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Now You’re A Man (A man, man, man)

May 12, 2008

Ok I’m a day late but anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN! Finally hit the 21 mark and I’m damn proud to say that you have certainly, er, blossomed into a man capable of taking everything life throws at you with a strong chin and fantastically dry sense of humour. God Bless, bro!

The birthday boy

The celebrations were compressed into one late afternoon of gluttony, courtesy of the Rose Veranda at Shangri-La. Obviously one of the rarest things in life when a family member’s 21st birthday coincides with a (insert family title)-day celebration, so no expenses were spared (it was Mother’s Day fyi). The little restaurant, housed on the mezzanine floor, had been expanded on Sunday specially to accommodate the expected surge of patrons, so we sat in one of the function rooms. This was perhaps the first time everyone (short of Stephen) was there for a meal so we made the best of the high tea and stayed for almost the entire 2 hour duration (and had some nice free champagne), of which by the end we were all ready to explode from all the food we ate. It didn’t help that after we were done, there was still a small birthday cake for John for us to finish.

Lovely cake courtesy of The Line

The end of the meal even produced some vouchers which means breakfast at The Line soon! And since we don’t get to do this all that often, I took the opportunity to get a photo taken.

Thank God for family. More photos on Facebook. Cheers

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My Rifle and my Buddy and Me

May 9, 2008

The holidays have certainly been rather eventful, almost to a point where I actually feel guilty for not interning. However, I do think given the fact that I will now be moving house much earlier than expected, plus the little projects here and there, it does seem a better idea to perhaps clear my community service hours and at least give myself some breathing space when I need to start packing (ugh).

The post-exam festivities kicked off with a short trip to Bintan, which you can read about on Da’s blog here. Since the write-up is already rather extensive and rather well-written, I shall not comment anymore. The trip started a week-long binge in which I ended up drinking everyday of the week from Monday to Saturday. These horrid enjoyable events where friends get together to revel in each other’s (drunken) company have been well documented on Facebook. Trust me, pictures do paint a thousand words, but most of these pictures just induce a long, head-shaking, silence. I’m not exactly very inspired to recount all that happened, but if you were there, you know it was kickass.

What was really exciting though, and managed to get me to wake up at 1030am as opposed to 3pm, was the trip I made down to SAFTI MI today to visit my former Wing Commander from Delta Wing in the Officer Cadet School (OCS). The trip was born out of a random conversation between Stim John, Louis, Tits and myself one day when we started talking about the uber-comfortable OCS shorts we used to wear. This then led on to how we should go back one day to visit the place that held so many memories (and nightmares) for us. Today was thus the fruition of that extremely frivolous discussion. Prepare to laugh.

After a lovely lunch and a good chat with our Wing Commander, who never fails to amaze us with his wisdom and inspire us with his genuine and sincere character, Louis, Stim and I headed back to OCS for our secondary agenda of the day – checking out the e-mart and gift shop that has been the recipient of a huge proportion of our cadet pay. Back in the day, the gift shop served as a life saver for all us monkeys who would lose different things on a daily basis and need to re-stock before we got our asses handed to us by our instructors. Upon discovering at the e-mart that my account had $226 worth of credit, the three of us proceeded to go mad and grab things off the shelves like they were going out of stock. This was hugely satisfying I suppose simply because it was all free (and we REALLY need some more green towels. No, really). The trip to the gift shop was less inspiring though, and Louis only ended up buying a hammock (?).

In desperate need of a drink due to the immensely hot weather, we decided to see if our favourite canteen stall was open. We were in luck, and even found out that Louis and Stim knew the nephew of the stall uncle (he almost didn’t remember his nephew’s name). This place is known by cadets past and present for selling, amongst other things, a kickass dish known as Ji Dan Mian, which really is chicken egg noodles. The dish, that used to be the highlight of the rare canteen breaks we got in OCS, consists of Maggi Mee with a black soy sauce, fried chicken and a fried egg. Unhealthy doesn’t even begin to describe it. But it is SO GOOD.

I used to love the root beer floats here so I decided to have one as well.

After having our fill, and getting slightly sleepy, we decided to head off, but not before sneaking some more shots near the OCS parade square. You can check out the few photos we took on Facebook, but here are some (please don’t charge me MINDEF).

You’re so gonna get charged for this, Stim.


The three of us and the OCS tower behind us.

All in all, a day well spent. Whoever thinks that NS is a waste of time just wasn’t as blessed as we were.
DELTA!

