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Showing posts from March, 2006

回忆我的姥姥和姥爷

今年春节回宝鸡, 去姥姥和姥爷的墓地拜了拜. 今年算是大家来了比较全了, 和我一辈的表弟表妹烧纸烧的太旺了, 连旁边的松树都着了火. 幸好刚下过雪, 及时灭了火. 舅舅说是姥姥和姥爷太高兴了. 姥爷是2003年春节时候过世的. 姥姥去世已经很多年了, 想不起来了(后来问了一下,是1993年). 看年轻时候的照片, 是帅气的山东小伙和漂亮的山东姑娘. 当初因为战乱, 他们一家子从山东枣庄逃难到了西北. 家里四个女儿, 两个儿子. 姥爷给我说在山东的事儿, 一次飞机扫射, 幸好大家都躲了起来, 回来看坑上都是弹坑. 姥爷好象在什么地方还当过警察. 据说穿着马靴, 很帅很精神. 后来在拓石安顿下来. 姥爷在铁路上班, 姥姥则一直做家庭妇女. 小时候, 每到了寒暑假, 就特别希望去姥姥和姥爷家玩. 从宝鸡坐慢车往西, 晃晃荡荡到一个小站, 拓石. 沿坡往他们家走去, 旁边可以看见一个大沟, 里头家家户户种的菜, 当然也有姥姥和姥爷种的. 很喜欢去菜园里玩, 各种各样的水果蔬菜, 花草树木. 印象特别深的就是豆角开的那种紫色的花. 当时住的都是一排排的平房. 不过很大. 到了家, 姥姥和姥爷看见我们很开心. 姥姥就在厨房忙乎起来了. 常常会杀只半大的小鸡, 做辣子炒小鸡吃, 东西都是自家种的养的, 味道格外得香. 当然也可能是那时候没那么多好吃的吧. 如果暑假回去, 还有很多新鲜的水果可以吃, 什么苹果, 桃, 五味子, 核桃的. 姥姥好像不爱出远门. 姥爷有时候也去宝鸡玩. 记得有一次到我家, 和我一起去姜城堡溜答, 还给我买了一大包高梁糖. 后来姥爷退休, 从拓石搬到了宝鸡. 铁路的单位房子, 自然也是邻着铁路. 姥姥和姥爷刚开始搬来, 还不习惯. 过了没多久, 就把一楼阳台后面该改装成了一个小花园. 里头种了葡萄, 地雷花, 还有很多其它的花花草草. 养了金鱼. 到了夏天, 屋里很凉快, 就是有些暗. 我因为在外地上学, 也是假期的时候才去看看他们. 时间过的真快. 记得当初我小舅家的小孩还只会坐在床上, 也就一两岁把, 现在都已经上大学了. 每次去姥姥都好象在厨房里忙. 总是笑眯眯的. 好象看着我们吃她做的东西就是她很大的快乐. 姥姥的身体很健康, 从来不记得她生病. 她也是闲不住, 非要和周围的几个老太太去铁路边捡东西. 有一天, 又和大家出门了. 刚走

八荣八耻-胡锦涛主席关于树立社会主义荣辱观的讲话

以热爱祖国为荣、以危害祖国为耻 以服务人民为荣、以背离人民为耻 以崇尚科学为荣、以愚昧无知为耻 以辛勤劳动为荣、以好逸恶劳为耻 以团结互助为荣、以损人利己为耻 以诚实守信为荣、以见利忘义为耻 以遵纪守法为荣、以违法乱纪为耻 以艰苦奋斗为荣、以骄奢淫逸为耻

Zap, Zap, Zap

Zap, zap, zap, .... tummy; Zap, zap, zap, .... butt; Zap, zap, zap, .... thigh. Faint! Who made this commercial should be shot! What a fucking stupid and annoying shit! It sounds like some bugs buzzing around you, especially when it is played repeatedly in the shopping mall. This commercial is for a slim vibration belt. We did buy one and left it collecting dust in the storage room. Is it a dream-come-true solution? You sit in the coach with this belt vibrating, loose weight and get slim.

Shaanxi Fork Art

NTU Motor Fest

Two days program during this weekend. Interesting, car show within campus.

Singapore NATAS 2006

NATAS stands for National Association of Travel Agents Singapore. It is an annual event that travel agents gather up to prompt their feature travel packages, and discounted air tickets. Since there are some great deals, to prevent over crowded, the entrance fee is SGD 3. I bought an one away ticket from Singapore to Harbin, plus tax, SGD 620. On my side, there are a group of Nanyang Girl's Highschool students buying tickets for summer break. Very interesting, how come those Chinese girls end up to study high school in Singapore?

