The Longer Story

Or the one where I shall accept that title of "petty, soulless & non-mind-reader" man. Soulless or soul-less which may be more appropriate as commented by Angie with her horrific glance to my defence against my own accusation in this article.

Soul-less, that's it. Though what I would have preferred is 'sole-less'. Heh. That's right. I have made a deal with the Devil. Not new. A certain farmer in this story did that once. Selling his soul for 'seven years of prosperity'. What a greedy fellow! But that was when the lawyers were noble (okay, I'm exaggerating!) and resourceful enough to beat the Devil in a court of law.

Realization--if not a possible legal suit--kicks in. I must clarify & emphasize that it's never my intention to imply that currently lawyers are not resourceful. Just take a look at the case of the lost lawyer and his clients' money.

I attempted to trick the Devil by offering my sole for a certain favour. (I did my homework. I've confirmed that 'sole' & 'soul' are homophones.)

An amateurish challenge to the Old Nick. Failed as he insisted to put the deal in black and white. Reckon he had learnt a thing or two after his encounter with the Webster lawyer guy. He testily pointed out that spelling error of 'sole' instead of 'soul'. Damn!

(Blogger's Note: this is going nowhere. Let's try the Q&A format.)

Q: But why bargained with the Adversary, O ye of little faith? And what is this 'certain favour' you mentioned? Surely for one who accepts that Life has never been easy--and thus you're always ready to face any problems--you do not need any (Good and Bad) Divine help?

A: Perhaps it's because I am indeed that 'ye of little faith'. I have earlier offered 50% of my remaining life span to God to get someone wonderful to be completely well & discharged from the hospital. I know, I know. It's embarrassing. Why 50%? Isn't she special and ought to earn that 100%? Of course, she is (Stop blushing, milady. You're not helping here!). I'm sure many have made similar deals & even offered more than 50%. Well, they are modest enough not to shamelessly proclaim it or they obviously do not blog. Heh. Just kidding.

Q: So. Why. 50%???

A: I myself am addicted to live. There are just so many things to experience, so many mistakes to make & so many lessons to learn. Now I understand how the late poet, Chairil Anwar in his poem "Aku" must have felt when he said that he wanted to live for another thousand years.

Q: Right. 50% of your remaining life span for her. Perhaps more from others. Then why this unnecessary wordplay with the Trickster?

A: Uhm. Diversification purpose? Hedging the risk? Whatever fancy term one should use that means I only want to ensure everything's covered? To play safe? Uhm. You know?

Q: No, I don't know. And I still don't get it why 'petty', why 'non-mind-reader' & why after making the deal with this guy D, you decide to continue blogging?

A: Petty is what I might have been. Sigh. An occupational hazard of being a careful reader. Non-mind-reader is what all guys are guilty of. To continue blogging after closing the deal is because since I don't have any soul, I might as well say good bye to integrity too. And resume blogging.

Q: Since you don't have any soul, you might as well say good bye to integrity. Uh-huh. So good bye to Pride too? No integrity, thus no pride. Am I right?

A: (nervous laughter) Ha. Ha. Where's the undo button when you need one? Okay, I retract that bye-to-integrity statement. Perhaps I continue blogging due to frustration? Because no matter what I do (or in this case, not do), I suspect that I hardly make any difference.

Q: At least you are honest about it.

A: Am I ever not?

Q: (cough) I'm doing the Question, remember?

A: (grin)

Q: Right. To proceed, how do you expect your readers will react to this article?

A: Readers? (look left & right) What readers?

Q: (being stern) Fake humility does not work. Answer.

A: Just trying to be funny. Sheesh. Where's your sense of humour? Ok, ok. You're the one who's doing the Question. Not me. My readers? Well, they should be able to complete reading this with a grin on their faces.

Q: Ever thought that they may feel...guilty?

A: For what? I mean, no! Why should they? Am I that bad a writer? I think the whole thing is laughable. Wait, you are not laughing. I am that bad a writer, huh? Well then, let's close this article with a usual DISCLAIMER stuff.

DISCLAIMER. ^_^""
1. The writer has to clearly state that he never wants to make any readers to feel any other feeling than to be mildly amused and/or other such positive reactions.

2. Should any readers react negatively, the writer acknowledges his shortcoming. Though he inwardly would rather say that you must be a lousy reader.

Still not a prelude to "The Longer Story",

and I've got to learn how to name my article.

For example, this going-to-be short entry. About me finding a Ben & Jerry's homepage. Uhm, truthful as always, I do never try the ice-cream. Yeah, let's not use the 'creative' acronym.

So woe is me as I am totally clueless about what flavours to order or even where to buy this particular ice cream.

