Saturday, December 31, 2005

Have a good new year!

Cherish the past. Enjoy the present. Welcome the new year.

Wish all of you a splendid 2006. Have a blast and don't forget to blow your horns and whistles an extra second before the new year.

Tags: ,

Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 4

Katrina Survivor Speaks (Originally posted on September 5 2005)

Spencer Francis is an American friend that I got to know through work. It was four years ago when I helped to raise some funding for his start up company based in Silicon Valley. Spencer is also a regular reader of IZ Reloaded. He was on holiday in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. He talked to me a few hours ago via phone.

IZ: Howdy Spence. It is so good to hear from you mate. Thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

Spencer: Always nice to hear a friendly voice.

IZ: Can you tell me and share with my readers what you've been through?

Spencer: Oh man, it was hell.

IZ: What were you doing in New Orleans?

Spencer: I was taking a break from work. I flew to New Orleans 10 days ago with a a couple of friends. I've always loved New Orleans and the previous time I was there was three years ago. I'm not sure if I'll be returning to New Orleans ever again.

IZ: Are you aware that New Orleans is going to be hit by Katrina?

Spencer: Well, it was all over the news. I've encountered hurricanes before and I thought it would be okay to just try to stay through the storm but the city of New Orleans ordered an evacuation when it realised that it will be hit bad.

IZ: Where did you go to?

Spencer: We were asked to take shelter at the Superdome. Initially we thought it would be just for the night or two until the hurricane flies past us. It was relatively okay in the Superdome until we start getting more and more people flocking in. By the second day, it was like hell.

IZ: Reports said that the conditions were very bad there.

Spencer: We had, I think more than 20,000 people in the Superdome. Maybe even much more. We had no air con, no water and no food! We keep hearing that the govt is coming to help us. It is the same thing everyday but no one came. Oh man, you would freak out if you were there. At night, there were no lights and everyone was afraid. Most of the people there are blacks. I would say 99%. Whites like me were stared at and abused everytime we walk to the toilet for example. There were also rapes going on in the Superdome, some people were stabbed, molested. I couldn't believe that I'm in America. It was like Somalia. And the toilets were disgusting. Smell of urine and faeces everywhere. We come to the Superdome to seek refuge but all we get is hell.

IZ: What about the police? Is there anyone to provide some sort of protection for the people?

Spencer: From what I heard, the New Orleans police officers were busy in the streets, having their own gun battle with thugs. Then, I came across a group of Australians and Britons. We decided to group together and watch each other's back. Man, everyone was crying. It was horrible.

IZ: So when did you leave the Superdome?

Spencer: Only on Saturday morning. All of the sudden the army finally showed up. We got into one of the first few buses. It was chaotic. I even saw a few dead bodies lying around the Superdome. We were so happy to get out of the place man. We were sent to Houston and we managed to get a flight.

IZ: Are you satisfied with what the govt did?

Spencer: Hell no man! Five fucking days. No help. Nothing. It is like they deserted the people of New Orleans. Even now, the govt isn't doing much. There are still people on the freeways and on the streets that no one is helping. I'm outraged with the people we put our faith to lead and protect us. We are Americans! Our own govt can't even help us as fast as possible. Five days! That's crap man!

IZ: Spence, I'm glad that you and your friends are fine. Thanks again for talking to me.

Spencer: I hope you in Singapore are having a more comfortable time than me.

IZ: Well, except for the rain. No hurricanes here. Talk to you again. Cheers mate.

My first hate mail! (Originally posted on October 5 2005)

I receive plenty of emails from readers giving me links to interesting stories, etc but never before I get an email of this sort. It is a hate mail! My very first one. Damn I'm so excited. After close to one year of this blog's existence, finally someone decided that he hates me and this blog enough to write me an email about it. I reckon bloggers like Xiaxue and others receive hate mails all the time but that's because they are more outspoken and they talk about more controversial issues that may hurt others. But me? I didn't hurt a fly. Oh well, maybe cockroaches. Anyway, here's the hate mail.
From: rmaz_09@.....
To: (my email)

Subject: You suck!

What a load of crap! Firstly, what kind of name is IZ Reloaded? You think you're some sort of Matrix hero shit is it? Your blog sucks. Asia Blog Awards runner up? Makes me wanna puke? Your blog is so boring that I wonder why people vote it in the first place. Anyone can blog like you. Just copy some lines from the link and done. It is a pathetic attempt to copy Boing Boing. Tsk Tsk. You can't even write well. Amateurish and pathetic!!! And don't try to blog personal stuff. You failed horribly!

And photobloggies finalist for Asia? Even my mother can take better photos than you. And there are other better photographers in Singapore. You suck man.

And stop boasting about your fans. What you call them?? IZ Rabid Fangirls? I duno why these girls will go goo-goo gaa-gaa for you. Reading their comments about you makes me wanna puke more. These girls must be blind. I think my butt looks cuter than you. Handsem my ass! You ugly fool!

Man, you suck! Your blog sucks! Just stop blogging!
That's basically it! Cool huh. Oh ya and he is also nice enough to send me a photo which I think he took from my Flickr.

Impressive photoshop skills he got yeah? I've always wanted to see how I look like as the devil. Anyway, so to rmaz_09 aka Mr IZ Reloaded Hater, thanks for sending me the hate mail. I very much appreciated it. Since you're the first one to do so, I would like to reward you mate.

Just write back to me with your address and I'll send you an almost one year printed copy of all my blog entries, each page autographed by yours truly. I will also send you a poster size photo of me so that you can have a much bigger photo to vandalise on.

Ah, I just love being a blogger.

The snail that travels the world (Originally posted on October 20 2005)

I posted the amazing photos of a snail attempting to cross a gap earlier. I found out recently that the snail page has been linked by sites, blogs and forums in countries such as Korea, Japan, Italy, Hungary, Germany and Norway. And yesterday, it was linked on Metafilter and today on MSNBC's Clicked. It is currently on Blogdex and was on Blogsnow yesterday, two sites that tracked the hottest linked sites. Thanks little snail. Maybe I should give you a name. Hmmm, how about Little Zee, the snail that not only crossed the gap but also travels the world!

Update: Lord Kimbo informs me that Little Zee is on CNET's Esoteric blog.

Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 3
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 2
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 1

Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 3

Cult of the Three Blind Mice (Originally posted on July 23 2005)

It seems that anyone can start a cult and gain a following these days. Take for example, 61 year old Ayah Pin. He is the founder of Malaysia's Sky Kingdom also known as the Teapot Cult. He claims to have thousands of followers in Malaysia, Singapore, Bali and beyond.

I was thinking maybe I sould start a cult of my own too. Ayah Pin and his followers were noted for building a giant pink teapot which is the centrepiece of his many structures at his Sky Kingdom village. More than just a structure, the giant pink teapot is a symbol of the cult's belief in the healing properties of water. You see, if you want to start a cult, you need a symbol, a structure or statue of somesort. After some thinking and with divine intervention of course, I finally got it! So here it is. Presenting The Cult of The Three Blind Mice (see pic). I even have an anthem for my new cult. It goes something like this.

"Three blind mice,
Three blind mice,
See how they run,
See how they run,
They all ran after a farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife.
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice."

Beat that Mr Ayah Pin!

Blogpoly Singapore Edition (Originally posted on July 15 1005)

To celebrate the 1st blogging conference in Singapore known as 2005 (held tomorrow), I came out with the Blogpoly Singapore Edition. I've included the Singapore blogs that were nominated in the Asia Blog Awards last year, the editors of (the organiser of and other popular blogs. Pardon me if I did not include yours. Thanks to Little Oslo for the inspiration. He did the original Blogpoly.

Lots of you wrote to me asking if IZ Reloaded will be showing up at 2005 tomorrow. I'm sorry to say that I will not be there. I will be doing my laundry tomorrow. Ok seriously, I'm afraid of crowds. I heard there will be plenty of bloggers there including their friends, spouses, partners, family members, etc. The media might also show up. I'm media shy. So for those who are dying to see me in person, I'm afraid you have to make do with these photos (here and here) of me for the time being. Enjoy and support 2005. Oh btw, if you do see someone who looks like me dancing away at the party after the conference, the dude isn't IZ Reloaded.

