[About this blog] Inspired by local soccer player Mike Lim during my rookie reporter days at Singapore Polytechnic, I set up this blog in August 2002. I feel that blogging is a novel platform to document interesting facets of my life and my thoughts on certain issues. [Email blogger] ephraim@singnet.com.sg

Friday, February 27, 2009

[Worldwide mobilisation]
While there is talk about local mobilisation of people using new media tools, how about something on a worldwide scale?

Earlier in February, I participated in publicising a World Wide Rave in conjunction with the launch of David Meerman Scott's new book. It was a project to kick off my Digital Media Across Asia module and we had to use Web 2.0 tools. I chose to use my blog to do that.

David also made a video and sent it to my Prof. This is what had happened worldwide.

So instead of a campaign that is based locally, now how about one that goes global. This is way cool.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

[The Curious Case of Benjamin Button vs Slumdog Millionaire]
Having watched eight time award winning Slumdog Millionaire, I also made it a point to catch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button since Minister had talked a little about it during lunch on Monday.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is indeed very post modern. I think it is something that SMU students who are known to do things differently can identify with.

In essence, the one thing that the show is about the topic of time. A very simple thing that everyone can relate to. I think the act of making a the clock that turns backwards has significance and reflects the life of Benjamin Button. The clock finally stops when Benjamin Button dies in the end and is shown in the last scene.

The concept of post modernism is about questioning the existence of things in a particular manner. Does it mean that a baby cannot be old? Can life start from the end and end in the beginning? Whoever said that a clock has to move forward? How about one that moves back in time?

There are also several parallels between The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire. It is obvious that both movies are flashbacks and about the life of a main character. One uses a diary to tell a tale, while the other is centered around a game show.

While Slumdog Millionaire scores with its excellent cinematography - I liked the aerial shots best - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button does well with the surreal scenes of the sea.

In terms of the music Slumdog Millionaire has more hip hop sounds with Indian influences while The Curious Case of Benjamin Button soothes with its platter of classical tunes.

One is a frank portrayal of the suburbs of India while the other is a musty old film about the war years and beyond. It is difficult to say which is better but each has a different flavour of its own.

[Stray Cats]
I had a most unusual case at my Bedok Reservoir Meet the People Session last night. Some ten adults from three families came to see me urgently about eight cats caught by the Town Council and sent to AVA for culling. They were very upset that these stray cats would soon be gotten rid of when they had already been sterilised (marked by snipped ears except for the eighth, an old cat, brown in colour).

When I told them that the Town Council had received a number of complaints about cats scratching cars and dirtying common corridors and void decks, they said that sterilised cats are temperamentally mild (which is why they are easily caught) and won't scratch cars. As for cat poo, they would organise themselves to clean them up. They wanted me to appeal on their behalf to save the eight cats. Apparently only I had the power to do so. Suddenly I felt a great sense of responsiblity for the lives of these cats.

I was quite unsympathetic at first until I realised that these individuals who rushed to see me were not at all dismissive of the complaints made. They were passionate but not unreasonable. When I challenged them, they agreed to help the RC explain to residents and work with complainants in a practical way to solve problems of cleanliness. I told them that if they were prepared to work with the RC, the RC would work with them and every complaint against stray cats would be dealt with individually.

It will be a lot of work but if we succeed in doing this, we will have a better neighbourhood community. But I also told them that if we were not able to do this, I would not be able to stop the Town Council from acting in the larger public interest. A number of my grassroots leaders remained highly sceptical but agreed to give this a try.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

[Politics and social media]
The Prime Minister has spoken. The next General Elections, which will be due by 2012, would be one that will involve new media, he told The New Paper today.

And while doing research for my Digital Media project, I found some statistics from Jeremiah Owyang who blogs at www.web-strategist.com about the elections in the US.

