Friday, December 8, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Should we bang on mic to see if it's on? Please settle a matter for us. We need a professional opinion. We have Shure SM58 microphones at our church for our praise team to use. Is it ever ok, when checking sound, to bang on a mic to see if it’s on. If not on these models, on any mics?Mind you, this question is from the professional products FAQ section, and not the consumer section. Now, if you work in the FAQ department, how would you answer this question from a customer who is supposed to be a sound professional? I'd probably go like this: Are you nuts?! What kind of ridiculous question is that? Do you bang on your mobile phone to see if it's working? Would you kick your computer if it crashes? You do know that banging the mic voids the warranty. So sure, go ahead, make my day. Bang it to see if it's on. You think I care? Of course not, for you'll be getting a new Shure soon enough. I like that idea, a lot. Well, the official answer, typed with a straight face, is:
No, you should not. It will not hurt the microphone, but you stand a chance of damaging your loudspeakers. Instead, try snapping your fingers in front of the mic.I love it when silly questions are answered by nice people. Someone said the only stupid question is the one not asked. Why is it, then, that people don't like to ask silly questions? The first reason is that they are afraid that they would be scolded (or get some form of disapproval from peers). Problem is, this starts the vicious cycle. A person who wants to ask a silly question obviously doesn't know the answer. And if the person doesn't know the answer to a simple question, it means that the more difficult questions remain unasked and unanswered. In school, teachers sometimes don't like students to ask too many questions. I think the objection is towards students who ask frivolous questions, and not serious, 'value-add' ones. But this judgement might be problematic, for what teachers see as frivolous, students might view them as quite serious. (I think the microphone question is quite a serious one, actually.) Then again, which teacher like to see their lesson plans getting waylaid by runaway questions? Maybe only a few... In online communities, there seems to be this dislike for folks who ask simple, nOOby questions. The usual response would be 'go read the FAQ', or 'go Google it'. I think that if I can take a few seconds type the answer, I'd do it, rather than say go look for it somewhere else. It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but many people still enjoy saying 'go RTFM'. The time one takes to reply with that unhelpful response can be used to give the correct answers. Anyway, since I'm talking about Shure, might as well help them advertise a bit. After i got my iPod, I thought that I should a more expensive pair of earphones since the iPod isn't that cheap to begin with. I'm not sure of the correctness of that argument, but I do know that the earphones are so good, it actually provides more than good music. It actually buys you peace of mind. These are the E2c Sound Isolating Earphones. You need to stick them into your ear canals, and they become like earplugs. If I wear them, and you stand in front of me, I can't hear what you're saying to me. It's quite incredible how you feel you're able to instantly disappear amongst the crowd when you put on one of these. I guess Sony intended to achieve that when they invented the Walkman, and I think the illusion is complete with ear isolating earphones. The other benefit is that you can save your hearing because you don't need to switch on the music too loud to be able to hear the music. I can turn down the volume of the iPod to the lowest setting, and still be able to hear the music on a quiet night. The sound quality is great, though it's quite expensive around S$155. For the peace it provides, I guess the price is worth it...
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Opposition MPs 'naive' to expect upgrading funds OFFERS of upgrading in opposition wards were part of a slew of policies proposed by People's Action Party candidates during the General Election, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said yesterday.On Naivety deals with what we think we know, and what actually happens in real life. It has to do with the disconnect between our ideals, and how the world actually works. It delineates the idea that even though everyone matters, some matter less than others, especially those who live in certain districts. It reminds us that despite a call for inclusiveness and that everyone pays taxes, some won't have access to the benefits accorded by those same tax monies. On Naivety forces us to self-reflect; that even though we have come so far, we need to do so much more. Anyway, On Bullsh*t might be appropriate reading at this juncture. Update (!): An 'anonymous coward' has tomorrowed this entry.
But as voters rejected the PAP's candidates, it was 'naive' of Mr Chiam See Tong (Potong Pasir) and Mr Low Thia Khiang (Hougang) to now expect the Government to give them the funds for upgrading, he added...
Yesterday, Minister of State (National Development) Grace Fu... made the point - reiterated by Mr Mah - that the PAP's upgrading offer was part of a larger package of policies which the ruling party offered to voters.
'The electorate in Potong Pasir has obviously not supported that and therefore they should not stand to benefit from any surpluses that are generated from that suite of policies,' she said.
Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Monday, October 9, 2006
Saturday, October 7, 2006
The even better thing is that the music that starts off the movie, 望春風, is one of my favourite songs. Its motif gets done in different ways and is repeated throughout the movie. 望春風 (Longing for the Spring Breeze) is an old song, generally acknowledged as Taiwan's unofficial national anthem. (More background here.) Now I wonder, apart from the soothing melody, why on earth did the music people (
Of course there's a culture; the things that locals believe in. Dreaming tries to tease that apart. In the process, we find how disturbing some of our stereotypes are. So, is 望春風, and the things it hints at, the answer? Maybe. The context for the song is longing, and so is the movie. We're all longing for (or dreaming of) something, but what is the right thing to long for? It's not explicitly stated in the movie, although the Chinese beer-promoting woman does provide some clues... I think perhaps the answer is love (like in the song). Love is like oxygen. Love is a many splendoured thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love! And then some would say, love can only result from the 5Cs. Oops. We're back at square one. I wonder whether this aspect of our culture can be changed... For now, bring on the old songs...
Anyway, other places that you can find 望春風 is in Kenny G's Miracles: The Holiday Album (Asia Edition) and a video of some kids singing the song. (Cute!) David Tao's first eponymous album (Flash animation of song here) has it too. According to Wikipedia, 'The album also featured an a cappella song, Spring Wind, which was a new R&B version of a favorite old Taiwanese song. David sang all the vocals in this song, which still stands today, widely regarded as one of the best a cappella songs in Chinese.' The neutrality of this opinion is disputed, however. What's undisputed is that you must watch SGDreaming! Go TalkingCock folks!!
Update(!): I just got the movie soundtrack. There are four wonderful major variations of the song and three minor ones, and the rest of the album is really good too. The piano interpretation by Stephen Hough is just shockingly stunning... some background on the music...
"The Hokkien song' Bong Chun Hong" (Pining for the Spring Breeze" serves as a recurring motif in the film. The song is very popular in Taiwan, where it's almost their unofficial second national anthem. When the directors were writing the script in New York, they wanted a song to evoke the past, and also illuminate the characters of the parents. Yen Yen Woo called her mother in Singapore to ask for songs from the days when she was dating her father. The first song she came up with was "Bong Chun Hong", which unlocked a flood of memories in the old lady about many places in Singapore that have either disappeared or have changed beyond recognition. The directors picked the song and incorporated Woo's mother's memories into the script." From IMDB.(Click for bigger pictures.) 望春風
do ya bo pua shui ding he
Spending the night alone under some lights
qing hong dui min cui
The refreshing wind blowing on her face
zarp qi bae hui bue chuk ge
Seventeen, eighteen, yet unmarried
shiu zoc shiao len ge
Thinking of a young man
go ren biao tee mi ba bae,
Turns out he's handsome and has fair complexion
xia ga lang zhu di
Which family is he from?
xiu bei meng yi gia paiseh
Want to ask, but afraid of being embarrassed
shim lai dua pi pae
Heart beating like the pipa
Monday, September 25, 2006
Thursday, September 7, 2006
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Two months ago I printed out a technical manual meant for salespeople, and put Steve on the cover. It only seemed natural for such a fun car. The guy had appeared in Toyota TV ads, and his infectious joy for wildlife was just perfect... what a feeling! [jumps!]
The interesting thing about Steve's death is that some folks choose to criticise his career choice. Why did he have to do such a dangerous job. Shouldn't he be thinking about the risks involved? What's going to happen to his wife and kids if something terrible happened to him? Some thought that he was provoking the sea creatures, which is now shown to be untrue. It was a freak accident.
I think it'd be more appropriate to ask how many of us can claim to have a job we truly love? True, dying for what one loves might be a little extreme, but lots of people put their lives on their lines every single day. I guess most wildlife documentary makers encounter similar risks as Steve. A few weeks ago, I watched Jeff Corwin get close to the most deadly sea creature in Australia or something like that. There are others in high risk jobs: soldiers, miners, taxi drivers... doctors (especially in situations like SARS), reporters in war zones. Others risk less things, but we can't ignore those. Counsellors, teachers and others in high-stress/emotionally demanding jobs risk their mental health on a daily basis. I could go on...
