Friday, April 24, 2015

Twenty Random Thoughts #230415: This thing called Facebook Ads

1. I have been toying with Facebook Ads for a while now, as part of my job scope managing my company's social media accounts. Very much to my horror, I realised that managing personal social media accounts is nothing like a corporate account, which may explain why no company hired me previously when I put "Management of lukeyishandsome(dot)com's social media accounts" as one of the skills in my resume.

2. One thing that I observed (personal opinion, in case Facebook decides to sue me), is that no matter how much Facebook tries to tell you that its ads system makes it easy for companies to connect to customers or potential fanbase, the reality is far from that. At least in my case. Maybe because I am noob and I am learning along the way, but I thought it was supposed to be easy. Let me tell you why.

3. Firstly, there are three ways you can use money to promote your posts in Facebook. One is called the 'Boost Post' button, found easily under any of your Page's post in blue. The other is the 'Power Editor' button, which despite its name, is not that powerful at all. And the last one is the Ads Manager, which is like the mother of all but is not easy to reach nor use.

4. And lets not even get started with the Business Manager, which is one of the many tricks to dupe you into using a host of complicated processes that leaves you more confused in the end. Like "What are all these buttons and what do they do?" sort of confused.

5. Are you feeling overwhelmed or lost with all the facts that I have presented? Good. Because that is exactly how Facebook Ads system makes you feel

6. I started out using my company's page like every other page. Through the good ol' Facebook interface. You log on to Facebook, click the page's link at the left side and manage everything from there. Quite straightforward because it's quite similar to how you manage your personal profile

7. Things went on smoothly, until the company decided to want to use more of Facebook ads, because we are not generating enough traction and our reach is not reaching our total fanbase. And that's where Facebook tried to sell Business Manager to us, a sort of in built app in Facebook that claims to let you work with your page more efficiently, without having to add co-workers as friends.

8. I made the switch to Business Manager, believing tons of websites online and Facebook itself telling me that it is good, and because they said you can better target your ads using Business Manager. I also wanted to better manage the payment method because for some strange reason, both my blog's page and my company's page ended up with the same ad account and same payment method, which was a big no-no because I wanted the payment methods to be separate for each of the accounts.

9. Long story short, I made the switch to separate the payment methods, only to find out that once you linked a Facebook page with Business Manager, you cannot unlink it. That was #Annoyance1. And once you create an Ad Account, you cannot delete it. So I have one ad account in my Business Manager now with the name 'DELETE'. That was #Annoyance2

10. Eventually I managed to live past that, managing the Facebook Page through Business Manager, which did not provide me much of a change at all. It's more of a page I drop by to get to Power Editor to edit my ads.

11. Speaking of Power Editor, did you know that ads in Facebook can be divided into three different tiers/categories? They're called Campaign, Ad Set and Ad. Campaign is the overarching category, in which the Ad Set is subsumed under, then followed by Ad. Why so much categories, you ask? It's to organise things better, I suppose. It helps somewhat but it can get quite confusing at the start.

12. You can have a campaign of Fruits for example, and under that campaign you can have different Ad Sets targeting different fruits, say Orange, Apple and Bananas, and under those Ad Sets you can have different Ads to sell the same thing.

13. Facebook says that it's easier for you to test out your targeting, which may work for some hypothesis (ie if you wanna target different age group and see who responds better) but not for some.

14. Mine for example, where I want to test out different headlines for a same post, cannot be done. Which is sad, considering the free email service MailChimp allows you to test out different headlines to the same email, Facebook Ads, can't. And it's supposed to be a paid system.

15. Not only that, creating ads can also be a hassle. If you use the default Ad Manager in Facebook, where all the ads are hosted, the process is cumbersome and rigid. People around the industry recommends using Power Editor, but the only catch here is that any changes you make in Power Editor do not affect the Ads Manager. You have to first upload your work to the Ads Manager in order for your ads to work. Why so many steps? Why can't everything be collapsed into one interface?

16. Not only that, the Boost button in your page is also a farce. While it is easy to press, the options available there are few and far between, and you cannot really customize everything from that button. To truly customize your ad, you have to load the Business Manager page, click on the Power Editor button, make the changes, then upload them to your ads manager, and then only the ad will take effect. Why so many steps? Why can't everything be done from the boost button, where it only takes one click?

17. You see, the way Facebook Ads is structured defies any logical attempts to explain it. While the individual components are brilliant, when taken together in a big picture, not only does it look unnecessarily complicated, it is also terribly confusing as well. A lot of jargons are thrown your way without you understanding them, and any attempts to do so would only result in more confusion.

