Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Highlighting some online entries about GPF Malaysia

Would appreciate help from anyone to keep this list updated if you know of more, Thanks!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I miss Singapore

Recently, when I am out on the streets, in the malls, or at East Coast Park, the feeling keeps coming to me. I miss Singapore. No, I am not overseas. I miss Singapore in Singapore ... .

Once, in a food court, the drink stall staff didn't speak like a local. People at tables besides me were speaking in either non-local languages, or non-local slang.

On the street 9 out of 10 who spoke in Chinese were not in the familiar Chinese that I speak, unless some times when I am speaking to my friends from mainland China.

Another time, early morning at East Coast Park, there was a Muslim family at a quiet beach. I can't say for sure that their official nationality(ies), but they are not Malays. The man fair skin suggests Caucasian, so does the daughter's blond hair. Although can't see much of the woman, who was in traditional Muslim attire, in such attire at the beach suggests she is not the typical local Muslim lady.

I also saw a maid, an Indonesian I guess, helping to do BBQ. Her lady boss, was sitting at the table, in a dress and wearing a high heel. The man boss was following their son, who has just learned blading, on a tandem bicycle. The man was in shirt, pants, and leather shoes.

Actually, in East Coast Park, Toa Payoh Town Garden, and I believe also in many other parks in Singapore, if we only consider families, it seems that majority of the families are not Singaporeans or the typical Singapore families.

I bet there is no way to get rid of this feeling of missing Singapore.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - Skills for on the road riding

Basically, I don't encourage others to ride bicycle on roads because of the possibility of fatal accidents. However, if someone decides to do so, then my main advice is to have some driving experiences first.

Next, note that the minimal skills required to cycle on roads is much higher and more than that to cycle in a park. Basically, absolutely NO mistakes are allowed on roads as a simple mistake might cost a life. Some skills I find useful are ...
  • Able to ride on a narrow path, typically within the two double yellow lines. However, I am not saying that you must ride between the yellow lines as some times you need to take the lane, i.e. cycle in the middle of the lane. This is not required when cycling in parks.
  • Able to ride really slow, e.g. slower than walking. This is not really for on the road cycling, but on pedestrian crossing or pavements which to avoid requires very high discipline. Thus, when riding along with pedestrians, move at their speed. This is more for your own safety than theirs.
  • Able to ride without hands holding the bar. Of course I am not suggesting to do it on roads at all time, and even in parks unnecessarily. This ability proves that you don't rely on your hand but your waist and body to balance and manoeuvre the bicycle. However, this is something just for learning and not for using, and when learning, please wear full safety gears.
  • Able to watch behind while keep riding parallel to the side of the road. You will need to check blind spot, i.e. turning head to check behind, regardless if you have a mirror or not, and I recommend having a mirror mounted in a non-protruding manner.

Close interval multiple thresholds system

We are in a digital age, and ironically, digital advancements allow less digital systems with multiple thresholds at close intervals.

A good example is the gradual increase and decrease of the ERP charges, instead of just one threshold timing that separates two periods of with and without ERP charges initially. Another not so direct example is some telcos charge by the seconds instead of minutes. These would not have been possible if done manually.

Sadly, that's about all I know about such systems. Here, I just mention one area where close intervals multiple threshold should be implemented: ... incentives cut off date, especially when the incentives are high.

E.g. before or after 17 Aug 2008 borned 1st and 5th child meant a difference in maximum matching government contribution of S$6000 and S$18000, respectively! Thus, a minute different of recorded birth between 16 Aug 2008 2359hr and 17 Aug 2008 0000hr makes a big difference.

I would like suggest a gradual increase by an amount small enough that virtually no pain would be felt, over a period of 1 or 2 months is much better. E.g. $5 increment over a period of 30 days. Thus, it will require 6000/5=1200 increments, for the case of the 1st child in the example above. This means 30/1200 = 0.025 days or 30*24/1200 = 0.6 hours or at 36 minutes interval.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - Right turn

Many years ago when I first rode a racer on roads, I made a right turn on the right most lane because I was too short and needed the road divider when I stop. I find this way of making right turn unnecessarily dangerous as you need to keep left after the turn, and worse if the vehicle on your left want to make a U-turn.

Later, I made right turn on the left most right turning lane so that I will end up on the left lane after the turn. However ... , you need to take the lane for those lanes that allow both forward moving and right turning. Even when the lane only allow right turn, beware of drivers who still wanted to go straight. However, on junctions where there isn't a right turn only signal, it is quite dangerous as you have to judge the traffic and trust that your bike won't break down half-way crossing.

Both ways described above require filtering to the right, which may not be possible on heavy or fast traffic roads. I strongly discourage the first method and do not encourage the second method.

When friends carried me on their motorbikes/scooter in Taiwan, I realized that they seem to be disallowed to travel on the outer lanes (i.e. left lanes in Taiwan). So when they needed to make left turn (corresponding to our right turn), they would have to do a L-shape route. If it was green, they moved to the opposite and wait for green on the perpendicular direction. If it was red, and crossing allowed, they would cross over, and cross again and turn to the left.

Since then, unless at junctions that I am very familiar and find it very safe to use the second method, I would be using the L-shape method. However, when cycling across pedestrian crossing, do it at walking speed and watch out for traffic situation. Especially for the 2nd L-shape method. In Singapore, right turning vehicle can turn when there are no on coming vehicles and pedestrians are still crossing the road. Drivers determine no pedestrians with the assumption that pedestrian travel at walking speed. Thus, if one runs or cycles across at significantly higher speed than walking, collision is very likely.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - on pavement

I have only been cycling on pavement more often since 3 years ago mainly because along the route I am traveling on frequently it is obviously a better choice for me and other road users, and there are very very few pedestrians on the those pavements. Also, it isn't a long journey so I can ride leisurely. However, I still feel that a better choice is to reserve at least a third of the left lane for cyclists to use the roads.

With these little experiences, I would like to share some opinions regarding cycling on pavements: read on...
  1. Since it is illegal to do so, cyclists should understand that we have absolute no rights to deserve pedestrians to give way to us.
  2. Even if it is legal to do so, cyclists should not expect pedestrians to give way to us by ringing bells.
  3. Just as a jogger, or a fast walker on pavement, if someone is blocking your path, just be patient and wait for opportunity to overtake, or made your presence known, but NOT by using bell.
  4. Cycle beside cars is safer (in the sense of less [near] accidents/collisions) than with pedestrians because the former are predictable, controlled by licensed drivers who seldom panic when they see bicycles. Whereas the latter are unpredictable, without license and traffic rules to follow, and easily panic.
  5. Avoid overtaking as much as possible, and only do so when really really really safe. I suggest the following criteria be all met:
    • You are riding at near walking speed
    • You are about 2 to 5 meters behind
    • Pedestrian noticed your presence
    • Pedestrian recognized your intention to overtake
    • Pedestrian gave way to you
  6. Beware of the common trap when there is another approaching pedestrian(A) in front of the pedestrian(B) who is unaware that you are behind. Naturally, A would want to give way and walk on the same side as B so that a path is open for you to ride through. However, also naturally, B not knowing you are behind and saw that A is approaching him will move to the other side of the path to give way to A. Thus, I suggests:
    • For cyclists, ride behind B in such scenario until A passes both of you, then you start to consider overtaking B.
    • For pedestrian in A situation, avoid creating the above trap.
    • For pedestrian in B situation, be aware that when a pedestrian shift to your side of the path, watch your back as it could mean something is approaching on the other side.
  7. Slow down to walking speed before reaching openings where you have to cross a road junction or use the zebra crossing or any pedestrian crossings.
That's about it for now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Replicating Paris Vélib' in Singapore

Interested people please contact kaustuvghosh1972 :)

One directional correlation

When high oil prices were cited as reasons for transport fare hikes, we all thought that was logical.

