June 22, 2012

Ah Lian vs Old Auntie: An Earnest Commentary 

I was in Genting for the past 3 days for a short getaway and while I certainly did not miss the RM15.00++ chicken rice, it reminded me I missed something of local flavour…Lo & behold the hyperactive STOMPers never fail to deliver. 

Old Auntie: “Most probably you’re from China” 

Woh woh auntie be careful of what you say…another step in the wrong direction could land you a lashing from more than this (seemingly) meek young lady. Don’t hate the chinese. It is because of goon heads like you we can’t live harmoniously with our new chinese residents. I mean, shouldn’t we have already learnt our lessons from the Sun Xu & Ferrari driver incidents that these razor tongues are not to be trifled with.

Ah Lian: “Say enough already anot?”

I don’t know why but that was this huge farting sound which immediately followed. Maybe someone decided farting works better because someone obviously thinks through her butt. 

OA: “I not happy with you when you staring when I request for the seat”

My mum used to tell me not to stare at gangsters. I think I might have to avoid looking anyone into the eyes now that even old aunties have picked up the Staring Game. But you know what’s the difference? Gangsters have parangs to prove their point. Whereas auntie you have only your broken english to fend for yourself. And when they say that the pen is mightier than the sword, they only mean it when your statements are unbroken. 

OA: “I’ll be publishing the TODAY paper and let people see”

Try The Newpaper. Only The Newpaper publish trash like these.

AL: “I let you sit already still talk so much for what”

Random Passanger: “Can shuddap anot?”

Call this Singaporean style of valiancy. Whoever said that must be some obsessed Girls Generation’s fan who’s only interested in hearing them croon over his earphones. 

AL: “Why you take my photo?”

OA: “To let the pubish know what kind of lady you are!”

AL: “Then you don’t take my photo, hello.”

Erm, pubish?? Does it stands for somewhere the sun don’t shine? Because it reminds me of pubes. And what kind of rebuttal is that? Anyways, hello is usually used at the front of a sentence, typically as an opener for a telephone conversation. 

10 secs later…Old Auntie re-attempts to take a photo of Ah Lian

AL: “Enough ah”

OA: “WHY YOU STARE AT ME?!?!”

C’mon, only a 5 year old will not be able to detect your obviously flawed sense of logic and your lousily disguised distractor. Only kindergarten debates end up like this. 

OA: “I’m asking for Honesty. The wording here (points at signage) is for what? My leg is for what?”

Your leg is for walking. The signage didn’t mention giving priority to uncouth big mouthed old hags. And TBH, I don’t feel like giving you the seat.

OA: “Fuck, you’re using the word Fuck in the Pubish”

Oh I think KNNBCCB actually sounds better, don’t you think so? 

12:32am  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Zqab4xNqlUqZ
Filed under: thoughts 
April 15, 2012

Find of the Day: Eyeing the Future with Augmented Reality Glasses

The eyewear industry is perhaps one of the most boring industry ever. Besides the invention of 3D glasses for movie goers, the industry has been as quiet as clockwork of a timepiece, drowned in the sea of voices from its more flamboyant industrial counterparts. 

Technology, however, might have just given this age old industry the breath of fresh air it needs. And who more suitable to do this than the Big Brother of Silicon Valley - Google. 

Google incorporates functions from our hard-to-leave-hand smartphones into our double Os, giving us a much needed break from checking our notifications - or not. Having information at your fingertips now becomes an obsolete idea, especially when you can have in right in front of your face updated realtime.

Receive weather updates by staring out of the window. Find your way around town using virtual arrows and directories. Take a picture with your eyes…well at least close enough. 

While the idea of having stuff pop up in front of your eyes and engaging in monologues with your spectacles might put some people off and even drive some crazy, the fantasy of bringing Star Trek’s Geordi La Forge to life still excites most of us, or at least the nutters at Google. 

Now who says it’s hip to have perfect 6/6 eyesight.

