Selamat Mas Selamat Kastari! | If only it's an underground Detention Center.

Seriously, folks. It's not my intention to congratulate the escape of Mas Selamat Kastari. The first 'selamat' in the title is a Malay--or at the very least, Indonesian--word for 'congratulation'.

He escaped. And not for the first time. In December 2001, after the first JI arrests in Singapore, he fled Singapore.

He was said to be involved in JI's plans to mount attacks against foreign and local establishments here: the United States Embassy and American Club, the Defence Ministry headquarters at Bukit Gombak and--surprise, surprise--the Education Ministry building at North Buona Vista Drive. Why Education Ministry? Intentionally included in the target list for the insanity defense if he's ever sent to a court?!

His other terror plots included hijacking a plane from Bangkok and crash it into the Singapore Changi Airport. That actually makes me wondering what the preventive measures are prepared for such a scenario...

Anyway, yesterday (29/02), INTERPOL issued global alert for suspected terror leader following escape from Singapore jail:
An urgent worldwide security alert, or Orange Notice, has been issued by INTERPOL after the escape of an alleged leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group from a jail in Singapore.

Mas Selamat bin Kastari escaped from the Whitley Road Detention Centre on Wednesday 27 February where he was being held following his deportation from Indonesia to Singapore in February 2006.

Following a request from Singapore, INTERPOL issued the Orange Notice - which includes Kastari’s photograph and fingerprints, essential elements to help law enforcement officers in their search and eventual verification of his identity when located and arrested – to each of its 186 National Central Bureaus (NCBs).

“Singapore is clearly doing all that it can on a national level to locate this fugitive and through issuing an Orange Notice, INTERPOL and all of its member countries can support these efforts on an international scale,” said Executive Director of Police Services Jean-Michel Louboutin.

The Orange Notice was originally created to warn police, public entities and other international organizations of potential threats related to disguised weapons, explosives and other dangerous materials; however it can also be issued by INTERPOL’s General Secretariat in Lyon, France for any act or event which poses a risk to the safety and security of citizens around the world.

Will he ever be caught? We just have to wait for the news update. The logical possibility that he planned to escape to Indonesia is just, uhm, logical. And if he does that, we can bet that he won't again be captured for using a fake identity card like last time.

He would have definitely learnt his lesson as so should those people involved in this drama. Anticipate, don't wait for things to happen. Be more proactive. And really, how frequent is the detention center security system reviewed?

The Internal Security Department's Whitley detention centre is reported to be "located in a quiet, wooded area just a few kilometres from Singapore's main shopping district. Homes and several schools are within walking distance and the centre has no watch-towers, unlike other prisons in Singapore."

During the review (if any), the question of whether someone can escape to that shopping district can surely be raised. The thought that the escapee holding you a hostage at that shopping district, homes or schools is not far-fetched. And no watch-towers. Why not available? (Very likely because the detention center is supposed to be a secret; I can't even find this Whitley Detention Center from

With the scarcity of the land in Singapore, perhaps we may want to consider to have detention center underground with many levels. Throw those most dangerous detainees at the lowest level & put a timer that will set an alarm if any of them fails to return to their cell within an allocated period of time. The alarm is set to auto-activate a lockdown to make the whole detention center to be shut so that the search for the escapee can be done in the premise with an assurance that he is still there.

And failure to discover the escapee within an allocated period of time will then activate the poisonous gas to fill the whole of detention center.

Okay, I'm just kidding about that last part. Although that will really instill a sense of how important it is not to let any detainee escape to all the detention center staff because it's literally a matter of life and death for them.

brooklyn circus

of those of you who know me and even from what one can gather from fotos online and in press – i have a HUGE t-shirt collection. actually, i could probably occupy a few months of posts just on t-shirts, but i will control myself since there are so many people doing the same. of course, being an art and design snob, i'm happy to tell people the arcane far-flung places i get my t-shirts when asked. but a few of my faves are available locally! i therefore want to give some props to my friends at the brooklyn circus who have a shop in brooklyn nyc and in san francisco. they have great t's and the CMYK palette of many of the designs works well with my sneaker collection. (even if they weren't enthusiastic supporters of nooka [they carry a few models in both stores!] i would be wearing their t-shirts) learn more about them here!

the other place i get a bulk of my t's people ask about is graniph in tokyo. many times i've trekked all over tokyo to find a specific design in my size! i'm a bit jealous that sydney australia is getting a graniph shop and not NYC! you can see their english language site here.

the old man with the monkey arms sporting a fancy black nooka zirc is wearing a brooklyn circus t shirt. nooka zirc available here.

the image shot is from the website.

Kallang Roar #2 : Aunties are an institution

Me in oversized retro specs; That's my age in 2 months time; Javelin champion
I love this worm's-eye view shot; Kai Li, the eight-legged-PM; Waiting for take
The quintessential green curtain; Yet again; And again
Feel the concrete before it turns into dust boy!
A memory-laden Kallang Wave When it is empty and sparse, the National Stadium bears a different genre of asthetics, somewhat post-modernistic and industrial

The title of my 2nd Kallang Roar entry is dedicated to a group of people I have always marvelled at - aunties. They are conspicuous in their garishly coloured auntie fabrics and waddle everywhere they go. They perm their hair into little poodles and some dye them in amazingly Ang Moh colours. They queue up faithfully for every freebie in town. They turn up in droves everywhere they go. They vote for PAP. They share stories among themsleves about their rebellious children and find comfort in the common suffering. Can we live without them? No we can't.

Last night, the last day of the rare Leap Year day, 29th Feb. They came and did the Kallang Wave for the movie `Kallang Roar' in place of what people of my age are supposed to be doing. But of course, it is really difficult to get people for a shoot in a ulu place like the National Stadium, without much pay. So, these aunties really saved the day. They are like your mum, when in trouble, look for them. Treat them nice and with respect, and they will perform. Make movies for them (like Jack Neo and 881) and you get a blockbuster hit.

