Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How Much Longer Do You Want To Wait?

"How much longer do you want to wait?"

The boy stared impatiently at the edge of the tall bushes, his feet making nervous taps on the ground. Amongst the prickly leaves a few steps away stood his friend, dressed in green to match his surroundings. He was chewing away at a loaf of bread, his fingers fiddling away at the dozen or so red and white balls that he brought.

After like a minute or so of silence, he responded, his back still facing his friend.

"I don't know. I guess I will keep waiting. And trying. Until something changes I guess." He went back to eating his bread.

The boy who was standing outside sighed in annoyance. If it was up to him, he would have let his friend rot among the bushes holding on to that impossible dream of his. But his conscience wouldn't let him do it. After all, he owed that much to this friend of his.

"You do know that there are other trainers here as well who are after the legendary Pokemon right? Trainers who have much more experience than you, trainers who are more well equipped? I mean, they're using ultra balls for goodness sake. And what you have there? Normal pathetic Pokeballs? You do realize how disadvantaged you are, right?"

The friend in the bush nodded.

"And you do know that you have been defeated twice right by this said Pokemon? Twice! I mean how on earth do you expect this time to be different? Did you change Pokemon or anything? Did you find a stronger team of Pokemon to help you catch this legendary god knows what that you have been waiting so long for?"

The friend shook his head this time. 

"So why on earth are you still waiting for something that you will obviously NOT GET?!"

The boy simply could not understand. To emphasize his point, he folded his arm angrily across his chest. A guy could be stubborn, but not so foolishly stubborn. He believed that the only thing that his friend would get from this attempt of his is disappointment. He had already seen how forlorn his friend looked after the first two failed attempts. And he sincerely believed that there are other Pokemons out there that would be easier to capture than this legend of his. At least he had a fighting chance with those. At least it would not be a waste of time. 

Another few moments of silence past between them. A flock of Pidgeys flew overhead, seemingly trying to give their own opinion in this matter. Finally, his friend spoke.

"I don't know," he began again, this time his voice sounded much more sombre. Serious. "But I guess that there's some feelings that you cannot describe. When I first saw this Pokemon a few weeks ago, fighting off a few wild Tauros, it sparked off something inside me. I fell in love with the way it fought. The way it moved, the grace it exuded, everything about this Pokemon connected to the core of my soul. Never before have I felt such a strange feeling when I saw a Pokemon. I envisioned how we would fight together, train together. We would conquer the Elite Four together. It's as if I have found my perfect partner Pokemon."

The boy wanted to roll his eyes so badly at his friend. Only idiots believed in such things called perfect partners. Pokemons are nothing but fighting tools, or at most pets. If you're slightly crazier, you can call them friends too. But perfect partner? Please. Still he listened on.

"I think the Pokemon must have felt the same way too, because it did give me two chances to capture it. Two chances! While all other trainers have only caught a glimpse of it. It felt that it wanted to see whether I was worthy, and two times I failed the Pokemon. Things that I should have done I did not, and things I should have not done I did. The Pokemon must have felt quite disappointed, I guess, because it stopped appearing altogether after that."

The friend seemed to have sat down at a rock nearby, though he was still hidden partially amongst the leaves.

"And I am well aware that there are others here who are better than me in every single way possible. But that doesn't mean I should throw in the towel right? Besides, the other trainers here want the Pokemon just because they want to manipulate it. Make it do their bidding. But I would want to see myself differently. I want to treat it as how I wanted to be treated as Pokemon. With love, dignity and respect."

The sun must be getting to his friend's head, the boy thought.

"I want to at least try for something I believe in. If I am going to settle for a Pokemon that I think is not my ideal partner just because there are others better than me, and just because I failed twice, that's pretty stupid right? And true, maybe the Pokemon just treats me as nobody right now, but if I am really going to fail, at least I fail knowing that I have tried my best."

"So I am going to wait as long as I need to."

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Monday, September 15, 2014

The Dota All Hero Challenge (Day 5): Slark and Meepo

Day 5. Slark, and then Meepo. The infamous AGI killers. Two paper heroes. One that requires you to time your pounce correctly to initiate, while the other requires you to micro-manage like hell. Two heroes that I dread. Two heroes that I'm afraid would take me forever to clear. But still, I took the leap. And prayed that the almighty god Valve would be kind to me.

My first game as Slark was a game made in hell. Thrown at the top lane alone against Legion Commander and Shadow Shaman, I was unable to farm at all, constantly staying behind, afraid of the shackle that may come. But still I held on, believing that as long as I don't die, Enigma, Nature's Prophet and Earthshaker at the bottom lane would chip away at their defenses. But it proved to be too much of a hope. My first mistake came when I made the jump at Legion Commander, unaware that Skywrath had teleported to the top. And I learned painfully that Slark can never engage alone without solid backup.

Team fight after team fight, all of us died horribly. The fact that Earthshaker was shouting into the mic constantly with his Tagalog accent did not help too. In the end, my score was at 0-7-5. I was a goddamned feeder. Deeply ashamed with myself, I pondered if I should just stop. But somehow my finger still pressed the search button.

