Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Big Bluff

Chanced across this little story that pretty much describes our economy and how it works.. which is basically just One Big Bluff..

In a small town the holiday season is in full swing, but it is raining so there is not too much business taking place.

Everyone is heavily in debt.

Luckily, a rich tourist arrives at a small local hotel. He asks for a room and puts a $100 note on the reception counter, takes a key and goes to inspect the room located up the stairs on the third floor.

- The hotel owner takes the banknote in a hurry and rushes to his meat supplier to whom he owes $100.
- The butcher takes the money and races to his supplier to pay his debt.
- The wholesaler rushes to the farmer to pay $100 for pigs he purchased some time ago.
- The farmer triumphantly gives the $100 note to a local prostitute who gave him her services on credit.
- The prostitute quickly goes back to the hotel, as she was owing the hotel for her hourly room used to entertain clients.

At that moment, the rich tourist comes down to reception and informs the hotel owner that the room is unsatisfactory and then takes his $100 back and departs.

There was no profit or income. But everyone no longer has any debt and the small town’s people look optimistically towards their future.

See? It’s all just One Big Bluff.. that’s the way our economy works, rolling around in debt, and that’s the reason why countries around the world are encouraging their citizens to spend spend and spend.. cos if they don’t, the whole thing will just crash.

Take a look around, and u can almost see that all these will eventually build up to a climatic end which is so inevitable.. it’s just waiting to happen.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Show me the MONEY!

Attended the National Achiever’s Congress over the past few days, and it was really quite an eye-opener. The main speaker was Robert Kiyosaki and his team from the Rich Dad company. If you haven’t heard abt him, then u might have heard abt the book he wrote; Rich Dad Poor Dad.

So the story goes that he’s here giving a seminar with his best mates on the topic of.. yes, u guessed it.. Money, with everyone, from his Real Estate advisor to his Stock advisor to his Commodities advisor, his wife, his sister, heck, even his doctor was there.

For some strange reason, I happily attended the seminar without my camera. Not that I was gonna get a million-dollar picture taken with him, but u had to be there to witness the spectacle.. the way ppl behaved when it’s gotta do with the topic of money.

Imagine a really good picture depicting the scene here =P

To say that ppl are crazy abt money would be an understatement.. throughout the duration of the seminar, what struck me the most, and the hardest, was how keen and just how many ppl were SO interested in striking it rich and hitting it big. It’s really quite something. From the 100 metre dash to the get the ‘best seats’, to the absurdly long queues to purchase the products (which go by the $100s), it’s amazing.

On the one hand, I don’t doubt that it’s sort of a paradigm shift that he’s offering; a different take on how money should be earned/handled.. as an engineer by training, I’d definitely say that I have benefited from this crash-course in financial education.. I’ve learnt things that I probably would never know that I never knew.

But on the other hand, it just seems to me like u’re just rolling around in more debt.. that u’re ultimately creating a bigger bubble to get into.. don’t get me wrong, for all those who swear by his method, I’ll say that I’m not against it, I’m sure it works.. the fella IS rich after all, his taxes go by the millions.. I’m just saying that it’s probably not my cup of tea..

Yes I agree that money is important in the world we live in.. I agree that money has the ability to buy happiness for a select few, I agree that there are some ppl with that inner desire to be the richest chap around.. but that’s just not me..

If there’s one thing that I picked up from the seminar, it’s probably the fact that u have to align what u do with who u are.. don’t try to be/do something that’s not u. It’ll eventually just make u fold..

Find that inner peace on the thing that makes u tick, and go all out for it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


It’s been a while.. so I figured that I should keep the ball rolling and not slack off the whole blogging thing since I still have time on my hands..

Decided to do some thanksgiving here. So it’s finally official. I’ve completed my undergrad course, so tho I’m still technically a student per se, I’m finally done and just waiting to graduate now.

Over and above that, I thank God for giving me this gift of a 2nd Upper Class honours, it’s one of those things that I never expected myself to get, and in all honesty, something I shouldn’t be getting, but purely by the grace of God I made it. All glory and honour to God, for being with me every step of the way and making all these possible. =)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Twip - Part VII; Fremantle Fun

Alright, so far I haven’t exactly mentioned anything much abt the shopping part of the twip. Typically, I guess perth is no Bangkok or Hong Kong with regard to the shopping aspects.. anyhow, the Fremantle Market’s quite a nice place.. very nice actually..

