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Some thoughts on the recent riot in Singapore.

The photo of I took on the left are 3 workers I met randomly at Little India in 2012.  I took many photos there but I like this a lot because I came quite close to them and showed them my camera and they immediately smiled and look at me.  I took a shot on my film camera so I could not show them the results immediately (sometimes the bad thing about shooting film). I remembered I tried having a conversation after the shot but they have limited understanding on English so I moved on.  They were calm, relax and tired from their labourous work.

The recent violence at Little India sparked another wave of stupid, idiotic comments on social media.  Both on our foriegn workers (FW) and our HOME team (Police, Ambulance and Fireman).  It's just disgusting to see how my fellow Singaporeans labeled our FWs names like  "Little Indians" and etc.  Demeaning and not respectful of their hard work.  Similarly to our HOME team, calling them cowards and why never use their firearms.  Yes, effciency can be better but they are professionals at all time.  Just think! Not ONE single firearm was shot during the entire incident and they managed to quell it.  This really explains how out of touch my fellow Singaporeans are in terms of mobs and riots because we have not experienced it for quite some time. This is simply impressive to me and kudos to our police for seeing the rational and didn't use more violence to stop it.  If they had, they will only create more riots or acts of violence and revenge next time round.

I think YB's analysis on the riot, the spark and the fuel of the whole think is what I have similar in mind.  Do read it up as I can't write as elegant as he does. (I don't have time oso :P)

Hopefully, this whole incident will change the mentality of Singaporeans (I doubt it) Violence will come again if we continue to think we are an "upper class" while they are just to serve.  And yes, we learnt all of that from our PAP masters.  The elites.  Since they trampled us and we have no balls to fight back, we go online and post silly comments and poke fun at the poor and weak.

Holy Crap! I didn't write anything for October 2013?

That's weird man.  I thought I posted something but I guess I was too busy with some side projects over here.  Anyway, I have become a full-time house-husband ever since I was back from SG.  The missus went out to do some sales (sell property, MLM and other stuffs) and we like to switch roles once in a while. :P

I am kind of enjoying it though and the recent Oct was the children's break over here in Thailand. I  do receive onstant nagging, screaming, pestering, whining kids with me 24/7 over the month.  Nearly went crazy.  Supposingly want to visit Kengtung but pulled out the last minute and went to Chiang Mai for holiday instead.

We went to the Night Safari and basically it's just a usual RnR trip.  I have posted some photos of the trip on my facebook and yes, I am still shooting.  I'm not posting photos as frequent as I seems not to have enough time to process them.

Will post something more of a substance later.  Need to cook for the kids liao... :P

Minimum Wage. A simple explanation why we should have it here in SG.

A lot of my peers and Singaporeans do not understand the idea of a minimum wage scheme and they sing the same tunes as what our PAP gahment in Singapore.  That this idea is just another dirty welfare scheme.  Really WTF response.

First of all,  understand what a minimum wage is by reading here.  It's a more balanced explanation of this scheme and my emphasis is that schemes and policies can be tweaked.

From my perspective.   It's good for Singapore as most of our low paying workers are actually underpaid and there are no growth in their income since the last 2 decades.  The main reason is that all the major corporations and companies are taking up the profit  (being monopolistic) instead of correctly distributing the profit to their employees.  Most of these low skilled workers are in the construction business, service line such as restaraunts and retail shops.  These people need a mechanism to protect them.    As shown in the link above on the Card and Kreuger's investigation on increasing the minimum wage in New Jersey in 1992

Our gahment can actually set aside certain industries to have such a scheme.  Please don't tell me they can't do it.  If they can so effectively stream kids in their Primary or Secondary schools.  Then it can be done easily.  The main issue here is they kept arguing that its difficult to set the amount of a minimum wage.  Because as market forces convenes and price might go up and down.  The wage should follow market rate and such constant changes means that today I set $5.00.  1 or 2 months later it will be not enough or it will be too much.  So it's meaningless to do it.

Utter bullshit.  The main reason to set a minimum price is just to set a baseline to protect these low wage and low skilled workers.  You need work to survive in SG.  You will work even if its underpaid like what we have now.   These corporations just squeeze these poor people out by setting their own "market rate"  Company A will say we will pay $2 an hour and ask B and C to follow.  The rest of these companies will follow suit as I get to earn more and keep my labour cost low.

Think about it in this way.  If you start a business, you need to consider the minimum profit you want to earn right?  Why?  The labour and effort that you put into it lor.  So what's so different is this from the minimum wage?  So stop saying its useless or will not work.  It's bullshit and our gahment will never implement this as the one that will hurt the most if it's being implemented will actually be our bloody Gahment related Stat board corporation and even our own bloody gahment.

The fallacy of idolisation

This post is written on the recent 90th big birthday of our so called "founding father"  Mr LKY himself. Pages and pages of people congratulating him and denouncing him on the Internet and social medias. Most of them are just ball-licking idolisation of a "man".   My emphasis on that later.

I had an interesting discussion with a friend and he was raving about how great that old man is and whatsover.  "No matter what he did, bad or good.  He did sucessfully managed our country!"  my friend argued.  "And look at your Switzerland, Norway of those Denmark countries that are sucessful!  Name me a great leader from that country!  None right?"

Now here's the fallacy.  Do they have great leaders?  I would say so but I can't name them because these great leaders chose not to be named and remembered.  They work from within and never took credits all to themselves.  And these leaders actually help shaped the future generations within the country to be responsible for their very actions they are going to take.  Be it politically or socially.  I think they do know that idolisation of someone will only leads to a very concerning issues.  Instead of "telling" people what to do.  These good leaders will lead and convinced people to why and what should be done.  And in the end, all will be responsible for their actions and consequences.

