Making Light of Things

July 2006 Archives

It's the taught that counts

Teachers' Day 2006

The major academic junctures in my life play out like reruns of a bad movie: There I’d be, waiting for the result slip of the major examination I spent the last few years preparing for. And when I finally held it in my hands there’d be that tinge of excitement, fear and uncertainty. I’d walk out of school a little zombified, my finite mind trying to compute the infinite combinations life presented me at that point.

Months would pass before I realised I never did thank my teachers for the years they had to put up with me. While I had invested years of my life into the rather selfish pursuit of my own education, they had invested years of their life hoping we’d make it in life, whatever that meant.

They are our surrogate parents, the ones who bear the weight of educating us, often never seeing the fruit of their labour.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been slaving night and day, getting the site ready for launch. Unlike most of the other sites I’ve worked on professionally, I had a personal stake in this one. It was my way of saying thanks to all the teachers I’ve ever had in my life.

I invite you to leave your own note of thanks on We’ll be running the whole hullabaloo of radio and print ads as well.


What to do to the friendly neighbour who’s been “borrowing” your wireless internet access.

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After a tough day at work - getting my perfectly validated code torn to shreds after emailing it to a vendor to put it up - getting on a crowded train really doesn’t lighten my mood. I don’t mind standing the whole way. I’m sure there are a lot of people who need the seats more than I do. It’s the idiots you meet on the train that you feel like killing, but haven’t the energy to do so. Yes I’m talking to you, the muscleman in the World Gym tank top sitting in front of the very pregnant lady.

Then at the entrance of the train there’s the Secondary school kid who insists on sitting on the floor, blocking a third of the entrance. He refuses to get off his butt and looks around when people have problems getting in and out of the train.

Oh, and there’s the pole dance. Here’s a photo to utterly kill your appetite and help you lose weight.

Not so skinny woman hogging a pole on the MRT

I was minding my own business, holding on to the pole so I wouldn’t accidentally fall on the stupid boy sitting at the entrance, when this woman decided to align her butt crack with the part of the pole I was holding. I was this close to chewing her head off.

I probably need to up my thyroid meds. Or migrate.

Rolling with it

Companies usually get all freaked out when the blogosphere says something negative about their product. But here’s a model example of how you should deal with it.

Factory City writes about “neat Mac apps that help you concentrate”. He writes about Pzizz, an application which he says is useful but expensive. Rather than enter into a debate justifying the arguably high price, Edward Laing from Pzizz leaves a comment on the blog giving Factory City readers a discount.

So here you have it. Great execution, Edward!

What do you do if you have a really crappy product and the blogosphere picks up on it? Sorry dude, there’s no cure for a lousy product in the new economy. You may cheat us of a quick buck, but we communicate too fast for you to make a long-term career hoodwinking us.

Pure CSS menus

Nice tutorial - great cross-browser support.

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"3 Ways to Immediately Increase Search Engine Traffic

It ain’t rocket science.

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One-Winged F-15

Video of aerial accident, and pilot landed the F-15 with one wing left.

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Kids Thank Warner Brothers for the Ads and Porn

Be careful who you associate with.

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Burn Out

Oft in one’s work you endure, waiting for the ginormous project to end - the one you’ve been grinding out day after day after day. Then when the fateful day comes and you passed with relatively flying colours there’s the huge sense of relief; you can finally get some much needed sleep and take things a little easier from here. But like rainy days, you don’t see this one coming. A ginormous-er project hits you hard across the forehead, with the usual deadline-was-yesterday crapola.

Love for the work can only take you so far. Sometimes you need to take time to be a little depressed. It didn’t help that Faith will be home late, and I’ll be returning to an empty home with plumbing to fix. It doesn’t get more depressing than

a finished mcdonald's dinner

And the curly fries aren’t even good. With every bite I know I’m closer to making my heart go into cardiac arrest. I look around me and it’s all similar depressed people eating McD’s on a weekday night.

I head home, got the pipe fixed and waiting for the return of my Faith, and I mean it both ways. Thank God she came home earlier than I expected.

Then somehow life isn’t so bad.

I managed to squeeze in a day’s leave, declaring my absence for a whole day’s worth of meetings. We’ll be taking Anne swimming in a few minutes. Pictures to follow.

Pied Piper

It’s been 3 years since we moved in. It’s about the time when all that was once new isn’t quite so new anymore. Things start to break down - the door could use with a new coat of paint and some parts of our couch look a tad worn from the occasional washing.

Faith and I just spent the last few minutes feet deep in 1-inch water. Ok, I know it isn’t knee-high or anything, but having the pipe under the kitchen sink burst wasn’t part of this evening’s programme. And me, living like I was still in college, have only my trusty swiss army knife as my toolbox. It’s the huge all-in-one swisstool, not the pocket-sized ones. Only problem is I gave it to Jon, who’s leaving for the States on Wednesday.

So I’m off tomorrow to buy a real toolbox. And I’m going to get the pipes fixed. Oh, and the leaky shower too. This comes amidst a ton of work and favours for friends, but we can’t live with the water mains turned off. There’s something oddly testosteroney about getting a toolbox and fixing the house up.

I like.

AJAX Desktop tutorial

So much to learn, so little time.

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Basketball Epiphanies

Tonight at the ball courts someone on the sidelines picked up another guy’s ringing phone, spoke on it for a while, then shouted to some guy on the court, “Eugene, your mother tell you to buy bread on the way home!”.

