brought bad light to Singapore Children's Society in the eyes of those members of the public who witnessed the incident.

The Obnoxious Rebel subsequently tried to participate and cooperate more actively in the remaining activities without a single word of complaint and the camp eventually passed with no further incident or conflict. I learned that some rebellious youths expected everyone to give way to them and to understand their every action and word, no matter what the potential consequences are. I also understood that I had, and will continue to have, nearly zero tolerance for selfish individuals when they are supposed to take into consideration the best interests of the group before themselves.

Loss: The remaining members of the group caught on his bad example of rebelling and began to laze during most of the camp, making my work even harder at times.
Gain: +1 Speech, +1 Knowledge

The Night Watch at Pasir Ris Holiday Compound:

On the final night of the Project Cabin Camp 2009, all the nine volunteers agreed to take over the night watch duties for the entire camp compound so the over-worked staff members could take some much-needed rest. What followed was a night of eating, drinking, playing, observing and catching of some naughty campers who tried to slip out of their sleeping quarters for unknown objectives.

The nine volunteers dragged out a number of chairs and arranged them in a circle in the middle of the only road running through the camp compound at around 12.30am. We also lugged our favorite items with us to accompany us for the long watch of nearly 6 hours ahead of us - soft toys, mini pillows, torch lights, windbreakers, ipods, video cameras and not forgetting, loads of packet drinks, snacks and leftover food from that night's buffet dinner.

For nearly an hour, the volunteers were talking about some of their most interesting personalities within their respective groups. At around 1.30am, we began to play the game "Murderer" to pass time. Believe me, it was really difficult in the semi-darkness to see those winks and we had a lot of fun trying to find out who the murderer and the detective was. We surely had a good laugh over one of the volunteers who seemed to be always one of the first victims to be "killed", one of the most unobservant detectives who took a long time to seek out the murderer and also one of the most reluctant murderer who took a long time to seek out his victims. To sum it up, we labeled him as the worst player for the game which he still took it within his stride in good sport. ^__^

Special Encounter - The "Night Crawlers"

Somewhere around 3am to 4am, two of the male campers tried to slip out of their holiday flat quarters for reasons unknown. A stealthy and quiet opening of the door followed by two crawling figures in the semi-darkness. However, my night vision was better than what they had expected and I already spotted their movements and pointed out the little misadventure. One of the volunteers immediately recognized the identities of the crawling figures and quickly ran up to stop them from crawling towards a back stairway.

The volunteers continued their night watch by playing a prank on one of the female volunteers who had just returned from a regular patrol session around the camp compound. The prank was hilariously simple - totally ignore the presence of that volunteer as if she had already returned to the sleeping quarters to sleep. The results was wriggling fun as the volunteer was stomping her feet and going around "strangling" all the volunteers seated at the circle, only to be answered with "Oh my god! I felt something touching my neck! Was it the wind?"

The whole prank continued to balloon with the inclusion of the "Flying Plastic Fork". The female volunteer had a white plastic fork in her mouth then and we all commented with pretentious awe that a "holy fork" had joined the circle of night watch and whenever the "holy fork" moved, we would hail it as some sort of divine sign of communication. The end result - the female volunteer was so tickled that she played along with the game and used the fork to continue some silly charade for another hour or so.

When the night watch ended the next morning, I thought to myself - it was definitely the most entertaining and enjoyable night watch that I had ever participated in as the jokes were great, the pranks were hilarious and the watch was fruitful with another four more students caught walking out of their sleeping quarters before the reverie hour was approaching. If I had another chance to go on another night watch, I would definitely seek the company of those eight people.

Loss: I only managed to grab 15 minutes of sleep after my night watch duties ended.
Gain: +1 Fun, +1 Experience in Night Watch

The volunteers were under strict instructions not to take any photos or videos of students during the camp so as to protect the identities of these students whom the Singapore Children's Society consider as children/youths-at-risk. Hence, I could only take back memories and recollections on this blog. The following are some of the more scenic pictures that I had taken.

