juicy fruity antics


Jurong BirdPark - to sum up

A visit there just proves that I'm no nature photographer. Even with the caged birds, I failed to snap quality photos. Or if I managed to do so, I did it after many attempts.

For example this one of scarlet ibises. I swear they're such speedsters. (Right. Scarlet. Speedster. See how many get the reference. Heh.) By the way, the circles were not a special effect or something. It's just rain water on the glass.

Of course some of the birds were just plain friendly. Or simply hungry and got used to be fed by visitors. Like these two lories--the birds with amazingly almost technicolor feathers. Taking their photos was a snap. Literally. I didn't have to re-take it.

Some photo was no challenge at all. Like this sleepy Malay Eagle Owl. (Note that the link leads to a page in Malay that's because I can't find details in English). What amused me was not the sight of the bird, but the sound when it yawned. And it yawned a lot. Got to upgrade to a video cam soon.

If a diving duck is not diving, is it still called a diving duck?

Apparently yes. And apparently plenty visitors to the Jurong BirdPark had raised such a question in the past to the dismay of the staff.

Behold, the answer is now prominently displayed by the cage:

And this is how a diving duck looks like (well-fed indeed):

PS. a more interesting, albeit irrelevant question would be "If a tree falls in the forest and there is nobody around, does it make a sound?"

Travelling Exhibitions and National Art:

At present there seems to be a shortage of travelling exhibitions in Jamaica. For reasons perhaps such as budget restrictions and shortage of the kind of space required before being allowed to host one of these exhibitions. This does something however: it keeps the gallery circuit and the art community closed. The National Gallery with its Biennial and Curator's Eye seeks to invite international curator's and artists to exhibit alongside local artists but the context seems to be innately about Jamaica and its cultural output, from the diaspora or not. Somehow leading to a kind of nationalism in art. It is true that this is one of the main roles of national art museums and galleries but what of privately run galleries?

On the other hand, if you think about the UK and its Young British Artists promotional strategies, the U.S. and its National Endowment for the Arts and Canada and its National Film Board, it seems that the national voice in art is a common policy or strategy. How does this sit with the idea of crossing boundaries and merging of cultures that is popular with theorists today. How can the Jamaican art community find a middle ground or is it a matter of government policy?

There is also the issue that I am even referring to art produced by persons culturally, geographically or historically associated with Jamaica as 'Jamaican' art. Is that valid to even search for the 'Jamaican' element in the equation?

Apocalypto. Maybe later.

The channelnewsasia.com review rated Apocalypto 3 out of 5. Not much. But I always love shows featuring a Native American. (Why else did I watch a French film, Le Pacte Des Loups or Brotherhood of the Wolf?)

What interests me, though, is reading this part of the review. Quoted:
Thus begins Jaguar's journey into the heart of darkness as the prisoners are marched into the Mayan city, only to discover they're being offered up as human sacrifices.

Especially the phrase, 'heart of darkness' which I vaguely know I've read it somewhere. Yes, I came across it last time when reading the Wikipedia article about the movie, Apocalypse Now. Quoted:
Although inspired by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the film deviates extensively from its source material. The novel, based on Conrad's real experiences as a steam paddle boat captain in Africa, is set in the Belgian Congo during the 19th century.

And my point is? Nothing really. Just like this kind of little coincidence. =)

the Rosie & Suede show

Rosie Rose: You bitch so much, you drive me nuts.
Suede Slash: I know we are happier this way!

They are mean (or so they claim) -- and they are not found.

Having read the Sunday Times (the same article is also available in AsiaOne.com page) about wearemean.blogspot.com, I decided to visit it today.

I'd have expected to find some mean rebuttal from the owners of the blog about the article. They didn't. The blog was closed.

So much for their bravado. Oh yes, I did manage to find trails of their blog and at first I was impressed. Intrepid but stupid (shutting down their site will just prove that the Sunday Times story about them is indeed true). Take a look at the screenshot from the Google Blog Search result page.

PS. Of course the reason of their site is 'not found' might be due to periodical maintenance. Who knows? If so, this post will be a good example of an overhasty conclusion.