An odd feeling came over me. I looked at the young men on the court, and for the first time I saw beyond the external bravado of youths playing a contact sport. I saw them, sons of parents. Boys on the verge of becoming men, somewhere between being loved as a child by their parents and learning to love their parents in return. Somewhere in stasis - a cocoon of sorts, so much transformation taking place, yet to them it seems their youth lasts forever.

Then I wondered: if you saw what I saw tonight, would you be shooting Lebanese children? Would you still have the heart to fire rockets into buildings in which Israeli children slept? Would you finally understand that there are no soldiers; that we are children of our parents, parents to our children, brothers and sisters to our siblings. That the death of a soldier is the death of a civilian. And the death of a civilian is a cost borne by those yet living.

It is borne ultimately by us all.

Handy Updates

Sorry I haven’t been clear on the latest news on Anne’s hand. It’s healing fine, except for a little scar tissue which we hope will go away. If anyone knows where we can find Neosporin or some other cream that prevents scarring, please drop us a comment below.

As you can see, Anne still hasn’t learned to keep her hands to herself.

Anne putting her hand in Barney's mouth

How Google Works

The inner workings of our new 800-pound gorilla.

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CSS How-to

Handy and comprehensive CSS resource.

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Our 3rd Year

Dearest Faith,

it was exactly three years ago I saw you walk down the aisle to the loud squeals of your primary 6 class. Some of them were given the task of blowing bubbles from the balcony when you walked under them, but many started bubbling prematurely because they thought Ai was you. Three years ago we said “I do”, but it was so much earlier in our youths when we committed our hearts to each other.

14 years ago we went out on our first date. It was to Buona Vista train station to get your concession pass replaced. Now that I work at Buona Vista, I alight at that station every day, reminded at how I saw a pelican (or what I thought was a pelican) along the giant canal. I saw a giant monitor lizard there the other day. My colleague Selwyn who lives in the area has named it Frank.

It was 18 years ago in June when we walked by the beach in Desaru. We picked seashells together. It was then I fell madly in love with you.

Throughout the years there have been so many memories which I never ever want to forget. The years we spent on the phone. The sound of you breathing on the other end of the line, and how close you felt. Even the silence was special, because it was your silence. I wanted to be near everything about you.

How I brought the same cookies to choir practice every Friday because you ate them and said you liked them. You stopped eating them after you found out that I was the one who brought them. And I brought them anyway hoping you’d give the cookies a chance, and that in some vicarious manner you’d give me a chance.

To be near you is a privilege I don’t want to take for granted. I want the electricity of hearing your voice on the phone to last forever. I want to reflect at how blessed I am to wake up each morning to the smell of your hair.

It is easy to let reality kill the fantasy - that what is real does not compare with what was dreamt. But after 3 years of marriage, 14 years of courtship and 18 years of infatuation I discover daily that being with you is everything I thought it’d ever be.

Happy anniversary dear.

Ukelele Genius

Video of Jake Shimabukuro playing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on the ukelele. 4 strings, infinite speed.

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No More Peeping Toms

This woman changes clothes faster than you can say abracadabra! Video taken from America’s Got Talent.

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Zidane Flash Game

Like space invaders, only infinitely funnier.

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Why Zizou Head-butted Materazzi

I’d have broken his neck. A headbutt was letting him off easy.

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Brownout - Why mr brown got canned

Standard disclaimer applies here, as it does to all of this site, that I write on a personal level and do not represent any views held by my employer…yadda yadda. You get the idea. Though I am aware riding on this train may get me fired.

When I read Kin Mun’s article on Today I knew immediately that this article was very different from the ones he normally writes. It was less tongue-in-cheek and more angsty. There is an impotence that comes with being humourous; the joker, whose presence is acknowledged, is never used in a game of poker where real money is at stake. If you follow mr brown’s archives you’ll see that he has become increasingly political of late, drawing national attention with the bak chor mee podcast.

Summarising it in roadside vernacular, hiding behind humour is like wrapping yourself in a sarong and hoping Superman can’t see you naked. He only pretend he didn’t see. MICA’s response to mr brown’s article wasn’t Superman using his x-ray vision to carefully analyse the arguments. It was Superman shooting laser beams out of his eyes and frying mr brown’s balls.

Continue reading Brownout - Why mr brown got canned »


The beloved Dr. Mahathir jokes about how the MIGs Malaysia purchased during his term as Prime Minister are superior to the F-18s recently purchased, because the MIGs can bomb Singapore while the F-18s can’t. According to the educated doctor, it has something to do with America owning “the source code”.

Sure, the absurd insensitivity draws fire, but what astounds me is how he uses technical jargon like “source code”, but still calls MIGs M-I-Gs every single time he mentions them (imagine him saying s-c-u-b-a diving). Someone please send him a pirated copy of Top Gun.

Oh and Doctor, I don’t think airbases need to write extensive programs (aka source code) to make planes fly north to make drops.

GE's Collaborative Web Whiteboard

One of the best seamless online collaborative apps I’ve ever seen.

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W3Counter - Global Web Stats

IE at 67%. The tide is turning.

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Pixar Interns: Hard-core

Interning at Pixar looks really fun. Now if only I could draw…

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Scalable AJAX - For The Love Of God, Think Of The Servers!

Important points to note before jumping on the Ajax bandwagon.

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Self Opposed

Jon Stewart on Donald Rumsfeld. Exactly what would happen if the PAP were to realise their dream of self-regulation.

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Tonight I need your CSS

Pop star turned web standards evangelist remixes his old hit "Hands to Heaven" into a love song for web standards. Absolutely amazing!

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