Photography is not a crime

I chanced upon a really nice chill out place today.
But I won’t tell you the name of the place and where it is.
Because I was told that I can’t publish any photos I took of the place.
If I did, I would receive a lawyer’s letter.
So, to make things really easy for myself, I won’t write about it.
Because any place that make photography a crime does not deserve publicity of any sort, from anybody.

The Joy Of Wedding Shoots

I really enjoy the stories behind every client I’ve come across in my wedding photography sideline.
Their courage to love despite their differences.
Their readiness to give beyond their means.
Their determination to make the marriage work despite the odds.
Real, gritty fairy tales of love.

What’s wrong with Singapore Scholarships?

During recent gathering, a friend of mine (who is a social worker) shared that MOE gave out scholarships to students from China for them to study here in Singapore. And in an effort to retain and integrate them into our society, part of the scholarship bargain was for the students to perform community service.

This is undoubtedly a great idea that inculcates social responsibility in the elites that will in time have great influence in society. But it left me with a question:
How about scholarships for the locals?
It is tragically hilarious that the government would go through so much deliberation to attract, retain and integrate foreign talent, but yet do little to develop the heartware of local scholarship holders.

P/S: I have to clarify that I do not know of any scholarships for locals that requires serving the community. But if you do know of any scholarships or bursaries of such a nature, do leave me a note in the comments section.

Floating Platforms to house foreign workers? I also want!

You’ve seen the news, the authorities are thinking about housing foreign workers on floating platforms liken to the one at Marina Bay because there is nowhere and nobody on mainland is willing to accommodate their presence.

I don’t know about you, but now I’m definitely envious and even jealous that these foreign workers who toil for our nation’s development are getting the ultimate upgrade! Why? This is waterfront living at its best lor!

Think about it, the rich spent millions just to get that sea-facing apartment in places like East Coast, Tanjong Rhu and Sentosa Cove. But now, foreign workers now stand to get the equivalent without paying a single cent!

Living on the floating platform, the inhabitants will be so much closer to the water compared to the mainland counterparts where they can only see and not touch the water. For recreation, the inhabitants will undoubtedly improvise and develop new fun activities that will have us mainlanders exclaim, “Hey! That’s so cool! I wanna try that too!”

Their monthly mass swim around their floating platform could well become the iconic pastime of this innovative solution.

Subsistence would be well taken care of as the floating platform would become a kelong on steroids. The inhabitants would live on the freshest catches which are larger because they feed on the additional “nutrients” from the floating platform. Or perhaps to make fishing easier, a dedicated kelong module can be attached to harvest the fish that the inhabitants will grow to love.

Speaking of modular design, facilities can be added and removed easily! If the inhabitants want a playing field for cricket, it can be attached to the west wing of the floating platform! They could even start a floating platform cricket league and perhaps even discover a world class cricket team that will win Singapore an Olympic medal or two.

Bored of cricket? Just replace the attachment with a sports hall with ping pong tables and voila! A place to tap into another pool of potential medal winners. Better yet, both recreational facilities can co-exist as a statement of harmony. Of course, there will also be the grass patch module that emulates the open fields that the foreign workers love to frolic in on weekends.

On top of it all, the floating platform will have no risk of typhoons, hurricanes and the impending rise of the sea level, thanks to global warming. This should have forward thinking property developers enthusiastically proposing projects with taglines like, “The final frontier of waterfront living.”

Such projects will be marketed as the ultimate waterfront luxury that is sought after by the rich, glamorous and powerful. The people will lust after it for the prestige and security.

Mainlanders will inadvertently get into a panic buying mode to buy their little plot of a floating platform as they observe the sea encroach into the land. Yes, floating platforms will become the ultimate real estate investment. So much so that we will then probably need to displace the first floating platform of foreign workers, probably back to the less valuable mainland.

This is an Asshat Driver

Asshat_Driver

On my way home, the bus I was on got stuck at this narrow road, all thanks to this parking idiot of an asshat of a driver who parked the car right after the road divider. The bus couldn’t go around it because the road divider was in the way, couldn’t reverse because there were vehicles behind it and the bus captain horned at an empty car for about 5 minutes.

Finally realizing that the asshat driver won’t return soon, he dropped the passengers off on the spot and called for backup from the bus interchange, just meters away from the incident. The bus captain then took a picture and sent it to the Traffic Police. I took a picture and posted it online so that anyone who come across this post might not repeat such an idiotic and inconsiderate offence.