Now back to idolisation of a "man".  Human beings are not perfect.  None and period.  There's nothing wrong in looking up to someone that you like but overdoing it and we get to see something very similar.  Look at Hitler, Mussolini.  Look at Mao Ze Dong, Deng Xiao Ping.  Even look at our old man LKY now.  Their intentions are always initially good but once success gets into their head and ball-lickers assholes starts surrounding them.  Some of these assholes jokers will use the status of this new idolisation for their own personal agenda and purposes.

So herein lies a great question and my answer to it all; Is our LKY a great leader?  No, he's not.   He is to me, a successful one but can never be great.   Simply becuase when he's in power and he never exercised his choice to educate and give credits due.      

And the sad fact is that all great leaders are normally unkown to most.  As these people never take credits at all.  We will only remembered them via their actions and the nations they were in . Great nations like Switzerland, Denmark and etc.

A short trip back memory lanes in KL, Malaysia

I was planning for a short trip back to KL ever since I had quit my job in Singapore.  The chance came when I called an old colleague of mine on Sunday and he mentioned he was going back KL on Monday night.   He was flying back and the price of the tickets for Airasia is actually quite affordable, only $84 SGD for a round trip flight.

I took the opportunity as I was bored and my mum and sis are curr
ently not in SG anyway.  It was a short trip.  2 days and 2 nights.  I had no exact plans in KL so I just followed my friend's itinery.  He will be flying to HK on Thursday morning so I will be travelling back to SG alone on Wedsnesday night.

We reached on Monday night, met up with his friends whom I also knew and had supper before we crashed at my friend's place (as usual).

The next morning, his mom needs to visit her uncle in Kampar (金寳)in the afternoon and so I tagged along for the ride.  We ran some errands of his before we set off in the late afternoon.  It was an hour and a half drive to Kampar which was near to Ipoh.   While her mom was chatting with her relatives.  We took a short walk along the village and took some photos. Later, we drove out with the relatives to have some claypot chicken rice at the main streets of Kampar. Food was great and after sending her mum back to their shophouse.  We went to his friend's kopitiam to RnR.

On Wednesday morning.  We went back to his parent's restaurant to pick up his father to go to the market to do some shopping for the day's business.  It was an old school wetmarket like we used to have in Singapore.  I was trigger happy all the way while they were shopping for fish and other groceries.  After the morning rush and sending his father back to the shop.  We set off to Petaling Jaya to have lunch and a short walk.  Nothing much has changed but I do see more foreigners and Indian labourers more than Chinese in Petaling Jaya.  Seems like Chinatown in KL no longer looks like a Chinatown to me.

We were supposed to have beef noodle over there but we settled for another stall as the one we were hunting for was closed on Wednesday.  Damn...  After out lunch we drove to Times square at Bukit Bintang for a short walk before hitting out to KL Sentral.  We seperated from here.  I took the skybus back to LCCT KLIA and flew back last night.

I would say so far, this is the most unplanned overseas trip of my entire life.  That's not counting the business trip I used to have in KL.  I enjoyed it actually.  The uncertainty and the relax way of not planning anything before heading out to an unknown location.  Well, I do know KL quite well.  The Kampar road trip is still the hightlight of the trip though :)

And here's the photo series of the entire trip.

Back in Singapore and shopping therapy

I was back in Singapore since 2nd of Sep.  A bit earlier then expected as I need to collect my taxi license from LTA.  It was ready for collection actually in July and the letter they sent actually gave my sister a big scared as they mentioned they will terminate my VL if I do not collect within 1 month of notice.  I called LTA hotline mentioned in the letter to inform them that I was in Thailand and they gladly took a note and asked for an exact date on when I could collect in Sep.  I picked the 3rd for no apparent reasons (a bit regretted on picking such an early date)  and viola.  Back in SG just to collect that license.  I still have reservist at the end of the month so I won't be back to LOS till October.
After collecting my license. I met up with some old pals and went on a shopping spree... Not camera this time but inkjet photo papers and that bloody ink catridges for my Pro 100.  Its expensive in Thailand and I'm surprised that it's hard to find in Singapore too.  Only a few shops carries that ink in SG.  Challenger superstore is one of them.  Paper selection  is even scarce...
In the end, I settled via online shopping.  Bought a set of ink and papers from Bhphoto.  Shipping was damn fast.  I ordered on the 3rd and it arrived on the 6th.  
While sourcing for the papers and ink catridges at Funan Digital Mall.  I saw a great offer on a 4 bay Synology NAS.  Model 413 and I bought 1.  Damn... NAS is getting cheaper nowadays.  I got my 2 bays in 07 and it costs almost the same (I think I paid more for my 2 bay).  I also got a Seagate 4TB NAS HDD later at SLS to test the new unit.  Tested it and wow, it runs more silent and cooler than my current 2 bay in Thailand.  Yup.  All these new toys will be shipped back to Thailand with me in Oct... I plan to migrate the 2 HDD on my old  2 bay to the new one. So I will have total of 8TB of space.  Still got room for 1 more HDD.   The old 2 bay unit I think I might sell it cheaply to someone in SG.  It's a great NAS for downloading stuff actually as it has a built in torrent client on it :P
Won't be getting any cameras or film this round... but that new Sony QX-100 do looks mightly interesting... hehehehehe.  