Ding An's Kallang Roar is a very ambitious project. I am somewhat worried for him that the sheer scale of it may present many problems. And furthermore, one of the crucial parts of the movie is the crowd, the hardest part to pull off. However, as some productions have shown, a smooth and easy shoot may not always produce a great film and a challenging shoot may actually have surprising results later.
As I write, some of these aunties will be heading down towards the National Stadium for another round of shoots. So, with this cheery photo, here is my tribute to them.

Check out :

Prison "Detention Center" Break: featuring JI detainee Mas Selamat Kastari

You might have read it. The latest news of one JI detainee Mas Selamat Kastari escapes from Singapore detention centre (Whitley Road Detention Centre) which happened at 4:05 pm on 27/02. He's reported to "walk with a limp" & "not known to be armed".

He was first arrested by the Indonesian police on Bintan Island in January 2006 for using a fake identity card. (No, not the result of some investigation.) Only based on investigations later, the Indonesia's elite anti-terror police discovered he was the leader of the Singapore Jemaah Islamiyah network, a terrorist organisation. Mas Selamat was subsequently deported to Singapore in 2006.

Whether for the last 2 years, he had been locked at the same Whitley Road Detention Center was not mentioned in the news at all. Something to consider to have a detainee to be regularly--no make it randomly in any period of time--moved to a few of detention centers. Makes me wonder, though, how many detention centers are there in Singapore.

But more importantly, what is a detention center? How it differs from a prison? Or is a detention center just a euphemism for prison? Well, according to Wikipedia, it's just the same thing.

That's in Wikipedia. May not applicable here in Singapore. So, assuming the level of security differs between that of a detention center with that of a prison, a question will surely be raised on why the supposedly dangerous criminal was hold in a detention center and not in a prison.

Meanwhile, in another article, it's revealed albeit briefly that Mas Selamat escaped from the toilet of a detention centre and experts speculated that he may head to Indonesia.

Kallang Roar #1 : Factory Girls

Pardon that very sexist title. Helping out in Kallang Roar, the feature film (in a very small way), gave me a taste of being a factory girl today.

These are goodie bags for the 200 odd kind-hearted souls who will be sacrificing their Friday night to be with us. There were a dozen Milo thingeys inside, with the occasional Uncle Toby's and the Maggi Mee. According to Kai Li, some aunties only decided to come and join in the shoot after they heard there were goodie bags. It is because of them, we have a generation of Singaporeans willing to queue mindlessly for food!
Tomorrow is the first day of shoot. I am very excited for Kai Li. It daunts me to even think of how a film like Kallang Roar can be produced. Kudos to Kai Li, the tough cookie who can look like a damsel and yet drive that 10 foot truck.
Here are some photos of our factory work.

These hundreds of red plastic bags are ready to go to war.

Singapore International Film Festival : getting a first whiff

When your head seems to be filled with too many new ideas and influences that could shape what you create, you need the occasional one mental Eureka to get you out of your creative dilemmas. The SIFF trailer by Royston Tan had that effect on me, subliminally. Guess, at the back my head, it restored my faith on his genius, post-881 (you can tell how I feel about 881).

It is like a demonstration video on how traditional neighbourhood bakery bread is made. The only difference, son buys coffee for father and delivers, father drinks coffee, now both work on the dough together. The rest of the drama is in your head.

Kind of reminds me of the Air France commercial directed by Hou Hsiao Hsien. It is also a very subliminal, evocative and aural piece. Very HHH and yet very European as well.

design and the elastic mind

last week on the 19th i went to the preview opening of 'design and the elastic mind' at MoMA at the invitation of paola antonelli. i was a bit shocked how crowded it was, so much so that i wasn't able to even see the show [there was a huge queue to the escalators] i was expecting a more intimate "preview"as my invite came from the curator but i guess that's just my inner prima donna taking control. the mezzanine bar was not crowded so i got some good stiff cocktails out of the affair and yummy salty cashew nuts to nibble. also, the art fabricator i use for my own installations had just finished an installation for some artist on the MoMA floor as seen in the photo here. i will definitely go back to see the show, but the online show is pretty amazing and the NYT review was the most glowing i have ever read from them.

Edison Chen Scandal -- Why many are sceptical reading Dawn Yang's "Edison's Indecent Proposal to S'pore Blogger".

Allegedly so. As published in the first page of "my paper" on 26/02/08. Dawn Yang, the blogger in the story claimed that "she met the actor (Edison Chen) through friends while holidaying in Japan in 2004". She further wrote that "(he) made salacious propositions to her over Internet messaging". Unfortunately she did not mention when this actually took place. And that's why many would find it hard to believe the incident really happened.

If the purported incident was some time in 2004, why would she keep the logged MSN conversations? It has been almost 4 years since! Surely this was not supposed to be a fond "Wow, my very own Indecent Proposal--mind you, I'm the one who was proposed--and by Edison Chen no less!!" kind-of memory. Yeah, right. Even if this occurred much later (say, in 2005 or 2006 or even last year), I just don't understand why the MSN messages were recorded.

Those whom I talked to about the story shared my scepticism.

Some were doubtful about the way Edison's MSN message was typed. (In the same paper, page A5 "A chat with a serial philanderer", Dawn had excerpts of the alleged conversation. Likewise in her STOMP post, "Stars Know About the Birds & the Bees Too, But There Are Smart Stars & Dumb Stars".) He must be one hell of irresistible guy if he managed to pick up girls with such a lame line. Possible. Then again, he was a star & maybe for a star, any pick-up line--even a lame one--does work.

Fact or fiction--you decide. But kudos for Dawn Yang's courage in sharing her "experience". Perhaps next time she may want to include more details such as the incident dates; it will do good to the credibility of her story.

Oldies draw in the newbies

The Straits Times
Feb 24, 2008
By Huang Lijie

HISTORIC CHARM: The charismatic architecture and relaxed atmosphere of Keong Saik Road have prompted the opening of sophisticated gourmet food shops like 25 degree Celsius, which is run by partners (from left) Andrea Chen, Sally Tsai and Karin Chan.

Heritage-rich neighbourhoods of Tiong Bahru and Keong Saik Road are attracting hip eateries and gourmet shops

WHEN chef Joseph Yew opened Spanish restaurant Streeters in Keong Saik Road in 1996, his married male customers used to joke that their wives were suspicious of the eatery's location.