Nike+ Human Race

DSC_7476

That's me in all Nike apparel for the Nike+ Human Race

All thanks to a certain twist of fate, not only was I able to participate in the Nike+ Human Race event for free, I was also given a full set of color-coordinated running gear, inclusive of the Human Race dri-FIT t-shirt, a pair of rather sexy running shorts and a pair of Nike Zoom Victory+ running shoes. It is pretty obvious that Nike is working hard to get back to their previous awesome status of a brand name. I have to say that it was quite a good effort, though not exactly new media savvy.

Unfortunately, I do have some complaints for the shoes. The Nike Zoom Victory+ undoubtedly has the looks, but I can’t say the same for the comfort. First, the interior lining wasn’t comfortable enough for the shoe to be worn without socks. Next, the new shoes dug into my heels and almost gave me blisters, which is unlike previous new Nike shoes I have worn. While I liked the wide sole which provides better stability, there didn’t seem be any substantial arch support. The traction was unimpressive in wet conditions and I nearly slipped a few times when I tried them out for a run around my neighborhood.

Race Day

I reached the Race Village pretty early to take a look around. There was a lot of problems with the logistics. First, the rack pack collection during the previous weekend had participants experiencing delays. There were many who did not receive the transponder chips. Many also faced problems during the online registration process as they weren’t able to pick the right size for the t-shirt. Thankfully, the organizers followed up to get the right sizes and set up a booth for t-shirt exchanges and transponder chip collection.

Having been to quite a number of mass running events, it is a first to have all participants wear a uniform color, it was almost like the migrating crabs that swarm through Christmas Island!

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Within a sea of red

MP Teo Ser Luck was supposed to have flagged off the race, but he never showed up at flag off time. MTV VJs Taya and Utt had to delay the time a little bit with a bit of chit chat with Joanne Peh. But he never did show up to flag off the first wave of runners. Plan B was to have this family whose kid is battling cancer and an ambassador of the Live Strong foundation to flag off the race.

I was in the first wave, but wasn’t exactly the faster runners. Everything’s pretty chaotic, people who never stood a chance in the competitive race were annoyingly cutting into everybody else’s path. Usually, I see them end up walking, panting and obstructing the paths of steady runners, just moments after their “heroic” overtaking.

The first water point wasn’t really well-managed. By the time I got there, hardly any cups were available and the helpers were frantically trying to fill the remaining cups with water.

The event had promised many bands performing at 3 stages along the way of the route, but I only came across one band that was performing on a boat. At the other 2 stages, the performers weren’t even ready to go on the stage.

Portions of the route had rather narrow paths. Some stretches could only accommodate 2 to 3 runners side by side. Some participants started to walk along these narrow stretches and caused quite a congestion in the area, slowing down many behind them.

Half way through the run, it started to rain a little bit and made slopes particularly slippery. I was running with the shoes provided and they had such awfully traction over wet tiles on the bridge, I almost crashed into the railings and shrubs at the end of it.

It took me a little over an hour to complete the 10km route. After exchanging the transponder chip for a nice but rather impractical finisher’s bracelet that was over-packaged, (and to think one of the beneficiaries was World Wildlife Fund) I looked around the race village. It was nice that they provided plenty of refreshments. Besides that, there were food stalls and a Nike booth showcasing a new range of shoes. There was also a holistic booth where runners could receive a free massage.

This is called branding overload

This is called branding overload

The event follows up with a concert for the participants. With local and international acts like Chou Pi Jiang, Jack and Rai, MC Vandal, Freaky Z, DJ Ko-Flo, DJ Inquisitive and Boys like Girls taking the stage, it was certainly something to look forward to after the messy 10k run.

Local act, Chou Pi Jiang on stage

Local act, Chou Pi Jiang on stage

First up was local mandarin rap group, Chou Pi Jiang. Pretty catchy stuff, but like most raps for me, I couldn’t decipher what exactly they were singing. It was a pity that they spent most of the time at the back of the huge stage and the vocals only moved forward after prompting by the event crew. The crowd was only starting to come before the stage and the reaction was unfortunately lukewarm.