What I have been up to.

Honestly, besides setting up my new iMac and Canon Pro 100 printer.  I spent more time with wife and kids rather than anything else.  Just to catch up the lost time while I was away.  I didn't even go facebook or surf the net as frequent as I used to be,  Maybe it's because of the slow computers I had previously :P

So far the new iMac is gorgeous.  I got the 21 inch version with i7 processor and a 256gb SSD.   Damn its blazing fast.  Booting it up only takes less than 5 secs :P.  I left the memory at 8Gig as 16Gig is a bit overkill for me and the upgrade price is just plain ridiculous.   I might upgrade it later if I really need to.  The new 21 inch iMac is an upgrade nightmare.  Need to tear out the adhesive on the display before I can get the guts. The printer Canon Pro 100 is just a dream come true for me.  At last I can print A3+!  Its not roll feed but I think its good enough for me.  I chose the 100 becasue it uses the dye ink rather than the Pro 10 which uses the pigment based ink.  Longevitiy might not be an issue to me as I prefer brighter photos and dye based prints are brighter.  I still need to get better paper though.  Its damn hard to source good paper in Thailand and so far I got it from the Canon online e-supply stores and still waiting for them to deliver.  I bought some cheapskate photo paper from the local computer shops here and so far its pretty damn promising.  I will write more about that printer once I get to print on some real papers.

I have been using my A900 recently for my family shots.  Going back digital and not shooting a lot of landscapes on slides as its pouring over here.  Ever since I got here (in June), it has been raining cats and dogs.  There are occassionaly some sunny days but it will only last for half a day.  Then the rain comes again.  So those who are interested to come here to shoot some landscape of Nothern Thailand to remember.  Avoid June to September when its the wet seasons.

I will be flying back to Singpaore again in early Septemper.  Need to serve my National Service and might stay a bit longer in Singapore to settle some personal stuff.  Gotto go.. Need to print more stuff on my new computer and printer :P

I need a new computer

Spoilt by my recent build in Singapore.  My computer in Maesai is out-dated for almost more than a year.  I'm currently planning to build a Hackintosh (PC loaded with OS X) but I'm not too sure if I can get the available parts for an easy build over here.  There is Apple free delivery to my house if I buy an iMac online but I was wondering if I really need an extra display.  I need to do more researching on this area. 

I was with the kids and missus at Chiang Rai yesterday to catch Despicable Me 2.  Not as good as the 1st one though.  Kids loved the minons and their silly laughter and antics...  There is an apple retail store in Central Chiang Rai and the pricing is the same as the online (as usual).  The new iMac do looks pretty cool to my eyes.  Especially the 27" version.  But the bloody price... oooooo  can get 2 PCs with better parts at the price point leh.  But I also need to consider the time I would save in gathering all the parts and troubleshooting a Hackintosh.  So its a bit tempting to just buy it of the shelves.

OR.. I could just get a PC and load it with Windows 7 anyway.  :P  TBC

Aside to the others who are bored about my purchases.  Here's a short note on the kids.

Boy starting to be a little cry baby.. if things are not in his way he will start throwing tantrums..  Need to work on that area.  Wifey's not helping as she doted him too much.

Girl starting to become joker like me liao... Example.  That day went to fetch her from school in my car.  I saw her and she saw my car and she waves for me to come.  Drove up next to her and she just opened my front seat door and screamed to her friends surrounding her (including a friend's mother) in Thai "That's my Dad!  He very fat hor?  You all see?  Fat right?"
Nearly fainted......


Taxi Uncle and Thai Visa (again)

Those who read my last post will know that I have been taking my Singapore Taxi License course.  Well, it's good to say that I am officially passed my TVDL (Taxi Vocational Driving License) test yesterday.  It's has been 2 years since my last test :P.

And I am quite proud to say I cleared it in 1 sitting.  Only 5 out of 40 of us in the same course cleared it in 1 sitting :P.  So yeah, I'm that good!  hehehe

Well, new Taxi Uncle still needs to wait for LTA's letter of approval/collection before can officially go sign up with a Taxi company and actually this is just my back up plan.  I still need to sort out my late father's stuff so unless I really need the money, then I will have something to fall back on.  Sorry to those friends who wanted and have offered me as a private driver but don't worry.  If that day come, you will sure hear from me. hehe.

Anyway, 1st part is the TVDL.  2nd part is about the new changes to Visa application for Immigrant 'O' like me.  Those who follow my blog will sure say : "What?  Again?!"  Yup.  Last time I applied is the need to show your confirmed air ticket.  This round,  added a few more thingies.  Your spouse's Tabian Ban, IC and passport needs to be signed by her/him.  And your spouse need to write a letter indicating the reason why you need the multiple entry visa.... Duh...

So those applying do take note.  Checklist of documents required for O visa

1) Recent photo

2) Completed form with signature

3) Recent bank statement with over 400k baht equivalent (endorsed by bank) or an ATM reciept indicating the amount in your bank.

4) Copy of your confirmed air ticket or flight

5) Copy Marriage Certificate

6) Copy of your IC and Passport with your signature

7) Copy of your spouse's IC, Passport, Tabian Ban *with her signature

8) *Letter from your wife (According to the lady, can be a printed email)

*New requirements.

Anyway, thanks to the very nice lady (whom seems to know me already) helped me out in a big way.  Let's just say the documents are all cleared and I should be collecting my visa tomorrow.  Speaking of the embassy.  The entrance has changed from the main road to the opposite side (the new main gate to the new building).  I would say it's about time that they have an air-conditioned waiting room and at least more than 1 server for the long Q of visa applicants.

