I heart my library

Yeah, the messages are cute, aren't they?

So Long, and Thanks for All the Books

Decided to pay a visit yesterday to library@orchard before it's closed down. Taking some photos because I know I shall miss this library. A LOT!!

1. The book drop located near the 3 lifts.

2. Library@orchard exterior wall, near the book drop.

3. Inside, near the borrowing counters. More of the hearts: here.

4. Also near the borrowing counters.

5. The cabinets for novels.

6. The borrowing counters.

7. Exterior wall, near the escalator.

8. The entrance.

9. Part of the entrance.

10. A little stage inside the library, near Cafe Galilee.

11. Cafe Galilee, also inside the library.

12. Quite comprehensive collections of travel guides.

13. Comics@orchard.

14. One of many cozy seats.

15. The help counters.

16. A poster outside the library. Wish to be able to attend. But I have other commitments...

17. Cafe Galilee from another angle. There's another entrance to the library through the cafe.

18. Just another shot of the stage.

19. Another shot of the exterior wall.

20. Ditto.

21. So I wasn't the only one who thought to take photos of the library. =)

tanaka+nooka collab update

i have to admit that i was sad when we didn't get a huge response to our online collab project with the amazing shin tanaka, but i do want to share the best entry so far -- sent all the way from italia!
thank you michele of artevettoriale!

everyone else...u still have time: http://www.nooka.com/collab/shintanaka.html or the link above.

"RAIN" tree

It was the worst time to have an appointment between 3 - 4 pm today.

The rain started suddenly and within 15 minutes, there were lightning and thunder. The wind was very strong as well.

There was no way you could prevent yourself from getting wet and it was pure insanity to even think of getting out into the rain.

But too bad for me, I needed to get to my daughter's school to celebrate her birthday at 3pm.

And I also have to bring a huge bag that contained her birthday party goodies bag.

So it was me in the rain. One hand holding the bag, the other holding the umbrella. Mr Wind was pretty busy trying to get my umbrella to divorce me in the rain.

By the way, how do you get into a car without getting wet when you have an open umbrella?

Do you place the umbrella between the car roof and car door and try to close it, pull it in as quickly as possible? The rain water will nevertheless still drip onto your clothes right?

Or would you try to close the umbrella in the rain and quickly jump into the car and throwing the wet umbrella onto the passenger seat?

I never quite figured out the best way BUT I really need to master this skill because there are no sheltered carparks within the Tiong Bahru Estate!

Anyway, my entire jeans, socks and shoes were soaking wet when I arrived at her school.

And guess what.....my wife told me she forgot to bring another bag of goodies bag and sent me home to retrieve it.

I think she knew that I needed more practice on how to get in and get out of a car with an umbrella.

By the time I got back to the school again, my mood was quite in sync with the weather.

When it was time to leave the school, the rain had eased up but it made no difference to me anyway. I was already soaking wet by then.

This afternoon sudden down pour did claim a victim in Tiong Bahru.

A tree next to Block 50 Moh Guan Terrace fell.

Luckily no one was hurt. Anyway, who would be out walking in the rain right?

I saw the fallen tree at about 4:30pm and by 6pm, the tree and all other debris were thoroughly removed by the Tanjong Pagar Town Council.

If you were heading home this evening and you walked past that spot, you may not even have noticed that there used to be a tree that stood there.

GREAT JOB Tanjong Pagar Town Council, you are super efficient.

Invasion of privacy (Surely it's not better to be ignorant?)

While Tomorrow.sg had been quite busy these days with one of its editors publishing a cloned blog, a quite similar news had made it public as well. Read this Asiaone.com article, 27/11/07 "What will you find on your hubby's PC?" and find it a pity that despite the article is being in electronic format, it doesn't include the link the blog. It sure will be interesting to compare the two situations directly from the source.(Well, it's too bad that in Tomorrow.sg situation, the original blog had since been rendered 'private'. That, however, was after some of the blog posts were copied. Likely without the permission of the blogger, many have suspected.)

In the Asiaone.com story, the wife discovered the truth as she opened some files in her husband's PC.

I didn't know her blog address, but I can expect some will point out to her that something about how ignorance is bliss & other heartless clich├ęs.

Or other how-obvious-that-can-be statement like this one--quoted from the Asiaone.com article:
Some netizens are saying that men who are rich and handsome, are more likely to have affairs, and this case is just one example.