NKF: The damage is done (Originally posted on July 14 2005)

National Kidney Foundation CEO TT Durai must have had bad legal counsel. Whoever advised him to sue the Straits Times for an article that alledged NKF installed a gold tap in his toilet, is definitely out of his mind. Why? Because the whole case against the Straits Times has overturned for TT Durai and NKF. Not only has TT Durai withdrawn his defamation suit against Straits Times, his reputation and the good name of the NKF have been damaged along the way.

In court recently, the secrets of the NKF were revealed. TT Durai took home S$1.8m in total over the last three years. He admitted he flew first class. NKF has denied in the past that its executives fly first class. TT Durai and other executives also had access to to eight company cars and drivers. It was also revealed that NKF has reserves of S$220m! NKF has publicly revealed that its reserves can only last for three years. Mr Durai was also alleged to have a commercial relationship with an NKF board member.

The public is shocked and outraged. Thousands cancelled their donations. I think what is more surprising is that the public hasn't done this sooner. It is the public that has been contributing to NKF's wealth for more than 30 years. The public has not made it clear to NKF in the past to be transparent in how it uses the money it collected from the people. And now, after the secrets have been revealed, everyone is getting upset. People are calling for the TT Durai to resign. Yes, as the CEO he would have approved all the expenses such as the expensive tap but who are the people that kept him at the top? The board members of NKF. They are fully aware of what is going on in NKF. They are the ones who approved TT Durai's salary. They are the ones that looked through the annual financial reports.

So what next for NKF? To get out of this mess, NKF should explain to the public how it manages its money. It needs to make its finances public. TT Durai, the board and the finance committee should resign. And what should we, the public do? Go sign the petition, flood NKF with letters and calls, stop donating during their televised charity shows until they do something about it.

Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 4
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 2
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 1

Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 2

Fired Bloggers Update (Originally posted on April 7 2005)

Kate Lorenz of wrote a story for CNN titled Avoid getting fired for blogging. In it, she gave six advice for employees who blog: know where your company stands about blogging, blog on your own time not on company time, do not write negative or confidential info about the company, don't hide your blog from your boss, use good judgement when you blog about your company and lastly be aware of the repercussions as others who read your blog may not always agree with you.

There have been several bloggers mentioned in the press over the past year because they were fired for blogging. I went looking for a few of them to find out what they have been doing since they got fired.

Ellen Simonetti: Ellen was working as a flight stewardess when she was fired by . She recently made an appeal to Delta but the airlines has yet to respond to her. Ellen posted a tape of her being fired. You can download it here at her video blog. Currently she's an Assistant Director with the Committee to Protect Bloggers.

Mark Jen: Mark was working as an Associate Product Manager on Google's Adsense when he was fired by Google. He recently got a new job with Plaxo to define policies regarding employees that want to participate in public communication. He recently dumped his Blogger blog (bye bye Google) and switched to Wordpress.

Joyce Park aka Troutgirl: Joyce was working with the engineering team at Friendster when she was fired. Joyce is now working for zLab as one of its technical staff. She is also serving on the program committee of the first Zend PHP Conference.

Peter Whitney: Peter was working as an Administrative Assistant for Wells Fargo's Ragen MacKenzie unit when he was fired. He now spend his time watching ten discs of Pee Wee's Playhouse on DVD and rereading Sin City books in time for the movie.

Rob aka Souzalizard: Rob got fired from Blockbuster. In addition to losing his job, Rob even has to deal with a restraining order because his ex-colleague felt threatened by him.

Happy Friday the 13th (originally posted on May 13 2005)

Are you a paraskavedekatriaphobic? Para what you might ask. Paraskavedekatriaphobic is a word to describe a person who is afraid of the number 13 and Friday the 13th. It is said that over 20 million Americans suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia. God knows how many more people worldwide. That's a lot of people who might be staying home today and trying to be extra careful because to them, Friday the 13th happens to the the year's unluckiest day.

I don't think I am a superstitious person. I'm not afraid of the number 13 or Friday the 13th itself. I don't fear breaking a mirror or walking under a ladder or encountering a black cat today. Oh well, maybe I do have one superstition. I will bend down to touch the grass before a soccer game. Ok, that's nothing to do with Friday the 13th but well that's the only one superstition that I have. The thing about superstition is that most are passed down through generations. The origins like most myths are unclear. So how does this fear of Friday the 13th originate?

One theory is during the Biblical Last Supper, there were 13 guests and Jesus Christ's crucifixion happened on a Friday. Another say that Eve is rumored to have given Adam the apple on a Friday. But most people agree that this fear of Friday the 13th comes from several traditions, Christian theology and Viking tradition, which combine separate fears of Friday and the number 13. For example, 13 is a sinister number in Norse mythology. Loki, one of the most evil of the Norse gods, went uninvited to a party for 12 at Valhalla, a banquet hall of the gods and caused a rampage. The Knights Templar during the Middle Ages condemned Friday the 13th as an evil day because on that particular Friday night on October 13, 1307, King Philip IV of France ordered the arrests of the Templar Knights and their subsequent execution.

So the above could have explain how Friday the 13th may have come about but what happens on a typical Friday the 13th? Lots of bad things a paraskavedekatriaphobic would say. So here I am thinking of a few bad things some of my readers might encounter on this very unlucky day.

1) While reading IZ Reloaded, you spill your drink on your keyboard and get electrocuted.

2) While reading IZ Reloaded, your chair gives away and you fall down hard on the floor and hit the back of your head hard and have a very bad concussion.

3) You think that IZ Reloaded has a lot of crap, the next thing you know, you are out walking on the streets, you turn around and see a group of the IZ Rabid fangirls with parangs chasing after you. You outran them as fast as you can. Thinking that you may have excaped possible butchery at the hands of the IZ Rabid fangirls, you breath a sigh of relief, you turn around and all of the sudden a rubbish truck crashes onto you.

4) While reading this, you laugh so hard because the last paragraph is so funny that you have a heart attack and during the last few seconds of your life, you wish you didn't read this blog.

5) You think that the above cannot possibly happen to you and go on cursing me instead. The next thing you know the roof falls on your head and you are crushed under tons of rubble.

Ok, I think that's enough. Happy Friday the 13th.

IZ Reloaded, why don't you love me? (originally posted on June 6 2005)

I'm very honoured to receive many fan mails. Recently, I received one which really stood out. Giselle Loh (she said she is a big, big fan) sent me an email with a lyrics of a song she called 'IZ Reloaded'. She told me that she changed a few words from the original lyrics of the song by Bree Sharp called 'David Duchovny' (yes it is a song dedicated to Mr X-Files man) and turned it to the following.

It's Sunday night, I am curled up in my room
The monitor light fills my heart like a balloon
I hold it in best I can, I know I'm just another fan
But I can't help feeling I could love this cute blogging man

And I can't wait anymore for him to discover me
I got it bad for IZ Reloaded
IZ Reloaded, why won't you love me?
Why won't you love me?

My friends all tell me "Girl you know he's just a blogger."
But deep within his words I see me wrapped up like a bow
Reading his blog for a sign, he is always on my mind
I'm waiting for the day when my lucky stars align

In the form of IZ Reloaded floating above me
In the alien light of the spaceship of love
IZ Reloaded, hovering above me
Blogging Superstar, brooding and coming
IZ Reloaded, why won't you love me
Why won't you love me, why won't you love me?

IZ Reloaded, I want you to love me
To kiss and to hug me, photograph and blog me
IZ Reloaded, I know you could love me
I'm sweet and I'm cuddly
I'm gonna kill the rabid fangirls
IZ Reloaded, why won't you love me
Why won't you love me, why won't you love me

Giselle, awwww...I'm touched.

Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 4
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 3
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 1

Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 1

It is that time again when we bid farewell to the year and welcome a new one. It is also that time of the year for me to look through my archives and pick out my best postings of the year. It is not easy picking out my favs from more than 800 postings. From Xiaxue's cyber war with Fiona Xie to the snail that crosses the gap, here are the Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005.

Hair Rules in North Korea
(Originally posted on January 14 2005)

Do you think that your country has ridiculous rules? For example, here in Singapore, there's a law that bans chewing gum. And in Bhutan, no smoking is allowed in public. Well, think again. People in North Korea are having it worse. Kim Jong IL and company decided that all men in North Korea must get a proper short-back-and-side hair cut! They are running a campaign called "Let us trim our hair in accordance with Socialist lifestyle."

