Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chernobyl Disaster

Some documentaries about the last major nuclear disaster in former USSR.  It is a reminder of the danger of the nuclear energy industry, and for people to have a glimpse of what life might be after the current nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan.

Chernobyl could have wiped out the entire Europe, if not for the bravery of many who sacrificed their own lives for the greater good.  The radiation can be so dangerous that even the robots will go haywire and breakdown.  Electronics couldn't hold up under the heavy radiation.

Chernobyl disaster was rated 7, the maximum on the scale of seriousness of nuclear accidents, and now Japan's case has been raised from the initial 4, to the current level 6, with a potential to go to 7, which will be the same as Chernobyl disaster.

Microstock: Be Aware of What the License Agreement Means

I mentioned in this blog post about the use of one of my photos as a book cover for a gay book.  I thought it was a direct violation from the particular agency's license restriction course, which states:

Use that depicts model in a sensitive way i.e. mental or physical health issues, substance
abuse, criminal behavior, sexual activity or preference without a disclaimer.

So I contacted the agency, and their compliance enforcement team came back to me with this:

We are of the belief that this usage is permitted within the terms of the Agreement. There are a number of reasons for this. First and most importantly, most novels clearly state in the forward of the book that it is a work of fiction and any similarities to persons real or fake are coincidence. This in itself would be considered a disclaimer. To be quite honest, the likelihood that anybody would reasonably believe that the cover image is not a model seems very far off.

I am quite disappointed with this answer, and in my opinion, they are siding with the publisher.  

Next time, when you upload something for sale, be aware of what the license agreement actually means.  When it comes to legal terms, they can be very different from common sense.  

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Art Science Museum @ Marina Bay Sands

When the Singapore government decided to open 2 casinos in the city state, there was a lot of opposition from different fractions of the society.  To make the opposing voices happy, the Singapore put in a condition to the casinos that they must have some family or art/science elements to their Integrated Resorts, which practically are, casinos.  And then here it is, do you see that distinctive lotus-like structure in front of the Marina Bay Sands buildings?  That's the new Art Science Museum.

It has that comtemporary transparent glass entrance.

Currently there are three exhibitions on-going at the museum, namely (1) Genghis Khan, (2) Shipwrecked - Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds and (3) Traveling the Silk Road.

I will share with you my journey over the 3 exhibitions.

1. Genghis Khan

Right at the entrance to Genghis Khan exhibition, sits this once all mighty ruler of half of the world.  The two brooms on his two sides are the Mongol's religion's flags to attract the spirits of their god.  The white broom for peace, and the black for war.

Here is a map of the Mongol Empire, is your country once under Genghis Khan's rule?

In display, there is this interesting object as YaoPai (腰牌) in Chinese, which is basically a metal plate with words.  It serves as a kind of passport in those ancient days for the Mongol official and generals to pass through different parts of the vast empire to carry out their duties.

And you can also see the mails wore by the soldiers.  Don't you think it looks very similar to those you see in Europe?

And some interesting musical instruments too.

The exhibition is called 'Genghis Khan', but it is not really centred around this one person.  Rather it is centered around the rise of the Mongol Empire.  The artifacts on display are mostly replicas, instead of real antiques passed down from the past.

The captions of the exhibits are in English and Chinese, but the Chinese caption is done very poorly.  Mistakes are easily spotted and sometimes makes you wonder how trust worthy this exhibition is.

Example, the 'Coronation of Genghis Khan' has been 'translated' to something like Genghis Khan's family has been wronged.

2. Shipwrecked  - Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds

This is about the discovery of a ship wreck off Indonesia coast and the treasures unveiled.  The ship is thought to be plying the Silk Road on the sea from China's Guangzhou to Persian Gulf.  The treasures discovered in the shipwreck include many Chinese potteries, gold, silver, and other treasures.

This big big water bottle is one of the treasures uncovered.  It is tall with very fine details.  The style is elegant.

Another piece is this bowl.  Do you see that yellow dragon playing in the white and green waters?  Do you think it is lively?

