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Showing posts from April, 2006

May Day

Because of the 1886 workers' riot, good we have an extra holiday in Singapore, and many other countries. May day is not observed in US, even it originated from Chicago. China goes even further. May day is now a week of holiday, to boost the tourism and related service industries. China used to award excellent workers with May Day Work Medal, which is a very high spiritual honor. We went to IKEA again. Because it is a furniture store for working class, it fits well for this holiday:p. So many people. Long queue to underground parking. Long queue to enjoy the IKEA restaurant. Long queue to play the kids bubble yard.

One year in Singapore already

Singapore is an unique place with mixture of western and eastern culture. With 70% Chinese, it is still an oriental country. In the central city area, the feeling is modern and westernized. Occasionally, there are some very historical building reminding people the colonial history and the first generation of immigrants from China. Even it is located in tropic, there are still some subtle weather changes. Sometimes it rains and t-storms very often. Sometimes it is windy and cool. Most of the time it is hot and humid. Now it is the most hot and humid time in a year. I still remember the feeling when we came out Changi Airport one year ago.

"Throwing off Asia" on MIT Homepage

MIT学校主页4月24日的画面(见图).内容是关于MIT一门视觉化文化的课程, 其中一个主题是"Throwing off Asia", 关于日本西方化过程中对亚洲的否定和侵略. 其中关于中日甲午战争的图画, 纯粹是日本军国主义的宣传画, 图里的中国军队被极度丑化, 更有一幅日本军队斩首清军俘虏的嗜血成性的杀人图画. 除了画面, 网站对画面的解释也是极尽颠倒黑白之能事. 同样的野蛮行为, 在二战期间更是登峰造极, 竟然以砍中国人头比赛. 在中国学生的抗议下, 现在这个视觉化文化的网页已经关了.

<三国演义>

看了一遍人民出版社出的 . 书一开始的那个编者按, 真的好搞笑. 洋洋洒洒的几十页, 对封建糟粕, 农民起义之类的按照无产阶级历史观胡扯了一通. 里的人物实在是太多了. 有名有姓的几百号. 大家的出处大都很清楚, 特别是魏国的干部, 一般都是革命干部的后代, 代代相传下来. 比较奇怪的是蜀国的几位上将, 出处很含糊. 尤其是关公, 怎么就练了一套无敌刀法. 有的倒霉蛋, 一杯咖啡的工夫, 就被砍了脑袋. 别的出处不详的大多是有一身蛮力, 倒也解释的过去, 包括张飞, 许诸, 典韦. 过去打仗也没什么技巧, 就是讲究个势. 一般如果有奇兵从两翼杀出, 敌人自然会打乱阵脚, 互相踩踏的. 正面打仗, 一般是上将先上来互砍. 如果将军被砍, 小兵们大都会四散撤退, 趁机掩杀一阵, 也就大获全胜了. 比较精彩的还算赤壁大站, 吴宇森正在拍这部电影, 期待中. 还有诸葛亮七擒孟获的故事, 实在是没什么意思, 大概和历史背景有关系. 元朝的时候, 老百姓对痛扁蛮夷的故事应该比较感冒. 里头对中华文化里的奇门遁甲, 五行八卦的描述也是很引人入胜的. 当然, 编者按里肯定对次是鄙视否定了一下. 华佗的医术, 也够大长今学一壶的.

SPR Application - Update

Received a letter dated Apr 20 from ICA, asking me to provide my wife, parents and siblings' detailed CV. This is new. It is not mentioned in the ICA SPR application checklist. I have to go back the ICA building, wait in the queue, and submit those CV papers. Luckily, I am in the express line this time.

Sweaty Lunch Time

During the lunch break, I planned some own chores. I bought a massage chair. The CD player inside is music-skippy. I called and was told to go their service center and get replacement. I drove there by reading the map. The streets in Singapore is very hard to follow - all the roads are winding. Because of the historical reason, the street names are in Malay, very long and hard to follow. Even worse, the name can be used on different roads around the same area. Anyway, I found it. It is located in an industrial park. Singapore used to have lots of industrial parks, now move to Science Park. Most industrial park buildings are in the 70's or 80's conditions. In another words, they sucks. When I was looking for the building, I was lucky looking around - My car was moving backward on its own! Should it be? I found a lift and it was under maintenances. Cheer up, climb 7 floor in such a humid noon!

The Wild Movie

Giraffe, lion, hippo, New York City Zoo, which movie reminds you? Madagascar, right? Strange enough Disney made such a similar movie after Madagascar. Besides friendship, Lion King (I, I1/2, II, ...) father and son is again the topic. Is it a Disney side product or Madagascar tame clone? Anyway, it shows after Ice Age II in Singapore. No brilliant idea, no good box office.

LCD TV Dead

This morning, the LCD TV just won't power on. Damn, just over a year manufacture warranty. Luckily when I bought it at Harvey Norman, I bought 3 years warranty as while. Singapore is just too humid for electronics. So far, a removable hard disk, a firewire CD-ROM drive, now a LCD TV.