When oil prices dropped but not the fares, it was explained that these two were not linked directly.

Hmmmm... linked or not linked?

It was further explained, “If there is a direct link, it must go both ways. If we have that system, there would (have been) a 40-per-cent increase in public transport fares.” What commuters got, instead, was a 0.7-per-cent average increase.


Firstly, I doubt anybody believe a "direct" link such as that described above. If there were some who believed so, then they have probably been misled into thinking so when high oil prices were cited as reasons for fare hikes.

Secondly, there is indirect link. Thus, if a 40% increase in oil prices correspond to 0.7% average increase, then when oil prices drop, there should be some decrease.

Are the audience being treated as primary school kids?

The new CEPAS-compliant ez-link card

I read a letter in TodayOnline about the new CEPAS-compliant ez-link card by LTA. The author claimed that the new card would require him to make more top-ups. I scratched my head..

In the old system, there is a S$3 deposit and when stored value (excluding the deposit) is less than S$0, one cannot board a MRT train or bus.

In the new system, there won't be any deposit, and when stored value is less than S$3, one cannot board a MRT train, while for buses, minimum stored value must be more than that required for the rest of the journey of the bus.

I really don't see this change can lead to more frequent top-ups necessary for anyone. ... why? The current top-up procedure ask how much one wants to top-up. Thus, regardless if there is deposit, or the amount of deposit, or the amount of minimum value (for MRT), there is no reason to do more top-ups. Unless, the author has been using a procedure that I have not come across where he was asked how much stored value he wants in the card, and he doesn't intend to change this amount when using the new card. However, I don't think there is such a procedure.

Even for those who mainly travel by bus, they may instead top up lesser, but by only 0.1 top-up lesser assuming that their minimum value is S$2 instead of 3 and each time they do S$10 top-up.

However, if the S$3 deposit on existing EZ-Link card will not be refunded, then yes. Similarly, it would still be just an additional 0.3 top up, using the above assumptions.

I believe there are many not so good or correct letters sent by many, but to be selected for publication is slightly more than the common excuse of human err. Instead of thinking that it was some mistakes by the editors, I suspect it was intentional to create some heated discussions. They are facing low volume of letters to Voices and needed to take articles without asking from blog. There is one from reclaimed.wordpress.com but I couldn't find the article in this inactive blog.

By the way, I pity the LTA and TransitLink being wrongly accused by many. From what I understand, it was the IDA initiative and directive to adopt the CEPAS standard that led to the change, while many unhappy comments were targetted at TransitLink and LTA.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Like a giant size vending machine

How to have something like this in Singapore? I am sure we have the technology for it, but ... don't expect anyone build it before there exist the high demand for it. Basic economic. Thus, start cycling :)

Be paid to rant about your good and bad experiences

Information is valuable. Indeed, I am just being paid by writing a review by ReviewStream. Check it out!

It isn't too difficult unless ... you try to fake it. We all use products, and many times we have something to say about the products we used, we bought, or we discarded. Why not share with others your experiences and opinions. I believe doing so will be helpful to both consumers and producers.

I have benefited from reading reviews and experiences sharing/cursing by others on products that I consider buying. Now, I am more encouraged to give my reviews, especially when I can get paid.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The if-then logic


This Chinese idiom sounds wrong, but if so, then it wouldn't be one.

Logically speaking, it is correct, or true.

However, in most cases, we prefer the then to be false. For e.g., if you don't study, you will fail the exam. Thus, that makes not studying a bad choice.

On the other hand, consider this: if we don't punish children, they will not learn. Here, is punishing good or bad? Many would think obviously it is good. Actually, this depends ... on what they will be learning?

Thus, whether 人不为己 is good or bad depends on if 天诛地灭 is good or bad, or if the current "天" and "地" are good or bad. If these are bad, then 天诛地灭 would be good, and therefore 人不为己 would be good.

I think, instead of sustaining a world where 人不为己 is bad, isn't destroying, or actually transforming such kind of world into one whereby everyone is 人不为己, better?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ego & rain coat

I attended the talk on 22 Feb, "HINDUISM REDISCOVERED: A Religion in Vogue" by Vivekacharya Pavan Choudary, CEO, Vygon India.

It was interesting during the Q&A session, where he shared his wisdom in answering the questions. I would like to share some of them here.

Wisdoms from a talk by Vivekacharya Pavan Choudary -- Part 3

Someone was telling [or showing off] how he has learned so much from many gurus. He finds them mainly teaching ways to get rid of ego. He was talking for quite long time.

When the speaker finally has the turn to speak, the first statement was roughly saying that all his teachers don't qualified to be gurus. Ego is something that you cannot get rid of. Ego is ... like rain coat, keep it at home, use it only when necessary.

I think this applies to many other things such as anger, unhappiness, desires, etc. How to manage them is the way, while getting rid of them is an illusion.

Similarly, relating to health, we need to learn and be trained to live with and overcome sickness, bacteria, virus, fever, pain, etc. instead of finding ways to live without them. In recent episodes of the drama series Heroes, the cheer leader (what's her name?) with never die capability was complaining that she doesn't feel pain after Syler opened her brain. Then, later, during an eclipse when all lost their special capabilities, she was wounded and later died, not directly from the wound, but from infections. Why? The nurse/doctors asked why she doesn't seem to have any immunity? Don't tell me she hasn't been sicked for her whole life?

Part 2

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sell your teaching skills online

Many things can be sold online now and I just come across BrightStorm (see ads above) that allows teachers to sell their lessons!

A sudden [small] fortune

This blog has very low traffic, and thus I don't expect much from Google AdSense. Actually, I don't understand the funny spikes of earnings. After many months, actually some years, my earnings is still only $2+. Just recently, with two spikes on
4 and 9 Dec, my earnings shoot up by $0.82 and now it is above $3 :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alpha Brain Waves

Just read about something new to me, but it was discovered some decades ago together with the invention of the EEG. I first read about the Alpha Brain Waves from an advertisment of The Silva MethodTM. Later, I searched the Internet and learned more about it.

So, seems like science is showing more and more evidence to things that were once thought to be "spiritual" ... such as yoga and meditation. In a recent scientific seminar I attended, researchers have observed rise of temperature at the hands of a Qi-Gong Master when he was asked to concentrate his Qi at his hands.

Amazing! Actually, Science doesn't negate many spiritual phenomena. It is the misconception of many who wrongly think that whatever Science hasn't proved is false. Ooops, by the way, Science can never prove anything absolutely, but just to state how impossible something is not true.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Football, anyone?

If you are interested in football, do you consider yourself a fan? If so, this might be of interest to you too: www.partofthegame.tv is a Web-TV channel about football and fan life launched by Carlsberg recently.
It has 5 channels showing ... all aspects about football from the classic football matches to life as a fan. I think as a fan, you can also upload your own clips about football such as your own favourite football moments. Even, if you've found the videos on YouTube etc.

Interestingly, although it is about football, due to Carlsberg, the first page requires you to declare you are of legal drinking age :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - Left hook

In left hand drive countries, it is commonly known as the right hook. Here, it is left hook. When left turning drivers feel they can safely turn left assuming cyclists will be forced to stop and give way.

Just yesterday, I had another, yes it is quite common, encounter of a near left hook. However, usually when this happens, it is the driver who will have higher blood pressure. ...

Along Toa Payoh Central, while approaching the nice 45 degrees carpark entrance in front of 79B, a driver gave a warning horn and expected me to give way to him. Sorry, I think it should be you who should give way to me since I am on the road, not the pavement. Thus, when he tries to turn in, I did not slow down, and continue to ride as straight as possible, but avoiding any contact. He was almost forced up the kerb!

Hope he learned a lesson and don't ever expect slow moving bicycles to slow down when the bicycles have the right of way. By the way, I wasn't riding too slowly. To drivers, cyclists riding on the left so that forward moving vehicles won't be blocked, but not for left turning vehicles to left hook us!