And then to me, the most prized treasure is this cup.  It has a small fish at the bottom of the cup.  Just imagine when you pour water into the cup, don't you think the fish will look like it is swimming in your cup?  How creative our ancestors were!

Other treasures include gold and silver ware.

This exhibition is quite eye-opening in the sense that you would never expect a Tang Dynasty merchant ship would carry so much goods, and they are all so elegant.  World trade was so active in those days, even compare with today's world trade.

Oh, I forgot to mention, of course there were a lot of other not so valuable goods were carried on board the ship too.

Hundreds, or thousands of average quality bowls were carried on ship too.  However, the potters must be people of good sense of humour, as what they drew and wrote to deco the bowls are fun.

3. Traveling the Silk Road

Just finished taking a peek in the Silk Road on the sea, then we move on to take a look at the Silk Road on land, starting from China's Xi'an, the capital city during Tang Dynasty, and end at ?  Somewhere in today's Middle East or Europe.

Silk Road, of course it is about the Silk trade.  Didn't know the technology to make Silk had been a closely guarded secret of the Chinese for centuries.

And whenever you mention Silk Road on land, you can never not to mention camels :)  And the happy silk traders.

Of the 3 exhibitions, I think shipwreck is the best, while the other two are a bit too pale in comparison in terms of the number of exhibits and quality of the exhibits.

Admission to the Art Science Museum is SGD$30.00.  You can get a 20% discount if you pay with OCBC credit cards, which is SGD$24.60 (with GST).  I think it is a bit pricy for the kind of exhibitions, but then it is a for profit museum, so nothing to say.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Life is a Roller Coaster

It has been quite a while since I last blogged.  Life is like a roller coaster in recent days.  First it was the triple disaster in Japan, earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis.  The initial response to the triple disaster is naturally sad.  Lives were lost, homes destroyed, wealth vanished, and an imminent radiation threat.  It is nothing but like a living hell, although I myself was not affected in the least.  My heart goes to the Japanese people, may those who lost their lives Rest In Peace, may those survived be strong and rebuild their home and country.

As the Chinese say, every crisis is an opportunity.  The triple disaster in Japan unexpected created lots of opportunities for other countries.  The void that the Japanese companies left had to be filled by companies from other countries.  It is immoral to profit from disasters, but it is a capitalist world, life still has to go on, the world will not stop for any one person, any one country.  The opportunity thing pushed to a high point and then now it suspects there.  The next course of movement?  Your guess is just as good as mine.

Then at time of crisis, you will tell who are your friends, and who are your back stabbers.  Some who claim to uphold the ideal of equality and freedom, and blah blah blah, are now doing exactly the opposite.  But I shall not be surprised as even their democratically elected national leaders have no financial responsibility.  It is such a down point.

Down point it may be, it is just a small episode in the course of life.  This is life.  Sometimes down, sometimes up, most importantly I am improving myself day by day, being a better and better person, though will never be a perfect person.

Life is a roller coaster, enjoy the ride, and all that fun. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Product Safety

Got myself a new bedside table from a very famous furniture store yesterday.  With great excitement, I put it beside my bed, as it is a bedside table.  Everything looked good and I was happy and satisfied, until bed time came.

After I went to bed, I simply couldn't fall asleep.  Why?  It is that smell, that new furniture smell, it made me feel dizzy.  That chemical they use to treat wooden products.

Where is it from?  Poland.  The brand?  A world famous brand from Northern Europe, and it requires self assembly, so you should know who.

I wonder, whether there is a strict product safety standards for such furniture makers to adhere to?  We are just innocent consumers who just want to have a piece of safe furniture, but please don't turn such a joyful event into a nightmare.

Luckily, I suppose I just need to put my bedside table to somewhere airy, and leave it there for some time for that chemical to fully vapourize, hopefully.

Product safety!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Food Hunt in JB - Soon Huat Bak Kut Teh

Last time when I went to Teck Seng Restaurant at Taman Sentosa, I mentioned a Bak Kut Teh restaurant nearby in this blog entry.  This time, we decided to give it a try.