The second game went much better. Instead of constantly shouting in Tagalog, my teammates roamed and ganked. We pressed the opposition, made them on the defensive. In the end, we won, me with a score of 4-4-16. Not too bad, at least I cleared the challenge.

My last game with Meepo was the teeth grinding game. For almost an hour the game hung in the balance. Their middle lane was down, a straight path to the Ancient. We tried and tried. The bottom lane, smoking to the middle lane to try and take down the ancient. Time and time again we got wiped out. There were moments when we wondered if we could actually win it. I wondered if we could win. Because every time I went into team fight, my brain switch into panic mode and I keep forgetting to tab tab tab to switch between the four Meepos. But somehow we won. During the last engagement, we smoke and Ancient rushed, and I only had one objective in my mind: HIT THE ANCIENT.

As Tidehunter blinked in and unleashed his Ravage, I kept the objective burning bright. I spam clicked the Mekansm. And as my teammates rushed off to chase the opponents away, my four Meepos with their Assault Cuirass just kept hitting. And who said that too many Meepos is bad?

Next up, Shadow Shaman.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Dota All Hero Challenge: Day 3. Or 4

It has been three (or four?) days since the almighty god Valve unveiled his challenge to the normal denizens of Steam, the Dota All Hero Challenge. The challenge where one is required to don on the mantle of all the legendary heroes in Dota 2, and win one game each for all the 108 heroes. One hundred and eight.

I have been fighting ever since then, picking the heroes that appear on the list one by one, trying to score a win with each of them. It has been 40 matches with 17 heroes since then, with 91 more heroes to go. It's a long and torturous journey, and going by what that has been happening in the past 40matches, it seemed that the odds was never in my favor. Or in other words, it's freakingly unbelievably difficult. I'm not sure if I am that noob with some heroes (but it's not that I feed also) or that Steam seriously has some matchmaking issues, but for my first try with Broodmother, I spent a total of 8 games on it. Morphling came close at second with 6 games. Yes I had a 6 games and 8 games losing streak.

Still I managed to clear some pretty tough heroes like Chen and Morphling (heroes that I can never master), so I guess that's not too bad. My only worry now is how horribly I'll die when it comes to heroes like Meepo. Or Techies.

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Twenty Random Thoughts #120914: Twenty Random Facts About Myself

I've not been blogging for about a week now. It's funny how one day of break can turn easily into two days and then subsequently into one week. The fact that I'm on and off between catching the flu did not help a lot too. Plus the fact that I am now obsessively chasing the  all hero challenge in DOTA is sucking up most of my time. But enough is enough. Can't let some lame excuses get in my way of becoming the world most famous blogger right? Wait, didn't I scrape that dream already?

Anyways, considering that there's not much to write about (actually there is a lot, but I'm just can't be bothered with all the distressing issues out there), I shall take up my dear housemate's challenge to write 20 facts about myself! An easy way to cheat my way out of a long blogpost.

So here goes.

in lack of a better picture, here is a harry potter picture

1. I was born in the small town of Ipoh, Malaysia, in a smaller village called Kampung Tawas. Growing up, I remember the memories of me visiting my grandparent's vegetable stall at the nearby market regularly. My childhood was quite fun, to say the least. Evenings were filled with bicycle trips with the neighbour kids, visit to their houses and lots of kiddish games that I can no longer remember

2. Out of the three children in my family, I was the only one who was raised bilingual. My dad spoke to me in English while my mum conversed with me in Chinese. My paternal grandmother tried to teach me Hakka, but that didn't go as well as she had hoped, I guess, because my Hakka is still as broken as f***. I picked up Cantonese when I was in kindergarten from friends (God knows how I did that) while Malay was imparted unto me when I entered primary school

3. Kindergarten was a fun experience. I have two most vivid memories of my kindergarten that comes into mind whenever I think of it. The first was that I cried after finding out that I was the only one who coloured my alphabets using three colours each, while my classmates only used one colour for the alphabets. My mum and teacher tried their best to console me, but all I felt was how I hated to be different from the others. So I cried and cried until the end of school. I sorta made a vow to never be different again I guess, a trait of me that lasted until today. The second one was when I got a very bad scolding for saying fart, because my teacher thought that I said fuck. She even asked the other kids to not be friends with me because I was a "bad boy". I guess there's partly where my fear of rejection comes in

4. I hate singing. Some friends of mine would know how much I hate karaoke. Part of the reason why was because back when I was in Sunday school, a church elder told me that I should never sing because I suck at it. I took the comment seriously, and it sort of affected my self-esteem when it comes to singing for my whole life. I took up drums and bass guitar after that because I don't have to sing. Of course now I'm slowly learning not to care, but it's funny how a small comment affected me for my entire life

5. I am a very clingy person, even as a child. Back when I was still a toddler, I was so clingy to my grandfather that whenever he went to bath, I would sit in front of the toilet door and cry until he came out. I'm still being teased for that

6. The naughtiest thing that I have ever did? Riding around the housing estate on a bicycle on Chinese New Year's night with my bunch of friends throwing firecrackers into people's houses and laughing when they went off, scaring the occupants of the house

