Saturday, August 31, 2013

Being spoiled for choice on a Saturday...

Ah, Saturday. You could stay home and put your money on/sink your teeth into what's on the telly...

Campy, huh? You could go to the movies and watch a pawn show (sorry, NOT porn show, hor)...

Or go camping, Singapore-style, complete with a nearby hawker centre (at least it's Far From the MacDonald Crowd)...

To be fair to Singaporeans, camping has gone campy elsewhere too, like in Dusseldorf, Germany ...

Back to Saturday in Singapore... car dealers are using the "buy now, before the government makes changes to the Category A (the so-called 'Small Car') COE" sales pitch. So, go and drop by the car showrooms?...

Then again, if you have S$1,186,340 in small change, you might want to get yourself this "sexy animal" below, as your constant companion. That sticker price is before COE. But, if you are in this league, you wouldn't be worrying about impending COE policy tweaks anyway...

The only McLaren 12C Spider I can ever hope to own is the non-COE kind, like this little yellow Suzie which I had previously blogged about...

This little yella fella has big ideas, in the fashion of those bumper stickers that say "When I grow up, I want to be a Rolls Royce"...



But, really, if one is staying home on a Saturday, forget about the lousy shows on TV. Just read something that gives a warm fuzzy, like this...


There's good advice (a Chinese saying, it seems) about being happy!...

If you want to be happy for a day, get drunk;
a week, kill a pig; a month, get married;
for life, be a gardener.

Friday, August 30, 2013

What do you call a group of horses?

A herd of horses?

I thought the most interesting picture caption story today (Aug 30) was this one in TODAY:

Why so? The picture shows our foreign minister posing, with his Chinese counterpart, under a painting. The occasion was the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers Meeting, held in Beijing. I am sure the other nine ASEAN ministers were led -- separately of course -- to the same room, and asked to pose with Mr Wang Yi. I am only speculating but perhaps the picture of a horseman reining in some horses has significance to a Chinese audience. I repeat, I am only speculating.

But, interesting, some 20 years back, a Chinese scholar told me that when Nixon -- on his ground-breaking visit to China in 1972 -- was taken amid much pomp and fanfare to the Great Hall of the People to call on the Chinese leaders, with the Western and Chinese media in full attendance, cameras clicking away, the entrance that was used was the one for lower-ranking people. It looked grand enough, but the one that Mao and the other CCP bigwigs used was another one.

Was my ANU contemporary pulling my leg? I don't know.


Be careful, you may get what you ask for!

Great cartoon in ST...


Rock it, man!

I thought this science story in ST was pretty interesting too...

It's a No-brainer!

... as was this one too:

And I just love the quote!


I don't talk to horses, I'm a horse whisperer?

Finally, I was wondering what to call a collective of horses. I came across this online "exchange":

A: What is the collective noun for horses?

B: Herd of horses.

A: Of course I've heard of horses.

B: I mean a horse herd.

A: Why do I care what a horse heard? I don't talk to horses!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hey, thanks y'all, for sending me stuff!

Today is Contributors' Day, ie, the stuff here are mostly from people who sent items to me or have alerted me to items they know I would want to put on my  blog.

Nick knows I keep tabs on "...walked into a bar" jokes. He sent me this one recently:

The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.

He also sent me this link to more "Lost in Translation" photos:

From this same link is a short video featuring some of the obsolete words I had earlier posted under the "Englishables" header:

Meanwhile, KA snapped a pic of this bizarre scene:

And I don't suppose it has anything to do with this Facebook meme which Angie alerted me to:

 KA seems to be often in the right place at the right time for strange sightings, like this one...

 So, if life gives you lemons, send them to this laundry! Or, you can follow this wise bit of advice...

CC always has a wry sense of humour. He sent this pic below, supposedly of a no-parking/no-waiting zone somewhere in don't-mess-around-with-the-rules Britain. Don't miss the red-circled area (on the left-hand side)...

Still on the somewhat macabre subject of bodies left in limbo, there is this strange headline I spotted:

Lynn and Mike were at VivoCity and took these two pics:

 What's so interesting about these pics? One shows a collection of very expensive watches and the other shows a group of people gawking at a brand-new car on display. OK, I'll zoom in on the top right-hand corner of the car's windscreen...