The sunrise photograph was taken on the morning of Day 3 when I was nearing the end of my guard duty. I was stretching myself and waiting for the campers to wake up when I noticed the beautiful sunrise creeping up from the tree horizon.
The sky was full of alto-cumulus clouds - small and fluffy like numerous cotton buds. It provided a really serene touch to that particular morning. It has been so long since I could find time to cloud-watch and snap such pictures. What a beautiful world of Nature if one could only stop and smell the flowers and feel the breeze.
As a volunteer group leader and dormitory in-charge, my in-camp schedule was usually so tightly-packed that I could only have time to put up a picture of the dinner that was handed to us during Day One - packet lunch with rice, eggs, chicken pieces, beancurd and mixed vegetables. It tasted delicious because I was already famished from all the work from settling in the campers, briefings and ice-breakers.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

黄宏墨《这一切都会过去》创作珍集藏版2 新歌发布会

黄宏墨《这一切都会过去》创作珍集藏版2 新歌发布会




黄宏墨和他的歌坛老战友“锦祥”一起弹奏合音, 唱了首《桃花红红》的闵南语台湾民谣曲。虽然默契有加,可是黄宏墨却说唱得没有彩排时好。
压轴的是黄宏墨一再推举的黄业翔。他以一首慢歌《梦中情缘》来让现场观众看到他深情诠释的一面,然后以他更擅长的舞蹈带来专辑的主打歌曲《这一切都会过去》。 劲歌热舞把现场搞得沸沸腾腾的,确实是新人阵团压轴的适当人选。黄业翔现场的舞蹈魅力感染度高,而且舞得自信满满,唯一能挑的是他在唱的某些部份,咬字有点含糊不清,整体表现就稍微扣了点分。

我其实还有些笔录还没添加,可是明天我还有露营活动,有些事项配备还得打理,过几天等我回来再补上,好吗?我答应你们一直默默支持我小小博客的读者们,我一定会把这篇写完。你们要祝我露营一切都顺利喔!^__^ Updated on 15 Nov 2009: 黄宏墨接着介绍了他在歌坛上的战友,并把他们邀上台,和观众分享了创作的心得。

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Enjoying Fallout 3 again on new PC, Reward Lunch at Swensen's, Conversations Between A Master and A Disciple

Enjoying Fallout 3 again on new PC:

Finally, after two weeks of deliberation, I had my new PC up and running.

Intel I 7 Quad Core
Gigabyte Motherboard
Vista Home Premium Operating System
4GB Ram
Geforce GTS 250 Graphics Card
DVD Writer

It's not exactly THE best configuration around the country but according to my computer technician, it's already a very impressive setup which will power the latest games and ensure a good performance whenever I surf the Internet.

Here's a picture of the Quad Core I7 Processor which my technician whistled with approval.

Reward Lunch at Swensen's:

I have been working real hard and clocking overtime so my blogging took a back seat for these two weeks. Just a couple more days and I'll be able to enjoy some seamless rest and recreation, especially when I have a goody computer at home to play around with whenever I am not out meeting my VIP friends.

I took a nice lunch to reward myself for working so hard and ordered at Swensen's Holland Village since I was there to finish up some work. A slow lunch is also good for the mind and body and I took my time to savor it. I think I should do this more often since I've been chowing instant noodles and cornflakes with milk for a disproportionate number of my meals recently.

A picture of the main course - roasted chicken with basil herbs for lunch.

Conversations Between a Master and a Disciple:

Disciple: Master, this is so difficult - why are we working so hard? Life is so impermanent and shouldn't we be enjoying ourselves instead of slogging so hard?

Master: Life is indeed impermanent and far more unpredictable for so many of us yet we should not stop working hard because the more we do, experience and engage, the more we learn. As long as we are learning, we are doing good to the quality of our lives. Of course, we can still enjoy ourselves whilst working but we should not crave quick gratification without the genuine sweetness from hard work.

Disciple: If we are so impermanent, it really makes very little sense to even work so hard. Everything will still come to nil when our lives ran out.

Master: We may lose everything we think we possess the moment we expire but the indirect benefits that we have exerted on the lives of others may endure for many years to come. For example, a soya bean milk seller may have lived out his life but his service to have provided drink and nourishment to so many others may have yielded far greater good that he can ever imagine - those people may in turn bring benefits to further others. So we should commit ourselves to whatever we are at so we may prove to be useful, be it during or after our lifetimes.