As usual, what I don't know, I shall ask. What I can't ask, I shall find out on my own. Thus it led me to the official homepage & while browsing it, I came across this unique site, namely Flavor Graveyard. By the way, the image at the right is copied from that site & edited. Touch-up keywords: Gray, Brightness/Contrast, Gamma (to create that 'sepia' effect. The color of memory - at least, that's what Will Eisner once claimed. Wrote about it last time here).

Beside the grim-but-cute image, the wordings of the so-called eulogy are quite amusing. Like this excerpt:

Even though our lawyers are making us say it, we pretty much believe it goes without saying: you never know when we might decide to bring some of these flavors back or even when they might be reincarnated into another flavor while you aren't paying attention. You might want to keep looking over your shoulder (or in your grocer's freezer case) from time to time.

Hehe. Now how would it be possible to enjoy the ice cream without choking by the laughter?

Unauthorised Renovations

Over at the Pre-War section of the Tiong Bahru Estate, it is quite common to see unauthorised renovations amongst the residents there.

Before purchasing a Pre-War Tiong Bahru flat, it would be prudent to ask the owner or the seller's agent if there are any unauthorised renovations within the flat.

Some obvious ones that are easily spotted would be the location of the MAIN DOORS for ground floor units. The original Pre-War flats does not have any main door facing the corridor walkways except for a few rare units who has such privileges.

Most main door should be located within the stairways in the buildings. If it is located along the corridor walkway, the owner would be required to shift the door back to its original position before the transaction could be completed. Many a times, this has caused a lot of unnecessary argument over who should pay for the relocation of door and whether or not the owner has to reinstate back the door after the inspection is done.

The other obvious NON APPROVED renovations would be the hacking down of walls in the AIR WELL area. This is especially common amongst the ground floor owners. When these owner sells, they are also required to put back the wall and remove whatever shelters they might have put up to prevent rain from coming in.

Illegal gates are also another thing to look out for. Most gates should be right in front of the main door. But the building design here at Tiong Bahru basically allows owners to cordon off certain segment of the stairs and use it as a personal space. These owners could get away with no complaints because such units are located on the top most floor. No one uses the stairways except the owners themselves. Anyway, most new owners will promptly reinstall these illegal gates. People are basically territorial creatures.

I can only speculate on why there are so many unauthorised renovations around here. It could be because these flats are really old. The enforcement was probably very lax in the past. Monkey see monkey do. If everyone else is doing it, it is probably right. So the owners just keep trying to test the limits. Some unfortunately owners were not even aware that the flat they purchased many years ago contained unauthorised renovations and gets a rude shock only when they try to sell the property.

There was also a period in time where these flats were actually slated for demolition. It may be also be part of the reason why some officials closed one eye when inspecting the place. They never expect the demolition plan to change but it did and the place actually got gazetted as a conservation area in 2003!

Now URA and HDB are managing this area and there are some grey area where both of them cannot decide on who should be responsible. You will definitely have a lot of fun interacting with them when you are renovating your abode.

Not a prelude to "The Longer Story",

it’s just something I have to post as a reminder to further research on the topic.

In the previous article, I wrote that I had a passable knowledge about Mahabharata. Please, it was not me being modest. Bleah. Just stating the fact.

Remember this particular article? Mentioned earlier that it was thanks to Teguh Santosa rendering the epic to the graphic-novel form that left me drooling with wonder. Don't use your imagination. I was just a kid that time. I was drooling, literally. ;)

But no kidding, his artwork IS superb! (Any readers staying in Indonesia can check for me whether his Mahabharata collections are still sold? It's been years & I recalled I wanted to buy the compilation which I heard was printed in colours. But no money. *rueful grin*)

The thing with graphic novel is that the artist must condense the story to fit to the panels. So for example for the image below (no, it's not by Teguh Santosa) which portays from left to right, one of the Pandava named Arjuna & his cousin charioteer Krishna blowing the horns at the beginning of the Battle.

Touch-up keyword: soft.

In the Teguh Santosa's work of Mahabharata, the story reveals that just before the war, Arjuna suffers a sudden bout of reluctance to fight the opponents. Afterall, they are his cousins (the Kaurava). So why slaughter each other just for the kingdom?

In the version that I read, Krishna explains something along John Wayne's tough line of “a man's got to do what a man's got to do”.

See how the story could be grossly over-simplified? What Krishna's advice is what shall be acclaimed as the Bhagavad Gita.

But if the artist were to try to include the whole Gita, many young readers would have expressed their incredulity. How could such a lengthy counsel is delivered just before the battle? How long would the pause button is pressed? And don't underestimate the sarcastic mind of the young who may point out that of course Arjuna is eventually willing to go to battle. Pick your choice: to continue listening to a tedious lecture--and to be blamed afterwards for delaying the battle--or to start unleashing a torrent of arrows onto the opponents. Arjuna may ponder that.