Judging from the photos of different hairstyles (above), I don't think they will welcome me there with open arms. A North Korea TV show recommends 1-5cm for back and sides and 5cm for tops of heads. If they've still got any, men over 50 are allowed up to 7cm, to cover baldness. And I reckon, it is better if you get a haircut such as the one below.

In a few months time, you'll see men all over North Korea looking like their leader. Oh, the TV show also recommends that men should get a haircut every 15 days. I think I should open a barber shop in North Korea. Business there must be booming! The full story can be found in this BBC news article.

Xiaxue vs. Fiona (orignally posted January 25 2005)

Celebrity Deathmatch between Singapore blogging queen and Maxim contributor Xiaxue (right) and MediaCorp TV actress Fiona Xie (left), coming to a venue near you! The two of them recently had a cyber war with Xiaxue launching attacks on Fiona (oh yes, she blogs too) and the result is Fiona shutting down her blog. Awwww. So, wouldn't it be great to see these two ladies in real action? Pulling each other's hair apart. Punching, kicking and scratching each other. Anyway Xiaxue, I actually made you taller, with nicer hair and I even have you pulling Fiona's hair. Oh and more importantly, as busty as Fiona too. More or less.

Happy Lupercalia (originally posted on February 14 2005)

Happy Lupercalia to all. Happy what? Well, have you wondered why you celebrate 14 of February aka Valentine's Day? I asked most of my friends through the years and nobody really knows. Some do it because they are Christians and it is kind of a Christian tradition (Saint Valentine). Others do it because it is a day of love or friendship.

Ever since I first took up the gigantic task of researching about religions many years ago, the subject of Valentine's Day sprung to my mind every few times. So I decided to find out more.

It was in the year 1997, when I had a chance to interview a Catholic priest as part of my religion research. We were talking mostly about what is in the bible and validity of most of the stuff in it. After a few hours of non-stop debating (and mind you, debating about the bible with a leading priest is quite a task), we decided to have a smoke break. Yes, he smokes too. Davidoff, I think. Then he asked me, "Son, why do you take this path?" I looked up at him with a puzzled face. He continued, "Why torture yourself to seek the truth when the truth is available right before your eyes in the Holy Book?" I took a whole minute and several puffs before answering. "I've been doing this for a year. I think it is important for mankind to question everything that is being told as the truth and to find out the real truth. With due respect sir, the Bible is a version of the truth, but not the truth itself." I told him that I respect the various religions in the world and I do respect him or else I wouldn't be smoking with a priest. We both laughed. It was at the moment, I asked him about Valentine's Day.

"Saint Valentine's Day," he said. I nodded. He asked me if I was doing anything on Valentine's Day that year. I joked by simply saying I had too many girlfriends therefore it's a headache on V-day. I then went on to ask him about the history of Valentine's Day. He told me the origin of Valentine's Day goes back to the third century, when two Christians named Valentine were martyred. There are various versions of the stories but he couldn't point to one that could be proven as the truth. He said that the Vatican lists 17 Valentines in the encyclopedia of saints. These are spread out among countries, including Italy, France, Spain and Germany, but the church does not designate any of the 17 as the Saint Valentine.

I wasn't too happy with his answers so I went back to my research. I came across a day celebrated by the pagan Romans, 14 February. Hey that's the same day as Valentine's Day. What I found is that the Romans celebrated February 14 to honor Juno Fructifier, Queen of the Roman gods and goddesses, and that on February 15 they celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia in honor of Lupercus, the Roman god who watched over shepherds and their flocks. Young Roman males would sacrifice goats, put on the goatskins as a loincloth and then run around striking young women with thongs from the same goatskins. As Christianity became more widely accepted, pagan beliefs and celebrations were being replaced by the Church. The ancient Lupercalia was christianized and became Saint Valentine's Day to honour Saint Valentine.

I had a chance to meet the priest again on Valentines Day that year. I told him what I found out about Valentines Day, and that he was wrong. The whole V-Day thing originated from a pagan celebration and that the church changed it so that people can celebrate it 'legally' in the eyes of the Church. He looked at me rather surprised that a young man would bother so much about the origins of such an unimportant day. He smiled after I finished telling him the story. He then walked me out and passed me a gift. It was a red aluminum case shaped like a heart. I opened it and there were chocolates inside. Now, how did he know I like chocs? There was also a small piece of note. It says, "Happy 14 of February, Saint IZ".

Straits Times listen up! (originally posted on February 25 2005)

The Straits Times intends to charge readers for using its online news website. A subscription will cost S$72 for six months (S$12 a month), or S$120 for a year (S$10 a month). A one-month subscription will cost S$15. The Straits Times Interactive has always been a free service. For archive stories that are more than 7 days old, readers have to subscribe to Newslink. Straits Times Interactive will become a subscribers-only website on March 15.

Now listen up. I'm talking to you people from the Straits Times. You have more than 280,000 registered users who are reading your news daily for free. If you're thinking of charging us to read your news online, you would be wise to change your strategy. How many of these 280,000 users do you think you can retain? Half of it? Fat hope. This strategy of yours is not only a failure from the beginning but I can't wait for the day when you switch to the free subscription. You said it's also not a tenable business model to charge for the print edition of the newspaper and not for its online edition. Well listen, I'm going to give you the following advice for free!

1) Revert to the current free subscription. Why would people who already have Straits Times print edition want to pay to subsribe for the online edition, beats me? By asking people to pay, you will be looking at a drastic reduction of the 280,000 users that you claim to have now.

2) It is not a tenable business model to charge for print edition and not for its online edition? That's where you are wrong. Your online edition contains a wealth of news. Information that is worth a lot. Instead of charging users to use your online edition, you should use targeted Ad based keyword advertising. If you have no idea what that means, take a look at Google. Targeted Ad based keyword advertising will bring new kinds of advertisers that you would never dream of. More advertisers. More money for you.

3) Open your archives. Why would you want people to pay to read old news? The targeted Ad based keyword advertising will work splendidly once you open up your archives. Don't leave old news in the shelves. Release it to the public. Free.

4) Maybe you do not know this, but bloggers can be quite handy friends to have. We bloggers quote news everywhere. We link to your news on our blogs. By restricting your online news to only those who pay, you lose something much more- online exposure. And you should know by now that news spread in blogosphere faster and wider than anything that has ever existed so far.

5) Include trackbacks in your online news. Yes, trackbacks are standard in blogs where we list down other blogs that are referencing our stories. You can use trackbacks for your online edition too. It would be a good way to check on who is using your news for their blogs and also a good way to judge which news are hot and which aren't.

6) Or you can include a Technorati search like they used in BoingBoing (look for the 'blog comments link' under each story). The Technorati Cosmos search works by listing all the blogs or websites that are using your link.

There you have it Straits Times. And while you are it, do sack the person who gave you the idea of charging users to read your online content.

Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 4
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 3
Best of IZ Reloaded in 2005 Part 2

Friday, December 30, 2005

Humans first arose in Asia not Africa?

Two archaeologists are proposing the idea that early humans first arose in Asia instead of Africa as previously thought. These early humans then migrate out of Asia to parts of the world. From National Geographic News:
They believe that early-human fossil discoveries over the past ten years suggest very different conclusions about where humans, or humanlike beings, first walked the Earth.

New Asian finds are significant, they say, especially the 1.75 million-year-old small-brained early-human fossils found in Dmanisi, Georgia, and the 18,000-year-old "hobbit" fossils (Homo floresiensis) discovered on the island of Flores in Indonesia.

Such finds suggest that Asia's earliest human ancestors may be older by hundreds of thousands of years than previously believed, the scientists say.
(Thanks Gordon)


Walking in crowded Singapore

If you find that walking in Singapore takes a lot of energy especially with the huge crowds in Orchard Road lately, then you are not alone. Whanafi dislikes the messy human traffic and asks this question, "Which side is Singapore on?" From Watching Paint Dry:
Having survived the Christmas shopping crowds once again, I was struck by the sheer amount of work it takes to walk in Singapore. The problem is that there does not seem to be a shared agreement about which side of the street to walk on, and so one is constantly forced to dodge and weave.

The situation is exacerbated by the government, which periodically puts out public education campaigns with catchy slogans like "Stand left, walk right" for the use of escalators. Trouble is, one can never predict whether the up escalator is going to be on the right or the left, and people generally do the opposite of government campaigns out of sheer bloody mindedness. (or more likely because they just don't care about impeding others...)