I guess what I'm trying to say is that folks who love their jobs so much, and are able to make a significant impart on the hearts and minds of people (in Steve's case, it's describing wildlife as... 'what a beauty!' probably wouldn't want to trade that for anything else. Crikey, Mr. Irwin!
Update(!): I've subscribed to the Geographics for over 15 years now. The very first issue in my 'collection' has stingrays on the cover. I wonder how Steve would have liked the world to see them now that he's the victim of a cruel accident. I'd bet he'll still say these creatures are indeed a ... beauty... but be careful, they kill, too.
'I never forget-and diving guides like Jay and Pat never let tourists forget-that stingrays can be dangerous. But these were so gentle that I became accustomed to having heir tails cares the back of my neck or scrape across my faceplate...' -David Doubilet
Friday, September 1, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
GRCs make it easier to find top talent: SM Without good chance of winning at polls, they might not be willing to risk careers for politics By Li Xueying SENIOR Minister Goh Chok Tong yesterday gave a new take on the role of Group Representation Constituencies (GRCs) in Singapore politics. Their role is not just to ensure minorities are adequately represented in Parliament, he said. They also contribute to Singapore's political stability, by 'helping us to recruit younger and capable candidates with the potential to become ministers'. 'Without some assurance of a good chance of winning at least their first election, many able and successful young Singaporeans may not risk their careers to join politics,' Mr Goh said at an event marking the appointment of members to the South East Community Development Council (CDC). 'Why should they when they are on the way up in the civil service, the SAF, and in the professions or the corporate world?' But he was quick to add that GRCs themselves do not guarantee victory...For the full version, please subscribe to the online version of the newspaper. This article alone is worth the entire year's subscription! What really happened that induced an 'admission' of this sort? I don't know, but developments in the next few days would be very interesting indeed! :)
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Saturday, June 3, 2006
"If you're going to tell the truth, you'd better make people laugh. Otherwise they'll kill you." ~(probably) George Bernard ShawI was just thinking about what Mr. Wang wrote about Dr Lee, our Information Minister. I've talked about him before, and this time, it's about mrbrown's podcasts. At Wang's comments section, there's an interesting discussion about whether mrbrown is doing the right thing, whether humour will dilute the message or make it less respectable. As I see it, mrbrown has totally neutralised the bizarre tactics of the Ruling Party with that single podcast episode, at least in the blog-sphere of influence. mrbrown is so good at this, he's been doing it for the past eight years. To be fair, it's sometimes quite difficult to 'get' what mrbrown is trying to do (especially if one's feels the same as Dr Lee), specifically, the idea of satire or irony to tell the truth about something, even if it's sometimes rude and irreverent. Although I think strictly speaking, these two terms are not exactly similar, but they do share some characteristics. These dramatic tools require one to become illogical. Yes becomes no, no becomes yes. 'There are no 300 taels of silver buried here' becomes 'there are actually lots of treasure buried here'. A different set of logic might thus be needed. Now, I'm fascinated by how folks understand or think about these sorts of things, but let me just sidetrack to non-humans for a second... I was at the zoo earlier this year. The zoo is actually quite an ironical and funny place, because it should occur to some that it's unclear whether humans are actually visiting the animals, or whether humans are being met by animals. This sort of bizarre relationship was not lost on one particular orang utan, at least that's what I thought.
Friday, May 19, 2006
I just came back from the Serangoon Stadium rally...darn it, this is the first time I've truly felt Singaporean... at the end LTK and SL led the probably the standing room only 40k crowd to recite the pledge in both English and Chinese... really class act campaign...It was standing room only at Serangoon Stadium that night and many were turned away, but it didn't compare to the rally at Hougang held a few days earlier; the field there was much larger than the stadium. This picture by Yawning Bread was probably the iconic picture of the resistance movement in this election. I was curious about one thing: how many people attended this rally? YB did some calculations based on estimates of the density of people within a certain area, then projecting the numbers to cover the whole field. He felt there were 100-120,000 people that night. Tym also attended the rally and she estimated that 10-20,000 people attended. Malaysian newspaper The Star mentioned 10,000 folks (via SGWatch). There's quite a difference in estimates here. Was there another way to solve this crowded problem? I realised I did have another lead: Google Earth. I already know the capacity of the National Stadium. The rest is straightforward. Step 1: Use Google Earth and find the two locations. Print both locations out using the same scale. Step 2: Cut out the seats of the National Stadium. Step 3: Continue cutting the stands and placing in on Hougang field. The capacity of the National Stadium is 55,000 (source). You can see above that all the seats of the Stadium covers about half of Hougang field. I believe this is a conservative estimate. People stood at the rally, and they most likely stood very close to one another, compared to the seating arrangement found at the Stadium. Therefore, I think the number that night at Hougang Field was very nearly 100,000 people. YB's estimate was quite accurate according to this methodology! Anyway, the folks who organised this rally won the Hougang seat, but lost the larger Aljunied Large Area Constituency in a close fight. More good years! (And thanks for the memories!)