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In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

April 23, 2008

With the advent of beautiful social media tools such as YouTube, I have been able to rediscover an entire load of nonsense that I used to watch way back when videos actually had to be painstakingly downloaded either via IRC or some external website. Obviously as my absentmindedness goes, I have lost a number things in my lifetime, data included, and I was thrilled to find some gems that I used to have. This of course will be shown in due course.

But first, let me introduce the subject at hand. Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is perhaps the most awesome thing to ever be created on late night TV. Of course gone are the days when we actually had decent late night shows like Letterman and Conan on Channel 5, when I would religiously stay up on Saturday nights just to catch Letterman’s Top 10 list. I shan’t even go into the mediocrity that is the state of cable TV now, but thanks to YouTube, I have managed to dig up some vestiges of the past humour I used to enjoy on a regular basis. Now, as far as roving reporters go, NO ONE comes close to Triumph. But before I start to sound mildly retarded going on about a hand puppet dog reporter, I think I shall let the videos do the talking.

This is, in my opinion, his best clip to date – the opening night of Attack of the Clones. Enjoi

And here’s Part 2

Looks like a good movie.. FOR ME TO POOP ON!

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For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

April 20, 2008

The exams (ok fine.. the exam) have finally come to an end, and with it usually follows a complete reckless abandon for doing anything productive, and is instead replaced with completely brainless activities. This semester was no different, with a trip to Zouk on Wednesday night, the day my paper finished. But what my friends and I have all been REALLY waiting for is the chance to play the game that has consumed our weekends for the past month or so – Rock Band

For those of you who still haven’t heard about this game, it is basically Guitar Hero upsized (if you haven’t heard of Guitar Hero, you need to get out of that rock you’ve been living under). The game allows a 4-piece band to rock out to a list of songs and go on a “world tour” as a band, acquiring things such as roadies, bodyguards and even PR agents. The game goes one step further from other games and allows owners to purchase new songs online for download into the gaming console, which is an awesome step in the right direction for the pathetic music industry now. I do believe I shall expound a bit more on how awesome this revenue model is both for the game and for bands at a later date.

The game is currently available in Singapore via a secret seller located in an undisclosed back alley in the heart of Sengkang (think DOTA). If you can find ANYTHING in Sengkang at all, you probably deserve to own the game. Even Daryl had problems convincing his friend that Rock Band was actually available in Singapore. Ok but seriously, the Asian version of the game hasn’t been released yet and thus the game is only available from retailers who import the US version. If I’m not wrong, Rens got his version from AMK Hub (correct me if I’m wrong!). Needless to say, this game is so awesome you’d be a fool to wait for the Singapore version to come out. It retails at about S$380 inclusive of one guitar, one microphone and one drum set. Ok enough of the boring details already. I’m already falling asleep just reading my own writing.

The chosen day was Saturday. We were ordered out for breakfast by the Rock Band master (read: owner of the game) himself, Lee Ren Hui. I insisted on meeting at 10am because the original meeting time of 9 was just insane for lazy pigs such as myself. It obviously didn’t help that we stayed at Stim John’s place till 4am. This made for a sleep of about 5 hours, but I suppose a McDonalds breakfast was necessary to provide the energy that would be required for the rest of the day. If at this moment you are sniggering at how pussy this sounds i.e. needing energy to play a computer game, then you need to join us one day for one of our Rock Band marathons.

Anyway, the surprisingly McGriddle-less breakfast consisted of myself, Tits, Rens and Kai. We quickly made our way over to my place and after unloading the set out of Rens’ car, we proceeded to set up and calibrate the game to my TV set. Once that was done, it was all systems go.

The Hard - Kai, Tits and Rens (someone obviously had to take the photo)

A new band had been created to attempt to do the entire Band World Tour in Hard mode. Thus, we have (the creatively named) “The Hard”. We’ll see how long it takes before the emergence of “The Expert”.

We started off at about noon, with a sleepy Da joining us and managing to get 100% on vocals for Maps (by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs) even with morning voice and done while eating Hotcakes. After about an hour or so (I honestly have no sense of time whatsoever when playing the game), we were joined by other famous rockers such as May Ramone and Louis Bon Jovi just to name a few (I guess you have to join us to know what I’m talking about). The group for the afternoon was completed with the arrival of Stim, Paul, and the new inductee to Rock Band, Hayley Chen Linrong, who aspires to kick Hayley Williams out of Paramore and take her place (just kidding!).