One of the two vocals of Chou Pi Jiang

One of the two vocals of Chou Pi Jiang

Next came Freaky Z and MC Vandal to work the crowd with their rapping magic as they moved fluidly around the front of the stage. The crowd responded whenever the artists blurted something related to Singapore. Like, when one of them rapped, “chicken rice,” the crowd gave cheers of approval. Never mind that the rest of the lyrics can hardly be heard.

Freaky Z and the crowd

Freaky Z and the crowd

Then DJ Ko-Flo came on to spin some tracks. Pretty cool music which the crowd preferred to listen to intently. Following that came the popular local duo of Jack and Rai who play regularly at Timbre.

Jack and Rai

Jack and Rai

They definitely worked the crowd up as they performed their own songs and popular covers.

Rai up close at the front of the stage

Rai up close at the front of the stage

MC Vandal and Freaky Z then returned to the stage with DJ Ko-Flo and DJ Inquisitive to perform. Thereafter, DJ Ko-Flo stayed on to spin more music. I couldn’t stay for Boys like Girls, which was probably the biggest act for the concert. But I am pretty sure the crowds that stayed would have enjoyed every moment of the gig.

Throughout the concert, hosts Taya and Utt threw iPod Nanos into the crowds. I almost got one myself but it bounced off into someone else’s hands. Guess it was not meant to be mine.

Overall, the Nike+ Human Race had been an extremely successful branding campaign for Nike. The sea of runners dressed in red definitely leaves a deep impression. The concert was a nice touch to retain and work the crowd. I guess 10km was a comfortable distance that leaves sufficient energy for the participants to stay on for the concert too. So I definitely look forward to the next Human Race, and hope that the logistics and running route will be better planned.

Save the Beauty Queen, Save the Earth

If you didn’t already know, the Earth is facing an environmental crisis of catastrophic proportions. We need heroes for the green cause more than ever. Captain Planet doesn’t cut it today with that hideous green mullet. So how? Come up with a Beauty Pageant for treehuggers!

Save the Beauty Queen, Save the Earth

Save the Beauty Queen, Save the Earth

“If beauty can launch a thousand ships, it can certainly influence people to help protect and preserve the environment.”

In cruder terms, sex sells. And what better way to get the attention of people, young and old, and increase public awareness about the environmental issues with a pretty face and a little skin? So here are the ladies vying for the crown of Miss Earth Singapore…

The young and vibrant green ambassadors

"woe peas... No wait, wrong pageant..."

Enter the green ambassadors vying for the Miss Earth Singapore crown

These ladies would be champions for the environment while giving the green cause a touch of glamour. This press conference had each of them doing a catwalk onto the stage to share a cringe-inducing green message. Some shone, some faltered. Granted they are a necessary evil, I do wonder what would each of them pledge to do to reduce their carbon footprint?

No sleeping with air-conditioning on for a year?
Commuting with public transport for a year?
No buying of bottled or canned drinks for a year?
No takeaway meals for a year?
No make-up for a year?
No shopping for a year?

"woe peas... No wait, wrong pageant..."

"woe peas... No wait, wrong pageant..."

Unlike other beauty pageants, Miss Earth Singapore competition puts the candidates, or green ambassadors through training that includes environmental seminars to keep up to date with the current environmental crises on top of the default pageantry syllabus. It’s like, “forget world peace, crusading for the environment is way hotter!”

Miss Earth Singapore 2007, Nicole Chen

Miss Earth Singapore 2007, Nicole Chen

So what does a Miss Earth do in her one-year reign? Miss Earth Singapore 2007, Nicole Chen shares that her title has allowed many open doors to different sectors of society.

Particularly in education and outreach to the youths, she has graced many events initiated by schools and institutions for environmental conservation. Some of which include the NUS Rebate2Earth launch, NUS Green Carnival, National Youth EnvirOlympics Challenge and the International Coastal Clean Up. There was also a stint to Manila to create awareness among the children to take ownership of their environment. Admittedly though, this green education is a slow process that will only yield results in future generations.

It is great that the changes that this influential title is capable of bringing about in the grassroots and individuals in the long term. However, the environmental problems still need to be addressed today. What remains to be seen is how this influence can effect positive and substantial changes at policy and corporate levels that will bring about a significant improvement in the conditions of the environment. Perhaps that is the biggest challenge for these green ambassadors.

But until it happens, the saving planet earth is everyone’s responsibility, and we have to make every deliberate effort we can to do it.