7. I have a very long history with gaming and cyber cafes (LAN shops). It was there that I met a lot of friends, naughty friends you may say, spending my mornings before school and evenings after school playing Counter Strike, Ragnarok, Half Life and Dota. It was there where I picked up my first vulgarities, mostly in Cantonese anyway, and my escapades with the cyber cafes used to drive my mum nuts. She would say that playing too much computer would eat away your brain, which I guess did not turn out to be true since I eventually made it into NUS :p

8. My first day in primary school involved a big fat Indian boy pushing me off my chair. First day already got bullied :(

9. The church adults used to hate me back when I was young. Because I would usually lead the bunch of boys running around the church compound, playing real life "Counter Strike", making lots of noise. Eventually they had to came out with this class or something just to not give us the opportunity to run around and wreak havoc. But still it was freakishly fun. And the hate was mutual 

10. A lot of ideals and principles that I hold came from my father. To be honest, I would say that he done a hell of a job raising me up. I still remember how he caned me when he found out that I borrowed 10 cents (yes 10 cents) from my classmate, and amidst all the crying that's coming from me, told me sternly that the one thing that we should never do in life is to borrow money from other people. It wasn't until university that I began to say okay to people wanting to lend me money

11. If you look hard enough, you'll find enough random facts about me in this blog that can drag all the way to maybe even 100 facts

12. I used to message random girls on ICQ and Friendster, and I got to know quite a few people from there. My first phone call from a girl is from a girl I know from ICQ. And being the naive me, I immediately asked her to be my girlfriend. We broke up the day we met face to face. Yep, I'm not proud of that

13. Lazy. That's the single most accurate definition of me. If there was an easier way to do something, I would take it. No questions asked. Guess that Bill Gate's quote really make sense eh

14. I am better at expressing my thoughts in writing than when speaking. If I attempt to do face to face conversation with a complete stranger, I would fail really really badly. Charisma level 0, sadly. Which is why I can never pick up girls from anywhere

15. My best experience of school was during Form 6, or A levels. A lot of people advised me against it, but thinking back, it was the period where I learned an experienced the most things. From being a prefect to leading different groups of people, I had the chance to do what I've always wanted to do. Like organize a DOTA competition, for example, and playing ourselves when school is over. Of course, the sudden appearance of girls in our classes helped a lot too, I guess. Whereas Form 1 to Form 5 was like a blur

16. I was super close to have not come to Singapore. I hated the fact that I had to move then, and preferred the comfortable environment of Malaysia. But my auntie and mum sort of begged and nagged me to apply, and after much annoyance at trying to finish the endless tasks required by NUS to apply, I somehow got accepted. Looking back, it was the best decision that  I have ever made in my life. Thank god I did not give up halfway or anything

17. Speaking of God, He is a subject that I feel very strongly about. Until today I still do not know whether God exists or not, and I think that here is just no way we can prove his existence with the current knowledge that we have. Unless He chooses to reveal himself in some grandiose way, that is. Still, I would still like to believe that He does exist

18. When it comes to important decisions, I don't make a goal and strive blindly towards it. ie I don't say I want to study medicine and die die work my way towards it. Instead I always make two goals, and pick the one that comes easier or is offered to me. In studies, I put USM and NUS as my goals, while in work, I put psychology related work and media related work as my goals. I chose NUS because it was obviously a better choice, but I ended up in my work now because it was the only one offered to me

19. Eusoff Hall has been quite an eye opening experience. I still remembered the shock when I found out that almost everyone is better than you in almost everything, and I had such a hard time finding my footing. But somehow I survived, and for 4 years too, a feat that I will never be able to understand. And those leadership positions? Lucky, Real lucky. 

Still, I am thankful for all the experience and for all the people who believed in me. Joshua Ng, for nominating me for the Video Director (my first official leadership position, in which I failed quite badly and handling relationships). Nisha, for throwing me up to become her co-head in the orientation committee (the one that made me go "shit, leading people is this hard?"). The residents of B Block, for entrusting me to be the Block Head (how I managed to keep that Block together I can never fathom). And the 77% who voted Yes for me to become the Media Director. All of them taught me valuable lessons, lessons that gave me hard knock on my ego, that helped me to realize that life is an unending journey. It was from those responsibilities that I learned how to survive in my work now,  in terms of time and people management, and I guess that the term "full time Eusoffian" really meant something. 

20. My biggest regrets? My four past relationships. In each relationship I vowed to be better, that I will make it last, but in each of them I was still the selfish prick. Like the hall experience, each of them taught a painful and humbling lesson. Lessons that I am still learning today. I guess that when it comes to life, we are constantly learning, that the journey to self-improvement is never ending. And the moment that we think we learned enough is the moment when the inside of us dies. In a way I am grateful for everything that has happened to me in life up until now, both the sad and happy memories together. Because that is what makes us humans, I guess.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Why I Think Texting Ain't All That Bad When It Comes To Dating

I have been hearing a lot about the downside of texting during the dating phase, both offline from friends, and online from those Thought Catalog articles. Some are even so extreme in a way that they are calling an end to texting, saying that the very essence of texting ruins the dynamic or dating. And they are those who say that texting adds no value whatsoever to dating. The good ol' face to face communication trumps everything, the believe.

