17 December 2007

Pink Nipple Cream

Finale Pink Nipple Cream

I didn't read the back of the box to fully understand what this cream actually does, but I thought it was absolutely wacky weird intriguing fascinating quirky haywire (uh, anyone got a better dunno-what-to-say adjective?) for such a product.
I'm not sure if the existence of this product reflects its demand, but it's like saying that there is a demand for a medication to make nipples, uh, pink. Or that there is a desire for, uh, pink nipples.
Or that there is a desire for, uh, pink nipples.
Underlying reasons is up to your fertile imagination.

Not only that, the prodct even boasts of Nanotechnology. fwah~!

Definitely something that might need to go through a public acceptance curve though. Plus it's nice to know that Singapore is more liberal in this area, at least in perception.

16 December 2007

I made pancakes

Getting from this...


...to this...

Pancakes with jam

...is surprisingly simple.

Just add milk and an egg, mix everything up into a batter and heat up a non-stick pan. Then you'll need a bit of patience to finish cooking all the batter.

5 December 2007

The Story Of Stuff

Here's a great narrative on stuff, or something we should all watch before we decide to buy anything.


And here's a dreadful revelation from the people that make us buy, buy, buy and buy:

"Our enormously productive economy... demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption... We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate."
Add this on the fact that we have limited natural resources and you will know that we are headed for trouble.

The more we get together...

...the more lame we become~!
...Add in liberal amounts of alcohol and who knows what's gonna happen?

28 November 2007

No kidding, I got quoted...

Some time back I posted an entry about a really cool stroller-cycle. I checked the blog stats today and found that the company behind the stroller-cycle quoted me on their website, along with the likes of treehugger, bicycle retailer, commute by bike and busyboo. I'm flattered, really. Now if only there is a way to convince them to send me one of their stroller-cycle for a review... :p

23 November 2007

On your mark... Get set... Go!

In an unprecedented and bold move, Team MacLaren fielded 4 highly advanced models for the Singapore F1 race...

On your mark... Get set... Go!

S-Pop Hurray!

What do songs like 《我要的幸福》,《假面的告白》,《天黑黑》,《你知不知道》,《木乃伊》and《一人一半》have in common? Well, if you didn't already catch the hint from the title, these songs were written by Singaporeans. While we constantly listen to Mandarin Pop, it is seldom that we recognize and remember the songwriters. While we probably know the Li brothers and Lin Junjie, there are also "quieter" songwriters like Xiao Han, Wu Jiahui and Huang Yinren who ply their trade successfully in the competitive music scene in Taiwan.

So S-Pop Hurray was probably conceived to tell the masses about Singaporean music or rather, music created by Singaporeans. There is a slight difference which you'll understand later. At the same time, it was also to coincide with a national-level songwriting contest to discover new talent and new creations. And yes, I'm thinking there is a greater power who is pulling all stops to promote S-Pop.

So I was on assignment yet again with youth.sg to cover S-Pop Hurray. The programme started with an introduction of all the artistes who will be performing in the 4-and-a-half-hour long live recording. There were plenty of the hot-at-this moment artistes as well as those who were all nearly forgotten until their names were mentioned. Some that had moved on to business arenas, others to teaching and journalism.

The programme proper started off with a good dose of nostalgia with Deng Miaohua singing an old SBC drama serial theme song. For the uninitiated, SBC was the former name of TCS, which in turn was the former name of MediaCorp. Deng was probably one of the first popular local artistes from Singapore thanks to drama serial theme songs. At the that time, the likes of the young Li brothers were still schooling along with contemporaries like Zheng Zhanlun. It was the same recording company that Deng was under that discovered the Li brothers' songwriting talent in the beginning. The twins then went on to write many other drama serial theme songs.

Next introduced were the works of Liang Wenfu. To describe him as a songwriter would be an understatement. Liang's lyrics resonated many aspects of life in Singapore with songs like 《我的朋友 我的同学 我最爱的一切》and 《太多 太多》. The former being a song about friendships and school life and the latter being song that complains of too much of everything. Perhaps predictably, only《我的朋友 我的同学 我最爱的一切》was performed by Wu Qing Kang, yet another pioneer in the Xinyao movement. One notable thing on stage during his performance was the use of the "in-house" back-up dancers that was as cheesy as the days of the old television.