A short walk from the Fremantle Prison, and you’ll find yourself at the Fremantle Market.. definitely one of the main highlights in Fremantle.

Left: That’s the little entrance to the fruit section..
Right: That’s the entrance at the other end..

On the outside, it doesn’t really look much especially from the fruit section’s entrance, but once you step in, it’s pretty much like a whole new different thing inside altogether. It appears to me like a HUGE pasar-malam of sorts.

We entered from the fruit-market section and once you step in, you’re greeted by stalls and stalls selling their local produce. And mind you, these fruits are really quite something. The peaches are ridiculously sweet and so are the strawberries.. and all the fruits are surprisingly competitively priced. I mean, it probably shouldn’t be a surprise since it’s a local produce, but anything this nice and this sweet will usually fetch a hefty price back home..

Moving on further into the market, the scene changes abruptly and you enter a bazaar-like area.. with stalls selling all kinds of stuff from cooking utensils, to keychains (got me a Harley Davidson one heh..), to sunglasses (got me a case for my oakleys FINALLY), to bags and clothes, to stationeries, to knick-knacks, to food, to just-abt-everything-you-can-think-of..

the stunned emu shop really caught my attention.. it’s like SO CUTE la.. hah. And the coffee from this shop’s quite cool.. they’ve got all sorts of flavours like Chocolate Marshmallow, Chocolate Mint, Caramel Fudge and even a Jack Daniel’s one!! Sweet!

The coffee place is really quite something, you get all these nice flavours and you can pick the beans up and take a whiff if you wanted.. then once you’ve decided on which of the ridiculous amount of flavours you want, they grind it and bag it for you on the spot.. =)

What really drew me in to this place is the whole atmosphere in there.. it’s a nice chill-out feel.. you have open-concept cafés with a guy singing with his guitar, and moving around the place you see these little busker’s corner thingies.. where you can just plop urself down and start playing/singing away.. and there were actually quite some ppl doing that.. this particular girl sounded really good singing a Colbie Caillat song..

So much for the shopping part, what’s coming to Perth without trying their infamous Fish and Chips right? A 5 min drive away from the market (could have been shorter but thanks to the one-way traffic and stubborn-ness of yours truly), and you arrive at the coast, sporting a nice stretch of beach and their wharf with all the lovely seafood cafés..

there’s just something abt Perth that makes the photos turn out really well.. it’s probably the nice BRIGHT sunshine (shades are a necessity rather than a fashion statement) and the clear blue skies (thanks again to my polarizing filter) that somehow the pictures just jump out. Abit hard to get these in Singapore.. sad.

We tucked in at Kailis’ Fish Market Café.. they’ve got this little area where they serve food fast-food-restaurant styled.. and at the other corner, they’ve got this ‘market’ thing where you can pick ur seafood and all that.. really nice. It’s really quite an experience.. and especially when we were sitting outside and you see these darn seagulls hovering above you and trying to inch closer to you.. just waiting for you to step aside and they’ll share ur lunch with you..

Left: That’s the market thing.. from this..
Right: To this! Hah..

apparently, the fish and chips in perth are literally just that.. no garnishing, no salad thingy by the side, just Fish and Chips. Hah..
and those are some really good prawns and salmon.. the nice big plate of smoked salmon goes for just 12 bucks!

..all in, it’s a good place that I’ll definitely go back again if I visit perth once more.. especially for the fish.. =) and also cos the place is just huge, there are tones of shops that line the area which we just didn’t have the time to stroll by.. granted it’s a little touristy.. but u just don’t find anything like that around here.. so it’s worth every bit of time driving down there and taking in the Fremantle air.. 5 stars for this one. =)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Colour Me Tones

After soooo looong of fiddling with the printer, I’m finally done with getting the colour profile fixed, or at least, close enough for me to feel at least contented. It’s a heck of a journey with countless headaches and my eyesight probably got worst with all that staring..

From manually adjusting the colour offset (which works for one picture, but screws up the next), to trying to re-interpret the instruction sets for more advanced version of PhotoShop (yes, I’m still using PhotoShop 5; dinosaur I know).. I’ve finally settled with some custom profiling software that helps u sort it out. The thing is, I don’t have a colour chart and I’m trying to find a fuss-free and cost-free way of getting it done.. so with loads of tweaking, it finally looks decent..