Types of HDB floorplan layout (88 sqm)



The floor plan above is a typical one for a CORNER 3 room unit. The main difference are the windows found on the side of the units. These windows allow more light and air to come into the flat. Also, if you need more rooms, it is also possible to configure a 3 bedroom layout as opposed to the INTERMEDIATE units.

So the obvious units to go for are the CORNER units. But then again, you must have the patience, determination and a bit of luck to get to buy one of these CORNER units.

The reality is that it is already hard enough to wait for someone here to sell, let alone a CORNER unit. So most of time, buyers eventually compromise.


The Long Story

So I have been disappeared. I have been—yes, say it, you know you can’t resist—LOST (catch the final tonight episode, titled “One of Them” at Channel 5, 10 pm).

But 'idling'? Me? Definitely not. ;)

I finished reading The Great Indian Novel written by Shashi Tharoor. An amusing blend of the Mahabharata epic with the more contemporary scenes of Indian politics. While I do not know much about the latter, I have a passable knowledge about the former, which compels me to laugh at how irreverent the legend is transformed into the modern.

Take for an instance the famous part when Devavrata takes that terrible oath of life-long celibacy. It is said in Mahabharata that the vow shocks Gods in Heaven & a timely shower of petals that follows after the vow is seen as Gods’ blessing. In the novel, however, while the oath is still a shock, the shower of petals is more practically interpreted as the sign of a monsoon rain is coming.

Devavrata is soon renamed as Bhishma aka 'the person of the terrible oath'. Stating the obvious, eh? So who else in the modern Indian politics that can fit the role Bhishma other than the Great Soul Gandhi?

Yup, enter Gandhi as Bhishma.

Okay, lest it sounds that I’m digressing. I am not. There is this part of the book that answers my dormant surprise of why Gandhi was willing to go for hunger strike.

The novel highlights that issue too. In one particular example where Gandhi goes for a hunger strike during the 'dragging' negotiation of salary between some factory owners & their workers. The author explaines that the hunger strike is never meant as a tool to blackmail. It is used as an example for the workers not to give up. Here is a stranger willing to stop eating & drinking for your sake, so you better behave, men! And not go back to work till the negotiation is settled. A solid example & it does make sense. Heh.

Ooookay. What has this got to do with me stopping to blog, you may impatiently ask.

It is a matter of a vow, you see. Of not doing something. No, no I won’t go to that extreme—or stupid—to adopt yet another life-long celibacy oath like Bhishma did or to go for hunger strike like Gandhi did. That would make me a copycat, yes?

My vow is simply “not to post any new entry till she is completely well” (Sorry, Angie. It’s about time I copy & paste your writing. *grin*)

No big deal, right? Personally, it is. On the one hand, like Bhishma or Gandhi, I wish to show an example so that the stubborn (How Veron ever managed to utter ‘stubborn’ in such a loving way twice is beyond me. ^_^”) girl realized that if I could resist blogging, so could she (Note that she failed anyway. Shame on her. :p).

On the other hand, if I stop blogging, that will mean less articles for her to read. Darn. Sounds arrogant, huh? We have established that Pride is my favourite sin. So let's move on. I do admit the possibility that the stubborn girl will still continue going to the Net. All the same if she does that, let it be not due to my blog. I didn't want to be a part of the Conspiracy to deprive her from her rest with my articles. Let the others share the guilt. Not me. I'll just busy myself rinsing my hands in a bowl of water. Or infesting at her site. ;)

Look who’s talking! You failed too, didn’t you? You eventually blogged with that “Fiery Fox” entry. Before she's completely well. Indeed a valid point which may be raised by a critical reader.

Well, that would bring to my recent honorific title of ‘petty, soulless, non-mind-reader’ man. =) Which is going to be part of the incoming “The Longer Story”.

The Long Story*

*Under
CONSTRUCTION

Fiery Fox

Needless to say, I'm inspired by a certain free Web browser. The edited image is unlikely considered the final version. But I need to kick-start my blogging momentum which has been recently halt. (Long story. Don't blame anybody. I hardly see any readers care enough to persuade me to resume writing anyway. No donation, nothing. What a disappointment! *grin* But now as I already earn the title of 'petty, soulless, non-mind-reader' man--longer story--I guess I can continue to write. ^_^")

Not impressed with how the image turns out. I have in mind to achieve something like this. Yet I want to reduce employing the 'negative' feature too much.

Without 'negative', can your imagination (mis)guide you to perceive the grass ablaze just because of the proximity of the Fiery Fox? And what with the way he tilts his head with a "Oops! I did it again." expression? Could it be that this mythical-creature wannabe is not able to control his power?

Touch-up keywords: Replace Colors, Hue/Saturation/Lightness, Crop.

I would like to to say yes. I wish I could see the burning field surrounding a cute, clueless cub impervious to the dancing flame.