18. But I guess at the end of the day, given how domineering Facebook is, a lot of us just have to suck it up and use the system, because there are very limited alternatives and almost everyone is on Facebook.

19. As of now I am only using Facebook to promote articles and videos, which is sad, because I can't even master the art of conversion tracking too yet. The algorithms and the way the ads work are not thoroughly explained (or hidden under piles of notes) and more often than not you have to learn through trial and error method. Which is tedious and time consuming.

20. If only Google+ can be better.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

[Advertorial] Ten Things on Lukey's Wishlist

Yo. So it has been a while since this blog got updated. Mainly because I was busy with my new job and all - trying to adapt to the new environment with new expectations - so I kinda forgotten about the fact that I owned a blog for a while. Being in a new job is not easy though, that I can say, and it feels like I have bigger shoes to fill right now. There's also this bigger responsibility that requires you to do more and to be more productive as well.

Incidentally, Lazada approached me a few days ago for a collaboration - if you don't know, Lazada is one of Singapore's top online shopping website - and asked me to come up with a wishlist of ten items that I would want from their website. Why not, I thought, since I am looking to revamp some of my wardrobe and gear up in this new job of mine. So here's Lukey's Ten Items Wishlist, all available from Lazada's website. 

1.  A brand new watch

They say having the right watch on your wrist is important on forming the correct first impression (while the absence of a watch gives off the impression that time is not important to you), which is why the first item on my list is a brand new watch. A Daniel Wellington watch, With its brown leather strap a silver case, it gives off the impression that you're serious but yet not too old (I hate metallic straps btw) and yet mysterious at the same time. Especially important when I am now constantly meeting new people.

2. Shirts. Like smart casual tops

So I have moved into the realm of smart buttoned tops now from my previous armaments of polo tees. One of the reasons was because polo tees were not serious enough and because I can no longer hide in one place as I used to. Also the girlfriend says that it's time to dress my age, which is why I need to rehaul my wardrobe with these smart looking buttoned tops. Like my entire wardrobe with them.

3. A pair of smart looking shoes

Gone were the days of me beloved sneakers. One thing about looking smart and serious is that you need a pair of serious looking leather shoes as well to go with the entire look, something which I am sorely lacking in. Of course, black seems too deadbeat serious to me, which is why my colour pick will be brown instead. Kinda like an in-between serious and fun. Or casual. I'm not a full time business guy after all.

4. Pants

Pants. I almost forgot pants. Chinos or khakis please.

5. I need exercise. But I am too shy to go to the gym

If you're asking me for a wishlist, I think the item that must go unto this list is this multi-gym equipment. The cool sounding G150, as they call it. I have been dying to exercise for the longest time, but after comments like jogging is not going to cut it and the lack of time, the idea has been rotting in my mind. Plus the fact that I am severely intimidated by the gym and those hulking guys in it does not really help. So having an exercise machine would eliminate all excuses and make my life much easier.

6. A place to keep all my stuff

I have this tendency to hoard stuff. And often I would find that I will run out of places to keep my things. Heck I don't even have a wardrobe to begin with. Which is why I think having tons of new furniture would be good. Delivered directly to my home. And one good place to get it would be from the furniture Singapore page in Lazada.

7. Something for my mum

Mothers' Day is just around the corner, so I thought it would be good to buy my mum something. After all, she has been taking care of me for 19 years, and I grew up to be quite a decent person. So why not buy an awesome mothers' day gift? Like a Prada bag for example.

8. One new camera

Did I mention that I am going to travel? I think I did. And I think for an awesome travel experience, it is important to have a camera that is up to the occasion as well. Canon 70D is one of the sturdier models for both videos and photo, and it will be so cool if I can have one to go with the trip. It even comes with a free lens too!

9.  A new killer gaming laptop

Speaking of electronic gadgets, I think my current laptop is finally nearing its old age. And it would be extremely cool to have a new one, for all the new and upcoming games. Like Far Cry 4. I find that MSI is quite dependable, the GE 60 that I am using now has served me well, which is why I am sticking to the MSI brand. And I chose the GS70

10. The party trio

What better way to end of a wishlist than to sign it off with some awesome drinks to boot? The trio sparkling wine. And yes, I am small kid like that cause I drink sparkling wine. Or maybe I should have gone with Black Label?

So there you have it, my Lazada wishlist. Now what's yours?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Normal Life?

"I think you are one of the person who prefers a.... more normal life?"

I looked at my friend and smiled. The comment felt almost like stab at my heart. Not that the comment itself was offensive or hurtful, but it gave me a sudden jolt back to reality. A painful realization perhaps. Of what I've always wanted versus what I am capable now.

A normal life.