On my part, I somehow didn't do what I would normally have done: I would have checked behind when approaching such openings and when there aren't fast moving vehicles, I will move slightly to the right so that drivers behind are clear of my intention to ride straight ahead.

My cycling in Singapore experiences - right of way

In many recent discussions about cycling on pavements, I have been leaving comments stressing the pedestrian right of way on pavements. I feel to deny cycling on pavements is impractical. However, it is important that pedestrians are the rightful users. Thus, both cyclists and pedestrians should clearly understand this and practice it.

I suggest cyclists should not overtake pedestrians ... if there is likelihood that they may suddenly act in a way that results in near accident or near collision. However, I am very against the use of bell and similar tools that portray the impression of asking pedestrians to give way. Thus, cyclists on pavement should accept the fate to be blocked by pedestrians.

I suggest pedestrians should not be afraid and act suddenly to give way. I find it dangerous because such sudden actions are likely to cause accidents, e.g. spraining ankles. As a cyclist myself, I am more afraid of pedestrians then I am afraid of cyclists when I am a pedestrian. Cyclists are likely to sustain more injuries, more difficult to maneuver, and no matter what, it is the cyclists at fault legally speaking.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

2nd death?

I am quite young and apolitical to know much about Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam. I respect him just base on the fact that he continues his fight immediately after being cleared of bankruptcy to start a new political party at such old age.

While reading about his news on the Internet, I came across this article ... through Feed Me To The Fish blog. In the article, I think our Former President C. V. Devan Nair suggested that JBJ was leaving the political scene in 1999.

Now, has he left?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My new toy

My parents use top loading washing machines and I have only few chance to operate it myself. Recently just gotten my first washing machine. After some ad-hoc research, first I decided on LG because on two lists I found online, many LG models were ranked top places in both water and energy efficiencies.

Next, I was a little confused over the model codings. There was a F1422TD on promotion but the Singapore LG website only has WD models. Anyway, by the time I am $-ready to purchase, that promotion was over.

In the meantime ... , I have made altogether over 10 visits to Courts, Harvey Norman, Mega Discount Store, and did many online readings. Basically, sale persons in such non-specialized stores are not professionals. One Courts staff tried to push me to buy European brands, claiming that all LG's are made in China. However, the Harvey Norman staff (Aaron Soh, who offered to explain the product to me on all my 4-5 visits there) showed me the label in the LG machine stating that it is made in Korea, and taught me we can tell from the nicer LG logo on made in Korea LG machines.

I find that the different sets of wash cycles on different models only confuse me, and so I ignore them. Thus, I narrow down my choice to this one that is on promotion, according to Harvey Norman's pricing: U.P. S$1599, now S$999, and after few hours considering any reason not to get it, I bought it. However, later went to Mega Discount Store and noticed they just changed it from a week ago S$1399 to promote it at U.P. S$1199, now S$1059. Anyway, S$999 is still better :)

Oh, I haven't mentioned it yet. I bought the LG WD14331AD Washer/Dryer.

See update after a year using.

Wanna be asked 4 questions per week?

I was "cheated" about S$20 by this, and many others were being cheated too! Beware! Here are their "fine" print:
*This is a Wixawin trivia game promoted by TMG B.V. Wixawin is not affiliated with, sponsored by or endorsed by any of the listed products or retailers. Trademarks, service marks, logos, (including, without limitation, the individual names of products and retailers) are the property of their respective owners. | This is an ongoing subscription quiz service until user quits. | This service operates according to the Singapore code of practice for SMS services. | By sending an SMS to 72233, you acknowledge that you have read and understood the ‘Terms & Conditions’ and agree to be bound by these 'Terms & Conditions'. | To stop service? text STOP to 72233. | Subscription: you will receive 3 SMS questions per week, S$4 per SMS question received. | Competition ends 31-12-'08. | Age: 18+ only – obtain bill payer's permission. | Helpdesk: 6571 3999 | Technical Service Provider: Sybase 365 Pte Ltd.
Who with a right mind in the universe would ... want to pay S$4 to receive SMS??? Regardless did you participate in their quiz or not. Might as well go and buy ToTo! Betting S$16 per week.

Thus, if this is according to the Singapore code of practice for SMS services, then there is a serious flaw in the code of practice!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The International Day of Peace

Quite indirectly, I found this site about Peace One Day that gives rise to the International Day of Peace. It just takes one person's vision and efforts plus for 2 years.

It looks not that difficult to get the right things done.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

GPS + camera + phone + bicycle

... Read the print:
Our bikes for Australia, Singapore and Japan, have not yet arrived but are coming soon!
I want to have it! Actually, I almost have all the parts, my old bike, a solar charger, but N80ie doesn't have GPS :( Anyway, my next phone will have GPS in a few weeks time, hopefully :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Not in your backyard, then in whose backyard?

Recently, there are voices against converting an unused school into dormitory for foreign workers. It is a real concern. However, by voicing against it won't do the whole situation better. I think some of the more fundamental issues are:
  • Uneven prosperity among nations.
  • Employees wholesome care is not catered for.
  • Reluctant to embrace changes and others.
First one is very ... fundamental, and everyone recognizes it. However, because of its unlikelihood to be achieved withing one career lifetime, most office bearers would not spend much efforts and resources into it. It is a typical case of important but not urgent tasks that people tend to ignore.

The second point is about the current employment arrangement. I think the concept of employee is quite modern, around the time of the industrial revolution. Traditionally, family as a unit is very important, and I notice it in the Oriental culture that I am from. For e.g., it is crucial for maid to made public that she does not intend to get married because it is obvious that being a maid means one cannot afford to be a wife and a mother. The recent developments in the past few decades gave the illusion that it could be done, but it couldn't. Another example, in some Korean drama I watched, stories depict that in the last generations, the boss will house the whole family of the domestic helper within their own house. Basically, to view a person as just a person is fundamentally wrong. Family should be the unit within employment arrangement. Thus, the foreign workers' families must be taken into consideration when arranging for one or some of them to work here.

The third point can also be termed as plain selfishness. By pushing a problem away doesn't solve or make it better, but only make those who managed to push it away better. Especially here, the government have policies to ensure a mix of races in each public housing block. Now, if we ignore the importance of mixing foreign workers into our community, then those conflicts we only watch in the news in other neighboring countries will soon start to appear here.

Nevertheless, there are real concerns that triggered the petition against the move by the residents. However, the concerns should trigger solutions and ways to improve or manage the new arrangement instead of just simply asking for the problem to go to somebody else backyard.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Now I know them

Who are they? I bet most Malaysians know who are they. However, I didn't know about them as I am not a Malaysian. Now I know who they are. However, I didn't know who they are because of their ... professions. I know who they are because of their passion to help bring more peace to the world.

They are appointed ambassadors for the upcoming Global Peace Festival 2008, Malaysia.

Nevertheless, for the non-Malaysian readers, let me introduce. They are Malaysia’s first Angkasawan (astronaut) Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor and Malaysian Idols Jaclyn Victor and Daniel Lee.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Live casting

Our PM Lee's demostration of live casting during his speech inspired MrBrown to test Qik out, and in turn inspired many, including me to try it out. Only a few poorly captured videos while cycling at my Qik, but hopefully more will come.

I think if Qik can disallow edited videos, then its contents will truly be reality shows.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Which are of more concern? Detected or undetected HIV carriers?

35 HIV cases detected. What a mild and unalerting title for a piece of Breaking News!

I loves maths, and thus, let me do some simple maths here.

Known figures are:
35 HIV cases detected in 6 months in the CHANGI General Hospital (CGH) among 3 out of 10, or among about 6500 people who opted to be tested.

What does this imply?

It means there might be in total 35 * 10/3 = 116.667 HIV positive among the 6500* 10/3 = 21666.67 patients who visited CGH.