As someone who dated before, I believe strongly that texting is not all that bad. Of course I don't claim to be a texting expert, and I believe that everyone has their own style and preferences when it's come to dating. I just happened to state mine here, in which I think that texting, rather than making dating difficult, adds on to the whole magic of dating. Heck, I even believe that every couple should experience the texting stage before they can even legitimately call themselves a couple.

Why, you ask? Well, forgive me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the main purpose of dating, if not the only purpose, is to find someone to settle down with. Of course, if you think that dating is just to find some pants to get into, then you can ignore this article and go back to text hating, because I do agree that texting impedes how fast you can get laid. But if you're not, I think that texting offers a wonderful avenue in which you can find out more about the person you are dating. 

There are several reasons why I think so, and I'm gonna start by addressing the several top complaints that people have about texting.

1. Texting negates most of human communication

"Oh no, there's nothing to texting other than only text!"

If there is anything that people hate most about texting, is it's lack of the non-verbal cues that we would usually get from face to face communication. The exchange of eye contact, the polite laughs, the way we gesture, our tone of voice and even slight physical touch, if we're lucky. Texting takes away all this, and gives you words to read. Only words. All the magic is gone. And if you're someone who hates reading, this is definitely going to be hell.

While I do agree that texting take away the features that we would usually associate with "normal" communication, I do believe that by forcing you to rely only on text to communicate, it is more "real" in a way. Because I think that in face to face (I'll just F2F to refer to face to face subsequently, cause I'm lazy like that) communication, one can always cheat with your good looks or other non-verbal cues. Like it or not, having a charming smile can negate a lot of bad communication styles in F2F conversations. I mean who cares if the girl constantly talks about herself when she has such a revealing cleavage, right? It's called the halo effect, in case you need a scientific word for it.

Texting, in this way, eliminates the non-verbal assistance from communication. One has to instead rely on on common topics, writing style and shared interest to sustain a conversation in texting. And I think this is an excellent way to see whether if both your personalities are compatible. Chances are that if you can text on and on with each other, you would talk on and on with each other too when you do meet up F2F. And personally, I think that when it comes to long lasting relationships, it's having common topics and a shared personality that counts.

2. Texting takes FOREVER!

Another part of texting that people hate so much is that it takes forever. That as compared to F2F interaction, the replies are much slower and sometimes we even have to wait for replies. And we know how much we hate waiting right?

*Buzzer sounds* Wrong.

I personally find this reason for hating texting laughable, because it shows how used we are to the culture of instant self-gratification until we no longer knows how to wait, even for a reply. We live in a time where all our needs have to be met instantly and if we are forced to wait, we throw this one big tantrum that we are getting ignored or texting is bad. We often forgot that other person has a life too, and he/she may not be constantly glued to their phones. I often say that if the other person is keen to reply, he/she will do so. 

I think that this raises a red flag all by itself. I mean if you can't wait even for single text message, how are you going to wait for the bigger things in life?

3. Texting is too easy to ignore

Another thing that gets people annoyed about texting is that it's all too easy to ignore. As a guy, I can't begin to agree to how this true this point is. You may be texting happily with a person and suddenly he/she just stopped replying. Completely. Without saying a word of where he/she is going and you'll be left there wondering alone what on earth did you said wrong.

I used to get worked up on this last time, but over the years I realized that you can't just force something that you want. I mean if the other person is important to you, you could always drop another message a few hours later or the next day to see how they're doing. Or if you're really desperate (which is not a good trait to show, people usually run away at the first indication of desperation), you could always resort to calling and meeting F2F, and perhaps let your good looks take over the job. 

But if nothing works out, take the hint, and walk away. Sometimes things are just not meant to be in life, and it's always good to know when to walk away.

With everything being said, however, I am not advocating that texting should be the only form of communication used when you're dating. The extreme of anything is never good, after all. Rather what I'm trying to say is that texting could be a good initial phase in dating where everyone needs to go through. I personally have this "texting test" for girls that I'm looking to date, where I see how we fare in texting each other before deciding to meet up. Like a filter, if you may say. The reasons are simple:

1. Texting offers a glimpse into someone's personality

Like I mentioned earlier, texting allows one to take a peek into someone's personality without all the noise coming in from non-verbal cues and without having to go for a personality test either. Yes, I call non-verbal communication noise, because it affects how we see a person objectively. From the things the person say to how the person reacts during texting, all of them offers clues as in how the person is in real life.

It's a good initial filter too to get a rough idea of someone before deciding to commit more. I mean if a guy constantly hounds you asking why haven't you reply, or if a girl complains non-stop about her previous boyfriend, that should probably raise some red flags as to how this person would act after things get serious.

2. Texting is a good indication of compatibility

Aside from punching words into your phone, texting takes a whole load of different aspects from a person into account. From the period you take to reply, to depth of your replies to the level of English you use, everyone has their own texting style. I believe that each individual's texting style reflects a part of their personality, and when it comes to texting, you must have compatible texting style to be able to continue on a conversation in text. Be it your reply time to how you construct your sentence, I believe all of us have experience text messages that we simply do not know how to reply to before. 