While still on Wu Qing Kang, it was surprising that he had won an award at a prominent Taiwanese song writing competition for a single he composed. As the programme progressed, there would be many of these snippets to "unconsciously" remind us that Singapore got talent.

Right after Wu Qing Kang came Zheng Zhanlun, yet another long-lost singer from the 80's. It turns out that he had left the entertainment circle to tend to his businesses back then. Now he's specially back to perform his hit song from then, 《我用真心添满你的孤单》. Zheng was also one of the small group of local musicians involved in the Xinyao movement during the 80's.

Perhaps it would take more than just a few works to convince audience that the genre of S-Pop exists. So specially brought in from Taiwan are Chinese music's heavyweights like Xiao Chong, Yang Qian as both had took local talents under their wings. One had commented that he was touched by the local flavours in our Singapore-written songs. I guess that's an important tip for all aspiring musicians - maintain the local flavour!

Which brings us to showcase some successful songwriters from Singapore. Namely, Huang Yinren, Wu Jiahui and Xiao Han. Based in Taiwan, the three of them some of the successful but relatively unknown songwriters from Singapore. Probably with exception of Wu Jiahui, who's is hot locally at the moment for the 881 hit, 一人一半.

What makes an effective songwriter? The trio answered that a well-written song should be visual and connected to its audience. How? Well, I can't be sure, I don't write songs.

Wu and Huang then took the stage with 一人一半, to which the audience clapped to the beat. Somehow songs with Hokkien origins are very popular here. Stefanie Sun had 天黑黑, now this...

The show then whisks the audience back again to the era of Xinyao with Ah Ben, Ah Ben and 我们这一班 (originally by Xu Huanliang and his band) performed by Project Superstar finalists. Like all good shows that talks about past, present and future, the producers managed to find incriminating video footage of the much younger Xu Huanliang with flowing locks of hair, a sharp contrast with his bald pate today. Best of all, he was performing together with Eric Moo in bad English! If you need to see those early days, you must watch the show on TV!

Also on stage reminiscing their early songwriting days were Eric Moo, Li Feihui and Wu Jiaming. The bunch of them shared a flat and often sang late into the night with their guitars, sometimes earning applause from their neighbours. They joked that Eric was the more successful among them because he was the only one presentable enough for television, and subsequently had to be the "breadwinner", earning measly sums of money for every TV appearance. Eric also revealed that one of his early songs was about that period where they bunked together and shared everything, particularly a vest he always wore for performances.

Thereafter, Eric Moo took the stage to sing and talk about his long musical journey. He shared how his first song came about after listening to a Hong Kong singer's simple but beautiful lyrics. Why couldn't the local scene produce good works like that? He thought he needed to prove that Singaporeans could come up with quality works and subsequently wrote his first song. At that time, songs were simpler, reflecting the simpler way of life in Singapore. These songs were about life in Singapore, and thus gave birth to Xinyao. Unlike music today, this genre did not set out to sell albums. Instead, it was meant to prove that we can write and sing.

It is apparent that these early musicians started out humbly, a contrast from music school trained artists of today.

Li Feihui then joined him for a few more songs before taking over and bringing in his students to perform his most memorable songs, 等你等到我心痛 and 说走就走.

The pioneers and the new talents sharing the stage played up the notion of the old bridging to the new. Different generations sharing a common passion. The contrast of the new and old musicians also showed how they had progressed throughout the years. While it wasn't moving in leaps and bounds, it was steadily moving forward.

It is with much credit to the pioneers in the industry that our new artists can successfully break into the ultra-competitive market. They proved to Taiwan that there are discoveries of talents and potential to be made in Singapore, such as Kelly Poon who emerged from Project Superstar.

Consequently, the show moved the spotlight to the industry today, Lin Junjie shared the stage with his mentors Xu Huanliang and Xiao Chong to share about his road to success in the industry. Unsurprisingly, the subject was on the necessity of multiple talents to be successful. JJ's reply was that The JJ fan club went absolutely wild at the appearance of their idol performing his piece on piano.

And then an up-tempo number.

