Monday, March 2, 2015

If Only Life Can Be Like Fallout

I've been playing Fallout:New Vegas for quite some time now, and as I go around the Mojave hunting down bad guys and saving the day, I can't help but to wish life could be like Fallout sometimes. Now don't get me wrong, it's not the nuclear war that I'm hoping for, but rather the ability to right your mistakes and work towards the best ending that you want, through the time traveling superpower that you wield through saving and loading.

You see, in the Fallout universe, no matter how difficult your enemies are, or how bad you are at the game, you could always right a sucky situation by saving diligently and loading your previous saves when things get too difficult. Or when you make a stupid mistake. Accidentally walked into a mine and blew your legs off? Chose the wrong faction to side on and got everyone killed? Picked up the wrong guns or entered a wrong area? Entered a fight without adequate preparation? Just choose from a save file that you saved earlier and voila, you can redo everything again while avoiding the your earlier mistakes, like forgetting to stock up on ammo.

Unfortunately, the real life is nothing near like Fallout. If there is one most painful lesson that life teaches me, it's our inability to go back in time and right our mistakes. In real life, there's no save file to load, and the only way we can go is forward. No matter what actions that you make today, it will set you on a path that would forever change your life, a path that you would have to live on with the rest of your life. 

Like it or not, no matter what decision you make, you are solely responsible for it, and even if you hate the decision you made a lot, or come to regret it in the future, there is no option to reload a save file and hope to do things differently. Mistakes, regrets and what ifs, there's only one way to deal with them, and it is to accept them and move on, and make the best out of the situation that you caught yourself in. And hopefully entrench the lesson in your mind so you will never repeat it again in the future.

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, mistakes that I hope I could undo by reloading a save file so I could do things differently, like studying harder during my university days, or taking up an internship, but I suppose this is the way God wants us to grow. To live with all our choices, and to learn through them. If everyone could load their save file, the world would be a real chaotic place with overly happy people, don't you think? Oh well, I guess happy endings could only happen in games like Fallout.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

It's Always A Post Complaining About How Little I Write

I realized that the busier I get in real life, the less time I can devote to blogging. Or writing, in any matter. Which is sad though, considering that my new job is starting tomorrow, as an editor nonetheless, who is required to write a lot, and the last thing that I've been doing over the past few days is write. I have been finding a lot of excuses for myself too. That I need to meet my friends, that I need to play some games to destress, that I am doing so much in my life right now that it's okay for me to not write.

And even with all the reasons that I am giving myself, at the end of the day, as I sit in front of my computer, looking at the clock that is slowly ticking towards midnight, I can't help but to feel guilt. Because I know I have been deliberately abandoning this love of mine for a bunch of excuses. Because I know if I wanted to truly commit, I would find the time too. And in the end all the guilt leads to more stress.

No wonder the girlfriend has been complaining that my muscles are all tensed up lately. Because I can't get this writing thing out of my mind. Which is why I am here, trying to bluff my way through with some random words. 

Discipline. Somehow no matter how much I tell myself to at least have some of it, I can never find enough to commit myself to sit down and write. Maybe it's a genetic thing?

Anyways, for the sake of talking about something else other than my complaints in this post, a few of us came through a picture of a famous male blogger / celebrity / influencer / personality in Singapore today, a guy named Yutakis, and was quite amazed at his amount of followers, as we're randomly scrolling through Instagram.

Well, I guess we all love a pretty face, be it girl or guy, and tbh, I must say he puts a lot of effort into looking good and fashionable. Unlike a certain blogger who calls himself handsome in his blog but dresses like a 15 year old boy. A lazy, nerdy boy, in fact.

But credit card salesman never approaches me when I'm walking around with my ah boy backpack, so I guess I got that going for me.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Twenty Random Thoughts #270215: I AM BACK. To Stupidity

1. I AM BACK. TO BLOG. AFTER A LONG PERIOD OF ABSENCE. TO GOD KNOWS WHERE. OR FOR GOD KNOWS WHY. BUT NO MATTER, BECAUSE I AM FINALLY BACK TO MY BELOVED BLOG. I MISS WRITING

2. Wait, did anyone notice that I was gone in the first place? Think I will go take a look at the comments, maybe someone asked about the lack of updates

3. Hurray, two comments! Maybe someone did notice after all!

4. Oh, another comment from another World Ventures supporter Something about me being too quick too judge a legitimate company, where people are profiting from it.