By further extrapolation, it means there might be 116.667 / 21666.67 * 4M = 21538.46 HIV positive people in Singapore.

OK, there is a bias here ... , as patients cannot be used to represent general population. Thus, it needs to be corrected by multiplying by the proportion of people who visited hospital in the past 6 months in Singapore. I don't have it, but let use a low ratio of 1/100, there are about 215.38 HIV positive people in Singapore. This ratio of 1/100 seems too low since 215.38 is only about twice of 116.667 while Singapore has more than 2 similar or larger hospitals like CGH.

Thus, if we use the number of hospitals in Singapore of similar size, which I also don't have the exact figure, but can safely state as > 5, considering SGH, TTSH, AH, CGH, NUH, and many smaller clinics. Then, the number might be 116.667 * 5 ~= 583 HIV positive among only those who visited hospitals in the past 6 months. Note, this is only the estimated number of HIV positive patients, NOT general population.

What we need to pay attention to is not the 35 HIV cases detected. We really need to pay attention to the possibly 116-35=81 undetected HIV cases! From the above estimate, we need to pay attention to the possibly 81*5=405 undetected HIV cases! And if considering the whole population, there are possibly much much more than 405 undetected HIV people who have not visited hospital in the past 6 months, i.e. they are likely to be healthy people.

What are they doing? Without knowing that they are infected, they are living their normal life. What's their "normal" life? At least quite a few of them have a "normal" life of having regular casual sex with multiple partners, including their spouse.

After the first posting, I read this part:
...many of those who did not want the test were elderly or repeat patients who had been tested before. Tests were not offered to those under 21 years old, the age of consent.
OK, seems not as bad, but even after discounting, the estimated HIV positive, healthy and sexually people out there who don't know they have the virus are still among the hundreds!!!

Long break from blogging; a trip to Korea

Dear readers (as if there are :)),

Just a note to say that the long break from blogging was due to my overseas trip to Gapyeong, Guri, and Seoul from end of July till early August.

Previously I had the impression that having an address in Korea may not guarantee that you can find the place. Now, an address + GPS in taxi, it is quite guaranteed, provided the address is written/spelt correctly.

Since I couldn't find South Korea map in Google Maps, so I thought there isn't any such information online. However, my friend manage to find it here, although it seems to be only in Korean.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Create Digital Fireworks

HELP to Create (Digital) FIREWORKS in the sky for the GLOBAL PEACE FESTIVAL MALAYSIA.
YES, Use your mouse NOW and help us to create (Digital) FIREWORKS for GPF MALAYSIA ! Remember to switch on your speakers too.

After you have visited the website above, please proceed to http://www.GPFMalaysia.Org

Friday, July 18, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - water from above and below

Saw this improvision from mrbrown's Quick Guide to Bicycle Commuting in Singapore. It brings back my experiences related to rain and cycling.

1. Most of the time, rain doesn't stop, it is the ... cloud that moves.
This is the first lesson I've learned. The first time I was caught in the rain, without rain coat, I was together with some other motorcyclists under a shelter. A short while later, the rain "stopped". However, those motorcyclists didn't show any sign of carrying on their journey. Another couple of minutes passed and they are still waiting. I didn't understand why, and so I moved on. Just only a few minutes later I saw the boundary of the rain, and too late to react and I rode into the rain, again.

2. No more rain, but the floor is still wet.
On another ocassion, I waited till no more rain, and added another 15 minutes wait for the clouds to be far enough. Happily I moved on. Only when I got back home to change then I realized how ugly was the back of my shirt. The real wheel, especially MTB tyre had "sprayed" my shirt with water on the ground. This led me to my next lesson.

3. These are called mud-guard, not water-guard.
Not knowing what that black thing above the wheel is called (see pic above), I went to the stop and asked if there is anything that can prevent water from hitting my back. This thing was suggested and happily I cycle before the road is dry after a rain. Still, I found my back is still sprinkled with dirty water from the ground. Only later I realized that this thing is called a mud-guard, and thus as the name suggests, it is not designed for the problem I was facing. At that time, I envy those road bikes that have the semi-circle cover to tackle this problem.

4. My favorite material to extend the mud-guard.
I had the similar approach as the one shown in the above pic: to extend the mud-guard. Initially, I used carboard, but it couldn't tolerate water. I put it in one of those transparent magazine wrapper envelope, but moisture still got in and it couldn't last long. The idea of water proof led me to water holding items. I didn't use water bottle like the one in the pic, which I think is quite troublesome. Initially I used those use and throw plastics cups, which are free, softer and easier to cut. However, under direct sunlight daily, it decays within months. Eventually, the best material I have found and used is transparency. It is not free, but I can get those used and unwanted ones. It is light, nice looking, firm when curved, and able to last for years under direct sunlight.

5. Rain coat doesn't keep you dry.
After being equiped with a rain coat for months, finally, I have the chance to use it. Happily, I put on the rain coat and moved on. It was so stuffy. Then becoming sticky. By the time I reach my destination, I was drenched. The rain coat kept me from the rain water but also prevented sweat from drying up.

6. Headdress.
Another problem with the rain coat is that it can't cover your face, especially when cycling, the wind keep blowing the head cover backwards. Thus, my spectacles have too much water to be usable, and my eyes soon have difficulty opening with water keep running into it. For people like me who don't wear helmet, it is good to have a cap to hold the head cover in place and also to provide shelter to your spectacles and eyes. Furthermore, headdress is also useful to block the sun.

7. Avoiding is the solution.
Nowadays, I don't have the mud-guard. I don't carry rain coat with me. I carry umbrella, but I avoid using it while riding. If caught in rain, I am ready to lock my bike nearby, use umbrella and continue my journey via public transportation.

Help others to help everyone

I think there is a saying, "feed the cow if you want milk". This is what I felt when I look into this service, Zookoda. It is an email marketing application designed specifically for bloggers. Zookoda enables you to send a daily, weekly or monthly summary of your latest blog posts directly into your visitors' inbox.

Now, the important part is: ... it’s all FREE! Is this a free lunch? Isn't there no such thing as a free lunch?

Consider the above phrase, would you charge your cow for the food you provide to it? Thus, I guess that's why it is free. This can be considered as a type of investment. Just as those countries that subsidized heavily for all their citizens to get educated. Here, it is more like a company that is building up an industry, the industry that it is in.

The parent company is into online advertisement, particularly advertising in blogs. With this free tool, it is helping bloggers to improve their blogs readerships, and this translates into an increase in the value of the advertising time and space of the blogs. This should grow their revenue through growing the industry.

More importantly, as bloggers, we can benefit a lot from Zookoda that enables us to:
  • Manage email newsletter subscribers
  • Enhance your blog with custom newsletter subscription forms
  • Design eye-catching newletters to match your blog design
  • Schedule recurring broadcasts for each day, week or month
  • View real-time open, bounce, click and unsubscribe reports
  • Access mobile users by emailing blog content in text format

Sponsored by Zookoda

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What's your Bills IQ?

Oh no! My Bills IQ is low! Even though it "congratulates" me. When I did a comparison, the average of many are ... about 86%. Sigh...Interested to know your own's Bills IQ? Click here.

Why marry?

Singaporeans list key challenges to marriage and parenthood, which includes difficulty in finding suitable partners, owning a home, financial security, work—life balance, and childcare arrangements.

However, I think the most important issue is not these difficulties and challenges faced by Singaporeans. Fundamentally, it is the lack ...
of understanding of why marriage?

In the business world and the study of management, it is already very clear to many of the importance of vision and mission statements. Once these are clear, then difficulties will be viewed as challenges to be overcome. Otherwise, they are just excuses and obstacles people use to avoid responsibilities.

