My Affair with Computers

When I was younger I used to spend a lot of hours playing video games. It was the best thing in the world then. It’s the one thing I look forward to most in the morning, and when I was in school bored listening to my teacher. It could be my addiction that has cost me my examination marks. You see, playing computer games was one thing that I thought I want to spend my whole life doing. The idea of being able to play an entirely different life, a hero, appeals to me so much more than my ordinary life. I even thought I will align my life achievements to creating an immersive and multiplayer educational game. Like “The Elder Scrolls Morrowind” but with real plants, real people speaking English, and morals to teach us about society. Of course that never happened. There was no way I could have built such a sophisticated software. Even by today’s standards with all the highly simplified Integrated Development Environments. “Aren’t computers meant to make our lives easier? Didn’t the guy on the Microsoft TV commercial say that?” I would think and it’s partly true.

Then came my teenage years, and the popularity of the Internet started growing. People started being frequently online. Google started becoming relevant and useful. I started searching the Internet for Range Rovers, Defenders, videos on cars off roading and Music Videos. I’d marvel at the ability of the artists to provide free songs on YouTube. Most didn’t have videos like we do today, it used to show only a picture of the album with the music. I grew up with the Internet, learning the culture of the world through it. (Well, maybe the culture defined by the Internet, like the Nerdfighters, Brotherhood 2.0). I started to realise the power one wields in being the Internet service provider. The Internet was unstoppable and everyone benefits in life and work from it. Those who are afraid of technology, has to live through it. I have an innate feeling that our generation will usher in a new age. Different in comparison to previous generations because we have the aid of the Internet.

Advertisements

Are Foreign Talents Truly Worthy of Our Jobs?

The infatuation of foreign talents has stirred unrest among the majority of Singaporeans and that has sparked countless of heated debates among citizens. Many employers who hold a high status in a local business or an organization have claimed Singaporeans as lazy, in-efficient thinkers and slow contributors. Employers are hiring foreign talents over Singaporeans as they claimed they are easier to communicate with and cheaper to hire. Some even claimed that they could solve problems more efficiently and better contribute to our society than us. There are even companies that go to the extend of interviewing only foreign talents.

Do the foreign talents truly deserve the job opportunities created or given by our government or local companies? Should the hardworking Singaporeans be worried about upgrading ourselves only to be told our jobs were taken away by “cheaper” and “hardworking” foreign talents?

Singaporeans are as hardworking as any foreign talents and we deserve to be paid more since we understand how to serve our fellow Singaporeans better than anyone else, much less the foreign talents who have grown in a country that has a different culture and different opinion of being amicable. Though some foreigners may converse better, only few could speak proper English and truly satisfy majority of the clients, which are the locals, as their idea of satisfying people are usually very different from us. Some of their bad habits have been portrayed in public areas such as speaking loudly in a quiet places and not apologising when bumping into you. This causes many misunderstanding and annoyance among us while they adapt to our society. Some of them even influenced surly expressions among us with their unpleasant characters. That is why Singaporeans should be prioritised above any other foreigners for most situation.

We should only be replaced if there are strong reasons to why foreigners are a better choice than us. We are citizens who have to rely on the government to know what to educate ourselves with, as most of us know little about or could hardly predict the future. Those who knows, kept it a secret for apparent reasons, mainly due to the competition among ourselves. If we graduated only to be told the industrial skills we so diligently studied for was replaced by the foreigners, would that not be the fault of the education given to us? Of course syllabus may change, but never that much. This is equivalent to getting sucker punched by our government we used to trust very very much.

However, most Singaporeans who are hardworking or ambitious, need not worry as much as few other uninterested or less diligent Singaporeans. Foreigners will never feel the need to contribute back to our society, they are foreigners and the country they came from is where they want to benefit truly, because that is where their family, friends and assets are at. Ideas that benefits Singapore tends to come from innovative Singaporeans because only we will bother to make our own lives better. We should stand out and not be afraid to fail. Failure is bad, but without it, we cannot learn to avoid it in future and that may akin to lesser chances of success. Only Singaporeans understand the whims, wants and needs of Singaporeans than anyone else for the reason that Singapore is where we were born in and where we were grew.

We grew up in a country that has provided us with one of the world’s best education. We were taught in school to be a morally upright person. Most of us feel the urge to contribute back to society because we feel compassionate. Certain employers would go the extra mile to hire foreigners since they are cheaper but only a true Singaporean who wants to contribute back, would hire who they think are more deserving of the job. And to move on as a nation, we need to create more opportunity for Singaporeans to strive in. We should not rely solely on the government, as they are only our think tank and nothing more. The moment we see fit a way to benefit our economy or our society, it is us who have to make it a reality.

An Unusual Experience

It was a California afternoon, the sun obscured by heavy rain clouds suggesting a downpour soon. There were occasional flashes of lightning followed by deafening claps of thunder from the tropical forest nearby. Road-side stall owners were packing, scurrying to seek nearby shelters.

Gil and I were having our usual Chemistry lesson. Distracted by the latest Sci-fi game, we were increasingly excited and anxious to get home as it was one that we have waited a long time for; the deliver was due today as stated on the receipt.