And if all of your texting exchanges are ending awkwardly, chances are that your F2F meetup wouldn't go well in the long run as well. Or if you find yourself constantly getting annoyed with your date partner's texting style, 

At the end of the day, I think that texting is no different from the ye olde times when we are exchanging love letters with our faraway lovers. I mean if the people of the olden days can do it, and be so happy whenever they receive a letter, why are we complaining so much about having to text? 

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Baking With Love, A Julie's Biscuit Factory Visit

I grew up eating Julie's. No, not Julie the person, but rather Julie's the biscuit brand, in case you think I'm cannibalistic or something. I would lie on the couch during evenings, munching on Julie's while watching the evening cartoons, because a growing boy's stomach gets hungry easily. I still remember how I enjoyed the taste of the peanut butter in my mouth, and my mum's fury when she found out that I've been eating biscuits just right before dinner.

So naturally, when an email landed in my inbox asking if I was interested to visit Julie's factory in Alor Gajah, Malacca, in a blogger's trip sponsored by Perfect Food Manufacturing, I immediately said yes. After all, I have always wanted to see how the biscuits are made, and it's not always that one gets sponsored to go on trips. Though I have to admit that I was a bit nervous at first when I found out that I would be going with the trip together with 16 other bloggers. Introverted like that.

our group of Singapore bloggers at Singapore, getting briefed by Ellice, our "tour guide" for the trip, before embarking to Julie's at Malacca

Visiting Julie's has certainly been eye opening, to be honest. I guess it's because that one could grow so accustomed to a certain brand until you forget that a brand is not just a static logo made up of machines, but rather an organization that is made up by the ideals of the people in it. And through this trip, I learned a little bit more about Julie's too, other than just how the biscuits are made, but also the vision and mission that drives the entire company itself.

the bloggers at Julie's Alor Gajah, with the staff as well! photo credits: William Tan

If you have not yet know, Julie's first started it's humble roots in the small town of Alor Gajah back in 1981, and over the years, have grown so much to be one of the top biscuit exporters in Southeast Asia, delivering their products to more than 60 countries in the world. It has received numerous awards, accreditation and accolades over the years since its first started, which you can view at its website.

Other than that, Julie's also has an impressive range of products as well under its name, from crackers to waffles, each with their own distinctive varieties of taste, meaning that there's something to suit the different tastes of consumers out there. Best of all, Julie's is a homegrown Malaysian brand! So yay, Malaysia! Yes, I'm secretly still proud of my home country like that.

so that's me, sharing a light moment with fellow bloggers before our briefing began. photo credits: William Tan

Anyways, enough of history lesson. Onwards towards the main topic of the day, the factory trip and the briefing itself. One of the biggest surprise that I got from the factory visit was the various projects and initiatives that Julie's undertake as a brand. Rather than just selling biscuits, Julie's aims to give back to the society at large as well, which I must admit is not something that we usually see from Malaysia brands. Julie's motto, Baked With Love, pretty much sums up the company's philosophy in its line of work.

I particularly liked the line that the director, Mr Martin Ang, shared with the rest of us during the tour, "If you are not going to eat your own product, why would you sell it to the public?" Okay I paraphrased it a little there, but you get the gist. Never sell a product that you yourself won't eat/use. Which is quite a commendable principle, to be honest.

Mr Martin Ang sharing some interesting pointers with us

In line with their philosophy, Julie's itself has launched two notable campaigns in an effort to give back to the society, the first being the Share the Love campaign, and the more recent one being The Best of You. Both campaigns are quite impressive in terms of their deployment and engagement. The Share the Love campaign for example, helped to raise fund for the needy and aimed to also honour the unsung heroes of everyday life. Julie's staff delivered biscuits to those who worked weird hours during our everyday lives, helped to donate to needy children and also produced five awesome songs as well to encourage others to do the same. Best of all, they also had a mini concert for all the Julie's staff as well! You can check out the Youtube channel for some example of the coverage of the campaign.

donation to harvest center. source

The more recent campaign, the Best of You, on the other hand, is a social movement that encourages each of us to find something or someone to bring out the best of us in everyday lives. Be it as a social worker or a mother, the movement challenges us to think of instances where we can give our best back to life, no matter how small we think our role is.

It is quite an inspiring movement, that I can say, as it challenges us to not take things for granted and to have gratitude. In Singapore itself, individuals are encouraged to submit their own stories where they find the best in themselves, culminating in a special public exhibition at the central atrium of Marina Square from 22 - 26 October 2014. There will be big names such as Royston Tan, Michelle Chong and even Kumar as well taking part in the movement.

