Making Light of Things

February 2007 Archives

A showroom of nice looking simple downloadable DHTML and AJAX scripts.

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Brazil vs Argentina

Typographical genius.

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Google Apps

Stop building, start subscribing.

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A post following Mis_nomer’s comment on the dilemma Chinese New Year reunion dinners bring to newly married couples. The almost-painful helplessness of not being able to be in multiple places at the same time has become a silent but ever-present companion the older I grow. I fall in love with people and places far too easily and the realities of time and space, not to mention the general inertia I seem endowed with sometimes makes me come across as callous and uncaring.

To the many wonderful people who’ve lived in my life once upon a time - childhood friends who have since drifted, strangers who have offered me help when I least expected it, mere acquaintances whose one smile made the day that much better - to everyone with whom I’ve shared an instance of realness, of intimacy, even if it were just a fraction of a moment:

I love you; and am indebted to you all.

Continue reading Dichotomy »


There’s an unbelievable amount of stress Chinese families go through this time of the year. The Lunar New Year is without a doubt the most institutionalised Chinese festival in Singapore, observed by almost all Chinese, whether Christian, Buddhist, Taoist or Atheist. Shopping malls, hawker centres, coffee shops and even 7-11s close on Lunar New Year’s eve, the night of the reunion dinner.

While the purpose of the reunion dinner is to bring families together for a meal, the contradiction is that its special significance often creates very divisive forces within families. For the normal nuclear family, husband and wife often have to contend with the yearly dilemma of whose family takes precedence; who’ll be the filial child and who’ll be in danger of being disowned. Snide remarks are passed by parents who feel snubbed that their sons chose the in-laws instead of their own sashimi buffet reunion dinner. Words like “ingrate” hang in the air, and daughters break down in tears, finding themselves unable to be in two places at the same time.

We end up doing one of the following:

  1. Attend both dinners. Make an early exit from the first one then rush to the in-laws’. Hope no one notices.
  2. Alternate reunion dinners. This year at the in-laws’, next year at the parents’.
  3. Go overseas for a short holiday on your own. At least we treat each side with equal disdain.

What did you do this year?

Tutorials on Microformats

Great resource for upcoming WebSG presentation.

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Pipes by Yahoo!: Rewire the web

Aggregate, manipulate, display your feeds.

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How not to treat your web designer friend

A short animation. Can’t believe I’ve fallen for those lines before.

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How to install Vista in OS X using Parallels

For when the day arrives.

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CSS Speech Bubbles

Looks great for web 2.0esque blog comments.

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Cross Cultural Exchange

The week spent in the jungle was enlightening. While Singapore purports to be a homogeneous society, it is important that we recognise the unique characteristics that mark the differences of the major races. It would be a mistake to blind ourselves and pretend we were all brought up the same way or that all of us view life with a capitalistic self-serving worldview. That we should seek the betterment of our country only because it is in our self-interest.

Over the course of the last week, cut off from the comforts of daily living, I’ve come to realise how reliant we’ve become to the “the finer things in life”. Especially so for the Chinese Singaporeans. Right this moment, four of my Malay friends are asleep on their beds, having chosen to stay in the bunks overnight despite having been given last night off. In contrast, all the Chinese guys I know flew out of camp the first possible minute, many heading to shopping malls.

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When i was eleven and in Australia, I’d look to the horizon at night, at what I believed was the general direction of Singapore. I’d wonder what you were doing right that very instant - if you were having dinner with your family, laughing with them or sitting in a corner reading a book like you always would.

Tonight I sat at the back of an army truck, in the middle of a great dusty nowhere, looking towards a direction I believed was our home - and I wondered if you were playing with Anne; if you guys were laughing.

What was true so many, many years go is also true now. I want so much to be a part of your world, to hear your laughter and be there should you face an occasion to cry.

I’m comforted that some things have remained the same all these years.


Sitting here in the darkness in a truck in the middle of the jungle, I think of brightly lit cafes - places where the shroud of night has little meaning. Here, the absence of the sun means everything is done differently. The desire to sleep so much stronger, especially as we await orders that may come this very night or the next morning.

The Domain of Men

Ever since those 2 NSmen uploaded a video of their own little skit unto Youtube, all image-capturing devices have been banned on military installations.

Over the last week I’ve had the dubious honour of living in Pasir Laba camp, the former School of Infantry Specialists. It seems almost a crime not to be able to bring you images of this alternate universe Singaporean males have privy to.

The view from my bunk is quite spectacular. When I first hauled my trunk of junk up 6 flights of stairs, I was greeted by a most amazing view. On the horizon stood SAFTI’s tower with a large Singapore flag flying proudly atop it. It was a hazy day, and the scene was so surreal. It brought about mixed feelings. Pride, that I should look up to an steadfast tower when I needed that extra strength. There was also a tinge of Tolkieneque fear, that the eye of Sauron looked down upon us peons engaged in menial sweaty tasks.

I kid you not when I say life in the army is an alternate reality separated from the rest of the world. It moves at a different cadence - the left-right left-right of a young cadet’s strident voice, as opposed to the million individually shuffling feet at the nearby shopping mall.

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July 21

Out comes the final Harry Potter book.

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Ruby on Rails Beginner's Tutorial

Good starting tutorial on the basics of object-oriented programming and Ruby on Rails.

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Delete User

Two of the latest Vista stories almost next to each other on Digg’s homepage:

Things don’t bode too well for Vista at the moment.

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