PPS. Trivia: 'mean' can also mean (duh) 'of the very best kind'.

Charity Chief...or Thief?!

Either that as a title or When was the stop-loss order trigerred for Durai? or Will his 'people who completely abdicated their responsibility and behaved completely dishonourably' (in short, but not acceptable by the court, also known as his "cronies".) follow Durai's footstep to admit liability to all claims?

The first question is obviously a rhetorical one.

The clue for the second question could be on this Channelnewsasia.com article, dated 10 Jan 2007 titled "Old NKF's slush fund exposed".

Durai, who on Monday appeared spirited and listened intently while Mr Shanmugam addressed the court, bowed his head during yesterday's hearing. He did not return to court after lunch.

Despite what many may have thought about him, he's human after all. Slapped with the accusing fingers about how he "paid about-to-resign Matilda (Chua) 6-month bonus" (Full story), how he "over a seven and a half year period, Durai charged more than $1 million for hotel stays for himself and possibly for other NKF staff like Matilda Chua" (Full story), and how he "had given out contracts to companies he had interests in" (Full story)--surely he'd eventually shatter.

I almost pity him.

At least till I read about how his decision to give up at this stage shall "impact on the criminal case".

Lawyers observing the NKF civil trial say the former CEO's concession will have an impact on the criminal case, but the question on how much of an influence remains to be seen.

In fact, a criminal trial may not even take place.

. . .

Lawyers say the civil and criminal suits are very different.

For a civil case, the parties have to show enough evidence to put forward their case. But for a criminal case, it's about proving beyond any reasonable doubt that a person is guilty. The penalties too are different.

"Throwing in the towel on this whole matter really means paying sums of monies in the form of damages. How much of this is yet to be seen, but throwing in the towel in a criminal matter really means losing his liberty, one going to jail. So the considerations of how one decides to progress with the charges against him in the criminal matter is completely different," said Krishnan Nadarajan, Lawyer, Tan, Lim and Wong.

Smart move, Durai. End the civil trial by confessing & thus, avoid to have more cans of worms spilled. You've truly learnt the gold-tap saga in the past that proved to be the tip of the iceberg that tear apart the hull of lies & deceit in the name of charity.

By confessing now, you will also very likely have prevented yourself to be entangled in a criminal case. Well done.

Then again, perhaps not. Perhaps there will be criminal cases in the offing. Thus why the Durai's 'special friends' are still fighting in the court which in process has pulled in more names to the party. First casualty being the ex-NKF vice-chairman, Alwyn Lim. (Full story).

To answer the third question: No. These 'people' won't follow Durai to 'admit liability to all claims' (really, what a fancy term to say 'confess' or 'give up'). They will try to distance themselves from Durai. They might try to push all the blame to Durai (after all, the fellow has already confessed). Whether it works or not, we'll just have to wait and see.

Now I long for yesterday (pause) (pause) (pause) Not!

Heh. The above use of 'Not' reminds me to Borat. Any of you (above 21 years old) watched the show?

Can't help comparing the movie with the banned TV series, South Park. I wish the ban would be lifted soon. I reckon the movie, Borat in some sense is worse than the cartoon. (Okay, perhaps some South Park episodes are indeed completely unacceptable by certain subjective standards. Then why can't those specific episodes be banned? Why take the easy way of because-a-few-episodes-are-Bad-let's-ban-the-whole-series?)

Borat makes fun almost about anything. One example is about politics. I just love it when Borat addressing the American people during the rodeo game: "We support your war of terror." Even more ticklish when those people were cheering him. They don't get the joke, do they?

Another instance is about religion. But I will refrain from commenting about it here. Oh well, the good old self-censorship. *shrug*

Back to the intended topic. About what else? The gloomy weather. The constant rain. The perpetual damp in the air.

To make matter worse, I realize it's not right to complain about the abundant blessing of the free water from the sky. Singapore has the water issue, doesn't it? Even the 'classic' movie such as The Gods Must Be Crazy came to mind to prompt that some countries are unbearably arid & that water is very precious there.