The show then moved on to showcase our local bands. First up was 迷路兵 (Milo Peng?), the product of Project Super Band. Honestly, I could hardly hear their singing with all their loud music. There wasn't really a follow up interview with them, so the show moved on to 梦飞船, Dreamz FM.

Dreamz FM only released one album as a band. One single, 不值得 became a runaway hit solely viral marketing online and reached as far as China, where the band never set foot on for publicity. They only came to realise it when one of them noticed their song being played as background music in a restaurant. Thereafter, they sort of went into obscurity. Dreamz FM unfortunately, was a tragedy of bad timing. A month before their album release in Taiwan, the 921 Earthquake sent the country into a different state of mind, relegated entertainment to the lowest priority. Album sales consequently suffered. Around the same time, the boss at their record company passed away, diverting all attention away from the band. When asked if they'll make a comeback, their response was, "only if we have support from the audience."

The show then moved on to yet another nostalgic segment paying tribute to Liang Wenfu, with singers that either haven't appeared for the longest time or crossed over to other realms.

I have to say that I would likely have forgotten names like Pan Ying and Hong Shao Xuan if not for their performances their unique voices as they delivered Liang's compositions. Hong in particular had a really unique voice that was near Fei Yuqing's.

Another memorable voice from the Xinyao era was Huang Hong Mo, who sang his songs with gusto. You could describe that his works has a very strong folksy flavour to them, which melded beautifully with his singing technique. He performed 野人的梦 much to the audiences' delight as they "hey-ed" to the beat of the song. Perhaps, you could even say that Huang has his own genre that might be called S-Folk. Needless to say, he and his music stood out during the Xinyao era.

Nostalgia went into overdrive as the following segment showcased old TV drama theme songs. (For anyone who would like a fix of those oldies, tune in to Channel 8 in the late evenings. Everything then is still entertaining even with minimalistic production) Cai Lilian performed her song that is permanently etched in every Singaporean's heart, 关怀方式.

Followed by Jeff Wang and his song, 最高点 for that-show-about-Christopher-Lee's-bleached-hair.

Last in the TV Drama segment was Deng Miaohua performing 温柔的夜, a hit theme song from an 80's local TV drama.

Whenever we talk about Singaporean songwriters, the Li Brothers stand out. The twins started out locally, writing songs for TV serials. Xiao Chong saw the potential in molding the twins into an image of two multi-talented and suave brothers and brought them into his company to polish them. (For actual shots of their image then, watch the show!) Much credit has to be given to this mentor as the brothers cemented their talent and place in the music industry.

Together, the twins wrote hit songs for Jackie Cheung (你知不知道) and Jolin Tsai (假面的告白) as well as our very own Stefanie Sun (我要的幸福,天黑黑). As a special delivery, the twins co-composed a tune specially for the host Quan Yifeng, which very much proved that she was indeed musically challenged as she always claimed.

Their compositions were then performed by Project Superstar finalists.

With established songwriters introduced, interviewed and showcased, the show brought on Eric Moo yet again. As mentioned before, Eric Moo was one of the first Singaporean to successfully break into Taiwan. This time on stage, he performed works that established his place in Taiwan, namely, 爱那么痛 and 太傻. The recording for the second song brought an awkward silence to the whole theatre as he never started singing. He then requested that his original track be used instead. He reasoned that it was a particularly special song that he would demand to deliver with his original track so as not to shortchange the audience. The nervous silence was only broken thanks to the quick thinking by Quan Yifeng commenting that she must have mixed up her horrible karaoke disc with Eric's. Thereafter the recording resumed.

After the solo performance, Lin Junjie came on stage much to the delight of his rabid fans. He would perform with Eric for 你是我的唯一 unplugged, with the latter on his guitar.

The piece was quite magical. It was a moment of the new coming together with the old and creating something familiar yet remarkably different. The duet was more about succession and hope in S-Pop, of continuity for a genre of music that we can call our very own and it took over four hours to convey that thought.

The stage was then passed over to Chen Weilian, the visually handicapped winner of Project Superstar. I guess the producers of the show are still riding on the message of hope, especially when he was the perfect poster boy against all odds after winning the contest. Subconsciously encouraging people not to be limited by their environment or disabilities and take a leap of faith for their passion in music.

