Sunday, 30 October 2011

Five Days in Little Macau



Random things around Macau. 


Five days in macau and not a single hand played. Where's the chinese blood in me?!

Macau reminds me of Limerick - there is only one club, Cubic, worth going to in the whole town. I honestly won't use the word "city" here. 


Having authentic Portuguese food in a quaint little Portuguese restaurant reminds me of all the delicious tummy-satisfying food I had in Europe, especially Spain. Sangria has got to be one of my favourite drinks of all time. 


The Venetian Macau spent so much money on the water bill for the gondola rides but have cheap-stake looking wallpaper on the ceilings. It's always in the details, my dear. 


"There is a doc around the corner". The "doc" turned out to be a nasty tasting cup of Chinese medicine that could be classified as WOMD. To the unread, it's weapons of mass destruction.


W: "A pair of binoculars! Which neighbour are you spying on?"
M: "I think it's a cultural thing. In the West, people always relate binoculars with nature and bird watching, for example. Here, they assume it's gotta do with spying".
W: "There are only buildings and roads outside your apartment. Is that what one call nature nowadays?"


W: I can't eat this penguin bun! I will feel guilty. *but my guilt flew out of the windows as soon as I took a bite*

Sunday, 23 October 2011

夜上海

Wii: What's the smell?
Thibault: China.

If you think Singapore's mrt is crowded, come experience what it means to be crushed in Shanghai's metro. You count yourself lucky if you had breathing space. 

I'm staying a metro stop away from work but the journey takes me a good 30 minutes. I think I'll stick to taxis and save my feet the agony.


Shanghai got me. :) And my beloved red shoes. :(

An 18-foot long aquarium with baby nurse sharks in a club; that's what we call partying in style.

I caught a ballet by Béjart Ballet Lausanne at the grand-looking Cultural Center. Male dancers taking center stage. Throbbing abs prancing around the stage.  It's an understatement to say the ballet is a gay man's wet dream.

A ferris wheel ride brought back childhood memories for Thibault and Victor. I feel like a mum.

I love how I don't know anyone in Shanghai's office and yet, have company for lunch almost everyday.

When I have all but lost hope in finding 永和豆浆, I stumbled upon it in a dark alley. Mum used to say "Do not go into dark alley by yourself!" I'm not one for always being an obedient daughter. ;)

Many wondered what purpose the fruit platters in the club served. Now, the mystery is revealed! You put the fruits into your glass to differentiate which is whose. Only the Chinese can think of such simple, yet smart, ideas. 


Seasonal Look


Another one? Is the Gmail SW team targeting one new look per season to keep up with the fashion trends? 

Just Fly & Shut Up

My SQ flight from Shanghai back to SG was marred by the pilot announcing United's embarrassing defeat. When did pilots become sports commentators? Mr Kam said it was a value-added service. In the future, I just want my pilots to concentrate on the auto-pilot flight mode. Thank you very much.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

We Eat Then We Sue



Samsung and Google unveil "Ice Cream Sandwich" smartphone, Galaxy Nexus, amidst a glitzy event in Hong Kong. The new amazing Face Unlock feature failed to activate the Galaxy Nexus during a demonstration though. Way to go, whichever-team-whose-heads-will-roll







(Pic from Followmefoodie)

You're Sold

“If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” 


Dennis Goedegebuure 


Most don't realise how they are being sold again and again. Sad but true - the former and the latter. 

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Choice Is Yours. Not.

You said I had a choice. Then you said the choice has been made. Then why pretend I had a choice?

Then again, that's work, isn't it? Aargh!

Friday, 14 October 2011

You Know You're in China When...

You know you're in China when..

You spent 10 minutes waiting for Tweetdeck to update "Foggy Shanghai skies. Dislike. The memo about who's in town must have gotten lost in the mail. Should have used DHL instead of pigeon mail..." and then you foolishly remembered Facebook and Twitter are not welcome here.

Important Difficult Decisions

The most important decisions are always difficult, just like how the most difficult ones are important.

Monday, 10 October 2011

I Own This Place

A crab crawled out from the toilet of my resort room and it acted like it owned the place." These are some of the things one can say to "showoff" how awesome the vacation had been.

Sometimes, I Amaze Not Only Myself


If I said I went river walking in Moalboal, you'll asked two questions.

1. What's river walking?
2. You?!

To answer your first question:
A picture speaks a thousand words. In short, river walking includes but is not limited to over four hours of climbing rocks, paddling against rapids, crawling along caves, jumping into crystal clear freshwater, sliding down boulders - both intentional and not, avoiding spiders and crabs, gazing at gorgeous waterfalls, getting wounded by sharp rocks and saying a lot of prayers! The non-stop journey finished with a most appreciated delicious freshly-prepared meal of chicken, fish, rice, and an unknown-but-to-die-for gravy. The scars from the pic are not mine - thank goodness - but I have some war wounds of my own.

To answer your second question:
Yes, me. Sometimes, I amaze not only myself. ;)

*Disclaimer: The unglam boots are not mine! One would expect better from me. 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Everyone Wants to Be Funny, Smart and Beautiful

Because if smart women who know how smart they are intimidate men (and they do), and beautiful women who know how beautiful they are intimidate men (and they do), there is, logically, nothing more intimidating than a woman who is fully aware that she is both smart and beautiful. I mean, maybe a room full of tigers with machine guns - that could be scarier. 