As for the bloggers, we got caught to share our own best of our selves moment too, in which Ginevi, Joey and Joey (yes there were two Joeys on the trip) shared on their personal best of themselves moment. Even Ellice, our PR liaison, did so too. I was busy hiding in a corner, by the way. And you could submit your own stories too at Who knows, you story might just get featured at the exhibition as well.

ginevi sharing a moment on how her mother brings out the best in her

And of course, after the sharing session comes the moment we have all been waiting for, a visit to the production line! But first, we had to cover ourselves pretty much from head to toe to prevent ourselves from contaminating the production line. Would not be good to be dropping hair unto the newly baked biscuits now, isn't it.

lukey is also now a doctor, with a super oily forehead =.=

I must say, for a company that exports its product up to 60 countries around the world, I kinda expected towering skyscrapers and elaborate machines churning out biscuits non-stop on a 24/7 basis. While the latter part is somewhat true, there were not much of towering skyscrapers but rather a sleek production line where the biscuits go from dough to steaming hot biscuits in less than a football field length. Quite impressive, if you ask me.

factory snapshot 1, courtesy of Julie's

factory snapshot 2, courtesy of Julie's

At the end of everything, I must admit that I enjoyed myself quite a bit. In addition to seeing how the biscuits are made, we got to learn about all the innovative campaigns that Julie's is putting forward as well for society.

But most importantly, I guess the best experience that I had came from the staff. I don't know about you, but for me, the staff reflects everything about the company. They are the ones that carries the image of the brand, and no matter what you say about your company, one needs only to look at your staff to see what you said is true.

I felt that the staff at Julie's was genuinely friendly with us, and they were great hosts. Even though they had to sacrifice their weekend to accompany us all along, they were still full with smiles and enthusiasm, answering any questions that we might had and trying their best to fulfill our needs as well. It's quite heartening to the staff serve with such passion for the company, and I guess that speaks a lot as well for the culture of the company. And heck, I even made a new friend from the entire experience.

julie's certainly brought out the best in their staff as well. photo credits: william tan

All in all, I'm glad to have signed up for this blogger trip to Julie's. It has definitely been an enlightening trip. and hopefully I'll be able to continue working with Julie's as time passes! To check out more in Julies you can check out their website here and their Facebook page here!

Would like tho shout out to William too for helping to take the pictures and so graciously shared with the rest of us. And do keep an eye out for Julie's the Best of You movement. Quite a different approach to marketing, I must say. Until the next post, chiaoz!

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Twenty Random Thoughts #030914: Point 10 onwards

1. There is one rule when it comes to reading Malaysian news, especially those regarding politics. And that is the more you read, the more depressed you'll become.

2. I for one think that there's nothing that could be done to erase what has already been done. We have already passed the point of no return. The ones who know that there's something wrong have left in tons, while those who are left have not enough power to change the current situation

3. Funny how the brain drain, aside from sucking the talent dry, has sucked away people who are able to fight for the country

4. When I first left Malaysia, I told myself that one day I'll return. But seeing how things are going now, I have decided to never settle down back in Malaysia. Some battles are just not worth fighting

5. I am selfish like that, I know

6. There's no use ranting about a lost cause anymore online anyway, because no matter how much we rant online, the guys at Putrajaya are still going to rampage through common sense and common rights, because they know the majority of us don't have the balls enough to stage a movement that is enough to cripple the economy. Because we're stuck too far into our comfort zone to really do anything. So *zip*

7. My skin and my scalp seemed to dislike me a lot, considering how fast they are in popping up pimples whenever there's a slightest of irritation. Like just a little bit more dust and *pop* *pop* *pop* like popping bubble wrap

8. I hate statistics. And I will forever hate it. Though there are times when my heart skips a beat when I see the numbers magically tally up, I still hate looking at all the raw data

9. One of my random hobbies is to talk randomly on OKCupid website, cause I find it interesting to see how people react there, and the different type of girls out there, away from my social circle. It opens up an entire world that I have never seen before. But I will talk about that, another time. Like a full post on it

10. I never finished #100happydays challenge, despite being hyped out about it. I made it to day 40+ last year, but stopped halfway as I was bored or something like that. Eventually I got too busy, I guess, and completely forgot about it

11. This time, come rain or shine, I am going to finish it, even if it means photographing my ugly face everyday, because once you start something, you be damn sure to finish it. Got head, must got tail. If no tail, you look pretty horrible with only the head floating around

12. There has been a lot of hoo-haa about graduates and non-graduate's pay, my only hoo-haa is the incredible amount of loan that I still owe the SG government T.T

13. I for one think a degree makes all the difference, especially if you're going through a top notch university. The way a degree forces you to think, you can't get it anywhere else

14. Of course I'm not doubting other programmes since I've never been there before, I'm just saying out loud how my short 4 years in NUS has literally changed my life around

15. Writing blog post to me is switching between Facebook, phone and

16. I hate DOTA. But I love DOTA. I have a love hate relationship with it

17. Manager: For this programme, we all need to be as creative as possible in order to get the best results. And why on earth are you holding a tissue box in your hands Luke? 
Luke: I'm trying to think outside of the box

18. I'm sleeping way past my bed time again, despite telling myself everyday I should sleep earlier. That just seem never to happen

19. This Taiwanese playboy got sentenced to decades in jail. Everyone says that he deserves it, but some guys are just jealous of him. I felt

20. What thing disappears faster than the speed of light? Samsung's battery life

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Monday, September 1, 2014

The 8 Types of People You'll Meet on Singapore's Public Transport

Ever since I started working, I have been using the public transport way more than I liked. Not that I'm given a choice though, since it's almost impossible for a debt-saddled recent graduate like me to own a car in Singapore. The fact that my workplace is on the other end of the island does little to help either, with me clocking an average of 3 to 4 hours a day on commute. I always joke with my friends that I'm travelling cross country everyday, and my Google location would prove to you that.