5. The reasoning goes that if this is a shady company, surely all of the people in it will be losing money right? And every form of business requires investment right?

6. Dimwits, the only reason why the top people are earning so much is because they're sucking the money off you, and investment is where you give money and people work for you, not you give money to others and then work for yourself

7. Honest, the sheer stupidity of some people baffles me sometimes, but I guess even after so many million years of evolution, our brain has not yet reach the stage where it can think critically for itself

8. The human brain: Where preserving your own ego is more important than thinking critically #priorities

9. Lukey's top three idiot list for Earth: 1. Americans (Particularly those who thinks that Obama is some evil dude trying to take over the world, and gun advocates), 2. Religious fanatics and 3. MLM apologists

10. I guess there are still other groups of idiots out there. Which are limitless, sadly, even with so much advancement in education. Those who fight vaccination, for example. Not forgetting conspiracy theorists who believe the earth is round and global warming is not happening

11. And the best of all, these people use the internet to argue their points, and sometimes you just feel like tearing your hair listening to how they argue, and sometimes their points are so ridiculous you just don't feel like talking to them

12. I should probably blog about the top ten idiot list I have. And create a shitstorm in it's wake

13. Cognitive dissonance is a funny thing though, and I think it's probably important to drill this lesson into students since young That what you are taught may not be always correct, and the most important thing is to be able to think for yourself, and be ready to admit that you're wrong in the process

14. Speaking of being back, I will continue the story of 'At the End of Everything', no worries. Realized that I have abandoned it for quite some time. Will update once at least by this Sunday

15. Where have I been? Mostly boyfriend duties, gaming duties, plain lazing around and plain not having the time. Probably saving the world too. Quite sad though, seeing how my motivation can bleed so easily away

16. But now that my life is falling back into a routine, I suppose I will find the time again to blog consistently. Fingers crossed

17. The budget has been announce in Singapore, and with so much controversy already surrounding the CPF, the government still dared to raise the income ceiling. I don't know about you, but I do find the official statement that the ceiling raise would help, without a thorough explanation of how it would help honestly confusing. Perhaps it's because everyone knows how already by heart, and I have trouble grasping it because I am a new CPF member paying the fees. These dodgy questions answering will cost the ruling government dearly, despite any noble intentions that they might have

18. Still 20% is quite painful. It's like every time you're finding a job, you must automatically deduct 20% from it to get your official pay. Sad, I know

19. Anyways, I know I should not be complaining so much already. And I guess it's time to sleep

20. Goodnight


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Things that are different this Chinese New Year



Chinese New Year has always been a huge celebration in my life. Well duh, considering the fact that my entire family is Chinese, hailing from a small traditional village. However, as I looked through the numerous photos and posts shared by my friends on the social media, coupled with the five years that I have spent abroad, I can't help but to reflect how the Chinese New Year celebration have grown and changed around the years.

Like how I've grown from a cute young boy to a dashing young man over the years. And here's a few other ways how Chinese New Year (CNY) have changed for me, and I wonder if it's the same for you too?



1. Angbaos Are No Longer a Concern

Angbaos used to be quite an integral part to CNY for me. It's one of the things that I really look forward to, ever since my parents allowed me to keep my own angbaos. Those red packets are something that I do look forward to receiving. You can't blame the younger me though, after all when we are small kids without much money to spare, angbaos are the thing that allows us to buy that toy that we have always wanted.

I still remember how I would try to arrange my CNY in such a way that allows me to collect the most angbaos from the most amount of people, pestering my mum to go as many houses as possible to 'bai nian', eager to receive as many red packets as possible, to get what's contained inside. It's something like a business venture, where I aim to maximize my profits. When I eventually learned how to ride a motorcycle, I visited as many houses as I can, with the sole purpose of collecting more angbaos. The more angbaos I could collect, the happier I was.

However, my drive to collect angbaos seemed to have dropped over the years, perhaps it might be me starting work or perhaps I'm just tired of the never ending need to collect angbaos, but now I'm just happy to receive any amount of angbaos without really caring about how much I got. It's much easier this way, I found, in that I no longer cared whether how much someone gave me, and I'm just happy to receive something at the end of the day. It makes CNY much more enjoyable I guess, where it's not about how much money you can get from the red packets, but rather appreciating each and everyone that is given to you.