'The neighbourhood's reputation as a red-light district was hard to shake off, but I believed the area's rich heritage would one day see it become an interesting lifestyle-cum-dining enclave,' says Mr Yew, 43, who was born and raised in Keong Saik Road.
Well, that day seems to have dawned on the vicinity, as well as on another historic neighbourhood, Tiong Bahru, one of the oldest public housing estates here.

Indeed, the charismatic architecture and relaxed atmosphere of both areas have prompted no fewer than seven sophisticated eateries and gourmet food shops to open there in the last year.

These include bookstore-cafe 25 degree Celsius and French restaurant Nicolas, nestled in shophouses along Keong Saik Road as well as snack joint Tiffin Club in nearby Jiak Chuan Road. They join earlier gastronomic hideouts such as modern European restaurant Ember, in Hotel 1929, and Whatever Cafe, which both opened in Keong Saik Road in 2003.

Nicolas' chef-owner Nicolas Joanny, 33, says: 'I was looking to open my restaurant in a shophouse because these buildings have strong character and create a lovely dining ambience.'

He eventually decided on Keong Saik Road over shophouses in Purvis Street because the rent was more affordable.

Mr Leonardo Noto, 60, owner of German wine shop and bistro Magma, which opened in Bukit Pasoh Road in 2006, adds: 'The strains of traditional Chinese music that float down from the Siong Leng Musical Association on the third floor of the shophouse unit make the vibe at my eatery all the more unique.'

Over in Tiong Bahru, the food and beverage (F&B) newcomers are scattered around the Art Deco-inspired Singapore Improvement Trust flats.

Chill-out lounge Wine Wise in Eng Hoon Street was the first to open early last year. It was followed by Caffe Pralet and steakhouse TBone on the same street as well as premium food retailer Le Bon Marche and its neighbour, patisserie Centre Ps in Guan Chuan Street. Euro-Singaporean bistro Persimmon in Link Hotel along Tiong Bahru Road is the latest addition.

Owners of the food outlets say they were unaware of each other's plans to open in the area. But, instead of seeing it as profit-killing competition, they believe the coincidence is a nod to the potential of the area as an up-and-coming dining and food retail destination.

For Mr Tan Kim Boon, 52, co-owner of Centre Ps, Tiong Bahru's proximity to town was the draw.

He says: 'We're a speciality pastry store, so opening in a shopping mall wouldn't fit our products' marketing profile. Tiong Bahru's unique charm, however, complements our boutique positioning.'

His neighbour Stephane Herve, 38, co-owner of Le Bon Marche, says the area's reputation as a foodie haunt, which is famous for its zhi char outlets and hawker centre, further persuaded him to open there.

That these neighbourhoods are undergoing a minor revival of sorts has also been a draw for the new F&B operators.

Mr Yew, who closed Streeters last year to open a private dining space, C Joe, above Nicolas, says the number of brothels in Keong Saik has dwindled in the last few years, replaced by firms in the creative industries such as interior design, architecture and music production.

This made it easier for chef Joanny to make up his mind about opening his restaurant there.

Tiong Bahru, on the other hand, is slowly shedding its image as being home to a greying population. More young professionals and expatriates are opting for the area's eclectic vibe and this was a plus point for Ms Helena Lim, co-owner of Persimmon, who is in her 40s.

On the unplanned F&B developments in both neighbourhoods, URA's head of heritage studies Kelvin Ang says: 'URA gazetted Tiong Bahru and Keong Siak as conservation areas in 2003 and 1989 respectively, and is glad that they have evolved organically to meet both the needs of existing and new residents.'

Annex A Architects' director Mark Wee, 33, is of the same opinion.

'Because there isn't a concerted push to develop these areas as eating haunts, unlike Boat Quay or Clarke Quay, the food outlets don't all appear at once, and this helps preserve the laid-back charm of the area,' he says.

Long-time eateries in these neighbourhoods, mostly coffee shops and casual restaurants, also welcome the new players.

'We offer different types of cuisine, so there is no direct competition. Besides, new restaurants in the area means people have more reason to come here and I might even benefit from a spillover of customers,' says Mr Wong Siew Hoong, 29, manager of Kok Seng Restaurant, which has been selling zhi char in Keong Saik Road for more than 40 years.

Likewise, residents in Tiong Bahru are happy about the new gastronomic buzz.

Banker Tee Boon Peng, 40, enjoys having more dining options in his neighbourhood. His only lament: insufficient parking in the area, which means visiting diners sometimes park illegally along the road, inconveniencing other motorists.

Looking ahead, Ms Lim says she hopes future food outlets opening in the area will 'continue to blend in with the special character of the neighbourhood by offering unique dining concepts'.
Where to go
HERE'S a list of new food outlets to eat your way through the neighbourhoods of Keong Saik Road and Tiong Bahru.
Tiong Bahru
Caffe Pralet
17 Eng Hoon Street, 01-04, tel: 6223-5595
Open: 10.30am to 9.30pm daily

The cafe arm of culinary school Creative Culinaire next door, this cosy eatery serves a range of sweet treats such as its signature pralet cake ($4.20 a slice), a dark chocolate and hazelnut crunch cake, as well as hot meals including seafood baked rice ($6.20) and shepherd's pie ($6.20).

42 Eng Hoon Street, tel: 6220-2927
Open: 8.30am to 10.30pm daily

Sink your teeth into juicy steaks such as its Black Angus tenderloin ($38). It also serves hearty salads such as Greek salad ($14).

Wine Wise
57 Eng Hoon Street, 01-86, tel: 6227-2118
Open: 11am to 2pm and 6 to 10pm daily

Relax at this wine lounge where wines are poured straight from wooden barrels stacked within the store. Red and white wines start at $8 a glass.

Le Bon Marche
78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-41, tel: 6226-3269
Open: 10am to 7.30pm, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays to Saturdays. 1 to 6pm, Sundays, closed on Wednesdays

This gourmet food shop carries mostly exclusive speciality products such as Emmanuelle Baillard's non-alcoholic Chardonnay grape juice ($6.50 for a 250ml bottle) and Mulot & Petitjean's gingerbread with apricot ($21 for a 200g box), both from France.