Internet Usage in United States
United States Population: 303,824,646
Internet Usage: 220,141,969
Penetration rate: 72.5%
Growth from 2000-2008: 130.9%
Stats from Internet WorldStats (Census, Nielson)

Obama: 2,379,102 supporters
McCain: 620,359 supporters
Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain

Obama: Friends: 833,161
McCain: Friends: 217,811
Obama has 380% more supporters than McCain

Obama: 1792 videos uploaded since Nov 2006, Subscribers: 114,559 (uploads about 4 a day), Channel Views: 18,413,110
McCain: 329 videos uploaded since Feb 2007 (uploads about 2 a day), Subscribers: 28,419, Channel Views: 2,032,993
Obama has 403% more subscribers than McCain
Obama has 905% more viewers than McCain

Obama: @barackobama has 112,474 followers
McCain: @JohnMcCain 4,603 followers*
Obama has 240 times more followers in Twitter than McCain

Obama won the Presidential elections.

It suddenly dawned on me that I have been focusing too much looking at PAP politicians on Facebook and that I have not checked out how politicians from the opposition are doing. But since I am a social science student, I believe in balance.

Blogger Daryl Kang who blogs at blog.dk.sg checked out Facebook and found Low Thia Khiang and Sylvia Lim's pages. Their pages are repositories of speeches, videos and there are comments on the Wall and Discussion Board as well.

Daryl says: "Its (sic) good to see the opposition parties embracing the new media. As we all know, they don’t get a lot of coverage on the mainstream media. So I guess the new media is the way to go. And after looking at how Obama used the new media during the US presidential election, I can’t wait to see something similar happening in Singapore."

Indeed, he is right. New media will have a part to play in the next elections. And PM will be speaking about that tonight on Channel NewsAsia.

[Seng Han Thong incident]
I watched Slumdog Millionaire today. But before the movie, here's the million dollar question with regard to Seng Han Thong. It sort of follows the strain from the new media conference that I attended on Saturday.

Why was there a lack of response towards the remarks made against Yio Chu Kang MP Seng Han Thong?
A. The people closest to him are grassroots leaders who knew him but were not net savvy enough to reply
B. People who had nice things to say could not rebut the negative remarks as they did not know where the comments were
C. Those who wanted to reply could not rebut because they were prevented from rebutting
D. Those who left comments were telling the truth

I do not know the answer to that. And the question needs an answer so that we'll all know what went wrong and where it went wrong.

And I must say Slumdog Millionaire deserves to win so many Oscars!

I am impressed about how the duration of one game show could bring back so many memories. It is also important to note that incidents in life leave deep impressions on people.

One aspect that I really loved was the angles and the scenes that were used in the story. The aerial shots were awesome.

Come Wednesday, I'll catch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That should be another great movie to catch.

Monday, February 23, 2009

[Thoughts from a new media conference]
The term "freedom comes with responsibility" is an important one for netizens according to Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

At a new media conference, he had shared his thoughts about new media and I think our leaders are getting it.

The usual view he espoused regarding race and religion is a serious one. He cited why the Government decided to charge bloggers who made inflammatory remarks about religious remarks. The reason? To send a strong message that one should not use religion to spur hatred and sow discord. That in itself was the punishment which was meted out to the offending bloggers.

He asked those present to bear in mind Singapore's history and not risk committing or adding to violence in the name of religion on the Internet.

Dr Vivian further added saying that Singapore is made up of people of peace.

Moving further on my ideology that media is a double-edged sword, Central CDC Mayor Zainudin Nordin said metaphorically that we should "blunt the edges that hurt and shape the good points."

Just like everything else, there are two sides - the good and the bad. The Internet presents real power to allow everybody to express ideas, at a speed and reach like never before. Everyone now has his own printing press - one can print messages instantly and globally and ship in to anywhere in the world.

This was the main gist of his opening message.

On the thought of accountability to what one posts on the Internet, I feel that Facebook could be a good medium to contribute to that. Under normal circumstances, comments on Facebook can be traced back to an individual. And one is able to know who made the comment as compared the internet arena in general. Of course, there are cases when Facebook accounts are set up using pseudonyms and there are also instances where people use their real name in other areas such as blogs, forums and so on.

A second thought that I had is that there is still power in the majority. Dr Vivian had said that the cohesion and peace of the community and the interests of the majority have to be protected.