Nope, I see a cute, clueless club alright. That burning field? Nah. So let's leave Serif PhotoPlus & visit Microsoft Photo Editor & try to partially 'negative' the image. Partially as in playing with the channel permutations of unticking red, green and/or blue.

The below sample is how it looks when the channels red & green are unticked. Not bad. the pink grass is a disgrace (yuck!), however the golden fur offers an eye-catching contrast. And a pleasant one at that.

Touch-up keywords: Negative, only 'blue' channel ticked.

PS. Click here to see how the real photo looks like.

Where to buy the floor plans?

You can purchase the floor plans with HDB. It will cost you $5 per floor plan.

You can also go to Toa Payoh HDB Hub Level 3 to buy if you need it urgently.

Alternatively, you can go online and purchase it at http://www.hdb.gov.sg/

Uhm. I'm--the bloody hell?--here.

I was mulling over this article, when the advertisement at the right side of the page beckoned me.

I recognise the ad. Especially because of the confusion when I first saw it in TV. What was that scantily-clad bikini girl saying in the end? Was it really "So, where the bloody hell are you?" Mind you, she delivered that with a smile. Not a glare. Which further perplexed me.

Did I hear it wrongly? Too distracted by that scantily-clad bikini girl? Please, I'm just a man. Not. An. Angel. ^_^" (To retort a comment in this RainDeer article)

Oh well, for sure, my listening comprehension is just fine. The sentence is indeed what I thought it was. The printed ad has just confirmed it and so has the official website of Australia.com. Cultural difference then? That "the bloody hell" is a common friendly expression which Aussies use? *grin*

Click the image to go to the website & the ad.

PS. Touch-up keyword for both images: crop.

Don’t get FIT

(an acronym for “Fraud Investigations Team”) fools you.

Received the following email yesterday. My default response is to mercilessly thrash it to the trash can immediately. Without bothering to open it. Especially easy to do it for this particular email because I am NOT even an eBay member.

Click the above image to read the content of the email.

Not today, though. I inexplicably chose to read it. Maybe I was in the mood of having a good laugh or just curious how ‘creative’ the scam was carried out these days.

In general, I was impressed.

With the logo of eBay so genuine, with the content of the email so authoritative (and threatening. Yeah. Especially the FIT part) & with the mention of some foreign IP address so specific.

[1] Yet with a simple & annoying mistake, the quoted date was “07 JUN 2005”?! “2005”? True, I have no experience dealing with eBay before. To repeat, I'm not a member. However, it is hard to imagine that the feedback time of the company is that slow. Seriously, to wait for exactly 1 year, before giving a letter indicating a possible fraud might have taken place?! No way.

A grin later, I forwarded that email to spoof@ebay.com. To their credit, the reply was prompt. I guess they have dedicated adequate resources to handle such a report.

Here it is:

Hello,

Thank you for writing to eBay regarding the email you received.

Emails such as this, commonly referred to as "spoof" or "phished" messages, are sent in an attempt to collect sensitive personal or financial information from the recipients.

The email you reported was not sent by eBay. We have reported this email to the appropriate authorities.

In the future, be very cautious of any email that asks you to submit information such as your credit card numbers or passwords. If you are ever concerned about an email you receive from eBay, simply follow these steps:

1. Open a new Web browser and type www.ebay.com into your browser address field to go directly to the eBay site.

2. On eBay, click on the "My eBay" link at the top of the page and sign into your account.

3. Check the "My Messages" link located on the left side of the My eBay page. If an email affects your eBay account, it's now in "My Messages." Any email sent to your registered eBay email address from eBay or from another eBay member via eBay's member-to-member communication system will also appear in "My Messages."

Just remember, if you get an email regarding a problem with your account or that is requesting personal information, and the email looks like it is from eBay, please check My Messages first. If it's not there, it's a fake email.

If you still have any doubt about whether an email message is from eBay, please forward it to spoof@ebay.com immediately. Do not respond to it or click any of the links. Do not remove the original subject line or change the email in any way when you forward it to eBay.

If you have already entered sensitive personal information, financial
information, or your password into a Web site based on a request from a
spoofed email, you should take immediate action to protect your identity and all of your online accounts. We have developed an eBay Help page with valuable information regarding the steps you should take to protect yourself.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/tp/isgw-account-theft-reporting.html

To review eBay's new tutorial about Spoof Emails, please see the
following Web page:

http://pages.ebay.com/education/spooftutorial/

To help you better protect yourself from fake eBay and PayPal Web sites, we have developed a feature for the eBay Toolbar called "Account Guard." Account Guard includes an indicator of when you are on an eBay or PayPal Web site or a known spoof (or "phishing") site, buttons to report fake eBay Web sites, and a password notification feature that warns you when you may be entering your eBay password on an unverified site.