Anyway, I'm not against using any means to find the truth. Even if that includes invasion of privacy. I'm not against witch-hunting the adulterous couples (as long as you're not the one to be stoned, right?). The couples should have thought about the shameful consequences & the pain they'll inflict to their soon-to-be loved ones, shouldn't they? I'm not against the victims pouring their misery in their blogs. It's theirs after all.

But I'll definitely draw a line when it involves hijacking the other's blog & reproducing it without the approval of the blogger.

miami heist [now with party!]

i will be in a group art show concurrent with the basel art fair in miami december 5th - 9th -- miami heist. please come if you can as i will show a refreshed and edited selection from my fairy labor union memorials exhibition.

PARTY!!! Thursday December 6th, from 7-10 pm
Charcoal Studios
2135 NW 1st Ave.
Miami, FL
Wynwood District (next to Pulse Art Fair)

the zirc on mocoloco

i'm sure everyone who reads my blog is a frequent visitor to mocoloco.com, but if not, you should check them out. they have nooka info before i get to update my own blog! from the quotes, i can see that this was written by someone at my sydney australia presentation 2 weeks ago THANKS! they are writing mainly on our upcoming zirc model which i think will be a hit. it's 45 x 35 mm with a flush right wrist band. the new display is more evocative of a analog watch, so i hope it will pique the interest of people who think nooka is too much for them.

these will be available spring 2008 from nooka.com and fine retailers everywhere.

Allegedly a hacker takes on Odex (not by mistake?!)

What a difference a day makes indeed. At least for Odex. On Thursday, 21/11/07 it was reported that Odex, through its hired US Security company BayTSP, had mistakenly sent notices to foreign ISPs asking the users--in Japan, US & France "to remove illegally downloaded material from their hard disks." (Full story: here).

The next day, there's yet another headline about Odex & its hacked website. (Full story: here).

I was curious about the hacker's message & my search led to this blog. There's a link there that leads to the pdf file, allegedly a notice from the hacker.

I read the notice & wondered whether 'abominate' is a noun. It suspicuously sounds like a verb. Checked & okay, so 'abominate' is a verb. But is the word commonly used? Nah, I don't think so.

From this statement "As I (luckily) don't have any personal experience with ODEX...", perhaps it's right to deduce that the hacker is living in Singapore. (This possibility is further repeated in the hacker's statement of "As far as I can see from the amount of users buying their stuff...")

On the other hand, from the part of "...my deep abominate against this company", I'd say that the hacker may not be an English-speaking person. (Thus he/she doesn't have any idea that 'abominate' is not a commonly used word. A simple 'hatred' will do or the sentence can easily be rephrased to "...because I deeply hate this company".)

Typo errors in the message were plenty but hey, it can easily be attributed to the hacker being truly furious.

Furious enough to have typo errors scattered here & there. Yet the lack of "F" words is rather glaring. Another clue that the hacker is not an English speaking person? Otherwise, he/she will be comfortably--and generously--using the "F" words in making his/her points.

So in summary, the hacker is perhaps a foreigner who's currently living in Singapore & he/she is not an English-speaking person. He/she is very smart (While hacking is definitely wrong, it is still very difficult to do) as well as very temperamental. (Thus not likely an adult--yeah, yeah I make a generalization here. A student then? A student who knows quite considerably about the computer terms? A computer-science student? Hmm...)

I couldn't comment, though, about the use of "Onegai,..." in the latter part of the notice. Correctly put in the sentence? Supposed to be interpreted as "Please,..."? Of course it may not mean anything as this whole issue is about anime & the hacker may be picking up the word from the series.

Now if only the hacker had used 'Oro', instead. We could have nailed down a certainty which anime the hacker's crazy about. Heh.

International Schools: The Higher Cost of Studying

I recalled reading this Todayonline.com weekend article dated 17/11/07, "School experiment that failed" about one expat having her 2 kids studying in the local school. A few problems were mentioned such as the difficulty of the children in learning Mandarin, the vague--or lack of--instruction of what to study for a science exam, the questionable grading method of English compositions, and the high teacher-student ratio.

Eventually the children were "withdrawn from their (local) school & placed in an international school".

Many have obviously experienced the same situation. Not just expats. From today Asiaone.com article, "Jump in locals enrolling in international schools here", MOE was quoted to say that "975 Singaporeans are currently enrolled in some of the 40 international schools here, a big jump from the reported figure of 200 five years ago."

And this is regardless of the higher fee that they have to pay. But whether it's worth it or not, I guess it depends on the parents. I have the impression that they just push the responsibility of teaching their children to the school. Parents too, ought to play their part.