4:27pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Zqab4xJhuOOD
Filed under: find of the day 
April 15, 2012

Current Earworm: Sweet Deposition

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Filed under: audio 
March 18, 2012

Workout In The Streets
Words & photos by: Matthew Ng

It all started in the summer of 2008. A 4-minute footage of a topless black man who seemed to defy the pull of gravity as he worked out in a park in South Side Queens, New York was spotted on YouTube.
A video that captured imaginations and garnered more than 7 million views to date.  
 This video has become iconic of, and synonymous with, a rising trend around the world. The terms “ghetto” and “street” no longer just bring to mind stereotypical images of lawless thugs. They have become search words for videos of muscular men performing incredible feats of bodyweight strength.
 It didn’t take long for calisthenics (bodyweight exercise) enthusiasts worldwide to latch onto this growing phenomenon. They started harnessing the power and reach of the Internet to showcase their wide repertoire of hard-earned bodyweight skills.
 Street workout has become a sport of sorts in its own right, with freestyle competitions held in the neighbourhoods of Brooklyn and Bronx, where it all began.
 The practitioners of this new sport are watched, daily, invisibly, by millions of admiring eyes worldwide.
 Months and years later, this urban movement has made landfall on other parts of the world, from Europe to the Mediterranean, and then to the Middle East, and even beyond.
 Now, 3 years after it first took hold of the Eastern Seaboard, this phenomenon has become so globally recognised that it has culminated in a Street Workout World Championship in summer 2011. This is a milestone event where the best got together in Latvia to compete in the sport’s characteristic freestyle contest. 
Much like the urban movements of parkour and freerunning, street workout is seen as more than just a sport. It is a way of life. These athletes believe that their movement is a cathartic form of self-discovery and self-realisation. They journey to identify and overcome self-erected psychological barriers to build character and confidence by pushing the boundaries of their physical limitations.
 George Richards, founder of Calisthenics Kingz, a group of performance-based fitness trainers located in New York, summarises his approach: “We believe in a ‘Four D System’… Drive, Dedication, Discipline and Determination, which can be applied to any part of an individual’s life i.e. business, personal, academic and family.”
 Is calisthenics beneficial for the typical fitness enthusiast?
 Christopher Sommer, Head Coach at the Desert Devil Gymnastics National Team Training Center in Arizona is quick to highlight the value of bodyweight workouts: “In addition to strength, the athlete will also develop excellent balance, coordination, agility and exceptional core strength.”
 How does calisthenics compare to more common fitness pursuits like jogging, cycling or swimming?
 “The main resistance from all of the aforementioned exercises comes from our own bodyweight. While activities like jogging, cycling and swimming improve our cardiovascular capacity and muscular endurance, static calisthenics target the development of anaerobic capacity and muscular strength. Mix it up with these 2 types of training for optimal all-round fitness.”  
 In Singapore the street workout culture may have already washed ashore.
 Enter Basic Training Academy (BTA), a relatively new and unknown health and fitness training venture. BTA was founded in 2011 by a small group of local trainers who epitomise the rough-and-tumble spirit of the sport. Despite having zero background in formal gymnastics, these young men are capable of astounding bodyweight feats that they claim any average man and woman can attain with the right training.
 Lionel Ng, founding member and trainer at BTA, sums it all up: “Train hard, train smart, and above all, train safe. Progressive training and proper conditioning with calisthenics will help prevent injury by improving your core stability and joint strength. Bodyweight workouts are a great addition to any fitness regime.”   
 From the ancient Greeks who chased an ideal synergy of intellectual and physical perfection, to the age of the strongman spectacles of the classic Victorian stage, and to the strength and bodybuilding boom of the 1930s on the sands of Muscle Beach. Throughout history physical culture with its ever-changing face is part of humanity’s relentless efforts to constantly challenge and better its own achievements.
 Street workout, the 21st century incarnation of this age-old spirit of industry and enterprise, shall remind us of the vision and courage that has seen us rise above our perceived natural limitations to continually redefine the ceiling of human performance.

Workout In The Streets

Words & photos by: Matthew Ng


It all started in the summer of 2008. A 4-minute footage of a topless black man who seemed to defy the pull of gravity as he worked out in a park in South Side Queens, New York was spotted on YouTube.

A video that captured imaginations and garnered more than 7 million views to date.  