After gush of wind whirls and whistles, rain started puring like billions of glass marbles. We knew we had better devise a proper plan if getting home quick and dry was our goal. Outside the classroom windows were pedestrians scurrying to their destinations, some clutching on to their hat s and others holding their coat flaps tightly. The wind made holding an umbrella an impossible task and branches were strained to snap any moment.

This was dangerous weather and possibly one Gil and I had never experienced. Phone lines were out but this was a norm during storm. Besides, everyone knew all the dangers that lie in this town. Anything that is natural, that is! Nevertheless, Gil and I persisted on returning home quickly. We discussed our plans ignoring the lesson.

Ringgg!!”, the school bell rang. Doors were harshly kicked open. This was the moment every student of East High have never failed to look forward to. The corridors started to pack like ants colonising a leftover meal. Gil and I were among the first few to reach the main entrance. Glazing outwards, were wary parents of their molly-coddled children.

With out plan already established, we slid our way past the crowd. Off we ran when the green man flashed at the traffic junction. Halfway down the slippery road, I realised an unusual buzzing sound that strained my ear, leaving me agonized slightly. That buzz spurred curiousness to us, as it was exactly like the video game we were dying for. Sci-fi genre was what we both enjoy and have in common. Such a moment was hard to resist… We went to investigate beyond the woods.

A building constructed out of antique wood borders of what seemed to be windows materialised before our eyes. It was a small simple looking house with pyramid-like roof inhabited by moss and panels of decomposing wood. On the one side, there were hammers and handyman tools… “Someone was here”, whispered Gil.

I thought for a while and replied: “I believe someone was trying to abolish this house.”

The buzzing sound was louder but surprisingly much less annoying. Gil found a trap door under clumps of black charcoals. Each swipe revealed the wooden trap door surface sending dust whirling into the air. The vibe to our new video game subsided. We were eager to check out this abandoned half destroyed charred ruin.

Sliding down a tube, we landed face palmed. The sand here cushioned our fall. I went on into the dark first as I was excited to explore. A lighter I smuggled to school provided me the necessary lighting.

Bam!”

Metal wall. Not a very good moment, when you hit one. My mind went blank for a moment but I managed to compose myself. Holding the lighter forward revealed a three handled door. Gil and I turned it. Inside what seemed like a bank vault were loads of electronics that reminded me of the matrix. There were plenty of computer screens and buttons laid out like the mixer of a sound engineer’s recording room.
Frank Lab

A man with fuzzy hair appeared from nowhere. “What’s going on? How did you get here?”

Flabbergasted, I stammered: “Who… who… are you? We found a trap door and stumbled upon this place.”

The man introduced himself, “I’m Dr Douf, I abduct children in this country side and sell their brains as tools to my clients. This is a perfect timing, I need exactly two more.” Smirking and gawking, this maniac was nightmare at its worst. Our problem is, this was no nightmare, we need to get out of here, and fast!

Dr Douf came towards me with outstretched hands. Aghast, Gil backed and tripped onto something. I punched Dr Douf between his eyes, sending him to the ground, stunted and slightly unconscious. “Quick!”, I said, “get to the door, be quick! We need to get out of here before he awakes!” Gil was trembling with fear. How I regretted not listening to my mum about exploring places unknown without their permission. He staggered to the door as quick as his legs allowed while I checked on Dr Douf.

We had better be quick Gil. Oh bother… Darn you, I’m going first.” I went forward seeking an exit leaving Gil to fend for himself.

Without warning, Gil was lifted off the ground, his mouth gagged by a hand, his body paralysed. Upon returning, I shouted a carnivorous warning like a cobra revealing it’s venomous slits to it’s predator.

None… of you are leaving here, no one ever escapes my lair!” Dr Douf exclaimed.

Oh yeah, then let us be the first one. I command you to release the boy! Now! Or what you’ll be getting next is a foot to your nut.”, deep inside me, was distress but my martial arts teacher taught me to stay calm during such situation, it’s the only and best way to making it out alive.

Dr Douf backed off a little, clearly taken aback by my impromptu threat.

No?”, I declared sternly, revealing from the back a steel pole.

Dr Douf then releases Gil and came forward to battle me. I knew how to fight but loosing is what I have always ended up with. It was like a blood bath except it was bruises not cuts. Dr Douf lurched forward a kick, blocks my punch and smoulders a psychotic expression. Then an idea sparked in my mind, most probably due to my survival instinct. I carefully walked sideways, careful not to make any sudden movement then look over at Gil who we’ve forgotten and hinted him.

Gil was still stupefied but he calmed himself by mumbling some comforting words before picking up the steel pole Dr Douf kicked off my hand. With all his might, while I held Dr Douf arms while risking a head butt, Gil finished Dr Douf with a ear splitting clank on his head.

Contented I reposed, and congratulated Gil for his bravery. We then went on to find an exit.