Finally, JJ comes back on stage yet again to perform a medley of his songs as well as S-Pop Hurray's theme. But before that the hosts requested for JJ to perform beatboxing, imitating drums, bass and even an er-hu. It most definitely pleased the fan club especially since they got to see their idol showing off his many talents for free at one sitting.

Oh, just in case I missed out, JJ is the ambassador of S-Pop Hurray, that's why he's performing the theme song.

The 4-hour performance recording effectively took the audience through Singapore's musical journey. While what we see on stage and TV are the successes that only came along with lots of hard work. For me, the bring home is a renewed attitude to take notice of Singaporean works and artists, and then to take action to support their works.

So remember to catch S-Pop Hurray! on Monday, 26 November, 7pm on Channel U

Support local artists!

(official website: http://spop.mediacorptv.sg/)

May use back door...

Yes, it sounds awfully wrong...

May use back door...

For a massage parlour no less...

May use back door...

22 November 2007

MDA Senior Management Rap

It's SOOOO bad that it rawks.
Talk about the disaster syndrome...

From mrbrown

21 November 2007

Just in case your aren't convinced about Global Warming...

I think this sort of confirms that this short film wasn't just a joke...

Image from www.ukimagehost.com via digg

18 November 2007

Make your own bread

I wrote about a weekend stay at Green Circle in January 2005. In it I talked about homemade bread by a gentleman named Don Cai.

Recently, I came across this article with detailed instructions to make your own bread at The Simple Dollar.

Maybe I'll try it one day, especially if you know the kinds of unthinkable stuff they put into making those breads you see in the supermarket.

16 November 2007

Super Import Nights

Went to take a look at the exhibition at Singapore Expo on Sunday. Things I liked:
  • Really nice airbrush paint jobs
  • The really ah beng zhng-ing of the cars
  • The unfunctional modifications like the plexi-glass bonnet
  • Furry dashboards and sports rims
  • Cao ah beng blue neon and strobe lights
  • A complete home entertainment system built into the back of a MPV, got XBox some more
  • American Import Models showed us what is real event models.
  • 2 vendors brought in Hummer for show.
Disappointed at:
  • There wasn't a lot of anything. Not a lot of cars, not a lot of zhng-ed cars. Not a lot of vendors. Not a lot of special cars.
  • Lack of innovation in the zhngs
  • Nothing near the innovation as seen on Pimp My Ride
  • The mountains of restrictions that prevented the zhng team to come up with more over-the-top creations.
Some funny observations:
  • People were really there to see the American Import Models, and there were a lot of chee ko peks, young and old also have.
  • The men flock to the models like Flies to rubbish bees to honey.
  • The emcee referred to all the men with cameras as "professional photographers"... Yeah, right.
  • The local event models are always the same ol' same ol, and not very pretty...
  • Put the "foreign talent" and our "local pride" and you will see that we are still eons away.
Oh yah, more photos here.

13 November 2007

An Awfully Cool Set Of Wheels

An Awfully Cool Stroller/Bicycle Combo

Chanced upon this really cool combo stroller/bicycle from Treehugger.
It's like those old tricycles that used to ply the streets of yesteryear, only updated and cooler looking and multi-functional.

Arguably the coolest transport parents can own with zero carbon footprint.

My Zigo is the company behind this cool set of wheels.
And I think it would be nice if somebody brought this to Singapore.

30 October 2007

Sing Your Complaints, Singapore!

Remember I wrote a post about a complaints choir last year? Perhaps my questions there will be answered when The Singapore Complaint Choir (under The Complaints Choir Project) gets to perform.

Ever got squeezed, cornered by policies and situations? Turn all those frustrations to creativity and sing them out!

Anyway, if you are interested to participate,
(no singing skills or experience required)
this project is calling for participants from 4 Oct - 10 Dec 2007.
For more info or registration, email info@singaporefringe.com or call 6440 8115.

So what are you waiting for?

Additional resources:
www.singaporefringe.com (look under Festival Highlights)
www.complaintschoir.org (it's even got a step-by-step instructions/methodology to guide you.)

13 October 2007

Move on to bigger things

I noticed that the Navy has got this new recruitment campaign going on. Then I saw one of its series and this came to mind...

Move on to bigger things...

10 October 2007

Eric Moo's Concert

Update: For this entry on Youth.sg, click here.