Two other speakers, Dr Milagros Rivera, Head, Communications and New Media Programme at NUS and Mr Yeo Chun Cheng, Chief Information Officer from MDA gave insights on new media and how it can be applicable to the community.

Completing the session was a dialogue with both speakers and chaired by Mr Felix Soh, Head, Digital Media at SPH. He gave an interesting quote about new media.

"Celebrate and reinforce the positive".

The thoughts that were shared hover on the lines of the reward and punishment method. A good action deserves a reward while a bad move deserves punishment.

[The Curious Case of Benjamin Button]
I am not sure how my teenage sons found the movie - one of them dozed off halfway - but my wife and I enjoyed it. It made you think about ageing and the importance of going with the flow. We wondered why Benjamin Button came back to see his wife after leaving her many years, after visiting India, bathing in the Ganges etc. It must be love but then why didn't he leave her earlier? To give her time to find another husband, a father for her daughter? The most poignant moment was at the beginning when Benjamin's father abandoned him because of his hideous looks. Looks matter but looks, as we all know, are superficial. Youthfulness also matters but it is transient. As night follows day, one grows old eventually. I remember one senior citizen remarking drily to me once that there is no such thing as graceful ageing. Perhaps the only thing that matters in the end is love and friendship which can only be sustained in the flow. As is said in Ecclesiastes, there is a season for everything.

It is remarkable how good the make-up artists were. We could even see Brad Pitt in the deformed child that was born. The contrast of Brad Pitt growing younger as Cate Blanchett grew older was beautifully done but painful to watch.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

Sunday, February 22, 2009

[Revival of Nalanda University]
I had a short but productive trip to Bihar, India. The night before leaving Singapore, I hosted members of the Nalanda Mentors Group to dinner at Wu Xueguang's house where Tan Swie Hian, one of our great artists, had painted a number of scenes from the ancient Buddhist university of Nalanda.

The Nalanda Mentors Group was formed by the Indian Government to advise it on the revival of Nalanda University. The Group is headed by Prof Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner for Economics. I am a member in my individual capacity. Our meeting this time was at Bodh Gaya, the place where Buddha attained enlightenment beneath the famous bodhi tree. I was last there in 2002 for the dedication of the Mahabodhi Temple as a UNESCO world heritage site. But this time, I visited the temple at night when it was serene. There were some pilgrims warmly clad in small tents chanting and meditating throughout the cool night.

For centuries, Nalanda University was a centre of learning in Asia attracting students from China, Korea, Japan, Southeast Asia, Central Asia and West Asia. The most well-known students were the three great monks from China - Fa Xian, Xuan Zang and Yi Jing. Xuan Zang left behind an account rich in details. At its peak, Nalanda had 10,000 students who studied not only Buddhism but also philosophy, mathematics, medicine and astronomy. Xuan Zang's journey to India was of course mythologized in Xi You Ji, the Journey to the West. Nalanda was destroyed at the end of the 12th century by Turkish invaders at about the same time Oxford and Cambride were established.

The objective of reviving Nalanda as a secular university is to promote its universal spirit of learning and goodwill - man living in harmony with man, man living in harmony with nature, man living as part of nature. To achieve this objective, the Indian Govt will establish Nalanda as an international university in collaboration with other countries. It will help bring about a peaceful Asia in the 21st century.

The Bihar Government has already acquired a 500-acre site for the new university not far from the ruins. The ruins themselves are far from being fully excavated. It is a beautiful site flanked on the north side by the Rajgir Hills.

After visiting the sites of the new and old Nalanda, we drove to Patna, the capital of Bihar State - the Pataliputra of Ashoka, Chandragupta and Kautilya. The Chief Minister Nitish Kumar welcomed us warmly pledging his full support for this project. Both the Indian and Bihar State Governments have big plans to develop the Buddhist Holy Land as a major tourism destination. I believe millions will come every year bringing benefit to the local inhabitants who are still very poor. On behalf of the Buddhist community in Singapore, I thanked the Chief Minister for agreeing to allocate a 3-acre piece of land near the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya for the construction of a pilgrim house for Singaporean visitors. MP Yeo Guat Kwang and Ven Guang Sheng from Singapore Buddhist Federation who accompanied me on this trip were happy with the site.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

Friday, February 20, 2009

[Community conference on new media]
I'll be attending a conference on new media tomorrow. I'm really excited about it because I am also involved in some new media research for a project this term.