2. I Can Sit Longer Now

Not sure if this is normal, but when I was growing up, there was a prolonged period of time where spending time seated in a room full of relatives seemed like a torture. Everyone's talking about something that you don't understand or have no interest in, and you're stuck there feeling incredibly awkward, waiting for time to pass. You don't know who to call or what name to use, and all you could think of is going home. 

I used to hate situations like that too, constantly finding excuses to go out with friends to escape the long gossip sessions that I was not part of, but just have to sit there because everyone was doing so. 

Things have changed though. This year I found myself being able to sit through the entire thing without the urge to want to leave early, and just join in the conversation. For families that don't get to see each other often, mostly only once a year, it's an important moment to let everyone catch up to what everyone has been doing, and just to bond. I guess I never really appreciate what these sessions really meant, until now. 

Maybe because I have a smartphone now. Or maybe I'm slowly becoming old.


3. I Have Gotten Lazier

Once upon a time ago, CNY days are packed full with activities, where I will leave the house 9am in the morning and return 11pm in the night. Or maybe even later, like way past curfew timing. Nowadays even going out to get lunch/dinner seem to big a chore, and I prefer the comfort of my home than traveling around. 


4. It's much less fun now

I remember how I would look forward to CNY because it will usually be loads of fun. I mean there's so much to do during the whole celebration period. When I was younger I would play with my cousins, running around the house and making a lot of noise. There will be fireworks and games, cards and what not. And when I grew older, there was the late night outings with friends, from cycling around the village to cards session to heart to heart talk sessions. I had a lot of fun back then.

But CNY now seems to be much duller. There's no more excitement as compared to last time, there's no playing with cousins now or having fun with friends. Nowadays it's more of catching up for old time's sake or drinking alcohol if you're up to it. You don't enjoy yourself as much now



5. Everyone's taking pictures

I don't know about you, but everyone's taking pictures with their smartphones nowadays. Like a lot Even my mum does it. Not sure if this is a good thing or not, but instead of just sitting down and talking, everyone is like wanting to take a picture to upload to social media. 

I guess this is part of how our culture has changed over the years, where taking picture has become a big thing in all gatherings. Perhaps it's for the sake of keeping memories, but who knows right.

Like I said, not sure if it's good or bad, I guess we need to see how history turns out.



So yep. That's how my Chinese New Year has changed for me over the years. Maybe it's all part of growing up. Who knows? And perhaps in a few years time, I'll be the one giving away angbaos as well. 

How about you? How has your Chinese New Year changed? Or has it stayed the same throughout the years?


Friday, February 20, 2015

Lucky Star 2015 (吉星高照 2015), Promising Movie That Leads Nowhere

I had high hopes for this movie when my friends first asked me to watch it. It's hard not to have any high hopes for this movie after all, when the movie had so many selling points in it. There are numerous big names in the movie, namely Eric Tsang, Wong Cho Lam and Ella from SHE, and the movie revolves around one of my all time favorite actor when I was young, Stephen Chow.

However, instead of making full use of all the potential it had, the movie squanders everything up and instead deliver a viewing experience that is incredibly boring, pale, tasteless and confusing. It was such a horrible experience that even the all star cast could not salvage one bit of the movie. The entire movie feels disjointed, as if someone decided to throw in a script into a blender and mixed everything together.

It's very disappointing though, given how the movie raised our hopes so high at the start of it. It tells of the story of a loyal Stephen Chow fan, who is on a search to find him in order to fulfill his mother's wishes. There was also this opening line where a mysterious person attempts to add suspense to the plot by speculating about the whereabouts of Stephen Chow lately. The movie is peppered with homage to Stephen Chow's earlier works, with numerous parody scenes lifted from movies such as Shaolin Soccer, 007 and Kungfu Hustle. With such a strong emphasis on Stephen Chow, naturally you would expect him to at least make a cameo appearance in the movie.

So I sat there, with my hopes held high, enduring all the humourless jokes that were thrown frequently in the movie, expecting to see him appear at least for a while in the movie. It was the only thing that I looked forward to halfway through the movie, because the rest of the movie feel badly apart halfway through it. And to my horror, the movie ended rather abruptly with a half-hearted explanation and epilogue, that seems to be mocking me rather than a satisfying end.

Even without the Stephen Chow element in it, the side story of love between a struggling director and a famous actress could not keep the movie afloat. The story is weak, as well as the technique they used to tell the story.