And I would like to offer my sincere thanks again to the lady serving me at the embassy who helped me in a big big way.  You don't get such service definitely in Singapore context.....

Studying Again

Those who have followed me on Facebook might have known my intention to quit my current job and I did so recently.  My contigency plan has kicked in and I was to accquire a Taxi Vocational Licence before I head back to Thailand.  It's just a course I have been planning to take for quite some time (way back even before my TEFL) but I never found the time, well more likely the determination and will to go through it.

It's not like I'm definitely going to be a Taxi "Uncle" but I just want to keep my options open.  The trade seems suitable for me if I'm back in SG.  Flexible working days if I am to become a relief driver and I can fly back to Thailand when I'm free.   And again, money is an issue but I'm not really that desperate.  At least I don't ever need to go back to my old job again.

I have a lot to say about my old job but I guess since my official "date" isn't over yet so I plan to write that out maybe in July.  Let's just say its not a very happy experience working back in the same company and changes, yes, changes to the management has such a huge impact that its just plain crazy not to leave that hellhole.

Some people say " Just endure, when pay comes, all will be forgotten!"  Well, sometimes life is not as simple as that and if your Blood Pressure keeps going up while you're in the job, it means something is terribily wrong.  Just a short entry before I go back to my maps and notes.... Not really that easy now...  Now where the f**k is Taman Nakhoda? :P

Never doubt about yourself

I was chatting with a photogprahy friend of mine in FB recently and he brought up the issue of going to become a Freelance photographer in SG.  He was facing a dilemna as most aspiring startups will be.  The fear of not being able to sustain financially, the fear of not able to meet client's demand and etc etc...

But the one thing that concerns me was that he finds himself a bit unworthy or his photos are not up to par.  This is a really bad thought.  How can one starts to sell his passion and proffesional skills if he keeps doubting himself that his photos can't make it?

The beauty of being an artist (photography or any other art form) is that you wish to express yourself.  In any forms and one should not create a piece or art for the purpose of pleasing anyone but yourself!  All great artist including the great Ansel Adam loves their own creation.  F**k care what other thinks!  Do what you like and share it if you like it!  There is bound to be the same people who might enjoy your photos.

Some good examples are that I hated those HDR lanscape photos.  But I never dissed them, its just not for me and those who like it WILL like it.  Vice versa, I like soft and blurry creative taken photos that those gearheads will just say its a piece of crap.  My point is that there will be a crowd that will enjoy that piece of art you create.

So stop doubting about yourself and heck care what other thinks about your work.  And if you hate your photos, then shoot something that you like or enjoy.    If not,  why are you still taking pictures then?

It's a month!

I've just realised I haven't wrote anything for almost a month!  It was work all the way when I came back to SG as there was this big Malaysia election and all my colleagues (who happened to be Malaysians) took leave to go back and vote.  Too bad the ruling party BN won again and it is pretty discouraging day for fellow Malaysians.
There was much update since.  I have thrown in the towel and submitted my resignation letter recently.   No more shift work for me in June 15 onwards.  A few reasons are the recent changes to my job scope and I can't find myself submiting to the constant nonsense I am facing.  Money is important but so is my health.  It dosen't help if my blood pressure keeps rising while working right? :)
Anyway, I have also started my backup plan of being a Taxi drive in SG.  Yup, me, a bloody taxi driver..hehe.  My course will commence in 17th June and it should end in early July.  If I managed to pass the test, I would most probably be back in Thailand for a month or 2 before coming back in September for my reservist.
There are some long term plans but nothing concrete so far.    Sincerely, I just want to get out of the company that has changed so much so at least after I got out of it, I will have more time to plan my next move.
Speaking of family.  The two little monsters are back in school.  Boy boy started kindergarden and seems happy to meet some new friends.  Though he does cry everytime in the morning when my wife send him in.  The surprising one is my girl.  Those who follow me on facebook (though I was wrong in the ranking :P) would have know this great news.  She was actually 2nd in Standard and 1st in Class!  Scoring an average of 3.88/4.  Hope she keeps it up!
And I finally have a long break .  4 days in total.:P  And this is just my 2nd day.  hehe...  

The drive up North and home sweet home

After we checked out of the hotel.  We drove through patiently through the congested roads in BKK to their shophouse near Rangsit (I think).   They are into wedding cake business and they wanted to bake a cake for the kids to eat.  Wife's cousin promised her niece and nephew last time in Maesai and she will be doing it before we hit the roads in the evening.  Initially we declined but they insisted that they need to bake some cakes for the Poo Yai Ban (Village head) back in Maesai and other relatives too.  So, it's not a big hassle.

The chocolate cake tastes great and we loaded all into the truck and started off towards Nakhon Sawarn at around 7pm.  My Cousin(brother)-in-law drove the 1st leg while I was in the passenger seats.  The rest of the gang, my wife and her cousin plus 5 kids are at the back.  Her cousin have 3 boys so naturally my boys is having a hell of his time playing with them.  He's the 2nd youngest among the 4.  Cousin's youngest son is only 1+ and keeps looking for his father while we were driving.  