Actually, now is the crunch time and although it is term break, I am struggling to keep up with schedules and project meetings. Oh my gosh! How I hate mid-term weeks.

Seven more weeks to go before I am free. Just gotta hang in there.

[More sporting action this year]
The OCBC Cycle Singapore will be held this Sunday and it should be a fun experience. Firstly, it is because I have a new role - Start Zone Manager. I have done drinks most of the time for such huge races but come Sunday it will be my first time at the Start Zone. Come to think of it, after doing marathons for the last two years, I have never seen a flag off in real life!

Although last year, when I was at the Volunteer Control Centre managing the drinks managers, I managed to catch a glimpse of the flag off on the TV monitors.

My next marathon that I have signed up as a volunteer will be the Sundown Marathon in May. Like I said earlier, I'm moving back to where I started - sports volunteerism. I'll have a few high key projects this year and like all other projects in the past - I cannot reveal too much. Only when the time is right.

As for other stuff, a break is due. But studies still come first.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

[Romp IV]
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Sunday, February 15, 2009

[Back on the team]
After a two issue break, I am happy to announce that I will be back with The Blue and Gold. Two issues ago, the team had managed the transition from newspaper to magazine. The Blue and Gold is now packaged as a Time magazine style outfit.

I'm glad to be back on the team. Work on the next issue has begun and I am almost done with my contribution. Very soon the editing stage will kick in. And before you know it, publishing deadlines will haunt me.

[Social networking tools]
Just a moment ago, an alert on my Plurk sounded. Someone had just posted an update.

In between studying for my test on Social Stratification next week, I am simultaneously on Adium, Plurk, Twitter and Facebook. One would find me more active on Plurk lately. It's a social networking tool and there are several Singaporeans using it. I am unsure of the actual numbers but Plurk is one tool that is picking up here as compared to Twitter.

If you recall, Barack Obama had used Twitter during his campaign. in Singapore, Plurk is preferred to Twitter according to Hitwise statistics which I had access to as part of my Digital Media class.

There are so many interesting things that are evolving on the Internet. And all these tool can converge and be harnessed to one's advantage. Talk about a digital divide. It makes me wonder.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

[South Korean beef protests]
Yesterday, our Digital Media class discussed the South Korean beef protests and what got me thinking was, as usual, if this could apply to Singapore. We discussed social media in a crisis.

Well for those unaware of what happened, it was the lifting of the Korean ban on US beef which was part of the negotiations on a free trade agreement. The ban on US beef was instated in 2003 following a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease. Further adding fire to the incident was a TV programme PD Notebook which showed the dangers of US beef imports which were said to have been contaminated with mad cow disease.

From the case that was presented, it seemed that anger with the Government was a strong factor that triggered the mass protest. Protesters had made use of new media tools to spread rumours of that diapers that were made using materials from US cattle were harmful and infectious to babies. The rumours were spreading first through SMS, then to websites and blogs. These rumours were perpetuated using new media as citizens had distrust in mainstream media citing Government control.

I think there are several lessons that can be learnt here.

Firstly, it seemed that the Government had not armed itself on how to tackle untruths online. A lack of preparedness. Secondly, the Government did not have consultation exercises with the public on such issues. The public felt that the Government had made their decision and then aimed to carry it out. Thirdly, the Government had used the wrong channel to engage citizens. The furore was online but the Government chose to use mainstream media as a counter force. Fourthly, new media had an advantage over mainstream media in fostering the spread of untruths - the difference between static media (mainstream) and dynamic media (online). The Government had lost valuable time to counter what was spreading online. Lastly, citizens were not accepting of President Lee Myung-bak's public apology and labelled it as insincere.