Singapore Permanent Resident Application Submitted

After staying in Singapore for about a year, we decided to apply for SPR. There are some benefits as SPR, such as the deposit when we applied the StarHub Cable can be refunded back, can participate the CPF saving plan, can have some subsidy on child daycare expense. (well, this can can saying style is very Singlish :) The application is simple. Go to http://app.ica.gov.sg/serv_pr/per_res/app_for_pr.asp , fill out the form, and make lots of document photocopies. As Employment Pass based, you need ask your Employer HR a favor to fill out one page. Check your company policy regarding this part. So far, I have worked at two Singapore based companies, one need 1 year employment, one need 1 day employment. Once all the paperworks are done, go to ICA and wait in queue. An Indian young lady processed my application. She is very nice, comply to my impression to most Indian young ladies. One thing I forgot to copy was mine and my wife's birth certificates. Luckily I brought the official

Singapore Beauty

Singapore ladies are among the most beautiful women in the world. The facial structure is mixed with southern Chinese characters and some native SEA native characters. The cosmetic makeup is just right, not too much, not too little. The body is beautiful and slim. Because of the weather, the clothes shows the body curve very well, some ladies are really bold and proud to show. No matter which professional the Singapore woman is, slipper is the official shoe. Oh, I guess except for Policewomen.

Massage Chair

For lazy people, massage chair is a good mean for exercise. We used to have an iJoy chair. It was the most economy model, priced at USD 699+tax. It did its job fine until was sold at USD 80 after several months when we moved to Singapore. In Singapore, the tropical weather and all-day air-con can easily make you feel tired. Massage chair is a nice thing to have. There are quite a few brands - Osim, OTTO, and some Japanese brands. For a fine massage chair, the middle range price is around SGD 3000-4500. A Osim low end model similar as iJoy clone costs around SGD 1500. Last weekend we saw a promotion Panasonic model at Harvey Norman for SGD 2299 (was SGD 2499). Pretty good. Just before we were going to pay, we saw and tried another brand REVO. Even better. A fine model was on sale at SGD 1599 (was SGD 2299). Hmmm....Relaxation.

Sim Lim Square

Singapore has two large IT shopping mall. Sim Lim Square and Funan IT Mall . Sim Lim Square has longer history than Funan. There are many IT accessory stores within. It is a better place to shop for small computer items, such as memory, video cards, sound cards, cables and so on. The price is competitive and fair. Best deal in Singapore. Before Dell rules the PC market with cheap price and sound quality, it was a good place to start your own DIY PC project. The first two floors are mainly stores of digital cameras and camcorders. Somehow, some stores are getting fame of bossy, cheating and discrimination. Some online BBS and words of street stories are not pleasant. I think most of them are still honest and good businessmen. Otherwise these stores were closed long before. I think their business is getting harder, since there are more and more chain store (Harvey Norman), online store (Dell) and brand showroom (Sony, Creative). Usually the service quality is better, price is competitiv

Mirror Blog at MSN Space

OK, now I have a mirror blog site at MSN Space. http://spaces.msn.com/oncerest/ It is the same as this blog. All these troubles are simply because some countries block this blogspot.com, including China. I love the usablity and simplicity of blogspot.com, but MSN Space is more widely accessible.

Jewel in the Palace - Daejanggeum - 大长今

Jewel in the Palace is good. It is almost a phenomena acrossing the global Asian community. I watched it one year ago on Los Angel KTLA 18. The story is just too attractive to quit. Once you watched, you are hooked to the finale. Since it was shown during the lunch time, I almost late every weekday afternoon. Luckily it was in Campus. In the last couple of years Jewel in the Palace was broadcasted in Taiwan, HK, China, and now Singapore public channel U. Everywhere the show goes, the viwer rate reached record high. Everyone was talking about it. The theme song was even performed on the CCTV's biggest New Year Party. The culture of Korea is really tightly related to China. This is for sure.

Singapore Food and Beverage Fair

Same place as just finished IT Show 2006. Some people said Singaporeans are keen on all kinds of show and gather up. It is trure. I went there during the lunch time. Because many stalls are cooking, the whole expo hall is hot. Lots of people, most of them are granny and aunty. They patiently line up to get some free samples of coffee, snack. Very ordered people, it is better than Chinese. Some people bought promotion items. I didn't buy anything. Maybe it is slightly cheaper, but for sure not as fresh as in supermarkets. The exhibit hall is just too hot.