Hah.. with all that paper and ink used.. I’m wondering if I’m actually saving anything here.. *gasp*

Saturday, May 16, 2009

alvin wants..

to be a hamster..

Eat, Sleep, Yawn, repeat.. heh.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Yup, that’s the first thought that comes to mind when I see/hear the word ‘Labrador’.. but apparently I didn’t see any such furballs on this trip. The history behind Labrador Park’s quite amazing too.. with it’s sheer cliffs and awesome vantage points, it was used by the British to their advantage while trying to defend us.. setting huge guns and search lights that pointed out to sea. But at the end, they didn’t really get to use it cos, as we all have learnt, the attack came from up north..

Anyway, so the story goes that Vincent organized a trip to Labrador park in a bit to catch some sunset pictures.. I got the invite from Alvin and since it’s been such a long while (if ever) since I went out just to take pictures, I figured it’d be fun..

Weather wise, it was good but not the best.. for one it didn’t rain, but there was this huge potong pasir cloud that was just blocking half the sky and it didn’t want to budge.. so eventually the sun set and the pictures weren’t too pretty.. ended up taking some shots at night too.. which reminds me, I ought to go back to changi since some pretty good shots came out of there.. read abt it here. =)

alright, so the stitching software isn't as clever after all, look closely and u'll see some anomalies on the jetty.. darn.

night shots! =) I'm beginning to like these.. it's really a play with the lights..

Yes, by the looks of it, it seems I have a thing or two with the lamp-posts.. HAH.. my fascination with lights.. =P

All in, it’s a lovely place I’d say, nice and quiet, perhaps cos it’s so out-of-the-way.. it’s a pity they close the jetty at 8pm, else it’ll make the perfect spot to go fishing.. the jetty’s a long way out and there’s very little ppl there. Heck! There’s even a washing point (fully equipped with a tap) on the jetty!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


get it? Printer + Pictures? Ok, so that’s another bad attempt to create a word. ANYWAY..

Finally started with toying around with my printer (this one).. being flu-bugged and all, I’m quite thankful I got to stay home and rest yesterday and today.. come to think of it.. it’s actually one of the first few days that I have all to myself since the exams ended.. =) the feeling’s quite nice..

So anyway, the first pictures printed out didn’t seem right altogether, with the colours not exactly matching what I see on-screen.. so being the typical me, I figured that I should just print the same picture (smaller version) 4 times on one piece of 4r paper.. that way I can vary the settings in a more economical way and find out which one works..

Long story short, I eventually started to like the mini pictures.. each little picture came out as roughly 5 x 6.5cm, so it’s really cute. And since it’s so small, I can actually have loads of these for the same amount of paper/ink.. and cos it’s tinier overall, I can afford to put up pictures on the wall at my table.. so I don’t have to stare at a blank wall when I’m sitting here at my desk.. =)


and yes, I finally got down to moving my photo montage thing from my hostel (read abt my supercalifragilisticexpialidocious post here) to a nice new location in my room.. seems like there’s also some extra space, so I can afford to squeeze more pictures in.. =)

it's finally moved.. wheeee.. =)

and before I forget, here’s a shoutout to every mum out there.. Happy Mother’s Day.. =)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Twip - Part VI; Go Straight to Jail

Do Not Pass Go. Do not collect $200. hah.. another Perth Update!

This time, it’s all about Fremantle.. one of the more touristy places in Perth to me. Or at least, here in Fremantle, I can act the dumb-tourist and feel quite good about it. hah.

One of the main highlights in Fremantle, even according to my friends (thanks Alwyn!), would be the Fremantle Prison. It’s quite cool really.. the whole history behind it abt how it first started, and the various milestones it met, and how it eventually closed and is now a lovely tourist attraction. =) Actually, rather than have me try to remember all abt its history, check out this wiki site and it’ll tell you pretty much all you need to know from the historian’s standpoint.

Fremantle Prison from the outside..

So anyway, there are apparently 3 different types of tours you can take at the Fremantle Prison.. there’s the Doing Time one (which we took), there’s a Great Escapes one (which features all the escapes attempted and stuff) and there’s a Torch Light tour (which I believe, is a tour of the tunnels in the prison).