We stopped just outside Bangkok to fuel up and get some snacks for the road trip.  It will be a 12hr+ drive up North with breaks in-between.  At around 12am, near midnight, we've reached  Nakhon Sawarn and I took over.  It's my 1st time driving such a truck and on a strange road.  Initially I was a bit reluctant to go fast but after half an hours of getting used to the car.  I steadily increased the speed.  Driving is much more better than doing nothing in the passenger seat as it keeps me awake.  And the arderline rush of driving in the dark on an unknown road keeps me awake too.  I'm not too sure about my cousin-in-law though as he was so used to driving up North, he just went straight into his nap in the passenger seat after I took over.  I just kept driving and was thinking... man.. I need to do this in the day once in my lifetime to get to see Thailand in another way again!  Wife was a bit worried about me driving so she was awake at the back chatting with her poor cousin.  And she kept asking me if I'm tired anot.... :P  Anway, I was suppose to handover to my cousin-in-law at Lampang but I went striaght on to Phayao, giving him back his driver seat over there at around 430am.  We reached home at around 730am.  A bit faster then ususal as I was speeding at around 2 to 4am.. hehe.. Cousin-in-law is a much safer driver though.. Doing 120 at most ...

Need to plan a road trip next time.  Maybe with some friends from SG.

In the pigeon hole and Bangkok stop over

We didn't went out after the watercove park trip. Wify did went out to Tampines mall for a short shopping trip while I let the kids have some fun at the playground downstairs. Girl is a natural climber like my wife. Boy boy just go crazy with the slides. I think this is one area that is pretty cool about Singapore. We do have plenty of cool looking, safe and clean children's playground (especially in my area).  Basically whenever we are not going anywhere and staying in the flat, we would drop by the playground to let the kids stretch their arms and legs.  A flat in Singapore is small and unlike in Thailand, the kids can't shout or jump in the flat.  Well, I used too but that was the time where people are more tolerant and we are still in a kampung(village) style but not the case now.  I think its better this way too as at least I can teach the kids to be considerate of others.  Not making too much of a ruckus...
So it's a lot of cheap entertainment for my kids :P. We finally took a flight back to Bangkok on the 3rd of April. Boy started to become very chatty on the cab we took from the airport to the hotel in Petchuburi. I think it's because of the familiar Thai they are speaking. Boy do understand Chinese but he is just not like his sister, not willing to speak in Chinese. (even with me as he knows I can understand him)
He was so chatty with the cab driver, speaking of his experiences in Singapore and Thailand that wife and I were just laughing away at his illogical response to the cabbie. Girl does not loose out and shared her experiences too. Pretty entertaining for the long ride as the traffic was all jammed up. We managed to check into the hotel at 7pm and its a very family oriented hotel called Centrepoint Petchaburi. I took the executive suite which allows up to 4 adults in a room.
We settled down and since we had some food on the flight, we didn't bother too much about the dinner. I did went out and bought some McD and the kids had some french fires before we called it a day.
Initially, we planned to stay in BKK for 2 night and wanted to take the bus home but it was full. Song Krang was just around the corner so all were heading back for their new year break. Luckily wife's cousin was heading back to Maesai with her husband and kids and they have a big van like truck that could fit all of us. We had to extend one more night at the hotel as they need to settle some business on the 6th April.
We didn't go anywhere in particular in BKK. Wife was happily shopping at Pratunam next door. Kids were having fun at the hotel's play room for children or a dip at the hotel's pool. We did dropped by MBK to buy a bag for my sister the day after.
Finally checked out on the 6th. Wife's cousin picked us up at the hotel lobby and we went to his house to prepare for a roadtrip back to Maesai.

Singapore revisted part 2 - Watercove Park

This is the new waterpark playground at RWS that just opened just this year. My sis needs to work and my mum needs her rest from yesterday :P So, it's just the 4 of us and I have to say. This park is pretty good.
Boy got all psyched up when we reached the entrance and saw all the rides. I think he would have jumped straight into the water if I have not been there to pull him back. It was nightmare trying to control him when both he and girl girl get excited. Wife was not smart enough to change before we go so we have to wait for her. (Try asking a 3 year old to wait to play... :P) Finally she got dressed and we hopped into the river adventure which takes us all around the entire park. We stopped halfway at the wave pool and have fun at the wave pool and big bucket. It's a pity though as most of the rides are for teens and adults so most of the rides the kids can't take part. Wife and girl did try one of the more adventurous one while boy and I have fun at the wave pool.
We then try to snorkel but boy was too young and not allowed... (Bah) . So we just continued with the river adventure and went back to get some money for lunch. Both of them ate alot this round (replenish all the energy spent. We continued to play at the wave pool and the big bucket playground until I have to pry them out of there. Took some effort but managed to do so by promising them to visit the aquarium next door.
Big mistake. The aquarium was great but boy was all psyched up and tired from the watercove park. So he was just running amok in the aquarium and wife and I took more time trying to calm him down rather than enjoying the display. Girl was ok though and she loved the huge Manta ray in the large aquarium. She asked me how come the Manta like not happy like dat... hehehe.. And the jellyfish. She just stared straight into that tank for minutes...
Again, we managed to leave the island at around 5.30pm and we had our slight early dinner at Sushi Tei at Vivo. Then it's all bus ride again on bus 30 double decked bus. They really enjoy the bus rides as we do not have that in Thailand. This round, boy was wide awake and making engine noises when the bus is moving. Again, we managed to get front seats on the bus. I think next round, I don't need to plan anything. Just take our "World Class Transport" can liao...