Growing up, I hated the term. I think most of us did. With all the different TV shows and cartoons we watch since young, it's hard not to get sucked into the idea where you're the hero of some epic story. The messages that follow soon after when you step into the teenage years do not help too. You're constantly being told that you are special, that you are unique and that your life will be different than others. It will be filled with adventure and excitement, without a moment of dullness in it.

A normal life, where life takes the same routine every day, seemed to be reserved for the losers. People who are not special. It is boring and uneventful. Meaningless. Everyone can lead a "normal" life, but not everyone can be special, the hero.

Do I want a normal life?

The answer used to be a big fat NO. I wanted a life that is different. One that is high flying, where new things happen every day. Monotony is the rare happening in this life, where every day is power packed with activities. A life of influence, where every decision you make has a big impact. One that can change the life of many people.

I used to want that kind of life. But as I left university and started working, I started to realize that to have that kind of life, one needs to have the necessary skills for it. Not to mention a raw drive and immense dedication to achieve your goals. Something that I clearly don't have.

Live your life as if it was your last day on earth. Pursue whatever interest that you want. Experience life as fully as you can. Those were good advice. But if there was one advice that I wish I stuck to when I was young, it would be to focus one and only one skill. And to make sure you are damn good at that skill.

Be it programming, drawing or people management, I realized that in order to be successful, to be different that others, to lead a non-normal life, you must have at least one niche. One that makes you stand out from the crowd.

But when you have a tons of skills that are neither here nor there, that's when you realize that you can't really go anywhere. Which is why I am now in this normal life, trying desperately to break out, wondering what type of extraordinary skills that I could bank on.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Twenty Random Thoughts #150415: Of Freedom of Speech, Amos Yee and The Real Singapore

1. This topic is getting a little dated right now, but I just wanted to write something in response to all the recent articles that has been surfacing that are close to worshiping Amos Yee in a way. Especially the recent post by the New Yorker that painted him like a saint and went as far to say that Singapore should be ruled by people like Amos Yee.

2. Really? Someone who uses foul words all the time to make his point? Sure, it may look cool in Hollywood films like Wolf of Wall Street, but definitely not a politician who will be making all the important decisions in the country.

3. One argument that has been consistently used again and again to defend and even exalt Amos Yee is none other than the principle of free speech. Ya-da-ya-da, he's only exercising his freedom of speech so why should we prosecute him, Singapore is authoritarian for doing so, ya-da-ya-da.

4. I used to be an avid supporter of free speech. The one that is truest to the form. Absolute free speech. That everyone, regardless of their background, should be entitled to their opinion. Everyone should have the right to ask questions and to voice their thoughts so that there is a healthy exchange of ideas and viewpoints.

5. My view is that through an honest discussion where all sides have an equal chance to speak and to be listened to - that is important, the point of listening - only can society progress. Too much of a one-sided opinion is never good, researchers can tell you that, and best decisions are often made when you have someone playing a devil's advocate in the group.

6. However, over the years I have realised that while an absolute freedom of speech sounds good on paper, when it comes to the real world, it is far less than ideal. The sole reason is this: because it allows stupid people to speak as well. And you know what is the worst thing? It's usually the stupid ideas that garner the most attention and support.

7. Just take a look at America or even Singapore. Look at the kind of talk that usually has a huge amount of following. I have no statistics to back me (because I am too lazy to dig up the numbers) but we have talks that criticize Obama for various funny reasons like his skin colour or family background, and those try to paint global warming as a lie or fight vaccination because it supposedly causes autism. 

8. I don't really care about the Obama comments, but those arguments on global warming and anti-vaccination that worries me. Because those are exactly the stupid pseudo-science comments that have the highest chance of getting us humanity wiped out, in a dramatic way. And you know what is the worrying thing? They usually have quite a high following.

9. In Singapore itself we have the classic example of The Real Singapore (TRS), which is anything but real. The tone that they use for their articles, as well as the message that they're advocating, it is hard not to think that they're pushing for an outright fight between different groups. And out of all the portals in Singapore, which has the highest following online? TRS.

10. The thing is, I think that freedom of speech today is no longer like the freedom of speech that used to be. Gone were the days where we advocated for freedom of speech that is well-thought out and well-articulated, fighting for a noble cause to promote for a better society. Take Martin Luther King's call for racial equality for example.

11. Today, we are using freedom of speech full swing in another direction, abusing it to promote hatred, to sow discord and to push for emotional arguments instead of logical ones. Because these are the type of arguments that will gain the most attention online and it is all about the likes, shares and visits now instead of sound and critical arguments.

12. It is not to say that there are no more logical arguments around. There still is. But I see it mostly in countries where the government is less kind, like Malaysia, for example, where the government comes after you for the slightest critical comment that you may make. It is in a country like this where the freedom of speech is most needed and mostly the anti-government messages that come out are the ones which are most well thought out and logical.