Each of these tours seem really interesting, they each have their own themes and they bring you to different places and they guides talk abt different things on the different tours. Honestly, if time had permitted, I’d have gone for all 3, but the stupid parking gives u only a max of 3 hours at a go.. something like that. Bummer.

That's our tour guide 'Brendon' I think, on the left.. the greyish area in the background is actually limestone. Early prisoners were made to cut the limestone from here and use it to build the prison u see in the above picture.. amazing..

So anyway, the Doing Time tour was quite cool, they gave an introduction to the place and brought us around the prison and basically showed us how life was like while ‘doing time’.. =) they basically let you follow the route that a convict will take from the moment he steps into prison, and how his daily life was like..

that's the corridor of the cells.. rows and rows.. about 5 storeys i think..

and this is the Church-of-England church in the prison.. one of the nicer 'posh-er' looking places in it.. apparently some ppl actually have their weddings here.. HAH.

They brought us around and you get to see the individual cells and how tiny they are.. which they eventually expanded to combine a few cells together to give the convicts more ‘welfare’.. you also get to see the court yards where they’d hang out for a few hours each day.

that's the size of one cell when the prison first started.. can go crazy inside..

There were also some really good murals. Apparently, some aborigines were convicted too (for what, I honestly can’t remember), and these fellas could really draw. So some were allowed to teach others and toward the end of the prison’s lifespan, they allowed them to draw on the walls as a gesture of goodbye..

and of course, they showed us the gallows too.. abit gruesome, I mean, I’ve never really seen the gallows before. So it’s quite an experience, and with them telling you the whole process of how the inmate would be led from his cell to some holding cell.. and subsequently led to the gallows and how the whole thing unfolds. There was an awful silence as he was explaining.. hmm.

right in the middle, u can just abt make out the noose that's hanging from the ceiling..

Ok, this post is a little longer than I had expected.. initially thought of including the entire Fremantle trip here, but I think I’ll leave the other places in Fremantle for another time. =)

Friday, May 8, 2009


There’s something known as a photo-opportunity.. and so I’ll hereby coin one known as a blog-opportunity.. =)

For some reason, reading the papers today began with every other section except the Main Headlines section.. so it started off as a typical day.. fighting a beastly headache as I try to wake myself up at the dining table..

Then lo and behold.. I finally get to the headline page and I see the great big picture of him staring back at me.. him who has been known throughout Singapore for the past year by aunties, kiddies and working professionals all alike..

So they finally caught Mas Selamat.. thank God.. for the uninformed, (where the heck have u been?), here’s the headlines, courtesy of (this site for the story).

Singapore's JI leader Mas Selamat arrested in Malaysia
Posted: 08 May 2009 0143 hrs

SINGAPORE: Mas Selamat Kastari, Singapore's Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) leader who escaped from Whitley Road Detention Centre on February 27 last year, has been arrested.

The terrorist, who once plotted to hijack a plane and crash it into Changi Airport, was arrested in Malaysia in a joint intelligence operation involving the internal security agencies of the two countries.

It is understood that Mas Selamat was actually arrested over a month ago but had been under interrogation in Malaysia.

It is believed that the fugitive will soon be brought back to Singapore.

Last December, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said: "He is one up on us, but the game is not over. One day we will catch him."

Most security experts had expected the fugitive to head for Indonesia, where other JI members are believed to be based. So, it came as a surprise to some that he was arrested in Malaysia.

Mas Selamat gave his guards the slip while he was being taken to the toilet at the detention centre.

The escape sparked the largest manhunt in Singapore's history. Thousands of police and military personnel were roped in to comb the island for the fugitive. Checks at the borders were stepped up, road blocks were set up, officers went house to house, and forested areas were swept.

There were also offers of a million dollar reward by two businessmen for his capture.

Mas Selamat, however, remained elusive although dozens of illegal immigrants were flushed out. Posters bearing his face and description were put up everywhere and every mobile phone here was sent either a text description or a picture of him.

Mas Selamat's escape also resulted in the dismissal of the detention centre's superintendent over security lapses. The superintendent's deputy was demoted.

The two were the most senior officers in charge of the ground management of the detention centre, and were among six Internal Security Department (ISD) officers charged over the escape.

Mas Selamat fled Singapore in December 2001 following an Internal Security Department operation against the terrorist organisation.