Miami Vice

Remember the 80s hit TV series Miami Vice? The movie version will be out next year starring Colin Farrel as Det. James 'Sonny' Crockett and Jamie Foxx as Det. Ricardo 'Rico' Tubbs. Miami Vice the movie will be released in the US on July 28, 2006. Michael Mann, the executive producer of the TV series and director of Heat and Collateral, is directing the movie. Watch the Miami Vice trailer here. The trailer uses the song, Numb/Encore by Linkin Park (one of my favourite bands) and Jay-Z. Cool!!!

How to order wine

I'm not a wine expert. I can't even pronounce some of their names. But I LOVE wine. This dude assembled a list of tips to help people like me order wine without looking like an asshole. From Waiter Rant:

8. When the waiter presents the bottle LOOK AT THE LABEL! Sometimes waiters make mistakes. My bistro has several wines of differing vintages from the same maker. Sometimes a ’97 is a shitload more expensive than an ‘01! You drink it you buy it. Caveat emptor pal.

9. DO NOT SMELL THE CORK! - When I see someone do this I know I’m dealing with a complete amateur. Guess what you’re gonna smell? Cork! You want to feel the cork to make sure it’s intact. Is the bottom of the cork moistened with wine? Good. That means it was stored properly. Make sure the name on the cork matches the name on the bottle. Sometimes unscrupulous bastards put cheap wine in old wine bottles and re-cork them! Is there mold on the cork? That’s a bad sign. But smelling the cork, in the vast majority of cases, tells you nothing. (Full disclosure – I used to smell the cork before I was a waiter.)

I'm no cock smeller...I mean cork. Are you?

(Thanks Kim Leng)

Cool tricks for your body

Have an itch in your throat? Try scratching your ear. I'm not kidding. This is just 1 of the 18 tricks you can teach your body. From Men's Health:
If your throat tickles, scratch your ear!

When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still appreciate a good body-based feat, but you're more discriminating. Take that tickle in your throat; it's not worth gagging over. Here's a better way to scratch your itch: "When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose, and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."
(Thanks Sab)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Dawn Yeo on FHM Singapore

Vanilla has some shots of Dawn Yeo on FHM Singapore. Vanilla also thinks that Dawn looks real despite all the rumours that she went through plastic surgery. From Vanilla:
I bought the magazine and looked through the pictures. Honestly, she looked "real" in these pictures- similiar to her JC pictures from xlx blog site. Her skin is not Micheal Jackson white, her eyes are pretty but not ang mo, her face isn't so longish.

Perhaps, she has got great make-up and photoshop skills? I kinda realised that these are two basic yet essential skills to acquire to be famous as a female blogger. It's all about marketing and what guys wants (most bloggers are male)- see pretty faces.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Catholic Girl's Guide to Sex

The Catholic Girl's Guide to Sex is here to help all you Catholic girls out there to enjoy your inevitable fall from grace. Photo taken from Malavagma's Flickr. Here's a review of the book. From
Chockfull of handy references, definitions, explanations and quotes, THE CATHOLIC GIRL'S GUIDE TO SEX includes such helpful tools as the Penance Chart, useful for instance if you're wondering what the House of the Lord is expecting from you if you slip up --- or slip him the tongue. For example, if you have gone to third base with your boyfriend of three years, you need to recite 1 Hail Mary and 2 Our Fathers. If, however, it's the "I-can't-believe-I-finally-had-my-chance-to-be-with-him" guy that you rounded third base with, then expect no less then 12 Hail Marys, 6 Our Fathers, and no meat on Friday! And then there's the "edited" list of sexual euphemisms designed to improve your slang vocab. It offers alternative lingo for having sex (all varieties) and body parts, such as buttering his bread, banana split, nooner, satisfying King Solomon (which sounds religious to me, so why is it bad?), gagas, headphones, love whistle and the Pointer Sisters.
Don't have to thank me. Just get the book.

Chinese provision shop

Today's photoblog entry: Chinese provision shop

Top 20 sexy beasts

Time for more wild sex! The top 20 sexy beasts according to this website are Bdelloid rotifer, Black vulture, Deep-sea anglerfish, Dolphin, Fruit fly, Giant garden slug, Giant tortoise, Giraffe, Honeybee, Kissing gourami, Ladybird, Mandrill, Octopus, Panamanian tree frog, Praying mantis, Red deer, Salamander, Seahorse, Spotted hyena and Stick insect. And this is what they have to say about the cute Ladybirds. From the website:
Ladybirds are remarkably promiscuous. As many as a thousand individual ladybirds have been observed aggregating, apparently for the purpose of having sex – and it seems just for the hell of it. During these aggregations the beetles copulate often, but no ovipositing (egg-laying) females or larval ladybird beetles can be observed. Incidentally, ladybirds have the highest prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases of virtually any insect. And London ladybirds are top of the STD league, with more than 90% being affected.
Ladybird and STDs! Somehow I can't imagine these two together.

Previous: Being gay is the IN thing in the animal kingdom

How to make a CD lamp

This is a nice little lamp that uses CDs. You will need lots of CDs, a fluorescent light and some plywood. From the webpage:

In the end I used 61 CDs. The CDs are grouped in pairs with the shiny side out. I used washers between the pairs of CD'S as spacers. To start the stack of CDs I used a single CD on the base of the unit. To finish I covered the stack with two pairs (4 CD) on the top without their centers enlarged (untouched).

Instructions and pics here.

Pacman Dinner Table

What do you get when you put a table top glass on top of a classic Pacman arcade game? Well, you get a Pacman dinner table! Perfect for adding a bit of entertainment into your dinner. You can eat your food and play a game of Pacman at the same time.

(Thanks Lord Kimbo)

Happy Birthday Tsunami Baby

The tsunami that hit parts of Asia one year ago took away many lives. Aceh is perhaps the hardest hit with more than 130,000 people dead. For one family, that day back in December turned out to be a special day. Not only did they survive the tsunami, they also have a new born son. Two days ago, Rizal or also known as Muhammad Tsunami celebrated his first birthday. From The Jakarta Post:
The child was initially named Muhammad Tsunami, but after advice from neighbors, Nadiah changed the name.

"Muhammad Tsunami is such a bad name. If you are stuck with that name, the child could be haunted by bad luck in the future," said the neighbors.

Nadiah, whose husband was a small-time fisherman before the tsunami and now works in a recovery project, said she hoped little Rizal could contribute to the community.
(via Metafilter)


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Internet is for porn

A hilarious movie featuring characters from World of Warcraft singing the song, Internet Is For Porn. Let's sing along! The internet is for porn! The internet is for porn! Why you think the net was born? Porn! Porn! Porn! Watch it on Google Video.

(Thanks p.b)

Tags: ,

New Year's Eve will be a second longer

Enjoy New Year's eve a second longer! National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will insert a leap second into the time scale on December 31. A leap second is a second added to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) to make it agree with astronomical time to within 0.9 second. UTC is an atomic time scale, based on the performance of atomic clocks. Astronomical time is based on the rate of rotation of the earth. Since atomic clocks are more stable than the rate at which the earth rotates, leap seconds are needed to keep the two time scales in agreement. The first leap second was added on June 30, 1972. The last time a leap second was added was seven years ago. From NIST:
This year's leap second will be implemented by adding an extra second to atomic clocks at NIST in Boulder, Colo., and other sites around the world. Normally, the last second of the year would be 23:59:59 UTC on Dec. 31, 2005, while the first second of the new year would be 00:00:00 UTC on Jan. 1, 2006. The leap second will be added at 23:59:59 UTC (06:59:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) on Dec. 31, so that atomic clocks will read 23:59:60 UTC before changing to all zeros.
Great! We can blow our horns an extra second before 2006 comes.

(Thanks Leon)

Tags: ,

Monday, December 26, 2005

Tsunami First Anniversary

Today marks the first year anniversary of the deadly tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people across Asia. On December 28 last year, I blogged about Evelyn Rodriguez, one of the tsunami survivors. This is the post taken from my old blog.
Evelyn Rodriguez was one of the many who experienced the tsunami on Phi Phi Island, Thailand. She wrote in her blog Crossroad Dispatches saying she was slammed by tidal waves but she is ok. She said she was on the beach and was too slow to react when the tsunami hit. Soon she was floating in rapids containing debris, wood and other building materials. In her latest entry she wrote:

Things are absolute madhouse here. Looks like a marketplace with tents and booths - but nothing is being sold just given away. Thousands of people here sorting through embassy stuff here. The government of Thailand and the people here have been absolutely wonderful providing free clothing, water, toiletries, food, accomodations, flights back to Bangkok and on and on.