13. It is not to say that Singapore has totally no good arguments coming out. There are a lot in fact, but in the midst of the barrage of commentaries, comments and opinions that are thrown out there, the critical ones are usually eclipsed by those which are more emotional and less complicated in argument. Take the Online Citizen, for example, which I think is doing a good job in trying to give an honest, critical and neutral view of the daily happenings in Singapore. They have only less than 75000 likes on Facebook. TRS, on the other hand, has 415000 likes.

14. I guess my issue here is not only on the producers of free speech, but on the consumers as well. It seems that society on whole has a tendency to go for the provocative ones and society on whole tends to be less critical and more judgmental when it comes to the arguments that we consume. From both sides of the fence.

15. Going back to the Amos Yee case for example. When it first came out, the slew of comments that were directed against him were not only impulsive, but also scary and bordering on abusive. There was the grassroots leader with the male organ comment and a host of other opinions that were worse off than Amos Yee's tone and demeanor. 

16. I think freedom of speech works best only when both sides are willing to debate and discuss in a civil manner, without resorting to name-calling and expletives-hurling, because who really enjoys being called colourful names when you are just trying to state your opinion? 

17. On top of that, people must be also willing to admit their belief may be wrong, without acting like their mum just died when someone disagrees with them. Only then do I think absolute freedom of speech will be productive in bringing the society forward and only then should freedom of speech should be granted.

18. Seeing how freedom of speech is being abused so openly in the online medium, I am starting to think that perhaps there should be qualifiers that you need to meet before you can be granted with absolute freedom of speech. You may disagree with me, but when articles call a group of people stupid and when comments are piled sky-high with hate, without any action taken, I think there's a healthy amount of freedom of speech online that we are taking for granted.

19. I personally think LKY had a point when he chose to sacrifice some bit of freedom of speech and focus on building the nation instead, because if he had allowed absolute freedom of speech to prevail, he may have predicted that Singaporeans will spend too much time arguing on what's right instead of getting things done. He may not be absolutely right in that sense, and it is still highly debatable the moral of his choices, but I guess at the end of the day he wanted to just get things done without getting caught in all the debates and to-and-fro that may arise from absolute freedom of speech.

20. Of course, that we will never know. But these are my thoughts. That absolute freedom of speech should not be given freely, especially not to those with an ill-intention. Of course then question will be how we decide who has the correct intention and who has not, but that would be a question best left for another article.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lukey and Dawnie visit Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin has long been another one of Singapore islands that I wanted to visit since coming to Singapore, but did not have the chance to do so because it is so far away and because no one really wants to go with me. I did manage to step foot on the island last month though, thanks to Dawn who finally agreed to go with me. Benefits of having a girlfriend, I guess.

Wanting to make the most out of the trip, I decided to bring my GoPro too, with the intention of recording bits and pieces of the experience down. I also wanted to try out the interval picture taking feature of the camera as well, with the goal of making a video in the end.

In a nutshell, Ubin is a nice place to go to if you want a change a scenery from what you usually get on the main Singapore island. The kampung lifestyle that is so touted on websites is indeed prevalent, as the island is covered in trees, lakes and dirt roads. The buildings - few and far between - were mostly made from wood and the only thing you would see most often there are cyclists. Lots and lots of them.

The scenery itself is not something to die for but is still quite enjoyable if you like nature. Minus the rubbish that you may find lying around though, especially in the mangrove swamp area. There is also a huge amount of cemeteries around the island, which I could not understand why, given that the population of the island is so low.

Getting there is also a hassle if you're staying all the way in the west like me, because it requires you to travel all the way to Changi Point Ferry Terminal, which is located nearby Changi Village. A place that can only be reached by bus. But still, the cycling there is pretty fun and can get quite challenging, especially if your mountain bike doesn't do any mountaineering. 

My biggest mistake was trying to use my GoPro to capture pictures though, because the only time interval I can set for the camera is a picture for every 0.5 second, and by the time I realised it, I was already on the island for two hours. And that meant more than 6000 pictures by the time I noticed. Quite a shocker. I still made the video for the experience though, part exploratory part romantic video, and if you want to get a glimpse into what's at Ubin, you can try watching the video.

I said try because the video can get quite shaky. Like I said, wrong decision on my part to take pictures instead of video.