All photos in this post taken with my new waterproof phone. Sony Xperia Z

Singapore revisted part 1 - Universal Studios Singapore

This is the 3rd time my wife and kids came over. For this round, it's a bit different as the last 2 trip we came during Chinese New Year. Since my girl started her Primary school formally last year in May. We can't come back during CNY 2013 as she is still in school. (No official CNY in Thailand). Her term break started in the 2nd week of March and will end in May. So I took the opportunity to plan this trip just before the water festival (Song Kran) in April. It's free and easy this time but I bought tickets to Universal Studio and the new Adventure Watercove Park. Since the 2 of them really enjoy playing with water.

It's free and easy for the 1st 3 days in Singapore. My sister took a day leave to be with her niece and nephew at home. We went shopping for some new swimsuits at Tampines Mall next day and took them to the Tampines swimming complex the day after to cool off the hot weather in Singapore. My mum and sis also took them shopping at Orchard and my boy was totally in awe with the amount of toys in Takeshimaya. Ended up my sister bought him a bit transformer toy.

On Sunday, I booked a Maxi cab and the whole lot of us visited the Univeral Studio at Resort World Sentosa. As it was a long weekend (Good Friday). It was a bit crowded but still manageable. Some hiccups did occurred though. The Sesame Street ride was down while we were queuing for it halfway and boy boy was a bit disappointed. We then took the car ride, followed by going through the Waterworld Live Action show. The 2 kids were totally enjoying the explosions and stunts that they wanted to watch it again.... O.o. Took me sometime to pull them out of the theatre.

Then we had Lunch at the Far Far away castle. Girl girl really like the castle as it looks very pretty. We then went for the Far Far away 4d movie. Girl got so high from the 3d effects she tried to snatch the bugs and ghost on the screen.. heheh.. Took a break and enjoyed the Madagascar ride. They had watched the cartoon before so they are aware of the characters. Then the merry go round but its a bit short ride compared to those we have in Thailand. Not even a minute... :P

It started to drizzle when we finished the Merry - Go - Round and we tried to go take the Sesame Ride but it was so packed with people that we skipped it totally. The sound stage opposite was next and the last we visited. I was carrying my boy we got splashed by water in the Live Action Sound stage. Boy was a bit poofed around this time so we decided to call it a day as we have the waterpark the next day. We took the monorail back to Vivo and took a double decked bus 30 home. Boy was sound asleep on the bus while girl girl was enjoying the bus ride at the front seat of the double decked bus.

Reached home around 7pm and we had our dinner at a hawker centre near our house.

A long break

This series of journal actually started in March but I have not found the ample time to write it in full details. Most of them are in point forms and finally I have the time to complete and publish them. My long break starts on the 24th of March. I took a flight back to BKK and took the bus home. It will be a rush for me as the whole family, missus and the 2 kids will be flying back to Singapore and stay at my sister's flat for a week.
I reached home in the morning of 25th and wife fetched me from the bus station. Kids were still sleeping while I arrived. Then it's all packing and going through the normal routine of preparing the food for my dog and asking our neighbours to look after our fish :P
We called for a cab to the airport in Chiang Rai this time as it will be almost 2 weeks away from our home and it does not make sense to leave our car at the airport for that long period of time. It will be an internal budget flight from Chiang Rai to Don Meung Bangkok. Followed by an SIA fight at Suvarnabhumi. There was a 2 to go package for SIA and I splurged on the air tickets this round. The flight from Chiang Rai to BKK is a bit uneventful. Boy was a bit restless though and girl girl's ear pain is not as serious as last time. We reached Bangkok in the afternoon and took the free shuttle to the new airport.
The 2 enjoyed the free shuttle to the airport on the big bus. Looking at the tall buildings in Bangkok and the huge amount of cars and traffic plying the roads and expressway. They got into counting the colourful taxis that they saw on the road. By the time we reached Suvarnabhumi  It was around 2pm. We had lunch and managed to check in at aroung 3pm. The flight was scheduled at 6pm so we had a long wait. The 2 started getting restless and I reluctantly took out the Ipad and allowed them to watch some cartoons on it. By the time we boarded the plane. Both of them was so tired that they fell asleep immediately after the plane took off. We had some trouble waking boy up for the in flight meal... :P
Reached home around 11pm. 

New toy and new exploration on NFC

My contract with Starhub just finished and I received a $100 voucher for a new phone. I was planning to get the Note 2 or the Google Nexus 4 until I saw the Ads of the Sony Xperia Z on the web. Wow.. a water/dust-resistant phone. That bloody sounds interesting. I'm not going to touch too much on the specs here as there are tons of website out there describing it. I just want to say I am excited about this phone and it will be a game changer for Sony as they really really did their magic on this one.