Centre Ps
78 Guan Chuan Street, 01-43, tel: 6220-1285
Open: 10am to 8pm, Mondays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays

This patisserie specialises in macarons ($18 for a box of 18), as well as cakes such as the Grand Cru Royale ($7 a slice), a dark chocolate cake with a crunchy hazelnut base.

50 Tiong Bahru, Link Hotel, tel: 6227-2271
Open: 6am to 11pm daily

Tuck into Singaporean food with a European twist here. Popular items include its laksa fisherman's pie ($26) and Hainanese chicken salad ($14).

Keong Saik

2-4 Bukit Pasoh Road, tel: 6221-0634
Open: Noon to 11pm, Mondays to Thursdays, noon to midnight, Fridays, 11am to midnight, Saturdays, 11am to 11pm, Sundays
This German eatery serves traditional items such as pork knuckles ($22) and Bavarian sausages ($10).
Majestic Restaurant
31-37 Bukit Pasoh Road, tel: 6511-4718
Open: 11.45am to 3pm and 6.30 to 11pm daily
Serving modern Cantonese cuisine, this restaurant is known for dishes such as its Peking duck with foie gras ($15 per person).

Tiffin Club
16 Jiak Chuan Road, tel: 6323-3189
Open: 8am to 6pm, Mondays and Tuesdays, 8am to 10pm, Wednesdays to Saturdays, closed on Sundays

This breakfast and snack joint serves items such as oriental chicken salad ($9) and Tiffin Club carrot cake ($4). Wine and drinks are available after sundown.

50 Keong Saik Road, tel: 6347-1928
Open: 11.30am to 2pm and 6.30 to 10pm, Mondays to Fridays and 6.30 to 10pm, Saturdays, closed on Sundays

This modern European restaurant is known for its Chilean seabass with yuzu butter sauce ($30) and chocolate fondant with homemade vanilla ice cream ($13).

Whatever Cafe
20 Keong Saik Road, tel: 6224-0300
Open: 9am to 10.30pm daily

Indulge in wholesome, healthy eats such as its roasted fruit salad ($11.90) and roasted vegetable and mustard sandwich ($8.90).

25 degree Celsius

25 Keong Saik Road, 01-01, tel: 6327-8389
Open: 11am to 10pm, Mondays to Thursdays, 11am to 11pm, Fridays and Saturdays, closed on Sundays
Try the miso new potato salad ($11.80) and the pan-roasted barramundi fillet ($18.80) at this cosy cafe.

35 Keong Saik Road, tel: 6224-2404
Open: Noon to 2pm, Mondays to Fridays and 6.30 to 10pm, Mondays to Saturdays

This fine-dining French restaurant serves gems such as pan-roasted foie gras ($34) and roasted Tasmanian rack of lamb ($42).
Copyright © 2007 Singapore Press Holdings. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement & Condition of Access

A disappointment -- L: Change the World

SPOILER ALERT. Stop reading this if you intend to watch the movie, "L: Change the World".

My disappointment mainly stems from the fact that the villains in the movie are just lousy. They see humanity as a problem to the earth & thus decide to minimize the population (Yes, that sure sounds like Ra's al Ghul's ideal) by developing some sort of a mutated virus (a hybrid of the deadly Ebola virus with the common, highly contagious Influenza virus).

Hardly original (the use of a hybrid virus as weapon is also introduced--I believe not for the first time, either--in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. II) & not to mention that the baddies are way below the level of Kira's, the antagonist in Death Note movies.

Alfred Hitchcock was once quoted to say, "The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture". This movie, if successful, is surely only because of the hype created thanks to the previous Death Note movies (if you think they are good, try reading the manga.)

Maybe I'm just sore because after the credits roll, the additional scene is VERY brief. It only shows L leaving his chair & a text appears mentioning his real name (it's L Lawliet) & that he rests in peace. Duh. It will be much better if the additional scene is about N (or Near) & how he'll take over L's legacy as a genius & eccentric detective.

Complaint against Nokia / A new hope for Adrian Chew

Came across this omy Forum thread "I won a battle against Nokia" about one disgruntled customer who eventually fed-up & decided to file a claim against Nokia through Small Claim Tribunal.

Let's hope this is not just a hoax. But the story (if it's true) is indeed encouraging & inspirational for any unhappy customers. You've just had to read the article posted by xiayun on 18/02/08:
I finally won the battle against Nokia Pte Ltd.

I bought a Nokia phone in Aug 2007 through Starhub with 24months contract at $388.

The phone was not functioned properly in the very first week. I tried to ask for a one to one exchange and was replied, "Nokia has no such policy". I got no choice but to send to Nokia Care Centre for repair.

Between Aug 2007 and Nov 2007, countless of visitation and many phone call were made to Nokia. So much time was wasted but the phone was getting from bad to worst.

I gave warning to Nokia that I was considering to file a claim against them through Small Claim Tribunal. I finally took action as there was no proper follow up from Nokia after one month.

Nokia authorized a young girl to come for the first consultation and then in default of attending before the Tribunal for the rest.

I finally won the case and was awarded $778 by Small Claim Tribunal in 18 Dec 2007.

Nokia was given 15 days to make the settlement, but they did not respond to me.

I called to check about it on 22 Jan 2008, and Nokia said that they did not receive such notice.

I went to their HQ the next day, after presenting the Order of Tribunal to the Manager, he finally agree to pay. However, Nokia would pay me if only I agreed to sign a conditional letter. They wanted to keep my mouth shut and I was not allowed to disclose this claim to any third party. I refused as they had no right to impose any condition because this was not an out of court settlement.

I then applied for WSS (Writ of Seizure and Sale) the next day. An appointment date was scheduled on 11 Feb 2008.

I accompany the bailiff officer to Nokia HQ. Nokia was then given two options by the bailiff officer. One was to make settlement and the other one was let the bailiff officer to sticker their movable assets.

They finally woke up and agree to make payment. By then, they got to pay $1,018.43 instead of $778.

By sharing this experience, I hope that many have a better idea of what to do if encounter similar situation in the future.