Then he picked up his guitar, and you'll know that you're in on an intimate musical journey.

I'm on Youth.sg assignment again. This time, I got the chance to cover Eric Moo's (巫启贤) concert. Who's Eric Moo? Here's my personal take: Without him, Singapore might have less of successful Chinese singers to boast today. We might not have successes like Kit Chan, Stefanie Sun, Tanya Chua, A-do and Lin Junjie. Eric Moo was one of the pioneers of Singaporean artists that broke into the ultra-competitive Chinese music market in Taiwan.

Of course some may argue that he isn't really Singaporean (he was born in Malaysia), but most of his music was produced in Singapore and along with a few like-minded songwriters, they brought about the era of Xinyao (新谣). At the peak of his career in Singapore, Eric was literally the most well-known Singer in Singapore and Malaysia, every house also know his name (巫启贤的名字家喻户晓。). Even non-Chinese knew him, listened and sang to his songs and one even translated his song to English! I was in primary school then. Almost every week he would appear on television as a guest.

My Media Pass

Certainly, Eric has come along way since the Xinyao era, him breaking into the Taiwan market and sustaining for so long. I could tell that by the demographics of the audience, mostly 30's to 50's. Their courtship years probably spanned from the late eighties to the early nineties, the same time when his music was everywhere. For me, this concert brought back fond childhood memories.

First starting out in a standard black blazer, Eric was accompanied by his band of musicians as he belted out familiar songs in his repertoire. However, it did take a while before the audience warmed up and started participating in a sing-along session. Well, I guess the audience aren't as energetic.

He paid tribute to many of his friends in the music industries, with appreciative mentions of local songwriters like Liang Wenfu and Li Feihui, for 想着你的感觉 and 等你等到我心痛. Oddly enough, Liang Wenfu was seated far behind as opposed to Li Feihui seated second row from the front. But no matter, the audience didn't scrimp their applause for him as he was the prominent songwriter behind our Xinyao era who never failed to create Uniquely Singapore songs, even before you could brand anything Uniquely Singapore.

His first guest, Qiu Haizheng came on stage for her song before he went off to change. Having not sang for so long, she did sound off-key as she sang her signature song. Then Eric returned to stage in a get-up of jeans, red t-shirt and vest, along with a cap, reminiscing younger days. Qiu didn't miss the opportunity to poke fun at the futile attempt to look younger. I have to agree that the package was rather orbid. But then he picked up the guitar for his unplugged section of concert, and you know you will be in for an intimate musical journey.

Eric is probably best known for singing with his guitar. It was an image he started with right in the beginning of his entertainment career, strumming his way to the radio stations, television and into our hearts. It is also this simplicity that breaks down any barrier between him and his audience. This was definitely one of the highlights of his concert. Not only that, it was probably the easiest section of the concert for him, because just about everyone in the audience knew the lyrics to his songs by heart. And that I feel speaks much of how well-remembered his works were.

Near the end of the segment, he jokingly complained that the audience should have mentioned earlier that he only needed guitar as the hiring of the band members cost extra money.

His second guest was Fang Wenling, another partner from his earlier days, whom he referred to as an ageless legend (不老的传说). After a solo and a duet with Eric, Qiu Haizheng joined them on stage for a short chat, remembering their good ol' days. The ladies then sang their signature song with Eric before leaving the stage.

The concert concluded with another seven songs. But still the audience wanted more, so they swarmed forward for another glimpse of Eric and started chanting, cheering for him to come back on stage for another encore...

And more followed...

Many climbed on to the chairs, despite their age and/or size. And you thought only youngsters do that...
Finally, he returned to stage...

Much to the delight of fans...

While he would love to stay for more, it would risk an overrun. So he could only lead the audience to sing another 2 songs, run to their delight.

So, don't think because people are older that they can't behave like crazy fans ok? Hell, these are mild compared to Chan Poh Chu fans you see today...

Anyway, to round off, the concert was really well-done even though simple. As Eric said it best, the audience weren't there to watch him dance or see fancy stage sets. And he delivered a quality performance which connected intimately with the audience, despite such a large capacity venue. While the lighting was occasionally too harsh and the music overly loud, these were merely technical flaws which were well-compensated with Eric's heartfelt performance.