Glad to know you're safe Evelyn.
Today, she is back at Phi Phi Island, the place where she was nearly killed last year. From Crossroad Dispatches:
We stood for a minute of silence at 10:15 a.m. this morning.

Later after the deputy prime minster has spoken, we file towards the bay. A six or seven-year old blond girl with a white sundress gently bows and places her palms into a triangular wai.

She lays a white orchid given to each surviving family member at the ceremony by the altar ledge fringed with flowers, photos, incense sticks and remembrances circling the banyan tree wrapped in rainbow colored sashes. Her mother stands behind with the jeweled bay stark in the background.
Over at a BBC newsforum, people who are affected by the tsunami are sharing their views and experiences. From BBC:
My wife and I went to visit Thailand during the weeks following the tsunami.It was Chinese New Year and many chinese people visit Phuket at that time but did not do so in 2005 as they were afraid of ghosts.The Thai people need the tourist to come back more than donations.Many jobs were lost due to the devastation but you could see the rebuilding effort starting even then.The Thai people have never been conquered and the tsunami and its effects will soon be defeated.
Visit Thailand

-roger eldridge, hong kong

I was in Bangkok on 26/12/04 . In response to the horror that unfolded during that day, the hotel in which I was staying sent around a notice asking guests willing to donate blood to gather the next morning to be taken to the Red Cross.Well, there must have been 200 people there...all nationalities, religions,races, ethnicities.In the midst of the tsunami horror it gave me a strong and quite moving sense of being part of a world community

-Paul, Melbourne
Ernest Rodriquez (not related to Evelyn above) also survived the tsunami. He was in Phuket when the tsunami hit. I did an interview with him on January 4. This is the post taken from my old blog.
There were many people who witnessed the tsunami and live to tell their story. Ernest Rodriguez is one of them. Ernest is teaching at a private school in Bangkok. He was in Phuket to celebrate Christmas when the disaster happened. He talked to me recently about his experience.

"I was at Patong Beach Phuket, Club One Seven, a small gay owned B & B when at 8am I felt a small tremor," said Ernest. According to him, it was only until 10am did the tsunami hit the beach. "There was no warning. The water moved in at a VERY quick pace. It first receded about 3/4 of a mile then returned in about 15 seconds," he explained.

Ernest was having breakfast on the front patio of the B & B. When he saw the wave crossed the street, he ran yelling for his boyfriend and his friend to run up the stairs to the 4th floor of the building. The water, he said, reached the top of the second floor. He saw 3 people- 2 Thais who had gone out to the beach after the water receded to pick up all the fish that were flopping around on the sand and 1 female tourist who had been laying on a beach chair- washed away in the first wave. When I asked him if anyone knew there was an earthquake, he said,"Around 9:30 am, a friend of mine in Bangkok sent me an SMS Text message asking if I had felt an earthquake."

Ernest and his friends survived the tsunami because of his quick thinking. He will forever remember that fateful day after Christmas.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Scared of Santa Claus?

Scared of Santa Claus? This video on YouTube shows that you are not alone. It is a montage of photographs of children who became terrified when they meet Santa.

When I was a little boy, like most of you, I listened to stories of Santa Claus flying around with his reindeers. This big fat bearded man in a red suit will get into people's houses via their chimneys and deliver christmas presents.

I was never afraid of Santa until one day. My parents used to bring me to meet Santa in shopping malls during Christmas time and they will put me on his lap and take photos of me and the big man. And everytime I sat on Santa's lap, I will start pulling his beard. I don't really know why I did it. Maybe coz I was fascinated to see if the beard is real. So there I was, pulling down every Santa's beard that I can get my hands on. I must have done this to 5 or more Santa Claus. Then there was this Santa. As I sat on his lap, I gave him the same treatment I gave the others. Ouch! He screamed. I remember it. It was a freakish, girly scream. He dropped me on the floor. I cried. Bruise on my bum. And that's it. I freaked out and thus began my fear of Santa Claus.

He tried to kill me, mum! Santa wanna kill me!

Damn that Santa Claus. If I ever get my hands on him.

(Thanks Darius, not for the Santa but the YouTube video)

Collaborating with fast food chains

Ludicrous talks about these unlikely collaborations- Burger King and King Kong, MacDonald and Madonna, KFC and Chicken Little and lastly MOS Burger and Ministry Of Sound. From Ludicrous:
When Donald meets Donna - MacDonald's & Madonna

With any value meal purchased, you get to choose from 6 one of its kind Madonna Confession dolls! One available each week! There is the "Mad About Yoga" Doll - limbs all disjointed for maximum flexibility and free play. The "I’m No Longer A Virgin" Doll - clothes tainted and torn emblazed with words like “Slut” and "Whore”, comes with removable undies. The "I Love Making Out with Britney" Doll - featuring ensemble worn at the MTV Music Awards with pouting red lips that stamps “Britney” on every possible surface. Lip ink is refillable. To find out more, log onto

Grandma: Wah…good leh… AH BOY AH! You wan to eat Madonna or not har? Got flea thing leh!

Ah Boy: Eee..dounch wan, she looks like a man.

Christmas, Beatles style!

Sing along to The Beatles this Christmas with The Beatles Christmas Album. The Beatle Source has made available mp3s of songs recorded by The Beatles from 1963 to 1971 for Christmas. I'm not a big fan of The Beatles but I'm sure there are many of you out there that will appreciate this. Go download them all.

(Thanks alvin.g)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Diamond iPod Case

Intergem is selling this iPod case with over 580 diamonds totalling 10.32 carats, set on 120 grams of 14K White Gold! The price : $12,495! The diamond ipod case comes with a 4gb iPod nano. I think it looks great with the diamond bra that I blogged two days ago.

(Thanks benson)

Group sex clubs in Canada are now legal!

Our Canadian friends can now get into one of the many group sex clubs there without fear of the police busting them thanks to a new ruling which legalise such clubs. Group sex club? Well, it is a club where people go for some drinking, dancing, swapping, swinging and orgies. Sounds fun? You bet! From CTV:
James Kouri's "Coeur a Corps" featured a dance floor around which a black curtain would swing every half hour. People hidden behind the drapery could then take part in or watch sex acts...

Members of Labaye's club could enter a locked room where they could participate in or watch any kind of sex act.

"It's a commercial establishment where people reconvene and practice swapping or swinging, even orgy gang-bangs," said Labaye's lawyer, Robert La Haye.

"It does not contaminate society. It does not hurt, it does not do any harm to society and to the public in general."
I heard that after the ruling, the two clubs gave special memberships to the judges. Nah, I'm joking. Really! (Thanks xXx)

Singapore boy is Asia Go-Kart King

10 year old Andrew Tang has done Singapore proud. He has been crowned the Asian Karting Champion. From Channel NewsAsia:
Andrew Tang Li-Hern, a 10-year-old boy from Singapore, has clinched the Asian Karting championships title in Macau.

It's the region's leading karting championship and was held over the weekend.

The student from St Michael's School may just be Singapore's answer to Germany's Michael Schumacher.
I'm going to take you on Andrew! Name your track, time and date.

Huge Collection of Soda Cans

This dude has been collecting soft drink cans in the US since 1973. He has an impressive collection of Coca Cola, Pepsi, Royal Crown Cola, Dr Pepper, 7 UP cans and more. These two coke cans are from 1965 and 1967 respectively.

(Thanks Maverick)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

This way to Hollywood Road

On my photo blog, Katoomba Syndrome: This way to Hollywood Road

Becareful who you date from the internet

The internet can be a scary place. You know someone online and then it turns out that the person is either a psycho, a sexual predator or a kidnapper. But what could be worse ya? This man chatted with a hot chick online for 6 months and when he finally met her in person, he found out that she is actually his mum! Crikey!!! From Weekly World News:
"I walked out on that dark beach thinking I was going to hook up with the girl of my dreams," the rattled bachelor later admitted. "And there she was, wearing white shorts and a pink tank top, just like she'd said she would.