The militant leader had been on the run after Singapore authorities discovered plans to crash seven trucks filled with bombs at various locations around the island.

Investigations also revealed that he was the mastermind behind a plan to hijack an airplane and crash it into Changi airport.

Mas Selamat was arrested by the Indonesian police on Bintan island in January 2006. He was detained for using a fake identity card.

When he was arrested, officers found literature on bomb-making on him. Based on investigations then, Indonesia's elite anti-terror police then discovered he was the leader of the Singapore Jemaah Islamiyah network.

They then deported him to Singapore, where he was detained at Whitley Road Detention Centre under the Internal Security Act.

The 48-year-old father of four was said to be involved in JI's plans to mount attacks against foreign and local establishments in Singapore.

These included the US Embassy and American Club, the Defence Ministry headquarters at Bukit Gombak and the Education Ministry building at North Buona Vista Drive. - CNA/TODAY/de

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day of Days

This post comes to you from Bugis Junction.. happiness. With the setting sun casting a nice golden glow on my keyboard.. and the hustle and bustle of ppl going by.. while I’m just sitting here.. all relaxed.. pure bliss.

Today marks the very end of the last thing I’ll probably have to do for/with NTU. Just had my FYP presentation earlier today. Short, sweet, simple and ‘well done’.. glad it turned out fine.. and all glory to God.

The guy after me had some technical difficulties with his computer.. he couldn’t hook it up to the projector.. so being me, I of course offered to lend him my comp for his presentation.. that also meant that I’ll have to sit through his presentation.. no qualms abt it tho.. mine was done and I’m in no hurry to go off..

If there’s something I picked up abt giving presentations.. it’s all probably summed up in the time span of an hour today.. within that hour, I witnessed how I presented (of course) and how the other guy presented.. and in a nutshell, all I have to say is Confidence. As long as you’re armed with confidence to the teeth, it will show.. and u WILL convince. You don’t have to know what’s going on (I didn’t), u don’t have to know the answers to the questions (I didn’t) and u don’t have to know what the heck the lecturer’s asking (I didn’t), but as long as u’re confident and u stare at him in the eye and tell him what u feel the 'right' answer is.. it’ll come off as fact. Sad but true.. haha.. that’s probably how it works elsewhere anyway..

So much for the presentation.. it’s been a while since I walked down Bugis Street and it’s changed quite a fair bit. It looks a whole load bigger now.. with more extensions and hidden walkways.. =) it’s been a while since I’ve had time to myself to just roam around and watch life go by.. I also got me some photo paper and ink refills, so now I can go crazy with printing photos at home.. =)

then again.. it’s probably only now that the feeling’s slowly settling in. The feeling that school’s FINALLY over.. there’s REALLY no more school work left to do.. and that now I’ll finally have some time to myself.. something that I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while..

So here’s an open invitation to all.. need a kaki to just chill out with? Gimme a call.. =)

Sunday, May 3, 2009


So it’s finally May.. and I’m actually quite appalled by the number of posts I made for April.. 12! That’s an average of 3 a week.. and yes, April happens to be my exam month too.. so again, I’ll re-iterate that the number of posts I make is directly proportional and a clear indication of how busy I am.. hah. Talk abt Avoidance Tendencies.. =P

So back to the topic, it’s finally May, before I realized, the exams are over and my FYP presentations are just next week. Right after that, I’ll pretty much be done, which leaves me with the next phase in life.. WORK.. hah. Don’t think I’m honestly ready for that part yet, except for the no-homework part.. haha. =)

Anyway, let’s talk abt happy things..

Happy thing #1, I’ve got me a new printer for 80 bucks. An all-in-one from canon. Managed to convince daddy that he don’t need a fax, that most things can be scanned and just emailed nowadays.. easier to archive things with email too.. so I’d say it’s quite a steal. Got the deal from from this guy who stays at the same block as granny.. talk abt coincidence.. =)

that's my new printer.. Canon's MP145.

And the nice part is that it can print pictures too! Tried printing a couple of photos and it was quite good, but the colours didn’t exactly match what I see on-screen.. getting my monitor calibrated would be a totally new ball game altogether which I shall not even think of.. hah.

So all I need now is just some photo papers and some ink refill and I’m good to go.. heard that there are some pretty good feedback abt SingInk.. so I might just give it a shot.. =)