The cost of getting there is about 5 SGD to and fro, on bumboats operated by individual uncles. The bicycle rent is about SGD 10 for the whole day while the food that you can find there are mostly seafood. Didn't try any of them though because we ate at Changi Village before heading towards the island. Between Kusu and Ubin, somewhat I preferred Kusu. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Twenty Random Thoughts #110415: It's been a long day (Fast and Furious 7)

1. With all the hype going around this movie, I decided to finally watch this movie. Best thing is that I managed to catch the girlfriend to watch it too, who initially has no interest in movies about cars and action. Not even The Rock Dwayne Johnson. Achievement unlocked, I guess. Converting girlfriend into watching Fast and Furious series.

2. We actually watched Fast 5 and 6 one day before watching the 7th one. Just to introduce her to the characters and a sort of backstory. Didn't watch the entire franchise of course, because that will just be too long

3. Of course, the ending of the was already spoiled thanks to all the articles/statuses popping up in my news feed that praised the "sending off" of Paul Walker, but I still wanted to see how the movie does it, given the amount of attention that surrounded it.

4. My biggest complain about this movie, even before watching it, has to do with the killing of Han. And also Giselle. They were the couple whom I enjoyed seeing most on screen, whom I thought has more chemistry than Dom/Letty or Brian/Mia. Which is why I will forever hate the person who wrote the script for Tokyo Drift and decided to kill Han.

5. Another complain that I have has to do with the absence of the two brother characters in Furious 5 too. They brought a lot of comic relief and flavour to the Fast 5 movie, and somehow the dynamics of the team is just not as enjoyable without them around.

6. Overall I still find the movie enjoyable to watch, maybe because I'm no physicist and did not know which physics law was broken during the entire filming of the movie.

7. Of course there were bits and parts of the movie that felt disjointed, but I guess it was because they had to fill in the gaps of the story after Paul Walker's death. Still the general flow was okay.

8. Corona poured a lot of money for the product placement in this movie, but neh. I still prefer my hard liquor over beer any time. Especially over Corona.

9. The girlfriend cried when they showed the tribute to Paul Walker, but somehow the feel just didn't hit me. I guess maybe because I was expecting a real tribute that involved behind the scenes footages and somehow the movie one felt a little staged.

10. I would have been a happy man if they really killed of Dominic Toretto, but I guess they still wanted to milk this franchise. Which is sad though, because some of the character's antics feel way overused. Like I am begining to grow tired of some.

11. That being said though, I really hope that if they really make an eighth movie, it will be the last. The characters keep talking about family but from how I see it the family just keeps getting smaller without new faces. And that means less new things to see and the dynamics is getting stale.

12. I still enjoy watching the Rock being all badass though. Maybe it's because of his name that I like his character so much. Luke Hobbs. Like Luke the badass Hobbs. Mine is Luke the handsome Phang.

13. My favourite Fast and Furious movie is still the fifth one though. Maybe because there were more character development in the movie and the focus was aligned with Dominic's value, which is family. It was enjoyable watching how each character bring their style and flavour to the team.

14. Looking at how the movie ended, I can bet for sure the bad guy is gonna break out the prison again and go for Dom. If that happens in 8, I will not watch the movie anymore.

15. The final boss fight of this movie feels a little bit downgraded as compared to 6th though, where they had to wrestle with a frigging plane. This movie just has a helicopter. Which like don't really do much. Except missing all their shots and getting shot down eventually

16. The Rock is so badass that even when he's shot at using a minigun from a helicoter, he has this aura that deflects bullets away from him.

17. Is it me, or is there a lot of ass shots in this movie? Not that I am complaining though. I just wish I have that kind of Abu Dhabi life. Oh well.

18.I half-expected Dominic to shout off "I am Groootttt!" during any of his fight scenes.

19. Professional trained soldiers will all become stormtroopers when the movie wishes it. Like during ambushes and stuff. 

20. I just hope they won't make another Fast and Furious movie. This franchise needs to die off while it's still in its peak. Seriously.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

[Learning Japanese] Day 2, 7 April 2015

So I've decided to finally learn the Japanese language - like literally memorizing the words and writing them - after having the wish to learn it ever since watching my first anime. However, in fear of this turning to another failed venture - bak kata pepatah, hangat-hangat tahi ayam - I have decided to track my progress in this blog as a form of motivation. And also as a form of revision and just to fill this blog with stuff. I've not yet forgotten about the novel though, just that life has been a bit tad distracting so far.

The reason why I suddenly to jump into learning the language is because of my upcoming trip to Japan in June, and I figured it would be good to have at least some broken proficiency of the language in order to survive our eight days there. And there's the possibility of watching anime or surfing Japanese sites without having to rely on subs or Google translate anymore.