Many of us wouldn’t want to take the trouble to make such claim. Some may have no time, and some may think that Nokia is such a big company and no point goes against them.

The Relations Manager of Nokia, Ms Serene Teo, told me that I won’t be able to win the case and the most I could only get back $388. This was what she believed, but she was wrong.

Tried to google for more complaints against Nokia, I found this one, "Why can't Nokia replace an obviously faulty mobile phone?" Check it out. First published on the Straits Times, 25/01/08, a letter from Adrian Chew Tack Hiong:
I BOUGHT my first phone - a Nokia - in 1992 and I have been a faithful user for the past 15 years, up till my recent experience convinced me that the company had finally lost its human touch.

I brought the E51 on Dec 11, 2007, and within a month I was experiencing problems with outgoing calls.

I went to the Suntec Care Centre on Jan 2 to get it repaired. My queue ticket indicated that waiting time would be about 20 minutes, but the actual waiting time was two hours. I returned to the Care Centre on Jan 5 at 5pm to collect the phone. This time my queue ticket indicated a waiting time of 40 minutes. But in the end, I was able to collect my phone only at 9pm.

My frustration does not end there. The very next day, I discovered that the same problem resurfaced. I then took it back to Suntec Care Centre on Jan 8.

I collected my repaired phone the very same day, thinking it should have resolved the issue. Alas, it broke down again three days later.

I have so far called twice to the Nokia Care Line to request a one-for-one replacement or a monetary refund, but twice I was told to wait for them to get back to me. But they never did.

I do not understand why Nokia is not able to replace an obviously faulty handset?

Whether there was any reply from Nokia & published in the newspaper, I couldn't find the page. Can't imagine Nokia still ignored Mr. Chew's feedback after the letter was published (usually big companies would frantically reply & 'clarify' & tend to put the blame to the incompetent employee eventhough it's employers' responsibility to train employees up to the companies' standard).

Still, there's a new hope for him if he ever considered to take on Nokia to the court. But first, he must verify whether the xiayun's post is really true & not just a suicidal move, prone to defamation case .Hmm, the working title for that possibility will be "Nokia Strikes Back".

Update: the forum post is apparently true as the newspaper had an article about it (Refer to Straits Times on 25/02/08, page H4, titled "Faulty Phone: Nokia Forced to Pay Up $778")

Read also this Asiaone article, "Nokia forced to cough up more than $1,000 over faulty phone".

My actor friend who went back to law

Kan Lume was famous for his tattoo on his hand. A bridge-burning display of commitment. But to live life fully, should one cut ties and burn bridges? It is a little hard to answer. Yes and No, I would say.

I always wonder what would happen if I just bit my teeth and lived the life that I shared with my mother I would live when I was a child. When I was I child, I wanted to grow up to make my parents proud no matter what. To earn lots of money, to get married and give them grandchildren. Last year at my grandmother's funeral, overwhelmed by bittersweet memories of growing up, I entertained the same thought again. If I just did it, my parents will retire happy.
Instead, I have a low-key job in a corporate communications in a company and I spend the other times making films. I dont have a girlfriend.

I think this dilemma arises because society has moved on people no longer just consider a job purely for its money. But if you still cohabit the same flat with your parents, you may face an opposite nagging opinion. We face friends outside who show you how high the sky is but when we go home, we feel once again the recoil of these strings attached.

Like when my mum cam into my room and decided to do a little reality check on me again today.

Being older now, I think I might have found myself an answer to it. I recently heard that a local freelancing actor friend of mine has left acting to go back to practising law to support his just-divorced mum. I think I would have done the same.

As long as I know I have the choice to do what I feel, I will never loosen the intensity of the film-whatzits that I do. On the other hand, I am not afraid to one day tell my filmmaking friends, or people whom I hope would take me seriously as a filmmaker, that may see less of me, should the situation call for it.

I am still trying to recompose myself after today's painful debate with my mum about career. But one thing's for sure. without living life, you can't make good films.

Edison Chen Scandal -- Weekly News Update (18/02/08 - 24/02/08)

As if it's not enough to lose another job (billboards featuring Edison Chen were reported on 18/02 to be removed from prominent positions in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Hong Kong Station), EC had to face the rumoured threat that the triads had posted a reward of $91,000 for one of his hands. Whether it must be the hand which took the photograph was not mentioned in the news at all.

No surprise, therefore, that EC tried to bargain with HK police via his lawyers for 24-hour police protection, a safe house and a guarantee of his status as a witness. Thankfully, the police have enough brain to agree only to the first request. (It's truly a relief that HK police is not venturing to a real-estate business.) EC, however, demonstrated sufficient common sense to hire ex-US Navy SEALS from an international security firm as his bodyguards.

Meanwhile, China's censors on 19/02 ordered the nation's most popular Internet search engine, to apologise for allowing explicit photos of Hong Kong celebrities to be published on its site. A commendable move albeit a bit too late. Will China critize other search engines? (Assuming they too publish similar photos, that is).

And on 21/02, EC finally held a press conference admitting that the photos are his, apologizing to "all the ladies and to all their families for any harm or hurt that they have been feeling" and revealing he will be quitting show business. Three "brave" fans were said to attend the press conference. No, one of them was not Steven Lim.

The excitement of the scandal might have cooled down with EC admission that the photos are his, but the HK police workload has surely surged with questioning EC for 10 hours on 22/02 and whole day spent on 23/02 for further questioning.

Even if EC is not to be charged for criminal conduct, the pressure he must have faced is surely tremendous. Although it surely won't be as much as that faced by Bobo Chan, whose wedding plan had to be called-off (and also Candice Chan cancelling her April wedding).

Storyboard 08 Shorts (Sinema) - Short Film Getai

Storyboard 08 made me feel a little old. Looking around at the way the `teens' dress, the suppleness of their youthful skin, the wispiness of their Japanese-inspired cuts and the way they turn out in a group, I felt envious. A little out of place. I even made sure I swung my chair (like an Ah Beng) into place instead of dragging it the usual sluggish way.