Monday, February 09, 2009

[Art gone]
By the time you read this, the SMU Visual Art Exhibition would have ended its run. I'm really grateful to be part of the exhibition and have gone through the process as an "artist" finally.

Of course, all this would not have been possible if not for the people who have helped me to design the kites.

In the early stages, my idea was about freedom of speech. It was supposed to consist of loudhailers in mid air inviting people to make their own interpretations. The idea was then expanded when the curator brought Kai Lam onboard. At the first meeting, I was quite skeptical about the whole thing but went back and did further analysis of the proposal. Finally I relented.

The idea was expanded from freedom of speech to freedom of expression. Instead of replicating a Speakers' Corner in SMU, we tried to create a "site" for freedom of expression in kites. I am also grateful to Kenneth who was present throughout the process and for his contribution to the second part of the title. He had brought in his aeronautical engineering experience which had added value to the work.

This is just the beginning. I feel that there is so much one can learn beyond the artistic value of art. Dig deeper, explore wider because therein lies the answer. If time permits and my schedule fits, I'll submit another piece next year.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

[CNY Dinners]
I must have taken part in more than ten Chinese New Year lo-hei's so far, with three more to go before the fifteen days are over. What strikes me this year is the spiritedness of the tossing, as if everyone is determined to show resolve in overcoming the current economic crisis. The 'huat' call is particularly vigorous. All this is a good sign. Singaporeans are not going to curl up on the floor and take the punches without a fight. This is going to be one bad storm but ours is a strong and sturdy boat with watertight hatches, powerful engines and a good crew, and we have every intention of pulling through.

The Budget Debate and the Committee of Supply now going on in Parliament are lively for precisely this reason. Lots of views are being expressed often with great passion. We need ideas, lots of good ideas. I don't think any government in the world today knows exactly what should be done because of the depth and extent of the financial implosion. We'll have to improvise as we go along, mindful of needs and adjusting to events. Above all, we need a spirit of solidarity which is happily evident at Chinese New Year dinners.

Do read my posts on Beyond SG and link up on Facebook if you have an account

[Engaging creatively online]
If I had to choose one exciting issue in Parliament today, it must have been Zaqy Mohamad's question with regard to e-engagement by the Government. He also noted the displeasure of many groups with regard to the main engagement platforms that the Government will engage in.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad said he hoped that the Government would not give up the opportunity to be able to connect to engage directly with mainstream public just because of its cautiousness to engage its critics online one-to-one. He further spoke about the development of technology that allows this.

What I will share now is a creative way of engagement. It has been something that I have been reluctant to share but I feel now is a right time to do so.

Last year, I was asked to pen a column for The Straits Times YouthINK page about e-engagement. I then looked to Facebook for inspiration and decided to ask a P65 MP on Facebook if it would be alright for me to chat with him on Facebook. He agreed. Subsequently, I have managed to chat with him online on several occasions.

To me, the Internet has brought politics closer to the people. The gap has been bridged. As what AIMS Chairman Mr Cheong Yip Seng said, the web is a level-playing field for all political parties - a democracy if you may call it. The next step is how political parties would harness this to their advantage. In future, the Internet will be an emerging platform for policymaking because the Internet will allow policymaking to have more transparency. This will allow everyone to see what has been brought up and discussed. However, I am not only advocating for online engagement. This way of engaging has to be balanced with face-to-face meetings as well.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

[Self-regulation fail?]
On my way home last night I was watching the news and In Parliament. During Prime Minister's dialogue last year, PM had asked young Singaporeans to watch that programme.

Budget debate aside, I felt that something stuck out like a sore thumb.

But before we go there, Rear-Admiral Lui Tuck Yew had sent a signal to Singaporeans that blogs or the Internet for that matter are being monitored by the Government. Though the Government does not respond to whatever they read, I think what they do is they aggregate a "hot" issue and then give their take on that in public or mainstream media. I am not against that. Neither am I arguing that since they monitor, they should respond. Since they have already designated proper channels for feedback through REACH, so be it.

The one thing that I felt stuck out like a sore thumb is the use of one incident to justify or purport that the self-regulation of the Internet "is not an effective self-regulated regime as some may have touted it to be".