In a nutshell, out of all the Chinese New Year Hong Kong shows that I have watched before, it is by far the worst out of them all. At the end of the movie, I felt as if I got cheated out of my money to watch something that is clearly out to profit rather than to entertain. It was sad though, because I really wanted to see Stephen Chow, and I hated how they wasted all the talents in the movie on a weak storyline. Definitely not worth watching. A 1/10 rating. 


Monday, February 16, 2015

You Can Now Have Contact Lens for Presbyopia! (aka Lao Hua Yan / 老花眼)

I don't know about you, but whenever contact lenses are mentioned, the idea that I have in my mind is that they are always reserved for the younger people. You know, those who are involved in sports, who likes to jump around, who wants to look better to attract the opposite sex, and who just hate the idea of wearing glasses because it's just troublesome and does not look good.

I don't often associate the use of contact lenses with the older generation, for various reasons. When you think of your grandfather/grandmother with vision problems, you would normally picture them with reading glasses instead of them putting on contact lenses. Which is why you will find very few contact lenses made specifically for Presbyopia, or 老花眼, a condition that typically plague those who are of an older generation. 

Presbyopia is the opposite of being short sighted, where you have trouble looking at items that are close to you. According to this website, Presbyopia is a condition that would eventually affect almost all of us once we reach a certain age, whether we like it or not, due to our body aging. Thankfully the problem can be easily corrected, and there is not much adverse side effect linked to the condition. You can read the website to find out more about the condition or if you enjoy watching videos, CooperVision has made a pretty nifty video explaining the condition.




Times are changing, of course, and some who are having Presbyopia may find that reading glasses may no longer be the best solution out there, but would rather depend on contact lenses as well. Especially those who are living an active lifestyle or would prefer more freedom for their eyes.

Well, good news! CooperVision has recently launched this brand of contact lenses  made specifically for those who have Presbyopia and dislike the idea of wearing glasses. Called the Proclear 1 Day Multifocal lenses, they are daily disposable lenses designed for the purpose of clear vision and comfort. 

There's no hassle of having to constantly wash your lenses or keeping them in one specific place, as you can wear them where and when as you please, in addition of enjoying the freedom that comes with wearing contact lenses. Better still, they are designed to keep your eyes hydrated and prevent them from being dry, with an approval by the US FDA itself for 'providing improved comfort' to wearers.




With Chinese New Year around the corner, CooperVision is offering a 5 day trial lenses to those who are interested to see how the lenses work. And to see if it's suitable. For only 15 dollars, you can head to one of the eight optical shops around Singapore for a free consultation with an eye care professional, where you will be given a five day trial lenses to go with you after the consultation. The 15 dollars that you paid can be used to offset a purchase of a minimum of two boxes of Proclear 1 Day Multifocal worth 150 dollars after that.

Best of all, you get to enjoy a professional eye consultation totally free! Now I don't know about the other outlets, but the outlet that I went to, Optom.sg at the West, offered me a consultation session that is completely different that the ones that I usually get at optical shops. It felt more like a medical check up, with comprehensive testing done to check the state of your eyes. The whole session took about an hour (the longest that I have sat for an eye test), where numerous tests were conducted to check the condition of my eyes. 

The optometrist, or doctor (I am tempted to call him doctor for all the tests that he has done), not only did the standard degree testing for my eyes, he also went as far to check if there is anything wrong with my eyes, and correctly deduced that I have been straining my eyes too often looking at the computer. Quite an informative session if you are concerned about your eyes.

The promotion ends on the 8th of April though, so be sure to get it while it's still hot. You can get more details from http://coopervision.com.sg/trial-lenses. It can be the perfect gift for your parents or loved ones this Chinese New Year as well.




As for me, I have to give my eyes a break now since the optometrist advised me so, and being blind due to blogging is not quite a glamorous way to go #firstworldbloggerproblems

Bye.

[GD: Fallout New Vegas #3] Sierra Madre, Dead Money



So I finally got myself to start the second DLC to Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Money, after having completed Old World Blues first. Still wondering whether it was a good decision though, because I discovered to my horror that the DLC is literally a horror based add-on. It's like they took a few popular elements from existing horror movies and mashed them all into one game.

There's the ghost people that you cannot kill except by dismemberment or disintegration, which jumps on you every chance that they get. There's the bomb collar on your neck that a psycho put on you to get you to listen to his instructions, like you are some sort of puppet. There's the toxic cloud that hangs ominously around the place, constantly sapping your health away as you explore the area. And there's the abandoned villa and casino, filled with corpses of previous not-so-lucky dwellers. You can say practically everything in this DLC is made to keep your hair on the edge.