MBA Taxi Driver

On my way to MOM, I had a small talk with the taxi driver. After knowing I am going to MOM to apply EP, he started to complain his life. He was a corporate director, with Bachelor in Business, and MBA degree. After lost his director job, he couldn't find one. He said the most recently application was failed and a Taiwanese got it. He couldn't understand why his own parents fed other kids first, and let their own kids hang and dry. Of course, here 'his parents' means Singapore government. Enough of his whining. It was about a year ago when I just arrived Singapore. I am sure he will find a manager level job. The economy of Singapore is getting better.

萝卜快了不洗泥

中午去吃饭.在一家马来餐前排队.这家的盘子也不怎么运转不灵,竟然用光了. 新加坡的吃饭的地方一般都是统一收碗统一洗, 洗好的在送回各个摊位.每家的盘子碗都略有不同. 这位马来大妈自然很着急. 跑到旁边的摊位借盘子. 那家竟然不给借. 看来竞争也很激烈呵. 正在无措的当儿, 看见一个小伙计收了几个盘子回来.匆忙拿到后边,一个家伙很快的在不知道什么脏水了涮了几秒. 就拿到前面来了. 马来大妈拿一个毛巾擦了擦,就开始装饭了. 我有幸排到了第一名. 吃了这么一顿恶心的饭. 不过也不难想象. 统一洗碗的估计也就这么回事儿了.

Stupid DVD Region Check on Apple

The software DVD player on Apple checks DVD region everytime the disk is loaded. The region can be changed for only 5 times. This limitation is posted by greedy Hollywood. It works fine if the PowerBook/iBook owner stays in one region most of the time, and the DVD region is set accordingly to that region. But it is a very stupid feature in Singapore. The DVD sold here has region 3, 5, 6. Region 3 is for Singapore, region 5 and 6 are from China. The region 5 works as region 0 - a.k.a. don't give a shit about region. I also have some region 1 DVDs. How I suppose to switch them for only 5 times? This region is designed to prevent piracy, but forgets how often people are traveling around the globe now. Most hardware DVD players are now de-regionized. Whatever region DVD can playback. Why post such a stupid feature on computer manufacturers?

NUH ER Visit

My daughter hurted her nail, with some bleeding, but not that bad as I thought. Anyway, we drove to NUH Children ER at 11:00PM. The waiting time was just too long. When it is done, it is 1:00AM. The facility/service fee is SGD 90.00, toes SGD 32.00. Total charges SGD 122.00. Government subsidy is SGD 52.00. We paid SGD 70.00 out of own pocket.

Jurong Hill Top Restaurant

The restaurant is located on the top of Jurong Hill, the highland behind the Jurong Bird Park. It has Japanese, Korean, and Malay food. It is a quite and nice place. Since it is the highest point around Jurong area, it has a good view, especially the Jurong Island. It also has the Tree of Fame, a few trees planted by visiting Presidents, PM and big guys.

Singapore Hospitals

There are public hospitals, private hospitals and community clinics. Since Singapore is a country with strong government leadership, public hospitals are not bad at all. Name a few, such as National University Hospital near NUS/Clementi, KK Women and Children Hospital in City, they are all very clean, modern, and very visitor/patient friendly. Community clinics are located within communities, or some multifunctional malls. Generally speaking, community clinic is cheaper than Hospital. The waiting queue is shorter, but the doctors in community clinic are just so so. Once I saw a doctor post his diploma - bachelor in Medicine, Master in Computing. How is computing related to medicine? Some doctors don't even have bachelor degree.

Miss Universe Singapore 2006

The winner does have a very very typical face structure in this SEA area. Well, I think the girl in blue dress looks better.

Print PowerPoint Handout without Border

Powerpoint .ppt file can be printed out in different modes, one is handout mode. The handout layout is somehow very limited. Click View > Master > Handout Master, there are several options to customize. What if I want to print out 4-slides-in-one page handout without any border? This is a very handy addin - Handout Wizard .

RedHat to buy JBoss

Rumor floating around was Oracle to buy JBoss. The fact is out today - RedHat to buy JBoss . It make more sense. Both are successful open source rooted companies. Another rumor is Oracle to buy MySql. Let's see what happens.

DVD Price in Singapore

For new release of blockbuster movies, such as King Kong, Fearless, the price is SGD 26.90. Not cheap for a disc. Singapore has done a fantastic job on anti piracy. The second-hand or used DVD circulating market is very limited, not like in US, Ebay, Amazon and lots of local stores to buy/sell used DVD. DVD rental is also not well adopted. It faces the challenge from the much bigger and more loose DVD market in Malaysia and China. The price there is much cheaper, and easy access to good quality DVD piracy copy. Travellers may sneak in some cheap DVD. Even the DVD/CD stores see the profit. Don't know how they bring in the DVD/CD released in China market. Usually the price is half than its Singapore release. Don't worry, not the latest release. This part is still well protected.

Chinese Garden

It is good to have such a place honoring the Chinese heritage. The garden is nearby MRT station. The garden is just so so. It is in the same level as a rich Chinese village's garden, but far behind the China famous gardens. such as Summer Palace, Suzhou Garden. The admission is free, and no food and drink shops inside are open. It looks nice on the photo, right? It is just too hot and too many insects to enjoy.