Rear-Admiral Lui was referring to comments which were made in response to the attack on fellow MP Seng Han Thong. Well, I do not know Mr Seng personally so I am in no position to judge what was said. But clearly, I strongly feel that we should not just look at one particular incident.

If I may counter his words, I had seen many encouraging statements and comments on Facebook which wished Mr Seng well. There was also a Facebook group started to rally support and wish him well. Clearly, we cannot afford to make such fallacious judgments based on one incident.

It's as though I'm saying that Rear-Admiral Lui doesn't bother to listen to young Singaporeans because he did not respond to an email which I sent him. You get the picture? As for that email which I sent, I am still quite unsure why he did not reply. I'm puzzled.

[What bloggers really hate]
The one thing that most bloggers hate to get in their mailboxes is PR talk. This is one of the many things that I've learnt from the book The Art and Science of Blogger Relations. Any corporate communications officer or manager should read this book by Brian Solis before trying to spam bloggers to get event or product coverage.

I have not encountered so much of that yet but if you are the Editor-in-Chief of a publication, you get that. I used to get a lot of that before during my tenure as Editor-in-Chief of SMU's campus paper. But Chris Anderson had it way bad. He wrote in a post that he receives 300 emails day of story pitches.

So here's what he wrote: "Fact: I am an actual person, not a team assigned to read press releases and distribute them to the right editors and writers...So fair warning: I only want two kinds of email: those from people I know, and those from people who have taken the time to find out what I'm interested in and composed a note meant to appeal to that (I love those emails; indeed, that's why my email address is public)."

He goes on to "out" those people who have violated his rules by posting their email addresses on his blog. And the next thing you know, those people whose email addresses he has posted get spammed back likely due to the bots that pick out email accounts.

So much for a taste of your own medicine.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

[One way to solve the low take up rate for ComCare]
I was reading the newspapers on the funds available for ComCare that are widely available and a particular incident came to my mind.

Last year, when the economy started to dive deep, I witnessed a woman in perhaps her mid-50s pushing a cart around my neigbourhood selling dried foodstuff. At first she seemed to be an honest seller of foodstuff urging me to buy a packet to try. Then as I probed further, it seemed that she's the sole breadwinner of the family. Moreover, she told me that she had many children to support.

Then came the all important thought. I was wondering, since she had hardship coping with family expenses and all, I wondered why she didn't seek help.

So I asked: "Auntie, do you know about the various schemes available for low or no income families?" I think she showed some knowledge.

I probed further: "Then have you tried approaching them at Meet-the-People's Session (MPS)? They can help you know."

Then she muttered something about not wanting them to help. That puzzled me further.

MPs have were quick to point out in that families should seek help if they need help. But in this case that I have cited, there's something that's stopping them. So to take this argument a step further, it would be good for friends and neighbours to spot signs of trouble.

If you think or have obvious reasons to confirm that your neighbour or someone in your block has a case of hardship, why not encourage them and tell them that help is at hand. If it was me, I would ask them to go for MPS. Or I may even take them there personally if need be.

in times of hardship, we've got to keep our eyes and ears open and spot such signs. I know some grassroots leaders are doing this. We can pitch in too.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

[Long day]
It was a long day today - classes, meetings, rehearsals and a nice dinner - and I really want to blog about something that I want to get off my chest but time does not permit that. It's almost midnight and I have to do some readings for two classes tomorrow. That will mean I have to have another late night.

It's not easy Ephraim. Not easy.

Monday, February 02, 2009

[City Alive!]
I was supposed to help out for the post-Chingay party last year but was pulled out at the last minute. You know it's the feeling of wanting to do something but not being able to. I was disappointed but I could do nothing about it.

So I was really looking forward to this year's edition.

This year, the DJs had a grand entrance on a Hippo bus. I tried to convince a committee two year's back with something similar but to no avail. I guess such grandeur sticks only with major events like Chingay. Someone's got to change that mindset.

You know why? Because good ideas never fail to get implemented. And if you do not implement a good idea others will do it and may even improve it to make it an even better idea.