With so much time spent on public transport here in Singapore (estimating 3 hours a day X 300 days would be 900 hours on the public transport alone for 2014), it would seem that that I've learnt to categorize the people on the public transport into different groups automatically. It helps with managing my expectations of how to deal with them and as psychologists would say, it's an energy efficient way to think about people.

So below are some of the categories that my brain has come up with in regards to the different types of people that I could usually find on public transport. Is it the same with you?

1. The people who cannot differentiate headphones from speakers

Taglines: I need to show off the awesome music that I'm hearing right now / If I play clubbing music loud enough, maybe I can delude myself into thinking that I'm still grooving to the club beats

Okay, I have no idea why I started with this category first, but I guess these are the people that seemed to annoy me the most. Not that I have an issue with people who uses headphones though, but it's with those who consistently leak music noise out of their ears. At a very annoying volume too.

The whole point of wearing earphones is so that the music stays in your ears. But this group of people seemed to have missed the point, often subjecting the entire carriage or bus to their choice of music. Which more often than not borders on the point of being full fledged noise. Like those you hear in a construction site. Try as I might, I just couldn't understand why you would want to listen to death metal at 7am in the morning. Sort of like a pick me up music to get you pumped up for school/office? 

Of course, I'm not judging the music choice, but when you're trying to sleep and there is a steady stream of dumz dumz dumz creeping into your ears, you tend to get annoyed quite easily. Especially when you can still hear the music after putting your own earphones in and playing your own music. Kinda reminds me of those 1960s people who carry boomboxes around

Others who fit into this category: People who watches videos without earphones

2. The sleeping beauties

Taglines: There is no bed like the MRT seat / If I close my eyes hard enough, maybe all of these people in front of me will disappear / ZzZz

They are the ones who sleep so soundly on the public transport until their head would sometimes would loll dangerously near your shoulder, but who are still alert enough to quickly stand up and exit the vehicle when they reached their stop. Sometimes one cannot help but wonder if that they're indeed so tired, or is it because they just cannot withstand the jealous death stares from standing commuters.

I personally have no quarrel with these group of people though, because I'm okay with standing (not that I have a choice) and normally it's the people who want seats who hate them. And I'm occasionally guilty of this offence as well, especially during the early morning when I'm still half dead Speaking of which, did you ever notice that they

3. The overly romantic couple who doesn't like you staring 

Taglines: Can you feel the love tonight~~ 

Okay, I understand that couples need to show romantic gestures every now and then. I mean when you're madly in love you're practically a slave to your hormones right, so I'm perfectly fine with you touching and sometimes fondling each other in the full view of the public. I mean sure, fine, go ahead. Of course, it will make me feel lonely and awkward, but who's to control what you do with your partner in public right? After all it's your hands and it's not my body you're touching.

What's not fine, however, is when I get rude stares back for just looking straight, as if you're expecting me to turn my head the other way. I mean hello? Where else would you expect me to look? You're standing in front of me doing all the things that you do and you expect me to look away? I'm a guy after all you know, with my own set of raging hormones, and if there's free show going in front of me, why would I deny myself the chance to enjoy it? If you're so bothered about people looking at you in the public, get a room. 

4. The close close guy

Taglines: Can you feel MY love tonight?

I know sometimes the buses or MRT can get overly crowded and all, so some degree of "closeness" is forgiven during peak hours where everyone is packed too close together, but occasionally there's this one random dude who enjoys standing too close to you even when there's empty space around, his armpit above you or something, sending his manly whiff over to you. And sadly, more often than not it's a dude. Who probably forgot to bath for a few days in a row as well.

5. The demanding uncle/auntie

Taglines: Your seat is mine

It's one thing to ask nicely, it's totally a different thing if you were to demand, scold and threaten for a seat. I know that the seats are referred for you, but some aunties/uncles act as if that it is their given birthright, and whoever who doesn't adhere to it shall be thoroughly punished. And even for some uncles/aunties, they come with the post-nagging feature as well, cursing your 18 descendants and ancestors with all kind of colourful hokkien words that you wished your friends would have taught you last time.

You know whom do I respect more? The aunties/uncles who are okay with standing, and gives you a pleasant smile and a thank you. Because kindness go both ways :)

6. The parents with the out of control kids

Taglines: Kids, what kids?

Perhaps the bane of most people, you'll have kids who run and scream around as if the MRT is their giant playground, while their parents are busy staring into their iPhones. I'm not saying about the younger ones who may just having a bad though, but those who act as if the MRT is their home. I mean whatever happened to sitting quietly when you're in a public place?

Thank goodness I work in an early intervention setting, where I'm already used to all the noises and mayhem caused by kids.

7. The runners

Taglines: Chiong ah!