I must say out of all the Fallout DLCs that I have played so far, including the ones in Fallout 3, this is by far the most challenging. Of course I have myself to blame for trying the game on hardcore mode, but the constant sneaking to avoid the ghost people and the toxic cloud, and the sudden beeping my player's bomb collar, makes the game almost stressful to play. 

The lack of available facilities as well, where you can only depend on scrounging, poker chip operated vending machines and occasionally crafting tables to keep yourself well armed, is also a constant concern during gameplay. I have lost count of the numerous times I was on the verge of panic as I saw my bullet count reach the single digit, once with two ghost people come after me, and also the times where my hunger, fatigue and thirst dropped to critical levels. My inability to sleep (a vital thing in Fallout) is also a constant source of concern.




However I still find the entire DLC fun in its own way, as I think this may be the most accurate representation of a post-apocalyptic world gone wrong. It's definitely challenging, and the thrill factor keeps you glued to the entire story. I've just finished the first quarter of the story I think, and can't wait to see what the abandoned casino still has to offer. 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Life in the Cloud: An Infographic About Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has been quite a big word nowadays, since the move away from storing information only on a stored computer to storing them on a networked system. However, the entire terminology of it and the mechanisms behind it may still confuse some, so the guys at SingleHop has created a cool infographic on the various ways how cloud computing can be utilized. Check it out below:




Cloud computing certainly can ease a lot of daily tasks since you can access your files almost anywhere without having to carry a portable storage with you, but of course there is also the risk of information leakage. Pros and cons, I guess. 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

At the End of Everything #33


*****

I remember feeling awkward all over, as we sat on the clumsy bed, our back against the wall. I was never good in an alien environment, more so in such a setting. But it still felt somewhat good though, with her head on my shoulder. It felt more natural this way, more relaxed.

“So what you want to know?” she asked me, her index finger scratching playfully on my thigh. 

I thought about her question for a while, and about all the things that I heard about the sex trade before. All the stories about exploitation, human trafficking and what not. I wondered if it was the same with her. So I asked her about her story. About how she ended up in Singapore. In my mind I pictured a sob story, influenced by what I used to hear.
However, life is not often as dramatic as what you would get from the big screen or the internet. She raised her eyebrows at me,before letting out a laugh. “You’re the not first one who asked me the question, you know,” she said matter of factly. 

She let go of my hand, stood up and walked towards a drawer that was located at the corner of the room. I watched as she opened the top shelf, and pulled out a box of cigarette. Her fingers removed a stick of  cigarette from the box, and pointed it at me. “You want one?”

I quickly shook my head, and she casually shrugged in response. She took out a lighter from the same shelf, and lit up her cigarette. Looking at the way she walked and handled the cigarette, it felt like I was watching a Hollywood movie. She was the female protagonist, cool and calm, someone who has been through a lot in life before. While I’m the small boy with no experience.

She took a deep breath of the smoke in, before puffing it out. Her eyes never left the ceiling during the process, after which she looked back at me. Her eyes had this hint of sadness in them, but yet at the same time they were cold, as if she had came to accept the hard part of life. “So my story eh?” she grinned as she said that. I guessed it was not the first time that she was telling it.

I nodded, and pulled myself to the edge of the bed. She took another puff of the cigarette, gave a sigh, and began her story.

“I come from China, as you would have guessed, based on my accent,” she said. She grew up in a small village in the northern part, where her family had been generations of farmers. Her prospects were dim as a girl, as she never attended school before, and her parents were eager to marry her off. After all, among five siblings and being the only girl, she was pretty much seen like a liability. 

Despite her lack of school, she knew how to think forward though. She knew that life was not going to change much for her if she stayed. She would end up marrying a random guy, bear him a ton of children, and endured a life of mediocrity as her mum did. As her grandmother did. It was not how she wanted her life to be.

She was not the only one who wanted to leave her village, as her neighbours and friends were already doing that. It was a common trend though, as life outside the village always looked and sounded sweeter. So she asked and probed around, searching for a ticket to a better life. Her escape came in the form of a distant cousin. She was working on a tiny island called Singapore, according to relatives, and was earning big bucks from her work. Dressed in expensive clothing and a Prada bag to match, her cousin was the source of envy among her relatives during family gatherings, herself included.