Cold , Allergy, and Smoker

Air quality in China was really bad. The saddest thing is that the situation seems getting even worse in some northern cities. I seldom heard any people around had allergy in China . But cold and flu are very common, especially during winter and spring there. The virus and bacteria are much stronger and more effective than their American pals. The most obvious first impression for Chinese visitor to US is air quality. Such blue sky, so many trees, flowers and greenness. The air is so crispy clean that it even hurts a little for inhaling. The flu/cold virus and bacteria are just weak. Normally, Chinese are immune from flu/cold for the first couple of years. When Americans line up to get flu shots, new Chinese immigrants are safe and sound. Even later hit by flu, we feel much less messy in US than in China . However, an annoying uncomfortableness catches up. Suddenly from nowhere, I began to sneeze, feel pressure on eyes and forehead, with running nose and stuffing nose. I thoug

Dunhill Light wins over Marlboro Light

I usually smoke Marlboro Light. It is the dominating brand in USA. The taste is good and smooth. Once join their mailing list, you will receive coupons and promotions regularly. I once won a grand dartboard set from Marlboro. British brand Dunhill Light is not popular at USA. In Singapore, Marlboro Light is also among the top brands. Dunhill Light is in the same category. Both are SGD 11 a pack. Once I tried Dunhill Light, I love it better. I think they put some flavor ingredients inside. The taste is even more smooth. The box design is more classy, with an initial D on the box. Even better, the filter is charcoaled. Now I feel Marlboro Light is just too strong. Why I smoke? I will write about it in another blog.

In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters

I bought this book at Carrefour book sale event. It costs SGD 8. The book tells a humorous and interesting IT history. So many look-like-stupid lessons have revisited themselves again and again in this area. How bleeding fast things evolve or get obsolete in this area! Just around 30 years, many things sound like Jurassic epic. I remembered when I was at college, around early 90's, our lab bought a couple of 386 PCs. They are just amazing box. We played the DOOM and some RPG games, enjoyed the first porn pictures, and really did not much on projects.

Disney on Ice Show at Singapore

© Disney Disney on Ice show, for the very first time, comes to Singapore this weekend. I heard about this show when I was at LA. Since the Anaheim Disneyland is just 30 minutes drive, really no need to watch this ice show. We watched the show on Saturday noon in Singapore Indoor Stadium. The front and more expensive seats ($49+) are almost sold out. The back seats are 30-40% sold. The show is fantastic! Almost all the famous characters from Disney are played on the stage, i.e. on the ice. Mickey gangs, Nemo, Princess, Lion King, Mulan, Pinocchio, Aladdin, etc. The costume, light and sound are first class. Lots of young faces in audience, it is a fun event for kids.

Top 10 Richest in 2006

1 Bill Gates, US, worth $50bn (IT) 2 Warren Buffett, US, $42bn (finance) 3 Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico, $30bn (telecoms) 4 Ingvar Kamprad, Sweden, $28bn (retail) 5 Lakshmi Mittal, India, $23.5bn (steel) 6 Paul Allen, US, $22bn (IT/investment) 7 Bernard Arnault, France, $21.5bn (luxury goods) 8 Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud, Saudi Arabia, $20bn (investment) 9 Kenneth Thomson, Canada, $19.6bn (publishing) 10 Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong, $18.8bn (diversified investment) Source: Forbes

Singapore IT Show 2006 at Suntec Expo

The largest IT/consumer show in Singapore, is on March 9 - 12, daily from 12:00PM to 9:00PM. Famous consumer IT brands are all there. HP, Levono, Apple, Canon, AMD, Samsung, Dell, Creative, to name a few. It is very crowded, just like a big sale fair. It is a good opportunity to shop for bargain, although the price is not crazy low. If you don't have anything in mind to buy, you will soon get lost and feel dazzling. The promotion girls are very sexy. Xbox 360 is shown for the first time here. Also the Intel based Apple MacBook.

Starbucks Book

I am reading the Starbucks book - Pour Your Heart into It. The author CEO Howard Schultz told a fine story of Starbucks. The story is inspiring. Rooted from Seattle, Starbucks becomes a symbol of American life style around the world, hip and trendy. In China, a cup of expensive Starbucks coffee serves as a token of middle-class elites. Keep in mind, China is a tea country, there is no such custom to drink coffee. Surprisingly, there are so many Starbucks in Singapore. In such a small island, 36 stores are all over the land. Singaporean has a long tradition to drink coffee. There are many other coffer shops, chained stores or mom-pop stalls. There are not too much hypes for Starbucks. PS: The Startbucks logo is changed subtly. Some dirty minded people think the original logo is too lusty, and reminds them certain sexy pose.