Perhaps it was the disappointment of not being part of the party last year that made me get to visit many areas this year. I tell you, it was one great party - especially if you are a VIP. When you are a VIP, this is what you see - lots of cool party people dancing to the beat. This is where VIPs get to mingle and people watch.

In between my crowd control duties, I was also allowed to get on the Hippo buses. But that's not all.

I also managed to get onto the DJ bus. And here's DJ KoFlow. I missed the other two hot female DJs as I was tied up with other security duties earlier.

But nonetheless, I still managed to get up close with some hot people. This is a policewoman on stilts having fun with the crowd.

There's also the bunny girl. The girls who were at my sector were so excited to take photos so I joined in too.

But not everything was fun and games. There were complaints too. Some people told us time and time again that there was a lack of toilets at our sector. True enough because the nearest toilets were at the other end near sector B. It's a long walk from my side.

And I have some feedback regarding the flow and movement of people. I feel that the flow could have been managed better. If only someone was listening.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

[The World Wide Rave phenomenon]
Many people round the world have been involved from Antarctica to Russia and even South Africa. Well Singapore has been represented before with the World Wide Rave making an appearance at the Singapore Tattoo Show and Singapore will be a huge blip on the World Wide Rave radar for the coming week.

Here's my version of the World Wide Rave to publicise the launch of World Wide Rave, a marketing and PR book by David Meerman Scott from Singapore Management University's campus green.

The World Wide Rave, something that is approaching from afar. You can't really tell what it is.

Then slowly, the picture gets clearer and clearer until it hits you. Others then start to make out what it is and find their own meanings in it.

After people start jumping onto the rave it gets more and more popular. And they start to look at it differently and examine its success.

That is the World Wide Rave to me.

Visit the World Wide Rave site here

[What I have been up to]
I woke up slightly before noon today after many drinks at the post-Chingay party City Alive! last night. Though I was there to do crowd control, there was also a slight element of partying involved.

Over the week, I managed to sneak some time to visit the National Museum's latest exhibition, Come-in, which borders around interior design and art. One piece that I feel has socio-political art elements is the security turnstile. Since it was a brief visit, I'll go again when I can sneak some time.

Theatre class is fun. It is fun because we get to direct our own play which will be presented in class next week. My group is doing our version of a local play. It is about relationships and society although I must say many plays are about relationships and society. In fact maybe all.

I'm also involved in the World Wide Rave project as part of my Digital Media in Asia module. Put simply, it is worldwide publicity generated by ordinary individuals such as bloggers. And what bloggers like me are doing is that we create our own user-generated content to publicise the launch of World Wide Rave, a marketing and PR book by David Meerman Scott.

And finally, next week will be the last week that you can catch the SMU Visual Art Exhibition. My collaborative installation work with Kai Lam called "Sticks and strings and plastic bags too. Is it wind or air?" will be on display till February 7.

[Chinese New Year]
I've lost count the number of times I've tossed yu sheng this Chinese New Year. It's nice to see the way 'lo hei' has become part of our custom here. I'm told the margins are also good for the restaurants.

There is a certain tentativeness in this year's Chinese New Year mood. Everyone knows that the economy is turning downwards and things will get worse. The recent Government Budget sent a strong signal, both of the gravity of the situation and government's determination to help Singaporeans. What cheers me is the general sense of solidarity and the willingness of better off Singaporeans to help those poorer off. In many countries, the politics turn sour when the economy runs into trouble. Recrimination, blaming others become commonplace. Internationally, governments will find it hard to resist protectionist pressure. The US House of Congress recently passed a bill requiring government procurement to Buy American first. This is against WTO rules and will lead to retaliatory moves by other countries.

Sunday is the 7th day of the New Year, everyone's birthday by tradition. This morning, all the MPs of Aljunied GRC, grassroots leaders and residents turned up at Bedok Reservoir to release 1388 gurami fish. There was a fine wushu performance on the floating platform which lifted spirits. This is the third year we released fish into the reservoir. It has become a little tradition that we all look forward to.

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