 This video has become iconic of, and synonymous with, a rising trend around the world. The terms “ghetto” and “street” no longer just bring to mind stereotypical images of lawless thugs. They have become search words for videos of muscular men performing incredible feats of bodyweight strength.

 It didn’t take long for calisthenics (bodyweight exercise) enthusiasts worldwide to latch onto this growing phenomenon. They started harnessing the power and reach of the Internet to showcase their wide repertoire of hard-earned bodyweight skills.

 Street workout has become a sport of sorts in its own right, with freestyle competitions held in the neighbourhoods of Brooklyn and Bronx, where it all began.

 The practitioners of this new sport are watched, daily, invisibly, by millions of admiring eyes worldwide.

 Months and years later, this urban movement has made landfall on other parts of the world, from Europe to the Mediterranean, and then to the Middle East, and even beyond.

 Now, 3 years after it first took hold of the Eastern Seaboard, this phenomenon has become so globally recognised that it has culminated in a Street Workout World Championship in summer 2011. This is a milestone event where the best got together in Latvia to compete in the sport’s characteristic freestyle contest. 

Much like the urban movements of parkour and freerunning, street workout is seen as more than just a sport. It is a way of life. These athletes believe that their movement is a cathartic form of self-discovery and self-realisation. They journey to identify and overcome self-erected psychological barriers to build character and confidence by pushing the boundaries of their physical limitations.

 George Richards, founder of Calisthenics Kingz, a group of performance-based fitness trainers located in New York, summarises his approach: “We believe in a ‘Four D System’… Drive, Dedication, Discipline and Determination, which can be applied to any part of an individual’s life i.e. business, personal, academic and family.”

 Is calisthenics beneficial for the typical fitness enthusiast?

 Christopher Sommer, Head Coach at the Desert Devil Gymnastics National Team Training Center in Arizona is quick to highlight the value of bodyweight workouts: “In addition to strength, the athlete will also develop excellent balance, coordination, agility and exceptional core strength.”

 How does calisthenics compare to more common fitness pursuits like jogging, cycling or swimming?

 “The main resistance from all of the aforementioned exercises comes from our own bodyweight. While activities like jogging, cycling and swimming improve our cardiovascular capacity and muscular endurance, static calisthenics target the development of anaerobic capacity and muscular strength. Mix it up with these 2 types of training for optimal all-round fitness.”  

 In Singapore the street workout culture may have already washed ashore.

 Enter Basic Training Academy (BTA), a relatively new and unknown health and fitness training venture. BTA was founded in 2011 by a small group of local trainers who epitomise the rough-and-tumble spirit of the sport. Despite having zero background in formal gymnastics, these young men are capable of astounding bodyweight feats that they claim any average man and woman can attain with the right training.

 Lionel Ng, founding member and trainer at BTA, sums it all up: “Train hard, train smart, and above all, train safe. Progressive training and proper conditioning with calisthenics will help prevent injury by improving your core stability and joint strength. Bodyweight workouts are a great addition to any fitness regime.”   

 From the ancient Greeks who chased an ideal synergy of intellectual and physical perfection, to the age of the strongman spectacles of the classic Victorian stage, and to the strength and bodybuilding boom of the 1930s on the sands of Muscle Beach. Throughout history physical culture with its ever-changing face is part of humanity’s relentless efforts to constantly challenge and better its own achievements.

 Street workout, the 21st century incarnation of this age-old spirit of industry and enterprise, shall remind us of the vision and courage that has seen us rise above our perceived natural limitations to continually redefine the ceiling of human performance.


March 18, 2012

Current Earworm: Read My Mind - The Killers

6:15pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/Zqab4xIAeaYd
Filed under: audio 
March 5, 2012

Back To The 70s

A poster I did for Edwin’s 21st. And my virgin attempt at poster making. 

Back To The 70s

A poster I did for Edwin’s 21st. And my virgin attempt at poster making. 

March 2, 2012

Scenes/Seen

A collection of places from my memories.