Beyond initial impressions, Storyboard 08 had a very refreshing feel to it, thanks to the way the emcee pranced left and right interviewing people (see picture)like Ryan Seacrest in the American Idol.
Emcee seen hopping around the audience to solicit comments and get director's accounts, very cool.

There was a basket of Belgian waffles and Chocolates that you could purchase and help contribute to the filmmakers who have made these films. From the prices (below), the money could help them buy a bottle of beer to conceptualise the next film, so not a bad way to contribute to filmmakers.
The selection of films was also reflective of youthful sensibilities. A total of 6 films were shown, 1 sch drama, 1 emo type film, 2 gangster flicks, 1 Fish Charr vehicle (sorry keep noticing him) and 1 long Wong-Kar-Wai visual tribute. (No review on this because I left halfway, needing to attend to something else).

My Sweet Secret by Lim Wei Shan
Okay, here is an ugly truth. I was late for the screening. But thankfully, I think the screening must have been late too because I still managed to grasp more or less the plot in the 1st short. It was one of those pure-looking, earnestly told school dramas sans subversions of any kind. Teacher’s day is coming. Cute, scrawny boy thinks hard for what to give as a present during teacher’s day. Teacher is a sweet looking, charismatic Melody Chen look-alike. She was appropriately casted I felt because she looked pleasing to the eyes and had a nurturing aura to her. The boy reminded me of this boy I saw in Tan Siang Yu’s short film titled `Short’ about this short boy who wished he was taller. So physically, it gave me the impression he had the `short’ complex in him. For me, it added to the sweetness of the film, with the teacher towering over him yet being the object of his affections.

I could not help noticing how the shots and storytelling looked more fluid than most of the shorts I saw at Kino Fest (Ngee Ann FMS Grad show) last week. I am inclined to believe it is the liberating effect of shooting on DV. It frees you to compose, extend, make sudden decisions. The simplicity of the style was something you wished `I Am Not Stupid 2 would have. It was accessible and if this event was in Toa Payoh town centre, it would have drawn a huge family crowd and to very good response. Not that tattooed musicians in skinny pants often seen in youth park cannot appreciate, I mean, it was well-received too!

Hey!!! I should really propose to film event organizers to consider alternative screening venues for short films instead of the usual. Hire emcees. Create a Short-film Getai! It would be so fun! I don’t mind being an emcee, it’s like SAF MDC days all over again.

1920s by Elgin Ho
(more comments on

I am very impressed with Elgin’s work here. The last I saw Elgin (was his talent for his class project under Lilian Wang – his professor), he had a fine stroke of a goatee and an easy going demeanour. Guess maybe his buddyish course mate Teck Siang was around during the shoot. But I could also tell he had a deeper emotional core to him for he had his moments of deliberation. 1920s speaks of this side of Elgin. It was a well-written piece featuring a running voiceover that spoke of a rather bittersweet view of life, sometimes bordering on disillusionment. It was bittersweet because the words spoke of weathered state of mind yet the images were of nature and innocence. They evoked a sense of calmness, almost in a Buddhist kind of way.

And then the little surprise for the audience was unravelled at the end when we see how the younger sister of the young man fumbled with the birthday cake knife. She is blind apparently. Maybe it’s the casual kind of viewing setting that has lowered my defenses, I found myself lost in the beauty of the well-shot images. However, I felt the film would have been more memorable if I had a history/exposition of the character and why he felt the way he did.

Connection by Ray Pang

This is the first of the gangster flicks or flicks with traces of gangster-like behaviour (unless Elgin Ho was an ex-gangster and his monologue spoke somewhat of it). Gangster beats another gangster up. The victim surrenders. Years later, he marries a girl who has a habit of smiling at her own funny thoughts (sorry just exaggerating!). They experience a joyful wedding filled with a bevy of joyful, funky haired `beng’ bestmen, all probably with tattoos under the clean white shirts that defined their masculinities. Then, during the wedding, `Beng’ groom listens to his wife’s tummy to suggest it was a wedding of 3 and not 2. And not long after, her waistline changes. Though that laughing to herself remains.

Here comes the best part of the short. The fighting. I really felt I was part of the action. I mean after watching Ah Long Pte Ltd and raising my expectations of fight scenes in Singapore films, this was really good, esp for a short film done in school. The editing was faithful to the vigour of the action. And the blood-drip…I mean, Shaw brothers with their countless Kung Fu flicks had worse blood-drips on screen than this. With the only punctuation being the `self-amused’ world of his pregnant wife. When the credits came, I had no doubts, the filmmaker has a few really cool grungy friends. It was an earnest film made with a lot of heart and personal experience.

When We Were Bengs by Alaric Tay

I heard quite a fair amount about this short film. Now I know why. It would be the flag-bearer for the `stop-depressing-local-films-movement’. It was zesty, surprising, funny, entertaining and consistent throughout. One more, Alaric has transported the best of his forte as an actor and his association with actor buddies into this. I think this film also helps me know Alaric a bit better (first introduced by Cherlyn Tan at Singapore Short Cuts). His style is very strong here. A cartoonish kind of slapstick comedy about 2 blokes who try to be Bengs (no way compared to Ray Pang’s stone-throwing Bengs). Alaric is one of them and another more nerdy looking one is the other. Alaric digs a hot chick who appears in the arcade but gets into trouble. A well-costumed bunch of gangsters run after him and his buddy. They end up near a port (great for kidnapping scenes). And face a final showdown. Not much of a showdown though cos it’s 5 against 2. But it’s deliberately lame twist at the end that puts a rather satisfying end to this 12 min farce.

I have a thing for good acting (who dosen’t). That’s why this film works well with me. Unfortunately, Alaric was not as funny though the `Noose’ because Michelle Chong stole all the thunder. Even from the weather girl, Windy Miao (Gurmit Singh). So I sometimes think actors are quite vulnerable. If the market is not playing your genre, you may not get a chance to shine. The other perky thing was the sharp and sleek editing, that could give whoever edited `Cut’ by Royston Tan a run for his money. Maybe they are the same pple??? My words will not do enough justice to the editing `stunts’ but if I have the money, I will look for his editor for my next short film.