Stay tuned. I will have more photos and blog posts coming up, now that I will soon have time to really blog about the things around us. Time for dinner! Bye! ^__^

Monday, October 26, 2009

《这一切都会过去》创作合辑 歌曲音乐评论篇 Music Review

And I had a pleasant surprise yesterday as someone actually mailed me a copy of the album 《这一切都会过去》创作合辑. It seemed like this someone who has been reading my blog knows I am looking for that album and graciously helped me with it so I could spend less time hunting for it in the middle of my work and all, so firstly, my thanks to this someone.

In my review of this album, I will only be focusing on these three newcomers because they stir my greatest interest as they are not only Singaporeans, they are also attempting to make some breakthrough in the industry I am most concerned with on this blog - music and entertainment.

I did a research on the Internet and found that the three of them have some sort of an artiste profile on
Sifon Music website so I decided to put the profiles here as well. Let's take a look at their backgrounds before we hear how they sound like on the album.

姓 名 :黄 业 翔 ,Alfred
生 日 :4 月 2 日
星 座 :白 羊 座
血 型 : O 型
身 高 :177 cm
体 重 : 68 kg
兴 趣 : 歌 唱 ,跳 舞 ,打 球 ,健 身
语 言 : 英 语 , 华 语
个 人 荣 誉 :
2001-2004 曾夺下多项青少年国际公开赛拉丁舞冠军
2005 新 秀 卡 拉 OK 歌 唱 大 赛 冠 军
2005 第 七 届 木 船 民 谣 歌 厅 歌 唱 大 赛 亚 军
2005 新 传 媒 Superband 亚 军
2008 全 国 超 级 K 歌 大 赛 冠 军
2008 云 顶 Be A Star歌唱大赛季军,最佳舞台魅力奖
2008 第四届香港亚太区,新马印泰汶中港澳大决赛季军
2009 十方唱将国际流行音乐大赛冠军
喜 欢 的 颜 色 : 白 , 红
最 喜 欢 的 食 物 : 妈 妈 煮 的 食 物
最 喜 欢 的 水 果 : 苹 果
最 喜 欢 的 歌 手 : Rain
欣 赏 的 艺 人 : 李 连 杰
最 喜 欢 的 动 物 :狗 , 龙 猫
最 喜 欢 的 电 影 : 好 电 影 就 喜 欢
最 想 表 演 的 地 方 : 北 京 鸟 巢

My comments: This guy likes to exercise, which is a good thing, since he seems to be portrayed as a dancer for most of his music and entertainment gigs and exposures. He has consistently done well in various competitions since 2001 until 2009, snagging either the champion, 1st runner up or 2nd runner up positions. This is a major plus to his future exploits as he seems constantly in practice and in form for singing and dancing. There is ambition in him as well because he actually wanted to perform at the Beijing "Bird Nest" Stadium. Accordingly to what I know of that place, only the best and most influential will get invited to perform at that venue.

黄业翔 sang on the album - Song Number 1: 《这一切都会过去》
How I felt after listening to the song:

It uses a range of themes very similar to those from the Chinese Rock and Roll 中国摇滚, which speaks of love and separation, growth and maturity, transcendence of time and even contains a satirical jab at the income inequality of the modern society. The chorus of the song repeats itself with its title
这一切都会过去 as if to try and quantify that nothing is permanent in the midst of all these temporal ideas of love and wealth. 黄业翔 is able to deliver this song with confidence in the KTV music video, with his slick dance moves and a small group of backup dancers.

I really think this song is meant for the listeners in mainland China because it does not seem to sit well with Singaporeans who are more influenced by Taiwanese mandarin pop music. There is a certain level of maturity in the song, which
may be harder to grasp for the younger listeners if they do not understand the meaning behind the lyrics. Initially, I thought 黄业翔 is not exactly the best choice for such a song but on hindsight, I believe the album producer picked him for his ability to deliver the song in a rock and roll format which should have certain resonance in mainland China. This will be a very interesting attempt for a Singaporean to deliver 中国风 and it remains to be seen until the album is released in China itself. I wouldn't be surprised to see this song grow in popularity in those pubs and cafes with rock bands.