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Stranger! If you, passing, meet me, and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you? ~To You/Leaves of Grass/Walt WhitmanIf you meet someone that you don't know on the streets, it's reasonable to think of that person as a stranger. But I just read in this month's Geographics that even though he's not someone you know, he's still someone who's related to you!
"Scientists now calculate that all living humans are related to a single woman who lived roughly 150,000 years ago in Africa, a "mitochondrial Eve." She was not the only woman alive at that time, but if geneticists are right, all of humanity is linked to Eve through an unbroken chain of mothers. Mitochondrial Eve was soon joined by "Y chromosome Adam," an analogous father of us all, also from Africa. Increasingly refined DNA studies have confirmed this opening chapter of our story over and over: All the variously shaped and shaded people of Earth trace their ancestry to African hunter-gatherers."The stranger you meet on the train is technically a distant relative with the same great-great-great...grandparents! The Geographics also has this very interesting thing going, called The Genographic Project. It invites folks to pay USD100+++ to have their DNA samples analysed to see how exactly their ancestors travelled from Africa to Europe, Asia and so on. Yeah, I know my most immediate ancestors look Chinese. But before that, they were Africans. So how did they walk from Africa? What route did they take? Very intriguing indeed...
Update: The results can be found here.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Believe those blogs? Only 1 per cent find them credible IT MANAGER Jerry Chia, 34, trusts the newspaper in his hand more than a fleeting TV snippet for his daily dose of local news. To keep up with local politics, he would rather read a page of analysis in the newspaper than catch a newsflash on TV. His preference is typical of 88 per cent of young Singaporeans who rely on newspapers for news on local politics, according to a survey commissioned by The Straits Times . TV is a close second, with 87 per cent... When it comes to credibility, newspapers top the list. They were considered most credible by almost 60 per cent, while 35 per cent picked TV...  Agreeing, magazine writer Sim Jui Liang, 31, said: 'Newspapers have more depth. You can't compare full-page coverage in print to a one-minute coverage on a news bulletin.' Lagging far behind on credibility are news websites (3 per cent) and Internet blogs and forums (1 per cent).  Miss Poon Jiat Ling, 22, a pharmacy student at the National University of Singapore, offers a possible reason: Mainstream media is more comprehensive and objective in its coverage while blogs are more personal and 'can be heavily biased' ... It's time people with online diaries and folks from TVLand start commissioning their own surveys!  Even the survey commissioned by the newspaper found that 40 percent of respondents don't find the newspaper to be credible, assuming that the article title is correct! I mean, wow! The title of this article shouldn't be about bloggers; it should really be: Almost Half Of This Newspaper's Readers Don't Find It Credible !  One percent of respondents find blogs credible. I really do hope that most, if not all, of the readers of this blog make up the 1 out of 100 people who find blogs mildly credible!  Too funny, considering  LOL. Update (!): Mr. Miyagi was nice enough to feature this blog in his weekly column for the Today newspaper. More from tomorrow.sg.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
So apart from that, the hike was really wonderful. The trail was well maintained, and the campsite was great. The thing I love about the Australian bush is that the trees and plants are much 'neater' compared to tropical rainforests. It doesn't seem as 'overgrown'. Another very dramatic thing is that it's so quiet in the bush. There aren't a lot of the loud insects or whatever, there's only the rustling of the leaves in the warm wind. But sometimes the silence was interrupted by jumping kangaroos. I saw around four, and the 'thump thump' they made as they moved around so effortlessly like Zhang Ziyi hopping from rooftop to rooftop in Crouching Tiger was a thing to behold. They looked like they were flying... Anyway, I reckon if I go to Perth once a year to spend 5 days hiking 100km, I would finish the route in 10 years! Oh well, the journey of a thousand kilometres begins with the first 10...