In majority of the history, the task of finding suitable partners is not done by either of the partner. Owning a home, or having financial security first are ridiculous ideas, conflicting with the wisdom in the proverb 成家立业 (establish a family, then build a legend).

I hope the government stop losing themselves in trying to solve such trivial issues by not clearly stating the correct understanding of why marriage. By the way, let me pre-empt by saying that why marriage is NOT for population sizes, nor national prosperity.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cash out from SocialSpark!

Announcing the first cash out made from SocialSpark: ... The current earnings from SocialSpark is 40.70 + 36 (pending payments).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - Middle man

Cyclists are in the middle between pedestrians and drivers. We to the pedestrians is like drivers to us, and we to the drivers is like pedestrians to us. Thus, I again stress the important of any efforts to make better the cycling facilities MUST consult the cyclists, especially those who are also quite often a driver and a pedestrian.

In my early days of cycling, I hated pedestrians who ... like to stand in front of me when waiting for the green man to cross a road. I hated because they are delaying my time. At the same time, I found myself like to stop in front of cars at junctions. I stop in front so that drivers are aware of me, and since they have faster speed, I am not delaying much of their time.

However, later, I realized I was wrong. Looking at it from the opposite, it is better for pedestrians to be in front of me so that I am aware of them. It is not about faster or slower speeds, it is about length of traveling time, and therefore, the same amount of time delayed in percentage to a pedestrian (5 minutes of walking journey), a driver (20 minutes journey), and me as a cyclist (typically >30 minutes ride) is decreasing.

Recently, a common complain by pedestrians about cyclists on pavement is they zoomed pass me so closely. The same have been my initial experience on roads. I find cars are passing me so close and fast. Later, I realized that it is my own fear and not-trusting attitude towards drivers' judgments that gives rise to such feelings.

Slowly, I learned to trust that drivers did not drive pass me close and fast. It is more likely that they have judged that it is safe before they drove pass me. Similarly, I make sure that there is sufficient space and either the pedestrian is aware of me, or he/she is very unlikely to suddenly move sidewards before I overtake them slowly. Nevertheless, many of them were still shocked, and very likely I had been cursed and scolded by many of them.

Virtually all cyclists are pedestrians, and many are also drivers. Furthermore, as a cyclists on road and on pavements, we experience similar feelings of pedestrians and drivers, respectively, Thus, please do seek feedbacks and comments from cyclists.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Old cult

I came across the phrase "a new cult" somewhere totally non-religious related. However, before knowing what it means, I thought of something. Is there such a thing as an old cult? I guess ... no.

Only new group of beliefs invite others to label and name it as a cult, and here I am using the negative meaning of the word cult. If a group is correctly a cult, then it won't have the chance to become old. If a group does become old, it is probably not a cult. Furthermore, when it is old enough, it would have proven itself as a proper religion.

That is, all religions are old enough cults.

PS: I saw the phrase in the a news article about a gift given to the US President Bush from the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and President of The Council of European Union Janez Jansa.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Look deeper

Recently there is a study and the focus is on Indians are ignorant about sex till age 15. From the western perspective, this is a problem, but is it?

If a kid body temperature is found to be 37.8 degrees Celsius, it is an issue from the western medicine perspective, but is it? During the SARS in 2003, guidelines were given to disallowed children with fever to go to school. However, there were a number of kids were being kept away from school for many days because their daily temperature ranges much higher than the "normal" 37 degrees. Later, it was recognized that ... although their measured temperatures were higher than 37 degrees, they are not having fever nor feeling unwell.

So, what's going on? We should not just look at numbers and forget about the context. The normal 37 degrees is an average derived from observations, but not based on theory. For a person who is not similar to those being observed, or even for an individual among those observed, we shouldn't insist that the person normal temperature be that average.

Another example, if there were a study on general knowledge regarding winter, I am quite sure that Singaporeans will have extremely low scores. However, this will not be a worry because such knowledge is not relevant in Singapore, unless the weather changes drastically. Put it another way, it is not that Singaporeans have failed to acquire winter knowledge or Singapore education system has overlooked this area, but the circumstances here doesn't require us to know so much about winter.

So, what does the result Indians are ignorant about sex till age 15 suggest? Does it suggest that Indians are in danger because of this ignorant? Does it mean the India education system is behind time? I seriously don't think so. It should reflect that in India, most people do not need to worry about these knowledge because they are relatively much safer than the western world as they are not too affected by the bad influences from the sexual revolution since the 60's [yet].

Thus, the alarm is that how could we delay or avoid the influence of the terrible sexual revolution?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Recycling" unwanted items in Dungeon Runners

Before I begin talking about this video game, let me admit that I am super behind time in regards to video games. I can still enjoy those historic ones such as Space Invaders and Galaxies.

One of the most successful game types is MMORPG, massively multiplayer action role-playing games. I believe DOOM is among the very first ones, and the only one that I have my hands on, but ... only for a few minutes. I must also say that I was at a non-graphical terminal of a Mini computer. Nevertheless, I guess I am just not the type to enjoy such games, sorry.

Unknown-1Dungeon Runners is the post-apocalyptic survival MMORPG about one man and his pony. For fans and gamers who like the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with purchasing a box, Dungeon Runners retail box will be hitting store shelves very soon. Players can access the new Bling Gnome sidekicks1, that help you collect loot and, ahem, ‘process’ your gold. This magical Bling Gnome eats unwanted items and turns them into gold. Hmmm, this is one of the many things that such games can fulfil players' fantasies that are otherwise impossible in the real world.

Feel free to tell others, including me, how you find the game.
"Dungeon Runners plays better than most pay-to-play MMOs, and therefore deserves attention." — GameDaily
1 Available only with the boxed version of Dungeon Runners.
Sponsored by Dungeon Runners

We need Actions Against AIDS?

When asked about the results of his fight against Aids,
“We have hardly moved from the time we began 20 years ago. The number of infected people has been growing. The trend these last few years shows a jump which is alarming — 357 in 2006, up from 317 the year before,” he (DR ROY Chan) says. Last year, the figure shot up to 422.
Three things — HIV sufferers need help to buy expensive retroviral drugs, employers must not discriminate against employees who contract HIV, and three, educational programmes must reinforce the drive for safe sex.
1. I have mentioned before, he and his Action For Aids is not fighting against AIDS. He is fighting ... for the wellbeing of people with HIV/AIDS.

2. Instead of admitting that the approach is not working, many other things were being said, with implications existence of intolerance, discrimination, inappropriate laws, etc.

3. The first two things mentioned have nothing to do in fighting against AIDS. These are about the wellbeing of people with HIV/AIDS.

4. There is no such thing as safe sex! Sex has always been dangerous in terms of viral infections. That's why it should only be done between life trusting people, i.e. husband and wife.

5. I further feel that the possibility of safer sex due to another not exactly related technology in contraception, started and caused the spread of many STDs. Thus, promoting safer sex cannot be the way to go.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - Cycling path

Actually, I am not too supportive about having cycling paths. I like to see more cycling friendly infrastructures, and also more pedestrian friendly ones. I feel that cycling path is not necessary cycling friendly, nor promote safety for pedestrians.

More importantly, it also gives a false sense of security. A danger for cycling on pedestrian path is ... being out of the concern area of drivers, which is also a danger for cycling on cycling paths. Another results I guess is for cyclists to speed on cycling paths.

Also, with cycling path, there will be a new problem: getting cyclists to be patience with pedestrians who may walk on them for whatever good or bad reasons. Some friends have experienced being pushed, or having cyclists sped by them very closely because they were walking on the cycling paths in Berlin unknowingly.

I really hope efforts are directed to achieving safety for all, instead of just simply implement or build something to please either the pedestrian and/or the motorists.

Personally, I think by simply making the left most lane more cyclists friendly, by slight widening it or removing bumpiness due to those holes for water to flow off the road, is good enough for me. This won't irritate the pedestrians and reduce the challenge for vehicles to overtake cyclists on the road.