"But when I got close, she turned around -- and we both got the shock of our lives. I mean, I didn't know what to say. All I could think was, 'Oh my God! it's Mama!' "
Kids, becareful who you date from the internet. LOL.

How to do a charity show

What do you do if you need ideas to do a charity show? Scratch your head? Nah. Just fly to Las Vegas. That's what the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) did. It sent a team of six including its CEO TT Durai to Las Vegas on a S$70,000 "study trip". This is just one of the many shocking findings in KPMG's 300-plus page report on suspect practices by the NKF. From Channel News Asia:
Facts and Figures

• In 1995: TT Durai's pay was increased from $12,000 to $18,000. The promotion was back-dated six months, so he received another $36,000. Durai also received a $30,000 bonus "top-up" based on the revised salary.

• In 1997: Durai was offered a salary of $30,000 a month but he chose to accept only $25,000, a $7,000 increase over his previous wage. The increment was backdated 11 months, amounting to an extra $77,000.

• Sept 1997 - Oct 2003: Durai claimed overtime pay amounted to $187,000

• May 1995 - Nov 2003: Durai encashed his leave entitlement which brought in another $350,000.

• In 2004: Durai chalked up an average bill of $32,952 per month on his corporate credit card.

• In 2004: $70,000 spent on "study trip" to Las Vegas for six of NKF's staff, including Durai, to get fresh ideas on doing charity shows

• In 2004: $430,000 spent on movie and concert tickets to be given free to "nurture" donors

• Staff recevied pay increments as many as four times a year. Former director Matilda Chua's salary rose from $1,300 to $12,500 over nine years.

• Staff were given exit payments of up to 10 months' salary.

• In 2004: NKF made profits of $993,677 from drug sales. Although the NKF claimed it helped its patients save over $3.5 million in treatment costs, it had charged its patients a premium for certain discounted drugs, instead of passing the savings on to them.

• Feb 2004 - May 2005: $322,000 spent on travel, mostly first class for Durai and his former board and senior volunteers
TT Durai is a bad man, most of you would say. Hey wait a minute. He did turn down a salary of $30,000 a month to accept only $25,000. Awwww. Ain't that a nice gesture.

Here's the link to download KPMG's report in PDF and here's the link to get yourself a gold tap.

An Interview with Kong

Andy Serkis, the actor behind Gollum of the Lord of the Rings and recently King Kong has become an expert in digitally transcribed acting. He gave an interview to AP recently in which he talked about both his characters. From CNN:
Q: Aside from the motion capture, were your facial expressions transferred as well?

SERKIS: Absolutely. ... The main difference between Gollum and Kong was that with Gollum, my performance was done on 35-millimeter and the animators copied my facial expressions. But with this, we used facial motion capture, which was wearing 132 dots all over my face. The animators had to do work on the lower mouth area because the muzzle of a gorilla is slightly more immobile than a human mouth. But in terms of the expression and the transferring of emotion through facial features, all of the acting is transferred, particularly through the eyes, onto this (computer-generated) puppet.
Previous: King Kong Island is fantasy

Southeast Asia's Killer Floods

Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines are reporting some of the worst flooding in recent memory. The floods have taken more than 60 lives and have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands. From Taipei Times:
Widespread flooding has crippled agricultural centers and killed dozens as heavy rains continue across Southeast Asia.

Nineteen people were killed in southern Thailand in the past week, raising to 35 the death toll in the region's worst floods in nearly 30 years, the Thai Interior Ministry said yesterday.

Relief agencies rushed food, clothes and blankets to nine provinces, including three bordering Malaysia, where more than 700,000 people have been affected, the ministry said.

In Malaysia, six people have died in Kelantan, the worst affected of four northern states hit by floods since Friday, the government said.

About 30,000 people were evacuated in the four states, but many have returned home as floodwaters receded in some areas.
Previous: Reporting the floods in Malaysia

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

How to eat at a sushi-ya

A cute and informative video teaching you how to eat sushi at a sushi-ya, a Japanese sushi shop. Watch it on Google Video.

(via Joi Ito)

Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra

Ladies, have you been good this year? If the answer is yes, then Santa might just give each of you a Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra for Christmas. The Fantasy Bra is rendered in 18 karat white gold with over 2900 pave set diamonds, 22 ruby gemstones and a 101 karat diamond!

(Thanks Ju)

Esquire magazine cover gallery

The Esquire Cover Gallery has every Esquire magazine cover since 1933. All 857 covers! This one on the left is the cover of the May 1999 issue of Esquire with my man, David Duchovny on it.

(Thanks Jamie)

Mr Miyagi's Obituary

Metropolis has a nice obituary on the late Mr Miyagi who passed away last month. No, not him. Actor Pat Morita well known for his role as Mr Miyagi in the Karate Kid was one of my heroes during my teenage years. I remember using his famous "crane kick" technique numerous times when I was practicing martial arts and once in a fight. Well guess who won? The crane kick, of course! From Metropolis:
In Happy Days, Morita was balding, graying and goateed. In The Karate Kid, he was bald, gray and goateed. In Stars & Stripes, though, he was 35, clean-shaven, dark-haired and beatnik cool in a fishing hat, mock turtleneck and lit cigarette—he couldn’t have accessorized better if he’d brought Sammy Davis Jr. along for the photo shoot.

Since when did Morita get so, in a word (mine), cool? About the same time I recognized he wasn’t just a face, an actor or an icon.

The truth is, up until the day I wrote his obituary, Pat Morita was one of those people about whom I never imagined writing an obituary, chiefly because I never imagined Pat Morita dying. Dying means he would have lived, as a living, breathing person. Dying means he would have been mortal, no matter how many years he carried on henceforth in the cable universe. Above all, dying means he would have been human.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Look Left, Look Right

Today on Katoomba Syndrome, my photo blog: Look Left, Look Right

Reporting the floods in Malaysia

New Journey who works as a journalist, went to the northern part of Malaysia to cover one of Malaysia's worst floods. From New Journey:
Everything was covered by yellowish water, I couldn’t see the road, and was not sure whether I would fall into a drain, praying to GOD to take good care of me, when my car was almost stuck in the middle of the flood area.

Fortunately the engine didn’t stall but was emitting lots of smelly smokes, something was burning and I had no idea, I had no other choice but to keep going, “life of Journalist, what else can I expect”, don’t even think your company will pay for the car damages, SUCK!
Part two of his report:
This is the most serious in last 30 years, but why the water LIKE to come in the end of the year? Last year I was sent to Indonesia right after Christmas on 26 December,Withnessed the outcome of TSUNAMI.

This year before I leave for my Christmas holidays, I have to cover the story of the most serious flood in the region.I think Christmas next year I shouldn’t plan any holiday, just in case!

Which island do you wanna buy?

This island is one of the many for sale on Private Islands Online. Pulau Rusukan Besar is located in Malaysia's Labuan Marine Park. At 28 acres, the island is still densely forested and perfect for picnics, swimming and snorkelling. No price is available. Sounds good but I think I would prefer the Blue Lagoon Island, a 5 Star private island real estate in Fiji. From Private Islands Online:

The island is 225 acres in size, 1 mile long by 1/3 mile wide and 150 feet high, with numerous caves and tide pools to explore. It was an operating coconut plantation in the 19th century; therefore the entire island is littered with coconut palms. It is surrounded by a 5,000 acre plus lagoon which almost completely encircles the island, offering protection from extreme tides and providing the island with calm tranquil waters ideally suited for water sports. The crystal clear water has up to 200-foot visibility and is a comfortable 80 degrees Fahrenheit most of the year.