To learn more about the eBay Toolbar with Account Guard, please go to www.ebay.com, click on "Downloads" at the bottom of the page, and then click on the "eBay Toolbar" link.

We also recommend that you keep your browser, operating system, and virus protection software up to date. Check for updates at the "Windows Update" link on www.microsoft.com and scan your computer for viruses often.

Once again, thank you for alerting us to the spoof email you received. Your efforts help keep eBay a safe and fair place to trade.

Regards,

Ande
eBay SafeHarbor
Investigations Team

RainDeer

Dedicated for someone who likes "all kind of blue (colours)". And who is supposed to be resting; instead of reading this one. *grin*

rain_deer_layers

Using Serif PhotoPlus, the touch-up keyword for the top left image: gray, gamma, brightness/contrast. For the top right image: chalk & charcoal from Microsoft Photo Editor.

Back to Serif PhotoPlus, create an empty layer. Copy the above two images to that layer. Superimpose them. Play with the opacity level. And voilĂ ! You'll get the following picture of RainDeer.

rain_deer_result
RainDeer: the next Myth or merely an erratum?

PS. Click here to see how the real photo looks like. Majestic, isn't it?

Which Omen?

The book or the movie?

You want to have a good laugh? Get the book. Feel like being terrified? Go & catch the show today.

For me, I'll forgo the movie. It's enough to watch "The Omen", the classic version and its sequels: II & III. No complaint about the shows. Creepy, but not exaggerated. In fact, you may even wonder what if the so-called Antichrist were to be raised properly. This refers to The Omen II which was about the teenage Damien eventually took the seemingly inevitable dark path of his destiny.

Which bring us to the book "Good Omens". Pratchett & Gaiman did a wonderful job in examining another possibility. If only the boy were to grow up rightly--with friends who accept him as he really is...not, with the Hellhound, endearingly named as Dog. You just have to bookmark that part. The Naming. And how confused the beast is. Heh--what would happen?

Also memorable from the book is the Four Horsemen--3 of whom are the original cast (War, Famine, Death) and the relatively new Pollution (because Pestilence quitted in 1936, "complaining about penicillin"). To be noted as well is their entourage, the Four Bikers of the Apocalypse, namely: Grievous Bodily Harm, Cruelty to Animals, Things not working properly even after you've given them a good humping (formerly known as Embarrassing Personal Problems), and Really Cool People.

So I’m NOT a cinephile. (2)

How could I miss out that last scene after the credits? *groan* (Just learnt that there's such a scene for "X-Men: The Last Stand".)

This "additional ending after the credits" is nothing new. I recall it was used for "28 Days Later" to provide an alternative ending. More realistic, by the way. Up to the audience to choose which ending they believe. The first one--which is happy--or the one after the credits--which is tragic.

Also used for Shrek 2. To present how the offsprings of a certain main character look like. Heh.

Not a test. But what other shows used a similar teaser to make audience wait on their seats till the end of credits just to peek at the extra finale?

PS. The left image is from the official site. Touch-up keyword: crop.

So I’m not a cinephile.

Because for the yesterday’s show of “X-Men: The Last Stand” at Golden Village, Bishan 4.10 p.m., I was surprised that until 4.30 p.m. the show has not started.

Too many advertisements and I could only recollect two trailers: “The Lady In The Water” and “The Lake House”.

The former is directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Promising maybe especially if you are his fan since his movie, “The Sixth Sense”. But the trailer didn’t look appealing enough. Okay, so I’m not a fan.

The latter, however, would be the one that I’ll have to watch. “The Lake House” has in some way a parallel with “Frequency”. Previously mentioned here. And you know how I like this show! Heh.

One similarity: a physical setting. In Frequency, both of father and son are in the same house, albeit in 30-year difference. Whereas in “The Lake House”, the setting is at, err, the lake house (duh!) but with a 2-year gap. And it’s between two strangers who happen to stay in the same lake house, but in the different year.

While in Frequency, the medium of communication is a radio. In “The Lake House”, it is a ‘mail box’. A physical one located outside the house, complete with a “flag” sign to indicate whether the letter has just been delivered.

So I am not a cinephile, if I never realize the advertisements showed prior to the movie are that many. But this movie, “The Lake House”, I’ll definitely watch. (Brave words for one who fail to find time to catch “Voice”. Sigh.)

From the official site. Touch-up keyword: Negative. [1]


From the official site. Touch-up keyword: Crop. [2]

NOTE:
[1] The negative image is to show the text of "Sad Farewell..." clearer. Yes, the original picture is way cooler, but that text is not visible.

[2] The contrasting use of colours (or lack of it for Keanu Reeves) is just so appropriate because one character is in the present (Sandra Bullock. Thus, her "full" colours) & another is in the past (Not really that long back to the past. But the black-and-white image serves its purpose i.e. to represent a different era.)