Louis Bon Jovi rocking it out

The jamming finally ended at 8.30pm, and after about 8 hours of staring at a TV screen full of moving colours and trying to play an instrument at the same time, everyone was about ready to go eat and basically do something that required less than one tenth the amount of concentration needed to play Rock Band. So till the next session, I will leave you with this introductory write-up of the game that is destined to take Singaporean living rooms by storm in 2008.

For the rest of the photos, check them out on my Facebook page here.

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Who Has the Biggest Brain?

April 12, 2008

Allow me to rant for awhile. As I near the completion of my third year in SMU, I think I have the right to at least give a short commentary on the evolution of the SMU student. If I could make a guess, I think my seniors, those that are about to graduate as well as those who have long graduated, would shudder at the current quality of students entering SMU. Back when SMU first started out, it was more or less viewed as a dumping ground. I have a lot of respect for the people that chose SMU over the other local universities when it first started. They were risk-takers, with the hope that the different teaching system that SMU offered from the other universities would provide them with an edge. Now that the success stories have been plastered over every form of media available, the entrance criteria has skyrocketed to insane levels.

The irony is that the students they take in now may be academically strong, but it is their academic strength that goes against the very ethos of the SMU education system. I am of the opinion that a lot (and I don’t mean everyone) of the students now view SMU as some success-making factory that owes it to them to make sure they land some awesome job with a nice fat paycheck. Basically, they’re here to be spoon fed. Over the past semester, I’ve actually been able to observe that first hand with a class of first year students and believe me, it was a rather disturbing thought. Was the system meant to be one in which muggers thrive and excel? No. Go to NUS if you must. I do think my batch of 2005 did bring in the mugger culture that is so prevalent now in SMU, but things have just really gotten out of hand. Students asking for the course text book (for LTB!!!) before term starts so they can “read up”?? I can just about hear all the seniors gagging and holding back their vomit right now.

Ok. I’m done ranting. But more than that.. Some of us may have finally found the solution to even out the playing field. There is hope, my friends. And here it is:

Please. Go check this out for yourself here. You will not regret it (unless you have 4 exams or a thesis to write). But it is addictive. You have been warned.

Anyways, this is the new solution to our problem – the fact that muggers are, or have been, taking over the school. Their insanely competitive nature will consume them in this highly competitive game that constantly compares your brain size to the rest of your friends’ after you play the game. It also secretly laughs at your pathetic processing abilities by giving you different ridiculous ranks such as Squidlian and Calcubot. The fact of the matter is I have played 50 games and already feel drained, but these guys will just go on and on. Needless to say, the more this game gets perpetuated among the “relevant” student population, the higher the chances of the emergence of an inversely proportionate relationship between time spent playing the game and GPA of the students.

Bearing in mind how addictive this game actually is, what you are about to see below is paranormal, to say the least. The WORLD number 1 player, Uri, has played the game EIGHT-FREAKIN-HUNDRED times. Knowing this may give you a slight understanding of what you will see in the video, but really.. after playing the game, you may still not comprehend how he does this. You may be interested to know that Uri hails from the land of Israel, where they milk goats by day, and play this Brain Game in their leisure time. 40 times a day. Ok, less talk more rock. Check this mad guy out:

Disclaimer: Don’t blame me if you fail all your exams, can’t find a job/get fired from your job and basically become penniless and homeless because you clicked on the link to the game. It’s about to happen to me.

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The Comfort Zone

April 8, 2008

So. After much technological headaches, and much assistance from Daryl (thanks dude!), I have finally properly set up the blog. I think the previous Blogger one doesn’t really count because what it really was was just a nicely decorated Microsoft Word document and nothing more. But now, ah now we have something of worth. I have attempted to slowly piece together a little of what I have come to learn about over the course of 13 weeks in a Social Media course in SMU. This is just my little social experiment to see where this synergy of social media tools brings me. After having a nice rainy afternoon conversation with Yuen about where this could all potentially lead, I think I actually have to have something tangible to observe before making a judgement call on the utility of these things. We’ll see I guess.

So this is the comfort zone. Not just mine, but it could be yours too. Don’t expect some flurry of academic dissertations, or consistent intellectual discourse on “topics that rock the world today”. I think I’d say, as with most bloggers, as long as it rocks my world, I’d be more than willing to share my thoughts.

So. Enjoy.

[Edit: Thanks to Da as well for the hyperlink help!]