Naturally she asked her cousin for tips, and if it was possible for her to follow her cousin back. To her surprise, her cousin was not only open with sharing about her experiences, but was willing to introduce her to the work as well. Their first talk together was something that she would forever remember. 

“If you are willing to change a bit of your mindset, you can earn quite a lot of money and be independent you know,” was the first line that her cousin said to her. Of course back then she understood none of it, and only coming to Singapore did she realized the meaning behind those words.

Her cousin told her numerous stories about the city with its towering skyscrapers and bustling population. About the glamorous lifestyle, the huge shopping malls and the high class transportation system. It was an efficient bait, as she grew more and more attracted to her cousin’s stories. Her cousin showed her pictures of parties with white guys, of the beautifully furnished room that she claimed to live in, as well as a car that she was driving. It all seemed too good to be true.

By the time she actually asked about her cousin’s job, the bait had already worked its magic.

She was of course appalled and shocked, when she found out that her cousin was involved in the sex trade. Traditional values and beliefs were still strong in her hometown, so selling your body was unsurprisingly a job choice that not many would consider. Still, she was attracted to the life that her cousin was living, and she was a girl who knew how to weigh her options. Without the educational qualifications and not wanting to be trapped by marriage, selling her body was the easiest and fastest choice. She said yes to her cousin. 

What happened next was a flurry of events. Her cousin put her in touch with an agent, and in turn the agent helped her to arrange for everything. Her passport, her flight ticket, and even her arrangements in Singapore. She only had to send in her details to the agent, and agreed to have a few photos taken of her. It all took only a few months, and before she knew it, she was telling her parents that she was heading to Singapore to work with her cousin. It was lie though, because it was her so called agent that sent her to the airport.

It was her first time being in the airport, and the first time she was taking a plane. Never in her life had she travelled so far from her home before, what more to an entirely different country. But still she held on, despite all her anxiety. It was a new opportunity knocking at her door, and she looked forward to it.

Despite her knowing the nature of her job, the first few days seemed more like a vacation than work. Like a tourist, she was brought to different places around Singapore, with everything paid for. The woman that brought her around told her that with the money that she will be earning, the is the life that she could enjoy. As a village girl in the big city for the first time, she was mesmerized by all the different sights and sounds. Her life back in her village pales in comparison with what she was seeing. She was brought to stay at hotels, eat expensive meals and chauffeured around in a BMW. If they wanted to convince her, they really did a good job.

However, it all came to a stop one week after she landed in Singapore. The woman that brought her around told her that fun time was over, and now it was time to work. She was brought to a flat unit, which she would later learn to call HDB units. She was required to share a room with two other girls, one from Vietnam and the other from China. The room was lightly furnished, with only three mattresses on the floor, and one shared wardrobe.

“You will be staying here until you repay the agent’s fees,” the woman coldly said, far from the personality that brought her around in the first week. There was a sudden change in demeanor in the woman. But she was not surprised though.

While others may lament the fact that their ‘agents’ were leeching off them, she was already well aware of what was in store for her before accepting the flight to Singapore. Her cousin told her as much. It was a sacrifice she was willing to make. It was just like business, she told herself. You are bound to struggle during the initial phase. The trick was to focus and not give up. That was what she aimed to do.

She was fast to pick up the trade. In the first few months that she was here, she learned English on her own, and picked up some tricks to better attract her customers. She would spend on makeup and lingerie to make herself more attractive, and that in turn led to her being higher in demand.

And all out of a sudden, she began to speak in English. “You’re different, you know. From other guys that visit this place.” Her Chinese accent was gone, replaced with an English one. If I was meeting her for the first time, I would not have guessed where she came from. She crushed her cigarette on the table, and blew a breath of smoke towards me. I coughed under all that smell, and she laughed a little. 

Her hands met my face, as she rubbed softly against it. “In fact, you’re supposed to be the last customer that I will have for a long long time.” I stared at her in confusion, and could not resist asking her why.

Her eyes gave me a long hard look, before turning back to the floor. “No one in their right would want to stay forever in this job, you know? No matter how much money you make.” Her voice was softer now, gentler. “Besides, I’m starting my own business.” And she gave me the sweetest grin ever.

I stared at her in amazement, humbled by the story that I heard. There she was, struggling to make a better life for herself, while I was too busy worrying about my relationship status. I felt ashamed of myself. I tried to say something, to make the situation feel better, but all I found was a lump in my throat.