1997-2001 模特儿走秀及担任杂志模特儿
2001 儿童电视剧 《IQ档案》
2002-2004 儿童资讯节目 《IN 一代》
2002 电视连续剧《小孩不笨》
2002电视 广告 肯德基家乡鸡
2004 儿童电视剧 《爸爸向前冲》
2004 电视剧 《我爱我家真情实录 之 不带伞的男人》
2004 电视连续剧 《甜蜜风暴》(月亮的秘密)
2004 电视广告 家具站
1996-2009 :
2006 选美比赛 Universal Royalty Pageant 总冠军
最喜欢的歌手:Kelly Clarkson、萧亚轩、소녀시대、Super Junior
最喜欢的电影:A Walk To Remember、Lord of the Rings

My comments: This girl definitely has that star appeal appearance - bright-eyed, good complexion and a good smile to boot. If the profile is accurate as it says, she is one talented girl who can act, sing, dance, design, flim and draw. From what I could recollect, only a very small handful of artistes come close to such an impressive repertoire of skills. Her music and entertainment career started at 1996 and she seems to participating in modeling, acting, advertisements, beauty pageants, singing and dancing competitions. Her interests seem to be those of a neighborly girl-next-door but her vast experience speaks otherwise. I believe she is another interesting new artiste to watch out for in the coming years.

What 叶慧馨 sang on the album - Song Number 4: 《将你的心装上翅膀》
How I felt after listening to the song:

I tried searching for the title of the song on the Google Search Engine and I realized the title of this song is a very popular phrase on the mainland Chinese websites. Needless to say, this is another song deliberated for the audience of mainland China. The song, however, sounded more light-hearted as it sings of freedom and of being oneself, which more or less speak for the song title. There are plenty of references to nature - blue skies, white clouds, green forests, which is easily recognized as common motifs used for simple country-styled songs. It provides a good contrast to the earlier songs which sounded heavier and it's a refreshing break from most of the love ballads that are floating on the market right now.

seems the ideal choice for this song because of her girl-next-door look and although the music video looked a little bit awkward at certain shots due to the overly-lush background greener against a smaller-framed singer, its simplicity was a clever stroke when laid alongside with this song.

Initially, I thought the song was suitable for only country music lovers but I thought the song can go far enough to reach be a nice complement for products and services based on natural themes and even be a song attached to those idol dramas because of its light tunes and catchy phrases. Also, I can imagine quite a number of female singers in the market who can sing this song too since it's technically not that difficult so it remains a question on whether this female newcomer can stamp her own unique style to make the song truly hers to own.

血型:B+ 型
• 2004-2007 校内表演,主持和各场比赛参与
• 2008 Teenage Icon 歌唱比赛参与
• 2004-2007 校内,个人歌唱比赛, 亚
学校代表,团体歌唱比赛, 亚
最喜欢的歌手:张栋樑,林忆莲,Ayumi Hamasaki
最喜欢的电影:空恋,The Pursuit Of Happiness,Transformers

My comments: This girl seems to have least experience amongst the three newcomers with interests comparable to most girls and having her first foray into music and entertainment from 2004 with her most prominent competition participation in Teenage Icon 2008. The picture profile looks a little mundane and I really thought there is still room for improvement on how she could have been photographed. The content profile also does not give that much details as I would like to know more about other things like either her aspirations or her special talents in any area.

What 黄秀莹 sang in the album - Song Number 2: 《爱你上了瘾》
How I felt after listening to the song:

This is a soft rock song which played emphasized on the singer's ability to reach the high notes in a good projection of her voice. There is quite a few references to liquor as if the song is trying to say that falling in love is as good as being addicted to liquor. I think this song is meant for a market of adult listeners and I can imagine this song to be played at many KTV lounges either as a live band song or as the background song for such places or even as an advertisement jingle for liquor beverages because of the sleazy tune behind the song, coupled by the suggestive lyrics.

黄秀莹 has a very suitable voice for such genres of songs because I thought she could really dip into the emotions behind those themes with her singing and I cannot think of how the other two young newcomers can manage such a song with an equally convincing performance on the music video.

The song has a tinge of Moulin Rouge in it, and yet carefully balances the sense of sensuality without tipping over. It takes a while to get used to such songs but just like the previous two songs, it can grow on you if you allow your mind to be opened up on difference genres of singing the same themed songs on social happiness, freedom and nature and love and intoxication.