Another cheaper way is to identify and label certain pedestrian paths very unsuitable for cycling based on criteria such as high human traffic, wide left most lane, or a narrow pedestrian path, etc., and allow cyclists use the unlabeled ones, w/o the need to spend unnecessary resources to build cycling paths.

Hope they allow cyclists the choice of using either the road, the cycling path, OR those suitable pedestrian paths, but not force cyclists off the road altogether. Thus, for roads w/o cycling path or suitable pedestrian path for cycling, the message would become road is the only place for bicycle.

PS: the above are modified from my comments on the posts, Cycling in Singapore: The Northside goes One Up against the Eastside and One Less Car: One More Step to Marginalisation, where I found this page with literatures that also suggest the danger of having cycling paths.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Did someone accidentally set their price too high?

My Google Adsense income just passed another small little milestone, now at ... US$2.02. I think I have forgotten to blog about it when it passed the 1 dollar mark.However, it wasn't due to my traffic, but some very highly paying advertisements, and I don't quite understand how did it happen. I mean, did some advertiser accidentally set their pricing wrongly?

Friday, June 27, 2008

How do computers socialize?

Just a couple of days ago, I attended a talk about fMRI and the speaker mentioned the difference between brain and computer. Both have different levels, from quantum mechanics to computer networks in the computer technology, and from biochemistry to sociology, which is about how people relate to each other. However, the main difference is that in computer, each level is affecting mainly its neighboring levels. Whereas in the brain, a cup of coffee triggers some biochemical responses that will affect how a person responds to others subsequently. Also, on listening to a sad piece of news may trigger some biochemical responses.

The era of computer is quite short, yet to reach a century. Yet, there were vast technological improvements in all levels from quantum mechanics and material engineering to architecture, software and computer networks. Unlike the brain, we don't need to know all levels of the computer ... in order to work with it. Currently, even though computer networks have been in lime light since the birth of Internet about two decades ago, this is still a very hot and potential area. Thus, for people interested in walking down an IT career path, this is a very important subject to study.

Cisco certification offers the environment to equip one with knowledge and skills from entry level IP Connectivity, to associate level such as Security, professional level such as Service Provider, expert ones such as Storage Networking, and specialist certifications like Unified Communications.

My basic degree is in computer science. However, I realized a little late that you don't have to be a computer scientist to ride on the then uprising IT industry. Yet, holding on to one certification is not enough. The continuously changing IT industry requires one to be always learning. At this moment, and in the many years to come, I believe knowledge on how computers socialize -- computer network technologies, is very valuable.

Sponsored by Cisco

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - costs

Initially, I bought a used bicycle at S$50 for short distance cycling between Clementi and NUS. I didn't notice that it had 24" wheels, but I also didn't know the implication of it. Anyway, the bicycle was stolen, or should I say taken away as I vaguely remember that I might have locked it wrongly.

By then, I was cycling to everywhere I go, and realized that I was losing patience waiting for buses for just a couple of minutes. Thus, I immediately advertised on bbs for another bicycle with a budget of $50. After a week there were two offers ... , a racer for $90 and a MTB for $70. Insisting on my budget of $50, I waited for another week, which I regretted, because each week I waited cost me ~$20 on transport then. So I decided to get the 26" Shimano MTB at $70, which had been bought at $400 a few years ago according to the seller. Racer and bikes with narrow wheels are not suitable for normal roads.

However, the bicycle didn't actually cost $70 only. As it hadn't been used for some time, some parts are retiring. First, the tubes and tyres. Next, the pedal axel. Following, the very rusty chain broke off. Over the subsequent months, costs of replacing these parts soon exceeded the original cost of $70. In addition, there were further spending on peripherals such as lights, pump, gloves, etc. However, taking into account the transportation costs that I have saved, there is net saving.

Assuming transportation cost of $20/week, I estimated at $1000/year expenses on transportation. Lets say half is used for replacing wear-out parts, and half for replacing bicycle if stolen, I thought I could afford to lose 5 bicycles per year. That never happens. Thus, I should have saved about $1000 per year over all these years, and is increasing as the public transport fares have been rising while bicycle spare parts have not. A normal 26" MTB tube has been priced at $5 since more than a decade ago.

By the way, I am still riding on the $70 bike regularly. More accurately, only the frame, handle bar, handle bar holder, saddle-bar, left side brake level, gear level and a broken right pedal leg-holder are still intact. All other parts have been replaced: fork, rims, pedals, pedal hand, pedal axel, chain, gear, saddle, brake mechanism, right side brake level and of course those more easily worn out parts such as tubes, tyres, brake/gear cables, brakes and handle cushion. Pardon me as I don't know the proper names for most of these parts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Energy saving and portable energy improves living standards

Although I don't call myself an environmentalist, I do want to use less energy. Energy saving is my top priority in selecting my refrigerator three years ago. This, and also water saving will be my main criteria for my yet to get washing machine. Thus, I am curious to find out more about these Dirt Devil AccuchargeTM vacuums that are Energy Star approved.

5238dd240x180publicOn further research, I am surprised to find only ... two brands have their hand held vacuum cleaning products Energy Star approved! Dirt Devil claims theirs is the first approved products in this category, while the other brand didn't mention so. However, I find it interesting that both technology starts with the same 4 letters "Accu".

By the way, if any blogger who is reading this and resides in the US is interested to blog abou this product, you may participate in their contest by creating the most clever or outrageous story and post it before 4:00 p.m. EDT on July 9, 2008, to win a Dirt Devil AccuCharge prize pack valued at $109.98. For complete contest details please visit read this e-document.

With better battery and charging technology, my dream of staying in the nature and still able to work using Internet is getting more real each day. I think this should be a very marketable product: a multipurpose and easily portable battery that can provide power for different electronic equipment.

Sponsored by Dirt Devil AccuCharge

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It's getting more difficult to stay home

This blog title, Trying to stay home.... interests me. In the blogosphere, there are many moms, and specifically stay at home moms. I thought historically it is natural and right for moms to stay at home. However, this modern, or should I said twisted world ... is making it so difficult for moms to stay at home.

My wife recently mentioned to me she felt her native country Malaysia seems to be lagging behind because her Malaysia friends find it strange that why isn't she working as if she is supposed to work. Whereas here, most will envy her for being able to stay at home.

Nevertheless, staying at home doesn't mean not earning money :) Many moms in the blogosphere will agree.

However, earning money shouldn't be the focus. What's importance is our contribution to the society and world. To us, investing in the upbringing of our children is much more valuable than earning money. Unless, the job or work one does outside benefits the world and society in a greater and significant way, such as running a charity.

Monday, June 23, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - be calm

Just read about the incident of a driver hitting up a cyclist. This reminds me of one of my rare encounter with a driver.

I was cycling along Bukit Timah Road on my way to NTU on morning. At a junction along either Upper Bukit Timah or Jalan Jurong Kechil where I needed to ride straight, I turned and check the traffic behind. A car was behind. I observed for about 5 seconds and since there isn't any ... left signal light blinking, I continued riding forward. Then, I noticed the driver actually wanted to make a left turn, and he tried to make the turn in front of me. I have always been angry towards such driving manner, and thus, judging that he was in good control of the car, I purposely and slowly continued riding across the front of his halfway left turning car, forcing him to stop and wait for me to purposely delay him.

Regretably, I also raised my hand, but not all fingers pointing up (I hope readers know what I meant :P) which made him very angry. He immediately and with high engine revolution rate, U-turned his car and cut me off slightly further up the road. He got off the car and angrily walked towards me.

Knowing that I was wrong to raised my hand without all fingers point up, I quickly apologized to him for my earlier gesture. Luckily, this worked and he seemed more calm and asked me why did I do that. I firmly told him that I was angry because he didn't turn on left turn signal before making a left turn, and furthermore making a left turn in front of me!