Old Times by Chew Tee Pao
The film got better as the story evolved. While starting out a little scratchy, I got used to the disorientating back and forth intercutting between the present and past. Like one moment you see Fish Charr and the next moment, you see Vincent Tee (picture below).
It was a treat for the eyes to witness the transformation of Fish through time as the flashbacks shifted from one time zone to another one. But I just felt could have been tighter. Maybe cos it was too stretched, like their reminiscence started all the way when they were kids. But this is really just my preference. I would have preferred more focus on the more painful scenes. For me, it was the scene with Fish and his girl in bed right after sex. He was smoking and probably starting to get distracted while she was still testing him out for love and attention.
I liked how it all ended because the last reaction from his wife said it all and answered all questions that were raised.
This is a rather old film by now already. So my comments come a little late. Tee Pao must have braved the critic's claws or had his back pat many times to a job well done.

This picture above is a tribute to Tracy Soon whom I saw the true colours of in the short film. She acted for me in `Girl in Red Sarong' before as the `lao ban niang' (lady boss) of this boutique. I subsequently dubbed a very `auntie' voice over her lines and my memory of her was cemented in that way. Today, I saw her in her full acting glory.
Some films get the right connections (pun intended), Old Times is watchable online here.

hoopla loop oct. '07

"hoopla loop" tells the individual happiness of 3 young artists, Torlarp "Hern" Larpjaroensook, Luck Maisalee, Artid Poonyasiri, through their beloved art. The exhibition was in October 2007 at art republic gallery, peninsular plaza, bangkok

"hoopla loop" : การเล่าเรื่องราวของความสุขในแบบของตัวเองผ่านทางงานศิลปะที่รัก ของศิลปิน 3 คน ต่อลาภ ลาภเจริญสุข / ลักษณ์ ใหม่สาลี / อาทิตย์ ปุณยะศิริ ที่ art republic gallery ตุลาคม 2550 ที่ผ่านมา

The `Ah Long' in me

Inspired by the movie Ah Long Pte Ltd (latest Jack Neo film) which advocates that Ah Long notices can be an art, I found it hard to contain myself.

Ah Long Pte Ltd at a bus-stop near you...

4th Singapore Short Film Festival

Hey go watch this!!! I know I will be going for sure. I am so happy that more film festivals are popping up in various forms across Singapore. It is the best form of democracy for Singapore Independent filmakers which we truly need.


Off-the-wall ideas, surrealist visuals, narrative hybrids – we love it when filmmakers get wild and creative with the short film format. With another fine selection of films from around the world, the 4th Singapore Short Film Festival celebrates the independent mind and the spirit of experimental film. Featuring films from the UK “Heartlines” series by EM Media in association with the UK Film Council, the Singapore premiere of “Kichiro” by Kelvin Sng, and talks before every screening on short filmmaking.

On the Opening Night, besides screening “Kichiro” and four other short films, filmmakers Eva Tang and Kelvin Sng will be speaking about their experiences making short films. After the screening, join us for coffee at the Random Room where we can chat more about film. Please note that the evening’s film screening is rated R21.

Come celebrate the independent mind and the spirit of experimental film with us!

The Substation Moving Images presents
4th Singapore Short Film Festival13 to 17 March 2008
7.30pm, The Substation Theatre
Tickets at $6 / $4 (concession) from or call 6222 5595.
Group discounts available.
For more info, visit or call 6337 7535

Film Partner: the British Council, EM Media, UK Film Council
Supported by: Singapore Film Commission, Gatecrash


DAY 1: Thu 13 Mar, rated R21, 100mins“Starting Short” - Speakers: Eva Tang and Kelvin Sng / filmmakers / Flat Dreams, More than Words

Londres-London / UK-Singapore / 2007 / 11 min / Eva Tang
Kichiro / Singapore / 2006 / 19 min / Kelvin Sng
Vooreen paar knikkers meer (For a Few Marbles More) / The Netherlands / 2006 /11 min / Jelmar Hufen
Cyanosis / Iran / 2007 / 30 min / Rokhasareh Ghaem Maghami
My Keys / Singapore / 2007 / 8 min / Ting Szu Kiong

DAY 2: Fri 14 Mar, 100mins*“Seeing Short” - Speaker: Stefan Shih / film reviewer / A Nutshell Review

Flicker/ Singapore / 2007 / 9 min / Aroozoo Wesley Leon
Stick Boy / Singapore / 2007 / 4 min / Putnam Trumbull
The Imaginary Girl / UK / 2007 / 10 min / Richard Porter
Fun Today / Israel / 2005 / 14 min / Hagar Ben-Asher
I Met A Real Streety Once / Australia / 2007 / 21 min / Caroline Ingvarsson
Circle / UK / 2007 / 9 min / Mehul Desal
Tango Trois / Australia / 2006 / 8 min / Gracie Otto
Popped Collar / Singapore / 2007 / 7 min / Robert Skinner

DAY 3: Sat 15 Mar, 100mins*“Selling Short” - Speaker: Juan Foo / producer / Shooting Gallery Asia

Heroes / New Zealand / 2005 / 9 min / Julia Reynolds
Fruitful / Singapore / 2006 / 15 min / Pigeon+on
Cheerleader / USA / 2005 / 26 min / Kimberlee Bassford
Shadowline / UK / 2007 / 10 min / Dan Seagrave
Foreign Domestic Worker / Singapore / 2007 / 5 min / Eric Flanagan
Lady Margaret / UK / 2007 / 10 min / Deborah Haywood
Flying Saucey / USA / 2006 / 9 min / Marie Losier

DAY 4: Sun 16 Mar, 100mins*“Sending Short” - Speaker: Yuni Hadi / programmer and manager / Objectifs and SIFF

Masters Of Ceremony / Singapore / 2007 / 13 min / Rich Ho
Ema Shel Shabat (A Shabbos Mother) / Israel / 2005 / 30 min / Inbar Namdar
Majidee / Malaysia / 2006 / 15 min / Azharr Rudin
Mai Fu (Ambush) / Taiwan / 2006 / 14 min / Koi Leong Tian
Over the Hill / UK / 2007 / 8 min / Peter Baynton

DAY 5: Mon 17 Mar, 100mins*Prize Presentation: Voice Awards

The Island of Good Life / Portugal-India / 2007 / 25 min / Merces Tomaz Gomes
Goh Poh Seng / Canada / 2007 / 15 min / Almerinda Travassos
Anfaengerfehler (Beginner's Mistake) / Austria / 2007 / 3 min / Christian Horlesberger
For Memories / USA / 2006 / 14 min / Wing-Yee Wu
I Don't Know You / Singapore / 2006 / 4 min / Amanda Tan
Man With Camera / Singapore / 2007 / 22 min / Daphne Tan *Ratings to be advised.