010606 - Lost (Season 2) Summary / Spoiler - Part 2 of 2.

Part 1: here.

Part 2. The Island
Claire is introducing herself & her baby, Aaron to Mr. Eko. He remarks about the choice of the name & how in the Old Testament, Aaron was a great man as he helped to speak on behalf of Moses. To which, Claire remarks that Mr. Eko is religious just like Charlie is. She comments about how Charlie always carries a Virgin Mary statue with him.

That comment startles Mr. Eko. Claire then shows him the statue & tells him that Charlie finds it in the jungle. Mr. Eko insists to find out exactly where & Claire answers that it’s just a statue. A statue?! Mr. Eko breaks the statue with his club & the heroin is revealed inside.

Mr. Eko leaves Claire & looks for Charlie. He is found fishing with Jin. Mr. Eko demands Charlie to show his the location where the statue is discovered.

Charlie agrees to bring Mr. Eko to the place, but to do so the next morning. Mr. Eko insists to see it the very same day. Charlie reluctantly agrees & requests to see Claire first.

A little argument pursues where Claire accuses Charlie of lying. She recalls that Charlie once says that he is a drug addict. He claims that he doesn’t know about the drug (it’s sealed in the statue after all) & that he doesn’t need the drug (he spills the heroin to the sand). But Claire refuses to believe.

Mr. Eko & Charlie are walking in the jungle. Charlie blames him about the tension between him & Claire. He shows Mr. Eko a wrong place & claims that there is where the statue is find. Mr. Eko knows Charlie is lying & demands him point-blank to show him where the plane is. Charlie is surprised & asks how Mr. Eko comes to know about the plane.

Mr. Eko ignores him & asks why he lies to Claire. And suddenly Mr. Eko glimpses a black smoke. Charlie turns to see but the smoke is already gone.

The trekking continues. Charlie admits that he is a drug addict, but he blames it to his brother. Mr. Eko sees something behind a tree & finds the corpse with a parachute. The corpse wears like a priest. He opens the corpse’s shirt (Blogger’s note: he is looking for the necklace with a cross for an identification purpose whether this corpse is his brother’s). Nothing. He realizes then that this corpse has a gold tooth.

Charlie asks if Mr. Eko recognizes the body. Mr. Eko answers that the corpse saves his life (again literally, as shown in Part 1 when the gold-toothed man pushes away Mr. Eko from boarding the plane).

Mr. Eko kneels over the body & says a prayer while Charlie rants at the impossibility of the situation. Charlie sees the scriptures carved on Mr. Eko’s club & he asks whether Mr. Eko is a priest too.

They continue their walk & Charlie is lost. Mr. Eko instructs him to climb the tree to see whether Charlie can recognize the way to go. At first, Charlie refuses. But Mr. Eko’s stint as a gangster may teach him one or two techniques on how to make people do what they are told. Either that or Mr. Eko’s holding a club is too much a persuasion for Charlie.

He climbs the tree. All of sudden, the grounds are shaking (exploding?) & a black smoke is seen approaching Mr. Eko.

Touch-up keywords: brightness/contrast.

Mr. Eko & the black smoke come face to face. For a while. And the black smoke flies away.

Charlie climbs down & asks Mr. Eko what he does. Charlie tells Mr. Eko that the black smoke “killed people” (in Season 1?). Mr. Eko’s interest seems on the plane & he asks Charlie whether he sees the plane from the tree. An affirmative answer & they are back to the right direction.

The next scene shows Mr. Eko takes the cross from the corpse inside the plane. He cries and tells when he is asked that the corpse is his brother. Charlie mumbles his condolence. Mr. Eko gives one statue to Charlie for the one that is earlier broken. Then he uses the fuel to burn the plane with his brother & the heroin inside.

As they watch the fire, Charlie asks again whether Mr. Eko is really a priest. Mr. Eko wears the cross (Back to the original owner. Finally) & answers that he is indeed a priest. He proceeds with a prayer: "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters…"(Psalm 23)

And when the whole Psalm 23 is quoted, Mr. Eko's voice-over is filling the scenes where Jin & Sun Kwon offer Ana-Lucia a meal, where Hurley helps Libby building her tent, where Jack approaches Sawyer (and Kate) & give him his medicine.



The 010606 episode also shows Michael learns how to shoot a riffle. Locke is the teacher.

Michael volunteers to man-up the computer. Taking Kate’s shift. Another “chat” with Walt using the computer (I don’t understand Locke never share with the rest of the survivors that it is important not to use the computer other than to key in the codes?).