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Filed under: Photos Scenes/Seen 
February 16, 2012
10 Things We Forget About Life (Part II)

Go With The Flow

 A friend of mine once likened life to a river. A river flows in a single direction – downstream. There might be eddies or undercurrents which will bring you slightly off course but ultimately water still flows downwards. There is only one main path in life and that is forward. And eddies are like the challenges you face in life which might at times put you slightly off coursed but eventually back on track. I am not a Christian but one phrase that I heard which struck me particularly was, “Let go. Let God.” Many times in our lives we try to change things when they are to our disadvantage. Yet, how many times do they get any better? I once tried to trade off my SDO (School Duty Officer) duty during National Day; turned out no duty personnel was required that day. I go to clubs in hope for sexual gratification but what is left in me when I step out of the club is an empty hollow heart waiting to be filled with love from a real life partner. Sometimes, unfortunate happenings is just God’s way of preventing our lives from possibly spiraling into a disaster. For all we know, while attempting to skip a morning class out of convenience, you might get hit by a car while attempting to cross the road on your way to school in the afternoon. That is an extreme example but you get my point. Let go of the nitty gritty aspects of your life and trust that they will sort themselves out. Focus on the big picture and the important moments in life. By the way, as I am writing, my cousin just e-mailed me to inform me of a 50% discount off AppleCare deal, which he found online. If I had not procrastinated the buying of my MacBook’s warranty, I would have wasted $150. So folks, trust that life will take care of itself. All you need to do is to enjoy it.

 Define Your Inner Circle

If you’re borne in the early 90s, you will probably have used or at least have an impression of what MSN Messenger is. For the benefit of those who don’t, MSN Messenger is a social networking and chat platform developed by Microsoft. Unlike ICQ or other Internet chat websites, only ‘friends’, whom you virtually add on your MSN contacts, will be able to chat with you. I had about 100 friends on my contacts - not too many or little for an average person – some of whom I never really spoke to. We added each other just because we have seen each other in school. One day, I realised that although I had many friends on my contact list, I only looked forward to chatting with at most 10 people on it. The rest were ‘just there’. Similar to MSN Messenger, in our lives, there are only a few people we hold true to. These are the people who do not judge us for who we are, who bring us out of our failures and celebrate our successes, who will always provide a listening ear, who gives us the best advices & enlighten us in life. These people are called Family & Friends. Stop busying yourself trying to impress those who don’t matter to you. Instead put more effort into loving your family & friends. Make a birthday card for your mum. Write random thank you notes for those friends that stuck through thick and thin with you. Plan an awesome 21st for your loved one. Define your inner circle and shower those within the circle with your infinite love.

 Good Things Are Worth Waiting For

 I have never been attached before. Nope, not even puppy love. And I definitely have not tasted the forbidden fruit. I have had a few chances to get into a relationship but I blew it or I didn’t want to commit. Definitely, this would be an issue to most people. No one ever wants to be “Forever Alone” on Valentine’s Day or make Vodka his best friend. To those couples on the streets holdings hands or those sharing a crumble pie insensitively in front of me in a cosy corner of the restaurant, I hate you guys and want to blast all of you into pieces. Well, of course I never meant it literally. To those who have been in a relationship so many times they start telling those that are unattached to enjoy singlehood, save your hypocrisy. Humans are communal beings who seek to find love & care. No one enjoys being single. So is it a sin to be single or long for your first kiss? No. If you have watched (500) days of summer (or if you haven’t, godammit go watch it!), you will learn that Tom Hansen eventually did not end up together with Summer Finn. Instead, ultimately he found his life partner named Autumn. Many people have to sift through many Summers before they finally find their Autumn. Feel fortunate that you will not. Trust me, on hindsight you will feel thankful for being single at the right times to be attached to the right person. 

 Listen More, Talk More

 When I was young, I used to be a good talker. People would laugh at my jokes but sometimes politely remind me that I needed to listen more. When I entered NS, I became a great listener. There was nothing much to talk about NS compared to the wild adventures happening to my female counterparts in university so naturally I became a proficient listener. However at this juncture of life, I realised that listening is not enough. Especially not when I am about to embrace media as my career, a field that values expressiveness and creativity. I was not going to let my ideas sound aloof and let my voice be drowned in a sea of passionate opinions. I needed to talk more. Write more. Draw more. Photograph more. Whatever. I realised through the tough way that I needed to sell myself, spin credentials and be confident of what I do. Leaders in the Army lead too much of a sheltered life because of rank & hierarchy. It is hard to tell whether someone followed your orders out of fear or respect. It is time to step out of this refuge and earn the admiration and recognition from the world out there. And definitely, the way to go is through talking.