For my attempt at the language, I will be primarily using three free mobile apps to help me - yes, I am trying to go down the self-taught path - and I think it will only be fair to feature them here. The first one will be Tae Kim's Guide to Learning Japanese that is available free on Google Play as well as online, and the second will be TenguGo Kana and Kanji Senpai. Tae Kim's Guide will be my overall guide to the entire journey, will be using it primarily, the other two will be supplementary in helping me to write and write.

For the past two days I have been using the app to try and learn the language during my commute to and from work, since I figured that playing games forever on my phone while on work commute isn't going to be really productive in the long run. Besides, I got really sick of defending my town hall already. Learning a new skill seemed like the most logical choice on how to make the fullest use of the work commute time. And that's basically the back-story of how I started to learn Japanese.

And here's a picture of me in case you got too bored from all the words.

Anyways, for the past two days I have been trying to memorize the most basic component of the Japanese language, the hiragana. According to the guide, there are three subsets under the Japanese writing system: hiragana, katakana and kanji. The most complicated one is kanji, as it mimics Chinese words while hiragana is usually for beginners to pick up the language. So kind of the Japanese to tier their system, don't you think?

Anyways, I have been trying to memorize the hiragana vowels a, e, i, o, u,, which is kinda similar to the English vowels, and learning how to write them. So far so good, as I think I can already memorize some of them, while moving on to the next stage of the language, the hiragana with k, which is basically just putting the letter k in front of all the vowels. It's really structured, the hiragana part, and so far so good. Heck I even managed to practice all 10 of them, the vowels and k-hiragana using pen and paper.

Remembering them when I wake up tomorrow is another matter of course, but I would like to think that in two days this is acceptable progress. And the good news is that I don't feel like giving up yet. Unlike that time I tried learning Chinese.

And that concludes Day 2 of Learning Nihongo.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Twenty Random Thoughts #310315: Amos Yee, Who Is He?

1. I am a fan of observing human behaviour, and understanding the motives behind the behaviour, and the immense attention that is given to this boy called Amos Yee over the past few days has really gotten me curious over him. (Plus he is really trending right now so this will help me score some cookie points).

2. This will not be a post of political nature though, so I will not be focusing on the persecution on him or how his actions fit into the political landscape of Singapore, but rather I want to look at the individual level. His thoughts, his actions, his motivations.

3. Of course what I will be saying will be mere speculation, not expert opinion, don't think I'm qualified to make one, as I am not him. And I have only limited information about him, basing on just his video and his blog post about his experience in his secondary school. I might be floating a few theories on his personality as I go as well.

4. Firstly, I think that he is highly intelligent. Looking at the way he writes and articulates himself on his blog and Youtube, I think his command of English is impeccable. He is able to organize his thoughts on a consistent manner as well, looking at how his rationalizes and explains the surroundings around him in his blog post. That is beyond doubt.

5. But I don't think his level of intellect may be due to parenting or schooling, given how his parents are unable to control him - his mum lodge a police report just to get him under control - and how he hated his teachers in school as well. A natural bright spark? Very likely.

6. A lot of people have recommended counselling as an approach to "rehabilitate" him, but I doubt this will be useful, not now at least. Perhaps in the past when he was still struggling in school and life, when he was trying to fit in and find his direction, but definitely not now. My personal feeling is that counselling will only do more harm than good.

7. I think the main reason why counselling would not work, at least for now, has to do with Amos's view of the world right now. From the way he spoke in the video and how he criticized a cousin in a blog post for pranking him, I think he harbours a lot of hate for this world. That he is above everyone, that the world does not understand him because his level of thinking is different. And in a way this may have caused him to be resistant to any form of method that involves telling him that he is wrong.

8. He is very critical of things around him as well. Friends, teachers and leaders. All of them were viewed in a very negative light. Reading his posts and watching the video, it almost seemed that he has no positive preferences for anything. Except the use of profanities.

9. He blames everyone for the things he is feeling. For not being able to fit in. This further fueled his anger and hatred to the world, which I guess is a vicious cycle when you end up hating almost everything in the world. 

10. I would be very interested to find out what his likes are, what are his area of interests and how he talks about them. Like his favorite author for example. Or his favorite music.

11. Judging for his like for Where the Wild Things Are, according to Alvinology, I am guessing his has a soft spot for things that don't fit in. Though I would be interested to know if this is the case. If it does, then it speaks a lot about how the world is treating him.

12. His lack of empathy, that he mentioned in the blog post, is a troubling trait. He may be super intelligent, but without the ability to feel, it could well make him a sociopath. Someone who manipulates others for the betterment of himself, who feels no remorse for his actions. Or perhaps an Aspergers, who may just not understand social cues.

13. If he's more towards the sociopath tendency, then that is worrying, but if he's more towards Aspergers, then perhaps there still is hope. An interview with him may reveal more. Whether his intentions are bad or good. 