Kate is not suspicious about Michael’s request. She concentrates being a barber for Sawyer. She teases Sawyer that he’s trying hard to be nasty despite the fact that everyone loves him. And as cue for that, Hurley & Michael pass way. Hurley says he’s glad Sawyer is back (Kate is grinning & says “See?”). Followed by Michael, who after requesting Kate’s shift, awkwardly tells that he’s glad Sawyer is okay. Kate is still grinning & Sawyer testily warns her not to say anything. (The audience *LOL*)

In the hatch, Michael’s chat is interrupted with Jack coming in & telling Michael that nobody forgets about Walt & that they would soon start finding a way to get him back. Michael is clearly distracted. He may worry that Jack would see from the monitor that Michael is chatting with Walt. Jack gives a sympathy pat on Michael’s shoulder & sees the screen. The previous texts are no longer there.

The Episode also has Claire packing Charlie’s stuff & tells him not to stay near her & her baby. Charlie tries to argue, but he eventually agrees to leave.

The last scene is at night where Charlie is seen walking with a torch to a secret place where he hides quite a number of Virgin Mary statues. Yes. Notice the plural. He adds to his collection the one statue given by Mr. Eko.

To be continued…

010606 - Lost (Season 2) Summary / Spoiler - Part 1 of 2.

The past week article: here. The long awaited episode focusing on Mr. Eko was finally shown!

Remember this one?
Mr. Eko leaves the group, carrying Sawyer on his back. Telling Ana-Lucia that he is doing that not for Sawyer, but for himself. (I’m really looking forward for the episode where the flashback shall focus on Mr. Eko. Who is he? A priest? An idealist? A humanist?)

One out of three! Not bad. I guessed it right. Mr. Eko is a priest, but once he is also one of…

Part 1. Flashback on Mr. Eko
…the gangsters. They drive to the village where the children are playing football.

In what I perceive as a “recruitment drive”, the mobsters are seen to gather the kids to take them away. I think they must be quite organized if they’re thinking that far ahead to have a proper succession program. Heh.

Anyway, a priest is seen running out from a church. He tries to prevent the kid-napping (Can’t resist it. Sorry) to happen again. One of the baddies hits the priest & makes him kneel. One of the children is given a gun and is told to shoot the priest. What the hey?!

Having a real gun & having been told to kill a real man are definitely too much for the kid. He just points the gun to the priest. Trembling. The kid, not the priest.

Another kid runs & takes the gun & shoots the priest without any hesitation. The mobsters are impressed. The leader asks what the kid’s name is—which is Eko—and he mockingly calls him Mr. Eko.

The “recruitment drive” is over. The leader takes the young Eko with him, but not before discarding the necklace with a cross that Eko wears. The other kid—the one to whom the gun is first given—picks up the cross.

Literally & figuratively speaking. (The audience later learnt that the other kid will become a priest and that he is Mr. Eko’s brother. Guess that may explain why the young Eko’s action of taking a gun & choosing to be a killer than letting his brother becomes one. After all the brother is younger than him & may not survive the trauma of knowingly killing a priest.)

A few years later. Mr. Eko has apparently climbed a corporate ladder and is now the leader of the gangsters. Together with his men, he meets two foreigners discussing about the drug (heroin) that the two foreigners have with them.

He pushes them to sell the heroin to him with way below the market price. His argument is that the drug has no use for them because there is just no market for it here in the country. He remarks that they need him to transport away the drug to sell it abroad.

The two foreigners do not buy in to it, of course. Surely, they can find other gangsters to give them a better offer. Or so they think.

You have no soul, mister! And with that, they get up as if to leave. Mr. Eko starts to laugh & with a blur of movement, takes his knife & slashes them. Dead.

The flashback scene continues to show Mr. Eko in a village & a woman tries to sell a Virgin Mary statue to him. A priest approaches him & Mr. Eko addresses him as a brother.

In a conversation that pursues, the priest refuses to hear Mr. Eko’s confession as the latter is not properly repentant of the crimes he commits. To which, Mr. Eko reaches for the cross that his brother wears (the same one that is pulled & discarded from young Eko during the early “recruitment drive”) & asks him rhetorically whether what he does that day is a sin. Or not. As by his action, the brother is saved.

A tactful one, the priest knows better not to answer that. He asks what Mr. Eko wants & is told that his assistance—specifically the church relief flights—is needed to transport Mr. Eko’s drug out of the country.

Mr. Eko tries to persuade him that the money could be used to buy medicines for the village. Also he makes a point that by transporting the heroin away, their people won’t be able to abuse it.

Yeah, right. The priest accuses Mr. Eko’s only motive is greed & leaves him alone.

The flashback leads the audience into the church. The priest is handling a confession, but abruptly stopped by Mr. Eko.

He tries to persuade his brother again. This time, the priest is asked to sign a document to make Mr. Eko & his men priests so that they could fly—using the church’s flight—the heroin themselves.