Overview of these three songs:

As the album is marketed as a compilation, with majority of the songs being oldies or written in ways that are not easily understood by generations born after 1980s, there is a slight danger that these three songs may ended up being drowned out by those more contemporary pop songs heavily marketed by the larger music companies. Personally, I thought these songs are pretty suitable for each of these young singers and depending on the efforts of their music production companies, they still stand a chance in getting the word out that they are the new kids on the block.

For these three songs in total, I would rate a 6.5 out of 10. They did not really strike resoundingly on originality or creativity in song composition or lyrics usage but they are durable on my ears, which means I won't get sick of listening to them as quickly as some of the other heavily-commercialized songs on the market.

End of review. ^__^

Friday, October 23, 2009

Upcoming Album and New Local Artistes of Interest in《这一切都会过去》创作合辑

Yes, I know. It's been quite some time since I have blogged about anything related to local music and entertainment because nothing recent seems to be catching my blogging interest since The One Million Star Season 5 Competition in Taiwan has ended and our various contestants from Singapore have returned victorious and experienced.

ntil a couple of days ago, my habitual reading of entertainment news on the web has caught a series of articles about a new compilation album from a local songwriter and album producer 黄宏墨 and it's been quite some time since this person is active on the news as he has always been busy with his music school 十方乐廊”(Sifon Music) and its competition 《十方唱将国际流行音乐大赛》.

Yet something new seemed to be moving on the landscape as there is mention of three newly-minted local artistes whom he is grooming to be future stars...

Interestingly, he has even included these three young artistes in his latest album 《这一切都会过去》创作合辑 and being one of the entertainment bloggers in Singapore, I ran a check on the articles and found out that one of them
, 黄业翔, is the elder brother of Renfred Ng (黄业伦), the male first-runner up for Campus Superstar Season One (Rings a bell in any reader's head?)

The other two female artistes 叶慧馨 and 黄秀莹 being groomed are relatively unknown in the singing and entertainment circle in Singapore but I do heard that the former seemed to have acted in a couple of MediaCorp Singapore's television serials as a child actor. I took the liberty to include their photos here from both and for the reading convenience of my blog readers. As per usual for disclaimers, I don't earn a single cent from my blogging so there's no monetary profit in for me.

From clockwise upper left hand corner, we have the experienced local song and music producer, Huang Hong Mo, followed by Huang Ye Xiang
(黄业翔) , Alfred, followed by Ye Hui Xin (叶慧馨)and finally Huang Xiu Ying (黄秀莹) . The photo isn't very clear but there is a article floating around on the Internet waves, which I have included at the bottom of my blog post for more reading convenience of my readers.

This picture shows 黄宏墨 on the guitar giving 黄业翔 some practice on his singing. I have seen Alfred in action before as a member of Soul from Superband competition but this seemed like a rare picture of him concentrating on singing rather than dancing? Interesting.

I am not very sure what these two ladies can do, be it singing or dancing or etc, but I suppose since they are handpicked by 黄宏墨 for the compilation album, they must be worth their salt in their respective area(s) of expertise. Well, they do look radiant and confident for this photograph, which at least shows they are not camera shy.
This 叶慧馨 was quoted that her role model is Elva Hsiao (萧亚轩)while 黄秀莹's role model is Sandy Lam (林忆莲) . Those are hard targets to reach. Will be looking forward to see what they can do in the album once I get hold of it.
A pretty nice group shot of the album producer and these three upcoming young artistes. I put their names up on the search engines and it seems that they are having some local radio interviews as well as a roadshow:


地点:兀兰区域图书馆(900 Woodlands Drive,#01-03,Woodlands Civic Centre)

I have not gotten hold of this compilation album from the CD shops yet so there is still no way to know about their vocal capabilities. Let's hope they can sing well and make their way to represent Singapore eventually on the world stage.

(Article and Image Source:

(Image Source:





二人接受新动网专访时,黄宏墨透露,他的公司“十方乐廊”(Sifon Music)今年4月举办了《十方唱将国际流行音乐大赛》,业翔勇夺冠军。







Soul成员Ishi突离世 导致Soul解散?




两位女新人叶慧馨和黄秀莹 歌声打动黄宏墨