I'll share a personal experience. (No, no...I'm not a parent.) When I was small, I had difficulty in talking. My parents did not understand what I said. Despite their working schedules, they still managed to set a schedule to patiently guide me so that I gradually could speak right & understandable.

Now consider if they only relied on the school in helping me. Can easily say that I'd be a target of the class bully, suffered a low self esteem, etc...etc...

You name it. The worst case scenario that you're afraid your children are perhaps going through. It may happen if you depend only on the formal educational system, aka a school.


remember the kitty flushed out by a storm? the crazy man and woman almost kept it because it had the uncanny knack of throwing them a head-in-tail curl, a belly-up, a hang-in-the-air-for-a-second hop and a carry-me-whichever-way-you-like flop when they are at their most vulnerable... they even named it - Monk... and then someone adopted it! muahahahaha, so long sucka.

you got to laugh. because when you stop...

Poppet the carpark cat went the way of toothless calico. the vet made her as comfortable as she could be, and she went. the feeder doesn't know how to carry on when her love and her labours isn't enough against the brutalities of life on the street, but she will. the woman doesn't know how she can give help and hope again when there is the chance she has to make a cat auntie cry, but she will.

"So You Think You Can Write A Novel?"-- Book sharing session at Kinokuniya (24/11/07)

The above is from one of Singapore MLs: sarahcoldheart. (She meant it to be 24/11/07)

A screenshot from Kinokuniya's November 2007 Event.

Another screenshot about the book sharing session on "So You Think You Can Write A Novel?".

Not really a confidence man, is it?

Got this email & decided to put up the content (to share a laugh).

Leo Chung & Associates,
21 Campshill Road ,
Se13 6qu Lewisham,
London England.
I am really very sorry to barge into your privacy in this form.
However i seek your pardon for that, this is because i have know other
alternative than this.
However, I am Barrister Leo Chung from Japan, the Personal
Attorney to one deceased immigrant from your country, who based in
London, Also referred to as my client. On the 12th of July 2003, my
client, his wife and their only Child died in the train bomb blast
along Edgware road UK. Some of his properties, which he put out for sale.
which I monitored the payment as his attorney, has been bought and paid for.
Now the money paid was deposited into his Local account here in London. I
have contacted you to assist in repatriating the money and properties left
behind by my client before they get confiscated or declared unserviceable by his bank
particularly, this is because all effort I made since three years ago to get any of his relation who will stand as a next
of kin was not successful, however in my process of thinking of what to do
in other to make sure his account worth 10 Million Dollars does not get
confiscated or declared unserviceable by his bank, I decided to search
the internet, i then found that their is exact similarity between his
LAST NAME and your surname name, I then concluded to contact you
through email to stand as the next of KIN to my late client, though I doubt if
you are related to him but for the similarities of names this proposal
can be carried out successfully with your kind assistance.
My late client has an account valued at 10 Million Dollars. Since I have been unsuccessful
in locating the relatives for 3years now and the bank has
issued me a notice through a telegram message i received from them
yesterday evening informing me that they want to Audit their accounts by the end
of this month, precisely 29th of November dew to recent development in their
banking policy and if I do not provide the next of kin before this date, they
will confiscated or declare unserviceable the money and property left by my
late client during the process of the Auditing. I now seek your consent to
present you as the next of kin to my late client, so that the proceeds of this
account valued at 10 Million Dollars can be paid to you and then you and I can
share the money. 50% to me and 40% for you and 10% for miscellaneous
expenses that might arise towards this transaction. I have all necessary information/
documents that can be used to back up the claim.
All I require is your honest co-operation to enable us seeing this deal
through. I guarantee that this deal will be executed under a legitimate
arrangement that will Protect you from any breach of the law. Trust me,
as his attorney, this is a Risk free business relationship.
If my humble request is granted, please send the following
To my Email: leoandthelaw@hotmail.com, and treat this as
a confidential matter.
Best Regards.
Barrister Leo Chung

In short, the above is:
1. A badly written e-mail started with a mere "Hello," eventhough the sender is supposed to know my surname.
2. A badly written e-mail inconsiderately referring to a non-existent train bomb. (At least I fail to google the story about it).
3. A badly written e-mail whose sender seems to confuse the UK currency as Dollars.
4. A badly written e-mail whose sender's email address is hardly professional. (Which Law company uses a web-based free email account?)

PS. And unless he's a Chinese migrating to Japan & became a Japanese citizen, "Leo Chung" is surely not a Japanese name.