Tax Season - Tax Rate for 2006

Extract from http://www.iras.gov.sg/ESVPortal/tax_resources/tax_guide/index.asp

Tax Season - Special Case

After I arrived in Singapore last April, I worked remotely for the USA company for a while. This part income is tax exempt in Singapore. Later on, I found a local job and worked for about 2 months with EP(Employment Pass) visa. After this 2 months, I decided to change job. To change employer, the EP holder need to clear the tax , cancel the current EP and apply for the new EP. Based on how long you worked as EP, the tax differs. Since I just worked for 2 months, the tax rate is about 15%. Now can I get this tax back? I emailed IRAS. The next day IRAS called me back. Yes, they call me back. Can you imagine this in US? She told me I can get the refund if I have worked for more than 6 months or stayed in Singapore for more than 183 days in 2005. The latter case fits me. She also answered me several questions. Here are some good clarifications: - If the income is less than 22,000, no need to report tax. - For married couple, Child and Parents Relief can claim only once. For example,

Tax Season - USA and Singapore Compared

It is tax season again. For 2005 tax, it is a little bit challenging for us. We moved from USA to Singapore last April. Now we need prepare tax for both USA and Singapore. Luckily everything is online now. USA tax schema is whithhold-first-refund-back. The federal and state taxes are not cheap, around 25-30%. If you plan to stay and retire there, maybe it is not bad. You can get it back with SSN and medical welfare. Otherwise, it is just like throwing crispy dollars bills into water. Since you want to get tax back as much as possible, and the whole procedure is very complex, it is good to hire some H&R Block professionals or buy a copy of TurboTax software for it. The small service fee can be very rewarding in turn. Singapore tax schema is more reasonable. You pay the tax based on your income. The e-file system is well done. Many companies actually report the employee's income directly into the system. The whole procedure is simple and straightforward. There are no such o

A Cute Lamp

Dump Fedora and Switch to Ubuntu

I have been using Redhat since RH6, until the most recent Redhat Fedora Core 4. The image gets bigger and bigger -- 4 CD-ROM images and lots of updates. It seems not a good choice for personal desktop anymore. My Fedora Core 4 desktop has one thing not nice. It can't wake up from standby. I decide to switch. Ubuntu is the most talked about Linux desktop distro. It is compact, fits in one CD-ROM. It is totally free, even via CD-ROM media. It can run directly from LiveCD without any installation. To try it out, I download the Ubuntu 5.10 VMware image. It runs smoothly within my Windows XP desktop. The software packages management is really nice.

Dress seasonally, but we just have one season!

It is windy recently, very. Sometimes it can almost blow you away. Fearnot, strange enough, some Singapore ladies still dress boldly. When I am outside the office building to take a break, I see (professional banking) girl has to use one hand to grap her skirt. Sometimes a young lady has to use both hands to secure her short skirt.

Vehicle Increase Rate Set at 3%

© EMAS http://www.onemotoring.com.sg/ Vehicle increase rate is set at 3% for the next 3 years. Singapore has an unique schema to keep traffic smooth. COE and ERP. COE is an pricy entitlement to own a car. ERP is highway electric toll. To keep this rate, the COE quota for 2006 is 131,127, down by 13,622 from last year. COE price is adjusted based on market need. So far, I think the traffic in Singapore is fine. During the rush hour, without accident, it is just reasonable. Generally speaking, the drivers in Singapore are more modest than those in China, a little bit wilder than those in US. When the driver is polite, it does meliorate the traffic. The road condition in US is the best, but it is still a mess to pass through LA downtown on 110 freeway during peak hours. Some other freeways are old with cracks. The highway in Singapore is also very good, new and well engineered for raining conditions especially.

Perhaps Love, the Movie

The cast is well balanced and powerful. The beauty Zhou Xun from China, Ji Jin-Hee from Korea, Jacky Cheung from HK, and handsome Takeshi Kaneshiro from Japan. The movie is ambitious. The plot is simple, a love triangle, and a side watcher to develope the story. Unfortunately, the songs and dances are just unnecessary and unrelated. It looks to me not a musical, but just some songs and dances within the story. They are weak factors. Otherwise, it will be a wonderful love movie.

VMware Server for Free!

Every time when I try to install some new operating systems, I face the disk re-partitioning problem. The new PC usually comes as a single monstrous C: disk. There are some commercial softwares can do the job without losing data. Still it is not very convenient, or 100% foolproof. Another tricky question is how big a partition should be. I have a machine with Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese and English Windows 2000 Server installed. Now I want to install Ubuntu. VMware is a very nice commercial virtualization software. Without any partitioning, it runs above your current OS, and allows you to run another OS within the OS. Now even better. VMware Server is free!

Fungi Attack

I go to fridge to get some icecreams. By chance I notice there are some black dots secretly growing around the door plastic padding. Thundering typhoons! Fungi just grow anywhere. Singapore has plenty of thunder storms. The rainfall is just behind Amazon rain forest. Even when not raining, it is still humid. It is the best warm bed for all kind of fungus. Couples of months ago I bought a new bamboo shade at Ikea. I left it in the storage room for a while. When I thought of using it, it had already been allover covered with green fungi. I had to throw it away. After cleaning up the fungi on the fridge, I checked my shoes stored in box. Of course, white fungi on them. These remind me my last towel. I hung it in a ventilated place. One day I found a couple of cross-shaped black marks, very like ink marks. At least, I thought they were ink marks. The marks grew more and more on the towel before I realize those are fungi too!