With luck and some skills, we found a way out. Never was the sweet smell of moist air, the familiar sound of cars passing and cows mooing sounded this good. Falling to the ground, from the trauma we had, we counted our blessing and took a deep breath admiring our country side we might have never lived to see again. I belief we both learned a very important lesson…

It’s The Car That Sparks Friskiness in Adventurers

I DO NOT OWN NOR DO I CLAIM TO OWN ANY OF THESE MATERIALS
The Defender

The Defender has been the choice for military transport in most countries ever since the first Land Rover disembarked in 1948. It’s simplistic design for extraordinary ability in strength and durability was necessary and the results were overwhelming. It was reported that up to two third of those Rovers still run today.

Back in the days when everything looked huge and great, seeing trucks wading in deep muds were very compelling. Staring at the wave dispersing was more exciting than riding in the truck that created it. Appealing may my dad’s car be with the wave wavering elegantly off the sides and helplessly from the front usually resulted in worried faces. This does not seemed to be the case for Defender owners. They were always spotted confident and assured of their vehicle’s limit for the reason that mother nature has thrown far worst terrains to conquer at it when Land Rover were testing the debuting prototypes.

By the genesis of Land Rover’s forward-thinking philosophy, an overnight sensation was spurred by the original Range Rover. It had all the capability of a Land Rover with the comfort and performance of an on-road car. It was remarkable.

Enough of Defender.

Enough said of its obvious capabilities.

So let’s talk about you experiencing one.

Today, we marvel at the rate of technology increment. Most probably due to a tonne of life-less scientists stubbornly refusing to take a break and have a Kit Kat. In fact, we are often too busy trying to make something out of our lives that we miraculously forget the meaning of vacation.

Here’s a general rule of thumb, if you are looking for something different in your life. Something rather exciting or as thrilling as a roller-coaster ride or even both, get a Defender. Unravel that genre of great technical mysteries and build a Defender you’d love to experience. A Freelander works as well too, that is, if you have the time of the world and the aristocrat’s need for comfort. Or maybe A Discovery, if your life is just too overcrowded with family members but work loads. Or a Range Rover if you’re the Queen of England.

Defender, I DO NOT OWN NOR DO I CLAIM TO OWN ANY OF THESE MATERIALS
Defender Wading, I DO NOT OWN NOR DO I CLAIM TO OWN ANY OF THESE MATERIALS

Vivera – Dare To Live

What’s an opera singer doing in the 19th century? Has his family decided to slow down? Bahhhh, what am I saying… He ain’t an opera singer, he’s an Italiano! Ahem, I mean Italian. And there are no such genetic folklores!

Dad loves his voice. He first heard of him on Okto, a local free Art channel accessible to anyone who owns a TV. I first saw David Foster in an AV showroom of Courts Tampinese. On an aside, it seems like I am able to recall experiences I had long long time ago. But only feelings were resurrected, not much visual, is that why I could appreciate music so much? That showroom was for a top-end Morel speaker-on-the-wall compact theatre system. It was the familiar tune I heard when I was younger that caused me to realise this was something dad would see to, it was “The Hitman Returns: David Foster and Friends”. (David Foster is a Canadian musician whose daughter, Amy Foster, was almost engaged to Michael Bublé.) I knew I should have got him to buy the Blue-ray type even though it was $85.00 because quality music was our thing. Without it, life would be so mundane, and I wish to avoid that.

David Foster, I DO NOT OWN NOR DO I CLAIM TO OWN ANY OF THESE MATERIALS
David Foster

The DVD includes many different array of artists. Legendary ones like Kenny G did the most amazing prologue with his soprano saxophone while Celion Dion chose to present herself virtually in the projector of a recent concert recording of hers, Celion Dion: Live in Las Vegas.

I DO NOT OWN NOR DO I CLAIM TO OWN ANY OF THESE MATERIALS
I believe there was something personal! 😛

It was that DVD that led us, or me rather, to the findings of once-thought-extinct artists. You may want to refer to the content of the disc in Amazon. Who knows? Some may be whom you have once vigorously sought. Now to release the sorrow of your next curiosity: About the sound quality, there were PCM Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 to select from. But I trailed through the two audio formats on my remote and surprisingly, for the DTS 5.1, the sound was a HUGE improvement. All of the sudden the audio exploded out of the speakers with jaw dropping clarity. I give the audio all its stars. Get the Blue-ray version though!

For Andrea Bocelli fans:

I DO NOT OWN NOR DO I CLAIM TO OWN ANY OF THESE MATERIALS
The Blue-ray version I got!

Andrea Bocelli was born in Lajatico, in rural Tuscany, not far from the ancient city of Pisa. Fascinated by the passion and storytelling of opera and traditional Italian music, Andrea dreamed of following in the footsteps of his idols; celebrated Italian tenors including Mario Del Monaco, Beniamino Gigli and especially Franco Corelli. While a child, Andrea’s beautiful, natural voice had made him something of a local celebrity. However his musical dreams were to be interrupted by the realities of adult life. To placate his family and their concerns for his future, he graduated from the University of Pisa in law, practicing as a state-appointed defense attorney for a short time. But his passion for music remained, and Andrea was soon studying under a number of maestros, most notably achieving a personal triumph and a source of encouragement when accepted as a pupil for master classes by his hero, tenor Franco Corelli.