15 May 2008

I’m flying off to Vietnam

I will be in Vietnam from 15 to 20 May for a vacation. Boarding the plane in a few hours' time.

Contact me at my mobile number for any urgent matters. No, urgent does not include shopping lists. (Unless you transfer some moolah to my bank account first.)

Suddenly, I'm getting out of town so often. It's so unlike the last few years where I practically cooped up in Singapore.

9 May 2008

My ST701 Spree Experience

Here's the chat conversation I had with Kate, from comGateway's help desk.
I just find that she was just so overly formal with every word she used, I suspected she was probably a chat bot, or someone who just reads and clicks on template response sentences.
What do you think?

Kate: Hello, welcome to comGateway's help desk. How may I assist you?

Me: Hi, I would like to purchase the following item from Amazon.com: Olympus 202172 PT-043 Stylus 1030SW Underwater Housing However, I am unable to proceed because it is slightly over the USD 195 limit. Would it be possible to put USD 195 for the price first and then have the actual amount charged to my account through you? Please advise if this is possible, thanks.

Kate: Kindly be informed that this is not possible.

Me: btw, which courier service do you use for the delivery?

Kate: May I ask you that you are referring to merchant to US office?

Me: No, I am asking about the delivery from US to Singapore. Sorry I didn't make it clearer.

Kate: We regret to inform you that we are unable to advise

Me: Thanks for replying, though I can't say your answers have been helpful.

Kate: I apologize for this

Kate: May I know whether you require further assistance?

Me: Nope.

Kate: You are most welcome. We wish you a pleasant day and thank you for using comGateway. Goodbye.

So that was a few days ago.
The good news: Just an hour earlier I received a phone call from comGateway regarding my spree box and the USD 195 limit problem. And they were able to work around the limit problem. Yay!

And this marks my first online shopping transaction.
I think "gratifying" is an apt word to describe it. :)

Your turn! Start shopping at ST701 Spree now!

6 May 2008

Madonna Hard Candy Album Launch Party at Zouk

It's amazing how someone half a century old remains so relevant in this day. I quote a friend: "She seems to get better with age."
Even more amazingly, what he said over ten years ago stays true even today. No, I am not talking about wine here. It's Madonna, and she's looking better than ever on here new album cover.


Unfortunately, the iconic artist herself did not grace the event to launch her new album, Hard Candy held at Zouk. Oh well, it would be a miserable party by her cultural icon stature to attend anyway.

But still, credits to Zouk for throwing the party with all the bell and whistles paying tribute to Madonna and her new album. Snippets of Madonna trivia adorned the walls all over as I entered the main area. Models distributed various candy treats and over-sized lollipops with sticker of her latest album cover. The whole setting was awfully fun, in a cheesy kind of way.

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The music for the night was all Madonna's music new and old. All were great, just that you probably couldn't tell which one came from the new album that the event was supposed to promote. In between songs, the large screen aired excerpts of interviews with Madonna sharing about her music.

At the central dance floor, a boxing ring was erected for the main event of the party, Muay Thai. According to the host of the night, MTV VJ Taya, Madonna keeps in shape with this rigorous sport. Her well-toned arms are definitely testaments of the tough training associated with this martial art.

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Anyway, there would be two matches for that night between 4 ladies. I was darn suspicious that the matches would probably be intentionally staged a-la WWE. I mean, Girl-versus-Girl Muay Thai reeks of more of cat-fight than the esteemed sport. It didn't help that Taya added that the fights would be given a "fun" twist.

The first fighter was introduced to the audience when her prancing around with a fencing sabre, clumsily poking an imaginary target. Then it got worse with the second fighter appearing in the ring looking like a geisha. Oh yah, both of them had video clips aired before their appearances exaggerating how bad-ass they are in the ring and how they kick serious butt with less than a total 18 months' of training between them.

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So the fight went underway both fighters went head on and unleashed endless flurry of merciless punches and kicks against each other that would make bouncers look like wimps. Each blow emitted shockwaves that could be felt by the audience. No, wait, I was kidding. Actually, they pranced around each other and daintily kitty-scratched, er, I mean punched each other, and occasionally delivering surprise but off target tickles, er I mean, kicks.

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As the rounds came to an end, rather buff topless guys stepped on to stage with a placard to signal the next round, just like real boxing matches except with the roles reversed. They definitely earned plenty of wolf-whistles from the crowds.

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Then something interesting happened, one of the fighters adopted a awesome strategy of attacking the opponent's fists with her face! It was so effective that her adversary relented with apprehension when blood trickled from her nose! The crowds approved with louder cheers in sadistic ecstasy to drum up the aggression in the fighters. Screams of approval for more blood were everywhere. "More! More! More!" they cheered.

When the match was over, the referee announced both fighters as winners.
"Kelong!" the crowds booed and jeered in good fun. Obviously, the results was staged. But there would be a prize for the favourite fighter that would be decided by the audiences' cheers, the fighter with the louder support walks away with a brand new Samsung MP3 player.


Next up would probably be one of the most embarrassing moments ever. Taya introduced a British lady kick boxer who has won 7 consecutive British Championships and a European Championship. She was invited to Singapore for the event, but there wasn't anyone locally who would step into the ring with her. A challenge was then issued to the audience for anyone, male or female, who would spar with her. As you might have guessed, nobody took up the challenge, and the 7-time British Champion and European Champion was all alone doing her kick boxing display thing in the ring until her time was up and left.

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The crowd was expecting a more exciting second match following the blood from the first match and the display by the British champion. Their cheers significantly louder as the fighters of the second match arrived on stage.

Unfortunately, the fight turned out to be a less eventful one, with one fighter carelessly tripping over her opponents foot in the first round. The fighters were considerably less aggressive compared to those in the first match and it definitely look a lot more like an actual cat-fight with plenty of rather comical kitty-punches. But everyone there was still well-entertained by the fight. The presence of ample alcohol definitely helped to keep everyone happy.

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Predictably, both fighters were announced as winners but they got into a tie with both garnering equally strong support from the crowd. The host eventually awarded both fighters with an MP3 player each.

Oh, and if you didn't notice, the best thing to happen for this whole event was that I still have no idea how Madonna's new album sounds like. So now I probably have to buy, beg, borrow or steal to satisfy my curiosity.