I spent the weekend with my friend pat in devonport which was great. her 2 kids are as adorable as ever and i was in time for harrison's 4th birthday party. it was a rock and roll theme party, so i was drafted to be a member of kiss with joe [my star is on the wrong side for my paul stanley]. the neighborhood kids were all great - aside from pat and Joe's kids (and tim finn’s* daughter elliot) - davenport is a bit like “children of the corn” though. the cultural diversity of auckland hasn’t permeated this hood yet:)
on monday, i caught up with robert and imelda at the hotel duxton to meet with our new distributor for new zealand. his name is kennedy and he took the day off to show us around - which was wonderful. we climbed rocks, hills, volcanoes and visited beautiful surfing beaches like piha. it was exhausting but we didn’t feel bad about being too tired to go out as it was a monday night and not much was going on in auckland.

for nooka, we are only in one shop in auckland, but are in 1 shop in christchurch and 2 shops in wellington. i haven’t been to those 2 cities, but what i hear, they are more urban than auckland though auckland is the largest and most populous city. my impression from my 2 trips here is that auckland is quite hippy and may not be the best market for my products. kennedy is on-it, so i'm sure we'll be in more shops by the end of the year. he's done a lot for just a month.

kennedy set up a meet-and-greet night for us at a cafe/dj cd vinyl/t-shirt shop on ponsaby street for press and buyers. like the event in sydney, very few people showed up which is disappointing after coming so long a ways, but reality check: i am not tom dixon or philip starck.

auckland does seem to be caught in a time-warp...more 1950’s themed things than i remember seeing in other cities. there was one cool shop near the main train station called eon [check] that would be perfect for nooka, but they only feature new zealand based designers.

some things to see if you are in auckland: the museum in the domain has a great collection of maori artifacts and buildings as well as a nice compact natural history collection with great interactive areas for kids [and adults like me]. the national park around the auckland watershed is amazing in the diversity of plant life and the beaches are beautiful [you will need a car]. in the city i had the best indian EVER at a restaurant called tagore in cnr quay [ph: 349 9463]. for great beer/wine/snacks/food, mac’s brewbar on 23-27 nuffield street is a cool environment. order a table platter which includes 3 glasses of wine or 4 beers for around $52nz and you’ll have more than enough to eat for 3 people. also check out the britomart train station, the only central station in the world with no people [everyone drives]!

so now onto the bitching and moaning section for both sydney and new zealand [hopefully someone in those governments AND hotel industry will be searching blogs and read this): modernize your internet infrastructure! australia and new zealand have to be the 2 most difficult [developed] countries to get online reliably and affordably. i had free internet in my hotel in sydney which only worked one day, and the internet at the hotel in auckland was $14.95 for what they called 24 hours but shut down after you reached 25 megabytes of data transfer [up+down]. it was really ridiculous and hardly the service a business traveler has come to expect, especially after japan and hong kong where most hotels offer high-speed at no charge. i think the city governments need to launch free wifi areas in the parks or major pedestrian areas to force the telecoms to bring the prices more in line and moreover, to get the populous connected to the rest of the world.

also, i did realize that if i were to move to auckland, i would need to cover my body in tattoos - robert and i were the only men without any tatts.

mustache update: i’m growing one stellar mustache...i had no idea how big my upper lip is!

* tim finn was a founding member of an early 80s new zealand band called split endz. i was really into them at one point.

Mass Effect...to the country.

So I found myself wondering what the game, "Mass Effect" is about. Well, I know why it's banned & I'm glad to read that it's unbanned. (Full story: here)

As usual, I used Wikipedia to find out more about the game. Wasn't really surprised to see that the ban is mentioned in the article. Guess it is a publicity (bad or good, still a publicity for the game...and the country) to have a country to disallow the game (and to later reverse the decision).

Can't say that I'm going to give this game a chance. No, not because this game has some same-sex love scene that led to it's being banned in the first place. But because I'm not a gamer.

A screenshot of the Wikipedia entry about the game.

NaNoWriMo 2007 - Week 3 Pep Talk by Neil Gaiman (!!!)

