Archive for February, 2006

Singabore Blues

February 24, 2006

“What seems to be the problem, officer?” It was a typical sultry morning in suburban Singapore and my brain was screaming out loud for caffeine. The junior policeman seemed perturbed about trouble brewing in the distance. “Dunno leh, but experts coming over”.

Experts? I thought to myself. This must be something – I guess I can afford to spend a few minutes, hang around, be part of the impending excitement. The possibilities were infinite – the utterance of the word expert itself led me to derive my own wild conclusions. Bomb Squad? Anti-Terrorist Unit? Bio-Hazard Detection Team? As I waited impatiently, more police cars pulled over; the harsh sun glinting off their windshields; the red-and-blue flashing lights creating an aura of intrigue. More crackling sounds from wireless handsets. Tense drops of sweat were trickling down my forehead and as I looked around, the profuse sweating seemed to have gripped my policeman-friend too.

Finally the expert arrived. After heated consultations with a few portly law-enforcers on the other side of the road, he moved cautiously towards the apparent scene-of-the-crime. A negotiator perhaps? The suspense was killing me. Two armed (with batons) policemen moved in behind him, in the process showing funny hand-signals to their peers (probably picked up from watching too much NYPD Blue). What were they walking towards? Each step seemed to take an eternity. Finally the trio approached a harmless looking tree adjacent to the side-walk. What kind of message does it convey to the rest of the young, restless extremists when a tree in Singapore catches fire?

As the plain-clothes expert knelt over by the side of the tree, a strange sense of deja-vu struck me. I’d always felt that a Singaporean policeman had it easy – the rare freakish murder apart, life for him was a walk in the park. And I have in the past fallen for false-positives in very similar situations. This time, it promised to be different..but I was wrong yet again.

The expert peered into the grass and quickly grabbed at a mysterious object, which turned out to be the slippery tail of a smallish snake. I won’t be surprised if this makes the cover page of Straits Times tomorrow.

God help Singapore.

Disclaimer: All characters and events (though dramatized) described in this post are real and any resemblance to any person living or dead is not coincidental.

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A Scanner Named Google

February 22, 2006

A Scanner DarklyThe coolest movie trailer I’ve seen since Sin City. Must find the book too – it looks and sounds eerily like something from a product roadmap of Messrs Page and Brin. But of course they would do no evil…or would they?

P.S. Where’s an HD trailer when you need one?

Powerful Moments

February 17, 2006

Life is all about tipping points – small incidents which can avalanche into something much bigger (sometimes positive, sometimes negative). Like this scene from one of my all-time favourite films, Udayanaanu Thaaram (translates to Udayan is the star), where Mohanlal (after an ugly drinking-binge and at his vulnerable best), wallows in self-pity to his friend and confidante Mukesh (for once not playing a buffoon):

I’ve lost everything – my career, my wife…everything.

To which Mukesh replies (this sounds more effective in Malayalam hehe),

If you puke on the side of a footpath, will you get everything back?

The rest, as you will see for yourself in the movie, is history.

Extremes

February 15, 2006

You know you’ve taken your haircut too far, when your boss does not recognize you and thinks you’ve not been turning up for work for the last one week.

Slow slow week

February 10, 2006

I’ve begun to realise the negative impact that a slow-moving multinational can have on you – sucking out the life that was flowing through your veins (see – I’ve had to resort to stealing lines from Robbie Williams). So with nothing else to write about, here are some discoveries I made during the last week (or have started to use in great earnest):

  • Pandora: A great streaming music service, which plays music from a particular genre. Don’t get it? Neither did I until I tried it out…pretty cool
  • del.icio.us: Yeah I know this has been around for a long time, but its usefulness struck me over the last week, when I was e-mailing myself interesting links from the work PC. A great bookmarking tool, with plugins for IE, Firefox and Safari.
  • GTalkr: Using a computer on which you don’t have admin rights? Not to fret, GTalkr wraps Google Talk, Flickr and YouTube in all its Flash goodness. Nice!
  • Flex: A great way to create RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) with a language called MXML. Pretty awesome that you can get a good-looking webpage up in no time. And an interesting first tutorial to boot.
  • YouTube/vSocial/Google Videos: Your source of funny Family Guy clips, among other things…
  • Jobs’ Speech at Stanford: Ok this is a one-time thing – but its very inspiring. Very old again I know, but for those stuck in a rut, a must-hear…