 It seems that some of the watches on display cost more than the car!

Finally, I can't recall who sent these two pics but they are funny...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To all the taxi drivers I've encountered...

Today's blog entry is dedicated to our taxi drivers, some of whom drive us up the wall. Most, however, do a yeoman's service, and I salute them.

First, some taxi jokes:

Hotel guest: Hey, man! Please call me a taxi.
Hotel staff: Yes, sir, I'm happy to oblige. You are a taxi.

Wife: "If I hear another word from you I'm leaving and going to live with my mother!" Husband: "Taxi!"

While out cruising, the taxi driver misjudged a curve and drove his cab into the wall dividing the houses of a Mr. and Mrs. Smith and a Mr. and Mrs. Ball.
Thankfully, he was pulled out by the Smiths.

A man hires a taxi to take him to the Magistrates' Court. In front of the building the taxi driver asks, "What are you here for?"
"My bankruptcy trial," says the passenger, "you might as well come inside too."

A guy in a taxi wanted to speak to the driver so he leaned forward and tapped him on the shoulder. The driver screamed, jumped up in the air and yanked the wheel over. The car mounted the curb, demolished a lamppost and came to a stop inches from a shop window. The startled passenger said "I didn't mean to frighten you, just wanted to ask you something." Taxi driver says "Not your fault Sir. It's my first day as a cab driver, I've been driving a hearse for the past 25 years".


And, now, this local (true) taxi story:

Tales from a taxi driver: The strange people I meet

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

3 letters on how our schools impact their students.

Boy, am I glad I don't need to fret anymore about my children's schooling, since they are both adults now (actually, I don't recall fretting at all, at least not in the kiasu sense). The two girls went to our church's kindergarten; and their primary and secondary schools were also church-affiliated.

And I don't recall the terms "brand name schools" and "neighbourhood schools" being used. True, the kiasu parent had already emerged. One mother was shocked that Angie did not supervise our girls' homework; one father, watching one of our girls reading a story book beyond her level, snatched the book away to interrogate her just to find out if she really did understand the text. He walked off with his daughter, very troubled.

So, it was refreshing to find three well-considered letters in ST today (two from parents who only wanted their children to have a normal childhood). Still, their observations of today's schooling set-up and culture -- and the expectations imposed on school-age children -- is suggestive of the dreaded possibility that "the more things change, the more they will stay the same"...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ken Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity.

I have posted TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) video presentations on my blog. TODAY (Aug 26) published an article by TED's curator, Chris Anderson:

I thought his tips on framing one's story is very useful -- whether one is giving a spoken presentation, or writing an article or even a report...

...and also his tongue-in-cheek tips on "10 ways to ruin a presentation":

Let's put these tips to the test, and watch/listen to this TED talk, given by the well-known educationist Ken Robinson, on "How Schools Kill Creativity":

So, did he give a killer presentation?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The power of words, for better or for worse...

Words are indeed powerful; they can influence and shape our thoughts and feelings. I am sure anyone who reads these extracts below from a story about a socialite in today's Sunday Times (Aug 25) will -- from whatever point of view -- form his or her own opinion:

Here's another arguably vivid example of the power of words; but the setting could not have been more different. I say "arguably" because the video below is probably enacted by actors but the message is still compelling:


Not all words have a clarifying transforming power. An increasing array of empty buzzwords that dull our senses have already insinuated themselves into the English vocabulary. The British government is alarmed enough to start taking action:



So, how bad is the situation in Singapore? Bad, I'm afraid. This letter to The Sunday Times offers one glimpse:

The professionals themselves, who should know better, have become careless!...

Just what is a "teachable moment"? True, you'll find explanations of this silly phrase on the Internet but none is satisfactory. In this other example, the culprit is the headline writer, not the letter writer:

So, it seems, one can come up with any kind of "moment", like an "Oscar moment"... 

Taking it to the next level?...

Among all the offending buzzwords, I nominate "moving forward"/"going forward" as the worst!...

I shall be looking out for more such vacuous nonentities.