She seemed to sense the change in mood me, and put her fingers on my lips. “Shh… enough of talking now.” Her voice was soothing, like a lullaby. “Lets just enjoy the remainder of the night together, shall we?” She leaned in, her lips inches from my ears. “My name’s Elly, by the way.” And then we kissed.

*****
Next Chapter
Main Page

P/s: The official cover is out yay!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Saving Humanity in The Last Garden: Real Escape Game and Gardens by the Bay Special

Looking for something to do this Valentines Day? Something that is different, out of the ordinary, located outdoors, and can be done either with your friends or your significant other? Enjoy solving puzzles, escape themed games and walking? Or just looking for something exciting to experience? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, then The Last Garden, Singapore Escape Game's latest addition to the REG franchise, might just be the thing that you're looking for.




Since the escape themed games became a big thing a few years ago, from tabletop puzzles intensive games to dark locked rooms, I have been waiting for a game that takes place outdoor. One that needs you to utilize your environment to solve the puzzles, rather that just constrained to a small area. Much like those that you can find in computer games.

The Last Garden aims to do just that, by bringing the whole escape themed game to a whole new level. You find yourself trapped in a futuristic garden, forced to solve all the puzzles around the place to save the Garden, as well as humanity. Set in the iconic Gardens by the Bay, you have to explore the Gardens with the clues given, attempt to solve the puzzles at the various locations in the Gardens, and ultimately save humanity.




I had the privilege to be one of the first few to try out the new game, as part of the media preview event last Saturday, and I must say, the Last Garden is definitely groundbreaking. In that it may be the first escape themed game that takes place in such a large scale.

We were given an envelope at the start of the game, called the game kit, containing the different puzzles that we need to solve. Those who are familiar with REG will notice that this is similar to previous REG games, where you need to decipher the clues and solve the puzzles, but the key difference here is the scale of the puzzles themselves.

You are required to head to the various locations around Gardens by the Bay to find the solutions to your puzzles, and the journey will take you to the various outdoor gardens and also the signature domes. There's a high interaction with the environment in the game, where you need to read signboards and hunt down drawings at the different locations. It was a comprehensive exploration of the gardens, that I would say.




I played the game together with le gf Dawn, and both of us enjoyed the game immensely. One thing that I find really good about the game this time is that there was no time limit involved, and we were free to travel at our own pace and enjoy the surroundings as we go. We stopped to take a lot of pictures during the course of the game, as well as just marveling at the different sights and sounds.

It was much more relaxing this time round, and we were able to fully enjoy ourselves during the game. And even at our relaxed pace, we finished roughly at the same time with the other groups that were present, which was around one hour and a half to two hours.

The puzzles this time were also easier as compared to the previous REG games, which were known to be punishing with their less than 10% success rate. In fact all of us who attended the media preview cracked all the puzzles, though I must admit that Dawn and I got some help near the end of the game from another participant. Still, the puzzles were not too easy nor too difficult, and it's designed in a way to give you just the right amount of challenge.




In summary, I think that The Last Garden is an escape game that you should really try out together with friends or your significant other, as it offers both the fun of solving puzzles and exploring Gardens by the Bay. Best of all, your entry ticket also includes a free entrance to the Flower Dome, which will be part of the game (shh, don't say I told you).

However, I think that it would be good to keep the group small to get the most out of the game (if you're going in a group of 8 just split everyone up into groups of twos, threes or fours), because the puzzles are not too difficult and having too many people may result in some not having much to do. There's also the risk of everyone not visiting all the locations should you decide to split job. The important thing here is to enjoy, not be the first.

Personally I would give the game a rating of 9/10, and the missing one point is because my favorite Cloud Dome is not a part of the game. But still, it is an awesome game to try out, especially if you have never been to Gardens by the Bay before, or if you're looking for something to do this February. You can get your tickets at Peatix.com and be fast as the tickets are going out pretty quickly. You can also visit REG's Facebook page for more information.

And if you're looking to see how the game looks in real life, I made a sort-of trailer for the event! Embedded below :D





And I heard an island wide escape game will be coming our way in June... Shh...

Summary of the The Last Garden:
Pros: High interaction with environment, Beautiful scenery to admire along the way, No time limit, Not too difficult puzzles, Good value for money (Play the game and explore the Gardens at the same time)
Cons: May get hot/tiring for those who do not like walking/outdoor activities, A wrong mistake can lead you really far away (not good if you hate walking), Best to keep the group small


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