Surprisingly, he was satisfied with my answer, returned to his car and drove off. I was lucky he didn't beat me up :)

Retrospectively, I imagine what this incident was from that driver perspective. He was patiently, or almost running out of patience waiting for me before making the left turn. He noticed that I turned back and saw his car, and probably felt that it should be safe for him to make the left turn, and so he did. Then, shockingly, I seemed to purposely forced him to stop and rode straight ahead even though I knew he was behind me. All these might be just an insignificant encounter since there wasn't any contact, but my gesture made him very furious.

Thus, I think similar misunderstanding might have happened to the above cyclist, and it wasn't the misunderstanding, nor the almost but didn't occur accident, but the inappropriate gestures that had caused further risks.

That driver might have expected the cyclist to give way, and became very angry and turned aggresive to defend himself and his supposingly weaker passengers, who may be his family, since to him, it might have seem like the cyclist was challenging him down to clash it out.

I learned that to remain calm and courteous on road, normally or otherwise, is very very important.

Being different has a price

Someone called kishore who is interested in collecting new cracked mobile softwares for nokia mobiles invited me to visit his blog on s60v3 applications. Happily I paid a visit there but sadly I read about an online TV application that supports on all NOKIA N-SERIES mobiles with resolution 240x320. And supports on N95, N93 and N82.

What!!! N80 is not supported? If it was due to older model, I am fine with that. However, it was about ... resolution, and not that N80 has a lower resolution. Instead, N80 has a higher but too uniquely kind of resolution: 352x416. First I encounter this was the application pfingo, and now this!

I don't think it is difficult to make such applications work on a higher resolution, but I know it is not about technical difficulty. It is more about commercial profitability.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Footsteps of Paul

One way to empower ourselves is to follow the footsteps of those who are great. Usually, this means following the internal thoughts and wisdoms. Nevertheless, it is also good to follow the external path physically as it should enhance our appreciation of those great people.

According to the Holy Bible, a great man who worked very hard to establish what is now known as the Christian faith, but was still a sect then, is Apostle Paul. I came across Christian Cruises, where one of its itineraries is planned according to Acts 27-28 on Apostle Paul's journey from Italy to Rome ... , from 16 to 26 July 2008, from USA, or optionally post-trip extension to Paul's Malta until 30 July 2008.

I did a search and extracted from the NIV Bible the places Apostle Paul had passed by:
  • Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy...
  • Acts 27:2 We boarded a ship from Adramyttium...
  • Acts 27:3 The next day we landed at Sidon...
  • Acts 27:4 ... passed to the lee of Cyprus...
  • Acts 27:5 ... across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia.
  • Acts 27:7 ... we sailed to the lee of Crete, opposite Salmone.
  • Acts 27:8 ... came to a place called Fair Havens, near the town of Lasea.
  • Acts 27:13 ... sailed along the shore of Crete.
  • Acts 27:16 As we passed to the lee of a small island called Cauda...
  • Acts 27:27 ... we were still being driven across the Adriatic1 Sea...
  • Acts 28:1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.
  • Acts 28:13 ... arrived at Rhegium... we reached Puteoli.
  • Acts 28:16 When we got to Rome...
This Christian Cruise is on an authentic sailing vessel with all the activities and amenities found on a private yacht. The group will enjoy the privacy of a Christ-centered family itinerary and teachings. Some interesting places being visited are Pergamum which is an important 7 churches site, Ephesus where Paul delivered one of his most moving sermons, the actual cave in Patmos where John had been banished and received the Book of Revelation, and much, much more! I guess most importantly is that there are also Bible teachings on board and on shore by top Bible speakers.

They also have other Christian Cruises itinerary such as The Exodus: Retracing the footsteps of Moses.

1 An area extending well south of Italy.

My cycling in Singapore experiences - falls

I thought I didn't have many falls, but when I think back, I recall quite a number of them. Unbelievable! Both in managing to recall so many falls, and my not too bad memory. Thus, I won't bother to list all those near fall incidents. There must be many, and most of them didn't leave impression. I shall only mention those that I have impression. I tried to list them chronologically, but I couldn't remember clearly when each of them happened.

Looking at the long list, I shall only blog about them one at a time. Probably this list can be used as the table of contents, but before I think of proper titles, I'll just put down some keywords to help me remember ... .

  1. Changi Village, racer, car, before the current cycling era
  2. Kim Keat Avenue Blk 256 void deck, inexperienced
  3. Lor 5 Toa Payoh accident, against traffic
  4. Causeway near Malaysia Customs, straight on to the dividing kerb, indecisive
  5. Clementi Road junction raining spectacles breaks, stupidity
  6. Lornie road, rain, skid, most near death case
  7. Lor 7 Toa Payoh, fainted
  8. Near Cathay Cinema, indecisive, inexperience
  9. Slipped behind HDB in Whampoa due to oily liquid, fate
  10. Little India, different traffic culture, poor maintenance
  11. pot hole in grass patch at South East of Toa Payoh and West Coast Park
  12. AMK Ave 8 outside MRT racer taxi, poor maintenance
  13. Approaching Khatib MRT twisted metal rod
  14. Yio Chu Kang & Lentor accident, quite near death
  15. Kallang River Park connector, poor maintenance, most badly hurt

Friday, June 20, 2008

No free lunch? How about music?

Yes! Get free music at Sites and Sounds! That's what this very recently (May 2008) started blog is about: to bring you cool music and sites from around the web. Here are some tracks available for downloading ... that are featured on the sites are:
  • By Jeff Merchant - Li’l Miss Riding Hood / Landlord Song / Sick Of It / You Can’t Save Me
  • By Megaphone - Not your Enemy / Stain / Drama Queen
  • By Louise Mosrie - Complicated / Rockslide / Never Gonna be the one
  • By Chester Bennington - Let Down
  • By Jason Silver - Time will Tell / Lover’s Road
  • By Assembly of Dust - BootLegger’s Advice / Grand Design / Lone Tree / Leadbelly
  • By Eric Nicholas - Lost inside your Eyes / Song for my Future Wife
  • By Billie the Vision & The Dancers - Absolutely, Salutely
I am sure you will find more when you visit Sites and Sounds.

Frankly, I am not into music and art. I am much better in mathematics. Nevertheless, I think I have picked up more knowledge about music last few years by watching those singing/talent competition shows with emphasis on judges' comments. I supposed it all started by the American Idol show.

I would love to have the lyrics together with the songs. Hope they can have a section on lyrics, or are there copyrights issue for lyrics?

PS: Not only did I Discover New and Free music at Sites and Sounds, I also discovered TimeTube - Timeline for YouTube, which I find quite interesting.

Sponsored by Sites and Sounds

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Try sneezing with your mouth tightly covered

The article, Taming volcanoes, in world-science.net, a researcher pro­poses dump­ing lime­stone blocks in the way of stream­ing la­va as a way to slow it down, lim­it its reach and save lives.

Good idea? I don't think so. Imagine someone is going to ... sneeze, and in order to save the people around from exposing to what he is going to expelled out into the air, lets stuff cloth into his mouth! What would happen? He probably will still sneeze. However, since the mouth is blocked, whatever needed to be expelled from his body has got to go through other channels, such as the nose, ears, and even the eyes! This guy won't be happy with this!

I bet the Earth and Mother Nature would not like to be treated this way too!

It is not volcanoe eruptions that kill lives, but the lack of freedom, be it political or otherwise, for people to choose to live away from volcanoes.

Just as the recent earthquake in China. Which kills more people: the earthquake, or the badly built schools? I am curious to know how many animals are killed?

I think from science, we understand more about nature so that we can live with it, but not to distort it for our selfish conveniences.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - dog chase

This is quite uncommon to me. Most of the time I ride on main roads that have regular traffic and not too quiet.