14. But I think one thing that we shouldn't do to him is to throw in more punishment to him, because that would only fit in to his worldview that people are just out to get him, that he is special amongst others.

15. I would suggest a debate, but I am not sure how receptive he would be in changing his opinions, or considering the opinions of others, looking at how he reacts to viewpoints that are contrary to his.

16. I think he might be a genius, though the way he is using it may be all wrong right now. The school hating part surely did not help. And it's not focused way in the wrong direction.

17. But what is true is that he is way beyond his peers in terms of how he thinks, and the way he interpret the world. Very logical, I would say, though a little hostile.

18. Still it may be good not too worship him that much though. Because it is usually charismatic people like him who form cults fulled of adoring fans, and already I am seeing people who are defending him just because what he is saying fits their belief. Don't agree for the sake of agreeing yo.

19. But he cannot definitely be ignored. Because I think that would only accelerate his path towards a non desirable outcome. Not sure if we want the next supervillain to come from Singapore. This guy needs to be engaged, though how receptive he may be is still a question mark.

20. Still I won't blame it on the parenting. There's just too many factors involved to make a conclusive statement. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Five things that went right and wrong after Lee Kuan Yew's Passing

The dust has settled, so they say. In perhaps one of the biggest events that has happened to Singapore in a long time, Lee Kuan Yew's passing has affected the island nation in ways that almost none of us thought possible. As the nation head towards a post-LKY closure - before everything returns to normal - here are five things that I think went right after Lee Kuan Yew's death, and five things that did not.


1. That display of efficiency. The speed at which the island-wide memorial sites went up. How quickly the state media, television and print, switched gears to do a whole week worth of tribute to Mr Lee. The talk shows and thick reports. It almost feels that everything was staged, that everything was already well prepared, and at the press of a button, everything went into action and sprang up automatically. Efficiently. It was like one moment you're hearing the news of LKY dying and the next thing you have community tribute sitespopping up and CNA already broadcasting his life story on repeat. The precision and speed at which everything was executed was near perfection, so much like the Singapore LKY imagined..

2. That exchange of thoughts. A lot of people criticized Mr Lee as an authoritative figure who clamped down on freedom of expression. But that was far from what happened during the week of mourning. The internet exploded with comment pieces on him, and none of them were really censored (minus Amos Yee, that is, which I will elaborate below). I've seen posts criticizing the over-glorifying of LKY appear on my news feed several times, and the responses were numerous and varied. There were heated arguments in comments section, from a wide range of spectrum. Those who grieved over his death and those who questioned that grief. In a way, despite all our complaints that we lacked freedom of speech, I saw that freedom right there over the week of mourning. Comments coming from both sides of the fence, no holds barred.

3. The outpouring of kindness. Singapore has long had this image where its residents are pictured as cold and calculative. That we need to be told by the government to be kind. But what happened on the day the queue grew unexpectedly long gave us all hope again. Boxes of water were donated, food was freely given out, chairs were placed to help ease the tiredness and volunteers came down in droves. Even SMRT decided to run its services 24 hours. It proved that when the situation calls for it, we can still be kind, and deep down inside all of us, we are kind souls after all. #faithinhumanityrestored

4. That sense of pride. Singaporeans are often told that Singapore is like the jewel of Southeast Asia, but without concrete proof, it was something that many found it hard to believe. It was with LKY's passing that we saw his enormous amount of influence around the world, and that despite Singapore's size, we are respected worldwide, because of the efforts of one man. World leaders around the globe as well as countries, mourned with the nation. And there was no prouder moment when Singaporeans knew the country stood amongst giants.

5. The nation found its soul. Live long enough in Singapore and you will hear the common talk that the nation has no soul, no identity, no culture. But little do Singaporeans realize that there was a common string that binds everyone together. Only when everyone saw the amount of people that turned up to pay their last respects to LKY did all the doubts of lacking an identity melted. Despite being known as champion grumblers, Singaporeans queued for 8 hours willingly and endured the rain to send LKY off during the funeral procession. No matter what critics will say, it was during this period that the nation came together in a period of mourning, in solidarity, to honour the man that made the nation to what it is today. No matter what language, race or religion, everyone took part in it, one way or another. Who said Singaporeans were apathetic? That show of solidarity, that required no government campaigns or cheesy taglines, happened so naturally that the citizens of any other country would be jealous of. 


1. That amount of troll and hateful comments. Despite how much we ask for free speech from the government, sometimes I find that it is us ourselves who couldn't handle free speech if it was given to us. When Amos Yee posted his video up, or when ST reported Alfian Sa'at's post, the amount of hate comments were just scary. Not to forget the comments reveling in LKY's death too. Both sides are equally scary. And how do you expect the government to allow you to speak freely when all you do is to shout expletives or condemn people's father mother when you're making a point? How do you expect to have a constructive discussion when all you're making is personal attacks? 