 Be Focused

 My best friend once commented that I try to accomplish too many things. I wanted to be a professional photographer. Other times, I wanted to be extremely proficient at drumming. When I’m out, I try to be well versed in talking. I have contemplated learning to draw, play the guitar and sing. I was simply going in every direction until I felt lost and started questioning myself: “What have I done at the end of the day?” I was the prime example of a jack-of-all-trades & a master of none. When I reached my big 2, I realised that I really needed to be good at something and hence I started defining my life path. I was going to work in the media. Thus there were several pre-requisites I needed to meet. 1. I need to be confident & expressive. 2. I need to know some media tools such as photography, drawing & Photoshop. 3. I need to be passionate in my work. Everything else was just a bonus. Hence, I started working on those traits/skills. Malcom Gladwell, the author of the book “Outliers” once proposed in his book, based on a study by Anders Ericsson, that greatness requires enormous time and that anyone can be great at something if they spent 10,000 hours on it. While this claim might not be definite, it unequivocally has some truth in there. Once in a while I still revisit the dream of prancing on stage with my electric guitar while screaming lyrics into the mic like Dave Grohl but I slowly learnt to confine it to fantasy. Find your calling in life and strive unidirectionally towards your goals. Remember, the Beatles were famous only for their music and not photography, drawing, cooking or anything else. Focus is the key to success.

 

 If you see this note, I would like to sincerely thank you for reading and coming till this far. The Army may not have been the best organization to work for but National Service has certainly defined my life and made me grow up. So folks, change your perception of NS and give life a chance. I guarantee you will make something out of it.

February 16, 2012
10 Things We Forget About Life (Part I)

Contrary to what many say, NS has been a positive experience for me. During these 2 years, I have met important people and learnt invaluable lessons. I would hereby like to share 10 things that I have learnt during these 2 years.

Live In The Present

Do you find yourself worrying too much about the future? Do questions like, “What course should I study in University?”, “What will I be doing for a career?” and “What internship should I seek to get me a head start in Uni?” sound familiar? I used to worry a lot about the future and how I should find opportunities to give me an edge over the others in school and my career. Yet I realised that by worrying excessively about the future or over-indulging in the past, I found myself standing on the same spot, stagnant. Someone once liken time to money. Imagine, if a non-cumulative sum of $86,400 will be injected into your bank account everyday and you could spend it anyhow; failure to spend it would reset the account to 0 at the end of the day and back to full the next day, most people would try their best to expend this sum of money on anything they want to get. Ironically, most people forget that we too have 86,400 seconds a day and our time bank resets with the start of each day. If we remain undecided and choose to do nothing about our lives, we would be wasting the 86,400 seconds given to us each day. On the flip side, if we could fully utilise this amount given to us, we could be immensely rich in whatever that we possibly want - knowledge, wealth, experience and the list goes on. Grasp onto the present and make the best of everything we have now. Let go of the past and quit worrying pointlessly about what is to come.

Stop Comparing

I have always been competitive since young. Case in point, I have always aimed and scored near perfect or perfect scores for all my major examinations. I exceeded expectations in primary school and scored straight A*s for my PSLE. I enrolled myself in River Valley High School, a reputable SAP school, after which and scored a decent 8 pointer in secondary school to earn myself a placing in National Junior College, one of the top 5 junior colleges in Singapore. I continued the streak by scoring straight As in my ‘A’ Levels. For 18 years of my life, examination results has been my only measure of success and there was a point in time I thought I was better than everyone else. However, I took a huge beating from life upon entering the Army. To my shock, in the Army, no one ever gave a damn how much each other scored in ‘A’ Levels or how they did in studies. It all boils down to whether you are competent out in the field. I found it hard to adjust to this new playing field and could not bear to admit that I was inferior to others. My competitive nature kicked in and I found myself comparing a lot more than before. More often than not, this comparison would backfire and my self-esteem would end up wounded. A good friend once told me that my fear of losing is my greatest weakness. Similarly, many of us are guilty of envy. When someone outdoes us in our craft, our defence mechanism tends to act up and we try to convince ourselves: “I could do that too!” or if unsuccessful, give up and admit we can never accomplish as much. Through the episode mentioned above, I realised that there is no point comparing. “一山比一山高” (meaning there will always be someone better). Relieve yourself of this meaningless burden and do yourself a favour by applauding the success of those around you. Quit being a miser and hoard knowledge to yourself. Thou that share shalt receive in return.  

