Monday, December 15, 2008


considering that i haven't been on a plane ever since i came back to Singapore over two years ago, it seems rather apt that i've entitled this post as it is.

two years ago, at about this time, i finished my final semester in uni, got on a plane from perth and landed in Singapore. subsequently, i got on another plane and left for Hong Kong to do mission work with my then churchmates from Perth. we went around Hong Kong during the festive period doing street acts and performances in school, to tell the story about God's love for us all.

coincidentally, two years later at about the same time in December, i'll be leaving on a plane again, this time to East Timor. it'll be different from the urban sprawl of Hong Kong, and i don't really know what to expect this time. in some sense, i haven't had much time to think about what i'll be doing in East Timor. I've just gotten back from the office, and i need to pack, head to church and write a script for a short skit that we can perform for some community outreach that we're doing.

do. do. and do more.

that seems to be the mantra for this year.. not taking time to pause and reflect.

but i'm still leaving.. to what, i don't really know. and while it may seem blase.. a part of me is also filled with faith, that this was a deliberate act, and choice.. and to also get behind the reason for the season.

see y'all when i get back this Saturday -)

Friday, December 12, 2008

i am a huge nerd.

i think i'm spiraling from geek-dom to n3rd-dom because i laughed myself silly watching this video:

awesome shortcuts from alpkan kirayoglu on Vimeo.

taken from the Rhode Island School of Design Blog and contributed by one of my heroes, John Maeda

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Does The Net Encourage Good Reading?

i did something rather unfamiliar today, i bought two magazines, Wired and Fast Company to be exact.

in an age where print mediums are going extinct as fast as dinosaurs, many are moving online, finding an 'afterlife' in the cloud, the net, the web.. whatever you want to call it.

"all print goes online" as akin to "all dogs go to heaven"

but i bought two magazines, on the strength of their cover story. take a look at these two cover stories for the month of December:

Wired: Saving Microsoft - Can Ray Ozzie fix the house that Bill Built? By Steven Levy

Fast Company: CISCO Gets Radical - How CEO John Chambers is turning the Tech Giant into a Socialist Enterprise. By Ellen McGirt

if online is the afterlife for print publications, why did they die?
- falling circulation numbers
- falling subscribers
- they all lead to falling advertisement revenue and as a business, print cannot survive.

And yet i picked up these two magazines, and i'm going to make it a habit to read habitually from this medium for the following reasons:

1. the strength of their journalism
- aggregated content, not just an opinion, but a valued piece of content from some of the best writers, best editors, who can spot trends, aggregate information and cut through the clutter. in other words, i value the opinion of the writer the same way i value my web heroes, so what else is there?

2. the reliability of the medium
- as long as the publication stays in business, you can expect it in your news stands at the stipulated date each day / week / month. furthermore, i'm not reliant on connectivity, power.. if i see something worth reading, i pass the magazine to my friend (without needing to tag it on delicious, or any other "share this" option.)

3. the form factor of print
- until the day we develop electronic paper, what i have in my hands is not something as cumbersome as a desktop, heavy as a laptop, but something light i can fit in my bag without needing to squint my eyes on an iPhone sized screen. it's portable enough to take anywhere, and i can still interact with it in a variety of non-digital ways.

- content also comes into play here. good, incisive writing that has been trained or designed to be read slowly and carefully. not the haphazard plageristic or schizophrenic writing style that plagues so many dime-a-dozen bloggers. in the speed it takes to beat someone else to news, we just don't take our time to carefully measure our words for maximum impact. it's a celebration of everything that made writing great to begin with! slow reading on a sunday afternoon with a book, newspaper or magazine just isn't the same if it were on a laptop (but you might argue that as my personal preference.)

4. only the best survive
- i sure hope this is true. that good publications stay in print so long as collectively we deem them worthy to be read by the masses (though i will argue that sometimes the masses just aren't always right.) but so far, we've undeservingly lost some great publications, but there are plenty that are still in circulation.