It shamed me.

To be fair to the Great Weatherman Up Above, the wet weather--in fact, any kind of weather--is perfectly alright if I don't have to go working. I know I'm tired. I know I'll shake my head when one day I read this article again. Whatever happens to Responsibility, man? Soaked by the rain & awashed down the drain?

classic cat in bag

greetings from dubai

the fantastic flotsam foursome takes to the land of wadi, souk and dirham in fashionable style!

That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French

(Okay, I do know the word: déjà vu. I just want to title this post like that of a short story by Stephen King. But that's not the point.)

I read the recent Channelnewsasia.com article, "Indonesia mounts massive search for missing airliner". (Full story: here)

Partially quoted from the above link:
Reports by officials Tuesday that the wreckage and some survivors had been found on a jungle-covered mountain near Polewali in West Sulawesi turned out to be false after search and rescue teams combed the area.

That's when I felt strongly that I had read a screw-up like this before. And I refused to believe it's just "a glitch in the matrix". Thus, I hunted for the info. A quick search & I found this cbc.ca news, dated 24 Oct 2005 titled "Nigerian plane crash leaves no survivors".

Partially quoted:
Confusion swirled in the hours immediately following the crash, including a false report that 50 people had survived.

There were also conflicting reports initially about where the plane went down.

I remember I was disgusted about how the news people report something without bothering to check whether it's true or not--especially if that 'something' involves an element of Hope.

Imagine how it feels when you have your loved one onboard the plane. When the news about the plane crashed comes, you're devastated. You're hit by the most dreadful scenario that is you've lost your loved one. Then comes a glimmer of Hope when it's reported there are survivors. Your loved one could be one of them! You selfishly pray that it's so. That bright light of Hope is soon smeared by a pitch dark of Despair as a subsequent news unapologetically states that the previous report is wrong.

These days I fervently endeavour to peruse the news with a sufficient dosage of scepticism.


Visited Novena Square yesterday & realized the name of the shopping center is Velocity. Kind of remind me to VivoCity & made me wonder which came first. Both were impressively new & sparkling, you see. (A quick check revealed that Velocity was opened on 23/11/06, while VivoCity at a later date, 01/12/06).

Velocity boasts quite wide-ranging shops. Didn't really explore them (shopping's not my vice), though. And you have to sit on those chairs for the shoppers to take a breather. Comfy.

What puzzles me is that despite all these, I cannot find any cinema there. Not that it's a must but it would be perfect if they have one. Oh well...

Anyway, what's next? A mall named VeracitY? Or VINOsity? How about ViCiNiTy?

Oh...It's 2007 already?

Time for another set of new year resolutions. Bleah. Seriously I couldn't even recall whether I did have any before.

To partially quote from the above Wikipedia link:
The new year resolution is one example of the rolling forecast-method of planning. According to this method, plans are established at regular short or medium-term time intervals, when only a rough long-term plan exists.

Right. Not that difficult. Just stick to be a better man.[1] That's it. Resolution for this year - done. Nothing fancy. Nothing too complicated. Just some rough plan which may require more than a year indeed. Hope by the end of 2007, I'll look back to this article & grin & say to myself "I've been trying, haven't I? To be a better man and I've done it my way." [2]

So Happy New Year--perhaps like Oprah Winfrey said: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

[1] This song is darn whiny, don't you agree?
[2] This song isn't.

(Almost) Random Photos At The Chiang Mai International Airport

Four of the images were taken using 'sunset' mode. Didn't really like how the pictures turned out with a tinge of red. By the way, the 'Normal' mode is sufficient with the Flash disabled.

Like the first silhouette picture. The rest, well, they're mostly just to document to descent of the sun.

The photo with the crowd was shot after the announcement that passengers could start entering to the plane. I recall I was chuckling as I thought "So much for the renown discipline of orderly queueing of Singaporeans". (Of course I over-generalized. They were not necessarily Singaporeans just because they're flying from Chiang Mai to Singapore. But still...)

I took the last image when I was in the plane. Not good. The photo was blurrish & confusing due to the my reflection from the window glass.

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