Slow Down, Relax

Ever met with the situation of packing yourself with too many things in your day’s schedule? Do you feel that your life is a mere routine and you busy day in and day out just to fulfill that mental checklist you have set for yourself? Back in Officer Cadet School (OCS), considering how short-lived weekends were, I used to jam-pack my book outs with meet-ups with friends and used the remaining time to complete any mundane routine tasks like ironing my clothes and packing my book-in bag. As months go by, I realised that I have grew numb and indifferent to everything around me. I no longer pay as much attention to the music played on my iPod; I grew lukewarm towards the people I meet; I scan through my magazines instead of digesting them slowly. Although my life was running like clockwork, it felt empty. I felt I was living life too fast or at least not slow enough for me to savour the smaller and more inconspicuous details. Let’s live a little! Forgo that evening gathering with a bunch of people you are uninterested to meet. Instead pamper yourself with a screening of your favourite comedy and a cuppa of warm coffee in hand. Turn on the radio and lay in bed doing nothing but humming to the melody of your favourite tunes, whatever. For once, screw work and give yourself a well-deserved break. Don’t let anyone tell you you don’t deserve it for you really do after slaving half your life away.

Take Small Steps

 I have a good friend, by the name of Li Yuan, who is able to execute handstands and does a pretty decent job at it. Whenever he practises doing handstands, he will inevitably invite envious looks and occasionally one or two curious souls will approach him and ask him how he does it. Conventionally, Li Yuan would first do a short explanation about the intermediate stages to a full-fledged handstand before demonstrating the moves. For a clearer picture, he would first get into a full squat position before attempting to support himself on only 2 hands, adjusting his body such that his center of gravity lies in a straight line through his feet. He would then lean forward and pushes himself off the ground, straightening his arms in the process. Funnily enough, most people stop short at watching his demonstration and skip the explanation part in their heads altogether. Most would walk away with resigned looks on their faces when they attempt to push themselves into a handstand position and fail terribly. Whenever we attempt to pick up a new craft or improve upon it, we often focus too much on the end state and fall short of recognising that there are many intermediate stages to it. Thus, most people would not dare to take the leap of faith and believe they can accomplish what they set out to do. “成功不是一朝一夕的” (meaning success cannot be achieved within one night). Take baby steps and acknowledge every single progress, no matter how small. Although slow, it will certainly bring you to success faster than staring into blank space.

Let Go, Ego

 How many times have we strained or forgo a relationship just because we refused to say: “Sorry, I was wrong.” I used to be very egoistic and, admittedly, still very much am now. It didn’t help that I became an officer in the Army and had an image to maintain. I self-confess that there were times when I tried to argue myself out of a mistake, or to put it bluntly, insisted that I was right. Shortly after “winning the debate” however, I would feel a tinge of regret and fleeting thoughts of incompetency would surface in my mind. These thoughts soon manifested in my brain and became a self-fulfilling prophecy (or at least I thought so). I learnt that sometimes it is so much easier on myself to admit my mistakes. In my case, admitting my mistakes relieved me of any pressure from trying to keep up with a lie to cover up for them, hence allowing me to recover from my mistake faster. It was also a display of my generosity and humility in front of my subordinates. Everyone makes mistakes. What differentiates a great leader from one that’s not is his ability to let go of his ego and admit he was wrong. Stop letting your subordinates suffer the consequences of your errors. Give them and yourself a break. 

For Part II view here: link

February 16, 2012
"

Valentine’s Day kills flowers. Don’t celebrate it.

- a wise man

"

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Filed under: thoughts 
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