The brother refuses.

Mr. Eko highlights the obvious consequence. That while he would not do anything to hurt his own brother, his men will burn the church if his brother is not co-operative.

The brother signs the paper.

Having a plan to conceal the heroin inside the Virgin Mary statues, Mr. Eko buys all statues & gives his brother the money.

The flashback reaches the final part at the airport where Mr. Eko & his men dressing as priests are loading the statues onto the plane.

A van comes & Mr. Eko’s brother steps down. He begs Mr. Eko not to leave with that plane. He admits that Mr. Eko saves his life once & that it’s now his turn to save him. [1]

Suddenly a truck consists of soldiers is approaching. Bullets dance in the air & one of Mr. Eko’s men is killed. The brother tries to stop more bloodshed, yelling to the soldiers to, uhm, stop.

He is shot, instead.

Mr. Eko lifts his brother onto a plane, but when he tries to climb the plane, one of his men pushes him away. The plane takes off and he’s left behind.

The soldiers approach him and addressing him as a priest (he’s dressing as one), he’s asked if he’s okay.

Note:
[1] Again, literally. Because the plane is going to crash. And as shown in one of Season 1 episodes where Locke, inspired by a dream, finds the plane stranded on a tree. [2] He also comes across a gold-toothed corpse dressing as a priest with a gun & Nigerian currency. The gold-toothed corpse is the same person who pushes Mr. Eko away & prevents him to board the plane.

[2] The plane is first explored by Boone [3] who discovers the statues & as he throws one of them to the ground, its content (heroin) is known.

[3] The very same plane [4] where Boone trying to use the communication system of the plane makes a first contact with the other Flight 815 survivors, Bernard who coincidentally is using the radio that the Five (Ana-Lucia, Mr. Eko, Libby, Bernard & Cindy) finds in the hatch of the opposite side of the Island.

[4] The very same plane—with Boone is still inside being puzzled when Bernard says, “We are the survivor of Flight 815”—which falls from the tree & kills Boone.

Next: what happens in the Island.
Keywords: Mr. Eko and the black smoke.

To be continued…

Transacted Prices are NOT TRANSPARENT

There is no official website for you to find out the recent transacted prices for the PRE-WAR section of Tiong Bahru.

This has create much confusion, chaos and stress when buying and selling a property here.

This lack of information, while it punished the ignorant, has rewarded many hardworking and diligent investors.

I wonder when the authorities will make these information public.

For HDB's transacted prices, you can go to http://www.hdb.gov.sg/ to find out last 3 months transacted prices.

The Phone Meme

Tagged by Angie Bern. Can't say No to a person who has helped a lot in Yogyakarta, can I? So okay, Angie. I'll do this for you. (What's the big deal, one may ask? It's just a meme, isn't it? Sure, but it's Friday & my priority of the day is to do the write-up about the last night episode of LOST. But not this time. ^_^")

one: what is the phone brand?
(classic) Panasonic.

two: what are the last three digits of your mobile number?
five eight four.

three: what does the second message in your inbox say?
(second as in second first or second last?)
Second first: ":-) no problem. My email is [OMITTED]." (from Jean Toh, a long LOST university friend met in front of AMK Library)
Second last: "hi [INSERT MY NAME HERE]. thank you. very very much." (from Angie)

four: who's the first person who comes up under the letter m?
Mahesh.

five: who's the last person you rang?
Angie.

six: who was your last missed call from?
Angie. (but on purpose because she owed me that 15-second laughter to my voicemail box & she still did. Heh)

seven: who's the second person who comes up under d?
Dasugi.

eight: what does the last message in your inbox say?
"for being a kind soul." (from Angie. Don't ask. Don't tell. I'm trying to figure it out myself.)

nine: who comes up under j?
Jadeite.

ten: go to your sent items -- what does the tenth message say?
Uhm. Classic Panasonic, remember? Only the fearless dares using it? To be different than the rest? *grin* So no, not applicable.

eleven: who's the fourth person who comes up under s?
SH 1633 Roam.

twelve: who's your network provider?
Starhub.

thirteen: how many messages are currently in your inbox?
Please refer to the answer for question no.10

fourteen: what do you have as your background?
Please refer to the answer for question no.10

fifteen: who's the second person who comes up under r?
Ricky.

sixteen: who do you have on speed dial three?
... (I suspect Classic Panasonic doesn't have this feature.)

seventeen: if you're on pay as you go, how much credit do you have?
N/A.

eighteen: who's the first person who comes up under c?
C22 Bernard.

nineteen: how many bars of signal do you currently have?
Four.

twenty: what do you have as your main ringtone?
Used to be either "Fur Elise" or "Godfather's theme song" in the old phone. Now it's just an unidentified ringing tone content enough to fulfill its function.

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