- my contention is that we have so many newspapers, magazines, blogs, videos, microblogs and social networks.. that we've inflicted this tough competition of media channels on ourselves. human consumption and consumerism has bred so many magazines that should never have been published in the first place, and on a more amplified level, the number of online publications and blogs. Anyone can publish - i won't take that right away.. but i sure as hell am keeping my right of reading what i want.

my closing thoughts are these, learn to enjoy reading and making meaning of what you read. maybe print isn't for everyone. i don't know if my children will grow up without ever knowing what print is.. but i think there's a cultural price to all this.. to not take your time to read AND write. if we don't make meaning from these basic forms of media, will the quality of media suffer drastically? so what if you have the power of hyperlinks or multimedia if content suffers?

as a special feature, you can read the Wired cover story here, and if you do get your hands on the magazine, you can tell me if you find it any different -)

Wired: 16.12 Ray Ozzie Wants To Push Microsoft Back Into Startup Mode

Monday, December 8, 2008


so i was at a retreat over the weekend. somewhere in the western part of singapore, Neo Tiew Road to be exact. if you need a reference point, it's where all the cemetaries are are further down.

but it was rather good.. i won't bore you per se with the lessons i've learnt whilst there, but not having jumped online for about 2 days.. i feel kind of 'lost' now that i'm back in the land of broadband.

now that i'm connected again.. it just feels rather unnerving that the 'rest' is over. it's like being online almost reminds me of work.. and i don't really like that.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What did you do on World AIDS Day?

AIDS has always been a bit of a taboo subject, after all, it is a disease often associated with drug abuse or casual unprotected sex, activities often going against the status quo of society.

But i think something needs changing, more light needs to be shed on what is ultimately more than just taboo or what we think we know. In countries like Africa, the disease has become an epidemic, due to lack of education on protected sex or the dangers of drug abuse. The disease is often passed on to children, and you know what? there is no cure yet.

and whether we contracted the disease due to our own negligence, or we were an innocent victim, do we all not have a right to treatment that can help such victims that has claimed so many lives? regardless your moral judgment (which so many of us tend to have.) this is more a cry out for compassion and love, values not bound by prejudices.

back in the 90's, AIDS was much more fearsome, people died within months. but advances in medicine can help HIV victims survive and be a part of society. and this is the sigma i'm talking about, sometimes perhaps we still cringe at the thought of someone with AIDS. vestiges of the stories we were told before as kids perhaps?

i'd like to highlight this video that World Community Grid (full disclosure: World Community Grid is a client of mine.) put on youtube on World Aids Day to share more about the stigmas and facts regarding AIDS, and how we can help in research projects like FightAIDS@Home and find a cure to this disease:

i hope you can join us. ridz has already started a team called "small changes" where you can join other Singaporeans in making a contribution to help the world.

Interesting links
World Community Grid website
World Community Grid Youtube Channel Learn more about WCG and its other projects)
Action For Aids
Love Amplified - World AIDS Day Concert

Monday, December 1, 2008

the need for a cause.

it's been awhile since something arrested my thoughts, and jolted me to truly want to understand the state of the world we live in.

more than my thoughts on social media, corporate values and even introspective catharsis.. in my world, they pale in comparison to what's really going on in the world today.

as the business world continues to revolve on its own axis, and the gears of our economy start to slow down, the recent terror attacks in mumbai, india have gripped me with a sort of "what is going on in the world?"

9/11 happened when i was sailing on a ship in the middle of the south china sea. to a certain extent, it never happened, although the ripples of such an act affected my way of life.

today, the death of a singaporean, Lo Hwei Yen, as a direct result of terrorist activity bursts the bubble, that singapore is safe.

even if singapore were safe, does that mean we put our heads in the sand and pretend that it doesn't affect us? i think i voice a rather singaporean condition of "minding my own business".

i'd like to offer a second opinion, that it is my business. when you hurt one of my countrymen, it could well have been one of my own family members, because they might have been the victim when a terrorist decides to attack.

the need for a cause, the terrorists have theirs, albeit misaligned. as dk intelligently mentions, neither should our cause.

what is this cause? that we should never forget, that we will rise above, that we can change the world around us. and why should we speak out against the evils of the world? because we all share the same planet, because we all co-exist, whether terrorist or not. no one is better than the other, no one should be oppressed or be trapped in fear like that.

we need a cause, to rouse us up from our slumber of "minding our own business". we need to care, we need to know, we need to get involved if we're ever going to make this world a better place, a place we would bring our children into, a place where we can love each other.

Lo Hwei Yen is perhaps the first of more Singaporean terror victims. things might get tougher, so will our fight, to live a life worth living, and a death without regrets.

you can leave message at Lo Hwei Yen's memorial here. LINK