Ren Ci Probe: Exit The Venerable Ming Yi, Enter Dr. Ong Seh Hong

A rather belated follow-up on this post, "Lending money (interest-free) is charitable?". It's reported today that charity chief steps aside as inquiry begins:
The Venerable Ming Yi, the charity's chief executive officer, went on leave on Monday, the same day white-collar crime investigators began poring over Ren Ci's books.

The monk's decision was welcomed yesterday by Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan, who called it 'a professional response'.

Mr Khaw had brought in investigators from the police's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) on Monday to investigate several million dollars in questionable loans made by Ren Ci.

The way I see it the monk cum ex-charity's chief executive officer really had no choice. Leave on his own accord or be forced to leave unceremoniously--the possibility that he may one day face if he's proven to be guilty.

Whatever the outcome, Dr. Ong will not have an easy job managing Ren Ci who had loss its Institute of Public Character status. For donors, it is apparently important that their donations allow them to enjoy some sort of tax deduction.

nooka is looking for a superintern

one of my star employees, an assistant designer, has left our small studio to prepare to go back to college, which leaves us just a bit short handed. we need a superhero-level design assistant intern. spread the work, specs below:

Nooka is seeking a versatile, self-motivated graphic design student who has a solid understanding of Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign to work as an intern under the guidance of an art director and the Nooka design team. The intern will be responsible for concept development and creation of Nooka marketing materials ranging from the 2008 look book to product line sheets and advertisements. Additionally, the ideal candidate will be able to contribute to the design and maintenance of content for the Nooka website.

Internship can be part or full-time and is for school credits. Intern should be available to start asap. Length of internship is approximately three months, but could go into the summer if candidate is available.

To apply, please send a PDF of sample work or link to your online portfolio and your resume here. Only candidates selected for interview will be contacted. No phone calls please.


Here's an opportunity not to be missed!

Heritage Guide, Geraldine, will be conducting a tour this weekend (24th Feb 2008) from 9:30am to approximately 12:30pm.

If you are keen, please give Geraldine a call at +(65)6737-5250 or +(65) 8155-1390.

Cost per person is SGD$30/=

The following is what you could be expecting from the tour :

Heritage Guide Geraldine will start the tour with a short talk of the history of the area and Cheong Hong Lim, the donor of the most amazing Geok Hong Tian Temple 1887.

The group would be able to witness devotees celebrating the birthday of the Jade Emperor & the Monkey God which happens around the " Chap Go Mei" - first full moon after Chinese New Year.

The walk will bring the group past some interesting trees and also the grave of a well-known philanthropist, Mr Tan Tock Seng, founder of 4 hospitals in Singapore!

The group will stop to have refreshments near the famous Singing Bird corner that was once a Tiong Bahru Landmark. The bird corner is closed temporarily but we all hope it would be back in a jiffy!

Along the way, the group will also check out the best local cake shop and the new Tiong Bahru Market whilst walking through some of the 1930's Art Deco block of flats.

The tour will end with a visit to Eng Hoon Street to observe the Monkey God's birthday celebrations and to hear about the rituals & customs that are practiced there.

After which the group can have lunch at the numerous eating places nearby.

If you are interested to join this tour, pick up the phone and call or SMS Geraldine now. Don't procrastinate.



Many thanks to Kelvin Ang and Melvyn Wong for forwarding the email for this event to me.

the gayest letter in the alphabet

i have recently begun to organize my CD collection into sleek muji cd holder books [i have close to 5000 disks!] and i have come across a breakthrough scientific discovery – the letter "S" is the gayest letter in the alphabet. now someone needs to study if the letter itself is inherently homosexual [it doubles up in alot of words: associate, sassy, ass, etc.] or if it's environment [between "R" and "T" is sometimes a tough position for a young letter of any orientation!]. also, it is the only letter that can be lisped.

i discovered this from the abundance of gay bands [gay members or just gay sounds included] that start with the letter "S":
Saint Etienne, Scissor Sister, Peter Shelley, Spandau Ballet, Jimmy Somerville, Soft Cell, Sondre Lerche, Donna Summer, Sweet, the Swingle Singers, Sylvester, Suede [the London Suede].

just some food for thought from an armchair social scientist...

27" Metal Door Frame

If you walk around Tiong Bahru's Pre-War section and notice a Harvey Norman, Courts, Best Denki or whatever home appliance delivery trucks around. Stay a little longer to watch this scenario being played out. Watch and learn from it.

DO NOT BE the next victim of the 27' metal door frame!

New Home! New Stuff! New REFRIGERATOR. BUT WAIT!!!! Did this owner remember to measure the width of the metal door frame? Maybe yes, may not. Let's watch.

Should we go in this way or that way?

I guess sideways could be a possibility! Looks a bit tight but I think it may just squeeze through.

To be safe, better use these cardboards to prevent the sides from being scratched. Otherwise we have to write this one off and bring a new one back. Like this sure kena deduct salary one ah.

Success! We managed to squeeze it through! Phew!

There is definitely a lot more elbow space now.

Job done! Refrigerator delivered and installed!

Every time we deliver a refrigerator to the Tiong Bahru Estate, we just gotta pray real hard that our customers had taken notice of that narrow doorway that has a metal door frame that makes the passage even narrower. Many remembered to measure.....their own door width but they tend to overlook that METAL DOOR FRAME!

Today luckily the owner took the trouble to measure it and we don't need to use our brains on how we can squeeze the refrigerator through. Please help us, please buy a tall and slim refrigerator if you live in this area. Remember, the width of the metal door fame is only 27 inches! Remember, only 27 inches.

Blog Archive