The only time I was madly chased by dogs was along Woodlands Road towards Causeway. Once I was going to Johor Bahru late night by bicycle. There are industrial buildings besides Woodlands Road. These places are ... dark and quiet at night, and the there usually equip with fierce strong large dogs to guard the facilities. It was the first, and could be the only time I rode on this road at night. In fact, it was close to midnight.

With no other cars on the road, dim street light, and I was enjoying the down slope, suddenly I heard barking of dogs. I turned and saw at least 3 to 4 huge black dogs sprinting towards me. Although the common knowledge is not to run when there are dogs around, but I was already traveling at a speed faster than running, should I stop? I decided that I should be able to out run these dogs, and sped forward.

Lucky for me, but sorry for the fastest dog that catch up and touch my bike or rear wheel, I just managed to escape safely. My heart was beating very fast. Later when I thought about the encounter, I don't think I rode faster than the dogs. I think what happened should be that either I managed to ride out of their territory before they reached me, or the first dog was injured when it attacked my fast spinning wheel.

I also have ridden around some estates in Johor late at night. My personal experience regarding dogs is not to ride into their territory quietly, but create some noise in advance. It seems to me having lights and sounds, and non-accelerating speed help. My reasoning is that given advance notice and sufficient time for the dogs to assess the situation and recognize what is approaching, they will not find it necessary to be aggressive and chase me. I imagine that when a dog suddenly realize something is moving very near to its territory, it doesn't have time to think, and will instinctively turn aggressive and attack the assumed aggressor.

Monday, June 16, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - time rebates

This is expanded from a comment on MrBrown's blog entry Oh you ride bicycle ah? No money buy car, issit?.

For more than a decade, I have been hearing and getting looks that say, "Oh you ride bicycle ah? No money issit?" and sad to say, I can't deny it 100% :(

However, it is ... what led me to cycling? time that led me to cycling.

And absolutely, yes, it is FUN because it is terribly not fun to wait for bus, wait for train, and walk another few more minutes to and from busstops and train stations. Indeed, after few months, once my tyre, or more correctly, tube punctured, I flagged a taxi when I had gotten impatient because the bus hadn't arrived after I waited for 5 minutes!

Once, I drove my brother's car for a few days to NUS while he was overseas. Although it took me only about 20 minutes from my door to reach campus, but another few very slow minutes circling around carpark looking/waiting for parking slots. I think I can get to NUS in roughly 35-40 minutes.

I am no environmentalist, or health nut, or bicycle athlete. Nevertheless, I was touched by a Professor in Hong Kong rides instead of drives because of his concerns for the environment.

Coming back to the topic of time, it is precious. Thus, many people are doing something while they are traveling, be it listening to MP3 while walking or driving, or playing games or SMSing on a bus or train. However, most of these activities are not that necessary, and can be done if given the time and not necessarily during commuting. In short, these activities are mainly to kill time :)

Whereas for cycling, it is an exercise by itself, and we are being encouraged to exercise regularly. However, many people find it difficult and taxing to squeeze time out to exercise. That's why during the few years when I rode 80 minutes weekly to and from NTU (my route), I classify the time as part of my weekly exercise time. So, I didn't spend a single minute in traveling to NTU = it took me 0 mintue to reach there = this is as fast as a teleportal machine :)

Nevermind if people want to call it Ah-Q spirit, or creative accounting.

If you like it clean and green

How do you avoid spending energy on cleaning? Get a maid? Get the dog to lick? Or do you just avoid cleaning all together? I guess the last answer suits me. Wouldn't my house be very dirty? Not really. I just have a higher dirt tolerance threshold, and thus the house will still be cleaned by ... those with lower dirt tolerance. Sorry to say, that would refer to my wife. I believe this is quite common.

Nevertheless, regardless of who is doing the job, it still has to be done. Then, vacuum cleaner is a common choice, and the new technology by Dirt Devil is the product to choose: AccuchargeTM.
For those who dread the long wire, it is cordless! For those who enjoy cleaning, it has long battery life! For those who have little time to wait, its battery charges up 2 times faster! For those who feel guilty to the earth, it utilizes 70% less energy!

Indeed, it is the first cordless vacuums to earn Energy Star® approval! In addition, I feel that it is reasonably priced at only US$44.99 and US$59.99 for the Hand Vac and Stick Vac, respectively.

And I like their slogan in the short video: Go green... and get it clean!

Sponsored by Dirt Devil AccuCharge

Re-considering my first job - as a tutor

I have found my backup income! Quoting from the report, Singapore emerging as 'tuition nation'
Physics tutor Phang Yu Hon has nearly 90 students and earns nearly 20,000 Singapore dollars (15,000 US dollars) a month, the report said. The 41-year-old gave up his research engineering job in 1994.
Probably without word of mouth, I imagine can get ~20 students and monthly ~S$ ... 4000 is quite nice. All thanks to the high pressure by teachers, who unshamefully asking parents to get tutors for their kids. Anyone interested for a mathematics tutor may check out my answers at Yahoo!Answers.

It isn't just the money. 20 students/week at 1.33 students/session, 5 days/week and 2 hours/session means about 3 sessions/day for 5 days/week, or about only 30 hour work-week.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My cycling in Singapore experiences - From Clementi to Toa Payoh

A reply from Paul Barter to my comments about cycling within NUS led me to www.bikely.com, where I found a not-tested route posted on www.bikely.com, and commented on it. Let me also share here how I would ride from Clementi to Toa Payoh ... .

My current preferred route is by Commonwealth Avenue West, North Buona Vista Road, Holland Road, Farrer Road, Dunearn Road, Chancery Lane, Thomson Road, cross at junction on to the footpath to cross the PIE, into Toa Payoh.

Other alternatives that I have tried and my findings are:
a) Using the Ulu Pandan Park Connector, entering from Clementi Avenue 4 or Clementi Road. There is a need to cross at the Ulu Pandan and Clementi Road traffic junction. I will use it if I have time to relax and enjoy some fresh air. I don't use it often because I dislike mounting/unmounting during my journey.

b) By Adam Road, Lornie Road, Thomson Road, Toa Payoh rise. This way seems longer as it leads to a bit too North relative to Toa Payoh. However, the main reason is the high degree of difficulty and risk in riding over an entrance into and an exit from PIE along Adam Road. The advantage is the ride along the wide footpath besides Macritchie Reservoir Park, which has a lengthy down slope, and easily make a short visit to the park.

c) In the earlier days when I was mainly familier with roads traveled by buses I took, from Lornie road, I would turn into Bradell Road instead, which is even further, as I didn't know that I can enter Toa Payoh from its west edge.

d) Sometimes, probably bored of the same roads, I would continue on Holland Road to Napier Road, Tanglin Road, Orchard Road, Scotts Road, Newton Road, Thomson Road. Usually in the evening/night time when there are people and happenings to watch and make the ride less monotonous. Also, these roads are less stressful except a little tricky to continue on Scotts Road instead of riding into Stevens Road, or to cross the traffic light at Stevens Road, which I dislike.

e) From Dunearn Road into Whitley Road and Mt Pleasant Road. The disadvantages are the part across the PIE exit along Whitley Road, and the Mt Pleasant Road is too quiet and thus dangerous for night riding, while the alternate short stretch of PIE seems safer but it is illegal to ride on. On Whitley road, I had to wait patiently for a no-traffic slot, otherwise it is very dangerous. Also need to beware of the Merryn Road opening. By Mt Pleasant Road is scary in the dark and dangerous too as drivers seldom expect cyclists on this quiet road.

f) For a couple of times, from Chancery Lane, I continued on Dyson Road, which is very steep, cross Whitley Road, which is risky due to fast traveling vehicles speeding up for PIE, or those that just exit from PIE, across the quiet heavy vehicle carpark below PIE, and turn right towards Thomson Road.

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