NTU Staff Housing

For foreigner and Singapore PR, NTU staff housing is probably the first and the best place to live for new NTU employee. NTU is located east end of Singapore island. It has two entrances - one PIE off Jalan Bahar, one PIE off pioneer North. The staff housing has several locations. One is in the middle of campus, near the academic buildings and Nanyang Lake (or NTU Lake something). Don't get fooled. You won't see a large clean lake as in your head. The lake is just a muddy puddle. Nearby there are big red ants, which are not afraid of people, but take human being as prey. Be careful! Along the lake, there are dozens of 4 or 5-storey buildings. Also some nice houses. The houses look really nice, and of course no available. Another locations is between Jalan Bahar and pioneer North, along the Nanyang Crescent. It has Nanyang Heights, Nanyang Meadows, Nanyang View and etc. The Heights and Meadows are apartment buildings. Nanyang View has condo-alike houses. The rent is not so

AXS and SAM

AXS and SAM are self-served payment kiosaks in Singapore. SAM belongs to Singapore Post. There are hundreds of these ATM sized machineses across the island. Both can be used to pay utility bill, fine and so on conveniently. I like SAM better. The touch screen buttons on SAM are large. The bill barcode scan is responsive. AXS and SMA both use NETS as electrical payment protocol.

Tax Treaty between Singapore and China

There is a double tax relief treaty between China and Singapore . For example, in ARTICLE 20 - TEACHERS AND RESEARCHERS, it agrees that 1. An individual who is a resident of a Contracting State immediately before making a visit to the other Contracting State, and who, at the invitation of any university, college, school or other similar educational institution, which is approved by the competent authority in that other Contracting State, visits that other Contracting State for a period not exceeding three years solely for the purpose of teaching or research or both at such educational institution shall be exempt from tax in that other Contracting State on his remuneration for such teaching or research. 2. Where his visits, under one or more contracts with the educational institutions of the other Contracting State exceed three years, the exemption under paragraph 1 shall apply to his remuneration for such teaching or research for the first three years. 3. This Article shall not apply

Night Clubs in Pasadena

There are many clubs in the old town Pasadena. Every club has its own personality. For me, they are more or less the same. Among them, two clubs are worth a post. Ice House Comedy House - The comedy talk show is part of culture in USA. People sit in front of TV to watch Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien bullshit. They are celebrities with big pay. To listen in live, this kind of club is the place to go. Sometimes you meet good talk show comedian. I met Everybody Loves Raymond's brother there. He is good. But the program in all is boring. Another one is topless strip club, the only one strip club in Pasadena since it is a more civilized city. I think the name is Pleasure Gentimens Club, but not sure. This is the only time I went to strip club, with my colleagues. The beer there tastes awful. The strippers are good.

Hand-Foot-Mouth disease (HFMD)

Hand-Foot-Mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection caused by viruses from the Enterovirus family. The most common virus in this family causing HFMD is the Coxsackie A16 virus but recently, other strains, including the EV71 virus have emerged in cases picked up in Singapore. This is of some concern because the EV71 virus has been associated with HFMD with severe complications and death. Of the 2964 cases notified in 2006, about 80% occurred in children aged less than 6 years. Amongst them, more than half were in the age group 3 - 6 years attending child care centre, kindergarten or other pre-school. Currently this disease is under serious precaution in Singapore daycare and school. Every morning when kids go to school, the body temperature and hand/foot/mouth need to be screened.

EP, DP and Social Visit Pass

EP stands for Employment Pass. DP stands for Dependent Pass. If you got a job offer in Singapore, you can submit EP application from overseas. Sooner or later, around a month, you will receive a principal approval letter from MOM. MOM stands for Ministry of Manpower. This letter can serve as entry visa to fly to Singapore. Once settled, bring all your and your family members' required documents , take MRT or taxi to MOM (18 Havelock Road). Get a queue number and wait to be called. If you go there in the morning, you can collect the credit card sized pass in the afternoon. Meanwhile, your spouse and kids get the DP. During the waiting, you can go shopping around since Chinatown is nearby. I got DP first, and DP is legal to work in Singapore. I want to work as DP for my previous company, but they insist to change my DP to EP. So, MOM visit again. After two months, I quit the job, and need cancel the EP, MOM visit the third time. The cancellation will grand a 2-week social visit

Why every city council needs at least one geek

A hilarious CentOS Linux news . It is neither the City Manager's fault, nor the CentOS Linux distro developers's. The Linux and open source community is famous on community support. You shout in one discussion group or mailing list, someone will response. I wonder what happens if it is a Windows server installed in this story. The City Manager may not know where to send his complain, support@microsoft.com? The situation may get the right direction sooner on the good side.

Singlish Impression - A Different View

I read this post on zaobao.com. So if your English sucks, why ask direction, price and so on in English? Most Chinese in Singapore can speak Chinese. Talking about Malay and Indian, yes, most of them only speak English. Not sure about Malay, Indian speak in their own accent, not Singlish. I am a Chinese. I think the way Singaporean speaks English is interesting but not that hard to communicate. The most pathetic point in this article is somehow he manage to relate this language difference with culture discrimination.