Initially I was a bit sceptic as Sony Ericsson's phones on Andriod had been a complete utter lack down ever since they introduced the 1st Xperia. It's true, the overlay on the stock andriod was so heavy handed that I couldn't tell it's running on Andrioid :P It's like Samsung but at least they roll out their updates frequently and at least, much faster then the rest of the Andriod family (Asus is actually much faster but that's another story)
But after some videos and more research. I was pretty impressed not only by the specs but the interface. It's actually very close to the stock except some cosmetic changes here and there and I'm sold. Initially I was really really leaning to get the Nexus 4 as I want to get my hands on the latest andriod version and going stock on the Nexus phone is the way to go. But the phone was made by LG (eeewwww) and no microSD slot and I can't remove the battery?? And some more no LTE? hmmm.. I can't remove the battery on the Z too but at least, it gave me water resistance so I hope Google will get Sony to develop their next generation phone.
Now besides getting a new phone. I'm also getting a new toy to explore in the NFC arena. This is really awesome. A lot of people was thinking why I need this new NFC technology when there is already Bluetooth or WiFi. And they were misled that NFC is all about using it as an e-Wallet, a form of payment gateway like our ez-link card or NETS/ Credit card transactions. That is so wrong! Sony did it right this time. They are still more creative then their Korean Samsung counterpart in this department.
Bascically you can buy cheap, programmable tags on the Net to serve as a switching device. Here's my scenario. If I need to turn on my Wi-Fi hotspot on my phone to pair with my laptop or Ipad. I need to go to settings to manually tap 2 or 3 buttons to complete the necessary action. 1st, I need to turn on my WiFi, then go to hotspot and checked on the Activeate hotspot settings. True, there are widgets out there that allows you to do that but isn't it awesome that you can just turn on your phone, scan the NFC tags and it automatically runs the pre-configured macro controls for you? Some might be a bit lost on this but watch this video.
Impressed? Well, initially I thought Apple should be the one who would have thought of this but I guess it's Sony's engineers who came up with this neat idea.
Anyway, I don't think this phone will be staying with me as my missus heard of my purchase and most likely she will be hijacking my phone again ... :S I might get another one for her.... since she's the one who always bring her phone to the toilet...

Day and Night

It has been some time I post something on my photography work.  Here's one I just thought of.  I just renewed my mobile contract and got myself a new phone.  The phone has some interesting effects which I tried it out.  I shot a fisheye shot of the night shot and was quite happy with it.  And it gave me a plan.  This morning I took the 2nd shot in the morning and I combined them in PS.  And here's the result.

Day and Night

Yes, it's a bit pretentious but sometimes I kind of like it that way.  :P

The definition of Progress

Warning! Politcal and social post.  Ignore if not interested :P.

I have an interesting debate and dicussion recently with a friend on the definition of "progress" in humanity.  It's a word we often hear in our state progaganda and in our national pledge.  The last line of our Singapore's pledge actually goes "To achieve happiness, prosperity and progress for our nation."  Do take note that happiness is placed before prosperity and progress.  And I deliberately underlined prosperity as this seems to be the only thing our current gahment has their mind to achieve the most.  That's my understanding and do feel free to disagree but it just seems so.

Their(Gahment and most Singaporeans) understanding of humanity progress is to have good clothes to wear, people well educated to have a PMET job, latest mobile phone and other gadgets, buying fancy cars and a private property.   Maybe I am wrong to judge them this way but from the recent White paper incident and their policies so far, it seems that this is how they think progress to a nation is.   More money, more prosperity which leads to more happiness (to certain minority of course)

I'm not going to touch too much on happiness as each individuals have different thresholds and definition on happiness.  But to progress as a nation.  That's the point I am having issues with the gahment.  Their arguments they always put forward is that in order to progress our nation furthur, to become a country worth looking up by others.  We need to grow GDPs at all costs and money is solution to all our problems.  Just looked at how our gahment solves certain issues, and you know its all about money.

Which is quite sad actually.  Because some of us do know that certain aspects of life can't be rationaled or solved by money. What about things like spiritual and intellectual progress?  I'm not saying Singaporeans are not intellectual or spiritual but frankly, look around us, most Singaporeans are just chasing the 5 Cs and busy with making more money to make ends meet and did not have or choose not to have the time to spend on reflecting their own personal behaviour or social graciousness.  It became a dog eats dog world of who has the best 5 Cs among our peers.   So can we call this progress?

Just look at how we treat our foreign labourers who worked in our construction business and our home helpers (I hated the term "maids").  It's just plain fucking ugly.

I don't see it in the near future and my fears were true when I decided to leave 10 years ago and I'm so glad I met my wife in Thailand.  It's one of the best way out of this system and frankly, I'm a bit worried for all my friends and relatives who are stuck here in Singapore.  Their lives will be much more tougher down the road if our gahment continues this path of "progress".    

1st Kill of the year 2013

Not really killing something or someone but buying something new.  Yes.  Another lens to the arsenal:P  Some might asked how many lenses I really need but its just that this one is something I have been waiting for quite some time.

It's the new Sony 35mm 1.8 OSS!  OSS stands for Optical Steady Shot which means like Canon's IS and Nikon's VR lenses.  Sony A mount bodies has built in body AS system but their NEX doesn't (which is a pain in the ass for me!)I'm getting old and I like to have some anti shake system for some low shutter handheld shots.

Previously, I was using the 24mm Zeiss  which at 1200 2nd hand price tag does not even have OSS and I don't actually really like the fov of a focal length of 35mm.  I am more into 40mm to 50mm for a street camera so it was pretty awkward shooting with it.   I do like it's sharpness and contrasty colours but I have a tendency to crop the photos later as I was not in the correct position.  Moreover, the lens is sticking too far out from the body and its just make it very difficult for me to take it out or put it back into my camera bag.  That's a minor thing but the fov and OSS is the deal breaker. It was an impulse purchase and my gut feelings is that I will sell it some time later and I did to get back my money to fund this lens hehe.

After selling my 24mm, I do have a 35mm CV L39 lens and was using it as my default lens most of the time.  But it register a magenta cast on the corners of the photos whenever I shoot wide.  However, while using the CV, it constantly makes me more convinced to get this lens as I enjoy the fov of the 35mm.  The new lens was bought via a Bro Jame of LBJQK which I met in facebook and I received it just last saturday when it was finally released in Malaysia.  Immediately after collecting the lens I went to Garden by the bay to test it out and the inital results were very positive.  You can view the 1st series here.