Or, a smart and beautiful lady who makes jokes.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Retrolicious Concert

Retrolicious concert at Fort Canning sees Chewy and I dressing the theme. Printed tee, checked. High waisted shorts, checked. Dazzling jewellery, checked. Dressing the part is half the fun!

Berlinda Carlisle is not hot as before but she got Jessica and I grooving for a good hour. I'm surprised I remembered most of her songs and we're not just talking about the chorus. Bananarama and Human League brought back so much memories. Oh, those Mambo-Jumbo nights. One always wishes she remained 19. ;)

Too bad Weihao was stuck in camp and missed the sweaty crowd. Then again, it may be a blessing in disguise. 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Same Same But Different

I am aways happy whenever I step out of a hair salon, Chewy is always unhappy when she steps out of a hair salon.

Same parents, different daughters. Same same but different. ;)

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.


Steve Job's death coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness month which brought back memories of mum. Both of them had their lives taken away too quickly. A pity but life's full of irony.

When one mentions "Steve Job", it's almost blasphemy not to mention "Apple". As much as I wanted to work for a creative and innovative company like Apple, I'll be honest here to say I was never a fan of Apple - this might be a bad move putting this online because an Apple recruiter might be reading this and given that it's well-known they like to hire fanboys (or fangirls, for that matter), he or she may then decide I can never work for the company. Privacy issues are the bane of everyone now, isn't it? And don't get me started on Facebook.

I've always felt that Apple can be a bit of a big bully at times - forcing app developers to adhere to the layers and layers of rules they have; insisting that the iPhone syncs to the Macbook, given if both products don't belong to the same owner; ; and among other things. But still, I respect it's creativity and innovation, and most importantly, how it makes all products "sticky" - a fanboy buys one thing after another, just because. Now that I work in a company also well-known for its creativity and innovation, I sometimes feel that the company is a bully at times too - monopolising the search arena; displaying ads EVERYWHERE - whether I like it or not; jeopardising one's career - difficult for me to explain in detail here without getting myself into a legal battle which I'll be at the losing end; among other things. But still, I am, for most part, proud to be part of this creative and innovative environment.

But I digress.

After reading the transcript of Job's speech at the Commencement of Stanford Class of '05 (nobody uses the word "convocation" anymore, my dear team lead- I hate it when someone corrects me when I'm correct), I felt overwhelmed.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.
This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Job put up a fight with cancer and a good one at that. He succumbed to it eventually but he dealt a few impressive punches back at the treacherous disease. When mum was diagnosed, she gave up. She was too scared to fight; fear and ignorance got the better of her. She didn't stand a chance. The first punch knocked her out of the ring. From time to time, I thought about how I would have reacted if a doctor breaks the news to me in the future. I would cry, that's for sure. But I'm also sure I'll say, "So you've wrapped your fingers around me now, let's see what you've got. I'm not going without a fight".

Like Job said, stay hungry, stay foolish.

Note: And I wear my pink ribbon proudly this month.

Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011



The world mourns, fanboy and non-fanboy alike. And finally, two rivals on the same page, for once. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Kong Ba Pau


A Kong Ba Pau is a Kong Ba Pau, no matter what fancy name (Asian Sliders) and fancy price ($22++) you assign it.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Smart Ones Know

And I get McDonald's delivered.

The smart ones know one doesn't have to lift a finger to have food on the table. ;)

Just Like Hollywood

Amanda Know freed - Another Hollywood movie in the making.


All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness: “I Like It On My Status Update”


By: Megan Gibson

Topics: , , , , ,

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and while breast cancer is most certainly a disease worthy of awareness and fund-raising, sometimes attempts at raising awareness are a little… peculiar.

Remember last year's Facebook campaign where all of your lady friends suddenly had status updates like “Black,” “Red,” or “Polka dots” and no one had any clue what was up? Oh, but then word got around that the updates were the bra colors of choice and the updates were meant to pique interest of those left out of the joke (read: males) in order to raise awareness about breast cancer. Um, ok?

While the logic of the trend didn't quite connect--does titillating (no pun intended) men lead to cancer awareness? Or does it just titillate men?--it did raise a lot of speculation for a few days and at least the updates were breast-related.

(See TIME.com's Faces of Breast Cancer.)

This year's Facebook awareness mission, however, is even more unusual.
You may have noticed several status updates in the past few days with phrases such as "I like it on the couch," or "I like it on the floor." These status updates aren't referencing creative places the updater likes to, well, you know. Instead these locations are the places that the updater likes to keep their... purse.

Seriously.

But by updating their status with such a mysteriously evocative statement, women are, um, arousing attention to the breast cancer campaign. Right?

To reiterate, there is nothing wrong with campaigning for breast cancer awareness (or any disease, for that matter). In fact, quite the opposite is true--the effects of successful campaigning for the disease has led to a significant reduction in the disease. Yet what exactly does provocatively saying where you like to keep your purse have to do with a horrible disease that has challenged millions of lives?

So as well-intentioned as some of these updates might be, they seem a little misguided. My guess is that interest in breast cancer isn't exactly what you'll be piquing.

(See "The Changing Face of Breast Cancer" from TIME.com)

Whatever Megan's opinion is, I like it on the bed. 

This is for you, Mummy.