The Pep Talks during NaNoWriMo so far had never failed to give me a boost. Let alone this one by Neil Gaiman. ;)

Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

By now you're probably ready to give up. You're past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining. You're not yet at the momentous downhill slide to the end, when words and images tumble out of your head sometimes faster than you can get them down on paper. You're in the middle, a little past the half-way point. The glamour has faded, the magic has gone, your back hurts from all the typing, your family, friends and random email acquaintances have gone from being encouraging or at least accepting to now complaining that they never see you any more---and that even when they do you're preoccupied and no fun. You don't know why you started your novel, you no longer remember why you imagined that anyone would want to read it, and you're pretty sure that even if you finish it it won't have been worth the time or energy and every time you stop long enough to compare it to the thing that you had in your head when you began---a glittering, brilliant, wonderful novel, in which every word spits fire and burns, a book as good or better than the best book you ever read---it falls so painfully short that you're pretty sure that it would be a mercy simply to delete the whole thing.

Welcome to the club.

That's how novels get written.

You write. That's the hard bit that nobody sees. You write on the good days and you write on the lousy days. Like a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you die. Writing may or may not be your salvation; it might or might not be your destiny. But that does not matter. What matters right now are the words, one after another. Find the next word. Write it down. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

A dry-stone wall is a lovely thing when you see it bordering a field in the middle of nowhere but becomes more impressive when you realise that it was built without mortar, that the builder needed to choose each interloc king stone and fit it in. Writing is like building a wall. It's a continual search for the word that will fit in the text, in your mind, on the page. Plot and character and metaphor and style, all these become secondary to the words. The wall-builder erects her wall one rock at a time until she reaches the far end of the field. If she doesn't build it it won't be there. So she looks down at her pile of rocks, picks the one that looks like it will best suit her purpose, and puts it in.

The search for the word gets no easier but nobody else is going to write your novel for you.

The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I cou ld abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm---or even arguing with me---she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, "Oh, you're at that part of the book, are you?"

I was shocked. "You mean I've done this before?"

"You don't remember?"

"Not really."

"Oh yes," she said. "You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients."

I didn't even get to feel unique in my despair.

So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.

One word after another.

That's the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes in to Chapter Nine, it's the only way to do it.

So keep on keeping on. Write another word and then another.

Pretty soon you'll be on the downward slide, and it's not impossible that soon you'll be at the end. Good luck...

Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman is the author of the New York Times bestselling children's book Coraline and of the picture books The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish. He is also the author of award-winning novels and short stories for adults, as well as the Sandman series of graphic novels. His most recent novels include InterWorld and Anansi Boys. For more info on Neil, visit

Peace Concert for Burma

Decided to attend this event, "Peace Concert for Burma" after reading the 17/11/07 Todayonline.com article (Full story: here) which quoted Lee Weng Choy, the Substation artistic co-director saying:
"Such demonstrations of concern by people outside are a vital form of moral support to those in Myanmar. It tells them that the world is watching, that their struggles have registered deeply in our hearts and minds."

That intrigued me. Very much. I really wondered how the level of 'concern' Singaporeans showed about the situation in Myanmar. I would have expected a large turnout. After all it's free, isn't it? You may snigger.

But it's disappointing. The crowds could be counted with fingers. Perhaps less than 20. (No, I didn't count. Me taking the photos already seemed to spook some of the audiences. Heh. But we all sat on the floor & it's not a big theatre.)

Anyway here are some of the photos taken:

1. The slide show at the background.

2. Gene Sha Rudyn, in the center, singing (I like the use of Al-Qur'an verses prior to the song)

3. Just one shot of such songs.

4. Yes, I was not the only one taking the photos.

5. From Indonesia: Laras (A Migrant Voices Band) getting ready to sing and/or dance.

6. Another singer from Laras.

7. Some of the audiences (who didn't move when I took the photo--but it's still blurry. =( Haiz.)

8. Another singer from Laras performing an ever-popular Indonesian song, "Kaulah Segalanya" or "You're everything (for me)". (Note to self: got to translate the song to English. Translation: here.)

9. And I noticed how people (that included me, of course) seemed to take more photos than to enjoy the songs.

10. Laras with the funny, entertaining song "Kuda Lumping".

11. A Burmese student thanked the audience. Impromptu.

12. Dew M. Chaiyanara reciting her poems. I especially like her "Wake Up & Die".

13. The cool & soulful Kevin Mathews.

14. The organizer, whose name I couldn't catch.

15. My shirt with "Free Burma Now" text painted by Zai Kuning.

The concert ended earlier about 4 p.m. & the Burmese student (photo 11) made the name card available (that is, she didn't distribute. You needed to ask before she gave you one. So I guess that had nothing political in it). The name card had the website address of "Overseas Burmese Patriots".

Although the event was not well attended, I believe it has somehow achieved its objective. That is, to raise the awareness. No matter the level is, it's the beginning. And even a humble beginning might one day lead to something big.

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