I went out today on a street test with my friend Callan for a 2nd round and yes, I totally enjoyed it and it will definitely be a keeper!  Great way to start a year! :)

Some people really needs to be shouted at.

Here's a little secret. I actually made a resolution last year in 2012 to post less negative things in my blog. Therefore, I actually wrote very little.. hahahaha.. So actually I guess I have a lot of negative posts in my blog. I think most of those negative things I wrote was about our Singapore ghament or some people I met or etc. I remember I read something about being negative constantly (talk or write) about bad things is pretty unhealthy for the mind and body so I tried my best to keep my cool and stop writing about bad things for a year. I did ranted on my facebook once in a while, if not I will go Ki Xiao (crazy in Hokkien). And to my shock, there isn't much good things to write last year. There are, of course, some very good magical moments with my wife and kids while I was back at home in Thailand but most of them are pretty personal and I prefer to keep it to myself. But it's not working well for me blog :P. So this year I throw away that silly thought and will start writing more complain letters and post.

First one is a recent incident on the plane back. We boarded the plane early and my mum was sitting in the middle of a 3 column seat while I was next to her at the aisle. Sometime later, some Chinaman (I'm sorry but it's true, I have lots of negative Chinaman stories) folks boarded the plane and started to shout here and there, looking for their bloody seats. One China woman was at our window seat but she was reluctant to sit at her designated spot. Apparently its because her dear hubby is 2 rows at the front and they wished to seat together. The husband was being pushy, standing up in his seat the front asking here and there and giving ideas on their little seating arrangement while the whole queue were blocked by these inconsiderate jokers. The stewardess tried to direct them to their seats but you know Thai people, they never shout or give assertion. So these jokers continued their little party while the poor stewardesses were hapless. My mum lost here cool and shouted at them to give way to the rest of the people. hehe. Old lady with all white hair dun play play. The Chinaman stopped and the lady finally moved into our seats after we stood up and let her in. The Q finally starts moving and just when I thought the worst is over when all the passengers had boarded. The idiotic husband stood up again and say the lady next to him (think is their relative) is ok to swap with his wife and screamed for the lady seating beside us to come over. I shouted back at the joker in perfect Chinese, saying no way you are going to let my 70 year old mum stand up again and let your wife go out. He was a bit shocked when I boomed. And I added that this is not your father's plane and please be considerate. My mum, at the same time, scolded the the woman next to us, asking her why they never sort these things out before they board the plane. The joker sat down and both kept mum afterwards.

After the little incident, I did noticed a little smile on the stewardess and I smiled back at her, shaking my head. She acknowledged back with a bigger grin and a slight nod.

Some people really needs to be shouted at.

A bloody short week.

It's has been a week and now I'm on my way back to Land of Slavery to slave again. I was just getting used to the weather in Maesai. It's 25 during the day and about 19 degrees at night. Damn I will miss the weather.

The kids are great and they are happy I was back. I managed to teach my girl some string games I used to play with my sister when we were young and boy boy was getting better everyday in using the computer mouse... :P hunting down zombies in Plant vs Zombies. I also somehow managed to complete their own bedroom. Yup, finally bought a pair of beds and setup their little kingdom. I still need to fix the AC and maybe a table for them to study or draw but from the way the jump on their beds I know they loved it... :P One thing bad is that boy boy still sticky with mummy so my wife still accompanies them in their room while I slept alone in our own bedroom :(

I was also busy sorting out some slides I took last time and managed to copied them this time using my a900. It's actually about half a year of backlog negatives and transparencies I cleared while the kids were in school. I also managed to finish 2 rolls on my Fuji 690 and will be looking forward to develop it back in SG. I have found a new home based lab via Chiff and he did a fantastic job on my last roll. For those interested in shooting and developing slides in Singapore, do search for Lo Sheng of Analog Film Lab in facebook. Just mail in the rolls and he will work his magic. And its bloody affordable too!

Interesting way to start a year

I'm typing this on the plane. I'm on my way back to Chiang Rai for a short break. Just only a week prior to my break, I actually tendered my resignation letter over matters of a deduction in our department's OT pay. It was actually quite dramatic. We received our pay last month just after Chirstmas and my colleague spotted the err in payment. Initially I thought it was just an individual mistake in the Finance department but later I found out the deduction was across the board. Furious with the sudden changes without any notification. I wrote a very strong worded email to my immediate superior and manager. Their response was pitiful in the sense that they don't see anything wrong in the whole fiasco. So furious was I that I decided to quit.

My immediate boss (who is also a good friend of mine) managed to persuade me to hold my letter and requested to have an emergency team meeting with the ops manager. For a very long time, all our team members came to the meeting that day and the ops manager explained that there were no changes the OT formulae. However, there was a special component that he has been giving to us discreetly ever since we joined the company. And our dear ops manager was questioned recently why he gave the special component so he has to enforced the rule.

I smell bullshit. Anyway, I cut straight to the point that we don't see it that way. A cut is a cut and if you wish to enforce this rule, at least have the courtesy to inform us before hand. This is to allow us to judge if its rational for us to do the extra OT. Not like we had done it in December and then undercut us this way.

So after some haggling, they gave in and return us the special component for the time being. For how long this will last? I really don't know but at least they promised to inform us next time if they play such stunts.

So actually I was going to be free and jobless in Feb 2013 but I guess I will stick around for the moment. Since the ops manager did personally asked me to withdraw my resignation letter (actually money is still the factor ... :P) So just this once, my principle was set aside.