The island is home to rare coconut crabs, giant clams, leather back turtles, doves, and many other birds and marine mammals. The island has instituted a strict conservation program to ensure the preservation of all marine and wild life. Guests will marvel at the pristine ecosystem while indulging themselves at a luxurious five star resort.
Sounds like heaven! The island is available for US$25m. Time to start saving. (Thanks Peter P)

French President wants his daughter's best friend to star in Da Vinci Code

Newsweek has an exclusive report on the making of The Da Vinci Code movie. It is revealed that the filmmakers behind the film had to meet the President of France to make sure they secure the use of the Louvre. The President meanwhile wants his daughter's best friend to star in the film as Sophie Neveu. From Newsweek:
Then, in early December, while Howard and Grazer were in Paris auditioning actresses for the film's female lead, they got a call from the office of French President Jacques Chirac inviting them to swing by and say bonjour. "We thought it was going to be a five-minute thing, like a trip to the Oval Office—a photo and a handshake," says Grazer. But Chirac asked them to sit down and get comfortable. Coffee was poured. They ended up staying close to an hour. Chirac insisted that his guests alert him if their request to film at the Louvre hit any snags. Not only that, he offered them some ... pointers. He suggested they cast his daughter's best friend—an actress of some acclaim in France—in the role of Sophie Neveu, the elegant young cryptographer at the heart of the book's mystery. And he wondered aloud, half seriously, if they could sweeten the paycheck for actor Jean Reno, who'd already been cast as the relentless French detective Bezu Fache. "That was hilarious," says Howard. "Fortunately the deal was already closed."
(Thanks Duffie)

Previous: Decoding The Da Vinci Code movie site

The NKF Christmas Carol

Christmas is coming! Let's all sing the NKF Christmas Carol. From Under The Microscope:
NKF (sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Flying in the air
On a first class plane
Over the clouds we go
Laughing all the way;
Money from public calls
making spirits bright
What fun it is to ride and sing
A fucking song tonight
Durai all the way!
O what fun it is to ride
On a first class plane

Now the truth is out
Escape before you're caught
Take the peanuts along
And sing this fucking song;
Durai all the way!
O what fun it is to ride
On a first class plane

Fuck you TRIPOD!

I got back at around 9pm last night after buying a scanner for an aunt, and I was bombarded with emails from readers saying that they can't access my blog. I checked and it is true. Tripod, my previous host has killed my blog. Maybe it was because of the huge amount of traffic yesterday. There were around 40,000 visitors. Maybe Tripod wants me to subscribe to them since I've been wasting a lot of their free bandwidth. The sad thing is I can't even get into my server to put up a notification telling readers to move to my new blog url, etc. That sucks. Fuck you Tripod!

Luckily, I have my archive saved in my PC. Within an hour after discovering that my blog was dead, I decided to set up a new blog with Blogger/Blogspot. I have re-posted the recent entries although I doubt the entire archive will be up on the new blog.

So my dearest readers, please spread the word and update your bookmarks and RSS.

IZ Reloaded isn't dead. It is just a new beginning.

Update: Woke up feeling tired after working on the new blog all night, saw my photo tripod standing innocently in the corner of the room, and I nearly wanna kick the hell out of it. I hate all sorts of Tripod now.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Fleur-de-Lis in the clouds

Yesterday, I blogged about the hidden items in the Da Vinci Code movie website. Reader Ray Barsa thinks he may have found another hidden item. He says, "In the beginning, there is what looks to be a fleur-de-lis in the clouds!" (Thanks Ray)

Ministry of Sound in Singapore

One of the most famous clubs in the world has opened its doors in Singapore. Ministry of Sound (MoS) Singapore is the fourth MoS. The others being MoS UK, MoS Germany and MoS Australia. Here are what some local bloggers are saying about the new MoS.

Felicitious feels dissapointed but maybe that has to do with her aching feet. From Felicitious:
1. the main dance arena in the centre, playing signature MoS techno and might I add rather disappointingly too.. may be if I was off my face, I might have enjoyed it but that kinda leaves ;

2. Pure, the white room which plays lounge. Hmmm not sure why, but it felt very Velvet-esque except that everything was so bright.. the floors were white, but not for long - clubbers do not have clean shoes!;

3. Smoove, the hip-hop/r'n'b room, with a rather kinky cage surrounding the dance floor. I do like my r'n'b but sad to say, I couldn't get my groove really going to the music they played;

4. 54, yes as you may have guessed, disco music and lit-up dance floor. Think John Travolta. No further comment.

5. Various VIP rooms/sections.
Aze says MoS Singapore rawks! From AzE's pLaZe:
the door host is reallly friendly..just like Ning at Momo..enter and head to the baggage counter..super friendly counter staff..even wished me an enjoyable nite as i turned to walk off..enter the club..whoa..a caged arena..this was the RnB room..bits of graffiti..very ghetto the space pretty much reminds me of Coccolatte..reaffirmed by the fact that much later into the nite when i revisited the room..the dancefloor was so packed it brought me back to my experiences at 10pm..the door were flung open and we were allowed to access the rest of the rooms..entering the main room..i immediately was reminded of MOS Taipei..the layout was damn was uncanny..well..cept for the grand staircases leading up to the other levels were replaced with a unnoticable spiral stairs and get this..AN ESCALATOR!! WTF!! an escalator in a club in is so unheard of la!!
Kelvin Chung rates and compares both MoS and Zouk. Guess who wins. From Kelvin Chung:
zouk 6.5
mos 8

zouk 8
mos 5 (perhaps due to the fact that it's opening day? we shall see)

zouk 6
mos 8

BOUNCER EQ & IQ (whatever.... anything's gotta do with bouncers):
zouk 8
mos 4 (so sorry but that particular cb bouncer failed this)

zouk 8
mos 6

zouk 8
mos 7

zouk 44.5/60
mos 38/60

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Decoding The Da Vinci Code Movie Site

Fans of the Da Vinci Code book and those who can't wait for the movie to be out next year should check out the official website to look for hidden images, numbers and words in the site's flash introducion. In all, I found seven such clues. The flash moves very fast so use the pause, reverse and forward buttons to slowly look out for the following.

The words Find Robert Langdon on the shoulder.

To the left of the face, you'll find 1/2 (1+square root of 5) which equals to 1.61803399. 1:1.61803399 is known as the Golden Ratio.

The numbers 1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21 on the side of the body. These numbers are the Fibonacci Number Sequence.

The letters PS to the right of the girl's head. PS refers to Priory of Scion.

The words Rose Line written upside down.

A green logo known as the Fleur-de-Lis on the hair.

And lastly, the words San Greal on the table of the Last Supper. Now try playing the flash again in its actual speed and see if you can spot all of the above.

Update: Another hidden item has been found.

Xmas is killing the Earth

Christmas is killing the Earth according to a report released by the Australian Conservation Foundation. The report calculates the environmental impact of Australia's Christmas spending on gifts such as books, confectionary, clothes, alcoholic beverages and electrical appliances. From Australian Conservation Foundation:
* Every dollar Australians spend on new clothes consumes 20 litres of water and requires 3.4 square metres of land. Last Christmas, Australians spent $1.5 billion on clothes, which required more than half a million hectares of land to produce.
* Approximately 42 gigalitres of water (or 42,000 Olympic sized swimming pools) were used in the production of our Christmas drinks last December. Most of this water was used growing barley for beer and grapes for wine.
* Before we even plugged in the DVD players and coffee makers we bought last Christmas, they had created 780,000 tonnes of greenhouse pollution. A third of this was due to fuel consumption by the manufacturers of the appliances; greenhouse pollution embodied in steel contributed to a quarter of the pollution.
* If you spend around $30 on chocolates and lollies this Christmas, you'll be consuming 20kg of natural materials (even if the box of chocolates weighs only 1 kilogram) and 940 litres of water.
(Thanks Ju)

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Eight Story

The Eight Story is a delightful bittersweet stop motion film. It tells the story of a school girl who fell in love with an older man. The 6 minutes plus film also has a lovely song. You can watch it on Google Video.

Your Apple ID Card

With the coconutIdentityCard, you can find out where and when your Mac or iPod was built. Just download the app and run it on your Mac or iPod. (Thanks Fong)

Camera phone images in TIME photos of 2005

Photographs of the London train bomb attack taken by passengers with camera phones have been selected by TIME Magazine to be part of its Best Photos of the Year 2005. My favourites have to be the photo of the dead Pope being carried to St Peter's Basilica and the photo of the Tsunami victims with chunks of dry ice on them. You can also vote for the photo you think is the best of the year. Currently the dead pope photo is in the lead. (Thanks Lord Kimbo)

How to improve your memory

Losing your memory? Can't remember what you did last night? Now, you can take the following steps which scientists say will improve your memory. From Live Science:
Memory Training: Brainteasers, crossword puzzles and memory exercises that emphasized verbal skills throughout the day.

Healthy Diet: Five meals daily included a balanced diet rich in omega-3 fats, whole grains and antioxidants. Eating frequent meals prevents dips in blood glucose, the primary energy source for the brain.