Don't be deceived by them. They may look like normal aunties/uncles on the outside, but once the MRT doors slide open, they'll be running so fast to the seats that leaves you standing there stunned. I guess they must have been the joggers in the park that keep running past me whenever I'm running as well. The marathoners at night.

8. The social media complainer aka The STOMPERs

Tagline: I'm too afraid to confront all these people in real life, so I'll do it online instead

They may be quietly standing at the corner pressing at their phone, but do not be deceived, you may just have been Stomped unknowingly by them, or may have been the subject of an angry Tweet. A fact that you will only find out when you reach home, and your friends starting flooding you with "OMG you're famous!" statements

They may also come up with silly blog posts, with titles such as "The 8 Types of People You'll Meet on Singapore's Public Transport", all in the name of fame


Of course there are other groups of people out there, like the phone starers, those that just stare at the phone the whole day, but lets just face it, I guess that it has become so common for us now to stare at the phone that anyone with his eyes wondering around is automatically creepy.

So which group do you dislike most? Do you dislike any of them? Is there any groups that I may have missed out?

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Steam got better of me

I was supposed to write an epicly awesome post today (things are always epicly awesome when you plan them in your head), but I got sidetracked with my other responsibilities. Like saving the world and defending the ancient.

I never understood the point of defending that stupid throne/tree too. Fight as we might, that throne/tree barely helped us with anything other than standing idly all day. I suppose there's a backstory to this, but I'm just too lazy to check it out.

On the other hand, started The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, sort of like a prequel to the XCOM series, which has quite an interesting gameplay and story, particularly if you liked previous XCOMs. Though it may be not as easy as the games that I used to play. Especially not when they give you a shotgun and expect you to take down a flying gunship. Seriously?

Okay, DOTA 2 may have it harder sometimes, so I guess they're both even in terms of chances to make you wanna pull your hair out.

So to avoid me escaping my blog duties again, I guess next time I'll just have to blog before I game uh?

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Movie Review: Boyhood, A Wonderful Surprise

Have you ever wondered how your life would like on screen, if some random person decided to take all the important moments in your life and put it into a film? That is what Boyhood is, literally. Holding perhaps one of the highest rating so far in both IMDB, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes, Boyhood tells of a coming of age story of this one boy called Mason, where unlike any other movies that came before, the film literally follows the same cast as they grow up.

Spanning a period of 12 years, yes you heard 12 years right, Boyhood is a movie aimed at capturing the journey of growing up, and all the ups and downs that come with it. The scale itself is crazy, as you could see the cast growing up before your eyes. A friend caught me to watch this movie, and though initially I wasn't quite sure what to expect from the movie, it turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise indeed.

To be honest first, Boyhood isn't like any Hollywood movie out there. It does not employ the conventional method of storytelling, where there is a introduction, a buildup, a climax, a twist and ultimately an ending. No, the story of Boyhood is rather monotonous, a straight line with occasional small little waves here and there, but with no big twist or epic drama. Everything on screen feels normal, I guess you could say that.

But somehow it's the normality itself that makes the movie shine so much. I felt that the story of the movie is usually what friends would tell you, rather than a story written for the big screen. It made me reflect on my own journey growing up, and it tells of how each our life is linked with one another, and how a little action today would shape our life tomorrow.

The movie is peppered with the things that defined our generation. As you watch Mason grow up before your eyes, you could see the things around him changing as well. From the flip phones that we used last time to the smartphones we have today, as well as a gameboy to Xbox, and the transition from Bush to Obama. The film managed to capture all the little things during the journey perfectly.

There are a lot of themes raised in the movie. Which I guess is normal, when the movie is about life itself. Marriage, divorce, family, school, friends, love, life's purpose and the responsibilities of becoming an adult are among the many things touched upon in the movie, as you see Mason struggle with the questions that life throw upon him as he enter each stage of life. And as you see him grapple with the various issues that the movie brought up, you would somehow think back to your life too, and wonder how have you responded when life gave you similar trials.

I certainly thought a lot as I watched the movie. I realized how lucky I have been to have grown up with an intact family, despite all the small hiccups here and there, and I thought back to all of the people who have once used to be in my life, made an impact, and left. And somehow I was grateful to each and everyone of them, for having taught me important lessons during the short period where our lives overlapped.

Boyhood would not have all the explosions, action, romance and over-exaggerated drama or effects. It gives you the vibe of being a documentary and it's rather down to earth. There are periods where you would feel like falling asleep, if you're not a fan of artsy slow moving films, but there are definitely many lighthearted moments as you see Mason interacts with his family, and achieve each milestone in life. It often felt like as if my own life was reflected in his.

But of course, a downside of the Boyhood film is its culture focus. As a movie set in Texas, many of the struggles, values and settings are American based, so there are certain things that I find it hard to relate to. The Bush and Obama elections race for example, high school parties at empty houses when your parents are not here, as well as the school system and suburbs living. Those were the things that I find it harder to be able to understand.

Still the movie is great in general. It gives a very good look at growing up, capturing all the important points in life, and offering it's own take on this journey we all undergo. If you're up for a little trip down memory lane of your own, do consider Boyhood. I'll give it a 4.5/5

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