Lemon Honey Drink (爱玉冰)

You Tiao (油条)

Bak Kut Teh

Bak Kut Teh


Pig's Trotters


I must say I am a bit disappointed with them.  The Bak Kut Teh is a bit too plain and too similar to what we have in Singapore, but far cry from that I had in Klang.  The only choice seems to be pork ribs, there are no other choices.

The Dou Po is just juicy, but not exceptionally good.  Pig's trotters is the best of all, yet it is still on the too oily side.

What I don't understand is that the restaurant is still full of customers.  We arrived there at 11.05am, it was already almost full, by the time we left, there were a lot of people waiting outside, and many cars waiting for parking.

KSL City in JB

There is a new shopping mall just opened last December in JB.  The mall is right behind Crown Prince hotel (Previously mentioned in this blog entry).

The mall has four levels, including a cinema, a not-yet-ready hypermart TESCO, four Hong Kong Tea House type of Char Chan Ting (茶餐厅), a number of DVD shops (you know what), a Tang Shifu too.  The mall is not really quite ready yet, lots of stalls are still available for leasing.

As the mall is very close to Pelangi Plaza, very close to Taman Sentosa, two places frequent by Singaporean weekenders, so I think in the future, it will be another place popular with Singaporeans, when the mall is more well known.

To entice the visitors more, there is a shuttle bus from City Square to KSL mall, passing by Danga City Mall, and Pelangi Plaza.  From City Square to KSL mall is RM1.60, not too bad a choice.

More details of the mall can be found here, including a map to the mall, the major tenants of the mall, etc.    

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japan 8.9 Scale Earthquake 2011

It was a sad day on 11 March 2011, to learnt the news that an earthquake of 8.9 scale occurred near Japan, and the subsequent Tsunami causing massive damage to properties and human lives.

2011 has not been a good year in terms of natural disasters.  First it was the flood in Australia, then it was the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, then followed by the earthquake in Indonesia and Yunnan China.  Now, it is the fifth largest earthquake since 1900, which is 8.9 scale earthquake in Japan.

It is reported in the news that transport in Tokyo area has come to a complete stop, the two airports, Narita and Haneda are closed.  There was an explosion at one of the nuclear plants, and fires in many locations.  People are being stranded near their office, without enough food and water.

It is so sad, everything looks like the movie 2012 unveiling bit by bit.  Everything is so gloom and doom.  However, we must remind ourselves that feeling sad, and gloom & doom is not going to change anything, or make life better.  Facing such devastating natural disaster, we must all stand firm and support each other, and have great hope of a better future.  We should never lose hope and give up.


In addition, it is also a reminder that we should always be prepared for natural disasters.  In Singapore, SCDF advises citizens to have water, can food, medical kit, torch light, battery and radio ready in your emergency kit.  Have you prepared all these?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Microstock: A Dark Day

I had mentioned before photos from microstock being used in some unglamorous situations and causing distress to both the photographer and the model.  Never had I thought it would happen to me, but it did yesterday.  My model informed me his photo being used as the cover photo for a book published in the USA.  I thought, that was nice.  Then he told me the book is about the growing up story of a gay boy in Singapore!  My gosh!

I emailed the publisher, requesting to remove that photo from their facebook and, but the request was bluntly and rudely turned down.  Their reply was very much like telling you right into your face that you stupid idiot!

Looking at that publisher's other publications, obviously they specialize in gay-related publications, and I think they are just a small operation.

The book cover is nothing but my stock photo with some words on it.  There is no design to talk about.

This incident makes me think again about using models for microstock.  Both the photographer and the model were paid peanuts but have to endure undue stress.  What should I do?  I have removed all my stock photos with a human face.  You can't tell where your photos will end up.  The creative industry is really creative.

This is a reminder to myself:

Never submit photos with a human face to microstock, no matter what.  You have absolutely no control where the photo will end up with.

For a follow-up on this issue, please see this blog entry