Physical Fitness: Brisk daily walks and stretching. Physical fitness has been found in other research to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Stress Reduction: Stretching and relaxation exercises. Stress causes the body to release cortisol, which can impair memory and has been found to shrink the memory centers in the brain.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Being gay is the IN thing in the animal world

I love Wild Sex! Er, I mean I love to watch Wild Sex. Nope. Not people having sex in the wild. No, no, no. I prefer animal sex. I've been watching Wild Sex, a documentary on National Geographic which airs every Monday night. Wild Sex tells the amazing stories and bizarre behaviours that lie behind universal urge and shows the extraordinary strategies animals use to ensure success in the highly competitive world of sex.

Last week's episode is the best. It is about animal homosexuality. I was really surprised after watching it. I have always thought that homosexuality in the animal kingdom should not exist among the masses because that will prohibit the success of a particular species. Oh boy, I was wrong.

I found an interesting article that describes very well what certain scientists have found out. Animals prefer homosexuality to evolutionism! From the article:
Male lions "head-rub" and roll around with each other, while vampire bats develop erections during erotic same-sex grooming and licking. Whales and dolphins rub their bodies together and stroke each other with their flippers or tail flukes. Male giraffes indulge in prolonged bouts of affectionate "necking", often followed by mounting and culminating in apparent orgasm. Novel sexual postures and oral sex of various kinds are also commonplace, says Bagemihl, who notes that female long-eared hedgehogs are known to engage in mutual genital licking, while male orang-utans practice fellatio.

"Nearly every type of same-sex activity found among humans has its counterpart in the animal kingdom," he concludes. His take-home message is simple: homosexual behaviour is as "natural" as heterosexual behaviour.
Lions, whales, bats! They are all doing it. Wikipedia has a list of animals who are practicing homosexuality. Browse through the list and you will know what I mean. But there is one animal that practice homosexual sex in vast quantities. Presenting the Bonobos. From the article earlier:
There is one species, however, in which pleasure and homosexual activity seem undeniably linked. Even the sceptical Clutton-Brock, when asked about this species, the bonobos or pygmy chimpanzees, agrees laughingly, "Oh them, well, they'd probably do anything".

"If you're looking for homosexual sex in vast quantities, forget humans, it's bonobos you want," says primatologist Robin Dunbar. "It's scandalous," he chuckles. "They'll have sex with anyone, never mind the sex or age." An observer doesn't have to wait long to notice females locked into a face-to-face embrace all the better to indulge in mutual genital rubbing, or spy males glued together via open-mouthed kisses with plentiful mutual tongue stimulation.
The bonobos. You've got to love 'em. Yeah, baby! Yeah!

King Kong Island is fantasy

Never let scientists review Hollywood movies. Ecology experts who have watched the new King Kong film directed by Lord of the Ring's Peter Jackson, say that the island in which King Kong was found violates most of science's evolutionary rules. From National Geographic:
"The notion that dinosaurs could survive on a tiny mid-oceanic island is preposterous," said John Terborgh, a professor of environmental science at Duke University in Raleigh, North Carolina.

"Islands, even moderately large ones, are notoriously devoid of large predators," he said. "The two largest predators on Cuba are a lizard and the red-tailed hawk. The whole notion of apex predators on islands is fantasy."
I also found out something interesting from this article. Remember Gollum in the Lord of the Rings? The person who played Gollum is also playing King Kong. He provides the movement and voice for Kong. But don't expect him to say out his trademark word, "Precious". King Kong is now showing in Singapore cinemas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Foldingfreaks Origami

This paper dragon is one of the many folded paper creations found in the Foldingfreaks Origami Pool on Flickr. Besides the dragon, I also like the pooper. (Thanks Steve O)

Ignore Tsunami SMS

There are reports of email and sms warning people to stay away from Singapore and Malaysia during Christmas because a tsunami has been predicted to occur during that period. In Malaysia, the government has said that these messages are a hoax. From thestar:
“It’s true that some experts, after analysing data, have predicted that the epicentre of (the next) earthquake in our region will be further north, towards the Andaman and Nicobar islands and that this will cause greater effect in the Straits of Malacca.

“But it’s irresponsible to cause panic by spreading any message stating the exact time that a tsunami will occur,” he told reporters after launching a seminar on e-community by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia here yesterday.

“Anybody getting messages warning of a tsunami over the next few weeks should ignore them. They're not true,” said Kong.
(Thanks Chan)

POSB coin bank

Why get a boring piggy bank when you can get a high tech coin bank by POSB? It even uses a security card! I think it is a cool way to teach and encourage kids to save money.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Cronulla riot pics and interview

Earlier today, I interviewed Warren Hudson who took this photograph of the Cronulla riot. You can view his Flickr photoset here. Warren is a 22 year old university IT student. He lives in The Sutherland Shire in Sydney's south east. On Sunday afternoon, he noticed Police and news helicopters circling Cronulla Beach and he decided to go down to the area to check it out and take photos.

According to Warren, the day began with somewhat of a carnival atmosphere. There were Australian flags that were either being waved, worn as shirts, shorts or bikinis. There where also the familiar chants of 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi', the national anthem and Waltzing Matilda. Warren said, "A lot of people saw the day as a show of solidarity against ethnic gang violence that has been brought into Cronulla, and then there would be reports of 'Lebs' (Lebanese), and the crowd would take off in that direction, and there would be shouting of 'Kill the Lebs' or other violent suggestions."

I asked him about the police presence in the area and he commended the police for doing a good job of handling the crowd. He said, " In most cases the crowd was cooperative with the Police. I have to give the NSW Police credit for how they handled the situation, and how they kept a good relationship with the crowd, and managed to not inflame the situation further. To my knowledge, no local shops where vandalised. The Police also setup a road block on the main road into Cronulla, The Kingsway to prevent cars from getting into the area."

Warren reported that acts of revenge happened last night when Lebanese gangs struck Cronulla after rallying at the notorious Lakemba Mosque. "There where reports for hours before hand that they'd be heading down to Cronulla, yet the Police did nothing to stop them," he said.

"There were approximately 100 Lebanese who drove down and smashed car windows, shop windows, and smashed their way into a restaurant and bashed a person with a baseball bat, and even threatened to kill others. There have also been reports of shots fired."

Warren who commended the police for doing a good job with the riot on Sunday, felt that this time the police failed at protecting Cronulla. He said, "There were 100 Police on duty in southern Sydney last night, and they've received a lot of criticism for just stopping the car loads of Lebanese gangs that where doing damage, and releasing them shortly after without charging them."

Warren, like most locals living in The Sutherland Shire, believes that what happened on Sunday was the result of years of inaction by the government to combat Lebanese and Middle Eastern gangs that come to terrorise Cronulla beach. The bashing of 2 teenage volunteer lifeguards at North Cronulla Beach by 16 Lebanese men , according to him, was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, and therefore 'The Shire' took a somewhat vigilante approach to the problem.

Warren explained to me more about the problem of the Lebanese gangs in Cronulla. "There have been problems with Middle Eastern gangs coming to Cronulla for years now, particularly since 1995, when the NSW State Government downgraded Cronulla Police Station and removed Police resources from the area," he said.

"The gangs knew that the Police and the politicians had been taking a 'culturally sensitive' approach of pussyfooting around with ethnic gangs, for fear of the 'Race Card' being used against them."

"Australia is a very tolerant country, and is racially diverse. Most cultures in Australia live in harmony, which can be seen through events that the Italian, Asian, Greek and Irish communities put on throughout the year, although there is a serious problem with Lebanese gangs in Sydney. The Lebanese gangs don't just come to Cronulla to use the beach - they 'claim' it as theirs, and swear at the locals to leave."

He added that the Lebanese gang problem is widespread in Sydney. "There has been a lot of tension because of the recent gang rapes by Lebanese against Australian girls, and the constant harassment and threats of sexual violence against young women all over Sydney. These are not isolated events. I would be shocked to find a girl in Sydney who has not been harassed or threatened by Lebanese gangs," he said.

Warren hopes that tonight, there will be less violent in 'The Shire'. He said, "They've put 400 Police officers on duty in southern Sydney. I've seen a lot of Police in Cronulla tonight, so hopefully they'll do things properly tonight."

Featured Post

Singapore Haunted: Top 10 Most Haunted Moments Caught On Camera!

A flying ghost at Changi Hospital, a playful tree spirit at Bedok Reservoir and the ghost of a girl who died at the famous Yellow Tower at...