No wonder the government still thinks that it needs to moderate the internet to prevent it from getting out of hand. I mean if someone calls my mum names, I would punch him too (referencing Pope Francis). Or threaten to cut off my *ahem* for example. Or death threats. I mean seriously yu're threatening to kill someone just because of a comment on the internet? Dude seriously got anger management issues. I guess unless we learn how to behave on the internet, freedom of speech will never come. 

2. Breadtalk. Seriously, trying to profit off someone's death? I know you say you'll donate to charity but who will know? And it still gives off the impression that you're profiting. I mean if you gave it away for free that would be another story altogether but trying to earn money off an event like this is just not cool.

3. Amos Yee. Need I say more about a product of education that has gone horribly wrong? Or the lack of parenting that has been given to him?

4. Straits Times. In reporting Alfian Sa'at's post, a reported was quoted that she would put the article up, even though it may trigger undesirable response, because it was "newsy". No wonder people have this impression that Singaporeans are cunning and soulless. 

5. Queue cutting. Yep, even when people are lining up 8 hours in a solemn manner you still have people trying to cut queue. Refer to point 4 please. 

Of course, these are only personal observations from the entire event. What do you think went well (or wrong) post-LKY?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Twenty Random Thoughts #290315: Oh, We're Home

1. Out of pure spontaneity, Dawn and I agreed to drop by the cinema to check if there was any movie that we could catch, seeing how we have been wanting to watch a movie for quite some time already.

2. There were few movies on screen, but we only considered two: Home, the new alien movie featuring a socially awkward purple misfit and Cinderella, Disney's latest rehash of the classic story.

3. We eventually settled for Home, even though our original intention was Cinderella, because none of us was really keen for it. I personally would not prefer to watch something that I already know the ending to, as well as the story, while Dawn did not think that the actress is pretty.

4. So we stepped into the cinema, the tickets to Home in our hands, not knowing what to expect. Except for the brief trailer that we watched sometime back, of a clip of Oh - the alien - dancing to the tune of a song in the car.

5. Fortunately, the movie turned out to be quite pleasantly entertaining despite its simplicity in story and not so funny jokes. I mean they were okay, just that they did not make me laugh until my tummy ached. And I think the focus of the story was on how the relationship between Oh and Tip, the human girl, blossomed.

6. I would say that this is the one of the movie that gives you the warm fuzzy feeling at the end of it, a warm approach in exploring how an outcast alien tries to build a relationship with a human girl, and how they both come to understand each other's culture and thinking. Quite interesting to watch, the interactions between them.

7. Some of the plot twists were predictable, some were not, but nevertheless it kept me entertained until the end.

8. The sound tracks in the movie were nice too, there were a few MV moments where there was no dialogue and just song, which I thought filled the movie quite nicely, and added colours to the story telling technique.

9. Only later when I saw the credits and noticed Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez being two of the voice actors in the movie did I realize why were some of the songs in the movie so nice to hear. Because Rihanna and JLo sang them.

10. Jim Parsons, better known as Sheldon, was the voice behind Oh too. And I think he did wonders with the character. In fact Oh shares a lot of similarities with Sheldon in being socially awkward.

11. The movie is aimed for children, but I think adults can equally enjoy the movie too with the variety of colours, uniqueness of the story and general feel of the movie.

12. Only when I found out from Google that the movie was based on a novel did I know why it was so entertaining and pleasant to watch. Because the movie makers had already a story to start. Still the way they set the scene in the movies was pretty and colourful. Would definitely recommend this movie to watch.

13. Dreamworks seems to be a force to be reckoned with today, uh. I am just glad they stopped milking Shrek.

14. I am travelling to Osaka in June! Can't wait. And like a childhood dream came true!

15. Gotta get myself a men's travel bag to look trendy though during the trip.

16. It will be my second East Asian trip, the first being Taiwan last year. Still much of a travel noob, and this time will be taking Cathay Pacific and stopping over in Hong Kong (connecting flight!) so I will see how that goes.

17. Also using Airbnb for the first time too! At least it's not CouchSurf. And Japanese hosts! Fingers crossed that there's no awkward moments.

18. In other news, Lukey is foreseen to go broke.

19. In other other news, I discovered the joy of Hootsuite and the magic of tweet scheduling. So awesome right? And dumped my first 5 bucks into Facebook advertising. Hopefully I will be a popular blogger by then! #yeahright

20. Anyways, sleep!


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